Thursday, 29 March 2012

The Feral Boy 5

Hey :D I know I posted earlier saying I had no stories for you, but after some rushed editing, I decided you deserved some Feral Boy over the weekend :P Like I said, rushed editing, so if you see any mistakes please let me know!

The Feral Boy 5

“Javen’s your son?!”

The man nodded and wrapped his hands around the bars. “Yes. I wasn’t sure who they brought in earlier, but your description sounds about right.” He smiled, his eyes sparkling. Amelia noticed a lump in his pocket and his hand was circling it, rubbing the smooth, curved edges. “Can you bring him to me? I mean...” His bottom lip quivered and wiped his eyes, taking a deep breath as he did so. “Sorry. I just...I just never thought it could be him, you know? I never thought...”

It’s fine. So you really are his father?”

The man took another deep breath. “Yes. I wish I could prove it to you, with a birthmark maybe, but I can’t. No distinguishing features whatsoever. I am his dad though. Cross my heart.” He swiped his chest and smiled, tears still glinting in his eyes. “Who are you then? H-his girlfriend? You can tell me.”

Amelia shook her head, a tiny voice in her head telling her to pretend, just for one moment, that she was. But she couldn’t. Not now. Not ever. “No, Sir. I’m just his friend.”

Javen’s dad nodded. “And I take it you’re a Comfort?” His eyes swept her body, and Amelia had the sudden urge to cover up. She felt like she was being undressed.

“Yes, Sir.”

“So, will you? Bring my son down here?”

Amelia nodded, shocked. Javen and him looked rather similar, but father and son? Javen’s dad was supposed to be dead! “But...but how did you get here?” She gulped and asked the question that had been on her lips from the moment he had spoken. “How are you still alive?”

The man sighed and slumped down onto his knees. “I don’t know. I really don’t know. All I know is that the guards pass me by - they pretend I don’t exist. Look, I was wondering...Can you bring Javen back here? I-I want to see my son.”

“Of course.” Amelia took a faltering step backwards. “I need to go, but, but I’ll bring him here. Thank you, Sir.”

The man nodded. “My name’s Henry. And thank you.”

Amelia smiled weakly and took another step from the bars. Her head was reeling. She turned around and started running to the other side of the hall. He was Javen’s dad. Javen’s dad. It didn’t compute, it didn’t click. 
It was true though - the man wasn’t lying. The more she thought about it the more she was sure. The identifying features they shared were laid out clear as day. The shape of the nose and eyes, the rounded tips of their fingers. They were related alright. But...but how?

The corridor of darkness was speeding forward, the metal bars glinting in the dull lights. Amelia kept running. Javen was here somewhere. And she would find him. She had to find him.

The black suddenly ended to be replaced by a mottled gray screen. Amelia stopped in front of it and ran her hand down its flat surface. She had reached the wall. She had reached the wall, and still no Javen. She turned around, suddenly aware that her hands were shaking.

“Javen?”

“Amelia!” The voice was thin and quiet, but it was there.

Amelia studied the rows of cages. The ones in front of her were were dark, only a few of their patrons awake and moving. Most of them were still asleep, and none of them were Javen.

“Amelia?”

Amelia whipped to her right. “Javen? Where are you?”  The dim light made it impossible to see further than a few feet in front of her face. She stumbled forward and collided with the side of a cage. Something brushed her arm, something slimy and rotten. She jerked backwards and shuddered.

“Amelia! Go to your...right!” Amelia edged to her right and her foot slipped into a gap between two cages. “Go through the gap! I’m on the other side.”

Amelia wriggled through the thin passage and then staggered onto the other side. “Come forward!” Javen’s voice was closer now, and she could smell his musty, dirty perfume. She ran forward and fell into the side of the cage. A hand wrapped around hers and a voice said, “You came.”

Amelia pulled backwards and smiled at Javen through the bars. He was dirty, his top lip stained red with blood and his arms criss-crossed with scratches and cuts. But other than that he was fine. He was safe. Amelia felt a warm wave of relief wash over her and her heart almost melted in her chest. He was ok. Amelia looked at him and smiled. “I came.”

Javen bent his head towards her. “Thank you. Now, are you going to bust me out?”

Amelia’s smile faded and she nodded. “Yeah, but...em...how?”

“You don’t know?”

Amelia shook her head. “I didn’t really plan anything. It just...happened.”

Javen sighed in dismay. “Well, that was smart.” He pulled his hand away from hers and looked over the bars. 

“The bars aren’t that strong, just enough to hold someone in. They’re cheap - if we could get some leverage...” 

He closed his eyes and screwed his face up in concentration. “To your right there’s a box. At the bottom of it, hidden in shadows there’s a metal bar. Bring it over here.” His eyes snapped open and he smiled. “Observation, my friend. Now, can you get it?”

Amelia nodded and went to the box Javen described. She ran her hand along the bottom edge of it. Nothing. She tried the other side. Nothing. No, wait. She moved her hand a few inches away from the box and felt there. Bingo. The rough, cold edge of metal rubbed up against her skin. She curled her hand round the bar and heaved it upwards it was heavy, but she could still carry it. She ran back to Javen, slipping the bar through the cage. 

“What now?”

Javen cocked his head to one side and picked the bar off of the ground. He held it like a feather, the muscles in his arm taut and tense as he pushed it under one of the bars. “Grab it.”

Amelia held the bar on one side as Javen adjusted his grip on the other. He glanced up at her and grinned. I’m going to push, and you pull ok? We should be able to get it off together, or bend it, at least. On three.” He paused and tightened his grip. “One, two, three!”

Amelia pulled the bar backwards, propelled by Javen’s thrust forward. There was a creak and Amelia heard something grate against metal. “Another push.” Javen’s strained voice seemed miles away through Amelia’s closed eyelids. “One, two, three! Heave!”

Amelia pulled again and this time the cage bent out of shape, the bars changing shape as though they were made of clay. Amelia beamed and pulled the bar harder. “Javen! It’s working!”

He grinned back and nodded. “Stop there. I can squeeze through that big a gap.” He dropped his side of the bar, and wrapped his hand around the bent cage. Amelia took the bar and laid it on the ground. The gap wasn’t that big, now that she could see it properly. Javen looked huge in comparison, his slender frame filling up the gap. 

Amelia bit her lip. “Can you get through?”

Javen nodded and slipped his foot through the gap. “I’ve got through smaller.” Grinning, he turned sideways and hopped through the gap, landing on his tiptoes. He straightened up and smiled. “Piece of cake. Now, are we going to go? The guards probably heard the metal break.” He held out his hand and Amelia wrapped her fingers through his.

