Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Truth: Chapter Two~ The Glowing Girl

Chapter Two: The Glowing Girl

She looked from one side of the street to the other. The busy streets of the city made it hard to cross without running. The typical sound of honking horns and sirens filled the Thursday morning spaces, and the shops and street-side stores opened their doors to wake up to the early-morning traffic. She skipped across the street behind two disgruntled looking businessmen and landed on the opposite sidewalk whistling a tune. Her pink, 60’s style high-heeled shoes matched her hot pink and orange dress perfectly, and her shining red hair was rolled up in a orange butterfly clip. Baby yellow sunflowers hung off of her neck on a tiny silver chain, and matching earrings threw her outfit into a summer frenzy, even though it was March. She whistled and skipped, and the sun shone through the chill with no reservation.

Mr. Ying’s produce market stood open on the street before her, and he greeted her, holding a wooden box full of peaches as she skipped towards him.

“Analyse! Good morning… you are early today.” Mr. Ying’s face wrinkled into his usual smile, and he tossed her a peach. “What is the hurry?”

“I am having coffee with Rhamir today… we’re going to Kelly’s before work.” She gave him a curt smile and bit into the peach. “Mmmm, juicy and sweet as usual, Mr. Ying!”

“I give you only the best. Tell Rhamir I said hi- don’t worry about it.” He held up his hand to her, who was digging into her yellow clutch for some money to pay for the peach. “You pay me with your sunshine every morning. Tell your friends Mr. Ying’s Produce is the best, and I will give you the peach for free.”

Ana nodded and hugged him, wooden box and all. “Thanks, Mr. Ying! Ill talk to you later, see you tomorrow!” And she departed.

The walk to Kelly’s Coffee Café was not long, but it took Analyse ten more minutes than usual because of the wind pushing against her. She pulled her sweater closer to her shoulders.

“Ana! It’s 40 degrees out… aren’t you cold?” It was Rhamir, standing outside the café as she rounded the bend.

“A little… but Ill be fine.”

The buildings shadow made the outside patio feel even more chilled. She looked at the sky, bearing a face that longed for the sun.

Rhamir gave her a hug that warmed her bones, and she looked back down upon his face. It was dark and handsome, his longish-curly black hair fell around his ears and foreheads, making his black eyes look even more like deep, dark pools. “How was your morning, babe?”
Analyse’s smile returned. “Very, very good.” She stole a kiss and then pulled away, twirling in the breeze. “I finished my book this morning. Im so excited!”

Rhamir beamed. “That’s great… I want to read it as soon as possible. You’re amazing, Ana.”

She blushed. “Oh, I’m nothing special. You’re going to love the ending… I wont tell you what it is, but I just know you’re going to love it.”

He opened the café door for her, and they walked into the busy shop. Kelly herself stood in front of the counter, greeting customers and serving coffee and cookie samples as they walked by. “Hey there Ana! Good morning, Rhamir! How are you two today?”

“We’re awesome,” Rhamir nodded, helping himself to a chocolate cherry cookie and taking a bite. Kelly’s cookie concoctions were renown in the entire area as the best. “Ana was just telling me how she finished her new book this morning.”

Kelly’s golden-yellow hair and brilliant blue eyes matched her bouncing personality. She beamed. “Another book! Our beautiful new author is going to find herself on the New York Best Sellers soon, I just know it!”

Ana nodded. “Oh, I hope so. I love this one, its going to be a hit.”

Rhamir and Analyse left Kelly and joined the long line that lead to the counter. The college students that helped Kelly around the shop lacked some of her natural exuberance, but most of them engaged the customers in the same enthusiasm for life. Danielle was the cashier for this morning, and although she seemed to be alittle out of it at times, she met Analyse and Rhamir with a knowing smile. “The usual?”

“Yes, for me.” Rhamir nodded, and looked at Ana.

“Yep, me too.”

“Regular Latte and a Carmel Frappachino coming right up! You guys have a wonderful day.” Danielle added after completing their transaction.

They went back outside to sit on the patio; the little wrought-iron patio sets were surrounded by a beautiful wrought-iron fence, dividing the patio from the sidewalk. A single maple tree reached up over the tables and chairs, making a hush every time a slight breeze sifted through its branches.

Ana sat back against the hard chair-back and sighed. “Im happy, Rhamir. Very happy.”

“Me too, hun. You look beautiful, today, by the way.” He smiled at her and took a sip of his coffee. “What do you have in store for the kids today?”

“Oh, a little of this, a little of that. I printed out, like, thirty copies of this water-cycle coloring page… I was thinking of cutting out little rain drops from blue construction paper and making collages in those millions of shoe boxes we got from that guy from the shoe store…”

Rhamir nodded. “Sounds great.” He took a breath and set his coffee cup down, reaching into his trouser pocket with his right hand. “Analyse, I have something to ask you.”

She held her cup in mid-air and looked at him quizzically. “Yes? You can ask me anything, you know that.”

He cleared his throat and pulled his hand out of his pocket, a small brown, antique box in his hands. “Ana, I love you. The second you entered my life I knew that I couldn’t possibly know what love, or life, or even laughter was unless you were there showing me. Will you be my sunshine?”

She took the box and opened it, a sparkle meeting her eye. Rhamir had stepped out of his chair and taken a knee onto the patio dirt. Kelly found the right time to look out the window, and shouted in joy.

“Y- Yes, Rhamir! Yes, of course!” Analyse bent to kiss him and squealed. He jumped up and pulled her out of her chair, wrapping his arms around her waist and twirling her off of her feet.

Kelly flew out of the shop, a smile as wide as a cruise ship. “Yippee! I knew this was going to happen… and at my café, too! I’m so happy!” She hugged them both in a crushing embrace and danced on her toes. “You two were made for each other… I saw it in your eyes, Rhamir, today was the day…”

Rhamir chuckled nervously. He took the ring out of it’s box and slipped it onto Analyse’s petite finger. “There… some shine for my sunshine.”

