The Forgotten Child by Lorhainne Eckhart @LEckhart

2 Jan

Emily balanced the hastily scribbled directions on the steering wheel. She passed the faded red barn at the second marker on the highway. Making a right turn onto a gravel road, she continued until she saw the split-rail fencing with 665 in bright green numbers embedded in the wood. A huge fir archway on two solid beams surrounded the entrance to the dirt driveway, with the name Echo Springs carved into the weathered wood. What was it about the name that stirred some nostalgic memory of longing in her tummy? History, established families, of Mom, Dad, grandparents passing down their heritage and land. She’d heard the powerful family names whispered in the community: the Ricksons, the Folleys, who were the others? She was caught now by a nervous flutter starting to pound her solar plexus as she drove down the long dirt driveway. Old growth spruce, cedar and fir trees on both sides created a dense canopy overhead, and a mixture of other bushes and trees gave the appearance of walls. At the end, the driveway opened up into a large clearing, exposing a two-story white frame house with a wraparound veranda and large post beams. It resembled an old rambling Victorian. Emily parked in front of the house beside an old Ford Escort, a dirty blue pickup truck that had seen better days, a chipped yellow digger, a fairly new black GMC one ton pickup and a flatbed trailer loaded with some mysterious goods covered with a tarp. How many people live here, she wondered?

The wind created a chilly breeze as thick clouds cluttered the baby blue sky. Emily was far from cold when she climbed out of her van. Her underarms were damp and she prayed her deodorant was strong enough to keep her from smelling ripe. It’s nerves, that’s all. Or maybe it was the five cups of high-octane coffee she’d guzzled before Gina arrived, which wound her nerves so tight she could have bounced her way to the door.

She paused and breathed deep the clean air. The front of the house was virtually bare of any landscaping. Patches of grass poked up here and there from the well-packed dirt in the front yard. The flowerbeds in front were littered with dead perennials, weeds and overgrown grass long and bare leaning against the house. How many acres did he have? A large barn and other outbuildings littered the property with what looked like miles of open land with a spectacular view of the mountains.

She flexed her damp hands and climbed the four white wooden steps. She noticed the paint was chipped. Emily nearly tripped when the third step suddenly creaked and caught her off guard. She was way out of her comfort zone and this didn’t help, prompting her self-doubt to send SOS signals to confuse her already shaky insides. She was a mess. Her face ached so much, she was positive the forced smile she wore looked more like a grimace. Emily clutched a brown manila envelope, stuffed with her resume and references from her friends. On unsteady legs, she crossed the wide porch. A porch made for families to gather at the end of the day, to laugh together and share dreams and triumphs. Something families did. Well, the sort of dream family Emily yearned to be part of. She spied a wooden swing suspended by chains at the far end of the porch, beside two wicker chairs placed on each side of a large picture window, and she sighed.

Lorhainne Eckhart

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Genre – Contemporary Western Romance

Rating – PG

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Quality Reads UK Book Club Disclosure: Author interview / guest post has been submitted by the author and previously used on other sites.

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