(The winner of today's "too young to write this well" award goes to December who offers the next installment in our little project)
As yet untitled
This is not the first time the subway car she was in stopped for no reason. Allison looked up from her book as she sensed the car slowing down to see what station they were approaching. Peeking out the window, she only saw concrete and brick; they stopped between stations. Allison shrugged and her eyes droped and quickly scaned the page to find where she stopped reading. This was the third time she'd read "Treasure Island". She was ten when her uncle gave her this ratty and worn copy. She tore through it then and read it again, as an adult, last year and loved it more. Missing high adventure in her own life at the moment, Allison grabbed it off her shelf on her way out the door this morning. As soon as she found her seat and started reading, the noise of the morning commuters faded and she could hear the waves hitting the side of the pirate ship.[hofzinser]
The movement of the train had helped Allison dissapear into the pages of her book and she was finding it more difficult to surround herself with the high seas when the train was stubbornly refusing to continue forward. As the minutes crept by, the words on the page went from fuzzy to completely jumbled. Allison sighed and placed the book back in her bag. Her other senses began to extend, and within a few moments she was roaming around the train from her seat. She could smell the coffee from the casually dresssed man across the aisle. She could hear the video game and sighs of consternation from a child obscured by a fat man with his poodle, leashed, but riding in the man's arms between sweaty folds of skin. She leaned forward an looked to the end of the car. A sullen looking man was staring at the floor. He turned his head toward Allison and his eyes darted to meet hers, and then raced away to a spot above her head. [anonymous coworker]
A sudden jolt went through Allison as their eyes met, and it wasn't just the jolt of the train starting up again. In that second she realized she knew this stranger. Her memory toyed with her, taking her back through her past in order to find the identity of this man. Instinctively she knew that the identity wasn’t something she was going to like. She closed her eyes and watched face after face rush by…her high school math teacher? No…He was older than she was, he couldn’t possibly be a classmate. Then her brain suddenly released his identity, and her heart twisted in her chest. Her throat already straggled and frayed, she called out, “Dad?” [paige]
He didn't hear her. Allison studied him a bit more, decided this was bigger than her and tried again. "Dad?" "Steven?"
The use of his first name garnered a reaction. His head shot up and his eyes roamed her face placing her this time. He gave her a small smile that never reached his eyes pushed himself off the seat and over to her.
"Allison," he sat down heavily next to her, "how are you?"
She struggled to keep the glare down, that incredulous stony glare she inherited from her mother she knew he hated.
"Fine, fine, busy and you?" Jesus, making small talk with her dad on the subway. Will wonders never cease?
"Good. Great," he said sounding nowhere near good or great.
"Lori is pregnant," he added.
At the mention of his new wife, Allison bristled. Then reminded herself that Lori wasn't so new just a painful reminder. It had been close to sixteen years since he walked off the home plantation and into the wild. He not-so-blissfully wedded Lori five years ago. The marriage was irrelevant. Allison hadn't spoken to her father in almost a decade when the merry marry occurred.
The train moved past the blockage as they sat in silence. The train rumbled through tunnels and past stops. And still they both rode in silence.
Suddenly Steven said, "Allison? There's something you should know."[A*]
‘There’s something you should know?’ what was he doing, trying to make this unbelievably awkward moment into a Hollywood movie? Allison thought sourly.
“What Steven? What lie are you going to tell me this time? Are you going to tell me that your leaving was never my fault, that you and Mom just couldn’t work together? Are you going to tell me that you think of me and Mom everyday? Or, perhaps you were going to tell me that you wished you could have been involved in my childhood more?” Allison spat out fiercely.
“No, I wasn’t going to, I...you have to understand,” stammered Steve.
“Oh, I get it, you were going to tell me the truth this time. Which one? How about, when Mom told you the secret she had kept inside of her since she was a little girl, you didn’t comfort her, you walked out of the house and got drunk, like every other night? Or, maybe you were going to tell me that I wasn’t really your child, that mom was raped by one of your buddies, while
you stood there and watched? No, no, I’m sure that you were going to tell me that.....”the girl spewed.
