Book Reviews

Free – Read Chapter One from Grounded in January

Please enjoy chapter one from Grounded in January – if you enjoy it, all retailers currently have it on sale. Snatch it up and find out what happens!

 

Chapter One

The chill of outside air seeping through the jetway caused Kate Wilson’s already petrified body to tense up more. She did not want to get on the plane.

A sunny but cold morning, as cold as Phoenix could be in January, only reminded her that going home was a necessity. She wanted, and needed, an honest winter. As an added bonus, winter was the best time to fly since turbulence spiked more so in the spring and summer months. Kate had learned this during her extensive research on the ramifications of flying for those with anxiety.

Kate paused and took a deep breath before stepping from the jetway onto the plane. The gap resembled a drawbridge, except below she didn’t see pavement, but a possible way out. Her mind raced. Does anyone else ever try to shove their foot into the gap and push it apart in order to squirm down onto the tarmac below? Or maybe they try to open the side door leading to the portable stairs which only employees use.

Caught up in her thoughts, Kate’s ebony boot, the right one, clipped the lip of the plane’s threshold throwing her midair.

A pilot and nearby flight attendant reached out in horror as Kate went down, face first. Her eyes just inches from their polished dress shoes. Her InStyle magazine went right, her US Weekly went left. Her unzipped faux leather purse landed in first-class while its contents rolled into coach. The mauve scarf now attached Kate to her carry-on bag.

“Oh, my dear!” a female flight attendant exclaimed. An arm locked around Kate, hoisting her to a standing position once again. Shaken from the mishap, she pushed her copper curls off her face.

“Good thing you aren’t flying this winged beast today, ma’am,” the pilot said, trying to make light of the situation.

Kate smiled, grateful that she was now perpendicular with the plane and once again on her feet. Yet her scarf remained caught on the carry-on bag. She wrestled the scarf free, as her carry-on thumped onto the plane’s floor. Kate’s face went as red as the anti-collision lights on the plane’s wingtips.

Behind her, there was complete silence. She stood, convinced that outside the gate the entire airport stood still, waiting to see what would happen next.

The pilot handed Kate one of her magazines. An attendant had fetched her purse and its contents.

“Are you okay, dear? Would you like someone to check you out?” The attendant held Kate’s purse as though it were her own.

Glancing down, she saw that her jeans were not ripped, but her knees burned. She wiggled her toes in her boots, and they felt fine. Her long-sleeve, charcoal-gray sweater protected her elbows from anything worse than being sore.

“I think I’m okay,” Kate murmured as she reached for her purse. She picked up her carry-on, smiled, and said, “Embarrassed, but okay, thank you.” She turned around to the line behind her. “However, I’m afraid I don’t know what happened to my ticket. I had it in my hand.”

The pilot, the two flight attendants, and Kate searched the floor, making sure they weren’t stepping on it. A little white piece of paper peeked out from behind where the pilot stood in front of the lavatory door.

“I think my ticket is there.” Kate pointed.

The pilot popped open the lavatory door to confirm Kate’s suspicion. Her face scrunched. Why am I even getting on this flying gasoline-filled death trap in the first place? Kate bent down to pick up her ticket at the same time as the pilot. Their heads smacked.

The ticket remained on the lavatory floor as they rubbed the pain from their foreheads.

“Here.” The pilot handed Kate her ticket.

“Thank you.” Kate took the ticket, her bag, and her diminished pride and headed down the aisle to locate her seat.

“Just make it to your seat and sit down,” Kate mumbled to herself. This day cannot get any worse.

Locating seat 13A, she stood on her tiptoes and reached up to place her carry-on into the overhead compartment. However, Kate could not get the bag over the compartment lip. In addition, the pain from the fall started to creep into her toes and knees.

“Let me help you,” a lanky, travel-chic woman said from behind her.

Kate spun around, allowing the bag to nearly fall onto her head.

“I saw what happened when you got on the plane,” the woman whispered. “You need all the support you can get.”

