Dotted Line Dotted Line

Fiction Winter 2017    poetry    all issues

Cover of Fiction Winter 2017 Issue


Cover Thought-Forms

Derek Rose

H. Fry

Slater Welte
Our Last Summer at the Lake

G. Bernhard Smith
Bread and Water

Sarah Blanchard
The Bus Driver

Dalton James
Butter Teeth

Joshunda Sanders

T. B. O'Neill
The Court Martial of Darren Sweet

Faith Shearin
Island Ecology

Jess Greenwald

Eileen Arthurs
Limbo Babies

Rosy Tahan

Chris Brewer
Good People

Sarah Blanchard

The Bus Driver

In January, two months after she turned thirteen, Brandi Moorehead fell deeply in love with her school bus driver.

Each school morning, well before sunrise, Brandi followed her flashlight beam along the twisted dirt path that was her driveway, out through weeds and woods to the county road. While she waited in the cold darkness for the school bus to arrive, Brandi liked to switch off her flashlight and search for a morning star, as she’d often done with her dad. The bus came from the east, where the woods gave way to hayfields, so its headlights often appeared just below Jupiter or brilliant Venus. Accustomed to the enormous space of the western plains, Brandi found comfort in locating the same stars and planets that also inhabited the smaller Appalachian skies.

Brandi and her mom Julie had moved in with Uncle Eddie the day after Christmas. Eddie’s disability check paid the rent on a shabby four-room farmhouse in the middle of an abandoned peach orchard. They lived several miles outside of an undistinguished milltown squatting by the French Broad River. The house was cluttered and drafty, but it was bigger than the single-wide she’d been born in. She liked living tucked away here in the woods, a pioneer on the edge of civilization.

She felt most like a pioneer in the mornings. Her mom slept late because she worked evenings at the McDonalds out by the interstate. Most nights, Eddie was out at some bar and seldom woke before noon. So Brandi ate breakfast, charged her phone, collected her school things and walked to the bus stop by herself.

Solitude and self-reliance came naturally to her, so school was difficult. The school building was a dreary brick box with peeling woodwork and narrow, dark halls that smelled of sweat and disinfectant. She’d been homeschooled previously and the work was easy, but all the other parts were confusing and frustrating—rigid schedules, overworked teachers, and intricate adolescent intrigues that seemed to revolve around the other kids’ needs to annoy and be annoyed. Brandi just didn’t get all the social drama. So she cultivated a cloak of invisibility.

Brandi earned good grades but seldom spoke in class, and she suspected that two of her teachers didn’t know her name. She was strong and quick but indifferent to team sports. She cared nothing about celebrities, makeup or hairstyles. She wore sweatshirts, cheap T-shirts, generic white sneakers and jeans from Walmart. On really cold days, she added a fleece-lined corduroy barn jacket and leather work gloves. Her pride and joy was a pair of insulated LL Bean boots she’d found at Goodwill, with real leather uppers and bright red laces.

The other kids found Brandi too solemn, too quiet or just weird. Her preferred pastime, when she wasn’t reading or sketching or hiking in the woods, was knitting. After she told another girl that Snapchat seemed a waste of time, she was taunted for being queer. Mostly, though, the others ignored her and she ignored them. She didn’t share any details of her life, and she was very good at keeping secrets.

Her best new secret was her deep, abiding love for George, the man who drove the morning school bus.

Despite what her classmates thought—if they thought about her at all—Brandi paid a great deal of attention to her appearance. She had no money for makeup or nice clothes, and anyway she didn’t want to be cute or trendy or hot. Instead, she wanted George to see her as she really was: mature, serious, competent, intelligent. Every little thing mattered, so as soon as the bus headlights appeared in the pre-dawn darkness, she prepared herself. She centered her old denim backpack precisely between her shoulders and arranged her long black hair so it hung smoothly down her back. Then she stood very casually under the oak tree, waiting for the bus doors to fold open. She knew exactly how to grasp the cold metal handrail with her left hand and step forward, right foot first, so she could climb gracefully up the steep steps without sprawling. On the top step, she always paused, heart thumping, to gaze down into the bus driver’s warm brown eyes.

“Morning,” he always said, smiling. And that’s when her carefully rehearsed plans fell apart. Always too nervous to speak, she blushed, ducked her head so her hair swung over her face, and stumbled down the aisle to slide into her seat.

