Friday, May 27, 2016

News at Eleven - A Novel (Copyright 2015 Doris Gaines Rapp - 5th Serialization Segment)

When the camera lights went out, the night seemed even darker to Clisty than it had been before the spotlight shone on the little house on North Gramercy. The stand-off between the suspected bank robber and the police was over. Firearms were quickly stored in the SWAT van and protective vests removed and stashed. Faith Sterling had walked out of the house on her own, finally free from a past she had endured for eighteen years. But, was it possible she had escaped her nightmares that easily?
Becca sighed deeply and blew the fresh air out slowly. “Wow! What a story,” she said as she started to help Clint, the camera man load the equipment. “Not so sure I’m ready for another one of those, though. I think my heart stopped beating twenty minutes ago.”
Clisty still held the WFT-TV microphone in her slender fingers when she grabbed Faith in her arms and sobbed. “You’re home! Where have you been?” She pulled back at arm’s length to look at her lost friend. Clisty gasped loudly, the shock was more than she could silence. She felt chilled from the penetrating night wind. What she saw when she searched Faith’s face for the friend she use to know, frightened her.
Faith’s beautiful eyes were lost in sunken, dark gray pools of fear and emptiness. With trembling hands, she tried to brush matted hair from her forehead, leaving streaks of smeared perspiration behind. She looked at Clisty with a flat, glassy stare and then stiffened as she stuffed her hands in the pockets of her long, faded cotton skirt. A rumpled, heavy knit sweater hung open around her wrinkled peasant blouse. Her clothes smelled like musty socks.
“Oh Faith,” her mother cried as she approached her with open arms. “Thank God! Thank God!” Her words dissolved in the tears that streamed down her face. She too clung to the daughter she had not seen since she was nine years old. “How can it be? Only God could have brought you home.”
Pooky stood behind the three women, outside the circle of love.  She patted the small of her new grandma’s back. “What’s wrong with Mama?” she whispered as she tried to get close to her. But, her mother said nothing. Faith seemed frozen except for her hands. “Why are your hands shaking, Mama?”
Faith’s glistening eyes darted to her daughter. Her tears seemed to refuse to stop flowing and she fixed her expression on some distant memory. “Shaking?” she asked, seemingly unaware of her surroundings, lost in the fear and trauma of hours of staring into the end of a revolver.
“She’s a little overwhelmed right now, Honey,” Roma explained as she turned and bent down to her granddaughter’s level. She touched the soft cocoa smudged cheek of the grandchild she didn’t know existed.
“Did Miss Sinclair say you’re Mama’s mama?” Pooky asked with a puzzled expression that began to grow stern. “Mama said to find you. Where have you been?”
“Yes, Sweetheart,” her grandmother said as she finally started to shed eighteen-year-old tears. “I’m your grandma and,” she clasped the tips of her husband’s fingers, “and this is your grandpa. We have been right here, waiting for you. We didn’t know where you were.”
“Grandpa?” Pooky asked, quickly jerking back a step as her eyes grew large and fearful. A dog’s distant bark caused her to startle.
“It’s all right, Pooky,” Clisty soothed. “I have known your mama’s daddy all my life and he’s a good man. He has waited a long time to be a grandpa. I’ll bet he’s rehearsed it over and over.”
Pooky eyed the man who would be Grandpa. “Like, when I played Red Riding Hood at school?”
“Just like that,” Clisty patted her head. “Where did you go to school?” Like any broadcast journalist, she began to collect the details she would need to pursue the full story of Faith’s abduction. But, the news story was only part of it. She had to know where her friend had been. She had imagined every possible location in the years since she was gone. Except for a twist of fate that freed her from the grip of the man who captured Faith, she too would have vanished those long years ago.
Pooky folded her arms and closed herself off to the people around her. “I don’t go to school any more. I only went there a couple of weeks. Daddy said I could go, but then Grandpa said, no.” Her voice faded as she turned her chin up, defiantly, at Ralph. “I never got to be in the play after all.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” Clisty said as she tried to think fast. “Can you remember the name of the school or anything you saw?”
“The name? No.” She twisted back and forth and wrinkled up her nose.
Becca watched her and coached, “You’re a good observer. When you’re as old as I am, you’ll need glasses to see what’s around you. I’ve noticed you see everything. Did you see anything that would remind you of the school?”
“There was a sign out front with a big dog on it,” the child’s eyes shone with pride. “I remembered some. That was good, wasn’t it?”
“Yes, it was. I wouldn’t have noticed that, I’m sure,” Becca encouraged her.
“That was very good.” Clisty put her arm around Pooky’s shoulder.
“You smell good,” she blurted out as she nuzzled a little longer in Clisty’s arm.
“Thank you. I’ll share a little bit of my perfume with you and your mama in a few days.” Things were going too fast for Clisty’s tired mind. She wondered how a young girl could possible keep up. “Your mother is going to go to the hospital in the ambulance now. I’m going back to the studio for the last newscast of the day.” She looked up at Faith’s parents and smiled. “You can ride with your grandparents.”
“No!” Pooky announced and pulled out of Clisty’s embrace. “I want to go with Mama.”
The first responder reached out and took Pooky’s hand. “That’s okay. You can ride in the ambulance with your mother. Your grandparents can follow us in their car. You’ll see Grandma and Grandpa when we get to the hospital.” He guided Faith onto the gurney.
“I’ll stop by after the newscast and make sure everyone is all right,” Clisty whispered as she leaned down to hug the young girl. “Okay?”
“Okay.” Pooky’s eyes darted from her mother to all the new faces around her.
“It’s okay, Honey,” Faith’s words escaped from her mouth like they were riding on the last breaths she would take. She turned to her old friend and motioned for her to come closer.
Clisty leaned down toward her. “I love you, Faith,” she said and rubbed the back of her hand against her cheek.
“I … I ...,” Faith stammered, as her chin quivered and her voice choked.
“I know, Honey,” Clisty tried to help.
“I have to ... ah ... ah ...,” she rattled in aimless monotone, “... tell you.” She closed her eyes hard and slowly warned. “He’s coming, you know. He’s coming ....”
“Who, Faith ... who’s coming?”
“I’m sorry, Clisty,” the EMT worker urged. “She needs to be evaluated.”
“Evaluated?” Faith mumbled. Her voice was thin and weak. “Like a test? I ... don’t like tests.”
“You rest,” the attendant said as he patted her shoulder. “We gotta go,” he warned Clisty again. Faith lay back on the gurney and seemed to disappear on the mat, like she had eighteen years ago, a ghost among the living.
“I know,” Clisty watched with shock. “I can see.” Bending near her friend’s ear she whispered, “I’ll go to the studio and finish the broadcast. This breaking news tape will roll again on the eleven o’clock news. Then, I’ll stop by the hospital and check on you.”
“That will be terribly late,” Becca reminded her, then shrugged. “Maybe sleep is over-rated.”
“I’ll stop by,” Clisty repeated. “It can’t possibly be too late for me. I promise I won’t awaken you.”

