I am a wife, mother, grandmother, sister and aunt. I worked for nearly 30 years in the field of law enforcement, but am now retired. I'm originally a southern girl, born and raised in Pahokee, Florida, land of black muck, Lake Okeechobee and the heart of the Glades. I now reside in Clarksville, Indiana and love seeing the change of seasons, the cold weather and blankets of snow. I love writing....blogs, short stories, poetry, and I just finished my first novel, entitled Animus, and hope to have it published.
I am proud and elated to inform all of my readers and supporters that all of my novels are now available through Barnes & Noble and are NO LONGER AVAILABLE through Amazon.
All novels have been updated, reformatted and are available in hard back and E-book.
If you haven’t read any of them yet and are wondering if you want to, I’ll tell you a little about each one of them, because we all know that sometimes that synopsis we see on jackets don’t always tell us what we really want to know. I’ll begin with my first novel.
If you like horror novels and a good scare, you might enjoy this one. Animus is a story about the resurrection of a dead man, Bradley Cavanaugh, who is brought back to life by someone who wants to exact revenge on the man she sees as the person who destroyed her life. However, his reanimation doesn’t go quite the way she’d planned. When he escapes her basement and makes his way home to the wife that he blames for his death, things REALLY spiral out of control.
Seeing is my second novel. If you’re from or ever lived in Pahokee, Florida, you should enjoy all the locale references made in this novel. Many people who have read this book told me that it took them on a trip down memory lane as they recalled the days of their youth and that they could literally envision the halls of Pahokee High School. The novel centers around 14-year-old (she turns 15 in the book) Diedre “DeeDee” Olsen, a typical, teenage tomboy whose life is turned upside down when she acquires the ability to see ghosts after suffering a traumatic head injury while playing softball. This novel contains humor and serious situations as it follows the life of an adolescent girl trying to cope with abilities she doesn’t know how to handle, eventually using them for good and to comfort the grieving.
Hurricane is my third novel and is about a Category 5 storm, Hurricane Phillipe, that is barreling towards the southeast coast of Florida, threatening to destroy the coastline and the Herbert Hoover dike that surrounds Lake Okeechobee. The main characters are Kayla Woodbridge and Boone Chadwick, who meet at the beach during vacation. Kayla, a native Floridian and survivor of Hurricane Andrew, knows to take the threat of the approaching hurricane seriously and leaves the beach before it makes landfall. Boone, on the other hand, has never experienced a hurricane and chooses to stay longer, or until the hurricane becomes a real threat. When island goers are forced to evacuate, they get stranded on the island after the causeway bridge collapses leaving them with no route of escape and forcing them to ride out the storm in beachfront hotels. For anyone who has ever been in a hurricane and had to hunker down while it passed through, knows that the beach is the LAST place one wants to be when that happens!!! What could possibly go wrong??
The Punishment Room is my fourth novel, and one that was difficult to write because it deals with sexual abuse of a minor, and while writing some of the scenes, I cried. The main character is Joey Sheffield, now an adult, who makes a return trip home at the request of her sister, Rosemary, to attend the funeral of the father that she despised because of the abuse. What Joey doesn’t realize until it’s too late is that she was summoned home under false pretenses – not for a funeral, but so that a mother more wicked than the father can exact her revenge on the one she blames for staining the Sheffield name.
The Other Me is my fifth novel and a sequel to Seeing. Dr. Diedre “DeeDee” Olsen Blanchard is now an adult and a Child Psychologist. Led deep into the bowels of the Florida Everglades as she attempts to track down information about the dead twin brother of her 7-year-old patient, a brother he never knew existed and who is haunting him, DeeDee encounters Earl and Maylene Tibbetts. Uneducated, unruly and abusive to the children in their care, the husband and wife team hide many dark secrets on their farm – and in the surrounding woods. Because of her ability to see the dead, DeeDee knows what secrets are buried in the woods, but will she be able to expose their heinous crimes to the authorities before the remaining children on the farm become the Tibbetts’ next victims?
