Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I'm DONE!!!!

I'm done!!!!!

The final edit of Running into the Darkness is in - and I'm very pleased thus far with the final results.  For the next couple of days I'm going to sit on it and let it ruminate, possibly make a few adjustments here and there (I'm just never satisfied, am I?), and then get ready for the big conversion to eBook formatting.  Several of my fellow indie authors have told me that can be quite the nightmare, though I've already done several things suggested on Amazon during the final edit process to help alleviate said nightmare.

Last night when I lay me head down to sleep - I couldn't.  My mind is already swirling with the opening scenes of the sequel - Piercing the Darkness.  Thus I awoke this morning with the need for more sleep, and yet at the same time I felt amazingly energized (at least until the early span of the afternoon).

So I must stay focused and finish the task of RITD publishing.  My cover is being edited, the jacket blurb perfected, and September is just around the corner.  There's still alot to accomplish before the big release.

Then I'd like to get in on a blog tour - but that will come later.

So in the meantime, please enjoy one more small chapter, free of charge, of Running into the Darkness.

And if this is your first visit, go all the way to the bottom for the first chapter and work your way up from there if you wish to follow the sequence thus far.

Thanks for reading!

Chapter 4 - Homecoming

            The Kansas wind buffeted the taxi as it rounded the corner and slid to a stop.  Samantha stared through the frosty window at the old home where Gramm had raised her, the white paint weathered by several Wichita winters, and the concrete walk cracked and buckled by the strong root system of the old elms.  Knowing Gramm, a painting contractor had already been retained to repaint the house come spring.  Gramm always looked ahead to what needed accomplished. 
            Samantha tentatively stepped to the icy walk, took her offered suitcases from the taxi driver and paid him from the money Gramm’s attorney had kindly forwarded.  Then she began the long walk up the sidewalk to the airplane bungalow home.  Gramm’s trimmed rosebushes lined the porch, their unencumbered branches almost shivering as they awaited the warmth of spring.  The porch swing swayed and creaked in the frigid wind.  She and Gramm had shared countless ice cream cones nestled there together and read books to one another.  Joe Roberts had also kissed her for the first time in that swing.
            Shame washed over her at all of the missed opportunities since then, of the fears she’d allowed to keep her apart from Gramm and all of those for whom she’d once cared.  Why did the past have to infect every fiber of the present?  As Samantha slipped the key in the lock she hesitated, the years long wasted away since she’d last used it.  With a begrudging click, the key turned and the heavy front door swung open with a familiar creak.  She confronted the past left behind but never forgotten.
            The green living room carpet had been removed and the old hardwood floors refinished, no doubt because of all the cherry kool-aid Samantha had spilled.  The floral furniture remained as did the lace curtains lining the windows.  A faint scent of lavender tickled her nose as she walked into the dining room.  Same old Gramm.  A chill passed over her at the thought – in all the times she’d considered visiting, never had she imagined returning to an empty house.  Her insides felt as hollow as the eyes of New York’s prostitutes.
            Samantha trudged up the stairs to the loft, surprised to find Gramm had not touched a thing since she’d last left.  The loft – her space.  She’d always kept it lined with navy curtains and filled with as many noisy friends as she could cram into the wide room.  Her posters still covered the walls:  basketball, football, race cars and any other sport to drive Gramm nuts, things devoid of femininity – one of her many areas of rebellion.  Samantha swallowed her tears, set the suitcases beside the bed, and quickly returned downstairs. 
            Gramm’s room had only changed slightly since Samantha’s departure.  Floral curtains draped the windows and a matching comforter spread across the bed.  The manufactured scent of roses hung in the air.  She sat at the edge of the bed and gently stroked the silken pink flowers.  Real roses from Gramm’s garden always replaced the fake ones come late spring.
            The kitchen had been renovated, the only room in the entire house that reflected any real change.  Samantha couldn’t believe after all those years of arguing for a dishwasher that Gramm had finally put in one.  Well no wonder.  Her granddaughter wasn’t around anymore to help with chores.  Shame again gripped her as she imagined Gramm taking care of everything all by herself in her increasingly fragile state.  She felt like such a failure as a granddaughter.
            A six pack of Dr. Pepper sat on the top shelf of the new refrigerator, the date indicating they’d expired.  Gramm didn’t touch sodapop, said it contained no nutritional value, and she’d always refused to buy it.  After Samantha had secured her first paying job she’d triumphantly brought home two cases of Dr. Pepper with her first paycheck and thereafter kept them in a dorm-sized refrigerator in her room to share with friends.  Gramm must have bought the cans when Samantha had talked about coming home for Thanksgiving several years ago.  In the end, she’d just not been able to bring herself to accept that train ticket.  Though it seemed almost a sacrilege, Samantha removed a can and poured herself a glass.
            The bookshelves in the dining room contained various photo albums, and after a pensive deep breath she selected several then sat at the table perusing their history.  Hours passed as she sipped flat Dr. Pepper and reminisced over photos covering her life with Gramm.  A picture of Gramm stood out as she turned the page:  a smile.  She’d always had such a pretty smile but rarely ever used it after that tragic day at the airport.  Samantha had been about nine, and they were sharing ice cream cones in the swing.  Ever the ornery one, Samantha had plunged her ice cream into her own nose, leaving a mess trailing down her chin.  For a moment she thought Gramm would be mad, but instead Gramm had laughed at her antics.  Recognizing the moment, Samantha had grabbed her camera and snapped the picture.
            Tears ran hot, puddling on the picture’s plastic cover and blurring the memory.  The setting sun cast long shadows through the room, her sobs echoing throughout the empty house.
            “I’m all alone.”

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