Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thursday Thirteen - 178 - 13 Questions for Kim Michele Richardson, Author of The Unbreakable Child

I met Kim online through fellow blogger Thomma Lyn Grindstaff, trading comments and delighting in one another's company.

Gradually, it became clear that Kim wasn't just a blogger, but a published author. And not an ordinary fiction writer, but the author of a memoir. And not just an autobiography, but a searing journey through her own dark night of the soul.

I mean, just look at her. How could such a vibrant, shiny person have a dark night of the soul?

Gradually, other things became clear about Kim. She had not grown up in a house full of parents and siblings, but rather at a rural Kentucky Catholic orphanage. She had not experienced the competition for attention, the eye-rolling embarrassments, the stomping to her room for the dramatic door-slam, the "Marcia! Marcia! Marcia!" Brady Bunch moments that so many of us take for granted as the parts of growing up where we wish we could have a do-over.

No - Kim experienced parental neglect, abandonment, institutionalized physical abuse, psychological cruelty and sexual assault.

Not only did Kim survive all of that, she grew into a strong, compassionate woman who created a family like she'd always dreamed of. But as Dean Winchester from Supernatural says:

"You can't outrun your past."

Kim joined a class-action lawsuit against the order of nuns who had tormented her and hundreds like her. But in order to provide testimony for the court, Kim was forced to confront her nightmarish childhood, the same kind of memories that had driven other former residents of her orphanage to depression, addiction and lives left in ruins.

Kim turned her initial collection of notes for the legal team into the memoir releasing Oct. 1st - The Unbreakable Child.

Kim, welcome to A Piece of My Mind.

1 - If you look back, can you see hints that there was a writer inside you, waiting to come out?

I believe there is a writer in each of us and we all have an important story to tell. I’ve always used a pad and pen to express myself. Even as a small child I would write long letters, poems and music, then bury them around the orphanage playground for safe keeping.

2 - When you realized that you had a marketable book on your hands, how did you start along the road to publication?

William F. McMurry, my real life protagonist in The Unbreakable Child, gave my first draft to a filmmaker and author in Louisiana to read. The results were not too favorable, with that person pointing me toward self-publication.

*laughs* I didn’t have a clue as to what this self-publishing was, but, for my work, I felt it was wrong - not a route I wanted to take.

Over four years ago, I begin researching and learning about agents and traditional publishers, spending thousands of hours doing such. And after thousands and thousands of hours and many many drafts later, the book was placed with what appeared to the traditional publishing world as an up and coming, prize-winning publisher.

3 - I read about your initial publisher's demise in Blogland and have to admit that I said to myself, 'What is going on? What kind of crazy karma is this? She hasn't gone through enough heartache? Her publisher has to fold, too?'

How were you able to meet this as a challenge instead of folding up your tent and going home?

The Unbreakable Child had gained a wide readership and had picked up great momentum. Unfortunately, and due to the recession, many authors found their works ‘orphaned’ in the publishing world during this time. But I didn’t take too well with my book being 'orphaned'. Understandably.

Unbeknownst to me and my literary agency at the time of The Unbreakable Child’s sale, the former publisher took on the book when its house was experiencing financial difficulty. The Unbreakable Child did extremely well in its short, three-months-out, but in the end the former publisher closed shop, taking with him all earnings due, which was earmarked to help others.

More importantly, this turn of events had me down on my knees scrambling to get my rights back. With the help of author advocates I was successful. And I’m forever grateful to the kindness and support the publishing world extended to me at this time.

With time on my side, I used it to my advantage to strengthen my writing and learn the craft. More revisions were afforded and thousands of hours later, I landed an amazing and wonderful literary agent, Stephany Evans, who was passionate about my work and who placed The Unbreakable Child with an equally passionate traditional publisher, Behler, who is reputable and honest. There, it has hopefully found its “forever home”.

