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  • "Letters mingle souls."

    John Donne

The Inspiration Behind Rescued Hearts

I live out in the country on land my maternal great-grandfather owned. The surrounding area is comprised of mostly corn, soy bean, tobacco, sweet potato fields, and maybe some cotton. We have neighbors nearby, too, but they’re a ways down the road, not right next door.

Some old barns and houses in different states of decline populate the community. I ride my bike along the two-lane roads, and one day a few years ago, I decided to change up my routine.

Instead of riding on my regular route, I took a detour off the main road and down a path. Because it would eventually lead back to my road, I was in no danger of getting lost. I knew the people who owned the property, so I didn’t worry about trespassing problems.

The path meandered by the location of where my grandmother’s cousin’s house used to be. Trees and a few bushes still outline the house’s parameters even though no boards or bricks mark the spot. Two or three shelters cover farm equipment.

As I passed the lonely trees, I felt a creepy sensation. I had no reason to be afraid or even creeped out, but my imagination grabbed me like a champion arm wrestler. What if a bike rider rode by an abandoned house? What if the bike rider saw a kitten entangled in a honeysuckle vine in front of the porch? What if, while the rider was trying to free the kitten, someone from inside the house snatched her and dragged her inside?

My pedaling picked up speed. I made it home in record time.

But—those questions kept popping up in my mind. I began seeing the characters, then hearing them speak. They wouldn’t leave me alone, even at night as I dropped off to sleep.

The answers to those questions led to the first chapter of Rescued Hearts.