Teresa, aka, The Haunted Wordsmith, periodically will start a story on a post and then pick another blogger to take over and run with it. This is sometimes referred to as a blog hop, since the story hops around from one blogger to another.
So for continuity, below is Teresa’s beginning, following by what Melanie added, followed by my part 3.
Here’s part 1 from Teresa.
After serving thirty-five years in the military, Austin retired to a quiet little town in the middle of the Catskills. He had saved money every month since he enlisted so that he would never have to work another day when he left. His plan worked, but now he found life boring and uneventful. Every morning he walked down to Jennie’s Diner for coffee and a little conversation, then over to the library where he would whittle away the day. Three months of this routine and he was going stir crazy. That was until a strange woman asked if he had ever considered writing a book.
“I never really thought about it,” Austin said, flipping through a magazine.
“I have a story to tell,” the woman said, “and I have a good sense about people. You are the right person to tell my story.”
“Um, I’ve never written before. I wouldn’t even know where to start.”
“Well then, it’s a good thing I do. Meet me here tomorrow and we’ll start.”
She disappeared before he could even answer. He looked around, but she was nowhere. Austin shrugged. He would be at the library the next day anyway, maybe he would be able to ask more about what she wanted…and why him.
The next day, as the grandfather clock rang eleven, the woman tapped Austin on the shoulder.
And here’s part 2 from Melanie:
“I’m glad you’re punctual!” the woman said. Austin shrugged. Years of military life had drummed that practice into him. He was never late. And to be honest Austin was intrigued. His precisely regulated life was beginning to gnaw at him. Sure, routine and order were important, but he had no idea they were so damned DULL.
Even though he’d lived such a life in his military service, there was always something to DO…some place to go, some orders to follow. As he rose in the ranks of the Army, eventually topping out at Colonel. His pension was substantial because he’d always given first rate service to his country. He was secretly really proud of this.
“Now about my story,” she began…but Austin interrupted her. “Might I know your name first?” he asked. She turned a little pale, but nodded. Hesitantly.
“I’m Rose,” she said and extended her hand to Austin. He shook it, noting that she had fine bones, he could feel them right through the white gloves she wore. A bit dated, a woman wearing gloves. Those hadn’t been the fashion since he was a boy in the 1950s he didn’t think. Austin wondered briefly why his thoughts kept rambling all over like they were…and he forced his mind back to the woman in front of him.
“I’m Austin” he replied, “and I’ve spent the greater portion of my life in the Army. They weren’t big on writing in the Army, at least not my branch. Only Administration ever did much of that! Are you sure you want me to tell your story?”
Rose smiled. It was wistful and rather sad. “Yes I’m sure,” she said. “I KNOW you’re the right one to tell my tale.” Austin noted the powder blue suit and skirt Rose was wearing, and the hat with the netting and little blue flowers across the brim. Again it struck him that her clothes looked really dated and out of place. Man, she really reminded him of someone….
And now here’s my part 3:
Haunted by Rose’s manner and attire, and how she felt simultaneously strange and familiar to him, Austin went home that night, went up to the attic, and located his mother’s old scrapbooks. She had been the family archivists when she was still living and had meticulously placed old family photographs and documents, including birth certificates, marriage licenses, and obituaries, in dozens of scrapbooks.
After his mother passed, he had all of her scrapbooks boxed up and shipped to him at his home in the Catskills. He had never bothered opening the boxes and sorting through them before. But there was something about this woman who had seemed to approach him from out of the blue, told him that she had a story to tell, and that he was the one to tell it. None of it made sense to Austin.
He spent hours opening up the boxes and searching through the scrapbooks, not even understanding what, exactly, he was expecting to find. But he felt compelled to do so.
It was sometime after 3 am, his eyelids growing heavy and his mind weary, when Austin opened up the last scrapbook and began leafing through the pages. Suddenly he let out an audible gasp at what he saw on the page. We’re his eyes deceiving him? Was his tired mind playing tricks on him? Was this even possible?
Okay. Now I’m supposed to tag another blogger to pick up the story where I left off. I’m going to choose Michael over at Morpethroad to run with it. Michael, you can either write part 4 or send a note to your favorite teacher, Miss Teresa, letting her know that you won’t be handing in your homework today.