Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Secrets and Shadows: Day 15

Word Count: 90,050

Summary of Events:
Keeleigh and her brother talked about what she'd learned so far and her plans to visit Adelejda Myshaniuk on her own. Emil and the rest of the family watched the German forces enter Warsaw with solemnity before Jarek started talking about how he was going to annihilate all of the Germans in revenge. Keeleigh was working in the hardware store at the Village again for the last day of the season when a woman approached her, intent to purchase something in the store . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""What are you looking at purchasing?" Keeleigh asked.
"One of these saws," the woman replied. "My husband likes woodworking, and he also likes antiques, which he uses to decorate his workshop."
"The biggest one is three dollars, I believe," Keeleigh replied.
The woman pulled out a twoonie and a loonie.
"What kind of money is that?" Keeleigh asked.
"It's three dollars," the woman replied.
"How?" Keeleigh asked.
"It's a one dollar coin and a two dollar coin," the woman replied.
"We don't have one and two dollar coins," Keeleigh said. "We have bills."
"No we don't," the woman replied. "Canada replaced their one dollar bill with a coin in the nineteen eighties and their two dollar bill with a coin in the nineteen nineties."
"But it's nineteen twenty six," Keeleigh said.
"Oh," the woman said. "Would it be better if I gave you quarters, nickels, and dimes then?"
"Maybe," Keeleigh replied.
The woman took back the loonie and twoonie and drew out her change purse again, from which she brought out several quarters, one of which landed with Queen Elizabeth's face upward.
"Who is that?" Keeleigh asked.
"That's Queen Elizabeth," the woman replied. "She's the Queen of England and Canada."
"No, it's King George, the fifth," Keeleigh replied.
"That's her grandfather," the woman said. "You see, he died in nineteen thirty six, and then his son Edward took the throne, but wasn't even crowned because he wanted to marry a divorcée, which wasn't permissible for a king, so he abdicated the throne and his brother, Albert, who took the name George the sixth, became king until nineteen fifty two, when he died and his daughter, Elizabeth, took the throne as Queen Elizabeth the second. She's reigned ever since and has even officially passed Queen Victoria as the longest reigning monarch in British history."
"But she isn't queen now," Keeleigh said. "George the fifth is king."
"So you can't take these either," the woman said.
"No," Keeleigh replied. "We only take money with King George the fifth on it. I'm sorry."
"I've never seen any money like that," the woman said. "I have seen some George the sixth coins, though. The never minted any for Edward. He wasn't even officially called Edward the eighth, although that's what he was."
"But that's all there is for money, it all shows him," Keeleigh said.
"Not anymore," the woman replied. "But as soon as I find some I'll bring it to you and get that saw."
"I shouldn't think it would be that hard," Keeleigh said. "We'll see you soon then."
"I'm glad you're that optimistic," the woman said, taking up her quarters and heading off.
Keeleigh smiled somewhat wanly. She felt like the woman was genuinely upset that she wasn't able to use modern Canadian currency to make the purchase, but being as they weren't technically supposed to sell the artefacts in the Village proper, the fact that they were considering themselves to be wholly in 1926 helped immensely."

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Secrets and Shadows: Day 14

Word Count: 84,004

Summary of Events:
The Polish and German forces declared a ceasefire, which disheartened Emil, who was invited by his father's longtime friend, Ladislav, to join resistance efforts against the Germans. Keeleigh was working in the hardware store at the Village when three rather rude teens came in that her fellow actor, Steve, had to kick out. Olga finished helping prepare supper before going to the parlour . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"On one hand, since Henryk and his comrades had used their house, Olga hated to go into the parlour, but on the other hand, she couldn't help it.
She didn't know which of the men had died; he'd been taken out by the others when they'd left. Still, she'd been haunted, severely deprived of sleep, and found herself contently coming back to the parlour to look at the stain in the carpet since then.
As much as Henryk had swept her off her feet — and thinking of him still made her feel something she couldn't explain — she found that she'd easily seared every man's face into her memory, and she felt an ache within her to think that she'd seen a man in his last hours, and she'd been in the same place where he'd died.
In fact, she'd probably heard the shot that had killed him, and she'd never even realised it. She felt sickened that she hadn't thought that some of the staccato shots she'd heard had been German return fire, striking down a rather young man who still had a lot of life left ahead of him.
Tears blurred her vision again as she looked at the spot. All the different colours in the carpet pattern showed the discolouration, as well as the fact that the fibres were stiff and clumped together with his blood, but the discolouration showed strongest on the ivory, which was turned a red-brown colour that looked somewhat rusty, but mostly like dried blood, there was nothing else it could really be called.
She couldn't shake the overwhelming feeling that, somehow, this had been her fault, that she should've found them a better place to hide or something, such as maybe finding the key for Papa's office and letting them in there.
What good would it have done, though? Who said that he wouldn't have been killed in Papa's office either?
Swiping the tears from her eyes, Olga tried to clear her vision, but to no avail. She wished that they could get away from all the fighting, or that they could drive the Germans out and everything could get back to the way it had been before the Germans had decided to attack them.
But it would never be able to return to the same. Too much had changed. She'd never be able to read like she once had, it was just impossible, considering how unexciting her books had suddenly become — in fact, she could see why Emil and Jarek had called them immature and fanciful.
She wasn't even sure that she'd be able to feel safe walking the streets of Warsaw at night again, or even be able to sleep through the night because of the soldier who'd died and all the other horrors that she'd only just gotten glimpses of throughout the course of twenty seven days of fighting."

Monday, October 16, 2017

Secrets and Shadows: Day 13

Word Count: 78,009

Summary of Events:
Keeleigh and Olivia got together at Keeleigh's place to go through their shared antique collection after receiving word that all the Village staff were invited to help clean things up so that they could reopen the majority of the Village for the remaining week of the season. Olga and most of the family were hiding in the cellar when they heard people walking around upstairs, so Olga and Igor went to investigate and discovered several soldiers, whose side she couldn't identify . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"They turned to face Olga and Igor and stopped in surprise.
"Who are you?" the older one, who had to be close to Papa's age, asked, causing the other four soldiers to turn and look.
"We live here," Olga replied.
"Oh," he said. "I'm sorry."
"Is it just the two of you?" one of the men seated by the gun asked.
"No," Olga replied. "There's twelve of us, as well as Mama and Papa."
"What's your family name?" the younger of the two holding the rifles asked.
"Niemcyk," Olga replied.
"You seem to pop up everywhere," he said. "Is this the household of Zbigniew?"
"Yes," Olga replied. "That's Papa."
"We met your brother only yesterday," the young man said. "My uncle and your father have been good friends for years."
"And who is your uncle?" Olga asked.
"Ladislav Kamiński*," the young man replied.
"Oh," Olga said. She recalled the name, but she didn't know that she'd seen much of the man. "And you are?"
"Henryk Kamiński," the young man replied. "And these are my comrades. We didn't realise this house was occupied. We hope you don't mind."
"I think Mama might be a little upset," Olga said. "She doesn't typically let people smoke in the parlour. Either they go with Papa into his office or they go outside."
"Oh," Henryk said. "Um, we're terribly sorry."
"All an innocent mistake," one of the other soldiers seated on the floor said. "We hope your mother will understand."
"She hasn't been understanding of much lately," Olga said. "The war is scaring her."
"Understandably so," the other man with a rifle said. "It's scaring all of us."
"Is your whole family here?" Henryk asked.
"No," Olga replied. "Papa, Emil, Zygfryd, and Jarek are out somewhere helping."
"No surprise," Henryk said. "Uncle Ladislav told me your Papa served in the Army last war."
"Mama and the rest of us are in the cellar," Olga said.
"You should go back and hide down there," the older man with a rifle said. "Germans are approaching, and we wouldn't want you to get hurt."
Olga nodded and started back toward the kitchen. She turned when she realised Igor wasn't with her and nearly ran right into Henryk.
He gave her a friendly smile. "A pleasure to meet you Miss Niemcyk."
Mutely, Olga nodded, finding her voice had suddenly abandoned her.
Henryk then took up her hand softly and kissed her fingers just where they emerged from her hand before softly sliding his hand out from under her own and heading up the stairs.
Olga stood rooted to the floor for a long time. She felt bewildered, as if she had no idea where she was or what had just happened. All she could see was the smiling, friendly face of Henryk Kamiński, with handsome blue eyes and golden blonde hair.
Shaking her head, she brought herself back to the present and strode into the parlour to seize Igor and haul him back downstairs with her."

