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Creative Writing Share your fan fiction, stories, poems, essays, editorials, song lyrics, or any other related written work. All written must be your creation. Start a new thread, and keep replying to that thread as you add on more chapters. Anyone can join in at anytime.


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  #1  
Old 09-30-2008, 01:14 AM
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Default Fade [UPDATED 12/21/2008]

September 27, 2009
4:11 AM


I awoke to the sound of silence, a sound that had deafened me for these last fourteen years, and even now I couldn't get used to it. It seemed to echo endlessly, again and again it haunted me, filling my head with nightmares of horrid depression and loneliness. I couldn't get over it no matter how many times it grabbed me and choked me into submission before letting me live to see the next nightmare, the same nightmare, every night for fourteen years.

I would sit in an empty, colorless room for the entirety of the dream, watching the nothingness float by and the silence fill the room with an unbearable oppression. For hours this would continue (at least, I knew it to be hours, but it felt like years) until finally the depression focused to a point in the tip of my chest and felt like it was going to explode. When finally it climaxed, the urge for death himself to wipe his hand across my face and take my life from me was so powerful, that I felt like nothing could save me from that overreaching and unforgiving depression. Then, I awoke, as I did every day, to the dull hum of sadness that seemed to hang over the world as a constant background noise. It was impossible to live with, but also impossible to die.

I sat up and looked at the clock, whose red glow was the only light source in the room.

"Four-thirteen..." I mumbled to myself, the light putting a strain on my eyes. "Come on Shaun, don't let your mind wake you up this early!" I said to myself, digging my face into my pillow and letting out a huge breath. My dream was usually a little more generous than this when waking me, generally waiting until five before annoying me to death after depressing me to the point of suicide. Why I had that dream I didn't know, and neither did any of the five shrinks I'd seen in the last year. Each one referred me to "the best psych in town for this kind of thing" until finally the last one gave me the same words, and recommended me to the first one I had seen. Frustrated, I quit the whole shrink deal altogether, preferring to work my problems out myself. The dream, however, was one problem I couldn't seem to tackle, and I set my head back on my pillow in annoyance.

It was too early to wake up, but too late to have any hope of getting back to bed. Angered by the complexity of the situation, I sighed and stumbled to the wooden floor of my room, shuffling my feet across the ground towards my dresser. The weight of my feet seemed a little more noticeable this morning than most mornings, but I was probably just tired. Trying to function on four hours of sleep wasn't something I (nor anyone, as far as I knew) enjoyed.

The wood bent slightly beneath my feet as I walked, and for a moment I was worried that termites had eaten away the foundation and that any second I was to fall through the floor and land on top my sleeping mother. I was always a worrier, and I didn't mind. It wasn't until I was 15 that I actually found that there was a name for being human, it's called, "General Anxiety Disorder". I smiled at my thoughts, and at my irrational fear of falling through the floor, and opened the middle drawer of the three drawer dresser, pulling out the first shirt I felt.

It was an inside-out white cotton t-shirt with nothing printed on it. I had gotten it at a garage sale about a year ago, and it ended up being my favorite shirt, and easily the most comfortable. Occasionally it put off the illusion that there was faded writing on the front of it, but the illusion revealed to just be a trick of the light, albeit an interesting one. I fit the shirt over my head and pulled it down over myself, using my free hand to scour for pants in the bottom drawer.

After sliding on some worn blue jeans and white ankle socks, I flicked on the light (why I hadn't done that earlier evaded me) and after a moment, it lit up the room, revealing my blue walls, blue carpet and blue bed to me. I smiled. I had gone through a phase during my childhood where I absolutely adored the color blue. I wouldn't have ANYTHING not blue, not even food. I nearly emptied my mother's wallet from making her buy blue food coloring, and after the phase was over, my mom never realized that I had grown out of it. Every single year I get stuck with blue wrapping paper for my presents (on both christmas and my birthday) as well as a surprising room makeover to give me blue walls, a blue bed and blue carpet. I could've let my mom know that the phase had passed just a few days ago, but I didn't see a problem with letting her have a little fun with me.

I walked over to my computer and turned it on, as I did nearly every morning. It groaned to life and I smiled. I liked my computer. It had personality, charisma even, and it never failed to amuse me.

While my ancient machine started up, I went over to my dresser and grabbed my glasses from atop it. I noticed that the frame was getting bent, and I made a mental note. I would have to get a new pair soon. The familiar sound of my Apple Macintosh starting up interrupted the thought, and I scurried over to the desk, eager to learn what had been recently happening in the world via my favorite news source.

I skimmed the basic-looking list for something interesting, but most of it was economic turmoil and energy crisis. "Same old, same old" I thought. It wasn't until I hit the refresh button out of habit (Probably OCD) that something caught my eye. Again, it was about the economy, but the title of this one gave me a different feel. A much different feel.

ECONOMY CAUSES PSYCHOLOGICAL COLLAPSE - UPROAR IN ARIZONA, JOURNALIST KILLED

It was by far the most interesting title of the one hundred or so, and I couldn't resist but read the rest of the article, so, I clicked the link.

About a minute later I gave up waiting and decided that while the article loaded, it would probably be a good idea to brush my teeth. I stood up and walked out the door.

I didn't brush my teeth as often as I should, and I was trying to get better at it, but there were just too many things to do, and by the time I got done with all of them, I was too tired to get up and do the whole ritual thing. I seemed to also have the same problem with homework, and showering, and... well, pretty much everything. I blushed a little bit, realizing that it was no wonder I didn't have a girlfriend. Not that I had any particular want of one, but it was still sort of embarrassing.

I reached the bathroom and flicked on the light. "Same as I left you." I muttered to myself. My jokes, if you could call them that, were very dry, and generally not very funny unless I wanted them to be. In this case, it was the former of the two that plagued my current state of humor.

"Toothbrush, toothbrush, toothbrush..." I murmured to myself as I searched the bathroom for where I had left it last. It wasn't where it was supposed to be (which wasn't a surprise, it was mine after all) so I looked on the floor, which is often where it ended up. It wasn't there either. I stood up straight and surveyed the bathroom. The ugly white walls surrounded me, as did the white toilet and sink, the latter of the two closer to me, away from the window. The shower was on my left (I faced the window) and I... "The shower!" It was amazing where my train of thought was able to take me these days. I whipped open the curtain, and to my surprise, it wasn't there either.

"I swear I left it there..." I said to myself. "I guess it's not all that strange for me to misplace things."