“I can’t believe your ok. That you’re safe and well, and...what am I saying?” She giggled and let her head brush against Javen’s shoulder. He leaned his head against hers and closed his eyes. “I’m so glad you came.”

Amelia smiled. Amidst all the torture and gloom and despair, this moment was perfect, a glowing memory. She wished she could freeze it in time, keep it unblemished, but a moment later, Javen started and blinked. “We need to go. The guards will be coming soon.” His grip tightened on Amelia’s hand. “Where did you come from?”

“Eh, down that way and then I turned left, I think.”

“Good. Let’s go.”

“No, I need to take you somewhere first.”

Javen narrowed his eyes and broke into a brisk trot. “There’s not time, ok? The guards here are vicious. We need to leave. Now.” He took a sharp left and came out onto a stretch of cells Amelia hadn’t seen before. This stretch was empty, and smelled of disinfectant and urine.

Amelia dug her heals into the ground. “Javen. No. I need to take you somewhere first. Its urgent.” Javen had stopped and his head was lowered. He was deathly silent - she couldn’t even hear him breathing. “Javen. Come on!” She grabbed his arm and yanked him backwards. “I need to show you something!”

Javen held up a hand, his face hard and pale in the dull corridor. “Shush. Don’t you hear it?” Amelia stopped and listened. Footsteps. Loud and fast, echoing through the air, whispered on the non-existent breeze. Amelia turned white and clenched Javen’s arm between her fingers. The noises were coming from in front of them. 

“Javen? Where do we go?”

Javen stayed silent for a moment, before whipping round. He grabbed Amelia by the shoulders. His eyes searched hers, their determination gone and their hardness lost. “You run, ok? I’ll take them.”

Amelia sighed and shrugged Javen’s hands off her. “You tried this before, remember? And that didn’t exactly work, did it?” She held Javen’s hand. The footsteps were getting louder and Amelia could feel her heart racing in her chest. It was like Javen’s house all over again. “I’m coming with you and I need to show you this thing, ok? Now, come on!” She tugged his arm and together they started running.

The rows of cells seemed endless, stretching on for miles. Everywhere Amelia turned there was another junction, another decision she had to make. Her eyes hurried over the cells like startled rabbits, looking everywhere and anywhere for a glimpse of Henry. No matter where she looked, Javen’s dad was nowhere to be seen. And all the time, in the background, a bass to her frantic search, were the footsteps, each one getting louder and faster. Amelia’s palms began to sweat and behind her she could hear Javen’s breath quicken. He had done this before, back when he was a child. Running from the police, the guards. It was horrible, knowing what she was putting him through. All he wanted was to leave. But she couldn’t let him. She had to show him. She owed it too both of them.

 Amelia took a right turn and paused. Was this it? Was this the row she had been looking for? She prayed it was. They had been searching for over five minutes - a precious amount of time to be wasting as the guards got ever closer, winding their way through the infernal labyrinth. Amelia looked around wildly. Please let this be the right one, please...Yes! The smiley face poster was on the wall, as ugly as it was ten minutes ago. But it seemed to be smiling now, a huge beaming grin. Amelia tugged Javen’s arm again and pulled him towards the corridor. He resisted and pulled his arm from her grasp.

“Amelia! We need to get out of here!”

“No! This is it! It’s down here! Just follow me, ok?” Javen’s face remained blank, his eyes speaking volumes. 

He was unimpressed.  Amelia bounced on her heels. “Your father! It’s your dad, Javen! For goodness sake, come on!” The words just came out, and Amelia felt a hand clap over her mouth as she said it. It took a moment for her to figure out that it was hers.

Javen blinked and stared at her. “No. It’s not. I don’t know what you’re trying to do here, but stop it, ok? Stop it.” His eyes had returned to their hard, determined state. For the first time since Amelia had met him she was scared. He looked wild.

“Javen, just listen, ok? I met him-”

Javen held his hand up and glowered. “No. He’s not here. He’s dead, ok? I’ve accepted that. Your little rouse isn’t going to work. Now, we need to leave.” Javen crossed his arms, waiting for her to agree, to join him. Amelia felt her heart tug. She wanted to join him but she couldn’t. She didn’t have time to wait. The footsteps were growing louder by the minute, and if Javen was more concerned with being stubborn than trusting her, then he could stay there. She would get his father out herself. “Fine. Be that way.” She crossed her arms and turned away. She was going to do this. She had to do this.  Amelia bit her tongue and ran.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Petrol - Part 2

Good evening :D I'm in a very good mood today because summer had come unexpectedly early in Scotland. It was a sweltering 20 degrees Celsius at lunchtime (68 degrees Fahrenheit for you American folks) and we are getting very close to breaking the March record for highest temperature! To those of you in warmer countries, it might not seem warm, but to Scottish folk, we're slapping on suntan and walking around in shorts and vest-tops :P

Anyway, here's the second part of Petrol. I hope you enjoy it! Oh, and before I forget, please vote on the poll :) I'm not sure of this background so I want your advice!

Petrol - Part 2

“There,” she said. “All done.” She grinned again and put her hands on her hips. Her eyes were still twinkling, sparks flying from the hollowed chestnut globe of her iris out into the ordinary, normal world that seemed so out of a place all of a sudden. It couldn’t be normal, not with this mad girl in it.

I looked her up and down, my brow furrowed in confusion. A tip of white paper stood up from the top of her pocket, the tip of a wave. I swallowed. “Eh, it might not be my place to ask, but why in God’s name did you do that?” The moment I had said the words, I wanted to take them back. I needed to go, not strike up a conversation with this girl.  Curiosity had no place in my mucked up life, not now anyway.

The girl grinned again. “I was waiting for you to ask me that. Everyone even remotely normal seems obliged to find out more about me, about my life. You’re not the first to investigate further, you know.” She sighed and stuck out her hand. Her nails were blood red with a line of blue glitter slicing them in half. I shook her hand, the soft flesh of her palm colliding with the sweaty, unwashed skin of mine. “My name’s Simone. And you?”

“Joe. Joe Steele.”

Simone nodded and folder her arms across her flat chest. “You have a very normal name. Do you know that? Joe Steele. I wish I had a normal name. My last name is very strange -Romanian, I think, but I’m not too sure.” She glanced up. “The toilet paper is a souvenir.  I don’t have any money, so I just take that. It’s free and you can tell a lot from a bit of toilet paper.”

She stopped abruptly and looked at me. “You think I’m strange.” She shrugged and started moving away into the main body of the shop, her feet gliding across the floor. “Don’t worry - I get that a lot. Oh well, it’s good to be unique, I think. ‘Why fit in when you are born to stand out?’ Or even better - ‘Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive that’s more Youer than You’.” Smiling, she lifted her hand and brushed it along the wall of the shop. The blue veins on the back of her hand fitted into the crevasses and cracks of the wall perfectly as though they were made together, pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that only she could fill. I hurried after her and we stopped at the edge of the sandwich shelf.

