Melancholia Takes Over

WIPWed-1024x427 WIP Wednesday

Did I mention I’ve been working on a novella for the Bluestocking Belles’ next annual collection? The projected release date is September. It features a group of soldiers returned from Waterloo on time for the village’s harvest festival. My hero is the village’s beloved physician whose scars are deep. There was no word for PTSD in the regency period. Even “Soldier’s Heart” and “Shell Shock” came later.


The little one’s obvious pain, tore Meg’s heart. She swept up to the girl’s father and took his chin firmly in her hand forcing him to face her. “Pull yourself together, Adam. You have an injured patient. Are you too drunk to treat her?”

“I can’t raise the dead,” he said, wild eyed. “She must have wandered out on the field. Bled to death in the wounded cart.”

“What are you talking about?” His dazed, faraway expression frightened Meg. She dropped to her knees, soothing his face in both her hands.

“Dark hair like my Annie. Caked with blood. Under two wounded men,” he babbled on.

Is he in Belgium? Shocked to her core, Meg took a deep breath and spoke as firmly as she could, injecting a tone of command. “Captain Wagner, you are on duty. A patient needs you.”

Still lost in a world Meg couldn’t see he went on. “I can’t leave her here. How can I leave her?”

“Look to the living, Adam. You have to let the dead go,” Meg said.

He shook, one violet spasm, and attempted to stand, blinking and looking about. “Meg. Why are you here. Not safe. You—” He took her in his arms for a moment before coming fully alert and jumping back. “Oh, God. Meg.”

“Annie needs you Adam,” Meg said.

“I’m sorry I fell. I just wanted to see you, Papa,” Annie said, pulling his attention away from Meg’s worried expression. “You will be fine. You are the best doctor. But it hurts. Please fix it.”

He went to his daughter. “I’m sorry Annie. I…” Still, he turned back to Meg, sick at the bleakness in her eyes. “Did you see?”

“What you saw? No. Annie didn’t see it either, but we heard your words.”

Adam blanched. He ran a shaking hand through his hair.

“We’ll talk about it later. How can I help? Shall I make coffee?” Meg searched his face for assurance he had returned from whatever hell had claimed him.

Note: excerpts from works in progress may have not yet been edited, will likely undergo change, and may not even make it into the final work!

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Caroline Warfield, Author

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