My first self-published, full length short story, Late Season Rains, is now up and ready for Kindle digital download on Amazon for only $0.99. Click the image below for the story’s page. Please feel free to rate it and provide feedback.
Preview for Late Season Rains:
The last seaward bend in the road showed how close they were. A red Spanish-tiled roof floated above whitewashed walls in the early evening’s distance, obscured by mist spiriting in on the coastal breeze. He looked forward to wandering the house, a chance to prod waning memories after so long but dreaded the business responsible for bringing him back.
The wipers cleared the haze from the windshield revealing the expanse of the great house. Trees surrounded the grounds forever cast in windswept silhouettes. It stood in contrast, a molded, white canvass set within a medium of dark, veridian hues. An isolated, rugged outcrop poised at the edge of the sea. Its solitude unbecoming for some, comforting to others.
Her hand cupped his shoulder, “It’s just like you described it. What an inspiring place to grow up.”
“During summer vacations, at least. Every year for…oh, a dozen years,” then added, ”after they split.”
He was eleven when his parents divorced. It was a sudden shock when he learned of it, learned what it was, a divorce. Dad would be moving away, leaving him, his Mom and brother to themselves on tree-lined Flanders Street in Portland. There wasn’t much of a fight, no drama over who got what, or who. By mutual consent it was decided, “for the best”, the boys would stay with Mom. Dad would go to live in the vacation home. It was his anyways, an inheritance from his parents. Mom had no desire to hold out for any demands on the property. He wasn’t privy to any of this at the time, at that age. He just knew his father was leaving.
He had a rough time of it. His father was the role model for him. Eleven years old, a malleable age. The molding years just before all the changes and confusions, all fast approaching. Those teenage years.
His father did all the traditional dad things. Coached him to swing a bat and hit the ball. “Watch the ball hit the bat. Follow through.” Taught him to throw the perfect spiral in hopes he’d try out for football one day. He didn’t. His father showed him how to get a squirming worm on a hook and on more than one occasion, spent an entire day lounging on a river’s bank in comfortable silence, munching sandwiches instead ofactually catching any fish. At home Dad would always call him in whenever Steve McQueen’s fastback Mustang showed up on TV to chase the bad guys one more time through San Francisco’s rolling streets. It wastime spent with Dad.
After the divorce that time was truncated into ten weeks a year, and the occasional Christmas. Time became precious and those few weeks each year at Dad’s place were something he looked forward to. Each summer through junior high and high school he’d be there. Even during summer breaks from college he’d make his way to see his father. He sensed at times his father felt he was simply fulfilling an obligation but in his mind the visits were never a burden placed on him.
He cracked the window. The redolent scent of the briny sea and crunch of the gravel drive under tire brought him back to early summer evening arrivals to this place. He let the car roll to a stop near the porticoed front. Detaching himself from the drivers seat, he felt a mask of mist light over his face scented with that particular sour yet comforting seaside tinge and found the concussive rumble of broiling surf none too far away. His eyes fell shut allowing himself a moment to take it all in again after much too long an absence. His lips pulled into a grin.
“I haven’t seen that in a while,” he heard her say. “Nice to see a smile make an appearance”
He exhaled a chuckle and opened his eyes. “It hasn’t been all that long,” he said unsure if he was asking her or reassuring himself.
“Well…” her thought was interrupted by the a clangorous groan as the front door lamented yet another effort to open.
He grinned again picturing his dad, head to the floor, butt in the air eyeballing the frame, screwdriver in hand swinging the door with measured precision looking for that one spot where the two surfaces ground against each other. No matter how much he fiddled with it he could never relieve that door of its pains.
A couple stepped out to the edge of the sheltered entry. “We were beginning to wonder if something happened to you,” the man hollered out from under the cover with a half smile. “Your plane landed over three hours ago didn’t it?”
His grin dropped away, “Yeah. Well, we took our time and enjoyed the drive up.” Reaching into the backseat for his bag he continued a little louder, “I didn’t realize we’d be held to a tight schedule.” He met her watchful glance across the car’s roof as she mouthed a subtle, “Be nice.”
They met the couple under the arcade, holding his bag in one hand he embraced the man in a quick one-armed hug and managed, “Good to see you.”
“You too,” he replied.”
His gaze fell to the woman standing at the man’s side, dressed in a sleeveless business dress hugging her arms for warmth. He offered a hand to her as she released one from her self-embrace, “Elizabeth, good to see you again.”
“Shawn, I am glad the two of you were able to make it.” Obliging grins passed between the two of them.
Turning to his companion, “Abigail, my brother, Cameron, his wife, Elizabeth.”
“So good to finally meet you Abigail,” Cameron said offering a light embrace. “I’m sorry we weren’t able to make your wedding last year.”
After a round of nods, Elizabeth suggested, “Why don’t we take ourselves indoors and out of the cold.” She turned toward the door as Cameron placed a light arm around her waist, “I’m afraid the sun back home has spoilt us for the weather on this part of the coast.”
“I remember you used to love it up here,” Shawn said to his brother’s back.
“Some things tend to change.”
“That they do,” he said to Abigail, a subtle nod toward Elizabeth. Her grip tightened in his palm as a reminder to behave himself.
For the rest of the story go here for the full Kindle version.