Saturday, July 3, 2010

A Short Story: Why Me? Part III

So, here is the third, and final part of Why Me? Sadly, I was not as happy with this part as I was with the second, or even the first. It didn't turn out exactly how I was imagining, and I feel like it probably had more potential. In the end I decided to just go ahead and post it though, and not worry too much about it. Rather than spend a whole whopping amount of time trying to make it perfect, I'm just going to post it, and go on to new stories. This short story was my first attempt writing anything in this style at all, so while it wasn't amazing by any means, I was pretty happy with how it turned out, over all. Without further ado, the conclusion:

Why Me? Part III

The sun sank below Ladle Hill and the autumn stars began to shine in the darkening east—Perseus and the Pleiades, Cassiopeia, faint Pisces and the great square of Pegasus. The wind freshened, and soon myriads of dry beech leaves were filling the ditches and hollows and blowing in gusts across the dark miles of open grass. Underground, the story continued.

I turned the last page, and closed the book. I looked down at the worn and battered novel. It was one of the few ones that we owned, and it had always meant so much to me. Even more now that— that—, I swallowed hard.

I looked out the lone window in the small, cubicle like room. It looked out at a small stretch of grass, and then the road. Across it could be seen a large, broken-down warehouse.

I flipped my gaze over to the spot where her bed used to be. It was now empty and forlorn, reminding me of myself. We had had to sell the cot because we couldn’t afford to keep something we didn’t use. We needed every dime and nickel. As a result, all her clothes were gone as well. There were few things left that used to be hers, that’s one of the reasons I loved Watership Down even more than I had before.

Once more I gazed down at the tattered book. Its pages were smooth from being turned so many times by loving hands. Here and there were small tears caused by pages being turned too fast and too eagerly, hungry eyes searching for more of the story.

I sighed, feeling a pang of loneliness shoot through me. It felt as if a stake had been driven through my fragile heart. The lack of her possessions just succeeded in reminding me of her absence.

There was a knock on the door.

I hesitated. “Come in.” I said at last.

It was my dad, flanked by my mom. They both looked sad. “Son…” my dad cleared his throat, just like he always did before he said something he wished he didn’t have to. “We’re being evicted; we’re going to have to move.”

I had known it was coming, in the end we always were evicted, but I still couldn’t help the anger rising in my chest. I laughed bitterly. “Figures, what else could you expect when you have my rotten luck.”

My father and mother just looked at me without saying anything. So I went on. “Oh yes. I got born into a dirt poor family, I have no talents or skills that make me stand out, no looks even. The thing that means the very most to me in the world gets taken away, and now this, getting evicted from our house, one of the last few things that remind me of her!” I was yelling now, I couldn’t help it, all my pent up emotion was coming out. “Maybe if you two would work harder, or managed to have decent jobs, we wouldn’t have to give up the house!”

Hurt and pain flashed across both their faces. Somewhere in the pit of my stomach that made me feel good with a mixture of guilt, I wasn’t the only one who was feeling the stab, the burn. The agony.

Leaping out of my bed, I stormed past both of them. Rushing out the door, I grabbed the bike—that old, beaten down bike—and peddled like mad.

I don’t know how long, or how far, I rode the bike. All I knew was that I ended up at the hill. It was a hill that my sister and I had discovered once while on a walk. It had a perfect view of the whole town from the top. The day we had found it, we watched the sun go down and talked about our books. Ever since then we made sure to get there at least once every other week or so. It was one of my favorite places in the whole world.

I staggered up the slope, all the memories of times spent with my sister here flooding my head. Unconsciously I began to cry. The tears blurred my vision, making it hard for me to see, but I still struggled towards the crown of the hill.

I finally made it to the top, and I peeled over onto my back, staring up at the beautiful blue sky that was marked by large, fluffy white clouds.

I let the tears come. I was surprised I could still manage to cry, after all the nights spent lying in my bed with the tears pouring, staring at my sister’s empty bed.

I didn’t realize it, but I must have fallen asleep. Because the next thing I knew, the sun was setting.

I sat up, staring in wonder. I had seen many sunsets from this hilltop, but never anything like this.

The sun was setting just over the town. It was partially concealed by two clouds, but it shone out from between them. The whole sky was lit up with yellows, oranges, reds, and even some purple. The sunlight traced the outside of the two clouds, lighting them to a blazing gold. It was almost as if whips of fire outlined the clouds, as if they had been lassoed by some cowboy made of light that rode the sky and roped in clouds instead of cows. The whole sky was like a painter’s canvas. Vivid splashes of color in streaks and clots. It was beautiful.

I realized that while I compared the sky to a painter’s canvas, my sister would say it was a painter’s canvas. She, like my mother and father, believed in God, and his son, the one called Jesus.

I had never really decided if I believed like they did. It had always been my family’s faith, but not my own. As it was, sitting here watching this glorious sunset, I was finding it kind of hard to imagine that there wasn’t a God out there painting the sky.

I figured if there really was a heaven, my sister was sure to be there. She was always the sweetest, most caring person you could ever imagine. I thought about how much my sister loved my parents, how much she treated them with respect and love, and I flushed guiltily.

I felt so bad about what I had said earlier to my mom and dad. I had told them to work harder, but they were already doing more than any normal person could do. They worked over time and double shifts, always searching for that extra buck, trying to make sure that me and my sister had the very best that they could get for us.

They probably were feeling as much pain as I was. There daughter, one of their two children that were precious to them, had been stolen at such a young age. No one should have to out live their children.

I knew that as soon as I got home, I would need to go and apologize to them, for everything. For being so angry at them, even though they didn’t deserve it. For being so sullen and irritable all the time, never even thinking about how they must feel as well. I was so selfish, never a thought passing through my about anybody but myself.

The sun’s last, blood-red rays disappeared beneath the horizon, leaving me in darkness. How appropriate, the color being blood-red. I thought, thinking about my sister’s blood, covering the operating table at the hospital all those days ago. Then another thought process crossed my mind. Something my sister use to talk about with my parents. The blood of Jesus, spilt for us, to cleanse our sins, to heal us, to make us whole.

Maybe there was another book at home that would mean more to me than Watership Down even. I thought about my sister’s bible, sitting on the floor at home, its pages worn and torn, just like Watership Down. I knew each page was completely covered in the tiny scrawl that was my sister’s. She always used to love jotting down notes.

I suddenly felt this deep longing to find out more about what my sister believed and felt so strongly about. It might give me a way of connecting to her, even though she was gone.

As I clambered down the hill and back onto the bike, the stars were just starting to come out. They were like diamonds, sparkling and twinkling in dark mountain stone that was the vast night sky.

I started the trip home, somehow feeling that maybe everything would turn out all right. The wind whipped through my hair, the cool evening air feeling amazing on my face. I looked up at the stars, thinking that maybe, just maybe, my sister was up there somewhere, looking down on me, and believing in me. That was all I needed.


  1. Good job, man! Definitely don't feel bad about this last section, you ended it on a good note. Keep it coming. I'm excited to read your next works.

  2. Ugh. I wrote a comment, and Firefox crashed.

    Basically, I liked it. I like that you end on a tentative note. That you aren't over the top. He doesn't decide that everything is definitely going to be fine, he just starts to believe that MAYBE there's hope, and MAYBE things could actually be okay again. And I like that he's interested in the Bible because he remembers that his sister wrote notes in the margins -- that it's a way he can be close to her. It feels believable to me.

    Nicely done.

  3. Ok, last comment didn't post.

    I really like it. I'm glad to see you experimenting with different styles. I found it believable, and I really enjoyed reading it.