Annie's Song by Anita Dawes Genre: Disturbing Family Drama
Family or Freedom, which would you choose?
Life in the backwoods of Virginia at the turn of the century was perfect, until Annie discovers a nasty family secret.
Something her family have been doing for years.
She knows she cannot live like this but her protests fall on deaf ears.
Her struggle to change everything only makes her life so much worse. forcing her to try and escape...
Annie's song echoes through the mountains,
her sorrow falls with every drop of rain.
Pieces of her heart lie scattered throughout the forest.
Will her footsteps lead her to the freedom she seeks?
We’d gone halfway around the barn and Nathan was pushing at each plank in turn, but nothing was loose so far. I told him to try the window.
‘It’s shut tighter than a fish’s arse! Why you so fired up about getting in there anyway?’
‘I want to know why Pa don’t want me looking at it, he’s never minded before.’
‘You think Pa’s up to no good, don’t you Annie? You been listening to them old hags in town, you know they mostly got it in for Pa because of the way Ma carries on.’
‘It aint nothing to do with them, I gotta see for myself. Stop gabbing and give me a hand, I found one.’
I leant the plank against the side of the barn and started tugging at the next one. Nathan pulled it free and I tried the hole for size. It was a bit of a squeeze, but I got through and Nathan followed me. Pa had the window covered with an old rag, but I couldn’t risk taking it down. Nathan was carrying on about the smell and how it was too dark to see straight, but I kinda liked the way it smelled. Fresh cut wood, linseed oil and the dyes Pa used all reminded me of the woods. Most of it came from there and Pa said it was better than store-bought stuff.
Nathan moaned every time he bumped into something. I told him to hush up before Ma heard him. ‘Stay put and I’ll let some light in, Ma can’t see the side window from the cabin.’
I pushed the rag up and tucked it over the top of the window and the light fell right onto Pa’s workbench. It was the first time Nathan had seen it and Pa’s new carving must have scared him. He went on about Pa catching us.
I looked at it for a good long time before I touched it. It didn’t feel right, not the way wood usually feels. It weren’t smooth to the touch like most of Pa’s work. It was black as a night with no moon, all wrinkled like dead snakeskin. Tiny black faces stared back at me. Some were almost hidden by the twisted branches that wrapped around the whole thing.
I asked myself why Pa would want to make something so ugly. I couldn’t get Nathan to touch it. I wanted to know what he thought it felt like, but he wouldn’t do it. He just wanted to get out of there, like he thought Pa would jump out at him from one of the dark corners. ‘Aint you seen enough, Annie? You done looked at it already, come on!’
‘Hush up, I want to look around.’ I made sure not to move things too much. Pa sure did have a heap of junk in there.
‘What you looking for, Annie, dead bodies?’
‘Don’t know, maybe.’
That must have done something for he squeezed out through the hole and said, ‘If you aint out of there by the time I count ten, I’m gonna put the planks back and leave you in there for Pa to find.’
He started counting.
I took no notice until he put the plank back up, banging it in place with his fist. I pulled the rag down over the window and pushed the plank aside before he could slam it home.
Anita Dawes loves all things esoteric, magical and the otherworldly and would prefer to live in a fairy tale. In between these moments, she likes to visit old churches and ancient buildings.
She has written six fiction novels in various genres, Bad Moon, Simple, Secrets, The Scarlet Ribbon; Let it Go and Not My Life. Presently working on a sequel to her popular supernatural romance, The Scarlet Ribbon.
Anita has recently rediscovered her childhood love of poetry and often writes and posts them online.
Owned by an egocentric black and white cat called Merlin, named after her favourite hero, Anita dislikes computers and prefers to writes longhand, sharing a website http://jenanita01.com with Jaye Marie, who transcribes and edits her work...
I have never set foot in Virginia USA but somehow the folk who live away from the mainstream of America are in my bones. Annie’s Song was kicked off by the song Bad Moon Rising by Credence Clearwater Revival.
Then I became Ma, living inside her tormented mind. I felt her pain as my own. Pa too, became a part of me. His sadness, his love for Ma, driving him to strange places in his mind, doing the things he did for passion, to please her and give her all she wanted.
Nathan too, his sneaky ways, spying on Ma, secretly wishing he was one of her many men when Pa was away working.
Then there is Annie, my poor sweet Annie who grew up too fast. Pa’s doings became Annie’s problems. The killings, supplying food for those who lived deeper in the hills. Annie loved her Pa and would do anything to keep him safe but meeting Ma’s folk for the first time came as a shock. Their cruelty fascinated Nathan. He had more of Ma’s folk in him than Annie realised.
This was when Annie’s sanity came into question and she discovered there was far more cruelty in her than she thought, and just how much of Pa she had in her. Annie’s journey was a tough one, meeting folk crueller and trickier than her own lineage.
When the worst thing happened, Annie knew she and Nathan would have to run. This brought them closer, too close but Annie couldn’t worry about that then. She knew the killing wouldn’t stop. She would need to find that hidden cruelty in herself in order to keep her skin intact.
Worst of all, she had acquired two young’uns. The soft part of her mind told her they needed saving and she meant to do just that.
Never truly realising there would be worse to come…
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