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A pop-up book of flowers from grade 4 are driving her insane...

Postby trentm32 » 2/16/2007, 10:24 pm

you make quite a good point (and of COURSE thanks for the words of encouragement :-)...

*starts pondering a change-up of that scene in the forthcoming rewrite*

story seeming pretty cool, though? you guys diggin' it?
"When looking up there, I just felt whole, like I belonged. Like one day I too would shine my most brilliant. Sitting there also made me think about sitting through services at my little country church back home. About that never-changing congregation of the same sixty-seven people and everyone has known you since before you were born. Now, out here in the real world, everything just seemed more vivid than when I used to sit in that little pew. That pew that was now so, so far away from where I was. I feared I had somehow left God behind there, too. I feared he was somehow just sitting there, saving my seat on the fifth pew from the front row, just waiting on me to come back. I left so quickly, I worried that he may not have noticed I was gone. And, now, I’m just too far away to find. So he’s just sitting there, patiently waiting on me to come back. I closed my eyes and prayed a moment. I hoped more than anything that he could still hear me." -an excerpt from my novella, A Sea of Fallen Leaves.

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Postby Random Name » 2/16/2007, 10:35 pm

So that was crazy fun. haha.

No really, that was a great story.
It was a good technique too. You wrote it well, because I thought the possibility of losing suspense and intrigue would come up if we establish the climax and the motivation of Chris's action within the first two parts. But you kept it interesting. So kudos.

Also, this is part one?! :O How many parts will there be?
-Sarah

Goodbye you liar,
Well you sipped from the cup but you don't own up to anything
Then you think you will inspire
Take apart your head
(and I wish I could inspire)
Take apart your demons, then you add it to the list.

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Postby trentm32 » 2/16/2007, 11:03 pm

I haven't really decided yet how many parts there'll be... but I do pretty much know where it's going. As far as the overall arc (as to say), this is pretty much just laying the characters and the framework; and in the rest of it I'm going to play with these characters, and basically screw their lives up a LOT. lol

I will say that the overall dilemma and climax of the story will be Jake trying to save Chris...and that's all I'm gonna say :)

There'll be more soon; I'm going back over the next few days and doing rewrites and tweaks over all these first eight chapters. Once I wind that down, I'm gonna start focusing on the next parts of the story.

w00t!

BTW, still shopping my first novel to publishers, and haven't had any luck yet. If all else fails, I may just man up and self-publish to at least get it out there (I would of course expect all of you to buy at least, like... 100 copies :P )
"When looking up there, I just felt whole, like I belonged. Like one day I too would shine my most brilliant. Sitting there also made me think about sitting through services at my little country church back home. About that never-changing congregation of the same sixty-seven people and everyone has known you since before you were born. Now, out here in the real world, everything just seemed more vivid than when I used to sit in that little pew. That pew that was now so, so far away from where I was. I feared I had somehow left God behind there, too. I feared he was somehow just sitting there, saving my seat on the fifth pew from the front row, just waiting on me to come back. I left so quickly, I worried that he may not have noticed I was gone. And, now, I’m just too far away to find. So he’s just sitting there, patiently waiting on me to come back. I closed my eyes and prayed a moment. I hoped more than anything that he could still hear me." -an excerpt from my novella, A Sea of Fallen Leaves.

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Postby Random Name » 2/16/2007, 11:17 pm

Hahaha that would be fun. :P

Ok, basically I heard once someone talking about the best way to write. They said basically you create your main character, and then you throw them into the worst situation imaginable and see what happens.
And thats sort of what you did. So thats kind of cool. :)

Also, as something constructive for any rewrites your doing, my suggestion is to keep in mind that with this story imparticular, less is more.
Try to keep things as simple and straightforward as possible. Don't try to hide things from the audience. If the character knows it, we should know it. The best suspence is always in the situation that you've already created, not in the slow reveal of it. And good metaphors and themes arise out of subtly. If you mention it, it will be there, and it will be understood. Its about interpreting what you've already written. :)

Still, you've done a fantastic job with this. I can see a lot of improvement from the novel.

Really good and interesting stuff.
-Sarah

Goodbye you liar,
Well you sipped from the cup but you don't own up to anything
Then you think you will inspire
Take apart your head
(and I wish I could inspire)
Take apart your demons, then you add it to the list.

Random Name
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Postby trentm32 » 2/17/2007, 12:08 am

Sar,

thanks a lot! That's basically what I'm going for with this--to try to write a little more...for lack of a better word... "mature". To use literary devices, a dash of subtlety, suspense, and themes--and of course an added level of complexity.

The novel was something I just kind of had to do--to learn how to write, ya know. It isn't great; but it taught me a ton on how to develop characters, etc. Plus I learned the valuable less that characters drive a story--not the other way around.

That's kind of where I'm going with this. It basically started in my head as a mental image of the opening chapter; it just seemed creepy and intriguing. THEN I sat down and tried to figure out what could drive a person to that point, etc.; it's been more fun to write than anything I've ever written. Plus I LOOOOVE writing in chapter format; it give you quite a bit of options in how to deal with things.

as always, immeasurable thanks for the feedback ole' pal!
"When looking up there, I just felt whole, like I belonged. Like one day I too would shine my most brilliant. Sitting there also made me think about sitting through services at my little country church back home. About that never-changing congregation of the same sixty-seven people and everyone has known you since before you were born. Now, out here in the real world, everything just seemed more vivid than when I used to sit in that little pew. That pew that was now so, so far away from where I was. I feared I had somehow left God behind there, too. I feared he was somehow just sitting there, saving my seat on the fifth pew from the front row, just waiting on me to come back. I left so quickly, I worried that he may not have noticed I was gone. And, now, I’m just too far away to find. So he’s just sitting there, patiently waiting on me to come back. I closed my eyes and prayed a moment. I hoped more than anything that he could still hear me." -an excerpt from my novella, A Sea of Fallen Leaves.

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Postby trentm32 » 2/19/2007, 4:36 pm

alright, I've rewritten the last bit of chapter eight, and I like this a lot more--let me know what y'all think...

