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A young lady seeks a new life and finds much more.
Discarded Treasures
: Liliana by davisr (Rhonda)

Background
A young lady seeks a new start in life by going back to her roots. She stumbles on a project a doctor has started restoring meaning to the lives of people society has cast aside.

A bolt of lightning shot from a low hanging cloud and hit a tree a few feet from Liliana. Instinctively, she screamed. Not the scream of the damned, nor even of the afflicted, but the scream of a woman at the end of her rope.

Did darkness actually have a scent? Liliana thought it did. Perhaps it was just the rain and subsequent mud, or even the distant odor of a burning car, but there was definitely a scent.

Getting trapped in a flaming inferno had always been a secret fear of hers, and now she had come close to its realization. She had barely escaped her crumpled vehicle before it burst into flames.

It wasn't supposed to happen this way. She'd been on a reflective journey, exploring the historical past of her family, when the storm broke out. After she lost control of her car, it crashed into a tree. Was it too much to ask the Universe for healing relaxation, or even a chance to restart her life?

Leaving the comfort of her mother's home after a particularly nasty breakup with her ex-husband had been difficult enough, but then this. Was she being punished for old sins, or was this storm just a way of washing away a past too difficult to comprehend? She figured she picked her excursions about as well as she picked her men.

A second bolt of lightning lit up the turbulent sky. An almost compulsive counting of seconds between strike and responding thunder was interrupted by a clap of thunder like the report of artillery. Liliana covered an ear with one hand and attempted to pull her suit jacket closer with the other. Feet, covered in flood waters, fought to follow the road she had been traveling on before the accident.

Bracing against hurricane-like wind, she struggled with deepening water and sucking mud. Cute, wire-framed glasses slid dangerously close to the tip of her nose. She let go of her ear to grab the offending spectacles, but not before they whipped off her face. Great! She had no spare.

Another crack of lightning, this one so near she detected the odor of ozone it produced, painfully pierced her eyes. She uttered a cry of fear and frustration as her purse tore off her shoulder and swept away in a stream of liquid blackness.

"Never leave the scene of a wreck." The warning of generations of parents echoed in her mind. "It's easier to find someone where the accident occurs."

"Yes, yes," she cried out to the collective. "I get it, but I hit my head, and wanted away from the burning car." The collective offered neither criticism nor comfort.

Alone and exhausted, Liliana pressed forward, grasping at branches alongside what she assumed was the road. She could feel objects bumping against her legs, others striking her arms and body. Some were gentle, like the caress of unseen angel wings, and others cutting and painful.

A fresh blast of wind partnered with a burst of of thunder and lightning and forced Liliana off her feet. She could feel herself washing down the flood-born watercourse. She wished she no longer cared, but somewhere inside, where the remnants of hope lived, she heard the sounds of her parents' voices encouraging her.

Her mother's words were soft and supportive, as always. She had no stronger motivator, no greater advocate.

Her deceased father's remarks were more forceful. His love and endorsement had been ever-present, but rather than blindly backing what she wanted, he was the one who had driven her forward. The one to tell her to never give up.

"Stay sicced," he'd often say. He was referencing his experiences with the Pit Bull, Trixie, he was raised with. When her grandfather sicced her on something, the massive dog would hang on until he called her off, no matter how much damage she incurred in the process.

Liliana tried to take his advice and continue to struggle against the elements. She pictured Trixie hanging onto a bull's nose or on the throat of an attacking dog. It helped for awhile, but finally, when fatigue replaced thought, she went under and felt water closing in. As a final act of her body, her arm convulsively jerked out and got hung on a branch amidst the wreckage.

A moment passed, and then another as Liliana hovered between life and death. Her eyes closed in silent acceptance.

A voice interrupted, forcing her to focus. "Stay sicced," it said, and then repeated. The sound was louder than the gale whipping about, and louder than despair. She reached out with her other hand and caught the branch.

Slowly and painfully, Liliana pulled herself to the stable limb. Hand over hand, she struggled against the branch until her head was above water. With a mighty gasp, she breathed in cold, refreshing air.

She rested for a while until a trace of strength returned to her body. She grasped the branch harder and began to tug. Her fingers were stiff from the cold, and weak from fatigue, but she pressed on.

Finally, her body emerged from the blackened water. A few more desperate tugs, and she was lying in a pile of debris. She could hear the raging storm, but couldn't be reached by its fury.

In the midst of disaster, Liliana had a chance to reflect on what had brought her here to Douglasville, Georgia, a place she had heard about all her life, but only recently really planned to visit.

Recognized

Author Notes
My first novel in quite a while, please wish me luck! This is the first chapter, so if you just started reading, you haven't missed anything yet.

Stay Sicced:

This phrase refers to the term, sic' em, that you would tell a dog when you want them to attack.
I actually took this from personal experience. My father grew up in West Texas in a wilderness setting on a cotton sharecropper farm. They had a pit bull named, Trixie, who was trained to fight. She was a rescue, and my grandfather never used her in the forbidden sport, but she was a priceless herd dog who often saved my father and his siblings from harm. Once sicced onto something, she wouldn't let go.

Liliana Louise Langley: Main female character who will help run the Discarded Treasures project
Dr. Floyd Rivers: A man of uncertain age that heads a project and group home called, Discarded Treasures.

Artwork from Google Public Domain, and edited by author

     

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