I left the bathroom, somewhat glad that I was able to escape the teeth-brushing, at least until I found my toothbrush again, then I wouldn't have an excuse.

I traveled back to my room and sat down at the computer, the loaded page right in front of me. I began reading, quite interested again.

"Phoenix, AR

The economic collapse has hit the entire nation with a blow that threatens our very existence. In New York, stocks are being---"

"Blah blah blah," I skimmed the article for the next interesting looking section, and it wasn't far off.

"In no other place is this crisis so noticeable as Phoenix, Arizona. Recently, a large student group for the U of A banded together and formed the "Students Taking Effective Action Mundanely" or STEAM. The group is an anarchist group focusing on bringing power to the people of America, and making us our own body again. The group has so far put the city in turmoil, causing more than a dozen deaths and raiding shops for anything they may need.

We questioned the creator of STEAM, and he only had one phrase to speak.

"The time for true freedom has come! Do what you want, when you want, how you want!"

Soon after, the reporter who interviewed the group was kidnapped and raped. Her body was found with several bullet wounds in the genitals, stomach, and head three hours after her disappearance.

The Riot Squad was recently called in, and we'll have more information on their progress as soon as it becomes available."

"Daaaamn..." I was awestruck. The stupidity of people was quite disappointing, especially now. First we had people protesting school, and now they protest things that are out of anyone's control.

I sat at the computer screen, staring at the words again and again. "more than a dozen deaths", "RIOT squad was recently called in". It was unbelievable, but also irrelevant. It's not like nothing like this has even happened in the past.
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Last edited by Charbok; 10-10-2008 at 11:40 PM.
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  #2  
Old 09-30-2008, 09:46 PM
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Default Re: Turmoil {Working Title}

September 29, 2009
5:15 AM


It wasn't long before my mind wandered back to the turmoil in Arizona. All through breakfast my mom would stare at me, asking simple questions like "Did you have a good nights sleep?" or "Did you have any homework?" to try and break the ice. I seldom answered, too caught up in the story I had deemed "irrelevant" only an hour earlier to even think of thinking of a response.

Questions about the conflict raced through my mind, most of them impossibly unlikely scenarios that, for whatever reason, I was considering as likely to happen here in Minnesota. Even after analyzing my thoughts and determining the validity of them, I only came up with more scenarios to fill the gaps of those that had been removed through logic. "What if it happened here?" was the first hypothetical scenario to pop into my head, and from there my mind drew a line to "Where would I go?". It seemed like and endless stretch of outpouring scenario's, like a cut that wouldn't stop bleeding, or a nose that wouldn't stop running. I shot down scenario after scenario, but one question stayed in my mind throughout the entire though process. "What happens next?"

I was so caught up in the question (and the thought of answering it), that I hadn't even realized what my mom had made me (and what I was now eating) for breakfast. It was some sort of oat cereal with a strawberry on it and little crunches of honey. I gobbled them up to my mom's surprised eyes, eager to get back to the computer and check the progress of the uproar, but she stopped me.

"Be sure to wash your dishes!" She yelled after me as I tried to dash up the stairs.

'Damn, damn, damn, damn, damn!' I thought, "Yes mom, I'm doing that right now!"

To my discomfort, I waltzed back to the dining-room table, picked up my dishes and proceeded into the kitchen to wash them.

"Thanks for breakfast, ma!" I yelled into the dining room as I washed. It took me about a minute to get the bowl and spoon washed, followed by another minute to put away the cereal box and the milk, but it felt longer due to the increasingly agonizing, and out of place, pressure to be up to date on everything that was going on. Generally I wasn't so excited about politics and economics, but something about this story intrigued me. It was comparable liking a certain combination of food that, when look at logically, should probably be terrible, like ketchup and cookies, or juice on cereal.

As soon as the opportunity presented itself, I bolted up the stairs, skipping steps on my way. When I reached the top I quickly u-turned, realizing that I had forgotten to turn off the water in the kitchen. I reached the bottom of the stairs quickly, and I probably should have fallen on my way down, but I was able to hang on to my balance.

When that task was complete, I bolted back up the stairs, into my room, opened the internet again, and waited for the machine (which seemed to get slower with each passing day) to load the page containing all of the news stories. When it finally loaded, I clicked "New Stories" at the top. There were twelve new stories, and each of them had over 10,000 views just in the last hour. For a locally run website, that was pretty good, and it excited me.

When the page finally loaded, I scoured the links to stories.

"Man Finds Dead Dog inside Dead Cat"

"Florida Man Charged With Wife's Murder"

"Police Officer Shoots Man With Knife"

None of them were what I was looking for, and I was quite disappointed. I was hoping to at least find some sort of update on the Arizona story, but I guess things didn't always work out that way.

Disappointed, I rolled back in my chair and went over my options. I could sit at the computer like a fool and wait for an update, or I could do something productive, such as brushing my teeth.

I reluctantly stood up and sluggishly walked over to the bathroom. My toothbrush was exactly where I had left it last night, on top of the radiator, and I grabbed it, throwing some toothpaste on so there would actually be a point to my misery.

I brushed or far longer than most people would have, about four minutes, trying to keep my mind off of the news story waiting in the other room to creep up and murder my now calmed nerves. When there was no way to post-pone the event any longer, I proceeded back into my room.

When I sat down, the page had auto-refreshed (as I had programmed it to do) and I again scoured the page for any new updates. Still nothing.

I nearly closed the page, but then decided that since I was already on the internet, I might as well check my e-mail. I typed in the address, followed by the password, and clicked 'Log-in.' I had four new emails, two were junk-mail, one was a college informative, and the last was from IWN, the Important World News network. I had signed up for their e-mail service so I would receive free access to all of their archives, which I needed to use on a report a few years ago. Now they sent me news stories riddled with advertisements, though sometimes there were gems in the piles of coal. I did my best to block out as many of the e-mails as I could, but sometimes they got through. It bugged me, but I guess it was my fault.

I clicked the email to delete it, but when the headline popped up at the top of the page, I froze in my place, literally unable to move.

"Arizona Anarchist Group's 'Laws' Spread Across the Country"

"Ho-ly..." I said, overemphasizing each syllable. I scurried to read the rest of the news story, and all it presented me with were links to advertisements.

I became frantic, and immediately opened my favorite search engine and punched in the headline. Hundreds of articles came up at once, and I went with the one from the American news source.

