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Excerpt 1

This is a very short excerpt from what I think will be the first chapter of the book. The main character in this chapter is Seija, who is the first of four generations of my characters. In other words, she will be the great-grandmother of the youngest character. The story will focus on these four women, whose stories will be told concurrently, sort of weaving in and out of time periods. Here, Seija is a young woman living in rural Finland. I'm not totally satisfied with it. Feel free to tell me what you think on the comments page.

Chapter 1


Lavia, Finland, 1921


            Seija walked west through the dense forest that surrounded her family's cabin.  Her eyes sough a flash of blood red in the matted screen of old and new growth. She had a patient manner in her step.  She knew not to go stomping through the scrub, whacking at the unfathomable bramble and collecting pricks from thorns that wept. The trees welcomed her with their whispers. In silent commune with the forest, she let her eyes roam from side to side, watching for her lost ribbon and any signs of the prior evening's disturbance.

In her memory of last night, Seija had no impression that it was gone. The red ribbon was a precious thing to have, but it's loss didn't register with her until the next morning. If she couldn’t find it, she would have to tell her mother she didn’t know when or where it was lost. Better to get wound up in a loose lie than a tight one.

            After a half hour of searching, her focus was lost to the lulling quiet of the forest. Her mind was left open again to the newness of the prior day’s events. The words deftly whispered in these trees, the sensation of humidity, and hot breath applying warmth where gooseflesh broke out on her skin. Like a memory that wasn’t in the past, it flowed over her. The cause of becoming lost in the forest again this afternoon. She felt both at rest and in motion. Some change, she thought, would follow these unusual summer days. Keen as ever, her body had already known it.

            From an uncertain distance on her side came the soft swishing of a felled tree. Seija, knowing the lives of trees, felt the disturbance in everything. A grave change seemed to occur in the trees, the wind, the amount of light reaching the floor. She was unusually compelled by this to return home. Standing to her full height from a crouch, an odd sensation came over her. An imprecise fear. Forgetting her caution, she made quick, frantic motions to clear her path. A chill crept up her back, making her muscles rigid as she fought her way through the thicket.

The trees began to thin after a few panicked minutes, and she saw smoke overhead. The fear released her like a sweaty fist the moment she broke through the tree line, and she stopped to drink in the familiarity. She put a hand over her chest to help steady her breath. What had happened?

Then she saw an outline standing in the gray log doorway to the house. She forced herself not to start and focused on the figure. It was Matti, her youngest brother.

“It’s going to rain Seija, it doesn’t matter what spells you do in the woods," he teased her, as he liked to do. "What were you looking for?” he spoke while looking behind her at the sky, which was beginning to darken from the southwest. She wasn’t interested in the summer festival that evening that the boys wanted to go to. It would be spoiled by rain. A lot of it, hopefully.

“Nothing, Matti.” She turned to look at the approaching clouds. It wasn't uncommon for the weather to turn late in the day. Beside the lake, she had thought that the air had the buzzing feeling of an evening storm. Her gaze slid down from the dark sky to the shadows between the trees. The unfamiliar panic awoke again. It was inexplicable. She had been born in these woods. Nothing had ever driven her away like that in all her life. Yet she had the most peculiar feeling; the impression that something in there was looking back at her. 

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