EXCERPT FROM THE HOUSE – SEBASTIANA RANDONE
The intellectual prowess of Artemisia overwhelmed and excited the young
poet, whose engrossment with the workings of her mind was such,
that any enquiry as to her domestic arrangements was quite overlooked.
It is true to say however, that during their parting hours he did wonder
about her private life, but whenever the two met, these curiosities were
often usurped by matters more engaging and fascinating. Her beauty
was matched by an incisive and far reaching mind that would often wax
lyrically on a numerous range of topics, which rendered the absorbed
poet helpless to enquire about more mundane matters.
As with all developed intellects, an inquisitive nature was handed to
Artemisia from an early age, this set in motion a life time appetite for
knowledge. Amongst her many virtues, was that of a linguist, which
meant that she was able to communicate to David in his native tongue. It
appeared that life had only just started when they met, and that all other
experiences had become unimportant. Therefore, it was of no great
surprise to learn, notwithstanding the immeasurable anguish generated,
that she was in fact already married.
The Contessa de Luce resided with her substantially older husband,
the Count Giacomo de Luce in the opulent confines of Palazzo del Oro.
The couple met in Venice, Artemisia’s birth place, five years prior to her
encounter with David. The sixty-one year old count met his future wife
at one of the many lavish balls hosted by the doge, where Artemisia
cut a fine and graceful figure as she danced sinuously around the grand
Venetian hall. Instantly struck by her beauty and carriage, the count
assumed her to be from a noble family, which was very much not the case,
as this exemplary figure of refinement was in reality a courtesan. A fact
well obscured by a personality that combined gentility and forbearance,
the latter trait being quite unfounded in the typical coquettish concubine.
Thus it was not due to naiveté that had led the Count de Luce to believe
otherwise, it was the innate aura of elegance that Artemisia exuded, that
belied any hint of the licentiousness that one invariably connects to this
She had been introduced to this work early in her years. A distant
aunt had taken the adolescent to meet with her destiny in a house famed
for its training of young women. She was given the name Artemisia and
was placed under the auspices of a ‘signora’, who in time tutored the
young lady in the art of giving pleasure.
EXCERPT FROM THE HOUSE – SEBASTIANA RANDONE
I was born in Smithtown NY and raised in Rocky Mount, NC. I currently live in music city! I love how everyone I meet here is pursuing their dreams. Living in Nashville keeps me inspired on a daily basis.
I journal often and as a former pastor, I had to write sermons each week. If someone fell asleep during the sermon, I knew I needed to revise my writing style! That actually did happen a couple of times.
Pain. Joy. Humor.
Writing. To get published and have good marketing, you really just need money to hire experts to make that happen. Writing takes heart and time and persistence.
Word of mouth is the best
Absolutely. It’s hardest to share my work with family because I never know if they really like it or if they are being supportive. I know that as I continue to write there will be books and messages that my family may not like, but at the end of the day, I don’t write for my family, I write for the people who need to hear my message.
My family is very supportive, my mom is my biggest fan! My friends are amazing and definitely support me in more ways than I probably realize. I’m incredibly thankful for everyone around me.
Absolutely. I have another devotional book coming out in 2014 and I have a fiction and nonfiction book that are in the works.
You can make money writing? I had no idea as I have yet to experience this. I serve as a Program Director full time at Preston Taylor Ministries which is an afterschool program targeted to low income children. Working full time definitely cuts into my writing time, but I make it work!
I was a sales person at Build A Bear workshop and Victoria’s Secret in college. As a teenager, I volunteered at the library and worked as a hostess/waitress. During summers, I worked as a camp counselor and program director at Camp Walter Johnson and I have even leased apartments.
Labels: Excerpt |
As I continued my tour of the city I realised its devastation had grown to become normal to me, just as normal as the neatness and clean windows of buildings would have been before the earthquakes started. It would have shocked me more to see something still intact, and I began to pray that I would, but there was nothing. There were no lucky escapes. Everything had been sentenced to suffer the earth’s anger, and no-one had been reprieved.