The two older Everett brothers were the only kids who got on before her and they always occupied the entire back row, saving seats for their large rude buddies. Brandi could therefore sit where she chose, and she always chose the same seat: right side, four rows back, on the aisle. From there she could see the side of George’s face, watch his hands on the steering wheel, and glimpse his eyes in the rearview mirror. Whenever the bus was moving, she stared into the mirror.

She knew he knew she was staring, because sometimes he stared back. He’d hold her gaze for a second and smile a little before turning his attention back to the road. Embarrassed, Brandi always turned away. A minute later, she’d flip her hair back, breathe deeply and stare again into the rearview mirror, desperately wanting him to understand that this was the only way she knew to express her pure and undying love.

Brandi was certain that George was worthy of her devotion, so she’d memorized every feature. Handsome and compact, athletic-looking in a regular-guy sort of way, he had close-cut, dark curly hair, a short, sculpted beard, and serious dark-coffee eyes behind steel-framed glasses. His skin was a nice medium brown, with interesting darker freckles over a long nose and high cheekbones. Because of the glasses and the trimmed beard, she knew he must be intelligent. Also sensitive, well-read, and an outdoorsman with a quiet, gentle sense of humor. He appeared to be in his early twenties, mature but not too old for a serious young woman such as herself.

George occupied her dreams and daydreams, and she would have died in shame if he knew this.

The bus ride was long, but always too short for Brandi because this was her time with George. With all the stops and meanderings down side roads, the ride took fifty-five minutes on a good day, more than an hour in poor weather or heavy traffic.

Afternoons were entirely different. The afternoon driver was a pudgy older white woman with orange hair and a harsh voice, who wore baggy sweatpants and stank of cigarette smoke. The afternoon bus was always crowded and slow. Then Brandi squeezed into whatever seat was available, stared out the window, and concocted elaborate fantasies about travels to faraway places with George. Often she dozed off and the driver woke her by yelling, “Brandi Moorehead, wake up! Girl, you’re home, get off.” Then Brandi startled back to consciousness, disoriented by the woman’s shrill, smoke-roughened voice.

George, on the other hand, had a very nice baritone voice. She’d learned about vocal ranges from music class. She liked hearing him speak into his radio, updating the school dispatcher on the bus’s progress. Sometimes George had to shout down the Everett boys, telling them to “Y’all sit now and get quiet now.” His commanding tone, with that hint of southern softness, always sent a lovely thrill through her, kickstarting new fantasies and making her yearn to be grown up, when she would be smart and sophisticated, with a curvy woman’s body that looked really good in a dress and heels. But if she were grown up, they wouldn’t have met. She wouldn’t be sitting here in his school bus, staring into the rearview mirror.

Maybe George could teach her to drive. He was a very careful driver and she knew he’d be good in a crisis. If they were in an accident, if the bus skidded on ice and flipped over or a big truck sideswiped them into a ditch, George would know exactly how to get everyone out safely. He’d be her hero.

On the last afternoon before spring break, a Thursday in late March, Brandi missed the afternoon bus. She stayed just a minute to talk with her English teacher about an assignment. Then the zipper broke on her cheap denim backpack, right after she shoved her ancient laptop in on top of her latest knitting project. By the time she’d wound a roll of masking tape around the backpack’s broken seam, she was standing alone by the old lockers in the back hallway.

Outdoors, Brandi hurried down the steps and along the sidewalk, then stopped short and watched in dismay as her bus turned the far corner at the traffic light and disappeared around a bend. It was three o’clock and the parking lot was nearly empty.

How could that stupid bus driver leave without her? George wouldn’t have left her behind.

Brandi pulled her cellphone out of her sweatshirt pocket and stared at the blank screen. It was an old flip-phone with an ancient battery, and she’d forgotten to charge it the night before. Anyway, who could she call? Her mom was working until seven and Brandi knew not to call her unless there was a real emergency: “Only if the house is burning down, right?”

She didn’t know any neighbors. Even if her phone had been working, there was no way she’d call Uncle Eddie to come get her. Not even if he could borrow a car from one of his buddies. Not even if he was sober.

It was a warm, sunny day and Brandi decided to walk. She had walked part-way home a month earlier, when she’d stayed late to set up her science fair project. That day, she’d walked halfway and then waited at a gas station for her mom, who left work early to pick her up. It had all gone as planned and Brandi had enjoyed the walk.

