ShadowsForge 4: The Long Way Home
Brian Cummings has come a long way from Leicestershire, England. Miles of hard road lay between then and now—hard road he’s kept hidden—until the nightmares begin again.
Diane Starling loves Brian. If she were not carrying his child, she’d still do anything to make him happy—even letting him go to someone else. Who is the woman in his nightly dreams? Why does she make him scream?
Valerie Leonard, journalist, dredges up history that should remain buried; history that could ruin Brian and hurt the people he loves most. Should Val keep his dangerous past to herself? Doesn’t Diane have the right to know the truth about the father of her child?
Brian and Diane fight to overcome the past, embrace the present, and build a future as they travel with ShadowsForge on “THE LONG WAY HOME.”
Brian pressed the back of his hand to his mouth, as much to halt the words that would probably get him a further beating as to blot the blood from his lip. He stood, shaking his silvery blond hair from his face.
Joseph crushed the pouch and stabbed a thick finger at his son's face. "What else are you doing?"
"Nothing. I'm a freaking model citizen." Brian spat out the words and pushed out his chest. Being the oldest, he wanted his brothers and sister to know he wasn't intimidated. His sculpted body and arms were a replication of his powerfully built father, though hours spent practicing on his drum kit and fistfights on the streets of Leicester added to his build. It made him appear older than his sixteen years. His hands hung at his sides, fists clenching and opening. He could feel his lip swell as his father continued yelling.
"Watch your mouth." Joseph raised his fist, glanced at his wife and dropped it again. "You drinking? Smoking besides this? Women?"
Actually, well, yes. To all the above and more, but it would have been certain death to admit it. When a bloke appeared to be eighteen or nineteen anything was available for the taking, especially the women. If they offered, Brian took.
Joseph paced toward the fireplace as he examined the zippered pouch. He poured the contents into his large hand: a lighter, a pocketknife, a pipe and papers. He pulled out the packet of sickly-sweet scented leaves. For a moment, Brian thought his dad would throw the packet into the flames. The thought struck funny. He laughed.
Joseph turned on him, his glare ablaze.
Brian brought himself under control and smirked. "Sure, Dad. You put that in the fire and the whole family will have a better outlook on life." He laughed again and glanced at three fear stricken faces.
Twelve-year-old Pamela pleaded with teary eyes as she mouthed the word, "Stop." Brian winked at his sister and turned to grin at their father.
Joseph's ruddy complexion turned dark. His father threw the packet on the floor and ground it under the heel of his work boot, before he grabbed Brian by a handful of his jacket. Brian instinctively raised his fists. His mother gasped. Joseph frowned. He slapped Brian across the face several times. He caught his father's hand and shoved it away. As his father dragged him to the front door, he struggled against the instinct to strike back.
Joseph thrust his first-born ahead of him out into a heavy snowfall. He bashed Brian in the center of his chest. Brian tumbled down four cement steps and splayed out on the snow-coated walk.
Joseph pointed at him, obviously declaring his final judgment. "You're not welcome in my house if you have no respect for me and mine." Joseph returned to the house and closed the door.
The light went out, leaving Brian in the cold darkness. The snow fell thick around him. He pulled himself to his knees and shook crystals from his hair. His shoulder and elbow ached from the impact and it was painful to breath. Brian packed a snowball and threw it hard at the sitting room window. When his father looked out, Brian held up his fist and converted it into a not so respectful gesture.
"For you, Dad," he shouted. His father frowned and dropped the curtain.
Brian crossed the yard to the street. Ten o'clock at night and it was damn cold. What a perfect night to get thrown out. He wanted to be in his room, in his bed, sleeping off the effects of the smoke and alcohol his mate Royce and he had indulged in most of the day.
He should have stayed at Royce's. He'd be warm, dry and still have his kit. Now he was out in the cold and out of smoke. He doubted that Royce was conscious enough to let him in. The two boys froze all day with the windows open in Royce's room to keep it aired out. Royce looked like he could bleed to death through his eyes. Brian didn't think about what his own eyes looked like. His parents convicted him when he came face to face with his father. The sight of him had set into motion the touching father/son bonding ritual that escalated when Joseph found his kit.
ShadowsForge 4: The Long Way Home - Available NOW at Whiskey Creek Press