The Pink Lady Slipper
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by Billie A. Williams
Description: Trudy Moncha wasn't quite sure what to make of Yachne. Her talk of ghosts, witches and the devil bordered on extreme paranoia, zealot or something worse. Trudy wanted to assure her that she would not harbor evil, but that she was determined to renovate and open The Pink Lady Slipper in the near future. "I had intentions of restoring the Lady Slipper and turning it in to a bed and breakfast." There will be no evil in that. Ordinary families on vacation needing a place to spend the night will find haven at the Lady Slipper. That's what I have planned." She said hoping that appeased Yachne. Wringing her hands and ready to bolt out the door at the drop of a pin Yachne bubbled over with foreboding. "Oh fine. Another brothel. Another house of ill repute. Another evil den of iniquity. This place needs to be burned. Burned to rid us of its evil," Yachne said agitated, rising to leave. "I must get back. Pastor Joseph will be worried for my well-being." "I'm sorry you feel the house harbors evil Mrs. Yachne. Mother loved it, so do I," she said opening the door for Yachne. "Like an evil lover. You unmarried woman are ripe for the devils deeds," she turned and walked quickly down the outer stair case of the Carriage House
eBook Publisher: Wings ePress, Inc., 2005 2005
eBookwise Release Date: September 2006
4 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [378 KB]
Reading time: 259-363 min.
All Other formats: Printing DISABLED, Read-aloud DISABLED
THE PINK LADY SLIPPER Trudy Moncha's mother died unexpectedly of a heart attack. She inherited the family Homestead in Michigan, and with it The Pink Lady Slipper, a big old haunted log house with a fascinating history as whorehouse and station on the underground railroad. Trudy was on the road as a rodeo clown for years, but recently a bull gored her leg, and she needs a new career. Once home, she tries to talk to her sister, Linda, about their mother's health, but gets nowhere. Trudy hires a female contractor to repair the winter's snow damage to the Lady Slipper, and talks with neighborhood people. She learns her mother's fiancé disappeared shortly before her death. Her mother had been a allowing a coven of witches to meet in The Lady Slipper. The preacher's wife is sure the place is full of sin, and shrieks at everyone to burn it down. Trudy has the contractor begin the work to turn it into a Bed and Breakfast Inn for her, and they discover a dead body beneath the floor boards. If the place wasn't haunted before, it must be now. The trouble is; there's no clown's barrel big enough for Trudy to hide in, from the evil growing in The Pink Lady Slipper. Judy Miller Return To Port Darkling When Trudy Moncha learns that her mother has died and her sister, Linda, has buried her then notified her afterwards, she is shocked. More so when she learns that her robust mother has died of a heart attack. The woman was completely healthy, how does one suddenly die of a heart attack? Not only that, the homestead known as The Pink Lady Slipper, has been left to her. When she arrives home to discover there was no autopsy and Linda doesn't have a copy of the death certificate or will, more questions pile in her head. She soon learns there are rumors of ghosts and witchcraft, along with her sister being one of the participants. More questions that Trudy has to find answers to but the more she investigates she finds herself learning more than she ever imagined. Will she be able to find out the truth or will someone or something stop her in her tracks? This is a great book read. There are little things in the story that give you an eerie feeling of someone almost watching over your shoulder as you read the pages. The stench in the room sent chills through me not to mention hearing the footsteps on the stairs. I love the description Ms. Williams gave the spider spinning its silk. The story line with Faith and her preacher husband--excellent. I wanted to jump through the pages and bring her back with me. I loved the way Xavier gave the description of Sally to Trudy. Ms. Williams' brilliant creativity and style of writing never ceases to amaze me. She has created a spine-tingling tale that will keep you spellbound until the end! The characters, along with the secondary characters, that she blends well into the story have great depth and are very believable. This book is not only a keeper, it is a winner. Kudos to Ms. Williams. THE PINK LADY SLIPPER is a book that I could not put down. It is a page-turner from the first page to the last. This book is filled with spellbinding excitement with twists and turns at every corner. I can hardly wait to read Ms. Williams next book! She is an excellent storyteller! Linda Lattimer, Skeletons Too Close to Home WingsePress.com With The Pink Lady Slipper, Billie Williams has crafted a gripping tale filled with enough twists, turns and suspects to keep me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. Nora Peterson, author of Past Imperfect coming from Wings ePress, September 2006
Trudy Moncha spun the barrel around checking every stave, every ring of the safety barrels that were placed about the rodeo center arena. She bounced the rubber mallet against the sides with a force similar to how a bull might hit it. She wanted to be absolutely sure that all the barrels were sound. Call her paranoid, if you will, but another defective barrel like the one Cyclone smashed to smithereens had nearly cost Trudy her life. That was no accident. There was no way it was going to happen again. Not to her, not to any other rodeo clown either, she thought massaging her game hip as she limped from one big barrel to the next.
