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Authors: Eric Pete

Piano in the Dark

BOOK: Piano in the Dark
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Piano in the Dark
 
Piano in the Dark
 
Eric Pete
 

www.urbanbooks.net

 
Acknowledgments
 

Hey, everybody! We’re now up to number ten and I look forward to sharing more novels with you in the future. With all your choices in today’s market, I appreciate your picking up my newest. If this isn’t your first novel by me, thanks for coming back. If this is your first time, I hope you go back and check out my other works such as
Someone’s In the Kitchen
,
Lady Sings the Cruels, Blow Your Mind, Sticks and Stones, Reality Check, Crushed Ice
, and many more.

This story you hold has had its share of stops and starts for a variety of reasons. I guess I kept trying to wrap my mind around some of the core themes and concepts, letting them marinate until they were ready to be shared. I’d begin another story, but kept getting drawn back to this one as I tried to figure out would it work…
could it work
? Wondering what that means? What
it
is? You’ll have to read to find out, my friends.

First off, I have to express my appreciation of the creative minds behind TV series such as
Lost
and
Fringe
. Thank you for challenging our notions, stimulating our imagination, and balancing that with the importance of the human condition. You inspire this humble writer.

I’m grateful for my family—Marsha, Chelsea, Mom, Dad, Virginia, and all the rest of my relatives and friends who’ve been there for me. An extra thanks to my bee-bee for reading those pages I set at your bedside in the middle of the night and for the honest feedback.

To Portia Cannon, thank you for wanting nothing but the best for me and my career…and for giving a damn.

To Carl, Martha, Brenda, Natalie, Maxine and the entire Urban family as well as Kensington: Thanks for walking with me on this journey and for all you do behind the scenes to get my books on the shelves.

Susan Farris, my subdural hemato-homie! Thank you for your valuable insight and answers to my medical questions once again. The discussions are always fascinating…and fun. You’re a lifesaver in more ways than one.

To my ghost readers who somehow find the time, Jamie, Shontea, and Jacqueline. I know that as I write this you haven’t had a chance to read
Piano in the Dark
(my fault), but can’t wait for our discussions.

To the dude on the trumpet by North Oaks Shopping Center at the corner of Vets and FM1960, thank you for playing that day, sir. You never know which seeds may blossom.

To everybody that came out to the
Crushed Ice
@ Crush book premier, my first time doing such an event, thanks for making it magical. Special shout-out to Blake Boyd, Andrew Grala, and the rest of the Crush Wine Lounge folk. Always look forward to that next bottle of Riesling. Also have to thank Dianna Montoya of Karrelle Photography for the incredible shots and Michelle Hill of Borders for always vending with that smile. To all of my readers who made it out to my stops on the
Crushed Ice
tour, a hearty thank-you and big hug. ATL, I owe ya! Thanks to the booksellers who are always so pleasant as well. Special shout-out to the cities where I’ve hung my hat from childhood into adulthood—Seattle, Lake Charles, New Orleans, and Houston. Glad I got to hit all of you on the last tour. Seattle, thanks for making my homecoming so special. Promise not to make it so long before you see me again. West Seattle, kid!

Immense gratitude to the book clubs for welcoming me and my creations into your homes, your meetings and, most of all, your hearts. The discussions and hospitality I’ve experienced have been some of the highlights of my career.

Thanks to the reviewers and media who find the time for me and my works: Tee C. Royal and RAWSISTAZ, Yasmin Coleman and APOOO, Adai Lamar of KJLH, Radiah Hubbert and Urban Reviews, Hal Clark of 98.5WYLD, Book Remarks, Joy Farrington, Kimberly Kaye of 96KIX FM, Thais Mills of LipServiceInk.com, Heather Covington of Disilgold.com and Literarydish. com, Nakea Murray, Erik Tee, Gina Cook and Big Boy Chill of 107JAMZ, Angela Jenkins of KBMS, Monica Pierre, Jackie Simien, Mista Madd and Brandy Garcia (GO NOLES!) of 97.9 the Box, Kandi Eastman of Majic 102.1, Ella Curry, Gail Norris, Nancy Parker-Boyd, Dionne “Diva” Character, Dedan Tolbert, Jake McDonald, LBJ and Kelder Summers of Old School 106.7, Tony Jones of the McLean County Urban League, and Glenn Townes.