...I walked inside, and splashed some water on my face from the old sink resting in front of me, and raised my head to look at myself in the faintly dirty mirror. I rubbed the dark circles underneath my eyes. My tie had become loose, so I tightened it the best that I could and tried to clear my head. After looking in the mirror for far longer than I had planned, I slowly made my way back out into the empty hallway. I just stood by the door with my head down, absorbing the solitude.
I heard a sound at the end of the hall, and raised my eyes to see what was there. It was too dark to make anything out, so I began slowly walking toward the shadow at the very end of the passage. Oddly enough it just seemed to get darker the closer I came.
The hair on the back of my neck was beginning to stand on end. I could see what appeared to be the faint outline of a man standing there. I saw something appear to sparkle around his neck. He seemed to be watching me, so I slowly started making my way toward him. I never came close to making out his face. The nearer I came the farther the visage seemed to be from me. Once I finally reached the end of the hall, it all seemed to disappear completely. I rubbed my eyes. I could visualize them sinking into my head.
I suppose that’s what happens when you don’t sleep for days at a time.
Suddenly a shrill screeching erupted through the silence, and my left leg began to shake. It was my cell phone. In my mind I imagined pulling out, and when I pulled it out I saw “Cassandra” on the caller ID’s face. I answer, and she sounds sad and confused; she’s wondering where I’ve gone, and wants to be there for me and try to make me feel better.
After the second shrill ring I reach into my pocket and pull the phone out, and hold it awkwardly in my hand.
The caller ID shows nothing. I slowly flip the speaker side open, and lift it up curiously to my ear. A weak,
“Hello,” slips somberly through my lips. All I can make out on the other end is static. I say hello again, and there’s still nothing there.
After a few moments of waiting, I finally begin to slowly pull the phone away from my face to close it and return it to the comfort of my pocket.
Suddenly a voice creak faintly out through the static and noise—I shove the phone close back to my ear. I’m holding it so tight that my hand begins to hurt from the force.
“Is anyone there?” is all I can think to say. After a moment of silence, a familiar voice utters:
“Hey there, little brother;” as the words come out just barely audible through the void and the noise. My hands begin to shake, as the phone slips from my grip, and goes crashing to the stone floor; it shatters upon contact into a handful of jagged, metallic pieces.
"When looking up there, I just felt whole, like I belonged. Like one day I too would shine my most brilliant. Sitting there also made me think about sitting through services at my little country church back home. About that never-changing congregation of the same sixty-seven people and everyone has known you since before you were born. Now, out here in the real world, everything just seemed more vivid than when I used to sit in that little pew. That pew that was now so, so far away from where I was. I feared I had somehow left God behind there, too. I feared he was somehow just sitting there, saving my seat on the fifth pew from the front row, just waiting on me to come back. I left so quickly, I worried that he may not have noticed I was gone. And, now, I’m just too far away to find. So he’s just sitting there, patiently waiting on me to come back. I closed my eyes and prayed a moment. I hoped more than anything that he could still hear me." -an excerpt from my novella, A Sea of Fallen Leaves.

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Postby christa lynn » 2/19/2007, 6:17 pm

much creepier, I like
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Postby trentm32 » 2/22/2007, 11:12 pm

a new chapter! the story continues!

Chapter Nine

“The Beginning of the Beginning of the End”

From above it must have looked like an ocean of black umbrellas drowning in a sea of granite stones. But, from my eyes, all I saw was the freezing rain pouring like torrents all around, but never actually hitting me. I looked around me and wondered why all of these people insisted on keeping the rain from their faces while they all had tears already streaming down their cheeks.
I was staring at a woman standing beside me—she looked familiar but I couldn’t quite recognize her—when Cassandra squeezed my hand in hers. She gently leaned her head on my shoulder and whispered ‘I love you’ in my ear.
I tried to smile at her and kissed her on the forehead. She had said that to me twice before; I had never been comfortable enough to say it back to her, and it didn’t seem to be changing for the time being, either. We got along well, and I enjoyed being with her…but that type of commitment was still a bit more than I could muster.
I was burying my brother now. That was more than enough to focus on for the time being.
It had been an hour and a half since I had shattered my cell phone on the hard stone floor of the empty church hallway. I just left it there—it was likely still lying there—and shakily stumbled my way back to my seat in the church hall to finish out the service.
I didn’t know what to do; I didn’t know what to think. I was trying to convince myself that I had just imagined it out of grief and sleep deprivation—but even that was a hard pill to swallow. It had seemed so…real.
I looked off in the distance and saw a mountainous skyline of black clouds choking out the blue sky. The rain just seemed to pour harder as the day drew on. In the back of my mind I could still almost hear the ringing, and I could still almost hear his voice.
Almost.
The same short, old man who had been droning on in the church was leading the ceremonies outside, as well.
You could tell he was trying to hurry to get everyone out of the rain. He was talking much faster than he had on the inside, and he kept shifting his feet to try and keep from getting his shoes muddy. In a way, it made me mad.
The words he was saying just sounded so routine. Like they were the same words he had used a hundred times before at a hundred different funerals. Chris didn’t deserve that; he deserved better.
Before I even knew it the man was leading one quick, final prayer; and after that everyone began to trickle away almost immediately. A few stray people dropped a few stray flowers; and that was it.
He was gone.
“We can stay as long as you want,” Cassandra whispered in my ear. I barely even noticed her. I handed her the umbrella, and began slowly making my way toward the six-foot deep hole in the ground where my brother would soon be resting. I walked up to the heavy, dark wooden casket and laid my hand gently upon its lid.
My tears began mixing with the rain, as I stood there; stooped alone on the muddy ground.
“I’m going to miss you, big brother.” It struck me then that he was the only real family that I had. I’d never looked at it that way before. I started thinking about our parents; I wondered what it would be like to not even know that your son had died.
What it would be like to abandon your children.
I almost wanted to just lay down there with him. He’d only been gone a few days and I missed him more than I had ever imagined I could. My big brother was right here, in the ground; lying in his sepulcher without a sea.
I couldn’t stop crying. I didn’t want to get up with tears in my eyes—even though they were more than masked by the pouring rain. My suit was soaked through, and I could feel the fabric clinging tightly to my skin. It felt claustrophobic, yet somehow comforting.
Before I even knew what was happening I found myself bending down close to the thick, wooden lid. I placed my ear lightly on the cool, wet surface. I could hear the water beating hard down on it. It tickled my ear as the water trickled off in every direction. I was straining to hear, and listening hard for…anything.
The sound of thumping water and crackling thunder echoing in the distance were all I heard. I slowly raised my head and looked behind me to find Cassandra still standing a few feet behind me, waiting patiently. She smiled a warm, glowing smile.
After a few long moments I finally gave up.
As I rose up I noticed for the first time how cold I was. I took a few steps back toward Cassandra and the safety of my open umbrella. A thick shiver shot through my body as I looked back one last time before my brother was lowered into the ground. As I stood there I just looked at Cassandra and smiled.
She was there for me, she seemed to always be there for me.
It was in that moment that I realized I might love her.
"When looking up there, I just felt whole, like I belonged. Like one day I too would shine my most brilliant. Sitting there also made me think about sitting through services at my little country church back home. About that never-changing congregation of the same sixty-seven people and everyone has known you since before you were born. Now, out here in the real world, everything just seemed more vivid than when I used to sit in that little pew. That pew that was now so, so far away from where I was. I feared I had somehow left God behind there, too. I feared he was somehow just sitting there, saving my seat on the fifth pew from the front row, just waiting on me to come back. I left so quickly, I worried that he may not have noticed I was gone. And, now, I’m just too far away to find. So he’s just sitting there, patiently waiting on me to come back. I closed my eyes and prayed a moment. I hoped more than anything that he could still hear me." -an excerpt from my novella, A Sea of Fallen Leaves.

<a href="http://www.soundthesirens.com">SoundTheSirens.com</a>
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Postby trentm32 » 3/1/2007, 11:39 pm

new chapter...thoughts, ideas?

