cynthia e. wines

Author of Halfway


November 2015

Free copy anyone?

Halfway2 (1)Do you have Amazon Prime?  Then you can download the entire book for free!  So if you like it, YAY, free book!  If you don’t, sorry, but you have only lost out on a few hours of your life – its not that long of a book.

If you do enjoy the story, please leave feedback and maybe tell a friend.  If you don’t, please leave feedback and maybe tell a friend who you think may like to read it.  It is all good.





The Day Early Gift

By the time I get my day going tomorrow, I will no doubt forget to post the next chapter. It will wind up being halfway though the day when one of my friends asks why they dont have the next installment to read yet.

So, enjoy it a day early.


Chapter 5

Michael felt better than he should. Maybe another day before the shakes kicked in, but he thought he should be feeling a little terrible by now. At the same time, he realized he also hadn’t eaten or drunk anything, not that he was hungry. Come to think of it, he hadn’t seen anyone else eating or drinking anything either. Best to find out where the kitchen was for when he finally needed to grab a bite.

Michael went out to the staircase, standing for a moment before deciding which way to start looking. One direction was back towards the waiting room; the other direction was just a dark hallway. The kitchen couldn’t possibly be down that way – too dark. As he turned to find another place to look, a soft murmuring filtered in from the far end of the hallway. It had to be the kitchen, people always gathered around where there was food. He rubbed his hand along the wall looking for a light switch that wasn’t there, and slowly started his search in the dark. Each door he tried was locked. The kitchen had to be somewhere. The farther down the hallway he went, the louder the voices got. He didn’t recognize them. The sounds grew loudest as he reached the last door, but he still couldn’t make out what was being said. He tried the knob, which clicked opened easily.

As he pulled open the door, something slammed it shut and the voices ceased. Agnes stood before him, bucket in hand, pushing the door closed. Her eyes reflected her surly demeanor and bore into him as she slowly waved a finger in front of him. Michael, a bit startled, took a few steps back from her and her angry glare. Agnes pointed her scrub brush to a sign on the door -“Basement”. That was one of the rules he did remember being told, no going in the basement.

“Didn’t see the sign.” He said.

Agnes muttered something incomprehensible, but lowered her arm and positioned herself in front of the door. He was curious why it was off limits, but went back down the hallway, forgetting all about the kitchen. The fewer encounters with Agnes the better.

The sitting room was silent. Karen had left the television, while Conrad now slept in a chair in front of the fire. Elizabeth was curled up in a chair by the window, pretending to be reading a book. She held the book open, but every few minutes, she would peek through the curtains. Michael watched as he took a seat next to Conrad.

“It’s too dark to see anything out there.” He said from his chair. Elizabeth stuck her face back into the book.

“Don’t feel bad, I don’t blame you really. If I were waiting to get out, I would be watching for my ride out the windows too.”

Elizabeth just looked at him and in typical teenage fashion, answered with the slight air of contempt before sticking her nose back in the book on her lap. “I know.”

“If someone was coming for me, I would be out on the front steps with my bags packed.”

A slight smile crept across her face. Michael smiled too. There was something about her. It didn’t fit in places like this.

“Not that it’s any of my business, but you seem awfully young to be here.”

“Age has nothing to do with it.” She replied.

“Don’t they have places like this for kids your age?”

Elizabeth gave him a puzzled look. Michael wasn’t sure where the confusion lay, so he moved on.

“So what’s your poison? What landed you in here? Wait, let me guess, your parent’s pain pills?”

“I don’t know what you are talking about.” Her confused expression didn’t change as she dropped the book on the chair and walked out into the hallway to pet the dog.

“You’re right, none of my business. Shouldn’t have asked.” Michael turned back to the fire and sunk down in his chair. He muttered quietly to himself. “Don’t get involved.”

Conrad opened his eyes and turned to Elizabeth in the hall. She was sizing up the new arrivals sitting in the waiting room.

