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Monthly Archives: November 2012

Redamntion – 2

Continuing. . .

~ * ~

The afternoon had turned chilly, even though the sun was still bright in a perfect sky. Logan pulled the zipper up on his jacket and tucked his hands in the pockets. He wished he’d thought to bring his gloves; he knew how quickly the temperature could change once autumn got a foothold on New England. The breeze was not all together unpleasant however, blowing the stench of the traffic away from him as he crossed square toward the far end of the marketplace.

Autumn always brought crowds to Boston. Tourists wanting to walk the Freedom Trail, and snap pictures of the historic buildings, bunched around markers and maps, pointing out the landmarks around them. Tour guides led groups, patiently pretending that no one had ever before asked them if they could “pahk their cahs at Hahvahd Yaaaahd.”

“Why would you wish to do that?” Logan interjected merrily, startling the young man who had just asked the guide the obligatory question.

“Huh? You know…that’s how they talk, here,” he replied with a smirk. “Everyone knows that.” His own accent was decidedly southern.

“Oh? Who?” Logan asked. “Who speaks that way, I’m sure I’ve never heard it.”

“You know, the locals. Y’all must not been here long.”

“Long enough to know that a car parked in Harvard Yard would most assuredly be towed. So to answer your query, the answer would be no. We do not park there. Good day.” Logan smiled and walked away, leaving the young man red faced amid a chorus of snickers from the rest of the group.

His amusement soon faded as he hurried through the bustling square. A wave of melancholy settled on him as he glanced around at the businesses that had sprung up in the venerated old square. Where once stood open air markets bursting with produce and seafood, goods brought on ships and where tradesman sold their wares, now stood shops bearing names like Starbucks, Borders and Pier One. He hurried by the windows emblazoned with imports and designer clothing, not giving so much as half a glance to the merchandise on display. He quickened his pace until he reached the far end of the market, and turned into a dark and narrow alley, to find the one shop he had come to loyally, every October the 12th for as long as he could recall; Todd’s Odds.

He pushed the antique door open. The jingle of an old brass bell announced his arrival. Instantly his mood changed as he breathed in the aged and musty smell of the ancient merchandise. Stacks upon stacks of books lined the narrow shop, closing in on all sides. One had to know what he wanted very precisely at Todd’s as it did not lend itself to casual browsing. The books seemed to be arranged mostly by size rather than subject, or author, with the proprietor’s personal favorites obvious by their lack of dust and prominence in the window.

“Todd? Toddy? Are you back there?” Logan called. “It’s me, Logan.”

A shuffling sound and a slight thud, followed by what sounded like an avalanche came from the back room, behind an faded and worn calico curtain. Logan waited a moment, resisting the instinct to rush to Todd’s assistance. After another thud–a crate of some sort hitting the floor–a voice called out, “Logan? Is that Logan? Is it October already?”

The curtain was shoved aside revealing the gnome-like smile of old Todd Franklin, owner and proprietor of Todd’s Odds. His bright eyes widened behind his gold spectacles and he thrust his hand toward Logan. “Come in, come in! It’s good to see you my boy, come, come. Tell me about your year.”

Logan chuckled, grasping Todd’s age-withered hand. He casually pulled a long strand of cobweb off the old man’s glasses, then pulled him close for a hug. “Oh Toddy, what am I to do with you. Still determined to bury yourself in your own stacks are you? When are you going to hire an assistant?”

“Assistant?” Todd scoffed, waving his hand. “When I’m old, and not until then. Uh . . . did you bring any . . .”

Logan reached into the pocket of his jacket and retrieved a silver flask adorned with a red velvet ribbon, and presented it to the old man. “Would I forget?”

Todd’s chubby cheeks lit up in a smile as he took the flask, and went about burrowing under the counter, presumably looking for the two goblets he’d stashed there a year ago, the last time Logan had been there. Logan took off his jacket and draped it on the bell hook on the door, and as was the custom, locked the door and turned the sign to “Closed.”