If she was happy before, it was nothing compared to the clouds she was walking on now. She had kissed Rhamir one last time and left running for work. Fortunately for her, the school was just a couple blocks away from Kelly’s.

The little school sat in the shadow of the great Calvin Hosthen tower, it’s charming character and antique architecture threatened by the modernistic monstrosity beside it. Analyse took the steps two-by-two and entered the school in mid-skip.

The door to her little classroom stood open, and she passed through, leaving her bag and clutch on the chair in the corner, and erasing yesterday’s class work from the chalkboard. Turning back to her desk, she cleared the papers she had failed to grade the night before into a drawer for later, and pulled her book bag onto it, sitting down.

Half an hour later, her students filtered into the doorway, each one laying their homework onto the corner of the desk, into the little red basket marked “Homework Due” and murmuring “Good morning, Miss Winston.”

“Good morning Charlie, Good morning Denise, Good morning Anna, Good morning Mary, Good morning Ben.” She beamed. “Have a seat. We’ll begin as soon as the bell rings.”

The bell sang a few minutes later, and the last student ran in before the door closed. “Sorry I’m late, Miss Winston.”

“Its ok, Tom. Maybe walk quicker next time.” Analyse took a glance up and down the hall, and closed the door.

The first graders of Miss Winston’s class were busy with their math sheets, the Kindergartners of Miss Leigh were in the middle of naptime, and Molly McArture’s fifth grade class were working on the chemical reaction between vinegar and baking soda when it happened. It seemed like the whole world had shook from beneath them, and the kids squealed.

Analyse sprang from her desk and went to the window. “Its ok, kids, go back to your work. Ben, keep your hands to your own paper!” Out of the window, people had stopped their cars and were getting out, every one on the street was looking up and pointing. Something terrible had happened, Ana could feel it.

“Everyone stay put-“ She began, and then the alarm went off. It screamed warning, warning, WARNING! into everyone’s ears.“Never mind, everyone get up, out of your desks and into a single file at the door!” She flew to her book bag and grabbed her clutch and opened the door. “Single file, kids… stay put.”

She looked out into the hallway, and the other teachers of Challowmen’s Academy were preparing their children as well. The principal’s voice echoed over the alarm on the intercom. “Teachers and students, this is not a drill. The Calvin Hosthner building has been hit and we have been ordered to evacuate. The route of evacuation is on your emergency folder taped under your phone in your classroom. Proceed as practiced. Again, this is not a drill-“

The world shuddered again, and Ana grasped the door frame to steady her. Her thoughts wrung around her mind, riddled with fear and tears. The kids lined up in twos looked up at her in innocent trust, and her heart fell and shattered in her stomache. In one motion, she ripped the emergency folder off of the wall and took Tom’s little chubby hand in her own. “Its going to be alright, guys. Everyone take the hand of your buddy and follow Tom and I… we’re going to all stay together, ok?” She took a step out of the classroom, and courage surged through her veins. ‘This is not the time to be afraid. These kids need you… its time to take the plunge and face it. You can do this, Analyse Winston, you can do it. Your kids are counting on you to make everything ok.’

The doors leading outside seemed to be so far away as the first-grade procession speed-walked towards them. The people outside were running in the street, and what looked like glitter was falling from the sky. The fourth graders were in front of them, walking through the glass doors behind their teacher Mr. Mahoney. For a split second, the sounds from outside were audible to those inside- sirens, screams, and the distant burst of an explosion. Analyse met the end of the fourth-grade line and led her first graders through the open doors. The glitter falling from the sky turned to be pieces of glass from the breaking windows of the tower above. Papers blew all around like clouds of white confetti. The kids behind her looked up into the sky with wide eyes.

“Don’t look up, kids, don’t look up!” Analyse tightened her grip on Tom’s little hand and looked at the tower rising into the sky beside them. The flames high above licked the blue and made her shudder. “Its going to be ok, everyone stay together…”

A scream shattered her speech. The tower cracked like a flash of lightening, and the ground shook. A piece of the side slid from it’s frame and hurtled down to the ground below.

Analyse froze for a single moment that felt like years. Then, in an instant, she turned on her heel and shoved the kids back into the building. “INSIDE! Get back INSIDE!”

The next few seconds seemed to pass in slow motion. Tom and the kids flipped and ran inside, their trust in her urgency showing in their faces. She felt her book bag slip down her arm in her rush and fall into the door frame. Behind her, the screams of the fourth graders pierced her ears, and before the speed of time resumed to normal, she turned her head to look over her shoulder…

Mr. Mahoney had his arms over the heads of two of his students, his mouth open in mid-shout. The little boy in front of him, named Casey, had both arms wrapped around his head, his backpack hitting his back as he ran, his sandals slapping the ground with such intensity it echoed in the room. Two girls were behind him, twins named Layla and Lindsey, clutching each others hands, heads together on each other’s shoulders, tears streaming down their arms and onto their beautiful green and yellow jumpers their Mother color coded to tell them apart. The others followed close behind, almost tripping over their feet as they tried to reach the doors in time.

Then it came. Huge sheets of glass, steel and concrete fell down from above like rain to an ant. Fire dipped down and spewed into the street. The school shook, and smoke and ash rushed at the people below, enveloping everyone in blinding darkness. Mr. Mahoney threw himself into the building and pushed closed the glass door with his foot, and time began again with a painful TICK.

The ground shuddered one last time, and they heard the roof cave into the attic, then the ceiling fall into the second floor. Analyse pulled her class into a huddle, and as plaster and dust began to shower on them from the ceiling, she had one last thought before the darkness descended. ‘O, God, Help us!’