“That girl is one of the dearest young ladies I have ever met. You must be kinder to her, my boy. ”

“I’m not your boy.” Michael snapped at the old man. “All I did was try to ask her a question.”

“Ha!” The indignation exploded from Conrad. “You are not owed an answer. Just because you think you are important, doesn’t mean you are.”

“Don’t you know who I am?” Michael could not believe there was someone on the planet who didn’t know who he was. “Turn on a television and you will see how big I am.”

“Television? Folly! I would never bother with such nonsense. I know your type. I have seen many like you come and go in my time.”

“You don’t know anything about me.”

“Oh, but I do.” Conrad’s voice grew loud and sharp. “Let me guess, you don’t see the need to be bothered with anything or anyone aside from yourself. Someone talked, you have complete disregard for them, but when you speak, the world is to stop and everyone is to give full attention to the illustrious Michael.”

Conrad raised his hand, cutting Michael off before he had a chance to open his mouth.

“I was just as important as you think you are. It is amazing how wrong we can be.”

Michael thought better saying anything, hoping the old guy would end the lecture.

Conrad’s voice calmed and he stared at the fire. “If I had only known then what I know now, I could have taken more time away from those things in life that didn’t matter. Actually listen to people, maybe taken time for my family.”

Michael didn’t understand what the big deal was. “So, just call them when you’re done here. At least you can say you tried. More than I can say for my dad.”

The old man laughed, loudly. When he finally stopped, he patted Michael on the shoulder. Shaking his head he said, “If only it were that easy.” He pushed himself up with his cane and strolled out of the room, the cane going unused for its purpose. Michael scanned the room thinking he was alone and found Simone sitting in the corner gently folding the small blanket in her lap.

“What about you? You got anything to say?” Michael demanded.

Simone jumped and pointed at her chest with her finger.

“Yeah, you. You never say anything. I wouldn’t know you were here if you didn’t show up to meetings.”

Simone froze in her seat wide eyed.

“So, why are you here? One lady is yelling about her husband, the tubby guy just goes on about what a mistake it is for him to be here.” Michael pointed to Elizabeth out in the hallway, sitting on the floor petting the dog. “She’s just waiting around for someone. So, how about you?”

Simone just sat, her shaking hands went back to her folding, although it was more hurried now.

“It can’t be that bad, nothing is ever as bad as you think.” Tired of the silent treatment, Michael turned around, leaving Simone to her blanket.

Simone peeked up in his direction. A faint voice barely escaped her lips. “You just don’t know.”

“What?” Michael turned. He wasn’t sure if he had heard anything.

Simone did not repeat what she had whispered.

Michael gave up. “Your business I suppose. Clearing our chests is what we’re supposed to be doing. It just doesn’t seem like either of us are all that interested in it.”

Simone’s voice was a bit louder this time. “You will be.” She rose from the chair, cradling her bundle. “We all will.”

My procrastination is totally benefitting you

I need to get my butt in gear before I have the whole thing posted here….

Short chapter for this week.


Chapter 4

The music was blasting as the headlights approached, their light reflecting on the wet pavement. Closer and closer they came, he raised his hand to shield his eyes from their blinding light. Darkness crept in, it was cold. The image of a hazy figure lying in the road. An old woman, no a young woman slumped over in a car, still buckled in the seat belt. There was blood on the driver’s window and the woman’s long hair partially hung through the broken glass. The sirens rang out through the rain before the sight of the spinning red lights approached.

Michael sat up abruptly in bed. There was a soft knocking on the bedroom door. He would like to have ignored it, but the rhythmic beating was incessant. He tried in vain to shake off the crazy dream and dragged himself out of bed to answer the door. Elizabeth stood in the open doorway staring down the hallway, her hand still motioning the knocking, almost thumping him in the face. He quickly grabbed her fist, holding it in place.

A nervous giggle escaped her lips. “Sorry. I wasn’t looking.”

Michael was not amused. “Can I help you?”

“Mrs. Peters sent me. You need to come down.” She said quietly.