I rounded a long bend in the road, and some distance further on I spotted a camouflaged army truck. I squinted at it, intrigued. The road ahead branched off into a smaller side-road on the right, with tall office buildings on each corner, and the truck had apparently veered and crashed into the concrete front of the opposite corner’s building. I hurried my pace and went over to it.
Reaching the side-road, I was taken aback by a huge barricade that stood perhaps ten feet tall and stretched across its width. It was built entirely from broken or fallen pieces of the surrounding buildings’ brick walls, and of huge grey chunks of concrete with their steel reinforcements rusting and twisted like a dead spider’s legs. All of the windows on the nearby buildings were shattered inward, broken by whoever had built the barricade before the earthquakes could break them.
I stopped in my tracks, wondering if its builders might still be here, and if they might be dangerous. Whatever had happened, it was plain that the military had been here and had encountered resistance. Regardless of which side had built the barricade against the other, I wasn’t sure who would be the biggest threat to me.
I ventured forward more cautiously, and a strong smell carried briefly on the subtle breeze as I neared, gone in a second but putrid enough to make me gag. I recognised the venomous scent of death, and against all better judgement and the churning in my stomach I walked on. I headed toward the shattered windows of the office building nearest to me, peering into the wide reception area, all of it collapsed inward and unrecognisable with debris and damage. As I stepped into its shadow and crunched over the tiny glass shards and brick dust, the smell grew stronger, and I turned to see several limp shapes hanging from exposed pipes in the ceiling.
My stomach wrung itself, squeezing a shot of adrenaline through my veins, and my eyes adjusted enough to see four bodies hanging in charred and blood-soaked army khakis, swinging gently in a buzzing cloud of flies. Beyond them, I saw that the long reception room actually led past the barricade, and must have been the only way in and out from behind it. The hanged soldiers were a warning.
I quietly began to withdraw when my eye caught a small dark shape on the floor beneath the nearest soldier, and I pulled my sweaters up over my nose and mouth, and quickly went over. Trying not to look at the swinging body, I reached out and picked up the heavy semi-automatic handgun which must have fallen from him, feeling its thick metal cold in my hand.
As I felt its substantial weight, a flood of shame began to melt into me at my revulsion toward the bodies, and I looked up at them. They hung, lifeless and decomposed, their violence so far behind them that peace was now all they knew. Each of them had once been real people, and somewhere there were still films and videos and photographs of them as children, playing, held by proud parents.
I slowly stood up next to the nearest soldier and looked at his face, the head at an angle, its discoloured and bloodied flesh now dried and retreating from his teeth to reveal a grotesque grin. The nausea I had felt now welled up as sadness in my eyes, and I looked down at the dull, cold metal of the gun, then turned and left.
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Genre - Apocalyptic fiction
Rating – PG
Labels: Excerpt |
Chapter 30 (excerpt)
“We Miss You Timmy” had made the local headlines a week after the event. It had turned Bryan into a local celebrity and, in the words of many politicians and the police chief who had paid for the pizzas, a ‘fine young role model.’ Bryan had been granted an interview and it covered nearly an entire page of the paper with a notice at the bottom that read, “for the full interview, visit our webpage.”
Bryan had talked about the same stuff he had spoken to Conor about. He mentioned PMA and how he had given up on what he called self-destructive behaviours; things like alcohol, cigarettes, weed or hate. He said hate probably was the worst drug of them all.
“You can hate someone until it blinds you or you can hate yourself until you hurt yourself. Sometimes it’s not so bad, like drinking a little when you’re bummed out, other times you end up with tragic situations,” he said, implying Timmy’s apparent suicide. The journalist hinted here and there that he had rarely spoken with a young man who was so enlightened and composed. It was a breath of fresh air to see young people caring that way.
When pressed by the journalist as to why he had gathered so many kids in one place to have an improvised skateboarding festival, he simply replied, “Because we needed it. We effing needed it.”
