Friday, 8 January 2016

Guest Author Sarah Butland.


This is Sarah's second visit to the Scribbler. She was born in Ontario, the year was 1982. She moved to New Brunswick for over 15 years and now resides at home in Nova Scotia, Canada. Butland has been married to her high school sweetheart and has a superstar son named William, and a cat named Russ who all make her house a home.

On her last visit, we were able to sample the beginning of her paranormal tale - Blood Day. See it here This week you can read another section.





It was the first time I tried to take a deep breath and noticed I couldn't.
Their image had me confused. I couldn't believe they would show up this way, at such an uneventful time in my life. I remembered dressing for the grade 12 prom, knowing how I'd be mocked for finally showing my scars by wearing short sleeves. The first time anyone would see my bare skin with the exception of my face. I decided to be comfortable and stand out versus being mocked and uncomfortable.
While I prepared I knew I would turn heads by just being at the prom but longed to only turn my parents’ heads. They were gone for so long yet their presence was as missed as it always was.
My foster brother, a few years my senior, offered to be my date. He bought the corsage, the matching suit for my dress and told me I was beautiful. I then ended up canceling, faking illness and escaped to my room to cry myself asleep in my dress.
I skipped graduation, too. These are huge events where I expected my parents to be. Life changing experiences, especially without proper guidance helping me through. Top of my class in marks, bottom in the social game and not missed until my name was called and no one stood to accept the diploma.  The school mailed it to me which was then forwarded a few times as I was still in foster care.
And then my 19th birthday when I was officially on my own. I expected something special, looked forward to it being a me day and I made it so as it was all up to me.
That morning I awoke to an empty house, made my favourite breakfast then packed my things and took a bus to the bus station in hopes of going far, far away. A few things stopped me – not lack of money or courage, though. Lucy stopped me.
We remained in touch although going our separate way. I was on a full scholarship for interior design and she, well, she chose a different path I'll reveal later.
Instead of during these times in my life when I decided I needed my parents, they showed up now when I thought I needed them the least.
As my chest expanded, oxygen reached my blood and I coughed I realized this was my first breath and maybe I did need my parents’ images after all. It was strange before, my breath would never fog up the mirrors, wouldn’t fog in the cold and I never found anything took my breath away. It seemed to already be gone. Seemed impossible and unlikely but true.
Instead of my own reflection my parents were staring back at me. They looked no older than when I had last seen them – almost three decades before. Standing perfectly still, too timid to move, I stared back at them. Suddenly, out of the reflection I heard my mother's voice but it still took me a few minutes to realize it was the image of my mother speaking.
“Happy birthday, Veronica.” My name never sounded so sweet. Even as a child hearing my father sing it, the music of it now was the most beautiful thing I ever heard. Suddenly a flood of information overwhelmed me; the reason I was named Veronica, the reason my parents were taken when I was so young, why I didn't bleed. When I looked down I saw my mother and father's arms reaching out from the mirror, and, finally, I took a deep breath.
“Babydoll, how are you? Are you OK?” They must have thought I was only a statue I stood silently for so long. Then I didn't know whether to simply reply, to run out of the house or to kiss the mirror. After contemplating the situation for several minutes I decided just to reply and see what happened. Expecting to ruin the moment, to have it diminish with my sanity it instead worked only to confirm their presence.
“Sorry, I'm fine. Just startled really. I'm good though, wonderful. I have my own place now. What are you doing here? How are you doing here?” I was rambling which was to be expected under the circumstances, I guess, if there ever was an expectation for this. Honestly, I really didn't know if this circumstance actually happened before or would again. I had no idea what was going on. Shrinking to the floor, using my legs for a cushion, I didn't take my eyes off my most recent indulgence. Now I no longer wondered why I bought the mirror, I knew it was for them. This was what the universe planned and I was just along for the ride.
As suddenly as I saw them they disappeared, leaving only a wealth of knowledge in their wake just as they had before. Still sitting with my legs folded beneath me I tried to stand with no luck. Instead I crossed them and began my meditation ritual, the same one I had seen my mother conduct while I played in my crib. I understood, even then, the importance of solitude and calmness.
Today, on my 28th birthday, I needed it most.
Thirty minutes passed but it seemed brief. The images of my parents long moved on still haunted me but I knew sitting still wasn't what I needed most. Although helpful and revitalizing, I needed to write. Making my way to my new office, designed with efficiency and beauty in mind, I quickly grabbed a bottle of water from my mini fridge and sat down. Always old fashioned I reached for a pencil, some paper and “ouch!” gave myself a paper cut in my haste.
Instinctively I put my finger in my mouth and covered it with saliva. It covered my tongue in a bitter taste I never had the pleasure of experiencing before and as I took my finger out and looked at it I smiled. I was bleeding red. 

