Stories To Be
Bits and Pieces of my stories. Some posts here will be continuances of a story. Some will be details or ideas for a scene or other part of a story that isn't next but I don't want to forget. Each post will be titled with the name of the story it belongs to, to keep things from being confusing.
Please let me know what you think! Comment or e-mail me
. Both positive and negitive critiques expected!
Saturday, November 12, 2005
NaNoWriMo Day 12
- Chapter 3 Finished
64 words. Got stuck today, not wanting to write. Gr. I might have just irrecoverably hurt myself in this contest. But on the up side, Jessie helped me work out part of the plot. That'll be in tomorrow's writing.
Alicia called Martin next, but his voice mail answered. So she simply left a message saying not to come tomorrow, that her best friend Tracy was coming over so she'd have Tracy take her to the hospital. Then she called her mother.
"Hi Mom," Alicia answered.
"Hi sweetheart, what's up?" her mother replied happily.
"Not much. I just wanted to say I love you."
Labels: BoD, NaNoWriMo 2005, Story
Thursday, November 10, 2005
NaNoWriMo Day 10
- Chapter 3 More Cont.
On the drive home Martin rubbed his side where Alicia had hit him with her elbow as if it were still in pain, and glanced over at her. "So, we're not telling anyone I take it?"
Alicia half smiled at his mock pain. "That wasn't my reason for poking you."
"That's what you call a poke? Yikes!" He laughed. Which made Alicia smile a little more.
"Okay, fine. That wasn't my reason for smacking you with my arm," she corrected her statement with emphasis. "Better?"
Martin smiled. "Yes."
Alicia shook her head slightly at him, then shifted in her seat to gaze out her window. "Natalie and the kids didn't need to know how close they came to losing Doug."
"Yeah, I guess you're right," Martin admitted. "Natalie wouldn't have wanted to know."
"Nope," Alicia agreed. "But... since you brought it up." She paused, then sighed.
"What?" Martin prompted.
"Maybe we shouldn't be telling anyone about me," she said in a way that indicated she wasn't sure if she wanted to keep things a secret.
"Why?" Martin wondered aloud.
"Well, honestly, because of Maria," Alicia answered. "I mean, if I a helping her, that's great. And I do want to. But, well, there are a lot of people in that hospital...."
"Alicia, you aren't required to help everyone," Martin told her.
"I know. But it almost seems unfair. I have the ability to save them all, don't I?"
"Theoretically," Martin answered as best he could.
She turned her eyes to the sky. "Then shouldn't I?" Martin didn't answer. She dropped her head and closed her eyes in shame. "I feel so selfish."
"For what?" Martin asked with attitude in his voice.
"Because. I don't want to live at the hospital."
"And you shouldn't," Martin informed her.
"But that's where D is. All the time. If I am going to stop her, that's where I need to be," Alicia explained.
Martin diverted his attention from her as they approached the intersection of the accident. He slowed down, carefully making his way through. Several more moments passed in silence.
Finally Martin cut the tension. "You still have your own life to live," he said. "You can't let your gift run your life, or ruin it. Think about it this way. Before you found out, you went around acting like every other normal person. Yet you were helping people along the way without even realizing it. Well, now you know. That means you can actively help people now, maybe even go out of your way for others. But, you still have to keep your day job. And the things that make you happy."
Alicia nodded slowly.
"You're right," Martin added. "We shouldn't be telling people. The last thing you need is people mobbing you at the hospital every time you go to help someone."
"Just what I need," Alicia said, rolling her eyes. "I bet D would love that."
"Oh yeah. They'd probably keep you from getting in his way! Very much counterproductive." He chuckled slightly. "So, no telling anyone then?"
"Well," Alicia hesitated with thought. "I think I am going to tell my parents."
Martin gave her an 'oh really' look. "Oh yeah?" he asked to match it.
"They are my parents after all," she replied. "I can't just keep something this important from them."
Martin bobbed his head. "Of course not."
At Alicia's apartment building Martin pulled into the parking lot to let her out. She closed the door behind her, then immediately turned around and motioned for him to open the window.
"Forget something?" he asked.
"No," she said, then smiled. "I just want to thank you. You know, for driving me all over, and making sure I'm okay, and everything."
He smiled back. "No problem. Besides, this is a rental, so it doesn't really matter how many miles I put on it!"
She chuckled slightly. "I suppose not. Well, thanks again."
"You're welcome," he replied sincerely. "See you tomorrow."
When Alicia got into her apartment, she turned on the lights, dropped her keys and purse by the door, and sighed. "This place is a dump," she commented to no one as she looked around. Usually her place only passable for clean. As in she managed to keep it picked up most of the time, but real cleaning happened about once a month at best. With a broken right arm, and being right handed, she had found it nigh impossible to keep her place even low clutter. The thought of hiring a maid service crossed her mind, but she knew she couldn't afford it. "Oh well," she said, and sighed again. "Let's see what's for dinner."
There was practically nothing in her refrigerator. She hadn't been to the grocery store since the accident. She frowned at the empty space for a moment, then opened the freezer. Two frozen dinners sat encrusted with ice crystals, signifying they'd been in there for quite a long while. "You'll have to do," she said as she pulled one out and looked at it.
Minutes later the microwave dinged, and Alicia had a nice hot mediocre meal ready for eating. She sat down in front of the tv with it. But as soon as she was done eating she turned off the tv, it wasn't at all what she wanted to do.