Conor flipped the paper closed. He was in the back room on his fifteen minute break. He ate the last of his small bag of chips and drank the last of his Pepsi. He had his foot (and dirty boots) on the top of the receiving table, leaning back in a five legged chair that only had three wheels left on it. He had fallen on his back more than a few times and often managed to hurt his head in the process, but there was something comforting about the chair so he never threw it away. His dad had the same bad habit of leaning in that chair and falling asleep, dangerously dangling on the three wheels, ready to tip at any moment.
His mother couldn’t figure out why they didn’t throw the damn thing away, especially since she had ordered a brand new chair and it was sitting in the corner, waiting to be assembled.
“When are you going to assemble it?” she would ask her husband.
“I’m on my break.”
“You’ll assemble it after your break?”
“I don’t think so.”
“So when are you going to do it?”
“After the crops.”
That was in at least four to eight weeks. She’d leave the back room exasperated, knowing they would pick up the argument again tomorrow.
Conor, alone in the shop, had not run into his mother that day but he knew she would drop by at least once during his shift. She claimed it was to make sure he was alright, and part of him believed that. But another part of him felt she just wanted to make sure he was working.
He had picked up the list she had left for him on the desk. The first task was to water the plants, then refill the black soil that was on sale in the front of the store. She wanted him to sweep the floor after he was done with it and, if time allowed, he was to fill claim forms for broken pots and potteries.
“I’ll be there around noon so you can eat. Love you, mom,” she wrote.
He had completed the first half of his chore list and then took his break before passing the broom. Hardly anyone had come into the store. It was early on a Saturday and most people had taken care of all their gardening needs weeks ago. Conor had sold a grand total of $54 worth of merchandise in the last two hours.
Gerard was in the garage preparing the machinery that people would rent from the coop to gather the crops. Until then, there was not much to do in the shop.
Most of the fields around were corn but there was also a bit of soy, cauliflower and canola. So Gerard worked overtime to make sure there were no broken machines, no dull blade, and no flat tires. The farmers could not afford to miss an hour’s work; once the crops were ready to go, they were ready to go.
Conor’s family was used to this and right after the rush, some farmers would bring the family their best fruits and vegetables and they made a feast with it. They invited Angela and her family, Jake’s as well and any other friends that Conor might have wanted to invite.
This year they could count out on Jake and his family. Tim was dead and even if they could find Jake, Conor felt that their relationship could never be the same again. There was the issue of him dating Angela that had pulled the friends apart but there was something else as well. Jake had become bitter. He hated everything and anything and it had started even before Tim’s suicide. Jake was angry all the time; smoking all the time.
By no means did Conor think he was doing fine. On all accounts he was losing his PMA. Bryan would have probably been disappointed and Conor didn’t know what to think about that either. Bryan was a role model now; Conor was passing the broom. He was becoming jealous of Bryan even though he knew he shouldn’t be. He didn’t like it but he couldn’t shake it away.
Bryan had been given a job at the local youth center and he was going to put on some shows and events, gather support from sponsors and give kids something to do. That was Bryan now. Bryan believed in community. Bryan liked people. Conor didn’t like people all that much. Timmy didn’t either. Timmy hated the world. Timmy wanted out and music was his ticket. When that didn’t work, Timmy drank, Timmy drove. Timmy hated the world some more and now Timmy was dead.
And as much as Bryan wanted to influence Conor in a positive way, Conor wasn’t all that positive. Conor hated the world. Maybe not as bad as Timmy, but he hated it still. Most of all, Conor wanted out of L’Assomption and he knew most of the kids around him wanted out just the same.
All they really wanted to do was fuck around, be creative, listen to music, skateboard or go to a show. People kept telling them growing up was supposed to be tough but it was not like they didn’t know that already. Timmy had listened. Timmy had finished school and got himself a job. That didn’t stop him from running his van into a pillar one night so what was the fucking use? Nobody seemed to have an answer.
Am I going to end up dead as well? Conor started thinking. Sometimes he felt like it would be easier that way, that Timmy had shown him an easy way out.
