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!
Friday, November 18, 2005
Words aren't coming today. I've sat, and looked at scene ideas I have that I'd like to write, and I just couldn't come up with enough to make them actual scenes. I'm blocked. It sucks, I feel like I'm wasting time. I should be cleaning up this place and finishing up getting ready for my trip. But I want to write, so I'm not doing anything 'cause the words aren't coming.
Hopefully I'll be able to write enough this weekend to make up for not writing today and Wednesday (which I missed to be at a friend's house, and then ended up preferring to have been home writing instead of watching them watch a show I wasn't interested in).
Labels: NaNoWriMo 2005
Thursday, November 17, 2005
NaNoWriMo Day 17-
Future Scene 2
1425 words. I know part of this directly contradicts earlier writings, those are going to be changed in the rewrites.
Golms turned around to see Alicia standing in the doorway to the sanctuary looking apprehensive. He smiled to try and put her at ease. "Yes, Alicia?"
"I hope I'm not intruding," she said as she took a couple steps in.
Golms raised a finger, but before he could put words of reminder to his gesture, Alicia stepped back to the doorway. She bent over and took off her shoes as she had been instructed to do the first time she had been here. Then she walked in towards Golms.
"Never could you be intruding in a church of the Light," he told her with an ingratiating smile. "What can I do for you?"
Alicia looked around as she approached him. "I was hoping," she began cautiously, then paused. The lilies from before that had not been potted were now replaced with fresh cut ones. The potted ones were still around, but all the flowers were rearranged. Stargazer Lilies were now the ones on the alter. She suddenly felt more at ease. "I was hoping," she started again, looking back at Golms with a happier expression and normal tone in her voice, "that you could tell me what happened to the ones that came before me."
"Ah," Golms replied with a knowing nod. He steepled his fingers, holding them against his lips for several seconds as he tried to think of how to go about this conversation. Finally he looked back to Alicia and parted his hands. "Have you... saved more than one person simultaneously yet?" he asked.
Alicia's eyebrows dipped together with confusion. "No. At least, I don't think so."
Golms looked off to one side. "Hm."
"I mean, not intentionally," she amended.
He nodded. "The more you actively use your abilities, the more control you will gain over them." He leaned slightly towards her. "Tell me this. Have you felt what it is like to use them?"
Alicia shook her head slowly. "I have noticed I can feel how close a person is to death if I pay attention. I have also seen signs in D, her expression or mood or even how close she gets to people," Alicia answered instead.
"Hm," Golms replied again.
"Why?" Alicia asked. "What does it feel like?"
"I do not rightfully know," he replied. "Past Lights have given descriptions, but it is nothing anyone else has felt. The most common description is a surge of power."
"How did they-" Alicia started to ask again, but suddenly decided to switch to another question that she was momentarily more interested in. "So I can keep more than one person from dying at the same time?"
"Yes," he replied confidently.
He shrugged. "Only you can figure that out. But I can tell you that you need to look inside yourself. Find the center of your strength, connect to your soul, and you can do more than you imagine."
Alicia slid herself into a pew and looked to him expectantly. Her expression was the same kind a child gets when expecting to hear a good story. "Like what?"
"You want to know what happened to those who came before you," he stated rather than asked. She nodded. He smiled. "My god-mother knew the last Light." Golms looked up to the skylight as a wistful expression crossed his face. "He expended himself almost a decade before I was born, but her stories were so vivid I could have sworn I was there."
"Expended himself?" Alicia questioned with wonder.
Golms nodded slightly. "To stop the Spanish Flu."
Alicia looked at Golms in confusion.
He chuckled. "The flu pandemic of nineteen seventeen to nineteen nineteen. It didn't actually start in Spain, but that's who got the blame." He paused reverently. "It was the worst killer the world had seen in centuries, took more lives than the world war that was going on at the time." He looked back to Alicia. "The first year no one really died from it. But it grew in strength. By the winter of nineteen nineteen it had grown in the numbers it claimed too. Millions were dying. And all over the world, not just in Europe. The Light determined that was why he had been created, to stop the disease from becoming the next Black Plague."
"So he worked himself to death trying to save everyone?" Alicia summarized with a touch of awe.
Golms half smiled. "No, Alicia. He did what we call expending." Golms turned towards the alter. "That is when the Light casts him, or her, self beyond the confines of the mortal body." He gestured with his arms, then threw them up towards the sky. "That Light shone himself across the entire world as if he were the sun itself! Burning away the Spanish Flu!" Golms held his arms up a few dramatic seconds more. Then turned back to Alicia. "He disappeared, literally, in a blaze of light. Threw himself into his power, and sent it where it needed to go to do what he wanted, to stop the senseless death."
Alicia sat speechless just staring at Golms. He smiled lovingly back at her.
"You may not find your purpose to be the same as his was. It is rare for that to be how a Light expends, in a sudden flash of raw power. Some Lights expended themselves so slowly or methodically that they lived out long lives. Some stand up to be a constant beacon for a period of time, protecting an area as a lighthouse illuminates a coastline, before finally burning out. And some...," Golms shrugged. "Well, we don't have records of every Light. The ways some of them left us were not witnessed."
Alicia closed her eyes for a moment, leaned back and swallowed. "Wow." She opened her eyes again and looked around. "I.... Wow. Okay."
Golms pointed out of the sanctuary. "There is a library here, with information on the Lights of the past. You can read though it whenever you wish." He gave her an apologetic shrug. "It is incomplete though. The Master Church is the only one with a full set of information."
Alicia looked at him. "Where is the master church?"
"For the last four centuries it has resided in England," Golms told her.
"It moves?" she asked.
"It can," Golms nodded. "Our religion changes every hundred years. If a Light wishes the Master Church moved, then it is moved."
"Every hundred years?" Alicia echoed.
Golms smiled again, this time with humor at the situation of him teaching the Light. "That is how often a new Light comes. Every one hundred years. And while each of you have fundamental personality traits in common, you are all different in your own ways. So with each new Light, the religion changes to adapt." He gestured towards some flowers. "That is why the only flower we now display are lilies. Because they are your favorite, and to you flowers bring happiness."
