Thursday, November 20, 2014

More Excerpts from "Descent (The Birthrite Series, #1)

Hey guys!

Well, it's getting down to the wire before I release this. :)

Here are two more excerpts. One is the first half of part 4 in the book titled "Kimimela's Dream." This takes place in 1846 and catches up with Jonathan and Kimimela Blake after they are married for a little over a year.

The second excerpt is Chapter 16, the first chapter in part 6 which is title "Shadows of the Past."  In that one, we are first introduced to Dorothy and the others in the year 1931.

Read after the jump and enjoy :)


Illinois-Iowa Territory Border
United States
May 29, 1846


The clock on the nightstand pointed to three 'o' clock in the early morning when Kimimela was wrenched from sleep. Perspiration matted strands of black hair to her face and shoulders as she pressed her palms against the cool sheets spread over a goose-feather mattress. She willed her breath to slow, and her eyes turned toward her husband who lay in a peaceful sleep beside her. His bare chest moved with the rhythm of his breathing, and the blanket had slid down, revealing the slightest hint of his defined hip.
A small smile played across her lips; the mere site of Jonathan was enough to bring light to her darkest moments. “What would I do without you?” she whispered.
Her first thought was to wake him. She had done so several times in the last three months after experiencing the terrifyingly vivid dreams. Without question, he always took her into his arms and stayed up for as long as she needed him, even if he had to work or tend to some other business in the morning. On some nights, his protective comforting turned to romance (as a couple regularly intimate with one another, the two preferred sleeping without the barriers of clothing even on the coldest nights). Being close to him quelled her night terrors and in that moment, she wanted nothing more than to hear his soothing voice and feel his strength and warmth of his skin.
Kimimela lifted a hand to gently shake him but stopped herself. His worrying for her had escalated in the last month after the confirmation of her pregnancy.
I cannot keep doing this to him. The arrival of our little one will bring plenty of sleepless nights...
She brought the lifted hand to her stomach. On the other side grew a baby that was half of her and half of Jonathan. According to her symptoms, she was about three months along with her belly just starting to grow. After being married for a little over a year, this child would be their first.
Kimimela inhaled deeply and turned back to him. “Just sleep tonight, my love.”
She lightly brushed her fingertips down the side of his face before pausing to place her hand over his heart. As she felt the gentle beats, Jonathan stirred slightly.
In the last two years since their initial meeting on the wooded trail, he had given her many firsts. He was the first man she truly fell in love with, the first to kiss her, the first to intimately touch her, and the first to be with her as a lover. Her heart raced as images of their wedding night played through her mind, along with the events that led up to it.
She turned her eyes toward the window at the other end of the room. The waxing moon peered in at them through a small opening in the curtains as she remembered that day two years ago when she ventured out alone against her father's adament warnings about never wandering the frontier.
Kimimela had discovered the small pocket of forest in the spring of her twelfth year. The pocket that seemed out of place from its surroundings. From her first moment setting foot on the canopied trail, she was filled with a sense of belonging she never felt anywhere. In the four years that would follow, a young Kimimela had fallen in love with its serenity. No one could touch her here and she truly felt free from the confines of her village and the uncertainty of the outside world. In the Sioux language, her name meant ‘butterfly’ and suited her well.
In the time she had been coming to her secret place, Kimimela had never seen so much as a footprint on the path besides her own and therefore assumed herself as the only one who knew of it. That is, until the day a young Irishman by the name of Jonathan Joseph Blake rode toward her on a large, black horse, catching her by surprise (and slight dismay). It was two days prior to the summer solstice...


