Haven in the Hood
by Raychel Ryder

"Maria learned that the neighborhood had criminals lurking and that every noise she heard could be an indication of trouble."

For twenty-six years, Maria lived in a dangerous, crime-infested neighborhood. She acquired a house from family and was determined that, with only a low-paying job, she could maintain it. An older relative told her that a spirit hovered over the house. Maria began to see that spirit as a protector, and, with a strong sense of serendipity and spiritual insight, she attributed to God her many close escapes from fire, stalkers, and random violence. Extraordinary happenings, often involving extrasensory perception, were a constant in Maria’s life. She had the ability to take “memory photos,” recounting details very accurately when she saw evidence of a crime in progress. As one of many examples, she once sensed panic in the faces of three schoolgirls who, it was later learned, were being targeted by men who meant to harm them. After Maria moved to care for her ailing mother, she was convinced her long stay in the ‘hood had been divinely overseen.

Maria (not her real name) shared stories of her often frightening and always amazing experiences with Ryder, her longtime friend, who developed a great respect for Maria’s fortitude and unusual second sight. Ryder is a former educator who writes with a strong ear for dialogue and admirable verve, making Maria’s psychic abilities seem undeniably real and her many brushes with violence and near-death all the more harrowing. The stories range from Maria simply “feeling” that something was not right to seeing a crime or accident in progress to diligently reporting suspicious, potentially dangerous situations. These incidents allowed Maria to assume the role of a good neighbor and invoked the author’s speculation that others might follow her vigilant lead. Each chapter begins with a Bible verse relevant to the particular story. The collaboration between these strong, intuitive women will undoubtedly attract like-minded readers.

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