Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Untitled

Just a forgotten WIP that I pulled out of the files - unedited and raw, but one of many forgotten first chapters.

L’Amoreaux sat on the bluff overlooking the Sabine River just as it had for over 150 years. Generations of the St Jacques family had lived there, died there, buried in the family cemetery on the edge of the property. Even those who had left came back upon death to be buried there on the hill. No one really left l’Amoreaux, no one could ever escape. Even now, with the death of its last occupant, the house waited for its new arrival, a new soul to feed upon. Death waited at l’Amoreaux.

Chapter One
It was a foggy dew morning, the kind when drops glittered on the edge of nature and the wetness stole into your bones. The man inhaled deeply, let the breath out to mingle with the gray mist. Pulling the lapels of his jacket snug around his neck, he leaned against the tree. His eyes, the same soft gray as the morning, scanned the landscape around him, searching out objects shrouded in fog of gray and white. The smell of winter was in the air, the cold front chasing on the tail of autumn’s wake. Pulling away from the old bois d’arc, he walked through the meadow to the road, bits and pieces of grass clinging to his boots. Reaching the Harley he paused and looked back at the meadow. Wisps of mists, gray tendrils wrapped around the trees, covered the ground where he had been. The place of his childhood, its enchantment calmed his soul, called for his presence, the child who had left so long ago. Shaking the sentimentality from his head, he climbed onto the motorcycle, barely escaping the clutch of the mist that now surrounded the bike.
Pulling back onto the road, he passed the green sign on the outskirts of town ‘St. Jack, Texas, pop. 900’. 899, he thought grimly, remembering the reason for his trip. The last time he had seen St. Jack was through the back window of a battered Chevy, a child still in the grip of terror. Now, some 30 years later a man still in the grasp of demons, determined to set himself free as he buried the one person who had held the key. Raw anger, the emotion that was his constant companion, clawed at his throat as he rounded the bend and the sight of the town water tower came into view. ‘St. Jack’, it proclaimed, ‘home of the Huguenots’. It’s mascot the last remaining vestige of the French people that had settled there in the mid 19th century. The name had originally been St. Jacques, but through the years before incorporation had been Texanized to plain St. Jack. His family, of course, had kept the name St. Jacques. A source of pride and arrogance, the symbol of power traced its way back to Etienne St. Jacques, its ruthless patriarch. The eldest of four children, his mother had kept with Southern tradition and gave him her maiden name. Morgan St. Jacques, the last of his line, was coming home.
Turning off the road before it curved into town, he followed the two lane track as it wound along the edges of old farmland, headed for a patch of trees in the distance. Stray tendrils of fog scurried across the dirt road, their destination the small creek that snaked through the green fields. L’Amoreaux waited for him at the end of the lane, the road having stopped at its iron gates, the same as everything else did. It belonged to him now, much to the chagrin of his greedy cousins, the seed of younger sons of younger sons. But Morgan didn’t want the home, its presence an aberration to the freedom in his soul. Settling down in one place was not the life he had planned, the life he now loved. Freedom kept you running, demons at your heels. Staying put allowed them to settle in your mind, waiting to drive you crazy as they had his brother. Stephen, gentle Stephen, would have laughed at Morgan, laughed at the irony of the gift from a grandfather he had not seen for three decades, yet had never left his side.
Morgan stared at the wrought iron gates, the initials E and G gracefully entwined as they had been for decades. Etienne and Genevieve, the lovers. Etienne had built this home for his bride, the beautiful Creole from New Orleans, whose face was as beautiful as her soul was dark. They had owned close to 200 slaves at one time, 200 tortured souls whose cries sometimes still filled the night air around the old slave quarters. Morgan and Stephen had spent many a night staring out the window of their bedroom at the play of mist around the decrepit old buildings. They had never questioned the sight of the smoky wisps or the low moans that had accompanied them. Neither had they questioned the parents of their friends who would never let their sons spend the night at the old plantation. Morgan got off of the bike and approached the gate, shaking the cobwebs from his memory just as he dusted the web from the catch on the iron bar. The gate gave way easily, swinging open without even the expected creak of hinges. Morgan felt a chill in the autumn air and again pulled the leather jacket closer. Gravel crunched under his feet as he stepped onto St. Jacques land. At least the old man had given in on one thing, he thought, remembering the spring showers and the impassability of the dirt road. There had been some good things to remember about l’Amoreaux, rabbit hunting on a spring day, fossils in the Sabine River, Shay, her white blond hair filled with the daisies that scattered across the eastern meadow each spring. He hadn’t thought of her in years, the little girl of his childhood. She’d be married now, with a lot of kids and a broken down husband tending the family farm. Shay O’Neal. She and Stephen had been his constant companions, confidants in the way only children could be. He'd missed her at first, then forgotten, just as he’d forgotten a lot about l’Amoreaux. No time for sentimentality, asshole. Morgan kicked a piece of gravel and walked back to his bike.

31 comments:

Brandy said...

Eve, and you don't do this for a living, why? It may be raw, but your talent shines through!

Kelly Parra said...

