General Fiction posted May 14, 2024 Chapters:  ...26 27 -28- 29... 

This work has reached the exceptional level
Heddy's dad tells of a storm heading to the island.

A chapter in the book Saltwater Ghosts

Storm's a Brewing.


Eleven-year-old Heddy can communicate with her deceased grandmother, Nonni.
So far, Heddy has discovered a German man hiding in Dr. Monroe's abandoned house. She only tells one other person about him, her new friend Lester. Lester has promised to keep the man a secret. Heddy gets her first kiss from Lester. Now that her brother, Willis, is back from the war, things should go back to normal, but Willis has brought the war home with him.


I slip the piece of sea glass into the pocket of my shorts and run upstairs to my room. I retrieve it and look at it, turning it round and round in my hands. It is nothing short of a work of art. A broken piece of glass that has been sculpted by water. There are no points or sharp edges, only softened curves and ridges that are rounded down. I lift the edge of my mattress up and slide it under.

Momma is cutting my tomato sandwich in half when I come downstairs. I get ready to sit but Momma points at the sink with her knife. "Wash up."

I turn on the faucet and smell the slight sulphury smell of the well water. I hate when it gets like this. At least once or twice a year it gets like this. We haven't had much rain and my daddy says that's what causes it. "Water stinks," I say as I reach for the dish towel to dry off my hands.

"Just be thankful we have water. The well ran dry once when you were a baby. Your daddy had to carry some buckets from Dr. Monroe's house for about a week. Poor man." She smiles like it's a good memory.

"Can I have an apple?"

"May I have an apple."

"May I have an apple?"

She nods then rinses the apple, and polishes it on her apron. "So, Heddy, what did you and your brother talk about while you were on the beach?"

I lift one of the sandwich halves up, quickly licking the watery mix of tomato juices and mayonnaise that drips down my hand. "Nothing."

"So, he didn't say anything at all?"

"No. But then I didn't either. It was just nice to be quiet. We just listened to the waves."

Momma sits down opposite of me. I can tell by her face that she wants me to say something to give her hope or maybe, a little understanding.

"It's okay, Momma. The waves put the demons to sleep. Maybe he should go down to the beach every night before bed."

Momma reaches over and wipes the corner of my mouth with a napkin. "Maybe we all should. Sometimes just standing on the beach helps put the world in perspective."


Willis and I walk to the post office to get the mail and fetch Lester. Mrs. Collette acts almost sweet to Willis, and tells Lester to be on his best behavior while at our house. He never has been on bad behavior so I don't know why she always says it.

It looks like Lester has had a bath, his hair is combed down and oiled a little on the top. He even smells good. Willis notices it too. "Lester, you sure do look spiffy. Is that aftershave I smell?" Willis asks.

"Uncle Wayne said it was high time I started taking care with my appearance."

Willis slips his hands in his pockets and nods. "He's exactly right. People judge you by your appearance. Like it or not. You, uh, you wouldn't have a girlfriend around here, would ya?"

I can see the tips of Lester's ears getting red. "No," I blurt. "He just don't want to be judged."

Willis presses his lips together in what I think is his way of not laughing. "Okay. Just asking a simple question."


We eat dinner after my daddy gets home. He seems really happy that Lester is joining us. During dinner he tells what he heard on the mainland. "There is a big storm brewing off the coast of Georgia. Looks like it's heading right for us. Coastal areas down south are already seeing the surge. I'm thinking we might have to take precautions here. Fill up the bathtub for water, pick as much from the garden as we can. Willis, you and I should probably put the storm shutters on the house tonight. The less we have to take care of later, the better."

Lester looks from one face to another. "How bad are these storms?"

"Oh, now, sometimes they miss us completely. We're just erring on the side of caution, that's all." Daddy winks at Lester. "Don't worry, our aunt and uncle have weathered a dozen or more storms. We'll just give them a friendly heads up when we walk you home."

"Momma, should we pick some vegetables for Lester?"

She looks around, making sure everyone has finished their dinner. "Take that sack hanging on the back door and fill it. We'll get ours tomorrow."

While Lester and I are working in the garden, Daddy and Willis are pulling the old wooden ladder out from under the front porch and placing the shutters where they need to go up.

"Wow, you guys really have to do a lot for a storm. Back home we just lose our electricity for a couple of days." Lester says, twisting a cucumber free from the vine.

"We lose our electricity, too. But Momma has these kerosene lamps so we aren't sitting in the dark."

"Thunder used to scare me. Do you get scared when it thunders?"

I stop and think about it. Thunder can be scary but there isn't anything like the winds when a summer storm hits. "The wind can uproot a tree. I've seen it. A friend of my daddy's had a big old pine blow over, Smashed the front part of his house. Just missed the room he and his family were sleeping in. Yes siree, it ain't the thunder you have to worry about."

I look up to see Lester staring at me, wide eyed and pale as a ghost.

Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Save to Bookcase Promote This Share or Bookmark
Print It Print It View Reviews

You need to login or register to write reviews. It's quick! We only ask four questions to new members.

© Copyright 2024. GWHARGIS All rights reserved.
GWHARGIS has granted, its affiliates and its syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work.