4 - In June my cousin Julianne MacLean - who doesn't know you - posted a link on our writer's loop about an editor who gave a rejected book another chance. When I clicked on her link, I knew it had to be your Unbreakable Child. And it was!

Here's the link:

Blog post by Lyne Price, editorial director for Behler Publications, describing her change-of-heart and subsequent purchase of The Unbreakable Child

You've revised and expanded the original version. Has this turned out to be a silver lining for the book?

The odds of placing a pre-published book with another publisher are not high. The odds of placing a memoir of a non-celeb and a book regarding abuse, even lower. The reasons for this are complicated and many.

I did not let this deter me.

I knew The Unbreakable Child was on the cutting edge for speaking out on what is now a Humanity Crisis with the Catholic clergy, and a very important part of history - that The Unbreakable Child is still a first-ever in the traditional publishing world. My agent and my now publisher knew and believed this as well.

I’m so pleased to have been given the opportunity to fine-tune, polish and add to The Unbreakable Child. Additionally, a wonderful professional Readers Guide was included, along with important documents and language.

5 - You recently blogged at The Huffington Post. Tell us how that came about.

I’m happy to say I will be contributing to the Huffington Post and look forward to working with HuffPo – writing more articles on important social issues such as my first article on clergy abuse here:

Nun Abuse: A Survivor's Message For the Vatican.

Along with other articles, I plan to introduce other social issues I’m passionate about, such as elderly care, teens and drunken driving etc.

6 - Do you have a book tour planned? A real life one, a virtual one, or both?

Yes. I’m working with other blog interviewers now and will also be attending library events, a book launch, book signings and our esteemed Kentucky Book Fair here locally. Along with doing radio and news media events as they come along.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~ CLICK HERE for tour dates ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you check my website, you can see I keep a rolling list of upcoming book events.

7 - Given the nature of your book's subject matter, you are now approached by other survivors of abuse on a regular basis. How do you deal with that? Do you find it overwhelming at times?

It can be overwhelming at times, like anything that consumes a lot of time, energy and emotions, but it is also a wonderful catharsis to minimize one’s own problems when you’re able to reach out to another and give unconditionally.

8 - What sort of things do you do to fill up your creative well?

I have great passion for photography.

I love marketing and advertising in the corporate world and have won national recognition and awards for such.

I play in the dirt with plants.

9 - Coffee or tea? - Tea.

Chocolate or chips? - Gummi Bear freak here.

Locally grown or exotic import? - Local. We had a huge garden this year with an abundance of delicious fruits and vegetables. It was a successful and happy family project.

Homemade or store bought? - Depends on how crunched for time I am.

Picnic or night on the town? - Picnic by the lake, at my retreat cottage on the back roads of Kentucky.

Symphony or rock concert? - Both, and much more. I’m all across the board on my music selection.

Cat or dog? - I have and love both.

Paper or ebook? - Paper, although I admit to being somewhat curious about the electronic readers and will probably buy one for my teen to test-drive first.

History or science fiction? - History, definitely. Especially anything Abe Lincoln.

Hollywood blockbuster or indie film? - Rarely watch movies or TV.

10 - What is the biggest misconception people have of you?

Mistaking my kindness for weakness.

11 - What three things make you laugh the most?

My children. Playing with my adoptive pound pups and surrounding myself with happy and positive people.

12 - What do you think people would find most amusing about you?

My playfulness and sense of humor. Seriously. Life is just way too short to play with and into the drama queen scenes.

13 - Can you relate to the terms that people use to describe you, such as heroic and inspiring? Do you suppose people who have not been made to endure can still find heroism in the everyday?

I’m humbled and honored, but I would never call or think of myself as heroic. And, I am most grateful to the many people who call The Unbreakable Child inspiring.

When I think of heroic, I think of others: My brave husband and his thirty year policing career, is heroic.

I think of my talented teen. With only two weeks out of High School, she spent the spring, summer and fall in NYC, alone, working with and learning the city and its fashion industry.

