Robbi Perna - Author and Lecturer

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Sunday afternoon light reading

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!

* * * * 
To Everything Its Season Cover “Dr. Vitale, would you care for something else to drink?”  The attendant’s voice penetrated the cocoon of anguish in which I had wrapped myself.

“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 Stregheria 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...)

2 Comments to Sunday afternoon light reading:

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Julie Manna on Sunday, September 28, 2014 3:20 PM
Looking forward to next Sunday's installment! Cannot wait to discover the reasons that forced her to use her magic...felt like I was there with her due to the intense descriptions. The personalities of the characters are already strong. Using the flashback technique adds interest to the story. This could become a regular Sunday read for me!!!
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Robbi Perna on Sunday, September 28, 2014 3:29 PM
Thanks for your comments and your interest, Julie. I'll be interested to hear what you think about the next installment. This story is a good start because Diane and COL Martin will appear again in my next release, "Where the Lion Dwells" due out in Summer 2015.
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