Again! Chapter 57 of The Voice In The Forest

It’s Alive

Hi Everybody!

Okay, so that may be a biiiit ambitious.


So far I have managed to actually get quite a few things moving in the right direction.

I know!

Yes, it’s all little wins, but I am stupid excited.

To say nothing of the fact that I have so much built up in my brain I kind of feel like a little kid with their finger in a hole in dam trying to not drown myself.

Sure, it could be a good thing, but whew boy is it still frustrating when I am physically incapable of keeping up with the amount of water pouring through the crack.

Enough about that, I have some good things to share with you!

Ta Da!

Cue the choir of angels!


If you’ve read any of the Crossroad Inn episodes you’ll know this is extra funny because of the way Ellie thinks of angels in the world of the Three Realms.

As a reminder, Crossroad Inn is the story I am writing for Kindle Vella and putting up one episode a week.

Soon, I will compile the first fifty thousand plus words of episodes together into a book for all of you as I continue to write the weekly episodes.

Vella is a fun experiment mostly, but I really do enjoy the story and the characters.

Here is the description on Vella for the story and the link to the first three episodes which are free to read.

The rules are simple: No killing or antagonism, and no conducting business on the grounds of the Crossroad Inn. It would be nice if everyone followed them. For an Inn at the intersection of the Underworld and the realms above, if some of their patrons get out of line, it could destroy the world. Good thing most don’t push their luck. Eleftheria and her sisters are witches, but that isn’t what keeps people following the rules. It’s who their father is. Here’s hoping the service is good.…

Update Tidbit

For those of you who could use the tip as you struggle with your own mobility challenges, I have found the KEY to the raised laptop/lap desk situation.

It’s a lap desk that tilts on an angle and adjusts in height.

That’s it. It’s so simple, why didn’t I think of it before?

But, seriously, my kids stepped on and broke my lap desk that I was using to raise my laptop up so I could look at eye level while having the keyboard below and separate.

So, I NEEDED to write and lift my laptop and a wonky stack of books were not cutting it.

Voila, enter my new lifted lap desk that tilts so I can get the laptop screen at exactly the right height for my eyes and not bend my neck at all!


The difference in price was only twenty dollars, from $25 to $45, but it is worth so much to me.

Every little way I can make the words more likely is a big win for me right now and I hope you agree as we get close to the end of our little hot mess first draft story here in the newsletter and I start to be able to update the blog with all the past chapters!

All that to say, here is the next chapter in The Voice In The Forest!

The Voice In The Forest

Chapter 57

Running after so long of being careful with my body didn’t last long.

I didn’t even make it to the little area where my mother’s fresh grave was, where Montgomery’s should have been, and where I thought his mother would most likely be.

No. Even in the simple task of getting from one place to another I failed to do what I wanted to.

Half way there, one of my feet caught on something.

A branch.

Nothing more than air.

I wasn’t sure.

Ultimately, it didn’t matter.

What mattered was that one second I was rushing as fast as my sore and too long left too unused body was able to, and the next I tumbled to the ground.

The grass that I held onto before, damp and fresh, and so alive ground into my face and hands as I sprawled in an ungainly heap.

Pushing myself up to sitting, I ignored the scream building in my lungs, the wild panic gaining hold over my mind, and knife’s edge of pain slicing through me.

Only one thing ringing through me drove me to continue.


His name, his face, the feel of his hand in mine, the sound of his voice.

All I could do was force myself to my feet and take another stumbling, unsteady step forward.

It didn’t matter anymore if someone heard me, nothing mattered but him as I muttered his name under my breath.

“Montgomery,” I whispered, again and again, like a mantra, like an oath.

This wasn’t the end. Not yet. It couldn’t be.

“Arabella,” Henry’s voice rang behind me, his pounding steps coming closer.

“No,” I said, my voice shaking but stronger than before.

He would try and make me stop. I knew he would. Everyone would.

But I couldn’t stop. I needed…

Despite my best efforts to hold them off, a sob ripped through me again and a second later Henry was there, his hands fluttering around me as if he wasn’t sure what to do.

“You fell?” He asked, breathless.

There was no real reason to answer, it must have been obvious.

My clothes were wet, the chill in the air soaking into me and leaving my sore muscles wracked with shivers that made me clench my teeth from crying out from the pain they caused.

Coming outside right after waking up, and now after falling and all of the emotions flying through me, I must have looked every bit the person with no grip on reality that my mother painted me to be.

But right now, even the specter of the hospital that always hung over my shoulder, the weight of the ugly words said about me and to me by my mother and other people we knew wasn’t enough to stop my feet from continuing to shuffle forward.

No one would believe me, and they were even less likely to understand if I explained, so I just kept going.

“Ara, please. You’ll get cold. And after everything, you really shouldn’t be pushing your body this hard.”

Henry didn’t stop his pleading. He didn’t stop making sense as he walked along beside me, and it was everything I could do not to shove him and scream for him to leave.

Part of me didn’t believe that Montgomery would reappear if Henry was here.

Well… part of me didn’t believe…

No. I couldn’t let myself think that. It was Henry, his presence. Yes. That had to be it.

Any other possibility. No!

My feet, their shuffling, ungainly, shivering steps, picked up in pace and I curled my hands into fists holding onto the desperate hope that I could do this. That somehow at the end of my mad dash in slow motion, he would be there.

Finally, with Henry’s begging getting more pressing with every step, I made it to the little plot.

But… nothing.

There wasn’t just no Montgomery standing here, waiting for me. There was no feel of his presence at all.

Just like the tent after he blinked away from me, the world around me was empty.

After turning back toward the way I came, Henry moving with me, his head looking back to my mother’s grave as if that explained what I was doing, my legs buckled.

With no warning, and only a cry of frustration at my own lack of ability to do what I needed to, I crumpled toward the ground.

Henry caught me.

“You’re okay,” he said, helping me up, taking most of my weight as I shook my head and whimpered, the sobs within me leaking out.

“No,” I said, not even capable of saying more. Too many years trapped by what my mother thought, what the doctors said, and the expectations of the world strangled my words in my throat.

All my bravery about not caring what anyone thought didn’t matter to my tongue. I couldn’t say the words out loud. Not to someone living. Not after everything.

My mother and her doctors had not cured me, but they did manage this. To stop me from speaking what I knew to be true and to question myself for so long that maybe I would never be able to say it again.

Even without speaking it out loud, the word ghost floated around the air I breathed, so palpable I choked, bending forward and retching on nothing.

“Come on, this is too much.” Henry’s voice was stronger now and more sure as he tightened his hold on me and led me to the house. “Let’s get you inside.”

My fight was gone. I didn’t know where else to look.

But I would.

Somehow, I would recover some more strength in my body and scour the entire property.

I had a mission. 

His name was Montgomery. 

And I loved him.

Death didn’t separate us, it brought us together.

I wasn’t about to let a little thing like my own weakness do it if there was any chance at all that I could bring him back to me.

My entire life I saw ghosts.

Almost the entire time I wished I hadn’t because of what my mother and the doctors and everyone else said.

Now, I wanted more than anything else to see a ghost again.

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