Sunday, September 29, 2019

Where Is The Fall

What's going on!
It's not as quite as bad here in southern Kentucky as the picture above, but it feels like it. It's been weeks since we've had rain and the average temperatures have been in the low to mid-90s. It's fall for Christ's sake. Where are my cool mornings? It's supposed to be in the 50s in the mornings and high 70s in the afternoons. Our days have been starting in the upper 70s. It's just crazy. It may or may not be global warming. We missed the record high of 98 degrees for today, set back in 1953, by one degree. 

For those of you going through menopause, or perimenopause, you know what I mean when I say this heat is killing me. I can't be outside for more than a few minutes. That's really bad for someone who is naturally an outside person. But, I've been sick this last week, so I wasn't going outside anyway. One of the joys of working with the public (I'm a librarian) is that you get exposed to everything that's going around because people don't have enough sense to stay home when they are sick. 

I have gotten the print book of Avalanche of Love closer to being available. Just a little tweaking to do. It's a bit bigger than I usually make my print books, but the print's also larger for those of us who struggle with tiny print. Hopefully, that will be done by the end of the week. 

Facebook Promise
For those of you who follow me on Facebook, you might have seen a post where I was talking about the trouble I was having with the first chapter of this story I'm reworking. I started writing it last year and have more than 78,000 words of it written, but I wasn't happy with it. It's had a couple of different working titles, including "By the Ocean." That should give you a hint as to where it takes place. Well, part of the story takes place by the ocean. 

Anyway, I promised I post the reworked first chapter. I got some really great advice from other writers, and I put it to good use. So I'm going to post that chapter in the blog post. 

What I'm Reading
I'm still working on Courtney Stevens' "Dress Codes For Small Towns." It's not the type of story I would typically read, but I've recently met Courtney and decided to check out her work. It's a cute story. 

I'm almost done with "Moonlight Avenue" by Gerri Hill. This a mystery with a little romance in it. I've had a hard time putting it down. Work and life keep getting in my way, but I expect to have it finished tomorrow. 

Here's the Chapter!
I'm posting the chapter below. I hope you'll visit my Facebook page and let me know what you think.

Chapter One

The wind whipped Paige’s short dark brown hair across her face as the ocean breeze picked up with the impending storm. The local weatherman said the storm should be rolling in by midmorning. Paige was glad she had time to get her morning run in because it was supposed to rain for the next three days. That would regulate her run to her treadmill. She would much rather run along the beach. It was more strenuous but more relaxing. 

As a bank manager for a busy branch of a national chain, Paige needed as much relaxation as she could get. Some days were simple, and some days were horrific. Yesterday had been the latter kind of day. She’d had one angry customer that she feared she was going to have to call the police to have them removed from the bank. Days like that made her wish she didn’t work with the public. 

Paige adjusted her earbuds and pulled her phone out to turn the volume up on one of her favorite Nickleback songs. Picking up her pace, Paige ran to the hard-rocking beat of the music hoping to shake off the negative mood that was still plaguing her since yesterday’s ugly customer left the bank. 

Up ahead on the beach, Paige saw a woman lying at the edge of the surf. The long auburn hair made her think of the woman she’d seen sitting on the beach staring out at the water the past four mornings. Paige was pretty sure the woman was a tourist. She seemed very melancholy. Her expression was always pensive, even when she had turned to look at Paige the first morning she had been out here there had been no happy good morning greeting that most tourists usually gave, especially on their first day of vacation.

Alarm bells went off in Paige’s head as the woman didn’t move and allowed the waves to splash over her. What if she was dead? Paige changed direction and started running toward the woman. She was still a few minutes away when she saw the woman’s hands move, and she began to push herself up on her elbows. 

A massive wave was making its way toward the woman and would probably knock her back down if she didn’t move. “Hey!” Paige called out.

The woman probably couldn’t hear her with all the waves crashing around her. Paige called out again, but it was too late. The wave hit the woman and knocked her flat on her back, hitting her head hard on the packed sand. The woman tried to get up, but another wave crashed into her throwing her off balance. She fell face-first in the water. The wave pushed her down, and then pulled her further into the water as the surf pulled back into the ocean

Paige ripped her earbuds out and was about to throw her phone on the beach. She paused, deciding she’d rather strip off her shorts and keep her new iPhone safe in her pocket. She was wearing black bikini underwear and a sports bra, so it wasn’t like she was naked if she tossed the shorts. 

After discarding her shorts, and pitching them high up on the beach away from the water, Paige ran into the surf and grabbed the woman around her waist. 

An older man appeared next to her and helped her pull the unconscious woman up the beach and away from the water. An older woman that Paige assumed was the man’s wife, approached them with her phone to her ear. Paige could hear her talking to a 911 dispatcher, telling them where they were and what had happened. 

Paige’s years as a lifeguard kicked in and she began to examine the woman and check her vitals. The woman wasn’t breathing. Paige made sure nothing was blocking the airway and then started giving the woman mouth to mouth resuscitation. It only took a few attempts before the woman sucked in a breath and started to cough. Paige rolled her to her side so she could spit up the water in her lungs. She noted the taste of tequila on the woman’s breath. She’d probably been drinking and passed out on the beach.

When the woman rolled onto her back, Paige noticed a large knot on her forehead. She must have hit her head hard on a shell or something when the wave was tossing her around.

