I started dreaming alot when I was around 8 years old. This would be around the time when most children are easily scared half to death with anything especially a bad dream. The story itself takes place in Lansing and Dimondale Michigan, the city where I grew up and spent a lot of time dreaming of life, love and of course monsters. There's a lot of history and spirituality involving the Native American heritage as well as some of my own small speculation where the Myans are concerned. The hero of this story starts out a boy and finds his way to becoming a man through the highly spiritual, violent and majical world of dreams. Along the way he learns his own family history and finds love in the most peculiar place. I hope you enjoy the story as much as I enjoyed writing it for you.
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By Anthony W. Shotwell
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2010 Anthony W. Shotwell
All right reserved.
Chapter OneA New Home
November 20, 1977, I was nine and a half now; this day started as any other with an early breakfast, when that was finished Kenny and I would walk to school. We walked to and from school unless my father was picking up a double shift at the plant, then we would ride home with Nick and his mom hanging out there until my mother came to pick us up. I'm not sure which plant he worked at, nor do I remember his job title. I do know he was the person that carried the stopwatch while walking up and down the line. This made almost all of the employee's hate to see my father making his way out of his office. This was mostly because they knew he would be chewing someone out and he couldn't figure out why not many people liked him. Mrs. Finke was my 4th grade teacher and as teachers go she wasn't too awful bad, still we hated her cause she could pull a test out of thin air and everything we did counted towards our grade.
Mrs. Finke may have been a hundred years old for all we knew this was because she looked older than my grandmother did when in fact she was only in her late 80s. She had silver hair that was always wrapped in a neat little bun, not a hair out of place; she had granny glasses that always seemed to set on the end of her nose. This always made her seem like she was looking down on us disapprovingly. She wasn't much taller than I was but a formidable adversary none the less, her face resembled something like shoe leather that had been soaked in water and blow dried a few thousand times, the road map of wrinkles seeming to go nowhere, starting at her nose and leading you on a wild goose chase ending in her neat hair. Everyday she wore the same skirt suit that reminded me of the Queen of England. When on those rare occasions she is seen in public without those royal robes, always a different color, they must have had a sale on those things somewhere because Mrs. Finke didn't seem like the type of person who would spend a whole lot of money on anything. She wore knee high stockings that seemed to find themselves rolled halfway down her calf well before lunchtime.
As we walked in the door to Thelma James elementary school, Mrs. Finke passed by ten other children to meet me at the door. "Well good morning Mr. Simpson, and how are we today?" While walking down the hall towards our classroom, Kenny still in tow, I replied, "Hello Mrs. Finke I'm fine, how are you this morning?" her reply to my own inquisition was a little curt, "Just wonderful. I hope you are prepared for the quiz we will be having today, as you already know, you haven't exactly done very well on the past few tests and I would like to see you do better this time around." I replied, holding back all the sarcasm I could, "Yes Mrs. Finke I know, so, what's the test going to be on today maam?" her reply came as quite a shock to me as I thought there would be a bit more time to study, "world war 2 which we learned all about yesterday, you remember the material right?" I caught the sarcasm in her voice. As I interrupted her, I waited for some kind of punishment for my insolent behavior, Mrs. Finke had a punishment for every occasion and they were as swift and harsh as the wind on a snowy, cold November day.
Mrs. Finke was a teacher that still believed in giving a child a nice slap across the face or a paddle across the rear end. She had a paddle with holes drilled thru, so as not t have any drag through the air; it made a sound like the whistle of a bottle rocket with the crack of the explosion at the end. I had been on the receiving end of these spankings on few occasions. On the face of the paddle were two children bending over, one male the other female, the caption read, "You should never hit a child in the face, nature provides a better place." The whistle before contact made the anticipation almost unbearable. "But Mrs. Finke we just got the notes and stuff yesterday" I stopped talking, letting my voice trail off, the stern look upon her leather face prompting my silence.
I stood there waiting for any sign of the smack on the back of my head that surely would be on its way. Old leather face as we called her looked at me over the glasses that were sitting almost on the tip of her nose. It was a nose that with a big wart would look like every stereotypical witch I have ever seen on Halloween, all that was needed was a black pointy hat and a loud cackle, which I was sure, would come any second. "As I was saying you just learned about world war 2 yesterday so it should still be fresh in your bright young mind." Mrs. Finke responded to my protest through smiling pursed lips, with a light shove myself and two other children, Mary and Kate are ushered into the classroom, by that time Kenny had already disappeared down the hall towards his own classroom. He was dreading the day when he would have to be in her class for a whole year.
The tests were surprisingly easy though, as usual where young minds were concerned; Mrs. Finke was almost assuredly going to be right. I mean come on she must have been the one teacher that Abraham Lincoln had taught by who prompted him to go into politics. Since she is well over a couple hundred yrs old, course that was just one of the many cuts we used to tell each other around the lunchroom table. "She's so old she used to teach Lincoln" or "she's so old she taught Washington how to use an axe, and whooped him with that paddle of hers when he lied about chopping down that cherry tree."
