From creation to conclusion—mothers never let go.

During times of hardship or championship—mothers never let go.

And when certain things become absolutely necessary…

A mother will never  let go.

C. W. Kesting's 
FreshMuse

"The truth of the matter is that, although free will persists, it means nothing."
--
The savant
From
Thrones for the Innocent

Alexandra D’Meiter is a young woman at odds with herself and the obstacles that Fate has strewn across her path. Three years prior, in the wake of an irresponsible drinking binge at a crowded beach, Alex lost her five-year old daughter.
Now, with her daughter still missing, Alex—sober and cynical—buries herself in her anesthesia practice. She focuses her energies on her career and sobriety and is reluctantly settling into an uncompromising rut when a single, strange night at her hospital changes everything. Two mysterious patients impact Alex’s life in a way that immediately challenges her belief system and sets into motion events that will forever alter Alex’s experience of the world.

                                                                                                                      



                                                                                                               ~Selected Excerpt~


Oh, that little bitch!

As he gave chase, he caught fleeting glimpses of her between the skeletal trees—a flash of purple sweater, twitching blonde pony-tail, faded blue jeans—crashing desperately through the wooded maze.

She was fast, but he was closing.

Angry branches snapped and lashed at his face as he pounded through the forest. He stumbled and nearly fell as he sidestepped through a narrow break in the twist of maples and oaks. The terrain here was sandy and a spread of thick roots had knuckled their way through the loose ground. The land sloped away from his house, sweeping toward the paved nature trail that eventually led to the park. The huge back yard had been engineered for natural run-off and gradually dropped away from the elevated deck that hung off the back of the house. From the railing it was at least an eight-foot drop to the thick manicured lawn—apparently not much of a challenge for a determined eight-year-old.

Willful, troublesome bitch!

He could hear her ragged breathing as she ran across the inclined forest floor. His own breath whistled in his throat, tight from the unexpected exertion. He pressed further into the wooded acres, his long adult-sized strides overmatching her frantic scamper.

He also knew her asthma was beginning to awaken, squeezing her chest and freezing her lungs. He heard her as she struggled with each tight breath: Pant. Wheeze. Pant. Wheeze. He patted the reassuring bulge of the inhaler in his front pants pocket.

Increasing his pace, he gambled and selected risky paths through low shrubs and over tangled deadfall in effort to catch her before she reached the trail and then the park. His legs pumped high and hard, feet crunching and crashing through the carpet of dead sticks and dry leaves. Low branches slapped and scratched at his face as he bulled his way forward. A crooked finger from a young maple snagged his eye-patch and partially ripped it from his head, tearing a fine bloody line across his cheek.

“Shit!” he exclaimed.

She made the mistake of turning her head at the sound of his voice, lost her balance and bounced off a thick knobby oak. She staggered, but did not fall.

He closed within a few strides, the eye-patch swinging from his ear by a strand of frayed cloth. They faced one another for a single, empty moment. Her eyes bulged with terror; her face was flush with red panic as she sucked air into her shrinking lungs—each breath rapid and erratic.

Pant. Wheeze. Pant. Wheeze.

She pushed off the gnarled trunk and ran harder, her arms swinging wildly as she threw herself carelessly down the gentle grade, bouncing clumsily off the trees.

He sprinted after her, bounding past the last of the large oaks. The woods thinned as the trail materialized from the bottom of the hill, snaking out of the surrounding cover. He quickly scanned the length of the wide walkway to its visible limits; first north, then south. Deserted now, but that didn’t mean that at any moment someone wouldn’t come coasting in from either direction on bike or skates.

He had a sudden inspiration and with a great gulp of air he shouted:

“Hey!”

Out of pure conditioning for obedience she stopped and turned toward the adult voice. Her face was a mask of desperate exhaustion; her shoulders were stooped and rocked with laborious breathing.

Pant. Wheeze.

He paused in the chase, held up the light blue albuterol inhaler pinched between his fingers and shook it gently, taunting her with the promise of rescue medication. Her eyes locked on the little plastic dispenser and for a long breathless second she appeared to consider surrender. He snatched the dangling eye-patch from his ear, stuffed it in his back pocket and smiled in anticipation.

A suffocating moment passed between them; the only sound on the hill the strained whispers of her asthmatic lungs. He finally heaved a sigh, swallowed hard and snickered while shaking his head. She stifled a weak scream and then abruptly turned and bolted down the remainder of the gentle slope, out of the tree line and into the gulley that bordered the trail.

She dropped like she’d been shot, falling headfirst into the shallow ditch. A few tense seconds passed as he watched for her to rise. In the time it took for him to slow his own respirations, two clouds crept in front of the sun, dragging their shadows across the woods.

When she didn’t get up, he pocketed the inhaler and ambled down the hill toward the spot where she tripped. Stepping carefully over the thick tangle of briar and scrub at the rim of the gulley, he reached down at one point to retrieve her sneaker from a particularly dense patch of overgrowth. He gazed again down the ribbon of paved trail in both directions.

Deserted.

Stepping to the edge, he peered into the ditch. She lay nearly motionless at the bottom, curled on her side, wheezing severely between weakened sobs.

“Poor thing,” he cooed. He reached into his front pants pocket and withdrew an inhaler; this particular one yellow and white and held more than just albuterol. He shook it with one hand, mixing the aerosolized medication, while he rubbed at the raw, scratched skin just below his dead eye.

“Let’s get you back home.”

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