The stories in New Yesterdays didn’t end; the new sequence of events continued – on both sides of the portal. In our new tale, we will learn how life changed for Jim’s family as a result of his actions. Here’s an early excerpt from the new book. I hope you’ll like it!
“Where has that boy got off to?” The boys, Tony and Michael, withered under the fierce gaze of their Mother’s clear blue eyes. By now, Jim had been missing for nearly four hours. It wasn’t uncommon for the three brothers to play in the hills and vales surrounding the house, but none of them had ever gone off on his own for such a length of time. Then of course, there was the now obvious lie he had told Tony about going to visit Granddaddy who lived across the road. Tony had been dispatched to Granddaddy’s house to bring Jim home and was told that Jim hadn’t been up there since the previous day.
Tony knew exactly where his brother had gone when he heard that news. He also knew he sure as hell wasn’t about to tell Mother. He walked slowly down the long driveway, thinking about what he was to tell his Mother.
“Well? Where’s Jim? Didn’t I tell you to bring him back with you?”
The boy quickly looked up as he noticed a new tone in her voice. Mother’s eyes were shiny with impending tears. It was fear he heard in her voice.
“No ma’am, he wasn’t up there. I bet I know where he went. I bet he’s up at the Old House! Maybe he fell asleep or something.” He instantly regretted using the word ‘fell’. Mother flashed a look at him, filled with fresh worry.
“Fell through them rotten floors, more like!” The anger was coming back. “I’ve told y’all and told y’all not to be playing in that ol’ house. It’s dangerous! That’s probably where he is. Go on up there and get him, and be quick about it!”
As the screen door squeaked shut, Tony heaved a sigh of relief. He knew well that Jim hadn’t fallen – asleep, or through any rotten floor boards. He’d gone back through that damned place that took them to that Indian village!
“Dammit! He promised me he wouldn’t go back up there and now I’ve got to go get him!”
He walked toward the back yard as he talked to himself. Michael had made himself scarce when Mother had come out on the porch. One glance told him she had her nose out of joint and he didn’t want to be on the receiving end of whatever she planned to dish out.
Tony didn’t blame him. He only regretted that it was Michael near the corner of the house when she came out rather than him.
“Michael! C’mon; let’s go up to the Old House and get Jim before Daddy gets home from work! Mother said so!”
Michael emerged from his hiding spot in the smokehouse. An impish grin played at the corners of his mouth, highlighting his sparkling blue eyes. He’d evaded the third-degree and displayed no guilt about it at all.
“You reckon that’s where he went?” The smirk ran away from his darkening face. “You don’t think he went back to the other side, do you? I don’t want to go back in there!”
Tony was quiet for a few seconds. “You know he’s batshit crazy and I’ll bet you a half a dollar that’s where he is. I don’t wanna go get him either but we’ve got to or we’ll all get a whupping. I ain’t taking a whupping for what he’s done, so c’mon!”
“Let’s gang up on him and beat the shit out of him when we find him!”
Tony draped his arm around his brother’s shoulders. “That sounds like a damned fine idea!”
The way to the Old House had never seemed so long. Neither boy relished the idea of breaching the portal again. Earlier in the day, the three of them had gone through and walked down a trail that led them back to their grandparent’s farm only to discover that the farm had been replaced by an Indian village. They had met and talked to a boy about their own age who called himself Dustu.
The discovery had frightened the boys immensely and they couldn’t wait to get back to familiar places and things. Thinking of the events of the morning, Tony remembered that Jim had taken Dustu aside and spoken softly to him before they left. He wondered now if the two boys had planned to meet back at the cave they came through to get here. He was fairly certain they had, and now it was incumbent on him to find his brother and bring him back.
As the pieces came together in his thoughts, Tony felt his own anger rising. That they had no business in that place – whatever it was – should have been obvious to the most simple-minded foot. Yet, it was clear that his brother had gone back in without the slightest notion of what he was doing. His anger was gradually replaced by fear for Jim’s safety. What if they murdered him?
The moment they could be sure he was safe, he and Michael were going to kick the coon dog shit out of him! Yesiree, that’s exactly what was about to happen. And Mother! She was apt to beat him half to death if he had to guess.
The Old House loomed over them, now looking ominous. It was no longer a place to play, but rather a place of potential danger. Both boys stopped, just two steps away from the sagging front porch. Neither wanted to go in, and both wondered whether they had the courage to venture again into the unknown to search for their brother.
Tony’s large brown eyes turned on Michael. Both silently nodded and approached the front door. Neither looked around, but made a beeline for the kitchen sink under which they had made their journey that morning. Again, they stopped, looked at each other and then at the wall behind the sink. It didn’t look quite the same somehow. With a quick sideways glance at his brother, Michael reached out to push his hand through the portal.
“Holy shit! What happened?” Both boys pressed against the wainscot. It was solid.
“Maybe it was over this way…” They pressed and rapped their knuckles against the wall.
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