What you will find here

This is a place to examine plans filled with hope; plans which promise a refuge from chaos; plans which will shape our futures. Veterans with and without PTSD, Pentecostal Presbyterians, Adjudicated Youth, and Artists-Musicians-Writers: I write what I know. ~~~ Evelyn

Friday, March 7, 2014

Excerpt from Close Your Eyes Chapter Two

          Bills paid, spam shredded, Beverly held the cemetery envelop in her hands.  Jolene had planned to take Teddy to lunch after the hairdressers, so Bev had about one more hour.  She sliced the letter open and peeled out the thick paper.

          Dear Ms. Theodora Knightly,

          This letter is to inform you that the management of Beulah Pines Cemetery has changed from the City of Beulah Pines to that of Haberno, Ltd, but rest assured your loved ones’ places of internment will continue to be cared for.

          According to our records, you hold the title to a four plot section:  Chrysanthemum Lane, Matthew Row, numbered 17, 18, 19, and 20.  Plots 19 and 20 are still empty.  Plot 17 holds the remains of your late husband Corporal Hugh Knightly born June 2, 1936, died Oct. 8, 1969.  Plot 18 holds the remains of your late daughter Beverly Knightly born Jan. 29, 1960, died March 10, 1967.


          The rest of the letter blurred.  Beverly blinked and tears rolled down her cheeks.  She read it again.  Plot 17 holds the remains of your late husband Corporal Hugh Knightly born . . .  Plot 18 holds the remains of your late daughter Beverly Knightly born Jan. 29, 1960, died March 10, 1967.

          Beverly was born Jan. 29, 1960.  She wasn’t dead.  Why would a tombstone in the middle of a town she’d never heard of have a date for her death when she wasn’t dead!

          Your adopted mother’ Dr. Eoghan’s voice whispered down the hall.

          Beverly stood up and the desk chair clattered to the floor behind her.

          Jolene’s car pulled into the drive.  Bev panicked and shoved the letter into her purse.  She plunged her fingers into the zippered compartment that used to hide her smokes, hoping against hope that just one remained.

          She trembled and took a deep breath.  The door flung open as Beverly righted the chair.


          Beverly finished the last lap of her two miles well ahead of the man running on the bleachers.  Anger and fear had driven her beyond the pace she knew was best.  She waited for him at the bottom step, gasping for breath and bent over.

          “You look like you could use a doctor,” he began tentatively.  “Or a cigarette.”

          “I quit smoking,” she straightened.

          “No, people like you and me don’t quit smoking.  We just choose to not smoke for a while.  We could start up again tomorrow, or not have a cigarette for years.  Me?  It’s been seven years.”

          “You’d still smoke again after seven years?”

          “In a heartbeat.  But every step I run up and down those bleachers is a way of – I don’t know, pacifying the demon?  What about you?”

          “I quit smoking,” she assured him firmly, “four months ago.”

          “And how long have you been running?”

          Here she had to drop her eyes, “Ten years.”

          “Since your husband died.”

          Beverly opened her mouth to say something sharp, but then realized he’d just confirmed her suspicions.  “You really have done your homework on my mother and myself.”

          “That’s my job.”

          “What made you think I was not my mother’s child?”

          “When you and your mother were admitted to the hospital after the car accident, ten years ago, you both were given to Dr. Figaro as patients.  Since you admitted you’d never been to a doctor before, he had the lab run all the usual tests, including blood type.  You have type Z, your mother is type X.”

          “Maybe my father’s blood was type Z.”

          “No.  No matter what type the father had, if the mother has type x, each and every resulting child will also have type X or C.  Always.”

          Beverly stared into the space between them, unfocussed, trying to catch her breath.

          “I am very sorry to have been the one to tell you.  It was incredibly –“ he paused as she speared him with her blue eyes.  “She’s your mother, no matter what eggs and sperm started your life.”

          Beverly sat down and smirked, “You know, you might tell those medical universities that the general public just isn’t that stupid and they need to change their ‘heartfelt platitudes.’”

          “You know,” he sat beside her. “”You have a very wry sense of humor that could almost be described as vicious.”

          Her lips fought the urge to grin as she met his gaze.  He didn’t resist and bestowed a magnificent grin on her.

          “I want you to be my doctor.”

          He blinked.  “Are you feeling ill?”

          “I’m fine.  Really.  I don’t want you as my doctor for medical reasons.  I need a confidant.  You’re not allowed to divulge patient-doctor information, right?”

          “As long as there is no danger of injury to yourself or others.”

          “Present or future tense?  Not that I know of.”

          “Past tense?”

          Beverly gulped and tried to calm her racing heart.  “Will you be my doctor?”

          He nodded.

          “I’ve never had a doctor before.  Not even when I was married.  As a child, my mother refused to take me to a doctor – she said it was for religious reasons, and other than getting immunizations at the local clinic, that was it.  No major illnesses, breaks, surgeries, nothing until the car accident.”  Her eyes filled with long-borne grief.  “And none since then.”

          “But your mother uses a doctor now.”

          Beverly rocked forward and back, fighting tears.

          “What is it, Beverly?  You look terrified.  Let me help.”

          She nodded. “I was going through my mother’s mail, paying her overdue bills.  I found a letter from a cemetery in Beaulah Pines,” she said.

“Beaulah Pines?” he seemed startled.

“Yes, you know it?”

He shrugged.  “Sorry for the interruption.  Continue.”

“Keeping me away from doctors had nothing to do with religion.  She didn’t want anyone to know that I’m not Beverly Knightly.  Maybe a doctor would have a way to track something like that.  Ways that lost children can be identified.  Ways that fake birth certificates can be challenged.”

          Eoghan tilted his head.  “I don’t understand.  How did the letter from a cemetery tell you about not being who you thought you were?”

Excerpt from

Close Your Eyes

© Evelyn Rainey

Available for publication.

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