All can be purchased online or at a Barnes and Noble store near you. If unavailable in the store, you can request to order a copy.
To all my readers and encouragers…..thank you so much for sticking by me, believing in me, encouraging me to continue, and supporting me, either with kind words or good book reviews.
There are no words to completely express my gratitude.
My fifth novel entitled The Other Me is now available on Amazon in paperback and E-book. This novel is a sequel to Seeing.
In this follow-up, DeeDee is an adult, telling her story about her involvement in exposing and bringing down serial child abductors and murderers.
When 7-year-old Ethan Portman is brought to her by his mother seeking treatment for visual and audio hallucinations, Dr. Deidre Olsen Blanchard instantly identifies the root of the change in Ethan’s behavior – he is being haunted by the dead identical twin brother he never knew existed. In a quest to retrieve vital information on the dead twin that will save the life of her patient, DeeDee is led deep into the Florida Everglades by the deceased boy’s ghost, bringing her to an unfortunate confrontation with Earl and Maylene Tibbetts, the last known caregivers for Nathan Banks.
When DeeDee and her husband, David, make a late-night, unauthorized visit back to the Tibbetts’ farm, what they discover inside the barn is beyond their wildest imaginations, the carnage almost too cruel to believe.
DeeDee must act fast to rescue the remaining children on the farm before they become the next victims of the Tibbett’s murderous gluttony.
The link to the book is:
As always, thank you for your continued support…and happy reading!!!
How would you like to win a copy of my newest novel entitled The Other Me? This book is a sequel to my novel Seeing.
Here’s how it works: Answer all 10 of the following questions correctly. You can either enter your answers in the comments section of this post or shoot me an email at email@example.com. From the correct answers submitted, I will choose ONE person as the winner by putting names in a bowl, typed on a folded piece of paper and drawn randomly. The winner will be announced on my website and on my Facebook page.
Entries expire on Monday, May 11, 2020.
What is the main character’s name in the book “Seeing?”
What is the name of her home town?
What special abilities does she possess and how did she come to acquire them?
What is the name of her friend and mentor and his role in “Seeing?”
What specific crimes did she help to solve?
What is the name of the bully that tormented her in high school?
What is the first name of her best friend?
What was the name of the nightclub that resulted in the deaths of 100 patrons during a fire?
For all of my readers and followers of my blog, beginning Thursday, April 16, 2020, all four of my E-Book formatted novels will be available for FREE!!! The promotion will run for a week, but if I need to renew the promotion, I certainly will.
Everyone is faced with hard times during this pandemic, and while there isn’t much I can do to offer comfort or solace to every soul that needs it, I can do a small part by offering a free book for those who love to read.
If you do not own a Kindle, you can download the Kindle Reader from Amazon, free of charge, and read on your Ipads, Laptops or desktop computers.
To get your free copy of any or all of the ebooks, simply go to Amazon, type in my name: Glenda Norwood Petz, and it will take you to a page with links to all four.
All I ask in return is if you do download and read any of the books, please be sure to leave a review, either good or bad, once you’ve completed the novel. Reviews truly do help others decide whether or not they want to read the book as well.
Thanks to you all for your support…..and happy reading!!!!!
Like many Americans, when I first heard of the Novel Coronavirus, I didn’t give it much thought, other than to offer whispers of condolences to the people of China who were becoming ill and eventually succumbing to the disease. Again, like many others, I initially thought it was being contained inside the country from which it originated, and that Americans nor any other country had anything to worry about. As long as the virus was being contained, anyone outside Wuhan had nothing at all to worry about. Right?
When news reports started warning the public that the virus had not been contained afterall, and that it was beginning to make its way into other countries, I became somewhat more interested in the virus itself and how it was impacting humans and countries, so I started keeping a journal, making daily entries of developing news stories and the timeline of the virus, from origination of the virus to which country it had spread to, the amount of active cases that were being reported and how many deaths were attributed to the sickness.
It wasn’t until states began issuing “stay at home” orders, recommending social distancing and avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people that I became concerned, although possibly not in the way that the majority of others were concerned.
