P.J. Kavaugh’s father has died in a terrible explosion and his Ma is moving the family from Boston to her home on Prince Edward Island. The winter is harsh, the farm chores are endless, and his drunken-bully teacher, Mr. Dunphy, is constantly punishing him. P.J. finds consolation in his new friend Pat Giddings Jr. When Mr. Dunphy pushes him too far, P.J. seeks revenge and gets himself and Pat Jr. in a heap of trouble.
Soon, a letter arrives from Aunt Mayme, announcing a charity ballgame happening in the old neighbourhood, and Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig are playing. She has sent two tickets for P.J. and his brother, Larry, and a money order for the train passage home. But, Ma won’t let P.J. go as doing so would reward his bad behaviour. The boy is devastated. But he soon finds an ally in Uncle Jim. “I wouldn’t give up yet; there’s still time.”
Find out whether P.J. redeems himself and gets to watch the worlds best baseball players hit home runs in his old neighbourhood park, in Somewhere I Belong.
Ma was standing in the kitchen, staring at the broken window with a hand to her face. Her lace curtains were sheared and the curtain rod hung at an awkward angle. Her good china lay in shards across the floor amidst the shattered glass from the window and broken jars of her homemade preserves. A single broken teacup sat on the floor beside her. It teetered back and forth and then stopped.
There was an eerie silence in the house and in the neighbourhood around us. Grey light seeped through the broken window, binging in the cold winter air. Ma lifted Alfred away from the broken glass. He clung to her neck and wrapped his bare feet around her waist as she held him and edged toward the window. Larry, Helen, and I stepped around the broken shards toward the kitchen counter and peered over Ma’s shoulder.
The sky was as cloudy as it had been when we walked home from school. The house next door hugged the sidewalk, partially blocking out the view. It looked unharmed as did the houses that lined the other side of the street. Our place seemed more shaken and wrecked than anything outside. In the distance, grey-black smoke mushroomed into the air.
Then we smelled the fumes of burning oil.
Ma clutched Alfred and put a hand to her face. “Mother of God.” She didn’t so much say it as breathe it out.
Alfred tightened his grip on her. Helen’s face drained to a deathly shade. Larry bit his lip and straightened his glasses. I shifted slightly to get a better view and stared in disbelief. The only sound I heard was the beat of my own heart as the five of us stood and stared out that window.
Thick, black smoke gathered in dark clouds above where Dad had gone to work that morning. It billowed across the sky and blackened it. Flames shot up and disappeared into the smoke.
There was a second blast. It went off like a cannon and the house shook again. We fell against the counter and clung to it. A single chair toppled over by the kitchen table. Ma grabbed the counter to steady herself. Larry gripped her elbow. Helen put a hand to her face to stifle a cry and moved closer to ma. Smoke poured up in a second stream so that it looked like there were two huge fires in the distance. It mushroomed skyward, then floated down and into the neighbourhood like a black, ghostly fog. A siren rang out.
I am a writer, editor and indexer who lives in historic Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. A true Maritimer, I was born and raised in Nova Scotia and my Prince Edward Island roots hail back to 1830. My short stories have been published in Jilted Angels: A Collection of Short Stories (Broad Street Press), and Riptides: New Island Fiction (Acorn Press Canada), the latter which was nominated for best Atlantic book of 2012 and won the 2013 Prince Edward Island Book Award. In addition to placing first in the 2014 Atlantic Writing Competition’s literary non-fiction category, I received a mentorship from the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia to study under award-winning writer, William Kowalski. I am also a graduate of the Humber School for Writers, where I studied novel writing under two-time Governor General Award winner, David Adams Richards. My first novel, Somewhere I Belong, is based on a true story and was released on November 1, 2014 by Acorn Press Canada.
As a published author and fiction writer, I offer developmental writing services, coaching, and copy editing, structural editing to emerging writers of fiction and non-fiction in short-story, novel or book format. As an editor, I revise scholarly works written by academics whose first language is not English and who wish to complete their master’s theses, PhD dissertations, or publish in English-language academic journals. I also completed an indexing course at the University of California at Berkeley and index books on economics, politics, history, and topics of general interest.
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