YA Author Series - Author Spotlight: M. Wednesday

M. Wednesday

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Three Things About Me and Why I Write:

I’m 25, and as a housewife, I’ve been pursuing my career as a full-time writer for the past three years.

When I’m not writing, I’m drawing, playing guitar, skateboarding, entertaining my dogs, or taking care of my plants, or fish tanks. (I have a lot of plants – they’re all tropical and they hate Connecticut winters.)

I’ve always been a writer.  

My dream since second grade was to be an author, and my husband has helped me pursue that dream to the highest degree. I always felt like words and books were just my element. Since very little, I’d find happiness in daydreams and bringing them to life through spiraled bound notebooks. Simply, I write because the people living in my head need their story told.

The Story . . .

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Moon Reign is my first real book – a full length novel where I’ve thrown my whole soul into it. It revolves around nineteen-year-old Drystan and his dragon, Soren, and how they witness what is said to be known as The Birth of a Unicorn the night prior to Soren’s unwilling farewell. For hundreds of years, unicorns, their magic, and their origins have been condemned to legend throughout the galaxy. Though Drystan has his doubts of this phenomenon, his urgent need to reestablish his father’s depleting health drives his faith towards the healing powers of star magic, the most dynamic force in the universe embedded in unicorns. However, they were not the only ones to have witnessed The Birth. Drystan determinedly leaves home in pursuit of it, and Soren, a kingdom away, endeavors to stop the new people in his life to abandon their obstinate desires in capturing the unicorn for themselves. 

Three Things to Know as You’re Reading…

  1. Drystan's father, Hamond, a wealthy landowner and owner of a dragon breeding business in Hardinggate, is battling failing health.

  2. All the while, Drystan is battling with Hamond's decision of selling four-year-old Soren for an extremely lavish price. Come morning, the Prince of Aledonia, the Elvish kingdom to the North, will have a dragon of his own…

  3. This is their final flight, their last moments together before daybreak disbands true friendship. But, it’s blessed with the light of a phenomenon, one that triggers Drystan to leave home in search of something that could cure his ailing father. 

Where Can You Find Me. . .  

There’s this coffee shop in Middletown, CT called Perkatory. I’m usually there with a turmeric latte… No, I’m playing. I’m active on Instagram @m.wednesday’s_inkwell. Once Moon Reign is published, which all my stars are aligned to hopefully be published by the end of spring/early summer 2019, my debut will be available on all indie author platforms. I’m aiming to have Moon Reign in a few local bookstores in my town that support indie authors, as well.

From . . . Moon Reign . . .

The sun had diminished to a bright orange streak, inky clouds crowning the sky. The cliffs called to them, as they always did. A place of silence and solitude. A place where flight broke free. 

Thundering waves attacked the rocks on a lulling metronome. Drystan’s attention folded to the looming castle behind… Nothing. No signs of movement. No wings rounding elegant towers. A sigh hopped him onto Soren’s back.  

Claws gripped the edge of the land, particles crumbling to hissing whitewash. This is it… this is… our last flight. He gulped down the impaling thought. But, you’re right beside me. And nothing in this moment could separate that. He inhaled the ocean breeze and all the scents carried within. Breathe. All he had to do was breathe and his wings would carry them away into the patient sky. Eyes fluttered open to clustered stars. The sky always understood, always waited. And, with a small confident leap… 

He dove.

Dove them into a time-stopping fall. Dove to abandon all despondent thoughts. The air, the rush, revived and renewed with fleeting euphoria. Oh, how he wished their fall could plummet them out of tomorrow’s sight. 

Parachute wings braced their fall, angling them with the land. Hardinggate’s dimly lit seafront came into view. Piers and ships along a cluttered boardwalk. The curve of lights along the coast. Up… Up, and over the city, wide easy arches combed velvety moonlight. Wings pivoted towards the black sea. There, still miles from the harbor, a triad of ships sailed towards land. 

Playful circles rounded above, swooping closer. 

With each.

Large. 

Bend. 

Coasting alongside their decks, wingtips smacked the waves between paralleled glides. Spray from the bowsprit blew with salty kisses. If anyone on board observed the dragon’s ballet at their port side, he didn’t know. And, if they hadn’t, they were too late. Soren surged upwards in a leisure spiral.  

