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Storytime: The Dolls of Rosewater Hill

Welcome to Storytime Friday! Unless otherwise noted, everything posted here will be largely unedited draft work, just for fun.

This week’s excerpt is from a story I started last year. It’s a little different from what I normally write, but I’ve had fun with it, and the draft is nearly finished. Meet Adam and Carrie:


Adam couldn’t remember the last time he felt so out of place, standing in the little shop, surrounded by a horde of porcelain dolls, all dressed in various outfits, most elaborate with big fluffy hats and puffy skirts.
Never in a million years had he imagined that he would end up in a place like this. And yet here he was, desperately needing to find three specific dolls.

He approached the glass counter, housing all manner of miniature furniture, tiny dolls, and bits and baubles to go with. No one was standing behind the counter. He tapped the bell beside the cash cash register, wondering how much traffic a shop like this actually got. It must be a terribly boring job to work in such a niche store. Although maybe these dolls were more popular collectibles than he gave them credit for.
The woman who came from the back room didn’t look anything like the coiffed and elaborately dressed dolls on show. Her mousy brown hair was thrown up in a bun with strands sticking out here and there as if she hadn’t had the time or energy to worry about making it smooth. Her eyes were partially hidden behind glasses that could have been cat-eyes but fell just short, and her dress was casual – jeans, a simple light yellow sweater and a white cardigan over the top.

She looked a little agitated, as if she didn’t appreciate being interrupted.
“What can I help you with?” she asked, looking at him as if she felt the same way he did – that he didn’t quite belong. “Are we shopping for a gift today, perhaps?”

Adam shook his head.

“No. I need to find some dolls. Three specific dolls, I mean. I think someone might have brought them into your shop last week. Do you happen to remember buying three dolls from an estate sale? It would have been last Wednesday or Thursday.”

She didn’t even have to think about her answer. “The Rosewater Hill dolls, you mean?” She raised an eyebrow. “They came in last Thursday, and sold on Friday and Saturday. I can get the name of the person who brought them in if you’d like. I can assure you I gave her a fair price. I can get the receipt for you as well, if you’re a family member. I was so sorry to hear of Greta’s passing. She was a good customer with a beautiful collection, but a good friend as well. Do you know what happened to the rest of the dolls?”

“Greta was my grandmother, and I’m sure she’d appreciate your kind words. The will was just read yesterday, and I inherited everything, but my aunt Bernie sold those three dolls. I really need them back. Is there any way that you can help me find out who bought them so that I can offer to buy them back?”

The woman tilted her head and looked at him as if he were a little off kilter.
“What’s so special about them? Which dolls were they, that they’re so valuable?”

“They’re special to me, and I need them back. That’s really all you need to know. Can you help me or not?”

She paused for a moment, and then nodded. “I might be able to. Let me go check in the back. But I won’t be able to give you the information for anyone who’s bought them. All I can do is promise to contact them for you.”

She disappeared through the door behind the counter before he could protest. He waited, tapping his fingers on the glass case. She didn’t understand. No one would understand. But the dolls had something that he needed. Something that would decide the fate of the entire Rosewater Hill estate.


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Storytime: The Reset Button (excerpt)

Welcome to Storytime Friday! Unless otherwise noted, everything posted here will be largely unedited draft work, just for fun.

It’s November, and National Novel Writing Month, so today, I thought I’d share an excerpt of the novel I started for that challenge. I’m not going to make the challenge, but I will keep working on the story! Here’s the beginning. Enjoy!

The Reset Button

Lexi sat on the edge of the old Heberly railroad bridge, her feet hanging over the edge to flirt with the swirling eddies in the Meadowlark river below. A wireless electric razer buzzed in her left hand as her right followed it over her scalp and collected the long black tresses as they fell.

        She’d been thinking. That’s what had started this whole chaotic night, and she knew she should stop and find someone to talk to, but it was too late. She’d done too much, said to much, and tomorrow, everything would be different. She’d pressed the reset button on her life, and there was no going back.

        The buzzing stopped and the last of her hair fall into the black, turbulant water. It wasn’t her hair though, not really. She’d been dyeing and cutting it for so long she couldn’t even remember what her natural color was, much less if it was wavy or straight.

        All that stopped now. Tonight.

        “Need some help?”

        “No. Leave me alone.” Lexi twisted just enough to see a woman in designer-torn jeans, purple converse and a black leather jacket stop beside her. Her long blond hair was curled and styled, and her makeup was impeccable.

        None of which matched the distinctly male voice that had offered “help”. She frowned, and then looked the other way, wondering how the normally deserted spot had suddenly gotten so crowded.

        That same male voice chuckled, and Lexi turned to see the woman…or was it man…grinning.

        “I get that look a lot,” he or she, or was it they, said. Lexi wasn’t sure what to say, so she said nothing.

        “It’s ‘he’, if you’re wondering, and I’m not gay or transgender – not that there’s anything wrong with anyone who is, I just like makeup and think women’s clothing is so much more interesting and fun than men’s. Don’t you?”

        “I guess. I never really thought about it that way. Clothes are…” just another thing I don’t want to think about, she finished in her head. “I really don’t want company right now. Please leave me alone.”

        “I can do that, but can I just-” he tentatively reached out a hand toward the electric shaver. “You missed a hard to reach spot back here, and I can finish it for you, if you’d like.”

        Lexi ran a hand over the scratchy stubble she’d created to the back of her nape, where she could feel the offending section still attached. Without a word and half expecting him to cut her head off, she handed the razer over and tilted her head forward to give him better access. The buzzing started again and she felt him gently grasp the leftover hand and use short, quick strokes to clean up the back of her head.

        “There now.” He turned the shaver off and returned it, along with the last hank of hair. “Have you shaved your head before?”

        “No.” Lexi could sense he wanted more, but she wasn’t feeling much like sharing.

        “Well, my name is Max Harris. I own a salon and boutique over on 5th and Madison, called The Harris Experience. If you need help or a touch up, come in and ask for me personally. I’ll be happy to help, and I’m a good listener too. And now I’ll leave you alone, but do me one favor – don’t jump, so I don’t have to feel guilty about walking away.”  

        “I’m not going to jump.” Lexi stared out into the night. “I’m just hitting the reset button. I’ll be fine.”

        “Good for you. I think we all need to do that sometimes.”


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