• • • • •

Clisty slid into her chair behind the news desk at WFT and quickly clipped on her lapel microphone, racing the clock. It was ten-fifty-five. Her hands trembled. She took a deep breath and held it in her lungs for a few seconds. She didn’t have stage-fright. She had been running on one-hundred percent adrenaline since the six o’clock news exposed the grainy ATM video of her friend. Faith had been lost so long ago she remained the pigtailed girl in summer cotton shorts and stripped t-shirt in Clisty’s mind. When she closed her eyes, she could still hear the faint laughter of two nine-year-olds on a sunny afternoon adventure.
“Two minutes, team,” Becca called from behind the camera.
The junior anchor exhaled slowly, blowing the air silently through her lips. She had to keep her wits about her. She had to tell the story without telling it all, to keep details about Faith’s rescue for police use only, without the public’s awareness of the lack of transparency.
Suddenly, the hot lights flooded Clisty’s face and the newscast began. She looked down momentarily while the film from the remote broadcast ran again and was amazed to see she was still wearing what she had on at 6 pm. It had only been five hours, but a lifetime had caught up to her in those few hours. Her mussed skirt hid under the desk but the collar of her shirt that should have stayed beneath her suit jacket, refused to lay flat. She quickly tried to give it a finger-ironing.
Clisty began on cue. “The stand-off between the police and the person, who may have held up the bank, lasted for more than hour. The police have identified the man as Melvin Dean Fargo. As you saw from the footage that just re-aired from our on-the-scene breaking news report, the woman who came out of the house ahead of the suspect, probably saved Fargo’s life,” Clisty reported. “She warned the police that he was surrendering, which avoided a barrage of bullets if authorities believed the woman was still a captive.”
Dan Drummond fidgeted in the chair beside her; his hand was itchy on his pen as he anxiously flipped it up and down. “Yes, Clisty, and—”
“... and, the police consider her a hero, Dan,” she smiled into the camera.
Dan began, “She is the woman, who, eighteen years ago—”
“I’m glad you brought that up,” Clisty deliberately interrupted. “Police are keeping the woman’s identity from the public at this time.”
Dan paused and shook his head slightly. “In case the suspect had accomplices?”
“That could be a reason for withholding her name,” Clisty suggested, then quickly added as Drummond opened his mouth to say more. “I pledge to bring you the entire background surrounding this event in the days to come.” Clisty was afraid, if permitted to speak Dan could have given too much information and would have hijacked the story from her capable hands.
Dan’s jaw dropped. With a skillful recovery he added, “We will all be waiting to hear the details of these remarkable events.”
“And, in other news,” Clisty began again, “the Park Service has announced a new member of the lion pride at the Fort Wayne Zoo. A male cub named, Scruffy, was born at eight-twenty this evening, a fitting addition to our evening of new beginnings.”
Dan stared into the camera with a forced smile and set jaw. “Thank you for watching. That’s the News at Eleven.”

• • • • •

“Well,” Dan started cautiously as he jerked the mic from his shirt, “it sounds like you have scored quite a story for yourself.” He pulled his tall lanky legs from under the desk and unbuttoned his suit coat from around his middle-aged belly.
“Dan,” she began slowly to maneuver around the minefield of news-room protocol. Clisty knew that the senior-anchor has first chance at significant stories. A junior anchor simply does not grab stories from the top of the pile and run with them. “I am sorry,” she started again, “but the backstory of this woman’s life is my story as well.”
“Your story? I thought that was up to—“
“No, I didn’t mean it that way.” She fumbled with words to express the unique situation she was in. The set cleared, Becca waited in the back of the studio. “Dan, you don’t understand,” Clisty tried to explain.
They left Studio-A silently and walked into the outer hall. Dan collected his hat and coat with a snap and an attitude. “I can easily see I don’t.” Then he turned, “How is it that this woman’s story is magically yours?”
“Dan,” Clisty looked around her cautiously, to see if other ears could hear. “The woman is Faith Sterling. She was my childhood friend-of-the-heart. A man kidnapped her right out of my grasp, in my own living room, when we were both nine-years old. Then ... she just vanished. While the police apprehended the suspected bank robber, they haven’t tracked down and brought to justice the man who took Faith all those years ago. She is very confused and fragile right now, and may be in danger from her captor. The police want to keep the circle small of those who have contact with her. They hope she will remember me and trust me, since we were inseparable as children. So, I will be getting her story. I hope you understand.”
“Clisty,” Dan removed the hat he had just put on and crumpled it in his hand. “I understand now. Her backstory is indeed your story, too. If there is anything I can do to help, just let me know. I’ll be praying for both of you.”