He leveled on an air current, somewhere between planet and stratosphere. All was quiet, save for the occasional drum of his wings. Beyond, ocean and oxygen melted into abysmal darkness. Above, stars and distant galaxies seemed wet enough to smear, watercolor on canvas. Sceaobyss sliced through the masterpiece with its neon blue rings, Arigae’s tropical neighboring planet. Thin gridlines of starships, strung high past the moon, laced between the two planets. 

Their bond, fastened under the network of stars above, grounded deeper than the ocean below, could not be swayed even with approaching dread. Neither spoke. Words would not express the grief, the fear, that lay just beneath the surface of their bliss. And a satisfying silence capped their flight.  

Drystan released his grip, unbinding his hands from the leather straps, and sat upright. He kicked his shoes from the short stirrups, letting his legs hang casually. Heights inflicted no fear. Gaze meandered to the heavens. 

But, expectation was thwarted. 

He strained his eyes. Refocusing. Blinking. No, it was there. It was definitely there. Parting stars and atmosphere, a wispy pattern of dusty rose in its wake… “Soren, look.” He tapped the dragon’s neck… “Look up there. You see that?” …And Soren craned his eyes. Blackness was seared with a captivating streak of magenta light. A curious head-tilt angled Soren’s wings. “…What is it?” He tightly flattened into Soren’s ascent.   

 “I don’t know.” Hushed interest hooked in his rasp. “It looks like… a comet.” 

 “A comet? No, that’s too fast to be a comet.” Arigae welcomed it, magenta igniting to neon pink as it punctured another layer of sky. 

“Maybe a shooting star? I didn’t think there was such a thing as pink stars, though.”

 Reply came distantly. “… Neither did I.” 

And Soren’s giggle-snort came with delight. “It’s the Birth of a Unicorn.” 

Drystan shook his head at Soren’s reference to the fabricated children’s tales. “Right, that’s exactly what it is.” Pink gaseous trail smudged in its wake. But, the bedtime stories he’d heard growing up… The stories of legend and magic and brave hunters who fought the most powerful unicorns into extinction… They watched neon-rose slowly dissolve into space, following until the East swallowed it up. “Who’s to say they even existed in the first place?”  

 “Well, I think they were real,” Soren muttered. 

 “Horned space horses. Known as the only creatures to possess star magic, whose one desire was to bring love and peace to the galaxy, devoured under man’s blade and never to be seen again. Right.” 

 “Oh, c’mon. Remember Hamond telling us those stories that one winter? We were little, but –”

 “You were little. He was telling you those stories.”          

 “How did it go? Something that they were all stars…?” 

“That unicorns were mere stardust. And, when they died here in our world they would return to the stars, to be reborn in another. Yeah. Something like that. You know how it goes. I’m sure every kid grew up hearing the same stories.” Recalling young nights by the fire with his father, a quilt and socks, a hot mug in chilled hands… “Even if they were real,” he huffed, thwarting memories, “They haven’t existed for hundreds of years. Hunters slaughtered ‘em all. Because, supposedly, they had the most powerful magic in all of creation. S’pose to be more mind-blowing than any magic. Even the Elves’ magic. Or, dragon magic.”   

“I don’t have any magic,” Soren answered flatly. 

“Well,” came a shrugged eye-roll, “Alright, wild dragon magic.”

 Soren pondered over denying words and old fables, all the while admiring where plunging magenta had scored the night. “I think it’s a legend,” he decided, a glimmer in his eye, “And, legends stemmed from truth at one point in time. Don’t you think?” 

A chuckling smile pushed dark hair from the wind. “Whatever you want to believe, Soren. That’s fine with me.” The last wisp of pink dust faded, blurred, and the night claimed its unknown destination.  

 

YA Author Series - Author Spotlight: Leslie Arambula

Leslie Arambula

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Tell us three things about who you are and why you write . . .

  • I’m a wife, teacher, author, and mother of three.

  • Some of my hobbies include picking up the same toys over and over again, cooking, video games, reading, and avoiding stacks of papers that need to be graded.

  • I write because the people in my head won’t stop telling me their stories, but mostly because I think stories connect us to each other, and I hope that mine will do that for readers as well.

