Weekend #ShortStories — a Rerun from Atonement, TN

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Image courtesy of Chris Graham
Image courtesy of Chris Graham

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.

Lilith and mirror

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

The Atonement, TN Collection, Image by Teagan Geneviene
The Atonement, TN Collection, Image by Teagan Geneviene

Atonement, Tennessee

Full series of e-books with one click:  relinks.me/B087JV25JT

Kindle:  rxe.me/HGSVA8A

Paperback: relinks.me/1481826948

Also in Spanish, translated by Olga Núñez Miret! The title for the Spanish-speaking market is Expiación y Magia

Atonement in Bloom

Kindle:  rxe.me/5RRBLH

Paperback:  relinks.me/1726882128

The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

Kindle   rxe.me/LTBDNH

Paperback   relinks.me/1725891972


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.

58 thoughts on “Weekend #ShortStories — a Rerun from Atonement, TN

  1. I loved this book and of course kitties. She reminds me of the cat, Luna, that loves my husband. She is a big flirt too. I hope we get to visit that town more in future. Hugs and happy holidays. Xo

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fun post, Teagan. We had one cat that liked to climb our Christmas tree and the day I had to catch the fully decorated LARGE one in our living room – because Elijah Moon was almost at the top – was the day we made wiring it to the wall a practice. Eventually, he switched to sleeping among the gifts at the bottom.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Now that’s an idea. I gave up on decorating about 30 years ago when I had a pair that did that. I thought I’d at least decorate the banister (stairs) with lights and garland. And the male tried to eat the lights! I had to clean it out of his mouth. Thanks for reading and sharing a story of your own. Hugs.


    1. Thank you kindly, Diana. There was always the intention in my mind for a third Atonement book, a sort of epic backstory. I just never found that I felt was an adequate way to present it.
      I know this will be a difficult Christmas, but I hope you can find some joy in it. Big hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I enjoyed revisiting Atonement, Teagan and seeing Lilith again. I enjoyed those stories very much. I love that the graphics reminded me of the Glowing Pigs. Snorts to them, scritches to Lilith and all the best to you and Chrystal during the holiday season.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Adored Ape, thanks so much for sharing from your tree-house. I hope all is well there. Last night I was afraid that I might be coming down with something, because I was cold enough that I pulled out the electric blanket. Then this morning I saw the temperature was 14 degrees F! Hugs to you and yours.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It was lovely to revisit Atonement, Teagan, and thanks for the mention. It was a delight to translate your book. As I’ve told you before, translating a book gives me a closer connection and a better understanding of the characters and the action, and it was great to be in their company for a bit longer. I hope you have a beautiful Holiday Season.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Herbert the Cat has ignored the Christmas Tree as is his wont. I didn’t have to wait long though for him to select his annual Christmas victim. He always picks just one, nice little kitty that he is. This time it was a wreath I had the audacity to hang indoors. It apparently was the final straw for Herbert’s tolerance. He very delicately rips one thing off it each night, when no one’s watching. I find them, like carefully selected Kitty Christmas presents, each morning. Wishing you a Joyous and Merry Christmas talented Teagan 👼🎅🦌🌟🎄🎁

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.