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

New Project.

Postby trentm32 » 11/21/2006, 9:12 pm

Started a new novella today. First few pages...

Chapter One.

“Chris, I really don’t think this a good idea.” I had said it a thousand times, but on some level I was hoping the thousand and first would make a difference. He had that look on his face that I saw everyday in the mirror; my look. It was dull, with dark circles finding a home around his eyes. I didn’t like it on him. It didn’t fit him well.
I hated it because I knew he was even more stubborn than I am, and being my older brother—even though it’s only by two years—he still always thought he knew better than me. If there was anyone he wouldn’t listen to, it’s me: even at twenty-three I’ll always still be his younger brother.
“Jake, trust me, little brother.” He always called me that, ever since we were kids. “I know what I’m doing. I have to do this. It’ll work, I know it’ll work.” I just nodded to him.
I was choking back tears that I couldn’t let him see. He sounded so sure of himself, so matter-of-fact, that I could almost let myself believe him.
He had a light tinge of desperation in his voice; it had been there so long that I almost didn’t hear it anymore. I hoped this was what he needed, that maybe it would ease his mind, and give him back what he’d lost.
I closed my eyes for a few moments, and opened them again. I was still here.
Big, old churches had always given me the creeps. This place was no different, even though it wasn’t technically a “church.”
The people that go here call it “home,” like Chris used to.
Now he just calls it St. Matthews, like I do. St. Matthews School. The fact that the place was empty didn’t help to make me more comfortable. It made it seem…bigger. Most of the lights were either off or dimmed throughout the place, and the wooden floors creaked with age and time.
The fluorescent lights where we were at tickled my eyes, and the cold in the room mingling with my damp hands that caused a shiver to creep through my spine. I looked to my right and saw the heavy door, swaying slightly back and forth as the wind from the air vents pushed against it coldly. In the distance I could hear the hum of the heating unit fighting ceaselessly against the unbeatable chill of December.
To my left I saw my brother, my big brother, crouching in a corner with tears streaming down his cheeks. He was whispering to himself, he may have been praying—I don’t really know. He had a faded white bathrobe wrapped around his body, the little cloth belt tied in the middle, and his cracked bare feet looked almost blue standing on the freezing tile floor.
I just shook my head. My hands were growing cold, so I slipped them into the middle pocket of my old, dark blue hoodie, and started my way back down the hall to Chris’ truck outside. The floors groaned as I walked the long walk downstairs, and the tiny bit of heat in the seminary dissipated almost impossibly fast as I opened the stained glass windowed door to the courtyard.
I shivered in my sweatshirt, and brushed the hair from my eyes and raised them toward the sky. I couldn’t see anything. A storm had rolled in that morning, and the cloud cover was still parked heavily overhead.
The only light to be found were the few, scattered lampposts that were still functional scattered around the grounds. I could barely see anything until I crossed the small courtyard and bee lined to the back of the truck.
It was an old, two-door red Ford pick-up that barely ran when he bought the thing, and had only gotten worse over the last couple of years.
There were still a few more bags of ice left on the cool, steel bed; I could see the paint chipping so badly in places that there was almost nothing left but silver, with red specks scattered throughout. I grabbed as many bags of ice as I could, and started back toward the building.
The place looked so big from the outside. I could see the steeple going up in its center, built when gothic architecture was at its peak of influence. I knew there were other buildings around there—the cathedral for one—but as many times as I had come and visited Chris here I had never actually learned my way around the place. All I knew how to get to was the dormitory where Chris’ room was located.
I had only actually been into his room a handful of times; he liked to keep the place to himself. He was always private that way. Other than the bed, all he had to his name was his bookshelf, loaded to near-bulging quantities with Bibles and religious study materials: and his desk.
It was always covered with papers and books, and of course his journal. When he wasn’t writing in it (which was rare) he kept it locked in the top drawer. He’d kept it for years, but over the last few weeks he’s been hunched over the thing days at a time. I guess he was just trying to deal with what happened.
When I made it back upstairs, I made my way slowly back to the room where Chris was at. I suppose I was trying to delay it as much as I possibly could. Even though my hands were freezing I still took my time.
I crept through the door to find Chris exactly where he was when I’d left. My whole body was shaking, but I still couldn’t move. I just stood there for a while until I finally felt like I should speak.
“Hey,” was all I could say.
Chris just ignored me. To be honest, I’m not sure if he could even hear me. He’d been in his own world for weeks now, drifting further and further away from me. From everyone.
I finally walked over to the half-full, white porcelain bathtub sitting in the corner of the room. The air around it felt chilled, even colder than it was outside.
I poured the ice I had carried in out of the bags and into the tub. It sloshed violently as it poured from the thin, transparent plastic bags into the freezing pool of water below.
Chris still hadn’t gotten up, so I just backed up slowly to the door and waited quietly. I was hoping he would spend all of that time talking to himself to change his mind.
“Jake. I think I’m ready.” I just shook my head.
“You don’t have to do this,” the words came out almost as a whisper as I desperately tried to sound forceful. Chris faked a smile.
“It’ll be alright, little brother.”
I could tell it was almost killing him, the not knowing. It had crossed my mind more than once that he might be better off taking this route than going on the way he had been the last few weeks.
Chris’ world turned upside down in a matter of seconds, and it’s tough to make sense of things when they change quickly. Especially this quickly.
He was all right during his recovery, but I suppose it was just because he was confused. It just hadn’t set in yet.
“My journal,” Chris started, “is in my desk.”
“Don’t,” I could barely speak; the tears I had been fighting began sliding down my cheeks. The air made them cool on my skin. “I don’t want you to start telling me where things are. I don’t need to know where things are…Just don’t.”
Chris smiled, it almost looked sincere.
“Look, little brother—everything is going to be all right.” He patted me on the shoulder.
“What if I won’t…will you still…what if I can’t?” I asked; defeat haunted my voice, as he knew as well as I did that I would.
“You will, and you can.” He seemed wholly convinced in the sanity of what he was doing. I suppose different things can make a different kind of sense to different people.
“So, how’s Cassandra doing?” Chris asked, I couldn’t tell if he was feigning small talk or seriously interested in my life. We didn’t seem to talk about personal things very often, and I was actually surprised that he even remembered my girlfriend’s name. I chuckled a bit.
“She’s doing fine, Chris. She’s doing fine.”
“I still can’t believe you would end up with a choir girl,” he added. “I always imagined you more as a ‘black eyeliner, attitude, and a nose ring’ kind of guy.”
Even though he was a priest-in-training, Chris always had a great sense of humor. I think that’s where I picked mine up, actually.
“Yeah, well, I guess opposites attract,” I finally said. Chris just smiled.
“It’s going to be alright, little brother. I promise.”
“Don’t do that, just don’t. Don’t make me a promise that you know as well as I know you can’t be sure you’re able to keep.” Chris just lowered his head, and we were both quiet for a few moments.
“I have to know,” he finally said. I just lowered my head. The only thing I could do was sigh.
“I know, Chris. I know.”
At that I slowly walked out of the room and back toward Chris’ dormitory room. Once I got there I knew what I had to do, but I so desperately didn’t want to.
I pushed the door open, and walked toward the small rusting, metal cart sitting lonely beside his heavy, oak desk.
A syringe sat alone on the top shelf of the cart. A small empty bottle sat on the shelf below it. I walked over to the bed and picked the blanket up off of it and shoved it into the bottom shelf of the metal cart. I rolled the entire thing out when I left, and down the hallway—because I knew it would take that tiniest bit longer to get there than had I just picked up the syringe by itself.
Chris was standing by the bathtub—shivering—when I got back, wearing nothing more than a pair of shorts. I looked across the room and saw his bathrobe folded up, sitting on the freestanding sink, all alone. I walked over to the bathroom closet and pulled out all the extra towels that were there.
I stacked them neatly on top of Chris’ robe, and rolled the cart up beside the freezing bathtub.
“Are you ready?” It was then that my brother looked me right in the eye, and nodded.
“I have to do it, Jake.”
I had told him earlier that I couldn’t be in there when it happened, so I walked outside of the room. As I crossed out into the hallway, I looked back to see Chris climbing into the bathtub, shivering violently. He caught me looking back and tried to smile. I saw water splashing to the floor as I turned away, and I could just barely hear my brother groaning as I pulled the door to.
The planks were cold as I slid my back down the wall and sat on the faded hardwood floor. I pulled my hoodie up over my head and pulled my arms tight around my body.
I just focused on my breathing; in and out, in and out. My job now was to wait; to wait for the buzzing.
It seemed to take forever for the alarm to finally go off. It startled me so badly when it started buzzing that I jerked my neck back and hit my head on the wall. I rubbed the sore spot as I stood up and slowly pushed the heavy door back open.
The first thing I saw when I reentered was the small stack on the sink comprised of towels and a bathrobe.
Once I finally turned around I saw the water, it was as still as a frozen lake. The ice floated throughout like giant glaciers in a minute ocean.
In the middle of the tiny ocean lay Chris. Lay my brother.
He was dead.
"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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trentm32
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Postby Random Name » 11/24/2006, 11:39 am

holy shit.


