Friday, December 7, 2012

Scarlet Woods
Brooke Passmore

Synopsis of Scarlet Woods

Past, future, and love all exist in the door through time.
Modern and independent seventeen year old Morgan Westbrook thought she
had seen all there was to her home town of Scarlet, Georgia, but one
day while walking in the woods behind her house she discovers a
mysterious door masked behind the trees. After admiring the door’s
timeless beauty she walks through its entrance to venture into more
woods, but what she doesn’t know is that the door is a gateway through
time that takes her back to the year 1863 during the days of the Civil
War in Scarlet.
Without knowing that she had traveled back in time, she stumbles upon
Danny Carson, an attractive young man who is appalled to see that
Morgan is wearing skimpy modern clothes instead of a nineteenth
century dress. Although they find each other completely different than
anyone they’ve ever known, they cannot help but feel drawn to one
another. After spending time in another century, she discovers that
she's time traveled back to the year 1863 and that the door took her
there. For months she and Danny journey back and forth through the
door to experience the joys of traveling to both of their centuries.
When dilemmas of unwanted marriage, slavery, and war are thrown at
them, they must face the perils that time travel has delivered them in
both the future and the past.
Chapter 1
March 14, 1863, Danny Carson was riding his black horse underneath the budding trees of the woods. He heard the crackle of rushing water hit against the pebbles and sharp rocks in the creek as the orange sun descended from the face of Scarlet, Georgia. 
Winter had disappeared and Danny was thrilled. He hated winter; it was always a cold and lifeless season. Dull brown trails and naked branches weren’t a welcoming atmosphere, but now since spring had finally arrived, color had returned to the trees. Spring brought out so much greenery and life in the woods with its ivy spiraling up trunks, weeds and wild flowers blooming at tree roots, and the sun tanning the leaves while birds zipped through the branches.
People in Scarlet didn’t dare enter the woods late in the evening. They feared the idea of foul killers or fictional monsters haunting the trees at night. But when it came to the woods Danny was fearless. He’d visit at any time of day to get away from things just for a little while. He found the depths of the trees, the forever running creek, and the prowling Spanish moss to be an escape from his regular routine. Plus, he being practically the only visitor at any time of day gave him the full run of the place. The woods were his.
As soon as the sun winked at the ground and was about to depart from the sky, the storm had begun. The dark night clouds began to mix with purring thunder. Noticing how gloomy the day had become, Danny tensed up in his saddle. “Oh no…” He grumbled. 
His horse Nashville was a handful when it came to storms and was terrified of loud thunder.
Then the lightning started ripping through the sky. Danny tightened his grip on the reins as the first set of thunder stung his ears. Nashville came to a halt on the dirt trail and let out a few worried neighs at the feel of raindrops plopping against his coat.
Danny rolled his eyes. “Whiny baby,” He stroked Nashville’s neck to help calm him down.
As more lightning nicked the gray sky, rain showered onto the forest floor. In a matter of seconds Danny and Nashville were drenched. Rapid rain pounded onto the creek and the thunder produced a drummed even beat that taunted the black horse.
Skittish and now ill tempered from the storm, Nashville scooted his burly legs back in reverse and shuffled his hooves on the dirt path. Danny had a firm hold on the reins trying to control him. “Calm down Nash! It’s only a bit of loud noise. Toughen up!”
The thunder became more prominent in the endless dark sky. Nashville gave out a loud neigh and began to buck in the air, unbalancing Danny’s weight on the saddle. “Steady! Stop it Nashville!” He said to his horse as he began to feel his feet start to slip out of the stirrups.
One large wave of lightning slashed through the clouds with a bright bolt. Thunder roared out like a hungry lion about to attack its prey, nearly shattering Danny’s eardrums. 
Nashville couldn’t take it any longer. His front legs kicked off the ground, arching his back into the air. Danny lost his balance and accidentally let go of his reins while being thrown off his saddle. “No Nash!” He yelled as he fell into the wet mud below.
The second he was out of the saddle Nashville took off running into the rain.
