This is my first novel. The protagonist, Fawn Larson, is a Cherokee half-breed, educated in a finishing school for girls, paid for by a local state senator. Fawn’s grandmother lives alone and is slightly disabled. Fawn gets word at school that her parents have been killed in an accident so she leaves school to go home and take care of her grandmother. The setting is post Civil War in Mercer County, West Virginia. The book is available in paperback from barnesandnoble.com and amazon.com. The link is for the amazon site. Also, clicking on the picture of the book doesn’t take you to the order page. You must scroll down through the blog roll and click on “Vengeance.”
By Aleta Kay
Drip…drip…plop…drip…plop…drip…limestone droplets dripping on my head, dripping down my back, my face, my arms. Dripping, dripping, in this cold, clammy, dark place. Odious smell of vermin. Shrieks. Bats? Rats? Creeping things. Palpable darkness. Water running down the pit. I can hear it dropping to the bottom, a deep, hollow sound. Can’t see my feet, can’t see the walls, can’t see my and in front of my face Screaming, screaming. Oh, my god, it’s my own voice and I’ll never get out of here!
The overcast sky matched the heaviness in Fawn Larson’s soul as she stood in the family grave yard. Her brother, Gray Eagle, had been killed in the war and was buried in his Yankee uniform. How proud he had been to have had a part of making West Virginia a state, and for the chance to fight to keep all men free. Droop Mountain Battlefield was stained with some of his blood.
Right now Fawn wished she could talk to Gray about this situation. Two new graves were beside his now, the reason for her return from the finishing school. He had always been strong and a good listener. Though only eighteen when he died, Gray would have known how to proceed from here, how to make sure Nanna was still taken care of. Gray would be the one getting a job, or maybe he’d be working their small farm while Fawn worked.
She hurriedly brushed the tears from her face. No time for tears now. She lovingly stroked the hand-hewed stone that marked his grave, kissed her fingers and touched the cold stone once more. What would she do without her parents? How would she take care of Nanna now that she had lost her post?
Taking a deep breath to squelch more sobs, she mounted her horse, Arctic Sun, and rode the quarter of a mile to her two-story log home.
“Nanna, I’m home,” she called as she walked in the door. Wearily she hung her hat on the hook by the door, then slowly took off her ugly gray-green hand-me-down riding jacket, which was a size too big. It was the only one she owned.
“Fawn, honey, whatchoo doin’ home this time o’ month? You ain’t hurt or sick are you?”
“No. It’s worse than that,” she sighed heavily and plunked down on the couch that was nearly threadbare. Nanna sat beside her, propping her walking canes against the end of the furniture. Putting her arm around Fawn’s shoulder, she gently pulled her close as when she had been a small child. Fawn was too bone tired to protest that she was an adult now. At the moment, she surely didn’t feel like one.
“I’ve lost my post, Nanna. Mr. Bailey dismissed me without even hearing me out. I did everything he asked me to do and kept records of everything. I wanted to prove that I had learned to be able to teach at the finishing school. Perhaps I didn’t learn enough.”
Nanna patted Fawn’s shoulder. “How about a nice cup of hot tea or cocoa? I’ve got some cold biscuits in the kitchen too. Are you hungry?”