Aicha Zoubair

Jessica Bell

Saturday, September 20, 2014

#Excerpt from Shadow Journey : A Mrs. Blackstone Story by S.D. O'Donnell @sdodonnell #GoodReads

The afternoon my husband, Ted, got the bad news, I asked our daughter to come over for dinner. Alice was 25, a single professional trying to make a name in the world of high finance. Whatever that meant. I taught botany at the local community college and Ted taught high school math, but according to her, we weren’t capable of grasping the ins and outs of investing money.

I’d long ago stopped trying to understand the child I brought into this world.

She usually demanded two weeks’ notice to schedule any kind of event, including dinner. I begged her to find time that night, and she finally agreed to stop by on her way home from a business engagement. She wouldn't guarantee a time.

Ted paced the house all night, wanting the telling over with. Alice and I had never grown out of the daughter-versus-mother conflict usually restricted to a child’s teenage years. Ted, though, always doted on her.

Eleven o'clock rolled around, and he was too exhausted to stay up. I eventually fell asleep on the couch, still waiting.

A loud knocking startled me from a dreamless, uneasy stupor. I was grateful to wake up because I thought the dark feelings would fade. Instead, a knot twisted in my stomach.

I caught a hint of dawn through the curtains. The clock showed 5:30 a.m. This was Alice on her way to work.

When I opened the door, she pushed through. "Where's Dad?"

"Still asleep. It's a bit early, don't you think?"

She shrugged, pushed her jacket sleeve up to look at her watch. "You insisted on seeing me."

“Would you like some tea? I've created a new mint blend with a hint of ginger that's guaranteed to perk you up."

“You know how I feel about your teas.”

"Coffee?”

“Mom, please. I have about five minutes to spare. Could you just spit it out?”

"Spit it out," I repeated slowly, then glanced at the closed door to our bedroom. Maybe it was best if Ted didn't have to deal with her initial reaction.

"At least sit down." I gestured at the sofa.

She sat and rested her hands on her lap, fingers interlocked as the thumbs danced a constant twirl around each other.

I settled across from her, working hard not to grind my teeth. "You got my message about taking your dad to the ER?"

"He was feeling faint or something, right?” she said, turning her head toward the digital clock sitting on the bookshelf across the room.

I waited until she took the trouble to look my way. "We got some news about why. They said ...”

I stumbled, unable to actually say the words out loud.

Alice's thumbs stopped mid-circle. She put her palms against the cushion and perched forward on her seat. "What? What is it?"

She looked like the little girl who fell asleep cuddled up with me at night on the sofa, afraid to go bed because she thought we’d disappear while she slept. I sat next to her, took her hand.

"It's a brain tumor, honey."

She knocked my hand away and jumped up, face pale.

"Are you sure?"

I nodded and stood, reached out, thinking I might hug her, but she was already running down the hall. She blasted the bedroom door open. I continued standing, waiting for her and Ted to come join me.

A minute later, someone closed the bedroom door. I could hear Ted's hushed tone, full of reassurances.
 
Shadow Journey

Love ... Loss ... Secrets

A Haunting Psychological Read

She starts alone.

"I SIT IN THE GAZEBO, alone. No cup of tea. No neighborly conversation to help fill the silence. Haunted by 85 years worth of musings, I watch the sun set and feel my age."

She ends alone.

And exposes a closely-guarded secret of 35 years in between.

˃˃˃ Meet Mrs. Vera Blackstone

First introduced in the thriller Deadly Memories, she quickly became a well-loved character -- even though she isn't the main one. But you don't have to read Deadly Memories before you enjoy this novella.

˃˃˃ Warning

This story will make you think and stays with you long after the last word is read.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Short Fiction
Rating – PG-13
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