Saturday, April 25, 2015

Conflict in The Zion Trail: Sample Saturday

Conflict plays a big role in today's tidbit from The Zion Trail. Lije confronts his sister.
~~~


Conflict in The Zion Trail WIP
By the time the household awoke the next day, I hadn't yet cornered Sarah, so I made it my business to do so before breakfast. Milking the cow could wait half an hour. Finding out if my sister had conspired to injure or kill our father could not.

I came down the ladder from the dim loft room I shared with John and peered into the kitchen. The edge of a brown skirt slid through the closing outside door. My sister must be going to gather eggs.

I caught up in the muddy dooryard and stopped her with a hand on her elbow. She made a little squeaking sound, as though I had startled her, and whirled around, dropping her egg basket.

"Lije
" she started to say, her face going white.

"Look here," I cut her off, feeling my anger rise. "Pa's going to be laid up for a week or more. What part did you play?"

She shook her head. "None."

"But you know who did it. I can see you do."

She kept shaking her head, her eyebrows drawn together so tightly that her normally smooth forehead looked like a freshly cultivated garden patch. "No," she moaned. "I didn't know
"

"Didn't know what?" I was so angry at having to drag the story out of her that I wanted to strike her. She must have seen my gathering storm, for she shrank away from me, making herself as small as possible.

"Please, Lije. I didn't think he would do anything. He only wanted to know about the baptism."

"Hans?"

She nodded.

"Anyone else?"

"I don't know. We were alone when we talked."

"Were you kissing him?"

I don't know where the question came from. That was none of my business. Only the attack on Pa mattered now.

Her face turned from white to red, and I knew I had crossed the line of propriety. I put up my hands in a gesture of surrender. "Was he angry as you spoke?" I asked, trying to turn away her wrath.

Sarah took a long breath and let it out slowly. "He was not," she answered. "He was . . . courtly."

So she probably was kissing Hans, judging from the encounter I had spied upon recently. I restrained my impulse to make a fitting retort and wondered how I was to proceed. She denied any ill intention on her part.

"Has he threatened anyone? You? Pa?"

"He didn't like the Mormon men." Her voice barely rose above a whisper. "He didn't want me to join with them."

I knew that from the conversation I'd overheard. "Did Hans speak ill of Pa for deciding we would take the baptism?"
~~~


Thank you for visiting. I hope you enjoyed this sample showing conflict. If you did, you'll probably want to sign up for my quarterly newsletter, "Marsha's Musings." Subscribers are among the first to learn of developments in my writing and publishing schedule. You also learn about sales and discounts, too. Click here for the subscription form. See you next Saturday!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Sample Saturday - Into the Kitchen

Welcome to Sample Saturday. In today's tidbit from The Zion Trail, Lije finally gets his father to the house.
~~~


Ma gave a cry as I stumbled through the kitchen door with my burden. She swept the top of the work table free with one arm. As a bowl of rising bread and various tools clattered onto the floor, she demanded that I lay Pa down.

I put him atop the flour-dusted surface and stepped back to let my mother move to his side. Mud from the field flaked off his clothing. Dried blood thickened his hair.

"Sarah!" she screamed for my sister, but I moved to block the door when she rushed from the parlor in answer to our mother's call. I didn't want her anywhere near Pa before I could determine if she was complicit in the attack.

"I'll do this," I said to Sarah, and loudly enough for Ma's benefit, too.

Sarah frowned and tried to peer around me, but I put a hand on her shoulder and she looked up at me. Upon seeing the fierce scowl I bent her way, she shrank back, taking in a quick breath.

"You stay away," I muttered at her. She backed up, looked at me again, and turned into the room, huddling into herself.

I closed the door, leaned against it for an instant, then pushed myself toward the table upon which lay my father. "What do you need, Ma?"
~~~


Thank you for visiting. I put out a quarterly newsletter, entitled "Marsha's Musings." I'd love for you to sign up, because subscribers are among the first to learn of developments in my writing and publishing schedule. You also learn about sales and discounts, too. Click here for the subscription form. See you next week!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Sample Saturday, April 11, 2015

Welcome to Sample Saturday. Today's tidbit from The Zion Trail continues to explore Lije Marshall's relationship with his wounded father, who had just asked him to help him up from where he lies, beaten, in a cornfield.
~~~



That, I could do. "Pa, what happened?" I asked first, trying to discover how I might manage to raise him without giving him further injury.

"Two," he managed to get out. "Masked."

"Did you know their voices?" I wondered if I could lift and carry him all the way to the house. I didn't want to risk pushing a broken rib into a lung.

"Young men," he said. "Didn't know them."

From the way he mumbled, I wondered if his jaw was whole. "Where are you hurt the worst?" I asked, pretty sure I knew the attackers now.

"Head. Hit me. Club. From behind." He paused to get his breath. "Punched my face."

I saw bruises on his forearms where his shirt sleeves were folded up. He'd probably tried to cover his head with them, and taken cracks from weapons wielded by Hans and his follower.

"Didn't break my ribs."

Still, he wheezed. He'd taken plenty of punishment, but if he said his ribs were whole, I could lift him.

I set about gathering him into my arms, striving to be gentle, although my blood boiled to see how my father had been beaten. I staggered under his weight as I got one foot under me and pushed up until I had the second unbent as well and could stand. Pa was not a frail-built man, but I was young, and my anger gave me sufficient strength to carry him back to the house.

~~~

Thank you for visiting. I put out a quarterly newsletter, entitled "Marsha's Musings." I'd love for you to sign up, because subscribers are among the first to learn of developments in my writing and publishing schedule. You also learn about sales and discounts, too. Click here for the subscription form. See you next week!
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