When the page finally loaded, I tried reading faster than I could handle, and the words became a jumbled mess in my brain.

"Calm down." I told myself, "Anxiety is getting you no where." I took a deep breath and read it at a human pace.

"Anarchy in Arizona? Anarchy in America?

Earlier today we told you about an anarchist group, STEAM, who were dedicated to bring "full and complete peace" to people across the globe. They used tactics as violence, theft and murder to complete those goals, and ended up killing a projected 30 civilians, including one news reporter. Thirty minutes ago, the Riot Squad arrived the suppress the rebellion, but soon after, they learned that the group, which now consists of over five hundred supporters in Arizona and quickly rising, had robbed a weapons manufacturer and were using means of force to keep the Riot Squad out of the Phoenix Downtown area.

Now, the ideology of STEAM has spread across the country to Michigan, where another group, calling themselves STEAM{2} has erupted carrying a massive amount of people, estimated at over two-thousand. The Michigan branch of STEAM has killed over one hundred people, and caused more than ten million dollars in damage so far.

National Guard has been called to both cities, and is expected to arrive within the hour."

I couldn't believe it. Just one hour ago I brushed this off as an isolated incident. Now it was happening cross-country, and Michigan was much closer than Arizona. I closed the page and stood up. I had to get to school regardless of the situation in Michigan and Arizona, thought I wasn't looking forward to it.
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Old 10-01-2008, 10:25 PM
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Default Re: Turmoil {Working Title}

September 29, 2009
8:05 AM


"Honey, you're late!" I heard my mom's shrill voice call up the stairs. I smiled a bit. This was the third time she had called up to inform me that I was late, and even though I made it very clear that I understood the first time, she insisted on putting every possible bit of pressure on me. I wasn't sure whether it was habit, or whether she actually thought that I didn't get it. Though, the latter of the two problems was probably pretty unlikely, seeing as how she got me a watch a week ago to make sure I knew the time at every moment.

I frantically searched for my homework on my paper-laden desk, as I had misplaced it the night before, but I wasn't having an ounce of luck in finding it. It was like finding a needle in a needle stack. The longer I looked, the riskier it got, but I wasn't allowed to stop until I was able to locate it.

"Yes mom, thank you for the update!" I yelled sarcastically down the stairs. I felt bad for putting my mom off like that, but barely had time to find my homework, much less apologize for my over-achieving sarcasm. I sighed, quite aggravated at the predicament that had presented itself, and dropped my book-bag on the ground so I could search with both of my hands.

Finally, I found the little devil under a big stack of geography homework and stuffed it into my bag, crumpling it in the process. I never cared much for homework, or doing it, for the matter, which is probably why I only held a B- average in most of my classes, but I was a bright student, or so most teachers told me. The exception was my sixth hour chemistry teacher, who found me repulsively annoying most of the time. I wasn't doing all that great in that class.

I bolted to the bottom of the stairs and stopped to kiss my mom on the cheek before I left, but I froze for a moment.

"Mom..." I said, "Your eyes are bloodshot and swollen. Are you okay?"

"I'm just tired, honey." She smiled a very weak smile, and it was very clear that she was lying. I debated for a moment whether I should go to school or stay at home and talk with her, but I decided that it would be best to let her deal with herself to the best of her ability. Who knew, maybe she was just tired.

"Alright..." I said, trying my best to read her expression, but nothing came. For a moment, it looked saddened, then confused, then innocent. This happened often with her, as she tended to change her mind quite often, but I did my best to deal with it. She had done a good job with me, especially with the absence of a father to help support me, and I was grateful for that. "I love you, mom," I said, and I bent in to kiss her on the cheek. "I'll see you after school!"

I ran out the door and around the corner towards the bus stop, barely catching it before it drove off without me.
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Old 10-01-2008, 10:26 PM
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Default Re: Turmoil {Working Title}

September 29, 2009
8:44 AM


I rocketed up the stairs as fast as I could to get to my first hour. I was already nine minutes late, credit to the bus driver, and my teacher was easily the most law-abiding citizen in the school, and to him, school rules were laws. I guess it made sense, as he taught government economics, but that was little an excuse to persecute a student on account of his bus being late, which he seemed to enjoy much more than he should have. I remember a certain time that he forced a student to do two hours of community service because he had to leave class fifteen minutes early. How he got away with the deed evaded me.

I finally made it to the all-black door to the classroom, room 411, and after taking a deep breath, I slowly opened the door and walked in, my head pointed downwards and my breathing uneven. I heard the sound of metal sliding against the floor, and then screams and many voices. Of course my glance shot towards the sounds, and I saw the teacher sliding a desk towards me, but keeping his eyes to a television screen that had been set up at the front of the room.

"Sit." He commanded in a voice that meant no objections would be tolerated. I quickly scurried across the room to take a seat, and when I set my back down, it let out a loud thump and I could feel the glare of the entire class burning a hole in my back, then moving back to the t.v. My gaze followed theirs and I began watching, prepared to be quite bored. It was clearly a news report, and recent, but I had no idea what about. My eyes widened when the reporter mentioned the headline again in her speech.

"Again, what you see behind me is Phoenix Arizona, recently the site of a massive anarchist outbreak that has yet to be quelled."

"Impossible..." I whispered.

"Shhh!" I heard the whole class whisper in unison.

This wasn't possible. The national guard should have been there by now and the riots should have been long gone, not the other way around. I watched attentively as the picture changed to a reel of footage shot half an hour earlier. A little yellow box appeared in the corner of the screen, indicated that this was live footage, and then it began.

"What you are about to see may shock you. Viewer discretion is advised."

Hundreds of national guard troops stationed at various points along a curved road were firing into a small house about a hundred yards away, and there didn't seem to be anyone returning fire. Then, the camera was pointed down and shaking as the cameraman ran towards the house and several commanding officers yelled various commands at the soldiers. When the scene was again clear, about half the troops had taken up positions behind a stone wall and were firing in rounds at the house again.

The camera was lifted over the wall and now it was clear that they were rounds flying out of the house towards the soldiers. The concrete sidewalks surrounding the house were riddled with bullet holes, as were the red side and white roof of the building. Screams came from both sides as soldiers and suspected anarchists barked orders to each other and fired more and more rounds into the opposing ranks.

Then, the camera dropped out for a moment, leaving the entire viewing audience in suspense. When it started again, it had resumed just in time for us to see a national guard shot in the back by one of the members of STEAM, or so I assumed. The blood was not easily viewable until his body crashed into the ground where it puddled up under him, and I turned away. I was very sensitive to blood and gore, and this was no exception.

