Excerpt From “Divide by Zero” by Sheila Deeth

It takes a subdivision to raise a child, and a wealth of threads to weave a tapestry, until one breaks.

Troy, the garage mechanic’s son, loves Lydia, the rich man’s daughter. Amethyst has a remarkable cat and Andrea a curious accent. Old Abigail knows more than anyone else but doesn’t speak. And in Paradise Park a middle aged man keeps watch while autistic Amelia keeps getting lost.

Pastor Bill, at the church of Paradise, tries to mend people. Peter mends cars. But when that fraying thread gives way it might take a child to raise the subdivision…or to mend it.


Storm clouds gathered outside, a suitable end to the day Mary thought. At work, Pattie had pestered her with talk of the old people’s home; she’d moved her father over the weekend; now she wanted to sort out Mary’s life. “It’s the perfect place,” Pattie said. “Gorgeous views on the drive down. You’d love it.” But Mary had too many memories of old folks ranged against walls like balls of yarn, TVs with silent pictures in the corner and radios squawking overhead. She’d promised her mother many years ago, she’d never put her in a home, and Mary wasn’t the sort to break a promise.

“Clear day promises,” her mother used to say. “Don’t you go breaking them when storm clouds gather.” So yes, Mary thought. It was singularly appropriate for clouds to be gathering tonight.

She stood cooking dinner in the kitchen, the small room cozy with the smell of meat in the oven and potatoes on the stove, windows steamed, fan whirring pointlessly. Three plates lay stacked on the table behind her with a tray waiting to hold her mother’s meal.

“Mary!” barked a sharp ragged voice.

Mary sighed. “Coming, Mother.” She left the oven mitts in a heap by the pan.

Warm bed, clean clothes, hot meals, and a servant ready to wait on every whim was all Mary’s mother wanted. Five more minutes to brown the pie and dinner would be ready, but Mother had picked up her bell and was ringing, singing raggedly in time with the chimes, “Mary!”

Oh, how Mary hated that bell; its tinkle, delicate as a small child’s toy; its authority louder than church bells on Easter morning. “Yes Mother, I’m coming.” The bell still rang.

Mary crossed the hallway with steady, angry tread to keep from hurrying. A key rattled and scratched in the lock as she passed. The front door swung wide and her newly grown-up son stood facing her in the worn out sneakers, holey sweatshirt and hip-sliding jeans of a newly qualified garage mechanic. “Troy! Perfect timing for dinner. Just let me go to Grandma.”

Troy made a grab for her arm. “We got to talk Mom.”


“No. Now.”


Sheila Deeth grew up in the UK and has a Bachelors and Masters in mathematics from Cambridge University, England. Now living in the States near Portland Oregon, she enjoys reading, writing, drawing, telling stories and meeting her neighbors’ dogs on the green.

Where to find the author: http://about.me/SheilaDeeth
Where to find her books: http://www.sheiladeethbooks.com
Connect on facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/sheila.deeth, http://www.facebook.com/SheilaDeethAuthor

Divide by Zero, by Sheila Deeth, available in paperback from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.

Kindle link (includes cover–a beautiful cover by Peter Joseph Swanson) http://www.amazon.com/Divide-by-Zero-ebook/dp/B0090NFH56/