Yes, I'm back and bringing you the next part of "Through the Tunnel." Don't blame me for where it ends. I just pulled out the next thousand words for you today. :P
And now there is good and bad news. The bad news is: You won't be getting any more parts of this book here on my blog. (Unless I decide to do a page with the first chapter like I have for most of my other novels.) The good news is: I ordered my proof copy this morning! Now that doesn't mean the book will be published by next week. It still has to go through the final round of edits and have the corrections made before I can upload the final copy. But it's coming along. :) I spent nearly all afternoon yesterday finishing the layout, uploading that, and then getting the cover completed and uploaded.
On another note, I do have a Thanksgiving story written. That will be starting next week. I have hopes of writing a Christmas story or two, but right now I have no ideas for any. Perhaps that's because I've been too focused on "Through the Tunnel."
Now I'm wondering, how many of you just skipped the top part of this post and went directly to the story first. Anyone? :)
Through the Tunnel
Raising his eyebrows slightly, Leigh stole a quick glance behind them before pulling his gloved hand from his pocket. Sometimes his sister had the strangest ideas, and he wasn’t sure where she got them. He didn’t mind holding hands with her, if no one was watching, but they were fourteen and it wasn’t exactly the thing to do when others were around.
Lissa didn’t seem to notice her brother’s hesitation, but seized his hand and straightened her shoulders. “Are you ready?” she breathed.
Leigh nodded, and in perfect silence, except for their footsteps, the twins entered the small arch in the stone bridge. The snow wasn’t as deep and the very center had only a thin dusting where snow had been blown in. The hand holding his own trembled as they neared the snowy world beyond the bridge, and Leigh squeezed it.
Feeling the pressure, Lissa tightened her grip, and a tingling feeling of excitement and anticipation raced up her spine and then shot to the very tips of her fingers and toes. They were almost there; almost to the end of the tunnel and into their new world, their new life. In spite of the fact that the rational part of her mind was telling her that it was all her imagination, and the world they were about to enter was the same snowy one they had left on the other side of the bridge, Lissa refused to listen to anything rational.
Stepping out into the white wonderland, Lissa and Leigh gazed about them a moment before their eyes met.
Lissa nodded. “We are here. This, Leigh, is a new world.” She made a gesture with her hand. “See, there are no footprints. Everything is fresh and new.” Her eyes left her brother’s face and swept over the landscape once more until her gaze locked on the towering pine tree that was missing its top. Somehow, she wasn’t quite sure how, she felt that she was that tree, stunted and suppressed. “I won’t stay that way,” she said half aloud.
“What? You won’t stay what way?” Leigh asked.
Tearing her eyes away from the tree, Lissa shook her head. “Nothing.” There were some things hard to talk about, even to her twin. As she put her hand in her pocket, she felt the orange Leigh had given her. Now was the perfect time to eat it. “Here,” she said, pulling it out. “Let’s eat the first food in our new world.”
She took one glove off and tried to dig her nail into the thick skin, but she couldn’t get it started.
“Let me try.” Taking the fruit, Leigh pulled a small pocket knife from his coat pocket and soon had the skin off and the orange divided into two parts. “Here.”
Lissa took one half but said, “You eat the other half.”
“No. I had lunch. You eat it,” and he set the second half on top of the first.
For a moment Lissa hesitated. She was hungry, yet her desire to continue to pretend was stronger still. “We must both eat if we want our new life in this world to be better than the last.” She held a half out, pleading with her eyes for her twin to take it.
“I’ll eat one piece,” Leigh agreed, peeling a small wedge from the juicy orange. “You have to eat the rest of it.”
Lissa knew from his tones that he wouldn’t budge from his statement. Most of the time she liked the feeling of being taken care of by her brother, but sometimes she wished he wasn’t quite so protective. Giving in, Lissa nodded. “Let’s walk while I eat,” she suggested, popping a piece of orange into her mouth and savoring its sweet flavor.
Neither twin said a word as they slowly strolled forward along the snowy path in companionable silence. Each was lost in their own thoughts. Finally, after Lissa had finished her orange, pulled her glove back on, and stuck her hand in her pocket, Leigh asked, “Why did you leave the cabin?”
“To get away from everything. I was tired of the constant complaining, arguing, and shouting. There hasn’t been a moment of silence since we arrived. Even at night there are snores, or loud voices from those who don’t go to bed. I just couldn’t stand it any more.”
“Yeah, it’s pretty bad. I’ll be glad to get back to school.”
“Leigh,” Lissa looked up at her brother, “do you think we could ask Mrs. Harrel if she has a different home for us?”
For a moment Leigh was silent. “I don’t know. We might end up in a worse place. The Grose family aren’t too bad back home, are they?”
“N-o-o-o, I guess not.” Lissa had never liked living with the Groses. It wasn’t that they were mean to her, but no one really got along, the children, all middle school and younger in age, treated her like their personal slave, and when she didn’t comply with their demands soon enough, they would cry and carry on until Mr. or Mrs. Grose scolded her for causing such a fuss.
With Leigh it was different. He was gone much of the time to one sports practice or event or another and when he was home, he wasn’t at the beck and call of the younger ones.
“Perhaps I should have joined a sports team,” she muttered.
“You? Ha!” Leigh chuckled. “You know you hate playing sports.”
Lissa knew that well. She had been made to join a sports team when they lived with another foster family, and she had been miserable.
A few flakes of snow began to drift down from the white sky. Tilting her head back, Lissa squinted up and tried to catch one on her tongue.
“Lissa, perhaps we should be heading back now.”
Slowly Lissa readjusted her scarf, glanced back the way they had come, and shook her head. A sudden fit of independence or recklessness had come over her, and she folded her arms. “I’m not going back yet. They’ll only scold us for going out anyway and, if that’s the case, we might as well take our time.”
Leigh’s eyes widened. He’d never heard his usually compliant and eager-to-please sister talk in this fashion. “Lissa, what’s gotten into you?” he asked. “Do you just want to make Mrs. Grose worry? Come on,” he placed a hand on her arm. “The snow is coming down a little harder. We don’t want to be caught out here in a storm.”
Are you ready to buy the book?
Do you wish it was out now?
Will you be back to read the Thanksgiving story?