She moped around her apartment for a little while, collecting clothes and picking up other miscellaneous items, but not at all interesting in doing that either. Finally she flopped down on her couch.
"Why am I so depressed?" she asked noone. She sighed heavily. "Do I miss work?" She shook her head. "No, not really," she grumbled. She rolled her head to one side. Soon she was picking at the loose strings on her couch. Once she'd had enough of that, she sat up and looked around.
"Am I lonely?" she wondered. She shrugged to herself. "I don't think so." She looked around more, and soon her gaze landed on her phone. "Oh! I was going to call Mom," she reminded herself. "I should go visit her and Dad this weekend."
She walked over and picked up the phone. But as she started dialing, she thought of someone else. She pressed the phone's hook down, let go, then started a new number.
"Hello?" a voice on the other side answered after a couple rings.
"Tracy? It's Alicia."
"Alicia!" Tracy replied, the joy evident in her voice. Just the sound of it made Alicia feel better. "It's been almost a week! How are you? How's your arm?" Tracy asked.
"Oh I'm fine. My arm's pretty much the same. Sorry I didn't call a few days ago."
"Oh that's okay. It's not like I called you either. Things around here have been SO busy!"
"Yeah," Alicia nodded. "I know how it's gets for you." She paused a moment. "I miss you."
"I miss you too, sweetheart," Tracy replied. "Are we still on for this weekend?"
Alicia cringed inwardly. So much for Mom and Dad. "Of course," she replied.
"You sound a little down," Tracy said with concern. "You sure you're okay?"
"Oh I'm fine," Alicia told her.
"You said that already," Tracy retorted. "Come on, you can tell me."
Alicia sighed slowly. "Ah. It's just that this place is a mess 'cause I can't clean it properly. I'm all out of clean clothes. And I have almost no food in the house, not that I can cook now either. I guess I'm just feeling a little annoyed at feeling a little helpless."
"Well that's understandable," Tracy assured her. After a moment she said, "Tell you what. I'll take off work a little early tomorrow and come out to see you. We can go shopping, get a good meal in you, and take care of the house work, okay?"
"You don't have to that," Alicia said with sincerity.
"I know I don't," Tracy replied with matching tone. "But I want to. Besides, it's an excuse to get to see you sooner!"
Alicia smiled at her best friend's ability to make her feel important. "Sounds good," she said, the smile carrying to her voice. "I can't wait."
"Good," Tracy said, "What kind of ice cream do you want me to bring?"
It was tradition for the two of them to start off a shopping excursion with ice cream, the reasoning was so they wouldn't loose steam part of the way through. "Um, how about Strawberry this time," Alicia suggested.
"Oh that's easy," Tracy replied. "Come on, give me a challenge!"
"What can I say, I'm in the mood for fruit," Alicia replied with a shrug.
"That's fine," Tracy replied with a laugh. "Well, I have to go now. But I'll see you tomorrow."
"Okay. See you tomorrow," Alicia echoed.
"Bye," they said together, and hung up.
Labels: BoD, NaNoWriMo 2005, Story
BoD Milestone: 15,000 words!
Bane of Death
broke 15,000 words last night. It is now officially a novelette! Woo hoo!
Labels: BoD, Story
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
NaNoWriMo Day 9
- Chapter 3 Continued
When Alicia turned back to face D only, she noticed D didn't seem quite as menacing. The way D stood, the shade of her clothing, even the features of her face seemed a little less intimidating and mean. "Did you change?" Alicia asked.
D tilted her head slightly. "I don't know. Did you change me?"
Alicia shook off the eeriness by shaking her head. "Never mind," she mumbled.
Martin looked at Alicia out of the corners of his eyes. D hadn't appeared to change to him. "You okay?" he asked Alicia.
"Yeah," she answered quickly, looking to D and not him.
"Do you have any questions?" D asked, almost a bit too innocently for Alicia's liking.
"Plenty!" She announced. "Starting with... why are you being so helpful?"
D nodded in understanding. "Because, ideally, the more you know, the less conflict we will have to go through."
"Okay then," Alicia said as she thought about that, and what she wanted to ask next.
"I have a question," Martin piped up with.
D slowly turned to look at Martin. He said nothing, but his face gave off the impression he was going to say something, so Martin waited. Finally D did speak. "I have all the time in the world. You don't. So perhaps you should ask your question now."
"Oh, sorry," Martin automatically replied with out of common courtesy. Then mentally scowled at himself for apologizing for nothing. "What I'd like to know," he immediately moved on to, "is does Alicia's gift have a purpose? Besides the obvious. As in, was she given it for a specific reason?"
"As far as I know," D started to answer, then slowly walked around Martin while watching him the entire way, causing a creepy feeling that made the hairs on Martin's neck and arms to stand on end. D's head then turned to look at Alicia. "Only to be the bane of my existence."
Alicia looked D straight in the eye. "Do you know how far my powers go?" she asked.
D smiled. "Yes."
Alicia frowned at the smile, it was not one of joy but one of 'I know something you don't know!'
"Will you tell me?" Alicia asked.
"No," D replied simply.
Alicia scowled at D, then looked questioningly to Martin. He shrugged.
Alicia turned back to D. "Okay... how about this. Do you remember the first time we met?"
D nodded. "Yes. But I doubt you do."
"Oh?" Alicia replied. "I remember the fire when I was three, but we didn't actually meet then. We didn't meet until the amusement park."
"We met before then," D corrected her. She gestured towards Alicia with her hand. "But ask your question."
