About the Book
Lindy Carver Harrington loses her unborn child during a violent altercation with her husband. On the same day, her closest friend Sara careens off a mountainside to her death. Lindy is devastated. Imprisoned by grief, and paralyzed by fear, she is easy prey to her husband’s abuse. She is unable to summon the strength to fight back, until now…
A brutal confrontation forces Lindy to choose to either end her husband’s life, or save her own. Escaping, she returns home to Parson’s Gap to rebuild her shattered life. Still haunted by the cryptic message Sara left moments before she died, Lindy becomes determined to answer the voice from the grave and unravel the mystery surrounding Sara’s death.
On a perilous journey into the final days of her friend’s life, Lindy’s quest for truth will expose shocking secrets that will shake a small southern town to its roots. Confronting the demons of her past, she strips away layers of lies buried beneath the magnificent mountains she calls home. When the past and present collide, the truth may set Lindy free, if she can only live long enough to take her last shot at redemption.
Lindy Harrington woke up with the carved wooden grip of her .38 caliber revolver still clutched in her right hand. Nestled between her rib cage and abdomen, the stainless steel cylinder was strangely comforting against her skin. The metallic taste of copper in her mouth reminded her that she was far too familiar with the taste of her own blood.
Much like a child might cuddle a favored stuffed animal; Lindy had clasped the gun to her body throughout the long restless night, while she weighed the pros and cons of pointing the muzzle at her husband's head and squeezing the trigger.
Unclenching her hand, she placed the pistol on the nightstand beside the bed.
Flexing her fingers to restore circulation, she gently touched her stomach right below her navel where the embryo would have, given the chance, transformed into a living, breathing baby; her baby. A year ago today, she thought. The memory of that morning hit her like waves pummeling a shoreline. Pinching the bridge of her nose to stay the tears, she struggled against the tidal wave of sorrow that washed over her.
So far, she'd been unable to discover any defense against the darkness that consumed her each time she thought about that day, the day two completely unrelated events pushed her into an abyss so deep even a glimmer of light couldn't be found.
Rolling to her side, Lindy drew her long slender legs up into the fetal position. She lay quietly, with silent tears soaking through the fabric of the pillowcase underneath her.
Refusing to submit to the pain, she forced herself to roll to the edge of the king size bed and then dropped her feet over the side. She carefully placed the revolver back into the top drawer of her nightstand, but she left the drawer open this time.
Tentatively, she placed her bare feet on the floor, stepping over the broken glass from a shattered whiskey decanter. The small slit at the corner of her lip was tender, and the area just below her right eye felt a little tight and swollen, but overall it could have been worse. It had been worse.
Dropping back onto the bed, she closed her eyes, and replayed the long hours of contemplation that had replaced sleep the night before. She had repeatedly replayed the chain of events following that disastrous day one year ago. Since then, she had chosen to remain trapped in a violent marriage even after she’d lost her child, but she wasn’t sure whether she stayed as punishment for her sins, or to serve as a constant reminder of his? But it really didn’t matter anymore.
Lindy had been forced to make a decision. She may be able to aim a gun, pull the trigger, and end the agony for both of them, but he wasn't worth the price she'd have to pay. She wasn't about to sacrifice her freedom along with everything else she’d already thrown away. Besides, at the rate he was going he’d self-destruct sooner or later anyway.
Lindy shoved aside the thick down comforter soaked in his semen and her tears. She stood up, this time more sure-footed, and quietly crossed the room to the oversized walk-in closet. Like her, the coat hangers hung empty and the shelves were barren. She pulled a pair of faded Levis over her hips and gingerly worked a worn tank top over her head.
After wrapping a sweatshirt around her waist, she listened carefully for any sign of life downstairs. Hearing nothing but the sound of her own shallow breathing, she picked up her pace, ignoring the twinges of pain at every step. Filling a small suitcase with her meager wardrobe took less than ten minutes.
Approaching the bathroom, carefully avoiding the wall of mirrors facing her, she grabbed a knapsack off the hook behind the door. Retracing her steps, Lindy gently lifted the revolver out of the nightstand drawer and wrapped it in the red velvet cloth that lay underneath. Placing it carefully in the top of her bag, she packed the extra rounds, along with the cleaning supplies, a small can of oil, and soft rag.