I turned back a few moments later when I heard a thump in the video. I looked up to see the camera completely still, laying on it's side in the dirt. Troops still fired, not paying any attention to it, and it was clear what had happened to the photographer.

The tape cut back to the reporter in Phoenix, but she didn't say anything. She just stood there for a moment, awestruck at what had just taken place, but eventually regained her composure.

"What... you have just witnessed was one of countless acts of violence against national guard, civilians, and newscasters. So far in Phoenix alone, four hundred civilians have been confirmed dead, and over a thousand missing. Estimated national guard casualties range from eight hundred to two thousand in the past hour, and the numbers are growing rapidly. The president is expected to give a speech on the crisis at hand regarding the actions we need to take, and the precautions we need to put into place. Back to you in New York."

"Thank you." A male voice said, and the view switched back into a news broadcasting station lined with red walls and a large number 11 in the background next to a globe.

"Like we said before, the group who is causing these attacks of anarchy call themselves STEAM, and..." He stopped and looked offscreen. A young man, probably about 22, walked on and handed him a sheet of paper. He read over it for a moment, and then looked at the camera again. "We have just received an audio statement from STEAM's leader, though he has neglected to give us his name." He looked down at the paper again, "Here is the tape."

The screen went black for a moment, and then went to a slideshow of pictures from the outbreak. Then, the audio crackled to life.

"My fellow Americans" a man with a distinct Arizonian accent began, "As we all are aware, life in America now is worse than it has ever been. The government is holding us hostage by their ideals, and we believe ourselves powerless to stop them. The economy has been in a downward spiral since the year two thousand and one, and it is in a greater state of turmoil than it has ever been. Many of us do not have jobs, and even more of us have jobs that give us barely enough to survive. So I ask you this; Why? Why do we allow ourselves to be pushed around like dolls in this society, when we could be living a much more free way of life? Wh must we follow this governments rules, when we so truly disagree with their policies? I believe I have discovered why. I believe it is because we are afraid that when one of us stands up, our allies will back down and we will be caught alone and afraid. This should not be the case! We should live in a society where everyone gets not only what they need, but what they want. A place where money doesn't matter, and everyone simply takes what they want and gives what they don't. This, my friends, it called anarchy! A completely free society where everyone lives by your rules, and you by everyone else's! This," He paused for effect, "is what we as a nation, no, what we as a world, need! Let us rally not as one group, but as millions of our own people working as one! Let us abolish this suppression and live our lives how we want! Let us--"

The tape cut off there, and it went back to the red station.

"We seem to be having some technicalities, but we assure you we will have the rest of the recording shortly." The male newscaster continued.

Just then, the lights flickered back on and the T.V. shut off. Moments later, the bell rang, indicating that first period had ended. Abnormally, everyone did not move an inch for many moments until finally the teacher urged us to go, and one by one, we filed out of the classroom in silence.
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Old 10-06-2008, 03:43 AM
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Default Re: Turmoil {Working Title}

September 29, 2008
3:10 PM


The day had gone by quickly after the silent first hour, everyone's minds too full of the video and the events that had taken place in it to concentrate on schoolwork, and I now sat in the near empty school bus home. The majority of the school had gone to watch our homecoming game against a rival team at 3:30, so I sat on the bus along with three other students to bask in the silence that kept a shadow of solemnity over us. The weather, which was cloudy and grey, only further contributed to the wave of emptiness that the world seem to hold at the time.

It was almost enjoyable, actually, to have a day perfectly fitted to the emotions that swept through you at a certain time. It was like having the perfect dessert to go with the meal you just ate. Even though you didn't like how the food tasted, it still felt right to eat them together.

The clouds rolled by, one after another, eventually adding themselves to the overbearing grey that held proud over Minneapolis. One would think that this should be more appropriately fitted over the skies of Arizona, where the uproars were happening, but at that location it was sunny and bright. As the soldiers died, the sun shone bright. As the rioters murdered and looted, the sun shone bright. As innocent civilians cowered in their basements, praying for someone to protect them, the sun shone bright. Only at night was the level of light appropriate, and even then the skies were filled with the flickering light of flames and smoke from the random fires that had broken out from the violence. It was ironic, that here on the opposite end of the country, the day fit so perfectly to the things that were happeninf somewhere far off, yet in the darkest place on earth, the sun shone bright. It was sickening, and I begged my mind to drop the subject, but I hadn't the will to overpower it.

I struggled with myself to break free of the news report, but I couldn't. Every bit of my mental energy poured into fracturing the hold it had on me, but it had no effect. I didn't have a choice now. I gave up and let the story overtake me, exploring every aspect of it with my mind. I replayed the soldier dying again and again, hoping that once he would dive out of the way and miss the bullet, but he never did. I watched again as the camera fell to the ground and the photographer's body thumped onto the hot asphalt. I examined these scenarios for an inconsistency to prove them false, but I found none.

The entire experience was numbing, but it only doubled when I heard the extremist's voice in the recording. His articulations and his accent were etched in my memory forever, and with each passing heartbeat they throbbed like a tied off finger with a bruise on it. It was painful, and yet, it felt right. Right because I knew that what I was feeling was appropriate, and that comforted me. Too often did I fail to cry at funerals, only to go home and cry at the ending of a video game I beat. It felt nice to finally have my emotions in the right place.

My mood lightened a bit when the bus came to an abrupt stop, and I looked up to see that we had arrived at my stop. Though it was a ten minute walk home, it was good to have something to set my mind from the subject that was haunting it.

I got up, my slightly exposed back sticking to the leather seat for a moment, lifted my bag, and walked out the door to being my long and lonely trek home.
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Old 10-09-2008, 11:05 PM
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Default Re: Fade

September 29, 2009
3:45 PM


When I got home the mood was as solemn as it had been on the bus. The low-hanging grey seemed to overtake the people here, each and every person depressed by the same things as I. Though I knew it was impossible for this to be true, it felt nice to at least have people there who are sharing your experience, however grey that experience might be.

I hung up my coat on the hangar to the left of the door and searched for the keys that would let me in. When I found them, I opened the front door and wobbled in, my heavy backpack overbearing my scrawny body.