Chapter Ten

“A Knock At The Door, & An Armload Of Boxes”

With a few hard taps at the door, it had all shown up on my front porch. The deliveryman didn’t even hang around long enough to be sure that I was actually at home. Just two shrill, echoing knocks, and he was gone; rolling down the street to his next drop-off; like none of this even mattered.
I was in the kitchen getting a beer—the latest of many over the last few weeks—when I heard the door; but I couldn’t bring myself to walk toward it just yet. I imagined his room, sitting there. In my mind I faded in through the window; I couldn’t bear walking through the door. It was all completely empty. His desk, sitting naked in the corner. His bed, with nothing but white linen tucked tightly in the corners. I opened my eyes and tried to curb the visual.
I had known it was coming. I’d been watching the phone ever since Chris’ funeral, and my heart almost skipped a beat when someone from St. Matthews had called a few days earlier to confirm my address, so they’d know where to send everything.
All I could think was that I was just so glad they didn’t ask me to come up there and pack it all up, and get it myself. I never wanted to go back to that place, again.
Just the thought of it made me shudder.
I finally made my way to the peephole, and peered solemnly though the contorted view. The boxes seemed to stack up to the sky. A cardboard tower of Babel sitting unchallenged in my front yard.
After a few more moments I reached for the knob and nudged the door slightly open. The boxes met me at eye-level, so I pulled the first one from the pile and carried it into my living room and sat it alone in the center of the floor.
I followed suit until I had gotten them all inside; I didn’t notice until I was finished that I had subconsciously recreated the tower portrayal, only now it was blocking my television from every possible vantage point in the room. I stared at it a moment, then pulled the first, heavy box from the top of the makeshift campanile and carried it over to the couch and sat it down at my feet.
It was full of his clothes; packed tightly and rolled up neatly for maximum space efficiency. When I opened the box, a handful of suit jackets erupted like springs from a tweed jack-in-a-box.
I picked up a long-sleeve shirt and rubbed it between my fingers, slowly. I could remember the last time I had seen him wear it; it had been months ago. It’s funny how the little things like that can stay with you.
After a few moments I gently rolled the shirt back up, and put it back into the box; I could feel the pressure trying to force out as I closed the lid. Once it was closed tightly, I shoved it to the side; spring reloaded.
I pulled the next box down—the heaviest one—and found inside the brunt of his books. They were stacked neatly as well, and the seams where the cardboard came together had been taped up tightly to strengthen it for the weight. As I sat he box down at my feet a dull thud echoed through my small apartment.
The books were all laid down with their spines facing up; and I could see that most of the titles consisted of Bible commentaries, written by people with names mostly too obscure and hard for me to try and pronounce.
In the corner of the box there was a small book tucked tightly against the rest of the tomes; an empty leather spine was all I could see staring back up towards me. I squeezed my hand inside and pulled the book out. It was aged and beaten, and a faded sort of reddish brown color. It was closed shut with a frail piece of twine tied all the way around it. I had seen it before, but I’d never actually held it in my hands.
It was Chris’ journal.
I couldn’t bring myself to open it, so I sat it down gently on my cheap, dark black end table beside the couch. I moved the magazines and lone candle that were already there over to the coffee table, and just kept staring at it for a few moments as it sat there dominatingly on the empty little space. It looked so big now, far away from the substantial desk that always housed it back in Chris’ room.
I quickly peeked into the rest of the boxes and found more clothes, and more study books. I carried them to my hall closet and slid them neatly into the empty, top shelf. I couldn’t imagine everything I owned fitting in a few, tightly packed pieces of cardboard.
I mean, I couldn’t even fit half my record collection into a handful of boxes; much less everything. At that I habitually looked over at the massive rack of CDs and vinyl resting on a large bookshelf that shadowed over the brunt of my living room space.
When I popped open the final box sitting in the middle of the floor, I couldn’t help but smile. In it rested the small handful of personal effects and possessions Chris owned. There were a few photos—mostly of he and I—and it made me smile to remember him when he was happy. It was getting hard to remember him like that without something to spur the thought.
Most of the pictures were recent, but one of them, the last one at the bottom of the box, was of us when were kids. The glass in the frame was dusty, and cracked in the corner.
I had never seen it before.
We must have been about nine or ten, and it looked like we were standing in the hallway of the Crossroads Children’s Home—the first of three orphanages we grew up in—I could tell it from the ugly, dark blue tiles we were standing in front of. I’d always remember that color. Our room there was the same color, and when we first moved there I would just lay awake at night, staring at the walls for hours.
I never found an answer on those walls, yet lately I’ve been hoping just as eagerly to find one at the bottoms of bottles—and the bottoms of boxes.
I just shook my head and sighed. I sat the picture back in the box, and shut it tightly. There wasn’t any more room left in the top shelf of the hall closet, so I sat this final box in the back corner of the closet in my bedroom.
With my living room once again accessible, I stumbled slowly to my overstuffed, dark blue recliner, and sat down. I looked around the room—I looked at my huge music collection engulfing the far wall, I looked at the beige paint that surrounded me, and the art prints and music posters housed in cheap, black frames that hung arbitrarily on the walls.
My eyes continued around the room until they finally stopped on my lone end table, standing solemn beside my small sofa. It was completely empty, except for Chris’ old, leather journal. I just stared at it for a long while. It was thick, and I could see small tatters and frayed pages sticking slightly out of its corners.
I finally got up and walked over to it. I picked it up from the empty tabletop, and held it firmly in my hands. I pulled lightly on the piece of twine wrapped tightly around the book until it came untied, and opened it to its first page. My eyes grew wide as I looked at the page.
There was nothing there.
All of the writing on the page had been blacked out. It was as if Chris had taken a sharpie and ink pen to the page violently, and scratched over all the words that had been written there. I just looked at it for a few moments. I lifted the page to turn it, and noticed how heavy the sheet of paper felt in my hand. It was as if there was a full layer of thick blackness and ink piled haphazardly on top of it.
I turned to the second page and found the same thing. I collected a handful of pages in my grip, and flipped slowly through them all. On each one, I found the same thing. As I continued on, each page seemed to get inkier and inkier, darker and darker.
After a few moments of searching the shadowy pages for words that were no longer there, and for thoughts that were no longer deliberated upon; I finally flipped to the back cover, and looked at the smooth leather backing there.
I turned the last page over, and found it was the only one that hadn’t been marked through. Smudges of ink and darkness had leaked through onto the page, but the prose still remained.
It was a letter.

Jake,

Hey there, little brother. I’m not trying to go all “beyond the grave” on you, but if you’re reading this, I suppose things didn’t go quite as I’d hoped.

Ohh well, things will end up the way they’re supposed to—I think I see that now. I don’t have any regrets, and I just wanted to make sure you knew that.

I love you, little brother; and I hate that I never told you that enough.

-Chris


And with that, the book was empty. I read it again a few more times, then closed it slowly; and tried my best to absorb his words.
For some reason, they just didn’t feel real. As I was reading them, all I could see—all I could feel—was the look in his eyes that night; the night at St. Matthews.
The fear and sadness in his eyes in that moment just seemed to completely negate the kind words I was reading. I appreciated his sentiment, but I hated that I couldn’t believe him. Even in his death, he was still trying to comfort me; even if it was nothing more than empty words, and hollow lies.
Always the big brother.
Suddenly the phone rang out in the echoing silence of my apartment. Goosebumps crept up on my arms and neck as I looked at it on the coffee table in front of me. In my mind I could see Chris holding the receiver on the other line.
I swallowed hard, and finally picked up the cordless. The lights behind the buttons were blinking brightly with each loud, shrill ring. I pressed the ‘Talk” button hard, and lifted the phone to my ear.
“Hello?”
“Jake, hey; how are you doing?”
I let out a heavy sigh and answered the cute, high-pitched voice on the other end. I thought about telling her I loved her, but for some reason I just couldn’t do it.
“I’m alright Cassandra; thanks for calling. I…appreciate it.”
"When looking up there, I just felt whole, like I belonged. Like one day I too would shine my most brilliant. Sitting there also made me think about sitting through services at my little country church back home. About that never-changing congregation of the same sixty-seven people and everyone has known you since before you were born. Now, out here in the real world, everything just seemed more vivid than when I used to sit in that little pew. That pew that was now so, so far away from where I was. I feared I had somehow left God behind there, too. I feared he was somehow just sitting there, saving my seat on the fifth pew from the front row, just waiting on me to come back. I left so quickly, I worried that he may not have noticed I was gone. And, now, I’m just too far away to find. So he’s just sitting there, patiently waiting on me to come back. I closed my eyes and prayed a moment. I hoped more than anything that he could still hear me." -an excerpt from my novella, A Sea of Fallen Leaves.

<a href="http://www.soundthesirens.com">SoundTheSirens.com</a>
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trentm32
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Postby trentm32 » 3/5/2007, 2:18 pm

the story continues...

Chapter Eleven

“Waiting For The Phone To Ring”

Smooth jazz echoed coolly through the room as I sat there, just staring at the phone. I was barely listening to Cassandra as she rattled off names of movies that were playing at the local theatre. All I could hear was the silence of my phone not ringing.
“So, Jake; which one do you want to go see?” My eyes never moved from the cordless resting almost alone on my end table. I had left my magazines and lamp on the coffee table; and just Chris’ journal and the phone on the small table—I wanted to make sure the phone was completely unobstructed if and when it went off.
“Jake, did you hear me?”
I nodded back to her.
“That sounds great; just whichever one you want to see is fine with me,” I mumbled the words distractedly. After a few more seconds of her not saying anything I raised my head and looked at her and faked a smile. I had never told her about the call in the church, so this must have seemed even more odd than it should have to her.
She smiled back at me, and asked,
“Are you alright?” I tried to keep one eye on the phone as I kept looking at her and nodded.
“I’ve just got a lot on me, you know.” She winked at me.
“I know Jake, I know. That’s why we were going to go to a movie; to try and help you clear you mind.”
I knew she meant well, but all that would do is give me a dark room to sit, and think, and brood in. I could do all of those things just fine at home. Plus, I really didn’t want to leave the phone unattended. I’d been watching it for a week straight now, and by God I wasn’t going to miss his next call.
“Do you want to just rent a movie, and stay in tonight?” Cassandra asked. I smiled a sincere smile, and nodded slowly.
“I’d like that a lot,” I whispered softly. She put her hand on my hand, and squeezed it lightly.
After I second I stood up and stretched my back, and walked to the kitchen to get a beer. I had drunk more in that week than I had in the year before it. As I pulled my next to last bottle of Heineken out of the fridge, I looked on the shelf below it and saw a few cans of soda sitting there.
“You thirsty, Cassandra?” She was quiet for a moment absorbing the question. When she finally replied,
“No thanks,” I could hear a light, barely noticeable tinge of annoyance attached to her words. She didn’t like that I was drinking, again. I was never too bad about it, and I quit it completely when I started dating Cassandra.
I had picked up a case the night that Chris died, and I hadn’t slowed down since. That old adage that ‘if you never stop drinking you never get drunk’ seemed to be holding up pretty strongly; at least for me.
I turned the bottle up before I started walking back to the living room; and put down as much as I could in one swallow.
Once I made it back to the den, I found Cassandra eyeing the leather bound book sitting on my end table from across the room. She jerked her head quickly when she heard me coming; trying to act like she hadn’t been looking at anything.
I chuckled under my breath.
“It was his journal,” I said softly. She lowered her head and nodded slowly. I walked over to it, and picked the small, heavy book up gently. I held it tightly in my right hand, and rubbed my left hand softly across the front cover.
“Are you going to look in it?” Cassandra asked sheepishly.
I shook my head no.
“It was his…I’m just going to box it up and try to forget about it.” I lied. It seemed too weird to try and explain than every page was blacked out of it.
I didn’t even understand it myself. I had been running it over and over in my head ever since I had cracked the journal open, and the best thing I could come up with is that he just didn’t want to leave his personal thoughts behind. I don’t really blame him.
Though, I must admit that I would love to know what had been in that book. I couldn’t help but think there was an answer there. Maybe not an answer to Chris’ questions, but perhaps there would have been something there for me.
I walked to my bedroom, went to the closet and preceded to slide the book back into the box that it had originally came to me in. I felt like it would be safe there. Even though there wasn’t anything really in the thing anymore anyways, I still wanted to make sure that it would be all right.
I figured Cassandra was probably beginning to worry about me, so I made my way back into the living room. She was standing in front of my towering album collection, apparently looking for something to listen to. I walked up behind her, and put my hand in the small of her back. She looked up at me and smiled genuinely.
With my other hand I scanned over a few CDs until I came to an old Leonard Cohen disc, and I pulled it out and swapped it with the jazz music that had been playing for a little over an hour.
“This is a good one,” I said to Cassandra as I put it in.
It only took a moment for the opening beat of “Hallelujah” to begin slowly filling the room. I just closed my eyes and took it in.
I wished so hard that there was something I could do. I’d been trying to will the phone into ringing for days now, and I was on the verge of losing hope. My time-off from work was beginning to run low, and all I had left was the weekend before I had to be back at the ‘paper.
I couldn’t imagine going back to that place and taking up my old, uncomfortable seat; at my old, uncomfortable desk, again. I opened my eyes, and looked at the phone.
Still nothing.
I ran my hand slowly through my hair, and looked over at Cassandra, who was now sitting quietly on the sofa, and listening to the song.
I couldn’t help but smile at her.
“Cassandra,” I said. She looked up at me.
“I…” I could feel the words hanging softly on my tongue.
Suddenly a shrill, sweet noise came crashing into the air. I shot my eyes to the end table, and found the lights behind the oversized buttons blinking emphatically. I almost fell down in my mad dash to get to the phone. I picked it up quickly and darted toward my bedroom. As I bustled past Cassandra, I could see a bewildered look of confusion spreading across her face. It tried my best to smile at her as I glanced back one last time while shutting the door behind me. As I shut the door, the third shrill ring sliced through the air.
Before the fourth could finish, I clicked the “Talk” button, and pressed the phone hard against my cheek.
I swallowed hard.
“Hello?”
Static and faint echoes reverberated out of the tiny speaker. After a few more seconds I made these words out distinctly through the hum and the noise:
“I need your help, little brother…I can’t get out.”
My hands started shaking as I quickly replied,
“Just tell me what to do Chris; just tell me what to do.”
Just as I had finished speaking the words the line suddenly went silent, and dead. I just tossed the phone onto the floor and sighed. I felt like I was about to fall down, so did my best to collapse softly onto the bed. I put my head in my hands and just sat there a few moments. I tried my best to hold back the tears fighting hard to escape my eyes, because I knew Cassandra would be in here soon to see what was going on.
I took a few deep breaths and did the best I could to at least be able to stand up. After a handful of long, long minutes I pushed myself to my feet, and walked slowly back into the living room; trying to the best of my ability to look like nothing was wrong.
“Who was it Jake?” Cassandra asked equivocally. I faked a smile and tried to shrug.
A thousand things were racing through my mind as I tried to say the words, as coolly as possible,
“It was just a wrong number; nothing to worry about.”
"When looking up there, I just felt whole, like I belonged. Like one day I too would shine my most brilliant. Sitting there also made me think about sitting through services at my little country church back home. About that never-changing congregation of the same sixty-seven people and everyone has known you since before you were born. Now, out here in the real world, everything just seemed more vivid than when I used to sit in that little pew. That pew that was now so, so far away from where I was. I feared I had somehow left God behind there, too. I feared he was somehow just sitting there, saving my seat on the fifth pew from the front row, just waiting on me to come back. I left so quickly, I worried that he may not have noticed I was gone. And, now, I’m just too far away to find. So he’s just sitting there, patiently waiting on me to come back. I closed my eyes and prayed a moment. I hoped more than anything that he could still hear me." -an excerpt from my novella, A Sea of Fallen Leaves.