This time, maybe she could walk the whole eight miles. If she got a blister, she would stop at the same gas station, borrow a phone, and wait there until her mom got off work. But she’d try not to do that. Her mom was always encouraging her to find solutions and be independent. Brandi figured it would take about three hours and she’d get home a little before sunset, so she wouldn’t need her flashlight.

She braided her hair back, carefully hoisted her taped-up backpack over her shoulders, and set off.

The first hour went well. This was a familiar part of town with small tidy homes and bright pink azalea bushes in bloom. She passed a convenience store offering cheap milk and lottery tickets. A few cars drove by, and several people walked dogs or strollers on the sidewalks. The sun was warm on her shoulders, and Brandi found a good walking rhythm in her red-laced boots.

Half an hour later, she passed the gas station where her mom had picked her up the time before. Brandi glanced at the wall clock inside the store, and kept going. It would be great if she could hike part of the Appalachian Trail in the summer. Her math teacher had walked the whole trail last year. How wonderful, she thought, to be a through-hiker, like an explorer or a gypsy, watching for bears, sleeping in a tent and carrying all your food and clothes in your pack.

But this was not the Appalachian Trail. The tidy residential neighborhood, with its azaleas and sidewalks and strollers, had disappeared. Now she was dodging mud, potholes and broken pavement. Houses in this part of town were more like shacks, small and far apart, with thistles and pokeweed growing in trash-strewn yards. She saw house trailers with broken windows, boarded-up sheds, and skeletons of rusted-out cars resting on cement blocks. A big angry dog snarled and lunged toward her, hurling itself against a chain tied to a tree. She’d never liked the bus ride through this part of town, and she hadn’t paid much attention to it. Now she saw how poor and ugly it really was. Brandi quickened her pace.

With a sharp ripping sound, her backpack shifted abruptly. Brandi slipped it off her shoulders and lowered it to a pile of leaves just as the top split open again. Her repair job had failed. Dismayed, she gathered the bag in both arms and clutched it protectively to her chest. She started walking again, slowly, but her arms began aching. She stopped and hung the bag by one strap on a chainlink fence to examine the damage. Perhaps if she removed her bootlaces, she could wrap them around the bag and tie it all together. She crouched to untie the left lace. Then she heard footsteps.

“Hey there, sexy girl. You lost?” The voice was slyly amused. Brandi stood and turned. Two black men were watching her from perhaps twenty feet away. The larger one slouched casually against a rotted gatepost, and the shorter one stood at the edge of the road. They looked aggressively male in baggy jeans, black hoodies and easy grins.

Brandi considered them, keeping one hand on her backpack. They weren’t as old as she’d first thought. Teens trying to look menacing, boys rather than men, but still older and bigger than she was. She spoke to the smaller boy.

“Jamar? I know you,” she said. “You’re in homeroom, sometimes.”

Jamar’s thin smile slipped. The other boy grinned, “Dude, you know this sexy girl? You in school with her?”

“Yeah, her name’s Brandi,” Jamar admitted. “Brandi Moore-head,” he added with a smirk.

Brandi rolled her eyes the way other girls did. Like she’d never heard her name said that way before.

The older one said, “So, Brandi. You look like you are lost and you maybe need us to help you. That is one shit-poor tote bag you got there.” He nodded at her backpack. “We’ll get you a nice new one, real pretty. Put diamonds on it and fill it with good shit. Then we get some weight on you, dress you up sexy, you be real pretty.” He shook his head frowning. “You got to smile, though. You got one serious bitch face going on there.”

Brandi shot back, “I’m not lost. Right now you’re getting my very best smile, so call it what you want. I don’t need anything, thank you.” Brandi hoped her voice sounded confident and firm.

Jamar said, “Yeah, well, maybe you be okay but that backpack didn’t get the memo.” He laughed, delighted with his own wit.

Brandi ignored Jamar and watched the bigger boy, considering options. Could she convince them she wasn’t worth the trouble? Should she leave her backpack and run? Just scream? She was a fast runner but she didn’t want to abandon her backpack. And she’d never practiced screaming so she probably wasn’t very good at it.

The older boy walked closer and reached a hand toward her. Brandi felt the hairs on the back of neck rise. She slipped a hand into her backpack. Maybe he’d think she was getting her cell phone.