* the acute on the n in Kamiński has no effect on the pronunciation to my knowledge

Pronunciation:
Henryk: hehnreek

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Secrets and Shadows: Day 12

Word Count: 72,136

Summary of Events:
Keeleigh was able to drive herself to work, only to find that the Village had been vandalised in the overnight period. Emil, his ribs finally healed, went out to help with the fight against the Germans however he could, only to become trapped under some rubble during a bombing raid. Keeleigh got a call from her mom before being singled out for some further questioning by the RCMP. A hole was made in the rubble to where Emil was trapped by a German tank driving over the pile; a couple of Germans slipped on the loosened rubble, which made the hole bigger . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"He ducked out of sight as the Germans got to their feet, indignant, and waited for a time before peering out again.
To his horror his gaze locked right onto the blue-eyed gaze of a young, blonde German peering into the hole.
The German shouted before drawing out his pistol.
Emil seized the pistol barrel and struggled with the German for control of the weapon as the German shouted for help.
Another German hurried over and tossed a grenade into the hole. It grazed Emil's shoulder.
Instantly Emil shot out of the hole, knocking the German he'd been struggling with over backwards before tumbling over himself and landing in a seated position with the pistol in his hands.
Surging to his feet, Emil ran toward the house across the street, which had a giant shell-hole in it, as gunfire erupted just moments before the grenade exploded.
Emil leapt over the remainder of the house's front door, ran down the hallway, into the kitchen, and out the back door just before a tank shell exploded the inside of the house and crumbled what it hadn't taken out in the first shot, sending the house down behind him.
Not daring to look back, Emil flung himself over the rear fence and darted south down the alley. Even though he was armed, he didn't know how many of them there were against one of him.
Coming out at the end of the alley, Emil stopped abruptly in alarm at the sight of more Germans. They turned toward him and opened fire instantly.
Emil darted back the way he'd come and then hurried into the second backyard, this one of a house that was even more unscathed than his own home. It was missing its windows, though.
Racing through the house, which was unlocked and empty, Emil darted across the street, gunfire erupting after him, and vaulted into the backyard of another largely undamaged house across the street.
Pain shot through his ribcage as he gasped for air, so he quickly weaselled himself under the stairs of the back porch and rotated around so that he was facing the stairs he'd come in under.
He worked to quieten his breathing, just in case the Germans came into the backyard looking for him.
Suddenly he heard heavy, practically deafening footfalls over his head and he watched as four pairs of shiny black military boots came down the stairs. The Germans were in the backyard.
Laying on his stomach, as still and as quiet as he could make himself, Emil watched as the Germans searched the backyard for any signs of him having vaulted over the fence before storming back into the house with just as much deafening volume as they'd come out.
Emil remained still for as long as he could make himself before squirming back out from under the stairs and going out the back gate quietly."

Friday, October 13, 2017

Secrets and Shadows: Day 11

Word Count: 66,009

Summary of Events:
Keeleigh tried to get a ride to work from her friend Olivia, but she started freaking out before they were halfway there. Emil sat in the cellar with the family because the Germans were shelling and thought about the Soviet invasion of the remainder of Poland, as well as the inaction on the part of Britain and France while everyone else slept. Keeleigh, with help and encouragement from her mom, actually got all the way to work in her costume and even engaged a family of guests on her own.

Excerpt of the Day:
"Even safe within the confines of the house war could be heard all around. Olga wished that she could keep her fingers in her ears to blot out the noise, and yet still be able to keep darning so Mama wouldn't scold her all at the same time.
Not that Mama was getting much knitting done at the moment, as Benedykt was utterly inconsolable and trembling with fright at the noise.
The din of the war was weighing heavily on all of them, and from the sounds of things there was some heated combat action going on between the Polish and German forces, and it seemed very close by too.
In fact, it sounded so close by that Olga was afraid that a bullet was going to come whizzing between the boards that covered up the window opening and hit one of them.
Olga's hands trembled as she darned the sock. Her stomach twisted, ill at the thought of her father and brothers out there, somewhere, in the midst of all the war and fighting.
She couldn't imagine how they'd had the courage to walk out the front door this morning and out into all that fighting. It seemed inconceivable that her father and brothers would have the courage to do such a thing.
Even if all the gunfire were to stop, Olga wasn't sure that she would dare set foot out the front door. The Germans were assuredly close enough that they would be able to see her step out of the door and shoot her instantly.
And, even with Zygfryd's talk about how she wouldn't have to go through purgatory to get to heaven, Olga still didn't like the idea of dying. The only people who died in the books she read were the enemies, the bad people, who cause all the trouble to the good people in the first place.
If she were to die then she wouldn't be like the good people in the books. She would be like one of the bad people. But, then again, all manner of innocent people in Warsaw and Poland had died at the hands of the Germans already.
Innocent people dying never happened in the books. The people who died always had done something to deserve their deaths. Few of the people in Warsaw and Poland had done anything to deserve their deaths. It was the Germans who all deserved to die because of their cruel and ruthless behaviours.
Olga finished darning the hole and managed to tie off the thread. She didn't want to take up another sock to repair, but she knew that Mama would give her a scolding if she didn't.
With how close the Germans were coming, Olga had noticed that Mama was becoming more and more irritable, proving that throwing herself into the various tasks that she was wasn't necessarily distracting her from the approaching enemies."

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Secrets and Shadows: Day 10

Word Count: 60,058

Summary of Events:
Emil and Zygfryd, having finished strengthening the walls inside, worked on repairing the siding outside before Emil accidentally cut his finger with a saw. Keeleigh went looking through the trunk again to see what other information she could find and came upon some loose pages . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"They all looked to be written in the same hand, and like they might be part of a letter of some kind, but there was evidence in the upper left corner that the staple holding them all together had failed, leaving them scattered in a disorganised disarray.
Not to mention, being unable to read Polish, Keeleigh was unable to identify what order they went in, she could only figure out which side of the pages was front, and which side was back, and, with that information, she arranged them all into a stack, at least.
She found one page that appeared to have the end, as it was full on the front side, but only halfway so on the rear, where it was ended with a signature.
It took Keeleigh some time to figure out the hastily-written letters, but eventually she made it out to be Zbigniew W. Niemcyk. If she recalled correctly the W stood for Wenceslas.
So this was some sort of a letter written by Zbigniew, but to whom and for what purpose, Keeleigh had no idea.
She kept the end paper at the back and added all the other pages to the front of the stack until she found the one in which the staple was, which seemed to be something of a title page, as it had a nicely centred heading before the text began.
The last couple pages she found that belonged to the document she put in the middle, keeping the front page on the top.
Once she had all the pages assembled, Keeleigh counted how many pages she had in her hands and found an astonishing fifteen neatly handwritten pages. She wonders what exactly Zbigniew had written in them.
She scanned the document for names and found Klementyna mentioned, as well as Kornelia, Benedykt, Gustaw, Jadwiga, Emil, Zygfryd, Adelejda, Igor, Aleksander, Jarogniew, and Malwina.
The only name she knew of in all these papers that wasn't mentioned was Olga. Considering that Zbigniew had died when Dad had been twelve, Olga would still have been alive, and considering all the others had been named, Keeleigh had to think those were the names of all his children.
Emil and Zygfryd were the two boys older than Aunt Kornelia, Adelejda was the little girl, and Olga would fit as the girl around Aunt Kornelia's age.
All of this evidence pointed to there having been four more children, two great aunts, and two great uncles, all of whom she'd never heard of, and all references to whom had been hidden away in this trunk for reasons Keeleigh couldn't begin to guess.
This meant that the Adelejda she'd seen at Aunt Malwina's funeral was Great Aunt Adelejda, and she lived not all that far away in Opal, from where she'd been sending Christmas cards faithfully for over sixty years, even without response from any of her siblings.
Keeleigh crossed her arms and surveyed the papers around her. Why had she never heard of them? What sort of dishonourable thing had one — or all — of them done to deserve the ostracism which they'd received?"

