T.D. Thompson, Author

 My fourth book 'Ghost of a Chance' follows the adventures of Lisa Buchinski, a Metis girl whom you met in Flight of the Wild Geese.  Lisa finds herself and begins to own  her personal history when she is faced with the facts of her mother's life.



When the time is right, when the stars are aligned and the planets in sync, it seems I can still hear him. Still hear his thin, plaintive voice threading its lonesome way through a place which, in my memory, is consistently warm and sunny. A place where I’m running free, the breeze is lifting my hair, and I am filled with laughter. A place where the entire world is sweet-smelling, like clover, like mown grass drying in the hot sun. 

It’s a place where although I am content, grateful and usually happy, I’m haunted by a constant shadow of dread that prowls unseen behind me. The shadow feels like a hidden, but somehow familiar, danger and it hovers just out of my reach, around the edges of my consciousness. I can mostly ignore it when he’s around, or when I’m busy doing something else, so that it becomes nearly invisible. But at night when I’m alone in my room that hidden threat can feel like a hot breath whispering down my back, making the little hairs on the nape of my neck rise. Because of that lurking menace, my eyes often feel huge in the darkness, peering out at the world, while I try by force of concentration alone to make those blurry threats clear so I can make them disappear altogether, or failing that, fight them off long enough to shake myself free.

            But I only hear him now if I do everything else right; if I give myself time to be silent, to relax, to breathe slowly, and to actually let myself go for a second. Let my inner self kind of float on the air.

Normally I’m all about stuffing everything, my emotions and memories, deep inside where I can keep them nicely clamped down and controlled. Where I can keep a lid on it all, so that nothing spurts outward, spraying contamination. Letting go of this control is like prying clenched fingers open. Relaxing my vigilance is where fears intrude and I have to be very careful. Then, since caution is basically the opposite of the letting-go thing, those conflicting energies seem to fight inside me, so that no matter how hard I try not to, these sessions normally end in me hating myself, detesting her, and blaming the rest of the world. So, obviously, it’s not a place I go to very often. That place is hazardous to any shred of what the counselor in high school once called my ‘positive self-image’. 

            But sometimes I can almost reach out and touch him where he sits there in the evening dimness of that falling-down little barn. Touch him lightly, with just one finger to remind him of my existence. I see him resting his forehead on the brown cow’s flank while he milks her, content in his aloneness, not thinking there’s anyone else around to hear him. Not realizing the light cast through that barn door out into the deep thick dark of the farmyard has attracted me like a two-legged upright moth to its glow of promised warmth. During those nights he sang quiet old tunes to himself and the brown cow; songs about love gone wrong, dying soldiers, brave horses, and beautiful young women waiting for the one they love to come home again. 

            And the song going through my head over and over again these days is one he often crooned to the waiting cats and the silent cow. It’s one I’ve since learned is an old blues tune from a guy who, fifty years ago and for reasons unknown to me, called himself Leadbelly:


On a Monday, I was arrested

On a Tuesday, they put me in jail

On a Wednesday, my trial was attested

And on a Thursday, nobody would go my bail

Well, I’m gone, I’m long, long gone….


            I can almost be back in my eight-year-old skin again, standing in the shadowy splintered doorway of his crude barn.  I can almost feel the crumbling wood frame of the half-door against the palms of my hands as secretly I watch him work to provide milk and cream for the table.  I can almost swear it’s his haunting reedy voice that I hear quietly singing that one verse over and over into the dark and empty night.

Ghost of a Chance is a work in progress, but will be ready for publication in 2013.

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