                                                   ***

Our Return to Veronica
Was it better to have loved and lost than to have loved and to give away? To watch a loved one grow, prosper and be happy without the sense of family you longed to provide? Watching her bleed was the greatest thing we ever did.
“Veronica, the true image of our love, you're beautiful.” A proud father stood over his newborn baby and cried, gushed and rejoiced. The universe took far too many years in his mind to provide but now that it has it's a miracle to bestow. Yet he knew, for his babydoll to be all that she could be their time together would be cut short.
Ethan looked from his newborn baby's majestic blues to the emerald greens of his lover's and he knew immediately what she was thinking but she said it anyway. “I love you, Ethan. Veronica is beautiful and she is exactly what our relationship needs.” She whispered the last part, worried the doctors and nurses would hear but they were distracted with the clean up. They'd done this many times before and knew to respect the new parent's privacy, as much as they could after helping the woman give birth.
“Scarlett, we needed nothing but gained everything through Veronica. Let's cherish the time we have and teach her as much as we know. Of course, it'll have to wait until you're both cleared to go home.”     
He is already pressuring me, she thought. Just enduring a 15-hour labour and delivery was something no man could understand, even one as wise as Ethan. She glared at him as the doctor did what he did in Veronica's passageway into what the world has become. Scarlett almost wished her daughter was born into a different world or, at the very least, a different time. But wishes were like night dreams, plentiful but not sought after. Veronica's world would be made the best it could be in the months ahead to prepare her for so many years alone.

Their future absence, however, wouldn't be mentioned until the last possible moment. They were together now and now was what they had. If only she could heal quickly or Ethan would accept that the days ahead would be hard on her. If only children came to them in a way that wasn't so harsh but then everyone would be running around with babies and the world would be an even worse place than it already was.
“If only's” were worse than wishes as they were on everyone's mind, in everyone's heart – well, at least those ones who had a heart – and they meant nothing to anyone for almost everyone accepted that some things were impossible. She didn't and Ethan didn't so it was up to them in the short time they had to show Veronica the possibility of what she could become; with or without a family to support her.
The doctor finished his duties and vanished, leaving the nurses in charge of instructing the new parents as much as possible to what they could expect. Although expectations were something Ethan and Scarlett never believed in, they nodded and gave the impression they were listening. Then a male nurse helped Scarlett out of bed and into a wheel chair, through the hall and into a recovery room. Just a number to them, another patient moving to the next stage and they'd go back to their waiting area to anticipate the next woman. So cold, harsh and mechanical. A world she'd be glad to be rid of.
And, in a sense, Scarlett did rid herself of that world in just a few long days. Finally, Ethan, Scarlett and Veronica were home and able to realize the unnormalcy again of their lives. Without gawking eyes, listening gossipers and prodding hands they were free to explore this new experience. Then the visitors started.
Never before had the couple realized how many people thought they were friends. They didn't have family but they were quickly being introduced to other families who offered to do whatever needed to be done for the new family. It was on the tip of Scarlett's tongue to admit she needed them to leave, she desired to be alone with Veronica and to ask for them, whoever they were, to take Ethan with them to give her a break. Instead Ethan would always interject and politely explain that they had everything they currently needed but would absolutely call if they found they were in need of something more. Scarlett shook her head knowing that they didn't have anyone's phone number but didn't speak up.
Staring at her sleeping baby was something that brought her calm. Usually one to sit on the floor to meditate, that wouldn't be the way she'd relax in the next few days. Instead she gazed upon the miracle of life and reflected upon all it offered her in the 42 years of living it. They had a bassinet for Veronica, pure white with metallic threading and a small stitched elephant on the side but they rarely laid their little girl in it. Scarlett could seldom let her go and when she did, Ethan was ready for a turn.
Even when awake, which was getting to be more hours than she was asleep, Veronica didn't cry, wail or whine. She seemed to be listening, taking the world in as only an innocent child could and her parents embraced that. When the house was deserted and they could be one, Ethan and Scarlett continually talked, instructing their baby with as many lessons as the time they had would allow. They talked as if their daughter knew what was being said, understood it and embraced it. The words would be spoken in many languages, teaching their young one not only lessons but about their dedication and love.
Stories weren't read from books but created from past lives and experiences and all the while Veronica watched and often nodded in response. She already knew that for some reason or another she was a chosen one, that her life was special beyond comparison. She didn't realize that she wasn't actually alone, that there were others similar to her but so far away from her that she wouldn't meet them for decades to come. For now, she embraced all that the world had to offer with a sense of foreboding she didn't care to acknowledge.
The colourful toys given to her by strangers still in their boxes, Veronica instead played with the knowledge, the lessons and languages caught in her head. It was obvious she listened well to her parents while they spoke about her and to her but it wasn't until the final day she knew them that they would actually make any sense.
Scarlett and Ethan remembered the day as their third most important, with their meeting being the first and the birth of Veronica the second. They were heartbroken and mystified but not confused as they knew this day would come and they knew it would be exactly three months after the birth of their first, and then, only child.
Twenty-eight years later they had no desire to relive the moment but knew if they did they'd both be stronger for it. They knew that after meeting their now all-grown-up daughter through the realm of reflection she'd be forever lost if they didn't finish the conversation they started so many years before.
Ethan took his love by her hand, led her to a white marble desk and sat her down before a paper, pen and a vase of bougainvilleas. He knelt beside her, took Scarlett's hand and helped her write their final letter.

 
 
 
Thank you once more Sarah for sharing your wonderful tale. Read more about Sarah and discover where to buy her work at www.sarahbutland.com





Next week you will be able to meet Becky Meyer Pourchot of Florida, USA, and get an opportunity to read a sample from her enticing story - Open Souls.


 
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