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Secrets and Shadows: Day 9

Word Count: 54,025

Summary of Events:
Keeleigh talked with her dad's cousins Frank and Richie about the trunk, which they were getting tired of trying to find, and helped them to set up for the collector's auction without them seeming to suspect her of having the trunk at all. Emil and Zygfryd worked to shore up the walls on the upper floors of the house, which had been damaged by the explosive force of a bomb knocking the house next door into their own. Keeleigh finally had some time to look in the trunk again and found some letters written and signed by a man named Zygfryd . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"At the end of the letter it was signed Zygfryd again, and when Keeleigh went to return the letter to the envelope she discovered that there was a photo inside.
Pulling it out, Keeleigh looked at it. The young man looked somewhat sober, but still quite handsome. Keeleigh noticed a scar on his right cheek, and that his right ear looked a little bit misshapen, compared to his left ear.
He was dressed in Keeleigh's favourite suit style, three-piece, with a boutonniere, and a kerchief in the suit jacket's upper pocket.
One arm hung straight at his side, and the other disappeared behind the woman he was standing beside.
Her hair was styled in unquestionably 1940s fashion, small curls starting at ear-level and going down to the shoulders, if that, with a small hat covering her straight hair, to which was fastened a short white veil that went over her eyes and nose, but didn't really obscure them because it was a large-hole netting.
She was also wearing an unquestionably 1940s dress, having a bodice that hugged her upper body and smoothly transitioned into an understated A-line skirt that didn't take up too much fabric — keeping consistent with wartime responsibility.
In her hands was a nice, round bouquet, but Keeleigh couldn't tell what sort of flowers made it up, other than that they were probably small baby's breath-types. No roses. Of course that would've been frivolity in wartime, even in Canada.
The young woman's outfit proved conclusively that it was a wedding picture, and it seemed to be a wedding picture of Zygfryd and probably the Helen he was referring to.
Keeleigh turned to the stack of photos and took the one dated 1938 — the most recent one she had — which she held up alongside the wedding picture.
Intently she looked between the two of them, mainly at the young men in the middle of the family picture, and the somewhat more mature young man in the wedding picture.
She couldn't tell which one of the boys Zygfryd was, but she was more than convinced that he was one of them. He was her great uncle.
Setting the photos aside, she went to the next letter, but then stopped, feeling suddenly cold. He hadn't died. If he was alive in 1946 then he'd come to Canada with them.
So then why had she never known him? Why had she never even at least heard about him? Had he done something to alienate himself from the family? What could he have possibly done that would've caused that? Was this Helen he'd married of German blood?
She took up the letter again and scanned it. Not once was Helen's surname mentioned.
Quickly she took up the next letter, which she found was dated 1943, and was chiefly concerned with Olga and Irena again. There was no mention of his wife — or possibly wife-to-be at that time — in the letter."

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Secrets and Shadows: Day 8

Word Count: 48,006

Summary of Events:
Emil and Zygfryd, both stuck at home due to their injuries, had a discussion about whether their sitting around and doing nothing was helping or hindering the war effort. Keeleigh found birth certificates for all of her known relatives except for Uncle Jarek, as well as her great grandparents' marriage certificate before her dad came in looking for the trunk — which she succeeded in hiding quite well in plain sight. Olga was woken by the droning of bombers and everyone hurried downstairs to hide in the cellar, where Jarek insisted that if he would've led the army that things would be different, and, when disagreed with, launched into a tirade . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""All of you are restrictive!" Jarek shouted. "I could've done far more to help if I were just let to do things! I may not be old enough to be married but that means nothing! Absolutely nothing! I have the full capacity to serve my country far more than you believe I can! I am not like lazy Olga who reads childish fairy books and knows nothing about what really happens in the world! I am a man, first of all, and I am grown up far more than she is, even if I am younger!"
"Jarogniew Niemcyk you will say nothing further if you value an existence without pain!" Papa shouted, sounding almost deafening in the confines of the small space.
Olga trembled, not only out of fright of Papa's completely unexpected — but yet somewhat appreciated — outburst, but also as she fought against the tears that threatened at Jarek's comments.
"You are no man," Papa said, his voice low and ominous. "You are a foolish boy. You are immature and unwise, shown best by the fact that you think you have wisdom."
"And Olga is not lazy," Emil said. "I don't think I've seen her within spitting distance of a book since the war began. As much as that may not be a long time, it proves that she is not lazy. She was out in the streets in the middle of a bombing raid trying to find Benedykt to get him to safety."
"She has been very helpful," Mama agreed. "Even if she has cried a lot."
"As soon as all the threat of war is gone she will return to the same old behaviours," Jarek said, his voice sounding nearly as low and ominous as Papa's.
"And who says the threat of war will be over by Christmas?" Zygfryd asked. "I merely said it was likely we would be occupied by Christmas. Who knows how long it will take to get the Germans out of here?"
"Especially considering the fact that neither Britain or France have done anything," Emil quipped bitterly.
"For all we know we may not ever get the Germans out of here," Zygfryd said quietly.
"I would," Jarek said pompously.
"I'd like to know who said you could talk again anyways," Emil said flatly.
"We know not what may come," Zygfryd said. "We only know what is. We could defeat the Germans and drive them out, as unlikely as that seems now, or we could come under their occupation and remain there for however long Germany should last, unless someone else decides to try taking over the Germans, much like a mouse being eaten by an owl, which is eaten by a fox, which is eaten by a bear."
"Speculation is of benefit to no man," Papa said. "Let us be quiet and rest, for we will need all of our strength in order to do what we shall be called upon to do once the bombing is finished."
"If I were in charge of the army we wouldn't be getting bombed," Jarek spat.
"Jarogniew," Papa warned. "You will be strapped until you bleed if you do not hold your silence.""

Pronunciations:
Jarogniew: yahrohgneeeff

Monday, October 09, 2017

Secrets and Shadows: Day 7

Word Count: 42,007

Summary of Events:
After his mother made significant efforts to prevent their departure, Emil, Zygfryd, their two younger brothers, and their father left to go help in the defence of Warsaw, with the Germans having arrived on the southwestern side of the city. Having guns, Emil and Zygfryd were pressed into backing up soldiers, but only until Zygfryd got shot in the ear; Emil then worked to get Zygfryd home — despite their being pursued by a German soldier with Emil's gun empty and Zygfryd unarmed — for which he commandeered a car that the German shot one of the tires and the rear window out of . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"When he saw the opportunity to turn to the east — which happened to be to his right — he took it, only to have the car seemingly surge out of his control and slam itself into the wall of the building he'd been trying to go around.
"You've just made things worse, you know that, right?" Zygfryd asked.
"Does it really matter at this point?" Emil demanded. "I'm trying to get you to safety!"
He hauled Zygfryd out of the car and hurried for a sheltered place to hide.
Zygfryd moaned and suddenly became a dead weight in Emil's arms, nearly pulling him to the ground.
"Zygfryd!" Emil cried, cold fright seizing his breastbone.
He lowered Zygfryd to the stone and looked at him. Zygfryd's eyes were closed and he laid quite still. Emil put a finger to his neck and felt a throbbing that was rather feeble.
"No," Emil whispered. "No Zygfryd; you can't do this."
Quickly Emil took his shirt, wrapped the body of it around the shoulder yoke, and wrapped his shirt around Zygfryd's head, tying the sleeves together so that the part he'd wrapped was around Zygfryd's ear.
He then managed to haul Zygfryd to his feet, lower himself so that his shoulder was at Zygfryd's abdomen, and haul Zygfryd over his shoulder.
In spite of his brother's dead weight, Emil did his best to run. He had no idea how close the German might be to him, and at this point in time he wasn't really all that inclined to find out.
Several gunshots sounded behind him. He was pretty sure it was the German, but he couldn't really run with Zygfryd's weight on his shoulder.
Suddenly pain shot through his lower back and the back of one of his legs, causing Emil to stumble, with Zygfryd's weight only pulling him down faster.
He reached for Zygfryd's head and felt a terrible pain in his hand when Zygfryd's head slammed his hand against the stone.
Quickly Emil rolled over and laid himself down on top of Zygfryd. He didn't even bother trying to reload his gun, knowing that his hands would be much too shaky for that sort of thing to be remotely successful.
The German strode toward them, his face emotionless and cold, like it'd been chiselled out of stone and was incapable of showing any sort of expression.
He cocked his gun and put the barrel of it against Emil's forehead, where it felt warm, not cold, which Emil guessed was from the fact that it'd been fired repeatedly recently. It soon felt like it was burning his forehead.
Suddenly there was a shot, but no searing pain went through Emil's head, pulling blackness with it as he'd feared.
Instead the German's face suddenly spread out into a surprised and alarmed expression and he fell down on Emil hard — a hardness that was only worsened by Emil's position overtop of Zygfryd."