Summer of 1844

...and on that morning, the Earth's energy was strong. Despite the late spring weather, chills were rising on her skin as an unexplanable urge directed her toward the trail. As she entered, she began to hum in an attempt to calm down. What came out was the tune of an old Sioux love song. A choice unexpected, yet one that somehow felt right.
As the breeze moved the thick strands of her hair, she became lost in her own world. But then the site of a young man on a black stallion arrested her steps. The ruggedly handsome gentleman brought his horse to a halt in front of her. His gray-blue eyes immediately caught her attention as she had never known anyone with eyes that color, or anything similar. The man's fairer skin was slightly suntanned and his thick, wavy dark brown hair grew down to just above his shirt collar. His strong build suggested him as someone who partook in regular physical labor, possibly farmwork.
Having never before been this close to a white man (or any man save for her father and two brothers), Kimimela's natural impulse wanted to run back to the village. Her legs seemed planted as she struggled with maintaining her stance. According to the stories told by her father and other men in the village, many white folk did treat American natives with kindness and respect. But for every ten that did show reverence to her people, there were ten others who did not. She hoped and prayed to all spirits that this young man was not among the latter.
He regarded her rather intently while dismounting his horse. Her stomach plunged and she dared to stare back into the grayish-blue pools. If he intended to harm or kill her, she would not grant him the satisfaction of seeing her afraid.
As she gazed into the windows of his soul, her heart started to flutter upon feeling warmth and seeing a noble, open heart. The elements were also humming, as if to provide assurance of there being no need to fear him. She started to relax and he opened his mouth to speak, but before the young man could utter a single word, a sudden image of her father and brothers passed through her. She could see their disapproval toward her being in the unchaperoned presence of a young man she was not married to, and a white man at that. Her initial fear returned, and she fled the trail as quickly she was able to.

Over the next two days, Kimimela confined herself to the village. She did her best to avoid everyone, including her best friend, Chante, and twin brother, Sunkwa. She also managed to elude her too curious little sister, Mahpiya. Shame and guilt consumed her. With all her might, she fought the budding attraction and growing feelings that left her confused and frightened. Erasing the ordeal from her mind proved futile, and she worried over how those close to her would react if they were to find out. Especially her father, Howahkan.
As the village's medicine man, Howahkan was highly respected, as was his own father before him. He was three years a widower since a fatal accident claimed his wife and the mother of Kimimela and her siblings. While known for being reasonable and a person with an open mind, it was still expected that his daughters marry native braves. Part of her felt anger toward the young white man for invading her secret place and wrenching her life, but his eyes and gentle soul were unforgettable. There was even underlying hope of him returning to seek her out.
On the second night, Kimimela lay awake with images of that young man on his horse materializing before her, along with the grayish-blue eyes that made her heart melt. After falling into sleep, she found herself back at the forest patch. While he was nowhere to be seen, his presence was certainly felt.
The following morning as she cooked breakfast, the elements rushed about her.
'Return to the trail,' they were saying.
All day long, there was resistance on her end, but she eventually gave in.
That early evening, she walked the frontier, feeling the elements' protective shield around her. Her mind swam with reminders of her being - at sixteen - marrying age. Howahkan's eldest, Chayton, had just been married to a young woman from their village, leaving Kimimela and Sunkwa as the next two in line. She lamented over the possibility of never being able to return to her forest patch again after taking a husband.
'But what if you had one who wished to share it with you?'
She jolted at the question as another image of the young man on his horse was brought before her.
Marriages between a native and a white man or woman had been performed in the past, and there were times when such arrangements worked quite well. Such unions were also currently legal, unlike those between persons of European and African descent. But there had also been instances where the outcome brought about complications and dangers for all involved parties. Therefore, marrying within the tribe or - at the very least - the race was strongly encouraged.
As the wooded trail came into view, Kimimela fought the hope she held in seeing him again. She crossed over the entrance and started to sing the love song from two days prior. Then, she saw him. He and his horse were already on the trail.
Her heart nearly stopped, and she steadied herself while resisting the impulse to run away again. Slowly, she headed toward him, feeling his eyes on her along with his warmth, gentility, and nervous anticipation.
When she stopped in front of him, petting his horse did soothe her nerves a little. She could feel him beside her observing her soft treatment toward the animal. Then, the words poured out from his mouth:
“Please. Do not run from me, my love. I am a man of honor and I mean you no harm.”
The term of endearment caught her off guard, but it did allow her another trait that deepened her infatuation. His Irish brogue. A voice that demonstrated a man true to his word.
Her core was in knots as she drew in a breath, still struggling with whether or not to abandon all she had been taught over the course of her life. She understood English well enough to communicate with him. The elements pulsed inside and around her, and she heard herself give him her name. When he spoke again, all initial fears slipped away.
Despite knowing such behavior was considered unacceptable among most in her village, she agreed to a walk with him. Not many words were exchanged between Jonathan and Kimimela that day, but the afternoon together had left both with a yearning to never be without the other's company.
The couple met up again the following afternoon, and once again spent the time walking side by side. He told her a little of his life, including how his first five years were spent in Ireland. He also mentioned his thirteenth birthday when his father, Charles, had taken him to a neighbor's farm where a few new colts had been birthed. It was there Jonathan selected a four month old black one and named him Samson on that very day.
The story along with his caring nature toward the animal warmed her core. Then his skin flushed as he asked for the privelege of holding her hand. She replied with a shy, but enthusiastic 'yes' and looked forward to having their hands joined anytime they walked together.


