"Being a good writer is 3% talent, 97% not being distracted by the internet." Cyrus Farivar

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Cain and Abel Part I

I wrote this for my creative writing class in high school. Another short story, but the word limit was 2,600 words. This one clocks in at 2,398. I'll post part two when I get back from my grandparent's house. Oh wow, crazy coincidence--and by that, you'll understand when you read. Also, I was curious to know if readers preferred this font to the slightly larger one used in the previous post. I like the look of this one on editor, but it looks so much tinier in the preview. Thanks for reading!

          She had always been overbearing. Ever since her first script was turned into a movie did she become more controlling. In those days, I didn’t understand why she celebrated so much. No six-year-old would be able to comprehend it. Becca and I were merely along for the ride. Who knew this was a rollercoaster we couldn’t get off of.
* * * * *

          My eyes watched the driveway as the bus pulled away with a shudder. I could just picture my mom pacing behind the blinds in her office. From outside her shadow looked frazzled and distraught, despite only seeing an outline. She was working on her next masterpiece, or that’s what she always claimed. Turning away from my window, I concentrated on the ceiling. The bus was loud and bustling with life and excitement that made the air tingle. Everyone chatted eagerly, speaking of their games for recess and trades for lunch.
          I could hear Becca giggling with her friends from where they sat four rows ahead of me. We were both much livelier outside of the house, being around kids our own age. A part of me wished we could stay at school all the time, but knew that was impossible. Just as it seemed we had arrived at school, we were quickly back on the bus and returning home after six hours. They felt like a blur, much like any time I was away from our estate.
          “Liam, come over today. We can watch that new cartoon and have a water balloon fight,” Mark said, appearing over the back of my seat.
          “I can’t. I have chores,” I replied, using the same excuse every time.
          “Aww, come on! You can do it later,” another said, his head appearing over the seat in front of me.
          “My mom wouldn’t be happy if I did,” I answered, shaking my head. Over the years I had learned to resist peer pressure like this. It would be a different story if I didn’t. “Besides, it’s Friday. My grandparents are visiting.” Both groaned, returning to their seats not at all happy with my response. Glancing out the window I could see the bus was nearing my stop. Getting up and making my way through the aisle I stopped at Becca’s row, glancing at her.
          “I’m coming,” she groaned, forcing herself to get up and follow me. As the bus jolted to a stop, we made our way down the stairs as the door opened with a loud hiss. Jumping down I immediately went to the mail box and retrieved the day’s posts. There wasn’t as much today as there had been in previous years or even in previous weeks.
          Together we walked quietly down the dirt road, dreading what was awaiting us once we had returned. The possibility of our grandparents coming relieved some of the anxiety. Midway down the mile-long driveway, I could see the house beginning to come into view.
          “Only two days… Just two days home,” Becca said, breaking the silence between us. She looked at me hopeful, as if trying to make this whole ordeal sound like a piece of cake. “And we do get to see Grandma and Grandpa.”
          “How does that fix anything?” I shot her a glare, not exactly up for trying to make this weekend seem any better. Her silence informed me that I had stumped her. Shouldering my bag a bit, I trudged on ahead of Becca. Turning on the final stretch towards home, I blinked seeing that my grandparent’s car wasn’t there. It should have been there, like every Friday at 3:30 on the dot. This had been our routine for the past six years. Exchanging a glance between us, we both broke into a sprint, our hearts echoing in our ears. As we ran the gravel crunched under our shoes, making this final stretch seem like it took a century. Skidding to the stairs we launched ourselves up the porch and through the front door.
          “Mom!  Where’re Grandma and Grandpa?” Becca hollered the instant she made it in the entrance. Our home was eerily silent; already it was a bad omen.
          “Mom? Casey?” I joined her in the call for our mom and her friend. We kept quiet as our ears strained to hear for something that told us they were here. In the back of my mind I knew they were here, as both their cars were still parked in the driveway. Finally, there was something.
          “Hey guys… Sorry we were just… talking,” a voice said softly, coming down the hallway from our mom’s office.
          “Where’s mom?” I watched him, very curious to know why they had been so quiet up until now. His silence spoke more than any words could to us. Scratching his head, Casey sighed.
          “We need to talk first… You can’t go see your grandparents today,” he said as we followed him into the kitchen. Turning on his heel he leaned against the counter, arms crossed as his eyes focused on the floor.
          “Why not? We always see Grandma and Grandpa on the weekends,” Becca said looking up at Casey, a puzzled look on her face.
          “Becca, something happened,” he said, glancing briefly at me before kneeling before her to see eye-to-eye. “This morning, your grandma wasn’t feeling very well.”
          It bothered me to see him trying to tiptoe around the subject. Adults did that too often around kids, thinking we were easily saddened and couldn’t handle the blunt truth. Right now I would have rather heard the truth than watch Casey try and broach the subject as carefully as possible.
          “If she’s sick she can go see the doctor,” reasoned Becca.
          “It’s not that simple, Becca,” he said, putting a hand on her shoulder. “She passed away earlier this afternoon.” Now it all made sense. The silence, the missing car… Hearing the truth left a bitter taste in my mouth as much of the noise around me faded away. Becca was now crying as I turned and headed for my room upstairs. Closing my door tightly I leaned against it, my mind blank. Something died in me as I went over Casey’s words in my head.
          “She’s at peace,” he whispered.

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