...



I dont' even know what to say!!
Holy Shit!!!!



You better be going somewhere good with this!!!

Only constructive advice I can give is that you should be aware of when you are writing descriptively and when you are writing plot essentials.

(Ps, did you get my last email?)
-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 » 11/25/2006, 6:10 pm

nah, I didn't get get ur last e-mail, gal! and it is going somewhere, lol! Good point about descriptive/plot differentiation-I tend to ramble!
"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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trentm32
Oskar Winner: 2005
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Location: my heart is in New York.

Postby crustine » 11/26/2006, 6:32 pm

hmm do you want feedback?? Don't end sentences with preposistions. I am unclear as to the COD was this from the ice bath or was the syringe involved? As you may or may not know it takes a very long time to die from hypothermia. People go into a form of stasis where-by they may appear dead but can be slowly brought back to life. Anyway just a little scientific reference for you. http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/healt ... ermia.html
<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 » 11/26/2006, 7:28 pm

I did a bit of rewriting on the first chapter, and tried to make the COD make a bit more sense; thanks for the point-I did leave that a bit open. I'll work on the prepositions, I did it on purpose, actually-I'm a little weird, but u do make a point-it is a bit annoying-lol!

I've also wrapped up chapter two, so... it's here as well...

Chapter 1 (rewrite):

Chapter One.

“Chris, I really don’t think this a good idea.” I had said it a thousand times, but on some level I was hoping the thousand and first would make a difference. He had that look on his face that I saw everyday in the mirror; my look. It was dull, with dark circles finding a home around his eyes. I didn’t like it on him. It didn’t fit him well.
I hated it because I knew he was even more stubborn than I am, and being my older brother—even though it’s only by two years—he still always thought he knew better than me. If there was anyone he wouldn’t listen to, it’s me: even at twenty-three I’ll always still be his younger brother.
“Jake, trust me, little brother.” He always called me that, ever since we were kids. “I know what I’m doing. I have to do this. It’ll work, I know it’ll work.” I just nodded to him.
I was choking back tears that I couldn’t let him see. He sounded so sure of himself, so matter-of-fact, that I could almost let myself believe him.
He had a light tinge of desperation in his voice; it had been there so long that I almost didn’t hear it anymore. I hoped this was what he needed, that maybe it would ease his mind, and give him back what he’d lost.
I closed my eyes for a few moments, and opened them again. I was still here.
Big, old churches had always given me the creeps. This place was no different, even though it wasn’t technically a “church.”
The people that go here call it “home,” like Chris used to.
Now he just calls it St. Matthews, like I do. St. Matthews School. The fact that the place was empty didn’t help to make me more comfortable. It made it seem…bigger. Most of the lights were either off or dimmed throughout the place, and the wooden floors creaked with age and time.
The fluorescent lights where we were at tickled my eyes, and the cold in the room mingling with my damp hands that caused a shiver to creep through my spine. I looked to my right and saw the heavy door, swaying slightly back and forth as the wind from the air vents pushed against it coldly. In the distance I could hear the hum of the heating unit fighting ceaselessly against the unbeatable chill of December.
To my left I saw my brother, my big brother, crouching in a corner with tears streaming down his cheeks. He was whispering to himself, he may have been praying—I don’t really know. He had a faded white bathrobe wrapped around his body, the little cloth belt tied in the middle, and his cracked bare feet looked almost blue standing on the freezing tile floor.
I just shook my head. My hands were growing cold, so I slipped them into the middle pocket of my old, dark blue hoodie, and started my way back down the hall to Chris’ truck outside. The floors groaned as I walked the long walk downstairs, and the tiny bit of heat in the seminary dissipated almost impossibly fast as I opened the stained glass windowed door to the courtyard.
I shivered in my sweatshirt, and brushed the hair from my eyes and raised them toward the sky. I couldn’t see anything. A storm had rolled in that morning, and the cloud cover was still parked heavily overhead.
The only light to be found were the few, dated lampposts that were still functional scattered around the grounds. I could barely see anything until I crossed the small courtyard and bee lined to the back of the truck.
It was an old, two-door red Ford pick-up that barely ran when he bought the thing, and had only gotten worse over the last couple of years.
There were still a few more bags of ice left on the cool, steel bed; I could see the paint chipping so badly in places that there was almost nothing left but silver, with red specks scattered throughout. I grabbed as many bags of ice as I could, and started back toward the building.
The place looked so big from the outside. I could see the steeple going up in its center, built when gothic architecture was at its peak of influence. One of the many prides of New England. I knew there were other buildings around there—the cathedral for one—but as many times as I had come and visited Chris here I had never actually learned my way around the place. All I knew how to get to was the dormitory where Chris’ room was located.
I had only actually been into his room a handful of times; he liked to keep the place to himself. He was always private that way. Other than the bed, all he had to his name was his bookshelf, loaded to near-bulging quantities with Bibles and religious study materials: and his desk.
It was always covered with papers and books, and of course his journal. When he wasn’t writing in it (which was rare) he kept it locked in the top drawer. He’d kept it for years, but over the last few weeks he’s been hunched over the thing days at a time. I guess he was just trying to deal with what happened.
When I made it back upstairs, I made my way slowly back to the room where Chris was at. I suppose I was trying to delay it as much as I possibly could. Even though my hands were freezing I still took my time.
I crept through the door to find Chris exactly where he was when I’d left. My whole body was shaking, but I still couldn’t move. I just stood there for a while until I finally felt like I should speak.
“Hey,” was all I could say.
Chris just ignored me. To be honest, I’m not sure if he could even hear me. He’d been in his own world for weeks now, drifting further and further away from me. From everyone.
I finally walked over to the half-full, white porcelain bathtub sitting in the corner of the room. The air around it felt chilled, even colder than it was outside.
I poured the ice I had carried in out of the bags and into the tub. It sloshed violently as it poured from the thin, transparent plastic bags into the freezing pool of water below.
Chris still hadn’t gotten up, so I just backed up slowly to the door and waited quietly. I was hoping he would spend all of that time talking to himself to change his mind.
“Jake. I think I’m ready.” I just shook my head.
“You don’t have to do this,” the words came out almost as a whisper as I desperately tried to sound forceful. Chris faked a smile.
“It’ll be alright, little brother.”
I could tell it was almost killing him, the not knowing. It had crossed my mind more than once that he might be better off taking this route than going on the way he had been the last few weeks.
Chris’ world turned upside down in a matter of seconds, and it’s tough to make sense of things when they change quickly. Especially this quickly.
He was all right during his recovery, but I suppose it was just because he was confused. It just hadn’t set in yet.
“My journal,” Chris started, “is in my desk.”
“Don’t,” I could barely speak; the tears I had been fighting began sliding down my cheeks. The air made them cool on my skin. “I don’t want you to start telling me where things are. I don’t need to know where things are…Just don’t.”
Chris smiled, it almost looked sincere.
“Look, little brother—everything is going to be all right.” He patted me on the shoulder.
“What if I won’t…will you still…what if I can’t?” I asked; defeat haunted my voice, as he knew as well as I did that I would.
“You will, and you can.” He seemed wholly convinced in the sanity of what he was doing. I suppose different things can make a different kind of sense to different people.
“So, how’s Cassandra doing?” Chris asked, I couldn’t tell if he was feigning small talk or seriously interested in my life. We didn’t seem to talk about personal things very often, and I was actually surprised that he even remembered my girlfriend’s name. I chuckled a bit.
“She’s doing fine, Chris. She’s doing fine.”
“I still can’t believe you would end up with a choir girl,” he added. “I always imagined you more as a ‘black eyeliner, attitude, and a nose ring’ kind of guy.”
Even though he was a priest-in-training, Chris always had a great sense of humor. I think that’s where I picked mine up, actually.
“Yeah, well, I guess opposites attract,” I finally said. Chris just smiled.
“It’s going to be alright, little brother. I promise.”
“Don’t do that, just don’t. Don’t make me a promise that you know as well as I know you can’t be sure you’re able to keep.” Chris just lowered his head, and we were both quiet for a few moments.
“I have to know,” he finally said. I just lowered my head. The only thing I could do was sigh.
“I know, Chris. I know.”
At that I slowly walked out of the room and back toward Chris’ dormitory room. Once I got there I knew what I had to do, but I so desperately didn’t want to.
I pushed the door open, and walked toward the small rusting, metal cart sitting lonely beside his heavy, oak desk.
Two syringes sat together on the top shelf of the cart. Two small, empty bottles sat on the shelf below them. I walked over to the bed and picked the blanket up off of it and shoved it into the bottom shelf of the metal cart. I rolled the entire thing out when I left, and down the hallway—because I knew it would take that tiniest bit longer to get there than had I just picked up the syringe by itself.
Chris was standing by the bathtub—shivering—when I got back, wearing nothing more than a pair of shorts. I looked across the room and saw his bathrobe folded up, sitting on the freestanding sink, all alone. I walked over to the bathroom closet and pulled out all the extra towels that were there.
I stacked them neatly on top of Chris’ robe, and rolled the cart up beside the freezing bathtub.
“Are you ready?” It was then that my brother looked me right in the eye, and nodded.
“I have to do it, Jake.”
Chris picked up one of the needles and injected it into him arm. He winced as he pressed hard on the end to empty it.
I had told him earlier that I couldn’t be in there when it happened, so I walked outside of the room. As I crossed out into the hallway, I looked back to see Chris climbing into the bathtub, shivering violently. He caught me looking back and tried to smile. I saw water splashing to the floor as I turned away, and I could just barely hear my brother groaning as I pulled the door to.
The planks were cold as I slid my back down the wall and sat on the faded hardwood floor. I pulled my hoodie up over my head and pulled my arms tight around my body.
I just focused on my breathing; in and out, in and out. My job now was to wait; to wait for the buzzing. Chris had taken care of all of it.
It seemed to take forever for the alarm to finally go off. In reality, it couldn’t have been more than an hour or two. It startled me so badly when it started buzzing that I jerked my neck back and hit my head on the wall. I rubbed the sore spot as I stood up and slowly pushed the heavy door back open.
The first thing I saw when I reentered was the small stack on the sink comprised of towels and a bathrobe.
Once I finally turned around I saw the water, it was as still as a frozen lake. The ice floated throughout like giant glaciers in a minute ocean.
In the middle of the tiny sea lay Chris, almost as blue as my sweatshirt. His eyes were closed, and his lips were tightly closed. I walked over to him and touched my fingers to his neck.
Nothing.
I put my hand over his mouth and nose to see if I could feel his breath.
Nothing.
He was dead.
Last edited by trentm32 on 11/26/2006, 7:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"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
Oskar Winner: 2005
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Postby trentm32 » 11/26/2006, 7:29 pm