Shadows of the Past
Plains, NY 1931

Chapter 16


At the stroke of midnight on December 1 of 1913, she came into the world as the only child of Matthew and Elizabeth Blake. The waxing crescent moon was barely visible to residents in Plains on that cold, late autumn evening as Elizabeth (or 'Liz' as her husband and friends called her) started experiencing labor pains at exactly seven ‘o’ clock. Five hours later, Dorothy Elizabeth was born as the newest descendant of Jonathan and Kimimela inside the two story colonial home on Muholland Road.
As a child, she did not speak much but was quite precocious, imaginative, and loved being lost in a good story. She got on well with schoolmates, and her closest friends were Linda Parker and Gail Carr. The three attended the Plains School District together as part of the Class of 1932.
Prior to entering high school, her girlfriends started to talk of and compare the boys they all knew from town. Linda became the first of the three to go steady when Jimmy Kratz, a boy from their graduating class and a player on the high school's football team, expressed interest in her.
From the beginning, she was smitten with the tall, dark, and handsome young man. His father owned the town’s mechanic shop, and though business from neighboring areas had slowed down during the recession, it was able to stay afloat within the township and provided enough income for the Kratz family. When Jimmy wasn’t at football practice, he could often be found helping his dad at the garage and was set to start working full time after graduation. He would also be left the business upon Mr. Kratz's retirement. The keen interest Jimmy had in cars since the 1919 Oldsmoblile was released to America's Industrial Age made the occupation a perfect fit for him.
The relationship of Jimmy and Linda offered his friend, Reginald Johnson, an open opportunity for asking Gail out and by the start of junior year, Reginald and Gail were a steady item. The two couples often attended dances and other after school events together. Many times, Linda and Gail would try to coax Dorothy into coming along.
“Maybe you’ll make a love connection tonight,” Linda would often say, but their friend almost always declined. If ever Dorothy did give in, the evening ended with her feeling like a fifth wheel.
Linda had also made several offers at helping Dorothy put together what she described as a more pleasing look. “Honey, if I had your cheekbones, I'd be accentuating the hell out of those,” the blonde girl would often say. She had come to fully own her voluptuous bombshell appearance that often recieved comparison to Jean Harlow, a comparison she ate up.
As for Dorothy, she was reserved but certainly not unattractive. Her dark, wavy hair and tawny complexion set off the grayish-blue eyes she inherited from her father's Irish lineage. The cheekbones that Linda was openly jealous of  were courtesy of her Sioux-Ojibwe great grandmother.
There were times Dorothy wondered if perhaps her friend was right. How different would her life be if she opened up a little? Not only were Reginald and Gail becoming close, but Jimmy and Linda had started discussing marriage after high school.
Shortly before the junior prom, Jimmy's father had presented him with a black, 1930 Chevrolet as an early birthday, graduation, and pending wedding gift. While several students were taking the driver's education course the high school offered, owning a car was rare among the youth.
“I still can't believe he has his own car,” Linda gushed after the first time Jimmy took her out in his Chevy. She often shared their parking experiences with her two friends, and even Reginald and Gail started doing a little of that anytime he was able to borrow his father's car.
Then on a Saturday evening in mid May as she and Dorothy slept over at the Carr residence, Linda revealed the news of her and Jimmy going all the way. The encounter had occured the previous night, and Linda was beaming as she sat at Gail's vanity table painting her nails a pale pink.
"His sister Amanda also told me that she's positive of him planning to make a formal proposal this Christmas," she said. "He also had a private talk with my dad recently and is working a little extra in his dad's shop.