“Thanks Dan. You’re the second person who said that to me tonight.” Her mind followed a tangential path back to the Christmas angel that sat on her spotless mantle. “I appreciate your prayers.”

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Length of Days Trilogy—available at, Barnes&, and others.

LENGTH OF DAYS TRILOGY:  Political correctness carried to extremes of cruelty; the drugging of all citizens for ultimate control; a kidnapping; gunfire; freedom for oppressed people; a presidential election with candidates not chosen by the ruling elites; and a growing love story. 
Author: Doris Gaines Rapp

Book 1:  LENGTH OF DAYS – THE AGE OF SILENCE.  In 2112, Christiana Applewait awakens from the silence of political correctness forced on all citizens when detoxed at age twenty-four. Her grandparents, members of the Council of Twelve, have reached the age of extermination and will enter the never-ending-sleep. She and her friends must get signatures on petitions in the Central Zone to overturn the Length of Days Law. Will they get them in time to save Christiana’s grandparents?

Book 2:  LENGTH OF DAYS – BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE KEEPERS. Christiana and her friend, Dr. Jason O’Reilly, travel across forbidden zone borders in order to complete petitions to overturn the Length of Days Law for the entire country. They meet the chosen children, rescued from the furnaces. They have help from the Hollow Ones of the west and the Underlings of the east. Although fired on, they race the clock to complete the task.

Book 3:  LENGTH OF DAYS – SEARCH FOR FREEDOM.  Christiana’s grandfather, Oliver Richly, agrees to run for the office of president of the United States, the first such open and free election in nearly one-hundred years. Richly is kidnapped—Christiana and Jason search for him. Danger lurks around every turn. Held at gun point, they must face the one who has been their enemy in each book. If they don’t find Richly, he may be removed from the election ballot and threaten the citizen’s referendum to abolish the Length of Days Law.

Friday, May 20, 2016

News at Eleven - A Novel (Copyright 2015 Doris Gaines Rapp, 4th Serialization Segment)