Chapter Two

“1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10.”
I counted aloud, slowly, just like Chris had told me to do a few hours before. I was shaking all over, trying my best to keep from becoming frantic.
As I was counting, my eyes wandered around the small metal cart sitting beside the bathtub. I saw the words ‘Synthetic Adrenaline’ type-written on one of the small bottles.
I picked up the other syringe from the top shelf; as it was still lying there untouched. I didn’t notice how much my hands were shaking until I had the needle in my hand. I turned it around quickly, hoping I could just get this all over with as quickly as possible.
I reached down, and went to pick up Chris’ arm to inject him, just like he had told me to do. I jerked my hand back when it touched his skin. His arm, it felt like ice. I didn’t think he would be that cold. His extremities felt heavy as I lifted him up; he was weighted, and limp.
I slid the needle into his vein, and proceeded to press it in. I pumped it until there wasn’t a drop of fluid left, just like he’d told me. The hair on the back of my neck stood up as I waited for Chris to leap up. To gasp in a deep breath of air, and reach out and take my arm to help him from the pool, and over to the towels and blanket.
Nothing happened.
He had told me that there was a chance it could turn out that way, so I tried to stay calm as I laid out a few towels to place his body on.
Before I knew I was speaking, I was whispering,
“Ohh God, ohh God…” under my breath to myself.
I shuffled over behind the bathtub, and wrapped my arms around Chris’ shoulders and strained to lift his heavy body out of the freezing water. Ice and slush splashed onto the floor as I drug him out, and grabbed the towels lying neatly on the sink to place him on.
The blanket that was on the bottom row of the shelf had fallen onto the floor, so I picked it up and wrapped Chris up in it to try and warm him up. I rubbed my hands quickly over the tops of his arms, to try and warm him up.
“Ohh God, ohh God, ohh God…”
I tried to remember the lessons he’d given me on how to do CPR—hands here, compressions—so I started the process, and breathed breath into his still lungs. I tried to wait patiently for him to wake up. He had made me swear to him that I would stay calm.
It was only a few moments until I saw his lips began to purse. They were as blue as a winter sky. A second later his lips began trying to move. I reached my hand up to his neck, but I still couldn’t find a pulse.
I could hear him whispering something under his breath, so I leaned in closer to him.
“Wake up Chris, wake up—you’re going to be alright—you just have to wake up—”
“Jake…save me…” I could barely hear the words as he said them. Once he’d spoken his eyelids opened.
But, his eyes weren’t there. Neither his look, nor my look, was present on his face.
All I could see were the whites. He looked right at me, but it felt like he was looking through me. I kept shaking him, trying to snap him out of it. I didn’t, I couldn’t, understand.
He didn’t move.
This wasn’t the way I wanted to spend my Christmas Eve. In an empty seminary, closed for the holidays, haunted by decades of kids running through the halls. Helping my brother make what turned out to be a very big mistake.
I started screaming at myself, as loud as my lungs could carry. I could hear my cries echoing through the empty halls and rooms of St. Matthew’s.
I sat down beside my brother, beside Chris, and just shoved my face into my hands and cried. I wanted to call an ambulance so bad that it was killing me, but I’d promised Chris I wouldn’t.
“Whatever happens is supposed to happen, little brother. If it doesn’t work at first it wasn’t meant to work,” he’d said.
It’s just that I had thought it would work. I thought he would see what he needed to see, know what he needed to know, then come back; and let things get back to normal.
I reached down one last time to see if he had a pulse, already knowing what I would find.
A frozen body, a frozen body and stillness.
I placed my hand in front of his nose and mouth, and there was nothing there, either.
He was breathless.
I knew this whole thing was a bad idea.
"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 » 12/1/2006, 9:33 am

Can I just quote myself and say "holy shit.


...



I dont' even know what to say!!
Holy Shit!!!!



You better be going somewhere good with this!!!"


