This is the cover for a children’s book I came up with years ago in answer to The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle. It would really be the favorite of a thirteen-year-old, however. You see, The Last Unicorn made me cry so much, that I always wanted there to be a princess and also a unicorn. So, perhaps there was an evil spell cast on the book and movie to make us want to know more! I try to separate my children’s books and adult books as much as I possibly can, because of the subject matter, and also I would ask for parental supervision with youths who perhaps want to read my adult books. Not that I haven’t tried to keep them tame.
I’ll give you a little bit of a sample of the novella or novel I am working on right now. It is entitled, Train Tracks, by K. E. Ward.
By K.E. Ward
Behind the Main Street bar on the lonely streets of Camden, in a little alleyway the kids called, “the place,” Jackie Stevenson waited in the midst of thick clouds of smoke and dust, for her boyfriend to finish haggling with the Broush brothers and take her home. She could hardly wait for him to return, as two cocky dudes had already tried to hit on her while he was gone. She rubbed her hands against her arms, trying to warm them. Her stockings were warm, but not thick enough to defend against the wind and chill. Loud music pounded from the entryway of the club across the street, and in the night-time rowdy atmosphere, Jackie was afraid that she was going to get mugged, or, even worse. Shivering, she clutched her bag closer to her. The high heels had proven to be the wrong choice on a night like this. Andrew had been drinking again, and undoubtedly was trying to settle his gambling debts. If things went wrong, Jackie wanted to be ready in case she had to run, so she slipped off her shoes and placed them in her spider-decorated bag.
Multi-colored strobe lights cut through the smoke and exhaust of cars traveling down the street, the advertisements of Chase’s Hot Spot. She was glad to have finally escaped from her parents’ place; after all, the tiny enclosure of a house was filled with the loud trills of yells coming from both directions. Jackie had known that they were not happy for a long time. Evidence of their discontent was showing up everywhere, including an angry little note that ended up in her bathroom as a reminder to take clothes to the dry cleaner’s. Her older brother Sammy was already graduated from high school and living at home, and Sammy and their mother were having a number of battles from day to day. Not able to handle the screaming matches, Jackie decided to duck out, while still unnoticed, and go clubbing in the evenings.
From a distance, a train rumbled across, blowing its loud horn and rushing across the lonely streets where taxicabs and grocery trucks waited for it to pass. As a child, Jackie would follow those train tracks home every day from school, waiting until the last minute before the train would come before jumping to the side. She often wondered which people took the train and for which reason. She mused often about the various lives and reasons for travel, jotting down stories in her journal about people who took the train.
Our other character, Christine, has not shown up yet. It is the story of two teenagers who run away from home together by hopping a train. They throw themselves into a big, bad world in which they do not know how to survive. Christine, my secondary character, is based on a person I know, the same person who is a character in my first book. They experience so many things in this new city, apart from their parents, and get into a lot of trouble. It is heartbreaking, an allegory for a period of time in which one loses his or her faith, the “Dark Night of the Soul,” but we always find our way back into the light.