“Sinclair,” Clisty spoke into her cell. “What?” she gasped. “Okay. We’re on our way.”
Jake touched his phone screen. “Okay. Call SWAT,” he said and turned to Clisty. “Sorry Babe. Gotta run.”
“Me too.” She folded her napkin. “That was the station, Becca. A news crew will meet us at 606 North—“
“Gramercy,” Jake finished.
“Yes, how did—?”
“What’s happening?” Becca pulled on her coat.
Clisty looked at Pooky who sat at the serving counter. She nodded to Sharon. “Can Pooky stay here and wait for her mother?” She gave the child a hug.
“Did you say, Gramercy?” the eight-year-old asked.
“Yes, but—“
“We were at a man’s house on Gramercy,” she said with wide eyes. “Is Mama there?”
“What man?” Jake asked.
“The man who brought us here.”
“What did he look like, Honey?” he asked.
“He was tall and had a rough face.” She sipped her drink. “He had on a dark blue sweatshirt.”
Clisty looked from Jake to Becca. Fear stabbed her as she remembered the suspect in the bank robbery. Although missing for eighteen years, Faith could be that woman. “I want you to stay here, Pooky. Have you had supper?”
The eight-year-old looked up, “Sure. My cocoa.”
“What else?” Clisty asked.
“Nothing,” she whispered.
“Okay, Sweetheart. Miss Sharon can give you something hot.”
“How about some creamy macaroni and cheese from the lunch special?” Sharon asked.
“That would be great,” Clisty said. “I’ll pay you later.” She started for the door. “Oh, and keep her away from the news channel.” She raised her eyebrows in emphasis.
Pooky hopped down from the stool and took Clisty’s hand. “Let me come with you. Mama’s there. I know she is.”
“You need to stay and help Miss Sharon. I’ll bet she has some jobs for you.”
“Sure,” Sharon drew out slowly. “You could wipe off the tables and I’ll turn on the cartoon channel.”
“That would be great,” Clisty said as she hurried out the door. Outside, they started back to her parents’ home for their cars.
“We need to hurry,” Jake urged.
“Wait for me,” Becca called out from behind. “Where are we going? It’ll be a remote broadcast. I’ll need to prepare.”
“There’s a standoff between a gunman and police over on North Gramercy,” Clisty explained. “There’s a female hostage. As information comes in, they’ll feed it to us on location.”
They slipped on the late season ice as they grabbed their car door handles and hopped in. “Follow me,” Jake called out his car window as he made a U-turn in the middle of the street. “I’ll lead the way with full lights and siren. Stay close behind me.”
“Be careful,” Clisty cautioned.
“You too, Babe.”
As Jake reached out and placed the flashing lights on the roof, Clisty pulled her car in behind his and revved the engine. They flew past Sutton Place, Riverside and two other cross-streets until they came to Gramercy, about a half mile from the Coffee Emporium.
She slammed her foot on the brake and stopped in the middle of the street at the barricade. Clisty jumped out and reached for the microphone. Flattened early crocuses, bitten by the late snow and trampled by the television crew, were under her feet.  She trembled, fearing the same outcome, but tried to stay professional.
With the ear piece placed in her ear, she stepped in front of the lens. “We’re here in the middle of the six-hundred block of North Gramercy. All residences in the area—stay inside. I repeat—stay inside. If you are traveling, take Randolph Highway rather than North Gramercy and avoid this area. We have just arrived on the scene. We’ve been told that an armed gunman is holding a woman hostage.” She motioned to a man who stood at the edge of the cordoned area. “Sir, tell us your name and what you saw?”
The middle-aged man cleared his throat. “I ... ah,” the man’s voice was shaky. “The name’s Phil. I saw a rumpled man in a dark blue hoody pull a young woman out of an old truck and force her to walk into that house there at 606. I know I saw a hand-gun.”
Clisty repositioned the mic. “Do you know if the man has been living in the house for very long?”
“The house had been for rent. I saw him last week a couple of times,” he answered, his gaze still fixed on the house.
Clisty could feel panic grip her. Her palms felt sweaty inside her gloves and her stomach rolled and fell. “Did you see a young girl?”
“Right ... now that you ask, I do remember seeing a child when they first showed up. Not after that. Come to think of it, hardly the woman either, until late this afternoon.”
“So, you saw the woman when they first arrived and then today?”
“I stopped over there about 4 pm with a pie my misses had made to greet them to the neighborhood and the woman answered the door. I said, ‘Hello Mrs. ...’ I thought she might fill in the last name, but she shook her head. She said he had only given them a ride to Fort Wayne. She started to say more but the man came up behind her. He started screaming at her. She slipped me an envelope before he slammed the door closed. She pointed to your name and TV station written on the outside.”
“You brought it?” Clisty asked.
She heard an interruption behind her. “There, that’s it.” She turned as Pooky fell into her arms and held on tightly. “My Mama’s in there,” the girl sobbed.
“I am so sorry,” Sharon gasped breathlessly. “She got away from me.”
Still on camera, Clisty clung to the girl, in spite of Becca’s direction to release her. “I’m holding a child I believe to be the hostage’s daughter.” She looked directly into the light. “She is safe with me.” Her thoughts raced but she tried to stay calm. She hoped that those inside had a TV on. “Now, I’m talking to the man in the house.” She smiled at Pooky. “The woman means nothing to you. You just gave her a ride home. I’m sure Faith is very grateful for your kindness. You can let her go now.”
Jake stepped in front of the camera. “If you’re watching, the bank teller is alive. Don’t make things worse for yourself. Release the woman and we can help you make things right.”
Clisty tried not to think of the danger Faith was in. She willed herself to sound calm. “Please, let her go. All little girls need their mother.” She looked anxiously at the house but there was no movement. Suddenly, a car slid to a stop near the barricade. Faith’s parents jumped out.
Clisty’s eyes filled with tears as the Sterlings approached their granddaughter for the first time. “Ralph and Roma Sterling,” she whispered, “this is Pooky. I believe she’s your granddaughter.”
They wrapped their arms around the child and sobbed. Silence fell like a warm presence as police and television crew looked on. The new grandmother looked at the house and whispered, “Please. Give her back.”
The front door opened slowly but no lights were on. Darkness was everywhere. “Hold your fire. She’s coming out,” Jake shouted with a calm and steady voice.
With shaking hands held high, Faith Sterling slowly emerged, with a dark figure close behind, his hand on her shoulder. “Don’t shoot,” she shouted. “He wants to surrender.”
A police woman took a few steps forward and stopped. Clisty whispered into the microphone. “She seems to be attempting a safe transfer.”
“Let the woman step away from you,” Jake announced into a bullhorn. “Lay down on the ground with your hands behind your head.”
The next events happened so fast, Clisty couldn’t breathe. The man fell onto the cold, wet ground. Officers wrapped his wrists in handcuffs. Her dear friend, Faith, ran forward and embraced all those who had waited eighteen years for her to come home. She sobbed as she grabbed Pooky and fell into her parents’ arms.
Clisty whispered a prayer of thanksgiving and praise as she wiped tears from her face. Rebecca and all those around were visibly unable to fight back their own emotions.
Faith reached out to Clisty and cried in her arms. “I knew you’d find me if I could get here.”
Clisty looked into the camera but, no matter how hard she tried, words would not come. Finally, she whispered, “My friend Faith was kidnapped eighteen years ago. Finally ... praise God, she has come home.” She hugged her and beamed. “This has been news of a true miracle in Fort Wayne ... to be seen at eleven.”