Alicia looked over towards the lilies on the alter. "How did you know?"
He paused so as to phrase his reply in the best manner so as not to be taken negatively. "Because the reoccurrence of the Light is so regular, and the first sign is the same every time, we know when to look and what to look for." He regarded her to make sure she was okay with what he was saying. "We've known about you since you were a child, watching to see when you would become aware of yourself. One day, for no apparent reason, you walked up to one of us and said your favorite flower was the lily. It was taken quite seriously."
Alicia pursed her lips and nodded slowly. The she took a deep breath. "So, my personal preferences shape how the churches change," she recapped. "And I don't technically die, at least not in the same way as everyone else."
Golms nodded she was correct. "It helps the religion keep up with times," he added. "Each Light is affected by the ways of the world at the time, which in turns affects us. It's proven to be very successful arrangement."
Alicia shrugged. "Sure. Makes sense."
Golms gave a relieved sigh. "Oh good. Then... you wouldn't be adverse to providing direction?" he hazarded to ask.
Alicia looked up at him. "Direction?" She tilted her head to one side. "Wait, are you asking me to lead you all?"
Golms smiled. "Yes."
"No," she replied firmly.
Golms held up his hands. "That's okay. There is plenty of time if you change your mind."
Labels: BoD, NaNoWriMo 2005, Story
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
BoD Milestone: 25,000 words!
Well, yesterday was the halfway point of NaNoWriMo, half the month is over! And so is the "requirement" for my novel. Bane of Death
crossed the 25,000 word line last night!
Thanks to all the people who have been supporting me in this effort by reading (and letting me know you're reading), by being a sounding board, and by helping with ideas. The list so far is:
The work crew
And of course: Mom, Dad, and God. :)
If you're reading, please let me know! It really does help to know who's interested. I might even list you in that little blurb the author puts in the front of the book!
Labels: BoD, Story
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
NaNoWriMo Day 15
- Past Scene
539 words. One scene I realized I missed is back right after the car accident. It introduces Tracy at an earlier point in the story.
At Alicia's request, the hospital had called her parents. It took them less time than it should have to make it to visit her.
"Alicia!" her mother called from the doorway to the room she was being kept in. "Are you alright?!"
"Mom! Dad!" Alicia replied with a grin through a pain killer induced haze. "Oh I'm swell! How are you?"
"She's going to be fine until those drugs wear off," her father observed.
"They wouldn't say what was wrong," her mother continued right over Alicia's father. "Just that you had been in an accident and were keeping you overnight."
Alicia scrunched her face up and waved her mother off. "What-ev-er! Hey Mom, look! I got a cast. Isn't it great?" With her left hand she tapped the case that traveled from her wrist up over her right shoulder. "All stiff and everything!"
Alicia's mother regarded the cast with a sigh and shake of her head. "You're not going to be able to take care of yourself with that," she said.
"Yeah," Alicia agreed with a grin. "And I can't turn my head either, see?" She tried to demonstrate, but between the neck brace and the pain her neck shot her as a reminder she didn't get far. "Ow," she complained with real emotion.
"If it hurts, don't do that, silly!" a voice from the doorway admonished playfully.
Alicia carefully looked over. "Tracy!" she identified her best friend with glee. "So nice of you to come! Here, sit here," she said and patted the air next to her.
"Ah ha, yeah," Tracy said as comprehension hit her. She looked to Alicia's parents. "Those must be some good drugs."
"Only the best," a nurse replied as he walked in behind Tracy. "I'm sorry," he informed them, "but can't all be here, visiting hours are almost over."
"Awww!" Alicia replied and started to pout.
Tracy smiled. "That's okay, I just had to make sure she was alright."
"Oh no, Tracy," Alicia's father said, motioning for her to stay. "We're going to go get Alicia some things she'll need from her place. Why don't you stay until we get back?"
"That'd be great," Tracy replied. "Thanks, Dad Monroe. And thanks for calling me, Mom Monroe."
"We know how close you two are," Alicia's mother replied with a smile.
"There never was a better friend," Alicia agreed.
The nurse nodded the arrangement would be fine, and left the room.
Tracy gently hugged Alicia, who returned the hug with her good arm.
Then Tracy regarded Alicia's parents as they headed out. "Wait a minute, how did you two beat me here?"
"Our daughter is in the hospital," Alicia's mother replied as if that explained it all.
Tracy shook her head with a small smile. "You do know she was in a car accident, right? Didn't learn anything from that?"
"Since when did you start talking to us like that?" Alicia's mother asked.
Tracy stifled a laugh. "Sorry. Won't happen again."
"I'm sure," Alicia's father replied with a tone that indicated he wasn't at all upset, and that he didn't believe her. "Come on," he said to his wife. "The sooner we leave the sooner we'll be back."
Alicia's mother nodded and they headed out.
Labels: BoD, NaNoWriMo 2005, Story
Okay y'all. NaNoWriMo says lingering in the 20,000's is bad, and too easy to do, and gets many a NaNoWriMo writer stuck. So it's time for me to just start churning out words for Bane of Death
. That means I'm going to be writing scenes that may be out of order or may not be worked up to story wise (see the post below this one). It should also mean more action, less story that makes sense together. Sorry. I just got to get to 30,000. Especially considering I missed yesterday writing, I'm going to miss tomorrow writing, and I have no idea what kind of writing I'm going to be able to get done this weekend.
Labels: NaNoWriMo 2005
NaNoWriMo Day 15
- Future Scene
Holiday cheer was in full swing by the time Alicia and Martin arrived at the party. People cheering, singing, dancing, and of course drinking. It was loud enough to be heard well outside the doors to the restaurant.
It was a company affair, but the invitation that had been e-mailed around had said "and guest." Those who were married brought their spouses. Alicia had asked around, and found out that everyone she knew was bringing someone, even if it was just a friend. Not wanting to feel left out, Alicia had asked Martin to escort her. He had gladly accepted.
