BROKEN DEER, a novel by Susan Wingate (Serialized)

Installment one of BROKEN DEER, my latest novel-in-progress will be serialized over the next several months as I work through this story. What’s great about doing this is that through comments, people can give me critiques as they wish. It should be a fun little project. I hope you enjoy reading the installments as much as I enjoy writing them.

So, without further delay… BROKEN DEER, installment one:

“Oh. Yes. I dabble wit dem deer.” Miss Clancy Theodocius White, named after her father, spoke with wide cloudy eyes. Her velvety brown skin looked weathered, hiding silver tones of a drawing in fine lines, like a fine saddle from years of use. “Love dem deer. Love ’em. Bring me joy, dey do. Peaceful, pretty as pretty can be.” She laughed making her head tip up and her body lean back into the wooden rocker. “Dhere was one, in partic-a-lar made me fall in love wit ‘er. Poor dear! Ha! Poor dear.” She shook her head, then got sullen and her smile left as Miss Clancy spent the next few seconds contemplating that deer. “Hit by car, damn things and on this tiny island. Seems silly, it does. And, deez poor critters, killed one-by-one along the road. Damn cars.” She wiped moisture from her eyes, “mmm, mmm, mmm,” then from across her top lip. Her mouth pressed tight forming a thick shiny ruby line. Miss Clancy never left the house, not even to go to sit on her porch, without putting on her lipstick. “This girl deer, a doe, well, she got hit. I didn’t see it, no, but I saw the damage. Came staggerin’ out dem woods, rightch over dhere, behind dat big fir. They liked to hang out under dat dhere tree, big and secure, the limbs full, givin’ ’em cover, you, know.” She leaned back in the rocker, settling in this time and pushed off with her short heavy legs, moving the thick curved supports of the rocker back and forth, as she remembered her deer.

“Emaciated. Looked like death when she came limpin’ out, dragging behind her that left leg o’ hers.” She looked at me, listening to her, as my hands held up my head. “Why you wanna hear this darn story again?” My hand moved in a rolling motion to make her continue. I was sitting across from her on that old flaky pink swing of Miss Clancy’s listening to her tell the story, again–my favorite story, one she always served with a glass of milk and some of her famous chocolate-peanut butter cookies. I reached over to the plate on the wicker table she had out on her porch, to get one more cookie, to take one more sip of the thick creamy sweet milk she served. It made me wonder why my own mom’s milk tasted different. Maybe the difference came because of the stories Miss Clancy’d tell, sweet like that milk.

She rolled her eyes at me and went on, making me twirl at my left braid and causing me to lean back, knowing where this one was going to take me. “Musta been down a week or two, at least. Hadn’t probly eaten for a long, long while. Amazin’ she made it at all.” Her voice arced up. Then her eyes squinted for the next few words. “But, she did.” And, she chuckled in that deep basso sultry way she would, like someone with a secret.

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