A modern fairytale retelling.
Today, I have an excerpt for you all from the book The Scent of Leaves by Kathryn Trattner.
WHAT’S THE BOOK ABOUT
Janet has always dreamed about leaving her small town behind and starting over somewhere fresh. The only thing keeping her going is a photography obsession and her film camera. For her, life is a series of late nights spent working at a local gas station and days earning a final college credit before graduation. But she’s been putting it off for so long she’s starting to feel like it might not happen.
One night Tom appears, charming and handsome, and going out of his way to get to know her. Suddenly he’s everywhere in her small town, appearing and disappearing at odd moments, creeping in on her days and nights. As they spend time together, Janet falling more under his spell each day, she begins to realize that reality is different around Tom. Small things begin to happen, odd occurrences turning into strange events, as Janet is pulled deeper into the mystery surrounding him.
In this modern retelling of the classic Ballad of Tam Lin the world is brought into sharp focus through the lens of a camera. The line between what is and is not real blurs, nature stealing in around the edges, and Janet comes to understand that there is more at stake than just a broken heart.
HERE’S THE EXCERPT:
It was midnight when she looked up, pulled from the pages of a novel, finding him without hesitation. As if she had known he would be there, expected it at this appointed hour. He stood, silent, arms limp as his sides, gaze glued to her.
He stood between the night and the light thrown by the awning over the pumps, the glow of fluorescents not quite touching him. Half of his face shadowed, the glitter of an eye as it moved, as he looked away.
She set the book down, coming out from behind the counter. The door chimed as she pushed it open, a constant that she almost did not hear, almost did not register except in some animal part of her brain. Heat smacked her, brought a sheen of tears to her eyes. He watched her come, she felt his pull.
“Tom?” She made his name a question, putting into it a curling hope that came from deep earth, warmed over with love.
He did not speak, watching her, fixed to the pavement.
She crept closer, reaching across the space that separated them. A breeze slipped by, ruffling her hair, and she pulled her hand back to set it right, smooth it down. Pausing, she looked around. In the dark, with the night pressed close, she felt a ripple of unease, brought by the breeze, settling against her skin.
Turning back to Tom she gasped, stepping forward instead of away, as his pale face cracked and split to reveal darkness blacker than the night. His mouth opened and leaves fell from his lips, crumbling, twisting away across the pavement.
She reached for him, touching hard, cool skin. He began to crumble, face flaking away, figure melting into crackling leaves and mildew. Her hand closed over his fingers for a moment, a second, and she thought in that instant his hand curled around her own.
Then he was gone, melted, never having been, except for the crackle of dead leaves in her hand.
Genre: Fairy Tales, Retelling, Fantasy || Pages: 176 || Published on January 15th 2021
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Kathryn Trattner has loved fairy tales, folk stories, and mythology all of her life. Her hands down favorites have always been East of the Sun, West of the Moon and the story of Persephone and Hades. When not writing or reading she’s traveling as much as possible and taking thousands of photos that probably won’t get edited later. She lives in Oklahoma with her wonderful partner, two very busy children, one of the friendliest dogs ever, and an extremely grumpy cat who doesn’t like anyone at all.
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