Facing Down Extraordinary


When Everyday Life Turns Into Amazing

A missed appointment sets Beth Azen on edge.Will she solve the mystery before it's too late?

A friend in need reaches out to Hugh Fergusson.Will offering shelter turn the dream into a nightmare?

One of Walt Colley's friends disappears at the worst time.Can he get them, and himself, home safe and sound?

Andre Telkin hears a sound too disturbing to ignore.What will he discover when he leaves his reality behind?

George Edwards struggles to adjust to life without his kids.Will he grab his chance at happiness or let it pass him by?

We all need everyday heroes. And we play that role ourselves in ways large and small.

Confused, overwhelmed, or scared to death, the hero inside rises to the challenge. Sometimes never knowing who they save.

Join storyteller Kari Kilgore on unexpected adventures with heroes who get the job done.

Includes five original series stories: A Soggy Brush with History, Decisions in a Dangerous Situation, The Best Kind of Teacher, Andre's Extra-Sensational Adventure, and Sunny with a Chance of Happiness.

A Soggy Brush with HistoryAn Uneasy Shiver of Something Wrong

Returning home to Hartstown, Virginia, thrills Beth Azen and her sweet dog Janie.Taking the chance to breathe and learn to listen her heart's voice again.Figuring out where her next path in life leads.But a missed appointment sets Beth on edge for reasons she can't explain.Will she solve the mystery before it's too late?

Decisions in a Dangerous SituationRisking the Safety of Home

Dreams coming true after years of hard work.Settling into paradise with the love of his life.Hugh Fergusson savors every long-anticipated moment.But a desperate friend reaches out, with a cry they must heed.Will offering shelter turn the dream into a nightmare?

The Best Kind of TeacherThe Race for a Snowy Rescue

Walt Colley loves nothing more than watching a good snowstorm settle in.Except for the chance to help people as best he knows how.Then one of the kids he takes under his wing goes missing at the worst time, sending Walt out into the night.Can he bring everyone home safe and keep himself out of trouble at the same time?

Andre's Extra-Sensational AdventureA Multidimensional Crossover

Andre Telkin loves cat sitting for his best friend Dana.Spoiling them rotten and teaching them his special flair.Enjoying the peace and quiet of the old tree-lined neighborhood.Except when he hears a sound beyond explanation. Too strange and disturbing to ignore.What will Andre discover when he leaves his reality behind?

Sunny with a Chance of HappinessWho Rescues Who?

George Edwards knows his kids got a great start in life. They prove it every day.But that leaves George struggling to adjust to life without them.Needing to figure out the next part of his own journey.Then one morning, a change he can't ignore bursts into his life.Will George grab his chance at happiness or let it pass him by?

Discover everyday heroes and step into amazing new worlds with five original series stories from Kari Kilgore.

