This has been a tough week writing-wise, but when Tuesday morning came around, I wrote, instead of tending to the mass of grading that should’ve been done and returned days ago. I found I couldn’t let the writing go, a good thing, and the 52–week challenge is a big reason for my butt-in-chair, get something written accomplishment. (Not to say they were good words, but at least they were words. Revision will take place at a later date.)
This chapter flips back to 1806, six years after Joshua and his then-pregnant wife arrive in the backwater village of Buck’s Eye. Joshua, a Revolutionary War veteran, plans to settle on the land grant he’s received as payment for his service.
(This is still fairly rough and needs more work. The goal with the challenge is to get this book done.)
“Have you seen my girls?” he asked a few people on the fringes of the crowd. When they shook their heads, he dropped to the ground and pulled on his boots. As he stood, a dog shambled up to the crowd, from the path that led to the Sweet Water river.
The girls had been after him to get them a puppy; the shopkeeper’s mutt had given birth and he was giving away the puppies to anyone who would take them. Joshua had refused, not wanting another responsibility in his life when he struggled to meet the ones he had.
Joshua slapped his leg. “Come here, boy,” he said. A bit of red tangled in the dog’s matted fur had caught his eye. He worked it free and his legs began to shake as he held it up.
“What is it?” Joshua heard someone ask. His tight throat held his words captive.
“It’s a ribbon,” one of the women said, coming forward to take it from Joshua. He held it tight, refusing to give it to her. “It belongs to Mary,” she said. Mary was well-known in the village for her love of red, and several of the women had parted with their own scraps, forgoing the color red in their rugs and quilts, to make the motherless girl with a drunk for a father, happy. “But it was tangled in the dog’s fur.”
“The dog that just came up from the river,” said a man. “Speech needs to wait.”
Joshua, jolted into sobriety, struck out for the river, gripping the ribbon. “Mary!”