The early morning sun had not yet cleared the ridge behind the cabin, but light was
beginning to shine down into the valley, gently waking the Shenandoah River. The water
sighed as it flowed over deadfalls and rocks along the shore, and an occasional ripple
betrayed the fish beneath the surface.
Nadia sat on the edge of the wooden dock watching the sun come up. Her toes came just
short of reaching the murky river. She could see the light growing brighter with each passing
minute, and watched the mist float above the water, like a curtain waiting to be drawn,
caressing her lightly as it passed with the river. Birds struck up their songs in the trees,
awakening the morning. Behind her, a faint rustle in the undergrowth told her that a rabbit or
some other small animal was beginning its busy day. She sat and thought of nothing. Or, at
least, she tried to think of nothing.
In reality her mind raced, trying to understand what was going on around her. She felt
caught up in something malevolent, something that threatened not only her, but anyone
around her. She had no sooner met Jon Daniels than the two were running for their very
lives. To find that her mind was not her own was a confirmation that something was
seriously wrong with her. Finding out that she wasn't even human was a shock she wasn't
sure she could handle.
* * * *
You've seen the picture behind the story. Now read the story behind the picture.
In this chapter of Becoming NADIA, our intrepid Miss Velasquez sits on a small pier overlooking the Shenandoah and ponders her predicament.
To find this pier, I had to combine some luck with a little local knowledge. I was in Front Royal, enjoying a trout and a delicious Old Mill Ale at the Mill Cafe (okay, it's free promo. If you're in Front Royal, eat there. You will NOT regret it). At the next table, a couple was eating across from a young man in his med-thirties or so, who was waiting for his fiancee to join them. A minute or so after I received my meal, who should come up the stairs to the tavern portion but a young lady who could be no other than the aforementioned fiancee, accompanied by the cutest little seven-year-old girl, who just so happened to be best friends with the lady. Now, does this kind of relationship ring a bell for anyone?
So, anyway, I overheard the child talking about how she loved reading. I couldn't resist joining the conversation, and it turns out Abby is a voracious reader and a brilliant little lady of superior intelligence. Not only that, her birthday was a scarce month away. By now, she's eight. Happy Birthday, Abby!
So okay, I couldn't resist. I hauled out a copy of Becoming NADIA and signed it for Abby, and then presented it to her as an early birthday gift. You'd have thought I was some kind of rock star. Thank you for making my evening, Abby. So then the subject of course went to the reasons I was in Front Royal, Virginia, all the way from Michigan. And Jim (the young man affianced to the lady Abby came in with) gave me some ideas of places to look for suitable shots overlooking the mighty Shenandoah River.
Following his directions, I found quite a few great places for photos, more to come later. But this one stood out. The other piers were already pulled in for the season, but this one just kind of called to me as I wandered along a small road on the north bank of the Shenando'. It's a beautiful river, and a gorgeous part of our great country. Oh, and somewhere on Facebook (I think) is a picture of me an Miss Abby with her birthday present. And I hope she enjoys it immensely.
Happy Birthday again, young lady. May your future be ever brighter.
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