He came closer. Brandi swung one booted foot up hard and fast, aiming for his crotch. He twisted to the side and her foot caught his kneecap. She slipped in the mud and almost fell.

The boy swore and brought up a fist—and stopped, when he saw the thick aluminum knitting needle gripped in her right hand. She held it with the tip pointed toward his abdomen. Her stance said she was ready for a knife fight.

She felt a surge of adrenalin and thought, I’m glad I didn’t untie my shoelaces. Then she thought, Damn, maybe it’s time to run.

“Hey! What’s happening here?” Someone yelled.

Brandi’s would-be assailant shot a glance behind her. And it was over. Both boys turned and sprinted across the street, running through a vacant lot and disappearing behind a boarded-up shack.

She heard a vehicle approaching from behind. An old Dodge pickup, dirty black where it wasn’t rust-colored, rolled to a stop beside her, and the driver leaned through the rolled-down passenger window. Brandi stared at the close-cropped hair, trim beard and metal-framed glasses.

“George? How—?” She stumbled over his name and felt herself blushing fiercely.

“Hey there, are you okay? What’d they do?” He added, “I live two blocks over, I’m heading home.”

“I’m okay.” She wanted to pull her hair over her face, but it was still tied back in a braid. Stupid. I can stand up to bullies but I can’t talk to the bus driver?

“That was a pretty good kick you threw, Brandi Moorehead.” George left the engine running and climbed out of the pickup, glancing around before he joined her at the side of the road. He was wearing the same clothes she’d seen him in at six that morning, a denim vest, old jeans and a green flannel shirt. “And that’s an interesting weapon you have there.”

“You know my name?” She slid the knitting needle into the backpack. “I hate my name.”

“Yeah, drivers have to know who you are, where you live. Where’s your ride home?”

“I’m walking. I’d be almost there if this stupid backpack wasn’t falling apart.” Her eyes started to water. She rubbed one hand over her face, furious with herself for tearing up.

“Hey, it’s okay. They’re not coming back. They know I saw them. Where’s your phone? You need me to call someone? What about your mom?”

“Mom’s working until seven. There’s no one else.”

“No neighbors? What about Mrs. Everett, she lives near you. I’d call an Uber but I don’t think we have it here.”

Brandi shook her head. “No, we don’t know the Everetts and I don’t know their number anyway.” She added, “Maybe you could give me a ride? You can pretend you’re an Uber.” She wasn’t actually sure how Uber worked.

George folded his arms, leaned against the hood of his truck and scanned the street. He frowned. “Sorry, I’m not an Uber driver. With this truck? And here’s the thing. Then we’d have a big ol’ black man, that’s me, taking a little white girl, that’s you, for a ride in his truck. What do you think that looks like? I can’t take that chance.”

She was stung that he’d called her “little.” Was that how he saw her? “That’s ridiculous!” she insisted. “You’re helping, there’s nothing wrong about that.”

“Uh-huh.” He added, “I could call the police for you. They’d give you a ride home.”

“No, no police!” she insisted.

George glanced around again, then sighed. “Get in, I’ll drive you.”

Not quite believing it, Brandi grabbed her backpack off the fence. She hauled the creaky passenger door open, placed her broken backpack on the floor, climbed in, and slammed the heavy door. The truck started rolling while she was still fumbling with the seatbelt. George drove carefully, five miles under the speed limit.

Her delight and relief made her feel bold, even a little reckless. “I’m not white,” she volunteered. “My birth daddy is—was—half Paiute. We lived on a ranch on the Snake River. That’s in Idaho.” She knew she was babbling but he didn’t seem to notice.

He raised an eyebrow. “So you rode horses, branded cattle?”

“We had horses, and my dad—my step-dad, not my birth dad, I never knew him—ran some cattle. Mostly it was a dude ranch for tourists who wanted an ‘authentic western experience.’” She air-quoted the phrase. “Dad was the wrangler, Mom cooked. I saddled horses, helped teach the dudes how to ride, took the kids fishing.”

“Sounds like a great life. How’d you end up here?”

Brandi hesitated, planning what to say and what to leave out. “Last October a tractor rolled over on my dad—my step-dad—and he died. The people who owned the ranch had to hire someone else to run it, so when a new family came in we had to move out.” She swallowed. Talking to George felt strange and it was hard to get the words out, but it also felt good.

