Snippet from New Wip – Damsel in Distress
I’m happy to announce my short story Her Black Knight has been contracted by Breathless Press. I never expected it to turn into a series, but during the edits another storyline emerged. Her Black Knight told the tale of Morien, a Moorish Knight of the Round Table, and Gwyn Braxton an expert in Medieval art and Arthurian history.
Damsel in Distress highlights Sir Percivale and a saucy Baltimore chick named Macy Jones. These stories will be a part of my Chasing the Grail series. Here a sample from Damsel in Distress.
Her heels sunk into the wet ground. The skies wept for her sorrow as the earth lay open for its sacrifice. Hot tears trailed down her face. This was the first time she could remember crying. The delicate hand clutching her forearm felt like an anchor. It affixed her to sanity, refusing to allow her the solitude of going catatonic.
The click, click, click of the crane echoed in her head. With every crank of the handle, she lost a piece of her soul. The one person who knew her, the only one who permitted her the liberty of being herself disappeared into the red clay hole surrounded by grieving faces. Once the casket hit the bottom, her mother lost what little grip on her emotions she managed to maintain. Macy’s always dignified mother dropped to her knees in the pouring rain, beating the saturated grass with her tiny fists.
Macy Jones wasn’t built for these situations. Her father was the one to control her mother’s outbursts. Adamay Jones thrived on drama and strolled just on this side of crazy. Macy’s job was to disappear when these ‘episodes’ came on. She could recall her dad telling her that her mother was so special she needed extra love. This sounded romantic to an eight year old. By the time she turned sixteen, Macy understood there was no romanticizing her mother’s mental issues. Her dad had the capacity for that kind of giving, not Macy. Her father’s love knew no boundaries.
She knelt beside her mom and held her tight. In one smooth movement, Macy propelled them upright. Mud covered her mother’s pantyhose and black skirt. The dirt clung to Macy’s bare legs. It cooled her calves. As she wrapped her mother in her embrace, the pastor said the final prayer. Today, she wanted no dealings with God. She wanted to run. She needed to get away. But there was no escaping death, even if it wasn’t her own.
Macy wiped the sweat from her brow with her forearm. The steamy summer day turned the metal building into a makeshift oven.She pleaded with her father to add air conditioning to garage for years. Something more important always seemed to come up that needed the money. She dug through the boxes under her father’s tattered desk. This was his version of a filing system.
Dust floated in the rays of light shining through the dirt speckled windows. Macy loathed cleaning. It was murder on her allergies. As much as she hated clean, it was better than being shut in the house with her mother. That woman was two beers short of a six-pack. Anyway, someone had to figure out all the finances and get her father’s estate in order.
“Hey, Baby Girl. How you holding up?” An old familiar voice lowered to a whisper.
She turned to face him and painted on a smile. “Hi, Uncle Frank.” He wrapped his arms around her and squeezed her in a bear hug. He smelled of old cigars and Old Spice. Frank was one of her father’s oldest friends and her godfather.
“How’s your mother doing?”
Everyone knew the answer to that question. “As well as she can be. It’s only been three days since the funeral.”
Frank patted her shoulder. “I still can’t believe he’s gone. I’ll be glad when they catch the bastard who shot Johnny. Your pop was a good man. Helped me when I was down. That’s the kind of person he was.”
Macy’s throat tightened. “Thanks. We’ll all miss him.”
“So, whatcha gonna do with this big ole place?”
“Don’t really know what I can do with it. I’m trying to find all dad’s papers to see what’s going on. You know he was never a good bookkeeper.” She straightened the stack of folders in front of her.
“If ya need anything, you know where to find me.”
“Uncle Frank, on your way home, can you look in on mom?” Macy wasn’t ready to go home. Her own grief slowly suffocated her. Her mother’s spiral into the dark abyss of depression would be the nail in her coffin.