Thanks for stopping by my Sunday blog spot. This is a new adventure for me and I'm hoping you will enjoy sharing it with me. Over a breakfast meeting a few weeks ago, a fellow author suggested I start a blog to share serialized samplings of my stories. I thought her suggestion was a good one and so, let's get started. I'll start with a few sections from my short story, "To Everything Its Season." The entire story is available in print as part of an anthology entitled, "A Magical Summer" hosted by Pandora's Imagination (2010) and available from Amazon.; and as a standalone download from Kindle. Now sit back and enjoy the read. Be sure to check back next Sunday for the next installment!
* * * *
“Dr. Vitale, would you care
for something else to drink?” The
attendant’s voice penetrated the cocoon of anguish in which I had wrapped
“Yes, please, if I could have some sparkling water, and another
pillow, if possible.” I looked up at her
with tired, bleary eyes.
Our departure from Kandahar
had been without incident. Once
airborne, I had reclined my seat, closed my eyes, and tried to get some
rest. Unfortunately, my mind had other
ideas. The two-toned stroke of the
engines reverberated in my head repeating the words balance,
balance with every rotation. Yes,
balance was the problem and at least part of my misery. Well, I had almost fourteen hours of air
travel between Afghanistan
and Washington D.C. in which to review the events of the
last three years.
My name is Diana Vitale, and I am a hereditary witch, as is my
mother and her mother before her. We
trace our descent in the Old Religion, La Vecchia Religione, from Italy’s
tradition. It is my cherished dream that one day I too
will have a daughter born with the gift to carry on the tradition.
The oldest daughter in each generation bears
the name, Diana, in the Goddess’s honor.
For the first time in many years, three generations live and practice
together. This is part of my
problem. I had neglected the Craft for
the last three years. Now, I was on my
way home in time for the midsummer celebrations. This should have filled me with happy
anticipation. Instead, I dreaded it.
Midsummer, or La Festa dell’ Estate as we call it,
is a time for celebration and renewal filled with the bounty of fruits and
flowers, the blossoming of new growth, and the discovery of new loves. I felt only foreboding. I feared the Goddess’s disapproval; that She
would find me lacking, but the time had not been conducive to practice.
In the first year following Chad’s
death in an IED explosion in Iraq,
I’d been overwhelmed emotionally, and professionally bereft. The loss of my husband, who had been my best
friend since we met in college, was devastating. Memories of his funeral at Arlington National
Cemetery haunted me, and
remained a constant companion to my daily routine. My decision to work as a cultural adviser had
been my attempt at the first step towards my personal healing. Chad’s
sacrifice had provided the momentum for my decision to seek an assignment with
an Army Brigade in Afghanistan.
I had taken an immediate liking to the Brigade Commander, Colonel
Alex Martin, when I joined the unit. I
recalled that first meeting as vividly as if it were yesterday instead of
eighteen months ago.
“Dr. Vitale, welcome to the brigade. We are delighted to have you and your
expertise as part of the team.” Colonel Martin's enthusiastic greeting had
welcomed me the first day I reported to the unit.
“Thank you, Colonel. I’m
delighted to be here.” I had reached out
to shake his hand. The jolt of physical
attraction that had sparked between us had a wave of guilt sweeping over
me. On its heels, my rational mind
reminded me that Chad
had died twenty-four months ago and no matter how much I had loved him, and
always would, he was gone and I needed to go on. There wasn’t any reason for me to feel guilty
about experiencing an attraction to another man.
As the months passed, I grew to respect the colonel and his
decisions. He was a tall, broad
shouldered man, attractive in that intense, rugged way that many military men
have. The austere planes of his face and
his strong jaw balanced the hawk-like fierceness of his dark blue eyes. He epitomized the image of a battle-hardened
warrior, a soldier’s soldier. The troops
followed him because he inspired them not because it was their job. In turn, he made his respect of me and the value
of my advice very apparent. In that
professional environment, announcing that I was a witch and needed time off to
light a bale fire to celebrate a solsticewouldn’t have
been a good idea.
However, the turmoil caused by Chad’s death, my subsequent attraction
to the Colonel, and my overall neglect of the Craft, were only facets of my
problem. At the heart of it was my one
use of magic during an incident six months ago.
Now, the whole event replayed itself in my memory with brutal clarity.
(To be continued...)