Tell us about the story…

Nobody will tell Gia about her mom, but she is on a mission to learn more about her. The opportunity comes on Gia’s fifteenth birthday, in the form of a surprise package. Little does Gia know that the small box contains a power that will change her fate and the fate of the world.

What are three things you want us to know as we read?

  • This scene happens in the opening chapter of the book.

  • Gia’s mom and Alex’s parents were all killed in the same accident when the girls were just toddlers.

  • Gia has been a victim of bullying for years, and Alex always tries to shield her from it.


Where can we find this story? Where can we find you?

My story is currently unpublished but will be soon!

IG @authorlesliearambula

Twitter @leslie_arambula

Website: lesliearambula.com


FROM . . . Guardian (Working Title)

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When I woke up the next morning, I was laying on the couch in the living room and the monster movie marathon I had been watching was now an infomercial about slow cookers. I turned it off just as a loud knock on the door startled me out of the lumpy cushions.

When I opened the front door, nobody was there. Looking down, a pile of envelopes were laid on top of a brown package. I scooped them up and deposited them onto the entryway table then went to grab some cereal.

A pang of loneliness thumped in my chest. I thought that my dad would have at least tried to postpone or shorten his current trip for my 15th birthday. I was wrong. 

My mother had only been alive until my third birthday, and then she and Alex’s parents had been in a train wreck on their daily commute to work. Alex’s grandmother, Sofia, moved in with her across the street and had become the only real parent Alex and I had ever really known.

Now, I stayed at my own house but shared a lot meals and time with them when Dad wasn’t home. So pretty much every night. 

The front door handle jiggled from the other room, and someone came in. I could hear rummaging in the pantry. Alex.

She walked into the dining room. She wore cutoffs and a Led Zepplin shirt she’d bought at Goodwill a few months ago. She was munching on a granola bar, and didn’t even wait to swallow it as she said, “Happy birthday! Wait—what are you doing? I thought we were going to the bookstore today.”

“Yeah, but I thought we said at eleven.”

“It is eleven, goofball,” she said.

When I trudged up the stairs, Alex grinned, grabbed up my cereal bowl, and went to pour herself some while she waited. 

When I had showered, I went to my room and found Alex, feet up on my desk, playing Call of Duty and bossing her teammates around. The empty cereal bowl rested on one of my library books. I moved it on top of my Chemistry homework to avoid any milk stains that I’d have to pay for. 

“You guys go around from the west, and I’ll hit them from the East. No, not you, idiot. You’re coming with me. You’ve got the RPG, right?”

A few minutes later, the game cut to the lobby between matches. Alex pumped her fist and pulled off the headset. 

“Impressive,” I said. “I wonder where you learned that strategy.”

“Ha ha,” she countered, “If I can’t be a genius tactician, I might as well rip one off. So, thanks, genius tactician.” 

“Thanks, but you should actually thank the English. It was actually back in 1332—” 

“Are we going or what?”

“Sure,” I rolled my eyes and let her change the topic. 

As we were about to leave, she stopped short. 

 “I saw this on my way in,” she pointed to the small brown package that had come with the mail. “You should open it.” 

I had forgotten all about it. 

“I’m not into dog food samples, but thanks.” 

The typical packages sent here were from companies sending things to my dad in an effort to get his feedback or so he could compare some of the competition’s products. 

“It’s for you, dummy,” she sighed. “It has your name on the top.”

Confused, I picked it up like it was one of the bombs the other team had just seen blown up in their faces. It was a small, square, heavy box. On the outside, it was wrapped in plain brown paper, a little worse for wear, but I was surprised it had made it through the postal system without tearing. On the top, written in a looping scrawl was my name: Giassa Renee Meliar. 

“Weird,” I said. “Nobody uses my whole—”

“Just open it already,” Alex interrupted, bouncing up and down like a bratty toddler.

As my fingers brushed the rough paper, I thought about opening this later, when I was alone. Alex was my best friend, practically my sister and we spent every holiday, birthday, and every day together. But this felt different. This felt private.

Pushing that feeling aside, I began to unwrap it. Beneath the wrapper was a wooden box, a deep red wood that was so slick, it gleamed in the light streaming in from my window. I ran a finger over it. I hesitated. I didn’t want to be disappointed too quickly. Happy Birthday, here’s some premium dog treats!

“What is it?” Alex broke through my thoughts. 