Ana’s eyes opened to nothingness. The pain in her mind threatened to pull her under again, but she fought against it. Coughing, she moved each of her fingers and toes, then attempted to sit up. Her head hit something before she could get up any further than six inches up, and lifting her hand up, she felt the rough surface of concrete. What happened? Was her first thought, but then the recount of the alarm, the fire, the falling glass- everything- came back to her. Tears started to fall from her eyes, and she coughed and sobbed. Claustrophobia set in, and she sucked in dust and air. The darkness was terrifying, and she shut her eyes to it, though it was no different.

My kids! Was her next thought. I need to make sure my kids are ok. Where are my kids?! She opened her eyes again, squinting them, the intensity of her gaze attempting to cut through the darkness and create light out of nothingness. “Hello? Tom? Linda? Denise? It’s Miss Winston… anyone there?”



The sound was coming from just beyond her. Her eyes strained to see, and she put her hand out on the ground before her. Suddenly, a light flew from her fingertips and illuminated the space in front of her.

Shining pieces of glass and metal lay scattered on the black granite tile that covered the school building’s hallway floor. Just a few feet in front of her she could see the head of a boy. He moved, and whimpered again. Stretching out her hand that was creating the light, the strands of shine from her fingertips illuminated his face, and it was Kevin, a boy from her class. Blood covered one side of his face, from a cut above his right ear. His hands were sprawled in front of him, and his fingers twitched. He pulled them under him and he lifted his head, brown eyes meeting her blue ones. “Miss Winston… you’re… glowing.”

“I… I know, hunny. I don’t know how.” She tried pushing herself across the ground towards him, and the pain in her legs protested. After trying to move them, she succeeded in getting them free from being wedged underneath a something wooden. It looked like the only thing that kept her legs from being completely crushed was a concrete block propping up the weight of the world. Dragging herself under the ceiling of rock that surrounded them, she reached him and held his head between her hands. “Are you hurt? Where does it hurt?”

“Everywhere.” He mumbled. “What happened?”

“Don’t think about it, now, Kevin. Im going to try and see if I can get you out. Lay still for me, ok?”

The light from her fingertips had stopped at his face, but as she reached out to feel beyond him, the streams of light laced out farther into the darkness and lit up the wall of rocks piled up around his torso. She pulled herself closer and tried to pry the rocks loose with her fingertips. Some wiggled loose and pulled away, but most stood firm and rolled tighter to each other. A shard of glass cut her hand and she gasped, coughing as the dust around her settled once again. Blood poured from the little cut on her palm, and she felt lightheaded.

NO. She argued against herself. NO, I will NOT let a little cut defeat me. I have to get Kevin out of this! Again, with more force she tried to dig Kevin out of the rocks piled on top of him. More fell from the pile, and the sound of something shifting was heard overhead. She breathed hard and paused, waiting for more movement… there was none. Kevin whimpered again.

“Miss Winston?”

“Yes hunny?”

“Are we going to die?”

“We’re going to be fine, Kevin. As soon as I get you out we’ll figure out what to do next, ok?” Analyse grabbed a rock that was sitting nearby and hit the pile with it, hoping that it wouldn’t disturb the pile too much to bring the whole slab of concrete come down on top of them.

“Ok.” Kevin rolled his head to meet her gaze, and took a deep sigh. “I feel sleepy.” He said groggily.

“No, Kevin, don’t sleep. Try not to sleep… you’ve got to stay with me. Don’t go to sleep, ok?” More stone crumbled and fell, and more rocks rolled down to fill the spaces. She took a break and looked at him. His brown eyes were filled with tears, and his little face was puckered, as he tried to fight them. His black curly hair fuzzed out in the makings of a little afro, and his fingers were wrapped around his head. Blood covered his fingertips, and dripped off of his ear onto the ground.

This is someone’s little boy. She thought in horror at the realization. Her own tears filled her eyes, as she reached for his hand and held it. This is someone’s baby… He’s got a Mommy, and a Daddy who’s worried about him and who probably fear the worst. I have to keep him safe… he’s got to make it. I have to do everything in my power to keep him safe. She struggled to pull off her sweater in the little space and bunched it up under his head. The gash on his head was shallow, but she tied the sleeve around his head despite. “Put pressure on this, Kevin… it will make you feel better. We got to get you out, you’re going to be ok.”

Straining with her mind, she forced the light to stretch and fill the whole area they were in. She turned her head, searching for something to help. More rock, more dust, shining metal and glass sticking out and scattered around them… a leg connected to a shoe underneath the steel beam just five or six feet to the right. Analyse shuddered. It looked like it belonged to Mr. Mahoney, but she halted her thoughts there and shook her head to rid them. The left met them with a wall of rock, but behind, where Analyse woke up from, the tunnel under the ceiling of stone seemed to go on and reach out into darkness. Her mysterious, miraculous light ended, stretching almost twelve feet across in all directions.

Kevin laid his head down again, in the direction of the leg. “Don’t look at it, Kevin.” She whispered.

“Look at what? Its all dark, except you, Miss Winston.” He murmured, looking back up. “Your glowing… like a glowstick.”

“You can only see me?” She asked, surprised.


“Oh, ok. That’s ok. Just wondering.” She pulled her thoughts back in, and turned her head around again. The handle of something cloth caught her eye, and she focused on it. My book bag! My cell phone is inside… maybe it still works.

“Ill be right back, Kevin.” She whispered.

“No! Don’t leave me alone here in the dark. Im… Im scared, Miss Winston.” Kevin’s little voice broke her heart. He started to cry.

“Kevin, Im not leaving you. Im not going far, just over there to try and get my book bag out of the rock. Ill be right back, ok?”

He nodded his head, and his crying slowed to a whimper. She pushed herself back and over to where the book bag handle lay. She grasped onto it and pulled it with all of her might. The rocks slipped around and let it free, dousing them both with dust.

Crawling back to Kevin’s side, she opened the bag and dug around in it, pushing papers and books aside, reaching the cell phone at the bottom.

Pressing the power button repeatedly, she shrieked in joy at the glowing power-up light it emitted. The searching icon remained on the screen for what seemed like a long, long time, when finally one single bar popped up. She breathed a sigh of relief and opened it, dialing 911.

