MOURNING DOVE is 80,000 words. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln’s apocryphal quote to Harriett Beecher Stowe, it was written to be the little novel that starts the great war against global warming.
Jen, sleeping, sensed that Mom entered her room, bent over her, and kissed her cheek. Jen loved it when her mother woke her this way.
“G’morning, Honey,” Mom said “It’s our last launch day and we need to talk. Grams might listen to you; she doesn’t listen to me. She built this place and doesn’t want to leave, but we have to. I need you to convince her. You turn sixteen tomorrow and you've never experienced friends your age, especially someone who makes your heart flutter. That's not right for a teen. And of course it's the same for your brothers. If Grams and Grandpa don’t come with us, we’re flying to our family and civilization in Antarctica without them. You've got to be my partner in this. Are you in? Can I count on you?”
“Mom. Of course you can. I’m in. It will be my mission, from almost sixteen onward.”
Mom put her arms around Jen and hugged her close. It felt good.
“I love you, Mom.”
She hugged Mom back. Mom said, “Love you, Jen.”
A flash snowstorm coated the ground seconds before liftoff. Jen and Grandpa in the command bunker followed the take-off on live video. When the rocket left the camera’s view, she watched another video feed showing her older brother, Fred, at the outdoor weather station. He bent over backward, staring straight up, tracking the flight. Suddenly, both legs flew out from under him. At first, she thought it was funny. But their launch center was on top of a mountain. He was on a narrow asphalt path, overlooking a steep drop, and the blacktop was slippery. Mom, suddenly in the picture, reached for Fred to keep him from going over the cliff. But as she grabbed him, she lost her footing, too, and they both slid over the edge clutching each other. Grandpa wrapped Jen in his arms. On a speaker somewhere, she heard her mother scream. Seeing the empty cliff, Jen shouted, “No! Mommie! Come back. I need you. Mommie!” Jen sobbed, clutching her Grandpa.
Hugging him, she could still feel her mother kissing her awake that morning. She would never have that again; or her mother again. Her mother’s mission? Her mission? She dropped out of her grandfather’s arms onto the floor. She curled up into a ball, crying.
Ballantine Books published my novella "Oceans Away" in Stellar Short Novels. I ghosted for Senator Paula Hawkins, and my op-eds appeared, under her name, throughout the United States. On , , , an , and a , I have 63,000 connections following MOURNING DOVE, all anxious for a copy. I expect cover blurbs from the most famous of these. My day job is Beltway bandit wordslinger.
Thank you for your time and consideration.