Todd had since found the goblets and after blowing the dust from them, was filling each with an ample amount of the amber liquid that came from the flask.

Once filled, Logan took his cup and held it up. “Here’s to the way it was. . .”

“And the way it is . . . ” Todd continued.

“And the way it ever shall be,” they said together, clinking the goblets and drinking the contents in one gulp.

“So,” Todd began after a moment, “what will this year be?”

“The last year,” Logan replied quietly, looking into his empty goblet.

“You say that every year, son.”

“A man can hope.”

“A man surely can,” the old man said quietly patting Logan’s hand.

Logan half smiled. “You say that every year, too.”

“I suppose I do. Now, what text will you be teaching from this year? Homer? Plato?” Todd set his cup down and wandered to one the precariously stacked book shelves. “Ah, how about the entire collection of Zane Grey?”

“Zane Grey?” Logan laughed.

“Ah, it was a long shot. I could use the space they’re taking up. Was worth a shot.”

“No, Todd, I’m not even certain you’ll have what I require this time.”

Todd looked over the rim of his glasses, raising a brow. “That’s doubtful. Unless of course you’re looking for something published more recently then 1953.”

“No, I’m sure it’s a bit older than that.”

“Name it.”

Logan drew a long breath, then said quietly, “The First Emanation.”

“Are you certain?” Todd whispered, taking a step closer to Logan.

“It’s the last year, my friend. I’m certain of it this time.”

Todd hesitated only a moment then pushed the calico curtain aside and disappeared into his back room. After another round of shuffling and soft crashes, he emerged, holding a small wooden box no bigger than a matchbook in his hand. “Are you certain?”

Logan nodded.

Todd sighed, and with a trembling hand, gave the box to Logan. “I won’t see you again, will I?”

“No,” Logan answered, almost silently. “Thank you, my friend.” He retrieved his jacket from the bell and put it on, then tucked the little box protectively into the breast pocket. “You know, there’s always hope.”

“Of what?” Todd asked.

“I could be wrong.”

He stepped back into the crisp air of the marketplace, and hurried down the alley not wanting to look back. He knew Todd was standing at the window watching him go, and he knew that by tomorrow, no trace of Todd’s Odds would remain at Faneuil Marketplace.

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Posted by on November 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Redamntion – Excerpt

The entry that I posted last night was actually a chapter that comes very late in the story. I’ve decided to post the opening scene. The working title of the books “Redamntion” (yes, spelled that way. I made the word up because writers are allowed to do that sometimes). Tagline: Logan is man with a history — a very long history.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Prologue

Boston, Massachusetts

Present

 

“Where to?”

“Faneuil Market, please. At North Street.”

“You got it.” The cabdriver flipped the meter without so much as a backward glance as he pulled away from the curb. “Oh geez,” he grumbled as a group of conservatory students crowded the crosswalk in front of him, seemingly unconcerned with clearing the street before the light changed. Two young men, each toting instrument cases the size of sarcophagi stopped mid way across, looking up at the tall buildings around them. The cabby gave the horn a loud blast and stuck his head out the window. “Yeah they’re called buildings! You can see ’em from the curb too!” The students gave him an ingenuous smile and hurried across the street.

“Conservatory kids,” the driver said with a chuckle, glancing into the rearview mirror. “They got more dollars than sense if ya know what I mean.” He turned his attention back to his driving. “I only yell to keep ’em movin’, ya know? Not every cabby in Boston gives a damn. Run ’em over as soon as honk, but I figure, they’re someone’s kids, ya know? I got kids, so I know how that would be, ya know? Mine don’t go to no fancy music conservatory, but I they do ok. You got kids?”

“Hmm? I’m sorry, what did you ask?”

“Kids–you got any?”

A slow smile crossed the passenger’s face as he glanced out the window. “Thousands. None of my own. Yet every one of them are mine.”

The cabby looked at him through the mirror, one brow raised. “Eh?”

“I’m a teacher.”