“My name is Amanda, what is your emergency?”

“Hello, my name is Analyse Winston and I am trapped inside the Challowmen’s Academy with a little boy and a number of other childeren and faculty…”

“Yes, ma’am, we have our entire force out at the tower… they’re doing their best to get you out. Im going to relay your location to one of our officer. Its going to be ok, all right ma’am?”

Analyse shook with un-relieved sobs.

“Are you injured, ma’am?”

“I… I don’t think so. Kevin is. His legs and waist are buried… and he’s bleeding.”

“Is he conscious? Where is he bleeding?”

“Yeah, he’s conscious, he’s bleeding from a small wound on his head, right above his ear.”

“Alright… Im going to walk you through a procedure to stop the bleeding from the cut until the professionals get to you, ok?”

Analyse pushed through her own thoughts to listen and do what the women said, her tears bathing Kevin’s face, making little paths in the dirt on his cheeks.

“I have to go help other people calling in, ma’am. A lot of people have been hurt by the disaster. Are you going to be alright?”

Analyse nodded. “Yes, I think we’re going to be ok for now. Thank-thank you.”

“You’re welcome. People are coming to help you right away. Hold in there, help is on the way.”

Ana lay holding Kevin’s hand for the longest time, the light of her hands illuminating the space between their heads.

“Do you know you’re phone number, Kevin?”

“I… I don’t remember.” He said.

“That’s ok… I think I might have it here-“ And she scrambled through her book bag, pulling out one sheet that held all of the children’s names and Emergency phone numbers she kept with her at all times. She dialed the home number and let it ring, hanging up before it went to voice mail. She tried the second number, Kevin’s mother Theresa’s cell phone.


“Yes, Theresa Brown?”

“Yes, this is she.” The woman on the other end of the phone sounded like she had just been crying.

“This is Analyse Winston, your son’s teacher at Challo-“

“Yes, yes! Do you know anything about my son? Is he ok?”

“I am here with him… we’re still in the school, in the rubble.”

“Oh my Lord… my baby-“ Her voice broke.

Analyse swallowed away a huge painful lump in her throat. “Do you want to speak to him?”

“Yes! Yes please… may I?”

Analyse put the phone on speaker phone. “Its your mom, Kevin. Listen.”

“Kevin? Kevin, baby… its Mommy!”

“Hi, Mommy.” Kevin coughed a little, and listened.

“Mommy’s so proud of you, Kevin. You stay strong for me and listen to Miss Winston and the people who are going to get you out… its going to be ok, ok, Kevin?”

“Ok, Mommy. Im not scared anymore… you… you don’t have to worry.”

“I love you so much, Kevin. Jesus is going to take care of you, I know it.”


“Yes, baby… what?”

“I love you, too, alot.” Kevin’s little voice gurgled and coughed, and breathed hard.

“I know, baby. I love you so so SO much. Be strong, ok? Miss Winston?”
“Yes?” Analyse swallowed back another tough lump.

“Thank you. I know you probably want to call the people you love and talk to them, too… just… thank you.”

“You’re welcome Mrs. Brown. He’s going to be fine.”

“I’m praying for you. God’s going to take care of you.”

“Thank you.” And the conversation ended.

The light from her fingertips waned and she trembled under the weight of her own emotion. She pressed her fingertips against the keys once again, and pulled the phone up to her ear.

“Are you calling your Mommy now?” Kevin asked.

As the emotion flowed out of her onto the face of the little boy before her, she nodded slowly and pursed her lips. “Yeah.”

I am somebody’s little girl, too. I am somebody’s baby. Was her thought.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Truth: Chapter One~ The Flying Man

Chapter One: The Flying Man

The building towered above the city, flames bursting out of it’s windows like the mouth of a dragon. The crack of an inner beam threw the crowd evacuating the area into a quickening step, and those who were wounded hobbled with a new found strength. It was going to collapse… soon.

Fire ripped apart the glass of every window. The hopeless prisoners of the higher floors stood on their window-cills and prayed to their gods before throwing themselves into the ashy clouds below; hoping there was some other body on the ground that would save their crushing introduction to the ground. The scene was heartbreaking… and the witnesses turned their heads.

Warped and twisted under the heat, the steel braces holding the tower together started to snap. Inside, the colors of death were scattered everywhere. Blackening smoke consumed everything. Time was running out.

A single man stood on the crest of the tower, arms spread-eagled, with one last wish to fly. His feet teetered on the edge of the stone wall that surrounded the tower’s tip, and he could keep still no longer. The building cracked one final time, and slid down into the crust of the earth. The man thought no longer about fear and stepped off of the slipping ledge, into most certain death… by scientific terms.

As the men and women and children below ran in terror, chased by the doom of possible death… history was repeated. Only once before had this miracle occurred… in this form.

He flew.


Voices. Voices- all around. Someone was talking to him… telling him to wake up. Wake up from where? Ever since that terrible dream last night about the fire, and the people, and the building- flying. That was when he knew it was a dream. Who can fly?

He threw more water on his face and looked at his reflection. The voices dimmed, and stopped. “Maybe this is still a dream. Maybe this is still my dream- maybe I still havent waken up.” He wondered to himself, touching his face with his wet fingertips again. His unshaven chin felt rough under his thumb. His lips were moist… his eyes puffy and pink like he had just awaken from a sleep. He squinted at himself and pursed his lips. “Why does this feel so real… if it’s all a dream?”

“Because its not a dream.”

He turned his head around rapidly… but no one had entered the bathroom. “Wha- what?”

“It’s not a dream.”

There was the woman’s voice again. He threw his eyes around the room, then back on the mirror in front of him. She sounded so close… right there standing next to him. But there was no one there. Was he going mad? He poured more water over his head and went for the towel. After rubbing his face vigorously with it for a couple moments, he pulled it away from his eyes slowly, as if expecting to see someone from his dream-life to appear before him. But the bearer of the voice was still not there.