The travel-chic woman winked, snatched Kate’s bag from her hands, and placed it without any effort into the compartment.

Kate produced a half-smile and said, “Thank you.”

In a meek attempt to hide as quickly as possible, Kate squeezed past the seats’ edges and sat. Even without anyone else sitting in the seats, it remained a challenge to move in such a cramped space.

Kate rubbed the spot on her forehead, which felt as though it sprouted a small bump. The sunlight bounced off the airport’s windows as she gazed out. She prayed the actual flight would be far less of a mess than trying to get on the plane. Closing her eyes, Kate ran through her checklist. Dramamine, check. Motion sickness wristbands, check. Lavender oil, check. Puke bag in the seat pocket. Kate leaned forward and searched the seatback. Check. Safety instruction manual, check. Deep breath and counting, check. Plus, I hope I don’t have a seatmate who (a) got sick, (b) gets sick, and/or (c) skipped a shower in the last day.

As the plane filled up, Kate lucked out. Her seatmates consisted of a businessman who was more worried about when he could use his laptop and headphones than flying, and a woman focused on when she could get a glass of wine and read on her tablet.

The air pressure fluctuated and hummed in the cabin as they taxied out onto the runway. Kate took deep breaths and went over her mantra in her head. Remember, a real winter. Maybe she could even dig her skis out of her parents’ garage. This would be a time to clear her head and figure out her unhappiness. She checked to make sure her wristbands were in the correct spots and held her scarf to her nose, breathing in the lavender.

“You can do this,” she muttered as the plane shook with the roar of the engines gaining power. Kate closed her eyes. The plane lurched forward, pushing her firmly into the seat. She tightened the seat belt strap as the front wheel lifted off the ground. The back two were still on the runway. The plane’s nose pointed toward the sky. This was one of Kate’s favorite moments of flight. In that moment Kate was reminded of how amazing a plane can be, and how light her body could feel. She felt as though her body took a breath of freedom in that moment of weightlessness.

But then, the back two wheels came off the ground, and Kate’s stomach dropped. Her favorite moment was over. Put the wheels back down! Kate wanted to scream at the pilot. Noticing the choppiness of her breathing, she returned to her mantra. The last thing she needed was to have a panic attack at thirty-five-thousand feet.

The plane continued to climb, putting pressure on her ears. Kate attempted to fake yawn, encouraging them to pop, but without any success.

“Here,” the businessman seatmate said, and he held out a stick of gum. “I saw you trying to fake yawn. Try this, it works better.” The businessman made eye contact for half a second, before returning his eyes to the seatback in front of him.

“Thank you,” Kate said. She smiled and took the gum.

She folded the spearmint gum into her mouth and shoved the wrapper into the seat pocket. The plane began to level off, as Kate peered out the window at the brown landscape below. It had been an extra dry summer, without much monsoon rain, which set fall and winter up to fail. A few areas of green were scattered here and there. December had seen some rain, but Phoenix definitely needed the monsoon storms to bring enough moisture to make it through the dry spells. Seeing Arizona from above reminded Kate of why she still loved Washington. The state’s lush green landscape and snow-capped mountains often remained throughout the summer months.

The flight attendant came by with the beverage cart as Kate flipped through her glossy magazine pages. She ordered a glass of red wine. Even with all her checklist items checked, she wanted to be anywhere but here.

“Cheers,” Kate’s other seatmate said, reaching over the businessman to tap their plastic glasses together. Despite their toast, he didn’t lose focus on his electronic spreadsheet.

The wine and the Dramamine began making Kate drowsy. She dozed until the pilot’s voice broke through the humming of the pressurized plane.

“We are beginning our final descent into Seattle. For those of you who are visiting, welcome. For those of you coming home, welcome back. Flight attendants, prepare for landing.”

While most people find landing to be the worst part of a flight, Kate found it to be the only other thing she liked about flying. She listened for the snap of the landing gear like a child waiting to hear Santa on the roof.