Alicia pondered for a moment. "I wanted to ask, when I called to you to help the man I was with, I understand now why you didn't do anything. But why did you say to me that you couldn't help him?"
D held out her arms. "Because I couldn't. You were right next to him."
"You mean you couldn't help him die," Alicia stated.
"Death is not always a bad thing," D informed her. "Sometimes it is a help."
Alicia's brows furrowed. "I couldn't conceive of how!"
Even Martin was frowning. "Death may be a natural thing, when not helped along. But I have to agree with Alicia."
"No one asked you," D told Martin with an edged tone.
"You don't like me, do you?" Martin asked.
"It is not a matter of like or dislike," D replied.
"Then what is your problem with me?"
"You should not be able to see me," D informed him, but not as the answer to his question. "We should not be able to have this conversation."
"That's the problem?" Martin asked, his voice full of doubt.
To Alicia, D fell silent and just stared at Martin for several moments as if trying to stare him down.
To Martin, D was suddenly looming over him. In the blink of an eye the up until this point maintenance worker image had been replaced with the image of the first mad father he had ever dealt with as a teenage boy taking a girl out on a date, except it was D's face and not that father's. "My problem with you," D said in a deep growl that sent chills up Martin's spine, "is that I do not know what you are going to fill her head with."
"I- I- I'm not-" Martin stammered.
"I expect you are the reason she became aware of what she does to me," D continued in a lowered volume, forcing Martin to strain to hear what was being said. "And it is clear she has become attached to you for it."
Martin shook his head rapidly. "No sir," he contradicted, part of his mind thinking he was back talking to that girl's father, all of him feeling like it as he started to sweat. "I mean, yes sir!" he quickly corrected himself. "But, we won't be doing anything because of that."
"You had better not," D warned. "For your own sake."
The moment D turned back toward Alicia, the scene around Martin returned to normal. Except that D retained the clothing that father had worn. Martin took his hand off Alicia's shoulder and shrunk a couple steps away from her.
Alicia saw Martin the whole time he and D stared intently at each other. She saw his fear and that he appeared to be talking to D. But she hadn't heard a word Martin nor D had said. When D turned back to her and Martin backed off, it was clear who had one the contest of wills.
"What was that?" Alicia demanded to know.
"That was me getting him to stop interfering," D informed her. "Now we can continue our conversation."
Alicia watched Martin for a moment. He had his hands in his pockets, and was looking down as he shuffled his feet. "Martin?"
"Yeah, what?" he asked, looking around quickly to make sure no one else was there but him and her.
"Arrrrrre you alright?" Alicia asked.
"Oh yeah, fine!" he said in that way men do when they want to make it seem like nothing is wrong.
She nodded slowly, not believing him, but not pushing the issue. "Okay." She returned her attention to D. "So you say we met before then. When did we first meet?"
"At your birth," D told her.
"My... birth?" Alicia echoed, not at all expecting that to have been the answer.
"Yes," D confirmed. "Your birth. Have you been told anything about it?"
"Sure," Alicia replied with a wave of her hand. "Long labor, big head. All the typical stuff mothers say to guilt their children."
D's head shook slowly. "It was a long and hard labor for her. I was there at your birth, because she was supposed to have died then."
Alicia was beyond stunned. She stood wide eyed, mouth open, attempting to form words but failing.
"I see we're not going to be able to talk any more right now," D commented aloud. She put a hand on Alicia's shoulder. "Go home. Hug your mother. I'll be here when you're ready with more questions." And with that, D walked off down the hall.
Alicia turned to Martin. "Uh...."
Martin nodded. "Yeah."
"I'd like to go home now," Alicia finally managed to say.
"Oh, okay," Martin replied. "You ah," he pointed over his shoulder with a thumb, "you don't want to go visit Doug first?"
Alicia looked off and blinked once before her memory kicked back in. "Oh right. Yeah," she looked directly at Martin. "Yes. Let's go see Doug. Then I'll go visit Mom."
Martin raised an eyebrow. "Your mom?"
Alicia smiled. "Apparently, she was the first person I ever saved."
"Ah," he replied. "Nice."
"Come on," Alicia said as she started towards the elevators.
In Doug's room Alicia and Martin found the whole family gathered around Doug. Natalie was humming and packing up Doug's things. The older child ran up to Alicia with a huge grin. "Daddy is coming home tonight!"
"So I heard," Alicia replied with a smile. She looked over to Doug. "I came to wish you well."
Natalie walked over to her husband and put her arm around his shoulders. "Thank you," she said to Alicia. "You've been so nice to us." She looked down at her husband. "It's been such a help to Doug to have a friend here for him."
"You don't know the half of it," Martin mumbled under his breath. Alicia jabbed her elbow into his ribs to quiet him.
"It's been my pleasure," Alicia told them. "I'm just glad to see you get better and be heading home," she said to Doug.
"Thank you," Doug replied. "I'm glad to be going home!" He took his wife's hand. "You know, at first, I didn't think I was going to pull through."
"Hush!" Natalie admonished him. "I won't hear such things. You did, and that's what matters."
Alicia smirked at the couple. "We'll be going now."
"Thank you again," Doug said, "for everything."
"You're welcome," Alicia replied.
As she and Martin headed towards the door, another voice called to her. "Alicia?"
The voice belonged to Doug's roommate Maria. She was a sweet but lonely elderly woman. She was a widow, and the rest of her family was spread out across the country, none of them living nearby. Her eldest daughter had flown in when Maria first entered the hospital, but the daughter had to leave a few days later to get back to her job so she wouldn't loose it. Alicia didn't know why Maria was in the hospital, but she had been there starting the same day as Doug. Every time Alicia visited Doug, Maria would call to her as she left.
Alicia walked over to Maria's bed. "Hello Maria,"she said with patience.
"Alicia," Maria repeated, this time with concern. She reached out for Alicia. "You're still going to come visit me, right? After Doug leaves?"
Alicia exhaled softly. "I'll come see you after each of my shifts," she promised.
"Does that mean everyday?" Maria asked.
"Twice a week," Alicia told her.
"No. No. Every day," Maria pleaded. "You have to come every day."
Alicia gently pulled Maria's hand off her. "I'm not sure I can."
"But you have to!" Maria insisted with fear in her voice.
Alicia turned a concerned expression to Martin. "Why?" she asked Maria.
"Because every day they say to each other that I'm not going to make it. I can hear it in the doctors' voices. But every day you come visit, and make me feel safe enough to fall sleep. And every morning I wake up." She grabbed Alicia's arm again. "Please."
Alicia looked down on Maria, then back up to Martin with a question on her face. He nodded to indicate he would keep driving her.
"Okay," she finally said. She took Maria's hand off her again, placing it gently on Maria's stomach. "I'll visit everyday."
Maria sighed in relief. "Thank you. My daughter, she said she can come back this weekend," Maria started saying as she relaxed in her bed. "And she'll be bringing my grandchildren." Maria's voice trailed off as she rambled herself to sleep.
Alicia stood by Maria's bed, looking down on her.
Soon Martin came over and took her by the shoulders. "Come on," he said quietly.
Labels: BoD, NaNoWriMo 2005, Story
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
NaNoWriMo Day 8
- Chapter 3 Beginning
A week later things were returning to normal for most people, but not all.
The family that had been in the original car that was hit was still frequenting the hospital to visit the father, Doug. He had undergone some intense surgery after the accident and would be in the hospital for a little longer. The mother, Natalie, had been released two days ago into the care of her own mother, while Natalie's sister took care of the children. And Alicia knew all this because she visited Doug every day for a few hours, just to be sure.
The news on the driver of the four by four had been that he had actually died before the crash. The autopsy showed the man had died of a heart attack, and not impact nor any of the other trauma the accident caused his body. The coroner believed the man had the heart attack while driving and died at the wheel. With a heavy foot and good alignment, the truck barreled straight through the red light. Which explained why the driver made no attempt to slow down or avoid the collision. The odd circumstances surrounding the cause of the accident turned what would normally have been given fifteen seconds of coverage on the ten and eleven o'clock news, and a whole lot of curses from commuters at the intersection having been shut down for hours, into a blurb on the front page of the paper story.
Alicia herself was recovering, but it would be weeks before the cast came off her arm. Perhaps it was better to say she was adjusting. And she was certainly learning as well, learning how to do with her left hand and arm ordinary things she normally didn't give a second thought to, such as eating with a spoon.
She had been given two days off work right after the accident because the hospital had held her for observation for one, and then another so she could adjust to her medication at home. Which really meant so she could lay conked out from the pain killers on her bed in peace. She then had filled out the paid time off form for a week off and gave it to Martin to turn in to Susan. Everyone at the office assumed it was due to her injuries from the accident, they had even sent flowers and get well soon cards. Alicia assumed Susan suspected it was something more, and in truth the request was due to both the accident and to wrestling with the recent revelations about her life, but Alicia trusted no one else at the office knew about the latter.
Martin visited Alicia every day. She could see in his eyes that he felt somewhat responsible for her. Whether because he had been driving, or because he was the one to have opened her eyes to what she could do, she didn't know. She didn't ask either. She was just glad to have someone to talk to, and to drive her to the hospital for her daily visits.
Ever so often she spotted D at the hospital, wearing that same almost creepy serial killer outfit. Neither D nor Alicia made any efforts to talk, or even be near each other. Alicia wanted Doug and his family out before she confronted D. Alicia also spent a little extra time each visit walking around the hospital on the routes she usually took when there volunteering. According to Martin's company, somehow she was helping people when she worked here even though she wasn't seeing patients. So she figured doing as much the same as she was allowed should still work, at least some, and whatever she missed she should be making up for by walking around every day instead of twice a week.
Today, however, Alicia and Martin were practically greeted at the door by D. Alicia reflexively moved closer to Martin. At first he didn't see what had caused her to crowd him as if wanting protection, but he had a good idea. He put his hand on her shoulder. Sure enough he saw D sitting just up ahead, watching Alicia. He - D - seem to be waiting for her. He was wearing the same maintenance uniform Martin had seen him in the first time they'd met and when Martin had seen him on the sidewalk right before the accident.
"D," Alicia said with reservation as they approached.
"Alicia," D replied flatly.
The two faced each other in silence. Martin looked back and forth between them, wondering who would give in first. Finally he decided to be the one. "Are you here for a reason, or just to hold Alicia up?" he asked D pointedly.
D turned a look to him that made him feel as if he was an insignificant thing that had just become a nuisance. For a brief moment he wondered what D was going to do. This time he moved closer to Alicia for protection.
Alicia had jumped slightly at the thought that D was holding her up, theoretically so that she would not make it in time to save someone. She started on her way towards Doug's room. D stood and started to move with her.
"Is there something I can do for you?" Alicia asked D.
"Yes, actually," D replied casually. "You can leave."
D continued with a wave of his or her hand, depending on whose perspective it was, "But of course you won't. So I thought I would put your mind at ease."
Alicia turned a curious eye towards D, Martin a suspicious one.
"As of last night Doug Stonewall has moved down on my list," D informed Alicia. "It will be many years before I come for him again," D assured her.
The corners of Alicia's mouth twitched upwards. An almost triumphant expression crossed her face.
"You believe him?" Martin asked Alicia.
Alicia nodded without reservation. "Don't ask why. I just feel that I can."
"Okay," Martin said with a shrug. If D's word was good enough for Alicia, it was good enough for him. She'd known D longer, and was the one with the connection.
"Alicia," D said to bring the attention of the two off each other. "Walk with me."
D started off down the hall. Martin and Alicia exchanged glances, then followed. D stopped by the elevators. Alicia, out of years of habit of walking with D, pushed the elevator up button. When the doors opened, the trio stepped on. Alicia moved to the floor buttons and pressed the standard one for the intensive care floor. After she'd done so, she realized things were different this time and that might not be where they were going. She looked at D a bit sheepishly. "Where to?"
"That will do," D replied.
Martin watched the interaction between the two with interest, keeping his hand on Alicia's arm so he could in fact continue to see D.
As the elevator rose, D started to speak. "Alicia, there is something I wish to understand. As much as I appreciate you staying away from me for the most part now, I know your present state of mind is only going to lead us to confrontation whenever you decide you do wish to approach me. I would rather not go through that."
"And just what state of mind do you think I am in, at present?" Alicia asked with a touch of defiance.
"You think I am a killer," D replied matter-of-factly.
"Of course," Alicia replied. "That's because you are!"
D's head shook. "No, I am not. And that is what I wish you to understand."
Alicia turned on D in anger. "Are you telling me that you didn't cause that accident last week? That you didn't make that man die so that his truck would crash and give you others to kill?"
D replied calmly, "I did not cause it."
"Liar," Alicia accused. "I saw you on the sidewalk before it happened." She motioned to Martin. "We both did."
"I was there," D confirmed with a nod.
"Because you-" Alicia started to speak with force.
"Because he died!" D corrected her loudly, so that his or her voice was heard over Alicia's.
Alicia was confused into silence for a moment.
D's voice returned to its normal level. "I was there before the accident because a man died before the accident," she explained to Alicia. "I stayed because Doug Stonewall was dying, he wasn't supposed to make it until the ambulances arrived."
The elevator reached the designated floor and opened its doors. Martin and D stepped out. Alicia followed somewhat slowly, partially lost in thought.
D began talking again as the trio walked down the hall. "Have you considered yet why you can always find me around here, in the intensive care ward? It's because people are always dying in here." She motioned towards a window as they passed by. "Estelle Grady. She'll die two nights from now."
Both Martin and Alicia watched the frail looking woman hooked up to a dozen monitors and medication lines as they traveled past the window. Then they looked at each other.
"Matthew Worth," D continued, indicating a closed door. "Three hours."
Alicia's face started to drain of color. "D, don't do this," she half-pleaded.
D stopped in front of another window, and looked in. A teenage boy was lying in partial traction, with a visible scar from recent surgery on his chest. "Alex Bensen," D labeled him. Tears started to well in Alicia's eyes. "He lives for sixty more years," D said.
Alicia blinked away the tears, looking at D in shock. "Huh?"
D turned to face Alicia. "I told you, I am not a killer. I am Death."
Martin nodded as he started to understand. "There's a difference. To kill is to cause death. Death simply is the end of life."
Alicia looked back and forth between the two for several seconds. "Okay," she finally said.
"I did not cause that accident," D repeated. Then her voice took a serious turn. "But someone did."
Labels: BoD, NaNoWriMo 2005, Story
Updated Story: Bane of Death
I already have a bunch of small edits I want to make to the accident scene. Mostly technical and description stuff. But, they have to wait until December. *sigh* That's okay.
Reading back through chapter two... erg, it's annoying how many mistakes I make when I'm just writing on and on. Words in the wrong order - showing you my slight dyslexia there, which occurs more often when I'm not thinking slowly enough. Words spelt wrong, but still words so that the spell checker wasn't able to correct them - that's just my fingers typing key combinations they're more used to than the words I wanted to type. Perhaps I will set aside some EXTRA time one weekend for proof reading and fixing up these things in the entire story.
Anyhoo, Chapter Two is put together in one place now. If you have not been reading posts as I've written them, then either use the Bane of Death link above and click Chapter Two, or use this link
If you have been reading the posts, there's nothing new or corrected there. Sorry, you're just gonna have to wait for the next post! Should be tonight.
Labels: BoD, Story
NaNoWriMo Day 7
- Chapter 2 Finished
2,613 words. I'm caught up!
"After work?" Martin suggested.
Alicia checked her watch. "Yeah, that would probably be best," she replied with a sigh. "I should try to keep my work schedule as best as I can, for now."
Martin nodded in agreement. "And," he added, pushing her tray towards her, "you should try to keep eating."
She gave him an exasperated look. "Look, Mom," she strained the word for effect, "I'm simply not hungry right now."
He held up his hands. "Okay. I won't push." He paused for two seconds. "This time." He stood up from the table. "But if you don't eat anything tonight," he threatened, "I'm taking you out to dinner."
Alicia looked up at him, wondering if he was truly concerned or if he had just asked her out on a date. She decided it was mix, and to let it pass for the time being. She had bigger things on her mind right now.
They cleaned up their table, Alicia stuffing the copy of the journal into her purse, dropped off their trays, and headed out.
Martin offered to drive that evening. "Meet you at your place about seven, seven thirty?" he asked.
Alicia bobbed her head. "That sounds fine."
"Okay," he said to finalize the plan.
"See you later," they said together. They both 'Heh'-ed at the coincidence, then headed to their cars.
That evening Alicia made sure to have a piece of fruit on hand to bring with her, so Martin would see her eat something and not fuss at her again. She also had a better idea of what she was going to ask D this time.
Martin showed up a few minutes before seven thirty. He called up to her apartment, and having been ready for several minutes, she put her coat on and headed right down.
On the way to the hospital, Martin looked over at Alicia. Her head was leaning against the window. Her eyes indicated her mind was off somewhere distant. She looked both tired and worn. For the first time it occurred to him that maybe her gift wasn't as great as it sounded. He couldn't fathom why, but it was clear from looking at her that there must be a reason.
"What's wrong?" he asked as he turned his eyes back to the road.
She turned to him with a "Hmm?"
"I asked what was wrong," he reiterated.
"Oh, nothing I suppose," Alicia answered. She looked down at her hands for a moment. "I was just wondering...." She looked back at him. "Thinking about all the good I might actually be able to do."
Martin nodded slowly.
"It's just," she continued, shifting in her seat to be able to rest her head and still look at him at the same time. "It's just that, I don't know what I can do. Really do. I've always wanted to make a difference in the world. Help others. That's why I volunteer. But even that hasn't really felt like enough to me. It's hard to see how my work, either my job or at the hospital, impacts others for the better." She hesitated. Martin opened his mouth to replied, but she spoke again before he could say anything. "And now all of a sudden, I'm a natural life saver. And I don't even have to work for it? That's great! But... I have no idea...," her train of thought fell off and she shrugged. "I guess I'm just a bit overwhelmed."
"Of course you are," Martin backed her up. "How should you use your gift? Where? For whom? What can you really do? There are a lot of questions in your life now. Some, hopefully, will get answered shortly."
Alicia nodded with a small smile. "I'm not as worried about visiting D as I was this morning. Like you said yesterday, if she was going to do something, she would have done it by now."
It was Martin's turn to nod. "Assuming death could even do anything to you."
Alicia gave him a curious look. "What do you mean?"
"Well," he replied with a shrug, "if you can prevent death, it stands to reason you can prevent your own."
Alicia settled back in her chair. "Huh. I hadn't thought of that." She looked out the front window, and they lapsed into silence.
A few minutes later, Alicia's head jerked. Abruptly her hand was on Martin's arm and she was pointing at a figure on the sidewalk on the other side of the street. "Is that D?"
Martin turned his head for a glance, then quickly turned back to the road, tightening his grip on the wheel and sitting up straighter. "I think so."
Alicia gave him a puzzled look. "She wasn't wearing her uni- Martin! Look out!"
At the intersection in front of them a four by four coming from the left had run the light, and the car right in front of them was not going to have enough time to stop. Martin was already reacting, turning the wheel and hitting the breaks. Despite the attempt by the driver in front of them to weave, the two cars collided at near full speeds in the middle of the intersection, sending glass and car bits flying into the air.
All of a sudden time seemed to slow down for Alicia as she watched the events unfold. The truck that had run the light rammed into the side of the other car so hard it caused that car to turn on it's passenger side. She was watching the wreck slide into the right lane, where another vehicle that had been next to them a moment before crashed into the other two, when she felt Martin's arm relax and drop from the steering wheel. She whipped around to look at him.
He had the expression of a young boy who was meeting his favorite sports star for the first time. He grabbed her hand and said, "I believe in you."
His whole demeanor alarmed Alicia. She needed to find out what was going on, why he had let go of the wheel. She looked out the front window, and saw on coming traffic that was way too close, and not at all still. A glance in the rear view mirror told her a couple of the vehicles behind them had tried to avoid the accident the same way they had, and like them also were not stopped yet.
She screamed. "Martin!"
The initial head on impact with the car in front of them lurched them forward, but their seat belts locked almost instantly causing the shoulder straps to keep them in their seats. Surprisingly to Alicia she heard no sound. Not the crunching of metal and plastic, nor a loud sound of impact as there had been with the other automobiles. Not even the sound of the air bag she glimpsed deploying in front of Martin from behind her arms, which she was also surprised to find she had raised in front of her face.
The first pain she felt was the cutting of the edges of the shoulder belt into her chest. The second was her head whipping back into the head rest. After that it became a symphony of hurt all over her body as time came back to its normal speed, finally punctuated by a sharp stab in her right arm.
Once the car had stopped moving, and the world had stopped spinning, Alicia hazarded a deep breath. It caused the many throbbing pains she felt to increase, but otherwise she was able to inhale and exhale without issue. She opened her eyes. The evening sun was glaring to her watering eyes, but she forced herself to blink against it, to try to adapt. She slowly turned her head to look at Martin. Her neck cried out at her in pain, but it only caused her to whimper and slow her pace even more. She had to know if he was alright.
He was leaning back in his chair as if that was how he normally slept. Somehow the thing had taken up a new position that almost cradled him, though he was too close to the dashboard for his own good. His eyes were closed. Blood on his nose told her his air bag had done its job. But the bottom of the steering wheel against his stomach told her he wasn't going anywhere for a while. She could see the glass from window beside him was gone, but thankfully she couldn't see where it had gone.
