–Sondi Warner, Writer/Blogger for Wrought Iron Reads
Here’s what’s new this week at Wrought Iron Reads! Be the first to see the new book trailer for our soon to be re-released Antebellum Soul: Here & Now by Reatha Beauregard.
They say when you die, you see your whole life flash before your eyes, but that wasn’t my experience. I saw the handful of years I had accumulated from ages nineteen to twenty-one, but the memories weren’t weighty enough to create much of a flash.
I remembered my mother—this shining force of a woman—saying I belonged to her. I remembered her taking me from the hospital where I was listed Jane Doe and giving me a name that felt like mine. The traumatic brain injury I had suffered from being struck by a car the first time had wiped out everything else.
And here I am again, I thought, as I felt my body transferred from the crumpled vehicle to a gurney and shoved into the back of an ambulance. I clung to the details of my life, which had been told to me like folklore.
My name is Myranda Avant. I was born in the middle of July, a summer child. There are so many pictures of me in my parents’ house that you can tell I’m kind of special to them. I think it’s because they were afraid they had lost me for good once.
My first word was “sock.” My dad, William, laughed when I said it because he thought I had actually said the f-word. My mom, Shelly, loves to tell me about this because it’s her favorite way to think of me, the rebel of the bunch. To me, it sums up my life in a nutshell: Not exactly what it seems.
I didn’t learn to walk properly until I was almost two years old because of an Achilles’ tendon problem, and I had surgery when I was three to fix it. I used to have a scar from the procedure, but I don’t anymore.
I was raised in a tight-knit family with my younger siblings—Josh, Greg and Tamara—by our parents William and Shelly Avant. We used to live in Louisiana, but my family moved to Gatlinburg, Tennessee after I went missing. This is where Mom brought me when she found me, and I picked up with my new life as if the nine-year gap wasn’t a gulf between me and who I used to be.
Sometimes I dreamed of places more vivid than any of Myranda’s folklore, had nightmares more real than her fairytale childhood. Yet, I catalogued every story my parents told me as if my own and kept them in a journal tucked within a seam of my mattress so I would never forget again. In this book were the names of relatives, backgrounds of people I had never met, but should know. The accumulation of a lifetime of memories I should have had, but didn’t.
Now I know why.
I’m not Myranda Avant. She was kidnapped out of her backyard in Louisiana eleven years ago. When I was found fleeing someone in a dark forest, it was assumed I was her based on age progression technology that matched my face to how Myranda might have looked at nineteen. I had no reason to doubt the people who assured me of my identity, but they were wrong.
At the precise moment the sirens blared in a mad dash to get me to the emergency room in Gatlinburg, hundreds of miles away the lifeless body of a ten-year-old girl was being extracted from a shallow grave in a marshy tract of land in Lafayette, Louisiana. It would take some time to sort out who she was, but the news was destined to make its way to William and Shelly Avant.
I was an unwitting imposter.
As my throbbing head flooded with snatches of memory that could never have belonged to the missing girl, I wondered who on earth I could be. Imagine finding out you’re not who you think you are. I don’t belong here. This isn’t my life. It was an honest mistake. But, just like that, I ceased to be me.
We can’t wait to share this book with you! Are you as excited as we are? Comment below and let us know!