“You loved him a lot.” It was a statement, not a question.

“Yeah. He was the best.”

“So then what happened?”

She found her voice. “Uncle Eddie said Mom and I could come here and live with him, and Mom got a job at McDonalds.” She bit her lip. She shouldn’t have mentioned Eddie.

George shot her a concerned look. “Who’s Uncle Eddie?”

How to explain? “He’s Mom’s third cousin or something like that, they’re related but not close. It’s his house—well, he rents it. He told me to call him Uncle Eddie.”

“He works too, so he couldn’t come pick you up?”

She was silent for a minute as he drove. They were approaching the crossroads near her home. Then, “Eddie doesn’t work. He has PTSD from Iraq so he gets checks from the government. He drinks a lot. Mom says don’t bother him, just stay out of his way when he gets bad.”

George flicked another quick look at her. He had to ask the questions. “What’s that mean, when he gets bad? And how often is that?”

“Mostly he goes somewhere else to drink, and his buddies bring him back around midnight or so. He usually falls asleep then in his room, which is downstairs. Mom and I have rooms upstairs. Mom made a rule, his buddies can’t come in the house unless she’s there. They’re not so bad and I think they take care of him.”

“So, you’re not supposed to bother Eddie. Does he bother you?”

She knew what he was asking. “Twice,” she said slowly. “Once I woke up and he was in my room, standing over me. Then Mom came home and he left and acted like nothing happened. I told Mom and we both got locks for our bedroom doors. The second time was in the kitchen, he was behind me and I told him he was too close but he didn’t back away so I grabbed a knife. I stabbed his arm and ran outside. I carry a knife when I’m home and I keep my door locked if Mom’s not there. I think,” she added, “he’s a little afraid of me.”

“But you can’t carry a knife back and forth to school.”

“I have one hidden in the woods. And I have my knitting needles. I’m making a scarf.”

George smiled a little. “You are just one surprise after another. But you and your mom have to talk with social services about Eddie. You are not in a good situation, Brandi.”

“No! If we can’t stay with Eddie, we’ll have no place to live and Mom might lose her job. It’s okay, we’re careful. Mom says it comes down to circumstances. When our circumstances improve, we’ll find a better place to live. I like it here, though. I like the woods.” She added, almost as an afterthought, “Eddie yells at her but he’s never hit her. He thinks she carries. A pistol,” she clarified.

“Here,” she said suddenly. “Let me out here, I can walk the rest. Please.” They’d reached the crossroads. The sun was low in the sky. Without George’s help, she wouldn’t have made it home before dark.

He pulled the truck over, set the brake and let it idle.

“And does she? Carry a pistol,” George asked.

Brandi gave him a thin smile. “I’m not supposed to tell. Or call the police. Mom says we can solve our own problems.”

“I believe you can,” he said. Then he added lightly, “Hey, maybe I should get a job with Uber. Think anyone would want to ride in this old truck?”

Brandi smiled and looked down. She could see the pavement through gaps in the rusted floor beneath her feet. “Sure. I definitely would. I do ride with you, every day on the bus.” She blushed, embarrassed but happy.

George draped both hands over the top of the steering wheel. “Why do you hate your name?”

“Moorehead was my biological dad, the part-Paiute guy. I never knew him. Mom said he was really mean so she kicked him out when I was a year old. She met my step-dad, my real dad, when I was two, so he’s the only dad I know. His name was Alex Carter. Mom planned to get a divorce, but she couldn’t track him down so she never got the divorce. So she couldn’t marry again. We lived with my step-dad for ten years but then he died. It’s real hard on her.” She was starting to choke up again so she said, “Brandi Moorehead sounds like a porn star.”

“Yeah, I can see where the kids would have fun with that. What name would you like?”

“I want a name,” she said firmly, “that isn’t cute, that doesn’t sound like a baby’s nickname. One that doesn’t end in an ‘ee’ sound. I like Harper, like Harper Lee. Or Erin, like Erin Brockovich. Erin Carter, how does that sound?”

“Erin Carter sounds great,” George said. “Hey, you know the Randolph farm down by the river? If you ever want to give them a hand with the livestock, I bet they’d let you ride one of their horses. Just tell Miz Randolph that George Kulikowski sent you.”

“Who—? That’s your name?”