Danny tasted chunky bits of mud as he sat up in a small pool of brown slush. He snarled seeing his horse run off into the distance. “Nashville! Come back you dumb horse!”
Nashville didn’t show any signs of slowing down. Danny stood up cursing under his breath as he chased his horse down the trail he had taken.
“Stop Nashville!” Danny yelled through the feverish raindrops. 
He darted through bushes and stepped on thorns with his wet boots. Every other step of his chase he spat out dirt that had crept in between his teeth. “Stupid horse, stupid horse!” He kept muttering to himself. 
With one last echoing neigh, Nashville took a sharp turn behind a hill and was out of sight. Danny ran a bit faster, hoping that he wouldn’t lose his horse’s tracks. After he took the same turn behind the hill, he came upon three possible paths that Nashville could have taken.
He looked for hoof tracks in the mud but this area of the forest was rockier than the rest of the woods and left no footprints to be seen. There was no telling which way Nashville went.
Placing the tips of his fingers to his mouth, Danny let out a high pitched whistle that screamed through the trees. Usually when he would whistle Nashville would instantly come to his side, but this time he didn’t show. Danny whistled three more times, but all that was around him were the trees and the rain.
With his head hung low, he began to walk back the way he came, realizing that his horse wasn’t coming back to him. He was covered in mud and was expecting a plum colored bruise on his rear from being bucked off his saddle. Now that he lost Nashville in the woods, he had to walk back home soaked in the rain. 
Danny hoped that Nashville would be smart and find his way back home whenever the storm settled. He didn’t want his horse to go too far from home, but little did he know how far away his horse would run off to. 
Running as fast as his hooves could take him, neighs burst from Nashville’s lips at each strike of thunder. He dodged past the wooded trees with remarkable speed as the rain penetrated his sight. Feeling frightened, he wanted coverage from the rain and desired to escape the storm.
He slowed down to a steady trot, but his legs were still fidgety. He needed to find shelter. Coming upon a hill he didn’t recognize, Nashville staggered up the hill in hopes of evading the thunder that seemed to loom over him.
He came to find more green oaks and weeping willows with saggy limbs that suspended just inches off the ground at the top of the hill. His hooves left tracks in the mud as he jogged around to view his new surroundings. His hooves stomped on wild flowers that sprouted all over the ground. The rain seemed tamer up on higher ground. Even with the gloomy sky hanging overhead, this part of the woods felt like a more positive environment. The gallant trees that encircled him gave Nashville a strange comfort and made him feel safe for some reason. 
Nashville quickly stopped in his tracks to admire a massive object standing before him. It was a door, but not just an ordinary door. It was a rich chocolate brown that had two doors in one just like an entrance of a grand church. It didn’t belong to any building structure, wall, or fence and stood alone. 
One of its doors was partially open. Nashville inched up to it and nudged the opened door back further to create a bigger opening.
What he saw inside the entrance was the exact same forest, or was it? The ground he stood on was wet and miserable with rain attacking the earth. On Nashville’s side of the door the sky was a lifeless color with drained out clouds, but looking through the door was the setting sun shining its warm rays on the dry ground. The grass wasn’t wet and the trees didn’t drip rain off their leaves. Everything through the door was light and calm. It was as if the other side of the forest was a completely different place and was free from the vicious storm. How was that possible?
This other side of the door was definitely odd with its drastic weather differences, but since Nashville was a horse he didn’t think too much of it. He entered the peaceful atmosphere through the door’s opening. A warm wind blew a light breeze against his wet coat after his first step through to the other side. There was no harsh rain and no loud thunder ringing in his ears. He was positive that this was the better side of the woods.
Nashville turned his soaked body back to face the door he came out of. It was ajar and he could see the unbearable rain continue to pour onto the grass on the side he just exited from. One final thunder erupted but it was contained inside the door sounding distant and far away, even though he stood only a few feet away from the entrance of the storm.