I'm reading some terrible paperback thriller type book right now and to be honest, I am much more interested in how this turns out over that one.
-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 » 12/2/2006, 9:38 am

lol,thanks Sar; I appreciate the feedback! I'm kneedeep in the third chapter now, so hopefully once I finish it, things'll start making a bit more sense! This is a really fun one to write!
"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 » 12/4/2006, 3:29 pm

The fluorescent lights where we were at tickled my eyes ...

I had to read this sentence a couple times to understand (however, I have been studying a lot today on only 5hrs of sleep, so it might be just me). I suggest taking out "where we were at" and just having "The flourescent lights tickled my eyes...".

Otherwise, amazing. :D
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Postby trentm32 » 12/27/2006, 10:55 am

well, finals and Christmas are behind me; and I finally had some time to finish up chapter three. dig it...

Chapter Three

“Thirty-Three Days Before The Night & St. Matthews: The Fire”

I slid my arm partway out the window of Chris’ faded red pick-up truck, and watched my hand as it glided back and forth, back and forth in the rushing wind. I could hear my thin, corduroy jacket ruffling as the breeze flew past it and into my face. It was the last warm day of November, and I was trying to soak it in as well as I could. I wasn’t doing too terribly bad, considering the circumstances.
“So, you don’t remember this place at all?” Chris asked me, glancing my way only momentarily before his eyes darted back to the road ahead. I thought for a few moments. I closed my eyes and tried as hard as I could to recall something, anything, about this place. I wished so bad that I could, even if it was just a glimpse.
I finally shook my head.
“Nope, not a thing.”
“Well, don’t worry about it, little brother; I can just barely remember it as it is.” I nodded slightly; I appreciated him trying to make me feel better. Once I had returned to watching my hand outside the window, I spotted a deer in the distance, and watched him as he watched me driving past. He almost looked somehow majestic, and probably would have were it not for the fact that one of his antlers was broken and jagged.
Once I was too far-gone to find him in the distance any longer, I returned my eyes to the barely paved little road unfolding itself immediately ahead of us. The truck seemed to always be bouncing over the light potholes dotting every inch of the road.
I could see the sun glimmering through from behind the trees, and I desperately hoped we made it before it finally sat. I wanted to see the place with some light still hanging in the air.
I suppose I was hoping that it might spark a memory, or at the least look somehow familiar to my foreign eyes.
After a few more minutes we came to a freshly painted stop sign where the road we were on came to an end, and the path split either to the left, or the right. At that Chris just sat there a moment at the sign, and stared at me. I was too busy looking off in the hills trying to find another deer to notice. When we hadn’t moved for al little while longer, I finally looked over at him.
“Hey, what’s the hold up?” Chris just rolled his eyes.
“Well, little brother; I was going to just look at the directions myself to figure out where to go, but the last time I checked they were in your pocket—isn’t that right my trusted navigator.” I blushed a little, and rolled my eyes as I dug in my pocket looking for the crisply folded white piece of paper. After a couple of seconds I finally found it.
“Well, my dear brother,” I said, “MapQuest seems to think that taking a left would probably be our best course of action; seeing as if we were to take a right we’d being going in the wrong direction.” Chris just chuckled,
“Left it is.”
Once we made the turn, we left behind the glories of the barely paved, pothole-laden road; and found ourselves on the barely passable one-lane gravel road, surrounded by what must have been four-foot ditches on both sides.
We took it slow, and watched as the forest of trees and brush closed in around us as we went deeper into the woods. Once we had pushed through a little while longer, I looked over to Chris and asked,
“Are you sure you got the address right?” He nodded, as he shot a look over toward me.
“As far as I know it is, this is the one I dug out of the hospital records. Now, if they had it wrong to begin with…” Chris smiled at me, “Then we’re screwed.”
I couldn’t help but laugh.
After another minute I was beginning to worry we had gone the wrong way, so I pulled the neatly folded piece of paper back out of my pocket.
“Two and a half miles,” I said aloud, Chris nodded back at me.
“Should be seeing it anytime now then, little brother.” I tried to smile. A knot had been building in my stomach since we had hit gotten on the gravel road, and the suspense was killing me to see this place. I don’t even know why I was so excited.
In the distance I could see some of the last rays of the sun shimmering off an old, rusting mailbox in a sharp, left turn. It had to be it. Chris began slowing the truck down, and once we made it to the turn we pulled up beside the postbox. Across the street there was an old trailer, with a Firebird parked in front underneath a large oak tree.
I quickly returned my eyes back to the mailbox, to read the chipped, red painted letters from it’s side.
“One Hundred, Malcolm Road.” I swallowed hard. This was it. After spending a moment trying to prepare myself, I finally raised my eyes toward the structure, hoping to see something that would rekindle some long-forgotten dream.
An old, dirty brick house rested upon the hill. It had a black-shingled roof, patched in places with darker black areas. The windows had been boarded up with cracking plywood; the door was brown wood, and looked heavy. A small, wrap around porch was clinging desperately to it’s front. At the side of the house I could see what looked to be two mangled together bicycles; the chains were rusted through, and the tires rotted to mud. I couldn’t help but wonder if they had been ours when we were young.
I felt like I had never seen this house before in my life. I looked over toward Chris and he just lowered his head. I knew at once that he didn’t share my ignorance.
We slowly got out of the truck, and started our trek up the small hill. It was covered in weeds, and dotted with rocks and scattered garbage. After a couple of moments I looked at Chris.
“Why do you want to come here so badly?” I asked. He stopped walking, and thought for a second.
“You’re one to ask, little brother. You’re here, too.” He had a point, I suppose when you think about it, it’s something that everybody seems to want to know. I just lowered my head, and continued walking toward the door.
The porch moaned hard as we stepped up on it. We both stood in front of the door, each waiting for the other to make the first move.
“Come on, let’s have a look around first,” Chris finally said, as he led the way around to the side of the house. The windows on the sides were boarded up as well, and after a few steps around the corner the little wooden porch just ran itself into the dirt of the higher ground at the sides.
Attached to the back of the house, in what looked to be a small, makeshift addition built onto the backdoor, was a dusty, old gas generator. Chris smiled when he saw it.
“I can’t believe this thing is actually still here,” Chris exclaimed. I gave him a confused look.
“They never ran any power lines out here, so the electricity for the house came from this,” he said; while pointing at the extraordinarily old machine that was lying in front of us.
“Come on, give me a hand,” and at that Chris bounded back toward the truck. I followed suit, to find he had stowed a fairly large, yellow gas jug on the back of the truck, filled to the brim. I helped him carry it back toward the generator, as we watched the last shreds of sunlight begin slipping away toward the hills in the distance.
When we had made it back around to the back of the house, Chris reached down and tried to dust off what he could of the generator; so that we could actually see how to turn the thing on. After a few moments of squinting and fumbling, he finally found the cap we needed to remove to put the gas inside. The two of us hoisted the massive jug into the air, and proceeded to pour as much as possible into the spout; without spilling too, terribly much in the process.
Once the jug had given up it’s last gasp of fuel, Chris began fumbling around again to try and see if the thing would actually run. Knowing Chris, I figured that if he did actually get it on, it was at least going to take a while; so I picked up the empty fuel jug and carried it back to the truck.
After I had tossed it on the pick-up bed, I looked back up toward the house. The sun was all but gone, and I could only faintly make out the structures’ outline against the darkened sky behind it. I shifted in my thin jacket a bit, as the fading warmth in the air began to give way to the autumn winds. I opened up the passenger door to the truck, and fumbled around in the glove compartment until my hands felt something small, cool, and metal: Chris’ old flashlight.
I clicked the button on the bottom, but nothing happened. After a few hard knocks in my fist, a faint light flickered through the glass. I could see the bulb inside straining for every ounce. I shined it to the ground, and made my way back up the hill.
I walked until I made it to the porch. I shined the light up toward the door, then all around the front of the house.
I couldn’t remember any of it. I hated that I was too young.
I took the three steps to the threshold slowly, and looked around to see if I could see Chris. He was still in the generator room; I could hear him fumbling around and mumbling directions to himself, over and over again. He had one of those repetitive personalities.
I walked the handful of steps back over to the doorway, and slowly reached my hand down toward the metal doorknob. It was freezing to the touch. I jiggled it lightly, but nothing happened. I swallowed hard, and proceeded to turn the doorknob even harder; until I felt it click loudly under my hand. A chill shot through my back.
