An excerpt from The Four Holes

Please don’t be too critical of what you are about to read. At best, this would be considered a first draft. I would waste too much writing time going back and doing some editing right now. The project of getting 50,000 words written by November 30 is more important. Happy reading!


Daniel looked down at the dying old man and then looked out the hospital window. It was a dreary day and rain fell in torrents across the window pane. This suited Daniel’s mood.

He wondered why his grandfather had called him here and guessed it had to do with the old man’s imminent death and having no living relatives left to see him off to hell, Daniel thought.

Daniel returned his stare from the window back to the shriveled up old man he had never known. A million questions stirred in his head as he watched the grizzled bearded man breath in and out. Why did he want me to come here? Why did he disown my mother? Why did grandma leave him? “Why are you such a mean wicked man?” he asked out loud and startled himself and his grandfather in the process.

The man’s eyes shot open when he heard Daniel’s voice. He clenched a fist and then opened his mouth and gulped the air.

“Daniel,” he rasped. “You came.”

Daniel didn’t know what to say. To him, the man was a stranger. So, he stayed silent and waited. He had cautioned himself on the trip here to not let anything this man had to say get to him. He tried to think of all the scenarios that might be the reason the old man asked him to come. If it was to apologize for being a nonexistent father and grandfather to his daughter and grandson, to absolve himself before his death, well, he had hung his hopes on the wrong person. Daniel would tell him so, too.

A nurse entered the room to check the man’s vital signs, so Daniel looked away once more to the window and rain and beyond.

He did wonder, really, why he was summoned to the dying man’s bedside. The instructions were quite clear. “I am dying,” his letter had said. “You must come at once, I have something important to tell you. You will find the check enclosed should be sufficient for your traveling expenses.”  It was signed simply, S.P. Rawling.

Daniel felt his grandfather’s eyes boring a hole in the back of his head. When he turned to stare back he saw that the nurse was gone. The old man tried to speak, but his throat was dry. He wished he would die soon, but not before he told his grandson what he had to say.

“Water,” he said. It took a few seconds to register with Daniel what the man had said. He saw his dull eyes look towards the bedside table and he understood. The man would need a drink before Daniel could hear the thing he traveled 2000 miles to hear. The sooner, the better, thought Daniel.

Daniel filled the Styrofoam cup with water and held it for his grandfather to take. He quickly realized that the old man would not be able to sip from that cup without help. He contemplated ringing for the nurse as he just wasn’t sure he could get any closer to help the old man take a drink. He leaned in slightly towards the man face. He could smell the  death and disinfectant that surrounded the man. The man turned his head a little to the side so Daniel could put the straw to his lips. He took the smallest of sips and Daniel could see how difficult it was for the man to swallow it. Daniel felt sorry, then. Sorry for harboring this hatred against someone so helpless. Sorry for his mother, now deceased for five years and never making amends with her father. Sorry for himself for never being able to know the man that his mother once adored.

So, here it is. Even though Daniel didn’t feel like forgiving the man for his cruelty over the years, he knew he felt sorry for him for all the things all of their lives were not. All that, in just one sip of water and Daniel knew he could stand to hear what the old man had to say. He knew he could help make the man’s final arrangements, if that was what he was here to do, and knew he could execute the man’s estate, if there was one, although he didn’t want or need any of the proceeds, and he would probably donate whatever he could to charity.


15 thoughts on “An excerpt from The Four Holes

    • That comment makes me feel so much better! Surely, if she can do it, I can do it. Does anyone know a ghostwriter for sale cheap!

  1. I love it…I need to know what the old man was going to tell his grandson. (Something to do with the four holes in the exposed lake bed????) I’m always looking for something “good” to read!! …So, how many words do you have so far?

    Mom always wanted to write a book. I even think she started one after she retired (written by hand). Wonder where that manuscript could be? Maybe she wasn’t happy with it and destroyed it. We went through all of her stuff years ago…she was quite pack rat!

    I like Bonnie’s idea of a monthlhy series…I would tune in for that!

    • Linda, I think the exerpt may be the Prologue and only later ( several chapters) do we get back to them to find out what the grandfather’s secret is!

      I was helping mom write her book when she came to stay with us in Atlanta. Her protagonist was Helen, a nurse, who had retired after her husband died, but was on her way to Florida to help her childhood friend, Victoria, care for her aging father. Helen would discover that her friend actually killed the old man for his inheritence. And, once Victoria finds out that Helen is on to her, there is nothing she won’t do to keep her secret!

      Mom did not have very much of this story written. Some days she would have a couple of paragraphs hand written on a tablet and I would enter them into my word processor after I got home from work. I don’t know what she ever did with her tablet, but Dennis had my old computer in his storage bin in Savannah and it was stolen.

      • Cindy, like the story. Keeps you on edge and wanting to know more. Your hospital scene is accurate especially the part with the smell of someone dying. Keep up the good work and the monthly story thing would keep us all tuned in.

        I knew mom wanted to write but the only story I ever heard her talk about was Earl the squirel (not sure how to spell squirel). Anyway, Helen the nurse was never revealed to me or if it was I don’t remember it.

        • I’ve been thinking that I can really make this prologue so much better and can’t wait to do that, but I cannot spend any time on it right now. As of the end of the day Friday, I should have about 22, 000 words written and I am well behind that goal!

          I like the idea of a monthly story, too. What I was thinking is that one person could start it and everyone takes a turn and adds to it! Wouldn’t that be fun?

  2. Hey sister, that was not enough to read. You must let us peek atleast one chapter!!!! Well, you captured me. I want to read the story. It was excellent, exciting, you could actually visualize the scene. Even the smell. Good job. Keep on going.

    I think I have a good idea “a story of the month series”. I’ll let you skip December with the holidays and all, but, back to it in January.

    • Haha, Bon, so far that is the WHOLE chapter! I’ve been writing a lot of garbage since then, just trying to keep up my word count! And, I am way far behind at the moment. Hope to catch up this weekend!

      Thanks for the compliment. Definitely helps me to keep going! :)

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