“Oh, now I get ya. I had a feeling you did somethin’ callin’ for brains–Hey! Bonehead! There’s a reason the little man has an X on him!—you look the type.”

“There’s really no need to worry about the pedestrians slowing you down. I’m in no hurry.”

The cabby grinned. “Yeah? Good, the meter goes on time, not miles, ya know what I mean?”

The passenger smiled. “Take your time.”

“Your dime.”

“So,” the man said after the light had changed. “How many do you have?”

“Eh?” the cabby asked, looking through the mirror.

“Children. You said–”

“Green means GO on my planet! Oh kids, I have two. Teenagers, boy and girl. Twins. Eighteen next month. Though I swear I put on forty years of gray hair raisin’ ’em.”

“I’m sure. They can be a challenge.”

“They’re good kids,” the cabby said abruptly. “I ain’t so afraid of them getting’ in trouble as I am them gettin’ in, you know — trouble.” The tires screeched as the car came to a sudden stop. “Damned T buses think they own the street. The lights count for you, too!”

“What sort of trouble do you worry about? Drugs? Alcohol?”

“Naaah, they’re good kids. I taught them to stay away from that shit. See I don’t make no big deal about a beer now and then, so they don’t go out sneaking it. And as far as drugs, they seen enough of what it can do to a person and they get that. No, I worry about the other guy you know? More worried about what they’ll have to live with out there in the real world once they get out of school, ya know?”

“Ah, I understand. The real world. Away from the hallowed ivy covered walls of the school.”

“They got ivy at BHS?”

“Metaphor.”

“English right? You teach English.” The cabby turned toward the square. “Probably know real good grammar. High School?”

“No, I teach history actually. At Standish Preparatory. It’s out near–”

“Standish?” The cabby let out a high whistle. “Out on Gibbon’s Island?”

“Yes, that’s right. You’ve heard of it?”

“My girl wanted to go. She’s got the brains and the grades for it too, but it’s a little out of my reach if you get me. Nice place if you’re a . . .” he let the sentence hang, and turned the cab onto Congress street. “North Street up a head.”

“I take it you’ve visited Standish.”

“Yeah, I took the kids out on the ferry a couple of summers ago. No offense, mister, but that old fortress they call a school didn’t exactly fill me with a warm fuzzy glow. I think every brick in the place must be a million years old. Makes this place look brand new,” he said gesturing toward the old market buildings as he turned onto North Street. “The headmaster said it used to be some sort of loony bin.”

“Asylum. Yes, two-hundred years ago.”

“Yeah. And it’s probably haunted by all the dead loonies.” He glanced in the mirror. “You ever seen a ghost?”

“No. I don’t believe in ghosts.”

“No? I sure do.”

The passenger smiled. “Good. Keep believing. We need more believers in this world.”

“If you say so.” He pulled the cab to the curb, and flipped the meter off. “Well, here’s your stop. Fourteen-fifty.”

The man handed the cabby a twenty. “Keep the change, and thank you for the ride and conversation.”

“What did you say?”

“I said, keep the change.”

The cabby smiled. “No, I meant . . . you’re welcome. I don’t hear a lot of thank yous. Hope to drive you again.”

The man leaned toward the driver’s window before walking away, slipping a card out of his breast pocket. “There are scholarships available. Give me a call. My name is Logan. My number is on the card. I’d be happy to see what could be done for your daughter. I promise, if there are any dead loonies lurking about, they are all very well behaved, she’d be perfectly safe.”

The cabby took the card, staring at the man’s face, then down to the card, then back to the man, a slow smile brightening his face. “Thank you!” he tucked the card into his shirt pocket. “And be careful crossing the street. The cabbies in this town are nuts —I’m goin’! Keep your shirt on!—thanks again, Mr. Logan!” With a honk and a squeal of tires, the cab disappeared into the herd of other similarly colored taxi cabs that crowded the square.

~ * ~

© Lorrieann Russell 2012

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

NaNoWriMo Excerpt Time!