Any single mum scrapping and struggling, such as my sister who raised four sweet children, against tremendous odds, is also heroic in my book.

And the every-day-person, who gives unconditionally to make this a better world, is heroic.

Thank you so much for dropping by, Wonder Woman! I mean, Kim!

Thanks for having me, Julia.


"I looked at the two photographs and the bracelet I'd plunked down on the conference table. It had been decades since I'd pulled them out. These three objects were the only tangible remains of my youth. The realization punched me in the gut. One of the photos depicted me standing in front of a large, weatherworn statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Another showed my First Holy Communion day. And Mrs. Lindauer, a State social worker, gave me the prize scarab bracelet when I turned eight years old.

I picked up the bracelet and rubbed a colored bead. My hand trembled. I curled my fingers around it to stop the shake.

Over thirty years ago I'd walked out of Saint Thomas Orphan Asylum-Saint Vincent Orphanage, and on that day, I took with me only the clothes on my back and my treasured scarab bracelet, hidden in my sock.

'This is all I have from my childhood,' I said softly.

I looked away, bit hard on my lip. To demand justice meant reliving the horrors. The beatings. The starvation. The force-fed drugs meant to keep us compliant.

I was afraid to speak, because speaking brings back voice. William F. McMurray, attorney-at-law, waited, exhibited quiet compassion, interrupting only when necessary.

A forgotten childhood meant a lifetime of evasiveness with acquaintances: friends new and old, avoiding eye contact, and dancing around the subject of youth that others so freely shared.

I'd been running a long time not knowing where I was going, but I knew I had to come home. Someone had to bring me back, and destiny chose William McMurray. By the time I finished recounting, and revealing, I was drenched in sweat, sitting on a pile of memories."

- Kim Michele Richardson, 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - 168

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Poetry Train Monday - 171 - Further In and Around the Corner

This poem was written during the 3:15 Experiment in August.

Further In and Around the Corner

Maybe not right now
But soon
Maybe not on my tongue
But I can taste it

Perhaps the vision is too
Misty to grasp in my hands
Perhaps the words are muffled
Drawing me further in and around the corner

Maybe the climb is still steep
But at least I have those mountaineering clips
Perhaps I run out of day before I run out of done
This journey becomes more soothing, revealings its own joys, its own insights

© Julia Smith, Aug. 27, 2010

For more poetry, Ride the Poetry Train!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Summer Stock Sunday - 33

My vintage look at summer for Summer Stock Sunday, hosted by Robin at Around the Island.

Robin's second summertime photo meme has once again been a favorite highlight of my blogging year - thanks, Robin! To bring 2010's version to a close, here's a picture that epitomizes summer for me.

This is my dad as a kid, playing cowboy in front of his parents' store in rural Quebec in the 1940's.

Though social role play can occur indoors or out, in every season, for some reason the 'let's pretend' play in which I took part as a kid is far more vivid to me when it happened outside. I played non-storytelling games like skip rope, hopscotch, red light/green light, and hide and seek, but I far preferred all the times when we enacted scenes from shows like Little House on the Prairie, I Dream of Jeannie, Get Smart or Six Million Dollar Man.

When I was at Ryerson directing my student films, I often heard the echoes of my childhood self setting up scenes with my friend, my cousin and my sister:

"I'll be Mary, you be Laura and you be Nellie. Now let's pretend Nellie has invited us over to her house and she's being mean to us."

And in a bit of foreshadowing, Dad's social play which gravitated towards being an imaginary gunslinger was the precursor to his sharpshooter status when he served with the US army in the 60's.

Weekend Writers Retreat - 25

Here's the latest installment of Scorpius' boyhood back story.

Scorpius is a character from my dark fantasy work in progress. For the first twelve scenes posted for the Weekend Writer's Retreat, we follow him as a seven-year-old, outgrown from the nursery where he'd been brought up with the other children of the blood. When no one from his family claimed him, Scorpius was released to serve a scarred and intimidating master.