Friday, May 13, 2016

News at Eleven - A Novel (Copyright 2015 Doris Gaines Rapp - 3rd serialization segment)

“Jake!” Clisty called in relief as Detective Davis jumped out of his car in front of her parents’ house. ”You remembered the story about my childhood clubhouse!”
“Of course I did.” He gathered her in his arms. “Clisty, who was that?” He pointed back to the person who had darted past him.
"Did you see her?” She gasped breathlessly.
“Her?” he questioned. “I saw him, the guy who beat it out of here as I pulled up.”
“Then, you didn’t see Faith?”
“No, I was watching the man.”
“I wish I could have watched him!” Rebecca growled as she rubbed her shoulder. “He hit me.”
“Are you okay?” Clisty asked and gently touched her. “Jake, you know Becca, my news producer.”
"Right,” he said. “You need to have that shoulder looked at.” Then he asked, “Aren’t you two supposed to be at the station right now? The news is on again at eleven.”
"It’s a long story.” Clisty said as she put her arm around Becca. “Are you okay? Can you walk down to the corner coffee shop so we can fill him in?”
Becca flexed her arm. “I’m more angry than hurt.” She raised her arm over her shoulder. “You fill him in. I’m still trying to catch up to what’s happening.”
“How is the bank teller?” Clisty asked. The snow started falling again and tiny ice flakes stung Clisty’s nose and cheeks.
“She’s conscious. Doctors say she’ll mend,” Jake said.
“You had better put your hood up, or your hair will have to be done again before the late news,” Becca cautioned.
“If I put my hood up, I’ll need a major overhaul, not a touch up.” Clisty slipped a little and looked down. She had forgotten she was still wearing on-camera heals. Her feet were cold and had started to hurt. “These shoes weren’t made for chasing criminals or ghosts.”
“Ghosts? Here, you can hold on to me,” Jake offered as he held out his arm. “What is going on?”
“Wow, arm and arm. Now, that’s sweet,” Becca cooed.
“Here, Becca, grab hold of my other arm,” Jake offered.

• • • • •

Clisty stepped into the small, warm coffee emporium and rubbed her gloved hands together. “It feels good in here, Sharon,” she said, smiling at the waitress. The wall-mounted TV whispered dialog, but she was too cold to pay attention. She scanned the menu above the serving counter. “My favorite is café mocha. I’d like an extra half shot of café and a double shot of mocha.”
“Wow, with all that, it’s my hips that would be shot,” Becca moaned. “Coffee, black and a double shot of hot.”
“Let’s sit here by the window,” Clisty suggested as she walked a few feet to a small table with four chairs clustered around it. “It’s homey here.”
“Hey, I thought I told you to get along home,” Sharon snapped at a scruffy girl who slipped in behind Clisty and her friends.
“I’m cold,” the child whispered.
“Then, sit right there,” Sharon pointed to a bar stool in front of her. “Where’s your mom?”
“She’ll be here soon.”
Clisty watched the frightened girl and smiled, but gave her the space she needed to warm up to her and the other strangers inside the Emporium.
At the table, Becca gulped as she leaned into the cold glass of the window. “Is that the guy in the hoodie again?”
The child gasped in fear and pulled her wet shoes up onto the seat and hugged her knees. She looked like a small turtle with every vulnerable part hidden.
“That’s my husband on his way home from work,” Sharon laughed and waved a full cup of coffee in his direction.
Clisty watched the child pull a tight, shabby coat around her. Sharon brought the steamy cups to the table and Clisty’s focus shifted.
“I wondered about that guy too.” Jake agreed.
“I’ll hug the cup for warmth.” She put her gloves in her pocket and blew across the surface of the coffee. “I’m warming my face with the rising, deliciously sweet steam.” She closed her eyes and let the rising vapor warm her cheeks.
“I’d be happy to keep you warm,” Jake offered.
Clisty looked at Becca to see if she had heard him. Becca raised her eyebrows. Over at the counter, big round, hollow eyes watched her sip the warm brew.
“Do you like cocoa?” Clisty asked the child.
“I think I had it one time.” Her voice was as thin as she was, and as distant.
“Did you like it?” Clisty asked. The girl smiled. “Sharon, get her a big cup of your best hot chocolate.” She smiled at her. “Will that be okay with your mama?” The child nodded a firm yes.
“When will your mother get back?” Jake asked. He lowered his voice. “I can’t let a seven or eight-year-old run around town at night all alone.”
“Probably when my cocoa’s done,” the girl said as she took tiny sips. “She’ll meet me here.”
Sharon wiped a cocoa ring from the counter. “Did that guy find you, Clisty?”
She froze inside and looked up slowly from her chocolate laced coffee. “Who? What guy?”
“He was tall and tattered, in a dark sweatshirt. I didn’t tell him anything about you, Clisty. We’ve been friends since kindergarten. I’ve got your back.” She slowed as she dried a cup and several spoons. “I wondered how he could be warm in ...”
Clisty’s eyes grew large as she turned toward the darkness beyond the window. “When was he in here?”
“Was the sweatshirt a hoody?” Jake asked.
“Yes, he had it over his head but I could see his eyes. It was strange. He had the most beautiful brown eyes, sunk down in a face that belonged on an FBI most wanted poster.” Sharon shuddered. “He scared me.” She too looked out into the night. “He was in here just a little bit ago. I was glad when he left.”
“Which way did he go?” Jake asked.
“Down toward your parents’ place,” Sharon nodded in Clisty’s direction.
Clisty stiffened and Jake took her hand. She could feel his warmth caress her skin. She squeezed his palm and tried to relax. “Sharon, have you seen a young woman around here that isn’t from the neighborhood?”
“Yes, that was another strange thing. Before you got here, this woman slithered around the side of the door and slipped in. It seemed to me she might have been dodging someone. Her eyes darted around the restaurant and she shifted back and forth.”
Clisty’s heart pounded as she held her breath. “And ...?”
“She said she saw you come in here earlier today and asked me to give this to you.” Sharon reached into her apron pocket and drew out a pink plastic hair bow. “She said it’s yours.”
Clisty took the barrette from Sharon’s hand and rolled it over and over. Tears came to her eyes and threatened to spill down her cheeks. She blotted them with a napkin. “Yes, it’s mine,” she whispered. “Becca,” her voice cracked, “I gave this to Faith the morning of our last day together. Her hair kept falling in her eyes.”
“Who is Faith?” Jake asked.
“She’s your missing witness to the escaped bank robber suspect,” Clisty announced. “I recognized her in—“
“The ATM video!” Sharon squealed and pointed to the TV. “I saw her on your newscast and thought she looked familiar. She had the same scar above her left eyebrow. Clisty, I thought someone had killed her years ago.”
“That’s what everyone thought, except her parents ... and me. This proves even more, that she’s alive.”
The child at the counter hopped down and slowly approached the small table. “No, Ma’am. That clip is mine,” she announced.
“Yours?” Becca asked.
“Miss Sinclair said it belongs to her, Honey,” Jake chimed in.
But the girl shook her head in defiance while willful curls slipped to her eyebrows. “No, it’s not. It’s mine.” She grabbed the hair bow, wiggled back up onto the bar stool and took another gulp of hot chocolate with the barrette clasped tightly in her hand.
Clisty got up, slowly walked over and gently touched her small shoulder. “I had one just like it.” Her eyes glistened. “I gave it to my very best friend in all the world.” She started to reach out for it but stopped when the child pulled back. “What’s your name?”
“My name’s Pooky.” She held the hair clip in both hands and drew it close in a caress. “My mama gave me the hair bow a long time ago.”
Clisty wrapped her arms around the girl. “My name is Pooky, too. I think I know your mother.” She looked over at Jake and Becca and smiled. “We have to hurry but I think we can find her before the eleven o’clock news.”

