Here is a little taste:
“Things was different then. The Old Man was alive and even if he was a son of a bitch he didn’t stand for any misbehavior. And there was lots of people - not like now. Thanks, hon,” she said as Jake placed another Fishwife’s Friend in front of her. “I don’t care for the idea of my girl being out there with just that man. Ain’t decent.”
“Come on,” Maddie said softly. “We, none of us, ever believed he was a bad man. He just done something foolish. He’s more than paid for that.” She removed her freshly spun yarn from the spindle and wound it into a loose ball.
“I’m not going to be there alone,” Audrey added. “Anjelica’s coming back for the summer like always. Himself told me today his mother’s coming up from New Orleans, and he’s hiring some art expert who’ll be staying there, too. He’s even talked to me about getting more help.”
“Well, ain’t he the grand one?” Priscilla snorted. “Straight out of prison and living high on the hog on the Old Man’s money.” She turned to Maddie. “I’m willing to allow that he’s paid his dues for killing Raven. It was a terrible thing but there’s something not right about Hathor. It’s like there’s some curse on the place. Every woman what lives there ends up crazy.”
“Not Old Missus Lisette,” Maddie stated.
“Oh, no,” Priscilla snorted. “She was crazy to begin with... all them damn foolishnesses of hers.”
“Follies,” Audrey corrected her.
Priscilla made a face at her. “Well, you can’t tell me Miss Natalie wasn’t half crazy with the Old Man trying to get into the knickers of every woman he ever looked at.”
“Priscilla! You never told me about that part of your job. No wonder you stayed for forty years!” Prudence laughed.
“Oh, shut your mouth. Look at poor Rosalind. Nobody deserves to wind up in that nut house where they put her.” She took a swallow of her drink. “Place spooks a body just to look at it. I’d have jumped out of a window, too.”
“She didn’t jump out of a window,” Audrey sighed. “She fell down the stairs. It was an accident.”
“Those folks sure have a lot of accidents,” Gracie said. “And what about Rachel?”
“Hush your mouth,” Priscilla hissed. “She was a darling girl and she loved Himself with all her heart no matter what he done.”
“That’s true,” Maddie nodded, lifting her mug of ale to signal Jake for a refill. “She was damn brave during the trial, but once they took Himself away, she just fell apart. Saddest thing I ever saw, poor lamb.”
“True enough,” Priscilla sighed. “And she worshiped little Anjelica, too. I expect she couldn’t bear life without Himself - and without her brother, too. You remember the way those two always were. Like two peas in a pod. She was a frail little thing from the beginning.”
“I’ve had enough of this,” Audrey said standing up. “Gossip, gossip, gossip. It’s the only thing that happens in this place. G’night.” She pulled her sweater tighter around herself and stomped toward the door.
“Wait, Audrey, wait for me,” Gracie stood up and hurried after her. “I’ll walk with you.”
Outside, they stood on the stone walk overlooking the water. The stars were brilliant, reflecting off of the waves, as the fishing boats rocked softly in the harbor below. Metal clasps on halyards clanged against poles, and they could hear laughter from farther up the cliff where a group of young people sat on the low stone wall around the old watch tower drinking beer. The watch tower should have been torn down years ago; but, like the automated lighthouse out on the jetty, the islanders considered it part of their heritage.
“Are you going to your mother’s?” Gracie asked.
Audrey shook her head, wrapped her arms tightly around herself, and walked briskly away from the Riptide. “No, I’ll go back to Hathor. I’ve got a lot to do tomorrow.”
“I’m surprised you want to stay there. I thought you’d want to be as far away from Syd Jupiter as possible.”
Audrey pressed her lips together and quickened her step. “I want to see Anjelica before I decide what to do. I can’t leave her. She’s spent every summer at Hathor all her life, and even if it was the Old Man she was there to visit, she always spent more time with me. She’s used to me.”
“You care for her, don’t you?”
Audrey shrugged. “She’s a sweet girl. She didn’t deserve the screwed up parents she got.”
“She reminds you of him, doesn’t she?” Gracie was nearly running to keep up with her.
Audrey glanced at her, and then hurried ahead. “G’night, Gracie. I’ll talk to you next week some time.”Just Click on the link, leave a caption and you are entered to win.