Today we have Sophie Littlefield here with another great character as the Spooky Legends event nears the end. Sophie’s debut YA release is Banished, which is the first book in a new series. The second book in the series is Unforsaken and will hit shelves in 2011.
You can read an excerpt from Banished here. Sophie is here to tell us all about “Gram,” Hailey Tarbell’s grandmother’s take on the Bunny Man Bridge urban legend. You also have a chance to win a copy of BANISHED. As always, details are listed below.
**Visit All Things Urban Fantasy today for her Spooky Legends Guest blog with Elle Jasper and a chance to win AFTERLIGHT**
Sophie Littlefield grew up in rural Missouri and attended college in Indiana. She worked in technology before having children, and was lucky enough to stay home with them when they were growing up. Fifteen years into a writing “hobby,” she got landed an agent and made it her full-time job. Her first novel, A BAD DAY FOR SORRY, was nominated for an Edgar Award and won an RT BookReviews Reviewers Choice Award. Her young adult novel, BANISHED, will be released by Delacorte in October 2010.
I got customers comin’ and when they get here, you better be out of this house, hear? You come in here tellin’ tall tales, wantin’ to know what do I think about some nonsense happened a hundred years ago –what I think is that storytellin’s fine for those who don’t have to work for what’s theirs. Well, that ain’t me. I’ve had to work for everything I got. I give folks what they want – a little weed, a little feel-good – but it don’t just appear itself outta thin air. I got costs a doin’ business and it ain’t all fun and games, I’ll tell you…
“Bunny Man Bridge?” Yeah, I heard that one before. My grandchild Hailey, she used to come home with all that kinda crap from school, ‘cept now they call ‘em legends and like that, as though it was worth writin’ down and teaching. In my day there was readin’ and math and after that the kids went home and got to work. None of this extra stuff they put in kids’ minds, no time for that when there was mouths to feed and chores to get done.
But we had something happen like that happen here once. And it goes back way before the Civil War too, I’ll tell you that. Fact it started in Ireland. Oh, the original story’s lost, all’s you need to know is that there was a curse. A curse and a blessing, back in Ireland, a whole village there was blessed and then sent packing away from that evil land and scattered to the winds. Where do you suppose some a them ended up? Here, that’s where! Right here in Gypsum, Missouri, in that poor dirt where Trashtown is now. Wouldn’t nothin’ grow there, then nor now.
One other thing that’s true now like it was then, the kids in Trashtown run wild as you please. Ain’t no one can make the Banished kids mind and never will. When I was just a little girl, barely more’n a baby, the other kids was always off in the woods, wouldn’t come home for dinner, wouldn’t come home at all if they didn’t care to. They’d spend the night in the forest with all them crazy spirits came over the ocean with ‘em. Faerie souls, ought to have kept to their own land but once the curse was put on the Banished there was some tie there they couldn’t break. So on they come, but they was mad now, see, on account of having to leave their little burrows and glens behind.
Kids is quick and tricky, you know, so the faeries couldn’t do much more’n scare ‘em in the woods. Made their noises, their shrieks and cries and such, and the kids would run screaming, but kids do like a scare, so before you know it they’d be back on another night. Now them faeries couldn’t do nothin’ like kill a living rabbit – they couldn’t lay their hands on nothin’ living – but they scared critters in the woods so bad some of them just died of fright. You’d always be finding dead deer in them woods without a mark on ‘em. Many a Trashtown family brought home a full-growed deer and ate it all winter, that just fell over where they stood when the faeries whispered in their ears. Dogs too, and sometimes raccoons and possum. My own daddy used to bring home possum sometimes, walking home from the quarry where he worked, and then we knew we’d be having stew.
There was one place you weren’t supposed to go. Everyone knew it. Little cave back past Sugar Creek. Wouldn’t do you much good anyway, they said if you went just fifty feet in, the cave sloped down and filled up with water, so anyone fool enough to go back there, they’d drown. But you couldn’t even go to where the cave opened up without getting the faeries riled. Come in sight of it, and they’d be restless for days after, tormenting anyone who came into the woods, wailing all night and into the day.
There was this one boy when I was small. Luther Croix, he wouldn’t pay anyone no mind. He was just angry from when he got born until the day he died. I was only five or six but he’d come around when his mama made him and offer to split wood for a quarter. Only you hire him to split your wood, he like as not split it all uneven, or he’d leave when it was half done and your quarter in his pocket.
Fact, the day he went to the cave it was over something like that. He run off with someone’s quarter before he done the job, and then the lady come around to his house and gave Luther’s mama a time of it. So she come down on Luther, tell him get out and stay gone rest of the day. So you can guess he was about fit to be tied.
He went on down the path to the cave. Folks saw him go, they said he was muttering and cursing and kicking at the ground. He didn’t come home the next day or the next and then his mama started to worry. She went down the path where they said he went and then after a while you could hear her screamin’. You could hear her all over town, screaming like someone pulled her heart out. Because her boy Luther was hanging from at tree growed at the top of the cave, dangling down in front of that cold black hole. He’d been dead a long time, and everyone said the faeries kept up their wailing while he swung there in the wind.
Banished kept away from there after that, sure enough. Now and then some child goes down by the cave but they hear Luther carrying on along with the rest of ‘em. They say he’s got that voice of a grown man now, breakin’ up into a child’s now and then. He’s stuck like that, half growed and still angry, until the end of time.
Synopsis (Product Description):
There isn’t much worth living for in Gypsum, Missouri—or Trashtown, as the rich kids call the run-down neighborhood where sixteen-year-old Hailey Tarbell lives. Hailey figures she’ll never belong—not with the popular kids at school, not with the rejects, not even with her cruel, sickly grandmother, who deals drugs out of their basement. Hailey never knew her dead mother, and she has no idea who her father was, but at least she has her four-year-old foster brother, Chub. Once she turns eighteen, Hailey plans to take Chub far from Gypsum and start a new life where no one can find them.
But when a classmate is injured in gym class, Hailey discovers a gift for healing that she never knew she possessed—and that she cannot ignore. Not only can she heal, she can bring the dying back to life. Confused by her powers, Hailey searches for answers but finds only more questions, until a mysterious visitor shows up at Gram’s house, claiming to be Hailey’s aunt Prairie.
There are people who will stop at nothing to keep Hailey in Trashtown, living out a legacy of despair and suffering. But when Prairie saves both Hailey and Chub from armed attackers who invade Gram’s house in the middle of the night, Hailey must decide where to place her trust. Will Prairie’s past, and the long-buried secret that caused her to leave Gypsum years earlier, ruin them all? Because as Hailey will soon find out, their power to heal is just the beginning.
This gripping novel from thriller writer Sophie Littlefield blazes a trail from small-town Missouri to the big city as Hailey battles an evil greater than she ever imagined, while discovering strengths she never knew she had.
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