Two In A Row! Chapter 56 of The Voice In The Forest


Hi Everybody!

I know. I can’t believe it either.

But I did manage to do two chapters for our little hot mess first draft story in a row.

Shocked. Me. Probably you.

BUT! I also managed to get another episode done for the Vella story and as soon as that is edited it will be going up> Holy Crapanoli!

Yes. I am excited.

I’m also managing to get some work done on the other projects I am woefully behind on as I try and figure out how to write again with my new reality.

Speaking of:

In A Row

Right now we are experiencing a late winter reminder of the big white and fluffy variety in my corner of the PNW.

Most of my life I have wanted snow on my birthday in late February, a few times I’ve got what I wanted. This year was a couple days late.

That’s fine. I was still excited.

Until… oh, until.

My ridiculous self happened.

I know that most people assume a person is either clumsy, or they’re not. Graceful, or not. Well, I am both.

Graceful when I’m doing something specific, something focused, with my body. Hell, I did ballet and I didn’t suck.

But I am also clumsy as baby giraffe when I’m not paying attention and even though I have weirdly small feet (seriously I shouldn’t be as tall as my short height with my size of feet) I tend to trip, fall, and stub my toes ALL the damn time.

So, three days ago, I was walking across my snow covered patio and my foot went out from under me.

In my head I had time to think, NO my neck!

The last thing I wanted to do was smack my head on the concrete behind me so instead I let my barely still grounded leg crumple beneath me to land hard on my butt.

Good news!

Not only did it work, but I managed to walk away sore but without aggravating my neck.

Maybe it sounds strange, but I was thrilled that I officially had my first fall and managed to not have it make everything start from scratch in healing again.

Wins, friends. I am celebrating them. There is a little less fear associated with this whole process now, and I am ready to keep getting better and get my life back as much as possible.

Update Tidbit

In other updating news that none of you care about at all, my car has a new name.

Yes, I am one of those odd ducks who name their cars. I have done this since my first car which was a vintage 1960 Mercury Comet I named Luke Spacecruiser.

That’s a thing you know now so you may laugh at me. It’s okay. I laugh too. I like it.

Well, my current car a few years ago saved my life.

I was on the freeway going north, someone going south smashed into the jersey barrier and… concrete? A chunk of car? Something flew across two lanes to smash into my windshield.

Right in front of my face.

But the caved in shattered windshield held and the chunk flew off without killing me.

What do we say to death? Not today.

That was my reaction.

Yes, my default emotion in these situations isn’t fear, it’s anger.

About a year ago in this same car, my alignment was off when I got new tires and shocks. (I didn’t know and it should not have been a problem, but it was)

So, driving down the backroad that I took instead of the freeway for no particular reason other than I felt like it, I stopped at a light.

When I started driving again, the thump thump of a flat tire told me that the gas station right there was my new destination.

After pulling into the air station, I found that my tire was shredded from the inside of the wheel well where apparently it had been hitting  because of my bad alignment.

I had no idea.

Looking at the other front tire, same thing. It was about to blow too.

Of course I don’t know, but I can imagine that if I had been going fast on the freeway and both tires blew, it would not have been good.

What do we say to death? Not today.

Now, just this week, leaving my house for an appointment, with snow on the ground and falling down thick from the sky, I crawled down my long driveway and braked at the end before pulling out onto the road.

Problem free.

Down my big hill I went, still taking it very slow because of the conditions and my uncertainty about ice under the top layer of snow.

At the end of my road, the hill flattens, and the road heads back up slightly before it hits a highway where people go between 50 to 65 miles per hour.

Of course, I put on the brakes…

Well, I tried to.They were mush. Nothing. Zip. Nada. Pumping them didn’t get me a reaction.

All I could do was hope that my slow speed and the little uphill would stop me from heading into the highway.

My nose still stuck out into the way of oncoming traffic by the time I stopped.

Someone else, poor person, swerved around the nose of my car and I was able to wait for a chance to crawl my way back home using the ebrake to stop when the poor car was parked.

What do we say to death? Not today.

And that is why my car’s new name is Arya.

I’m going to continue to say, not today.

But for today, I do have another chapter for you. Yay!


Chapter 56

I gasped, looking from one corner to another as fast as I could as I tuned out whatever else Henry was saying. 

Where did he go?

Everything in me did the calling out that my voice couldn’t, begging for Montgomery to still be here. He had to still be here somewhere.

Nothing happened. We didn’t do anything. There was no attempt or change to make sense out of his sudden disappearance. 

“Arabella?” Henry’s voice cut through to me and I choked on air.

It didn’t matter that he was right here, looking at me, witnessing this, and that I should have been more concerned about keeping up the appearance to him that I was fine and nothing was going on.

The only thing that mattered to me in that moment was where the hell Montgomery was.

Did I lose him?

Was he beyond me forever?

“I— Air.” It was all I could manage to eke out of my mouth as I stumbled, barely feeling my body, as if I was trying to follow Montgomery to wherever he went, toward the flap leading out of the tent.

Henry was speaking again, saying something that probably mattered and I probably should have listened to.

But the only thing I was aware of was the lack of Montgomery’s presence all around me, and the way death—the force of the coffin and its contents behind me filled up every bit of the world and pressed in on me.

Neither one of us should have come in here. We shouldn’t have been anywhere near that coffin.

I knew it would have some kind of profound effect on him and I knew that I told him I would help him, but it was all so much more clear now.

Montgomery was the one thing I couldn’t let go of.

Finally, I stumbled out of the tent, past the edge of the world overwhelmed by death that lay so heavy in the air by the coffin.

Air still wouldn’t come.

Dropping to my knees on the grass, the cold damp soaking through to the skin of my legs in an instant, I dug my fingers into the grass.

Cold, wet, slick, the blades of grass caught in my fingernails and ground into my skin with the dirt I clawed my way to.

Hanging onto the earth beneath me, I tried to find my unearthly love in the night around me but I couldn’t. He wasn’t here.

Wherever he went, and whether he was coming back to me, it was all beyond my desperate grasp to know.

Instead I curled into myself, mouth open, trying for breath.

A hand came to rest on my back and broke through the damn, a sob coming loose in my chest and echoing into the world around me.

“No matter how long ago it happened,” Henry said, his voice solemn and low, “Or who is in there, seeing someone like that is always hard, and after your mother…”

Yes. After my mother.

How deranged that I found myself thankful we had just said goodbye to my mother and it gave me some sort of cover for my actions now.

My mother was gone. No matter how difficult our relationship, I didn’t want her to be gone. And now…

I couldn’t even think it. I couldn’t accept that Montgomery was lost to me. That he was no more than the body, lying so strangely well preserved inside the coffin behind me.


Flinging myself up from the ground, I looked toward the house.

The idea of running through the house, room by room, calling out for him ran through my mind.

But it didn’t make sense.

Even if he was in there, he wouldn’t dare answer me when I was surrounded by other people and if I went screaming through, calling for someone no one else knew, I would be sure to be surrounded by every last person inside in moments.

Scanning the area, I tried to imagine where he would have gone if he was still here. What made sense for him to do?

What had Henry been talking about?

Montgomery’s mother?

Maybe I should have asked Henry, interrupted his seemingly non-stop string of platitudes and niceties as he tried to comfort me over the wrong thing.

Instead, I took off, running as fast as I was able, sucking down cold breaths that tasted of unfinished promises as I made my way to the area where by all rights Montgomery’s coffin should have been buried in.

His mother’s burial place might not have been there, but it was the only place I could think of.

This had to work.

I had to find him.

There was no other option. I couldn’t lose Montgomery.

Not yet.

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