At the entrance to the restaurant the company had rented out, Martin smiled at her and held the door. "Ladies first," he said, sweeping his arm out and ending with a slight bow.
Alicia chuckled. "Why thank you, sir."
Inside Martin took Alicia's coat from her and headed off to the coat check room. Alicia mingled near the entrance, saying hello to those who passed by that she recognized and taking in the ambiance while she waited for Martin to return. In one corner a large Christmas tree stood as tall as the ceiling. It was decked out in tinsel, colorful balls as large as a fist, gold and silver trim, and flashing lights, and underneath it lay boxes of various sizes with large red and green decorative bows. The opposite wall was draped with blue and lined with menorahs. It was apparent the restaurant didn't want to leave any yule time holiday out. Each table in the place had a mock goat's horn cornucopia full of fake flowers but real fruits and cheeses. To help blend the differences throughout, white cotton fake snow had been placed over all the molding. The overhead lights were low, but candles were everywhere giving the place a comfortable glow.
When Martin returned, the two headed into the room at large to begin scouring the tables for a pair of open seats. Once found, Alicia poured some water into her glass, took a drink, and then set it in from of her chair to lay claim to it. Martin laughed and followed suit. Then he asked her to dance. She agreed, and soon then where out cutting a rug with the best of the still sober.
Dinner wasn't on the menu for the evening. But dessert was! It was served buffet style, a choice of three pies, four ice creams, and little torts and other finger food type sweets. Alicia, having not eaten much beforehand, filled her plate and headed back to her table. There she found Melinda talking with Martin. Melinda turned to Alicia and smiled at her approach.
"Alicia, your boyfriend is so sweet! Where have you been hiding him?" Melinda asked with a small laugh.
Alicia stood startled for a second. "Uh...." She looked quickly to Martin and then back to Melinda. "We're not," she said slowly as her eyes darted back to Martin trying to judge his reaction, "boyfriend and girlfriend."
"Really?" Melinda asked, looking to Martin. Then she broke into a smile and shrugged slightly. "Oops. I just assumed! He knows so much about you. Sorry."
"It's okay," Martin assured her.
"We're good friends," Alicia added, sliding into her chair hoping it would make things feel a little less awkward. She set down her plate and looked up at Melinda. "How are your children?" she asked to change the subject.
"Oh they're doing fine," Melinda replied, and started in on how excited the children were about Christmas, and what each one wanted, and what each one would actually be getting from Santa. During the slightly one-sided conversation Alicia hazarded a sideways glance at Martin. He was smiling and listening without any indication he had been slighted by her comment to Melinda.
After most people had finished eating, David, the local company's vice-president, called for everyone's attention. He gave a nice, if a bit long, speech about the employees and the usual pleasantries a boss makes speeches about. Then he called up the administrative assistants and asked them to help pass out holiday cards to all the employees present. After the first few received their cards and opened them, whispers picked up and passed on the surprise news. Quickly everyone wanted to get their own card as well, for there were gift cards in the envelopes! But of course everyone kept their excitement in check and waited patiently for the administrative assistants to make it to them. Soon people were laughing and talking, some even starting to sing again.
It was in the middle of all this exuberance when Alicia thought she saw D enter the restaurant. Knowing D was not one to mill about, Alicia promptly excused herself from the conversation she was in. She weaved through the crowd towards the front door, looking around for any indications of what might be able to happen. Much to her dismay, she did find D near the front of the restaurant.
D seemed to be shadowing a specific group of three people, but none Alicia recognized. One, who was the tallest, had his hands in his pockets with arms held tight against himself, and seemed to be shaking slightly. The look on his face seemed to indicate he didn't feel very well. The second, who was the shortest, kept glancing at the first and had a nervous expression on his face. The third seemed fine, and possibly even ignorant to the moods of the other two as he looked around the room seemingly searching for someone.
Glancing around to make sure no one was paying much attention, Alicia grabbed D by the arm and pulled her a couple steps away. "No," she told D in a forceful whisper.
Both of D's eyebrows went up. "Well we'll just see, now won't we?"
"You leave him alone," Alicia ordered D, still whispering.
"Ah, why do you assume it's him I'm here for?" D replied.
"Then who?" Alicia asked.
D pursed her lips and shook her head, saying nothing.
"Come on, D!" Alicia said with enough annoyance to raise her voice above a whisper.
Just then the three men pulled out guns pulled masks over their faces, and started yelling for everyone to get down. Plenty of screams and one shot into the ceiling later, everyone was either lying or crouching on the floor. The man who had seemed fine turned out also to be the one in charge. He sent the shorter one to the other side of the room, leaving the taller one near Alicia's side, and went to the center of the restaurant himself.
"Okay people. Turn over your wallets and jewelry, and those gift cards, and we'll be out of here right quick," he said in a loud booming voice. "Don't worry about your wallets and purses in the coat room," he continued with a grin, "we already got those!"
He motioned for the other two to start collecting things. Instead of helping to collect the items as well, he stood and kept looking around, switching his watchfulness from the people on the floor to out the window.
Alicia glanced up to see where D had gone. It wasn't hard to spot D as she was the only one not a robber that was still standing. She stood looking away from Alicia, thereby not giving away who the victim or victims were going to be.
Alicia then looked around for Martin. She knew something was going to happen very soon, but had no idea what to do about it! As she scanned across the restaurant's floor, she saw one of her co-workers, Kyle, making ready to do something stupid. He had managed to get hold of a knife, and seemed to be fixing to lunge at the nearest robber when the man wasn't looking, which was the one closest to Alicia as well. Kyle's wife started to beg him not to do anything, but he quickly shushed her. Alicia a few feet too far away to grab him herself. She looked to the center of the room to see that the lead bandit had noticed Kyle as well, but was making no motion to preemptively stop him.
Just as Kyle started up to jump on the taller robber, the lead one leveled his gun. Alicia tried to reach for Kyle, screaming out, "NO!"