Viruses and plagues have wreaked havoc globally for centuries, resulting in millions of deaths. And although I have lived through the AIDS epidemic, Zika virus, West Nile Virus, Bird Flu, Swine Flu and H1N1 to name a few, not a single one of these illnesses resulted in shutting down the entire world!! This is when I became more curious than ever, wondering exactly what it was that set this particular virus apart from any other, why it cost millions of Americans their jobs, why businesses had to close down, why we’re being warned to stay indoors and shelter in place. Some of the information I discovered is quite interesting and I will get to that later. But first, let’s take a look at some other viruses/illnesses that changed history and follow that up with a comparison.
430 B.C.: Athens, Greece during the Peloponnesian War, multitudes of people developed an illness with symptoms of fever, thirst, bloody throat and tongue, red skin and lesions. 2/3 of the population died from what was thought to be Typhoid Fever.
165 A.D.: Antonine Plague – Believed to be the early appearance of Smallpox that began with the Huns, who then infected Germans, who passed it to the Romans and then returning troops spread it throughout the Roman Empire. Symptoms included fever, sore throat, diarrhea, and if the patient lived long enough, pus-filled sores.
250 A.D.: Cyprian Plague – A mystery illness that resulted in recurring outbreaks over the next three centuries. Symptoms included diarrhea, vomiting, throat ulcers, fever and gangrenous hands and feet.
541 A.D.: Justinian Plague – Spread throughout Palestine and the Byzantine Empire, then throughout the Mediterranean. Believed to be the first significant appearance of the Bubonic Plague, which features enlarged lymphatic glands and is carried by rats and spread by fleas. Recurrences over the next two centuries killed about 50 million people, 26% of the world’s population.
11th Century: Leprosy – Grew into a pandemic in Europe in the Middle Ages, resulting in the building of numerous Leprosy-focused hospitals to accommodate the vast number of victims. A slow-developing bacterial disease that causes sores and deformities. Now known as Hansen’s Disease, it still afflicts tens of thousands of people a year and can be fatal if not treated with antibiotics.
1350: The Black Death – A large outbreak of the Bubonic Plague, began in Asia and moved west in caravans. Responsible for the deaths of 1/3 of the world population.
1492: The Columbian Exchange – Following the arrival of the Spanish in the Caribbean, diseases such as Smallpox, Measles and Bubonic Plague were passed along to the native populations by the Europeans. With no previous exposure, these diseases devastated indigenous people with as many as 90% dying throughout the north and south continents.
1665: The Great Plague of London – Bubonic Plague outbreak led to the deaths of 20% of London’s population. Hundreds of thousands of cats and dogs were slaughtered because they were believed to be the carriers.
1817: First Cholera Pandemic – Small intestine infection that originated in Russia, where one million people died. This was the first of six more outbreaks to come over the next 150 years.
1855: The Third Plague Pandemic – Started in China and moving to India and Hong Kong, another outbreak of Bubonic Plague claimed 15 millions victims.
1889: Russian Flu – Started in Siberia and Kazakhstan, traveled to Moscow, and made its way into Finland and then Poland, where it moved into the rest of Europe. By the following year, it had crossed the ocean into North America and Africa. By the end of 1890, 360,000 people had died.
1918: Spanish Flu – Avian-born flu that resulted in 50 million deaths worldwide. First observed in Europe, the U.S. and parts of Asia before swiftly spreading around the world. There were no effective drugs or vaccines to treat the killer flu strain. Named the “Spanish Flu” due to an outbreak in Madrid in the Spring of 1918.
1957: Asian Flu – Started in Hong Kong and spread throughout China and then into the U.S. It became widespread in England where, over 6 months, 14,000 people died. A second wave followed in early 1958, causing an estimated total of about 1.1 million deaths globally, with 116,000 of those deaths in the U.S. alone. A vaccine was developed effectively, and the pandemic was contained.