“Dr Suess.”

She glanced up at me, a grin playing on her lips. “You know the quotes? The last one is one of my favourites.”

I shook my head. “Sorry, I don’t know it. It just sounded like Suess. So, are you on a road trip then?”

Simone nodded and then shook her head. “Yes. No. Well, not really. I don’t have a car, you see, so I’m on a pavement trip, a grass trip and a field trip at the moment.” She examined a limp ham sandwich, which was so old it looked fossilised. “I’ve come all the way from Manchester on foot. Would you believe it? I’m quite proud of myself for that.”

“On foot?!”

“Uh-huh. Quite tiring, but hi ho, I don’t really mind.” She ambled over to a rack of postcards. She spun them and smiled absentmindedly at the whirl of colours they created. “What about you?”

“I-I’m going on a road trip around England.” I felt my face go red. What if she asked more questions. The last thing I needed was more questions...

“Why?”

I bit my tongue. Why? Oh, fantastic, great. Just what I needed. “Why do you need to know?”

“I don’t.” Simone shrugged. “But, guessing by your rudeness, your demeanour and your body language, I’d say you’re running. But from what? It’s not your mum or your girlfriend - no, it’s something bigger than that.” 

Her eyes narrowed and she cocked her head in thought. “Your future. Judging by your clothes - the tight, stylish checker top, the smart-but-casual jeans, the pointed, polished leather shoes - I’d say you were about to go to uni. Oxford, maybe? Your accent sounds right, and you’re smart enough. Well adjusted enough to be accepted there as one of the crowd. But you’re scared. You aren’t ready to leap into adult life, to watch everything you wanted to do speed away into the far and empty distance. So you’re running away on a roundtrip to nowhere, in a vain attempt to figure out your life and clear that jumbled cluttered head of yours. Am I right?” She turned to look at me, her brown eyes twinkling with knowing.

Somewhere during her speech, my mouth had fallen open. “What? Wh-How did you...”

Simone laughed. “I have a knack for these things that few people do.  I was right, wasn’t I?”

I nodded, my mouth still hanging open. “Yeah. Although I’m going to Cambridge. Or, at least, I was going to Cambridge.” I snapped my jaw shut and ducked my head. “I was going to study law.”

Simone nodded and turned back to the postcards, fingering the corners of each one. “Don’t be so quick to resort to the past tense. Things could change in an instant.” She fell silent. I just stood there. How did she do that? It was like she could read my mind and soul. But she couldn’t...could she? I gave myself a mental smack in the face. She couldn’t. That was impossible and anyway, she was a girl. A crazy, mental girl, but there was certainly nothing physic about her. She was just a girl, just a girl...

“Anyway, I’d better be heading off. I need to be in York in an hour. It was nice talking to you, Joe. Have fun figuring out your amazingly normal life.” Simone smiled and walked towards the door. Her hand curled around the handle. “Oh, and Joe? You’ll go to Cambridge, and you’ll graduate the youngest in your class. But take your road trip. You need it to figure out the rest of your life.” The edge of her mouth turned up in a warming smile and with that, she was gone.

I pushed my hands into my jeans pockets and leaned against a shelf of shapeless chocolate bars. I had no idea how I knew, even less of an idea how she knew, but she was right. It just...clicked. I was going to go to University and get my degree. How did she know? How did that odd girl know? I needed to figure her out. I cast my eyes to the door. I had to get back on the road. I had places to go, people to see, and if I casually passed Simone on the way...

I smiled and walked towards the door, my hand rummaging around in my pocket for the key to my truck. Huh. That was funny. It didn’t seem to be there. My spare hand opened the door and then I paused. A smile passed over my face and I walked out of the petrol station, my shoulders lax. My truck was parked a few metres away, its blue surface smeared with crumbs of dirt and grime. It had been second hand - my parents hadn’t been able to afford anything else, seeing as there were my two brothers to care for as well. It was small and disgusting but it worked and that was all that mattered.

I sauntered towards it, stopping just before I collided with the wing mirror. I waited a moment and the door flew open. I looked up to the window and grinned. “Are we going?”

Simone giggled and waved the antibacterial hand wash I had left on the passenger seat in my face. She gave the driver’s seat a quick pat with other hand and grinned. 

"Only if you wash your hands.”

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Petrol - Part 1

Hello! I just got my braces in :O They're green and purple and they feel really really really really weird (enough 'really's? :P) Yeah, so that was fun :)
Anyway, I wrote this while I was away on holiday and its one of my favourite pieces :D I haven;t looked at in a while though, so if you see any mistakes please comment! it wasn't meant to be split in half so it ends in a weird-ish place :/

Petrol

I stood outside the toilet, my foot tapping off the linoleum floor. I needed to go. Every ounce of my body seemed to be filed with urine. A few more seconds and I would explode, pop like an over-filled water balloon. My eyes were watering, glued to the locked door in front of me. It was grimy and covered with scratches and splotches of black dust. There was a puddle of liquid on the floor, glinting in the fluorescent lights. Ten minutes ago, when I first arrived, I might have cared about the state of a petrol station toilet. But now, it was the least of my concerns. I needed to go.

I leaned forward and knocked the door with three sharp raps. “Excuse me, but could you hurry up?” There was a murmur in reply and then, silence. I suddenly had the urge to scream. I needed to go. Now! Ten minutes ago, the toilet had been empty. Ten minutes ago, I had been standing in this exact spot, moving into the dirty cubicle, with nothing on my mind but the anticipation of sweet relief. But then, ten blooming minutes ago, a girl had turned up, a girl with her hair in a messy ponytail. I know she had a messy ponytail, because it was the first and last thing I saw of her, as she zipped in front of me into the bathroom and locked the door. Great.

I turned around on my heels and stole a glance at the shop behind me. It was pitifully small, but then again, what was I expecting? It was a petrol station bang in the middle of nowhere, ten miles away from anything that is or ever was. The shelves were lined with rubbery sandwiches and flat bottles of Coca-Cola that lay limply on their side. A pile of sagging paperbacks sat on a table and a single assistant looked out of the window, a bored expression on her face. A line of drool connected her top jaw to her bottom jaw, which were both working furiously in an endless attempt to destroy a piece of gum. I choked back a gag and turned back round. Why the hell was I here? Everything just seemed so pointless.

I stood in front of the door and waited. There was nothing to do except think and ponder what the heck I was doing. In other circumstances, a little hindsight, a little foresight, would have been welcome, but now? No. Not now. When I was on the road, maybe, but definitely not now.

