Note – I wrote and posted this almost exactly three (3) years ago, on March 1, 2018. It was written for Sue Vincent’s #writephoto challenge that week. Since Sue is unable to post new photos, many of us are bringing back posts from the past to show our appreciation for the stories and ideas that she inspired :) See below for more detail on this story.
With no wizard’s light to guide us, we ran through the darkness. Occasionally a great leap of fire was reflected on the dark stone, casting an evil red glare across our party, but mostly we moved through a black so deep it seemed a physical force. On we went, stubbing toes and scuffing hands as we ran in pitch black.
“I see light,” the sharp eyed elf yelled. “Daylight!”
We ran faster, though us mere mortals could see naught. I bumped into a man, a common occurrence in this mad dash. But then something amazing happened. I could make out his form. In a few more steps, I too could see the cool blue daylight. We might make it!
There were guards at the entrance, but they were expecting an attack from the outside, not one from within. We swept them away without an injury on our part and pushed out into the open.
Martha Goode, and that is the First Martha, was the very first resident of the brand new, ultra-modern Goode Mansion. Her mother, Abigail, was rushed out of the heavily damaged farm house while in labor (“no child of mien will be born in this house of fire and death”) and gave birth to Martha less than an hour after being moved.
Martha grew up to be a very intelligent woman. At 18 she gained control of the Goode Mill, the old mill, and took the burnt-out hulk and created the most efficient, most profitable mill in the region, all the while paying the workers at her mill a third more than anyone else paid their labor.
She later lost the mill, a victim of a highly patriarchal society, but kept the mansion, the mansion defined by her; the mansion that defined her.
As she aged, she grew stranger and stranger. Who could blame her after all she had seen, experienced and dealt with, from an extremely violent and abusive “father” to the death threats as her legal battles got stretched across many years. Towards the end, few remembered the remarkable woman who had saved the town, only the eccentric who lived up the hill in the ancient house. Legends grew around her, even while she was still alive.
I remember her clearly, the oversized suitcase, the faded rose on her jacket.
Later, at the diner, I asked a local about her.
For at least 30 years she had gone down to the bus station daily and waited for her lover to come take her away.
Funny thing was that the dark-haired stranger had jilted her long before, back in the 1950s. She had waited patiently for him until she was 41 and began the crazy ritual.
I saw her the next day, the spring beauty just beneath the snowy old surface.
I wonder if she is still waiting?
Some of you (if you are old enough) may recognize this as coming from the song Delta Dawn (or try this if you like Tanya better than Helen), only I set it 30 years later, say 2003, when poor Dawn is in her 70s, not her 40s (the song says 41).
(This story was posted almost exactly a year ago, on 2/14/2020 (Valentine’s Day!) With Sue not able to put up a new write-photo prompt, I decided to revisit this one :) And a reminder to visit the Carrot RanchSue Vincent Rodeo Classic.)
I felt the turbulence as she entered the room, the low pressure system sucking the air out and drawing all eyes in.
A flash of lightning struck as she glanced around the packed room.
The crowds parted as torrent moved forward.
She didn’t even see me as she passed inches away, but the gale force winds turned me with her.
She went at the bar.
People turned back to what they were doing. The music came back on.
I remembered to breath.
But then I saw her again. I drew in a sharp breath.
My mind clouded up.
How dare I even think I could even speak to one such as her?
Galvin is… Well, Galvin is Galvin. There is no better way to describe him than that. Some would say he is “a character” or “a bit of local color”. Others might shake their head and mumble “eccentric” or “oddball” while still others would say “every town has their Galvin.” Gill isn’t so sure – he has never met anybody quite like the strange, little old man.
Strange, of course, is a matter of opinion, but “little” fits to some extent. Galvin is small and wiry, perhaps 5 foot 6 and 115 pounds, maybe less, but surprisingly strong. In ways, “old” is more attitude than age. Galvin is in his mid-60s, but has always tried to put himself up as older and more experienced. And there is something about him that if you didn’t know, you might place him closer to 80 than 60. Yet he is active and agile, spry as a 22-year-old.
Galvin loves to tell tall tales and can spin quite a yarn. On the other hand, doing a little research you might find that some of his most outrageous claims about the town’s history are true.
A stench lies on Avebury, New Hampshire. It isn’t something that one can smell, it is more of a psychic soot polluting everybody’s mood. No one recalls when it arrived, but there does seem to be a connection with the Old Mill and its mysterious new owners.
Following the trail of the local legend, the ghost of Martha Goode, Gill Baxter is driven to discover the truth behind the events of 1821 and, hopefully, prevent another “time of dying.” That trail, though, leads directly to The Old Mill.
The Old Mill was released today! You can find it on Amazon with the links below: