Belonging on Sample Sunday

Makasha Dorsey interviewed me about A DEAD GUY AT THE SUMMERHOUSE for her Friday Finds blog feature.

It made me think (shut up! be nice!), so I’m posting this excerpt about belonging — and not belonging.


by Marian Allen

belongingMost of the kids were still up when I got to the Refuge, around nine.

Mrs. Brandt kissed me and said how glad she was I’d come back to visit so soon. She had hot chocolate on the stove and buttered toast in the oven. She sent one of the girls to wake up the little ones to come see me.
Jimmy Gassman ignored me with a sulky glower until he spotted the paper bag under my arm. He knew what that meant: new comics.

“Stop eying this package,” I told him, the way I always told him. “This has got nothing whatsoever to do with you.”

“Whaddja get?” He plucked at a corner of the bag.

I put the bag on the table, sat down, and put an elbow on the brown paper bundle. “A book about kissing girls and one about cutting your toe nails – you could use that one; maybe I’ll let you borrow it.”

“C’mon, Mitch! Whaddja get?”

A couple of the other kids said things like, “Let him alone, ya pest!” and “Can it, Gollum.” It was so weird. Like I was somebody you had to keep the dog from getting hairs all over, not like somebody who’d half-raised the dog. I quit teasing and gave Jimmy the Silver Surfer Meets Dr. Doom comic I’d bought for him.

* * *

I remembered summer visits from my own childhood – how I’d dreamed of being the grown-up, self-sufficient, orphan-with-a-home whose visit was the occasion for a party. And here I was. Visiting.

The little ones went back to bed before long, but us older ones – and Mrs. Brandt – stayed up until three reminiscing as if I’d been gone a year instead of four days. It was obvious that I’d joined the ranks of Those Who Have Found Places in the Outside World, that I no longer belonged in the only place I’d ever had.

You can’t go to the Home again.


Kinda sad, ain’t it?

A DEAD GUY AT THE SUMMERHOUSE is available — and cheap at the price — at Amazon and for Kindle and Kindle apps.

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Your main character returns to where they grew up.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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