Authors: L. Dee Walker
Bella Morté Trilogy
L. Dee Walker
Copyright 2012 by L. Dee Walker
Illustration by L. Dee Walker
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination, and are fictitious and not real. Any resemblance to persons living or dead, actual events, locales or organizations is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. Do not reproduce any part of this book, in any form whatsoever, without written permission or credit given to the author.
I want to thank God for giving me the strength, the courage, and the imagination to be able to create this book. With him, all things are possible, but first you must believe. I love you, Lord.
I dedicate this book to Keith, Paige, Andrew, Brenda, and Holly for being there when no one else was.
The jagged driveway looked as if it had hosted one too many meteor showers. Crater-sized holes and cracked asphalt looked like a tiny arsenal of blades. It eroded to the degree that a regular sized car could never make it down the path. It was unable to maneuver through the dangerous obstacle course without causing severe damage to the underbelly or at least one flat tire, but a truck could. Too many found this true when they tried the impossible. There were too many dips, holes, and patchy areas, which made it unmanageable to get around. A possible sinkhole stretched from one side to the other and it took careful steering to get over it without falling through.
The old Ford F-150 Pickup maneuvered its way down, twisting and turning, riding up along the grassy side to avoid certain areas, before quickly turning the wheel, moving straight down the middle. It drove straight through the center of the sinkhole in the making in a manner that looked as if it was going to topple on its side, but did not. The driver knew which areas to avoid, like the back of her hand, before stopping in front of the blue mobile home.
The rooms within the trailer were small. There were three bedrooms with just enough space for a bed, dresser, and a closet, which was just big enough to hang a few items of clothing. The bathroom was big enough for a tub/shower combo, toilet, and a sink. The kitchen/dining room combo held a four-person table with chairs though the fourth one pushed against the wall. They didn’t need it since there were three of them. The living room wasn’t much bigger and a couch and loveseat circled a small TV with rabbit ears. Therefore, the only place anything could be stored out of the way was on the porch.
At first, it wasn’t a big deal. No one thought anything about the few boxes in every corner because they used it for furniture; a resting place for an ashtray, or a cup of coffee. Then they multiplied again.
Old clothes went in a box on the porch, due to a death in the family, bringing in more unneeded, yet sentimental items. Before long, it was a standing room only storage bin, crammed full of unnecessary but wanted belongings. Until more boxes took up the remaining valuable space. They stapled plastic around the outside of the enclosure to ensure the safety of the all but forgotten treasures.
The side of the house - now the front - was the new place for morning coffee and evening discussions, usually seated around the wobbly circular table. In the middle sat a big marble ashtray, which rested against the pole of the umbrella. Protruding from a hole in the center, it hung half-tattered and torn just like the mast after a storm. It still did the job, but barely. The three chairs around the table didn’t match; hard sturdy plastic, a lounge chair with a pillow for a cushion, and a folding step stool. On the other side was the can of
It rained for a week straight. The weatherman joked about people taking their cars and trading them in for a boat just to be able to get around. Don’t think people didn’t consider it. The forecast had rain, rain, and more rain. No one knew when it was going to stop or how it begun. It just hit them one day unexpectedly, as if a magician misfired one of his spells.
The wind blew hard, causing rain to pelt down, attacking anyone misfortunate enough to be outside. It left red welts and purple bruises. It was like a small hurricane, yet through it all, the table stayed steady. Many people had to chase down their belongings, but oddly enough, that mismatched ensemble didn’t go anywhere.
The rain finally stopped, but the mud and wetness lingered behind. The ashtray had been full when it started, so the cigarette butts floated on the surface like scattered debris after a shipwreck.
Opening the truck door produced such a screech; it was obvious the vehicle was bitching about it. The black hiking boot stepped down on the ground, careful of the many mud puddles. Looking around in apparent disgust, she closed the door. Holding a thermos in one hand and a cigarette in the other, she headed for the front door, leaping over the worst spots.
Dani Cavanaugh lived there all her life. Many days off were spent fixing one repair after another, to the point she looked forward to going back to work. Even though, it was falling apart - borderline condemned - it was still cheaper to fix the problem areas than it was to move. It wasn’t that she didn’t
to relocate. She couldn’t afford it. She was the only income taking care of her grandmother and mother, working double and triple shifts at times just to catch up on bills.
Working in a garage as a mechanic was evident by the grease splotches covering her white tank top and black jeans. It was the local well-known garage: Grease Monkeys. Mac, the owner/boss, obviously had a weird sense of humor. Being the only female wasn’t the worst job in her opinion since she got along better with men.
In her early thirties, she could have passed for someone who just graduated high school. Because of her fast-paced job with more deadlines than a Sunday paper, she kept her trim physique. Perky breasts, shoulder-length brown hair, and hazel-green eyes were the reason she was the preferred mechanic to many in town. She used to joke that working in a garage was better than lifting weights at a gym. She definitely heard all the funny jokes, though most were dirty.
Taking one last drag off her cigarette, she flicked it into the old coffee can beside the door, which was also full of water. Reaching down, grabbing the handle, she paused in silent prayer before opening the door. In lightning streak moves, she jumped in, but it didn’t matter. Before she could get the door closed, the two cats waiting in launch mode darted out between her feet.
It was a daily ritual. They weren’t her cats and she didn’t even like them. However, it was her job to feed and clean up after them. Her grandmother’s cat was the mama and her mother had the baby. Every time they darted out, she hoped and prayed they wouldn’t come back. However, every morning before she left for work they were there. Darting back in the house again, before she could shut the door. Dani had them spayed at an early age, due to their necessary whoring adventures.
