So much good, some bad, and chapter 19 of the voice in the forest

getting the bad news out of the way

Okay, so time for me to come clean about the way I suck at social media right now.

I’m sick. 

Not the rona, but sick nonetheless. So, if you see me sucking on social media, that’s part of it.

The other part is that I have a broken phone. ahhhhhh!

Yes, I screamed. 

It sucks. 

Hopefully soon the phone guys will help me replace it, because right now there is a shortage of the phone I like… not great.

so many good things

Alright, now that the downer part of this message is out of the way, let’s get on to the good!
Here is the link to my story, Is This Good?, on Vocal. media. Remember, this story is free to read and is just because I got a wild idea. If you don’t like thriller, contemporary, or the odd folk horror, this pen name is probably not for you because those are what I write in this.

don’t forget about vella

And remember, the first three episodes of my Vella story, Crossroad Inn, are available to read for free.

Yes, I am still working on how to come up with some way for those of you who don’t like, or can’t access Amazon, to be Abel to read this story.

Hopefully, after I feel better, my brain will be able to function well enough to tackle that.

crossroad inn

Ellie, the bad*ss witch of Crossroad Inn has so many adventures in the world of the Three Realms. Go check it out! 

chapter 19 of the voice in the forest

For some reason, when I opened the book, I expected the pages to be thin like the ones in some bibles.

But these were thick and stiff.

I let the book drop open to whatever page it wanted to find.

My little trick, didn’t yield me a damn thing. It opened almost exactly in the center, where I expected it to if it was balanced and none of the pages were open more often.

“Nevermind,” I mumbled, turning the stack all the way back to the front and looking closely at the writing, to see if there was anything in that alone that I could glean from this.

But I sat back and stared out the window after a moment. 

Sure, it sounded good. Look through the old books and see if there is something that I can figure out from them. 

The flaw in my plan was that I didn’t have a clue what exactly I was looking for, and I wasn’t an historian. I wasn’t even good at research back when I was in school.

Of all the people tasked with something this important, it fell to me. 

I rubbed my hands over my eyes and when I opened them, Blackwell was standing at the foot of my bed.

“Hey,” I whispered, “This is going to be hard, I think.” 

Blackwell needed to know, but at the same time, I didn’t want him to think I wasn’t trying or that I was giving up.

“We knew that.” He smiled at me and sat at the end of the bed, looking upside down over the book in front of me.

“So, this seems to be regular recording of goings on at the manor. Like this talks about a crop from the kitchen garden of oddly large cucumbers.” I pointed to a line of cramped hand writing.

“That makes sense. If this is a ledger, it would have been one of the only ways they could keep track of the things that worked well and the things they didn’t want to repeat.” He smiled up at me, keeping his voice as quiet as mine.

“Right here it talks about building a dock at the lake. Is there a dock? I don’t remember seeing one,” I said, trying to remember past the shock of having a conversation with a ghost.

“Not anymore, but there was one when I first woke up. It just fell into disrepair and slowly broke apart. There is probably still some remnants of it down there.” He looked out the window and cocked his head to the side like he hadn’t considered it in a long time.

“I know this isn’t the point of our little search. Like, at all. But maybe we should have the dock rebuilt. It would be fun to use, sit on the edge and put my feet int he water.” I smiled and he nodded, but his gaze remained out the window toward the trees.

Okay, he seemed to be distracted now. 

Maybe I just needed to focus on the research and stop chatting about whatever popped into my head.

The vast majority of what I read in the ledger for so many pages was less and helpful. 

“None of these have a full date. All the entrees say the month and date, but not the year.” I rolled my head around on my neck, tightness and tension forming in knots right at the base of my skull, and I bent again down toward the page.

Finally, an entry for New Year’s, about a party that was thrown at the house and the success of it even though a glass was broken, told me we were in the year 1892. 

“I think we’re a bit early for your time, but this is good. I would rather be early than late for this particular search.” I pointed to the date and waited until Blackwell finally looked at it.

“How do you know what my time period is?” he asked, a sadness on his face more profound than I thought a date would ever evoke in me.

“Guessing,” I said, trying to make my voice as much a comfort as it was an answer, “I don’t know when you were born. I don’t know when you… died. But I know when you woke up like you are now. If I assume you went directly from one state to the other, and you’re not more than thirty, I have to assume you weren’t born before 1900.”

The look on his face, all the sadness and melancholy dropped away and was replaced by a wry grin.

“You know, you should be some kind of investigator. You said you weren’t very good at this, but that was better than I would have done.” His smile lit up his face and let me take a deep breath.

We both bent our heads back to the task, because even if I was wrong, he believed in my ability to get it right and figure it out. And that allowed me some belief in myself too.

After a while, my eyes felt heavy, and I was not much closer to finding any answers. 

Right before I was about to close the book for the night, I found a page with a mention of a terrible tragedy. A baby had died in delivery. The year was 1895.

“This is so sad, but this isn’t you. You are not a baby,” I said, looking at him sitting across the book from me.

He sucked in a breath and sat up straight, pulling away from me.

“You’re right,” he said, his voice back to the overly formal and clipped tones he sometimes used, “I think, before we see some other sad bit of news tonight, we should put this chore off until tomorrow. You are tired. Good night, Arabella.”

Blackwell disappeared through a wall before I could stop him, or ask him why he was acting odd all the sudden. 

Looking back down at the page, I didn’t see a reason for his reaction at all. 

There was more than one mystery in Blackwell.

Ta da!

Hopefully, I will feel better next week and be able to wrap my head around social media and get back on track over there. 

I’m really looking forward to what you all have to say about Crossroad Inn, and whether you think I should keep on with the mission to set up another way for you to read it.

Let me know what you think about the new short story too.

Next week I will have another short story for you to read, and another chapter of The Voice In The Forest.

Don’t forget, Cupcake Queens is right around the corner!

As always, happy reading!

— Everly

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