"Oh, I can't wait to be his wife! I do want the wedding to take place next summer after graduation. Of course, I want you two and Amanda as my bridesmaids. Maybe I’ll ask Cassandra and Caroline too. Though it will be hard deciding on who to choose as maid of honor.”
“Will we have to wear pink?” Gail asked from her seated position on the floor as she paged through one of Linda’s fashion magazines.
“Count me out, then.”
From Gail's bed, Dorothy did her best to suppress a laugh while re-reading The Call of Cthulu in her February, 1928 edition of Weird Tales. The story was written by an author called H.P. Lovecraft. His work had appeared in a few pulps and periodicals, and Dorothy hadn’t missed a single one.
Linda stopped polishing her nails and stared in disbelief at Gail. “Please tell me you're joking.”
Gail snorted. “Of course I am, Linda. I shall wear the wretched color just for you. Even if Dorothy, Amanda, whoever else, and I will end up looking like a bunch of sick ostriches.”
A giggle escaped Dorothy as Linda rolled her eyes.
“Well, the color scheme is going to be pink and white,” the blonde girl continued.
“Swell.” Gail yawned, tossing the fashion periodical aside. “And I’m sure Jimmy will be thrilled with his pink wedding. Dorothy, do you have anymore of those pulps?”
Dorothy looked up. “Sure,” she said, and reached into her bag to pull out another issue.
Linda grimaced. “How can you two read that stuff? That’s all Jimmy has on his shelves, too. Besides, I wasn’t finished with telling you guys about him and me last night!”
“Linda, aren’t you worried about…you know…getting in trouble?” Dorothy asked. “You’re being awful nonchalant about it.”
“Jimmy and I talked about all of that,” Linda replied, “and we do take precautions. Jimmy says he will always wear protection and has access to getting what he needs. And anytime he can’t, he has no problem withdrawing. But if all fails and that happens, we’ll just get married sooner.”
“I’m glad you figured that one out,” Gail said dryly, opening the pulp. “Though to be honest, if Reg didn’t have to borrow his old man’s car, we would probably be doing a lot more than we are. We have talked about it.”
Linda brightened. “Really? Please, tell. How far have you two gone?”
“Petting,” Gail answered. “Bordering on heavy petting. And Reg is saving up for a car with some of the cash from his job at the five and dime. Whatever he gets to keep after helping his parents with expenses.”
Linda squealed over the confession, and Gail smiled as she paged through the pulp.
Gail’s bold, vampy style and personality countered Linda’s soft, feminine appeal. She very much resembled her Persian-Italian mother save for the pale complexion of her father's German-Scottish heritage. Her dark hair was cut into a stylish bob and typical makeup consisted of dark, smoky eyes and red lips. Various shades of red were also consistent in her bedroom d├ęcor and much of her selected clothing.
Dorothy leaned her back against the wall and gazed down at her own bare fingernails. At the end of junior year, she still hadn’t even been out on a date. The only boy her age she was ever close to was her cousin Cletus, the son of her father’s older brother Ronald and his wife Eunice. While most of the Blake family still lived in Illinois and Iowa, her Uncle Ronald had moved his family to Dayton, Ohio shortly after his grandmother Kimimela passed away.
A year younger than Dorothy, Cletus also lacked confidence when it came to working his charm on the opposite gender. He was especially shy if he happened to really like the girl. Despite being quite a visually appealing young man, he had only been on one date by age sixteen. His own friends questioned his lack of experience, and it didn't help that his two older brothers, Chayton and Raymond, were able to approach girls without problem. In fact, Chayton had just been married that spring, and Raymond was in a steady relationship that seemed headed for a permanent arrangement.
Cletus and Dorothy regarded one another more as siblings than cousins, and often went on outings together when one family visited the other. For them, the arrangement was safe as both felt tremendous relief from any pretensiousness that seemed to accompany a real date.