The shot went off, causing others to scream in terror, and Kyle fell to the floor. As his head hit the ground it looked like his feet had slid out from under him. Kyle's wife grabbed his arm and started yelling his name.
The lead bandit yelled over everyone. "STAY DOWN. I MEAN IT! AND SHUT UP!"
The other two turned shocked expressions Kyle's way. If it wasn't evident before one of them was willing to shoot, it certainly was now, even to them.
Sounds quickly fell to that of muffled crying and whispered, if frightful, assurances. Alicia watched Kyle and his wife with fear in her eyes and chest. After a few moments Kyle turned his head to his wife and discreetly pointed to a chair that had been a foot or two away from him. Several of the people around them turned their heads to look, and saw a bullet hole through the chair's back. Kyle's wife grabbed him and wept gratefully into his shoulder, trying not to be loud.
When she looked up to find D, Alicia saw D with a passive expression on her face and standing closer to the robber in charge than before. Suddenly she had an idea.
Between each person he took items from the taller robber was looking up at the one in charge, just to be sure. When he was close enough, Alicia carefully reached out and lightly touched his the back of his ankle. When he next looked up, he saw D. "Hey you!" he said, taking a step towards D, which made Alicia loose her contact with him. Immediately he froze, his eyes going wide.
The one in charge looked from the taller robber to where he'd been looking, then back to him. "What?" the one in charge asked.
"Uh...," the taller one shook his head to clear his vision, looked around quickly, then turned to the one in charge. "Nothing. Sorry," he said quickly.
"Then get back to work!" the lead robber ordered.
The taller one stepped back close enough to Alicia for her to reach him again. She touched his shoe. He hadn't looked down yet, so D reappeared to him just as she had disappeared. The robber yelled in fear.
"What?!" the one in charge demanded to know.
With his gun, the taller one pointed to D, who the others couldn't see. "Ghost!" he accused.
The lead robber looked at the other one like he was crazy.
The shorter robber was already making his way over. "Don't panic!" he begged. "Don't! Don't go anything!" he implored the one in charge. "I got him! I got him."
Begrudgingly the lead bandit narrowed his eyes, but neither said nor did anything else.
Right before the shorter robber made it to the taller one Alicia took her hand off his shoe, which made him jump again. This time he dropped his gun. Everyone in the immediate area flinched, but the gun didn't go off.
The lead robber had clearly had enough. As the shorter one retrieved the gun and tried to calm the taller one, the lead barreled over, stepping on hands and legs along the way. While their attention was all on each other, Alicia slid herself closer to the tall and short robbers, hoping to get close enough that she'd be able to reach the one in charge. She managed to do it, and touched both the lead one and the taller one at the same time.
Sure enough, the tall one pointed to D and yelled. "There!"
Both of the others turned to where he indicated, but short one didn't see.
However the lead one did. "You! Get on the floor!" he ordered.
D did not oblige. Instead she scowled at Alicia.
The lead robber leveled his gun at D. "GET DOWN!" he ordered.
Those already on the floor started looking around, wondering what was going on.
Without another word the bandit in charge fired on D. Who of course was unaffected. For the first time the lead robber was caught off guard. He fired again, to be sure he had actually shot right.
"It IS a ghost!" the taller one yelled in terror. He grabbed at the shorter one. "Let's get out of here!"
Not sure what was going on, the shorter one hesitated only long enough for the one in charge to fire a third time at the air. Then he nodded and the two bolted.
"There's no such things as ghosts!" the formerly in charge robber yelled after them. He turned back towards D. "And I'll prove it!" He took careful aim, and Alicia saw the next shot go through D's head. The robber took a step towards D with the leg Alicia was not touching. "What the hell are you?!" he demanded to know. He took another step forward, breaking Alicia's contact. As D suddenly disappeared to him, he froze. "What the-"
As the robber stepped backwards he stumbled over the person next to Alicia, which caused him to fall ungracefully to the floor, losing his gun in the process. Kyle was on it immediately. And then D was gone. To Alicia as well. She sighed with relief.
The bandit jumped up and fought his way to the door. Then he was gone.
People started picking themselves off the floor, checking each other to make sure they were alright, and calling the police. Kyle unloaded the gun as a couple of people came over to him smiling.
"How did you get out oft he way of that bullet!?" they asked him.
"Man, I don't know!" Kyle laughed in a manner that indicated he was relieved, not amused. "If I hadn't slipped on that water...," he shook his head with amazement.
"If you ask me, you were lucky," another co-worker said to him.
"I was damn lucky," Kyle agreed.
Martin quickly found Alicia, who was still sitting on the floor, looking off out the window. "Are you okay?"
"I saw you save that guy," whispered to her. "Good job."
Alicia shrugged. "That wasn't the half of it," she told him, starting to shake as what had just happened the last couple minutes sunk in.
He offered a hand to help her up. "What did you do?" he asked in a whisper.
Alicia held up her hands and gave him an innocent look.
He looked at her curiously, then a thought struck him as he looked at her hands. "Was D the ghost?" he asked.
Alicia laughed. "Yup!"
Martin laughed with her as he helped her up. "That's inspired!"
They smiled at each other, then Alicia went to join Kyle's wife in chastising him.
Labels: BoD, NaNoWriMo 2005, Story
Monday, November 14, 2005
NaNoWriMo Day 13B
- Chapter 4 En Totale
2750 words. I'm caught back up, both word count wise and story wise.
The next day went as well as Alicia could have hoped. Tracy showed up a little after three thirty in the afternoon, and they spent the rest of the day together having fun. Even mundane things like grocery shopping were fun to Alicia that day. After the last week and a half, time with Tracy was exactly what Alicia needed. It wasn't that she'd been feeling lonely, in fact she hadn't at all due to how often she saw Martin and the time she was spending at the hospital. But she also hadn't had any normalcy either. She wasn't working. She was still recovering from a serious auto accident and coping with a broken arm. And beyond all that, she was trying to come to terms with the fact that she had a unique and powerful gift. Tracy brought a sense of a normal life back to her. Made her feel like her old usual self again. Something Martin and the hospital couldn't do.