1981: HIV/AIDS – First identified in 1981, AIDS destroys a person’s immune system, resulting in eventual death by diseases that the body would usually be able to fight off. Those infected by the HIV virus encounter fever, headache and enlarged lymph nodes upon infection. Believed to have developed from a chimpanzee virus from West Africa in the 1920’s. The disease, which spreads through certain body fluids, moved to Haiti in the 1960’s, and then New York and San Francisco in the 1970’s.
2003: SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) – First identified in 2003 after several months of reported cases. Believed to have possibly started with bats, spread to cats and then to humans in China, followed by 26 other countries, infecting 8,096 people with 774 deaths. Characterized by respiratory problems, dry cough, fever and head and body aches and is spread through respiratory droplets from coughs and sneezes. Quarantine efforts were effective and by July 2003, the virus was contained and hasn’t reappeared since.
China was criticized for trying to suppress information about the virus at the beginning of the outbreak. SARS was seen by global health experts and professionals as a wake-up call to improve outbreak responses, and lessons from the pandemic were used to keep diseases like H1N1, Ebola and Zika under control.
2019 – COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) – On March 11, 2019, WHO (World Health Organization) announced that COVID-19 virus was officially a pandemic after spreading through 114 countries in 3 months and infecting over 118,000 people. COVID-19 is caused by a novel (new) coronavirus strain THAT HAS NOT PREVIOUSLY BEEN FOUND IN HUMANS!!! (Remember this!) Symptoms include respiratory problems, fever and cough, and can lead to pneumonia and death. Like SARS, it’s spread through droplets from sneezes and/or coughs. Originated in China on November 17, 2019, the first reported case in the Hubei Province but went unrecognized. Eight more cases appeared in December with researchers pointing to an unknown virus. Many learned about COVID-19 when ophthalmologist Dr. Li Wenliang defied government orders and released safety information to other doctors. The following day, China informed WHO and charged Dr. Li with a crime. Dr. Li died from COVID-19 just over a month later. Without a vaccine available, the virus spread beyond Chinese borders and by mid-March, 2019, it had spread globally to more than 163 countries. On February 11, 2019, the infection was officially christened COVID-19.
Even as bad as the above listed viruses and illnesses are, here is a list of the 12 DEADLIEST viruses on earth: Marburg Virus, Ebola, Rabies, HIV, Smallpox (reported eradicated in 1980), Hantavirus, Influenza, Dengue, Rotavirus, SARS – CoV, SARS – CoV2, MERS – CoV.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the mortality rates for other diseases, starting with Influenza. For the 2017-2018 flu season, 80,000 deaths were reported and it is predicted that for the 2019-2020 season, 24,000-62,000 will succumb to the illness. SARS resulted in 774 deaths; MERS – 92; Ebola – a total of 11,323 since February 2014; Zika – although no adult deaths have been reported, the virus is believed to be responsible for 2,400 cases of microcephaly and 29 infant deaths; West Nile Virus – 2,000 deaths since 1999; H1N1 (Swine Flu Pandemic) – 18,036 deaths; Legionnaire’s Disease – from 1973-2019, 57 outbreaks have been reported with a total number of deaths at 285. The first reported outbreak was in Philadelphia, PA in 1976 during a Legionnaire’s Convention at the Bellevue Stratford Hotel. It is caused by gram negative, aerobic bacteria and is potentially fatal. Encephalitis – In 2015, it was estimated to have affected 4.3 million people and resulted in 150,000 deaths worldwide. It is a virus that causes inflammation of the brain. Symptoms include headache, fever, confusion, stiff neck, vomiting. Complications may include seizures, hallucinations, trouble speaking, memory problems and problems with hearing. This one I know about personally since my nephew contracted it and at 3 months old, underwent brain surgery to stop brain swelling and hemorraging, leaving him legally blind.
Human coronaviruses are quite common, believe it or not, and we’ve all been exposed to one at some point in our lives. Look at the “for use on” instructions on a can of Lysol spray and you’ll see it there. The common cold is a human coronavirus, miserable to have one, but basically harmless. So when do coronaviruses become life-threatening? When they mutate, that’s when. Sicknesses such as MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), SARS CoV (Beta coronavirus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome), SARS CoV2 (novel coronavirus that causes coronavirus disease 2019, or as we now know it, COVID-19. Sometimes coronaviruses that infect animals, such as bats (there’s that word again), make people sick and become a new human coronavirus, such is 2019-nCoV, SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV.
