The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

As The Small Town Turns

September 22, 2010

Chapter Four

— As thoughts churned in his mind, Buck’s face changed into the face of a child, an innocent young boy far removed from the sands of Iraq, but grooved with memories, most recently, the memory of his friend Bobby Tom on the cold, white-blanketed stretcher.

Now, he could only wonder as to what had happened since he left his friend in the field hospital, or what might become of Bobby Tom if he made it home.

From across the room, Raquel recognized the sudden change in the big man’s face, in his deep-set black eyes. His thoughts had wandered back into another time, when things weren’t good, she thought, soldiering days, maybe.

She wanted to say “I’m sorry,” “Everything’s okay,” or something he could quickly grasp, pulling him out of his reverie. The museum, she figured, was a staunch reminder of his time on the battlefield, like looking into the shards of a mirror into another time and place. She crossed the room toward Buck.

“Well, Buck Welch,” Raquel said, smiling. “How does it feel coming home to good-old Athens?”

He jerked when he heard her voice. “Oh! Fine,” he said. “I was just thinking about a few things I really want to forget.”

“Oh,” she said, “I have a few of those, too.”

She laughed softly; he smiled, feeling good that this pretty woman would approach him. Under dark eyebrows, her big eyes rolled up to Buck’s face.

“Maybe we could work together at getting rid of those old haunts,” she said, again laughing, as she inconspicuously pulled up her leggings. I hate these darn things, the thought crossed her mind.

“Yeah, I’d like to do that,” Buck said, and smiled. Already, his mind was relieved somewhat, centering now on Raquel, not on Bobby Tom and blood, or sand in the sweaty grooves of his neck.

Raquel remembered her daddy saying what a “catch” Buck Welch would be, and her recalling times when other men ran like rabbits after she mentioned her two kids. “Don’t say nothin’ girl, not ‘till you got ‘um interested, really interested,” Dad had told her. This time, with this handsome man, this Buck Welch, this decorated soldier, this ambitious young veteran, she was determined to do as Dad had suggested.

“Wonderful,” Raquel exclaimed. “The Range Riders from Nashville are playing on the Square tomorrow night at 6. They’re great; want to hear ‘um for a little while?”

“Sure. Love to,” Buck said. “Afterward, maybe we could have dinner somewhere.”

“That would be nice, Buck.” Raquel placed her hand on his arm, rolled her eyes again straight up into the big man’s smiling face then sweetly, rubbed his arm above his wrist. Deep behind Buck’s dark, penetrating eyes, she knew there was something waiting to be let loose, for the right time or right person to untangle the mass that played in his mind … about heat, sand, blood and killing.

“See you at six tomorrow, Buck,” she said as she sashayed to the exit.

I’m gonna be that person, she thought, smiled and her chin rose.

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As The Small Town Turns
  • Church Bulletin 8/7/12

    August 7, 2012

  • Epilogue: As the Small Town Turns

    Editor’s note: The News Courier editorial staff chose Karen Bethea’s epilogue for our original novel. Our runner-up this week was D.K. Hutchins. We would like to thank all of our talented authors who contributed to “As the Small Town Turns” over these weeks. It has been a very enjoyable and satisfying endeavor for The News Courier and we hope it was enjoyable for those who participated. In coming weeks we will publish photos and short biographies on all of our authors whose chapters were chosen for the novel. But whether your chapter was chosen or not we would like to say thank-you to all for being such good sports and getting into the spirit of this project.

    December 20, 2010

  • Chapter 16 As the Small Town Turns

    Editor’s note: Chapter 16 of The News Courier original novel, “As the Small Town Turns ...” is written by Karen Bethea. Runners-up are D.T. Hutchins and Cynthia Boris.
    It’s time for a bang-up conclusion for the saga of Raquel and Buck. The novel will conclude Dec. 19 and the only thing that remains is the epilogue.
    If you haven’t sent in a submission, now is the time.
    If you make it exciting enough, we might have to revisit them for a satisfying epilogue. Please see novel rules in this section and we look forward to your conclusion.
     