Pushing the woman’s long auburn hair away from her face, Paige confirmed that she was indeed the woman who had been out here the past four mornings. The woman opened her eyes and stared up at Paige with large hazel eyes.

“Are you a mermaid?” the woman asked in a rasping voice.

Paige chuckled. “No, I’m not a mermaid.”

“You’re very pretty,” the woman said and coughed again.

“Thank you,” Paige said and looked up at the older man who was kneeling next to them. 

“I think she might be going into shock,” he said and nodded in the woman’s direction. 

He was probably right, Paige thought when she looked down at the woman’s eyes. Her pupils were not the same size, and she was starting to shiver. “Do you happen to have a blanket or towel?” Paige asked the older woman. 

“No,” the woman shook her head. “We were just out for a walk.”

Paige noted their attire. Both were dressed in white shorts, short sleeves, shirts, and barefoot. The woman was holding both of their sandals in the hand that was not holding her phone. The woman’s clothes were pressed and pristine white, where the man’s were now soaked and covered in light brown sand. 

The man took off his shirt and put it over the woman’s upper body. “It’s a little wet, but it’s better than nothing,” he said.

Paige nodded. “Thank you.” She turned to the older woman who still had the ambulance dispatch on the phone and was telling them about their concern that the woman was going into shock. “Do they have an estimated time of arrival?”

The older woman asked the dispatcher about the ETA just as they heard sirens approaching and Paige saw the beach patrol’s truck racing toward them. “Thank God.” She turned back to the woman they had pulled from the water. She had closed her eyes. Paige gave her a gentle shake. “Ma’am? What’s your name?”

Those large hazel eyes opened and stared at Paige. Finally, the woman rasped, “Mermaid.”

“I’m not a mermaid. What’s your name?” Paige gave her another shake when she tried to close her eyes again.

“My sister won’t believe I met a mermaid.” 

“What’s your sister’s name?” Paige asked thinking that the sister must either be here on vacation with this woman or live here.

“Ann,” the woman said and tried to close her eyes again. 

Paige shook her again. “What’s your sister’s last name? Does she live here?”

“Cavanaugh. Birch street I think,” she said. 

Benny Garcia, one the beach patrolman, walked up to their group. “What you got here, Paige?”

Paige knew Benny from her lifeguard days. “She was lying at the edge of the surf when a couple of big waves came in. She tried to get it up, but the water took her down. I was on my morning run when I saw her lying there and became concerned when she wasn’t moving. I’d started to head in her direction and called out to try to warn her about the wave headed toward her, but she couldn’t hear me.” Paige pointed to the older man. “This gentleman helped me pull her out of the water.”

The older man said, “My wife and I were walking on the beach when we heard this young lady calling out to the woman on the beach. We saw the waves take her down when she tried to get up. I ran out to help.”

Benny was standing over Paige and the man as they both gave the auburn-haired woman gentle shakes to keep her awake. 

“My head hurts,” the woman said when Paige shook her again.

“I bet,” Paige said and turned to Benny. “There’s alcohol on her breath. I think she may have passed out on the beach.”

“I didn’t pass out,” the woman said, bringing Paige’s eyes back to her. “Just wanted to see a pretty sunrise.” The woman’s eyes rolled into the back of her head and lost consciousness. 

“Oh shit,” Paige said and tried to wake the woman again. “Ma’am! Wake up!”

The sirens drown out anything Paige was saying as the ambulance raced up to their location on the packed sand. The EMTs hopped out of the ambulance and started getting the equipment out of the ambulance. 

Paige and the older man moved out of the EMTs’ way. A police car had also arrived and a firetruck. The firemen helped the EMTs load the woman on a transfer board and put her on the ambulance while the two policemen took Paige and the older couple’s statement. 

The couple, Walter and Helen Bamberger, were visiting from Ohio. They, too, had seen this woman on the beach for the past four mornings. She’d arrived the day after they did and they suspected she was staying at one of the three condo buildings that shared this stretch of the beach. 

“She said her sister’s name is Ann Cavanaugh and she lives on Birch Street?” one of the officers asked Paige. 

“That was my understanding,” Paige said. “She never did give me her name.”

“Okay. We’ll search for an Ann Cavanaugh in this area,” the policeman said. 

“She’d been drinking. I could taste the tequila when I gave her mouth to mouth,” Paige said. 

The officer looked down at Paige’s underwear. “Do you always run like that?”

Paige blushed. “No. My shorts are over there,” she said, pointing to the blue pile of cloth on the ground. She went and retrieved her shorts, putting them on before returning the officers. 

The older couple had already started walking back to their rented condo. The ambulance was gone, but Benny was talking with the policemen when Paige rejoined them. “Did you need anything more from me?” 

“No, Ms. Cummings,” the officer who had done most of the talking said. “We appreciate all the information you were able to get. Hopefully, we’ll be able to find the woman’s sister and reunite their family.”

The two officers walked backed to their patrol car leaving Paige and Benny alone. “I need to get going,” Paige said, looking at the time on her phone. “I’m going to be late to work.”

“But you’re the boss,” Benny said with a laugh.

Paige rolled her eyes at him. “Yes, and I’m supposed to lead by example.” 

“Well, you did a good thing this morning. I’m sure your employees will understand,” Benny said and waved as he headed back to his patrol truck. “Call me, and we’ll go out for a beer sometime.”

“Will do,” Paige said and started jogging back in the direction toward her house. She only had forty-five minutes to shower and get to work. Thankfully, she didn’t have to be there for the bank to open. 

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