Monday, July 15, 2013
Spotlight on Falken's Woods by Sara Beth Cole
After losing her mother, Regina Holler moves to a small town with her estranged Aunt Liddy.
In between making soap and learning about her peculiar family history, Regina stumbles across two brothers with problems of their own.
Jason and Landon swear that the woods she wanders through aren’t haunted, but it seems the ghosts of Regina’s past are set on colliding with the ghosts of Falken’s Woods.
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Date of Publication: July 6, 2013
Number of pages: 183
Word Count: 57.000
Cover Artist: John Hofmann at 640 Media Solutions
I raged silently in my loneliness, staring out the windshield as we followed the marshy fields along the coast. It might have been nicer if it had been an ocean and not just a lake. I used to love going to the beach near my home. Now, I was going to be trapped in a world so different than my own.
My aunt’s house is further upstate in a town that you couldn’t find on a map. I was moving in with a woman I didn’t know in a town no one had ever heard of. How’s that for loneliness? I stared blankly out my window, ignoring the bubbly hymns she sang softly as she drove. At least the emptiness of her town meant no one would be calling and visiting all day and night, disturbing me while I reveled in memories. I hate how people think they’re your friend after you’ve suffered a tragedy, but were never around when you truly needed them.
Aunt Liddy’s property bordered against a forest on two sides. The closer side of her yard lead to a cornfield. There was a clear separation between her lawn and the shadowy woods as if the trees and birds knew where the property line rested and wouldn’t dare to encroach on her private residence. The two-story farmhouse was weather-worn, but clean. It reminded me of the old houses where monsters lived in horror movies. The wraparound porch boasted several chairs and couches and even a dining set. Nobody would keep their furniture on a porch back home. Nobody back home would eat on a porch, either. I dreaded to see the interior.
“This house has been owned by our family for four generations. My great-grandfather built this house after he asked my great-grandmother to marry him. Maybe one day, it will be your house,” she watched me as she spoke, expecting a response no doubt. I just stared blankly out the windshield, pretending not to hear her. There was no way I’d live out here on purpose. Liddy shook her head as if she could hear my thoughts.
The front door yawned open and we walked inside. I gazed into my new prison. Several windows filled the house with natural light. Even on a cloudy day, she didn’t need to turn on a lamp. The furniture appeared worn and faded and the floorboards looked warped and groaned under our feet. I eyed a sagging couch that occupied the living room and wondered if the furnishings were four generations old, too. I expected the smell of mildew and moth balls to overwhelm me when I entered. It smelled pleasant, however. It reminded me of a gentle mix of flowers and berries.
“You can take the bigger guest bedroom upstairs. It’s the last door to the left,” Liddy instructed me. “The bathroom is right next to it if you want to clean up. If you can’t find anything or if you need fresh towels while you’re here, let me know.”
I opened the door to my corner guest room and stared at it before entering. The wooden floors and plaster walls were painted a repulsive olive green and the mission style furniture seemed as if they were at least as old as Aunt Liddy. The mattress sagged on the decrepit bed. Two walls boasted bare windows, letting in what little light they could, but it still seemed far too bright.
I hesitated, unsure if I should bother unpacking. She hadn’t told me how long I would be welcome. Instead, I set my bags on my bed and stared out the window toward the forest behind her house. Even in the heat of summer, the woods looks cool and soft, inviting.
I had never even slept away from home before, not that I found myself sleeping much at all these days. I was seventeen, I could have refused to come with her. My voice had once again failed me as she led me to her car. Instead, I had silently watched in horror as she packed my things into suitcases and drove me away from the only home I knew. I wanted to tell her that she had left so much behind. She forgot things I couldn’t imagine living without, even for a little while. I knew she wouldn’t let me go back and get my things, so I silently mourned the loss of everything I couldn’t have.
Liddy appeared beside the doorway and shook her head. “I’ll let you get settled in today,” she sighed in a way that made me feel as though I would be staying with her longer than I expected. “But you need to get fresh air in those city lungs starting tomorrow. There are a few deer trails that lead into the forest and a big garden out back. I’ll show them to you later if you’re feeling up to it. That wardrobe is empty so you might as well use it.”
I carefully placed my clothes in the drawers of the wardrobe, noticing it smelled faintly of cedar, and settled my belongings in the room while learning my surroundings a little more. I took an inventory of the clothes she had brought for me and what was left behind. Once I finished, I showered and laid on the quilted bed and stared at the hideous olive ceiling.
The house whispered and groaned as old houses tend to do, but that was the only noise I could hear. At least now there weren’t dozens of people invading my house, making themselves comfortable on my mother’s furniture as if I had invited them into my seclusion. At least here there were no intruders who refused to give me peace. I knew they thought they were helping. Some things that you think will help, won’t. Silence in a strange world was better than invasion in my home.
“It isn’t bedtime yet, Regina,” Liddy returned to my room and her mouth tightened into a thin line. I had been wrong about being left in peace. I could tell by the tone in her voice she was already frustrated with my mood, but that was unavoidable. “Come on downstairs and let me show you the kitchen, I can give you a little tea that will help you feel a little better. Maybe we can get that voice of yours working again, hmmm?”
Liddy started heating water on her stove for tea as I sat at the table in her eat-in kitchen. The floors throughout were a dark wood, but the plaster walls had been painted a bright yellow with matching cabinets. I watched her with empty eyes while she pulled mismatched teacups from the cabinets, found a small jar of honey on the counter and placed it all on the table in front of me.
“I know what you are dealing with right now is unimaginable,” she paused to stroke my hand affectionately. I expected her tanned skin would have softened with age. Instead, her touch felt similar to gritty sandpaper. I was overcome with the urge to leave and go back home. I wanted to shudder at feel of the old woman’s rough skin on my own. “I want to give you a chance to heal, but healing means moving ahead, Regina. It’s not really considered living if you’re holding so tightly onto past instead of living your own life. We’ll find you a way to occupy your thoughts while you’re here in Foster.”
“It’s too soon,” I whispered without looking into her eyes. Aunt Liddy seemed surprised by my voice.
的 know, dear. She raised her voice over the whistling teapot. 典ake your time, but not too much. The longer you stand still, the harder it is to walk again.”
About the Author:
Sara-Beth Cole lives in Southeastern Michigan with her husband and two children along with her rescue dog, Rufus, and cat, Clara. She loves reading and sunshine and combines the two as often as possible.
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