I tapped my foot off the floor and tried to force the questions away. It didn’t work of course. Sorting out one’s life is an apparently urgent matter.  So, why was I here? Why was I standing here, my bladder fit to burst, watching a middle-aged spinster contemplate her life? Just, why? I was a nineteen year old boy, with a life ahead of him. What was I doing here? An answer jumped into my mind before I could stop it. I was taking a road trip around the great and glorious Britain. I fake applauded in my head. Congratulations, brain. You are now the one and only Captain Obvious.

I forced my way through another barrage of questions and then I heard it. The best noise in the world. Flush. The sound of water running down a drain, followed by the gentle trickling of water from a tap. It was like music to my ears. Music of hope. Music that sang of a life where I wasn’t urine soaked or pathetic or any 
number of things to do with my over-filled bladder. I grinned. Soon, soon, soon...

Yes! The door creaked open and the girl walked out, her brown hair bouncing off the nape of her neck. I smiled politely, my eyes focused on the yellow enamel of the toilet. I murmured a word of thanks before giving a curt nod and speeding into the toilet.

My hands moved in a flourish, faster than what I thought was humanly possible. I locked the door, lifted the toilet seat and undid my zipper and then-Ahhh. There it was. Relief. Sweet, sweet relief. My knees almost buckled beneath me and a dumb smile passed over my face. Relief.

A day’s worth of water and RedBull takes an exceptionally long time to trickle out, so by the time I had finished, over two minutes had passed. I flushed and zipped up my jeans. No need to wash my hands - I had antibacterial stuff in the car.  The sooner I got on the road the better. I needed to battle through the questions that were plaguing my mind. I unlocked the door and stepped out into the stale, air-conditioned atmosphere. It was a nice improvement to the sour smelling toilet. I took a deep breath. Finally, I could get moving again.

“Shouldn’t you wash your hands?”

I whipped round and blinked. The girl. She was standing to my right, staring at me. Her big brown eyes twinkled thoughtfully.

“You really should wash your hands you know.” I nodded, not really paying attention. The girl looked about my age, maybe a few years younger. She was wearing a pair of tight blue skinny jeans, and a purple t-shirt with a cartoon turtle on it. A woolly jumper was tied round her waist and her red Converse were glued to the floor. The top of her wrists, delicate and mottled with dark brown freckles, poked out from her jean pockets.

“Yes, I look odd, ok? Now, are you going to wash your hands?” Her voice was sweet, and although it should have sounded harsh, it didn’t. It sounded rather amused.

I blinked again and stuttered out an answer. “Yes.  I mean, no. I have stuff in the car.” I paused, my eyes sweeping over her. “If you don’t mind me asking, why are you still here?”

“Oh, me? I forgot something.” Her face lit up and she grinned, showing a row of sparkling white teeth. 

“Won’t be a tic.” She pushed past me and walked back into the toilet. She leaned forward over the toilet bowl and stopped. For a moment I thought she was going to be sick, but then I saw her hand whip out from her pocket and grab the toll of toilet paper. Her nimble fingers pulled a few sheets off of it and then, smiling, she leaned back. She pushed past me again, and then, with a showman’s flourish, she tucked the toilet paper into her pocket. 


Monday, 19 March 2012

Blogversary!

I'm postponing my How I Write you series until next week, because of a special announcement! 

Happy Blogversary!


Yup, it's been a year since I started this blog, and boy, has it come a long way. 33 followers, over 8000 views and a lot of feedback has been gained through this :D And I could have done any of it without you - my readers. You've been such a great help to me over the past 365 days and I've certainly enjoyed doing this :D So, thank you!

On a depressing note, I just got my first tooth out and I'm getting braces on Thursday. And to top it off, I'm sick. Bleh.....Oh, well...I have Sherlock Holmes :)

Friday, 16 March 2012

Fame and Honour

Hi! This is going to be short because, unfortunately, I'm sick :( I wrote this for a competition, and as all my other competition stories, it isn't very good. Still, I hope you *kinda* like it :P Oh, and thanks so much for the comments on Sean!

Fame and Honour

I slowly walked into the private room, my hand tight around my pencil and pad. George lay, broken, in the hospital bed. His arms were entwined with  snaking cables, filling with red and yellow liquid, squirting and squeezing their medicines into his veins. His face was worn with age, lined with wrinkles that seemed so deep they would penetrate his skull. White hair floated round his head like clouds, never touching the age-spotted skin below it and his breathing was laboured. His eyes were closed, covered by folds of leathery skin. The oldest man in the world was about to die, and I, Tony Donovan, was going to be the last person to see him alive.

“Mr Williams?” The old man glanced up. His eyes peeled apart and he looked at me, his wrinkled, toothless mouth forming words no one could hear. He squinted and suddenly his grey eyes sunk down further into his skull, dead and lifeless.

“Yes,” he croaked. A cough ripped through his body and suddenly his voice was clearer. “Come in, come in.”  His twig-like fingers grasped the arm of a chair beside him, and he started tugging it, yanking it towards him.

“Here, let me get it.” I curved my fingers around the arm-rest and pulled it nearer the bed. George smiled for a second, his eyes glowing, but then he returned to his saddened self. His hand flopped back onto the bed and he sighed.

“What do you want?” He looked at me and then stole a glimpse at my pad and pencil. “Come to watch an old man die?” He laughed silently, and started coughing. I glanced around, unsure what to do. Was there water anywhere? Ah, yes. There we go. I handed him the small glass of water on his bedside table, placing it in his quivering hands. He nodded appreciatively and gulped it down.

“Ahh,” he said, putting the cup back on the counter. “Now, where were we...?”

“I was about to introduce myself. I’m Tony Donovan, reporter with The Sunday Times. I’m writing an article on your life, and I needed a first person narrative. Is that ok? It won’t take two minutes.” Not waiting for an answer, I began. “First of all, how was your childhood?”

“It was ok, I suppose. Living in the 1900s was much different than it is now. One of my earliest memories is seeing a car. They were relatively new then, you know. It must have been a hundred years ago now. When I was eleven.” He smiled slightly, his puckered lips turning up at the corners. “I remember my first girlfriend as well. “16 I was, if I remember correctly. I was one of the few lucky ones to stay on at school. Betty, her name was. See, in those days, relationships were important. Proper. You had to be a certain age and even then....”

I struggled to write everything down as he prattled on, telling me about everything from boiled sweets to his best friend in school. He went on and on and on, until I finally had to interrupt.

“Thanks, I’ve got everything I need on that. Now, what about your wife,” I flipped the pad back to the first page and scanned the lines, “Florence Thayer? It says here she died of natural causes in 1979 and you had been together for 33 years. Was that hard for you?”