Hi Eve, thanks for stopping by my blog. Great chapter! I agree with Brandy! =D

Shirley said...

Yup, I'm with Brandy, too. Now get writing!
I hope your weather's improved today. Rolling blackouts? That sounds awful.

Bailey Stewart said...

Okay, okay - I'll get back to Reluctant Reunion soon. I have to change my writing time though. I've discovered that this room is just too hot with the computer going and I need to shut it down at least an hour before going to bed so that the room can cool off. With Bebo leaving in the middle of May that won't be a problem during the intense heat of the summer.

Shirley sold a book!!!

Happy Anniversary Toni and Hubby!

Go visit both of them and offer congrats!

Dennie McDonald said...

what a great opening line!

Meretta said...

It's a great piece of work. Full of suspense. Keep it up and the contracts will be yours!

Scott said...

I like it Eve. Your writing is crisp and evocative, and easy to read.

Bailey Stewart said...

Thanks y'all *blush*


Okay, okay Lis - I won't have to come up there and smack you. *gg*

Shesawriter said...

Nice imagery and the sense info puts me right in the scene.

Bailey Stewart said...

Thanks Tanya.

This is my ghost story and I will finish it some day. Honest. :)

Toni Anderson said...

Great stuff Eve. Isn't it nice to pull something out and look and think 'this isn't half bad'?

Thanks for the congrats. Some days I want to kill him, but what can you do ;-) We were made for each other!

Nine years of marriage. Feels like one and a century all at the same time--kind of like having kids :)

Susan said...

Eve, what a wonderful story! Now that you've shown us just how capable you are of writing a book that could easily be published get your behind in gear and get writing again! :)

Bailey Stewart said...

Toni - yes it is!

Susan - yes ma'am *salute*

Will be on and off the rest of the morning and then I have company coming in who will be here into the evening.

Susie said...

I like... And like everyone else has said it's time you start submitting your work. We believe in you. Borrow our confidence in your writing if need be and get out there...

jason evans said...

There's a strong core of great storytelling here. DEFINTELY keep at it. My one constructive comment (from a non-expert) would be to watch for over description. The more freedom the reader has to build the scene, the more alive it becomes.

Carol said...

I want to read more!

Bailey Stewart said...

Susie - it's not all confidence. A good part is that my time isn't ever all my time - it's always mom's. So I have to squeeze in time to write whenever - I honestly don't think I could make deadlines right now. I told Cece the other day that I'm just working now on getting a backstock done so that when this time with mom is over and I will actually have time to call my own - I'm going for it.

Jason - constructive criticism is always welcome. This is straight from my head and whenever I do that I just write everything that I see in the scene. When I go back someday and work on this (and I will) then I'll tweak stuff and remove excess.

Carol - So do I! Don't know anyone who will finish it for me, do you? *gg*

ruby55 said...

This sounds like a really great beginning with all kinds of possibilities. Why did you discontinue it?

I'm glad it's not too hot down there right now. It's hotter here today than it was yesterday though I started off wearing a coat both days. The sun is really beautiful and for once there's little or no wind.

Just came from a class that helps you evaluate if you've got the "goods" to be self-employed. I sure hope that I have. There's very little possibility that'll ever get out into the traditional job market again.

Bailey Stewart said...

Ruby - I don't know why I stopped. I'd have to look at the date it was created, but I'm going to take a guess that it was probably about the time that I took on a lot of extra time at work and didn't write at all for a while.

I hope everything goes well with you on the job thing. Good luck!

bebo said...

I had forgotten how evocative this is! Dripping spanish moss & foggy bayous & a roaring Harley w/ a tortured-soul man... oh, sorry, I drifted away there. ;P

It's definitely more comfortable outside today. I was able to walk around the corner to the deli for lunch w/out an asthma attack! Woohoo!

bebo again said...

Oh yeah:
Way to go, Shirley!!

Congrats Toni & Hubby!

Bailey Stewart said...

Aren't you supposed to be working or something? You know, keeping me in the lifestyle in which I would like to become accustomed.

Lis said...

*g* told ya :o) lol (couldn't resist) rereading it again on here, its got great imagery!

christa said...

You definatly should write more of it. You have me intrigued and now I'm curious to see more.

Bailey Stewart said...

Thanks y'all!

glenice said...

Wow! Girl I have have read more chapter 1's of yours :) you REALLY need to buckle down and just finish ONE of them!

This one is another great start...and they all just leave us hanging...come on...we want to meet Shay...because we ALL know that she really is not married with lots of kids and a broken down husband :)

Bailey Stewart said...

I don't know - I'm not sure this is a love story - I think it will be a straight ghost story. We'll see.

Toni Anderson said...

Still sweatin' ?

Bailey Stewart said...

It was supposed to be only 78 today - but got up to lower 80s. Still nothing like Monday. Now we have thunderstorms coming in and the humidity is rising.

Susie said...

It looks like you're well on your way to creating quite a file of good starts to great stories. Look forward to the day when you'll have the time you need to make your dreams come true.

Bailey Stewart said...

Oh I will.