Alicia did have Tracy detour from their girls' day once for a short visit to the hospital.
"You're not sick of that place yet?" Tracy had asked her on their way.
"Not really," Alicia replied with shrug. "I don't know, maybe." She pressed her lips together, then turned her head towards Tracy. "But I made a promise. So it doesn't really matter."
Tracy's expression indicated it didn't much matter to her either. "Then we'd better keep it," she replied in reference to the promise.
Alicia only stayed long enough to sit with Maria until the older woman feel asleep. She was worried about Tracy. Or more specifically about Tracy meeting D. As much as Alicia wanted to tell her best friend about the biggest news ever in her life, she wanted more be able to hold onto Tracy as she was now. Alicia didn't expect Tracy would stop being her friend if Tracy knew about D and everything else, but she knew it would change how Tracy thought of her. Perhaps even how Tracy might treat her. How could it not? Alicia already thought if herself differently. And right now she couldn't handle it if Tracy changed too.
On their way out, Tracy looked at Alicia with admiration.
"What?" Alicia asked.
"You visit that lady every day, don't you," Tracy said.
Alicia nodded. "I promised her I would."
Tracy linked her arm into Alicia's as they walked. "You're a really good person," Tracy told her.
Alicia smiled, but quickly the smile faded. She pulled away from Tracy.
"What?" Tracy asked.
"Tracy, I have something to tell you," Alicia started to say, but hesitated. "I don't really want to, because I don't want things to change between us." She stopped walking, and looked to her friend.
"Then don't tell me," Tracy said as if it were the obvious solution, and kept right on walking.
"But I shouldn't keep things from you. We're best friends, it's not right."
Tracy turned towards Alicia with a very serious expression. "Alicia, you ARE my best friend. And that means I don't need to know anything you don't want to tell me. I trust you. I trust your judgement. If you ever feel it becomes necessary, I know that you'll tell me whatever it is. So, unless that every happens, forget about it."
Alicia smiled gratefully. She closed the distance between her and Tracy, and gave Tracy a big tight hug. "I love you," she said.
"I love you too," Tracy replied. Then she partially broke the hug by leaning back. "Come on, before we both end up in tears! We still have lots to do tonight!"
They both laughed lightly. Alicia nodded and let go of Tracy. "Right. So where are we having dinner?"
Two days later Alicia was back to work. One of her friends from the office, Melinda, offered to drive her to and from work every day since she was relatively on the way, which Alicia gratefully accepted. Until the doctors decided she could move to a small cast that didn't completely immobilize her right arm, she wasn't allowed to drive. That had been fine while she was on sick leave, but now it would have been a big problem. She couldn't ask Martin to talk even more time out of his days to help her get to work and back. And Tracy and her parents lived far enough away that they weren't even possibilities. But accepting her work friend's offer meant she wouldn't cause anyone much of an imposition, so long as she adjusted her schedule to accommodate Melinda's schedule. Melinda had school age children, and so she worked seven-thirty until four instead of nine to five like most of those at the lab. Alicia arranged with Susan for a temporarily altered schedule, and everyone was happy.
On the hospital front, Martin still made sure she made it twice a week for her normal volunteer schedule. He also brought her most every evening for her visit with Maria. The evenings he couldn't, Tracy brought her or Alicia took a cab. Things worked well like that for almost two weeks.
Then came the evening when Alicia and Martin arrived at the hospital to find Maria wasn't in her bed. She didn't have to ask the nurse on duty where Maria was. Every day Maria had been that much worse. She always told Alicia she felt better when Alicia was there, and eventually would fall asleep with a smile. And the next day she was always grateful when Alicia arrived. But last night when Alicia had arrived, Maria had thanked Alicia differently. She thanked Alicia for giving her the time she had needed for all her children to come visit her, so she could say all she needed to say them. She said her son, the last of her children to visit, had left that morning. And that meant the last person she had to say something to was Alicia. She had patted Alicia's hand with a smile, and thanked Alicia again. Then she said Alicia didn't have to come visit anymore, and sent Alicia away before she had fallen asleep. Alicia had come today anyway.
Martin put his arm around her shoulder. "Are you okay?"
It was a stupid question. The tears welling in her eyes had already told the answer to that question. "I knew she was slipping away from me," Alicia whispered. "She was such as nice person. Always had something good to say. And interesting stories. I sometimes wondered if we had have been in school together if we would have been friends." Alicia tried to laugh. "From all her stories, she would have gotten me into so much trouble," she said and started to cry instead.
Martin pulled her into a hug.
"Why couldn't I save her?" Alicia asked. "Why didn't I spend more time with her?"
"She didn't want you to," Martin replied, trying to make Alicia feel better. "She just wanted enough time to say good bye to everyone properly. You gave her that."
Alicia nodded slowly and tried to calm herself. "But I don't understand. Aren't I supposed to be able to save anyone?"
For a moment Martin floundered for an answer. "Maybe...," he slowly said, "...not? Maybe, there are some things beyond even your gift."
"Or maybe I didn't do it right," Alicia thought out loud. "I bet I have to be there, all the time, when D is around."
Martin hesitated to agree. That went back to their discussion in the car a couple weeks before. It was a question he was glad he didn't have to wrestle with.
"I'm going to go talk to D," Alicia told him as she pulled away from him. When he didn't follow her to the door, she stopped and looked back at him. "Not coming?"
Martin inhaled an held his breath for a moment. "Noo," he said as he exhaled audibly. "I don't think D would like that."
Alicia knew that meant he didn't think he would like what D might do. "Alright. I'll meet you downstairs?"
Not seeing D around the floor she was currently on, Alicia headed up to intensive care.
"Hi D," Alicia said as she walked down the corridor.
D stepped out from one of the rooms. "Alicia," she greeted neutrally.
The two looked at each other. It had been a while since they had spoken. Alicia wondered what D was thinking.
