The Seed was an exciting and worthwhile story to tell. I hope you enjoy the following pages and look forward to the next installment. Also, don’t forget to check out my recipe page (click above). And, after The SEED, there are a few pages from my Johnny Vic historical adventure series!!
It’s a blustery day here in Vermont (colder than the scene in my painting–pictured left). A cardinal, as red as a fire truck, is sampling the sunflower seeds in our feeder. And me? I’m thinking about the cozy fire that’s blazing in the living room and the meaty, mouthwatering aroma that has drifted all the way from my Crafty Kitchen to this boxy little office. My husband is cuddled up next to blue-eyed Ginger, our Samoyed Husky–did you know they were partly bred to keep people warm?–and, I’ve got my eye on Gabriel, our Siberian husky. He also loves to cozy up, especially when I’m reading. Yes . . . tantalizing food, cuddly pets, a fire, and a good read or a nap: they’re all part of the good life in this Crafty Kitchen! Speaking of good reads, I hope you sample these pages from my novel, The SEED, (ISBN 0-7414-3072-X, Infinity Publishing) available at several of the major dot coms, or at my newly revamped website: AnnRichDuncan.com. It’s a timely tale of intrigue, where my treasure-hunting hero, John Victor, stumbles on a plot to control our food supply. Because of the plethora of scientific breakthroughs with genetically modified foods, I’m saddened to say that God’s nourishing creations have become money-making inventions. And poor John Victor: all he wants to do is find the trunk filled with gold from the Civil War. Instead, he must track down the formula called the Terminator before Alexander Graham Rossweild’s people devastate America’s farmlands with it. Yikes!
So enjoy . . . then take a peek at the recipes, seed tips and Johnny Vic scenes that follow. And PLEASE! Send me your comments!
by Ann Rich Duncan
PROLOGUE: “Wisely and slow, they stumble that run fast.” William Shakespeare.
The memory of Colonel Mitchem’s eager eyes clung to Julia Mahoney’s brain with the intensity of a raw, red canker sore. She realized he’d kill her if Alexander ordered him to do it. He’d probably take pleasure in it. She sat at the edge of her bed in the West Wing of Alexander Graham Rossweild’s Tennessee mansion in a mindless, autistic-like state until a noise from the hallway snapped her out of it.
Somebody’s coming! She leaned forward and strained to listen, her eyes darting from the ornate glass doorknob to the sliver of light below. Shadows flickered under the door and then they were gone. “Good,” she crooned. “They’re not coming for me–at least not yet.” She believed that Alexander wanted her dead. Why else would Mitchem lock me in? she reasoned.
A door slammed from somewhere above and more footsteps came her way. It seemed to go on forever–this endless marathon of muffled voices and shuffling footsteps. She returned to her mindless rocking and moaned as she snugged the thick coverlet tightly around her. She was exhausted. Eventually, the convulsive shivers ended and Julia was lulled into the blissful oblivion of a deep sleep. She began to dream then, and found herself cradled within the protective embrace of a benevolent giant who was saving her from her enemy’s clutches. Unfortunately, Julia Mahoney, the scientist, could never completely surrender to a dream. And the only giant she knew was Alexander’s pride and joy, SanFidel, Incorporated, and he definitely was not kindly toward anyone even remotely perceived as a threat to it.
JULIA WOKE UP SOBBING. She wondered if she would be killed and dumped on some remote hillside in Tennessee like useless residue from one of SanFidel’s failed experiments; but luckily, that thought provoked a burst of anger. Useless residue? I’m not useless . . . my formula worked! It’s going to make them millions!