"Mom?" I yelled into the house. She was almost always home when I got there after school, and it was best to scare her with my arrival now than wait for her to get older and more prone to heart attacks. There was no answer, so I stepped into the entry way, slipping my shoes off onto the blue-capreted floor. Upon doing so, I noticed that my mom's pair of red shoes were not where they usually would be, and it was clear why I hadn't received an answer. Though it was uncommon, she wasn't immune to the occasional outing after work, and I shrugged it off.

After stepping into the livingroom from the entryway, I set down my backpack next to the stairs and walked into the kitchen to find something to eat. There wasn't much, but I managed to locate a lone half-empty box of froot-loops, so I grabbed a bowl and some milk and brought it to the table.

Upon sitting, I heard a small crunch under me and realized that I had sat on a note. I stood up and turned around, setting the cereal and milk down in the process. It was a small folded piece of white paper, and it nearly blended in with light tan chair that it sat on. On the front it read "Shaun" in red ink, and I could tell it was my mom's scribbled handwriting, and I opened it.

"Shaun,

I ran to the grocery store quickly to get food for the next few weeks. The newspaper said that prices are going to skyrocket in the next week, so I figured it'd be best to get all my shopping done now. See you around four!

Love, Mom"

I sighed. It was just like my mom to believe everything she reads. If the newspaper read that there was going to be an earthquake in Minneapolis tomorrow, she'd either leave the state or take unnecessary precautions. The one time I gave her the Turnip (a local comedy newspaper) to read, she freaked out at an article about a video game world (the paper had treated it as real) that had over 35,000 murders in a month. I was quick to discover that it was best to keep her away from fiction, and only give her fact. That proved to be difficult however, as I had an overbearing sarcastic quality that punched through occasionally, and it threw her off. At least it kept conversations interesting.

After I finished my cereal, I went back into the kitchen to return the items to their homes, but I slipped on the wooden floor. I caught myself, but not before spilling a bit of milk. I walked over to the sink and grabbed a towel, looking out the window as I did. The sun glowed brilliantly in the fading blue sky, which only deepened in hue as time went on. It was getting lower in the sky, indicating an earlier sunset than I had anticipated. I turned around to look at the time, and the clock read 4:00. I only had a few hours to get my studying in for the economics test tomorrow, and I became nervous.

"No." I said to myself, "One problem at a time." I walked over to the spilt milk and soaked it up with the towel. My mom should have been home by now, and for a second I worried about what may have happened to her. I shrugged the though immediately. It wasn't unusual at all for my mom to be late. In fact, it would be more unusual if she was on time. There was nothing to worry about other than my homework. After finishing cleaning the mess, I tossed the towel into the laundry chute and made my way to my room to begin my long and boring night of studying.


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Old 10-11-2008, 04:51 AM
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Default Re: Fade

Before I start, can I ask where you got the name 'Fade' from?

The first installment is actually rather disturbing. The reporter being raped, and all. It's very original, it's a very original plot, and I hope you continue the feel of the first installment with the rest of them.

Quote:
I awoke to the sound of silence, a sound that had deafened me for these last fourteen years, and even now I couldn't get used to it.
This is an amazing opening line, it amazes me now, actually. It's not descriptive, it's not detailed, it's Shauns thoughts, something we don't see much of in any story now-a-days. I don't really have much to say about the story, other than I will be looking forward to futhur installments.

Plus I'm tired. I'll be back to do it over later. :)

~Anon.
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Old 10-11-2008, 04:52 AM
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Default Re: Fade

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anon View Post
Before I start, can I ask where you got the name 'Fade' from?

The first installment is actually rather disturbing. The reporter being raped, and all. It's very original, it's a very original plot, and I hope you continue the feel of the first installment with the rest of them.



This is an amazing opening line, it amazes me now, actually. It's not descriptive, it's not detailed, it's Shauns thoughts, something we don't see much of in any story now-a-days. I don't really have much to say about the story, other than I will be looking forward to futhur installments.

Plus I'm tired. I'll be back to do it over later. :)

~Anon.
The title has something to do with a certain plot twist later on. I sort of wrote the ending first, then the whole thing in my head. Now I'm just putting it down on paper.
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Old 10-13-2008, 01:07 AM
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Default Re: Fade

Code:
"Toothbrush, toothbrush, toothbrush..." I murmured to myself
That or the thing about the chemistry teacher is the best part.

I understand the novel probably more than anyone else, and it's incredibly well-described and well written. Keep up the good work.
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Old 10-22-2008, 09:05 PM
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Default Re: Fade

September 29, 2009
4:05 PM


When I arrived in my room I found that my computer had already been turned on, evident by the white light emanating from the power button. An odd occurrence, to be sure, but my mom had used the computer for various things (albeit rarely) in the past, and she probably just forgot to shut it down.

I walked over to the ancient machine, which sat atop my bland brown mock-wood desk, and sat down. It wasn't until I turned on the monitor that I realized that my window was open, and I got up to shut it while the box warmed up.

Looking out the window, I realized just how nice it was nice outside. Very cool, but not cold, and just looking out over the street to the park across the street made me a little more at ease. It was autumn, and the leaves just began to turn their proper fall colors. It added a warm feeling to the increasingly cool atmosphere that held it's balance over Minnesota. For a moment I forgot about my agendas and my worries, and just let the colors and textures take me in. It wasn't often that I felt so... free, so at ease with the world. There always seemed to be something going on that needed attention, but occasionally one could just let the emptiness and the anxiety fly away, and it did just that. I felt the emotion flee from my body, spreading itself across the vast ocean of emptiness that the world held. And, though I knew that the emptiness was there, I didn't feel it at all. It was like being able to see for your entire life, but forced to watch only suffering, and then having your eyes disabled, for once not seeing it. Though you knew it was there, and you knew that what you saw was not the truth, you could take comfort in the fact that at least for right now, you did not see it.

Sometimes the comfortable lie is better than the inconvenient truth, and in this case, that was exactly the situation.

I breathed in the crisp smell of fall one last time before shutting my window and turning back to my dreary computer to do my studying.

The monitor had started up and was displaying an internet page that (or so I guessed) my mom was looking at. It was the world news page, something she often paid attention to, and I was about to close it when I decided that it would be a good idea to check up on the weather for tonight and see if I could have my window open while I slept. Of course, I new I had a very different in keeping the web page open; The issues in Arizona.
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Old 10-22-2008, 09:44 PM
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Default Re: Fade

September 29, 2009
4:07 PM


The web-page came up much sooner than I expected, usually taking about a minute to load, this time only ten seconds or so, and I sat down quickly just in case it wouldn't last too long. Immediately I opened the "Economic Crisis Hits Home Hard!" section, and when the page of links came up, I nearly dropped my jaw to the floor.

