Letters Blog Hop

24 05 2013

Hello Romance Fiction Writers and anyone else who finds this post. This is my first blog hop using this blog and I’m excited because I got to write something I had thought about back in high school but haven’t yet gotten to writing the story. Make sure to check out the other Letter entries here: http://romanticfridaywriters.blogspot.com.au/2013/05/inlinkz-sign-up-for-may-challenge.html

 

Minor disclaimer: While I have a fair amount of books for the research of the era this is set in, they are all in a different state than where I live currently. So, the language may not quite fit the right style needed for the pre-civil war era. So, please forgive any modern terminologies in this piece. I promise if I write the book that will be fixed. It’s also more of a part of a scene and not a whole store in itself.

 

About the story: Henry and James grew up near each other, families owned nearby plantations, and they were best friends. But James family moved up north when they are still kids and they vowed to each other to maintain friendships and write. No letters ever came to Henry. Then one day his friend returns to the south. At some point during their time building their friendship and more, Henry takes a hint from his mother and makes a discovery.

 

The Letters

 

Henry made his way through the halls of the plantation home, wiping sweat off his brow as he moved down the empty hallway. He had enjoyed the time outside, even the hard labor of helping with the field but he couldn’t do it for long and needed a break. Plus, he needed to take the opportunity at hand to search Father’s study while his parents were away visiting the Millers. It would be days but since his mother’s strange request, he couldn’t push down the urge any longer. He needed to know what she meant.

 

In the room, he wondered for a moment, his hand trailing along the wooden furniture. As strange as it sounded, he’d never been in the room before and by the grime that collected on his hand, the servants weren’t allowed to clean in their either. It belonged to his father and no one else could go in without permission, but his mother had requested he do a chore that required a paper kept in the desk.

 

The cool air of the dim room helped relieve the stress and heat he’d experienced though deep down he knew little of the struggle he had came from the labor. He did very little work but watching his friends James work out in the field among the slaves his father owned gave him strange feelings. Even the memory of James leaning over and working the cotton, sweat sliding down the back of his neck, gave Henry a sensation jolting through his body. He pushed it away, heading for the desk as instructed.

 

At first he could note nothing unusual. The desk looked as one could imagine what a man would need to handle the business of owning a plantation. He took a deep breath and went to the drawer he had to, pulling it out part way. He searched but didn’t find anything until he tried to push it back and noticed that it should have gone further back than it did, Pulling the heavy wood drawer out he reached behind and discovered a small pack with twine wrapped around it. Intrigued, he had to pull the pack of paper out to look at its contents. It didn’t look abnormal at first, but then he saw in carefully inked letters his name. Every separate letter cover had his name scrawled on the surface, yet he’d never seen them before in his life. Pulling the first one off the stack, still sitting on the ground, he opened the letter.

 

 

Henry, my friend, 

I hope this letter finds you well. I have no way to know if my last two ever made it to their destination but I haven’t given up hope. I take the promise we made that day with all seriousness anyone could pull out in the darkest of times. I am doing well though it is far different in the northern lands than Pa said. We are already down to a mere handful of workers and even those may leave soon. I do miss the adventures we took as kids. Please if this letter finds you, may you return a few words. Until then, I will await and send another letter when I get the chance.

James

 

 

Henry searched through the letters, never finding the first letters that the one he had read mentioned. The rest all had similar tones. They all discussed the general news of the time along with concern over his well being due to the lack of a response and yet the ever enduring hope. Then he got to the last letter.