The loud speaker bellowed "Trudy Moncha to the office trailer please." The office trailer of the rodeo grounds supervisor sat out in the secured lot behind the rodeo grounds. As she limped to Kyle Houston's trailer she wondered if maybe this was the day he told her to hang up her face paint and retire from the rodeo circuit. And do what? She thought, entertain at kids' birthday parties as a has-been rodeo clown? What would she do if she couldn't follow the rodeo in some capacity? It had become her life. Well, she'd have to cross that bridge when she came to it.
Kyle looked drawn and pale when Trudy entered the trailer. He handed her a telegram. "I'm sorry," he mumbled his eyes downcast.
She shook as she took the telegram from him. Trudy didn't like the look on the usually jovial man's face. She wasn't getting fired, but maybe that would have been easier to deal with than what awaited her. The language of the telegram's cryptic bursts slashed at Trudy's insides as though a knife ripped across her heart.
Mother dead, buried. Stop
Come home at once. Stop
Call 555-1212 Stop.
The full weight of the rift between Trudy and her mother struck her like the weight of a rodeo bull on her back. How could she just up and die on her? Her emotions rode the bucking tide against the belief of what she read. Anger, anguish, rage flew at her like mud clods from a bronco's hooves.
"Damn, damn, no!" she said kicking the chairs and tossing the telegram into the air. She retrieved the telegram from where it landed and read it again. "No! No," pain and sorrow gurgled out in a tear-filled, anguished cry that squeezed from her as though that bull sat on her chest this time. Sinking to the floor sobbing, "Nooo," she cried out with the pain that tore at her life.
Kyle rounded his desk, reached down and drew Trudy up into his embrace. "I'm so sorry honey, so sorry. If I can do anything, anything at all..." He let his voice trail off knowing how useless any words were at a time like this. Instead, he held her and let her pour her grief out in a flood of tears that turned a dark blue stain on the pale blue of his shirt.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to come unglued Kyle," she finally said.
Trudy hadn't seen or heard from her mother in a year or more. If she's dead and buried what more did they need of her? Why the urgency? Trudy's mind raged. "How could they have buried mother without notifying me? Why hadn't Linda or Paul called or telegraphed before this? I always sent an itinerary to mother so she would know where I was in case of a family emergency." Even though they rarely spoke, Trudy made sure her mother could reach her. Obviously, her sister knew how to reach her, she'd reached her now. But, why did she wait until now?
"Can I use your phone?" she asked.
Kyle released her from his tight embrace and pushed the phone across the desk, "sure kid." He sat back down behind his desk, fingers laced together over his rotund belly, as he leaned back in his chair and watched while Trudy dialed the phone number.
Numbly she pressed each key pad of her sister's telephone number. "It's Trudy. What's going on?"
Linda told her they had already buried their mother. "She left you everything, except for her car and a stupid painting. You inherited everything! The family homestead and anything connected to mother. You better hurry and get here because The Lady Slipper is collapsing by the day," Linda said.
Linda's angry shouting caused Trudy to hold the phone away from her ear. Houston's bushy gray eyebrows knotted together in a single line under his furrowed forehead, as what he heard reflected in his face.
"Why didn't you call me sooner? Why didn't you call me about the funeral? Was she ill--was it an accident? Why didn't you let me know?" she said firing the questions at Linda like machine gun bullets. "Why would mother leave everything to me?"
"Why did Mother do anything? I'm sorry, I have no idea. She never confided in me," came her sister's sharp retort.
"I'll be on my way back as soon as I can. Take care of things until I can get there, will you?"
Trudy hung up the phone. She slumped into the chair across the desk from Houston shaking her head. Tears welling in her eyes, she fought to keep them back.
"I inherited The Pink Lady Slipper. The homestead," Trudy explained to Houston when he looked toward her with a quizzical expression on his face. "The building on the property was named The Pink Lady Slipper by the former owner and mother loved the name so she kept it. It used to be some kind of brothel or something. It isn't really our homestead because the family only recently acquired it. What it actually is, is a rambling two-story log house, a carriage house and other small out buildings on a hunk of northern Michigan wilderness in Orenda.
"I thought you had a sister and a brother that lived with your mother," he said.
"I do, I mean did. Why mother willed the property to me I don't know. She knew I'm a grass roots type of person. Following the rodeo circuit suits me fine. I don't need a house and property--roots. Why didn't she give it to Linda or Paul? They would be much better able to take care of it than I am. They lived there while they were growing up. I never lived there long enough to remember it--well almost.
"Well, if you need time to go home and settle things you sure can have the time. Maybe this is a chance for you to get off that game leg before something really bad happens to you," Houston said, almost as an after thought.
