dinsdag 28 juni 2016

Book Excerpt Traveling Left of Center and Other Stories

Book Excerpt

Excerpt from “Annabelle”
“When I was eight,” she answered obliquely, forehead creased with the effort of memory, “my mother found a young fox caught in a trap at the edge of the woods.”
Outside, the cold December sun gleamed fitfully through bare branches, but Annabelle felt again the warmth of a May morning and saw the sunlight dancing in her mother’s hair and on the reddish brown fur of the injured animal cradled in her arms.
“She brought it up to the house, trailing bits of leaves behind her, and she didn’t even notice her dress was smeared with its blood. I think she was going to bandage its leg. It was bleeding quite steadily… cut to the bone by the sharp teeth of the steel trap. Or perhaps it had tried to gnaw itself free…” She closed her eyes for a moment as the agony of the trapped animal flooded through her. Trapped, with no means to escape except by inflicting more pain on an already bruised body.
Although sometimes, Annabelle thought, it was the only way.
“But just as she stepped through the French doors, my father saw her, and just as quickly wanted to paint her… the way my mother looked, carrying that poor suffering animal.
“It must have been near death by then. It didn’t struggle, not even when my father twisted its head against my mother’s breast and curled its bloodstained tail around her wrist.
“She stood there for nearly two hours, trapped in the act of entering her home just as the fox had been trapped, until my father was satisfied with what he had put on the canvas. Then he released her. But by then the fox had died… in my mother’s arms, while she stood patiently as my father painted her.
“He sold that picture for quite a bit of money, I think.” Annabelle looked down at her hands, surprised to see she had been clenching them, surprised to see how wet they were with tears—why had she started to cry? It was only an animal after all, not nearly as important as her father’s art.
“What did your mother do with the fox?” Jules asked softly.
Annabelle wiped the tears from her hands. She mustn’t cry. She must not cry.
“She set it down on the loveseat in the corner,” and Annabelle-the-child watched with what grace and tenderness her mother placed the bloody, lifeless body on the soft white cushions.
“Then she went to my father, who was so absorbed in his work that he never even noticed the fox had died. He was like that, you know,” Annabelle explained, almost matter-of-factly. “When he was painting, nothing else mattered. It was just the way he was.”
She wasn’t certain if she was explaining it to Jules, or the little girl and her mother, who both waited helplessly for his attention to leave the canvas.
“She pulled the neckline of her dress until the buttons released the fragile material and it fell like rain past her shoulders to the floor. My father looked up then. He saw my mother standing there, smears of blood on her shoulders and across her breast. Perhaps the fox had bit her in its agony.
“He ran his fingers lightly across the blood and then on the canvas, adding a touch of dark red to the painting. And then,” Annabelle looked blindly out the window, “he reached for my mother. He never even knew when I left the room, just as he never knew when the fox had died.”

About the Book

Title: Traveling Left of Center and Other Stories
Author: Nancy Christie
Genre: Literary Fiction / Short Story Collection
There are some people who, whether by accident or design, find themselves traveling left of center. Unable or unwilling to seize control over their lives, they allow fate to dictate the path they take—often with disastrous results.
TRAVELING LEFT OF CENTER AND OTHER STORIES details characters in life situations for which they are emotionally or mentally unprepared. Their methods of coping range from the passive (“The Healer”) and the aggressive (“The Clock”) to the humorous (“Traveling Left of Center”) and hopeful (“Skating on Thin Ice”).
The eighteen stories in TRAVELING LEFT OF CENTER AND OTHER STORIES depict those types of situations, from the close calls to the disastrous. Not all the stories have happy endings—like life, sometimes things work out and sometimes they don’t.
In these stories, the characters’ choices—or non-choices—are their own. But the outcomes may not be what they anticipated or desired.
Will they have time to correct their course or will they crash?

About Nancy Christie

Nancy Christie-2Nancy Christie is the author of the fiction collection, Traveling Left of Center and Other Stories and two short story e-books, Annabelle and Alice in Wonderland (all published by Pixel Hall Press).
She is also the author of The Gifts of Change (Atria/Beyond Words), an inspirational book that encourages readers to take a closer look at how they deal with the inevitability of change and ways in which they can use change to gain a new perspective, re-evaluate their goals and reconsider their options. Since its publication in 2004, The Gifts of Change has been released in three foreign editions.
Currently Christie is working on several book projects, including a second collection, a novel and a book for writers. The founder of “Celebrate Short Fiction” Day, and member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and Short Fiction Writers Guild (SFWG), Christie hosts the monthly Monday Night Writers group in Canfield, OH.
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