Simple, the second book in Anita’s stable, has been re- edited and supplied with a brand new cover! We would love to raise the profile of this book, finding new readers and hopefully new reviews.
To this end, free PDF copies are available!
SIMPLE’S LIFE is a painful nightmare.
A huge bear of a man, but with the heart and mind of an innocent child, he suffers terrible abuse from his vicious and uncaring backwoods family.
Together with his half-sister Leanne, they are hunted like wild animals and suffer the terror of nearly being burned alive as they try to escape.
SHADES OF THE WALTON’S MEET DELIVERANCE!
Universal Amazon Link: http://myBook.to/mySimple
Simple is the follow-up book to Bad Moon, Anita’s first book and is another story about the backwoods people of West Virginia. At the time of writing, some 25 years ago, it seemed as though Anita was channelling actual people, the stories so disturbingly real. Neither Simple or Bad Moon are pleasant stories by any means, being full of raw, powerful emotions and unbelievable cruelty.
This was long before the world of Indie publishing, so we approached traditional publishers with the help of a well-known literary agent. They all said the same thing, that they were impressed with the strong powerful writing, and that it was well written. But it wouldn’t fit with all the other books on their list. I can appreciate this now, as finding the right category has been hard. If only those publishers had the courage of their convictions and made room for Simple!
Simple is a nickname his cruel family have given him, due to him being mentally challenged and cursed with a terrible stutter. His real name is Ethan, and although a giant of a man, he has the heart and mind of a child. He spends his time in the woods, tending to wounded wild birds and animals.
His grandmother and brothers beat him for everything he forgets to do, and many things he shouldn’t have done. When his half-sister Leanne cannot bear to watch any more cruelty, they make a plan to escape. But when they try to run, they bring the wrath of their vicious family down on their heads, and the results are terrifying…
Extract from Simple
I couldn’t be sure I was heading in the right direction, I had no choice but to follow where my feet led me, hoping my instincts were right.
I walked for hours, and just when I thought I would never find them, I smelled wood burning and there was a hint of voices carried on the wind. Why had no one grabbed me? Jack would never have let an outsider close enough to smell our fires burning. Closer, I could hear a fiddle and someone singing a song, not something I heard too often at Gran’s.
They let me walk right into their camp. It had been built among the trees and the land hadn’t been cleared much at all. The cabins were much the same as ours, made with logs cut from the forest. The only thing different was the moss growing on the outsides where not much light could reach. The cabins looked green, almost as though they were still growing. It felt a lot colder up here, even though I knew the sun was still up. It should be setting soon, and Simple would be lying where I had left him, in the dark.
The sound of the fiddle stopped and a woman about Gran’s age stood up. My feet suddenly felt about three sizes too big. I stumbled, and then came to a standstill, unable to move. What was I thinking of, coming here? Going to town would have been better, would have changed my life, Simple’s too, possibly for the better.
The woman spoke, her voice deep yet softer than Gran’s.
‘What ye be wanting’ so far from home, young’un?’
I must have looked half beaten. My dress was torn and bloody, filthy arms and legs, scratched and bleeding. I hoped they didn’t think I was one of the crazy stories come to life. My thoughts finally slipped into my mouth and my words sounded like the damp dirt I stood upon. The woman picked up a cup of water from the table, stepped forward and offered it to me. She said, ‘They call me Belle Spiers hereabouts.’
The cool water tasted good. Then all my words came out in a rush.
‘I need help. Simple’s hurt, please you have to help me.’
‘Slow down girl, your words are running’ together like my boy’s heads when I need to put them in their place.’
I took another mouthful of water. ‘It’s Simple, his leg’s broke. Uncle Jimmy left him back there in the caves.’
She interrupted me and called out for someone called Jimmy. I felt my heart freeze, turn to ice, expecting Uncle Jimmy to appear. The frozen waste where my heart sat, slowly melted when the older Man who had been playing the fiddle limped to her side, along with another Man who looked nothing like Uncle Jimmy.
‘Go see what this young’un has got herself into.’
Suddenly I had the strangest feeling she knew right off who I was and where I came from. Even the name Simple didn’t move her any. A few other faces came to see what all the fuss was about. One of them was a boy called Zach with yellow hair like the sun, older than me but not by much. The one called Jimmy told him to come with them.
‘Gonna need more than old pa here to bring a log like Simple back up from the caves.’
It took a while, but his words sunk deep like the roots of a tree sucking at my brain. He knew Simple!
Then the woman was speaking to me again. ‘Come in girl, we’ll get you cleaned up while waiting’ for the menfolk. Hungry too, I’ll be thinking’.’
Orders slipped from her lips much the same as Gran; save no one seemed to mind. Least of all the young woman called Jolene with a baby on her hip, who had been told to fetch food while I waited for a tub to be filled with water, warmed over an open fire.
Belle carried the last of the hot water in a much-used pot to her cabin, where she poured it into an old tin bath and told me to get in. ‘I ain’t carrying’ this water for you to let it grow cold.’
There wasn’t anyone in the cabin but Belle and me, so turning my back I took off my dress. The hot water felt like a blanket, one I knew Simple could be doing with right about now. I asked Belle, ‘How come you know Simple?’
‘He’s a soft soul, wanders up here sometimes. I reckon he needs time away from your Gran.’
I was going to say she wasn’t my Gran but decided to let it lay. I needed them to help make Simple well and I wanted to see the boy with yellow hair bringing him back. Something about him had made my heart skip a little, even though it was frozen at the time.
Jolene brought a clean dress along with the food, and Belle held out a large cloth I knew to be bought from town. Must have been the way I looked at it made her say, ‘I don’t mind using’ what feels good, makes life pleasing’.
Jolene said, ‘Belle don’t usually let anyone use them. Old pa traded his best fiddle for two the same last Christmas. Good to see them out of the paper they came in.’
Seems Jolene belonged to Jimmy, and the baby was his too. It seemed funny to be able to hear that name without shrinking inside. What would they do now, if they could see me here in the Spiers camp, with Simple being carried here for fixing?