My brain hates me, and chapter 46 of The Voice In The Forest

story matters

Hi Everyone!

As all of you know, I wrote Cultivating Marigold many years ago and recently revised it after the Dobbs decision and worked day and night to get it out right away.

Well, just the other day, after only a few weeks of it being out, the young woman who was the reason I wrote that original (very different) version of the story reached out to me.

She found the book. She wanted to thank me.

Not only does this remind me that stories matter, but it tells me that no matter what else happens with that book, I did my job.

That book was meant for young women like her who were going through facing other people’s unfair judgements of their decisions and their lives.

It mattered to her. It helped her.

I guess the only question remaining is, should I retire now? Put my pen away?

Because, honestly? Writing life made.

my brain hates me

Do you have kids just returning to school or about to?

If you don’t, do you remember what it was like before you went back after summer break?

Because I have kids going back… It’s… a lot.

So, someone please tell my brain that hates me very much that now, while I’m working under multiple deadlines for multiple book projects already and therefore working far more than full time hours, AND preparing my kids to go back in long marathons of shopping and prep, that now is NOT THE TIME for a new freaking idea…….

Okay, I’ll stop yelling.

But seriously, someone is bound to tell me that this thing where my brain gives me even more to do when it’s already overwhelmed and I already have hyper productivity as a coping mechanism is some kind of trauma response.

Friends, I know.

It’s still sucky….

I’m tired.

And whiny.

Maybe the answer really is chocolate and a mojito.

What did Ernest Hemingway say?

Oh, yeah.

Write drunk, edit sober.

Um… that actually doesn’t help me when I’m doing both this month.

Tips for stress that don’t take up any time? Anyone got any? I’m very serious.

But, this too shall pass. The point of all this whining is to let you all know that very soon I will be reclaiming some of my time and therefore be back to social media and update the blog which is very behind at the moment.

Yay! I’ll just hold on with one finger so the other ten can rest until I get there. 😉

Oh, and I’ll give you another BIG chapter in The Voice In The Forest.

the voice in the forest

Chapter 46

“Are you sure you want to do this?” Montgomery asked me for the hundredth time as he supported my shuffling steps across the lawn toward the lake.

I nodded. There were too many people all over the grounds for me to be comfortable speaking to him. Someone might see me.

My mother was missing, but that didn’t mean other people wouldn’t be on high alert for her daughter to be triggered into seeing things by the stress. And I knew better than anyone else that far too many people were more than happy to involve themselves in other people’s lives and promote their own superiority. What gave someone more of a sense of superiority than to label someone else as crazy?

We walked together, Montgomery helping to support my still weak body, into the dappled sunlight of the trees.

Calls of my mother’s name echoed on the breeze from all over the grounds and I knew there were searches still ongoing inside the manor as well.

But all these people, all this mobilization and careful searches were turning up no sign of her.

For some reason I still couldn’t explain, I knew Montgomery and I needed to go to the lake. Maybe it was just the association I had in my mind of the back door leading to my little walled garden and the lake beyond. But other than the day I met Montgomery, when we confronted each other, I had no real reason for the association to be so strong in my mind.

The second the water became visible through the trees, my heart stuttered in my chest.Next to me, Montgomery sucked in a sharp breath.

I knew why. It wasn’t the water itself that made both of us react. It was the large yellow piece of equipment sunk a foot into the mud at the edge of the bank, its claw hanging like a noose over the surface of the water, inert and still threatening.

“What was she planning here?” I whispered, unable to stay silent anymore.

As soon as I knew she was having the workers mess with the lake, it felt like a betrayal.

But this was somehow worse.

“No idea,” Montgomery said, answering more than the single question I voiced.

I had no idea either. Why would she do this?

Maybe Mother wanted to do some work along the bank to make the lake somehow closer to her idea of luxury, but why were they bothering to work within the water itself?

That was clearly what they were doing here before they found the coffin.

“Was the coffin in the water?”

His arm at my back stiffened and his hand on mine clamped down tight before letting me go entirely.

Without him by my side, I continued walking, making my way to the water’s edge.

Even in the middle, the lake water was murky, planting the place more firmly in the line between lake and pond.

But there was a depth to this place, a feeling that there was so much more below the surface, and that it went on for much longer than someone would expect, that I couldn’t deny even as my hands shook and I wanted to think this was a shallow puddle.

For some reason, that impression of deep water and hidden things, the idea that maybe the coffin was submerged in there, just resting on the bottom for so long, sent a shiver through my whole body.

This couldn’t be how they found his body. They couldn’t have discovered his coffin under the water.

It didn’t make sense.

Who would bury him here?

And if Mother came in this direction last night, if she ran out of the manor screaming, leaving the door yawning open, why?

Scanning the area, there was no one else directly around me except Montgomery who still looked unwell standing back from the edge.

“Maybe we should have someone else check this area,” Montgomery said, his voice thin and full of doubt, although doubt of what I wasn’t sure.

“No,” I said, not turning around, just staring at the dark water in front of me and wondering if I needed to get wet, “it needs to be me.”

“What? Ara?” His voice was stronger as he said my name, but I didn’t try and answer her questions when all I had was vague impressions.

I walked to one side of the shore, away from the massive piece of equipment and the scar it had already scored into the bank.

But looking at the waiting beast of the machine, I noticed the trail of mud and soaked earth that marked the path of the bucket from the water to a large pile of mud and water plants nearby.

She was tearing into the lake itself, digging at the ground under the water. But why was she having workers do that? Was she planning on ruining the place entirely by pouring concrete under it and trying to turn it into a pool?

That wouldn’t work, would it?With a shake of my head, trying to focus on my grim task, I looked into the clouded water.It acted like a black hole, sucking in all the light shining on it and giving nothing back.

But… why was there a flash of bright yellow?

Choking on air, tears dripped from my chin before I was fully aware they fell from my eyes.

Stumbling forward, I was only partially aware of the mud along the edge sucking at my feet and fighting me in my attempts to make it to the flash of color.

Letting loose a scream made the sounds around me suddenly come back to assault my ears.

Montgomery screaming my name, his voice getting closer as I fumbled as fast as I could into the cold water, the chill reaching out to grasp at my skin and slap me wherever it splashed against me.

But I got there just as Montgomery reached me, his hand closing over mine in the water and pulling me back.

“Don’t look, Ara,” he said, trying to turn my face to his. “Don’t look.”

Other sounds reached me as I clutched at Montgomery and buried my face in my hands twisted around his shirt.

Just beyond the sounds of my own, echoing screams, other voices calling out came to me along with the snapping and tearing sounds of their hunt for me through the woods.

“Arabella,” Henry screamed from the edge of the clearing, sprinting around the edge of the lake. “What’s going on?”

There was no way for me to answer. All I could do was scream and cry and point to where my mother’s body floated in the darkness of the lake, her eyes wide and staring, seeing nothing, and yet absorbing all the light.

Leave a Reply

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