It’s not going as quickly as I’d like, but it’s going. Here’s an excerpt from the novel I am writing. . . not set up, no context, but I hope you get a feel for the visuals. LR

~~~~~~~~~~~~

The storm passed quietly just as the sun touched the horizon. Logan let go of the death grip he’d held on the helm and permitted himself to relax for the first time in twelve long hours. To the west, the storm clouds that bruised the horizon had given way to long strips of pale blue and gold, giving the sun a window to shine through for the last few moments of the day. Even the wind had quit. The waves that had nearly toppled the Lilleth only a few minutes before, fell back into the sea, smoothing out like silken sheets.

“Is it over?” Lindy called from under the canvas.

Logan rushed to the deck, quickly releasing the tie-down ropes at the corners of the canvas. “Lindy! You made it?”

“Let me out, please? I can’t take it under here anymore.”

Logan flipped back the heavy canvas and held a hand out to her. She looked smaller, her eyes large peeking up from the deck. Her soaked hair clung to her face in wild tangles, but otherwise she seemed unharmed. “You’re ok!”

“Yeah . . . I think.” She grasped his hand to pull herself up. “Any damage?”

Logan pulled her up, then drew her to himself, hugging far harder than he intended, or expected. “You’re ok.” She allowed him to hug only briefly before pushing away. He felt the heat rise to his face and released her, quickly turning his attention back to the helm. “Sorry. I’m just glad, you didn’t get washed over. Would be difficult to explain that to your father.”

Her hand touched his shoulder. “Hey, it’s ok.” She nudged his arm, to get him to turn.

He grasped the wheel tight, willing himself not to look at her. She let go, and he felt his heart fall. She’s not supposed to be part of this.

“Is it safe to go below? I’d like to get cleaned up, you know? Get some dry clothes on.”

He nodded, still not turning until he heard the creak of the hatch opening. “Lindy—”

She paused, looking. “What?”

“I’m…sorry. It should not have happened. And…I can’t…”

“What? You can’t what? Stand me?”

“No! No that’s not it. Once we get to the Sow, everything will change. I’ll change. I can’t be—”

“Oh, so that’s it. This is the speech then? ‘I’m too old for you, this isn’t right, it shouldn’t be, it’s wrong, it’s immoral, it’s fattening?’ right? Do you think I had no part in what happened? Do you think I’m that stupid?”

“No,” he turned away. “No. You’re anything but stupid. I’m not doing this right.”

“Logan, look at me.”

He obliged.

“What happened, happened. I’m not ashamed, and I don’t regret it.”

“There is so much you don’t know.”

“I know how I feel, and I know it was my choice. That’s all I need to know.” A small grin spread to the corner of her mouth. “But if it’s what I think it is that’s really bothering you. Don’t worry about it. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about. So you’re a late bloomer.”

He jolted at that. “What do you mean?”

“Your secret is safe with me. So you’re a forty-ish year old virgin. I think it’s hot.”

His face warmed greatly and he was thankful for the sinking of the sun to hide the crimson in his cheeks. “That’s not what I meant…but, uh…you can tell that?”

She rolled her eyes. “Yeah, I can tell. Are you alarmed to know I have some experience? Do you think less of me?”

“No, of course not. I’m amazed is all. What gave me away?”

She smiled and headed to the hatch to go below. “I had to show you where,” she said then disappeared into the cabin.

Logan stood, dumbfounded by the whole turn of events. He still could not believe he ever let her come with him on this of all voyages. The Sow was dangerous in normal times, but in these times? Was he mad? And to let things go, as they did—he shuddered, huddling his arms around himself against a sudden easterly breeze. The bulk of the box in the breast pocket pressed against his arm as if to remind him of its presence. He felt the low vibration and the glow trying to break through from the lid. He pressed it closer to himself and whispered, “What have I done?”

As if in response, a long low rumble of thunder echoed in the east, a reminder that though he had weathered this storm, there would be many more and far worse ones to face once they reached the lip of The Sow. And Lindy was going to be part of it, whether he liked it or not.

 

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2012 in NaNoWriMo

 

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