Nashville shook his head from side to side, slapping his long mane against his neck trying to get every raindrop off of him. He neighed out a happy tune and trotted through the dryer parts of Scarlet Woods.
March 15, 2013, Morgan Westbrook woke up at five in the morning to the clashing of plates and running water in the kitchen sink downstairs. Not yet ready to greet the noisy day, she hid her face from the world with her cotton pillow. Her aunt Allison usually did the dishes in the early mornings right before she left for work, but Morgan never told her aunt that it woke her up. She already felt like a burden on Allison and didn’t want to mess up her routine.
Morgan smiled whenever there was a silent pause hanging in the air. It meant the dishes were finally nestled in their cupboard homes and would not disturb her any longer. She readjusted her blankets to cover her bare legs and positioned her pillow in its proper place underneath her head. 
She clutched onto her golden bracelet with its red gemmed charm dangling on its chain. The ruby was in the shape of an oval with a simple yet beautiful design. The bracelet used to be her mom’s and now Morgan made sure she never took it off.
She tried to return to her dreaming, but there was a creak on the stairs that kept her up. Frustrated at being a light sleeper, she opened her eyes and bit her lip in irritation. It was far too early to be awake. Then the door to her room slowly opened. Aunt Allison tip toed inside the bedroom, not seeing her niece’s eyes were already open. 
Morgan crossed her arms behind her head and watched her aunt sneak into her room. Knowing Allison, she thought her aunt was probably going to borrow a pair of pants or shoes or something since they happened to wear the same size in everything. Allison crept over to the dresser at the other end of the room and her hands dove into Morgan’s makeup bag. Making noise searching through the pickings of makeup, Allison rummaged through the colors of eye shadows, blushes, and lip glosses, still not finding her desired item. 
Morgan stayed quiet for a few moments hoping Allison would eventually find what she was looking for and leave so she could go back to sleep. After what seemed like five minutes of plastic loudly clashing together, it was obvious Allison wasn’t leaving her room anytime soon.
Morgan sat up in bed and blew a dangling curl out of her eyes. “What are you looking for?” She asked, disturbing the noises of colliding makeup.
Allison gasped and snapped around to face her niece. Her hand touched her heart out of relief seeing that Morgan was the one who frightened her. “Oh, you scared me!”
Morgan then noticed how crazy her young aunt looked with her light brown highlighted hair wrapped a rooster like ponytail with only one eye of makeup on while the other eye was naked and untouched. “Your face scared me.” She teased.
“Ha-ha, very funny. I know I look like crap.” Allison went back to picking through Morgan’s makeup bag. “Sorry I woke you, but where’s your lipstick that has that perfect shade of auburn that I love and that you never wear? I thought I’d officially steal it and take it off your hands, if that’s okay with you.” 
About to answer, Morgan opened her mouth prepared to respond, but she was instantly cut off. Allison tended to talk relatively fast and this was one of those moments where she spoke without taking breaths in between her speedy words. “It’s that one shade that I adore and I can never remember the name to. Auburn breeze? Auburn tree? Breezy tree? Oh, I forget the name of it; I just know that I love it. I figured you wouldn’t mind if I kept it because I noticed that you don’t wear much makeup anymore. I know I surely couldn’t do that, day after day without wearing any makeup. I can see how you don’t need it, you’re a natural beauty. Me on the other hand, without makeup I look like that green witch from The Wizard of Oz…. except I’m not green.”
Morgan pushed her covers off of her legs to sit up. She sat crisscrossed in bed with her dark auburn hair puckering out of her low bun. “First of all, you are gorgeous Allison. And second of all, the last time I saw the lip stick you’re talking about you told me that you decided to keep it. And that was maybe four weeks ago.”
Disappointment trailed over Allison’s face. She groaned and stomped her foot down on the carpet. “Ugh! Just my luck! I find the perfect shade for my lips and I lose the lip stick. Oh well. Not your fault. It’s mine for being forgetful all the time. Sorry I woke you up for nothing.” Allison slumped over to the door. Just before leaving she stopped walking and leaned up against the door’s archway. “What are your plans tonight? Are you doing anything fun after school? It is after all a Friday night.”