Monday, May 9, 2016

Length of Days Trilogy

I know  you have to wait until Friday for the next installment of News at Eleven - A Novel. For those of you who love to read, I have a suggestion. Begin reading my novels in the Length of Days trilogy: The Age of Silence; Beyond the Valley of the Keepers; and Search for Freedom. 

The Age of Silence: What might life be like 100 years from now if extreme political correctness continues? In this first book, the ruling elite must control the citizens by drugging their water and removing music and celebrations that might stir their emotions. They change Christmas to Gifting Day and they silence the songs of our culture by forbidding any expression of music. They manage the population by predetermining the number of years in an individual's life, limiting their Length of Days based on the person's use to society. Someone breaks the silence by contacting Christiana who elicits the help of her friend, Jason.

Beyond the Valley of the Keepers: When the furnaces under Howard Mountain are turned off until signatures can be secured for a Citizens' Referendum to over-turn the Length of Days Law, Christiana and Jason travel across closed Zone borders to establish a network for securing signatures from the entire country. The Hollow People of the west and the Underlings, those forced to live in the subways and sewers of New York City, help them.

Search for Freedom: Christiana's grandfather, Oliver Richly, agrees to run for president in an open and free election that hasn't taken place in those same 100 years. Political figures simply filled open positions by right-of-succession. Kidnapped, Christy and Jason must search for Richly. Will they find him in time?

All three books in this trilogy are available in paperback and eBook form on line at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Friday, May 6, 2016

News at Eleven - A Novel [Segment 2 of serialization - © 2015 Doris Gaines Rapp]

“Let’s go.” Clisty placed her coffee cup on the table and grabbed the envelope with the precious four-leaf clover inside. “Hurry, Becca. The news will be back on at eleven.”
“I know. I’m the producer.” Becca fumbled with her yogurt container. Her spoon teetered on the saucer. “No, don’t fall on the white area rug,” Becca moaned.
“Don’t worry about it.” Clisty brushed it off, crossed the room and pulled her coat from the hall tree.
“Don’t worry about it?” Becca questioned. “This, from the girl with a sterile home, except for the picture of two rag-a-muffins?”
“Okay, okay,” Clisty agreed. She fished in her pocket for her gloves and car keys.
“Where are we going?” Becca asked. Outside, she slipped on the fresh powder of spring snow as she hurried behind. “The time is flying. You have to be behind the news desk before eleven.”
“I know, Becca. But, I also know that was Faith in that ATM surveillance video. She’s the bank robbery witness everyone is looking for and she’s been missing for years.” She fumbled with the remote entry button. The buzzer squawked and the two women jumped into the SUV.
The leather seats had grown cold. She shivered as she tried to force the key into the ignition.
Becca interrupted. “Wait a minute. I need to know where we’re going.” She patted Clisty’s hand. “Take a deep breath and tell me what’s going on.”
Clisty let the motor idle. Her hand trembled on the floor shift. “Becca, the image in the ATM video was my friend, Faith.”
“Honey, she was nine years old when she was kidnapped. That was eighteen years ago.”
“I know,” Clisty pounded on the shift knob. “But, I know Faith Sterling’s eyes. That was her.” Tears welled up and spilled down her cheeks.
“Don’t mess up your makeup. You may not have time for a touch up before the late-night news.” She patted Clisty’s hand again. “Now, where are we going?”
“First, we’ll stop at police headquarters and hope Jake is there.” She looked right and left. It was early in the evening. On-coming lights sparkled on the windshield’s frost patches. “I think I know where Faith is, but I don’t know if it’s safe to go there alone.”
“Okay. With Jake along, I’ll feel better.” Becca buckled her seat belt. “Why didn’t you just call or text him?”
“I’m a little scattered.” Clisty pulled her phone from her pocket and pushed a button.
“Speed dial?” Rebecca teased.
“Never mind ...” Clisty put the receiver to her ear. “It’s ringing ... pick up Jake.” She disconnected and looked out at the road ahead. “He’s on duty. Why doesn’t he answer?”
“Leave a text message and let’s go,” Becca said urgently.

