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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

A self-alienated teacher in the rural north and a science journalist caught up in the drug business struggle to reconnect after years of silence. The former friends and would-be lovers embark on a journey that could result in a new beginning, if they are able to conquer their inner demons along the way.
"Return" is set against the culture and landscape of Atlantic Canada, and takes place in the present day. It is inspired in part by the music of Chris Whitley and personal struggles with depression and alienation.

Table of Contents


Cold tiles line the floors, walls and ceiling. An array of grey and white and blue. Toilets clogged with filth. Trashcan overflowing. Scr... Read Chapter


Morning comes like it does every day. Wind whistles as it rakes the aluminum siding. The tap in the bathroom is dripping again. She rolls... Read Chapter


The alarm sounds and he rises like a man from the grave. Methodically he shuts it off. Walks to the toilet. Pisses. Showers. He eats brea... Read Chapter


Six o-clock and it’s windy now. The boats have all been tied up down at the wharf. It’s char for supper but she’s not that hungry y... Read Chapter


He watches the sun set and counts the money again. Does it by thickness, not number. Too many bills to do any accurate math. It's his six... Read Chapter


Marvin growls at a noise outside and she bolts upright on the couch. Bear? She starts for the gun rack but is interrupted by laughter. Th... Read Chapter


He's digging in the deep freeze for ice. They've run out at the fire pit but the drinks are still flowing at full force. Voices outside i... Read Chapter


“Calm down, Ashley. Listen. Calm Down.” She rummages through the drawers. Grabs randomly at pants, shirts. A handful of bras and unde... Read Chapter


The bus beneath him sways and rounds the corner. He watches the sun rise and pops another painkiller. Swallows it with a mouthful of wate... Read Chapter


Dark is falling and the cold's setting in. Jess hands over the bills and takes the keys from the gas bar owner. She takes a few seconds t... Read Chapter


The bus stops at the small university town and Al gets out. It's a fifteen minute wait for the connecting bus to Cape Breton. Plenty of t... Read Chapter


Under the Ford with flashlight in hand, she fights off another attack. Breath comes in stabs and her heart raps against her ribs as she s... Read Chapter


Nobody ever dies with an empty heart, with all their secrets shared and their regrets unloaded. I don't give a fuck who you are, you neve... Read Chapter


First light reveals a landscape that could be a million miles away. Every twig, stone and hummock is laden with frost. Like gold leafing ... Read Chapter


It's different than the last time he crossed the gulf. New ferries now, with glossy floors and wide screen televisions in every seating a... Read Chapter


Air. Sweet and warm and humming with the motion of summer. It roars in her window, whipping the wild strands of hair in all directions. L... Read Chapter


The first thing he sees is her face when he opens his eyes. She's standing over him, looking down through a frame of silken strands and s... Read Chapter


“Hello?” She doesn't recognize the number or the area code. She almost didn't pick up at all. “Hi... Is that... Jess?” Wh... Read Chapter


Steel like a two-ton box flap swings, groaning and shrieking, as the ferry settles into the dock. The ramp shifts and engines cough into ... Read Chapter


  Marvin gallops through the grass and snaps his jaws at blackflies. “Gittum!” she shouts and laughs at him. Scrapin... Read Chapter


There’s nothing but cold, grey light all around. Before and beyond. As above, so below. Empty. And cold, so cold. Like ice pressed agai... Read Chapter


Her room seems so much smaller than it used to. “I moved some things down to the basement, I wasn’t sure if you’d still want em... Read Chapter


It’s almost dark by the time they stop and pull over in Deer Lake. The rain is relentless and the western winds are howling throug... Read Chapter


In the night she wakes and walks around the room. Something woke her, that much she knows for sure – but what? Everything is still. She... Read Chapter


It takes him a while to realize he isn’t dreaming anymore. Millie perches in the armchair by the window, watching him with eyes that ma... Read Chapter


She wakes before the sun comes up and hears the rain has stopped. Leaves the house alone. Lets Marvin out for a piss but leaves him sniff... Read Chapter