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Secrets and Shadows: Day 6

Word Count: 36,033

Summary of Events:
Keeleigh got called by her supervisor at the Village and they discussed her trying to come back to work the next week in the middle of her search for a non-relative who could read Polish. Kornelia accused Olga of turning off the radio — which she didn't like listening to because of all the war news — when she'd been in the cellar at the time; frustrated and hurt, Olga ran off, only to encounter Zygfryd, who talked with her about that, and much more, while he went to enlist in the civilian defence force being created to help protect Warsaw from the Germans. Keeleigh drove to work, but found herself too stressed to even try going out and playing her role, so she was sent home, where she decided to look in the other cardboard box . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Many of the papers in this box were much older than those contained in the other box. On top of that, there weren't any card-shaped ones.
In fact, Keeleigh noticed that there was a significant quantity of loose photos scattered in the box. She picked up one and looked at it. It appeared to be shot in a studio and showed a sizeable family of dour-faced people.
There was an adult couple, both of whom were holding little boys in their laps; the one on the woman's lap looked to be about two, and the other one looked to be four. Standing behind them were two quite handsome young men in the middle, each with a young woman beside them, and then two boys to the left and two girls to the right, the left side having a girl in front of the boys, and the right having a boy in front of the girls.
On the back of the photo all it said was 1938.
So then the two adults were her great grandparents: Zbigniew and Klementyna, and on their laps were Uncle Gustaw and Grandpa, and then Uncle Olek was in front of Aunt Malwina and Aunt Jadwiga, while Uncle Igor and Uncle Jarek were to the left, and it looked like Aunt Kornelia was beside them.
Aside from them, though, were four others: a little girl who looked younger than Olek — probably about six — a young woman who looked about the same age as Aunt Kornelia, and two strapping, handsome young men in the middle.
Was the little girl Adelejda? Was the other young woman Olga? And who were the young men? Keeleigh felt sick and confused. Olivia seemed to be right. There were more children in the family, children who hadn't been miscarried.
Setting the photo aside, Keeleigh took up the next one. It was all the same people, only the year was 1937 according to the back, and everyone looked younger.
The next photo had a tiny infant Grandpa, and was dated 1936, the year he'd been born. That had to mean the photo had been taken in December, possibly after Christmas, because Grandpa's birthday was the eighteenth of December.
The next photo was dated 1932; it had an infant in Klementyna's lap, and no Gustaw or Grandpa. Being as the next oldest child was a boy — and by count had to be Uncle Olek — that confirmed that the little girl was the infant.
After that photo Keeleigh found one with Zbigniew and Klementyna looking much younger and having only the two boys, who looked to be one and three in the picture. It was dated 1920.
Who were these boys? Keeleigh had always thought Aunt Kornelia was the oldest, but it seemed that there were two boys older than her. Had they died in the war or something? If so, why weren't they even remembered by the family for that?"

Friday, October 06, 2017

Secrets and Shadows: Day 5

Word Count: 30,011

Summary of Events:
Keeleigh went over to her best friend Olivia's house and told Olivia all about what she'd learned from the papers, and they Googled the name of the woman Keeleigh had seen at the funeral, which led them to find out that her family ran quite a large farm. Olivia suggested that the woman was another great aunt of Keeleigh's, but Keeleigh wasn't convinced . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""They didn't have contraception back in the twenties," Olivia said.
"I know that," Keeleigh replied.
"So then why's there a four year gap between Olek and Gustaw?" Olivia asked.
"There could've been a miscarriage," Keeleigh replied. "There were a lot more of those back in the day too."
"There could also be another girl," Olivia said. "A girl by the name of Adelejda."
"But I've never met her," Keeleigh said.
"Her Christmas cards to the family are being kept under lock and key in a steamer trunk," Olivia said. "I think this Adelejda is a great aunt of yours."
"We don't know what year Adelejda was born," Keeleigh said. "What if she's from either of the years Uncle Olek or Uncle Gustaw are from?"
"Twins?" Olivia suggested.
"There are no twins in the entire Niemcyk family," Keeleigh replied. "I have my doubts."
"But doesn't it make sense?" Olivia asked.
"It does," Keeleigh replied. "But why wouldn't I have met her?"
"Because she married a Ukrainian?" Olivia asked.
"That means nothing," Keeleigh replied. "If she'd have married a German I could see it, the Niemcyks have a hate on for the Germans."
"Who could blame them?" Olivia asked. "They were in Poland when the War started, weren't they?"
"Yeah," Keeleigh replied. "And besides, Dad married a Ukrainian and they don't have any issue with Mom."
"We need to go look through that box," Olivia said. "That's got to be where the answers are."
"But I feel like we won't be able to find out the answers unless we know Polish," Keeleigh said.
"So then what are you saying?" Olivia asked.
"I feel like we should find someone who speaks Polish — and someone who's not related to my family," Keeleigh replied.
"Why can't it be one of your relatives?" Olivia asked.
"They want the papers to go to Aunt Jadwiga," Keeleigh replied. "And I fear that if they go to Aunt Jadwiga I won't be allowed to look at them. In fact, if they find out that I have them they might blow a gasket."
"Even your parents?" Olivia asked.
"I don't know," Keeleigh replied. "But I don't feel like I can trust them not to tell Grandpa. I feel like he and his siblings for sure, though, will get upset if they find out I have these papers. That's why I lied to Diane."
"So you do think this Adelejda Myshaniuk is your great aunt?" Olivia asked.
"I don't know," Keeleigh replied. "I mean, it does make sense, but I feel like there's something hiding in those boxes. Something they want to keep a secret.""

Pronunciations:
Gustaw: goostahv
Jadwiga: yah'dveegah

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Secrets and Shadows: Day 4

Word Count: 24,008

Summary of Events:
Keeleigh opened the sealed Christmas cards and discovered some of them were from a different woman who appeared to have had a daughter who died as a young child; she told her brother about it, and was flabbergasted when he didn't seem to believe her. Olga went to deliver bandages to the church and overheard an announcement that Britain and France had declared war on Germany, which bolstered everyone's spirits. Emil was helping load up debris to be used for constructing barriers on the edges of Warsaw when he spotted his youngest brother wandering the streets alone and brought him home only to learn that Olga was out looking for him; Emil then set out to find Olga as a bombing raid began, and ended up getting thrown into a lamppost by a nearby bomb-blast . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"He staggered back toward where the bomb had exploded, feeling a wretched revulsion in his stomach. He hoped Olga hadn't been right where the bomb had landed. He wouldn't be able to live with himself if she had been.
As he got closer he tried to shout her name, but he felt like something was lodged in his throat that he couldn't get his voice past, so he went on in silence, desperately searching for Olga.
"Emil!" a sudden, desperate scream from behind him made him whirl around so quickly that he fell down.
Hardly a moment later Olga, looking dusty and bedraggled, with eyes red-rimmed from tears whose trails formed muddy lines down her face, was by his side.
"Emil, are you alright?" she asked.
"Now that I've found you, yes," Emil replied.
"I've lost Benedykt!" Olga cried. "You have to help me find him!"
"I found him," Emil replied. "He's safe at home with Mama. That's how I found out you were gone, so I came to find you."
Olga looked relieved, but tortured. "I didn't mean to lose him!"
"I shouldn't think you would," Emil replied, slowly sitting up again. "You may be selfish at times, but you wouldn't wholly abdicate a responsibility like that."
"They're not going to believe me," Olga sobbed.
"Nonsense," Emil said, swiping some of the mud off her cheeks with his thumbs. "I'll vouch for you, and I'm sure Mama wouldn't be inclined to think as ill of you as Kornelia does."
He struggled to his feet again. Olga scrambled up beside him.
"You're not alright," Olga said.
"I'm just a little shaky because the bomb-blast threw me into a lamppost," Emil replied. "I'll be fine once I have a moment to sit down, but we need to get home before the bombers circle around again."
"You're bleeding Emil," Olga said.
"No I'm not," Emil replied. 
"Yes you are," Olga insisted.
Emil looked down, thinking she was just referring to his pant leg's wetness, but when he looked down he saw that she was right; blood had soaked his shirt. As soon as he looked at it he felt the searing pain tear through his side and he dropped to his knees."
"I need to get you help," Olga said.
"Help me up," Emil said.
"No, you need to stay here," Olga said. "I can't carry you."
"I'll lean on you," Emil said. "You should be strong enough to help me stay upright."
Olga looked at him fearfully, but eventually helped him to his feet.
He draped his arm around her shoulder as his legs threatened to buckle underneath him. Now that he'd realised he was wounded he felt much weaker than he had before, but he wasn't going to let that stop him in any way."

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Secrets and Shadows: Day 3

Word Count: 18,045

Summary of Events:
Olga and the rest of the family were ordered downstairs by Emil as a bombing raid struck them; once the bombing was over they went to start cleaning up and rescuing people. Keeleigh opened one of the boxes and discovered it contained cards and letters from over sixty years — including many that had been unopened — and identified the woman she'd seen at the funeral as one of the senders. Emil worked hard helping the men sift through the debris for dead and living in between bombing raids . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"All the boyish imaginings Emil had possessed of what it would be like to beat back the Germans were shattered, but even still, part of him hoped that they would be able to repay the Germans as they'd been served yet, and make the Germans realise how inglorious and unglamorous war was.
Pulling back a piece of concrete too heavy to lift, Emil though he heard something and scanned the sky quickly.
No aircraft were in the sky, no one was next to him; he looked down toward where he'd been pulling debris from. He hauled at the wood, cracked and broken like even a child could break a twig or a piece of kindling.
After digging for a bit he listened; there was whimpering coming from inside the wreckage.
"Life!" he shouted.
Instantly several nearby diggers hurried over to help him pry away wood, brick, concrete, and all manner of other debris until they finally found the source of the whimpering.
It was a dog, whose one leg was trapped under what looked to be the remains of a window or door frame. Laying on it was a small child, who looked unharmed.
Quickly a man reached in to check the child's signs of life.
"Alive," he whispered, before gently collecting the child into his arms.
The dog barked and struggled against the timber, obviously upset that his charge was being taken from him.
Another man bent over with a hatchet and chopped at the wood pinning the dog's leg in place. Emil reached for the dog, who turned and snapped at him.
He managed to catch the dog's muzzle in one hand and felt for a collar with the other. Once it was found, he seized hold of it.
As soon as the dog was freed it lunged to its feet, barking, and tried to surge over the wreckage to the man carrying the child it'd been guarding, but Emil restrained it, managed to collect it into his arms, and carried it after the man.
They headed for the church, the strongest building in the area — even if it was just as windowless as the rest — where the living were being tended to in the sanctuary-turned-hospital while the dead were identified and prepared for burial in the basement-turned-morgue.
By the time they reached the church the child had roused and was screaming at the top of his lungs. Women who were helping treat the wounded quickly relieved the man of the child and sought to soothe him.
As Emil stepped inside the church he saw the women carrying the child over to one of the wounded. They talked to the woman, who then cried out with a measure of joy and relief before taking the child up in her arms."

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Secrets and Shadows: Day 2

Word Count: 12,010

Summary of Events:
Olga's oldest brother, Emil, and second brother Zygfryd were up late arguing and woke up Adelejda, which prompted them to quieten down and go to sleep. Keeleigh — given time off work because of the incident — was called by her dad's cousins, who were looking for help going through her Great Aunt's things, and Keeleigh offered to help; she found a sizeable storage room full of things, including a trunk which she was particularly interested in opening . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"She put the key into the lock and turned it until she heard the click. Carefully, she then lifted the lid and looked inside.
It didn't look like anything spectacular, it was just two of the most battered old cardboard boxes Keeleigh had ever seen in her life.
One box was plastered with stamps, as well as having an elegant, spidery cursive spelling out a mailing address.
Mr. Zbigniew Niemcyk was the recipient, and she noticed that Canada was spelled with a K. The return address explained that, however, as the sender had shipped it to Canada from Warsaw.
Considering that the name on the box was Zbigniew — her great grandfather — Keeleigh guessed this box had been handed down from Klementyna to Kornelia and then to Malwina.
That also suggested that it was some really old cardboard, and explained the rather interesting stamps that plastered a good portion of the box top.
Both it, and the box beside it, had Kornelia written on them in an elegant hand, as well as a different word, which Keeleigh was quite sure was Polish.
In addition, they had writing in a different hand that wasn't quite so elegant, which read Malwina, suggesting as Keeleigh had guessed: her great grandmother had left the boxes to Kornelia upon her passing, and Kornelia had left them to Malwina.
Keeleigh wondered why they'd passed over Uncle Jarek, considering that, even still, he was alive, and he was the child between the two girls. Unless maybe they suspected he wouldn't be interested in the contents.
She quickly texted the Polish word to Dad. He knew enough Polish to speak to his parents in it fluently, which they did sometimes — Keeleigh guessed that it was to discuss private family affairs mostly, probably things like wills and inheritances — so he should know any word she would encounter here.
"Oh," Bev's groan startled Keeleigh, and she turned to see Bev standing in the doorway.
"I figured you wouldn't appreciate seeing this," Keeleigh said. "At least everything's labelled, so it should make life a little bit easier."
"How much stuff did they have?" Bev asked.
"A lot," Keeleigh replied. "Just to your right is boxes of clothes from when your husband was a little boy."
"You can't be serious," Bev said, turning to the boxes.
Keeleigh was going to reply, but her cell phone sounding turned her attention away, and she found that Dad had replied: Papers. If that wasn't generic, Keeleigh didn't know what was."

Pronunciations:
Emil: ehmll
Zygfryd: zeegfreed
Zbigniew: z'bihgneew
Klementyna: klehmehnteenah
Jarek: yahrehk

Monday, October 02, 2017

Secrets and Shadows: Day 1

Word Count: 6,127

Summary of Events:
Attending her Great Aunt's funeral, Keeleigh noticed a woman who looked uncannily like her deceased Great Aunt, but wasn't her last living great aunt, which left her baffled. Olga was distracted from her reading by her oldest brother arriving home with news that the Germans and Soviets had signed a pact that — according to him — meant that one of the two intended to attack Poland, which distressed her and sent her fleeing back to her book. Keeleigh tried not to think about the woman at the funeral at her work, which was helped by a couple approaching her station; when the wife left, however, the man started to chase Keeleigh with intent to do things Keeleigh wasn't interested in . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Kathy stepped toward him and tried to engage him, but Keeleigh could tell her efforts were going to be nothing but futile; she just had to hope that he could be drawn far enough away from the door that she could get out without getting caught.
"I'm not interested in what you're doing," the man said. "I'm interested in guiding this young lady back to her little sod house."
Keeleigh held her place as the man started toward her, despite Kathy's valiant efforts to try and distract him with something, anything.
Once he got close enough to her and far enough from the door Keeleigh bolted. The man shouted and, unfortunately, was hot on her heels. Kathy and Olivia followed him out of the door, but stopped there, looking rather helpless.
Keeleigh ran as fast as she could toward the next station. It was — fittingly, Keeleigh had to admit — the station where the live pigs were kept.
She was close enough to make out two people, but not to be able to identify who they were, when a hand seized her shoulder and she was abruptly halted.
The man put his mouth to her neck and kissed her. Keeleigh screamed at the top of her lungs and struggled against the man's hold, only to have him bare his teeth and sink them into her neck, as if he was going to hold her there by his mouth alone.
Instantly the two people launched into action, one of them — whom Keeleigh was quickly, gratefully, able to identify as Brett — vaulted over the fences like an Olympic hurdler, while the other figure, Nate, went around.
Brett peeled the man's hands off of her without a word, and she quickly pulled away from the man's mouth as Nate ran up. Keeleigh stepped toward him slowly and shakily.
"Pretend you're my husband, please," she whispered in Ukrainian.
Nate pulled her close against him, which she appreciated, as she was sure she wouldn't have been able to stay standing much longer if she'd been left on her own.
"Just what do you think you're doing sir?" Nate asked, looking quite unimpressed.
"I wasn't doing anything," the man replied indignantly. "She completely misinterpreted my actions."
"We shall see what there's to be said about that," Brett said coldly, pushing the man ahead of him.
"Your pretend police constable can't do anything to me," the man said.
"What pretend police constable?" Brett asked. "We don't have a pretend police constable. We only have real ones."
"Are you okay?" Nate whispered in Ukrainian.
Keeleigh shook her head, tears pricking at her eyes suddenly.
"Should we call your parents?" Nate asked.
Keeleigh nodded.
Nate gently guided her around and started her after Brett and the man, who continued to discuss the legitimacy of any police that might be present at the Village. Keeleigh felt completely shaken and hoped that the next place they would be heading was the gift shop where the RCMP would be called, and that they wouldn't spend any time pretending to summon the RNWMP."

