This week’s Friday Fiction guest author is Pamela S Thibodeaux, with an excerpt from her novel, In His Sight.
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Carson Alexander walked through his classroom and tugged desks into a semi circle around the dry eraser board. One thing he loved about teaching sixth-grade English at Stars Crossing Middle School was that the classes were so small. With no more than fifteen students at a time he could work closely with each one and give them the attention they needed and deserved. Another thing he appreciated was the lack of standard or strict curriculum. As long as the children passed the exams set forth by the Department of Education, he could teach as he pleased.
So far, his kids excelled, maintaining some of the highest scores in the entire school. Pride filled his soul and caused his heart to swell, chest to puff out.
Pride cometh before the fall.
The Voice echoed in his mind, ricocheted through his soul. He shrugged off the warning, walked to his desk and picked up the name tags for each incoming student. He thumbed through the stack, pondered each one and wondered about the child attached to the name….Jenny & Jerry Smith – twins or un-related? One name struck him hard, sent unnamed emotion curling through his system – Laurel Connor.
He hadn’t heard the name Laurel in years and then, used only as a surname or when referring to the small town in Mississippi from whence he came. He moved to Stars Crossing, Tennessee five years ago for two reasons. One, the teaching position and two, the town though smaller, reminded him of home.
Memories crashed through the floodgates he’d built around his heart…..the huge two-story house and two-hundred acre farm where he grew up. His seven siblings, parents who adored him – their eldest son, and the pain of losing everything he held near and dear to his heart.
Tears threatened. His vision blurred, hands began to shake. Carson swallowed the lump in his throat, put the stack down, and shoved his hands into the front pockets of his slacks. Adrenaline pumped through him, caused his pulse to skitter and jump. Saliva pooled in his mouth. By sheer force he willed his emotions under control. The bell rang and he turned to greet the children who rushed into the room. He watched as one-by-one they filed in and took a seat.
He rifled through the name tags then wandered over to the door and saw her trudging toward the class. Desolation lined every feature of an otherwise lovely face. He turned back to the class and began roll call. He handed each child their student ID and waited for her to enter. The tardy bell rang seconds before she reached for the knob and pulled open the door.
All eyes turned. She averted her gaze, mumbled an apology and slid into the only available seat.
“Hello, Miss Connor.” Warmth in his tone eased the frown from her face.
“How’d you know my name?”
He smiled and handed her a name tag. “Only one I had left.”
“Oh.” She ducked her head at the snickers coming from the other students. A flush darkened her cheeks.
Everyone jumped to attention. Muffled laughter died.
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