            Morgan scrunched her nose. “Eh, I don’t know, I was thinking of munching on lots of junk food and finish reading my new Nicholas Sparks book I’ve been reading, but that’s fun for me.” Allison rolled her eyes. She hated it when Morgan wanted to spend her nights alone reading books. Wishing her aunt would come to the realization that she liked to keep to herself, Morgan decided to talk about the plot of her Nicholas Sparks’ book. “It’s a really good read. It started out with this boy and girl running into each other at a-”
Allison interrupted the plotline. “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah- either the boy or the girl will die in the end or they both die together; another typical Nicholas Sparks book. Are you sure that’s all you want to do on a Friday night?” Remembering what her own night plans were for the evening, Allison’s voice changed into a bored tone. “Jake and I are going to this lame dinner party at his boss’s house.” Her posture slumped as she snarled at the thought of going. “I can’t tolerate that knaggy wife his boss has. Ugh! She only talks about how amazing Oprah is and treats me as if I’m some smelly hobo on the street.”
Morgan snickered at Allison while tracing the beadwork on her bedspread. “I’m fine staying home. Emily’s working a double shift at the restaurant, and she’s the only person I’d want to see, so I guess the only person I’ll be hanging out with tonight is the one and only Nicholas Sparks.” she said with a wide eyed grin, trying to persuade her aunt she’d be okay.
Allison slicked her fingers back in her hair, combing out some morning tangles. “Ugh! Anything written by him is a pointless read; it’s pure disappointment.”
Morgan looked over at the Nicholas Sparks book that was on her nightstand. “Yeah, some of his books can make you disappointed in the end, but I still like them.”
Allison laughed at what Morgan said. “I didn’t mean that the stories end in disappointment. I meant that after you read them you feel disappointed because you wasted your time reading that love sick garbage.”
Morgan glared at Allison. “Don’t insult the brilliant Mr. Sparks!” She said with her arms crossed over the other on her chest.
Allison sighed. “Okay, okay. His stuff ain’t garbage. He did write The Notebook which was of course a fantastic movie, but other than that I don’t like reading his sappy books.”
Books?” Morgan jeered. “Lately the only things you’ve been reading are Cosmo, Vogue, and Victoria’s Secret Catalogues.”
“Ah, Cosmo,” Allison’s eyes brightened. “Now that’s a good read to waste your time with.”
Morgan shook her head with a tiny grin. “Isn’t that just flipping through the pages instead of actually reading? I’m sorry Allison but that crap is just taking stupid quizzes about your love life.”
Allison glared at Morgan with her arms crossed. “In order to take the quizzes you have to read them, thank you very much, but that’s beside the point.” She grew serious, strong in stamina and sound. “I’m just concerned about you. You used to go out with all your friends every chance you got, and now the only person you hang out with is Emily, but she works all the time so you rarely see her anymore. I just want you to enjoy your high school life while you still can. I know this whole year has been… difficult…” Morgan looked out the window, pretending what Allison was saying wasn’t affecting her. “All I see you do for fun is read, which is great, don’t get me wrong. I’m glad you’re doing that instead of shootin stuff up into your arm with druggy needles. I just don’t want you to isolate yourself from the world anymore. I want you to bring yourself out of your seclusion and go do teenager things…okay?”
Somewhere during Allison’s conversation Morgan thought of her parents’ deaths. She wasn’t going to cry, she hated crying. Her parents taught her to be a strong girl, but nothing hurt worse than the reminder of her parents’ lives being so abruptly taken from her.
Over a year ago, Morgan came home from one of her friend’s parties expecting to find her parents snoring on the couch watching TV, but instead she saw that her house was broken into. Lamps and family pictures were tipped over. The mirror that hung on the wall was shattered and its reflected pieces covered the carpet. The couch was flipped on its side next to a busted window and bullet holes were burrowed into the wall. The back door was left wide open with blood on its handle. There were no identifiable finger prints besides her families’ and later on the police discovered that the blood on the door handle belonged to her mom. 
