YES SCHUYLER DON'T KEEP US IN SUSPENSE
About the Novellas
I'm writing a modern-day country story, about a city girl who visits the country. It explores brokenness, mentoring, community, grief, and healing. (Country Novella)
I'm writing a 1913 spy novella--college student Jaeryn Graham is sent to investigate a mysterious kidnapping on the shores of Lake Windermere, until a disastrous twist sends him on the run in the Lake Country to survive. (Escape From Windermere)
And I'm writing another Caribbean novella. They don't all take place in the Caribbean, but that's the easiest placeholder name for it. This one is called Colby and Julian in New York City. Colby and Julian come to visit Roo, and there are all sorts of fun adventures.
Toronto was nice at night. Something stirred in her soul, as she left the quiet suburbs behind where she had ridden bike and skipped rope and drawn chalk, back years ago when she talked and went to church and wrote sticky, sideways letters to send in the mail. There was a for sale sign at one of the neighbor’s houses, she noticed with surprise. They had lived there since before her parents had moved in.
So that was changing, too.
*You didn’t randomly eat cereal at the edge of a fallow field in the city. In fact, you didn’t eat it outside at all. You sat at the table, with a napkin and a cup of coffee and a newspaper. Grandaddy’s coffee pot was broken, and he didn’t approve of the newspaper—and all of a sudden, Becca realized she could go outside and eat her cereal and watch the sunrise if she wanted.
Not that she was exactly watching a sunrise. The sun had risen hours ago, and she was still sleeping. Granddaddy didn’t wake her up. They were all being careful of her—letting her recover.
*Then Becca realized the pastor had finished his announcement and the woman was hitting the drumsticks to count of the rhythm. Granddaddy gave an audible sigh as they stood up and crashed into something. She hardly heard what it was. She was watching Caramel Girl, hitting those drums so passionately. Her eyes were closed, and her feet were in gold gladiator sandals, tapping the kick drum in perfect time, as her hands seemed to do six things at once. The people around them were singing. A hand went up on the other side of the auditorium, and all of a sudden Becca saw that Caramel Girl was singing too.
She had her eyes closed, and she was playing more drums than Becca could count, and she was singing.
She was smiling.
*“You look like you need a hug, Becca girl.” That warm lilting voice again of Caramel Girl. Becca pricked up her ears. The voices were still singing by the fire, so they hadn’t all stopped to look after her.
“I don’t do hugs,” Becca gasped out.
“Then don’t hug back. I’ll give you one instead. Just like God does. Colossians, didn’t you know?” That gold circlet and the tanned arms slipped around her shoulders, and Izzy held her close, leaning her head on her shoulder. “I think you have secrets. But that’s all right. There will be time for that later. For now, you are just lost and need love, because you don’t love yourself anymore.”
Something salty rained down faster. Breath heaving, heart tearing, curling up as small as possible, dying inside. But living on in a cruel, unmerciful way.
Escape From Windermere
No one knew what could possess anyone to kidnap a visiting stranger to Windermere. He’d come in for a visit, he said. Lunch order: one hot cup of coffee, one poached egg on toast. The housemaid had seen it before: business people with no appetite who, after a few days of hiking and hearty lake air, could polish off an entire English breakfast in one sitting. He’d be doing it by Friday, she guessed.
So she said to the police when she was giving her report, tears running down both reddened cheeks.
*The police were puzzled, and set up a search accordingly, making inquiries of the quiet man who ran Windermere Ferry, checking telegraphs and mailings and train tickets in and out of town on Friday. But the abandoned boots found along the shore of Lake Windermere remained in their office without anyone to claim them, and the troubled lines had deepened on the housemaid’s face when the new clerk for Storr’s Hall arrived.
He had hiked in along the shoreline—he must have got off a station earlier and wanted a walk--tall, with a grey jumper and slender fingers clutching the strap of the knapsack on his shoulder. Martin, the bell boy, brought him in to her to be introduced to his duties.
“Cullin Reid,” the young man said, his lilt betraying his Irish upbringing. “Here to see to the books for you.”
The house maid looked appreciatively. Serene green eyes, dark curly hair reaching the edge of his shirt collar, and the young keen face of a student just fresh from examinations and ready for a summer away from studies. It wouldn’t be half bad to have him around to chat with.
*As soon as she was gone, Cullen went to the window, took one more keen look out on the back lawn, seeming to take more interest in the direction of the shadows on it than on the young gentlemen playing cricket on the far side. Then, his inquiry evidently satisfied, he pulled the curtains on the bright sunshine and went to his bed where the worn leather knapsack lay. Untying the flap and reaching inside, he pulled out a small leather book, a pen, and a bottle of what might have been ink, but looked entirely too transparent to be legible on paper. Dipping his pen in the ink, he scratched a few illegible words on it, or at least none that Grace could have detected if she had been looking. Then he glanced at it, held it up to the light in a funny kind of tilt, and inserted the small sheet into an envelope. After pulling out another bottle—this time of real ink--he addressed the envelope and took it downstairs in quest of Grace.
Colby and Julian in New York City
“What gives?” Colby asked Julian, around a mouthful of pulled pork, as Julian glanced between the two dishes. “Girlfriend or appetite?”
Julian hesitated and reached for the beef. Colby crowed in victory and slapped the edge of the table. Aunt Flora raised an eyebrow.
“Kumara,” I said flatly, “Is lovely.”
Julian grinned and reached over for the salad spoon. “I’ll do it, but I’m not turning vegan for love of you.”
“You think that if it comforts you, child,” Aunt Flora said.
*The one thing about Colby Fisher when he watches something is that he wiggles terribly.
I had just gotten everyone settled in the living room with earl gray macaroons and Ize pops, and Tory looked a little less like a scared bunny left under the bush, when Colby pulled out a bag of Cheetos.
“Roo, your snacks are not patriotic. Junk food is the national American staple,” he said, opening the bag with a decisive rustle.
“Macaroons are refined,” I said, reaching over his head and pulling away the bag before he could react. “British.”
*“Game,” I said desperately, wondering how in the world to play hostess to such a diverse bunch.
“Nope,” Julian said, suprisingly unhelpfully for him.
Colby perked up. “Pokemons. Let’s go look for Pokemons.”
“Colby—” I groaned.
“Not after yesterday,” Aunt Flora called from the couch.
He fell back and groaned in recollection.
“What?” I asked.
“Aunt Flora killed one outside the grocery store yesterday. She didn’t like it—said no friend of her niece’s should be involved in such a ridiculous thing.”
“I offered stopping or the next plane ticket home,” Aunt Flora said from the big stuffed chair, where the only thing I could see of her was the top of her white hair and one wrinkled, be-ringed hand resting tranquilly on the arm of it.