"I won't be by every day anymore," Alicia said. "At least for now."
"I know," D replied.
"Unless...," Alicia let her voice trail off as she tried to put words to her train of thought. "Why couldn't I save Maria?"
D tiled her head slightly. "Everyone dies Alicia. Whether you prevent it or not at a given point in their lives, eventually they will die."
Alicia knew that was the truth, even though it didn't explain why Alicia had failed Maria. She dropped her head some and lowered her voice. "D, what happens to a person after they die?" Alicia asked, almost afraid to hear the answer.
D remained silent for several moments, so long that Alicia looked up to make sure D was still there. "D?" Alicia prompted.
"I can't give you that answer," D finally replied.
Alicia narrowed her eyes at D. "Can't? Or won't?"
"Can't," D said firmly.
"Don't you know?" Alicia asked a bit incredulously. "You are Death after all. Where do you take people when they die?"
"It is," D tried to explain, "different, for you and I."
"What does that have to do with it?" Alicia replied with confusion. "Of course we're different. You're not human."
"Exactly," D agreed. "Our perceptions are different. Understand that all I know of your world is what you and your kind tell me. That and how and when death occurs."
"So... what? You can't tell me because you don't know how?"
"That's close enough," D answered with a nod.
Alicia shook her head. "Okay," she said, giving up on that topic. "Answer me this then. Am I on your list?"
D gave her a small smile. "Now Alicia, you know I can't tell you that. No one should have such foreknowledge of their destiny."
"Come on D," Alicia pleaded. "I'm not asking for when! I just want to know IF I'm going to die. I mean, is it possible? Is it definite? Is it not?"
D considered a moment, but then shook her head. "I will not tell you. But I will tell you why," she said before Alicia could protest. "No matter what answer I give you, you would start acting differently. If I said no you can't die, you would act cocky or brave or take risks you otherwise wouldn't, knowing you couldn't die. If I said yes you will die, then you would start constantly looking over your shoulder when I am around or questioning every decision with repercussions, wondering if this was the moment. No matter the answer, it is still foreknowledge for you. And so I will not tell you."
Alicia sighed. "I suppose that's fair." She thought a moment. "One more question before I go."
"I know there have been others before me with the same, um, powers as I have," Alicia stated.
"Are they still around?"
D shook her head. "Thankfully there has only ever been one at a time."
"What happened to them?" Alicia asked.
D held up her finger. "Ah ah. You said only one more question."
Alicia huffed. "Oh come on D, if they aren't around anymore, how did they die?"
"Who said they died?" D replied, looking genuinely surprised.
Alicia immediately fell back into confusion. "Are you saying they didn't die? You just said they aren't around anymore."
D held up her hand. "Enough questions for today." She started to walk away. "And don't expect me to answer them later either. Some things you have to figure out for yourself."
Alicia watched D disappear down the hall. Her mouth hung open for a while afterwards. Eventually she pulled herself out of her thoughts and headed for the elevators.
On the first floor as she passed by, Alicia wasn't too surprised to find the emergency room so busy. It was more than usual for this time of day, but not totally uncommon, especially if there had been some sort of accident or disaster. She decided to poke around on her way to meet Martin, to see if things were serious. If they were, she'd stay to help in her way.
Dozens of people were milling around, packing the place so much it was hard to see past the people around her. She gently pushed her way thru, silently checking on everyone. About half were bleeding from non-life threatening wounds. A few seemed to have cold symptoms and complained of high fevers, but nothing severe. The rest were in for various aches and pains, or were accompanying their children or friend.
Satisfied she wasn't needed, Alicia started to make her way back towards the door into the hospital, from which should would then make her way to the front to meet up with Martin. Suddenly she felt hands on her left arm and shoulder. She turned to see who wanted her attention, and found a man she did not recognize, and who did not look ill. He was distinctly looking towards the floor. Before she could ask him what he wanted she realized there was also a hand under her right shoulder and a fourth on her lower back that was starting to push her. "Hey!" she said with annoyance. "Watch what your doing!"
"I'm sorry," a woman apologized with sincerity from behind Alicia. But she kept pushing. Alicia looked back at the woman, who also was looking down, not seemingly watching where she was going.
Alicia quickly realized she was being lead toward the emergency room doors to the outside. She tried to pull out of the man's hold on her arm, but he tightened his grip. She tried to plant her feet to keep from being moved any further, but the woman behind her tapped the back of her knee with just enough force to make it bend, causing Alicia to loose her balance and stumble forward.
"Help!" Alicia called out. Just then a handful of other people around the emergency room called out for help as well.
"Don't worry, we've got you Alicia," the man said in an assuring voice, no doubt for any who had turned their way at Alicia's call.
Her eyes widened in fear. Not only was she being kidnaped, but it was well planned! Someone calling for help in the emergency room was not the attention getting thing Alicia needed it to be right then. Before she could think of something else to do, they had her out the doors. And sure enough, there was a car waiting. Which of course hadn't drawn any suspicion because there was a driver behind the wheel who kept looking towards the emergency room doors as if waiting for someone.
The man and woman put Alicia in the back seat of the car. Then the woman joined her. The man got into the front passenger seat and looked at the driver, who was a young male. "Let's go," the man said to the younger.
The first thing Alicia did was test the handle of the door next to her. Child locked. She hadn't expected any less, but she felt she had to try anyway. Next she looked around at the people in the car with her. As far as she could tell, none of them had guns. But she was still a captive nonetheless.
"Where are you taking me?" Alicia asked.
"We mean you no harm," the woman next to her said first to assure her she was safe. "We are taking you to the first church."
"The first church of what?" Alicia asked with a touch of uncertainty.
"Of the Light!" the driver responded enthusiastically.
The man next to him pointed out the windshield. "Just drive," he told the youth.
Alicia frowned. "Look, I don't know what's going on here but-"
"You will," the woman promised. "Please don't worry. The Reverend will explain everything for you."
