The answer is no, and chapter 41 of the voice in the forest

Welp

It’s official everybody.

I am NOT keeping up.

Why is the beginning of summer such a mess?

Seriously.

Every single year it’s a mad scramble of trying to help the kids get to the end of the school year successfully and prepare to do all the things.

Because maybe it’s different where you live, but here the summer is when everyone does all the things. We in Washington state all try to fit all the fun we deny ourselves throughout the rest of the year in the few months of sun and freedom for the kids that we have.

This year, add a LOT of word work and some massive DIY work happening around my house and… yeah. The scheduling gods are not smiling on me at the moment.

I’m not whining! I won’t!

But I might just be a snappy crabby… OOH! I get to kill people on paper!

And just like that. I’m back to happy…. I may be seriously weird.

There is a lot happening on this end and I will keep you updated as things progress.

For example…

Keeping on not keeping up

So, new rule for the summer and for… life?

Nah. I can’t commit to this for life. I know me better than that. I am far too irritating to myself to just keep on instead of always keeping up.

BUT, this is a super great update and I’m so very excited about it.

Not only do I have the cover for Cultivating Marigold, but I already revised it, got it to an editor, and ran through all the edits!

AAAAAHHHHH!!!!!

Yes. I am clapping for myself.

This book and all the characters just have a giant chunk of me.

In this book, for the first time ever, I will not only have the main story, and not just a prequel with the same characters, but I also have a whack ton of texts between the characters.

I know that sounds weird.

First, remember this book is the wrong genre and the wrong age category compared to all my other things. But, I love it.

As a reminder, Cultivating Marigold is contemporary YA. And there is a period in the book where the main character is separated from people in her life.

We know she gets literally hundreds of texts and calls from them. But for *reasons* she can’t talk or read them.

But, as a reader, what did they say?!

Do not fear, I am nothing if not a reader myself. So, you’ll get a massive cache of them.

And let me just say, I think they’re worth it.

For now, let’s get to our hot mess little story.

The voice in the Forest

They were wrong.

They had to be wrong.

“We have multiple burials on the property,” Mom said, her hands on her hips and her face still stormy. “So, what’s the problem?”

“In order for us to have all those burials and continue to have more, we can’t be misplacing one for a hundred years.” Henry’s eyes were wide and something close to awe settled over his features.

“Misplaced?” I whispered without meaning to. Both of them turned to me, my legs shaking, leaning more on the person holding me up.

“No one has known what happened to him after he passed all those years ago,” Henry said.

My mother started complaining about the delay, Henry began explaining the way the authorities would have to be consulted so this time Montgomery’s body would be interred properly.

And the hair on the back of my neck stood on end.

What would happen to him if they removed his body from the property?

“But he was always supposed to stay here,” I blurted.

Their eyes returned to me, Mother’s with fire in them and her jaw clenched, as if she couldn’t fathom why I had the temerity to interrupt her.

I couldn’t either.

Something in me screamed not to let anyone take Montgomery’s body from the property.

He had to be connected to it still.

When we spoke about the funeral, he had memories of it. That would only happen if he was connected to it somehow.

Nothing about this made sense.

All the things we knew now, the deliberate erasure of him from as many places as possible and yet he was buried here the whole time…I couldn’t understand it.

“You’re right,” Henry said, taking a deep breath, his eyes growing troubled and his mouth pinching at one side as he looked back toward the woods and the lake. “I will make sure that he stays on the property. I think they will agree to that.”

Swallowing, I nodded and let my mother take over the conversation, waiting as I listened to them formulate a new plan.

The longer I stood, the more the shaking in my muscles deepened into fatigue within my bones themselves.

How could I explain to Montgomery what was about to happen?

What could we do about it?

He might want to look on his body.

If he did, would that be the thing that took him away from me?

Turning around, I made my slow, shuffling way back toward Montgomery who was frozen in place, staring at the woods.

After all of this, we still didn’t know why he was here and had not moved on. And every day I was less sure I wanted to know why. I was less sure I wanted to hep him move on.

No, that was a lie.

I didn’t want to help him leave me. Montgomery needed to move on, this wasn’t natural.

Yes, some people got stuck. I knew that more than anyone else, but most didn’t. And staying wasn’t the way it was supposed to be.But I didn’t want to lose him.

Finally, I sat on the edge of my seat and waited for Montgomery to notice me.

He stared into the woods still, seemingly unaware of my presence next to him.

My legs finally resting, they were almost numb they were so tired, but sweat still collected in the small of my back and my heart still raced as if I ran a marathon.

Dragging in a breath, I opened my mouth to speak to him, but nothing came out.

What could I say?

How could I make this better and not ruin everything at the same time?

“Is this what we’ve been looking for?” he asked, his voice barely there on the wind.

“Montgomery?” I whispered, my heart stopping its steady rhythm in my chest for a moment.

“Do you think that…” A shudder ran through him that sent cracks spiderwebbing through my heart and made me want to wrap him in a hug even though there were far too many people outside who could see me acting like an idiot.

But I froze.

Everything in me stuck to the chair as every fear I had of him leaving me, of wanting to leave grew larger than my body was able to hold.

He turned slowly toward me, his chest rising and falling in rapid gasps, his mouth a fraction open as if he couldn’t suck in enough air.

While he struggled to get enough, he stole it all from me.

All the air left me and my hands shook where they rested in my lap.

Please don’t.

“Do you think this is what we’ve been looking for?”

The last molecules of air in my body left me in a whoosh.

I shook my head a fraction before I could stop myself. Not because I didn’t understand his question. I understood it all too well.

A smile played with the corner of his mouth but his eyes remained wide and looked like they were full of fear.

“This could be it, Ara. You could fulfill your goal. Maybe this is how I move on.”
Tada!

Please have a relaxed beginning of summer for me, because I have and will likely continue to have one for myself and I need to know people are out there living that life.

And I hope you’re as excited as I am for Cultivating Marigold coming up.

As always, Thanks for reading everybody!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *