FROM A CHILDHOOD LONG AGO

 

We camped on a low bluff overlooking the river a mile or two from our homes.  The “three amigos” were eleven or twelve and the outing was our first time camping alone.  The leashes were off.  We had been hard at work.  Our canvas-covered lean-to was in place held steady with freshly cut green saplings. Bedrolls were laid out, rocks placed in a circle for the campfire later and the wood to feed it gathered and stacked.  Our intentions were to catch fish then clean and roast them over our campfire.  Just in case we were well provisioned with Vienna sausages, Deviled Ham, and soda crackers.  Danny had snuck out a pack of his daddy’s Viceroys from its carton and Charlie a deck of his mother’s canasta cards.

We fished with our cane poles until the sun dipped behind the tall water oaks on the western side of the river before giving up our culinary ideas.  Instead, we would dine on cold Vienna’s and warm soft drinks.  As darkness fell we lit off our campfire, lit up our after-dinner Viceroys and toasted our first step toward adulthood with bottles of Orange Crush.  With the dark surrounding our campfire, our talk involved girls and the ones we would most like to sleep with as if we knew what “sleeping with a girl” entailed.  Later we would combine poker with our girl talk.

As late night turned to early morning and the full moon rose above our heads, our conversation turned to ghost stories and tales of particularly graphic murder scenes until one by one we nodded off.

I thought I was awake, opening my eyes to the shadows cast by the bright full moon now chasing the unseen sun to our west.  Swirls of fog rose from the ground and began to take on the shapes of men, clad in animal skins, with spears and warclubs facing off against each other.  Somehow, I knew I was safe, these ghostly forms were not here for me.  I began to hear their yells and the grunts of their effort, some of the yells turning into howls of pain as a spear point or clubhead found it’s mark.  The battle was close in and personal.  Blood stained both the victor and vanquished.

I turned to see if Charlie and Danny were seeing the battle and instead found myself awake and my vision blinded by the rising sun.  As quickly as the warriors had come, they had disappeared.  I never told Charlie and Danny what I had seen.  I feared their ridicule.  I did tell my Native American grandmother, someone who would never ridicule me.

I told Nannie my story and asked, “Nannie, what did it all mean?  It was so real.  I could hear their screams and smell the blood being spilled onto the ground.”

“It means nothing, yet means everything Jethro.  Your forefathers fought for control of the land and the trading routes along the river.  In some cases, they fought each other.  Deaths were violent and released great energy.  Sometimes the spirits come back attempting to find their way to the ‘light.’  You are not the first one to see the great battles but only those with the ‘sight’ can see it.  Your great, great grandfather was a great medicine man.  He controlled great magic, you may follow in his footsteps.”

Thirty years would pass before I thought about my dream and the conversation with my grandmother.  I would not think about it until Olivia began to sit at the foot of my bed.

Excerpt from the adventure romance with ghostly overtones, OLIVIA by Don Miller.  Please visit his author’s page at https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM

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Olivia

An excerpt from the contemporary romance Olivia by Don MIller

I had the odd thought as we drove down Edessa’s tree lined streets.  This was the first time I had enjoyed the company of a woman in five years.  A real estate agent, she was attempting to sell a parcel of Florida landscape sitting on a quiet river for more money than I wanted to spend.  A very attractive redhead in her late twenties or early-thirties, her good looks would be an asset in her line of work I mused.  She had a glowing, coppery complexion with more than a dash of cinnamon tinted freckles to go with her large, brown eyes and dark red hair.  Smartly and professionally dressed in a dark blue pants suit and white shirt, the jacket did little to hide impressive attributes.  Tall, with a firm handshake and a husky voice, I startled myself as it dawned upon me I was evaluating her as a potential partner.  My evaluation garnered her an A plus.

She didn’t realize I had died a little over five years ago and only been recently resurrected.  I still walked the earth, I inhaled the sea air, bodily processes continued but I had been dead none the less.  I had been dead until the dreams began.

Olivia came to me in my dreams.  The original dream was codeine fueled after coming down with walking pneumonia this past winter.  She sat on the foot of my bed…our bed, all blond and bright.  She was the Olivia I had met and fallen in love with my freshman year in college and married three years later.  She wore the same bell bottoms and calico peasant’s blouse as when we first met.  Olivia smiled her sky-blue eyes twinkling.

“You’re looking a bit rough Big Boy.”  I was tall, she was not.  She was petite and slender.  I was built like the outside linebacker I had once been.  She was blond and pale, I was dark on top of dark with hair going gray since I found myself on the wrong side of thirty-five.

“You need a haircut.  You look like a hippy.   Jethro, you must begin to start to live again.  You’ve lost too much weight.  Shouldn’t you back off your running at least until you get rid of that damn cough?”

“Nag much?  Some people drink or do drugs to avoid the pain.  I run.  I’m alive ‘Lovey’ but I do need a haircut.”

“Jethro…you walk, you talk, you even breathe… but you are not alive.  You have all the money from the settlement and from selling the place squirreled away.  It’s not blood money you know.  You let the house and land go too cheaply.  You could have held out for more.  Just to rid yourself of memories you can’t get rid of.  Memories you don’t want to let go of.  You could retire and move to another state.  You’ve got twenty-five years in.  Your dream was to be on the water and to write.  Why don’t you move?  They are not making any more shoreline.  There are plenty of teaching jobs in other states.  You could coach…or not.  And Sweetie, you don’t need to be spending all of your time alone…especially in the bedroom.”

I smiled.  Olivia was the progressive one in our union…especially in the bedroom, inventing new and wonderful ways to…she noticed my reaction and smiled.

“See, you still think about it.  You should date.  I’m dead and that’s not going to change.  You are still a young man.”

“I’m forty-six and I’m not sure how young that is.”

Olivia may be downloaded on Kindle at https://goo.gl/yc6FyC