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       Silent Key, p.1

           Erin Leland Tuttle
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Silent Key

  Silent Key

  a Novella


  Erin Leland Tuttle

  Text copyright

  © 2015

  Erin Leland Tuttle

  All Rights Reserved

  Table of Contents

  Prologue: 2014 4

  Chapter One: Lull’d by the Moonlight 6

  Chapter Two: Beam on My Heart 15

  Chapter Three: Sounds of the Rude World 24

  Chapter Four: List While I Woo Thee 30

  Chapter Five: Starlight and Dewdrops 39

  Chapter Six: Awake Unto Me 48

  Chapter Seven: Mermaids are Chanting 54

  Chapter Eight: Vapors are Born 61

  Chapter Nine: Waiting for Thee 69

  Chapter Ten: Out On the Sea 74

  Chapter Eleven: Bright Coming Morn 82

  Chapter Twelve: Queen of My Song 88

  Chapter Thirteen: Wild Lorelei 97

  Chapter Fourteen: Over the Streamlet 105

  Chapter Fifteen: Clouds of Sorrow Depart 112

  Epilogue: 2016 118

  Prologue: 2014

  As I sit at my laptop, tapping the keys like I used to tap the keys of the piano in my stuffy college practice room, two things play heavily on my mind. One, I am dying of cancer. Two, the summer before my first year of college, I witnessed a murder.

  My name is Foster Anne Hagan, formerly Foster Anne Farraday. I was born in 1971 in Kentucky amidst the horse farms and stone walls, the basketball and the bourbon, where I have stayed my entire life. I'm neither proud nor embarrassed of this. I would have liked to travel more—Rome always appealed to me—but the Bluegrass State is my home. 

  I live with my husband, Aaron Hagan, in a renovated home in the heart of Lexington—a home into which we have put many hours, sweat, and piles of money, a home I wanted to grow old in.

  My husband is a talented and faithful man whom I have loved for over 25 years. I know our marriage hasn't been easy—what marriage is?—yet he still looks at me as if I hang the sun in the sky each and every morning. My smooth bald head, which was once covered with thick auburn hair, doesn't even seem to faze him. In fact, despite my groans, he kisses it daily. 

  Eight weeks ago, I found out that I have Stage II ovarian cancer. Getting that news was definitely the black icing on the cake. No matter how much I tried to take care of it, this body of mine never got to grow babies. Aaron and I did try. We both passionately wanted at least two children in our life. But after a painful miscarriage when I was 30, I decided I could never go through that again, emotionally or physically. If Aaron was disappointed in me for this decision, he never showed it.

  At this stage in my disease (God, I hate that term), I could have five more years left to live in this world. The doctors want to do cytoreductive surgery, a fancy medical term that basically means open-me-up-and-cut-it-out. I'm not keen on this idea—I'm not keen on having cancer in the first place—but it, along with the continued chemotherapy, could buy my life back. And when I see the look on Aaron's face when he doesn't know I'm watching him, I'd be willing to cut it all out myself.

  We push on in life, not so much for ourselves, but for those around us. The thought of leaving the ones you love behind is worse than the thought of dying. Much worse.

  Truth be told, I am almost grateful for my cancer. That may seem dark, but in all honesty it has given me the courage to finally empty all of the secret, dusty cobwebs in my head. You would think that after this many years it would have gotten easier, but it hasn’t. Each year has only solidified the feeling that I've lived a life that was split into two parallel roads. 

  Keeping secrets, no matter how justified they are, is a gut-wrenching job. It eats away at you, little by little, until one day you get to the point that you have to confess, even if the priest is a blinking cursor on a blank screen. In my case, cancer decided that for me. Or perhaps the secrets grew the cancer. No matter what the doctors say, it feels like a punishment. 

  Whether I will finish my story before the proverbial shit hits the fan is unclear. But I'm going to try. If I do pass away, I want to go clean. Unblemished. No matter how romantic some stories make it sound, carrying a secret to your grave only ruins the last moments of your life.

  And so I begin ...

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