Saturday, December 17, 2022
Welcome back to my sanctuary, everyone. I hope the holiday season is bringing joy your way. I know all of you are busy, so today’s short story will be quite short. Actually, it’s a rerun from 2015, a little slice of life from my Atonement, Tennessee universe. It seems like a lifetime since I published those novels and short stories. While I’m strolling through memory, thanks again to Chris Graham, the Story Reading Ape for the series of images he generously made for me back then.
This story was a quick three-things exercise, and I took the things from the video card I made below. It features my Ralda Lawton character, who tells about a moment during her first Christmas in Atonement, TN.
Three Atonement, TN Holiday Things
Christmas Tree, Hearth Fire, Pinecone.
I’ve had cats who made a flying leap for the top of the Christmas tree the moment they saw the tree. The fact that it was artificial didn’t slow them down a bit. Because of that, for many years I didn’t decorate at all — not so much as a string of lights.
Lilith had always been good about decorations. She didn’t climb them or eat them. Yet this was our first Christmas in our new/old home. In fact, it had only been a matter of weeks since we moved. I couldn’t be certain of how she’d behave after so much upheaval in her life. However, everything was going pretty smoothly. An ornament got loose. Fortunately, it wasn’t glass, because she chased it across the hardwood floor.
The ornament rolled to a stop at the fireplace screen. There was no hearth fire. I wanted to have the chimney inspected before I used it. Sunhold was a very old estate, after all. Sadly, I was having trouble finding a general contractor or chimneysweep who was available.
Gwydion — Guy Fabdon of Fae’s Flowers to the townspeople, was also the local handyman. Most people would tell me to call on him. Unfortunately, I had important reasons for avoiding Gwydion. So even though it would have been cozy to light the fire, the hearth remained cold.
A knock at the front door startled my cat and me as well. I peeped out the stained-glass panel that surrounded the door. I couldn’t see clearly, but it looked like Pete Mannix. He had been hired as a private detective by my friend Lacey Hampton’s attorney when her husband went missing, but that’s another story. And yes, if you were about to say something about his name — that’s another part of that other story.
I hesitated minutely before opening the door. Someone I trusted with my life, did not trust Pete Mannix. So, I couldn’t help having doubts about the detective. However, I was editing a massive report for Pete and the attorney. I just wasn’t expecting Pete to be the one to bring the additional information I requested for the project.
When I opened the door, my eyes widened at the sight of a box of paper files he carried. He noted my surprise.
“Didn’t anyone tell you how far this stuff dates back?” he asked with a chuckle.
Then he hit me with that thousand-watt smile. Did I mention that Pete Mannix was the epitome of the term silver fox? “Leroy Jethro Gibbs” would have nothing on Pete Mannix in a contest for that title.
I gave a mental shove to my distrust and opened the door.
Then my fickle feline floozy noticed him. I’m sure I’ve mentioned that Lilith has an uncanny fondness for attractive men. Mannix passed the calico’s test. She twined around his ankles. When I shooed her away, she came back, batting a pinecone decoration and chasing it as if it was a toy. The detective was quite taken with her. Lilith in return, was entirely too susceptible to his thousand-watt smile.
Thanks for taking this trip down memory lane to Atonement, TN. Friendly comments are encouraged.
The Atonement Series
Full series of e-books with one click: relinks.me/B087JV25JT
Atonement in Bloom
The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee
Copyright © 2015 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.
All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.