I pushed the door open just enough to fit my thin frame through. As I crossed inside, my feet kicked dried, rotting leaves and old garbage out of the way. The light was getting dimmer, and I could barely make out fresh graffiti on the walls, spray painted names of lovers, and games of tic-tac-toe scattered as far as the eye could see. There were candles, unlit, scattered all around the small den. I suppose in the process of all these years of abandonment, the place had become a haven for teenage parties. I closed my eyes and tried to picture what it must have looked like all of those years ago. I finally got a picture in my head, but when I opened my eyes it was just the same thing. I let out a sigh under my breath.
I slowly made my way over to a Catholic saint’s candle sitting alone on a wooden stool in the middle of the room. I reached into my pocket and pulled out a lighter. After a few vain strikes, a flame finally sparked from the cool steel. I slowly reached down to the wick, and just as began to lean down, the small flashlight in my hand faded to black, and the darkness filled the room again.
With the windows boarded up, there wasn’t a shred of light except the lighter shaking lightly in my hand. As I touched the flame to the wick, a thunderous roar erupted from the back of the house. Suddenly the room was bathed in light, and as I jerked my arm up, I knocked the candle I was lighting hard to the tile floor. I could barely hear the thin glass shatter over the noise. My heart was racing as I heard Chris shout out to me,
“I got it! I got it running, little brother!”
I started laughing aloud, and was barely able to gain my composure as he walked in from the back room, entering through the enclosed back door. I raised my head to find a rusted chandelier with dusty light bulbs resting inside it. A lamp in the corner was shining on, as well. Chris just looked around the room, and slowly shook his head.
“Wow. This place sure has changed a lot.” I nodded back at him and sighed,
“I kind of figured,” was all I could say. Chris just smiled at me,
“It wasn’t anything great, you know; but I just remember it being…nice.” I couldn’t help but smile. It felt good to think that I used to have a nice home when I was younger, a nice home with parents. I wished even more that I had been old enough to still have those memories.
“Can, can you remember them?” I stared at Chris as I said the words. He thought for a few moments.
“Barely,” he finally said. “But not enough to matter. It’s funny that I can remember this, our house, so well…but, but I can barely remember our parents faces.” I could see a small tear forming in the corner of his eye. I tried to fake a smile for him. We just stood there for a while, wishing desperately that we had found something important here, but we both knew it was nothing more than a beat-up old house.
“It’s alright, big brother,” I finally said, as I put my arm around his shoulder. He couldn’t help but laugh a bit. I scanned my eyes around the abused walls and cracking tile floor until I found the hallway.
“Hey,” I said, “you wouldn’t happen to know which room was ours, would you.” A big grin spread across his face. He started walking down the hallway, all the way to the final room there. He pushed the light, hollow door open, and reached inside and clicked a light switch on.
I closed my eyes, and hoped that there would be something, anything in there that would remind me of home. I opened my eyes to find a stack of empty beer cans piled into the corner of a small room with peeling paint. There was a faded, large red mark on the wall behind the cans. Chris walked over to it, and rubbed his hand across it.
“This is where we first figured out what crayons did,” he said, barely able to finish the sentence as he started laughing at it’s end. Sad laughter, but at least it was laughter.
“I had always thought that was just something I had made up in my mind, because I didn’t have any real childhood memories; well, any memories before we were there,” he said. “But, I guess that it’s real.” He pulled the little silver cross that he always wore out from under his shirt, and kissed it lightly.
We stood in there a while, making idle small talk about what it may have been like growing up here; Chris trickling in tiny, vague details that he barely held onto.
I tried to imagine our mother cooking us dinner there; Chris and I playing with crayons on the wall—apparently—waiting for her to yell for us to come eat dinner. I never could see her face in my mind, and I faintly began to smell smoke from the kitchen, it almost seemed real as I tried to imagine her voice—the turkey in the oven was just starting to burn.
I took another breath and realized that it was real. The smoke was real. A loud pop came echoing through the house, it sounded like it came from the back.
A low fog quickly began trickling through the crack in the bottom of the door; I looked over to Chris and saw him notice it at about the same time I was. I rushed over to the door and shoved it open. A cloud of smoke poured into the room. I tried to gasp in a breath of air, but all I seemed to find was hot smoke and ash.
My eyes were burning, and I could barely make out the shadow where the door was six feet in front of my face. I felt Chris grab my arm, and he started trying to lead the way out. Always the big brother.
“Hold on, Jake; I’m going to get us out of here,” he said. I just held onto his arm and hoped he was right.
The smoke swirled around us like ghosts in a boiling summer night. The garbage and dried leaves on the floor went up in seconds, and I could feel the heat quickly warming my feet in my shoes. I stretched my toes, and wished I could see. Chris was pulling me so hard; I didn’t even know what was happening as my feet slid out from under me, catching on what I can only guess is probably the stool that was in the center of the living room. When I cut my hand on the broken glass from the candle, I was sure of it.
Our hands came apart, and Chris started to disappear as a shadow in the night. After a moment I heard him start shouting.
“Jake, where are you!” I tried to open my mouth, but all I could do was cough. I started flailing my arms wildly until I finally caught hold of something.
“There you are,” I heard Chris grunt as he pulled on my arm to lift me from the ground. He put his arm around my shoulder, and started walking as fast as he could carry me toward what I desperately hoped was the door.
My hopes began crashing down when I started to hear Chris fumbling his hands against the wall, franticly trying to find the door. He shoved me to the floor, and told me to breath shallow. All I could hear was Chris coughing, and stomping around. My eyes were burning, and every breath I took became more and more choked with smoke.
After a few more seconds I didn’t hear Chris coughing anymore.
“Chris…Chris!” I started shouting and coughing, grey tears streaked my cheeks as I began reaching around the floor trying to find him. My eyes hurt so much that I finally just closed them as I groped at thick air and nothingness.
Suddenly I felt someone pick me up from behind. It was a hard jerk, and I could feel smooth, hard, slick fabric against my back. A voice broke through the silence, and a cool shudder shot through my body, even through the burning smoke and heat.
“Just hold on,” he said. His voice was deep and thick. I was trying to tell him to get Chris, but all I could do was cough. I just closed my eyes, and moved my legs as he led me. Once I felt the air cool, and a breeze on my face, I tried to take in a deep breath to speak.
As soon as I was coherent again, I raised my head to see a volunteer fireman, all alone, standing over me. I tried to speak again,
“My brother,” I said. “My brother is still inside.” His face grew serious again. He pulled his helmet back over his eyes.
“You stay here,” he said, as he broke into a dead run heading back into the house. I finally caught my breath, and sat upright and waited for him to come out. I started counting the seconds in my mind. My whole body was shaking, and the air felt cold around me. The grey tears on my cheeks began to chill my face.
As I waited, holding my breath without even knowing, my eyes drifted to the house across the street. It was then that I noticed the “Volunteer Fire Dept.” sticker plastered proudly on the back of the Firebird in the yard. I exhaled.
I heard coughing coming from the house, and I turned around to see this man—well, from my blurry eyes it was more like a yellow shape—half carrying, and half dragging, my big brother out through the front door. I could hear the man gasping for air as he made it back outside.
Chris wasn’t moving at all.
The man laid him on the ground, tilted Chris’ head back, and began doing CPR. I couldn’t’ even move; I didn’t know what to do. I just sat there under my tree, and watched all of this develop in front of me like some horrible dream. I wished so badly that I could wake up.
After just a few moments Chris’ arm jerked, and a second later he began coughing. My heart was beating so hard I thought it was going to burst out of my chest. The man helped him set up, and after a prolonged period of coughing and spitting; Chris finally opened his eyes and looked at me.
He looked empty, disappointed. I smiled at him, and after a few moments he confusedly tried to smile back. Once I regained some strength, I walked slowly over to him and sat down on the cool ground beside him. I could feel the heat from the fire blistering my face.
I looked up to see the house engulfed in flames. The home we grew up in, the home I couldn’t remember. It was almost as if it had imploded into a whirlwind of paint and ash.
I could hear the fireman talking on his radio still barely able to speak, and the faint droning of sirens was somewhere in the distance; just out of reach. I looked back at Chris to find him looking at me. He looked so sullen. He just stared at me for a few more moments. Finally, he spoke.
“It was wrong,” was all he said.
"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 » 12/27/2006, 3:09 pm

Maybe don't include "the fire" in the title to the chapter. I think it makes it a little too obvious what is going to happen to the house.
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Postby trentm32 » 1/18/2007, 11:37 am

christa lynn wrote:Maybe don't include "the fire" in the title to the chapter. I think it makes it a little too obvious what is going to happen to the house.