The next twelve scenes follow Scorpius as a ten-year-old seasoned falconer's apprentice. The more he understands of his world, the more he learns to beware the nobles who come to the cottage for the hunt. The political intrigues that take the lives of its players can burn anyone who comes too close - including a falconer and his boy.

We rejoin him at age thirteen.

You can follow the progress of this story arc by clicking on the Works in Progress link just under the blog header.

Scene 25

The urge to gouge his eyes out spun him away from the scene but it was too late. He’d seen them.

Scorpius crashed through the brush like wounded prey. He should flee as silently as he’d stumbled upon the two of them, but the need to put distance between himself and detection cautioned speed.

Branches whipped his face. Unseen dips in the forest floor grabbed to take him down. Scorpius ran on. They must never suspect he was anything but a startled animal.


His master’s love, Ingerith, entwined in the arms of a man who was not Richolf. Far worse – the man was a noble, his steed grazing quietly a few yards off.

He cursed the gods for leading him to that particular spot in the forest. For giving him the afternoon away from his duties, for Richolf’s leave granted to enjoy the day in any way he sought fit.

How could he enjoy anything anymore? She was untrue. It was only a matter of time before Richolf’s heart – the heart that was braver than any man’s – would suffer the killing stroke at last.

Scorpius kept running until his chest burned for air. He stopped by a brook which meandered over stones and under moss, sitting himself upon a flat rock that cooled him. Scooping water to his lips, he drank and then splashed a few handfuls over his face.

He looked back the way he had come. Nothing stirred. Nothing made a sound.

He didn’t think they’d seen him. How could they, when they were so intent on devouring one another’s mouths?

If only he could doubt that it had really been Ingerith. But the gods offered no kindnesses for the likes of him. She’d gazed straight in his direction when he’d first come upon them, creeping forward unseen behind the leaves and shadows. She’d gazed but hadn’t seen him, her attention quickly turning back to the noble who ran his hands along her body with possessive familiarity.

How would he be able to keep such a thing from his master?

Scorpius’ stomach clenched at the prospect. All he could think of was the way she’d coaxed those smiles from Richolf when his body lay broken after the questioning, several years past. For that, Scorpius would always be grateful to her. For that alone, he would have kept her terrible deceit to himself.

Ultimately, though, he was only an apprentice, and he served the falconer. What business did he have, an unclaimed boy given over to a master, to open his mouth only to cause fighting or even bloodshed? Such knowledge could lead to very dark places.

If he were honest with himself, withholding the information from Richolf was really a little seed of hope. The ways of men and women were foreign to Scorpius, who’d spent half his life now in the company of his master and the men who came to the hunt. Perhaps there was something he just didn’t understand.

The little seed was soon pulverized when he arrived at the falconer’s cottage to see the same steed from the forest tied to a post in the yard.

His master and the noble turned at the same time to regard Scorpius as he rounded the corner of the mews and found them just as Richolf secured a falcon to his gloved forearm. Scorpius’ body froze, his heart beating like the furious flight of a doomed game bird. It was the same noble. The same.

It was the man who’d strode down to the rushes with Scorpius, who’d peppered him with questions, who’d taken the game-flushing stick to leave a burning welt along the back of Scorpius’ head. The noble who’d crushed Ingerith’s body to his own, just now in the forest, it was the same man.

Scorpius barely had time to lower his gaze before the noble could return it. Just enough time to see the blank expression on his master’s suddenly gray face.

The memory of Richolf’s wounds rose up to shake Scorpius violently inside. He looked at the noble’s hand and remembered how it had swung the stick to strike him, how it had just run along Ingerith’s body in the forest.

“I wasn’t expecting you,” Richolf said, his voice betraying nothing.

Quick – he must think of something. Anything. “I got hungry, sir. Saw the mount and hurried down, sir.”

Richolf nodded to the noble, who led the way out of the mews. “As there is only this one lord for the hunt, you may eat,” his master said.

