Sadly, I did not meet the word count of 2500 yesterday. It officially stands at 1967 for the 1st day, which is more than the #NaNoWriMo count of 1667. But I am determined to hit the mark today!

It is still early on in the project, and there have been some favorable remarks and interest in the project, though not much interaction yet. However, I have already learned a great deal in creating this event, and anytime a skill set or knowledge base is increased, that is a good thing. So onto the work…

Here is the excerpt for today:  (Continued from “Chapter 1 – Nightmares”)

(Set up: After comforting Jason from his nightmare, Ellie reflected on the events just prior to the fire that had killed her daughter and son-in-law; the withdrawal of Janet and the ensuing drug addiction that had led to her being arrested and put into a rehab center in California, and the effects it had on Jason.)

Soon after moving to Snow Crest, Janet was arrested for dealing heroin. She laughed as she told the magistrate, “I have to deal. It’s the only way I can afford my own habit”. Ellie’s heart was broken as she watched her granddaughter being taken away in handcuffs. Janet was ordered into an inpatient treatment program, but the only place that had room for her was in California. The magistrate said getting her away from the influences and temptations would be helpful in her recovery. As Janet was being put on the plane, she looked at Jason and said, “Well, at least you and Grammie will be safe now”. Jason assumed she was talking about the drugs. But in his heart, he knew it was more.

Ellie was snapped back to the present when Jason’s alarm clock went off. They were both startled by the ring, then smiled at each other, trying to bring back some normalcy to their morning. Jason said, “Well at least this time, it was almost time to get up anyway”. Ellie smiled and said, “I’d better be getting onto making the biscuits. Young Lee will be here soon, and I’m sure he’ll be hungry as always. He’s such a skinny lad, I don’t know where he puts it all”.

Since the first week after they had moved to Snow Crest, Jason had become friends with Lee. Lee had knocked on their door one afternoon to invite them to church just as Ellie was pulling a hot apple pie out of the oven. Lee commented, “Oh, your house smells so good”, licking his lips as he handed Jason the card with the church address. Ellie smiled and said, “Come in young man and join us for pie and ice cream. It’s always better when shared with a new friend”.

A few days later Jason confided in Ellie that Lee seldom ate at home. Both of Lee’s parents were alcoholics and he preferred to be out of the house before they began drinking. He usually went out to the woods and went hiking until it was time to go to school. Ellie told Jason to invite Lee over for dinner, which Lee gladly accepted. During dinner, Ellie suggested that Lee stop by for breakfast the next morning since he and Jason were going out for an early hike. Again, Lee eagerly accepted.

The next morning when Lee arrived, he looked like a child getting ready to open his birthday gifts! Ellie had prepared sausage, eggs, potatoes, gravy and biscuits, and was pulling fresh peach tarts out of the oven. Lee asked Jason, “Do you eat like this every morning”? Jason answered, “Yes, Grammie loves to cook”. As he glanced at his grandmother, he said, “In fact, you should come over for breakfast every morning. Grammie doesn’t like for the food to go to waste. But if I keep eating it all, I won’t be able to fit into my uniform much longer”, referring to his Taekwondo gear. Ellie rolled her eyes as she said, “It never hurt anyone to have a little meat on their bones”. She smiled knowingly at her grandson, then turned to Lee. She said, “Lee you are welcome to join us anytime. Jason is right, there is always plenty of food, and I think sometimes he gets tired of being with an ol’ woman like me. He could use the company of a nice young man such as yourself”. From then on, Lee arrived promptly at 7:00 am, ready to eat. His favorite were Ellie’s homemade biscuits and gravy, and there were always fresh pastries to take along for later.

Lee arrived right on time, but he appeared a little sheepish as he entered the house. He was holding his head down and not as boisterous as usual. When Ellie asked what was wrong, he looked up at her. She saw the tears along with the black eye. She didn’t ask how he got it, she just put her comforting arms around the boy and hugged him like only a grandmother could.

Everyone in town knew about Dave and Julie’s drinking and the loud arguments, but Lee didn’t speak about it very often. He loved his parents, and he was concerned about them. But he was also embarrassed by their behavior. He confided in Ellie, “Grammie Ellie, I don’t know what to do. Why do my parents have to keep drinking? I want to help them, but I don’t know how.” Ellie thought about her granddaughter. She said, “Sometimes, all we can do is pray and keep loving them”.

As Ellie was looking at Lee’s eye, he said, “I’m ok, it was an accident”. He continued, “Mom and dad were having another argument, and dad started to leave. But I had hidden the keys to the car. So he went out on the porch and started to sit down in the swing, but he fell. As I was trying to help him get up, he grabbed onto the swing and the corner of it hit me in the eye.” He said, “I know dad would never hurt me or mom on purpose”.

Ellie took Lee into the kitchen and put some ice in a cloth to put on his eye. When Jason saw Lee, he started to get angry. But Ellie intervened by saying, “Let’s start out this morning with a prayer for those we love”. Even though Jason felt angry, he knew in his heart that Ellie was wise and he valued her advice. So the three of them held hands and prayed.

Afterwards, as they were eating breakfast, Ellie asked, “So what do you two fine lads have planned for today”? Lee said, “We promised Pastor Brian we’d help him fix the barn doors. The hinges ripped right out of the wood in that storm Wednesday”. Jason added, “They lost a few chickens in that storm too. The wind blew ‘em right away!” Lee said, “Ms. Sarah said she has a bunch of apples that blew down for us too”. Ellie replied, “Don’t you lads go filling up on too many of them apples. I’ll be needing some for a nice pie tonight”. Lee looked up with a twinkle in his eye. He loved Ellie’s apple pie. Ellie smiled and said, “Lee, how’d you like to have supper with us? Maybe you could spend the night and we could all walk to church together in the morning”. Without hesitation, Lee agreed.

After breakfast the two boys were about to leave when Ellie stopped them. She said, “Jason, I want you to give this to Ms. Sarah”, as she handed him a neatly folded quilt she had just finished making the day before. She said, “Winter’s coming soon, and it’ll help keep her legs warm”. Jason said, “Sure Grammie” and he kissed her on the cheek.

**End of excerpt**

Well, that is the post for this morning. I am continuing to build the characters and their relationships, along with the plot details. If you like what you’ve read so far, or have any ideas or suggestions, please let us know in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!

If you are interested in joining the project as a writer, just use the “Join Story Project” link on the right side of the page.

And as always, please share with your friends and help us to make this an epic project.

Read well, write on! – Amber Lea



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