He didn’t want Angela or his mother to feel that they were responsible for his death. He didn’t want them to even know he was thinking about it. That would start something ugly and he didn’t want that. He couldn’t run a van into the same pillar Timmy did, people would get suspicious. But there were other ways to die.
Dying was easy. He had just found a way to kill himself right there as he was sweeping the floor. He was sweeping up fertilizer. They were small pellets of fertilizer that had dropped one by one from bags. These small pellets, that were inoffensive by themselves, would kill you if taken into larger doses. They would leave you dead on the spot.
The problem with that was that it would clearly have been a suicide. There was no way he could accidentally swallow that much fertilizer. So the poison was out.
He could go up to Rawdon and swim in that piece of the river over the waterfall where kids go to swim. Three or four of them drown every year going through the waterfall. They are always ruled out as accidental. The town put up signs and fences and warnings and gates. Still kids go and swim there. Maybe Conor could have a swim there; just like one of the locals so often do. He could slip downstream by accident.
He was fed up sweeping the floor and stacking shelves. He had picked Social Sciences in spite of his mother and his coach’s advice, but who was to say that he would like Social Science at all. He ’ll end up working a job he may or may not like, fall in love and get married, and have 2.2 kids, save money to send them to school so they could study and get a job they may or may not like? It felt like a long and, well, circular circle.
There was not much to life, not these days anyways. He always felt he needed more, wanted more. He wanted to break the loop, get free. Sweeping the floor certainly didn’t help free him. Maybe music would make him free, books or cinema would make him free. Maybe he would hitch a ride to Toronto and work on some books or movies there. Maybe he would join a band and tour the East Coast. Maybe someone somewhere would see in him something more than what his mom saw in him, that he wasn’t meant for small town life. Maybe Conor was going to be the next big thing, a new Kurt Cobain or that guy from the Dharma book, Noah Levine.
Maybe Bryan would still be here, in L’Assomption, taking care of kids at $16 an hour while he’d be in New York or Frisco at some art show with Angela, if only she’d wake up and bail with him.
She could be a world famous artist and he could be a world famous thinker, writer or singer and they could live their lives away from the claustrophobic town of L’Assomption.
Maybe that would happen. Maybe it was all bullshit. Mostly it was all bullshit.
That shit only happens on TV, he thought.
He felt he’d be stuck with a shitty job he didn’t like. Angela would end up a cashier or a clerk, only painting for a few more years before boredom caught up to her and she’d give up on it. That was the most likely scenario. That was what Conor was seeing all around town anyways.
Maybe Conor would wait for winter to come, take the car for a lone snowboarding trip at St-Côme Village. He could end up in a snowstorm on the way back, end up in a ditch. The roads were pretty deserted during a good blizzard. Maybe the snow would blur his vision and he’d drift on the ice as the plow was coming the other way around.
“There’s always a plow,” he thought. “Always!”
“What are you thinking about?” his mother asked him as she walked into the store. She rested two bags on the counter, checked the company mail.
“Nothing,” Conor replied but he was still thinking about that god damned plow. It’s heavy payload to keep the truck steady, the sharp metallic edge at the front of it, the sheer weight and speed of it.
She looked at him, uncertain of what to say. There was something odd about Conor, but maybe she had just taken him by surprise. He probably had forgotten to do something and was trying to get away with it. Who knew?
“Nothing,” he repeated.
“Alright,” she said.
He got his feet off the desk, threw the empty bag of chips in the garbage can next to him. He got up and went back to work without a word. Nothing, he thought. That was one of the biggest lie he had ever told.
Genre - Literary, Coming of Age
Rating – PG13
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Thanks for being part of the Bulletproof excitement! It’s a pleasure to visit so many wonderful bloggers courtesy of Orangeberry Book Tours. Today I have a treat for readers – an excerpt from Bulletproof, the first novel in Unknown Identities, my new paranormal romantic suspense series.