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A Soggy Brush with History-1-1
A Soggy Brush with History As far as Beth Azen was concerned, nowhere was as lovely as the Appalachian Mountains in late summertime. Especially in and around her hometown of Hartstown, Virginia. She drove along a tightly curved blacktop road, one narrow and remote enough that no one had ever bothered painting lines along the middle. The trees packed close alongside the road and the steep slopes it cut through were covered with lush, thick leaves in every shade of dark green. The narrow verge along both sides was cut fairly short a few feet back, but beyond that weeds and brush grew wild and tall. A few towered above the rest, sporting the pale purple pyramid blossoms of Joe Pye weed or the zigzag yellow of goldenrod. Before too many days passed, another weed that could get past Beth’s height of not quite six feet would join the party. The striking violet blooms of ironweed would be the first signal that autumn was just around the corner. And just like every other flower that was already on the scene, all the moths and butterflies and honeybees would swarm to get ready for the long winter. But for now, Beth drove with the front windows of her black Maxima open, taking in the warm, September afternoon air. The road twisted alongside a good-sized creek, and the sides were too steep and narrow to let her see much of the sky. But what she could glimpse overhead was a clear and deep summer blue. Not too humid today, with the promise of rain later on in the air along with the sweet fragrance of all those flowers. A series of quick inhaled breaths from just over her left shoulder let her know her hound dog Janie was enjoying the aromas as well. Enjoying them a heck of a lot better than Beth ever could too, with that big sensitive hound nose of hers going directly to a brain perfectly tuned for scenting the air. Janie snorted out, blowing her warm, doggie-scented breath toward Beth’s ear and cheek, before she sniffed in again. Beth smiled and reached back to rub Janie’s head. Turned out both of them were happy to leave Nashville behind and get themselves back to Virginia. Nashville was a great city, of course, and they’d lived in a fantastic tree-lined neighborhood with plenty of places to walk and explore. But nothing quite matched the peace and quiet—and the comfort—of being back home. She'd normally wear a t-shirt and jeans on a day like this, partly because she was relieved to escape even the relaxed business-casual atmosphere of most of her clients and job locations back in the city. But Beth had recaptured a bit of her professional researcher and writer wardrobe today for a special occasion. Dark gray khakis and a short-sleeved button-up shirt in rich burgundy seemed appropriate for interviewing her own favorite high school history teacher. She couldn’t do much with her shoulder-length curly brown hair, but she did have it caught back with a headband that matched her shirt. She’d even made a point of brushing Janie until her red coat shone once Ms. Sinnett asked her to please bring that sweet dog she could hear offering all kinds of opinions over the phone. Promises of a big, fenced-in yard to play in didn’t mean Janie didn’t need to look her best. Beth slowed when the Maxima’s GPS warned her the turn was up ahead on the right. The much smaller but well-maintained gravel road from what Ms. Sinnett told her. After thirty years of teaching high school in Hartstown, retiring out to the old home place seemed like the logical course for someone who’d just reached a youthful and healthy not-quite-sixty. Most importantly, Ms. Sinnett had been tickled to get Beth’s call, and happy to give the interview for a new book project Beth had been kicking around in the back of her mind. Just the kind of distraction Beth needed from an unpleasant breakup a few months ago. When the last tie that kept her anchored in Nashville had given way and freed her to head back to the mountains. Janie woofed low as Beth turned onto a much narrower—and steeper—road than she expected. It was barely wider than her car, and it curved out of sight along a smaller creek. The trees grew so close overhead that the sun barely got through at all. “You’re right, Janie-girl. Looks like we’re heading into a real adventure on this one. I should have made you wear your seatbelt.” The air temperature dropped immediately, and even the smells changed. Now Beth caught the damp, mossy scent of the creek, and organic odor of countless layers of leaves decaying along the hillsides. She rolled the back windows down a little now that she was barely going fifteen miles per hour, and Janie instantly jammed her nose against the opening and snuffled away. Sure, Beth would have to wipe the nose prints off next time she vacuumed up bunches of red dog hairs from the backseat. And every bit was worth it for the canine sensory joy currently going on behind her. The right side fell into a couple of scary drop-offs where the road was built as level as it could be, but mostly Beth drove about five feet above the water. So near she heard it splashing with runoff from heavy rains over the last week or so. And everywhere enough sunlight broke through, the roadside was packed full of the towering, colorful weeds. Close enough that they swayed in the wind of her driving past, and brushed the side of her car a few times. She doubted anyone had bothered to trim much at all, or else the growth had gotten ahead of trimming schedule with so much rain. The raised section between the two shallow ruts in the road had been knocked back, but not much else. The stubbly growth in the middle was coated with pale gravel dust. Beth laughed as the car’s GPS informed her she would be navigating off-road up ahead. Not likely in her low-slung sedan. Sure enough, the digital blue line she was following disappeared while the road continued on, with the black-and-white-checkered