The plane dipped to the left as they circled around the Space Needle. Rain skimmed across the window. It was as though the sky were crying tears of joy along with Kate. The gray clouds were so thick that it was impossible to tell where one cloud ended and the next one began. Evergreens popped into view as though they were reaching up, trying to touch the plane’s belly. The aircraft lined up with the runway as the houses below came into view. They appeared like a child’s playset, miniature and without the flaws of life. Kate envisioned a tiny toddler’s hand coming in and picking up the plane; spinning them around the room before dropping them onto the carpet.

The wheels touched down on the rain-soaked runway and the brakes worked hard to slow them. Kate yanked her seat belt tighter for safety. Once, as a child, her seat belt had not been tight enough, and she went shooting forward. The seat belt caught under her arms as her legs flailed around, soon choking her.

The brakes finally took hold, grabbing the runway with force. Then the plane bounced softly forward as it taxied toward the gate. The dampness of the air crept down the aisle from the now open door. Passengers hurried to get their bags and disembark. Kate remained seated, staring out at the rain. She hated all the shoving and bumping just to get somewhere one minute faster.

When the last passenger exited the aisle, Kate stood and reached for her carry-on. Forgetting she didn’t put it up there, she now realized she could not get it down.

The flight attendants were busy thanking and saying goodbye to the remaining passengers, so Kate placed her left boot on the armrest of the seat and her right boot on the seat. Hoisting herself up, she grabbed the compartment edge. Letting go with her left hand, she snatched the bag, yanking it toward the edge. In an attempt to climb down and take the carry-on with her, Kate’s boots tangled around the seat arm. Trying to fall forward into the row, she braced herself as she slid awkwardly into the aisle seat.

Getting to her feet, she rubbed the side of her hip. At least her carry-on was on the floor now where she could reach it. Taking a deep breath, Kate headed toward the front of the plane.

“Are you okay?” a flight attendant asked.

Of course, the attendants saw her latest mishap. Kate rubbed at the pain.

“I’m fine,” Kate said. “Have a wonderful day.”

“You too, dear,” the flight attendant replied.

As Kate turned back to give her a smile, she tripped over the airplane door gap again. She stumbled forward, but was able to catch herself this time. Kate straightened her scarf and readjusted her sweater.

With a fake smile plastered across her face, she headed downstairs to baggage claim with her head held high, regardless of the giggles she heard from behind her.

 

If you enjoyed chapter one, be sure to get the book or ebook and meet Oxnard and find out what happens!

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Book Reviews, Spotlight on Writing

Release Day for GROUNDED IN JANUARY!!

20190101_101015
from Brother Mockingbird Publishing

20190409_153528The day has finally arrived and now YOU can enjoy my first sweet romance novel. I’ve loved this story from the first idea (a fearful flyer), and my drive to include multiple sclerosis in a story (for my mom who suffered from the disease). From there the idea grew in Grounded in January. And, an important note, for many of you who remember Bayou, I hope you find this book extra special. While this story is a work of fiction, Bayou’s mannerisms are brought back to life (and his name) throughout the book. I do hope YOU find this story to be funny and inspiring.fb_img_1496244030665

Advance praise for Grounded in January.

Grounded in January is a heartwarming, down-to-earth tale that will convince you that two people, no matter how imperfect, can still find a perfect love. – Cassidy Carter, author of Love on Location and The Perfect Catch from Hallmark Publishing.

Grounded in January is a story of resilience and rebirth that will warm your heart. Kate and Ox reminds us that having faith in love can be the greatest leap we can make. – Maggie Wells, author of Love Game from Sourcebooks Casablanca.

A heartwarming tale of two people dealing with real-life issues that lead you on an emotional journey filled with angst and laughter. This story is a fantastic reminder that love can make all the difference in someone’s life, especially when other factors are full of uncertainty and out of one’s control. Inspirational! – Elsie Davis, author of Back in the Rancher’s Arms from Entangled Publishing.

Add Grounded in January to your Goodreads list!