 

 

Henry,

I don’t know if I should send this. I had vowed to Mother that I had given up but after this last week, I had to try on more time. They tried to find me a wife. I even met the girl and while she had the qualities a man should desire according to Pa but I couldn’t continue past that point. I felt nothing, not what they said I should feel. Instead, as I lay in bed each night, I can’t help but think about you. I wonder what you look like. Do you look like your Pa? Do you have strong hands from working the grounds? It gives me strange sensations and I have decided to keep my promise. Soon I will return to my home land. While I am happy up North and even understand the reasons for the unsettled disputes over the slaves, I can’t help but know I left something behind, something I won’t get back until I have returned. I don’t know when it will be or if you will even recognize the dark haired boy that chased you up a tree once. Until then, my best wishes for your health and happiness,

James

 

 

Clutching the letters, Henry remained stunned. He didn’t know how to respond to the letters he’d wished would come and the realization that they had been hidden from him both hit at once. The fact that James felt the same things he had started to feel watching him touched the surface of his mind but he couldn’t latch on to any thought for long. He clutched the letters to his chest, wishing he could take them with him when he left the room, but he couldn’t. He had to put them away back in the hidden spot and hope one day to return to retrieve them.

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18 responses

24 05 2013
Sally

I think you captured the time of the era perfectly (although I don’t know much about this time myself) and the culture of the society of the time.

24 05 2013
mmwriteradwilson

Thanks Sally. I appreciate the comment on my entry.

24 05 2013
Donna Hole

Forbidden love is always a romantic draw. Yes, the voice and setting did fit your desired era, and I’m intrigued to find out if the two were able to meet again and explore their love.

Thank you for participating with RFW this month. I hope to see more of your writings in the future.

………dhole

24 05 2013
mmwriteradwilson

Thanks Donna Hole. I was unsure but it’s nice to have people who think the language worked for the characters. It was a fun challenge to write.

24 05 2013
Yolanda Renee

AD, I think you captured the story beautifully. Is this going to turn into a book? I think it’s a great start and would love to know the outcome, although for the setting I can imagine the angst such a relationship would cause. Great subject for a book – do you do happy endings?

24 05 2013
mmwriteradwilson

Thank you Yolanda Renee for the comment. I might get to this book but we will see as I don’t dapple much in historical settings. As for the endings, it depends on the story. I would say for the most part I go with happy for now or happy ever after because of the genre. I do write other types of fiction though and if a story needs an unhappy ending then that is what I will go with in that case.

25 05 2013
Anne

Historical fiction is so interesting and I think you did catch a great part of its nuances in your story. A forbidden relationship in such a setting makes it even more compelling.

26 05 2013
mmwriteradwilson

Ann, thanks for the nice comment. It’s good to hear that some thought the nuances worked well.

25 05 2013
Nilanjana Bose

Historical fiction is always intriguing, and a forbidden relationship adds even more interest. So many things I’d like to know more about – the father’s exact motives in hiding the letters, the mother’s in revealing the hiding place, whether they got to meet at the end. I hope they do.

26 05 2013
mmwriteradwilson

Thanks Nilanjana Bose. I like the idea of historical fiction but might have to look into it more. I do like the idea of the story so maybe some day. 🙂

26 05 2013
Denise Covey

Hello AD, we are always worried about historical settings aren’t we? We want to do justice to an era and we are a little afraid someone will pick out a glaring mistake. So far we all accept your rendition of the era. Your story has a lot of depth and I could see it as part of a book. Looks like I’m not the only one who feels this way.

Thank you for sharing this story with us for Letters.

Denise

26 05 2013
mmwriteradwilson

Indeed, especially since I usually either do fantasy world or somewhere around modern day when it comes to my stories. I appreciate the comment from you and the others. Glad it was so well received. I had fun with the challenge. Thanks again Denise. 😀

27 05 2013
Linda K

An interesting story of forbidden love. You handled this very delicately and created interesting characters. I had no issues with the history.

28 05 2013
mmwriteradwilson

Linda K, thank you for the comment. I’m glad you liked the characters.

27 05 2013
jabblog

This reads like an extract from a book – most intriguing.

28 05 2013
mmwriteradwilson

Thanks, jabblog, for the comment. Interesting how many do see it as a small piece of a larger story but that’s common for me. Hope to one day have novels out for people and not just snippets. 😉

28 05 2013
Nik

I loved this story. It was packed with the pressures that the cultural and time would have placed on them both. It feels very real for that time.

29 05 2013
mmwriteradwilson

Nik, I’m glad you liked it. Thanks for the comment.

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