I’ll take my romance with a side of adventure.

As I was researching for my current book, I came across a blog written by a historian who claimed she hated historical romance that did not exactly follow the construct of the era in which the story is set. In fact, she preferred an ordinary romance in which boy and girl meet, boy and girl fight/misunderstand/do anything they possibly can think of to sabotage their relationship before boy and girl fall in love and marry.

Personally, I prefer alternative historical romance in which many of the era’s constructs remain true to history while others are altered (in a believable manner if one cares to set aside any preconceived notions about what is and isn’t acceptable in a historical romance) . My stories tend to fall into this category. While not ‘wallpaper’ romances, they are stories that could have happened within a given society’s parameters. Consequently, my stories feature more than the typical boy/girl romance and tend to take readers on an adventure and my characters on a journey of discovery.

I would love to hear what you prefer. Are you a traditionalist and prefer the typical boy/girl romance or do you like your history with a dash of adventure that stretches an era’s notions about romance and gender roles? Or maybe, you could care less. Let me know below!

via Daily Prompt: Ordinary

 

So We Ran

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I found her lying on the cracked linoleum floor, soaked in a pool of her own blood. The door thrashed on its hinges as the wind whipped through the tiny kitchen to blow the papers she had stacked with painstaking precision around the room. A blizzard of fluttering white swarmed my mother, the rarest of winter roses, who blossomed beneath the papers’ hurried flight, her body blooming in vibrant, rich pools encircling the fragile remains of her broken shell. 

Her eyes were still open, and her pupils dilated until the irises were nothing more than brown rims around fathomless black pools. Fear hung heavy on the air, its metallic tang fueling my own anxiety until an erratic thrum pounded through my veins, urging me to flee.

I knelt beside her and took her hand. Her eyes rolled in her head, but my whispered “Mama?” focused her gaze on me. She squeezed me hand and whispered, “Run,” then took a shuddering breath, a wispy fragment of remembered humanity, and died. 

I took the stairs two at a time, woke my younger sister, grabbed our emergency packs we stored underneath our beds and fled into the enveloping darkness. 

We ran. We ran through the night, past towering pines and over beds of fragrant sweet grass. No one who followed would notice the path of our hurried flight. We were surefooted and silent as does. Even the animals  avoided us, perhaps because we still smelled of fear and grief, so we ran unhindered farther and farther into the forest. The dense foliage hid us from circling helicopters, their angry buzz becoming less incessant the deeper we ran. Even the search dogs’ barking grew fainter, their scenting abilities confused by our masked scent. Day after day, we ran.

At least with our feet in motion flying across the fragrant forest floor, we could pretend for just a little bit longer she hadn’t died. We could imagine a childhood free from paranoia, locked doors, furtive whispers and from hiding in plain sight. We could convince ourselves she had been a normal mother who taught us to bake instead of how to load and shoot a weapon in less than a minute, or that family trips had been to the mall and not survival training deep in the wilderness. That photos on the wall were of family members and loved ones, not a complicated web of key government officials and their biographies she had forced us to remember.  While running, we could pretend her mania had been the over protective instincts of a single mom and not symptoms of a deeper disturbance.

Because to stop running was to give up hope. It was admitting the monsters she had warned us about weren’t real, a truth more frightening than the evil who trailed us even now.

Running held back fear. Running kept us alive. It was the only thing we knew how to do.

So we ran. 

(C) Sara Ackerman, 2017

The Falcon

“I’m leaving you,” she said, standing there in the hallway as she clutched her battered baggage in her hand.

He looked up from his paper, surprise and shock rendering him temporarily mute. His mouth contorted into word pantomimes until he resembled a beached fish, gasping and sputtering for breath. When at last he spoke, his question came out ragged, as if the very idea had stolen his breath.”What? No. Tell me how to fix this.”

“Fix what?”

“Our marriage.”

She bowed her head, the dim hallway light shining off her limp auburn curls, and considered the question of their marriage. Twenty years. Two children. Two careers. Two lives instead of one. She didn’t even remember when they began to drift a part, for it was a gradual drifting over years –years lived in mundane routine with fleeting glimpses of extraordinary brilliance. All vibrant color had long since been leeched from their marriage until it resembled an old photograph, the paper crinkled and worn at the edges. She hadn’t even realized when her life had been captured for posterity on faded photo paper until one morning she had awakened, looked at her husband and found herself in bed with a stranger.

Oh, he wasn’t entirely to blame. She worked late, too, and put her career before their relationship. They allowed their children’s lives to consume them, to fill-in for the intimacy which was lacking in their marriage. Now the children had gone and nothing remained to buffer the silence. No one was left to remind her she was loved.

He wouldn’t understand this yearning to leave, to spread her wings and catch the currents of the unknown. Her restlessness had always scared him and for a time, she had allowed herself to be caged, if only to show him how much she loved him.  After two decades, she remained jessed and sealed with no gentling hand to ease her fears or offer her comfort. She longed to be free.

Surprisingly, her acceptance of the end of her marriage was easier than seeing the truth of what it had become. Little remained of her old life she wished to claim as her own. She packed her luggage in relatively little time, only taking the essentials: a few photos of her children, a framed picture of her parents, a locket he had given her on their first anniversary, and her clothing. A lifetime condensed into two bags.

“There’s nothing left to fix,” she said and fiddled with the clasp on the worn leather case. “I love you still. I suppose I always will. But it’s not enough. I want more.” She frowned fiercely and shook her head, firming her resolve. “I deserve more.”

She opened the front door and paused when his angry voice assaulted her from behind. “Who is it? After all these years, you owe me that. Tell me who you found.”

Looking over her shoulder, she shook her head and smiled in gentle reproach. “Me.”

(C) Sara Ackerman, 2017

via Daily Prompt: Acceptance