flag sitting well past that. She doubted anyone would bother updating the map for only a couple of houses anytime in the new future. In a few spots, the road straightened out for a few hundred brightly lit feet, and somehow got even more narrow. In a couple of spots, Beth couldn’t properly call it wide enough for her Maxima any more, much less for the big road boats she remembered Ms. Sinnett driving. Nothing for it but to slow down, keep to the left, and keep going. After what felt like an hour with the strange distortion of driving somewhere new—but the GPS insisted was just short of two miles—the trees and brush drew back on the left side. An adorable little white house sat perched in the clearing, surrounded by a neatly trimmed lawn with a chain-link fence all around. Janie let out her regularly scheduled woof as Beth slowed again. “Yep, there’s your temporary playground, Janie. Let me see if I can figure out where to park.” The road curved out to the right before starting another sharp climb, but a graveled stub jutted out beside the little one-story house. Beth frowned at the empty parking area and glanced at her car’s clock. Eleven minutes to three, and three was exactly what she and Ms. Sinnett had agreed on. Beth remembered well how quickly her former teacher’s mood could turn from lovable grump to downright mad when anyone was late for class. She hadn’t mentioned anything about going out, or about not having a car. Not that public transit was any kind of an option in such a rural area, even in town. No, there were wide-set big-car-sized depressions in the gravel close to the house, and no weeds grew in that spot at all. Someone parked here regularly. Beth parked on the far side, away from what had to be Ms. Sinnett’s regular spot, and turned off the engine. She tapped the steering wheel, listening to the engine ping and tick to itself. Several of the tidy house’s windows were open, with cheery yellow curtains visible through the screens. A front porch with a set of sturdy concrete steps took up the front side, complete with a porch swing and several chairs, all cushioned in matching yellow fabric. The main entrance was on the side facing Beth, where another shady little porch waited at the end of a flower-lined sidewalk. A little shed beyond that porch held stacks of perfectly split firewood, almost all of it in quarter-rounds for easy loading into a wood stove or fireplace. Several logs waited for their turn beside the shed. Beth envied the careful preparation and supply of heat already dried and ready to go. She’d been too busy moving into her own cozy little woodstove-equipped house on the edge of town to pay enough attention to cold weather on the horizon. Ms. Sinnett and the honeybees were way ahead of her. She couldn’t hear any sounds besides the soft breeze and songbirds enjoying the day, but that didn’t necessarily mean no one was home. Even from here, the house felt empty. Beth automatically reached over her shoulder at a long, dramatic hound dog sigh close to her ear. “Well, I can’t let you into the yard if no one’s here. But we can get out and knock to make sure instead of sitting out here like stalkers.” Beth grabbed the bright red leash from the seat beside her, grinning as Janie poked her head over the middle console. Presenting her matching red collar in anticipation of a romp. Ms. Sinnett said she kept the yard for various nieces, nephews, their kids, and their dogs rather than having any pets of her own, but Beth still grabbed hold of the leash first thing when she stepped out and opened the back door. Even a short ride in the car could result in an overly eager and remarkably strong pup. Janie bounded out and vigorously shook from her long red ears to the black tip of her tail, then held her nose up for a good long sniff. Beth slipped in a gentle reminder before any hound-in-a-new-place shenanigans could take hold. “Heel, Janie. We’re here on a polite visit, remember?” She was answered with big brown pleading eyes, their outline of the canine version of black eyeliner making the effect even more dramatic. Then Janie sneezed and took her place at Beth’s left side. Those weeks of puppy training back in Nashville paid off almost every time. As they walked the few steps to a back porch painted a proper and lovely shade of pale haint blue, Beth strained to hear anything from inside the house. Not a trace of a TV or radio, or anyone walking or moving around at all. A few pink chairs for hot-day relaxation in the shade sat beyond the screen door, along with what looked like boxes full of toys for kids and dogs alike. Janie happily set about investigating the squeaky toy and stuffed animal stash. Beth tapped on the strip of metal in the screen door. Still nothing from inside. The yellow curtain over the wooden inner door’s glass never twitched. She hated to walk away without trying harder, but a polite little girl inside scolded that she couldn’t possibly try to open someone’s door when they weren’t home. Answered immediately by Beth’s thirty-five-year-old knowledge of older folks in her family. Ms. Sinnett was hardly older older, but she still might be hurt or something like it. Unable to get to the phone or the door, and not quite able to hear Beth’s knock. She compromised by trying the screen door’s handle, reasoning that she could knock on the wooden door with a bit more authority. But the screen door was locked, which made no sense at all if anyone was actually home. Beth knew what she’d see before she got out her smartphone, but she tried anyway, on the porch and again as she and Janie headed back out to the car. Not a single bar of service. She finally spotted the familiar small gray satellite dish perched on top of the woodshed. A sure sign of someone who only had one way to get internet, which she’d used several times over the last few days sending emails to Beth.

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