Purchase it on IndieBound or Amazon! And request it for your local library and bookstores!

5 Minute Fiction

Map ~ 5 minute fiction 

She ran her fingers along the map. Tracing the journey she wished to take. Every night, when she slid under her sheets, she repeated the process.
Light on, map out, tracing first by sight, then by memory. Two times, then she paused her eyes at the frame ontop her nightstand.

She folded the map up, placed it back into the drawer, and clicked off the light. Laying back on her pillow she pictured the journey she would one day take.

Book Reviews

A Good Book

difdfI first “got” into books once I was actually able to read them, much later than my peers (okay, way, way, way later than my peers). The R.L Stine series and The Boxcar Children when I was younger. Then, once again when I became a nanny and couldn’t find anything worth watching on TV when the baby was sleeping.

I would pull books from the family’s bookshelf, read the back cover blurb, and then if it sounded good, would dive right in. The family that had these books was an Oprah book club member. Every book had the OPRAH sticker on the cover.

I believe the first one I read was:

Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts

Followed by:

She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb

Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons

Vinegar Hill by A Manette Ansay

Gap Creek by Robert Morgan

Midwives by Chris Bohjalian

I found these books to be the center of my day, and my joy the following day (these books were so well written!!!!). I never let them (the family) know I was reading them, so I would stick them back on the shelf and make a mental note of the chapter I was on.fdfdfdf

The weekends were especially long since I didn’t work, and had to wait until Monday to get back to reading. I was at the time, and still am, a slow reader, so it would take me a good month to finish one book.

I worked as a nanny for this family just over 2 years, and when the mom stopped buying new books for the shelves I stopped reading. I was not aware of libraries and how to use them (I didn’t know they had them outside of school!!), however immature that sounds. So my reading time faded into nothing for many years, until I picked it back up again, and started reading and (funny as it is) writing and learning about libraries.

Nowadays – many years later – I am well versed in library knowledge (thank goodness). My reading taste have turned rather…pig-headed, so to speak. Most books I read, I find sub-par. The hook is weak or the hook fades off after chapter 2, or sentences go by without much connection to moving the story forward. It’s hard to please me as a reader. Even children’s literature I have grown rather picky over since becoming a writer.

So, basically the thing to note about me is this, if I recommend a book, that means a lot coming from me.

 

 

 

5 Minute Fiction

Broken Angel – part 1

20170104_134943My wings have been shredded and torn in the storm of grand wind,  which ripped the siding off Mrs. Rumpskin’s house.  Just before the corn stalks in the Danbury’s field took flight.

I believed I was untouchable as an angel. My translucent pale wings a forever gift since my death at age three on the playground swing. Please note, if you think you can stand on a swing and fly, you can’t. Well, I guess technically you can, because you die and then you get to fly as an angel.

I try to expand my wings with my shoulder muscles. The left wing is missing a section in the middle big enough for a box of  my favorite chocolate sprinkled donuts to fit. My right wing is all but gone, with the exception of three feathers stuck at the base of my shoulder blade.

I look at the destruction around me, knowing I have a choice. All angels have what people back on Earth would call a “life alert button.” In Heaven, it’s call the “oops button.” See even angels fall from grace and need help. We are far from perfect, even in Heaven.

However, a part of me doesn’t want to push the button. I miss Earth, and don’t get to see it as often as you would think an angel would. Yet, Earth is not where we are permitted to stay for long and those who choose to, remain broken angels.

A broken angel is not a bad thing, although it does sound rather bad I suppose. In heaven a broken angel is someone that can’t return. They remain on Earth, without the peace they have in Heaven. Doesn’t sound too bad, I know, but it’s a rather catch twenty-two situation. The broken angel gets to be with family, unbeknownst to them, yet, missing out on their own afterlife.

I think of Mama, who is pushing seventy now, alone. I think of Pop, who became an angel ten years ago. The one thing about being a broken angel is that once you make your decision, it sticks like super glue.