John Noble hasn’t had an easy life and a few years back, a reporter’s lies nearly got him killed, so protecting Amelia Bennett, a tough, controversial reporter in Boston isn’t his ideal assignment. The story she’s working on could make her career, but only if his skills can keep her alive long enough to tell it. In this excerpt, what should have been a simple meeting with her source quickly goes awry:
John set a hand on her shoulder, preventing her next maneuver. “Stay put for a minute.”
Exasperated, she spun around and found her view full of his dark shirt and tie. Slowly her eyes traced up across the freshly shaved terrain of his throat and over the trim beard accenting his jaw until her gaze was locked with his. She stared into those hard, green depths, heedless of the rain catching in her eyelashes. The ability to breathe deserted her.
There had to be a remedy for this strange, magnetic pull he held over her. Her melting mascara might have been enough to break the spell, if he hadn’t dropped his gaze to watch her lick a raindrop from her lips.
Something deep inside her wanted to reach out and capitalize on his distraction. To discover if the rain tasted different after trailing across his skin.
Blinking away the peculiar thought, she cleared her throat. He wasn’t here to fulfill some long-buried fantasy, he was here because her boss insisted she was in danger. “This meeting is essential,” she managed to squeeze out between gritted teeth.
“So is your safety.”
“I have to get across the street.”
“Can’t get the story to your readers from the grave.”
The hair prickled on the back of her neck. For a bodyguard offering protection, he gave considerable voice to her imminent demise. There was no arguing with the statement or with him, based on the implacable expression he was sporting.
Frustrated on more levels than she cared to analyze, she turned back toward the street. “That’s my meeting place.” She tilted her head toward the Revolutionary Cemetery shrouded in rain, the old grave markers splashed with red and blue from the emergency lights. “Do you see anyone?”
She started to work her way closer, but before she’d managed a few paces, she felt his hand on her shoulder again. “Wait here.”
“No.” Her source had surely run from all this commotion, but she needed to see for herself. She understood people and though they’d never met, she knew she could recognize her source by the body language if given half a chance. Around her, people in the crowd murmured but no one wept or mentioned names. In a community the size of Sudbury that meant the problem in the street involved strangers, but this seemed like a big crowd for a distracted tourist induced accident.
Please, don’t let it be my contact. It couldn’t be, she decided. A thought like that was simply a paranoid side effect having a bodyguard. She and her source had been too careful in light of the careers and lives on the line with this story.
“Let me do my job,” he growled at her ear.
“You’re here to enable me to do mine.” She studied his features, noticed the wariness in his eyes as he studied the cemetery across the street. Had he noticed a threat she’d missed? “What happened to keeping me in sight?”
The glare he leveled on her made her think twice. She couldn’t let him intimidate her or having him around would derail her story anyway. Holding her ground, she folded her arms across her chest and glared right back.
I hope you enjoyed meeting Amelia and John today as much as I enjoyed writing them. From the moment they arrived in the same scene, they were butting heads and dodging the flying sparks of attraction. As their story progressed, a grudging respect turned into a valuable team effort to stay alive and dare something completely new – lasting love.
Live the adventure!
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Genre - Romantic Suspense
Rating – R
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It was time to let go and move on.
Late Saturday afternoon, Charlie stood over three tombstones, holding three bunches of red tulips in her hand at St. Lucas Cemetery. Several months passed since Charlie lost her family, and this was the first time she visited her family's gravesite since the funeral. It was tough going there knowing what her family had suffered. Within a matter of days of each other, she lost her mother, father and only sibling. Charlie believed it would destroy her. And it almost did. Her sleep patterns were thrown into a flux. She wasn't painting as much as she used to, and she closed herself off to everyone but a select few. Every day she walked around with a dark ghost that hovered over her, reminding her of ruin and just how risky life was.
After the tragedy, she distanced herself from work and sought counseling from her psychologist. Since then, things improved some, but not much. She returned to work, returned to her art class, and even met a few new friends. But still she was immobilized from moving past her anguish, which haunted her.