Dorothy always looked forward to the visits with her Uncle Ronald and his family. As a young boy, the patriarch had taken an interest in playing the guitar and had taught his three sons. Dorothy had also learned a little, and for her sixteenth birthday, Ronald had one fashioned for his niece. The instrument was propped beside her nightstand, and while she hardly considered herself as good a player as her uncle and cousins, it proved to be a wonderful release on more than one occasion. Even her singing voice was quite strong and soulful, a contrast to her reserved personality, but she chose to keep such talents confined to the privacy of her bedroom. She kept them hidden, along with her secret three year crush on a boy from their graduating class.
Never in a million years would he take any kind of interest in me…
“Yoohoo! Dorothy!” Linda's voice jarred her from her thoughts.
“What?” She blinked at the site of her two friends staring at her. 
Linda frowned. “I was asking you if you wanted a nail color. I think you should try this peachy shade. I have it in my makeup case.”
“Sure.” Dorothy reluctantly rose and headed to the vanity where Linda’s powder blue case sat. “I swear, Linda, you have enough colors to open up your own five and dime.”
“Tell me about it,” Gail said, turning her eyes back to the pulp thriller. Linda's packed to capacity powder blue makeup case towered over the small tray of Gail’s dark nail colors and cosmetics.
“Looking pretty takes work,” Linda stated. “That’s how I landed Jimmy.”
Gail looked up. “Really? I thought it was your grace, charm, and wit that got him.”
Dorothy snorted out a laugh as she sorted through bottles of nail color.
Linda stuck her tongue out at Gail before blowing on her drying fingernails. “My point is...Dorothy, junior year is almost over. You've missed out on all the dances and this year's prom. When senior year starts, you’re going to everything even if I have to knock you out with a club and drag you there in a sack.”
Dorothy tensed as she slowly picked out the bottle of peach nail color.
“I actually have to agree with Linda on this one,” Gail added.
“Et tu, Brutus?” Dorothy said.
“It’s not as though we’re asking you to hike across Siberia,” Gail replied.
“I’d rather do that then what you two are suggesting.” Dorothy avoided eye contact with either of her friends as she headed back toward Gail’s bed. “Besides, times are changing and things are different from when our parents were our age. Much more women have joined the workforce in the last ten years and are making their own way. Besides Gail, weren't you and I planning on working for a year and then attending college after graduation anyhow?”
Gail relented. “True. You do have a point.”
“Thank you.”
Linda groaned. “Can you two jump off the suffrage bandwagon for five seconds? Dorothy, come on. Don’t sit another year out. You need to have some fun before we graduate.”
Dorothy frowned as she plopped onto the wine-colored bedspread. “What are you talking about? I have fun.”
“No, you don’t. You’re always reading,” Linda said. “The only male figure you spend any time around is James Livingston’s statue outside the library.”
Gail's head snapped in the blonde girl's direction. “Hey! There's nothing wrong with reading. And contrary to what your silly and horribly dated magazines say, many guys do not see intelligent women as a bad thing. Reg doesn’t. Mary Shelley's husband would be another example, and that was way before our time. In fact, I believe he actually had her edit his own work.”
Linda sighed. “I’m not saying it's a bad thing. But you do need to let boys know you’re interested and available. Otherwise, they'll pass you right by, just like they have all throughout high school.”
Dorothy lowered her eyes as heat crept to her face. “Thanks a lot.”
“Linda,” Gail said, shooting her friend an expression of warning.
“Hey, I’m just telling it like it is. I’m only trying to help. Dorothy, come on. There has to be a boy you’re interested in.”
Dorothy fidgeted with the nail color bottle in an attempt at preventing her trembling hands from giving her away. Always having been a private person, she was never one to rush at sharing details of her personal life. Thus, even Linda and Gail were unaware of her feelings toward Carl Turner.