Julia crawled out of her warm cocoon. She would escape but her only chance would be tonight. She thought, They’ll settle down sooner or later. She looked around, thinking, I need a tool or a weapon or something–but what? She peeked under the bed. Nothing, darn it. Well, maybe there’s something in the closet. She stopped to listen for activity in the hall, then eased the closet door open. A quick glance revealed a tidy space–almost empty, but not quite. At her feet was a neatly stacked pile of metal. A fire ladder? Perfect! She picked it up, momentarily surprised by the weight of it, and tiptoed toward the window. She felt almost giddy as her slender fingers tore at the plastic ties that bound the rungs together. Thank God for Alexander’s morbid fear of fire! I bet all of the rooms have one of these tucked away somewhere!
Julia’s excitement almost dissolved when she peered out of the window. Oh, God. It’s so far down–I can’t do this! A tear trickled down her cheek and she turned away, ready to slink back to the bed, but the sudden unbidden memory of Mitchem’s cold eyes quickly renewed her determination. She just couldn’t let him win. – – – – – – – That’s it for this installment. See if Julia escapes in my next post! In the meantime, check out the following:
Heirloom Seed Tips below . . .
Hint: You can freeze fresh-picked DRY beans for 24 hours to kill any diseases or bug eggs. Then package in paper envelopes. (need more info? google heirloom seed growers).
Nothing’s better than using vegetables you’ve grown yourself. How about ordering a packet or two of Danvers Half Long carrots from your seed catalog? Heirloom growers say the Danvers produces early and can grow in shallow soil or in a pot. They date back to the 1800’s.
A hushed expectancy settled upon the forest. Even the leaves stopped rustling in the calm before the storm, but Samuel Post didn’t notice–he was too frightened, too busy running. However, one hundred yards behind him, a sleek red fox stopped to check it out. One sniff with lifted snout told her that rain would soon fall. She twisted her ears, this way and that, as if to ask, where is it coming from–will there be danger? A great horned owl also took heed and soared across the darkening sky in search of a protective perch. He would wait there and brace himself for the first big thunderclap–Mother Nature’s cue to all of the animals to scurry, hop, chirp, and squeak as they race to seek shelter.
THE OWL WAS already watching from his spot high above the woodsy path when the first jagged bolt of lightning lit up the sky. The sudden flash exposed fearful Samuel, and he, too, felt the primitive urge to scurry away. After all, the big black box that he clutched so tightly held a dangerous secret.
– – – – – – – – – there’s more to Samuel’s escape, but I’ll save that for when you read the book. Let’s jump ahead to Chapter One with Johnny Vic!
A cool breeze tickled Johnny Vic’s neck. Not fully awake, he tried to rub it away, then rolled over, cocooning himself within a thick layer of bedding. Only a few tufts of his wavy brown hair could be seen as he snuggled and struggled to return to his dream. And, he would have succeeded if a boisterous band of blue jays had not swooped onto the gnarly apple tree outside.
Johnny poked his head out and yelled, “Darn birds! Can’t a fella get any sleep around here?” The racket continued as the feathered intruders bickered and bounced from branch to branch. But, suddenly, Johnny did not care. His eyes popped open–he yanked the blankets away–he was glad to be awake.
“Oh, boy! We’re gonna go treasure hunting!”
It was 11-year-old Johnny Vic’s first full day at Ben’s new cabin in Vermont. He was going to spend a whole week alone with his favorite uncle, Benjamin Victor Bradley, before the rest of his family came for their summer vacation. He jumped out of bed and raced to the window, hoping the weather would be as good as Ben had predicted.
“Yes! Not a cloud in the sky, Luke!” His uncle’s white German shepherd woofed softly and pushed his wet nose against the boy’s bare leg before sitting back on his haunches. With his tongue hanging out and his eyes shining bright, Lucas made a comical sight. Johnny Vic laughed and rubbed his ears. “Hey, you look just like Scooby Doo . . . you’re just as smart as he is, too, aren’t you?” Johnny pictured the popular cartoon pooch as he stretched his arms around 101 pounds of real fur.
. . . hope you like it. Of course, Johnny Vic and Lucas will soon be out and about, finding the magical metal detector! Right now, I think I’ll hunker down with Gabriel and a seed catalog. See you next time. And remember, I welcome your comments.