“Cats are out again!” She hollered. She had the same lazy, Southern drawl that most Walkersville, Marylanders had. Stepping in, she hung her keys on the hook beside the door. “If I didn’t know better, I’d swear this was Friday the Thirteenth an’ not the Fourth of July.” She strode into the kitchen.
“Why? What happened?” The woman speaking was a slightly older replica of Dani. Her mother, Alice, was in her early fifties and still quite the looker. She turned the heads of the young and old men in town.
“Man, there were so many damn fights today. It’s like people came in there with attitude. I had to break up so many arguments.” She pointed to the bruise on the side of her right eye. “I got clocked by one of the guys, aimin’ for another.”
“Did ya hit ‘im back?”
She chuckled. “No. He apologized, but only cause he was aimin’ for the guy on the other side of me.”
“I didn’t think ya were workin’ today?”
“I wasn’t!” She opened the refrigerator. Pulling out a bottle of Budweiser, she turned, shrugging. “There was this emergency brake job ‘at
to be finished this mornin’.”
“Sounds easy enough for you.”
Popping off the cap, she chuckled. “True. If Mac ordered the
damn part. He promised me, I would be in an’ out in record time!” Rolling her eyes, she took a swig before resting it in front of her. “Psh!”
“Ouch. So what happened?”
“Well, he had to put in a rush order. The person over the phone told us it was
gonna take a few hours. They were sendin’ ‘em right out. Mac told me to hang out an’ wait since it shouldn’t take
Alice winced. “How long was the job supposed to take?”
“The whole appointment was only gonna take ten minutes. That’s it!” Shrugging, she took another drink. “I told ‘im he was payin’ me for the whole damn day. Sittin’ around waitin’ for a part that
fucked up on wasn’t my idea on how to celebrate the holiday.”
“What did he say?”
“He put me to work. He said if he was gonna have to give me holiday pay then he was gettin’ his money’s worth.”
Alice smirked. “That’s just wrong, but that’ll teach ya to open your mouth, huh?”
“Yeah, no shit, but it’s not like we can’t use the money.”
“What did the guy say waitin’ for the repair?”
“He wasn’t fuckin’ happy, but there wasn’t anythin’ I could do about it.” Dani shrugged. “I apologized an’ told him that as soon as the part came in, I’d get right on it.”
“Did he agree?”
“He didn’t have a choice. I had his car torn apart. I couldn’t pull the parts outta my ass.”
Alice shook her head. “I’m sorry to hear ya had such a rotten day.”
“Eh. No worse ‘an any other. I’m glad to be home though. I’m tired.”
“Not too tired, I hope. I’m gonna be really upset if we don’t go see the fireworks.”
“Ma, we don’t need to
somewhere an’ watch ‘em. Hell, just look up in the sky. We’ll see it in like three different places.”
“It’s not the same.”
“True. We don’t have to worry about traffic, people fightin’, idiots startin’ shit or just
“Ya don’t wanna go?”
Dani shook her head. “Not really.”
“Why? It’s somethin’ ya never grow out of.”
“Someone should’ve told my brain that.”
“Come on. We’ll go an’ have a good time an’ then we can get cigarettes on the way.”
“I’m smokin’ my last one.”
“Damn, do you smoke two at a time? You know what just smoke some of mine. I seriously don’t wanna go anywhere. I’m beat. I just wanna sit here an’ drink my beer. In a couple of hours, I’m gonna be sleepin’ like a baby.” She took another gulp, enjoying the taste.
“See, I knew ya were gonna say that. I ran out a few days ago, so… you’re out too.”
“You finished that whole carton?”
“It wasn’t just me!”
“Yeah, but they were
cigarettes. I thought I was goin’ through ‘em fast.”
“That’s what happens when two of us are smokin’ ‘em.”
Dani sighed, glaring at her. “Why the hell didn’t ya tell me before I got home?”
“I didn’t think about it till ya pulled in. Besides, we were goin’ out to watch the fireworks anyway!”
“I wasn’t plannin’ on goin’ anywhere. I planned on comin’ home, drinkin’ beer and veggin’ out in front of the TV.”
“I really hate surprises, Ma.”
“Are we ready to go yet? I need to get some more cherries. I’m out. You know me when I don’t have ‘em,” the older woman said while leaning against the doorframe. “It’s like you two without cigarettes.”
Grace Cavanaugh was the spitting image of Alice. She had her fair share of wrinkles, but nothing that gave away her age: mid-seventies. She went by G-ma and it was what everyone called her. The neighborhood knew she wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. She didn’t take any crap from anyone and they didn’t give it. Even the toughest walked the line around G-ma.
Alice scoffed. “Why didn’t ya tell us when ya ran out?”
“It slipped my mind.”
“Dani just got home, an’ she’s tired after a hard day. Now you’re gonna make her go back out again for your cherries.”
Dani smirked. “Yeah, right. Don’t even try to pass that buck to G-ma. You’re the one who waited till I walked in the door to tell me ya needed cigarettes. While we’re out, we might as well get her cherries too.”
Grace nodded. “Now that sounds like a plan.” Walking over to Dani, she took the beer out of her hand and put it back in the refrigerator. “Since you’re drivin’, ya don’t need to be drinkin’ that.”
“Oh man. I really wanted that.”
“You can have it when we get back.”
“Let’s just go an’ get some more damn cherries, cigarettes, an’ beer. After that, we might as well go get a quick bite an’ get a good spot for the fireworks.”
“Hell yeah! I vote for fish and chips.”