Very good point; I've changed it on my manuscript copy... Here's the next chapter...

Chapter Four

“Thirty Days Before The Night At St. Matthews”

I had never seen my brothers’ eyes look so bloodshot, so unfocused. He didn’t even notice that I was staring at him as we sat there, silently, at our usual window booth at Mel’s Diner.
He had a five ‘o clock shadow creeping across his chin and cheeks; I was searching my mind for the last time I had seen him unshaven—but I couldn’t find a thing. The smell of burnt bacon and watered-down coffee drifted through the air as we waited on our order.
“So…does it feel good to finally be out of the hospital?” I asked Chris; all he could do was nod back at me; never even looking up from his cold hands on the table.
“You got lucky, you know; to come away with just some mild smoke inhalation and not much else.” He didn’t even bother to nod back at me this time.
I shook my head slowly, back and forth, and finally just turned my eyes down toward the table. I wished I could understand. I had asked him a thousand times what was bothering him, but all he ever did was change the subject.
Now, well; he was barely even talking anymore.
To be honest, I was happy to have at least got him out of his room at St. Matthews. I had tried to stay with him while he was at the hospital, but he was so concerned about being a burden that he wouldn’t let me.
Once they discharged him he just headed straight back to St. Matthews, only stopping by my apartment distractedly for a minute to let me know he was out; and to borrow some books—swearing the whole time that he’s “fine, just fine.”
I didn’t even see what he had grabbed; so after he left I went back and scanned through my bookshelf. As my fingers grazed across the faded covers and scattered hardbacks I began inventorying what was gone under my breath.
I noticed that Budge’s Papyrus of Ani translation was missing—my fingers kept ticking down—as well as a collection of Dante’s works I picked up for some under-grad work. I dropped down to the second shelf.
The anchor corner was bare; it took me a second to remember that it was where I kept an old edition of a Norton literary anthology from my freshman year of college.
Chris had never cared anything about literature; the only book I think he had ever read all the way through was the Bible.
“Hey…” It startled me to hear Chris’ voice; I raised my head to find him looking at me.
“I’ll get those books back to you soon, little brother.” I smiled a bit at that.
“Not a problem. Hang onto them as long as you want.” Chris smiled slightly, and nodded thanks.
“I was wondering, though…” I finally added, “What brought about this sudden urge for such random reading materials?”
Chris’ eyes lowered back to the table. He sat there silent for what seemed like forever. If we hadn’t been so close, I would have to call it a most awkward of awkward silences. He finally raised his eyes and stared straight at me. His eyes were bloodshot. His face was pale; it almost matched the long-sleeved white t-shirt hanging loosely from his shoulders.
“I didn’t see anything, Jake.”
With that, he lowered his head back toward the table. I could see tears begin rolling freely down his cheeks. It looked like a month’s worth of crying had rolled into this one, singular moment. I put my hand on my brother’s hand; his rolled up tight into a fist, and tried vainly to comfort him.
His comment had perplexed me, so I just focused my eyes outside the window, and tried to decide what I should say. My brother just kept weeping, hard, into his sleeve as I sat there.
We stayed there in that booth together for a long while. I kept my hand on his the whole while. When Chris had finally exhausted himself, he raised his eyes toward mine. His pale face had turned red—flushed—as he finally tried to smile at me.
His hand was shaking as he slowly pulled it away from mine. He reached into his pant pocket and pulled something out. It looked like a small book. He squeezed it in his palm, and finally laid it down squarely on the table. A small, red leather-bound copy of the New Testament rested quietly on the cool, wooden in front of me. I looked at it a moment, and finally looked back up at Chris.
He just stared longingly at it, with his hands both extended out around it, forming a circle with his chapped, pale hands.
Chris raised his eyes to meet mine, and prepared to speak.
“It doesn’t say anything anymore,” and with that he shook his head, and paused.
“Nothing.”
I nodded slightly back to him, still unsure as to what was going on.
“And it used to?” I finally asked. Chris just kept looking me in the eyes. At my question he nodded emphatically, like a child trying to prove a point. He had a look of broken sincerity that I just couldn’t comprehend.
“It doesn’t make sense anymore. And I didn’t know what to do; because it always had…at least it did until I asked why. That was the only time it didn’t answer my questions.” A glistening tear began slowly crawling down his face; it must have been the last one he had left.
“I haven’t heard from it since. I’ve tried and tried and tried, but I couldn’t even get a whisper.”
I just nodded. I was putting some thoughts together in my head to try and wrap myself around what he was saying. After a second or two of deliberation I decided on what was the most important question I needed to ask.
“What did you ask it, Chris?” I asked. My voice was barely audible as the words slipped through my lips. He sighed loudly, and took a moment to try and settle his voice to speak.
“That day…the day of the fire.” He swallowed hard. I could tell that he was unequivocally trying to select the right words, to say exactly what he wanted to say, in exactly the way he wanted to say it.
I nodded my head slightly, trying my best to look accommodating—so that he would feel more comfortable, and want to continue on.
“Before I woke up, I can remember everything that happened. Everything. I remember losing hold of you. I remember falling to the floor; I remember how hot my face felt, and how tough it was to breathe.” At that he took a deep breath. I just waited for him to continue.
“And, I remember giving in. I remember wrapping my fingers around the charm on my neck, taking one last breath, and just letting go. Letting it all go.”
He had my full attention now; I just stared at him, hanging on his every word. It felt like we were kids again, and he was telling me some fantastically entrancing story before we went to bed.
He began to shuffle in his seat, as he tried to form the words for what came next.
“And then there was…nothing. Just nothing. There were no bright lights, there were no harps, there were no clouds, there were no angels...” He swallowed hard.
“And, there was no God.”
A shrill crashing erupted through the restaurant as the door slammed shut behind an elderly man taking his leave. The skin on the back of my neck stood on end as I darted my eyes to the exit, then back to Chris. I thought for a few seconds, then finally said,
“But how can you be sure?” His lips pursed into a frown, and he just nodded his head.
“Trust me, I know. I was gone for almost a minute—it felt like so much longer—and nothing happened. Nothing. When I closed my eyes, I expected to find something new when I opened them. But my eyes never opened, and all I found was a cold, and a dark. And, when they finally did part again I only saw the harsh wind, and the cool sky hanging empty above my head.” He just shook his head.
“There was nothing, Jake. I expected everything…and I got nothing.”
I cleared my throat, as I tried to find the words to console him. After a few minutes of thinking I realized there were none.
"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 » 2/6/2007, 6:59 am

updattte thisss
-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 » 2/6/2007, 2:05 pm

and it continues...
Chapter Five

“Twenty Three Days Before The Night & St. Matthews”

