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Pleasant Day - Vera Jane Cook
 
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Pleasant Day

I wanted to let loose with a good right hook to his grin. Son of a bitch was always treating me like I had nothing in my head but air, no way to reason or form thoughts. I had no purpose on this earth but to appease his need to be believed. Little bastard would never get as tall as the tales he told.

"Ain't that something," he said.

He stood there breathing hard, getting fat on bad news. Of course it wasn't true, meant to scare me away from giving John Peter two minutes of my time. I raised my eyes to the sky and put my hands in the pockets of my jeans.

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Where The Wild Flowers Grow - Vera Jane Cook
 
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Where The Wildflowers Grow

“Will you love me forever, Pierce?” she asked as she swung his hand in hers and they walked their bikes down the path, not really wanting to get where they needed to be.

“Uh-uh,” he said. “Forever.”

It was July and they were off from school, doing nothing during that lazy summer but finding each other’s bodies to explore, swimming by the swimming hole naked, feeling the water as it came up inside them and cleaned where they had just been wet and sticky.

“Think your daddy will mind that I came for you this early?” he asked her.

“He won’t mind,” she said.

They neared the hill that dropped down to the house she lived in. It was large and white, eminent in stature, with a horse fence that ran the length of it. Large oak trees stood tall, protective armies of alpine presence, gracing the property like obedient soldiers. Manicured grass, verdurous and well maintained, proudly sparkled with the morning’s dew like crystal glass.

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Dancing Backward in Paradise - Vera Jane Cook
 
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Dancing Backward In Paradise: A Novel

If you drive up there near the state line, on the border of Tennessee and Georgia, you just might pass through my hometown, the Chattanooga suburb of Hixson. But you might not know you passed it, not unless you take the time to read the sign hanging near the highway. Most people only stop in Hixson for the cemeteries and the old Civil War battlefields around Chattanooga. I grew up thinking a trip to Soddy Daisy was living the high life. But it was beautiful country, no matter what Mama says. I remember the back roads mostly, and the trees. When I was small, I’d spread my arms out as far as I could and I’d try to reach as wide as a tree’s branches. I’d dance in the wind, partner to the limbs of the old oak and the sugar maples. Trees seemed to be all the poetry I’d ever need.

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The Story of Sassy Sweetwater - Vera Jane Cook
 
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The Story of Sassy Sweetwater

Mama said I was born by a stream named Sweetwater. She called me Sassy the moment she realized I was a girl. Mama said girls should be sassy, gives them sex appeal. So I was named Sassy, after an attitude, and Sweetwater, after a stream. The year was 1949 and the place was a dirty back road shack in a dusty little town in South Carolina. Mama never could remember the name of the town but she told me that it might have been Cottageville, or maybe even Ridgeville. Didn’t matter much what it was called though. I never saw it again, and as far as I knew, Mama didn’t either. S

Some people think a grey tumultuous sky is an omen of discontent, especially if one’s entry into this world is shadowed by blustery clouds and thunder’s emphatic roar. But my mama said that heaven welcomed my birth with great horns blowing and mighty cymbals clashing, and omens sent by mighty seers bring the blessings of miracles, not the doom of devils.

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LIES A RIVER DEEP - VRA JANE COOK
 
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LIES A RIVER DEEP

It was a day like any other. Days have a sameness, even new, they offer little beyond weather changes and sudden deaths. 

"And how are you today?" Bessie asked, showing a smile that age had not yet dulled. She'd always been cute because of it. Sixty years ago, or more, she was the little girl whose cheeks you pinched, and though she was old now, she still wore her hair in curls; silver grey undulations that framed her face and brought out a blithe desire in others to pinch where her dimples dipped, even to kiss her there unabashedly.

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Annabel Horton, Lost Witch of Salem - Vera Jane Cook

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Annabel Horton, Lost Witch of Salem

When I am not in the form of flesh, I live in the confines of shadow. The psychics of your dimension have said that I can be seen floating between the kiss of dusk and the evening moon. Yes, some of you can actually see me, though you are unaware of what I am. You usually ignore me because I vanish so quickly. I simply blend into the surface of your world and disappear, into objects, into trees, into the soft fur of a sleeping squirrel, into anything that will have me.

Before I begin my tale, you must know this: I can also blend into a human body. I can steal your flesh if I choose. But before you judge me, you must understand my loneliness. You have no idea how desperately I desire the physical senses you so cavalierly take for granted. But please, do not fear me. I will not harm the innocent. Hear me out before you cast any stones. There are secrets in my tale worth knowing.

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Pharaoh's Star - Vera Jane Cook

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PHARAOH'S STAR

It was a beautiful night in early August; the sky was an ebony sheet that stretched across the horizon in somber silence. The moon was so full it appeared fat―as if it had swallowed every star in heaven and glowed purely from the pleasure of consumption. Nick Dowling gazed up at the sky through the windshield of his new Jeep Cherokee. His wife, Jenna, had just sent him out for a quart of milk. He was pleased to go, happy to be driving out under the stars on the back roads of New Kingston. Except on this particular night, there were no stars―just the moon, contently serene as it trailed his car like a wayward balloon.

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