George’s face fell. “I don’t want to talk about it.” He shifted to the other side of the bed, unconsciously moving away from me.

I could have just left it - hell, I should have just left it - but I was a journalist, and I needed this article. I was young, and a good article like this would make or break my career. “It’s alright, but I just need a quote.” I looked at him and smiled. “What was your last memory of her? What was the last thing you said to her?
George gasped and buried his face in his hands. For a moment, I thought he was crying but then he spoke.  

“You know, don’t you? You wouldn’t have asked if you didn’t know...” He looked at me, his eyes filled with sudden regret.

I stared at him, confused. “What do you mean?” A sudden thought struck me. “I’m not a priest. I don’t do confessions.”

George put his hands in his lap. “You know...how did you find out...?” He took a deep breath and stared at me. “When I was 59, I did a terrible thing. I’m going to Hell for it - I know I am.” He paused, and a sob broke through the silence. “I-I-I killed her...” His voice was barely audible, quieter than a whisper.
I put my pad on my lap and leaned in close. “What did you say?”

George’s eyes slid to the window, overlooking the car park. His voice cracked. “I killed her...”

I sat in the chair, my mouth open. I was sitting with a murderer! An old one, but nevertheless, a murderer. The instinct to run away was overpowering, but one look at the man changed my mind. This could be it. My big break! I needed to crack this one wide open.

I placed my hand on Georges shoulder and patted him gently. “I know,” I said smoothly.  I always had been an expert liar. “What happened?”

“She was dying,” he croaked, sobs breaking up his words. “She was sick, so sick, and I couldn’t watch her anymore. She had asked me months before...” He began to cry, his body quivering and trembling. Silvery tears spilled onto his wrinkled cheeks and suddenly his eyes were alive, full of regret and pain. His hands were shaking and his body bent in anguish. You could hear his spine crinkle like a dry leaf, ready to break with the slightest touch.

“She was lying on the couch. I went up to her and she simply looked at me and said ‘Sandy?’ I nodded and held her hand. I told her that I would meet her soon and then, then...I picked up a cushion and pressed it on her face. She didn’t struggle or cry. She just lay there. I think she knew she was going to a better place.”

“I promised I would go after her, but when I came to do it I couldn’t. My plan was to take sleeping pills, and go peacefully like she did. But I couldn’t. It was too clean. I needed to feel the pain for my sins. So then I found a gun. I was about to pull the trigger when the phone rang. It seemed like an omen.”

He looked at me, his grey eyes blurred and his nose running. “That phone call was a job offer to take over a business. I took it, and afterwards, I couldn’t destroy myself. Not for her. Not anymore. And here I am, 114 years old. I would have given every moment for another five minutes with her. Her old self, not the shell she became.”

My hand was still poised over the pad when he stopped talking. I couldn’t write anything - my hand was frozen, paralyzed. I was sitting with a murderer, but not a murderer. A killer with compassion.

“I-I need to go.” I stood up out of my seat and hurried to the door, cold sweat pouring down my back. I needed to get to the office. Immediately. Throwing the door open, I sprinted through the hall, down the stairs and into the car park. I could still see George’s face staring at me, his grey eyes peering at me through the window, his cheeks streaked with tears, full of regret.

*

George Williams was an amazing man. He survived two World Wars, created a successful business and lived to 114, dying only yesterday afternoon. But he had a devastating secret...one that would change his life forever.

I hastily pressed the backspace button on the keyboard and leaned back in my chair, placing my hands on my head. The office was thriving, full of life, editors and journalists working and chatting and editing and writing. Everyone was busy. Apart from me. I blinked and stared at the blank screen in front of me. It was taunting me, mocking me with its pure white finish. Sighing, I pressed my fingertips on the keyboard and took a deep breath. Nothing. Negative. Zilch. Zero.

My body sagged and I slumped into my chair again. I couldn’t write. I couldn’t. Not with this raincloud hanging over my head, threatening to pour at any moment. I glanced at my pad, the one I had used yesterday. 

It still hadn’t sunk in. A murderer.  What should I do? I had no idea. Should I tell people? Yes. People would talk about me in the papers, on the street - “Did you hear about that Tony Donovan lad?” “Ooh, yes! Imagine getting a scoop like that!” A smile slipped through my lips. Fame and fortune. The question was, could I tell the world? This man had lived through two World Wars and it wasn’t technically murder...

On the other hand, I could just leave the killing part out of it. I mean, he had killed his wife so she didn’t have to suffer. And that was alright. Wasn’t it? I had no idea. Still, not writing about it would be honourable, courageous. And that was better than fame, or so everyone said.

I twiddled my thumbs and looked around. The editor was nowhere to be seen. Good. I had nothing to show her, despite being in the office for over three hours. My head just wasn’t working right. My brain refused to function properly. I was a journalist - meant to report interesting stories. The euthanasia would be the cherry on the cake, if I put it in. But then again...

I slapped my hand off the table and sighed. I had to produce something by the end of the day. I glanced up at the clock and groaned inwardly. I only had an hour and a half. My eyes drifted back towards the computer and shaking my hands, I pressed my fingertips to the keyboard once more. I needed to choose. Fame or honour? Honour or fame? The question buzzed in my head like a swarm of wasps, stinging and buzzing through my thoughts. Making my name in the world, being rich and happy, or living my life content with the fact I had done the right thing. The second option was more morally acceptable but then again...fame and fortune...

Closing my eyes for a second, I began to write.

*
The next day the editor strode up to me and handed me a copy of that morning’s paper. “Good article, Donovan. Keep it up and you might get promoted!” She smiled and walked off, leaving the paper limp in my hand. I rifled through it until I found my article on page 5. The Life and Times of the World’s Oldest Man. 

My eyes skimmed the words, catching on the last few sentences.

George Williams was an amazing man. He lived through two World Wars and created a successful business, dying only yesterday. He loved his wife dearly and when Florence passed away he was devastated, almost committing suicide to be with her. There is just one last thing that needs mentioned. George Williams was...

“Tony!” The editor was shouting me. I glanced up and saw her manicured nails waving me forward. “The mayor’s here to see you! He wants to congratulate you on your article!” I grinned and puffed my chest up with pride. Throwing the paper down on the table, I sorted my tie and hurried out the cubicle, the last words on the page still echoing in my head.

...the most courageous, honourable man I’ve ever met. Rest in peace and God be with him.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Sean

Hello :) Sorry for not posting yesterday, but I was extra busy, and I did post over the weekend :)
So, em...yeah...not much to say, if I'm honest. I'm  nearing the 75,000 word mark for Wolfbane :D I'm on Chp. 30, and most of it's rubbish, but other than that I'm quite happy!
I wrote this story over the weekend. It's not fantastic but I quite like it. Enjoy!