During class time I swear Mrs. Finke would have us so quiet you could hear a pin dropped by a mouse from across the classroom which was a good 50 feet away from where I was assigned to sit every day. Our classroom also being carpeted made this feat all the more remarkable.
Mrs. Finke took what I thought was too much pride in the fact that with a small gesture she could command children to bend to her will. She had received awards for her work with children over the years. Some of the space on the walls all the way around the classroom was completely covered not with learning materials, as with other classrooms, or with other teachers. Mrs. Finke's classroom walls were covered with plaques that represent how good and valued of a teacher she has been her entire career. Mrs. Finke used these awards on a daily basis to make some point about learning or the way she chooses to run her classroom. Sometimes she used them to explain why her disciplinary actions were the right way to discipline a child. I think in some twisted way helped her continue to deal with students the way she always had, with spankings, and, by forcing small bars of soap into our mouths even after this became against the law.
Bars of soap that were similar in size as those you would find at a motel, we all thought she must have spent a lot of time in one because she had what seemed like an endless supply. What was considered discipline in those days is child abuse now, parents then had no problem smacking a child across the face for throwing a fit in the grocery store, now this is punishable by jail time at the very least. I think she was in trouble for it a couple of times over the course of her long career. It did not seem to matter much to her though. Mostly because she still did pretty much anything she wanted mostly cause she had a very high success rate, as far as, preparing children for the rest of their lives or some such nonsense, not to mention, I think she had the rest of the staff scared to death of her, I know all the students were.
The school day was pretty normal, after lunch I got into a fight with a kid in my class, which in turn, ended up being a fight with his cousins his brother, who was two years older, as well as a couple of his brothers friends. This was almost a daily occurrence with them, going on for roughly the past three or four months or so. It started one day during recess, we were all playing basketball out on the playground, and Conny had missed a shot and said I fouled him. He was a whole head shorter than I was, his brother was training him to be the school bully after he left, and I thought he was just pissed off because his mother had named him after his great grandmother Connie. It made me feel a bit sorry for him being that he had been named after a woman and all.
After lunch Mrs. Finke gave us our graded tests, I was surprised albeit, pleasantly, with an A on both tests, thinking back now, the last thing Mrs. Finke would grade of mine would make her think she had accomplished something by bringing out the true potential she always knew I possessed. I always thought this somehow made her feel proud, at the very least, for the rest of the year would allow her to use my small successes in her classroom, making her the teacher of the year for my receiving an A on the last two tests of hers I had taken. It was not that I was a bad student, I just did not like school much, and I was always distracted by something around me. I didn't much care what she thought, even though I didn't know it yet, I would have a different teacher for the rest of the school year, I would never again have to see her as a student of hers. Later on that year I heard she died of a heart attack brought on while fighting with a student to get a bar of soap in their mouth the student had called her "old leather face" I guess she didn't really care for the nickname. This story like so many others would be nothing more than wishful thinking, although, I could not believe anyone would actually want her dead, as much as I couldn't stand her I didn't want her dead.
At the end of the day I met up with Kenny, as with every other day we proceeded to walk home, it was cold, we had about two foot of snow on the ground. You could see your breathe trailing in the brisk wind with every step, the trees creaked in protest, as the wind forced them to move shaking off snow that had packed upon their limbs. The wind blowing drifts of snow over the sidewalks making in a little harder to walk through. While we were walking across the playground, from out of the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of Conny. He, his brother, and some other kids were chasing another classmate of mine. Seeing them it made me laugh a little. I did feel some concern for Nick though given the fact that he was my friend. I had spent a lot of time at his house after school over the years, but even as the thought crossed my mind, I also thought they wouldn't catch him, given the fact that he could run like the wind that was now nipping at our noses. I proceeded to ignore the scene besides, in my mind Conny, John and all their buddies would be dealing with a 6x9 cell in some prison in their not so distant future. It was at this thought I began to laugh hysterically, Kenny's face turned a bright shade of red, he was angry, already knowing the thoughts running through my head, so, instantly, almost as suddenly as I had started laughing, I stopped. It was hard keeping a straight face in front of him, seeing Conny and his brother in those prison stripes was quite funny. During the rest of the walk home, I would think of this, give a little giggle and get that same disapproving look from Kenny, without a word I would leave my giggles to the wind, which had picked up since we left the school. Kenny and I had been bundled up pretty heavily, but the cold winter wind penetrated all of our defenses. Kenny was more like our father than he would ever admit, I felt sorry for him, I hoped he would somehow grow out of it, he just had a way of making you do what he wanted.