I think of Mama. The clock is ticking, I must make my choice.

5 Minute Fiction

THE LEPRECHAUN’S GHOST

by Savannah Hendricks

ornaments-030Lucy Greene woke from her nap, the blankets wrapped tightly around her body. Her bold blonde locks stood at points, courtesy of her pixie hairstyle. Even a two-hour nap couldn’t lessen its spunk.

She reluctantly stood up, and made her way down the hall to the thermostat. It read sixty-six degrees. Lucy flicked the plastic cover with her middle finger; the cheap tan needle wiggled.

“There is no way its sixty-six degrees in here, feels like two degrees. Damn winter.”

Lucy shuffled back to the couch and plopped down. She let out a scream, jumping back up.

“What the hell?” Lucy looked down to see ice cubes sprinkled over the couch. A small, but evil little laugh echoed around her. The laughter was the same she had heard the first day that she moved in.

“This better not be some Christmas ghost of the past crap!”

Lucy grabbed a bowl from the kitchen and scooped up the ice cubes from the couch.

“Unless you are taking me to the Bahamas for Christmas leave me alone!” Lucy yelled.

At first, Lucy didn’t know what was going on, maybe she was simply hallucinating or maybe she had gone crazy. Yet, when things like ice cubes on the couch happened, it clearly was beyond anything she could possibly explain. She had been dealing with what, or whoever was doing these tricks since she moved in five days ago. Apparently, not all historic houses were welcoming.

Lucy focused on the television. The weatherman had just started giving the forecast.

“Current temperatures are in the low thirties tonight folks, with snow arriving Friday, perfect for Christmas…”

She looked around her living room, nothing resembled that Christmas was a few days away.

Lucy looked down at her triple sock covered feet. She could hang a sock from the fireplace mantel if she wasn’t wearing all of them. Lucy stared out her living room window to the evergreen trees covered in snow. Then she thought of the butcher’s knife in her kitchen drawer. Lucy smiled.

She made her way to the kitchen and went to open the drawer. But it was stuck. She pulled, and pulled some more. With one last pull, she nearly flew backwards with the drawer in hand. Lucy examined the inside.

“Bubble gum,” Lucy questioned as she picked at the sticky stuff inside the lining of the drawer. She slid out the knife.

“This is gonna be for you if you don’t leave me alone!” Lucy yelled.

Then she heard evil little laughter in the distance. The same one she had heard following the ice cubes. This time it was followed by the noise of a coin dropping. Lucy spun around, knife ready in hand. On the counter behind her was a gold coin, spinning. She slammed the coin to a stop with her palm. The laughter stopped, but the goose bumps on her arms remained. She rubbed at the goose bumps. When she looked down for the coin again, it was gone.

“Leave me alone,” Lucy stated, her hands shivered as they pat the now empty counter top where the coin once spun.

Tears welled in the corners of her eyes, fear was taking over.

Lucy’s black boots crunched the snow as she made her way to the smallest evergreen in the yard. She eyed the perfect tree to put up for Christmas. Maybe making her house feel like Christmas would send away whatever was haunting her.

The tree was probably about six feet tall, she thought. Lucy took the butcher knife and swung low and quick. The knife stuck in the trunk. She pried it out and swung again. She continued to swing away at the slit she had created. The top of the tree started to lean and stretched the bark. It snapped and Lucy dived out of the way and into the snow. The tree smacked the ground, the trunk rested on the stump.

She pushed herself up; snow shoved into the top of her turtleneck. She chopped at the last little bit of the tree that was still attached. As Lucy went to grab the tree, she heard car tires with snow chains coming down the street. It was the mail carrier dropping off today’s letters and no doubt, bills. Lucy crunched through the snow to the mailbox. As she opened the box, the sound of metal sliding apart filled the air around her.  She reached in and pulled out the stack of mail. Lucy watched in terror as a small furry rodent ran out from atop her pile of mail and up her arm. She screamed from the depths of her gut. The mail she was previously gripping flew in the air. Lucy lost her footing and her butt thumped on the snow below. She heard a sharp, evil giggle nearby, but with her neighbors not close enough, no one heard any of the commotion.