Scorpius nodded and struck out for the cottage, watching the lord stride across the field with his master. His palms grew sticky with sweat. He must follow them. He must keep his master safe. No one would ever hurt his master like that again.

Wrapping his fingers around the knife he always kept strapped to his hip, Scorpius slipped between trunks and around rock ledges, keeping the two men in sight. The feel of the knife handle lessened his trembling. He knew how accidents could happen to the wrong noble on the wrong hunt.

© Julia Smith, 2010

Travis Cody says I like the insight you put in this one...Scorpius admits to himself that perhaps there is something he doesn't understand. And yet, what he has seen cannot be unseen.

Alice Audrey says I'm betting the noble at least suspects she's unfaithful to him with Richof. Did I mention I love speculating? Thanks for putting up with me. :)

Janet says I loved the previous scene - and agree with Travis about your storytelling ability from one POV. I wonder if perhaps Ingerith is working on payback!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

5 on Friday - 33

Travis at Trav's Thoughts invites everyone to lay down a short set of music that takes their fancies for his 5 on Friday meme.

Once upon a time, in a land that lies just within reach, three girls were born into an exceedingly silly family.

If there was one solid thread that ran through their lives, it was silliness.

When they grew up and went to university, the middle girl worked as a club DJ. When the youngest girl got married, it was a natural fit for the middle girl to compile a music set for the bride's reception.

As the wedding day went along, the oldest girl constantly laughed to herself over silly songs that popped up in the mix along with lovely, romantic songs. She would look around and see other members of their family also chuckling to themselves as the silly songs popped up.

For today's 5 on Friday, here are five silly moments my family savoured during my sister's wedding reception two weeks ago - courtesy of my cousin, Julianne.

1 - Love is All Around - Sonny Curtis

Opening theme for The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Who can turn the world on with her smile?
Who can take a nothing day
And suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

Well, it's you girl and you should know it
With each glance and every little movement
You show it

Love is all around, no need to waste it
You can have a town, why don't you take it?
You're gonna make it after all

- Sonny Curtis

2 - I Think I Love You - The Partridge Family

From The Patridge Family series

I think I love you
So what am I so afraid of?
I'm afraid that I'm not sure of
A love there is no cure for

I think I love you
Isn't that what life is made of?
Though it worries me to say
That I've never felt this way

- Tony Romeo

3 - The Lonely Goatherd - Julie Andrews and cast

From the Sound of Music soundtrack

One little girl in a pale pink coat heard
She yodeled back to the lonely goatherd

Soon her Mama with a gleaming gloat heard
What a duet for a girl and goatherd

- Hammerstein / Rodgers

4 - Beyond the Sea - Robbie Williams

From the Finding Nemo soundtrack

Beyond the sea
Waiting for me

My lover stands
On golden sands
And watches the ships
That go sailing

Beyond the sea
He's there
Watching for me

If I could fly
Like birds on high
Then straight to his arms
I'd go sailing

- Lawrence / Trenet

5 - Always Look on The Bright Side of Life - Eric Idle

From the Life of Brian soundtrack

Always look on the bright side of life
Always look on the right side of life

If life seems jolly rotten
There's something you've forgotten
And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing

When you're feeling in the dumps
Don't be silly, chumps
Just purse your lips and whistle
That's the thing

- Eric Idle

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Thursday Thirteen - 177 - 13 Views From Our Garden This Year

My mom and I share our home and our garden. The house is a two-family set-up: mom on the main floor, and my husband and I in the basement level. But the garden is a communal effort, as my garden-loving sister and brother-in-law have also contributed to its formation.

Here are thirteen views I captured in the garden in 2010.

1 - Tulips

2 - Lily-of-the-valley

3 - Forget-me-not

4 - Rhododendron

5 - Yarrow

6 - Honeysuckle

7 - Cranesbill Bevans

8 - Lavender

9 - American Pillar rambler rose

10 - Our self-titled Aunt Sheila rose (real name = Sub-zero Brownell series)

This was planted as a memorial to my aunt and godmother, Sheila, who passed away 7 years ago. She was a lifelong fan of yellow roses, so there was no question as to what we would choose for the garden to represent her.

