For the past year I have been working on a sequel for Cry of the Sea. A few months back I did a guest post about why I was having a hard time with it. You can read about that here if you like. Well, at long last it’s finished. I’m almost done reading through to look for those little misplaced commas and every time I typed jacked instead of jacket. By Saturday afternoon it will be whizzing through cyberspace to the inbox at Fire and Ice Young Adult Books, where I hope Caroline Andrus will say “This is awesome!” instead of “Oh, this wasn’t at all what I wanted you to write.” Then she will give me a projected release date, and I can share that with you.
At any rate, I promised at the end of my Mother’s Day theme for this month I would post an excerpt from the new book Whisper of the Woods – a scene between Juniper and her mother. This scene is pretty early on in the book. Juniper’s parents are protesting to keep Old Growth trees from being chopped down. On New Year’s Even Juniper is at the protest site. In the morning she finds herself 30 feet up on the branch of a giant red cedar tree and has no idea how she got there. She gets down (this time), and this is a scene that follows. Oh, and please leave a comment. I'd love to know what you think.
Mom opened the car door, and I saw my purse waiting for me in the passenger seat, my cell phone next to it. “Now, go call your boyfriend and patch things up. I’m sure he’s left dozens of messages on your phone. I’ll see you at home tonight.”
“Don’t you think I should stay here? I mean, Uncle Nathan was going at the tree with an axe. Don’t you need me to help?”
“I need you to be home where it’s safe. Plus, you go back to school day after tomorrow. You need to get some rest.” She put a hand on my shoulder and spoke like she was doing me some big favor. “I know you don’t want to be here. I’m relieving you of your duties.”
Only, the weird thing was, for the first time, I really did want to be there. I hadn’t cared much for the tree protest before, but now I did. It all seemed personal to me now. Dad seeing his sister for the last time on that tree. Uncle Nathan’s hatred for that tree. Carter and I fighting for the first time in front of that tree. Waking up on a branch of that tree. That tree seemed a part of my life now. It was very important to me that it wasn’t damaged.
“I want to stay.” Mom began to walk away from the car towards the camp, disregarding me. I followed her. “Do you hear me? I want to help with the protest.”
Mom kept walking. “There’s nothing for you to do here but get in the way. Go home. Watch TV. Hang out with Haley.”
“Are you possessed or something? When have you ever not wanted me to help?”
She stopped then and raised her hand to her forehead like she had a headache. After a moment she turned to face me. I saw tears in her usually hard eyes. “It stopped being safe here. I don’t want you getting hurt. Do you understand?”
“I’m not going to get hurt.”
“How do you know that? We found you in a tree, and you don’t know how you got there. Maybe one of your uncle’s men put you up there. Maybe it was a plan to frighten us away? Maybe they thought you’d fall out…” She sucked in a breath at the thought of it.
I rushed to her and wrapped my arms around her. “Mom, I’m so sorry. I didn’t realize what you’ve been through.”
She nodded slowly, stilling her emotions. “I’m not even sure your dad’s okay in there with his brother. Nathan had that axe…”
“He’s fine. We would have heard by now if he wasn’t.”
“Nathan hasn’t come out yet.”
“He might have gone another direction.” I let go of her then. “Look, if I stay with you the whole time, promise not to go off on my own, can I stay?”
“No.” Mom never was one for bargaining. She smiled at me then, one of her best courtroom grins. “Besides, what kind of teenager are you that doesn’t want to test out her new wheels? Don’t you want to see how it rides?”
“I do, but…”
That was weird. I’d been dying to get a car. Mad that I didn’t get one for Christmas when I’d hinted so hard and for so long. Now that I had one, the last thing I wanted to do was go drive it. I didn’t want to leave. What was going on with me?
She physically turned my body toward the car and gave me a nudge toward it. I looked back at her, but her expression made it clear what she wanted from me.
Don’t know what Cry of the Sea is about yet? Want to read it before this new book comes out? Click here to learn more.
D. G. Driver
Author of Young Adult books Cry of the Sea and Passing Notes.