Multiple opinions and conspiracy theories have been floating around ever since this virus was announced. An example of some that I’ve heard are – China did this on purpose to wipe out Americans, the virus was manufactured in a lab in North Carolina, stolen by Canadian spies, smuggled into China and released to bring down Donald Trump, that we’re looking at bio-warfare, and that George Soros is the mastermind behind it all. None of that is true, by the way, but something DID happen, somewhere, somehow. If not, we wouldn’t be talking about a deadly virus that continues to sweep across the entire world.
Supposedly, the virus was created as the result of consuming a bat, resulting in a severe mutation inside the human body, infecting Patient Zero, who then continued to spread it to others, and anyone those came in contact with would have been exposed as well. Factually speaking, one person infected with this virus has the potential to infect thousands.
The bat theory is easy to believe if one considers the fact that bats are responsible for more than 200 viruses, with 60 of those being human-infecting ones, and almost all of them are RNA viruses. Bats are zoonotic reservoir hosts to a multitude of diseases, and have the capability of causing rapid, and extremely high, mutation ratios when passing the virus to a human host. In layman’s terms, the bat may carry a particular disease but not be sick itself; however, if that infected bat is eaten by a human, the harmless-to-the-bat virus becomes deadly to its human host. Bats are carriers for a plethora of illnesses, such as rabies and SARS, and are the original hosts of Ebola and Nipah, which causes deadly brain fevers in people. There are 1,240 different species of bats, but they all have the same thing in common – the capability of virus mutation that has the ability to annihilate mankind. Some of the more serious illnesses associated with bats are: Marburg Virus – also known as hemorrhagic fever; Nipah – a zoonotic virus transmitted from animals to humans or through contaminated food or directly between people. Illnesses range from asymptomatic infection to acute respiratory illness and fatal encephalitis; Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever – spread by contact with bodily fluids such as blood. Initial symptoms are fever, headache, muscle pain and chills. Later, a person may experience internal bleeding, resulting in coughing or vomiting blood.
Is that what happened in this instance?
Maybe, maybe not. First of all, bats are not sold at the live markets in Wuhan, China, which is supposedly where this particular bat came from. There is, however, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where research into coronaviruses is conducted – using bats. Also there is the Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory, housed in the Chinese Academy of Sciences, specifically designed to help Chinese scientists “prepare for and respond to future infectious disease outbreaks,” according to a 2019 report from the CDC. Research is conducted on Biosafety Levels 1-4, with 4 housing the deadliest, most infectious strains of viruses known to mankind. Is it possible that the new virus is actually the result of a laboratory accident? Yes, it is. If so, don’t ever expect to learn the truth because that is not the type of information that is willfully divulged to the general public.
Due to the genome sequence data, it has been scientifically proven that the virus is NOT lab-made, but definitively mutated from bats, containing the same pathogen associated with SARS.
Not only has this virus affected people’s lives by taking their loved ones away, the economy has also taken a calamitous hit due to loss of jobs, the closing of schools and businesses, mandatory stay at home orders, shortages of much needed supplies such as toilet paper and paper towels, being told when they can shop and what they can buy, and not even a glimpse of when we may begin to see some degree of normalcy.
This is not our government attempting a coup or a takeover, this is not an experiment in terror and/or mass control, this is not the beginning of socialism – this is a deadly virus that has the potential to wipe us all off the face of the earth.
People are restless and I understand that. While a majority of citizens choose to abide by the orders and guidelines set forth in their individual states, there are others who are defiant, refusing to follow any orders, going about their daily business as usual. What I have to say about that is this…..this is NOT just about you! Think about those you may unwillingly expose. They don’t know who you’ve been around or who any of the others have been around. Should innocent people who are being compliant die because of someone else’s selfishness and refusal to adhere to recommendations?