He laughed. “Yeah, my daddy’s father was Polish, a World War Two refugee. You’re part Paiute, I’m part Polish. So you never know, right?” His eyes crinkled at the corners, and she saw that he was older than she’d thought.

“Now go, before someone comes and we have to answer questions.” He held out his hand and she shook it firmly. She was surprised not to feel a thrill at his touch—instead, this felt like the warm handshake of a friend.

“Thank you, George Kulikowski,” she said politely. She scrambled out of the truck, gathered the broken backpack in both arms, and butted the heavy door closed with one hip.

“Goodbye, Erin Carter,” George said. “I believe you’ll do just fine.”

The truck pulled away and she watched it disappear around a bend in the road. Then she walked home in the late afternoon dusk, feeling buoyant, knowing her face was stretched into a big goofy unfamiliar smile. If she hadn’t had the backpack to worry about, she’d have skipped along like a little kid.

Two days later, with no notice, Eddie moved out.

Brandi had spent the day in the woods, exploring a new trail that she thought might be a shortcut to the Randolph farm. It would be good to be around horses and cows again.

At dinnertime, Eddie simply wasn’t there. His jacket and fake cowboy boots and greasy duffel bag were gone from the hallway. The beer and pizzas had vanished from the fridge.

Julie, Brandi’s mom, explained. “It was strange. Someone from the sheriff’s office called wanting to talk to Eddie. I told them he was out, I’d have him call them back. Then Eddie came home in a rush and piled all his stuff on the front porch. One of his buddies picked him up. Eddie didn’t tell me where he was going, just that something had come up and he needed to move on. So I called the landlord. He said, and I quote, ‘good riddance to bad rubbish,’ and he said you and I can stay on if we can manage the rent. We’re okay for a month anyway. If you ever see that S.O.B. again, tell me, okay?”

They celebrated by going out for Chinese and buying Brandi a sturdy new backpack.

A few days later, Julie introduced their new housemate, a friend of a friend of the manager at McDonalds, an older woman named Francesca who had relocated from Puerto Rico after losing her home in a hurricane. She needed a cheap, safe place to stay with her two rescued dogs, a shy Chihuahua and an arthritic old pit bull. Francesca declared, “We are all refugees, aren’t we?” and insisted that the downstairs front room, where Eddie had camped out, would be perfect for her and the dogs once it was thoroughly cleaned.

Later that week, Brandi finished the navy wool scarf she’d been knitting. She wrapped it carefully in a brown paper bag, wrote “George K” on the outside, and tucked it into her new backpack. Spring was absolutely not the right time to give anyone a wool scarf but she was proud she’d finished it.

Monday morning after spring break, Brandi was at the bus stop twenty minutes early, holding the bag with the scarf so she could hand it to George as soon as she got on the bus. She’d smile and say hi and not be nervous about talking with him. She felt older, changed somehow. Her schoolgirl crush had faded, and she was looking forward to being able to talk with him as a friend. Perhaps they’d meet in a coffee shop sometime, chat and catch up on things. She’d like that.

But George wasn’t there. The screechy woman with the orange hair was driving the bus.

Brandi stumbled up the steps and demanded, “Where’s George!?” But the woman just shrugged and told her to find a seat.

When she came home, wedged into the arm of the red flag on the unused mailbox, was a note addressed to Erin Carter.

Dear Erin, I know you didn’t want things stirred up but I made a couple of phone calls and I think circumstances will get better for you and your Mom. Hang in there and take care of each other. I was worried about you before, but not so much now.

I’m starting a new job. I’ll miss seeing your face in the mirror every morning. All my best, George Kulikowski (the Polish guy)

She carried the scarf at the bottom of her backpack for a month. Then she tucked it into the back of her closet, still wrapped in the brown paper bag with his name on it. A month after that, she added his note to the bag for safekeeping.

That summer, Erin Carter and her mom Julie Carter hiked a hundred miles along the Appalachian Trail, carrying on their backs everything they needed to survive.

Sarah Blanchard has recently returned to writing poetry and short fiction after spending several decades as a business teacher, corporate marketer, non-fiction writer, and facility manager for an astronomical observatory in Hawai’i. Several of her short stories and poems have won awards. She currently works as a real estate agent and lives in Raleigh, NC, with her husband, three horses, three dogs and several chickens.

Dotted Line