There were probably forty new articles, since just this morning, all about this same subject. I blinked several times before regaining my composure, and then forced myself to read the headlines.

Many of them turned out to be e-mail responses (about 15) to the turmoil, some of them were phone calls from people talking about it (maybe 8?) and the other twenty or so were genuine. It amazed me that this could have exploded so rapidly into something that the entire country, nay, nearly the entire world was reporting on, but it was happening.

I clicked the first link that made sense, one titled, "Arizona Turmoil Spreads shaking prices across nation."

It was an article about increased demand for food and water as more and more of the population became paranoid that this crisis could hit them too. Apparently, thousands and thousands of people were flocking to grocery stores to horde food and supplies just in case, and as a result, prices skyrocketed beyond anyone's possible predictions. Then, something I saw sent a shock down my spine, straightening me up and back down again as if I was twitching.

AVERAGE PRICE IN U.S. FOR COMMON CONSUMER GOODS

Milk (Gallon) - $7.43
Bottled Water (Gallon) - $5.55
Canned Soup (284 mL) - $3.35
White Bread (675 g) - $6.65


The list went on and on and on, from ketchup to baby food, prices had jumped by nearly 100%, and in some cases more, in the last eight hours. It was unheard-of. Hell, it was impossible.

"Im... Impossible!" I whispered to myself, my voice a little harsh. "That's... that's just not possible!" My mind raced faster than I ever thought possible, but it felt like it was moving in molasses. With more force than I had ever experienced, but slower than it normally ran. It was annoying, but my mind was going so slowly and using so much power that I didn't seem to be able to fully recognize that fact. Of course, my brain was just beginning to fill up with the sticky sweet goo.

A link to the next article was on the bottom of the list, and I clicked it without thinking. It was another article about price hikes and demand for food. This one, however, held a more serious and more violent tone.

"Price Increases Cause More Riots - More Support for STEAM"

In the last several hours, grocery stores have gone to the dogs, or, at least, that's what it seems like. This picture from New York City shows thousands of people crammed into a local Cub Foods, the most popular food chain in that area, grabbing anything and everything they can get their hands on.


The picture showed probably three hundred people filling the main entrance to the store, many of them smashed against doors and walls in the chaos. Many people just walked out without paying, their pockets and purses filled to the brink with food. One man who had paid for his food was shown being mauled and robbed, all the food he had purchased being taken and scattered across the floor.

Another woman lay on the ground. I couldn't tell if she had just fallen over, or if she was...

I let go of the thought, but it didn't matter. A thousand more entered my head when I scrolled down to see the next picture, this one outside of the White House. Thousands upon thousands of people were outside of the front gates, seen yelling and screaming, holding signs and trying to break a barricade that had been set up to keep rioters out. In the distance I was able to make out several fires burning, some of them people who had been lit by rioters, some of them cars or buildings.

A large force of national guard, marines and heavy weapons units stood behind the large concrete barricade, guns ready just in case. I prayed that it would not come to that, but I knew in my heart that it would. It would because people were stupid. People like STEAM. People like those rioters.

They were like a school of fish. One of them reacts to a non-existent threat and pretty soon the entire group is overtaken by mob psychology and on a mission to kill the president. My guess was that half of them didn't even know what was going on, much less how to stop it, or themselves. It was heart-wrenching to see so many people suffering, dying, and nothing being done about it but riots and "STEAM". And I knew, and maybe it was just my anxiety, but I felt like I knew, that it was only a matter of time before the crisis hit home. Here. Minneapolis.
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Old 10-27-2008, 09:47 PM
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Default Re: Fade [UPDATED 10/27]

September 29, 2009
4:11 PM


After going through the rest of the articles, I was dumbfounded. Though the crisis was only two particular cities, it felt like the scars it would leave on the country, nay, the world, would only heal with infinite effort and time, if at all.

I took a deep breath and pushed the keyboard back, as if finished with a meal and pushing my plate away. I had hoped that it would relieve a bit of the overbearing tension in my mind, but it didn't. I took another deep breath, but the stress continued to pulsate throughout my body, and I could feel every inch of it as it moved from one spot to the next, like a mob.

"A mob..." I said. Mobs seemed to be becoming quite the motif in my life lately, and it was discouraging. Mobs were discouraging, the economy was discouraging, STEAM was discouraging. People were discouraging. Of course, at least I did have some people that agreed with me, if only a few. My mother, though she didn't show it, felt the same way I did, I could tell by the way she moved and talked nowadays. She used to be so lively, full of joy and light. Now she lacked even expression as she moved from one place to another, as if she had a paucity of meaning. Only living to not disappoint other people. I couldn't take it, and most of the time I ignored it, but sometimes... sometimes it was so hard. It was so difficult to know that she and I were living a lie, that we were not who we showed ourselves to be, but what could we do? If we expressed ourselves to others, they would simply shun us as depressed, whether they agreed or not. They all lie, as everyone does, and it amounts to nothing. Or, it should. If everyone told the truth, the truth would be easier to tell, and my mother agreed.

"Mother..." I snapped back into reality for a moment and then looked at the clock. It was 4:11, a solid eleven minutes after my mom said she would be home, and she was always on time. The one time she wasn't it was because someone rear-ended her Ford Pinto and sent her to the hospital. "****...!" I got up and ran to the phone as fast as I could, knocking a few things off my desk on the way. The second I got there I yanked it off the charger, nearly breaking the damn thing, and dialed the number.

"Come on, come on!" I whispered frantically to myself, hoping that she would either pick up the phone or walk in the door.

Three rings.

Four.

Five.

"Hello." I heard her voice say into the phone, and if I hadn't called so many times I would have answered, but I knew where this one was going. "You've reached---" I hung up on the message and then fell back onto the couch, again hoping that some of my stress would be relieved, and again being disappointed. I needed a distraction, and there was none better than television. I grabbed the remote from the desk beside me and turned it on. The channel it was on was the news, and even I wasn't stupid enough to watch it while stressed.

I took the T.V. guide and opened to today's programs. There was nothing particularly good with the exception of a program on STEAM, but again, I wasn't that stupid. I was about the just change the channel and surf around when the headline froze me in place.

"Groceries across the city being mauled, two dead, many more injured."

"No..." I became frantic, and turned up the volume far passed comfortable in my haste, eager to hear more.

"Cub, Rainbow, Kowalski's. You name it, it's expensive, and it is because of these expensive prices that many groceries are now closing and only accepting pre-ordered shipments of food over the phone. Already today, several stores have been robbed by angry citizens who would apparently do anything to get their hands on food. Two people have been killed, and many more are in the hospital with life-threatening injuries from the mobs. Names have not been released but calls should be expected by any family members of people who were put in the hospital by these events."

At that very moment the phone rang, and I jumped up. "No, no, no..." My voice trailed off as I inched towards the phone. It was highly unlikely that the call could have come right then, but when you have overactive anxiety, anything seems possible.

I reached out towards it and held it up. The number was not one I recognized, and that made me even more tense. I took a deep breath (not that it helped) and answered. "Hello?"

"Hello, is this Shaun?" A female voice asked, and I could tell she was worried. I panicked, and stuttered when I answered back.

"Y-yea, that's me."

"I'm sorry to be the one to tell you this, but your mother--"

"No!" I cut her off, angry and scared. "That's impossible!"

"I'm sorry..." She answered, and I could tell she was as torn up about being the one to inform me as I was to be the one getting informed. "She... she suffered major cardiac and cranial injuries as a result of mobs and violence at local groceries. We are required to notify you and to provide you any assistance you may need in visiting---"

The phone was away from my ear at this point, and my mouth hung open. This just wasn't possible. It just wasn't. My mother. My only guardian. I held the tears back to the best of my ability, but a few escaped me and slid down my cheeks. It felt like I could hear them as they did, and again when the hit the floor. I felt like I could hear the build-up of more under my eyes, and that I could truly feel them escaping my will. I let the phone slide down away from my ear and hung it up, dropping it to the floor. I had to go. I had to get to the hospital. She would be okay. She would definitely be okay. At least, that's what I told myself over and over again, but if I was to be honest with myself I was not sure. Not at all...

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Old 11-03-2008, 01:38 AM
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Default Re: Fade [UPDATED 10/27]

September 29, 2009
4:56 PM


The clock told me that it had taken me twelve minutes to get to the hospital, but I would have sworn that it was at least twice that. Time seemed to stand still, and I felt like with each passing moment I could hear her breaths shortening and her chest rising faster. With each passing moment the moments passed got longer, seeming to endlessly trudge on without mercy to my nerves. I couldn't take it, but I didn't have a choice. I pushed through the front doors to the hospital, forgetting to lock the car doors on the way in, and hurried to the front desk.

"Carter. What room is she in?" I breathed out.

"Carter..." She typed the name into the computer quickly, noticing my haste, and looked back at me. "Room 411" She said forgivingly, and pointed me in the right direction. "Take elevator three to the fourth floor, and then it's directly on your right."

"Thank you." I panted, and I was off running.

The elevator wasn't far from where I came in, only a ten second sprint, and I smashed the button a bit too hard. It lit up, and I could hear the elevator coming down. Floor 5... Floor 4... Floor 3...

"Hurry up, dammit!" I yelled at the display. It seemed to take forever to arrive, and when it finally did I bolted in, hitting the fourth floor button and pushing the "Close door" button, which kept a dark haired girl from getting my way. She looked angry, but I didn't care. The elevator was going too slowly anyway, much less if we had to stop for anyone else.

The ding that indicated that I had arrived on the fourth floor startled me, even though I should have been waiting for it. The doors opened and I nearly tripped on my way out, almost landing on top of that same girl whom I had shut off earlier.

"I'm really sorry!" I yelled back as I dated towards room 411, "In a hurry!"

She said something back, but I couldn't tell what it was. It sounded forgiving, so I took it as a good sign and bolted into the room.

It took me a moment, but then I saw her. In a corner bed, tubes attached to various body parts. Her left leg was in a cast and a sling, and her head was bandaged. There was also something on her chest, but I didn't have time to figure out what it was.

"Mom..." I barely spoke as I walked up to her, moving very gently. "Mom..." I whispered and knelt beside her. Her eyes were closed, and I gently placed my hand on hers. She moved slightly and I pulled away. I thought I saw her shake her head, and so I placed it back on.

"Shaun...?" She asked, "Is that you dear?" Her voice was weak, like that of an old woman laying on her death bed. My eyes filled with tears, and I tried to speak but nothing came out. She looked to terrible. Her chest rose and fell and with each passing, another tear was added to the collection under my eyes.

"Y..." I tried again to speak, but the tears held me in place. Seeing her like this made my entire support system fall apart. I felt like an airplane without air to move through. I would try to fly, but the lack of air held me in place no matter how hard I tried.

"Shaun..." She said again, this time it wasn't a question. "Shaun, I'm okay honey." She tried to comfort me. "It's all okay." Her voice got weaker with each word she said, and my eyes were beginning to overflow onto the white sheets that covered her. I looked down, and hid my face.

"Mom... please don't..." I managed to whisper. "Please don't leave me..."

"Shaun... I'm okay, it's all okay." She tried to smile, but I could see the pain she felt when she did. "I'm going to be fine." I could tell she was lying. I knew she was lying. Somehow I knew it, and I felt crippled, like a diabetic without insulin. I knew that I would need the insulin eventually, and I just awaited the inevitable. And I knew she did too.

"I love you, mom. Don't do this... please don't do this..." I pleaded with her. I knew it wasn't her choice, but I prayed so hard that it was. "Don't d--- don't leave me!" I was crying now, sobbing even. I couldn't take it. Here laid the woman that poured her heart and soul into raising me, in her deathbed, and we both knew it would come. Like a train without breaks... It would come. We couldn't plead for it to wait, we couldn't stop it. We had a set amount of time and that was it.

"I love you, Shaun. You are--" She coughed slightly, "You are everything to me. Please... please don't waste your life." And that line did it. I fell back onto the floor, my eyes overflowing with tears now. She acknowledged it. She acknowledged her coming death.

"Mom! Stop! Please!" I pleaded over and over again, but I knew it was no use.

"I love you." I could tell she was weaker now. I could tell she was slipping. I could see it in her eyes. She was leaving.

"Stop!" I yelled, tears running down my cheeks, "Mom, enough! Stop it! Don't do this! Mom stop! Stop, stop stop! No! Please mom! Don't leave me!"

