Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. This last Halloween-themed snippet comes from the book formerly known as The Very First (new and improved title a secret till its release), my chronological first Atlantic City book.
It’s set from August–November 1938, as young immigrant Katherine Brandt, nicknamed Sparky, and her family adjust to America. The Jewish Brandts are indefinitely living with the Protestant Filliards, and as Sparky attempts to become a real American girl without compromising her faith, her new best friend Cinnimin learns there’s more than one way to be a real American.
This is Sparky’s first Halloween, and Cinni has convinced her to wear a cat costume. Cinni’s using the holiday as an excuse to wear pants and dress like a boy, their neighbor Quintina (Tina) is a saloon girl, their other neighbor Violet (a real thorn in Cinni’s side) is a queen, and Cinni’s favorite sister Babs is a fairy with wings on her back. They’ve finished trick-or-treating and are now trying to find a supposed haunted house, which belonged to the descendants of the ill-fated Charlotte Lennon. They know it’s on Jennifer Street, and they’ve found a darkened house without any sign of life, nor any car in the driveway.
Cinni shone her flashlight into the mailbox. “No mail neither. Boy, this thing’s got a lot of cobwebs.”
Tina squinted her eyes at it in the dark, trying to make things out with the light from nearby houses. “It does look pretty old. I ain’t no future architecture student, but I know this ain’t the type of house they made even a hundred years ago. Maybe it really was made in the Colonial era like the haunted house.”
Cinni tried the front door. “Won’t open. Is anyone brave enough to wanna try the back door, or any other doors?”
The girls’ intent is not to break into the house, but just to try to find the house in question, shine flashlights on it, look in the windows, and try the doors. Sparky is very opposed to this adventure, but everyone else supports it. Later she suggests the old summer house of Cinni’s maternal relatives and the haunted house are one and the same, since they’re both on Jennifer Street and haven’t been occupied in years. Cinni laughs it off, but the reader knows she’s Charlotte Lennon’s twelve-greats-granddaughter. The identity of Charlotte’s line was lost to the ages because she deliberately had a child out of wedlock (whom she died giving birth to), and no one wanted to admit to being descended from an “illegitimate” child. The family secret won’t be rediscovered till 1985.
If you come back on Monday, I’ll be discussing The Big Parade, one of the all-time greatest silent films, whose 90th anniversary is on 5 November. This film is so amazing, I rate it a 6 out of 5 stars!