Kenny was definitely wiser than any 7yr old kid I'd ever met, let alone in the rest of our school, he didn't talk much nor did he show it to his other classmates, of course, he always did his schoolwork but did just enough of it to get by, so as not to show too much of his intelligence. This would keep him from standing out amongst the other children. Even though he probably had an IQ that was higher than most of his teachers, not to mention his other classmates. You see we attended a school where the dumb kids beat the hell out of the smart kids on a daily basis. If they were lucky, they would just called them nerds, or other names instead of beating them up, so he learned not to stand out, at least, not with anyone but me. Intelligence may have been rewarded by the school but it was far from rewarded by the other students, given the fact that Kenny was just NOT any kind of a fighter, he played the "go along to get along" role and it worked for him. It allowed him to laugh inside when other students showed the true nature of their intelligence, "Their stupidity was matched only by their ignorance" as the words rolled off of his tongue the laughter would immediately follow.
Kenny was also quiet, this made him kind of mysterious, and just about everyone was afraid of him including his teachers, at least that's what they all showed him. When you don't know what someone is thinking by the look on his or her face, or by any other reaction, that fear can overwhelm you, needless to say. Fear of the unknown is far worse than knowing what you fear, at least knowing what it is will help you face and maybe even concur whatever that fear may be. He always had a look on his face that made people think he was contemplating something shady, it was this look that had Kenny left pretty much alone most of the time. The other kids would ignore him and talk badly behind his back; he could hear them whispering and giggles knowing that all the while they were talking about him. This would amuse him immensely; he would play a game trying to figure out what they were saying, most of the time he guessed right.
Kenny and I were very close. We had a bond that could only be described as the connection shared between identical twins. It was as if we could read each other's minds. We could speak to each other without a single gesture or word, we would just think of what we wanted to say and the other one understood, with little or no movement from the other. We thought this was the coolest thing in the world, but our father hated it. He always said it was "eerie" while describing it to his friends. It made them look at us as though we were possessed by demons or something. This fueled a lot of laughter between Kenny and I, given the fact that we played very well on the fears of what they did not know or understand they were just afraid of it enough to make it funny. While being stared at through alcohol soaked eyes, we would simply say boo and watch as whichever one of them we scared, jump three feet in the air from a seated position, haha, good times. Kenny in many ways, was the older of the two of us, at least mentally, my mother always used to say, "God concentrated more on his brain, than on his brawn". So far uncle Dave had jumped the highest, from where he sat he must've hit a whole four and a half feet off the couch, haha, it was great, the look on his face when I said, "AHH" it was too funny.
As we turned the last corner onto Ross Avenue where we lived, I could not feel my fingers, the wind had picked up even more, it was getting dark out, the snow drifting over the sidewalk made it hard to walk through, the clouds were brewing another snowstorm. It had begun to snow lightly again, Kenny stopped without warning. He turned to look at me I could see something different in his face, then I saw what had prompted this look from him I was surrounded by a feeling I had not yet felt in my young life. That would be unless you count those few occasions when my father actually came home from work and just passed out instead of waking up the entire house going off about my mother undercooking his eggs or not buttering his toast and stacking it just the way he likes it. Which is while the toast is still hot buttering it all the way to the crust and stacking it one on top of the other, butter side up and if its not, if just one thing is out of place he would return it to the kitchen with such vigor as to break all the dishes on the tray. Hopefully my mother would not be in the way because it had never mattered to him as long as his food was returned to the kitchen and the cook had heard his complaint. What followed then would be a verbal tirade of the worst kind, Loud and Foulmouthed, while Kenny and I cowered in our rooms or at the dining room table eating our own food, quietly so as not to have my father's wrath turned in our direction.
Excerpted from Dreamwalker by Anthony W. Shotwell Copyright © 2010 by Anthony W. Shotwell. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1: A New Home....................1
Chapter 2: The Nightmare begins....................15
Chapter 3: Death as a Part of Life....................33
Chapter 4: Dreamwalker....................51
Chapter 5: The Fog....................69
Chapter 6: The Family Tree....................95
Chapter 7: Home Again....................119
Chapter 8: The Powwow....................141
Chapter 9: Twofeathers....................157
Chapter 10: Destiny Revealed....................177
Chapter 11: A Welcome Home....................197
Chapter 12: A Truth Uncovered....................217
Chapter 13: Kenny....................235
Chapter 14: The Sleeper Awakened....................249
Chapter 15: Showdown....................263
Chapter 16: A Friendly Face....................279
Chapter 17: Me....................291
Chapter 18: Tibbelt....................307
Chapter 19: Its Never Over Till It's Over....................327
Chapter 20: As One Chapter in Life Ends A New One Begins....................349
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
It was a wonderfully written story I really hope to read the next one by this author. I was enthralled by the storyline, the story flowed fron one page to the next...