• • • • • 

Clisty pulled into the police parking lot and had her hand on her seat belt clasp before the engine stopped. She flung the door open and dashed toward the door when Becca slipped a little as she stepped from the car.
“Becca, are you okay?” Clisty turned back quickly.
“Just trying to catch up. I’m wearing the wrong shoes for a hot pursuit.”
Clisty waited at the door for her. “I’m sorry. You didn’t hurt yourself, did you?”
“I’m fine,” Becca assured her.
Outside, the daylight had slipped into early spring-evening darkness. But, inside the station, lights beamed in every corner. The smell of freshly popped corn penetrated the room. An officer jumped to his feet when Clisty walked in.
“Clisty Sinclair ... pardon me, Miss Sinclair,” Jeremy Rhodes blustered. “What may I do for you?” He blushed as a few corn kernels fell from his uniform to the floor.
“That’s alright. Call me Clisty.” She paused and glanced around. “Is Detective Davis here?”
“No, Ma’am. Jake’s been out since the bank robbery.” He paused. “But, you know about the robbery. You broke the news at six.”
“Yes ...,” she frantically checked the room. “He hasn’t come back?”
“No, Ma’am. He’s interviewing the bank teller at the hospital. She was shot-up pretty bad.”
 “The hospital?” She turned to Rebecca. “He probably has his phone off if he’s in the E.R. We’d better hurry on.”
“Clisty, I don’t know.”
“I do,” she snapped. Her texting thumbs flew over the phone’s keypad. “Now, where are my keys?” she asked as she fumbled in her pocket. “I just had them.”
A woman in a frayed coat scooped keys off the floor and handed them to the officer. He thanked her and turned the keys over in his hand. “Initial—P? And ... they’re yours, Miss Sinclair?”
“Yes,” Clisty allow a smile to lighten her face. “Grandma called me Pooky.”
“Pooky?” He raised his eyebrows. “Where did your grand-parents live?
“Over on Norman Avenue.”
“Six-twenty-four Norman Avenue, right?” Rhodes smiled.
“How did you know?”
“My parents bought their house when your grandparents moved to Florida. We lived there for seven years. When Mom and Dad had more kids, we moved. There was a little angel in the kitchen window. On the bottom was a name. Mom told me it was a Christmas Prayer Angel and we should pray for the person. Each person in the prayer partner exchange wrote their name on the bottom. It was Pooky.”
Clisty gasped. “Grandma said she lost my angel, but she prayed for me every day anyway.”
“Pooky,” Rhodes whispered, “I’ve prayed for you since I was a kid.” He paused then asked, “What happened about ten years ago, in the spring?”
“My boyfriend and I were in a car accident after the Senior Prom.” She rubbed her finger over the initial on the key chain. “I was in a coma for two weeks.”
“I could feel it,” Rhodes whispered again. “Something seemed wrong. I prayed twice a day during that time.”
Clisty took the officer’s hand. “Thank you.” Tears again threatened to drown her resolve. She looked away. “Becca, we’d better hurry.” She gathered her keys and spoke again to Rhodes. “If Jake comes back and hasn’t gotten my message, tell him I was here and to meet us at the clubhouse.” She hurried out the door with Becca matching her steps.
“Maybe we should wait for Jake until he can be reached. He’ll turn his phone on soon,” Becca warned.
“We’ll be fine,” Clisty brushed off her concern and pulled her coat more tightly around her. The spring air had taken on a bitter chill.
• • • • •

 Clisty reached for the car radio. “There may be more news about the robbery. Maybe they’ve found Faith.”
“We just came from the Police Station. There was no news about the witness or the robber.” Becca lowered her voice to a soothing whisper. “Clisty, Faith was kidnapped. If she’s alive, where has she been and how did she get away?”
“I don’t know. But, I’m going to where she directed.”
“Yes, the four-leaf clover. We kept the treasures we found at the clubhouse. I’m sure she’ll try to meet me there.”
“Where is it?” Becca asked.
“In my parents’ back yard,” Clisty said as she turned the corner and headed to the north side of town.
“I thought your parents were visiting your grandparents in Florida.” Becca spoke slowly. “No one will be there.”
“But, that has nothing to do with the clubhouse.” Clisty downplayed the caution she heard in her friend’s voice. “I can always get in there.”
“I’m not thinking about ease of entry. I’m wondering how safe it will be to poke around in a dark backyard and shed.”
“We’ll be fine. It’s my parents’ yard.” Clisty eased onto Keystone Avenue and followed the winding road into the next block. The street light in front of her parents’ home was out.
“It looks dark,” Becca gasped.
“Come on fraidy-cat.” She popped the door open, jumped out and hurried toward the back of the house. A dog’s bark in the distance hung on the crystal air. The cold gravel crunched under their feet.
“Clisty ... wait,” Becca called in a hoarse whisper. As she tried to catch up, a dark figure approached them from behind.
Clisty strained to see into the darkness behind her. Dim light filtered through bony trees a few houses down. She saw something piled on the ground and gasped. She had just walked from that direction and there had been nothing there. “Becca?” she called into the darkness. There was no answer.
Fear gripped her chest as she crept closer. “Becca?” she whispered. Her eyes darted frantically from bush to each dense hedge around her.
“Oh ...,” Becca moaned as she rolled over on her elbow. “What happened?”
Crack! A noise shattered the blackness around them. A large, burly figure about ten feet away staggered and fled from the yard. The shape of a woman wielding a large branch darted off in the opposite direction.

