Hey All!!!!! Today I have a Guest post from Ann Noser author of How to Date Dead Guys. Check in out below.
TAKE ME TO THE RIVER
My goal for How to Date Dead Guys was to make everything as realistic as possible. Along with the research I undertook to make Emma's transformation from bookworm to powerful witch seem logical, I used actual locations for the settings.
At the start of the story, Emma Roberts is a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire.
In high school, our state music contest was held on this campus. I’d fallen in love with the trees, as well as the river running directly through the college grounds. I thought this was a place I could feel at home, but I was wrong
We spend the next day shopping at Oakwood Mall on the other side of town.
Chrissy examines the racks of flattering jeans and hip, trendy tops. “I need something great to wear on our date tonight."
Angie tries on a series of organic, loosely flowing clothes.
I pick out a blue and green shirt and hold it up in front of me.
Chrissy frowns. “I don’t know what it is about you, Emma, but everything you wear looks exactly the same.”
I sigh and hang the shirt back on the rack.
[image: Figure 4: Fanny Hill Restaurant and Dinner Theater]
Angie sits beside me. “Why don’t you come with us tonight? Won’t you be lonely here all by yourself?”
Chrissy throws her a horrified glare.
I hesitate a moment before answering. Could I really tag along? No, that would be stupid. “I don’t want to be a third wheel.”
“Fifth wheel, actually,” Chrissy corrects.
Then they’re off to dinner at that fancy Fanny Hill restaurant, and I don’t know what to do with myself.
[image: Figure 5: The Beautiful Chippewa River]
[Image: Figure 6: Chippewa River]
We cross the bridge towering over the wide expanse of the Chippewa River and dividing the college campus in half. A rosy sunset glimmers over the water. Trees line the river in both directions. Charming old mansions peek out among the leaves, shrinking from view as we leave the main campus. Close to the Fine Arts side of the bridge, I pause at a sign attached to the metal railing.
Chrissy wheels around, hands on her hips. “What’s taking you so long?”
“Check out this sign: ‘The Chippewa River is beautiful but dangerous...’ Have you ever read this before?”
[image: Figure 7: Sign posted on the campus bridge overlooking the river]
“Yeah, I know all about it. Some guy drowned last year trying to swim the river a week before he graduated.”
“Really?” A cool breeze raises goose bumps on my arms.
[image: Figure 8: Putnam Trails along campus]
Head down, I blend into the Putnam Woods. I have to see what they’re doing. I creep between the tall trees high above the river until I spot the bright yellow vests of the rescue workers near the water. My feet crunch on fallen leaves as I pace back and forth, trying to get a better view. Small rocks dislodge and fall down toward the Chippewa. For hours, I watch the dogs pace along the riverbank as I curse and question myself.
Where’s Mike? How can this be happening? I never should’ve let him swim, but I didn’t know what else to do.
[image: Figure 9: The walking bridge connecting the two halves of campus together]
In my dreams, I stand upon the bridge in the middle of a chalk-drawn pentacle, lighting Angie’s candles one by one over the river. After the last wick goes up in flame, I turn to watch the river thrash and boil. The churning waters deposit dead bodies all along the shoreline, every one of them dressed in the same red shirt Mike wore the night of his party.
Mike is dead.
He is gone.
And it’s all my fault.
[image Figure 10: The edge of the river where one might find objects floating up to the surface...]
At first I don’t notice that the river sounds hungry. Then I hear the same eerie noise from the night I brought Sam out of the river. The fierce sucking sound echoes far beneath us. I smell every plant and rock rising from the bottom of the river.
[image: Figure 11: More gorgeous campus trails. One could spend hours here.]
The bridge connects the past to the present,
Emma's moment of cowardice to her growing strength,
and death to life.
For now Trisha signing off.
(All excerpts are from the book How to Date Dead Guys by Ann M. Noser)