M. Ann Rohrer’s “Mattie” takes the spotlight in this, the final edition of Fiction Focus. No, we’re not going anywhere, we’re just changing the name of the series to Fiction Fest, to better convey the festive attitude we have toward our high-quality fiction offerings.
“This book was wonderful,” wrote one reviewer. “I loved the characters and the faith building twists and turns. I was fascinated by the setting in Mexico and thanks to Rohrer’s beautiful writing, imagining the family ranch came easily.”
The sun sank behind the mountains, taking with it the last light of day, leaving her in complete darkness except for glimpses of distant firelight that danced between the slats of her prison. It was then she heard footsteps.
Waiting in the dark, memories of another time rushed in. She wanted to scream, to thrash her way to freedom. She rose. A weapon. She needed a weapon. Her hand fell on the cast iron skillet. He would not take her without a fight.
The chain rattled. A lantern preceded a sombrero too wide for the door. It was removed. The Captain’s smile sent shivers down her spine. He closed the door.
Mattie waited for just the right moment then swung with all her might. She missed his head, landing a wallop on his arm. It hardly slowed him. Easily he wrested the weapon from her hand and drew her close in an inescapable grip around her waist.
“A woman with fight lights a man “˜s fire. You are such a woman, no?” He touched her hair, and then lifted her chin to meet his eye. His crocodile smile made her shiver. His stench made her sick, bile racing up into her throat. She didn’t fight it, letting it erupt like a fountain in his face. In a stream of unutterable blasphemy, he slammed her into the wall.
Could she shoot a man even in self-defense? Cold sweat dripped down her back. She might very well discover the answer within the hour.
Mattie looked at her little daughter and smiled trying to inspire confidence that she didn’t feel. Movement from Maudie would not expose her hiding place, even in broad daylight, but the slightest sound might.
“We are playing hide and seek, Maudie,” Mattie whispered, “and this is our hiding place.”
“And Hannah’s hiding place is in the house?” Maudie asked. Hannah had quit crying.
“Yes, and we must be very quiet like we played last night, even if loud noises scare us.”
“Loud noises like guns?”
This surprised Mattie. How much did this little four-year-old understand? “Yes, sweetheart, like guns.”