Alicia took a deep breath to calm her nerves, hoping she could believe the woman, and trying to believe that they couldn't do anything to kill her anyway. She would just have to bide her time until she could find a way out.
Labels: BoD, NaNoWriMo 2005, Story
Sunday, November 13, 2005
NaNoWriMo Day 13A
- Chapter 5 Beginning
2535 words. I'm a bit out of order with this post because I wanted to write this stuff since it was new in my mind which meant it should have been the easy stuff to write, and I need to make up for not writing the last two days. But I'm not sure yet what happened before Alicia got here. Chapter four, when I write it, should cover the missing stuff.
"She's here!" Alex announced excitedly to the older man sitting hunched over an equally old desk.
Reverend Golms looked up from the letter he was penning to the young man at his office door. "What was that?"
Alex was practically jumping up and down. He waved his arm fiercely with his first finger extended and pointing towards the floor. "Here! Here!" he repeated quickly, trying to get Reverend Golms to understand. "She's HERE!"
Golms laid his quill down. "By she, I assume you mean the Light?" he asked patiently.
"Yes sir!" Alex's face brightened again at Golms' understanding.
Golms set aside his letter to let the ink dry on what had been written so far. He opened the desk's only drawer and carefully pulled out a package wrapped in brown paper sealed with packing tape. He had sent for it the day the Light had proven she knew what she could do. It had arrived from the master church two days ago. Golms had not yet opened it, he knew what was in it and its contents were not for him. It was only proper that the Light be the first to receive it.
"Come on, come on," Alex said, as if he could somehow infuse the Reverend with his enthusiasm and get the man to hurry if only he tried hard enough.
Golms' smiled at Alex. "You should not rush things of this importance."
"How can you be so calm!" Alex nearly yelled, using both his arms to express the frustration his anticipation was causing him.
"Truely," Golms replied in the same pleasant educating voice as before, "she is not going anywhere."
Alex's face fell. "Yeah, but...." He looked out the door, back to the Reverend, out the door, and back again.
Golms chuckled to himself. The impatience in Alex mirrored the same Golms' himself had felt the first time he had met the Light. The last Light that was. He had been about the same age as Alex was now. He understood the restlessness of youth, even if it occasionally grated on him these days. He found comfort in knowing that it would be tempered by time, as his own had been. But until then he was up against youth, and to youth Now was more important than time.
Golms stood. He had made the poor boy wait long enough. "Let's go meet her," he said as he walked around his desk.
Alex grinned from ear to ear. "She's in the sanctuary."
In the sanctuary Alicia was looking around. The most noticeable difference was all the carpeting. Every surface that was a floor or a stair was carpeted, thankfully, as without her shoes her feet would have gotten cold on hard wood floor. Otherwise the place both looked like her church's, and did not at the same time. It was as if the church's set up had been rearranged. There was a typical alter, with a white cloth over it and several candles on it in matching intricately designed candlesticks, but it was in the center of the sanctuary and not on the dais. There was also a symbol embroidered in white on the alter cloth. A set of concentric circles that became so small it was uncertain if a circle or a point was at the center.
In the longer direction of the rectangular room there was a pulpit to one side of the alter, and a podium on the other. They were spaced half way between the alter and the respective walls. Though the podium was made of marble instead of wood like everything else in the room. At what would have been considered the front of the sanctuary, were the dais was, were choir lofts and an organ. The few windows the place had where made of stained glass, though the scenes were not of anything readily recognizable to Alicia. Most of them seemed to be just a myriad of colors and shapes, with an occasionally recognizable tree or cloud or halo of light. The pews where standard; made of wood that matched the room's walls, hymnals resting in holders built into the back, no divisions to separate families nor fancy boxes for the better off. But they were placed all around the sanctuary facing the alter in the center. On the walls without windows were electric candelabra, and small shelves currently occupied by flowers. Various flowers, potted and cut, were arranged around the pews as well. Eventually Alicia realized the most significance difference between this church and her own was the lack of a cross at the front of the sanctuary, or anywhere in it for that matter.
When she looked up, she found ornate chandeliers of electric candles hanging all around the place above the pews. But where the pews ended so did the chandeliers. In the center of the room the wood ceiling was painted white, and directly above the alter was a skylight. When the sun shone down through the skylight there was a stark contrast between the center of the sanctuary and the rest of it, which seemed shrouded in shadows.
Alicia tried to picture what the place would feel like at night, when the electric candles would be on. Or even how it might be when the moon shone through the skylight! She imagined it would be beautiful. The thought of that made her smile slightly, and she started to feel somewhat at ease. Even after her thoughts returned to how she had been brought here.
She turned to look back at the sanctuary's main entrance, large wooden double doors. Her two "escorts" were still there on bended knee, but they weren't so reverent that they wouldn't jump up at her approach.
The woman held up her hand with her palm facing Alicia and her arm fully extend. "What can I do for you?" the woman offered.
Alicia took the gestured to mean she should stop coming closer. "I can't leave, can I," she asked more as a statement seeking confirmation.
"Please do not leave," the woman implored Alicia. "You have not met the Reverend yet. He will answer your questions. I promise."
From the tone of the woman's voice, Alicia wondered if she would be allowed to leave if she forced the issue. But she was not sure enough yet to test.
Alicia continued to meander around the sanctuary. This time she stopped at the first potted plant, noting they were lilies, her favorite flower. These happened to be Tiger lilies, easily recognizable by the red-orange pedals with black markings. She bent over to inhale their fragrance, smiling at the scent even though it wasn't that of Stargazer lilies, then moved on. As she passed the next set of flowers, she noticed they were lilies as well. Simple orange in color. She stopped walked, and looked around the room again, this time specifically at the flowers. She saw yellow lilies, the soft pink color marking Asiatic lilies, the beautiful red fading into white coloration spotted with darker red that signified Stargazer lilies, more orange lilies, and more Tiger lilies. Every flower in the place was a lily of one variety or another. And the ones on and surrounding the alter were pure white Oriental lilies.