"I can't imagine why she left it to me unless there was something..." she let the words hang in the air between them. Something what--something wrong? Something sinister? Her mind drifted to the short note she had received in her Easter card about ghosts stirring things up at the Lady Slipper and about not trusting Linda. That wasn't unusual, Linda and she had never seen eye to eye since high school. Even then, her sister ran with the wrong crowd, did drugs and generally gave mother gray hair and headaches from constant battles and worry. "I don't know what I'll do yet. I need to think about it," she said. "This is so unbelievable. She is--was, always so active. She was in perfect health according to what my sister and brother have written to me. I don't understand how she could have just died."
"Does anyone suspect foul play?" Houston asked.
The thought struck Trudy like the bull, Cyclone, smashing into her all over again. "Linda didn't say. She is just upset because I inherited everything. I can't blame her. I sure didn't ask for it. But, foul play? I can't imagine anyone wanting to hurt mother." Except Linda, the thought bumped into her conversation with Houston. She swallowed hard. "I can't think of anyone, but then, I haven't been into her life, or involved in what's happening with her, for quite a while."
Trudy left Houston's office and crossed the dusty parking lot to the fifth wheel trailer that was her home, as she followed the cowboys from rodeo to rodeo, protecting them from the things they challenged--she had been doing that since she'd married Doug. Before he was killed by that drunken rodeo clown's lack of interest, they were a rodeo team. She wanted to run, run and keep running until everything went away. Run until what she had just heard and read didn't exist anymore. How could her mother die? She wasn't ready for her to be gone forever. How will she ever apologize now for whatever it was that made them not speak to each other? Trudy let the tears spill onto the arid land--land as dry and empty as she felt.
She slumped into her overstuffed easy chair clutching the telegram. Angry tears spilled over onto her lap. "Why? Why couldn't you wait until Christmas so we could mend what was broken between us? You were too young to die. I needed you. Why? Why did you go and die on me?" She ranted at the dead emptiness of the trailer and suddenly, her life. The crumpled telegram in her hand, she shook it at the ceiling, as though she thought her mother watched her from above.
Trudy paced the small space she had been content to call home. How come her mother would leave her all her worldly possessions? Why wouldn't she give them to Linda? Linda was the one who was always there. Even though mother was afraid of her, she was there. I don't know why she was so afraid of Linda either. There is so much I don't know. Maybe that is why she is giving me all this so I will go home to find out the answers to all those questions. "How can I find out the answers if you're not there, Mom, answer me that if you will. Please." She collapsed again into a heap on her bed, then cried herself to sleep.
When she awoke it was dark. Stars twinkled through the skylight above her bed. It took her a minute to realize what had happened in the preceding hours hadn't been a dream--she was sure now. The questions were still the same in her mind. Why would her mother leave her everything? Why did she die? Why wasn't she notified that she was sick or that she had died so she could attend the funeral? She had to go back to Orenda, to find out.
Perhaps she would stay there. Anyway, she needed to retire after the last accident. Her limp slowed her down too much to keep ahead of the bulls. She was putting the riders and herself in danger by staying on as a rodeo clown, when she wasn't capable of moving with the speed of a gazelle. Being small had its advantages, fitting into those barrels on the run was a simple deal for her. She could bounce into one of them without touching the sides, but that didn't keep the last bull from stomping on her and goring her when the barrel split. She was lucky to be alive. Houston's words from yesterday struck her then. She hadn't even heard them. He didn't fire her, he didn't lay her off, because of their friendship, she knew that. But what he had said yesterday ran in her mind now--he wanted her to find a reason to choose another lifestyle.
She wondered many times while she was healing how those staves had come off that barrel. Why it just blue apart when Cyclone hit it. She'd been in the same situation a dozen times and the barrels always held. The little redhead that wanted her place--perhaps. She had tried other things to get rid of Trudy and she had always chosen not to play her game. She ignored most of the pranks--but the barrel, could she have? The barrels were inspected after every rodeo and replaced if they were weak. That is why Trudy had taken it upon herself to check them now before every rodeo. No more weak ones would slip through to let that kind of thing happen to her or anyone else again, if she could help it.
Well, she decided it didn't matter now. What mattered now was that she go home to find out what had happened to her mother. Her gut told her it wasn't right, something was amiss. Why wasn't she notified until her sister realized that she had inherited everything except for that one painting that mother thought fit to leave to Linda? Too many unanswered questions. She would tell Houston in the morning that she was going home and probably wouldn't be returning to the rodeo. She hated to leave her friends, but she knew when enough was enough.
Her mind finally made up, Trudy began to pack and secure everything in the trailer. She would stop by the storage shed she'd rented in New Mexico on her way, to pick up the rest of her stuff. The south route was her choice anyway because the passes to the north were too dangerous this time of year. You never knew when you would be delayed for a day or two by an avalanche or winter storm. She figured she could be home in five days running if she slept only a few hours a night.