Featured Author: Candace Meredith

Candace Meredith earned her Bachelor of Science degree in English Creative Writing from Frostburg State University in the spring of 2008. Her works of poetry, photography and fiction have appeared in literary journals Bittersweet, Backbone Mountain Review, Anthology 17, Greensilk Journal, Saltfront and The Broadkill Review.  She currently works as a Freelance Editor for an online publishing company and has earned her Master of Science degree in Integrated Marketing and Communications (IMC) from West Virginia University.

Here is an excerpt from Candace’s Book Losing You.

From the short Story Dear Caroline

Chapter One

Jimmy staggers with a high gate and a left-sided gimp into the state penitentiary where he is greeted by the corrections officer and shown to his single cell. He flops heavily onto his bunker, licking at his lips to savor the last drops of whiskey he guzzled prior to sending off two shots.

“Should have killed him before he had the chance,”he spats at the wall and collapses into a rather awkward lump against the wall. Unable to walk, he leans forward, heaving from dry mouth and coughs continuously, making the night guard angry.

“Keep it down in there,” the night guard hollers as the sounds of late night television can be heard from around the corner – a scene from “I Love Lucy” bounces from the concrete wall, followed by “The Andy Griffith Show.”

Jimmy lets go of his stance just enough to collapse onto the floor in a hard plop, rolling over onto his back, staring at a laden interior with the room spinning. In a daze, he drifts off to sleep – his dreams taking him into the night. In the morning, he awakens to chow being shoved through a small opening in the heavy metal door.

“Good to see you sobering up,”the corrections officer says as he pulls his hand from the tray, “you’re lucky enough that you didn’t kill anyone,”he says, shaking his head, walking away from the single cell.

Jimmy pushes himself up from the floor, resting on one arm, he grabs ahold of the bunk and hoists himself onto the bunker, ignoring the plate on the tray that is covered in thick gravy and two slices of bread. He tugs at his shirt that is wedged into his pants; his belt and shoelaces have been removed.

It is the first day of Jimmy’s time in jail where he is facing charges on account of attempted murder. He is seventy-four years old and his head dangles from his lifeless shoulders, disinterested in food, and clinging to life, because his sole reason to exist was his beloved Caroline.

Jimmy met Caroline when he had checked into the mental health clinic at Duke’s hospital in 1966 while Caroline began studying in medical school. She intended on achieving her medical doctorate, but became a nurse instead. Life with Jimmy changed her mind and she became a proud mother of two beautiful children.  Their first year of marriage was rocky, until Jimmy became sober.

Continued in book . . .

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