I’ve joined a talented group of writers as a contributing member of A Muse Bouche Review, a literary newsletter. It gives me a chance to write something new each month around a given theme, which I’m enjoying. The theme for March, 2023 is Anticipation and my story is called Delphine’s Pillow. Here’s how it starts:
THE SWAMP WAS DIFFERENT in Ohio, different from what they’d crawled through in Louisiana.
Down there they were wet more often than they were dry. They’d be waist deep in the muddy water, weaving between cypress trees draped with Spanish moss. Snakes big around as a man’s arm hung from the trees, and the hot, thick air hummed with mosquitoes.
Third night on the run a gator took Leon. Leon was six. One minute he was stepping down off one of the rare dry, grassy hillocks where they had stopped to rest, trying not to lose his footing on the slick cypress roots and go under. Then an alligator had its jaws clean around his narrow chest and started to roll, tail thrashing, roiling the water, red blood mixing with the brown.
Judah planned their escape for months, starting right after his wife Mina died of an infection that went bad. The overseer had begun to take an interest in his daughter Delphine, not yet thirteen. Judah would not abide that. He gathered what food he could—they would have to make it through the swamp and all the way to the station in Jackson. An old woman named Maria had helped keep an eye on Delphine after Mina died, and Judah promised to take her and her grandson Leon along.
The four of them slipped away quietly the night of a party at the big house, losing themselves in the festive chaos. Judah had the food and the clothes on his back, Maria a small bible. Delphine carried a burlap sack that held her mother’s pillow.
To read the entire story, and all the other stories from this talented crew, check out the March A Muse Bouche Review, available here: