A Pardon For Tommy

A Pardon For Tommy

by Patricia Nmukoso Enyi

ASIN: B0725M51SV

Publisher Halo Publishing International

Published in Children's Books/Growing Up & Facts of Life, Children & Teens (Young Adult), Children's Books

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Book Description


On Thanksgiving weekend, the last thing Chelsea wants to do is to return home to New Orleans. It holds all of her memories of Hurricane Katrina, memories which she would rather forget. There is one thing that makes her change her mind –Tommy, her beloved pet turkey who watched the destruction of her city from Chelsea’s backpack. It’s Tommy who represents hope and life, and all the good things that a Thanksgiving can bring.

Sample Chapter


A young girl stood alone at the beach terrified, and shaking from head to toe, seawater splashed around her feet and crept up her legs like fast-growing climbing vines. Her eyes transfixed on the ocean before her. A massive tidal wave, taller than a five-story building, had formed, carrying debris along the way, making its way to shore towards her. She tried to run, but her legs grew weak, and she fell to the ground. As she started to crawl inland, she opened her mouth to let out a scream just as the tidal wave landed on top of her, sweeping her away into the sea. She struggled and fought hard to swim back to shore. Rising, she ran as fast as her legs could propel her, looking back only to see the ocean coming after her, again. She fell on the wet, sandy beach, as seawater splashed all around her. With her last breath, she mustered just enough strength to crawl up on her feet just in time to see the ocean on the beach. The beach had disappeared.

The seawater had reached her again, showering her like a huge tank of water poured on her head, and swept her back to the sea. She spat and kicked her arms and legs, as the water swallowed her. She looked around, and she was in the middle of the ocean. She caught her breath, by holding her head up above the water, shaking and shivering. She closed her eyes, and when she opened them, she was back on dry land. The ocean water had gone back to the sea. Exhausted and wearing, she sat on the dry beach and tried to scream for help, but no sound came out of her mouth. Instead, water gushed out, and she sputtered, choked and coughed.

“It’s me. Wake up, you are having another nightmare!” Chelsea’s roommate and best friend since middle school, Nicole said.

“Oh!” Chelsea mumbled under her breath. Hyperventilating, but relieved, Chelsea sat up on the side of her bed, as tears welled up in her eyes. She wondered when her nightmares would end.

Lives changed for the millions of people who called New Orleans home that August night as Katrina descended and destroyed New Orleans. Chelsea and her family were some of the people whose life changed forever. That was when Chelsea’s nightmare started.

New Orleans back then was a different place and time; a time when Hurricane Katrina hadn’t drowned her precious hometown. A place that always had a special place in her heart.

“How old are you in this nightmare?” Nicole asked.

“Still twelve.”

“Maybe that Doctor, what’s his name?”

“The psychologist?”


“Dr. Warren.”

“You are still running, he might be right about you needing to go back home to face your fear, and until you do that, you will always be twelve in your nightmares.” Nicole reminded her.

“I don’t like him, and I just don’t believe that is the only way I can move on.”

Chelsea’s cell phone started to buzz. She picked up the phone, glanced at it. It was Rebi, her mother. She slowly got up from her bed and walked to the bathroom, ignoring the buzzing phone.

To Chelsea, Thanksgiving had been a time to be with family, eating specially prepared foods and decorating the Christmas tree. But for some reason, she refused to go home this Thanksgiving. Chelsea had not been home to New Orleans in years. After six years of living in Houston, time may have seemed to fly by like a lightning bug, but it didn’t fly fast enough for Chelsea.

Her family had moved back home to New Orleans a year ago. And despite her nostalgia for home, she simply felt she needed more time away. Her fear was that somehow Hurricane Katrina would be there waiting for her.

Several students converged in the hallways chatting and laughing loudly. A young African American girl with shoulder-length hair, walked to the door to check out the commotion. She walked back into the room and said, “Like you, Chelsea, they are not going home for Thanksgiving.”

Chelsea walked to the door and stood there, taking note of the students in the hallway. She turned to her friend Nicole, who hurriedly threw clothes in a suitcase on the bed as if the whole dormitory was about to catch fire.

“You are right. I’m not the only one staying here for Thanksgiving, Nicole.”

“Yes, those are mostly international students; they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. Chelsea.”

“I won’t be alone.”

“I know, but it is not the same as spending Thanksgiving with your family. I hope you’ll change your mind and come with me,” Nicole pleaded.

“To spend Thanksgiving with your boyfriend and his family? No way!”

“Okay,” Nicole said, picking up her luggage and grabbing her purse.

“Have fun,” Chelsea said as Nicole walked out the door.

“I will,” came Nicole’s reply, stopping long enough to hug Chelsea.

It was Chelsea’s first year of college. As she sat in her room, her cell phone started to ring again, the sound resonating throughout the near-empty dormitory. With her phone in one hand, Chelsea got up and walked to the window and, pulled the drapes wide open, letting the mellow autumn sunshine stream into the room.

“Hello, Mom,” she said, answering the phone without excitement as she tucked one of her unruly locks behind her ear.

“It’s me again,” came the voice at the other end of the line.

“I know.”

“Are you coming home for Thanksgiving?” her mom asked as if they hadn’t had this conversation before.

Chelsea was silent, holding her breath as she leaned against the wall while Rebi waited for her answer.

“Tommy misses you.” Still, Chelsea said nothing. “Are you there?” her mom asked.

Chelsea hesitated and then replied. “Yes, I’m here.”

“Can you come home so you can see him one more time? You know it’s been a whole year since you saw him last in Houston.”

“I’ll think about it, Mom. Give me some time.”

Rebi was quiet on the other end of the line as if waiting for a sign before saying her next words. “Tommy’s sick,” she said, pausing for a moment. “As a matter of fact, he ain’t makin’ it to Christmas!”

“No, Mom! Please don’t say that,” Chelsea implored.

“Okay, baby girl, I just wanna let you know,” Rebi said, then hung up.

In the back of her mind, Chelsea knew Katrina was gone, but her memory of the hurricane still felt like yesterday. A flood of memories suddenly brought tears to her eyes as she tossed her cell phone across the room, then fell onto her bed, grabbed her pillow, and buried her face in it. Chelsea couldn’t get Tommy out of her heart. There was one thing, and one thing only, that could make her step foot in New Orleans again. The one thing could force her to dredge up all those awful, painful memories, she’d carefully tucked away in her heart, and make her face Hurricane Katrina demons that still haunted her nightmares and refused to die––that one thing was Tommy.


Excerpted from "A Pardon For Tommy" by Patricia Nmukoso Enyi. Copyright © 2017 by Patricia Nmukoso Enyi. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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