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Joan Conning Afman
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No one in Mill Pond will talk about what happened at the Lakeside Inn at the tenth reunion of the class of ‘fifty-one. But—when Jaime Reid finds an old diary that foretells the massacre that took place there, she is caught up in a web of psychic intrigue.
New acquaintances are eerily familiar to her, as is the town itself. Jaime begins to believe that reincarnation is not just a way-out theory, but a real possibility, and that she and her former classmates have “come back” to prevent the same thing from happening all over again.
June 14, 1961
The tenth reunion Mill Pond High School, class of ’51
Mill Pond, Massachusetts
“Not me! Not me!” Kathy screamed as the gunmen advanced across the well-polished dance floor of the elegantly restored old hotel, but she was the first to fall in a hail of bullets. Forrest Brown, brandishing his hunting rifle, and “Balls” Brass, firing indiscriminately with a pistol, attacked just as they had long planned to do on this evening. And Kathy Kelly had helped them plan it.
Paul Peller and John Crenshaw rushed the shooters in vain; they collapsed not ten feet from the table where the horrified classmates who had been noisily celebrating their tenth reunion sat. Sylvia, their class president, took a bullet in the forehead, and Francie, their prom queen, went down, swaying gracefully as a dancer. Janie Carlson Rance sat frozen and watched all the others fall in their ballet of death, all The Nine, as they had been called, the most popular kids in the class of fifty-one, and the four spouses or significant others. Donnie Barrett seized Janie’s hand and attempted to pull her down under the table, but it was too late. Forrest had them in his sights, and the last thing Janie saw was Donnie’s face covered in blood and tears.
At last the moving van pulled away with a series loud groans. Jaime collapsed into the new Hitchcock rocker the movers had left conveniently in the center of the high-ceilinged living room and set her coffee mug down with a resolute thump on a nearby occasional table. Jaime smiled at her husband, Evan, who sat on the sofa and wiped the sweat from his forehead with a handkerchief. “Well, we’re moved in. I’m glad this part of it is over.”
“And I so appreciate all your hard work.“
It really is a beautiful house. Jaime gazed around the room. She’d had it wallpapered in a pale yellow print, “morning sunshine,” and it did indeed reflect the shy morning light that peeked through the tall, elegant windows.
“Well, here we are.” Jaime stretched her arms, trying to relieve her aching muscles. “Mill Pond, Massachusetts, middle of nowhere.”
Evan stuffed the handkerchief back into his jeans pocket. “Look, Jaime.” His voice oozed patience. “I know you didn’t want to leave Atlanta, I know you gave up a promising career, and I admit this was a selfish move on my part, and I want you to know that I realize—I owe you, kid. We’ll make it work, I promise.”
“I just hope this is worth it for your sake I was about to be promoted to sportswear buyer for all three stores. Where am I going to find a job in fashion in these parts?”
“Too far to commute.”
She snorted. “There’s no store there that begins to compare with Jordan’s. I don’t want to start all over again, any more than you would want to.”
He sighed and stood up “I can make such a difference here. I never would have made super in Atlanta, as you well know. In spite of getting my doctorate and teaching part time at Emory, it’s so political there that I never would have been more than head of the English department.”
She nodded. “I know, Evan, but—”
“I’ll have three districts here, Mill Pond, Sandville, and Westlake. I feel called to do this. They need me here to bring them all together into one modern school system. I have the vision to do it.”
“Called, like a clergyman?”
He ignored that but added, “and it will be a much better place for the boys to grow up. Small town atmosphere, running in and out of each other’s houses without having to take a bus somewhere, ice-skating on that little pond down by the mill—”
“Snow, ugh. Ice, yuk. I’m a southern girl, Evan. I don’t know why I ever agreed to this.” She looked around at her living room. “It is a beautiful house, though,” she admitted with obvious reluctance. “Much nicer that we could ever have afforded in Atlanta.”
“Come on, Jaime, I know you’ll grow to love it here. You’re a strong woman who’s adapted to other difficult circumstances in your life.” He stood up. “I have to shower and change. I have a meeting with the three principals in half an hour.”
Joan Conning Afman grew up in New England and Central New York state. It was always a choice between English and art—but ultimately she majored in art and has been a retail commercial artist and copywriter, a public school art teacher, and a college adjunct instructor. Now retired in Florida, she blends her two major interests by painting and exhibiting her work, and expressing her ideas in writing. She has a son and three daughters, and six beautiful grandchildren.
“If you don’t mind staying up late, I suggest you read “The Last Time We Were Here.” This spine-tingling, intriguing plot will keep you turning the pages, and leave you eager for more”. -- Patrice Wilton—romance writer
“Joan Afman’s “The Last Time We Were Here,” is a thrilling read , filled with twists and turns. I couldn’t put it down.” -- Traci E. Hall—author of Boadicea’s Legacy
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
No. of Pages: 332
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