“I am in a dream. This is just a really life-like, kind of scary, creepy dream.”

“How many times do I have to tell you, its not a dream.”

“Who are you? Why are you talking to me… and where are you?” He clasped his towel between his fingers with such force that his knuckles were white. “Why cant I see you?”

“I am Neima… and I am here to help you.”

“I don’t need help…”

“Yes you do… you need help understanding. And that is why I am here. I don’t do anything I am not told, and I have been told to help you. Others may come to warn you- but I am only here to help you.”

“Warn me? Warn me of what?” He yelled… as if the form of the speaker would become revealed if he strengthened his sound waves. “Help me? Why? I don’t understand. Go away…”

“Do not be afraid, Michael. I am here to help. I have been sent here to help you understand, not to harm you, but to help you. Go, look at the tv, and you will find that the world you are in right now is not that of the dream world, but the real, live, physical world.”

“If this is not a dream, then who are you? How can I not see you? And how do you know my name?”

“Many questions… but I have no time to answer anything right now. Go, see what it is that I am saying- that I am telling the truth, and I will return again to explain more better your destiny. The Father has much for you to do, and it is time for you to choose.”

“Choose? Choose what?” His voice faltered.

“Your enemies.”


The whining blur of the television screen bore into his brain. The building had fallen. People had died. It was all true. If it were a dream the tears wouldn’t shake his body, wouldn’t sting the cuts on his hands, wouldn’t drip from his face and fall into his lap. Emotion finally hit him- fear, grief, disbelief. He couldn’t explain the feelings, only knew that they existed.

He wasn’t a very emotional guy every day. He lived a normal life, with a normal job… but what of this remarkable, insane thing? Did he fly off of that tower? He remembered the feeling- weightlessness, his strength lifting him out of the reaches of gravity and throwing him into the sky. Some hidden force holding his muscles horizontal to the ground, and the wind sifting through his hair and beating at his face as if in protest at the seemingly impossible intrusion. If he hadn’t flown… then how did he know so well the sights of a bird over the city? He had never flown in an airplane… he had never ridden in a helicopter. What was happening to him? Was he turning delusional?

He reached for the remote and switched off of the television. The images of the fire, the collapse of the building, remained playing in his mind’s eye in defiance of the blank screen before him. He had worked in that building. He knew those people. He was just an ordinary mail-man… yet he survived. He had gone to work that morning… he had done his duties just as before. Like any other day. Except this day was different. There was an explosion, and he was on the top floor, about to descend. He was about to step into the service elevator when the whole building shook. He remembered. His feet trembled under him, and the tremor brought the packages in his arms tumbling onto the floor. The elevator doors closed, and he bent over to pick up the fallen packages… but some one shouted. Said something about a bomb… or an explosion.

“I walked to the window… with the others.” He murmured to himself. “The building was clearly on fire, but we couldn’t see anything from standing inside. People around were panicking. They started making for the elevator. The alarm went off.” He recited the scene in his mind. He had raced to the stairs, but down was impossible. Within the few short minutes of confusion, the explosive bursts of fire had reached the stairs… no one could go down from above, or up from below. They were trapped.

“I didn’t feel anything. I saw the others holding each other and screaming and crying. One man bashed open the window and started yelling for help, but no one could hear us. We were too high up.” He clutched the arm of the chair with his burnt hand, knuckles white. The lady, Suzi- she was the receptionist- yelled that they had to try to get down somehow. She and the others went down the stairs. The elevator wasn’t safe. The man shouting out of the window ran to the phone. Tried to call someone- his wife… his children. Told them that he was stuck, that it was going to be okay, that he loved them. That he would see them in heaven.
Michael let out a shattering cry. The words of this man echoing in his mind broke his heart. He had stood close to him, listening to his every word.

“What is your name?” He had said.

“Ted… Ted Beckett.” The man replied, setting down the phone. “Here- you can use it now.”

“Michael. Michael Smithers. No… thanks. I- I have no one to call.”

Ted held his breath. Smoke was starting to lift up outside. He looked out into the sky and followed the clouds with his eyes. “How did this happen?”

“I don’t know.” Michael shook. They stayed together until the fire reached the top of the stairs. Then they went up to the roof. There was no escape, unless some miracle came and rescued them. They didn’t speak for a long time. The tower started cracking, started shifting. It was going to fall.

“We have to get off of this roof.” Ted murmured. “I don’t want to die up here and get buried under this, maybe never get found. My family- I want them to have my body.”

“We get buried sooner or later, Ted.” Michael threw an arm around his shoulders, in attempt of some comfort. But Ted was impatient. He had paced long enough on top, the smoke blowing over them and filling their lungs, the wind only occasionally ceasing to provide enough fresh air to torture them. He had gritted his teeth and given Michael a firm hug. Then after a sprint and a full leap, he descended into the blackness. Michael had gripped the stone edge, heart pounding out of his jacket. The mail bag was still slung over his shoulder. He dipped his hand in, and pulled out a handful of envelopes, letting them go in the wind. The tower let out another crack, and a sigh. It tipped.

“God… God. Help me. If you’re real… save me from this!” Michael had thought. He dropped the bag over the ledge, and took a step onto the stone wall that divided him from the ground and death. His heart was screaming to his brain- THIS IS CRAZY! Every instinct in his body shook in protest. He spread his arms like the wingspan of an eagle, and let out a shuddering breath.

And jumped.


The feeling was slowly returning to his fingertips. He stood shakily from the arm-chair in the middle of his living room, and looked around him, unsure of what to do next. There was no work to go to, but he had no desire to stay around his apartment doing nothing.

What do I do with this? Michael dragged a jacket over his plaid, fleece shirt, and pulled a baseball cap over his black short hair. His brilliant blue eyes filled with unexpected tears. The lone picture sitting next to the stack of mail and cordless phone struck him in his heart like every time he looked at it. He picked it up gingerly and gazed into the pair of eyes he had lost a long time ago.