When I cracked open the lid, something small and round caught the light and blinded me for just a moment before I angled the lid all the way open. 

It was a sphere, a glass orb, sitting within a dark blue velvet compartment in the box. My memory flashed: the man that I thought I had hallucinated in the forest. And again in my dream last night. That man had an orb like this. What did it mean?

I reached a hand toward the orb, but stopped myself. Pinned to the inside of the lid was a scrap of paper with four words on it:

For Gia, 

Love Mom




“Do you think—” Alex breathed beside me. 

I jumped. I had forgotten that she was even there. I closed the lid and straightened. 

“She’s dead,” I said. “It’s fake. A sick joke.”

Alex’s face crumpled into something that looked like pity and then jealousy, so I stared out the window instead, sticking my hand in my pockets and fiddling with my keys.

“Are we going?” 

Alex cleared her throat, “Yeah.” She pulled her gaze from the note. 

I left the room first, trying to put as much distance between me and that box as possible. 





YA Author Series - Author Spotlight: Alison Aldridge

Alison Aldridge

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Tell us three things about who you are and why you write . . .

I am a natural redhead.  I drink a lot of tea and feel it can solve most problems.  I am a mum to a son, daughter and two pussy cats.

I write because when I don’t write I feel stressed. It is a release for me.  My imagination never switches off so if I don’t let it go somewhere it gets crowded in my head.  Sometimes, to sleep, I have to jot down ideas otherwise they keep me up all night.

Tell us about the story…

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Mariah has a magic-meddling mum, and about to discover she’s a storm summoning mermaid that needs to gain control of her emotion-connected powers ready for the impending battle with the powerful, unstoppable death crows!

What are three things you want us to know as we read?

You most likely think you are an ordinary human being but what if one day your ordinary life was turned upside down.  Everything is changing, you feel vulnerable and start crushing on your best friend. Do you peruse that romance knowing it could destroy your friendship or watch in agony as they get closer to someone else.  To make matters worse, imagine your emotions give life to your dormant supernatural abilities and you have no idea how to control them. This is what is starting to happen to Mariah.

Where can we find this story? Where can we find you?

Link Tree:  https://linktr.ee/redfae

Website:  https://allyaldridge.wordpress.com/

Wattpad: @redfae  https://www.wattpad.com/user/redfae

IG:  @redfae https://www.instagram.com/redfae/

Twitter:  @Fae7 https://twitter.com/Fae7

Goodreads:  Alison Aldridge https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8108229.Alison_Aldridge



From… Jewel of the Sea…

Splinters threatened my skin as my hands grasped the wood and pulled at the panel of cheap fencing to open a triangle at the foot. Once wide enough to fit through, I flattened myself to the ground. Using my elbows and hips I pushed my way past the rich scent of soil that warmed my heart and made me think of my best friend Jace.

Once through on the other side, I dusted the dirt off my knees. Jace's garden looked empty. My shoulder stung.  As I glanced to my left I saw where I'd caught myself on the fence. The scratch left a bright red line and blood smudged across onto my blue vest top. Mum would be mad. I licked my thumb and tried to rub it off.

"Aghhh!" I screamed as my body was shocked in an icy cold shower. I turned around to find Jace standing there with the garden hose in his hand, laughing his head off.

"Jace!" I yelled. We'd spent all summer hanging out, like always.

With a naughty glint in his eye, he lifted the hose and soaked me again.

"Cut that out!" I ran at him to pull the hose out of his hand. He dodged out of my way and ran past me. As I chased after him, round his garden, he kept spraying me over his shoulder. In the beautiful heat of the summer sun, I welcomed the refreshing relief.

Finally, trapping him by the shed, I grabbed the hose. He still wouldn't let go and as we wrestled over it, he kept managing to squirt my face. Using my fingers, I changed the direction of the water and got him back. He made a funny gurgling noise and laughed, shaking the water from his blonde mop of hair.

"That doesn't sound like my plants are getting watered!" Denny yelled from the kitchen window. His mum was younger than mine. She had delicate features and high cheekbones framed by her dark pixie cut.

"Sorry, mum," Jace yelled back. His lip curled on one side as he tried in earnest to appear sincere, "You need to let go so I can continue with my chores."

"No way," I giggled, knowing as soon as I let go, he'd spray me, "We'll just have to do it together."

