Like many parents of young children in the United States, I was profoundly affected by the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. The following story was my way of exploring the emotions I experienced in the days following the shootings.
I am offering this story free. If it moves you, please consider a small donation to the Red Cross.
The moment Adam Lanza shot Cassie Whitman through the heart with a Bushmaster .223-caliber rifle, her father was in a bar off Union Square talking about his next book. It was his favorite place to meet his editor because the bar was a part of Manhattan that reminded him of Ohio. It was a honky-tonk bourbon bar called Blue Mountain and the oaken booths were sticky with spilled whiskey like they were back at the Driftwood in Franklin Mills. He’d moved his family to Newtown, Connecticut three years ago. The success of his first young-adult fantasy novel, The Key of Astrodon, made such a thing possible. The book was about to become a movie starring Bradley Cooper as the evil wizard, Mandell. A month ago, he had finally begun work on the sequel, tentatively titled, The Winds of Astrodon.
“Mandell had a protégé wizard,” said Jake Whitman, hands clasped over a tumbler of mahogany Blanton’s. “He trained this young man in secret, a member of the King’s Guard at Banner’s Crossing.”