About the Book
Sophie is at work on Friday morning, when the power goes out. As she waits for it to be restored, she notices that her fully charged cell phone won’t turn on. A horrifying thought crosses her mind, and she runs to look out the window. The street is full of cars that are all stalled and people milling around looking at their non-working cell phones. She realizes that this is much worse than a simple power outage and that she must act quickly if she wants to survive. Sophie convinces a co-worker to join her attempt to get home, even though in her heart she knows deep down that she will be disappointed when she gets there.
About the Author
Stephanie Albright grew up in Amanda, Ohio. In 1986 she went to Mississippi for the summer and never went back. She graduated from Mississippi University for Women with a degree in Paralegal Studies and has a Masters in Education from Western Governors University. She loves history, travel, and food, not necessarily in that order. Words have always been her passion, either reading or writing. She now lives in Alabama with a small flock of chickens and a very angry cat, who enjoys being outside almost as much as she does. Other than reading and writing, she loves gardening and learning about plants, and drinking coffee on the porch.
She is the author of six novels Allie’s Choice, The End, After the End, The Storm, Finding Home and The Long Walk Home.
The second book in The Long Walk Home series is coming in November 2021.
We were coming up on an older farmhouse that I had always admired as I passed. It was a small bungalow-type home with a generous front porch. The house was surrounded by woods and sat way back off the road. As it came into sight, I noticed motion on the front porch. I stopped to figure out what it was.
“Y’all come on up here, I won’t hurt you,” came a voice from the porch. It sounded like an older woman.
I looked at Alice, she shrugged her shoulders. “It’s up to you.”
“Let’s go, but slowly. If I run, follow me. Keep your hand on your gun.”
We began the trek from the road to the house. When we were maybe halfway, I could see the woman sitting in a rocking chair with a shotgun across her lap.
“Where y’all walking to?” she asked.
“Sipsey,” I said.
“That’s a far piece,” she said.
“Yes Ma’am, it is. Could we camp in your yard tonight? We won’t make a mess and we will leave at first light.”
“Absolutely not! I have food going bad in my refrigerator and beds just sitting there not being used. Y’all are welcome to have supper and stay the night. I’m hoping my grandson will come and get me tomorrow and I sure would appreciate the company tonight. I’m Maude, welcome to my home.”
Alice looked at me and I nodded. We still had around thirty-eight miles to go and I wasn’t going to turn down a real bed. “I’m Alice and this is Sophie. Thank you so much for having us.”
“Thank you, Ma’am, we would love to take you up on your offer.”
She smiled a huge welcoming smile. “Y’all come in, supper will be ready shortly.” She opened the front door and the smell of a beef roast cooking made my mouth water. We had eaten the stew, a mouthful at a time all day long, I couldn’t believe how hungry I was.
“That roast was for Sunday dinner, that won’t happen now I guess. I thought I’d go on and cook it so I’d have it to feed Josh when he comes tomorrow.”
“Where does he live?” I asked.
“Fayette,” she answered. “He told me if anything like this ever happened, he would come and get me. I should have moved over there a long time ago,” she sighed.
We followed her into the kitchen where the centerpiece was an old gas stove from the ’30s or ’40s in pristine condition.
“The tank was just filled yesterday,” she continued. “Josh always has it filled before the cold weather sets in. I have a well, but the pump is electric so the water’s not working. There is a hand pump though, would y’all mind filling up those buckets with water for me? We can heat some up to wash up with if you do.”
“Gladly, you are doing so much for us we will help you all we can,” Alice said.
By the time we had finished filling up all the buckets and the bathtub with water, she had supper on the table. Roast beef, mashed potatoes, green beans, cornbread, and peach pie for dessert.
“I’m gonna have a glass of wine with my supper, if it won’t offend ya’ll and ya’ll are welcome to join me if you like.”
“I won’t be offended at all and I would love a glass myself,” I said.
“I would love one too,” Alice added.
She lit an oil lamp and placed it on the table. It was the best meal I had had in a very long time. It sure beat the freeze-dried stuff I thought I would be eating tonight.
We cleaned up the kitchen and washed up with warm water, then we sat out on the porch to finish off the bottle of wine.
“How long have you lived here?” I asked.
“I have always lived here,” she said, laughing. “My daddy built this house in the ’30s and I was born here. Two of my brothers were killed in WWII, the other one came back and got married, and went to work in the coal mines near Jasper. He died in a cave-in in the ’70s. When I got married, my daddy had just inherited my grandparent’s house up the road, so my parents moved out and my husband moved in. I turn 93 next month and I have never lived anywhere but here.”
“I would never have guessed that you are 92. I thought you were in your early 70’s,” Alice said.
Maude beamed at her. “Thank you, young lady.”
She told us stories about her life until the antique clock on the mantle struck ten. “Well, you ladies get some sleep. The sun’s not up good until seven now, so I’ll fix you a good breakfast so you can start tomorrow on a full belly.”
She gave us each a nightgown and showed us to our room. Then she went to her own bed.
“What a sweet woman,” Alice said. “I hope her grandson does come to get her tomorrow.”
“Me too, I hate to leave her here alone.” We were at the back of the house, so I turned my solar lantern on low and put my gun under my pillow.
“So far this hasn’t been too bad. We’ve had two amazing meals and we are sleeping inside in a real bed tonight,” Alice said.
“We have thirty-eight miles to go. We did around sixteen today and I think the most we can do tomorrow will be twenty unless your husband shows up in his truck, we will still have one more night until we get home.”
“I think I was in shock all day today. I’ll do better tomorrow, I promise.”
“You did fine today. Don’t worry, we’ll get home. I feel bad for the people in the cities though. They will start panicking and dying in the next forty-eight hours.”
“Thank you for getting me to leave this morning.”
“It was selfish on my part. It’s safer with someone to watch your back.”
“Well, I know I wouldn’t have even tried to walk home if you hadn’t done this. Thanks for asking me to come, whatever the reason.”
“Get some sleep. Tomorrow will be a long day and we most likely won’t have a house and a bed to sleep in tomorrow night, so enjoy this one.”
FIND STEPHANIE HERE