Christian Fiction Friday is a weekly blog hop where authors post snippets from their current works in progress. It is hosted by Alana Terry and Hallee Bridgeman. See below for a full list of rules and suggestions. This week, I’m joining in the fun!
Here’s my snippet from True Paths (Sequel to Crooked Lines) …from the beginning of Chapter 2:
Swirls of distant smoke, like incense, sent the dead up to God. On the outskirts of the remote Nagapattinam fishing village, Rebecca leaned against the Jeep. Two weeks after the tsunami and piles of burning bodies still smoldered. Her heart sunk thinking about the thousands who lost their lives and the pain of their survivors. India had captured her heart since she was a child, but this wasn’t the India she’d imagined.
Her gaze fell from the sky above the thatched roofs to the activity across the sandy road.
Kumari, a beautiful woman dressed in a saffron and red salwaar kameez, stood near a shirtless, dark-skinned man. He raised his machete then sliced it sideways with a swift whooshack. Kumari accepted the scalped coconuts from the man. She stepped around a cow then approached a tall man corralling Indian youth workers onto a small, blue bus with “Praise the Lord” painted across the top of the windshield.
As soon as all were loaded, the Lord Jesus bus would follow Father Michael’s Lord Ganesha Jeep back to the orphanage. So far, every Indian vehicle Rebecca stepped in had hailed its religious affiliation—from auto rickshaws with rosaries dangling from rearview mirrors, to tiny fat Buddhas tucked in the corner of the windshields, to dashboard displays of blue, multi-armed, and elephant-faced beings.
Hints of spices and frying oil drifted from the tiny teashop across the road, where the coconut vendor had parked his cart. India poured out intoxicating mixtures of sights, smells, and sounds and in spite of the tragedy, Rebecca drank it all in.
The sun dipped below the top of coconut trees. In a few hours, in White Gull Bay, morning rays would slice through the bare maple tree outside the Wisconsin farmhouse window where her ten-year-old daughter slept, the same bedroom Rebecca once shared with her sister, and dreamt of India.
Kumari finished her conversation with the man, then crossed the ragged strip of a road toward Rebecca.
TRUE PATHS is the sequel to CROOKED LINES, an Amazon Kindle #1 Bestseller in Inspirational Fiction. Here’s the beginning of the first chapter of Crooked Lines:
It didn’t occur to me at the edge of the pond that I’d broken the sixth commandment, actually committed murder. I was busy working out a deal with God, swearing to Jesus I’d become a nun if He helped me breathe life back into my baby sister’s limp body. At the time, it didn’t matter that I wasn’t Catholic.
Now, a week after the funeral, Mama set me straight while flipping pancakes in the kitchen. “Daddy blames you for Kara’s death.” She said it like I’d let the milk spoil because I hadn’t put it back in the fridge, but the weight of her words cemented my bare feet to the green linoleum.
She reached for a platter and set it under the open window. The morning sun highlighted old stains, batter spills, and cracks on the brown laminate countertop. A cool morning draft rustled the faded yellow gingham curtains. Mama got a deal on that material from Woolworths before Kara was born. Along with curtains, she sewed four sundresses for each of my sisters and me. It wasn’t fair that the fabric was still with us, fluttering over the sink, yet Kara came and went as quickly as the wind.
Mama transferred pancakes to the plate.
My plan to breeze through the kitchen and escape the house unnoticed should have succeeded because for a week, I’d been a ghost. None of the people in the house—my parents or any of my brothers and sisters—spoke to me. I’d lived a cloistered existence with my blue notebook and unsettling thoughts.
Now, I only wanted to sit under the maple, read the Kara stories, and wind back time.
I tightened my arms around the notebook, holding it to my heart like a talisman, as if my words of love for my sister could erase the raw sting of truth in Mama’s words. Since that day at the pond, I’d been carrying that notebook everywhere, even sleeping with it. In my lake of sadness, in my whirling murky thoughts, those sacred pages had become my life preserver.
Mama snapped the griddle nob off and faced me. “We left her with you that morning. She was only seven.” Her words rushed out in a seething whisper. My shoulders fell and hope slid from them and disappeared out the kitchen window.
Only a month ago in my white cotton confirmation dress, I citied the Ten Commandments and professed my faith at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church.
So confident. So holy. Mama baked a cake.
Now, because of me, Kara was dead. I tugged a loose string on the frayed edges of my cut-offs, then looked back up at Mama. Her short blonde hair was a tangled mess. Her red-streaked eyes shot angry darts laced with sadness. C’mon Mama. Don’t you get it? The deep muddy waters consumed Kara. She’s gone, but I’m here, still drowning. …
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