We then started watering the plants together, both refusing to let go of the hose.

"This is stupid Mariah," His blue eyes twinkled. "It would be much quicker if you just let me do it."

"I know you too well, Jace." I grinned as I argued back. "Why don't you just let me do it?"

"I couldn't shirk my responsibilities like that." Jace countered.

"I really don't mind."  I felt him try to tip the hose up towards me. The water ran up the fence but I managed to stop him. "Cut it out, Jace?"

"Oops!" He said with humour, his eyes alive with merriment.

The afternoon continued with the same upbeat light-heartedness. We sat out in the sun, enjoying ice creams and chilled drinks. Little did I know that it would be one of the last days of carefree fun and games next-door.  It started with Denny arriving at our house without Jace. We always found excuses to hang out together, so it made me feel unsettled that he hadn't come over with her.

She'd come to see mum, but I hovered around the kitchen. Her eyes stared down into a mug of tea, slowly stirring her sugar spoon, her gaze lost in a deep spin of thought.

"Are you going to drink that or spit out what's on your mind?" Mum asked.

Denny sighed, "I was hoping you already knew."

Mum isn't like ordinary mums. She is that woman with dark flowing hair who tells fortunes at spiritual fairs.

I stood up on my tiptoes to reach the cake tin and helped myself to one of the buttercream cupcakes; a product of mum and Denny's Sparkle Cake home bakery business.

"Don't make me dig out my crystal ball..." Mum threatened Denny. Her tone made me think I'd been caught with my sugary delight. For a moment I paused, wincing as I waited for 'don't spoil your dinner' or 'stop eating our profits' but she was too focussed on Denny to notice me.

Denny took a deep breath like she was conjuring up the courage to speak. With an awkward smile on her face, she said, "Dave and I have found somewhere to live together, a home of our own." But her blue eyes shone, brimming with tears.

"That's great news." Mum cheered.

"But..."

"What is it, Denny?"

"We’ll no longer be neighbors and it's all the way over on the other side of town. I feel so conflicted. It's perfect but I'm gonna miss you guys."

Her words were like the icy shower from the hose but without the warm relief of the sun or uplifting sound of Jace's laughter.

"You can't!" I snapped. Jace was my life! I needed him close! I needed him next door! I no longer wanted the bun, it was too sweet and I cast it aside on the counter.

"The cakes?" Denny gasped realizing what I'd done.

Mum threw me a disapproving look, "Mariah, go get the washing off the line!"

I stormed out the kitchen through the back door of our small terrace house, slamming it shut behind me. Without bothering to unpeg the clothes from the line, I began pulling them free and dumping them into the laundry basket. This haphazard manner completed the task too fast and I wasn't ready to go back inside.

I snuck over to the fence looking for the loose panel and pulled... but it wouldn't move. Then, I saw the evil glint of a new nail, hammered in to keep the plank in place; Keeping me out. I kicked at it, hurting my foot.

I sank onto the grass, my back pressed against the fence.  As I gazed up towards Jace's bedroom window my heart felt like a rock, unpleasant and heavy in my chest. I was consumed by a sinking feeling as I realised he really was going and there was nothing I could do about it.  

Then, to make matters worse, the sky beautiful blue sky darkened.  Heavy rapid rain soaked through my t-shirt as I raced inside. I didn't stop in the kitchen with mum and Gwyn, I carried on up to my room.  I dropped onto my bed, laying on my back, staring out the window at the raging storm that felt as if it spoke to my soul, mirroring my anger.



YA Author Series Launch: CL Walters

Over the next seven weeks, this blog will feature seven different authors who write Young Adult Stories.

Each Monday in April (and into May), a new author (published and unpublished) will be featured along with a 500-1000 words selection of her work (sorry, guys - no men submitted! What the heck!?!? Your assignment is to go read any or all of these authors: Marcus Zusak, Jeff Zentner and John Green).

Today, I will launch the format using my own work so you’ll get a sense of what to look for in the coming weeks. I hope this series is beneficial for you as readers (maybe you’ll find your next favorite author in the coming weeks), as well as for the author as a growth opportunity to share their voices.

FEEDBACK WANTED!

Be sure to provide the guest authors some CONSTRUCTIVE FEEDBACK! Either in the comments section or in some capacity on their social media platforms. As writers - constructive feedback fuels us.

