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Concrete Chronicles: Volume 2 by Dominic Brogsdale

Concrete Chronicles: Volume 2

The Concrete Chronicles Vol 2 by Dominic Brogsdale

Concrete Chronicles: Volume 2
by Dominic Brogsdale (Author), Lionel Emabat (Illustrator), Jessica Tye (Illustrator), Karen Smith (Editor), Uzia Atkins (Photographer)

 

Book 2 of 2: Concrete Chronicles (2 Book Series)
Kindle Edition: $4.99
Paperback: $26.49

CCV2 Artwork by Lionel Emabat

CCV2 Artwork by Lionel Emabat

Blurb

Urban storyteller Dominic Brogsdale brings readers tales of raw, intense authenticity. The following stories arise from urban reality, from what he and the people he's known have experienced.

In this second collection of Concrete Chronicles, you'll meet: Jetta, a 16-year-old girl who isn't as grown up as she thinks and defies her parents' strict rules. Her arrogance and naivete result in tragedy for her entire family, especially for her two younger sisters.

Sophia, a devout Muslim whose deadbeat ex-husband leaves her and her children on the brink of homelessness. Turning to crime to feed her children, she reaps kindness from the storekeeper whose merchandise she steals.

Paul, serving a 10-year prison sentence for the crime of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He relies on his mentally unstable cellmate to protect him from predation and pours out his innermost thoughts and feelings in heartfelt poetry.

Jimmy, who escapes a home where he's not wanted only to fall prey to his larcenous uncle, a pastor. Caught and imprisoned, he learns from another inmate how to turn his life around.

Devin and his friends, young children whom family, society, and the government have failed at every turn. Neglected to raise themselves, these children obey no rules other than want, self-gratification, and vengeance.

Excerpt

Sophia
By Dominic Brogsdale
Dedicated to the struggling single mother, and Sophia

 

Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, “Who is the Lord?” Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.
Proverbs 30:8-9

Men do not despise the thief if he steals to satisfy his hunger.
Proverbs 6:30

“You don't have enough money. About the time you get a paycheck, it's already gone.”
Retrieved from “Two Jobs, Hard Times” by Jordan Malter, CNN Money

“I actually have to work three jobs, and my husband works three jobs as well, and we’re still not able to get ahead.”
Retrieved from “A Firefighter Works Three Jobs to Support His Family” on A Hidden America with Diane Sawyer on ABC News

“This is a stop at Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. This fire station, Pennsylvania’s bravest, I learned that 20 out of 68 full-time firefighters here have to work at least a second job. Chris Smith has three jobs he works on rotation; his schedule’s a Rubik’s Cube.”
(Retrieved from “A Firefighter Works Three Jobs to Support His Family” from Hidden America with Diane Sawyer on ABC News)

Two-thirds of college grads struggle to launch their careers.
Harvard Business Review

 


 

Sobbing, Sophia wiped the tears from her eyes with her left hand and asked her ex-husband over the phone, “What have I done to you? How could you leave me and the children like that?”

“I don't have to explain anything to you,” he answered.

Sophia sniffled. “You have to say something. You just left us without any explanation.”

He sighed and spat, “You were a bad Muslim woman and a bad mother, that's why.”

Sophia gasped at the accusation and fresh tears flowed. “What do you mean I was a bad Muslim woman and a bad mother?” She started to cry louder, and tears blurred her vision. “I worked hard every day; you had no job. I supplied everything. I went to law school while you stayed at home with the children. I provided for the family and not once did I throw it in your face.”

He sighed and said, “Listen to me—”

Sophia cut him off. “For once, I want you to listen to me. I provided since day one. You told my parents before we got married that you would try to do better and get a job in teaching. You tried for a little bit and then stopped. I never cheated on you. I took care of the children. I helped you when you needed, and I supported you when you needed it. I have never disrespected you—and even now I’m not disrespecting you—and all I ask is why?”

There was a long pause. Sophia teared up some more. “So, you’re just gonna leave me here with the children? Does she have more money than me? Is she prettier than me? So, you’re not gonna say anything? I need help. I've been laid off while looking for a job, and you know how hard it is to raise the children on one income.”

The connection terminated and the phone fell silent. Sophia closed her big, bright eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose as more tears dripped down her cheeks. She delved deep into her conscience to figure out what she did wrong to explain why her husband had left her for another woman. Perhaps it was just him. She lived a clean life: no drinking, no smoking, no partying. She took care of her family the best she could. She didn't understand it all.

It was just after sunset, time for her fourth prayer of the day. Sophia washed her face and hands, then got on her prayer rug in the study where she wept and prayed. After five minutes, she walked over to the desk and looked at a picture of her mother and father. She rubbed her index finger over her father’s cheek, forehead, and heart. A few more tears ran down her face as she whispered, “May Allah make your grave spacious, full of light, and a place of comfort. May Allah forgive his sins and ours and grant him Jannatu-al-Firdous. Amen.”

She sniffled, few more tears falling as she smiled and rubbed the picture. “I asked if Mother could recite Surah Fatiha for you, Father.” She stared at the picture and reminisced about her father's kindness and love for her and her sister and his grandchildren. She smiled gently at the photograph, rubbing her fingertip over his heart and dropping a couple more tears, and whispered, “Ya Allah, forgive his sins, open the gates of Jannah-tul Firdous for him, and may he be at ultimate peace in the grave with no torment. May his reckoning be swift and full of mercy. Jazakum Allahu Khairan.”

Sophia let out a deep sigh, wiped her eye with her index finger, and mumbled, “It's been four years since you left us, Father. I need your guidance.”

She looked at her Koran, which was sitting in a clean space on the desk next to a Bible and a Torah. She picked up the Bible and opened it to a bookmarked page in the Book of Titus and read:

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

She set down the Bible, then picked up the Koran and opened it. Placing her index finger beneath the text, she read line for line, mumbling under her breath,

In the name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful.

1. Successful are the believers.

2. Those who are humble in their prayers.

3. Those who avoid nonsense.

4. Those who work for charity.

5. Those who safeguard their chastity.

6. Except from their spouses, or their dependents—for they are free from blame.

7. But whoever seeks anything beyond that—these are the transgressors.

8. Those who are faithful to their trusts and pledges.

9. Those who safeguard their prayers.

10. These are the inheritors.

11. Who will inherit Paradise, wherein they will dwell forever.”