Stepping over the torn nightshirt he’d ripped off of her, she made her way to the door. Taking a final look at her marital bed, her own chamber of self-destruction, she released an audible sigh of relief as she left the room behind.
Lindy’s relationship with her husband Harry had begun to deteriorate from the moment they'd taken their vows, but after an appointment with her obstetrician the previous year, a simple test had given her hope that she could salvage something from their disastrous marriage. That night, Lindy had waited up for him to share the news. Sometime before dawn, she'd given up. Bringing along a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird, she climbed the stairs and fell into bed. She had just dozed off when she'd heard the kitchen door slam.
Harry had stumbled over the dog and Lindy could hear him cursing and thumping against the walls during his trek up the stairs. When he finally made it to their room, Lindy shut her eyes feigning sleep, hoping that fatigue and intoxication would make disturbing her not worth the effort. She’d been wrong. Harry had staggered to her side of the bed, mumbled an obscene comment about her missing him, and then jerked the comforter off the bed. The smell of stale alcohol, tobacco, and drug store perfume made her already nauseous stomach churn.
Lindy pleaded with him to stop, but he’d only laughed. He’d caught her wrist and shoved her onto her back. Straddling her, he held her arms above her head with one hand and unfastened his filthy jeans with the other, while describing in despicable detail what he intended to do to her.
Despite her resolve to stop him, her attempts to fight him off that night had been futile. He had made good on each threat before he finally rolled off of her. Lindy had carefully moved to the other side of the bed, and finding her robe, tightened the sash around her waist. She'd made it as far as the top of the staircase before he'd caught up to her.
Lindy had chosen her words carefully, hoping to hide any inflection or emotion that would set him off again. She was already terrified he may have harmed the baby, and in a foolish attempt to discourage another brutal confrontation, she’d told him she was pregnant.
He told her she was out of her fucking mind. Then he told her there was no way they were keeping her child. Battered and bruised, trembling with rage and indignation, she had turned to face him just as he lurched toward her. He shoved her backwards, and the force of the thrust had taken her off balance. Unable to react quickly enough to catch the railing, she’d tumbled down the stairs, ending her pregnancy and any hopes she’d had for a family of her own.
Now, on this, the first anniversary of her child’s death, Lindy carried the memory of that night, along with her suitcase, to the bottom of the staircase. Reaching the foyer, she intentionally avoided the expensive Oriental rug his mother purchased to cover the deep red stains that stubbornly refused to fade from the blonde wood.
“‘Out damn spot,’” she whispered, recalling the warm trickle of blood between her thighs as she had laid at the bottom of the stairs on that fateful morning. The physical pain and emotional anguish had held her captive at the foot of the stairs for some time. To this day, she had no idea how long she'd remained there before she was able to place the call to 911.
With her final trip down that staircase behind her, Lindy cautiously checked the living room, but found no sign of Harry. It had been a long time since she'd cared where he spent his nights, but she was always thankful for the ones he didn't spend with her. This morning, in particular, she was fervently hoping he’d be somewhere, anywhere other than home. Entering the kitchen, Lindy found she’d been overly optimistic about his whereabouts.
Harry was passed out, head down on the kitchen table. She tripped over an overturned can of diet soda still lying next to the refrigerator, where it had slid from her grasp the night before when she'd used both hands to ward off the first of many blows to come. The syrupy liquid had become a sticky residue, mixed with shards of glass from a lead crystal whiskey tumbler, a wedding gift, that shattered as it bounced off the wall. Luckily, Harry's aim had been off.
The glass had hit the wall only a few inches from her head, leaving behind a russet colored stain that resembled a Rorschach inkblot. She carefully picked her way around the debris, shaking her head in disgust at the mess, as well as her own stupidity, but feeling her resolve strengthen.
Leaving her dog Atticus locked safely on the other side of the door; she dropped her bag next to her feet within easy reach.