It was a picture of a boy and a girl. The girl had long, black hair, gorgeous green eyes, a beautiful beaming pink smile, and fair vanilla skin. She was seventeen years old.

Michael spoke to his younger self, the tousle-haired, sky-eyed teenager who appeared to have less cares then he had now as a man. 'Mike, you should have taken care of her better. I need her right now.' A single crystalline tear coursed down his cheek and found itself on the chin of the girl in the picture.

He set it down and pulled open the creaky door of the apartment and closed it firmly behind him. The yellowing wallpaper of the hallway lead out to a staircase of deep, dark, wood that creaked at every shift of weight. It twisted to the rows of doors on the first floor, and then opened out a glass door into the chilling breeze of the city.

Sirens, thousands it sounded like, still filled the air somewhere in the city, the echoes jumping back and forth between the buildings like double-dutch. This part of the world was overcast, and the tower of ash rising from the fallen tower blanketed the whole city in grey. The street was mildly populated. Authorities on the t.v. and radio had already cleared this area, saying that based on the wind direction and the size of the cloud of smoke and soot wouldn’t affect it. Michael was glad. He had no where to go if he had to evacuate.

He sunk his hands into the deep pockets of his jacket and rattled the change, wads of receipts and keys that live there. The three blocks to the subway was trudged in silence, just the thoughts between his ears loud enough for only him to hear disrupted the silence of the late winter afternoon. Small buds on the few trees scattered down the blocks suggested incoming spring, but the temperature still spoke of dwindling March weather.

Flashes of Ted, the fire, and the fear rampaged his mind as he thought. He couldn’t explain the flying. He couldn’t explain any of it how did the building start burning anyway? Did something hit it, like, an airplane or helecopter? Was it a bomb? Was it a gas explosion? How many people had died?

“He jumped. He jumped over the ledge, off of the roof, and died.” Michael shook. Being so close to death had sparked him with emotions he couldn’t deal with. If he had truly flown, why hadnt he flown back and helped the people trapped in the building… did he truly fly? He could hardly believe it, but if he was alive now, then he must have. Was he mad? Why did he fly? How?

His face contorted under the shadow cast by the brim of the hat. And what of the voice? The voice telling him it wasn’t a dream; the woman’s voice. Who was it? Where did it come from? Why wasn’t he afraid of it? Michael stopped for a moment. Ahh, he wasn’t afraid of it… of her. Strange.

Too many unanswerable questions.


The subway cars rattled down the tracks, squealing to their kingdom of tunnels like children. The people inside clutched their seats with their lives; mothers onto their children and students onto their backpacks. The women whispered loudly to each other, the worlds “burning building” and “How many dead so far” clearly heard over the squealing sub-cars.

Michael jumped off the train a couple minutes later, and took the steps to the surface two-at-a-time.

The outskirts of the city had more trees, and the buildings were farther apart. More people were out walking around, as if a thousand people hadnt died just a little ways away. The wind blew through the trees softly, pushing any soot that might have reached here away in the opposite direction.
Liset was safe.

Michael by-passed the steps and walked up the ramp of the “Home for the Psychologically and Physically Dependant” building. Today was Thursday, and he always went to see her every weekday, after work. And since there was no work today, he was there early.

The receptionist, Latonya, looked up and smiled. “Hey Michael, you’re early.” She hesitated. “I was wondering if you were going to come- because of the –“ She pointed to the little television hanging off the wall next to a picture of a vase of flowers in the waiting room. It squawked and resumed reporting about the burning devastation that was left of his workplace just a few hours before.

Michael nodded and showed her his hands. They were mottled red, scabs already forming on the tops of his wrists where a part of burning ceiling plaster fell. He had lifted his arms to sheild his head and it had hit them before dropping to the ground.

“Oh, my, Michael!” Latonya gasped. “Did you do anything for those? You need to go to the emergency room.”

Michael shook his head. “I’m fine… I put some slave on them… I can hardly feel any pain. Besides, there are so many more people who need help more than I. I’m just glad I got out…”

Latonya nodded and switched off the little squawking tv, as if sensing the pain it was causing him to hear it. “Well, hunny, she should be ready to see you. And if you give me a second, Ill see if I cant find some burn ointment and gauze to treat those hands.” She smiled her well-known sparkling teeth and ushered him down the hallway.

White as if bleached and smelling like rubbing alcohol and latex, the rooms and hallways of the P&PD building reminded Michael of a slightly less formal hospital. The residents occupying the rooms of these corridors had the same expressions as patients in a hospital; forlorn, vacant, silent. Their eyes said nothing, as if their souls had been taken from them and left just an empty, helpless shell.

Liset sat in her rocking chair in room 385. Michael always knocked before entering, even though she never acknowledged his presence. Sometimes he brought a book or a game, and read to her, or played against himself, playing both himself and her in the game. She sat quiet and just watched the Christmas lights he had long ago hung from the ceiling of her room twinkle.

She had ragged, unbrushed strands of black hair that lay to her chest and about her face and ears. Sometimes, if she let him, he would brush her hair and put it into a braid or a bow. The few strands of grey on the top of her head were gradually multiplying these last few years. Her green eyes were lost and dull, only sparkling from the twinkling reflection of the Christmas lights.

Michael knocked quietly and after a few moments, walked in.

“Hey, Liset. I’m here. Sorry I’m a little early, but I don’t have work today.” He sat on the couch next to her rocking chair. “This week has been so hectic, Lis. Today was the strangest. The Calvin Hosthen Building I work in blew up, Lis. I was on my route and was on the top floor when the whole building shook and… I was so scared, Liset. All I could think of was that if I died, who would come and take care of you? Who would visit you and play Parcheesi and Monopoly with you… I would never leave you, Lis.” He took a couple breaths to catch up to his thoughts.