Let me reiterate what I said at the beginning…THIS VIRUS MUTATION HAS NEVER BEFORE BEEN SEEN IN HUMANS. Is that clear enough for you? The bottom line is that even the scientists and professionals don’t know what they’re dealing with. The recommendations being made by state and local officials has nothing to do with trying to control you…it’s to protect you and hopefully prevent you or your loved ones from becoming ill, or worse, dying. There is no cure. There is no vaccine and won’t be for at least 12-18 months, and that’s only IF they can pinpoint exactly how this virus works in attacking the human body so that they’ll know what they’re aiming for. Until then, we have to look out for each other and take the necessary measures to ensure each other’s safety, and if that means staying home, then so be it.
This isn’t going to last forever. Light will eventually appear at the end of the tunnel. And when it does, we can ALL breathe a sigh of relief and hopefully, put it all behind us.
I ventured out today. To the store. Not because I wanted to, but because I had to. We needed supplies. That’s what a person has to do when essential supplies are needed.
So I donned a face mask and put hand sanitizer in my pocket….and went inside.
Funny thing is…I was the only person wearing one and the store was full of shoppers. Some funny looking stares were cast my way as well.
All I could think was…do all of these people think they’re invincible? Are they not paying attention to the news? Do they simply not care or are they of the mentality that it can’t happen to them? Whatever reason(s) it was, for the first time ever in my life while out shopping, I felt awkward, even a little bit paranoid, watching the actions of others, listening for coughs or sneezes, careful to keep my distance, cautious not to touch anything that didn’t go into my buggy, sanitizing every few minutes, and scrubbing my hands like mad when I returned home.
Then it struck me…people were doing what needed to be done because they had to. I wasn’t the only one needing supplies, they did as well. And taking a chance by running to the store is what we’re going to have to do if the need arises. Is there a possibility of being exposed to COVID-19? Absolutely. It is my belief that everyone, at some point, will be exposed to some degree, if they haven’t been already.
I knew that I had no choice but to go because the groceries and supplies weren’t going to come to me, but I didn’t act rashly and I wasn’t stupid about it. I took necessary precautions and didn’t stay inside the store for any longer than I needed to. I did these things not only for my own safety, but for the safety of those around me. Until this is all over with and we get the green light to carry on as usual, this is what a huge majority of people are going to have to do.
When we’re sitting inside our homes, safe and snug in our comfort zones, doing everything we do daily, whether cooking, cleaning or watching television, it is so easy to forget what’s going on outside, in the real world, and I have to constantly remind myself of that.
If you have to go out, take precautions and use safety measures. In addition to yourself, consider others by following the 6′ apart guidelines, wash and sanitize your hands. The life you save could very well be your own.
By the way, I still didn’t find any toilet paper!!
Stay safe out there people, and may God be with you all.
What’s going on in Australia is truly heartbreaking, not only for the multitudes of animals that have lost their lives, but also for the people who have already lost homes or are in harm’s way.
Take time out of your busy day to remember them and lift them all up in your prayers. If you have Australian friends in real life, on Facebook or some other social media platform that you’re using, let them know that you’re thinking of them and offer a kind word.
A small show of love and support can go a long way, especially to those who are hurting.
My 4th novel is finally completed!!! After several months and hours upon hours of writing, rewriting, editing, changing my mind (and scenes), the final draft is done and the book is ready for publication.
Some of you may have read one of my books, perhaps all of them. If you have, I give you a great big thanks for your support!!!
This book, while staying in my lane with my genre of writing that I prefer, is somewhat different than any of the others that I’ve written, in that it deals with an issue that is VERY real – sexual assault, molestation and the aftermath the victim has to deal with. In this book, there is a violent and brutal rape scene that was extremely difficult for me to write. In fact, I won’t lie, I cried while writing it. In my work at the juvenile correctional facility where I was employed for more than 11 years, I dealt with a LOT of kids who were victims. Nine out of 10 times the perpetrator was a family member. That’s what this book deals with.