“Faith?” Clisty shouted frantically after her. The bells of the church on the corner chimed. It was eight p.m. News was at eleven.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

News at Eleven - A Novel (Back-cover Copy) © 2015 Doris Gaines Rapp

With the interest in News at Eleven - A Novel, I thought I had better post the back-cover copy. The second in the serialization will be posted tomorrow.

News at Eleven – Part One appeared as a novelette in Glo Magazine: - serialized January - April 2015. Reader interest prompted an expansion to a full novel.   Doris Gaines Rapp
• • • • •
News at Eleven – A Novel
Clisty Sinclair, a young Fort Wayne, Indiana TV News anchor, is stunned on camera. The picture of a childhood friend, missing for eighteen years, appears on the monitor during the early evening news. Clisty will have to overcome her own fears and nightmares to find her friend, Faith. To track down and capture Faith’s kidnappers, will require all of Clisty’s investigative journalism skills. If she is successful in bringing all to justice, a surprising opportunity may threaten her new and growing relationship with Detective Jake Davis. Will Clisty be set free to find her own dreams as she searches for Faith’s captors?
• • • • •
“Hi Doris,                                             (3/16/2015)
I just finished your novel! I enjoyed it very much! Compassionate and likable characters and a quick pace! You did a good job of capturing the feel of a career in broadcasting. Well done!”
Melissa Long, News Anchor, 21Alive-TV, Fort Wayne, Indiana 

• • • • •

Length of Days - Beyond the Valley of the Keepers (© 2014 Doris Gaines Rapp)

Tomorrow I'll post the second installment of my serialization of News at Eleven - A Novel. While you wait, enjoy the back cover description of the second in my Length of Days trilogy, Length of Days - Beyond the Valley of the Keepers. These are important books in today's world. They may describe what our society could be like in 100 years, if political correctness is not challenged.

I am Christiana Applewait, a legacy citizen of the Central Zone. It’s late in December 2112, after Gifting Day. Jason and I are still running from the Blue Guard. I must wear a gypsy mourning dress and veil, in order to speak to a large gathering in the Western Zone and not be recognized. Though I’m in line for a seat on the Council of Twelve, my position has not protected me from obsessive stalking by Chief Inspector Ward Stoner. But, we cannot stop. We must fill petitions to place a Citizens’ Referendum on the ballot at the next election in order to overturn the Length of Days law. If not, my dear grandparents will reach the age of extermination. They will enter the never-ending-sleep, thus ending their Length of Days.
A judge in the Central Zone placed a two-year stay on final-sleep travelers while we gather petition signatures in the other three Zones. We will have to cross Zone borders, closed for many decades.
Now we have just those twin years of hope to canvas the rest of the country, secure the signatures and then, pass the bill and implement it before our time runs out. We must succeed. God will be with us.
Lady Christiana Applewait

Length of Days - Beyond the valley of the keepers  is the second in the Length of Days trilogy. In the first book, Length of days - the age of silence, someone in the Central Zone broke the silence and exposed the terrible atrocities under Howard Mountain. Now the race has begun, to reclaim the country they love. All novels are available on and                          

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Politically Correct No More (© 2011 Doris Gaines Rapp)

Here it is, Book One: Length of Days- The Age of Silence back-cover copy. The Age of Silence (politically correct speech) is upon us already but some have finally said, "No More." I posted the back-cover for Book Three in the Length of Days trilogy yesterday. Enjoy a glimpse at the beginning as you wait for the second in the News at Eleven - A Novel serialization on Friday. All novels are available on and

It is the year 2112, and the emergency policies established during the crises of the previous century are still in place. A Reverence for Life has vanished with the passage of laws and the passage of time. The evil beneath Howard Mountain can no longer be buried. Will someone be brave enough to break the silence?
As a Legacy Citizen, Lady Christiana Applewait comes of age at twenty-four. She begins the detoxification process that will restore her emotions, a privilege and responsibility awarded only to the elite. But, experiencing feelings will make the loss of her grandparents, members of the Council of Elders, even more difficult to bear. Their Length of Days will soon be up.

Doris Gaines Rapp

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Length of Days - Search for Freedom

While you wait for the second post of News at Eleven - A Novel on Friday, I thought I'd share the back-cover of my newest book, Length of Days - Search for Freedom. It's the third in my Length of Days trilogy.

It is 2113 and our country is now a nation where the ruling elite select the president by right of succession. My dear grandfather, Oliver Richly, the presidential candidate in the newly formed 1787-Constitutionalists Party, has been kidnapped. My heart is breaking. Dr. Jason O’Reilly will help in the desperate search to find and rescue him. Is he alive? If he is, will we find him before the presidential election? My grandmother is in constant prayer.
Hired assassins make the journey very dangerous. I am exhausted from running. Threatened by a lack of precious time together, I even doubt my relationship with Jason. Will we find Oliver Richly before he is disqualified; protect his life; return freedom to the country—and save our relationship?
Lady Christiana Applewait

Book Three, Length of Day - Search for Freedom