After she brushed aside the colorful dead leaves from her family's adjacent tombstones, her eyes panned over to the words, Sandy Weiss and Terri Weiss. Gently she laid the tulips on her mother and sister's tombstones, but she could not bring herself to place anything on her father's grave. Her eyes locked in with his name. Maxwell Weiss.
How could someone she loved so much have brought her so much pain? But he did. She hesitated, pushed her animosity aside, and then laid the flowers on his grave. Already having forgiven him, now was not the time to rehash old resentments. The tombstones brought back useless memories, memories that chartered her to an ugly place of despair, a place she had gone many times before. She loved her parents like any normal person would, but she was most affected by the death of her sister, Sandy. Charlie was only a few years younger than her sister, and they looked almost exactly alike, except for the difference in hair color.
Her sister was a redhead.
A 3rd Time to Die by George Bernstein
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
George A. Bernstein’s “A 3rd Time to Die” is a beautiful book. To begin with, I found this novel very well-written. It's a subtle story of passion and purpose, love and tension, trust and distrust, and perhaps above all the importance of honesty.
The main characters who were romantically involved in the past and coming together in the present was unique and not a plot I have come across before. I have read one other book by this author, Trapped, and just like that book the final twist was unexpected and surprised me.
A 3rd Time to Die is the kind of book you remember vividly long after you have finished. It is a marvellously written, compelling story, masterfully plotted and paced.
Disclosure - As a Quality Reads Book Club member, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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Labels: Book of the Day |
Book Excerpt: (Chapter 2)
The brass doors opened behind her bringing with it an unexpected guest.
“I knew you’d come home.”
Onyx’ heart sank hearing him speak in that gentle voice. He always used that voice when he knew he was wrong; when he was trying to make her forgive him. It felt repulsively sweet now.
“She was just leaving,” Jade said in a firm tone as she turned to face him.
“Nicky, you brought a bodyguard with you? That hurts,” he sounded genuinely insulted.
“Goodbye, Philip.” Onyx said softly, suddenly lacking the confidence she just had.
Philip reached out for her arm, but Jade intercepted the action, grabbing him by the wrist and twisting it until he let out an almost inaudible yelp.
“You will not lay a hand on her. Not now, not ever again. If you so much as brush against her in a way I don’t like, I will break every bone in your body, starting with your pinky toe and ending with your skull.” She twisted just a little further.
But he didn’t lose his composure. He looked Onyx dead in the eye, “Quite a lot of bark for your little Chihuahua of a friend here, huh? Nicky, we don’t need all of this. This running away, the muscle, the hiding out, we are better than this. You know I love you more than anything in the world. Just come home, baby. I need you. It’ll be different, I promise. I’ll start going to therapy like you always wanted. You can even hang out with that crayon haired one. No questions asked. Just come home. What do you say? Come on, I need you.”
“Onyx, don’t you listen to him. Put the bags in the elevator, we’re leaving.”
Onyx hesitated, switching her gaze back and forth between the two. He looked so hurt, so broken up, she just wanted to leap into his arms and console him. For a moment, she could feel her heart ripping in her chest; she believed him. She believed he meant he would change and things would be different. She believed it and she hated herself for it.
Onyx rolled her bags into the elevator before she lost her nerve.
“Goodbye, Philip.” She said again.
“If you love her even half as much as you say, you’ll let us leave here. You’ll leave her alone and move on with your life. But keep the therapy bit, you need it.” Jade winked at him before joining Onyx.
As Jade released his wrist, he noticed a small green marking on her arm; a very familiar mark that he knew all too well.
The girls disappeared down to the ground floor, leaving Philip alone in his flower filled living room. He pulled out his phone and hit speed dial.
“She’s with the Order of Earth. Find out what family, find out who their Protector is, and find out now.”
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Genre - Urban Fantasy
Rating – PG – 13
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Labels: Book of the Day |
The unknown figure’s back was to them as he connected the wires to the detonator. Will shoved Tom. Only minutes remained.
