Excerpted from the freshly-begun book by the Marc Kane---her guest blog!
“Don’t go. Please, I can’t stay here without you. I don’t even know these people, how can I live off of their kindness?”
He hunches beside her, their heads now nearly at level, as she brushes his knee with her hand, then hugs it as he replies.
“You have to sis. I have no choice. They’re kind enough to let you stay sweetie and we don’t have anywhere else for you. Don’t cry now! Listen. I’ll be home soon. First I must make my fortune in this endeavor. It’s more money than I might see in the next few years. This will be all we need to make our own life, Emm. I just can’t turn it down. Lue understands; I had hoped that you might as well. Then when I come back, I will wed Lue and you will finally have that sister you have for so long desired.”
“She’s only twelve, Brian, how is she supposed to understand?” A voice, feminine, calm, assuring, precedes the lady into the room. “You are the only family that she has left. And of course she would be nervous about staying in a house with people she doesn’t even know. You haven’t even given her a night to adjust. Must you go so soon?” Lue puts a hand to Emm’s head and rubs fondly. Emm dries her tears with her hand and sniffs really loudly, trying hard to compose herself for her brother.
“I can’t wait honey. They are already behind on the order because the last ship hit a storm; shattered the ship in two and most of the shipment sank to the bottom. I’m glad that most of the men made it back to land. Only the cabin boy didn’t make it back. Horton says that is because the waves must have been too strong for his little body.” Brian takes Lue’s hand in his and looking at his sister, Emm, he assures her, “I promise I will be back very soon. We will be together again and I can afford to build us a big place to live. We will proceed to fill it with nieces and nephews to play with you. Then, within a couple of years, you’ll find some guy who catches your fancy. He’ll come to me for your hand. If he’s good enough, only if he’s good enough, I’ll consent.”
“Brian, brother, I love you so. I will try and honor you by giving your future in-laws no reason to feel put out by me. I will help Lue and her mom with their duties in the house and try and be a surrogate for you and listen to Lue’s father as he tells of all his war adventures. I might not be able to keep up like you, but I can stand in and listen. I promise I’ll make you proud while you are gone.” Emm hugs Brian to her tightly, as if she would never let him go. Lue links her arms around them both to make a unit of three people who don’t really want to part.
Brian slowly extricates himself from the ball of love that now surrounds him. The two of them certainly make it difficult for him to force himself to walk away, but walk away he must. If he doesn’t do it now, he may never leave, so he picks up his bags and starts heading toward the boarding plank of the ship he is determined to catch; the one taking him away from everyone he loves and everyone who love him. He feels his own eyes welling up suspiciously, so he picks up his pace toward the ship.
Lue catches Emm’s eye and it seems as if she can read her sister-in-law to be’s thoughts. “She thinks it too. I see it in her eye. This is the last time we will see Brian. No reason to feel that, just know it to be true and she suspects it too.” Lue squeezes Emm’s hand she still holds tightly in response to their shared dread.
Brain, totally oblivious to what his two best girls are thinking, takes this time to drink them in and savor the essence of their love. He discerns that it will be a long time before he gets this close to them again. He loathes leaving them, but he fails to understand how he can do anything differently. So he enfolds the two of them strongly, hoping that he would be saved from this task by some Divine miracle.
Lue hears the boarding call and pulls back from the group hug. “Brian, the moment’s arrived. Now you must away. If you miss this transportation, you’ll simply be waiting out the next two weeks.”
“Practical as ever, Lue. Yes, two more weeks--if that would only make things easier!” Brian drags both his girls close one more time and then strides briskly to the ship, as boarding reaches its final stages. He foolishly grins over his shoulder, just making it on before it pulls up it plank and makes its way toward the open sea. He casts a wave; then two of the crew prevail upon his attentions. Never did the salty mist of the tide reek more bitterly than it does this day.
As soon as the ship draws away from the port, Emm begins to sob. Through her teary eyes she spies Brian waving from the departing ship. That is when she notices the name on the side of the sea vessel, Amistad. “So we await the return of the Amistad,“ she murmurs through lips that appear to fail her. “Today you take my brother away, tomorrow you bring him home, you hear!”
Lue hugs her tight and starts to lead her away from the pier. “Don’t worry, hun, he will be back to us in no time flat. You can stay with us as long as you would like. My parent hardly care they have so much space. Old family home, they don’t own it, it owns them.” They make their way away from the loading area and commence to strolling toward where their mares stood tied in front of the general store, which desires to welcome all travelers and has everything for their traveling needs; they mount their horses and begin the two hour ride back to the countryside that Lue shares with her family.
“I’ll race you!” Lue calls at her as she passes her and continues on at a fast pace on her cream colored mare. Emm kicks her brown mare into gear as she tries to catch her new friend. But Emm has a secret. She believes that she communicates with these fine animals. That she hears their thoughts, all animals really.
