- 2014 Community Novel Project of the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library
- Just joining us? Please start reading with Chapter 1
- A new chapter is serialized each week, with a new Topeka author featured in each chapter
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Downloading Superimposed Chapter 1 by George Ismael Feliu Jr.
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Read Online: Superimposed Chapter 1 by George Ismael Feliu Jr.
The road was long and smooth. The rising sun pierced the darkness all around, forcing it to fade to the west. The morning air still held the chill of night.
The old red Honda zoomed quietly on Wanamaker Road heading south. The driver cried out in frustration. This was not going to be a good first day for her.
Holly Higgins pulled her car to the side of the road. She hit the wheel with the palm of her hand as she growled. “I’ve got to pull myself together,” she said to herself.
Holly took a deep breath, then exhaled. She repeated until her heart steadied and her hands stopped shaking. “It’s over. Time to move on,” she told herself.
She shifted her rear-view mirror until she saw her whole face. Her natural golden skin glistened from the sunlight. Her nose was long and thin with a slight hook that nobody but her ever noticed. Her thin chin made her face almost triangular in shape.
Her face had light makeup on with a soft red lipstick coloring her lips. Her clientele tended to look on heavy makeup as trashy and unbecoming for a young lady. Holly was never that.
Holly forced a smile. Her teeth were white and straight with a slight chip in one of her lower front teeth. “Relax girl,” she ordered herself, realizing her smile was a little too stiff. “First impressions are lasting impressions.” It was a mantra her mother had taught her, and it was one of the truths of life she could always rely on.
Her smile faded. She was at peace. She looked at her hands. They were clean and soft without wrinkle or jewelry. She laughed as she stared at her left finger. “Face it, girl – you will never get something shiny for that finger.” Acceptance – the toughest job in the world when it came to the clientele she had.
Her long, thin fingers raked through her extensive, soft brown hair. Her free hand grabbed a white scrunchy from the dash. With expert ease, Holly had her slightly curled hair pulled back into a ponytail.
Her light blue eyes seemed to shine whenever she pulled her hair back. This look gave her an air of innocence. The look would keep her clients at ease even if her life was not.
Her clients – it was always about her clients. Holly had a hard job. Everyone she worked with wound up dead. That was sometimes the easy part of the job. The difficult part was fighting with the patient thought the denial, the isolation, the anger, and the bargaining just to get them to accept their fate. Living with the loss and pain after their death paid its toll on Holly and her life. That was the hardest of all.
“Holly has a heart of gold,” is what she heard all her life. It’s what made her perfect for this job. It’s what made this job hurt so much.
Normally, she would have taken some time off after losing a client, but the hospice had called and said they needed her. The client had demanded the best. She was the best.
Mr. Rimaldi was a special patient. They owed him the best. Rimaldi was a war hero. Rimaldi was wealthy. Rimaldi was a big donor. Rimaldi had done much for the city, the state, and the country. Rimaldi was alone now.
This was what she did. She was calm. Her heart was opened. She was ready.
The roar of a yellow bus filled the street. School would be starting soon. She smiled and waved at the bus as it drove past her. She pulled behind it and made her way to Lake Valencia. She turned right at SW 53rd Street and made her way west a few miles. She turned left at Valencia Road.
She drove down the road. On both sides were large areas of grass and a few newly built homes. As she reached the end of the road, she could clearly see the Rimaldi estate. Holly stopped the car. Her mouth gaped with awe.
The road turned into a roundabout with a stone fountain in the center. At the opposite side, the road continued into the estate. She drove through the entrance. Although there was no gate, there were two lengthy marble walls, each with a granite pillar. A gold R was encrusted in each pillar, and an eagle with wings spread perched on a stone ball at the top of the pillar. There were evergreens to her left. The lake was just past the trees.
Holly turned slightly to the right as she reached the front entrance to the overly-large house. It had circular drive with the house on one side and a giant stone lion on the other. She shifted her Honda Accord to park. Holly slowly stepped out of her car. She looked up. “Three stories… who needs three stories for a house?”
“I believe that would have been me?” said a soft, gravely voice with a chuckle at the end. He did not have the typical Midwestern accent. His was an accent something closer to Italian.
Holly’s eyes shifted down to a small-framed old man. Other than a wisp of hair at the top of his head, he was bald. Her eyes locked with his. They were brown and seemed to carry sadness with them. His skin was bronze with liver spots here and there.
He smiled at her. “You know you’re early.”
“My dad always said, ‘Five minutes early is ten minutes late,’” Holly replied. A little nervous, she forced a smile back.
The old man laughed. “I like that. The name is Rimaldi, Joe Rimaldi; and this is my home.” He pointed to the large white house behind him.
For a brief moment the two stood face to face sizing each other up. Her hands shifted to her hips as she studied him. Joe Rimaldi was a fighter. In many ways, that would make this all the more difficult. Fighters came to acceptance of their fate the hard way. He could live a year or two more or just a few weeks. There would be very good days, and there would be very bad days. Holly knew she had her work cut out for her.
Rimaldi chuckled. “You got spunk, young lady. I like that. Come on in, Holly Higgins. I’ve been expecting you for a long time. I think it’s time you get a grand tour of the place.”
Holly’s jaw dropped. “How did you know my name? I didn’t even know I was taking this job until last night.”
“It’s my business to know everything about everyone that works for me,” Rimaldi responded. “Especially when I request a specific per-…Never mind.”
Holly looked at Joe quizzically, but he waved his hand and looked away as if dismissing that portion of the conversation.