11 - Frosty Fire Dianthus

12 - Clematis

13 - Lily

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - 167

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Poetry Train Monday - 170 - Defining Moment #2

This backstory poem for Richolf, my falconer character who appears in my Saturday serialized fiction, was written during the 3:15 Experiment in August.

Defining Moment #2

Delicious glances as they wove between the other dancers
Three sword points levelled at his face
The searing bite of the blade upon his brow

His invitation to the soiree
Had been heartfelt
By a grateful noble
One of the hunters who
Wanted to reciprocate
The falconer's hospitality

"Go on, go on"
His master had urged
Declining the offer himself
A twinkle in his eye

So many beautiful girls
So many intoxicating ladies
Richolf danced with them all
Smiled at them all
Clasped her hand
Brushed his lips upon her knuckles
Locked gazes
Felt the heat

Until he was called outside
Surrounded and threatened
In the chill night air
The sweat from the party
Turning to the sweat of fear

He'd danced with the wrong girl
He didn't even know which one
Had inspired these three sword points
To level at his face

A kick from behind
His cry hanging in the night air
The distant sounds of the soiree
His heart beating as he realized
All the moments of his life
Would end in this dusty moment

But the hands which held him
Only meant for the sword to
Kiss his brow
A reminder for life
Not to mix his lowly breed
With that of one born to the blood

They left him
Laying in the dirt
Dripping red between his fingers
That still held the thrill
Of all those girlish hands
Those womanly sighs

© Julia Smith, Aug. 25, 2010

For more poetry, Ride the Poetry Train!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Summer Stock Sunday - 32

My vintage look at summer for Summer Stock Sunday, hosted by Robin at Around the Island.

62 summers ago, my mom and her siblings gathered together for a photo in their front yard in Sydney, on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. At this point there were four - a fifth sibling would arrive two years later.

The fifth sibling's daughter just got married a few weeks ago along the shore of Lake Michigan. The oldest boy in this shot - my Uncle Charlie - drove out to Michigan to attend the wedding of his brother's daughter, then turned around and drove back to Nova Scotia to give away his other niece at her wedding last weekend.

My sister's wedding was a mini family reunion - as are most weddings.

Above, from L to R:

Paulette, Charlie, Sheila, Warren

Last weekend, Paulette headed off to the wedding with her beaming daughter.

Uncle Charlie accompanied his niece down the outdoor aisle.

The happy couple with Aunt Louise and Uncle Warren, here from Michigan.

Weekend Writer's Retreat - 24

Here's the latest installment of Scorpius' boyhood back story.

Scorpius is a character from my dark fantasy work in progress. For the first twelve scenes I've posted for the Weekend Writer's Retreat, we've followed him as a seven-year-old, when he outgrew the nursery where he'd been brought up with the other children of the blood.

But when no one from his family came to claim him, Scorpius was released to serve a falcon master as an apprentice.

We rejoin him at age ten.

An incident that took place at the falconer's cottage three years ago has political repercussions that now haunt Scorpius and his master, Richolf.

You can follow the progress of this story arc by clicking on the Works in Progress link just under the blog header.

Scene 24

Standing off to the side, Scorpius tried not to watch his master’s farewell to his love. But their passion filled the gray dawn, only growing in intensity the more they tried to hide it.

Finally Ingerith forced herself to step back, to turn away toward Scorpius. Her face crumpled into tears, but she walked calmly towards him as though she was fine.

Glancing over at the falconer, he saw the same pained expression. Dread laced Scorpius' body, his breath coming rapidly, though he did as they did and carried on as though it were a normal morning.

As Ingerith passed him and headed down the road, Scorpius locked gazes with Richolf. Warning blazed from those eyes. No harm shall come to his beloved. No harm.