"Alicia?" Martin whispered, his eyes still closed.
"Yes?" she replied, her voice laden with relief but strained by passing through gritted teeth.
"I feel... like a punching bag," he told her weakly. "But.... But, I'm okay. Go... see to others."
Alicia stared at him for a moment. Then her mind started working again and she realized what he was saying.
"There may still be time, for them," he continued slowly, sounding as if he was either very relaxed or very drunk.
The instant she started to nod, her neck lit up in pain again, forcing her to stop. A short cry escaped her lips. Her eyes started to tear up from the intensity. "I'm not sure I can." She moved her eyes instead of her whole head this time, searching for the door's handle. "But I will try."
She unfastened her seat belt with her left hand, and slowly let it retract. So far so good. When she went to reach for the door handle was when she discovered her right arm was broken. The pain of that was quite different than that of the whiplash. More intense, but easier to bear as it didn't shoot up into her head. She reached over with her left, and pulled the handle. The door opened as if there was nothing wrong.
She used her left hand to tuck her right arm against her torso. Carefully she moved each leg on at a time, testing for pain first as they bent at the knee, and then as she put her feet on the ground. She did her best to take care of her neck by moving her shoulders and her head in conjunction, and keeping her head up straight. She had to lean some and slide out of the car to make it work, but the reward of minimal hurt was worth it.
As quickly as she dared, Alicia moved between the vehicles to check on their occupants. Most people, all those in the cars around the initial two, were banged up, but conscious and seemingly stable. Two men were already out of their SUVs, also moving around to check on others. Some children were crying. One person was hyperventilating, but that meant she was breathing. And even if the woman passed out from it, she'd still breath, her body would see to that.
One of the men, on the down side of the hill age wise but still sturdy looking, tried to get Alicia to sit down and stop moving. "Miss, you're not alright," he said to her more than twice.
"I have to try," she informed him, trying to push him away with her good arm.
"Please, miss. You don't want to see that," he insisted.
She looked him in the eye. "I have to."
The man may not have understood why, but he understood she had need to see the center of the accident. He trailed her as she carefully made her way.
Alicia didn't have to approach the truck to see how the driver was. He was laying half out the front windshield in an extremely unnatural position, shock fixed firmly on his still face. Seeing no one else in the truck, Alicia turned her attention to the car on its side.
The other man who had been out checking on people was currently pulling a car seat out through the back side door that was facing the sky. The child in it was screaming as hard as it possibly could. A good sign. When Alicia finally reached the car she found an older child crying on the ground, calling for his parents between sobs next to the man fishing out his sibling.
Alicia leaned against the roof of the car, and peered in the now upside down car, from her perspective, through the driver side window.
The woman in the passenger seat looked to Alicia. Tears were streaming down her bloodied face. Her hands where clutching the unconscious man in the driver's seat. "Please help us," she begged. "Please. He won't wake up. Please help. My children.... Pleeaase."
"That's why I'm here," Alicia replied calmly. She reached out and placed her hand on the woman's, and partially on the man's arm at the same time. "You children are alright. You will be too."
"Please help us," the woman continued to implore Alicia, apparently not having heard or understood Alicia's words.
Alicia resorted to making a soothing "shhhh" and patting the woman's hand softly. Soon neck started to no longer allow her to hold up her head. She oh so slowly turned her head and rested it against the distorted window frame as best she could so that she didn't have to leave the couple.
On the nearby corner she saw D standing. D wasn't moving at all, simply standing and watching. But the odd part was D wasn't wearing a doctor's coat or anything else Alicia had always seen D wear. Instead D was wearing what Alicia pictured a serial killer would wear. Alicia stayed as still as D was, except for her hand which occasionally switched between stroking and patting the hand of the woman still stuck in the car.
Not much later sirens were able to be heard. Alicia was grateful, for she wasn't sure she was going to be able to get herself up from the position she was in, and she could feel things were getting worse as muscles tightened on her. She kept watching D. As the sirens came closer, she thought she saw D getting lighter. Once the EMTs from the first ambulance started to swarm the car on its side, D started to back away.
They helped Alicia off of the side of the car first. She wouldn't have let them take her too far away, not that she had any recourse with which to stop them. But thankfully they wanted to examine her before moving her any more. They had only taken her off the car because she had started to move herself and so that those inside, who appeared worse off, could be reached sooner.
Right quick a neck brace was put on Alicia, which made her feel significantly better. After that she was turned over to the older man who had shadowed her to be carefully led to an ambulance while the fire department worked with the EMTs to get the man and woman out. Only after Alicia checked all the corners for D and did not see D anywhere did she let herself be guided away.
The next hour was a blur to Alicia as everyone who needed to be was cut out of cars, the police took witness reports, and those who needed medical attention were taken to the hospital. The same hospital she and Martin had been heading for. She and Martin rode there together in an ambulance, but didn't share anything more than a knowing look. Alicia decided once they reached the hospital she would stay as close to the man and woman as possible for as long as possible. Considering that's where D worked, she was sure to be around also.
Labels: BoD, NaNoWriMo 2005, Story
Sunday, November 06, 2005
NaNoWriMo Day 6
- Chapter 2 Continued
1,300 words. Decided not to force myself to keep writing today.
The next morning Alicia puttered around the office, mostly just going through the motions of work. Which meant things that didn't require any thinking got done, such as filing and data processing. But in a testing facility the more important things were research and experiments, neither of which Alicia could focus on.
