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Tall Pines Sanctuary

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An excerpt from Chapter one, two different scenes

Faith stared at her grandparents’ portrait, hanging over the huge mantel above the stone fireplace. The elderly couple gazed down at her. Grandmother in a traditional Ute fringed deerskin dress and moccasins. Gramps wearing a buckskin jacket with his old tweed flatcap atop his head. Their smiles revealed the love they had for each other and their life together. Faith remembered the day she’d finished the painting. The love in their eyes had extended to her too.


She poured over her grandmother’s features. The ones she’d inherited. Among them was thick black hair which hung to her waist. She hadn’t an ounce of her mother’s European appearance. Only a bit of her Irish father and grandfather’s traits in her light green eyes.


A year after the picture was painted, Grandmother Adele died. Her death came about so fast, but it wasn’t a mystery why she passed away. Septicemia. A rapid decline in her health.


But this? Two years later, Faith’s beloved grandfather was gone too.


“Why, Gramps? Why now?” Faith had tried to figure out what had happened. Over and over, she’d wrestled with the idea that Gramps’ death couldn’t have been an accident. He’d built those stairs himself and ensured they were the proper depth and height. Strips of anti-slip tape covered them, not slippery carpets. Plus the solid cedar sapling rails he’d installed on both sides to hold on to. He was careful that way. And yet, he’d fallen.


“So what happened, Gramps?”


He always said he’d leave this cabin to her someday, and now he had. Too soon.


The tears she’d held oozed over her bottom lashes onto her cheeks.


When a hand touched her back, Faith jumped. She spun and almost knocked Grace off her feet. “Oh. I’m sorry. I thought you were still outside.” Faith turned to the mantel and wiped away her tears with the soggy handkerchief she’d carried throughout the funeral and afternoon luncheon. She’d endured words of sympathy received from her grandfather’s friends who had come to the log cabin after the burial.

“Everyone is on their way home. Your mom wanted to come back in, but your dad told her to let you grieve. Gal, I’m worried about you.”

Faith took a deep breath and turned to face Grace. “I’m all right.” She swallowed hard. “I’ll… I—”

“You’ll get through this.” Grace pulled Faith into a hug.


As Faith still pondered her grandfather’s death, she and Grace sat on the couch in the huge cabin and watched a movie about a Christmas train trip. Grace told her she might get her thoughts off the sadness for a while with a romantic flick.


Faith’s heart ached. How could she turn feelings off? She couldn’t accept Gramps’ death as an accident. Something was wrong. What caused him to fall down the flight of stairs from the second floor? She twisted to sit sideways. Her eyes drifted from the film to the catwalk under the cathedral ceiling. Had someone else been there that day? If so, why hadn’t they helped her grandfather? Why hadn’t they called emergency instead of leaving him unconscious… to die?


Angry heat filled her chest. She had to figure it out. Her eyes narrowed as she recalled the information her dad had told her. No one had been here when Dad came to check on Gramps after his phone calls went to voicemail the next day. There was no answer when her dad pounded on the door. Everything was locked. He scanned the huge living room through the bay window from the front deck and caught a glimpse of his father’s arm on the floor at the bottom of the staircase.


Faith leaned forward to brace her elbows on her thighs. She lowered her head and pressed her temples with the palms of her hands.


“Are you okay, Faith?” Grace rubbed her friend’s back.


“No. I’m not. This just doesn’t make sense. There must be another explanation for Gramps’ death… other than an accident. I won’t believe or accept it.”

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Amethyst Lights

Excerpt from story

With their load of berries, mushrooms, and nuts, Lylan and Jaden flitted their way back to the campsite they’d set up between home and the pond. Jaden’s stomach let out a low growl. Lylan chuckled to himself.


“I’m starved, Lylan. Let’s eat before I pass out.”


“You’re always going to faint from hunger, Jaden. All you think about is your stomach.”


“Well, unlike you, Lylan, well into your two-thousand, seven-hundred seventy-seventh year, I’ve not quite become of age yet, only being one-thousand, eight hundred ninety-two years old. I still have a hundred and eight years to go to get to two-thousand. I’m still a growing faeryman.” Jaden grinned at his brother.


“Yeah. You’ll grow sideways if you don’t learn to curb your appetite. What will you do then? Just how much weight do you imagine those wings will carry?” Lylan let out a hearty laugh and lowered the makeshift leaf sack to a rock next to the campfire ring. “Okay, let’s eat and make our way home. Athair said we shouldn’t be out past twilight tonight, which draws near.”


Athair hadn’t worried like this about them staying out late for many years now. What was Athair afraid of this night? Lylan munched on his food. Could it have something to do with the old stranger who’d shown up on their doorstep this day a century ago? The poor faeryman looked like he’d been beaten and left in the bushes to die. Over the years, he’d never recalled what happened to him. He didn’t even remember who he was or where he’d come from.


Lylan clamped his lips together between his teeth. He’d have to ask his athair what he knew about the fair-haired stranger they’d decided to call Fyan. Had he ever mentioned this strange village with the purple glow? Maybe Athair anticipated another raid on the village like the one a hundred years ago.


As twilight began to fall and the young faerymen finished their meal, the dense trees rustled behind them. Lylan grabbed his brother, placed a hand over Jaden’s mouth, and dragged him back into a clump of brush. “Hush. We’ve tarried too long. It’s almost dark, and you know what Athair said.”


Jaden nodded.


The bushes parted, and a beautiful faerylet fell out the way Jaden had that afternoon. Her lovely sparkling, white gown appeared to have gone through quite the journey, torn almost to shreds. Her glowing hair, white with a trace of golden hue, flew around her head as if she’d been in a whirlwind. Lylan’s eyes narrowed. Who was she? And why was she out so late by herself… with no shoes? She wasn’t from Glistineare.


He let loose of his brother, allowing him to fall into the leaves, and stepped out of the shrubs.

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