P.S. Is anyone following this blog on Figment?

Sean


Stars fell and rained down from above like an apocalyptic horror film. The night sky was black as ink, smudging the edges of the ever rotating specks of light that exploded and shone down on us. The constellations were clear and in my mind’s eye I saw everything - the rounded edge of Orion’s club, the flowing hair of the Gemini twins. It was beautiful. I knotted Sean’s fingers with mine and smiled. I loved doing this. Even if it was fake.

“The tour of the night sky has now ended. Please leave the theatre.”

The lights powered back up and the sky vanished. I could still see the faint outlines of the stars, twinkling and sparking as they faded backwards into the ceiling. Everyone around us was standing up - couples and parents and grumpy teenagers brought along by a school trip, or something. I stayed on the floor, my back pressed into a bump on the carpet. It was so peaceful and calming. If I stayed like this forever, I could never fall. Only fly.

“Leslie? We need to go.”

Sean pulled himself away from my grasp and stood up. He loomed over me, a grin on his face. “Up you get, lazy pants.” He thrust his hand into my face and I grabbed it. He yanked me to my feet and waited for me to steady myself. “You ok?”

“Yeah, I’m fine.” I stretched my arms and searched the air for Sean’s hand. I held it as we walked through the planetarium’s doors. “That was fun.”

Sean glanced at me as we weaved our way through the crowd of people clogging up the museum corridors. 

“You found that fun?”

“It was...interesting. I like knowing that there are other things out there. I enjoy knowing that despite popular belief, we are not the centre of the universe. I want to be reminded to help others now and again, otherwise I forget.”

Sean laughed and played with a string of my hair. “You are a strange one, Leslie.”

I ducked under a floating skeleton and grinned. “Is that good or bad?”

“In your case, good. Definitely, absolutely, unequivocally good.” I smiled and we pushed our way through the museum doors into the chilled April air. The sun was high and shining, but it was an illusion, like every other type of weather in Britain. It was freezing. I pulled my jacket closer to my chest and tucked a strand of hair behind my ear.

“What about you? Did you enjoy it?”

Sean shrugged and jumped down the last two steps onto ground level. “Meh. It was ok, but I liked our trip to the club much more.”

“The one where everyone was shouting at us, and trying to get a piece of me?”

“Yeah, that was the one.” He grinned roguishly and winked. “I like fighting off other men.” He enveloped me in a hug and I squirmed under his grasp.

“Not now, Sean. People are staring.”

Sean let me go and smiled. He grabbed my hand again and stopped in front of a statue. “Let them. If they’re going to be prudish, it’s their problem, not ours.” He leaned on the statue and crossed his arms. He was skinny, and wearing a pair of black skinny jeans. His hair was swept down over his face and his eyebrow was pierced with a silver ring that glinted in the sun. I sat down on the statue’s base and pulled my knees up towards my chest.

“Did you really not like it?”

Sean shrugged. “I don’t know. I’m not a cultural guy, if I’m honest. I enjoy the lower enjoyments of life - T.V and ice-cream and Darren Criss. I have that and I’m set.”

I narrowed my eyes. “You do know who you’re leaning against, don’t you?” Sean shrugged again and I sighed. “You are wiping your sweaty, lowbrow back over the greatest poet of his time. Robert Burns. He came from Scotland.”

Sean nodded and glanced at the worn black marble. “Huh. Interesting.” He paused. “I’m kidding.  I enjoyed it.”

I nodded, not overly convinced. He had done this before. Said he liked something when inside he detested it. It was disconcerting. There was always that little bit in my mind that screamed he wouldn’t like something, despite his obvious joy.

“Leslie, we got haters. Three o’clock.” I blinked against the harsh light and squinted to where Sean was meaning. Standing a couple of yards away was a troupe of boys, hair cut into short peaks. They were dressed in jeans and Adidas jumpers. They were haters alright.

“Sean? Should we go?”

Sean shook his head. “No. Leave them be. In fact...” He sat down beside me and held my hand. Our knuckles brushed as he raised my hand to his lips. He gave it a quick peck, just enough to make me blush.

“Sean...”

“I want them to know, Leslie. They can look, they can stare, but it all counts for nothing if they don’t know we love each other.” He turned to look at me, his eyes warm and soft. “I love you.”

“Ditto.” We sat silent for a moment, our bodies tightly coiled springs, ready to flee at a moment’s notice. Haters always had that effect on us. Sean was calmer than I was, but his eyes were still trained on the frowning group of boys.

A minute or so passed before Sean whispered in my ear. “They’re coming over. Go or stay?”

I paused. I agreed with Sean. They had to know we loved each other. They had to understand. But would it be worth it? It wasn’t uncommon for people to be aggressive when it came to dating and pecking order. Not in our society. I gulped down a lump in my throat. “Stay.”

“Okay.” Sean’s body tensed at my side as the boys got closer. They looked about my age, maybe younger. The expressions on their faces had changed from those of mild interest to those of disgust and fear. There were five of them, and the tallest seemed to be the leader. He stopped his gang a few metres in front of us and took a step forward, his hands in his pockets.

“What you doin’?”

Sean straightened his back and tightened his grip on my hand. “Sitting. Is that illegal now, officers?” His voice was sweet and calm, but there were undertones of sarcasm and hatred that only I could hear.

The boy who spoke took another step towards us. He smelled of smoke. “I dunno. Is it?”

It was my turn to speak. “I wasn’t aware of it. Were you Sean?”

Sean shook his head. “I can’t say I knew about it either, and I read the paper every morning.” He shrugged. 

“I don’t think it’s illegal, gentlemen.” He smiled politely and squeezed my hand harder.

“Get outta here.”

I glanced at Sean, a bemused expression hiding the fear bubbling inside me. I had met other people like this before, but they hadn’t been as aggressive, as forceful.

“I don’t see any reason why we should leave.”

The boy’s face darkened and he reached into to the pocket of his hoodie. I saw something metal glint in the light. “Move. Get out of here, freaks.”

My grip tightened on Sean, but we held our ground. There was no turning back now. “I don’t see why we should. If you have a problem, you leave.” Sean’s voice was strong, and behind the boy, his friends murmured hushed words of confusion and anger. I heard the word knife. It ripped through me and goose bumps prickled my skin. “Sean...”

He stroked my thigh and ignored me. “We were here first. Now, if you excuse me from this extremely tiring conversation, I’m on a date.”

