Let it snow and another chapter of the voice in the forest

update – rough

Hi Everybody,
I’m not going to lie, this last week hasn’t exactly gone easy, although compared to the couple before I suppose I shouldn’t complain too much.
My sincerest and deepest thanks to those of you who reached out last week. It meant a lot to know some good thoughts were out there with my family in them.
Have any of you lovely people ever had to plan and carry out funeral services?
Why is it so complicated and hard?
Seriously, this is a crappy time in someone’s life, but here! Make a whack ton of decisions! Important ones!
I am severely type A and very self motivated, and I am ABYSMAL at this part because I am terrified I will screw it up.
But, the services are tomorrow, so if have a moment to send a good thought out into the universe for all those we have all lost to rest peacefully and for their memories to be blessings – I thank you.
Now, I need to probably address something in this the time of the Goodreads choice awards and much discourse on the topic.

reviews are for readers

First of all, I one hundred percent believe this.

Am I on goodreads as an author. Yep!

Will you ever see me give a review from this account to say anything other than, I love this author over here, nope!

But why?

Reviews, and review spaces, are for the readers, not the authors.

Do I read the reviews?

Uh, of course!

It is one of the best ways to know if I am doing my job as a writer. Did someone get something out of it I did NOT intend?

Then I need to know that so I can adjust in the future.

But, even though I will like the reviews, the five or one stars, because I appreciate the time and effort it took for the person to read my book and to write the review, I will never step in. I will never try and have a discussion with them about why they did or did not like something. That isn’t my place.

Reviews help authors, in so many ways. But essentially, they are there for other readers to have a better understanding of what they are getting when they pick up a book.And it will NEVER be something I want to do to bash other authors. EVER.

My only exception is if a book is something that is super harmful. For example: Mein Kampf is trash. I feel zero guilt saying that. But, I will also occasionally sing the wild praises of my absolute favorites.

Their Eyes Were Watching God and Frankenstein are damn masterpieces and I will not allow anyone to say otherwise in my presence.

Is there a reason that I picked works where the writer is long dead and can’t be hurt by my critique? All the reasons.
So, here is my whole hearted endorsement of your next read, I don’t care what it is. Go, read, review, enjoy, dislike, critique, and do it all over again.

Because in reading we get to live another life for a few hours and we all deserve that at least once in a while.

Now on to our chapter!

The voice in the forest

Chapter 28

“Are you sure?” I asked, again, holding one of the books we pilfered from Petra in my hand while Montgomery sat on my bed in front of me with another book ready.

“Yes, I need to know.” He nodded and took a deep breath before he set his mouth into a line and cracked open the book in his lap.

I followed his lead, scanning through the contents page first.

This one seemed to be a chronicle of some of the stories from the local paper over the century plus it had been operating.

But most of the stories, about businesses that opened and closed, scandals of dubious veracity, and even some regarding the local reactions to major world events like the world wars wasn’t helping me.

An odd title to a chapter caught my eye.

What did ‘The Long Goodbye’ mean?

I flipped to the page and a grainy copy of a black and white photo stole my ability to breathe.

Montgomery, looking exactly as he did now except in a different suit, with eyes closed and hands crossed on his abdomen, was outlined in flowers.

Swallowing, I glanced at him before pouring over the words.

He died before the age of thirty, the son and heir of the wealthiest family in town who employed many. Not only did the people care about the family, but they all cared even more about him.

They loved him. They adored his good works in the community and thought he was a genuine friend to many of them. So when he died, the people couldn’t accept that he was dead, or that no one understood what happened to him or why.

In the article it discussed some kind of investigation that turned up nothing.

One day he was alive and well, the next, he was found dead sitting at his desk in the manor.

What happened? Flipping back and forth in the pages, trying to see if I missed something that would give me more of a clear answer on that front, I didn’t find anything. The chapter in the book was more about the town’s strange reaction to his untimely death than it was about the death itself.

The town, not satisfied with the scant answers they were offered, insisted that people see his body.

Many suspected foul play, but no one could develop any leads, nor find anyone who wanted to do him harm.

Finally, under pressure from the people of the town, Montgomery’s parents set up a viewing for the public before they were going to bury him.

But the viewing didn’t go as planned.

What they intended was for it to go on for a day to avoid the negative side effects of a body long exposed to the air.

The people of the town, though, didn’t stop coming.

Every day for a month they were lined up outside the theater where the viewing was when it opened in the morning.

So every day they allowed them to come in and file past him.Another photo showed a collection of the various items left behind by the visitors.

More than flowers, they left toys, and paintings, letters, and even locks of hair.

Weird. Wasn’t the hair thing something people used to carry from people they loved? Now it was almost solely relegated to a baby’s first hair cut.

Glancing at him again, I wondered how many admirers the young well-to-do alive version of him left broken hearted when he passed.

The article didn’t say anything more about the circumstances of his death, the focus was on the aftermath and the way the town reacted.

But every day that the viewing went on, the funeral home director checked the body for any sign that they needed to stop it no matter how many people still wanted to see Montgomery lying there.

And every single day the director found no evidence that any change was happening to the body.

Finally, the rumor mill started shifting from what killed him, to how he was staying so well preserved. Some people even started calling it a miracle and a group started to meet outside the theater every night after the doors closed to pray.

It was becoming a wild cult atmosphere.

But even after they shut the doors and decided it was time to inter him, that odd atmosphere still didn’t change.

People began to form groups of ‘investigators’ and even detained some innocent people who worked with Montgomery on his final day in the erroneous belief they knew something.

A chill ran down my back at the thought of what those groups could have done back then.

What was the likelihood that any of the reporters of the time would have even documented how wrong the people acted?

I wasn’t sure, but looking at the final picture, of a massive group kneeling outside the theater with candles in hand in the dark, my mouth went dry.

The cult like impression fell over me again and I was starting to understand why the family became so reclusive.

How long did the frenzy last?

But flipping through more pages, the story ended. Montgomery deserved answers, we needed them to help him.

This story only handed me more questions.

And it didn’t even say where he was ultimately buried.

“So far,” he said, and I snapped my head up, barely resisting the urge to slam the book shut, “This book only talks about the business and building the manor. Did you find anything?”

“Yes, although I don’t know what it tells us.” I turned the book around and scooted it toward him, chewing on my cheek.

Why did it seem like the story of his death was so hard to find?
Ta da!

I hope your year is nearing an end on a positive note. Thank you all for being here and listening to me ramble on about all the bookish wordy things. Having a little corner of good things makes a big difference. My wish for you all is that this year closes well, and next year opens and continues far better than you could have imagined.

As always, happy reading!– Everly

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