Shaken up, Lucy retrieved her scattered mail among the snow. When looking up she saw something low move by the front window. With every step towards the house Lucy sped up. She reached the porch and peered through her windows, but saw nothing moving through the lace curtains. The front door squealed as she pushed it open. Inside the television commercials were the only noise she could hear. No evil laughter, no spinning coins. She took a deep breath, rubbed her forehead, and then headed back outside.

Lucy leaned the newly trimmed evergreen tree up against the wall, snow still stuck to some of the branches.

“No ornaments and no stand.” Lucy laughed. “Popcorn always works I guess, and the wall will do.”

Lucy made her way into the kitchen to start popping enough corn to string the Christmas tree.

Three long hours later Lucy stood back from the tree, the popcorn string hanging carelessly in all the wrong places. Although very country looking Lucy thought. She clicked off the living room lights and made her way to her bedroom. The loose floorboards creaked as she made her way down the hall.

*******

Lucy jerked straight up in bed. She heard the evil little laughter again. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a shadow move in the hall. She tried to move her feet, but they wouldn’t budge. She threw back the layers of blankets to find her feet tied to her foot-board. As she attempted to untie the knots, the rough rope pricked through her socks to her ankles.

A busted nail later, her feet were free. By the time Lucy reached the hallway, the shadow was long gone. She flicked on the light switch. The light illuminated the hall, but not the darkness of the rooms beyond it.

“Whoever you are go away! Stop messing with me!” Lucy’s voice trembled as she made her way back to bed.

She wrapped herself up in the quilt, creating a tiny ball with her body. Tears streamed down, wetting the pillow below.

*******

Lucy woke to a beam of sunshine coming through the window. This time her feet were free. But the light of day didn’t make her house feel anymore safe. In the kitchen, Lucy grabbed a small pot off the rack and started to make some oatmeal. She went to turn on the television when she noticed a change with the Christmas tree. The popcorn string she had hung last night was all but a few kernels now.

“What the…,” Lucy said.

She walked around her house, checking all the window and door locks. She plopped down on the couch and simply stared at the once again bare Christmas tree.

“What’s burning?” Lucy asked, sniffing the air. “Oatmeal!”

She darted to the stove and swung the pan off the burner.

“Damn it! I can’t do this! I cannot do this anymore. Either I’m crazy or this house is. I can’t even make freaking oatmeal!” Lucy sent the pot flying into the sink, the noise mirrored her shriek of frustration and apprehension.

She left the burnt oatmeal on the stove and grabbed her laptop. She started her research with the realtor who sold her the house. She located the website after a few clicks. OFFICE CLOSED the site read. Lucy sighed. She pondered what else she could do. History, Lucy thought. She typed a few search words in and a site popped up. She wrote down the address to the local historic society located at the Trentway Museum, she would go as soon as they opened their doors in an hour.

*******

“I have questions regarding the house I purchased. I’m experiencing strange…things,” Lucy told the director.

“And your address?”

“7556 Hillrow.”

The director’s eyes widened and she scratched her neck, not bothering to even look up the address.

“Before you bought the house it sat empty for a few years,” the director said. “Everyone in the area knew of the rumors so it was up to an out of towner to buy the home. There had been many stories about the family who first built the home back in 1875, all the way to the last owners. So let me guess, you have a story to tell too.”

“Do you not believe these stories?” Lucy asked.

“No, because, they were stories about, leprechauns,” the director stated.

“Leprechauns? Those little green guys with the…,” Lucy stopped. “Evil laugh.”

“There have been ghost rumors surrounding the house for thousands of years.” The director got up and headed to a file cabinet. She pulled out a folder with Lucy’s address on the tab.

“Ghost?” Lucy questioned. “I thought you said leprechauns?”

“Ghost leprechauns, I guess to be more accurate to stories,” the director stated.