Scorpius’ body went rigid with shock, never having met the side of his master that promised cool destruction. Somehow he gathered himself and nodded, man to man, before following Ingerith around the bend.

Something about the force of her strides cautioned Scorpius to keep a few paces behind her as they began their journey back to the estate. When she stopped suddenly in the road, Scorpius halted at a distance until he saw her body shudder with sobs. He was about to go to her when she turned and lunged for him.

He gasped as she grabbed him by the shoulders, her face made somehow beautiful by the ferocity of her despair. Her fingers were like talons piercing his flesh, but he refused to grimace. The unspoken order to watch over her gave him clarity now that she’d revealed herself.

“Who were they?” she said between sobs.


She could barely get the words out. “Who…who hurt him?”

Now he understood. His first glimpse of Richolf huddled in the dim room at the estate had filled him with the same fury. It had given him the words to make the guard jump to his demands.

It was hard to look into her eyes. The pain behind them squeezed Scorpius harder than her crushing hands. But he forced himself to do it anyway. “My lady,” he began, then grunted as she shoved him to the ground.

“I am not a lady. Don’t call me that!”

Scorpius scrambled to his knees, keeping her in his sights. He raised both hands before him in a halting gesture. “My apologies, Ingerith.”

“Who hurt him?” She stood over him, and every instinct cautioned him to retreat, but he held his ground. The look on his master’s face as they’d departed made more sense now. The danger Richolf had faced had not ended in the dungeon.

Well, Scorpius would not betray him. The horror of the wounds Richolf still wore deserved to be honored. “I don’t know their names, lady – Ingerith.”

She grabbed his tunic and shook him. Scorpius held onto her hands and braced himself against her onslaught. “Don’t start!” she said. “Tell me what they looked like. What were they wearing?”

It would be so easy to describe them. He would remember everything about that afternoon as long as he lived. “I don’t know – they were just nobles come for a hunt.”

Ingerith froze, her expression rapidly reevaluating Scorpius. She released him and strode away from him for a few moments. He got to his feet, wary of her next move, haunted by his master’s gaze as they’d left.

“Don’t you want to help him?” she said finally. She turned and looked at Scorpius, and he no longer felt like a boy looking at a woman. She looked so fragile. He felt like he should comfort her. And he recognized this as the greatest threat of all.

“He never broke,” he said, gesturing back towards the cottage. “Whatever it was they wanted from him, he never gave it to them. I will do as he commands me. That is how I can help him.”

She closed the distance between them. “I know certain people,” she said, just as cool as Richolf’s warning. “They can make those bastards suffer.”

Scorpius shook his head no.

Ingerith took a deep breath. “I will make enquiries. It will merely speed things if you tell me now.”

Bowing his head, Scorpius remained silent. When she did nothing but stare at him, he moved forward along the road in the direction of the estate. “Come!” he said at last when she gazed back toward her love, who remained hidden beyond the curve of the road.

Ingerith wiped her tears from her face, turned back to face the road and began walking. But it was merely the ghostly remains of the woman who’d brought smiles to his master’s battered face.

For a terrible moment Scorpius almost told her. Why shouldn’t they suffer, if she knew someone who could make that happen?

Instead, he set the pace for the long walk back to the estate. He ignored her crying which didn’t stop for a long, long time. When they reached a certain landmark known only to her, she told him to stay.

“No one must see me with the falconer’s boy,” she said.

He nodded, watching her wipe her face with a delicate pocket cloth. She smoothed her hair and brushed the dust from her skirts. Then she turned and walked to his side, placing a kiss on the top of his head.

“I know you’ll keep him safe. Remember all the things I told you about the salves.”

“Yes, miss.”

Then she walked down the lane and out of sight.

Scorpius decided the safest thing to do would be to duck into the woods beside the road itself for a time. He followed the route from a discreet distance, pausing like those little game hens behind the safety of the branches every time a traveler appeared in the road.

