5000 Twitter followers...let's celebrate with an excerpt from The Painter's Butterfly!
I joined Twitter in July of 2020, armed with only a sensitive soul, a manuscript, and a dream. Thanks to the pandemic, I have devoted the majority of my time to creating friendships via Twitter's #WritingCommunity, and I'm pleased to say that, thanks to all of you fabulous writers, I've hit a monumental milestone! 5000 followers exceeds my craziest dreams and I don't think I'll ever be able to adequately express my gratitude. As a meager thank you, I'd like to share the first couple pages of The Painter's Butterfly with anyone who would be interested in a sneak peek. This story was recently signed by Sage's Tower Publishing and will evolve into an actual published novel in the near future! I can't wrap my head around it...my lifelong dream come to fruition. Thank you for your amazing support as I've become acquainted with this wild world of publishing!
THE PAINTER'S BUTTERFLY
By Rebecca Weber
A Long Road
Transfer began well before dawn, so early that the birds were still dozing in their nests, and the stars blinked lightly in the sky. Nova was groggy when they shook her awake. She untangled herself from the covers, then robotically ran a comb through her shoulder-length brown hair. She rubbed the sleep from her leaf green eyes, and grabbed her few belongings with practiced hands, before draping her favorite sweatshirt over her shoulder. When exiting the group home, she was blasted face first by chilly, aggressive early morning air. Nova shrugged on her sweatshirt and zipped it up all the way to her chin. The caretakers each took turns giving her a hug, but she knew it was more a formality than anything.
Once she’d said her paltry goodbyes, Mr. Briar, her hefty companion in the grey suit jacket, made a show of opening the trunk of his car, as if she actually had anything to stow in the back. She shook her head in slow-motion at him, casting her eyes toward the ground, and clutched her denim backpack more tightly. Mr. Briar shut the trunk with a quick snap. He straightened his faded tie and ushered Nova into the car, muttering about beating the traffic and sticking to the schedule. The coolness of the leather seats seeped through her jeans, adding to the nasty morning chill. Nova frowned as the clunker sputtered questionably to life with the turn of the key. Glancing at the reflection of the group home in the rearview mirror, she was numb and empty. Goodbyes are meaningless when you have nothing to miss. Nova fastened her seatbelt decidedly and resigned herself to the dim view outside the front windshield, her fate in Mr. Briar’s clumsy hands.
Nova was used to feeling uncomfortable. It had become a part of her typical routine. So many days and nights had been spent in temporary places that she felt akin to a dandelion seed caught up by the wind. She drifted from forest to mountain to field; settling only for a moment, until the breeze carried her onward and away. This life of constant motion was exhausting and relentless. But it was good for one thing in particular - it provided her the distraction of never having to look back.
How would it feel to attend school, do household chores, and make lifelong friends? To stride through the door at the end of a rough day and be enveloped in a warm, familial hug? The thoughts bled into one another as the scenery changed. Blacktop transformed to gravel, and the new road lent a rugged bumpiness to the journey. This stretch was flanked by fields as far as the eye could see; rows and rows of what would eventually be emerald corn stalks and leafy beans. Nova leaned her forehead against the glass of the window, reflections of the rural landscape swimming in her eyes. The hours and miles flew by. In the monotony of the fields, her mind wandered and vision blurred.
It was the happy places that Nova refused to revisit in her recollections. She hid the lost contentment away in the furthest part of her imagination. Sometimes, she would dream of the good homes, and the people that had burned a hole in her heart. She would smile and laugh in their presence, free from care and worry because at long last she’d found somewhere to belong...until she woke up and fell back into reality. That was perhaps what made the happy memories the hardest for her to bear. She locked them up tight and swallowed the key. She had learned the hard way in her brief twelve years of life that nothing could last forever.
Inevitably, no matter the previous destination, she always ended up back in this car. The exterior of the vehicle was black, full of dings and dents much like her mood. The mirror up front hung at a lopsided angle, studying her like it was trying to read her thoughts. She frowned in its direction, and was met with two bored, brown, unsympathetic eyes staring back.