Saturday, September 30, 2017

October Novel Essential Information

Novel Title: Secrets and Shadows
Time Setting: 1939 & 2017
Genre: Historical/Life
Minimum Word Goal: 120,000
Timespan: August–December
Locations: Warsaw, Poland; Mundare & Vegreville, Alberta
Main Characters: Olga Niemcyk, Adelejda Myshaniuk, Keeleigh Niemcyk
Background Information:
1939— Even to herself, Olga is no one special, if anything, actually, she finds herself lost within the family — no hard feat, considering that she's one of twelve children — even though she is one of the older ones.
Considering her life rather ordinary, Olga likes to read books that take her to extraordinary places where interesting and adventurous things happen, things that are much more interesting than her mundane existence.
Being as she is a young woman of seventeen, however, her parents are putting significant pressure on her to do much more with her life than read books, which she chafes at, because she wants to do adventurous things in life, not ordinary things like everyone else does.
Disappearing into fictitious worlds is much better than being in the real world on another account too: with the tension in Europe due to next-door Germany's absorbance of Austria and dismantling of Czechoslovakia, things are getting scary. In a book, she can close it up and put it away if things go in ways she doesn't want. In the real world she can't escape.

2017— Growing up in small-town Alberta, with family close at hand, Keeleigh has never really had big ambitions or grand plans, she's been content to just live a simple life in which nothing in particular happens to her.
She is very interested in history, especially the histories of individual people, and in preserving the local history of the hardworking people who had the courage to leave their homelands for the unknown.
History is also a big part of her work, which is as a historical reenactress in a specifically Ukrainian themed historical village, and it's a work she enjoys very much, especially considering her mother's family is of Ukrainian heritage and she can source historical knowledge from her grandmother.
Recently, her paternal great aunt's health started to fail and now her great aunt has passed. As much as she should be mourning, though, Keeleigh can't help but be excited. People reminiscing about her great aunt at the funeral would give her a great amount of personal history to learn, and she might even be able to get historical artifacts and things from her great aunt's possessions if her dad's cousins let her, even if they aren't Ukrainian artifacts.

Pronunciations:
Niemcyk: kneeehmsick
Adelejda: ahdehlehdah
Myshaniuk: myshahneeuhk
Keeleigh: keelee

Novel begins on October 2.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Baffin Island: Day 17

Word Total: 120,004

Year to Date: 750,065

Summary of Events:
Yukon wanted to get up and walk around, but the nurse, Samantha, told him he wasn't allowed to; she checked up for his friends on his behalf and then they got talking about other things, though. JT, Kyle, Alex, and Josh — all of whom had been released — came to visit Yukon and tell him Ryan had already gone home and sneak him out of his room to visit Ben for a bit. Yukon finally was released, but found himself not really wanting to say goodbye to Samantha . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""And I don't even have anything on me," Yukon said.
"For what?" Samantha asked.
"Well, to give you something," Yukon replied. "To show my appreciation and stuff."
"It doesn't really matter, you've said thank you," Samantha replied.
"But . . ." Yukon trailed off, looking down at her hands, still softly resting in his. "I feel like I should do more than just say it."
"It's fine," Samantha said.
"Do you like chocolate or something?" Yukon asked.
"Yeah, I like chocolate," Samantha replied.
"What kind?" Yukon asked.
"Straight milk chocolate mostly," Samantha replied. "Although I do like Toblerone too, but it's kind of expensive to get around here."
"I know," Yukon said. "Do you think I could send you something?"
"If you really want to," Samantha replied.
"What's your last name, though?" Yukon asked. "Just so that I can make sure I get it to the right Samantha."
"MacNaughton," Samantha replied.
"Not McNaughton?" Yukon asked.
"No," Samantha replied.
"Okay," Yukon said. "I'll try and get you something."
"Alright," Samantha said. "But I should take you down to your parents."
Yukon nodded reluctantly; not only not wanting to leave Samantha, nor see Tiffany again, but also because he didn't really want to let go of Samantha's hands.
She slid them out of his hold, however, and led the way out of the room and down to the lobby.
Yukon forced himself to smile for the sake of his dad and Tiffany, who were both quite happy to see him. When he got a glance out the hospital doors, however, and saw the pale blue eyes and eagerly happy face of Ulloriaq looking at him, he walked past them and out the doors.
Ulloriaq barked and her entire hind end started moving back and forth with her tail as she pranced with happiness at seeing him again.
Going down onto his knees, Yukon rubbed Ulloriaq over enthusiastically. It was nice to see her again. She looked so clean now, and she felt so soft, like she'd been taken to the groomers or something, and her wound was quite clean, with only a small bandage covering part of her leg.
He looked back toward the hospital and saw Samantha looking at Ulloriaq almost longingly.
Eagerly he beckoned to Samantha, and with only a moment's hesitation she came out to see Ulloriaq.
"This is your dog?" she asked.
"Yeah," Yukon replied, getting up off his knees. "She's friendly, you can feel free to pet her."
Samantha looked between the hospital doors and Ulloriaq before finally scratching Ulloriaq's head gently, prompting Ulloriaq to wag her tale and smile in her affable, canine way.
"She's such a gorgeous dog," Samantha said.
"Yeah," Yukon said. "She's beautiful."
"Thanks for letting me pet her," Samantha said, looking shy. "I should get back inside, though."
"It's only fair, considering everything you did for me," Yukon said.
Samantha smiled. "You're very welcome."
Yukon nodded and Samantha slipped back inside. Yukon wished he would've even snatched up her hand and kissed it before she'd left, but he hadn't, and now his dad and Tiffany were coming out the door and he had no opportunity to go back after her now."