“We, me and this other guy, Ted, went up to the roof. The smoke was so thick and we could hardly see, but there was no fire, so it was better. Ted jumped off of the ledge, because he didn’t want to die on the roof. I didn’t either, Lis, but I was going to jump, too It was too hard to breathe up there… but I flew, Lis! I jumped, and spread my arms, and I cant explain why or how, but I soared over the buildings, out of the smoke, and home to my apartment. It was crazy.”

Liset rocked back and forth slowly in her rocking-chair, always the same rhythm, head tilted towards the white lights, ears deaf to his story.

“You’re all I have, Liset. I would never leave you, I promise.” Michael concluded. A couple minutes of silence filled the space in the room, then he began again. “Remember when that girl Katelyn stole your painting of the flower garden behind the orphanage? You painted those pink and white peonies so beautifully- she stole it and tried to pass if off as her own, but the Teacher… Ms Keenhyn… knew it was your because you were the only one who was that good. Katelyn fumed for days and threw it away. You cried because you wanted it back…” Michael breathed quietly. “And I went and dove into all of the school’s dumpsters to find it and get it back for you. I was covered in every kind of junk and garbage-goo you could think of when I finally found it.”

He chuckled. “You kissed me Liset. How old were we? I was 9… you were 6? 7?” The smile on his face only appeared during the stories he told about her. The sparkle in his eye as he remembered.

The woman’s small lips remained pursed, eyes remained an expressionless sea of green.

Michael held his breath, and lifted his hand over her head, longing to touch a strand of hair, but he let it drop back onto his lap.

He sighed and sat back against the cushion. Quiet, dim polka music made its way from down the hall. He smiled feebily and went on again.

“I miss you, Lis. I really , really miss you. I told myself Id never talk like this, only happy stuff, but today… Today’s different. I really need you here today, but I cant have that, I know.” He swallowed. “Today’s the day we met, Liset, thirty-five years ago. You were five, and you had just started kindergarten. Paulie Martin was making fun of your short hair, remember? It was really short, like a boy’s. But you were wearing this little yellow jumper that was too small, and huge boots on your feet. I pushed him down at recess. We were friends ever since, despite the age difference.”

Latonya came in at that moment, holding ointment and gauze. “Okay, Michael, lets look at them hands of yours; see what the damage is.” She took his hands in her own dark, soft, slightly-wrinkled ones and looked them over carefully. After wrapping them up snugly, she patted them and stood up. “You’ll live, hun. You’re lucky to come out with your life.”

“Do you know how the fire started?” Michael whispered, though no one but Liset was within earshot.

Latonya nodded. “Plane. The tv said it was an accident. The flight had called twenty minutes prior about engine trouble and were attempting a crash landing when the wind blew them in the course of the tower.”

Michael nodded slowly. “Accident?”

Latonya nodded. “I’m really, really sorry Michael.” She patted his back sympathetically and departed, stopping at the doorway. “Did you know many people who also worked there?” She asked, looking over her shoulder.

Michael shook his head. “Not really. I knew the receptionists names, but I didn’t have any friends. But regardless if I knew them, they were still people.”

Latonya pursed her lips into a empathetic smile. “If you need anything, you just ask, ok, dear?”

Michael nodded and looked back to Liset. She was still focusing unblinkingly on the lights dangling from the ceiling. He sighed, his thoughts still lingering on the far away memories of long ago.

The next couple of hours sifted through time as he read the next chapter in the book “From the Other Side of the Fence”, a book Liset long ago once read to him. It was set in World War 2… and though the words rolling off of his tongue was not in her voice, he couldn’t help but remember the smooth, lively laugh she used to give when she heard something funny, or was stumbling over a word while reading out-loud, or a cricket had tickled her palm when she held it… Tears fought his eyes as he finished the chapter, and closed the cover, leaving the old, faded marker in the spot. On the inside cover held a scribble in ink- To Liset, from Mike; Happy Birthday, August 28th 1989. She was turning seventeen. It was arguably her favorite book, and he had found it at a used book store. Saved it ever since… the accident.

It was dark and threatening to rain when Latonya returned to let him know visiting hours were over. Michael nodded and shook his head. “Thirty-five years, Latonya. We met thirty-five years today.” He looked at her with an expression of pain and hurt.

Latonya nodded. “I know, hun. You told me about it thirteen years ago, when you brought her in. I haven’t forgotten.”

Michael shook, putting his hand to his forehead. “It was all my fault, Latonya.”

Latonya took a seat next to him on the couch. “Don’t you say that, Michael, don’t you even say that! It wasn’t your fault that bus crashed… it wasn’t your fault. You couldn’t do anything about it, darling… don’t blame yourself for that.”

Michael finally let the tears flow. His body wracked with sobs. “I told her to go… It was my idea to go to that church that day. It was my idea to stay later, to go to that kids meeting. We stayed to hear the guy speak… I thought it was going to be interesting. She wanted to leave… said we were going to get into trouble if we stayed any loner. But she stayed for me. I thought things were going to get better… the guy said believing would make everything better.”

“What guy, Michael?” She was confused.

“The guy at the church. He wasn’t the leader, just some guy from the church. There were other kids our age there, a bunch of kids from our highschool even. We stood at the back… so we could leave without disturbing anyone whenever we wanted.” Michael sat up and looked at the lights along with Liset. “The guy said a lot of wonderful things. About how we don’t have to live with pain in our life… and how he knew someone who could take the pain away. I thought it was a good idea to listen to him… but nothing happened. I didn’t know what to expect. We left, and took the next bus back home, and… well it all got worse. Liset got really hurt. Nothing got better. The pain- it didn’t go away.”

Tears started forming in Latonya’s eyes, too. Although Liset’s file had mentioned a bus crash, she had never heard the whole story from anyone, let alone Michael. Her hand laid on her shoulder, she felt helpless against his pain.

