A couple of paragraphs from the rough draft of The Dogwood Grove:
Lucia’s usual calm was not broken by any of the pleading and screaming customary for a person in her position. She looked down her long, aquiline nose at the mob hoisting her body into the spindly arms of the old dogwood tree and felt no fear. The wicked specter of lynching walked freely through the waterlogged parishes boldly nabbing the unsuspecting even in the steamy daylight. Hunched and faceless, it goaded ordinarily sane men and women into acts condemned by the religions they clung to so fiercely. Tonight, the vaporous leech floated in the dark spaces between the flickering circles of light cast by the mob’s torches. It openly relished its’ victory and lapped up the chaos hemorrhaging from the pale-faced crowd.
Lucia never doubted that she would die this way. It was foreseen in the murky bayou waters that washed the afterbirth from her face. She lived her twenty-nine years without fear or delusions and sought only to know the year and the season that she would join her ancestors amid the twinkling lights of the night sky. Unfortunately, the careless curse that drew death near also obscured its arrival. No seer could give her a date and she dared not pester her gods with such a petty request in light of the wonderful life she had led so far.
Now, as she swung amidst the Spanish moss and white flowers, her mind was light and clear. She bid silent farewells to her fellow slaves, the kind Germans, and her small family. As her final breath struggled to escape her sealed throat, she felt a flicker of worry for her son, Frederick. He was sheltered from the mores and order of the world beyond the insular German settlement. Would he, against her direct orders, fumble into this grove and brand his mind with this awful scene?