It didn't take long before Susan came around looking for Alicia. She motioned Alicia away from her desk, and without a word led Alicia back to her office. Once they were inside, she closed the door.
"Please, take a seat," Susan said, motioning to a chair as she walked around her desk to her own chair.
Both women sat.
"Alicia, you know how valuable you are to this company, right? I hope I've made that clear to you in the past. How much we like having you as an employee?" Susan started with.
Alicia wasn't sure where that line was supposed to lead, but it didn't sound like the great opener it claimed to be. "Yes," she replied cautiously.
"And I'm hoping you feel the same way about working here," Susan added, then paused to let Alicia confirm or deny.
"Oh, I do," Alicia answered with a nod.
"Good," Susan said with a satisfied look. "Then please tell me, what is going on with you?"
Alicia blinked a couple times, frantically trying to think of a suitable answer. "What do you mean?" she stalled with.
"Normally I wouldn't have said anything, at least not so soon. I would have waited several days to see if your sudden change in behavior corrected itself," Susan explained. She opened a drawer to her left and pulled out two pieces of paper with words printed on them. "But in light of a conversation I had earlier this morning with that hospital you volunteer at, I felt a more proactive approach was called for." She looked at the papers, quickly verifying their contents, then pushed them across the desk.
Alicia glanced down, then immediately back up at Susan. "Conversation? About me, I take it?"
"Yes." Susan sighed. "I wanted to talk to you first, before any of the other managers found out, especially David."
Alicia frowned. David was the big head honcho. His name rarely came up in this department unless it was something significant. She looked down at the sheets of paper and began to read them.
"The hospital called yesterday afternoon looking for you," Susan explained while Alicia read. "Melinda took a message that said they were simply checking up. I called them back after you called in for the rest of the day off, but no one at that time seemed to know why we had been called. I got a call back this morning. The woman I spoke to said you had some sort of nervous break down there yesterday, apparently while you were on your lunch hour. She said you were acting terrified. And that you yelled at first a wall and then the air. They were concerned. And honestly, so am I."
Alicia finished the papers. One was a paid time off request form. The other was an except of the company's medical benefits, the section on mental health coverage and services offered, including phone numbers for emergency help.
"What do you want me to say?" Alicia asked.
Susan's voice softened. "Look, I understand if you don't want to discuss things with me. That's why I wanted to make sure you had this," she said, pointing to the mental benefits sheet. "If you can tell me now that you believe you can continue to work without whatever is going on significantly impacting your performance, then take that, go back to work, and that will be the end of things. But if not, I suggest you fill out that form for however long you think you're going to need. And if you do, I won't pass on any information to the rest of the company until it becomes necessary." She smiled positively. "I hope it won't become necessary."
Alicia nodded slowly, thinking over her decision. "Can I see how the rest of the day goes, and give you an answer tomorrow?" she asked.
"Of course," Susan replied. She motioned to the papers. "Take them both, and return the form if you decide to use it."
"Thank you," Alicia replied with a small smile. She picked up both pieces of paper and headed out of the office. After closing the door behind herself, she closed her eyes for a moment and shook her head. Some part of her felt very relived. It was good to know she had an out if she needed it. Good to know she had a way to make sure she'd have a job on the other side of this bizarre roller coaster ride.
After the meeting with Susan, lunch time barely came fast enough. Alicia headed out to meet Martin as planned. Her research on the internet last night hadn't turned up much of anything useful, so she was eager to see what he had.
They met at a Panera Bread that was about halfway between each of their offices. If Martin hadn't insisted on ordering something to eat, Alicia would not have herself. She was anxious to learn whatever she could. Martin on the other hand seemed quite unfazed by the events of the day before.
After picking up their food, they chose a small table away from most people in the back of the restaurant.
"How can you be taking all this so calmly?" Alicia asked him once they were seated.
"I've had a lot more time than you to adjust to the thought of it all," he answered nonchalantly.
That made sense to Alicia. She took a bite of her lunch, but then pushed it aside. "Do you have it?"
Martin smiled and nodded. "Right here." He pulled out several sheets obviously xeroxed copies of a handwritten journal and handed them to her. Then he set about eating his lunch.
While he ate, she read. Most of the entries were about the priest's suspicious of the member of his flock, and his speculations on what the person might be. It seemed to Alicia that there were some entries missing along the way. And some were definitely unfinished, or perhaps it was just that the pages they were finished or started on were missing.
"Where's the rest?" she asked at one point, without looking up from her reading.
"Between the libraries I checked and the man's church, that's all I could find that was still legible," he answered apologetically.
"Mnnnn," she groaned unhappily.
When she was done reading, she turned the papers over a couple times to be sure she hadn't missed anything.
"Well this doesn't help me all that much. The only thing it says about what that Mr. Williams could is show others Death as a person and that he could stop death, but then it also says there were a couple times he couldn't prevent someone from dying."
Martin nodded. "And nothing else I've found has as much detail as that."
"So... what?" She threw the papers onto the table with disappointment as she slumped backwards in her chair. She looked off towards one center of the restaurant for a moment, as if seeking answers there, then shook her head. "I wish I knew what to do from here."
"There is one person, so to speak, who probably has the answers you want," Martin reminded her.
Alicia pressed her lips together, but nodded.
"You know what that means," he said as a statement instead of a question.
"I have to go see D again," Alicia replied with a tone that heavily indicated she did not want to.
"Would you like me to go with you?" he offered.
Labels: BoD, NaNoWriMo 2005, Story
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