Monday, October 26, 2015

Strange Goings-on

Sarah's aunt tells of strange happenings--spooky events over the previous year. Were these events meant as punishment? Who caused them? One story told of a local teenage boy, Billy, a boy who had become troublesome and who liked to disappear with his ne'er do well friends. were they into drugs? Or were they simply aggravating, annoying, teen boys?

Off to meet up with his no-good friends one evening, he is attacked by a pack of, what he said were wild dogs. His clothes are ripped, his arms and legs a quite badly bitten. Scratched and bleeding, he is forced to admit the dogs were mere local runaways, domestic pets--none of them were large, and most were even miniature versions.

Where did they come from? And what made them attack? They showed up, did their dastardly deeds, and disappeared into the woods.

But Billy didn't meet up with his friends--and he stayed home every night after that. So, what force of nature caused that deterrent?  Good? Or evil---hmmm.

Monday, October 19, 2015

In the beginning there were four

When Sarah first arrives at Ravenwood Hall, she is given a small carved wooden box. It is locked, but she is given the key. It contains a notebook, old manuscript pages, and a worn leather pouch containing two tarnished, gold-colored medallions. They are attached to a thin leather thong which is threaded through crude holes. They are embellished with what appear to be intricate letters.

Are they coins? Buttons? Or simply roundels used as ornamentation--adornment for a lady's cape (or a gentleman's)? Sarah reads the ancient manuscript--well, she reads the transcription contained in the notebook. And there is a letter of explanation written to her by her father (who has realized his illness is taking his life quickly.)

The manuscript, written by her paternal ancestor, sets forth a story which is almost word-for-word, action-for-action, a description of the dream that has haunted her for the last ten years while in Texas.

One thing is puzzling. The story tells of a leather pouch, but describes the contents as being four golden medallions. The pouch in the wooden box contains only two.  What has happened to the missing two? And is the decorative design on the medallions merely a beautiful pattern--or is it indeed, fancy lettering? It is difficult to tell, the objects are tarnished

Does Sarah find what happened to the missing two? What is their importance? If the fancy design is lettering, what does it say? And why have they come to her?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Folly of Man

Everyone has quirks, the wealthy no less than mere men-in-the-street. One quirk of wealthy landowners over the last several hundred years--the building of ornate towers aptly called Follies. No purpose, except to show off what their money can do.

Ravenwood Hall has such a Folly--or did have. Sarah notices the tower when she first arrives at the Hall, late in the day . She glimpses the top of it along with the mellow roofs of Ravenwood. The setting sun lights up the lichen-covered slates with a rosy glow, and a haze softens the silhouetted chimneys and surrounding woods.

By the time the car stops outside the front door, the haze has thickened into a mist, Aunt Emma is there to greet Sarah, and the vision of the tower is forgotten.

The next day, when Sarah explores, she remembers the tower--but where is it? Aunt Emma doesn't know of any tower; did a tower ever exist? If it did, when? Evidently, if it did exist at one time, it must have fallen into ruins. But why did Sarah notice it last night? Imagination, brought on by jet-lag? Maybe her witch-ancestors are trying to tell her something?

Sarah's curiosity is seeded; she is determined to find out more about the mysterious monument. What does she discover? And what happens when the mist that greeted her on that day of arrival turns blue?

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Not as bad as I thought

     Have you ever (and I'm sure you have) left several chapters of your work on one side and gone back to read through them after several weeks?  And when you did go back to read them, did you find they sounded perfectly fine after all? Much better than you thought, and needing little or no alteration?

     I did that with Ravenwood. After setting my middle (story, not beltline) on the right track, I intended to go back to the beginning and eliminate one or more characters. However, after reading the first three chapters with pleasure, I realize it's not as bad as I thought. In fact, the characters I didn't think should be there have shown me that they absolutely do have a part to play--so they stay

     One of the characters is a mysterious man-in-black (and it's not Johnny Cash.) His face is
hidden in the shadows of a dark gray "hoodie". He's wearing black pants, black shirt, and black shoes. When Sarah first sees him, he is at the airport having an intense conversation with Sarah's obnoxious seat-sharing-stranger (hmm, let's hear you say that five times quickly) the man she has nicknamed the Gingerbread Man.

     Does Sarah come across them again? Oho, yes she does. Do they mean her harm? At least one of them might. Which one? And where will Sarah meet them again?