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Postby crustine » 3/5/2007, 6:34 pm

i need to read this again.
<center>~Hope Matters~</center>
<center>Her beauty was disarming, but she had no other resources for dealing with the world.
<center>Image</center>
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Postby trentm32 » 3/5/2007, 9:17 pm

crustine wrote:i need to read this again.


...in a good way?
"When looking up there, I just felt whole, like I belonged. Like one day I too would shine my most brilliant. Sitting there also made me think about sitting through services at my little country church back home. About that never-changing congregation of the same sixty-seven people and everyone has known you since before you were born. Now, out here in the real world, everything just seemed more vivid than when I used to sit in that little pew. That pew that was now so, so far away from where I was. I feared I had somehow left God behind there, too. I feared he was somehow just sitting there, saving my seat on the fifth pew from the front row, just waiting on me to come back. I left so quickly, I worried that he may not have noticed I was gone. And, now, I’m just too far away to find. So he’s just sitting there, patiently waiting on me to come back. I closed my eyes and prayed a moment. I hoped more than anything that he could still hear me." -an excerpt from my novella, A Sea of Fallen Leaves.

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Postby crustine » 3/6/2007, 6:38 am

no no i read it when you first started and i havent read all the installments. i hate to admit it but it hurts my old eyes reading a long entry on the black. i will give you feed back when i do it
<center>~Hope Matters~</center>
<center>Her beauty was disarming, but she had no other resources for dealing with the world.
<center>Image</center>
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Postby trentm32 » 3/22/2007, 9:53 am

The story continues...

Chapter Twelve

“A Stained Glass Masterpiece”

Cassandra had drug me to this place a handful of times, but for the first time I had come of my own free will. It had been three days since the last call came through in my bedroom apartment. It had been three days since my dead brother had asked for my help.
It had been a long three days.
I told Cassandra that I had to work today—truth be told I was probably fired by now. My thread-thin part-time position at the local paper had likely already passed on to a new, unassuming intern.
Cassandra would have wanted to come with me if she knew that I was coming here. It was on the other side of town, and I still couldn’t even figure out why this, of all places, was the venue I chose to come to.
Every memory I had of this large, open space was one of boredom and lethargy. But still, it felt like the place to be.
I craned my head around the room to find that I was completely alone. I thought that I had heard someone in the balcony when I walked in, but a close inspection of the seats and rows high above me proved fruitless.
The sun was trickling weakly through the impossibly large stained glass windows hanging haunted above my head. The likeness of unnamed saints glared and smiled down upon me from their eternal homes; etched in fragile color, and detail. Every wall surrounding me was a stained glass masterpiece, extending to the ceilings that were already reaching toward the heavens.
I wanted to know what to do. I wanted to know how to help him.
I was looking for a sign, something—anything that would show me. I had gotten tired of watching the phone, so with a new cell in my pocket the idea to look elsewhere had finally risen to the forefront of my clouded mind.
Since I didn’t know how to ask, or who to ask for help; I figured I might as well just start talking, and maybe someone—something—up there might hear me. My eyes slowly rose to the massive chandelier dangling heavily at what could have easily been a mile above my head.
I had never been a praying man, so I wasn’t actually sure how to begin. I figured I should at least be in a church—maybe that way he would have a better chance at hearing me—so that’s why I was here.
I ran my hands through my hair and tried to piece together what I wanted to say.
Suddenly I heard a loud “clap” coming from far behind me. I jumped slightly, and quickly turned my head to find a man taking the final step off of the stairs from the balcony, onto the stone floor on which my feet rested.
It was dark, but I could make out that the man was tall and slender. His hair was dark; dark as night—and he had a pair of skinny jeans tied around his waist. He had an old, grey t-shirt that seemed to hang loosely off of his shoulders. He just stood there for a few moments, I felt like he was watching me. I couldn’t see his eyes, but I could feel them. Once a few more seconds had passed he slowly began walking towards me.
He finally passed underneath a light reflecting in from the back of the hall, and I got a look at his face. His features were plain, and his eyes seemed to sink back, deep into his head. He had a light layer of unkempt, scraggly stubble filling his cheeks, and climbing down onto his neck.
I couldn’t make out what color his eyes were, but I could tell definitively now that he was watching me. After a few more moments, and a few more steps, he was standing almost right beside me. Through the corner of my eye I could see him really well now. He looked to be in his early thirties, and seemed to have an air of unassuming madness and congeniality surrounding him incessantly.
I raised my head to find him smiling down on me.
“Hi,” he nonchalantly said.
“My name’s Jack.” His accent seemed Northern, but confused and not quite. A dash of Southern, a bit of Californian; and a hint of Mexican were all there, too. It was like a mish-mash of lives, and a mish-mash of places, was co-existing happily in this man’s spoken diction.
I hadn’t slept in a while, so before I answered him I haphazardly shook my head and searched around the large spacious room for, well; nothing, really. When I looked back up again, he was still there.
“Hello,” I finally replied, somewhat confusedly.
“I’m Jake.”
He smiled a wider smile at that, and reached his hand out to shake mine.
“Pleasure to meet you, Jake,” he said, as he bowed half-jokingly—yet with just enough seriousness to be believable, and sincere. After a couple of moments, he politely asked,
“Mind if I sit down?” I shrugged my shoulders as I looked around the empty room, filled to the brim with empty pews, and finally slid over to give him space on mine.
He just kept staring at me and smiling. Suddenly he spoke:
“So, how you doin’, pal?” He had a warm, content smile on his face. The sincerity and sheer curiousness of his question couldn’t help but bring a smile to my face. I laughed a bit. After a moment to think, I replied:
“I’ll be alright, I suppose.” At my answer he smiled one of those toothy, happy smiles and said:
“You’re ‘Alright’, aye? Well, pal, that doesn’t sound too good to begin with, now does it? What’s going on with you?” I didn’t really know what to say, so I replied with,
“Have you got all day, Jack?” I jokingly replied. At that he just nodded, and made himself a bit more comfortable in his seat.
“As a matter of fact, I do, pal—go ahead, hit me with it.” The way his voice bounced to an indefinable rhythm when he spoke just made me feel so comfortable talking with him. He was like a good friend that I’d always had, but never met before. I breathed in a deep breath, and decided to tell him—or at least to tell him some of it.
“Well Jack, here’s the short version: my brother died—“
“I’m sorry, mate,” he sullenly shot back. I just nodded back to him slightly, and continued on:
“—a little while back…and he was the only family I had. The only family.” It hurt to hear it said aloud. It always did.
Jack tried to smile, but I could see the sadness and sympathy in his eyes.
“It’ll be alright, pal. It always is,” was all he seemed to be able to think to say.
“You must have some friends, though, pal. A girlfriend; something like that?” I looked over at him and shrugged my shoulders.
“Yeah, yeah I do. Her name’s Cassandra. She’s great, she really is. But, she’s not…” I just shook my head and tried to rattle that train of thought off it’s tracks.
“She’s not what, Jake?” Jack was leaning in now, waiting for me to answer. But his voice was never forceful. His pale hands were resting in his lap as he patiently waited for me to continue.
“She’s not Faith.” The words came out so defeated; I could tell in Jack’s eyes that he could tell this was something I’d been trying not to deal with for a long while.
“Who is Faith?” he finally asked. I breathed in a deep breath, and finally started.
“We met in high school, and by our freshman year of college we were engaged. She was; she was perfect. We had the same sense of humor; we loved the same cheesy songs, the same bad movies. We got along ideally, and I loved spending time with her…I wanted to spend the rest of my time with her.”
At that I swallowed hard. Jack just lowered his eyes to his hands, still resting in his lap. I could tell he’d figured out the rest of the story. I finally finished,
“But fate saw it differently, I guess.” He just slowly nodded.
After a few more moments of sitting there--in that large, echoing room or rooms—Jack finally rose to his feet, and patted me on the shoulder.
“I’ll be seeing you soon, pal.”
"When looking up there, I just felt whole, like I belonged. Like one day I too would shine my most brilliant. Sitting there also made me think about sitting through services at my little country church back home. About that never-changing congregation of the same sixty-seven people and everyone has known you since before you were born. Now, out here in the real world, everything just seemed more vivid than when I used to sit in that little pew. That pew that was now so, so far away from where I was. I feared I had somehow left God behind there, too. I feared he was somehow just sitting there, saving my seat on the fifth pew from the front row, just waiting on me to come back. I left so quickly, I worried that he may not have noticed I was gone. And, now, I’m just too far away to find. So he’s just sitting there, patiently waiting on me to come back. I closed my eyes and prayed a moment. I hoped more than anything that he could still hear me." -an excerpt from my novella, A Sea of Fallen Leaves.