“I’m worried about Chris.” It hurt to finally say it aloud. I’d been trying to avoid it, trying to tell myself that he’d just get over it and be able to move on—but none of it seemed to work. I suppose neither one of us could lie to ourselves.
Cassandra just smiled one of those warm, knowing smiles she always seemed to keep handy for such an occasion. She nodded her head a little, and finally pursed her lips; letting her delicate voice slip through the unshakable concern and sincerity.
“I knew that something was bothering you, Jake” I just nodded back at her. There was no way that I could tell her everything. Everything that he had told me.
“He’ll be alright,” she continued. “Almost suffocating to death can be a fairly traumatic experience, you know.” I just nodded. If that were all it was, I almost think that he would be all right. After a few more minutes of silence, she finally added,
“I wish I knew him better.” We’d had this argument before, and it seemed pretty apparent that we were going to have it again. She just didn’t seem to be able to grasp that fact that, yes; my brother and I were close; but that closeness didn’t at all translate into peripheral people—even if those people are long-time girlfriends.
Chris and I just never seemed to work that way. I just sighed.
“Maybe, Cass. Maybe someday. We’re not really friends, we’re brothers.”
“Don’t those go hand in hand?” She asked. I knew she meant well, she just wanted to be closer to me—to understand me better—but this was just an avenue that she couldn’t take to get there. I just chuckled.
“No. No they don’t.” After another second or two she sighed loudly—one of those ‘I’m giving up for now’ kind of sighs, and just changed the subject.
“So, is he still avoiding you?” She asked. I hadn’t told her that I’d had lunch with him a week ago, I knew it would have upset her.”
“Yeah, yeah he is.”
“I’m praying for him, you know. I went through something kind of like this when my dad died; back when I was in high school.” I nodded, and lowered my eyes a bit. She’d told me the story a few times before, and it seemed to be her only real encounter with the world outside of her pews and hymns.
I could tell that it had scared her. It scared her so much in fact that a couple of months after her dad had passed away she finally did go back, and it seems to have helped her get through it. I was happy for her that she had found a path. My only wish is that she would slack off on trying to lead me down it, as well.
“I know, Cass; I know.” I just nodded and tried to smile back at her. I had been doing a pretty good job of hiding my concerns for Chris from her, but I must admit it felt good to finally be able to confront the elephant aloud.
Even though I knew all that Cassandra could offer me were generic assurances that things would be alright, and that he would get through this; even though she couldn’t substantiate that claim in the least—it didn’t change the fact that it still felt good to hear them. To hear someone being positive after the past week of me battling my own cynicism and doubt; searching fruitlessly for an answer that it was growing clearer and clearer didn’t exist.
How do you fix someone’s faith? I sighed aloud at the inner-monologue haunting my cluttered head.
I didn’t know.
The sound of glass barely clattering caught my ear as she picked up a couple of glasses, and I raised my head to find Cass watching me intently. She had a look of concern on her face that I immediately shot a smile onto my face to try to reverse. It was too late.
“Is there something you’re not telling me about all this?” I shook my head.
“No, of course not.” I lied. I didn’t want to tell her what Chris had told me. I was afraid on some level she might blame me for it. On almost every level I could trace things, the buck still landed on my head every time—every single time—I thought about it long enough.
I was afraid that on some level my own personal doubt had somehow weakened his seemingly strong resolve when it came to things this heady. It wasn’t rational, but it was still there. It didn’t really make sense—but still—it was there.
It was creaking through my psyche every time I would try to dissect where it might have came from; how it might have happened. Maybe he was just scared, and in that fear he manifested…well…nothing. Every man has doubts; and in most cases they come out in the least opportune of times.
But, I still couldn’t help but think that I was somehow the seed. My train of thought came crashing off the tracks when I heard Cassandra’s voice come echoing through my ears.
“I pray for you, too; Jake.”
I just smiled and nodded, and tried my best to change the subject.
"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 » 2/8/2007, 8:55 pm

You know, I think this is the reason I still check the CM every once in a while. Trent, you rock.
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Postby trentm32 » 2/8/2007, 11:38 pm

aww... thanks!!!!
"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 » 2/11/2007, 11:56 pm

yet another chapter...

Chapter Six

“Thirteen Days Before The Night At St. Mathews”

There were children in thick coats with mittens and hats playing tag in the park just across the way. The sun was shining brightly in the cloudless sky, but the air was still filled with the biting cold of winter. I looked down to my cheap, scuffed watch for the hundredth or so time.
“Forty minutes late,” I mumbled the words sadly under my breath. I tapped the face of my watch for no real reason; it just seemed the thing to do. My bones and stomach ached for the coffee we had planned on getting.
Chris was the most prompt person I had ever known, his recent rash of tardiness (that is when he even shows up at all) worried me more and more with every passing minute.
I sighed aloud, and raised my head to finally see my big brother in the distance, making his way slowly up the cracked sidewalk toward the park bench where I sat. He had a dark jacket zipped up close to his chest, and a thick red scarf wrapped tightly around his neck. There were dark bags under his eyes as he looked down at me and tried to smile.
I stood up and hugged him tightly.
“How you doing, big brother?” He nodded slowly.
“Better…I’ve been sleeping a little better the last couple of nights.” He put his hand on my shoulder, and tried to make me believe him. He sat down beside me and didn’t say anything for a moment. Upon taking a deep breath of the chilly, icy air; he looked me clear in the eyes and said,
“You know…what if I got it wrong? What if I just can’t remember what happened?” I shrugged my shoulders slightly. This was the first time in over two weeks that he had brought the day of the fire up. I was glad that he was at least broaching the topic again—I hoped that perhaps talking about it a little more would help him move past it.
“That’s a really good point, Chris. That was a pretty tough thing—the fire—to come back from; maybe…maybe you just don’t remember.”
“I’ve tried so hard, so hard to.” I could see a lone tear begin rolling down his pale cheek. He looked so broken.
“It’s okay, Chris; it’s okay.” I put my arm around him, and tried my best to comfort him. The kids across the street were still playing; it looked like hide and seek, now. There was a young boy with a bright blue jacket hiding behind an oak tree right in front of us. He looked up and saw me, and put his finger over his mouth; the universal sign to keep quiet. I just smiled to him and nodded.
Chris raised his head, and saw the kids playing, as well. A smile—and this time it looked to be a genuine one—spread over his face.
“Things sure were easier when we were kids, weren’t they little brother?” I couldn’t help but laugh aloud,
“You got that right, bro.”
At that Chris raised his head straight up toward the sky, and seemed to be staring at the sun. After a moment he looked back down and shook his head, hard. It was almost as if he was trying to shake something out.
We just sat there for a while, not saying anything. It was a comfortable silence, and I was hoping that Chris was using the time to digest his thoughts, and try to make amends and get past this all—and let things begin moving back toward some semblance of normalcy.
I felt a chill from the cool, afternoon air course quickly through my body; and just as soon as it had arrived it was almost suddenly gone. My lips felt blue, and my face was chapped from the strong stirring wind; almost like invisible ’nine tails were sweeping across the face of the earth, and across the park bench where we sat.
I was getting chillier by the minute, and the coffee we had planned to get an hour ago still sat warmly in the nice warm face a block or two down. But, it felt good just to be spending time with Chris again; and though I shifted in my spot every few minutes, thoughts of leaving were never seriously entertained.
After a few more moments, without saying a word, Chris rose to his feet and stretched his arms up over his head. He took a few steps away, then just as I began to stand up and go after him he turned back to me and said,
“I have to know, little brother. I just have to.” All I could do was nod an understanding nod back to him.
Every man must walk his own path; no matter where it might lead him.
I just sat there, and watched my brother’s visage fade slowly into the distance as he passed in front of the coffee shop we never actually made it inside of.
It’s the worst feeling in the world; being helpless to help the one’s you love.
On that thought a shrill beeping began emanating from my jacket pocket—I reached inside to reveal my ringing cell phone. The caller ID read “Cassandra;” I had completely forgotten that we had plans to meet up.
I glanced at my watch before I answered and noticed that I was already half an hour late. I answered slowly, and told her that I had just been with Chris, and lost track of time.
“Take all the time you need; how is he?” I pulled the phone from my mouth and sighed and thought a moment.
“He’s fine,” was what I finally answered. She didn’t seem to believe me, and I didn’t have the motivation at the time to try and make her believe me. So, quick thinking as I am, I changed the subject.
“Cassandra,” I quickly said.
“Yes?” She asked; in one of her patented ‘I know you’re trying to change the subject’ kind of tones.
“Why don’t you meet me at the café on fifth and we’ll grab some coffee? I’ve been craving some for a while now. See you soon, babe.”
With that I hung up before she had to time to retort, and then raised my freezing frame from the bench to begin making my way toward the coffee shop. I looked to my right to find that the kids playing in the park had all gone home. A shade faded across my face as I looked up to find a lone cloud drifting slowly, softly in front of the sun.
It was almost picturesque.
"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 » 2/13/2007, 10:17 pm

the next chapter...

