Good morning FFFs,
It's a sunny morning here. Still in the 40s, but it's supposed to warm up to the upper 60s or low 70s. Things are really starting to look green. Since we've had such a strange winter/spring these last two months, most of the trees haven't leafed out like they usually have by this time. Now they are starting to.
This past week has been good and not good. The good in that I've been able to write most days, I only have 400 words left to reach my Camp NaNo goal, I had a birthday, and I've sold a few kindle books and a couple paperbacks. The not so good is that I've been fighting some allergy thing. It's gone from just something annoying, to an ear ache, to a bad sore throat, to a cough, to headaches. Yeah, fun. :P Okay, not so fun.
If you haven't seen it yet, I am celebrating my birthday this week! You can get all the info on Read Another Page. But just remember, if you are going to order any of my books from Light of Faith, and want them sighed, do it before Saturday night because you can use the code BIRTHDAY and get 20% off! And the Triple Creek Ranch kindle books are all on sale for $1.99 right now. The price returns to $4.99 Saturday night.
Here's the very first part of my Camp NaNo story. Much to my delighted surprise, I've actually worked on this story all month! Now I need to do some more research before I get much farther into it. I hope you like it.
[It needs a working title]
Stirring his cold scrambled eggs around on his plate, Austin Sparks frowned. They were dry. Again. In disgust he pushed them to the side of his plate and looked across the table to where his dad sat buried behind a newspaper. He assumed his dad hadn’t even noticed the dry eggs, the half burnt bacon, or the sour orange juice.
“Austin,” a young voice whispered.
Glancing to his left, Austin raised questioning eyebrows as his younger sisters. They were twins and he didn’t know which had said his name.
“Do we have to eat our eggs?” Addy asked.
Wordlessly he shook his head. If he couldn’t stomach them, he doubted his younger siblings could. Well, except for Drew. The ten-year-old had cleaned his plate and was busy licking the butter knife. “Did you want more eggs, Drew?” he asked.
“Nope. Can I be excused?”
Mr. Sparks didn’t move, and after waiting a moment, Austin nodded. “Take care of your dishes.”
The twins took Drew’s permission for their own and scooted back their chairs quickly, no doubt eager to get out into the warm summer sunshine away from the gloomy kitchen.
The kitchen hadn’t always been gloomy, Austin recalled, standing up and carrying his own dishes to the sink. When Mom was still alive the whole house was bright and happy. After dumping the cold eggs into the garbage disposal, Austin ran it before turning the water to hot and filling up the sink in preparation for washing the dishes. Everyone took turns washing the dishes, and Saturday mornings was Austin’s turn.
The sound of the children outside on the swings brought back memories of the hours Austin had spent outside on those swings with his mom pushing him. For the first seven years of his life it had just been his mom, his dad, and him. Then Drew came along, followed two years later by the twins. A smile crossed Austin’s face as he recalled the commotion the arrival of Adeline and Avonlea had caused.
Dropping the glass he had just picked up, Austin turned slowly. “What?”
Still at the table, Mr. Sparks folded the newspaper slowly and laid it on the table. “To the ranch.”
“Dad, you hate that ranch.” Sudsy water dripped from Austin’s hands onto the tile floor, but he took no notice of it.
His father shrugged. “It’s better than nothing. And we can’t stay here.” Pain filled the man’s eyes and spread across his face as he looked about the room. His wife’s death six months before had left him with little will to go on.
Turning back to the sink, Austin mechanically washed the rest of the dishes and rinsed them before he said, “When are we leaving?”
“Dad!” This time Austin grabbed the back of a chair, spun it around and straddled it backwards preparing for an argument. “You can’t expect us to just pack up our whole lives in a few days and move states away. It’s going to take longer than that. Not to mention going through Mom’s stuff that’s in the attic.” The pain in his father’s eyes deepened, but Austin ignored it. “Why do we have to move so suddenly? What about your job?”
“I was let go yesterday. And,” he shifted in his chair, “the house sold.”
Mr. Sparks nodded, rubbing a hand over his rough chin. He hadn’t shaved that morning. “Your aunt Mimmie is coming on Monday. She’ll help. Grandpa said the old trailer on his land has been updated, or something. We’ll stay there. At least until I can find a better place.” He looked up at his son, pleading in his eyes. “You’ve got to help me, Austin; I just can’t do it here any more. The memories . . .” He shook his head and looked away. “It’s too much.”
Austin didn’t reply. Since cancer had claimed the life of his mom, he had watched as his dad had withdrawn more and more into himself, grieving for the love of his life and seeming to forget the four children she had left him. He also seemed to forget or to ignore the healing God offered him, or so it seemed to his son. Drawing a long breath, Austin nodded. “Okay, Dad, but it’s not going to be easy.”
“I know. But Austin, I can’t keep going here. I’ve tried. I didn’t know what to do. I’ve prayed, and when your grandpa offered us the trailer, I felt it might be a step in the right direction, especially since work–” He cleared his throat. “Then I got a call from the realtor saying there’d been an offer on the house. A better offer than I had hoped for. Papers were signed yesterday.
Letting out a frustrated sigh, Austin gripped the back of the chair. “But why didn’t you tell us this sooner? Drew’s going to be upset when he has to leave his baseball team.”
“I thought he liked the ranch?” Mr. Sparks looked unsure.
“He does. Or at least last year he did. But that was later, after the baseball season ended.”
“I didn’t realize he’d started playing already this year.” Defeat filled Mr. Sparks’ voice and, resting his elbows on the table, he buried his face in his hands.
Silence filled the kitchen.
Did this catch your interest?
Do you feel sympathy for Austin? or Mr. Sparks?
Have you ever had to move suddenly?