Also when I write, there is a lot of profanity, yet in real life, I do not cuss. I am perfectly capable of communicating without using vulgarity. With that said, in every single writing class that I have taken, I have always been told to, “write from the heart and make every character as human and believable as possible.” So, that’s what I do.
Here is Chapter One of The Punishment Room:
That’s all it took to open the storage box inside Joey Sheffield’s mind that held old, painful memories that she’d struggled for years to put away and keep hidden, finally succeeding after what had seemed an eternity and an endless number of attempts – plus years of therapy. In the few short moments it took to answer the phone and hear her sister’s voice, every single scab from every single wound was picked away, reopening old sores and unleashing a flow of painful memories like raging flood waters crashing through a broken dam, resulting in the recall of deep, dark secrets that she’d rarely spoken of and had willed herself not to think about.
As a child, she’d been helpless in fighting against the wrongs imposed upon her, while her own mother stood idly by and allowed it all to happen without so much as lifting a finger to help or protect her because she’d refused to believe what she’d called lies coming out of her daughter’s mouth, dismissing the allegations as made up fairy tales and imaginative fabrications. In a way, Joey supposed that the fairy tale part was certainly true because there was a beast involved, a monster that had robbed her of her childhood and her innocence, never regretting an ounce of the pain that he had caused her.
As a teenager, she’d been stronger and brave enough to speak out against the personal violations against her, but not strong enough to ward off the evil that resided inside her home, an evil that had made her its main target and hardly let a day go by without reminding her of that fact. To avoid having to face her tormentor or be in the same room with him, when not working she’d hung out with friends as late as she possibly could without suffering dire consequences for failing to adhere to a set curfew. Her favorite hangout had been Nat’s Diner, a replica of what Nat referred to as “the old fifties burger joints.” It was the one place where she could go and relax without dwelling on the lecherous activities that took place in her bedroom at night. A temporary safe haven where she could laugh and have fun, but the joy and happiness were always short-lived and diminished the moment she stepped over the threshold and into that ice-cold mausoleum called home.
With money she’d saved up from working nights and weekends at the concession stand in the local movie theater, plus the part-time job Nat had given her after she’d begged him to let her work at the diner, she left home the day she turned eighteen, never looking back or lamenting her decision, vowing that if she ever had to face her tormentor again, she’d kill him.
She’d spent months on the road taking buses from town to town, staying only a few months in each one then moving on to the next. Rat and roach infested motels served as home in each city, but even those conditions weren’t enough to make her rue leaving home. Because for the first time in eight years, she could lay her head on the pillow at night without worrying about Mac invading her privacy or making unwanted and unwelcome visits to her room while she slept. Waitressing jobs came easily wherever she was, thanks to the training she’d received at Nat’s, but serving patrons wasn’t always pleasant. From experience, she had learned that no matter where she was or what size restaurant she worked in, there would always be a certain type of male who thought it was acceptable behavior to slap her on the ass every time she walked past his table, then hear him laugh about it to his friends while she gritted her teeth and fought against the urge to slap their faces in retaliation. Yet, no matter how uncomfortable or vile she found their actions to be, she’d tolerated it because between her small salary and the tips she’d collected, it’d given her the opportunity to save up enough money to get even further away, finally settling down in a small town in southern Indiana, working a full time job during the day and attending college classes at night, determined to make a better life for herself. After nearly four years of hard work and late-night studying, she’d earned her degree in nursing and was now employed in the cardiac care unit of the local hospital, where she was highly regarded and respected by all of her co-workers for her attentiveness and expert care of the patients under her charge.
She no longer had to live in disgusting, filthy motels, eating ramen noodles and crackers because that was all she could afford, or having to take buses or taxis to work and school because that was the only transportation available to her. After years of struggling to land on her feet with a fresh start at life, she was finally comfortable and happy, living in peace in her small, one-bedroom apartment.