When he finally spied the falconer’s cottage, he stood in the dappled shade and took in the sight of the falconer standing watch at the door. He did eventually emerge to rejoin his master and settle him back on the pallet.

He didn’t shrink from the penetrating stare heavy with questions. But no more was said of Ingerith for some time, as though she’d never arrived with her smiles, her tonics or her tears.

© Julia Smith, 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010

5 on Friday - Set 32

Travis at Trav's Thoughts invites everyone to lay down a short set of music that takes their fancies for his 5 on Friday meme.

At my sister's wedding last weekend, she walked down the outdoor aisle to the strains of a string version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

The weather was a mix of everything on her wedding day - a bit of sun, a bit of drizzle, a bit more sun. Nothing to make them relocate the outdoor ceremony - but all the ingredients for a spectacular double rainbow later in the day.

I'm repeating this shot which I posted yesterday, just because it's so crazy incredible.

For more wedding fun, scroll down to Thursday Thirteen.

Photo by Anita Coady

For today's 5 on Friday, I salute all things rainbow.

1 - Somewhere Over the Rainbow - Tomis String Quartet

2 - Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows - Lesley Gore

When you're near the
Rain cloud disappears, dear
And I feel so fine
Just to know that you are mine

My life is
Sunshine, lollipops and
That's how this re-
Frain goes
So come on join in

Sunshine, lollipops and
Everything that's
Wonderful is sure to come your way
When you're in love to stay

- Hamlisch / Liebling

3 - A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow - Mitch and Mickey

Mitch and Mickey are a fictional folk duo from the film A Mighty Wind by Christopher Guest. The song is performed by actors Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara.

In tales of ancient glory
Every knight and maiden fair
Shall be joined when the quest is over
And a kiss is the oath that they swear

- McKean / O'Toole

4 - She's a Rainbow - The Rolling Stones

Have you seen her dressed in blue
See the sky in front of you
And her face is like a sail
Speck of white so fair and pale
Have you seen the lady fairer?

- Jagger / Richards

5 - Silver Rainbow - Genesis

This song is off an album that my sister and I used to listen to constantly while driving along the seaside, when we were both in our late teens/early 20's.

But if you're sitting there beside her
And a bear comes in the room
And you keep on going cause you're unaware
Ooo, then you'll know that you are there

Beyond the silver rainbow
You won't know if you're coming or going

- Banks / Collins / Rutherford

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Thursday Thirteen - 176 - 13 Special Moments From My Sister's Wedding Day

Photo by Anita Coady

1 - The bride greets her day with joy.

2 - Posing with a photo of our dad, who passed away three years ago. To hold him near on her special day, she wore his cufflink on her shoulder.

3 - Headin' for the weddin'!

Holding her handmade bouquet which she put together herself the night before.

Photo by Anita Coady

4 - The handsome groom with his beautiful daughters and granddaughter.

L - Charlotte, holding Maggie's daughter Louise
R - Maggie

5 - Michelle is thrilled to learn that the ceremony will proceed at the cottage as planned, and not at the church in the background.

Photo by Anita Coady

6 - To the strains of Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Uncle Charlie walks his precious niece down the aisle.

7 - Her cousin and best friend Julianne MacLean toasts the bride.

8 - Time to cut the cake, homemade by Newt's daughter Charlotte.

Photo by Anita Coady

9 - Newt with his new family - us!

Newt, Michelle, Mom, me and Brad

10 - Michelle with her new family.

Al, Joan, Newt and Michelle

Brothers and sisters - Robert, Reta, Newt, Michelle, Christine and Burton

11 - United at the lake - forever a special place in their hearts.

Photo by Anita Coady

12 - Friends don't let bride-friends forget to eat.

Michelle's former roommate Chris, here in Nova Scotia from Toronto.

13 - Remember Michelle's down-the-outdoor-aisle tune?

Photo by Anita Coady

Look what appeared - for realz.