Drum roll please . . .

CL Walters

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Tell us three things about who you are and why you write . . . I write because I can’t not write (please forgive the double negative). When I don’t, I turn into a bitch and that isn’t healthy for my family or my marriage. Writing is like breathing, so without it, I’m not living. Second, I adore stories - reading them, studying them, writing them - it all blends together. Finally, I write stories which I categorize as “young adult” but I hope they are just human stories that anyone at any age can enjoy.

Tell us about the story we’re going to read (your elevator pitch). . . Gabe is faced with a choice between life and death; the question is, what will he discover about himself to help him make the decision.

What are three things you want us to know as we read? This story is the third act of a trilogy. The first two books explore Abby’s and Seth’s stories in Swimming Sideways and The Ugly Truth. Gabe’s story The Bones of Who We Are has been challenging to write but not only because of the writing, but because of the content which swirls around bullying, victimization and depression.

Where can we find this story? Where can we find you (IG, Twitter, FB, website). The Bones of Who We Are is slated to be published this coming October (2019). In the meantime, you can catch up with Swimming Sideways and The Ugly Truth which are on Amazon (Kindle and Print). I can be found on IG (@cl.walters) and Twitter (@peeledandcored), my website (www.clwalters.net) and FB (CLWalters).

From… The Bones of Who We Are:

(YA Contemporary - Language Warning…)

I hate walking through the Quad. It’s a necessity twice a day unless I want to take the long way around the outside of the school. The deciding factor is always which one has the potential for more problems. Outside, I run the risk of an actual fight. In the Quad, I run the risk of mocking, maybe shit thrown at me, or something else to make me feel less than human. The first one means physical harm. The second one emotional and mental, but I can usually block it out with my headphones.

When I turn the corner from the stairwell into the opening of the Quad, it’s full. This time of the school day - lunch - it usually is. People are either in the cafeteria or there, especially as the weather turns rainy and cold. They sit on or around a myriad of red and black tables, congregate by the vending machines in red and black metal cages, and flirt with someone they crush on moving like honey bees from table to table. Some industrious students use the space to study, but not very often at lunch. It’s a space with very little adult supervision. This is for several reasons. First, the school office is across the way which adults must assume is a deterrent for teen bullshit (it isn’t) and, second, it’s lunch time. Teachers are either in the cafeteria, eating lunch with their work friends, or in their classrooms making space for those industrious students needing a place to escape the teen bullshit in the Quad.

I hesitate for a moment, consider walking around the outside or cutting through the offices, but then am annoyed for even thinking about it. I have every right to walk through the Quad. I shouldn’t have to feel worried to do it. But then that’s the problem of positivity, of allowing in layers of hope. It crumbles without a proper foundation, and just like I’d told Doc it would happen, the mouth of the escape route collapses burying me inside. It was, after all, only a matter of time.

I’m halfway across the space when I’m yanked backward. I keep my feet, but my hoodie cuts into my throat choking me. I rock backward and then forward.

Laughter.

“What the fuck!” I turn.

Tommy Pilner, his hands raised in mock surrender and smiling like he’s just caught a mouse, says, “Yo. Daniels. You don’t have to go all HAM, dude.”

I’ve known Tommy since coming to Cantos and he’s always been the same; he loves the Freak Challenge. He’s taken full advantage of the fact I don’t throw hands. Seth used to say his dad described Tommy as a younger version of his old man. I think: aren’t we all, which doesn’t bode well for any of us. “Fuck off,” I tell him, and turn away.

He grabs my hood again, but this time pulls with so much force I’m yanked off my feet. I slam against the floor on my back.

Laughter.

“Jesus, Daniels. What the fuck? You really should be more careful. You could get hurt.” Tommy laughs looking at his friends. “You all see him slip?”

They are laughing.

I’m on my feet.

Here’s another thing about hope - besides the risk of losing it - it begins to warm the cold and melt away the perceptions of what you’ve come to think you deserve into something more golden. You look outside the clear window, feel that sunshine, and think: Yeah. I could go out there and play. When the storm comes in, you remember what that sun felt like, and you want the fucking sun.

So, maybe I wouldn’t have a few weeks ago, but I take a step toward Tommy.

His smile falters.

The Bones of Who We Are… Coming October 2019

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