Next post will be on September 30.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Baffin Island: Day 16

Word Count: 114,111

Summary of Events:
Toward the end of the day the group finally sighted the buildings of Iqaluit, but decided to spend one more night in the tundra. The next morning they went to Yukon's great aunt and uncle's house; his great aunt and uncle then proceeded to take them to the hospital to be tended to for all their injuries from the trek. Yukon was coming out of anesthetic from the surgery to reset his broken ribs properly when his dad and stepmom came to visit, and his stepmom's mood wasn't making things pleasant . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Yukon grimaced and turned his head away from Tiffany's loud exclamations. His brain still felt foggy and her shouting didn't really help anything.
"Going out in the middle of nowhere!" Tiffany ranted. "Where's the fun in that? Or do you find it fun to scare people out of their lives? Hm? Did you hear me? Is that pleasant to you?"
Tiffany shouted the last two questions into Yukon's ear, making him turn away all the more.
"Ma'am, please, you're disturbing the patient," the nurse said. "I understand your concern for him, being as he is your son, but you must allow him to recover properly."
Yukon's brain revolted at the idea of him being considered Tiffany's son. Sure she had the darker hair like he did — although not as dark as his — but that was purely coincidence, they had no blood relation.
He couldn't summon the ability to verbally protest, however, so he grimaced some more.
"Actually, she's not his mother biologically," his dad corrected. "Yukon is only my son."
"Oh, I'm sorry sir," the nurse said.
"Don't worry, it's a common misconception, seeing as they have similar coloured hair," his dad said. "Yukon's mom was actually part Inuit, thus why Yukon spends so much time up here."
"Oh," the nurse said, sounding interested.
"Did you think about the heart attack it would cause us?" Tiffany demanded right into Yukon's ear again.
Yukon tossed his head in distress and gave the finger.
"Tiff, why don't you go get me a coffee?" his dad asked. "And get yourself a latte or something."
"I'm not going anywhere until I can be sure he's alive," Tiffany snapped.
"Babe, he's moving," his dad said.
"Even comatose people move, but that doesn't mean that they live," Tiffany replied.
"I'll still be here and I'll let you know if anything happens," his dad said. "Go get me a coffee, maybe call your mom and see how Carter's doing."
"Carter's fine, and he'll be fine too," Tiffany snapped. "But I'll go get you a coffee."
"Thank you babe," his dad said.
Yukon heard the sound of a soft peck before Tiffany's heels echoed off down the hall.
"She's definitely worrisome," his dad said, sounding as if he were apologising to the nurse.
"It seems so," the nurse said.
"But he's all good?" his dad asked.
"The wrist and ankle sprains were minor to begin with from the best we can tell," the nurse replied. "We've given him injections to help the healing process. From his records we found he was up to date on his tetanus, but we gave him a booster shot against tetanus and a couple other things because of the bite wound on his chest. The surgery to reset his rib was successful, but we will have to watch for potential overreaction with his bones repairing, as they'd healed improperly, so the rib had to be broken again. His lung should heal well now too, and we've been feeding him a nutrient-rich liquid diet so far. We're going to start adding solids over the next week and after that he should be free to go home."
"At least he's okay," his dad said. "I mean, any of them could've died out there.""

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Baffin Island: Day 15

Word Count: 108,115

Summary of Events:
Ben apologised to Yukon for his behaviour and the group continued walking in much better spirits, although Ulloriaq started behaving unreasonably, to Yukon's stress; it was only when Alex got attacked by a bird of prey that they realised she'd been trying to warn them of the bird. Yukon spent much of the day thinking about his girlfriend and how much he missed her. The next morning their traps had failed to catch any rabbits, so Ulloriaq hunted a couple down before they set out for what they all hoped was their last full day of walking; although Yukon began to feel like they were headed in the wrong direction because he'd not sighted Frobisher Bay yet and started stressing . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Ulloriaq nosed his leg and Yukon looked down at her. She gazed at him with concern; she'd sensed his distress with that uncanny ability of hers again. He stroked her head and wished that his stress over whether they were headed the right way could be alleviated.
A thought suddenly occurred to him and he looked down at Ulloriaq. She was a dog. Dogs had better noses than people. She should be able to smell the ocean if they were close to it, or otherwise be able to tell him if they were off track.
"Where's the ocean Ulloriaq?" he asked. "Go find me the ocean."
Ulloriaq jogged ahead, her head high, scanning. Yukon was pretty sure she'd understood what he'd said, and he had to admit that sometimes it impressed him that she could understand him so well. He wondered if it was because of how much he talked to her like she was another person.
Regardless, he hoped that she had, indeed, understood what he wanted, and was going to seek out the nearest saltwater to their position.
She picked up to a lope for a bit, but then slowed to a walk, favouring her bandaged leg. Yukon felt bad for her. He hoped they were on the right track for her sake as much as anyone else's. They were all in pain, and they probably all should've seen a doctor a long time ago.
Ulloriaq stopped and barked.
Yukon hurried over to her and looked. He couldn't see anything at first, but then he noticed a glitter just to the right of dead ahead. A relief and elation swelled within him like he'd never felt before in his life. Frobisher Bay — it had to be.
"We aren't stopping here for the night, are we?" Ben asked, startling Yukon.
"Just over there," Yukon replied, pointing. "Do you see that glitter?"
"Yeah," Ben replied after a moment's scanning.
"Frobisher Bay," Yukon said.
"We're almost there," Ben sighed, his voice drenched in the relief that filled Yukon.
"What is it?" JT asked.
"That distant glitter, that's Frobisher Bay," Yukon replied
Alex whooped with glee and everyone else hurried up to look, Ryan even lifting his touque to see, while Kyle quickly fired up his camera and focused in on the distant glittering of the bay.
"There it is," Kyle said, almost reverently. "The distant shore of Frobisher Bay. I'd like to know how in the world we're going to get there in only a day and a bit, but there it is."
"You know how we're going to get there," Josh said. "We're going to keep walking."
"Do we power walk now?" Ryan asked.
"If you want," Yukon replied.
"We're almost there, pack," Alex said, before launching into his generally pathetic howl.
Everyone joined him, even Ulloriaq, as if she, too, sensed the immense relief that finally sighting Frobisher Bay gave the rest of them."

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Baffin Island: Day 14

Word Count: 99,008

Summary of Events:
Yukon and Ben got into an argument before JT separated them and talked with Yukon about why the two of them weren't getting along. JT then tried to talk to Ben about the same thing, but he wouldn't listen. Wolves howling the next morning woke Yukon up; he was grateful to see, however, that they hadn't taken any rabbits from the snares, although he did see one approaching and threateningly ordered it to leave . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"The wolf came to a halt, almost as if startled, and rather hesitant. It lifted its gaze to him, its pale blue eyes looking confused and sad.
Wolves didn't have blue eyes.
Yukon's heart rate accelerated, causing his day-old wound to throb due to its proximity to the vital organ. He felt suddenly horrible, and yet elated at the same time.
He dropped to his knees and stared. He could hardly dare to think it, much less say it, but he had to.
"Ulloriaq?" he whispered.
The head lifted and a light came into the pale blue eyes while the tail wagged, just at the tip, suggesting there was still a fear and hesitancy.
"Is it really you Ulloriaq?" Yukon whispered, his voice coming out hoarse as tears threatened his eyes.
The wagging of the tail increased. Its soft thumping on the ground reached his ears.
"Come here," Yukon whispered.
Instantly she shot to her feet and quickly closed the distance between them. Yukon clutched her to his chest and sobbed. He would never have believed that she would find her way back to them after all this time. He couldn't begin to imagine where she'd been, and he could hardly believe that she was back. She was actually back. She was alive, and she'd come back to him.
With a puppy's enthusiasm her tail, as well as her whole body, wiggled as she tried to almost cram herself further onto his lap than she was, her big, soft, tongue leaving stripes of warm, wet saliva on his chest, arms, hands, neck, and face as she greeted him.
"It's really you," Yukon whispered, his throat still closed with emotion as he looked at her.
She sat back, her tongue hovering on the edge of her teeth in a wide canine smile that showed she was, without question, just as happy to see him as he was to see her.
"Where have you been?" he asked, sliding his hands into the thick, tangled fur about her neck.
She uttered a somewhat howl-like yip.
"Were you with the wolves?" Yukon asked.
Her tail wagged with enthusiasm.
"Why did you leave me Ulloriaq?" Yukon asked. "I was so worried about you. I thought you'd died Ulloriaq."
The happy expression on her face fell and her tail stopped wagging. She took on a contrite expression and lowered herself to her belly, her eyes seeming to brim with apology.
Yukon rubbed her head gently and watched as she barely moved the tip of her tail.
"At least you're here and okay, though, which is more than I could've asked for," Yukon said. "As much as I wish I knew where you'd been. Come, let's go tell everybody you're back."
Instantly the happiness was back on Ulloriaq's face and she hopped to her feet, following alongside him at an enthusiastic trot despite her limp."