My eyes pleaded with him, but he wasn’t looking at me. He was baiting them, his fingers drumming off the rounded curve of my thigh. He was smiling. He knew they were angry, he knew they were frustrated and he was enjoying it. He wanted them to give up, for them to realise our togetherness wasn’t a problem. He hadn’t heard the whispers. He hadn’t seen the hilt of the blade. “Sean...”

The boy had taken a step forward, his face set in a frown. His hand tightened in his hoodie pocket. “You wanna say that again?”

“Sean...we should go...”

“Not now, Leslie.” He looked the boy in the eyes and stood up. He was tall and lanky, looming over the boy with his gangly frame. “I said that you should leave. It’s not my problem if you hate me. Now, please leave me to get on with my date.”

The boy creased his brow further. “It’s you people that are wrecking the country. You freaks.” He pouted and spat a blob of saliva at Sean’s foot. It landed on the tip of his Converse, and Sean bristled.

“You want to try that again?”

The boy hesitated. He was looking Sean up and down, examining, and determining the threat. Apparently there was none, for a few moments later a bigger ball of spit hurtled through the air. This time it landed on my hair. I barely noticed it - all I saw was Sean’s face darken and his hands ball into fists.

“Say sorry.”

The boy cocked his head and showed off a cheeky grin. “What? I couldn’t hear you.” The group behind him tittered.

Sean clenched his teeth. “I said, say sorry.” I stood up beside him and curled my hand around his tensed fist.

“It’s fine, Sean. Let’s just go. We don’t need to bother with people like this.”

He glanced at me. We were roughly the same height and build, but he was a bit taller than me. “No. They need to apologize.” He turned back to the boys. “Say sorry.”

The alpha male took a step forward, still grinning. “To whom? You or your date?”

“Leslie. Say sorry to Leslie.”

The boy looked at me and then sank into a curtsey. “Oh, I’m so terribly sorry, Miss.

That was enough to make Sean snap. I remember the exact moment it happened. His body went rigid and his jaw slackened. His nostrils and he pulled away from my touch. I remember telling him to stop, to leave them be, to see the knife, to see the danger, but he ignored me, His ignored my pleas as he walked up to the boy, whose hand was coming out of his hoodie pocket. I saw the tip of a shining blade poke out through the fabric. 

“Sean!”

It was all over in an instant. Sean towered over the boy, pulled his hand back into a fist, and that was when the blade went in. The boy said something as the knife cut through his chest - gay fag, I think it was. The doctors afterwards told me it had gone in between the ribs, and pierced his heart. I didn’t notice. All I saw a blood red rose blooming on his purple top and his body curling inwards in pain. And I remember his shriek. I’m movies people never scream when they’re stabbed. They’re wrong. In real life, the pain rips through you and you yell and shout and scream. I remember him collapsing on the ground his hand clenched to his side, staring up at his attacker. He was gone. Stabbed my boyfriend and then left, his troupe at his side.

“Sean!” I rushed over to him and clasped my hand to his side. I slid his head onto of my knees. “Someone call an ambulance!” People were staring all around the park. Words flowed through the air, drifting along as people whispered amongst each other - gay, murder, crime. They were frozen, unsure what to do about it. Then a woman, her hair smelling of lavender ran towards me and pulled a phone out her pocket. She pressed a few buttons and started talking. She was asking me things. What his name was. Who I was. Who the boys were.

"Jonathan. My name's name's Jonathan Leslie Wilson." The air was full of blood and vomit, and the world span around me. The woman was still talking, her hand a vice grip on my shoulder. Sean, Sean, Sean...

The first thing I saw with him that morning were the stars. And the last thing I saw before he died were fireworks, exploding in my head.


Saturday, 10 March 2012

Kiva

Hiya! Quick little post to tell you about this awesome thing happening on Kiva just now :D Kiva is a lending site on the internet, and basically people browse through entrepreneurs in the developing world, choose someone and then give them £25 or more to start a business. So if I see someone on Kiva who lives in Vietnam and wants to buy a cow, I could give them money to help them do that, and eventually they could pay me back. It's a fantastic idea and I love it.

Now, I understand that most of the people who are going to read this post are in their teens and probably don't have any money to give, even if they wanted to. This is where I come in. Kiva is doing free loans at the mo, meaning you can loan money to someone in Africa without having to take money from your pocket - your loan is paid for by celebrities and rich kids. Hurrah! Someone on the other side of the world gets to start a clothing shop, and you help them without losing anything! Click on the link below to start lending. Please help! :D  This isn't a scam or anything, and I've not been told to advertise it. I just think its a great way to help people.

http://www.kiva.org/invitedby/jenniherd

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Less Travelled

Hey! So, this week in my English class we were asked to write a short story from the point of view of a child. Like everyone else in the class, I did this, and well, this is the result. It doesn't sound like it was written by an child, mainly because I find speaking in simple language boring, and it's also 1000 words over the word limit. Hmmm :/ Oh well. I'm sure the teacher won't mind! I hope you enjoy it, and if their are any mistakes please comment. I need to know!

P.S. The amazing blogger Cat (from a Cat's Life) posted her story up as well. Take a look! Click Here :)
P.S.S. Emrys is pronounced Emriss, by the way :P

Less Travelled

 “Ouch.”

Miss Donovan smiled sympathetically, her slim hand curled round the edge of the syringe. “Sorry, Sophie. Two seconds and it’ll be over, ok? Now, close your eyes, if you don’t want to see.”
I squeezed my eyes shut. I hated getting my blood taken. The nurses were cheery and nice, but their optimism didn’t stop the horrible feeling of being drained.

“There you are. I’ll just take this to the doctor.” I opened my eyes. Miss Donovan had peeled off her latex gloves and the vial of crimson liquid had been sealed in a plastic bag. The blood sloshed up the side of it, leaving a sticky red mark, the way a tide darkens the sand.

“Thank you,” I said. My voice was croaky. “When you come back, can I go get my Mum?”

“Of course, darling. I’ll be a few minutes then I’ll get those tubes off you.” She smiled and wandered down the corridor, before disappearing round the corner.

I wriggled and pulled the duvet up onto my chest. The ward was quiet - there was only me, the boy next to me and a sickly looking boy whose face had gone a pale blue colour. He hadn’t moved in a while.

I pulled my arm closer to my chest, ignoring the long thin tube buried the crook of my elbow It was connected to a bag of something. Antibiotics? I had no idea. Five hours being tested and probed and fed medicine, and I didn’t even know why. Mummy didn’t tell me. She said I was too young. Rubbish. I was eleven and I was smart enough to know something was wrong.

