Lately, I’ve not shared much of my own writing here at Celtic Connexions. I’ve been busy sharing and helping others promote their books and book-related ventures. Today, you’re in for a treat … or not. It depends entirely on your perspective. The good thing is I #amwriting. I’ve experienced a drought, but the thoughts are percolating once again. During my dry spell, I researched the plot thread that runs through this next project, and that’s the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire and the animals left behind. I know, pretty heavy subject matter. So without any further ramblings, here is the rough blurb and a scene.
The rough blurb …
Christopher Scott works in the oil sands at Fort McMurray and has to leave the care of his great Dane to his friend and neighbour when he’s away on the job. Unfortunately, while he’s at work, the nightmare of the wildfire becomes a reality and sadly, during the mandatory evacuation, his dog bolts and runs off.
A victim of childhood sex abuse, Lori Brownlee, has relocated to Calgary trying to put the sordid past and its unpleasant memories behind her. It’s been years, but she’s still plagued by the nightmares of those events from long ago.
Lori, an animal lover, joins forces with the volunteers risking their lives to save the pets left behind. She finds a great Dane and is able to persuade the dog to come with her.
Through social media posts about his missing pet, she and Christopher connect, and he heads for Lake Louise, where she is.
Is the great Dane Christopher’s missing pet? Will Lori’s past come back to haunt her?
and a scene (which could or could not hit the cutting room floor) …
Christopher Scott paused in front of the flatscreen TV mounted to the Millennium Lodge’s recreation room wall. News of the wildfire burning to the southwest filled the screen.
Earlier in the day, the sky was blue, as if no fire burned. A something inversion, they called it. Temperature possibly. The clear cerulean from before now replaced with brown, orange, and red closer to the horizon. Plumes of smoke rose from the ground as the fire ravaged everything in its path.
He pulled his cellphone out of his pocket and took it out of silent mode. Missed calls. Lots of them. Checking the callers’ list, he discovered most were from his mother. The other came from his neighbour Frank Connolly.
Frank moved in a couple of years prior while Chris was on his two weeks off. They worked opposite shifts to one another. Unless one or the other took vacation time, they didn’t see each other. Wolfgang, Chris’s Great Dane, needed ‘doggie daycare’ and more while Chris worked. When the dog was a puppy, he took him to work with him. The women employed at the lodge looked after him while he worked. That arrangement worked well until Wolfgang got too big for his crate. Frank’s two daughters loved the big lummox.
Pressing the screen on a call from his mother, Chris dialled. “Hi, ma. What’s up? You’ve only called me like a dozen times today.”
“I’m worried sick about you., and you not taking my calls hasn’t helped.”
“Sorry, but you know I can’t be on the phone when I’m working. There’s nothing wrong with any of the family, is there? You’re okay?”
“We’re all fine, but haven’t you heard?”
“What?” Chris paced back and forth in front of the television.
“Mandatory evacuation. Everyone. Especially in your neighbourhood.”
He pressed his thumb and fingers against his forehead. “Calm down, ma. I’m sure it’s just a precaution. It’ll be fine.”
But would it? Was that the reason for Frank’s call? Except for pictures of Wolfgang with the children, accompanied by a quick update, communication was usually minimal.
“I missed a call from Frank. Let me return it, and I’ll phone you back. Won’t take long. Love you. Bye, ma.” Christopher ended the conversation with his mother and immediately rang his neighbour. “Hey, Frank, what’s this about an evacuation?”
“You heard right. The authorities gave us fifteen minutes to get our stuff together and leave. We planned to take Wolfie with us, but he bolted, and we couldn’t find him anywhere. I’m sorry. We had to go.”
Christopher swallowed hard. The thought of Wolfgang, alone and scared, roaming the streets during a wildfire terrified him. He understood Frank’s position. If only his dog weren’t so strong-minded. His friend referring to the dog by his nickname brought back the memory of when he first met the Connollys. Becky, the youngest, wasn’t quite three years old yet, and she couldn’t pronounce Wolfgang or Wolfie. So when she said it, it always came out Woofie.
Rest assured, nothing happens to Wolfgang. I know better than to kill an animal in a book. That’s a sure-fired death knell for an author.
And here’s a picture of the big, lovable guy. Isn’t he cute?
What do you think of the rough blurb and a scene? I know it’s not much so far, but even the largest oak tree came from a little acorn.
Please leave your thoughts in the comments. I’d love to read them.
Do you want to know more about my It Happened series? You can read about it here.