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Postby trentm32 » 4/6/2007, 2:10 pm

Chapter Thirteen

“Back When I Was Happy”

As I lay there—holding my breath, still, flat on my back on my bed—I could fell my chest rising and falling, rising and falling, as I took slow, shallow breaths in and out. Breathing so deliberately I couldn’t help but find myself thinking back to the times when Faith had tried to teach me how to meditate. She had done it every day that I had known her, and she was the most at peace person I had ever known.
I closed my eyes, and tried to focus on my breathing; but the only thing I could think about was Chris.
God, I missed my brother.
My eyes drifted over to the old, red LED-lit alarm clock sitting almost alone on my bedroom end table.
“Three-thirty in the morning,” I whispered quietly, defeated, under my breath. I hadn’t been able to sleep for days. I’d been waiting for the phone to ring for days; but it just kept refusing to.
I slowly rolled over to the edge of the bed, and gently lowered my feet down to the floor. The dark-stained hardwood was cool on my bare feet.
I made my way over to the end table, and picked up the small, leather-bound book sitting alongside the alarm clock. I rubbed the cover slowly with my palm. I opened the book, and just stared at the blank, darkened pages for a few long moments.
I finally sat it down with a sigh, and made my way back to bed. My mind began wandering as I lay there.
I couldn’t help but search my mind for the last time that I was really, truly happy. The time I’d spent with Cassandra came to mind, but that wasn’t quite what I was looking for. I enjoyed spending time with her, but it still wasn’t…everything.
After a few more moment, one, single memory finally settled in my sights.
A genuine smile spread across my face as I remembered the afternoon Faith and I had spent in Central Park, in New York City. We’d driven up there for spring break our freshman year of college; we like to take little trips like that to places we’d never been. That trip turned out to be the last one we’d ever take.
The sun was shining, and the trees were just beginning to show their green. The weather was comfortable, and there wasn’t a single cloud in the sky. There was nothing but light blue, and a blazing sun. We had driven up to the city in Faith’s new Mustang. I had wanted to drive my old car I’d had at the time, but she was still enjoying the new-ness of her cherry red convertible and insisted. She had always been able to convince me of just about anything if she tried hard enough.
We had gotten into the city just as the sun was setting, so we looked up a hostel close by, and spent the night there. Even as I remembered it I could almost still hear her telling me ‘Good night’ from the small bed across the room as I clicked the light switch off.
The next morning came in the form of the alarm clock on Faith’s cell phone buzzing wildly into the empty, morning air. I jerked awake as she quickly began fumbling for the button to make it stop.
After getting showers and dressing in the separate oversized bathrooms down the hall from our unisex room, we began the short, ten block trek to the park. I had only been to Manhattan once—when Chris and I were younger—and the amazing, beautiful, bustling place I had found with Faith was quite a bit different than the vague memories of tall buildings and dirty streets that I was still holding onto from my youth. It’s funny to think of now, that both times it was still the same place.
As we entered on a sidewalk I was all the more amazed to see this seemingly untouched, albeit man-made Eden living happily in the eye of the urban, concrete hurricane that is Manhattan. It was a place with grass, and trees; and birds that sing into the warm, open air.
That was one of the happiest days of my life.
We walked for hours upon hours in there. We took every path and sidewalk we could find. As we walked past the statue of Balto we rubbed his nose for good luck; and then made our way through Literary Walk; all the while looking at statues of people we’d mostly never heard of. We stopped off at the Alice in Wonderland statue, and I took a picture of Faith standing beside Alice on her mushroom—posing in the silliest way she must have been able to imagine.
It was then that I remembered where I’d put that picture; it was resting on a page alone in a photo album in my bookshelf. I wanted to get up and go look at, but instead I just tried to continue remembering. It wouldn’t have mattered very much anyway; her face was still etched firmly in my mind, probably even more now than it had been the day I snapped that picture.
We rested there, with Alice, the Hatter, and the March Hare for a while, as we prepared our strength for the walk back to the car; and the subsequent drive back home. We talked for a while about how beautiful it all was, and how we just absolutely had to come back the next time we had a chance. I almost wanted to ask her to marry me then, but I was just a damn fool kid still saving up to buy a ring.
“It’s the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen, Jake,” Faith said; as she danced in circles around and around the giant mushroom, while the Hatter and the Hare looked on. I raised my head up past the trees and sky to find the steel building reaching toward the heavens, engulfing the horizon in every possible direction around us.
As I lay there in my bed a tear slid coolly down my cheek. It felt like it had all only been yesterday. I could still recall the walk back to the parking deck we’d left the car in, the drive home; all of it. Every word we spoke that day; and every thought I had run through my young mind.
I finally shook my head and tried to clear my thoughts; I knew I’d never go to sleep if I kept doing this.
I rolled over and looked across the room, and as I did the light from the streetlamp outside my apartment reflected through the window, and hit the cheap glass frame holding a recent picture of Cassandra and I that I had taken.
We were sitting on a park bench—it was all a little sideways, because when I took it I was holding the camera with one hand, and trying to pose into the picture evenly all at the same time.
I let out a slow sigh, got up and shut the blinds to my bedroom window; and tried my best to finally go to sleep.
"When looking up there, I just felt whole, like I belonged. Like one day I too would shine my most brilliant. Sitting there also made me think about sitting through services at my little country church back home. About that never-changing congregation of the same sixty-seven people and everyone has known you since before you were born. Now, out here in the real world, everything just seemed more vivid than when I used to sit in that little pew. That pew that was now so, so far away from where I was. I feared I had somehow left God behind there, too. I feared he was somehow just sitting there, saving my seat on the fifth pew from the front row, just waiting on me to come back. I left so quickly, I worried that he may not have noticed I was gone. And, now, I’m just too far away to find. So he’s just sitting there, patiently waiting on me to come back. I closed my eyes and prayed a moment. I hoped more than anything that he could still hear me." -an excerpt from my novella, A Sea of Fallen Leaves.

