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The Unwanted Gift

To Katie, Granny’s ‘gift of healing’ is a curse; but she’s destined to receive it—and destinies must be fulfilled.
Sales price: $4.50
Sales price without tax: $4.50
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File Type: prc
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Price: No additional charge
Author: K.L. Pickett

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The Unwanted Gift

by K.L. Pickett

Genre  Middle Grade Paranormal

Tags  Healing, paranormal, friendship, 1950’s, laying on of hands, easing pain, destiny, supernatural, fantasy, historical, metaphysical

Release  May 23, 2014

Editor  Katie L. Carroll

Line Editor  Les Tucker

Cover Designer  Charlotte Volnek

Words  31269

Pages  139

ISBN  978-1-77127-538-5

Price  $4.50

 Back Cover

Twelve-year-old Katie is destined to receive the ‘gift of healing’ from her grandmother. People come to Granny for help with their aches and pains every single day—at all hours of the day and night. Katie doesn’t want to live her life like that. To her, Granny’s ‘gift’ is more like a curse. She wants a life of her own. She hopes she never has the gift.

Harry, Katie’s school enemy, is destined to live a life of poverty. His family is poor and his father drinks too much. He doesn’t want his life to end up like that. His hope is to be somebody someday.

They form an unlikely alliance to help one another. But is it possible to change your destiny?



Old Man Barter waits for me in a shiny, black car with a long, sleek hood. The fat white tires are spotless. The motor’s running, and the door on the passenger side is open. I’m afraid, but I climb in. I have no choice. The car rolls down the street before I even have the door all the way closed.

Leaning against the door, I sit as far away from him as I can. The first thing I notice is his smell. It’s a real clean smell of soap and lavender. I glance at him. Big, bushy eyebrows hide his eyes and a thick, gray beard covers his chin. His black coat is similar to the preacher’s, only his is clean and pressed, and the buttons are all shiny. A short black hat perches atop his head.

He doesn’t say hello or anything. In fact, he acts like I’m not even in the car. People in town stare at us as we drive by. Harry’s so surprised to see me in Old Man Barter’s car he doesn’t even stick out his tongue. He just watches with wide eyes as we drive past.

I have no idea where we’re going. When Old Man Barter breaks the silence, I jump.

“We’ll stop by my sister’s place to get your things.”

It isn’t a question, so I don’t bother to reply. We drive on until he pulls up in front of Granny’s cabin.

Tears form in my eyes again. I try to force them back so I don’t cry in front of him. Without Granny inside, I don’t want to go in.

Old Man Barter gets out and climbs up the front porch steps. At the door, he looks back. “What you waiting for?” He turns and goes inside.

I shudder, thinking of that awful man in the cabin alone. Jumping out of the car, I run to the open doorway and stop. Old Man Barter is standing in the center of the room looking it over. Shaking his head, he mumbles, “Humpff. What a miserable existence.”

Now just what does he mean by that?

“Where in the world did she find such things?” He nudges the edge of the rug with his shoe as if it’s something nasty. The look on his face tells me he thinks the rug is dirty and disgusting.

“Granny made that.” The well-worn rag rug, made up of almost every color of the rainbow, has been there for as long as I can remember. “We used to lay on it together. She’d tell me where each piece of material came from.” Reaching down, I touch a piece of yellow fabric. “This came from one of my mama’s dresses. And this white one was from my christening gown.”

He walks away from me over to the far wall, which is covered with shelves. Gesturing at all of the jars and containers, he asks, “What are these?”

Proud that I know them all by heart, I point to each one in turn. “Chamomile, horehound, nasturtium, basil, thyme—”

“Humpff,” he says, interrupting me. “I see there are a lot of things to dispose of.” He turns back to the middle of the room.

Dispose of? Does he think those bottles contain nothing but junk? Doesn’t he have any idea what those herbs can do?

He speaks up again. “This furniture looks familiar.”

“Granny got most of it from her grandmother.” She’d told me someday it would be mine.

“Yes, well, she was my grandmother also.”

So what? Granny gave the furniture to me, not to him. Who does he think he is anyway? How dare he shake his head in Granny’s house and act like she’s done something wrong. She filled this place with love for me and everyone else. But he’s acting like her life has been a waste because she didn’t have a big fancy house or a lot of nice things.

By this time, I’m so angry I could spit. Old Man Barter finishes looking around the cabin and goes back outside. From the porch he says, “Get your clothes and whatever personal items you need. I’ll decide what to do with the other things later.”

What does he mean, he’ll decide? Granny gave all this to me, not to him. If he thinks he’s going to dispose of anything of hers without my consent, he’d better think again. He’ll discover I can dig in my heels and hold my own ground.

I gather up my clothes in a bundle and grab my school books. Before I leave I take a final, long look around the cabin. My little heart-shaped pillow Granny made me years ago is nestled among the other pillows on the sofa. I pick it up and shove it into my pile of clothes.

Outside the window, I see Granny’s garden. She loved her garden, and I can’t just let it die. I vow to come out each day after school to tend it. Finally I head back out to the car.

Old Man Barter stares as I get in. “Why are you bringing those rags?”             “These are my school clothes.” Hugging the bundle to my chest, I don’t mention I thought of them as rags, too, a week ago.


Neither of us says a word as he drives back into town. Is this how the rest of my life is going to be? Will I always have to live with a mean, old man who never says anything nice? I shiver even though the sun’s out and it’s not cold.

He turns off onto a long, winding, gravel driveway. Up ahead is a two-story house built of deep blood-red bricks. The shades are drawn on every window. Steps lead up to massive, carved wooden double-doors. The whole place looks dark and gloomy, especially since I’m used to Granny’s warm, welcoming cabin. He parks out in front and gets out of the car. He walks away from me with his back straight, but limping a bit on his left leg.

Slowly I climb out of the car and follow him inside the house. My new home.





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