"Don't..." She whispered, and her eyes closed, "Don't waste your life Shaun. Be something. Be more than something. Be someone. I... I love you so much, and I am so proud of you."

"No..." I knew it, this was it. The final goodbye was now, the final goodbye was this moment in my life. I threw myself into her arms, embracing her with all my might. "I love you so much!" I yelled, louder now, and I could feel her life slipping away from me as I said it. I could feel her mind falling into darkness as I held her there. And then it stopped...

All I heard was the loud beeping of the heart monitor, indicating that she was gone. I held my ear to her chest, praying that something had gone wrong, but it hadn't. Her heart stood still. There was no more life in this body. No more love. No more hugs, kisses, stories, laughs, tears, sadness, joy, anger or warmth. Just cold.

I sat there as the nurses and doctors rush into the room and stopped, looking me for a moment, seeing my tears. They tried to comfort me, to come towards me, but their voices were drowned out by that beeping. The beeping of her dead heart. Her brain had nothing in it. Her heart did not move. She was gone.
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Old 11-03-2008, 01:39 AM
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Default Re: Fade [UPDATED 10/27]

Probably no updates for a while. I've decided to do character bios and descriptions to help me write more quickly and accurately.
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Old 11-07-2008, 01:18 AM
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Default Re: Fade [UPDATED 10/27]

October 4, 2009
12:35 PM

The few days following her passing could not have been described as hell. There was not enough time for them to be hell. There didn't seem to be much time for anything. It was all a blur. I sat alone, in an empty room for hours on end, not knowing where I was, nor caring to. Then, I would move to another place, then another. Before her death, I believed that the worst pain one could feel was that of extreme emotional sadness. It was these few days that showed me how wrong I was.

It took three doctors and a nurse to remove me from my mother's corpse, at least, as far as I was told. The entire scene was a blur. Like moving through a house of mirrors that's covered in fog and illuminated only by a strobe light. I was in chaos, but again, I didn't care. What came next I could remember only through piecing together what little memory I had, and descriptions from third-parties to me.

I remembered being in the hospital parking lot with an unfamiliar woman. We walked towards a car, and then I blanked out. Next, I recalled sitting in an empty room, probably a shrink's office. We talked about things that I wasn't able to remember, and then we spoke of my mother's funeral. This is where I blanked out again, feeling only emptiness, which, surprisingly, trumped sadness in terms of sheer discomfort.

That was where I was now. In my aunt's (who I hadn't ever really known) car, headed for the funeral procession. I had prepared a speech (though I likely had little to do with the actual writing) that I was to read, and then I would be off to see my mother placed in the ground, never to return.

When we pulled up to the church, where for some reason it was being held (neither me nor my mother were religious) I removed myself from the car and proceeded to the opening of the church, where a pastor was waiting. I recognized him as my mom's good friend Jacob Brown, and he stood there open arms and a slightly comforting smile. At least, one that should have been comforting. He embraced me when I arrived, and I couldn't help but return the favor. It almost felt nice, but whatever nicety that could have existed in the action was destroyed by the sadness of the situation. I thanked him quietly, and walked in to the large chapel to give my speech.

When I walked up to the podium and set the paper down, the entire house fell silent. The reddish tone to the whole room was supposed to be calming, but I found it boring more than anything. The pews were wood colored, and the floor was red carpet. I recognized but three people; The pastor, my Uncle Nick, and my Aunt Rachel, all of whom sat next to each other. Everyone else was either a friend of my mom's, or someone from the church. I cleared my throat, and began to read what was written directly on the page.

"My mother was the kind of person who always cared for people." I read robotically, not thinking about the words I spat out, "She cared for me, she cared for all of you, and most of all, she cared for... god?" I made the last word a question out of sheer disbelief, and I was immediately awaken from my dream-like trance. "What kind of bull-**** is this?"

The reaction from the people sitting shocked me a bit. There were a few hushed whispers, and then they all looked back up at me, shocked at my statement.

"Who wrote this damned thing?" I nearly yelled, angry. "Who!?" I pushed. "Because you want to know what? Whoever did is an ass, and clearly did not know my mother." I took a deep breath, ripping the paper to shreds and throwing it on the floor. "I knew my mother. I knew her true self, not the one you all claim to know." I glared at each person individually, until I reached Pastor Jacob. "The only one here who had any idea who my mother was is Jacob Brown." I pointed towards him, "And even he only scratched the surface of my mother's personality."

"My mother..." I paused, trying to think of the right words. "Was a caring person. At least you got that much right. She cared for me more than even I knew. She hid from me every negative thing that went on. Or, at least, she tried to."

I could feel a few tears building up in my eyes, and I didn't bother choking them back.

"Do you know what it felt like to watch her die...? Right before my eyes?" My pain showed through to my face, and no matter how hard I tried to keep it back, it managed to get through. "Nothing can be done" I quoted the doctors and nurses who had told me that phrase hundreds of times. "I gave in, I accepted, I believed. I allowed it to be true. I thought I'd be able to manage without ever doubting those words that I was told but I... It hurts so much..."

I could hear various people beginning to cry, but I didn't have the generosity to spare their nerves. I looked at the various people in the rows and rows in front of me, and I saw one lone person smiling.

"Why are you smiling?" I looked directly at him, "What is there to be smiling about?" I interrogated him. "You smile, and the one person who should be here smiling with us isn't!!" I was nearly weeping now, "My mother is not here!" I yelled at him, "She's dead, and you're smiling?" I nearly jumped off of the podium and cracked his skull, but I held back.

"We tried our best, Shaun!" I heard one of the doctors yell from a pew in the back. He was angry, I could tell. I was angry too.

"'We tried our best...'" I repeated robotically, "Always 'We tried out best'. Those are out magic words, we repeat them to ourselves again and again, but you know... The magic never worked. The only thing I'm left with... is regret."

"Shaun, we're sorry." He said again, this time less angry, and more saddened.

"No..." I said quietly, "I don't want this anymore." I looked up and into each person's eyes, all at once, "I don't want friends to die, or family to fade away. I don't want battles where I have to lose in order to win. Doctor, I know what you say is what you mean but... is it really? Did you really do your best? Think about that tonight when you go to bed." I said accusingly, and I pushed the microphone away and walked off stage, slamming the door as I went out.

I don't know where I plan to go, but anywhere was better than where I was. I thought about going home, but that's the first place they would look when they realized I didn't plan on coming back. Instead, I decided to make my way straight south, wherever that took me.
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