Some people make a difference
by simply being who they are. They help others open their minds and hearts. Lydia Nelson is such a person. When people
are with her, they have a clearer sense of themselves and are better able to work through their own problems.
Lydia is the second book in a trilogy, a sequel to the ghost story, Promises
to Keep. The story begins one morning during a winter storm when Lydia has an unexplainable experience involving
another resident of the town of Haverford. Awakened by the ferocity of the blizzard,
Lydia is sitting in her kitchen having breakfast when there is a loud knock on the door.
However, there is no one at either her front or back door, nor are there footprints on the snow-covered porches. Having had other paranormal experiences throughout her life, she trusts her instincts
and takes action to save her neighbor.
family is in the midst of their own personal crises. Her son, Jim, is separated
from his wife of twenty-four years, and her youngest daughter, Ellie, a writer and free spirit who lives in New York City,
has chosen to become a single mother through artificial insemination. A few months
into her pregnancy, a new man enters her life, complicating the situation. Lydia’s
oldest daughter, Susan, is struggling to help her husband, who has had a debilitating stroke, deal with teenage daughters
and continue to run the family business.
family issues swirl around Lydia, it is her ordeal with a deranged neighbor and aggressive developers who want her valuable
farmland that drives the story.
The broken windshield
was a mosaic of ice and snow.
He needed help but
who would listen?
Whose heart and mind
would be open?
The car shook from a burst of wind and sleet.
God,” he prayed. “Please, let someone find me.”
move. He couldn't get his arms free to reach the horn or turn the key to start
the motor again to heat the car. In a hurry to finish his dinner meeting and
get home, he had left his cell phone in the restaurant in the city.
It had been a long, cold, frightening night.
He remembered his surprise when he turned the steering wheel to follow the
curve of the road only to have the car continue straight ahead and drop into
the snow-filled field.
It would have been a soft landing except
the large oak tree. Only the side airbag deployed, and the impact had driven a
tree limb through the windshield into his chest. At first the pain had been
excruciating, but now he felt numb from his chest down and that frightened him
ran down his face, but he couldn’t wipe it away, as he was immobilized. At
least he didn’t smell smoke, although that could change at any moment.
drifting in and out of consciousness.
to stay awake. I have to stay awake.” It had become his mantra.
He stared at
the broken windshield covered
with ice and snow that now seemed to
glitter and shine like crystal. The sun, he thought. The sun must be coming up.
tired mind contradicted him. Darkness surrounded the rest of the car. The icy
image shifted into strange shapes and designs that looked like shimmering
clouds or maybe . . . wings.
“No,” he cried into the darkness. “My
family needs me. I can't die. I won't die! I have work to do. I have to live!”
The windshield seemed to glow brighter.
His fearful thoughts receded, and a sense
of peace filled his mind. Maybe it was going to be all right. Maybe someone was
She was in a soft darkness, a
dreaming place, in a group of some sort, a council of loving entities. She
wanted to stay, listen to what they had to say, but an intruding sound grew
louder, pulling her back.
opened her eyes. Sleet tapped against the windows. The old farmhouse groaned
and shuddered from the onslaught of icy snow and wind. She reached out, turned
up the electric blanket and tried to go back to sleep.
However, the storm was too loud and the room too cold. Lydia turned on
the light to check the clock—five a.m. Turning on her side and shifting back,
she bumped into Calico, his furry body stretched lengthwise. He pushed against
her and began purring.
by the soothing sound, Lydia relaxed and thought about her husband who had been
a part of the dream that was now fading away. John had died almost ten years
ago, but he still appeared in her dreams—especially lately.
Calico rolled into a
ball. “Too chilly even for you, old friend?” she asked, reaching out to stroke
the cold fur. The purring became louder. Lydia threw back the covers. “Come on,
you lazy cat, we've got to get up!” She pulled on her robe and slippers and
hurried across the room to turn up the thermostat. The sound of the old furnace
reassured her. Hopefully, it would last one more winter.
the bathroom, she stood at the sink, brushing her teeth, splashing water on her
face and running a brush through short, white hair, avoiding the mirror in
front of her. Her image didn’t reflect who she was anymore. Who is that old woman?
she often wondered. Of course, if John were still here, he would only see the
lingering vestiges of her former beauty through the eyes of his love. But he
was gone. Except in my dreams, Lydia thought, as she and Calico made their way
down the steps and into the kitchen.
the wind was even louder, whistling around the corners of the farmhouse. She
opened the door of the wrought iron stove and struck a match to the kindling.
Thanks to the old stove, the kitchen was the warmest room in the house.
Starting the coffee, she placed a blueberry muffin on a tray.
the smell of freshly perked coffee filled the room. Lydia added fruit to the
tray and carried it to her comfortable overstuffed chair in the sitting area of
the kitchen. Tucking a soft afghan around her, she propped her legs on the
hassock, took a bite of muffin, sipped the hot coffee and opened her daily
she had finished breakfast and her reading, Lydia sat, collecting her thoughts.