Chapter Seven

“One Day Before The Night At St. Matthews”

I had been worried since I hung up the phone; Chris sounded so…odd. He asked me to come and see him at his place, at his room at St. Matthews, and said it was important and I should hurry. That was it. I could hear him rustling with things in the background hurriedly as he spoke. I hung up the phone and headed over there immediately.
My car had been running a bit rough, so I had to take things a little slower than I’d have liked to on my over way there. The sun was setting as I slowly pulled through the main gate to the grounds. It was iron wrought, and shot up high into the air with jagged edges. It was old, but still had that air of grandeur surrounding it.
My car just kept getting louder as I made my way toward the dormitory. When I saw the temperature gauge begin steadily creeping upward I decided to just make the rest of my way on foot; so I pulled off and parked in the first empty spot.
I jogged quickly toward the dormitory; both because it was so cold out, and because I was worried. I felt a little better as I saw Chris’ truck on my way in. It still had his old air freshener cross hanging from the rear-view mirror; even though it’d lost its abilities to actually smell good many years ago. I smiled a bit as I walked past it.
When I made it to the heavy, stained glass front door I turned the knob hard; and pushed until I heard it creak open. A shiver shot down my spine—no matter how many times I’d been there, the place still always seemed to make me uncomfortable for some reason. More so that night than any other.
The floors groaned below me as I made my way up the aged stairs toward Chris’ room. I looked at the floor as I made my way up; the hardwood floors were in desperate need of a good polish. I stopped in front of Chris’ door and just listened. I could see faint light flickering from under the door into the barely lit hallway where I stood. I could hear him on the other side of it, moving things around, and shuffling around the room. I knocked lightly, once. Before I could even touch it again, I heard him whisper quickly, excitedly, from inside the room:
“Jake; is that you?”
“Yeah Chris, it’s me.” Before I could reach the knob he had jutted the door slightly open in front of me. I stepped through to find my brother looking like I’d never seen him before. He was pale, unkempt, and jittery in a way that I couldn’t quite explain. He was fidgeting with some things on an old metal cart in the corner; I walked over to see what was there. Before I could look down, Chris grabbed hold of my arm and spun me around to where I would be facing him.
“I figured it out, little brother,” he started. “I have to know, I have to.” I shook my head confusedly; I was still a step or two away from catching on.
“I have a plan,” he continued. “I’m going to go back; I know there has to be something there—so I’m going to go back and prove it. I think I can do it; I think I can do it and still come back.”
I shook my head; at the time I wasn’t sure what to think. He didn’t even seem to notice the confusion spread widely across my face.
“But, I’m going to need your help, little brother.”
"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 » 2/15/2007, 1:57 pm

here it is... the final chapter in what I'm billing as part one of the story. Enjoy!!!

Chapter Eight

“Three Days After The Night At St. Matthews”

I raised my head to see the grand old, wooden crucifix hanging lofty above my head. An effigy of Christ lay stung out across it’s front; a knowing smile rest on his lips.
Stained glass windows were large, and scattered around the grand hall where we all sat. The ceiling was high, and I could faintly hear the echoes of the pounding rain outside beating heavily against the walls and roof.
I used my sleeve to wipe a tear that began creeping slowly down my cheek. I looked to my sides to see friends, and faintly familiar faces all wrapping around me in a haze of color and melancholy. I barely even noticed now when yet another; in what seemed an endless stream of hands patting me on the back in sympathy, grazed across the upper part of my black overcoat. I didn’t even care who it was anymore.
Cassandra was sitting beside me, loosely holding my hand in hers. She was in a black dress that seemed to do nothing more than make me even sadder.
A short man in a long black robe, with grey hair was standing behind the podium at the front of the church. He looked so small behind the massive, dark oak pulpit. The coffin with my brother’s body was laid out neatly in front of him; it was even in the center, and it seemed to be perpendicular with all of the walls.
I tried to listen to what the man was saying, but the words just wouldn’t stay together. It was almost like on a Charlie Brown Christmas, where you can never actually hear what the teacher is saying. I just sat there, and kept trying to hear him.
I still couldn’t get that night out of my mind. I just stayed there, reliving it over and over. The bathtub, the phone call, and the drive home that is still fuzzy even in my inescapably clear memory. I didn’t even know what I was saying when I called for the ambulance…or I suppose it was for the coroner, actually.
He was white, and cold, and stiff by the time they even got there. Looking back I couldn’t have been much help—just rocking myself--back and forth, back and forth—on the cool, stained tile floor.
“Chris—my brother—he’s, he’s dead. Please, somebody come; I, I don’t know what to do.” That was all I could say before I just dropped the phone on his bed, and went back down the hall to sit with him and wait; they had to trace the call to even find us. I mean, to find me.
“…and Christopher was a good man…”
My eyes shot to the front of the room as the short old man continued talking. I didn’t know who he was, but I hoped he had at least known Chris, somehow—I hoped that he was Chris’ mentor, or something. Or at least someone he had looked up to. Anything; just something to make it mean more. To make the words he was saying truer.
The church was silent, but I could still hear murmurs echoing through the high walls and ceiling. Sobs, and whispers—the clattering of feet on the floor outside.
I wiped another tear from my cheek.
I hated that I had helped him; I hated it so much. I knew he would have done it—with or without me—but I couldn’t help but think that there had to have been something, anything, that I could have done. Hindsight is twenty-twenty, as they say.
I couldn’t stand to be in that room anymore, so I slowly stood up and tried my best to quietly make my way out to the grand hall while drawing as little attention to myself as possible. As my hand slid out of Cassandra’s I tried to smile, and mouthed the words ‘I need some air’ so that she hopefully wouldn’t follow me. I just wanted to be alone. The few people that noticed me leaving just seemed to nod sadly toward me, and then quickly look away.
The pitter-patter of heels and expensive shoes clattering on the stone floor got louder as I got closer to the back.
Once I was finally out of that room, I made a beeline for the farthest bathroom from the where I was at that I could find. After a few minutes of wandering I found one; it was just a small room, tucked into a back corner of a split-off hallway.
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. In the shadow at the very end of the passage I could see what appeared to be the outline of a man standing there. I saw something sparkle around his neck. He seemed to be watching me, so I slowly started waling toward him. He didn’t move, and seemed to be waiting for me. As I got closer I noticed that he was dressed very well in a black suit that looked vaguely familiar, and he was about my size and height.
I still couldn’t make out his face.
As I almost made it to him, I made out what I had seen sparkling in the dark; a silver crucifix dangled from around his neck. Once I crossed into the shadow where he stood his features became much, much clearer.
A chill shot up my spine. The man in front of me was pale—pale as the fresh fallen snow—and he had what looked to be an expensive black suit on, with a crisp white shirt underneath that seemed to still be darker than he, clinging closely to his bones. He raised his head and looked me in the eye; and finally spoke three words I had never thought to hear again.
“Hey, little brother.”
"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 » 2/16/2007, 8:47 pm

:O

As a general comment, it's fairly obvious that the shadowy man is going to be his brother. I dunno how obvious you were intending it to be. Those three last paragraphs seem slightly awkward somehow ... Don't get me wrong, it's very good, but I think you can do better. ;)
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