She sat down at the kitchen table across from her husband. Fed up with her own fears, she was determined to try to regain some of the dignity she'd sacrificed by attempting to bring a rational end to an irrational marriage.
Repulsed by the thought of touching him, she called his name several times to rouse him from his unconscious state.
Eventually he looked up, and wiped away the remains of a powdery white substance from under his nose. Lindy didn't expect him to take the news well, but this time, she was counting on his lack of sleep, coupled with a vicious hangover, to temper his response; at least the physical one.
Never fond of wasting time with unnecessary words or insincere emotion, she simply said, “I'm leaving.”
“No you're not,” he mumbled, with a distinct slur to each word. “Didn't we play this scene already, Bitch? Is this about your goddamn baby again?”
Lindy stood up. “I can't do this anymore, Harry. It's too dangerous," she hesitated, "for both of us. I must be crazy to think we could actually have a civilized conversation, a mistake I won't make again.”
He responded faster than she'd expected given his condition. He reached the short distance across the table and grabbed her arm, jerking her back into her chair. Lindy was glad she’d had the foresight to leave Atticus outside. Great Danes are a gentle breed, and Atticus was particularly so up until the moment he felt there was a threat to Lindy, as there so often was when herhusband was around.
“Let go of me.”
“Where, Lindy? Where do you think you're going to go? That black bitch is dead, so you can't run to her. What are you going to do, run off to Atlanta to see your nigger boyfriend?”
Tightening his grip on her wrist, he pulled her across the table, his face so close to hers that she could smell the stale liquor on his breath. She tried to ignore the waves of revulsion.
“Since you're too fucking stupid to figure it out, I'll tell you how this fairy tale works. Low class piece of ass doesn’t leave handsome rich boy. When it's time to take out the trash, I'll put you out by the curb, but not until I'm ready! You might have been strong enough to walk before you lost that kid, Lindy, but not anymore. You're not exactly the tough girl you used to be, are you?”
Clamping his hand around the back of her neck, he salaciously licked the side of her face and then snickered. “I think you like it this way, don't you; the way I gave it to you last night?”
She turned her face and tasted bile rising in her throat. His cell phone started to vibrate, making a clacking sound against the table. He shoved her back into her seat and checked the screen. His bravado fading instantly, he deflated like a hot air balloon lacking a source of heat.
Lindy watched with perverse satisfaction as he consciously made an attempt to control his twitching; one of many annoying physical signs of his addictions, while he answered the call from a far more powerful bully than he could ever become.
“Fuck!” Clearing his throat, he croaked, “Good morning, Dad.”
Despite the fact that he was still too impaired to get behind the wheel of a car, he slithered out the door, with his father's latest summons, no doubt, still ringing in his ears. Harry Harrington, Senior waited for no man, especially not his sniveling spoiled offspring, Harry Junior.
Lindy waited until she heard the garage door close. Atticus was on her immediately, as though he had been waiting for her to come for him all night. Lindy loaded her belongings, along with her dog, into her '68 Mustang.
Harry was right. Whoever Lindy Carver Harrington had been had died a year ago, along with her unborn child, but she intended to resurrect the woman she used to be. Mama Ray, a wise woman, once told her that if you ever lost your way, you go back to the beginning and start over. Lindy was counting on the platitude now, just as she had counted on the woman all those years.
Atticus settled in, and Lindy smiled when she turned to rub the white spot between his eyes.
“Let’s go home, buddy,” she murmured softly, hoping she may have finally grown up enough to grasp the meaning of the word.
About the Author
Samantha Charles is a southern writer. She grew up in the Appalachian region of the Southeast in small towns that are somewhat isolated from modern-day society by geography, and choice. She remains passionate about the magnificence, as well as the malevolence, of the southern culture.
She now resides in the Midwest, with her husband and three children. She attended Baker University in Kansas where she earned her Master of Arts degree. When she isn’t busy creating new worlds, she teaches English as a professor at a local college. he is currently creating a series of short stories about Parson’s Gap; a coal mining town inspired by the people and places she grew to love as a child. She is also hard at work on Salvation, the sequel to Redemption.
Redemption is her first novel.
If you would like to learn more, please visit her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/author.samantha.charles
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