Lotus Empowered is a story of survival when the world is plunged into darkness. She is a misfit in a modern world, having grown up on a weed farm with hippie parents. When the lights go out, she’s back in her comfort zone. She cares for the people around her and builds a pack with three men from very different walks of life.
Targeted Age Group:: over 18
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
On a rainy afternoon I binged watched an entire day of Naked and Afraid. Lotus is almost a compilation of those incredibly strong and resourceful women who quietly do what needs to be done to survive.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I tend to write strong women with damaged souls. I think we're all a little damaged from the life we've led and the choices we've made along the way. Damaged doesn't mean weak. I wanted Lotus to be a survivor and the nucleus to the pack.
I cradled the bottle of caramel-colored liquor in my hands like a fragile infant. Swirling the liquid around in circles, I watch the tornado form inside the glass. It's nothing compared to the storm inside of my conscience right now. God, I want to drink it! Every fucking drop. The urge to take a few deep swigs out of the bottle and drink myself into oblivion is almost more than I dare to fight. Instead, I twist off the cap and toss it over my shoulder. With a sigh, I bring the bottle to my nose and inhale the delectable scent of whiskey and notes of oak. With a deeper sigh, I pour it on the floor in front of me and leave a heavy trail of Jim Beam through the house that leads to a mountain of dried and dead plants from the courtyard and pile of sleek wood furniture.
Jarret got into the spirit, taking out his anger on the broken remnants of his former life by smashing items and adding them to the growing pile. I dragged a massive oak bookshelf and tossed on a collection of old leather-bound books on the top of the heap. Jarrett added a box full of pornographic magazines featuring petite Asian women with enormous fake breasts wearing cartoonish Anime costumes.
We watch from behind the garage as the house goes up in flames after an initial “whoosh” of the first explosion. My friend doesn’t even look back as we walk away into the night.
My friend was a changed man after the encounter with his neighbors. Gone was the constant chatter about everything he had and everything he was. Instead, I talked to fill the silence as we trudged on, avoiding people and towns whenever possible. I rambled on about trapping and fishing, and when I ran out of words, I told stories of my family and the history of my people. He listened, but, looking back, I don’t think he heard. He was lost in his thoughts most of the time.
Jarret and I had been walking together for a few weeks since we blew up his mansion in the suburbs of Baltimore, Maryland. I had intentionally diverted us westbound to avoid the metropolis of DC. Outside of Harper’s Ferry West Virginia, it came time for us to cross a high railroad bridge over a fast running river in the valley below us. There’s no way around it unless we backtrack for miles and cut through a reasonably large town. I knew that Jarrett was terrified of water and had never learned how to swim, but there was no other option. Swallowing bravely, he forced himself to take it one step at a time while I encouraged him. Together, he and I walked on railroad ties, one at a time, with him gripping my elbow for support.
He paused in the middle to look down on the raging waters flowing swiftly over a small dam, thirty or forty feet below us. His eyes glazed over as he faced his fear. “You’re a good man and a good friend, Henry. Even though I’m fucking useless in this world, you’ve taken care of me, and I want you to know how much I appreciate it.” It was the most words he had spoken in many days, and I was relieved. I missed chatty Jarrett.
I grinned at him, “Thank you. Those words mean a lot coming from a man like you.”
He snorted derisively, “You’re the successful one in this world. No matter what you were before, you’re a survivor. I’m. I don't think…I. Well. I’m no one.” Jarret seemed to choke on his words. Before I could react, he dropped his backpack and dove headfirst off the bridge and into the icy river below.
I lost sight of his faded red hoodie in the churning rapids.
For the first time since I was a boy, I cried. I cried for the loss of my friend until there were no tears left in my eyes. For days I walked along the rocky shores searching for his body. I wanted to give him a proper funeral. I wanted to honor the memory of my friend. I scoured the banks of the river for that red hoodie, but I never found him, and eventually, I gave up. Instead, I said a prayer that offered his spirit safe passage to the afterlife in the way of my ancestors. I carved his name in a cross and left it planted in the fertile soil alongside the rushing water.
Then I walked alone. Again.
I miss the only real friends I've ever known–Jarrett and intoxication.
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