Monday, September 18, 2017

Baffin Island: Day 13

Word Count: 90,032

Summary of Events:
Cresting a ridge, the group was prompted to stop by the breathtaking sight of Lake Amadjuak which lay below them. Alex lost his cellphone when he nearly fell trying to take a picture of the lake. Yukon was woken up by a strange sound that Ben went to investigate before trying to fight a wolf for the rabbit it was trying to take; Yukon came to Ben's aid and successfully killed the wolf before tending to Ben's extensive wounds. Later on they stopped for a breather — being as Ryan was trying to walk more, and Ben was still rough from the attack — and Yukon and Kyle went down to the lakeshore to top up their water bottles before they moved on; on the way down Kyle dropped his cellphone . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""I need to find my cellphone," Kyle said. "Did you see where it landed?"
"In the lake," Yukon replied.
"It's waterproof to thirty metres," Kyle said, then furrowed his brow. "Or maybe it's thirty feet."
"Kyle, come on," Yukon said, putting on his socks.
"This is cold water!" Kyle shrieked.
"See?" Yukon said. "Come on."
"I have to find my phone!" Kyle cried. "Even if I lose my feet and legs in the process!"
"It's not worth it Kyle," Yukon said.
"I've got invaluable footage on it!" Kyle exclaimed. "If I want a complete documentary of our trek I need that footage!"
Yukon sighed. "Kyle, I didn't even see where it landed other than in the lake, we don't need to be held up for hours. We want to go home."
He stood on the shore and watched as Kyle scoured the waters frantically looking for any sign of his cellphone. 
Eventually Yukon tied himself back to his rope and leaned casually against the rock face, watching as Kyle desperately searched. He checked his watch. It was ten to the hour.
"You have ten minutes before I'm hauling you out of there and forcing you back up the hill without it," Yukon said. "I'm waiting no longer than that."
"I have to find it!" Kyle cried. "I refuse to leave it here!"
"Then you should've put it in a more secure pocket," Yukon said. "Not that the security of your GoPro helped it any."
"What?" Kyle exclaimed, looking at Yukon.
"Yeah, those rocks that hit your head cracked the face, I think they may've even corked the lens," Yukon replied.
Kyle swore. "Even more reason to– there it is!"
He scrambled off to the east and thrust a hand into the water that emerged triumphantly, the Toronto Blue Jays logo-adorned side of the case facing Yukon.
"Now to get some shots," Kyle said.
"Six minutes and we're out of here," Yukon said.
"I think it's literally frozen," Kyle said. "I need to thaw it out."
Yukon watched as Kyle pinned his phone between his thighs and stood there for a long time. It was three minutes to the hour when he finally got it thawed enough to take some shots.
"We're shoreside on Lake Amadjuak, just topping up our water supplies." Kyle narrated. "It took awhile to thaw this thing out, as it landed in the lake, but I would not leave it behind, and I thankfully don't have to. The water in this lake is way too cold for its own good, I'm surprised there's no ice cubes in it, but I have to say this is a way prettier sight than I expected."
"I think it's because of the fact that there's less heat here, which fosters the growth of algae and other bacterias," Yukon replied. "You have forty five seconds."
"Man, you're serious about your time limit," Kyle said. "I'm coming.""

Pronunciation:
Amadjuak: uhmahd'youack

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Baffin Island: Day 12

Word Count: 84,010

Summary of Events:
Yukon and Kyle stayed up late talking about Canadian geography. The next morning Yukon woke up to the smell of cooking rabbit as Ben finally succeeded in catching one, to everyone's joy. Subsequently reinvigorated, they set out for another day of walking during which they spent a lot of time talking about advancing JT's career. Yukon was woken by the howling of wolves and couldn't help but feel uneasy . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"The howls sounded like they were close by, and there was something else about them, something more haunting and cold about them. Yukon didn't know what it was, but he felt like there were ominous portents of danger in their calls as they rallied together.
For all he knew the wolves could be calling each other together into a big hunting pack to come after them; the wolves could've been following them for some time, and were wanting to take them down for food or something.
Maybe it was hunger he heard in their voices that made them seem more haunting and cold, more dangerous. Maybe the wolves were starving like they had been, and were seeking to take them down because they were big and meaty.
That thought made Yukon uncomfortable. Very uncomfortable. But not as uncomfortable as the thought that maybe, just maybe, his imitation howls two days ago had actually encouraged the wolves to start heading in their direction, even though he'd been hungry at the time.
The wolves could possibly have been able to tell he was a human imitating them, and if they had, maybe they'd decided to rally together in an effort to take him down and eat him, as well as any others in his company — whom they would have assuredly heard and identified as non-wolves.
As much as he could pull off a good howl, Yukon wasn't sure what exactly he'd communicated by it. Wolves used howls to communicate all manner of different things, and that was part of the language that he didn't understand.
He knew they used them for rallying a group together to go hunting, and he was pretty sure that even news could be communicated by means of the howling, good or bad, and maybe even news of food, just based on the pitch of the howl, the duration, or how many undulations of the tone — to say nothing of any other possible differences that could communicate things.
Yukon hoped that his howling the other day hadn't attracted the wolves, and even if it hadn't, he hoped that the wolves hadn't picked up on their human scent at all, and that it was just coincidence and coincidence alone that had them seemingly being followed by the wolves wherever they went.
They were getting closer and closer to home. Yukon felt like they'd rounded a corner in their trip. They'd all been ready to give up, but they'd all dug in and found the strength to keep going, and now they were buoyed by food and the fact that they were only a week away from home, also, too, it seemed like they were ready to keep going with a renewed energy and vigour they'd lost rather early on in their trip.
He didn't want wolves to come and ruin that progress now, he didn't want wolves to come and demoralise the group. They were so close, but yet, in the same breath, they were also really far away."

Friday, September 15, 2017

Baffin Island: Day 11

Word Count: 75,017

Summary of Events:
The group came upon a rabbit hole, but Ben failed to catch the rabbit. Yukon found himself feeling quite irritable, and was encouraged by JT to take some time to himself. Yukon felt somewhat better after doing so, although he also felt a lot like giving up, which he first confessed to JT before deciding that he ought to tell everyone else as well . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""I like that pack idea," Ryan said. "It's almost like wolves."
"That's kind of why I said it," Yukon replied.
"What do you mean?" Kyle asked.
"I feel like giving up," Yukon replied.
Kyle's jaw dropped. Ryan lifted the touque to look at Yukon for a brief moment before grimacing and putting the touque back down.
"Did I really just here you say that?" Ryan asked. "The Indefatigable Yukon Sarka actually wants to give up?"
"Yes," Yukon replied.
"Somebody better write that down," Ryan said. "Or are you rolling Kyle?"
"Not even close," Josh replied. "Unless you count the drool rolling out of his mouth as his jaw hangs slack in astonishment."
"I wanted to give up when we started this hunger trek," Alex said. "I don't see how activists can go on fasts for their causes. I don't have a cause and I don't ever want one."
"I was ready to give up when you told me this was all your fault," Ben said. "You've never been so obstinately self-condemning like that before. I never would've dreamed you would ever be so convinced that you're the bad guy in all this."
"I was ready to give up after Ryan nearly drowned." Josh said.
"I was ready to give up after the first day," Ryan said. "I'm actually enjoying this whole being carried around thing, except for my head hurting. But at least my legs aren't tired anymore."
"See, you are the last one," JT said.
Yukon sighed. "But to continue, as much as I feel like giving up, and I know that we all feel the same, we've kept going because the others around us have inspired us to keep going; after all, the only way we can get home is if we get ourselves there. Literally no one aside from us seven knows where we are, and they won't likely figure it out very soon either, considering that we've travelled over four hundred kilometres away from the helicopter, which is where they're going to go first."
"That's a pleasant thought," Ryan said.
"We have to get ourselves home whether we like it or not, and we've travelled four hundred kilometres so far, which is no small feat," Yukon said. "It's only because we're all in this together that we're going to make it the next four hundred kilometres."
"That sounds really inspiring, actually," Ryan said. "Like something some hero guy would say in a movie."
"I don't feel like a hero," Yukon said.
"You aren't really a hero, though," JT said. "It's not like we were in distress and you saved us. You're just the guy who's brought us together and held us together, even when we haven't really wanted to do this together. You're the one common factor we have, the glue that's kept us all together, and the one who knows the way home too.""