It was a classic case of the shy, studious girl loving the school’s bad boy from afar. Most of the kids from Plains Township had known one another since the early childhood playgroups, though it wasn't until freshman year when she finally took a more serious notice of Carl. He had become known for being a wise guy, a daredevil, and a regular in detention with George Kolinski and Evan Frasier for a variety of stunts pulled around school. She (and many other girls) also found him quite easy on the eyes.
Throughout freshman year, much of her energy was spent trying to resist her feelings from coming to fruition. He was too much of a troublemaker, she had tried reasoning, and such feelings would only lead to disappointment and heartbrake. But try as she might, her budding crush had won over by sophomore year, and Dorothy found herself almost as smitten for Carl as Linda was for Jimmy. She feared embarassing herself, should the truth come out.
But perhaps I should just come out with it. Linda was clearly not going to leave her alone until she got an answer. But then what happens if I do tell them? Will that simply be the end? She was certain of Gail respecting her boundaries, but wasn’t as sure about Linda…
“Dorothy, come on,” Linda begged. “There has to be someone. I won’t believe you for a second if say no one.”
Dorothy drew in a breath. Well...they are my friends, after all... “Fine,” she muttered. “I like Carl.”
Linda frowned and leaned in closer. “Who?”
“Carl!” Dorothy cringed at the unexpected volume of her voice. A pin could have been heard dropping onto the bedroom floor as she hoped no one else had been in earshot. She peered self-consciously at her two friends. Every nerve in her body was numb as her stare met those of the two other girls whose jaws were dropped.
The O of Linda’s mouth spread into a gleeful smile as she jumped up clapping her hands, seeming to not care about smearing her nail color.
“Carl Turner,” Gail said, appearing satisfied with the answer.
“I knew it!” Linda cried. She bounded over to the bed and threw her arms around Dorothy.
“You did?” Dorothy asked, slightly horrified.
“Well,” Linda replied pulling away, “not specifically that you liked him. But I knew there had to be somebody you were mad for.”
Dorothy rolled her eyes. “Please don’t get carried away, Linda. I’m not mad for him. I just find him good-looking and that's all.” (Of course, that wasn’t completely true, but…)
“Well, we have to get started on this,” Linda continued, as though she hadn’t heard a word Dorothy said. “Carl and Jimmy hang around together and you know he works at my future father-in-law’s garage. Maybe I can put a word in—“
“No!” Dorothy cut her off.
Linda's startled expression turned into disappointment.
All were silent for a moment before Gail spoke. “Dorothy, I don’t see how it could hurt. You like him and I don’t see why he wouldn’t like you. I can understand how his reputation might be intimidating, but he really is a swell guy after you get to know him.”
“Yeah!” Linda chimed in. “Like I said, you just have to make it known that you’re available.”
Dorothy sighed. “Girls, I don’t think so. Bernice Chaconas was the last girl from school he went with and before her, he supposedly ran around with some twenty-year-old vamp from a speakeasy. I highly doubt I’m his type. Look, I answered your question. Now can we forget it? Please?”
“Dorothy,” Linda scolded, “sooner or later, you’re going to have to get out of this nun rut.”
Dorothy raised an eyebrow. “Nun rut?”
"I think what Linda is trying to very tactfully point out is that you’re a gorgeous, nice, and intelligent gal," Gail said. "I’m sure plenty of boys at school, Carl included, would be flattered. But you'll never know unless you open up more. Besides, what’s the worse that could happen?”
“Let’s see,” Dorothy replied. “I die of embarrassment, am the laughing stock of the school, and have to be homeschooled for the remainder of high school because I can never show my face in public again. Now for the last time, can we please forget about it?”
Linda thought for a moment before conceding. “Okay, fine,” she said. “But only for the time being.”
And Linda would keep her word on that.

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