Scattered Links is a novel that pulls its characters from the gutters and, in the end, celebrates the tenacity of the human spirit.
Thirteen-year-old Oksana lives on the streets of Russia with her pregnant mama and abusive aunt—both prostitutes. When Mama swells into labor, Oksana makes a decision to save herself from abandonment, a decision that torments her forever. When her plan fails and her aunt dumps her in an orphanage, she never has the chance to say goodbye to her mama or tell her the secret that haunts her.
Scattered Links is a story of family and the consequences that come from never learning how to love, of a girl’s inability to bond with her adopted family and the frustrations that follow.
How can a child understand the mechanics of forming a healthy relationship when she never had a mother who answered her cries, held her when she was frightened, fed her when she was hungry, or loved her unconditionally?
Only when the child meets a rescued abused horse, and recognizes the pain in his eyes, does she begin to trust again.
Scattered Links, (initially titled Love is Just a Word), was the winner of the 2013 Aspiring Writers Competition, sponsored by Write on Con and The Reading Room. Scattered Links was intended to show a glimpse into the life of a child with RAD, reactive attachment disorder, so prevalent in children who never had unconditional love in infancy.
This novel was inspired by Michelle’s journey to Russia to adopt her orphan daughter. Upon seeing the neglect of orphanage children and learning of the effects of RAD in post-institutionalized children, Michelle researched this disorder, committed to giving her daughter the best chance at a healthy life. Sadly, many parents can’t cope with the behavior from kids with RAD and re-home their children like pets.
About the author:
Michelle grew up in the burbs of Detroit with five brothers. No sisters. Each time her mom brought the boy bundle home from the hospital Michelle cried, certain her mom liked boys better than girls. But when her brothers pitched in with the cooking, cleaning, and babysitting—without drama, Michelle discovered having brothers wasn’t so bad. They even taught her how to take direct criticism without flinching, which might come in handy with book reviews.
Michelle blogs at Random Writing Rants where she teaches and encourages writers how to get published.
Blog link: http://www.randomwritingrants.com
Random Writing Rants
Teaching adults and teens how to get published
Website link: http://www.mweidenbenner.com
Facebook link: http://www.facebook.com/randomwritingrants
Twitter link: @MWeidenbenner1
Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7171873.M_Weidenbenner
“Grrreeeooooww . . .” Mama screams again, and the baby’s head pops through the opening, dangling. It’s bluish, full of white slime and red goop. I cradle the head in my palms, feeling the warm liquid.
Mama pushes again and the shoulders rip through, the entire body slipping into my trembling hands and onto the towels. The warm slime has saturated my fingers and forearms. “It’s a girl.”
Mama smiles faintly, closes her eyes, and falls back onto the pillows, limp.
My tears have turned to sobs because I am both excited and scared. My sister needs to cry. Why isn’t she crying? I’m the only one who can save this child. “Mama! What do I do?”
She doesn’t flinch. “Mama!”
I grab the baby by her feet and hold her upside down like Sasha did and give her one smack on her bottom. She cries, but it’s weak and garbled like there is fluid in her mouth. Sasha used a suction tool to get the fluid out. I don’t have one. What am I going to do? She’s going to suffocate!
Whimpering and talking to myself, I rub her face, nose, and mouth with a towel. “Come on, baby. Breathe.” I use my finger to scoop inside her mouth and around her nose, then she squeals louder and faster, her fists pummeling the air. The fight for her life has begun.
“Aahhh,” I cry out, relieved, and lay her on another towel. Her arms and legs move in jerky movements.
I feel the cord. It’s pulsing like a heartbeat. I can’t crimp it yet. I must wait until it’s no longer beating.
Mama stirs, her eyes still closed. “I’m so tired. I can’t—”
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