    December 20, 2010

  • Chapter 15: As the Small Town Turns

    Editor’s note: Chapter 15 of The News Courier original novel, As the Small Town Turns, is written by Diane Hutchins. This was a week that brought several fine submissions. Runners up Karen Bethea, Cynthia Boris and Elizabeth Carter are printed in this section. It’s time for a bang-up conclusion for the saga of Raquel and Buck. If you haven’t sent in a submission, now is the time. If you make it exciting enough, we might have to revisit them for a satisfying epilogue. Please see novel rules in this section and we will be looking forward to your thrilling Chapter 16.

    December 20, 2010

  • Chapter 14 ‘As the Small Town Turns’

    Editor’s note: Chapter 14 of The News Courier original novel, “As the Small Town Turns,” is written by Karen Bethea. We had three excellent submissions this week. Runners-up are Harriette Rost and Cynthia Boris. The action has turned wild. With only two more chapters, now is the time to jump in for the big conclusion. If things get too hot, who knows? This saga could live for yet another chapter.

    December 20, 2010

  • Chapter 13: As the Small Town Turns

    Editor’s note: Chapter 13 of The News Courier original novel, “As the Small Town Turns,” is written by Cynthia Boris. Our runners-up this week are Karen Bethea and Elizabeth Carter, whose submissions are published in this section. Readers and potential contributors have just three more weeks as we draw the saga of Raquel and Buck to a conclusion with Chapter 16 on Dec. 12. There’s still time to get in on the action.

    December 20, 2010

  • Chapter 12: As the Small Town Turns

    Editor’s note: Chapter 12 of “As the Small Town Turns” is written by Bill Hunt. This week’s runner-up submission is by Cynthia Boris. The News Courier is anxiously awaiting Chapter 13 as the story heats up. Please keep sending submissions. Hint: Wouldn’t it be great if somehow Bobby Tom could meet Raquel’s friend, Maggie…? We’re just saying. Please review the rules of the game in this section and get your submission to Karen Middleton by Wednesday.

    November 17, 2010

  • Chapter 11: As the Small Town Turns

    Editor’s note: Chapter 11 is written by Harriette Rost. Our single runner-up this week is Cynthia Boris. We continue the story as Rock tries to disguise his abducted daughter Roxanne Marie’s identity as he prepares to go on stage in Branson to compete in an Elvis impersonator contest. The law is involved now. The News Courier staff is excited to see how our readers will come to the toddler’s rescue -–– if it’s not too late. If readers have previously submitted chapters that were not chosen to continue the saga of Raquel and Buck, please do not be discouraged. Hint: Let’s not forget Bobby Tom stuck up in a veterans’ hospital recuperating from wounds. Let’s get him back in the action.

    November 17, 2010

  • Chapter 10, As the Small Town Turns

    Editor’s note: Once again, Cynthia Boris has submitted an excellent chapter to As the Small Town Turns. We received no other submissions last week, so there are no runners-up. However, we welcome your Chapter 11 submissions, so please review the novel rules in this section. We continue the story as Rock speeds toward Branson with his abducted 2-year-old daughter Roxanne Marie. As The News Courier looks forward to drawing the novel to a conclusion by the end of the year, please jump in and help us resolve this cliffhanger.

    November 1, 2010

  • Chapter 9, As the Small Town Turns

    Editor’s note: The Chapter 9 submission chosen for The News Courier original novel, “As the Small Town Turns,” was written by Cynthia Boris. As readers will remember, from Chapter 8, Raquel’s ex-husband, Rock Roddenheimer, abducted their daughter, Roxanne Marie, from her bed in revenge for having been thrown out of the house and humiliated by Raquel’s new friend, Buck. Now, as Rock speeds toward Branson in his 18-wheeler, the gravity of his rash actions begins to soak in, and back in the small town, Raquel is devastated to learn that her daughter is missing. Other excellent chapters were submitted by Karen Mastich and Carol Schwarzenbach, which are printed in this section along with rules for submitting Chapter 10.

    November 1, 2010

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