They located the last connection point where the blasting caps were wired to two sticks of dynamite. The wires to the plunger snaked up the hill. The connecting strands were twisted, tightly, as with pliers. Tom snatched a rock, but Will grabbed his hand and pointed up the hill. Tom understood. The man would hear the pounding. They each took a twisted connection and tried to pry it apart with their fingers. They would need to break only one.
The wires resisted. Tom gritted his teeth, then remembered his pocket knife. He pulled it out, flipped the blade open, and wedged the tip between two strands. He twisted and the blade snapped. The sound startled the man. He whirled around and stared directly at the boys. Tom forced the broken blade into the gap in the wires. Will put his finger on top of one and pulled as Tom twisted. Blood ran down Will’s hand as the metal bit into his finger. They strained, and watched the man. His eyes darted in all directions. Then he made his decision. He pulled the plunger up, hesitated a moment, and slammed it down.
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Genre - YA/Mystery
Rating – PG – 13
Labels: Book of the Day |
Chiku couldn’t help stare at the large bulge that was Rebecca’s baby-to-be. It made her reflect upon the gynecological exam Dr. Kessel had just given her. At sixteen, she couldn’t imagine being anyone’s mother, except maybe a chimpanzee’s. Rebecca was only fourteen, an eighth grader back home, a middle schooler. How could she be a mother? Yet even in wealthy well-educated America girls in their mid-teens were getting knocked up all the time, having their babies, and changing their lives in ways unpredictable and permanent. Not Chiku. Boys could go to hell.
“When was the last time you saw him?” Chiku asked.
“Two week. Three week. He ask me how my baby doing. I tell him, fine. He give me twenty francs. He always give me money.”
“And that was it?” Chiku gazed at Tim who was still holding all of the things she had given him from her buried stash. “What about Dr. Fisher? Do you know why he’d be in my dad’s house?”
Rebecca dipped her head in thought then gave out with a startled grunt as the baby inside her gave a hefty kick. “Soon,” she said, “Any day my Abasi.” Then she staggered against Chiku.
“You okay? Maybe she’s coming out now.” Chiku was aghast.
“No. No. He. Not yet. No water.”
“Well, you can’t stand here. You have to sit, Rebecca. In the shade.”
Chiku pulled the pregnant girl into the cooler cover of the banana tree. “You want water? Something to drink?”
Rebecca leaned against the tree rather than risk getting herself into a position from which she couldn’t rise. She panted, holding a hand against her belly, Chiku watching that hand move not of its own volition but due to the child inside raring to get going with life.
Not for me, Chiku thought.
Rebecca said, “I okay.”
“When the water break, then we know.”
“Know what?” Chiku asked.
“That the baby is coming,” Tim said. He placed his hands on his friend’s shoulders. They were trembling as if she were the one about to go into labor. “Honestly, Chiku, what do they teach you in Brookline, Massachusetts?”
“How to avoid reality.”
Chiku took Rebecca’s hand. It was cool and sweaty and on her ring finger she was wearing something that looked awfully familiar to Chiku. “Nice,” she said. “Amethyst. My color. My ring, actually. How’d you get it?”
“Your father give me.”
“Cool. It matches your dress.”
Chiku didn’t care that it was an old ring, one that she had either lost or forgotten some distant time in the past and that probably couldn’t even fit her fingers anymore. She just wondered why her father would have given this particular girl this particular ring.
“I think they kill him,” she said.
“What?” Chiku’s eyes darted from the purple colored ring to the black face of the Hutu teenager.
“They were mad mad.”
“Fisher. Your father. Dr. Kessel. They all mad. And the others.”
“What others?” Chiku asked. “Does Colonel Fundanga know?”
“Colonel Fundanga one of them,” Rebecca said. “I keep quiet. Bad enough in the camp. I don’t want to die.”
Rebecca let out a long breath, took in a deep mouthful of air, and let out her discomfort once again. Then she smiled at Chiku before saying, “They come for you next. You his daughter.”
Genre - Young Adult
Rating – PG