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Postby trentm32 » 4/23/2007, 12:17 am

it continues...

Chapter Fourteen

“Turning Out Just Fine”

“I don’t want to talk to a shrink.”
As I said the words Cassandra just looked at me the same way she’d been looking at me the entire drive up there.
“Doctor Peters isn’t a ‘shrink,’ Jake; he’s just someone that wants to help you work things out.” She sounded so matter-of-fact as she was saying all of this. I could tell that she had never spoken to a psychiatrist before. She seemed to think they somehow had the power to just magically fix everything—but I guess she was just trying to help.
Who I really wanted to talk to was Chris; but nothing had happened since that phone call—I would have tried to convince myself that I imagined every bit of it, but I knew for a fact there wasn’t a chance it would work.
I looked over to Cassandra to find her still waiting patiently for me to say something. I’d never told her that Chris and I had to go see a psychiatrist every other month when we were kids: it was a state requirement, and I hated doing it then.
I didn’t want to argue anymore, so I just changed the subject.
“So, are we still going away next weekend?” I asked. Ever since everything with Chris had happened, Cassandra had wanted to take me away for a little while. Her uncle had a house on some lake in some small town; and she thought it might do us good to just go up there and spend the weekend.
“Yep, I’ve got it all set up. The key is right here,” she said; as she patted her pant pocket gently. I couldn’t help but smile.
“That sounds good.”
Maybe the time away would help.
“Turn here, Jake,” Cassandra said—pointing toward a small business park to the left. I just sighed under my breath, and let out an exaggerated groan as I pulled in and parked in the strip-mall reminiscent parking lot. It was almost empty except for us, and a handful of other cars dotted randomly around the asphalt sea.
I opened my car door slowly, and made my way around to Cassandra’s to open the door for her. As she got out of the car she curtsied, and put her arms around my neck.
“Everything’s going to be alright, you know.” I couldn’t count how many times I’d heard that over the past few weeks. I just nodded my head as convincingly as I could; and started walking toward the large glass doors.
The entire front was composed of large, tinted windows. I could see inside to the spartan, nearly empty waiting room that awaited me.
I stood there for a moment, took a deep breath, and opened the door.
There were cheap, uncomfortable looking chairs scattered and lining the walls, each one leaving a fair amount of space between the others; little fortresses of solitude, each and every one.
I looked at my feet as I made my way towards the front desk; it was a dark, dirty blue with a small, diamond pattern in the center of each square foot.
Once we’d reached the desk, I looked over to Cassandra. She squeezed my hand and smiled. I turned my eyes to the receptionist just in time to catch her distractedly handing me the sign-in sheet.
I scribbled my name down, and handed it back to her.
“It’ll be just a few moments, sir,” she said; never looking up throughout the entire process. All of her attention was focused on her computer screen; and in my mind I bet that she was playing Solitaire.
Cassandra and I walked over to two of the spaced out chairs, and sat down. There was a small table between us, with magazines haphazardly laid upon it. I thumbed through them for a few moments to find that the most recent issue of Time was from twelve months prior. I showed it to Cassandra:
“Some stellar reading material, here,” I said jokingly.
“Nice,” she chuckled. I could tell that she was glad I was finally beginning to act a bit more like myself; or at least, a bit more like I used to act.
“Jake Danton?”
My head shot up in abrupt surprise, and I scanned my eyes quickly around the room at the mention of my name. They finally settled upon the distracted receptionist; looking at me like I was an idiot.
I stood up, and put my hand on Cassandra’s.
“Be back in a bit.” Cassandra smiled at me as I walked slowly toward the private back area. The receptionist led me through the egg white door to the back; and eventually to a small office.
“Doctor Peters will be with you in just a moment,” the receptionist said, as she quickly shuffled out of the room and left me alone.
There was a wooden desk in the middle of the room, with two leather chairs sat in front of it. There was also a small, leather couch sitting beside the desk. I chuckled when I saw it. The psychiatrist we had seen as kids didn’t have a sofa in his office, and I had always kind of thought it was just an old joke. Guess not.
I walked over to it, and sat down.
As my arm rested on the side the leather was cool on my skin.
I was just beginning to take in the cozy, wood-paneled room as the door began slowly crept open, and a short, balding man with a thin, gray beard slipped through it, smiled at me for a moment, then turned around to close the door behind him. He had a small, manila file folder in his hand.
We looked at each other for a few moments--him smiling, me mostly annoyed—and he finally walked the long way around me to take a seat behind his desk.
“Jake, is it?” He said, as he thumbed through the folder now open in his hand.
I shook my head ‘yes.’
“In the flesh,” I quickly added.
He smiled and nodded.
“So, Jake; what brings you here, to my office?” I gave him a puzzled look at that.
“It should all be in your folder there, Doc,” I retorted; pointing haphazardly at the white pages I could see sticking out of the folder in his hands.
“Yes, of course I already know why you’re here; I just want to hear what you have to say.” I shook my head.
“My brother—Chris—he, well...he died,” I finally said. It still felt strange to say it aloud. He shook his head solemnly back to me.
“I’m sorry to hear about that, Jake. I really am.” He paused a moment.
We sat there in silence for a bit, and he tried to get me to open up by chatting about the weather, and sports, and anything else that people chat about to try to find a comfort level.
After about fifteen minutes of inconsequential chatter, he finally made a swift return to the topic at hand: me.
“Looking back on your life,” he said sincerely; while thumbing through the rest of the pages in his folder, “you seem to have lost quite a few people in your life; haven’t you Jake?” He continued rifling through the papers.
I just shrugged back in response.
“You grew up in foster care I see;” he continued reading, “and even a few years ago your girlfriend, Fait—”
“—Hey,” I interjected. “That’s all old news, Doc. That’s all in the past. I’m alright now; really, I am.” He looked me up and down, and finally nodded in agreement.
“Yes, I suppose you are Jake, you really are. Even with all you’ve been through in your life, you’ve turned out to be a well-rounded, fairly successful young man. You put yourself through college, you have a new woman in your life,” he said as he motioned his hand out toward Cassandra in the waiting lounge.
“You really have turned out quite well. And, of course, if you ever need someone to talk to, that’s why I’m here.” After a short pause:
“By the way, how are things between you and—Cassandra, isn’t it?”
He quickly added,
“If you don’t mind me asking, or course.” I shrugged my shoulders and thought a moment.
“They’re fine, Doc. Just fine. And, yes; I do mind you asking,” I added with a smile. He chucked a bit.
“Of course, my mistake—I was prying,” he said casually.
I finally continued,
“But yeah, Doc; things are fine with me and Cassandra. It’s nothing too serious, you know; just pretty casual—but yeah, all’s good.” He smiled and nodded.
“Happy to hear it, Jake; social interaction is an excellent indicator of adjustment.” He finally added,
“So, it’s just casual, you say?” I folded my arms across my chest.
“Yeah Doc, just casual,” I shot back—a tinge of annoyance beginning to creep into my voice.
“You know, Jake, a fear of commitment could stem from—”
“—Wait a minute, Doc,” I quickly interrupted him. “I don’t want to get into anything like…that, today. This is just a meet and greet,” I said; waving my hands around the room slowly. “And, I feel like I know you pretty well, now,” I finally added.
After a moment, I stood up.
“If that’s all, Doc?”
I stuck my arm out to shake Peters’ hand. He cracked a sly smile, and finally nodded and rose to return my gesture.
“Until next time, Jake.”
I smiled back in agreement, knowing full well that I had no intention of ever setting foot back in this place again. I took my time walking back out to the waiting room; so that Cassandra would hopefully think I’d spent more time back there than I actually had. I finally reached the doorknob, and turned it slowly.
When Cassandra saw me walk out, she quickly rose to her feet to meet me.
“So, how’d it go?” she curiously asked.
“It went really well, Cassandra; I’m glad you made me come,” I lied.
“I’ll definitely call back up here soon, and make another appointment,” I said, as we quickly made our way through the door and back outside heading towards the car.