Last, but far from least, to my fellow authors and friends who continue to dazzle the world with their literary skills and boundless imagination. Shout out to a few of ’em: Kimberla, Dwayne, Victoria, Kendra, Tracie, Marissa, Lisa, Mary, Victor, Lolita, Reshonda, Pat, Donna, Jessica, JL, Karen, Earl, Monica, Linda, Gloria, VeeJay, Lissa, Electa, Nancy, and Shelia. To all the up-and-coming authors,
don’t stop believin’
! Yeah—a Journey reference. I went there. Sue me.

I’ma go ’head and wrap this up, so you can meet these new characters. They’re waiting for you.

No. Really.

They’re waiting for you.

If you want to keep up with moi, stop by
www.EricPete.com
and let me know how you’re doing. Follow me on twitter: @IAmEricPete or join the ERIC PETE Readers group on Facebook.
Or
if you’re really, really adventurous, you can me at 1-800-…*click* <
Dial tone
>

Can’t stop. Won’t stop. Believe that.
-E.

Now—Rayne, Louisiana
 

We stare each other down. Neither wanting to budge from our position. But I’ve come too far to back down. So many resources exhausted, including my patience as well as my soul.

“You sure you cain’t wait ’til tomorruh?” he asks, pulling his slicker close to his grizzled face. His chewed-up cigar has long been extinguished, yet he doesn’t relinquish his toothy grip. One hundred percent misery with a chance of despair is forecast for today. My arm, although fully healed, aches. My shoes are ruined by the deep, muddy puddles before I even travel a yard.

I consider his request, but don’t relent. I have to know. “No. I need to do this now,” I reply.

He grimaces before considering what I’ve paid him for this task. “Suit yourself,” he says with a shrug. A crack of thunder erupts, announcing the next harsh downpour. My tiny umbrella from Walgreens has long succumbed to the brutal gusts, offering me nothing but the illusion of shelter. Rain’s coming down so hard now that I have to focus just to see him as he restarts his hasty clip. Headstones and markers of bygone eras only serve as the briefest of obstacles to someone as familiar with the grounds as he.

I quickly pursue, wondering if after all the searching that I’ve finally come to the right place. And if he knows what he’s talking about. My pulse is racing and part of me wants to puke. A raw mix of exhaustion and nerves. I swear if this is a wild goose chase, I’ll kill him.

“Should be right about…here,” he proclaims, trying to read from the hastily torn piece of paper removed inappropriately from the church records he’d spent days sifting through. I rush past him, eager to put the haunting to rest. Through the deluge, I read the words etched in the worn stone.

“This isn’t it! This is not frickin’ it!” I belt out. The surly old Cajun doesn’t take kindly to my barking. Probably wants to cause me grave bodily harm.

“Wait, wait,” he says, acknowledging my frustration before it boils over. I watch as he flips the paper in his hand, scowling as he deciphers it. “It’s over there,” he says, having righted his treasure map. He points at a different section of Saint Joseph’s Cemetery, newer than where we are now. Makes sense. More puddles to navigate. I lower my ruined umbrella, considering whether to abandon it if not for hallowed ground.

“C’mon then!” I yell over the din, nature’s fury telling me to leave well enough alone. I can be hardheaded. We continue our march through the graveyard, my own personal Trail of Tears, until he stops. A final glance at the barely legible scrap in his hand and he nods.

“Here,” he solemnly says, the cigar fragment wiggling between his teeth. “Dis it here.”

He steps aside, bowing his head as he makes the sign of the cross. I get down on one knee, muddy water soaking through my pants leg and chilling me further. I silently mouth the name on the headstone while reverently touching the tiny gravesite, my search at its end. I feel the lump welling up in my throat and try to suppress it. “I found you,” I mumble, more out of astonishment than accomplishment.

“Loved one?” he asks, daring to interrupt the moment.

“You might say that,” I answer, not taking my eyes off the grave that held a small child. Rainwater continues to run down my face with a steady stream rolling off my nose.

Who knows tomorrow’s plans for you,
I think to myself, those words having once been said to me by another.

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