Prologue - Kimmy
She hid in the dark, like a frightened child. Except that when she’d been a child, she had never had anything to hide from, never had anything to fear. She had been safe.
When she heard his footsteps on the stairs, she lowered herself to the floor and crawled under the bed. He found her, of course, and dragged her out by her ankles. When she tried to hold onto the bedpost, he kicked her wrist until she had to let go.
He got down on the floor with her. Don’t be afraid he said. When he tried to kiss her, she turned her face away, knowing as soon as she did that it was a mistake, wanting to take it back but it was too late, too late.
He started hitting her then. She fought back. He hadn’t expected that and it stopped him for a moment. But when she started to crawl away on her hands and knees, he caught her easily.
Prologue - Matthew
It came out of nowhere. Totally unexpected, unimaginable. Maybe if he had had even a little doubt, it wouldn’t have been so bad. But there it was, one moment everything was just as he believed it was. The next, it was all turned around. Five words that changed his world forever. And as bad as it was, it would become even worse although he couldn’t have imagined it at the time.
She followed him through the house, crying, begging, but he shut her out, shook off her hands that tried to hold onto him.
He pulled a big suitcase down from a closet shelf and threw her clothes into it, as much as would fit. Then he dragged it and her to the front door. He threw the suitcase onto the porch and pushed her out after it. He closed his ears to her pleas, locked the door and when she called out from the other side, he answered coldly “Go somewhere they care”.
Then he turned out the lights and went and lay on their bed, staring up at the ceiling.
!7 Days is a road movie but the road is a river and each day of the journey brings a new encounter with outlaw Bikers and Deadheads, an Elvis impersonator and a wild pig, a man who fell in love with his own wife, and Paco and his Coyotes, among others. All have their own small stories filled with love and laughter, tears, and adventure.
Kimmy and Matthew are people profoundly damaged by their pasts, coming to know and to love each other as they share a canoe and try to live a lifetime in just a few days. The two become three when they rescue the little dog Tachi, an act that leads to a confrontation with a trio of deadly Asians.
I dreamed this story on my own trip down the Colorado. The half Maori Kimmy, a free spirit whose mother taught her that she is a warrior and the Lakota Matthew who learns from her to let go of his pain and live again could never have imagined how far the river would take them in 17 Days.
17 Days is available at Amazon.com in both a Kindle and a print edition.