The boy in the bed next to me took a shaky breath and turned a page in his book. He looked about fifteen, with thin dark brown hair. His eyes were sunken into his head, encircled by black rings. His skinny elbows rested on his hips in an attempt to keep the book he was reading upright. It was The Great Gatsby. I knew because for the last few hours I had been watching him as he alternated between his book and a scruffy notebook that now sat on the bedside table next to me.

I coughed and bit my lip. “Eh, hi. I’m Sophie.”

The boy didn’t react. He just turned another page in his book, silent and morose.

“I’m Sophie. What’s your name?”

The boy didn’t look up. “Emrys.”

“Cool. What age are you?”

No answer.

“I’m eleven.”

No answer.

“What are you reading?”

Emrys sighed and closed his book. He sat it on his lap with care and then turned to look at me. “Do you mind? I’m trying to read.” He opened his book again and went back to ignoring me.

I pushed myself up in the bed, resting my back on the mountain of pillows. My face was set in a scowl. “I was only trying to be polite.”

“Well, don’t be. I don’t want to talk to you. If I wanted to talk to you, I would have initiated conversation.”

I crossed my arms and pouted. “There’s no need to be rude.”

“I’m not trying to be rude. I’m trying to get you to shut up. It’s not working.”

There was a minute of silence until I leaned over and looked at his notebook. “What’s that?”

“My notebook. Now, leave me alone!”

My hand reached out and stroked the cover. “What’s inside it?”

No answer.

My hand skimmed the surface of the book and I slid a rounded fingernail under the first page. A little peek wouldn’t hurt... I opened the notebook and stared at the yellowed page. The pencil was smudged and slanted but I managed to make out a few words - Two roads diverged in a yellow wood And sorry I could not-

“What are you doing!” The notebook was yanked from my hands. I glanced up and stared at Emrys face. It was red and fiery and his eyes sparked. “Never touch my stuff! NEVER TOUCH IT!” He held my eyes for a moment and lay back down in his bed, the notebook on his stomach, protected with closed fists.

I watched him for a second and then pulled the duvet up over my flushed face. He had shouted at me. Not just the silly shouting Mummy did, but real anger, blisteringly hot words of rage. I had wanted him to like me, but now...now...

“Sophie? Are you ok?”

I looked up from the white folds of the duvet and saw Miss Donovan’s worried face staring down at me. “I-I’m fine.” I wiped my eyes and felt a thin layer of moisture cling to my fingers.

“What’s up, honey?”

“I guess I want to go home, that’s all.”

Miss Donovan smiled. “Of course. Give me your arm and we’ll get that IV off you.”

I stuck out my wrist and waited as Miss Donovan started tampering with the tube in my elbow. “Miss Donovan?” I said after a few moments.

 “Mm?”

“Who is that boy over there? Emrys? What’s he writing?”

Miss Donovan’s fingers flew over the bag above me and I saw her unhook something. “I think it’s poetry, dear. That’s all he’s ever told me about that little book of his, other than the strict instruction not to touch it.” The harsh burn of shame rose to my cheeks, but Miss Donovan didn’t notice. “I’ve not read any of it, of course, but he’s almost finished the entire notebook.”

I glanced at Emrys. He was reading again, and wasn’t paying the slightest bit attention to our conversation.

 “What’s wrong with him?”

Miss Donovan paused and I saw her eyes flick to Emrys bed. “He-he’s got a very bad disease called leukaemia and it makes him not very well.”

“Lookemeah?” The word sounded dirty in my mouth, like broccoli dipped in sewage.

“Yes, dear. It means that there are some bad things in his body, and they’re very hard to get rid of.” She stopped for a moment and pressed her hand below my elbow. “I’m going to take this out now, ok?”

I nodded and felt a sharp twinge in my elbow. I winced and waited for Miss Donovan to put a plaster over the hole. “There you are. All done.” Miss Donovan smiled. “You can go see your mum now. I think she’s downstairs in the cafe. Do you want me to come with you?”

I pushed the duvet off my legs and swung them out the bed. I pressed one to the ground and stood up. It felt amazing, like suddenly being able to fly. I felt so free. “No thank you. I can manage.” I reached under my bed and grabbed my rucksack. I swung it over my shoulder and smiled at Miss Donovan. “Thank you for helping me.”

Miss Donovan looked like she was about to cry as she bent down and wrapped her arms around me. “It’s ok, Sophie. You’ll be fine.” She straightened up and smiled. “Will you be alright?”

“Right as rain.”

She laughed and patted my head. “Ok then. Bye, Sophie.” She grinned over her shoulder as she marched off down the hallway. I watched as she vanished and then turned to face Emrys.

“’Two roads diverged in a yellow wood.’”

Emrys glanced up, his brow furrowed. “You know Robert Frost?”

I shook my head. “No. I read it off your notebook.”

Emrys face fell and he went back to his book. He wasn’t as red and his face was resuming its original pasty white colour.

I sat down on the bed. “Tell me the rest.”

Emrys glanced up, and then went back to his book. “Why?”

“Because I want to know how it ends.”

Emrys sat silent for a moment and then closed his book, sitting it on his lap above his notebook. “It’s called ‘The Road Not Taken’ by Robert Frost.” He took a deep breath,

“’Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry, I could not travel both,
And be one traveller, long I stood,
And looked down one as far I could,
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear.
Though as for that my passing there,
Had worn them really about the same.

But both that morning equally lay,
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads onto way,
I doubt if should ever go back.

I shall be telling you this with a sigh,
Somewhere ages and ages hence;
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference’”


His voice was thick and rich as butter and when he had finished, silence settled over the ward like a burn - painful, seething and hard to remove. A minute or so passed before one of us spoke.

“It’s my favourite poem.” Emrys sighed. The edge of his nail tickled a white scar on his hand.

“What age are you now?”

“Fifteen. The doctors say I have another year or so ahead of me, but that’s all.” He looked me in the eyes and smiled. “I heard the nurse tell you what’s wrong with me. It’s nothing - just a little something that speeds up dying.” He stroked the spine of his book. “What’s wrong with you?”

I shrugged my shoulders. “My mum won’t tell me. I was getting tests done today.” I paused for a second. “Sometimes I cough up blood.”

 “That’s gross.”

The conversation lapsed into silence as we both fell into our thoughts. A year. That was all he had, and he was spending most of it in a hospital bed, chemicals in his blood and a notebook in his hand. And it struck me that I could be sitting in that hospital bed sooner than later. I swallowed a cry as my hand snaked over the duvet and grabbed Emrys.

“I guess we both took the road less travelled, huh?”

Emrys squeezed my hand and smiled.  “Yeah,” he said, ours hand entwined over his book. “I guess we have.”
*
How was that? Leave your comment below :D I also wanted to say that I've started listening to ViolinistBAKA on youtube. Please take a look at her stuff. She's amazing :O