Wanting to please her, Aya Anda speeds up and starts overtaking Misty. Forgetting her earlier sadness, Emm catches up to and surpasses her new friend. As she gains on her friend and over takes her she retorts, “No fair, you gave yourself a head start!” Then she lets out a big “Wooho, Ye ha!” and she and her beautiful mare perform a feet which creates the appearance of their feet never touching the solid ground.
Lue runs her friend Misty attempting to catch up to her friend who fades fast into the distance. She shakes her head, laughing. “Who would have thought that she could fly like that? I did not know that Aya Anda has a thoroughbred parent. She must to be able to race in that manner. I must ask father to be sure about her parentage.” Despite pushing her horse to the brink, Lue drives her Misty all the harder so that she might finally catch that seemingly floating friend of hers.
As she nears her love’s sister, Lue wonders at the emotion that she already feels for this young one. “How can it be that I feel so strongly already for this new family of mine? I just know that I’d leave my parent today if staying with them meant that I would lose Emm. Why do I presume anyone will attempt to thwart the deal that Brian has with my father and mother to take Emm? I suspect that it comes, though I don’t know how or the direction from which it will hale.
Emm glances at her new friend, “I think that we will get along fine you and me. We can race horses when I am not helping you with your chores here.”
“Chores, “Lue laughs, “who does chores?”
Emm joins in with her friend though she doesn’t seem to understand exactly what it is she finds so amusing about doing chores. She finishes undressing and dons her robe. “I’m unsure of where we go to clean up,” she admits to Lue as she appears before her.
“We don’t go anywhere,” she replied smiling at Emm. “They bring it to us.” With that Lue tugs a small knotted rope which is beautifully frayed on its end. She then disappeared behind the curtain herself. “Tell them that we need enough for two will you when they come in hun,” floats up disembodied from behind the hiding place.
“And when he came into the room with that hat on...well let’s just say that I’m glad that I wasn’t eating or I would not have made it to have such a beautiful daughter,” as he recounts this the Jake takes a long look at his favorite person in the world. “It’s no wonder that Jane displays jealousy; I do indeed love Lue more than life itself. It pleases me that Brian adores my daughter and has a hero heart. I couldn’t ask for a better man for my Lue. And now it seems as if his sister is just as fatal to my emotion.”
“Oh daddy, you do spoil me. Brian will find me hard to handle if you don’t allow me to be a bit humble,” Lue catches Emm’s eye and winks at her. She realizes that she truly enjoys being the center of her father’s world. Then she gives a little sigh because it bums her when she discovers that she will be sad when she leaves, for who will be his apple then. “Not mom, for surely she’d be a sour one.” Lue glances around furtively feeling some guilt over the unkind thought.
Emm clears her throat tentatively and turns toward the Admiral, “Admiral Jacobs, I’d like to thank you on behalf of my brother and me. He knew time was of the essence in this endeavor and could stay no longer, so thank you doubly for taking me in, I, a stranger.”
“No need to thank me youngster. Why, having someone as pretty as you to look at around, well and old man will never tire of life,’’ on seeing her expression Jake promptly throws back his head and racks the room with his laughter. “Dear girl, you two so brighten an old man’s day. I haven’t laughed like this in a very long time. I’m delighted that your brother and you have come into our lives at this point in time.”
Emm stares at her venison and quickly begins to give it the attention it deserves. “Mmmm. Gee I didn’t realize how hungry I’d gotten, but we haven’t eaten for a while, have we?” She nods to Lue for confirmation and Lue nods her head in total agreement. “Tell the cook that this meal is scrumptious.” Emm digs into the potatoes, freshly mashed with butter and some other spice that she couldn’t identify. These were fast becoming her favorite part of the meal though the venison and roasted vegetables were delicious as well.
Lue giggles at Emm’s appetite and then it dawns on her that perhaps it had been days since this child had eaten. “I know Brian said that they’d fallen on hard times financially, but Emm doesn’t seem to have eaten in days, her ravenous hunger gives that away. The poor dear! We mustn’t ever let this occur again, never; I vow it so.” Lue leans close to the Admiral who sat to her right, “where is mommy? She doesn’t seem to show up at dinner often lately. Another one of her ‘headaches’?”
“You know your mother, dear. She just can’t bare the smell of food when she has one of those headaches.”
“How often does she have these headaches?” Emm asks concern in her voice. “Might I help in some small way? Take her a cold towel to put on it or something?”
Jake shook his gray head, “No hun, the best thing that anyone of us can do is just mind our own affairs while her ache eases and have a bit of fun together in the process. Or at least that is what I intend to do.” He rises from his seat at the head of the table and asks, “Would anyone else care to retire to the Library? You, Jern, would you care to join me for some whiskey or scotch?”
ONe thing she's done well is start with a very relatable, human basis for what will no doubt become a mysterious and occasionally fantastic story. Is this some past life remembered? ______lUe