After weeks of searching for them, the police called it quits. Her parents, Paul and Trista Westbrook, were then presumed dead. Their headstones lie at Scarlet Woods Cemetery. Morgan had once hoped that it was all some cruel joke and that her parents were still alive, but after some time passed, she started to face the fact that her parents were gone.
            Morgan gazed out the window at the flawless trees swaying with each breath of the wind.  Allison walked over to the bed and plopped herself down beside her niece. She washed away her serious tone and sprung back into a rapidly peppy conversation. “If you want I could say I got food poisoning and skip out on the dinner party to stay here with you!” Allison smiled and held onto Morgan’s hands, imagining how much more fun she’d have not attending the stupid business dinner. 
            Biting her lip, Morgan smiled and decided what to do. “It’s very tempting, but you already used that excuse for your job last week. The rest of the teachers you work with are going to start catching on that you are a lazy liar.”
            “I’m not… lazy. I’ll admit I tend to tell a few white lies here and there. But are you sure that you are fine staying here on a Friday night?”
            “Yeah, I’m fine.” Morgan got out of bed with her frizzy bun on the verge of tumbling out of its hair tie. She grabbed the bottom of her baggy night shirt with a pizza sauce stain below the collar and pulled it off to walk to her closet in only her bra and boxer shorts.
Allison’s eyes widened as she got off the bed and headed toward the door. “Whoa! Give me a warning before you start stripping honey.” She laughed.
            “Like I care, it’s just us girls.” Morgan declared while entering her closet. “Plus I’m wearing a bra, it’s not like you got to meet Jackie and Brenda.”
            Allison’s eyebrow crinkled as she stood by the bedroom door. “Who are Jackie and Brenda?” Before Morgan could answer, Allison quickly realized who they were. “You named your boobs Jackie and Brenda?”
            “Well sure.” Morgan stated as if it was no big deal. “You haven’t named yours?”
            “No, typically guys are the ones to name each boob.”
            Morgan poked her head out of the closet to gape at her aunt. “What did hubby Jake name the twins?” She asked while pointing a finger at her aunt’s chest.
            Allison grew quiet before answering, “Molly and Tanya…”
            Morgan nodded. “Very cute and fitting names. Small and perky, just like you,”
Allison crossed her arms over her chest while leaning against the bedroom doorframe. “Don’t pick fun at Molly and Tanya.”
“Sorry.” Morgan laughed. “I love our early morning chats and all Allison but I gotta get ready for school.” She said while ducking back into the closet.
            “Okay, but if you change your mind and want me around tonight call me on my cell. I’ll be happy to fake a sickness for you anytime.”
            Morgan held up a green top in front of her, wondering if that was what she wanted to wear that day. “All right, but don’t count on it.” 
            Still hovering at the door, Allison couldn’t help but think maybe she should talk to her niece about the summer time. Morgan spent her last summer isolating herself from everyone, and Allison didn’t want that happening again.
Morgan’s ex boyfriend Zack, who was still a sweet friend to her, was a great supporter during the misfortune of her parents’ deaths. Two months after they died she broke up with him. He still tried to win her back every now and then, but Morgan didn’t see a potential relationship with him anymore.
Once summer was here then school would be out. Emily, Morgan’s best friend, would be constantly working all summer vacation to save up for college, and Morgan would practically be all alone with no one to spend her time with. 
Allison would be there for her of course. They’ve become very close friends ever since she and her husband Jake moved into Morgan’s house, but Allison knew she’d still be the aunt at the end of the day, not a person her own age. 
Morgan all by herself during the summer time wouldn’t help with the past year she just had. Allison began to croak out a few comforting words, but she stopped and walked for the stairs to leave Morgan to change. Allison had done all she could to try and break her niece away from a life of segregation. She had to leave it up to Morgan to do what she thought was best for herself.

