copyright 2012 Grace Brannigan
Hawks Den, Virginia
In the half light before dawn, Pierce Morgan drove toward Hawk’s Den. He had driven all night to get here, hardly understanding the urgency that gripped him. Pierce stopped his truck and stared at the once majestic plantation house Hawk’s Den. Forlornly, the old home he grew up in sat before him, paint faded and worn. The house was shuttered and still as light began to break, the wrap-around veranda partially concealed by a tangle of brilliant-hued azaleas.
He strode across the stone-lined path to the house, taking the shallow porch steps three at a time. The ornate entry door lay at a drunken angle and he shoved it aside as if it weighed little. Stepping inside, he paused as the stench of stale air bore down upon him.
Arrows of light peered through the closed shutters, but Pierce knew where to find the staircase to the second floor. Quickly, he climbed the stairs, his flashlight beam bouncing across the walls.
On the second floor numerous doors lined a wide, oak-beamed hallway. He walked to the last doorway and entered the chamber. Water-stained wainscoting and pieces of tin ceiling littered the floor. Furniture had been stacked willy-nilly in a corner, once prized oak and cherry pieces, now likewise stained by weather and neglect.
Shoved against the far wall was an enormous oak bed. Pierce walked through strewn feather ticking, then knelt beside a small bedside table. His fingertips tingled as he turned the table upside down. Immediately, he saw the book lodged in the drawer track. Feeling almost lightheaded, he pried it loose and slowly sank down against the wall.
The book’s leather cover was frayed and worn, held together by a gold mesh strap and clasp. Pierce undid the clasp and very carefully opened the journal.
He flipped the pages to the first handwritten entry, the tightness in his chest almost unbearable. “1878, April 2, I fear I shall never live to see land again . . ..”
Sweat beaded on his forehead. The journal confirmed that six months lost in time had not been a wild dream. He had loved a woman back in time, 1894, and somehow he had to find her again.