He raised his hand and pressed a button. The garage doors to the side of the house opened. “Now, if you would not mind, would you please park your car inside the garage? I’ll meet you at the other side.” He chuckled at his play on words.
Holly, in shock at how easily she was manipulated by her new patient, simply obeyed. As she entered the garage, she noticed how clean and orderly everything was. “I wonder if this guy has OCD,” she muttered to herself as she put her car in park.
Rimaldi stood at the door of Holly’s car and opened it for her. He placed his hand as an offer to help her out of her car.
Holly grabbed it and was lifted to her feet. His firm grip hinted at how much strength the old man still had. “So are you a gentleman, Mr. Rimaldi?”
Joe Rimaldi chuckled again. “No, I’m a scoundrel. And the best ones always blur the line between the two. And please call me Joe.”
“So, I’m guessing that I will always have to keep on my toes around you, Joe,” Holly said.
“You would be right,” Joe said as he closed the Honda’s door. He extended his arm. “Shall we begin the tour?”
Holly grabbed his arm. Joe led them up the wooden stairs and through the door to the kitchen. She had thought the outside was impressive, but it was nothing in comparison to what was inside.
“I keep one set of my medications here by the door,” he said as he pointed to a Lazy Susan. Joe rambled on about his kitchen filled with the latest technology and cookware.
Holly’s eyes focused on the wall across from them. In the center hung a black and white photo of a young, dark-haired soldier. All around the photo were medals and commendations. “Is that you?” Holly asked as she pointed to the photo.
“A lot of people seem to think so,” Joe Rimaldi replied. “Personally, I could never see the resemblance. People see what they want to see.” He chuckled as if referring to some secret only he knew.
“So were you some kind of a war hero, Joe?” Holly asked, testing to see what kind of man Joe Rimaldi was.
Joe’s face grew serious. His voice was barely a whisper. “In war, you kill or be killed. There are no heroes. There are only survivors. The only reason I’m here and not buried in Italy is because I’m good at surviving.”
Holly waited to hear more, but Joe was done talking. From the pain she could see on his face, Holly thought he was living some pain from his past. Holly looked around for a topic to change his focus to something brighter. She saw another mural on the wall. This one was of one woman through the ages.
“Who is she?” Holly asked, already guessing the answer.
Joe turned to look. “Bella Mia!” His face softened with the words. “She was my world. She was my life. Even though I never deserved her, never earned her love – she loved me.”
A small tear formed at the edge of his eye. His face hardened quickly. “This is all for you, Bella Mia. Those jackals will not have my land. I swear it to you again.”
“What are you talking about?” Holly asked.
“My war is not over. Certain vermin want my land, and they will do anything to get it,” Joe said. “That is why you are here, my little bambina.”
“I am here because you are dying, Mr. Rimaldi,” Holly said, getting a little worried about the tone in his voice.
“I am not a fool, Holly,” Joe said. “I know I am dying. My time nears its end. I need you to help me finish what I started. I need to win one more battle.”
“What are you talking about?” Holly asked, getting more worried.
“Mmdd…” Joe grabbed his chest.
He struggled to point to his medication. His legs gave way. He collapsed.
Holly knew what to do. She caught him and carefully helped him to the floor. She quickly got his medicine and helped him take it.
His eyes fluttered. “I am sorry,” he slurred. “My life is a lie. I… I should have died in Italy. When I saw his face… He looked so much like me… I had to take a chance… I’m not who they think I am… I love you.”
Then he passed out. Holly knew he was safe for now. Still, she was worried. Her gut told her something was seriously wrong. The incoherent phrases left Holly with a whole lot of questions. The answers would turn her world upside down.
Chapter 2 will be published next week at https://www.tscpl.org/community-novel
About George Ismael Feliu Jr.
Originally from Brooklyn, NY, George Feliu has always had a love for reading and writing stories. He graduated from Hyles-Anderson College in 2000 with a B.S., majoring in History and minoring in English. He wrote his first full length novel because of NaNoWriMo events hosted by the library. He wrote and published the Guardians of Havenshire series. The fourth and final in the series, Triumph and Tragedy, comes out spring 2014, on sale at amazon.com, bn.com, and feliupress.com. He currently resides in Topeka, Kansas as the Manager of AAA Self Storage. Check out FeliuPress.com for news on future projects or signings, or friend him on Facebook.
An Interview with George Ismael Feliu Jr.
What is your writing background? What sort of work do you usually write?
I minored in English in college and have been writing since I was 7. I usually write high adventure fantasy for the YA audience.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
I like David Gemmell, Poul Anderson, Timothy Zahn, Brandon Sanderson, and Robert Jordan.
Why did you want to participate in the Community Novel Project?
Do you usually write in a burst of inspiration, or is your work carefully outlined? Did writing for the community novel differ from the norm?
I do a little of both. I write a generic outline with story points highlighted. Then I write from there using the outline as guidepost, not rules that can’t be broken.
What do you like most about the chapter that you contributed to the 2014 Community Novel?
It sets the stage strongly, I hope.
What do you hope happens or doesn’t happen in the chapters that come after yours?
I hope that the old man dies well.
What sort of writing can we expect from you in future? Are you currently at work on any writing projects?
My fourth and final novel in the Guardians of Havenshire, Triumph and Tragedy, will be released on 4/4/14. I am currently working on The Chosen for a new series tentatively called Legends and soon will be working on Gaven Kay the Highwayman.