“He was supposed to fix things. He was supposed to make things better. He was supposed to be the Father of a family I could finally belong to. That’s what the guy said. But the only thing He did for me was take away from me the only person I ever belonged to. Liset was my only friend, she was like my sister… I loved her. I love her.”

“He?” Latonya asked.

“God.” Michael took a deep breath and stood up, wiping the tears from his eyes with his wrapped hands. He looked at Liset one last time, letting his fingertips touch her cheek. “God, God, why did you do this to us? Why don’t you love her? If you loved her, you would heal her.” He whispered, too quiet for Latonya to overhear. And then turned and left the room.

The walk home was cold and wet. He slopped through the puddles, huddled against the wind and rain with the thickness of his only jacket protecting him. The neon lights of the street shops illuminated a watery path for him as he made his way home. The drops of precipitation on his face mingled with the tears, and no one could tell the difference.


“Wake up!”

Michael sat up in bed and looked over the sheets in bleary delirium. “What?”

“Wake up, Michael. Its I, Neima. Wake up.”

Again, the voice bore no body, but it came from just beyond his nightstand. He looked around, instantly awake. “Who are you? Why do you keep coming here?”

“I am here to help you understand. But now, it is time for you to wake up and check your phone. You will understand. Get up!”

Michael rolled out of bed and stretched, his back cracking in protest. He dragged his feet out to the living room, where the small table holding the mail and the picture also carried the phone. The voicemail light was flashing, and he picked it up to listen to them.

“Michael, its Latonya, from the Home? You just left, and I know you wont get this until you get home, but you’ve got to get back here! Ill explain when you get here… just hurry.”

“Michael, its Latonya again… if you havent gotten my previous message yet, just come tomorrow… I don’t understand what’s happening, but Liset wanted- well just come in as soon as you can. Call me when you get this… have a good night.”

“Hey, Michael, its Latonya again… Im just calling to tell you to not panic… its not a bad thing-“ Latonya was crying. “It’s a miracle, Michael. It was right after you touched her, Michael- I cant explain it, I just wanted to make sure you didn’t think it was something terrible… call me when you get this. Talk to you tomorrow.”

“Michael, goodmorning, and I hope to see you here this morning. I don’t know what to do, here… Just come on over, even if its not visiting hours yet. Bye-bye.”

Michael started to tremble. What was the meaning of these messages? What was Latonya talking about? Why didn’t she elaborate? But before he could dial the phone number of the home, the phone rang in his hands. He pressed the pick-up button quickly.

“Latonya? Whats going on? I am so confused-“


Michael gasped, almost dropping the phone. His hands shook, and he swallowed his emotion. “Lis?”

“Mike, I don’t know what’s going on… this woman Latonya told me you were going to come soon to get me… what happened? All I remember is the bus…”

Michael choked back a sob. “Ill be right there, Liset. Ill explain everything. The bus crashed… what happened? How did you get back from… the way you were? Nevermind, Lis, Ill be there right away.”

Within minutes later he was dressed and throwing himself out the door. The rain had turned to snow overnight and flakes were floating all around him, whirling around his legs as he ran.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Meaning of Tears

I dont know if Ive had any new revelations today, or even if I want any... I just feel different. I feel empty. Like I should be doing more, saying more, loving more, ANYTHING more--- but that I have no resources to do it, no energy to do it, no ability to do it... no strength to do it. That cyclical depression just comes in waves... and I fight it, but I dont know what to do to stop it. All I do is survive through it... and I hate it, but its all I have to do.

I dont know- that verge-of-tears feeling is back. And I hate crying. I hate crying... why? Im not really sure. Maybe its because no one really notices, and if they do, they ignore it. If I see someone crying (and when) I stop and ask. I stay and sit. I give them a hug... maybe just sit there and just wait with them. Wait for some revelation.... wait for some peace... or just the end of the tears. But I dont remember a time when the people around me did that. But then again, I dont remember a time when I cried in front of anyone. At this point, I think it's impossible for me now. I dont think I know how to.

Tears- they mean so much to me. Tears mean feeling- they mean real emotion. And Im not talking about fake tears... like crocidile tears. I mean real tears. It means someone cares so much about something or someone that it causes them to become so overwhelmed with emotion that it comes out on the surface. They are so angry, or so hurt, or so sad. So much it matters. And if I cant cry, does that mean it doesnt matter? Logically, its supposed to work that way. Rationally speaking, of course. But I dont know if I want that to be true.

Lord! Lord! Im weeping on the inside. I want to be full up with you. Fill me. I want to beable to be so real that I can be overwhelmed with emotions. Real emotions. Pain, and sorrow, and anger, and hurt... and happiness and joy and things that are good as well. Lord, fill me up! Continue making me weak... so that I will break. I dont want to ever think Im strong enough to do this... because I know I cant, Im not, and that I will never be. I dont want to stop trusting you. Break my heart- my stone cold heart, so that I can be made new again. Lord! Lord... I love you.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Writing for Heart of Passion

Ive been searching myself for more than just a couple lines that sound like they came straight out of a thriller novel. I WANT the novel. I want the whole novel, to flow out of me, like those few short meaningful sentences of creativity, but yet, more. Bigger. And it frusterates me that I dont have it.

Ive been trying to write a full-on book for the last year and a half. What once used to be so easy, is so strangely disconnected from me, now. Writing gave me that escape, that vent for my expressions, my emotions, that I cant get here on this world alone. I am a writer... and what does one do when a writer cannot write?

I feel so mutilated... like my appendages have been taken from me and I am left with a useless, mindless torso. Just heart, but no means of delivering or deciphering that heart into any meaningful reason.

Heart and passion has to be coupled with action. And I feel like my action has been stripped away from me. It feels terrible.

Ive been trying to do all I can. I read all sorts of books, I read the Bible... I tell stories to myself, I think long and hard about things that have some significance to me, I even research for story ideas. But I feel like the spark has left me. And all Im left with is this skeleton of a blog, where little is written and less is even read.