As she pulled her arm away, she rubbed her finger on Michael’s wrist. “I like your bracelet.” She said before leaving him alone in the doorway.

Michael inspected his wrist, which had an old beaded bracelet tied around it. A forgotten trinket until someone mentioned it. The paint on the misshapen round beads had been worn down to the wood, but he wore the bracelet all the same, a small remnant of his youth. Had he been wearing it earlier? Even that was foggy. He wasn’t even sure how long he had been sleeping. No light seeped through the heavy drapes. The room was still dark so he either hadn’t been up here long, or had slept through the entire day.

Group had started by the time Michael entered the sitting room. Just in time to listen to Karen complaining once again about her husband. Michael could almost not bare to listen, but he took his seat all the same. “Vincent doesn’t know where the carpool list is. I tried to tell him it was on the side of the refrigerator.” She turned to Michael. “You see what I mean? He needs me down there.”

Michael did what he could to hold back his laughter. “He’s probably doing just fine lady. I mean, how badly can someone screw up carpooling.” Most of the group gasped. Simone raised her head up from the floor, her brown eyes opened wide.

Michael looked around clueless about everyone’s response to what he had said. “What?“

Mrs. Peters used a firm, but calm tone. “Michael, please try to be respectful of others. We are not here for criticism, just understanding. Everyone is just trying to work things out so they can move on.”

“Geez, he could be a total wreck over the carpool schedule for all I know.”

He immediately slunk down in the chair, arms crossed, like a child pouting and let his mind drift. One by one they went around the room. Simone froze up when asked to participate. Elizabeth of course was just waiting for her Dad. Michael just sat quietly, ignoring the request. Mrs. Peters didn’t stop at Conrad, he could have had his turn before Michael had come downstairs. Ruben, as it would seem to be the usual case, went last again. Michael didn’t pay attention to anything that was said. He spent that time reciting lines in his head from a movie script he was sure he would be cast in. When Ruben had finally finished talking, everyone rose and moved their chairs. Michael dragged his over to the closest wall, uncaring if it was the right place or not. If it was wrong, someone else could fix it. With the room empty, Michael decided to sit in the chair by the fire, rather than go upstairs like the rest. He liked the chair better than the springy bed. Just as he sat, Karen returned and sat at the old television.

She worked the antenna and large knob for a few moments until the sound of static no longer buzzed. Karen spoke loudly across the room. “You are Mike James aren’t you?” He turned towards her, but her eyes still very much focused on the blurry picture of the television. “I know Mrs. Peters likes to call everyone by their given names, but you are him. I just know it.”

Michael remained tight lipped.

“I have seen every one of your movies. I am such a fan.” Every time he wound up in one of these places, there was at least one person who would gush over him.

“Glad you liked ‘em.”

“I can’t believe you are here. I mean, how did you wind up in this place?”

Michael started to reply with a snide remark, but thought better of it. No sense opening the door for Karen to get friendly. He had hoped she was done talking so he could have some peace. She wasn’t.

“I remember reading stories about you, but you know you can’t trust what you read in the tabloids.”

“We all got our problems lady.”

“Right, none of my business. I mean, who am I? Just a simple stay-at-home mom. I just can’t believe I am meeting you here of all places.”

Karen shifted uneasily in her chair. She bit her lip as she scanned the room, trying not to be so obviously star struck.

“Normally I would ask for your autograph, but what would I do with it now?”

“Well, catch me before one of us is out of here and I will get you one. Take it with you.”

Karen gave him a strange look, confused by the remark “Oh…kay, but you know…”

“Karen.” A calm voice interrupted her mid sentence. Mrs. Peters stood in the entrance of the room. “You must allow people to reflect. Please give Michael that courtesy.”

Karen went back to the television, ending her chatter after the reprimand. He was grateful to be left alone, but had the slightest curiosity about what Karen hadn’t finished saying. It seemed there was a lot more that Mrs. Peters had still not told him.

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