All those hardships could have been avoided had she chosen to stay at home and remain in daddy’s will, obeying and bowing to his every demand like a good daughter should. But if remaining an heiress meant continuing to tolerate his abuse and sacrificing her own well-being for his demented pleasure, then she didn’t want a penny of his filthy blood money. No amount he could ever bequeath to her would be enough to make up for the childhood he stole from her and as far as she was concerned, he could take all his money and everything else he owned and shove them all up his ass. Her life, mental and physical health weren’t up for sale, regardless of the amount written on a check.
He was the reason she had little trust in men. Over the years she’d dated, but had never formed a lasting relationship with anyone, always ending them before any serious feelings could get involved. She’d been in love once, long ago, and had promised to marry him. But instead of tying herself down to Mason Abernathy and remaining in a town where she’d likely continue to have to see her father, she’d chosen instead to leave and had done so without telling Mason goodbye, breaking his heart, and her own, in the process. Hurting him wasn’t her intention but choosing to leave had been a decision that needed to be made because, the way she saw it, it was the only way she could ever completely rid herself of Macarthur Sheffield!
She had not been back home since leaving but had kept in phone contact with her two sisters. Physical visits with them were few and far between, but when they did get the opportunity to see each other, it was always somewhere several miles away from home and without the knowledge of their parents. As far as she was concerned, never seeing her mother again would be okay with her. It would probably be better for them both if she didn’t because she had nothing to say to her and shuttered at the thought of what she might do should she ever have to face her again. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what her sister was asking her to do.
“Joey, did you hear me?” It was Rosemary, her oldest sister, who had called her with the news.
“I heard you,” Joey answered groggily, glancing at the clock on the bedside table. She’d heard everything her sister had said, but all that followed after her first two words was meaningless. It was only her initial statement that was ringing in her ears, hanging over her head like a thick, black cloud.
“Are you coming?”
Joey hesitated for a moment, then finally spoke. “Rosie, I can’t believe you’d even consider asking me to come back there, especially with all the bad blood between me and Helen. I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing that.”
“He’s your father, Joey,” Rosemary stated flatly.
“I happen to know who he is and that doesn’t change my stance.”
“I really wish you’d reconsider your decision, Joey. Robin and I are staying with mom temporarily to help her get through this, so we’ll both be there, and we need you. Especially Robin. She isn’t handling this very well and I’m afraid that the stress might cause her to digress and pick up her habit again, and I don’t believe either one of us wants to see that happen, do we? We could use the moral support from our sister, but if you have more important things to do, then by all means, do them. Let me know if you change your mind.” And with that, she hung up.
Rosemary VanAllen, always the uppity one with the condescending tone who could make saying good morning sound like kiss my ass. Even her last name sounded snobby. She was her older sister and she loved her, but God knows the woman had always thought her shit didn’t stink.
Joey sat on the side of the bed, the phone still in her hand as she stared into the darkness of the room. Rosemary, like her mother, was aware of the abuse she’d suffered, but also like her mother, refused to believe a single word of it, always citing the fact that daddy was a good man, an excellent provider for his family and would never do something so atrocious. So much for familial support in a time of crisis!
And no, she didn’t want Robin to return to her opioid addiction since it had damn near killed her before she sought professional treatment for her problem. But if she did, it sure as hell wouldn’t be her fault now any more than it was the first time around, and she resented that Rosemary had insinuated that it would be if she failed to go home as she’d requested.
Joey shook her head as she got out of bed, placing her phone on the bedside table before going into the bathroom. Fresh memories flooded her mind once more as she stared at her pale reflection in the mirror, then closed her eyes tightly as she tried to put them all back inside the boxes of her mind where they belonged, swearing to never again allow them to rise to the surface and cause her any more agony than they already had. If only she could be so lucky.
With a single phone call and two spoken words, her normal and routine life was upended and thrown into chaos as she again was forced to face the hateful demons of her past, memories put there by the very man she was being asked to honor. On the bright side, if she did go, she might finally be able to bury the past and put it to rest once and for all, or at least that’s what she told herself as Rosemary’s words played repeatedly in her head.
The completed novel is about 75,000 words, which means, there’s a whole lot more to this story!!! 😉
Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.