Character Interview for Morgan Westbrook from Scarlet Woods



-Morgan, thanks for putting aside some of your time traveling to answer some questions for this interview.


      I’m happy to do it, besides Danny was the one time traveling to see me in the future today so I didn’t miss out on anything really.


-So, how exactly do you time travel to the year 1863?


      I found out about time travel accidentally one day. I came upon this door in the woods behind my house and had no idea that walking through it would take me back to another century. It was a crazy experience and I still don’t know how that door is a portal through time, but hey it works so I take full advantage of time traveling every day.


-Is there anyone who knows that you time travel?

      Just Danny, no one else knows our secret. We can’t risk telling anyone about the door and have people think we’re crazy.


-Now Danny Carson is the boy you met back in 1863 correct?


      Yeah, he lives here in Scarlet but I live in the future while he lives in 1863. It’s weird that we both live in the same town but since we live in different centuries it’s like we live on two different planets since our time periods are so opposite.


-So speaking of Danny, he is engaged right?




-And I’m guessing that you don’t get along with his fiancée?


      I would rather jump off a cliff if it meant avoiding her.


-What’s the best thing about time traveling back to the nineteenth century?


      Oh gosh it’s so much fun! I can’t even describe how incredible it is to be able to time travel. There are so many things I love about it that it’s so hard to choose what’s best. Even though sometimes I don’t like all the layers to the undergarments in the nineteenth century, I really do enjoy parading around in all the luxurious dresses I have. Also, men are much more gentlemanly to women during this time.


-What’s the worst thing about the nineteenth century?


      I freakin hate slavery. End of story. I could go on and on. Thanks to time travel, I have met this boy named Sam who is a slave and I just hate what all he has to go through at his plantation. Some slaves aren’t treated as bad as him, but still I don’t like it.


-Do you have any people in your life right now that you don’t care for?

      Well there’s Danny’s fiancée Evelyn Walker, who hates my guts, and then there’s her brother Roy Walker, who also hates my guts. I can’t stand the sight of him. He’s such a douche. The Walkers are the ones who own Sam. Roy is the main one who treats Sam bad. Every time I see Roy I want to punch him in the face.


-Is the Civil War a big problem during this time for you and Danny?

      The war hasn’t come to Scarlet yet. It will though eventually in 1864. I’ve told Danny about how the Union will come through Scarlet and practically destroy our town to the ground. He is scared of what is to happen to his home.





Author Bio

I live in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma and am a 22 year old young woman who
probably will never fully grow up. As a kid I played with Polly
Pockets, swam in my swimming pool practically every day during the
summer, and went on vacations to Disney World with my family (favorite
days of my life). I loved telling stories as a kid by playing with my
Polly’s and dressing up like princesses with my friends. Eventually
everything that went on in my busy imagination I wrote down on paper
in the late hours of the night.

When I was in sixth grade I moved into a new house with woods directly
behind my backyard. I’d walk about the woods and loved trampling
through the creek or getting lost in the trees. These trips through
the woods gave me my inspiration for my book trilogy Scarlet Woods. My
main character in my book is Morgan who lives in a house where the
woods are right behind her backyard. My love for trees and anything
woodsy definitely shows in my book and I hope I painted a pretty
picture in readers’ heads about what Scarlet Woods looks like.

My favorite candies are Skittles and M&M’s. I put ketchup on
practically anything with meat (even with chicken quesadillas). I’m a
great fan of Florence and the Machine, The Beatles, Taylor Swift,
Carrie Underwood, Birdie, and recently The Civil Wars. My favorite
books are The Hunger Games, Shiver, and Wither. My favorite movies are
Titanic and Gone with the Wind. The Vampire Diaries is the wonderful
TV show I’m obsessed with (I’m a Delena lover!!). I hate ads on
youtube that I repeatedly have to skip every single time I want to
listen to the newest song from Glee. I love to smile, laugh, and
purposefully sing loud and off key whenever my brother is around just
to pester him. I have a cat named Phoebe who we named after Phoebe
from Friends, a yorkie named Coco who we named because he likes to eat
Cocoa Puffs, and a shih tzu maltese we named Indy after Indiana Jones.
My favorite princess is Cinderella but I think my personality is a tie
between Ariel and Belle so they’re all my ultimate faves. If I could
choose a century to time travel to I’d probably choose the Victorian
age, the roaring 20’s, the 1950’s, or the 1940’s. I think the
Victorian age and the 1940’s were probably the most romantic eras in
history and the 20’s and 50’s would probably the most fun!



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