Lucy giggled out of disbelief and thought, what could be worse than a ghost, but a leprechaun’s ghost.

The director placed the file in front of Lucy and left the room. Lucy opened the folder and found a stack of article clippings. She carefully read the top article.

“We would experience these weird things, like damage to our household items. We would sleep and wake up to find parts of our bodies tied up to our bed,” Gloria Powel said. “At first we thought our kids were playing tricks on us, especially the spinning coins, but it was happening to them too.” 

“We couldn’t explain what or who was doing this,” Todd Powel said. “We heard laughter and saw shadows but, never found a thing.”

Lucy’s mind flashed back to the laughter, shadows, the coins, and all the tricks. Knowing now that she wasn’t alone. She was living with the worst of the dead there could possibly be. Lucy left the file on the table and went to look for the director. She found her sipping out of a travel mug in the hall.

“I know I’m a first time home buyer, but isn’t it against some real-estate ethics law?” Lucy asked. “I wasn’t told about the history of my house before I purchased it.”

“You should take that up with your realtor,” the director said.

“I can’t. The office closed and I couldn’t find her in a search.”

The director started to walk away, when Lucy grabbed her arm. “What am I supposed to do with my house?”

The director looked at Lucy’s hand wrapped around her arm then into her eyes.

“Make friends with them.” the director laughed. “We can’t go losing more citizens – especially young ones like you.”

Lucy let go of the director’s arm.

“There is always another option,” the director hinted.

“Another option?” Lucy asked.

The director headed to her office, leaving Lucy alone to think.

******

Lucy slammed her truck door closed and placed her hands over her face. She breathed deep. She needed to do something, but making friends was not the answer. Lucy decided to go to the library and do some research, she wasn’t sure what research, but she needed to start someplace. Just maybe being away from her house, in the calmness of the library, would help her thought process.

Lucy had a few hours to look around before the library closed. She started in the non-fiction section and began scanning the spines for a title that caught her eye. When a book on home remodeling stood out on display, Lucy knew exactly what she had to do. The book contained instructional information about fixing faulty wiring. She figured if there is a way to fix it, then they must have a few pointers on what to not to do. Lucy grabbed a scrap piece of paper and a miniature pencil. She started taking notes, as she couldn’t have the book checked out on her record.

*****

Lucy could take very little with her or it would look planned. She filled a small box with mementos, and waited until the moon was high and bright. Then she headed to her mailbox and dug a hole big enough for the box. In the morning, Lucy made a large batch of sugar cookies. After the last of the cookies came out of the oven, she went to work messing with the electrical house wires. Taking her notes, she put what she learned to good use.

With the plate of cookies, Lucy made her way down her driveway. It had just started to snow and the flakes were large and detailed as they fell on her jacket. Lucy reached the end of the driveway, the snow crunching below.

She gazed back at her home, her lace curtains hanging in the windows, and the Christmas tree she couldn’t see but knew was there. The snow was beginning to collect on top of the wrapped cookies. Lucy saw yet again a shadow behind the curtains. She was unsure if it was the fire building and casting a shadow, or the leprechaun’s ghost.

Lucy crunched her way down the street, not knowing where the side of the road met the street. The neighbor’s house sat farther back on the driveway that Lucy’s home. She headed down the path, thankful for the tree lines to guide her. It had been about five minutes since she left her house, her timing should be perfect.

When the house came into view, it resembled an embossed Christmas card. The Christmas lights hung perfectly around the patio, and a tree all lit up in the front window. Lucy made her way up the steps, and then used the brass knocker.

The door opened.

“Hi, I’m Lucy. I live next door. I moved in last week, but just now got around to stopping by – cookie?”

“I’m Delia,” the lady said, “come in, come in.” Delia took the plate. “These cookies look delicious,” she motioned for Lucy to sit in an empty rocker. “I’ll get some coffee brewing.”

A man on the couch stood up, and shook Lucy’s hand. “I’m Woodrow.”