Each morning she prayed for everyone, but today she needed guidance for
herself. She couldn't avoid facing her problems any longer.
her eyes, Lydia prayed, “I invite the Holy Spirit into my heart. Dear God,
please fill me with the light of your love. I release all negative thoughts and
feelings to you, that I may be a clear channel for your love into the world . .
ringing of the phone startled her. Who . . . ? It was only five-thirty. Then she
I wish you wouldn't do that. What if it isn't me? I’m going to get you Caller
ID. You could embarrass yourself.”
“When it isn’t you, dear,
I don’t say
it. Is anything wrong? It’s awfully early.”
whole town of Haverford lost electricity last night, and I woke up worried
about you in that drafty old house.”
children, who agreed on so little, had combined forces to convince her that she
should move into town and away from the only home she’d known for sixty years.
she said, “I'm happy to say that the electricity is still on out here in the
country. Calico and I are having our breakfast, toasty warm by the stove.”
rambled on for a while about cozy apartments in town. Her oldest daughter did
get on her nerves sometimes. In her mid-forties, Susan could be quite
opinionated. Finally, Susan’s monologue ended. Lydia agreed to check in with
her later and said goodbye.
phone rang again. “Mom, do you have electricity?” her son, Jim, asked.
do, darling. But I know you don’t. Susan just called and said it was off in
it is. I’m glad you’re okay out there. Is the house warm enough?”
fine. The wood stove is a godsend on days like this.” There was a long silence.
I might drop by and see you today, if the roads are plowed.”
Bring the boys with you. They won’t have school today, and if it clears off,
they can go skating on the pond.”
see how it goes. You know teenagers. I seldom see them anymore. Talk to you
up, Lydia thought about her only son. Jim had been unusually withdrawn lately.
He was the most self-contained of her three children, a first child, overly
responsible and most like his father in personality, although his hair and eyes
were dark brown whereas John had been blond and blue-eyed like Susan.
Lydia thought. Two down. Ellie should be next. Her youngest daughter, the
extrovert and free spirit in the family, lived alone in New York City. I’ll
tell her about my dream last night, Lydia thought. Maybe she and I can figure
out what . . . .
was a knock on the kitchen door.
was too shocked to move for a moment. Who could be out in this storm? She
unwrapped the afghan from around her legs and struggled to her feet. Hurrying
across the room, she unlocked and opened the door.
blast of cold air took her breath away. Pulling her robe around her, she peered
into the dark morning.
one was there.
flipped on the porch light.
covered the porch, steps and path leading to the garage, but no footprints were
and shivering, Lydia closed the door. Could it have been the front door? She
hurried through the house and turned on the porch light before opening it.
front porch was protected from the wind, but no footprints marred the thin
layer of snow there either.
closed the door and stood in the dark vestibule.
had been urgent knocking but no footprints on the snow covered porches. What
did it mean?
The grandfather clock in the
downstairs hall struck six times. The old Victorian house was freezing. Jenny
cradled the sleeping baby closer. Waking around midnight to find the furnace
off, she had brought her eight-month-old daughter, Katie, into bed to keep her
warm and covered up.
husband, Michael, had gone into New York City yesterday and expecting him home
during the night, Jenny hadn’t worried about the house getting too cold,
knowing he would stoke the fire in the bedroom fireplace when he arrived.
he hadn’t arrived. Where was he?
to build a fire before Katie woke up, she grabbed her robe from a nearby chair,
pulled on slippers, captured her long, blonde hair with a ribbon and hurried to
the fireplace. It took a few minutes to get the fire going again, but soon
flames licked at the logs. Jenny stayed close to the fire, warming herself,
listening to the sleet tapping on the window.
hadn't Michael called? She had tried his cell phone, but it had gone into voice
mail. Even if the battery of his cell had died, he would have . . . .
phone lines—of course—they must be down. That often happened during an ice
storm. Feeling warmer and calmer now, Jenny got back in bed with the baby. She
picked up the phone and was dismayed to hear a dial tone.
colder than the room, filled her. Michael would never worry her like this if he
could help it. Something was wrong.
should she do?
Maybe Michael’s law partner had heard from him.
The morning's strange happening had
convinced Lydia that someone was in trouble, but who would believe her? Jim,
she would call her son back. Maybe someone was lost in the storm. He was a
member of the Rescue Squad.
line was busy. She waited five minutes and tried again.
Jim sounded tense.
“Oh, Mom. I hoped it might be
Michael. I just left a message on his cell.”
explained the problem. “He went into the city yesterday on business for the
firm, but he never came home last night, nor did he call. Jenny’s beginning to
panic. I’m worried, too. This isn’t like him.”
she said, “If Michael was on the way home, maybe you should have the rescue
squad check the road between the train station and his house.”
His head throbbed, and it was
an effort to keep his eyes open, but he was afraid to sleep. If he fell asleep,
he might never . . . .
wasn’t the way
it was supposed to be. He and Jenny had worked out their problems and started a
family. He’d bought into the local law firm and begun a new career as a small
town lawyer. Everything was falling into place. He couldn't die, not now, not
He squinted at the broken,
ice-covered windshield and realized
that this time it was the sun shining through.
He had survived the
night. Morning had come. Surely, someone
would pass by and see his car in the field. Unless the car was hidden by the
heard it—shouting, first far away then closer.
he is! Bring the shovels. Hurry!!”