...

Chapter Fifteen

“The Cabin By The Water”

It had been a long, slow drive making out way out to the cabin we we’re spending the weekend. The place was nice, but small. From a distance it looked as if it was made of old-looking logs, like it easily could have been built a hundred or more year ago. But, once you made it closer, the glass doors,, patio, and one car garage came into view; and the satellite dish affixed to the roof made itself seen—pointing toward the southern skies.
I pulled my sputtering car up to the closed garage door as close as I comfortably could make it, and we got out and stretched our arms to the sky. The smell of pine needles and fresh water assaulted my first breath. A petite smile escaped my lips.
When we made it to the door, Cassandra pulled the small, lone key from her pant pocket and opened it in front of us. It slid open with ease, and on the inside lay a well kept, tidy living room filled with creature comforts—interspersed with the occasional mounted bass, and deer head to give it that nature feel. A small bookshelf rested on one wall filled to the brim with what looked like cliché mystery novels.
A big-screen television sat as the focal point of the room, while every chair in the room was faced away from the massive window that opened out toward the lake. I made my way slowly to the aperture, and peered out. The water was calm as glass, and all I could think was how much I wanted to walk down, and climb and sit on the rocks beside the water.
“Do you want to go down there?” Cassandra asked. I just shrugged my head no, picked up the TV remote, and sat down in the center of the couch.
“Maybe later,” was all I said.
I thought about walking out into the middle of the woods, and begging and praying to the angels and the pagan gods to help me help my brother.
At that I kind of chuckled to myself at the thought. It scared me that I was still halfway considering it.
I just wish I knew what to do.
Cassandra interrupted my thoughts by asking me to go and get our bags out of the car. They were in the backseat, as the trunk on that car always stayed flooded for weeks after even the slightest bit of rain.
I walked out to the car, loaded up both shoulders, and finally started walking back toward the cabin door. I stopped on the small porch, and just tried my best to take in the scenery.
For winter, it was still pretty warm out there. It might have been that trees and ground just feel warmer than concrete and steel.
Once back in, I just dumped the bags in the middle of the living room floor.
“Which room do you want, Jake?” Cassandra asked; pointing one hand to her left, and the other to her right.
For a while when we’d first gotten together it bothered me that she held so tightly to that one moral conviction; but ever since Chris I hadn’t even thought about it.
“Either’s fine,” I finally said; trying to force a smile.
She smiled back, and carried her bags to the room on her right. I followed suit, dragging my one duffel to the door at the left.
The room was plain enough; just a full-size bed, a small dresser, and scattered pictures of nature scenes and reproduced Norman Rockwell pieces.
There was one hanging over the bed with a happy family, sitting around talking and playing with their dog. Two sons, a mother and father, and a puppy—all smiling.
I couldn’t even imagine it.
Cassandra and I sat up until about ten-thirty at night watching old episodes of Andy Griffith, and finally decided to call it a day.
We kissed one another good night, and each set out to our separate rooms.
Since I wasn’t tired at all, so I just sat in the bed, above the covers, half-reading a book that I’d swiped from the bookshelf in the den. I’d already figured out whodunit by about thirty pages in. I flipped to the end to see if I was right: yep.
I’d been waiting for Cassandra to fall asleep, so I held my breath and listened…nothing. My hands were shaking, so I pulled out a pill from the unmarked bottle in my pocket and chewed it up like candy. I finally slipped out of the bed, and tiptoed my way to the front door to get outside. I grabbed my jacked and scarf and wrapped them both tightly around me. Lastly came my thick toque. As I opened the door to the outside I kept watching and listening to make sure I didn’t wake her.
Once outside, I could surprisingly still see quite well. It was a full moon out, and where that light was blocked by the trees, scattered lampposts illuminated the grounds, and water below.
I walked to the steep hill that led down to the water and started my way down. The ground was soft and loose, and it didn’t take very long until I lost my grip. With my hand flailing through the air, my left foot decided to join the party and before I knew what was happening I was half-rolling, and half-tumbling down the hill.
Good thing I had decided not to try going down on the rocky side, or else it’d have probably killed me. Once I finally made it to where the ground evens off, a few yards from the waters edge, I stopped falling; but sadly my head broke the fall.
I was out.
Cold.
A haze of fog surrounded me, and I couldn’t see anything. I heard a clicking sound, and finally a low ding sound penetrated the air around me. A strong, sharp smell filled my nostrils. I could make out the faint, faint outline of lights blinking and shining far away in the distance. I looked all around me, but in every direction all I could see was darkness.
I tried to walk, but I was too afraid that I would fall. After what seemed like an eternity, the fog slowly began to clear. It never dissipated entirely, but after a little while I began to hear waves—loud, hard waves—crashing into a shore that sounded uncomfortably too close for comfort.
The water finally became visible, and I could see that it was a river, which went on in both directions as far as my eyes could see, and it stretched at least a mile wide to what looked to be another shore on the other side. The water was red as blood; a thick, choking crimson. Rocking in the waves, at the river’s center, I could barely make out what looked like a barge, black as night, fighting to stay afloat and make it’s way slowly across.
Suddenly an icy chill poured over my left hand, and I felt my entire arm jerk in surprise. My head was killing me, and a wiggled my fingers to find them resting just on the dirty beach of the lake; getting doused with water by waves caused by a wind that seemed to come from nowhere.
After taking a moment to remove my toque, and thoroughly check my head for blood or brains spilling out, I closed my eyes and tried to re-imagine the scene I had just seen.
No dice.
It soon set in on me that I was freezing, and my hand was shaking like mad from the icy water that had thoroughly soaked it and my sleeve, so I finally dusted myself off, and set off slowly—and carefully—back up the hill toward the cabin, and the warm bed that awaited me there.
"When looking up there, I just felt whole, like I belonged. Like one day I too would shine my most brilliant. Sitting there also made me think about sitting through services at my little country church back home. About that never-changing congregation of the same sixty-seven people and everyone has known you since before you were born. Now, out here in the real world, everything just seemed more vivid than when I used to sit in that little pew. That pew that was now so, so far away from where I was. I feared I had somehow left God behind there, too. I feared he was somehow just sitting there, saving my seat on the fifth pew from the front row, just waiting on me to come back. I left so quickly, I worried that he may not have noticed I was gone. And, now, I’m just too far away to find. So he’s just sitting there, patiently waiting on me to come back. I closed my eyes and prayed a moment. I hoped more than anything that he could still hear me." -an excerpt from my novella, A Sea of Fallen Leaves.

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Postby AnnieDreams » 8/4/2009, 6:01 am

aww, this bot is bringing up old threads we haven't looked at in ages! how nostalgic.
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