He grabbed three cookies from the plate Delia had set on the coffee table.

“Woodrow and I were really surprised when we saw someone had bought the house,” Delia commented as she entered the living room.

“Well it’s a beautiful classic home.” Lucy smiled.

Lucy tried desperately to focus on the conversation, but all she could think about was her house. Was it burning? Was this whole plan even going to work? Was the nightmare finally over? Was she going to get caught?

“Lucy?” Delia questioned.

Lucy re-focused. “No kids, and yes I’m a single lady.”

“Maybe you were enough to scare away the leprechaun.” Woodrow laughed.

“You have heard the stories of the leprechaun too?” Lucy asked, focused on Woodrow’s words.

Delia took a bite of the cookie. “Bet the coffee is done.”

“The ghost of the leprechaun. The actual leprechaun died long ago,” Woodrow said, taking a sip of his just poured coffee.

“The stories started from back in 1875 when the land was cleared and the house was built,” Delia stated, looking out the front window. “Rumors say there was always a rainbow that ended in the spot where the house was built. And when the house was built it disrupted the rainbow’s end, disrupting the leprechaun, or maybe multiple leprechauns.”

Lucy looked out the front window too, the snow had stopped. “Have you seen any of these ghost leprechauns?” Lucy said, finally sipping on her coffee.

“Just heard stories from those who have lived there,” Woodrow said. “We know they are most active during Christmas time.”

Lucy set down the mug she was previously cradling to warm her fingers. “Why is that?”

“Those gold coins filled with chocolate that you found as a child in your Christmas stocking are from Leprechauns or so the real story goes.”

Lucy thought of the spinning gold coin.

Delia reached for another cookie. “We have never had a neighbor for more than a month. Most never even got a for sale sign up before the moving truck pulled away.”

“Have you seen the leprechaun’s ghost?” Woodrow asked.

Lucy looked at her watch, ignoring the question. She didn’t want the house fire to look suspicious by any comment she might make. By now, the fire should have spread to all the rooms Lucy hoped.

“I really should get back home. The snow has stopped, but might start piling up more when it starts again.” Lucy stood up.

“We hope you find peace in all this,” Woodrow said.

Lucy looked at him. The noise of the spinning coin and the evil laughter filled her thoughts.

“Merry Christmas,” Lucy said as she opened the front door.

Lucy had barely made it off the front porch steps when she saw the black smoke. She turned around with the fear in her eyes that she had practiced. Delia looked at her.

“What is it?” Delia asked.

Delia followed Lucy’s line of sight.

“Did you forget to turn off the oven?” Delia asked.

“No,” Lucy said, acting in shock. “No, no, no!”

Lucy took off down the driveway, nearly tripping in the snow on her way to the main road.

“We’ll call the fire department!” Delia yelled.

Lucy reached the road, and slowed her pace. When she made it to her driveway, the horror on Lucy’s face was real. She watched as the flames destroy the house she thought she would have spent the many, many years in. It was a while before she heard the sirens in the distance, muffled by the snow, which had once again started to fall in the tiniest of flakes.

*******

Months passed and Lucy’s new house construction was near completion. The last of the snow had melted except for those hidden spots in the corners of the yard. She had decided she loved the land, so she built on the same piece of property. The insurance company covered all of the damage, because the report came back as fire caused by faulty wiring.

The first night back, Lucy laid in her bed, grateful to be out of the motel she called home for many months. She was looking forward to cutting another Christmas tree this year. Lucy felt comfort that the leprechaun’s ghosts were gone with the ashes of the old house. She glazed at the moon outside her bedroom window until she fell asleep.

Within a few hours, Lucy went from sleeping to sitting straight up in bed, grasping for breath; her feet were stuck. Familiar prickles rubbed her ankles. She threw back the covers.

“No,” she screamed, her feet tied to the bed frame.

She heard the evil laughter as she tried to undo the knots.

“It IS the land!”

 

© Savannah Hendricks, 2016