For a moment Alicia stood in awe. When she regained herself she headed directly for the alter. The sweet smell of the white Orientals greeted her. She paused a moment to appreciate them, then scanned the sanctuary for the nearest Stargazer lilies. She quickly headed for them, and smiled happily.
"I'm glad you like them," a new voice said from behind her.
Alicia turned to see two men entering the sanctuary, one getting up there in years, one noticeably young. The younger one Alicia recognized as the driver of the car that had brought her here, he was carrying a package of some kind. The older one was wearing some sort of robes that Alicia could only assume where religious in nature.
They walked over to Alicia, the younger falling a couple steps behind. The older started to extended his right hand to her, but on seeing her cast quickly switched and held out his left as an offer to shake. "I am Reverend John Golms," he introduced himself.
The other three people in the room looked very surprised at Golms' action. Alex stifled himself from protesting, but his face indicated quite clearly Golms' had done something wrong.
"Alicia Monroe," she said, accepting his offer of shaking hands with him, glad someone was finally treating her like a person. As they let go she looked around. "Please tell me you can tell me what's going on here?"
Golms nodded. "I apologize if any of this has been unsettling." He moved to the stand next to a pew and motioned for her to join him. "You have to forgive us all. We have been trained to act in specific ways to you." He sat and looked to Alex. "It is hard for some to know when it is better to not stand on ceremony."
Alicia sat next to him. But couldn't think of anything to say just yet.
Golms turned a smile to her. "This is one of those times, for you do not yet understand."
"No, I don't," Alicia agreed. "I've had too many surprises in my life as of late. Please just tell me."
"Of course," Golms' nodded. "You have been brought here because you are the Light. The one we wait for, and when you arrive, the one we worship."
Some part of Alicia wanted to jump to her feet and get away. But she forced herself to sit and look Golm's in the face. She was tired of all the big news that kept changing her life, and wanted answers. "The Light?" she prompted.
"Yes. The one who always wins the fight against death," Golms' explained.
Alicia nodded slowly. "So you know."
"Oh yes," he answered. "More than you, I'm sure." He motioned to Alex for to package. "This is for you."
Alex came only close enough to hand the package over to Alicia. As he held it out to her he held up his opposite hand palm facing her with his arm fully extended.
Alicia accepted the package from him with a dubious look on her face.
"Something wrong?" Golms' asked.
"Why do they hold up their hand like that at me?" she asked.
"Ah. It is only proper when addressing or presenting something to the Light," Golm's explained. "It is a sign of our respect of your abilities as well as a reminder that we are not to touch you without permission, lest we see what we should not."
"You mean D?" Alicia replied. Then she nodded. "Yeah, apparently D doesn't like others being able to talk to her," she said thinking back to the encounter between D and Martin at the hospital.
Alicia looked down at the package in her hand. There was a UPS tracking label on it. Curious, she peeled off the tape and opened the paper. A simple, unmarked, but quite sturdy wood box was inside. She found the top lifted easily off the box, and so opened it, setting the top on the pew next to her. Inside the box was a small leather bound book that looked almost like a journal. On its front was imprinted a symbol that matched the one on the alter cloth.
"That is for you," Golm's told her. "In the front is some information on your abilities. The rest is blank, for you to fill in as you desire."
Alicia lifted the book out of the box and opened it. The pages that were written on were done so in elegant calligraphy, and apparently by hand. Someone had spent a lot of effort preparing it for her. Suddenly realization sunk in.
Alicia snapped her attention to Golms', trying to hide her concern. "Is this," she waved her hand around to indicate the sanctuary, "a religion?"
"Based on me?" Alicia asked, her face starting to betray the panic that was growing inside her.
"It is based on the Light. Who currently is you, yes," Golm's answered.
Now Alicia did stand up and step away from him. She shook her head slightly for several moments while trying to figure out what to say. "You can't expect me to-"
Golm's stood to face her. "We expect nothing from you. Except that you do what you were created for." He indicated the door. "You are quite free to leave."
Alicia looked towards the door, but instead of rushing to it she first looked back at Golms. "This is too much," she told him.
"Alex will drive you wherever you wish to go," Golms said, not giving any indication to what she had said. "You know where we are if you wish to know more or if you need somewhere to clear your mind." He paused. "Or if you need somewhere to stay."
Alicia frowned at him. "Why would I need somewhere to stay?"
"Your friend Martin will not be the first to figure things out," Golms answered. "It is only a matter of time. And there is no telling what the reaction will be in this day and age."
"How do you know about Martin?" Alicia demanded to know.
"We sent him the letter," Golms replied simply.
Alicia fell silent, contemplating all Golms had told her. "Okay," she said at last. "I'm going to be okay with all of this, for now." She looked at the journal still in her hand. "There are things I want to know." She looked up a Golms. "But I'm not comfortable being center of a religion."
"You will be," Golms assured her. "There is plenty of time. You'll get used to it."
"You will have to tell me exactly what I will be getting used to," Alicia informed him. "But right now I need to let people know that I'm okay."
"Of course," Golms replied with understanding. "We will be here when you get back."
"Right," Alicia said, and shook herself slightly as if shaking off an unwanted feeling. She looked around. "How do I get out of here?"
Alex held his palm up to her again. "This way," he said, sweeping his other hand around to indicate he would lead her out.
Alicia looked back at Golms. "That," she said pointing at Alex's upheld palm, "is going to get annoying."
Golms just smiled at her. Alicia shook her head, then turned back to Alex and sighed. She walked past him towards the double doors. The woman opened one for her. "Thank you," Alicia said politely as she walked through.
Alex walked behind her. On the other side of the doors he held up his palm again and pointed down a hall. "This way." He led her out of the church and to the car she had been brought in. Then he turned to her again, and held up his palm. "Where would you like to go?"
Alicia rolled her eyes at the gesture. For a minute she considered calling a cab. But decided not to spend the money since it seemed she didn't have to. "Home," she finally answered him.
Labels: BoD, NaNoWriMo 2005, Story
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