“ALLISON!” Steve loudly interrupted.
He hung his head, knowing there was no sense in prolonging her suffering. He moved his hand to her knee and spoke. His words would echo in her soul for the rest of her days. "Your sister, Jane... is alive." [leah] and [McG]
Allison had been reaching her hand out to remove Steve's unwelcome hand from her knee when her arm froze in midair. As if the freeze was emanating from Steve's own hand, Allison felt a chill run down to her toes, through her shoe, and into the floor of the chain. She felt
like she was sitting in ice water.
"Could it be true? Could Jane still be alive?"
Allison was suddenly flooded with memories as she thought of her sister's name for the first time in years. Allison had thought she had lost her sister when she was young, but that was more than enought time to have developed wispy memories of stuffed animal parties, treehouses, peanut butter and marshmallow sandwiches, and the warm
embrace of a infrequently loving family.
The thought of her family shocked Allison back into the present.
"Get your fucking hand off of me!" Allison screamed. People in the train began to look at them.
"You show up out of nowhere after I haven't seen you in who knows how many years and drop this all on me about Lori being pregnant and Jane being alive as if we've had a relatively normal life up until this point?"
Steve made an attempt to speak but was quickly bulldozed by Allsion. Train passengers were moving to the other side of the car.
"All I wanted to do was read a book on the way to work," Allison said with a sway as the train slowed into the next station, "and now I don't even know my own life anymore!"
Steve opened his mouth to speak but Allison glowered at him. Her eyes refelcted years of pain, suffering, and revenge. He closed his mouth, opened it once more, and closed it again. Then he put his face in his hands and sighed. When he looked up again Allison was gone. He quickly jerked his head around the car and saw the back of her head as it wove through the crowd on the platform. The doors to the subway car closed before Steve had a chance to go after her.
Allison found the steps out of the subway and collapsed on the in an emotional heap. Her eyes were puffy with tears and rage, but her mind was full of questions.
If Jane survived the accident, why didn't anyone tell her? Why were there so many lies?[anonymous coworker]
She joined the queue headed up the stairs with the rest of the corporate cattle headed to the slaughterhouses, branded with Price Waterhouse Cooper and Merrill Lynch instead of "Lzy K" or "Lucky B,".
As the train rattled away it drew up in its wake a sea of empty potato chip bags, candy bar wrappers, a New York Times crossword puzzle where someone decided that "22 Across: Marx" was "Zepo" instead of "Karl" which forced "14 down: Movie monster" to be "Godzilpa." [MooCow]
When she finally reached the street level she was yanked out of line by a desperate hand.
"Did you talk to him yet?"
Allison froze and could not answer the question. She peered into her own eyes, she looked at her own face. She could not find the air to form an answer to the twin she thought long dead.
Jane gripped Allison and gave her a firm shake.
"Did he find you yet? Did Dad talk to you? God Damnit! Answer me!"
Allison manged to squeak out a barely audible "yes".
"Fuck!", Jane bolted west on 54th with her sister in tow.
"It might already be too late"
Allison, by the time they crossed 8th, screeched the Jane train to a halt by digging her heels into the sidewalk.
"We don't have much time, Allison!" yelped Jane [hofzinser]
"I am not going anywhere untill you tell me what the hell is going
"I don't have time Allison, please, please, I just need you to come
with me, you have to trust me"
Jane grabbed Allison's hand to pull her along. After dozens of blocks they finally stopped in front of the Empire State building. Allison saw her father race inside.
"Jane, where is he going? Why are we following him?"
"The last thing that he had to do was tell you that I was still alive. The circle is now complete, he has nothing more to live for."
Allison stared at Jane. "Don't you get it? He is going to end his life! He is going to end as many people's lives with him as he can. He has a god damn bomb Allison!"
Allison maintained her blank stare. "So what are we going to do about it?"
"Well we sure aren't going to stand here! Let's go."
As Jane was running towards the building, she began to pull papers out of her pockets. She also pulled a gold pocket watch out.
"Jane, what is all that stuff for?"
"You'll find out, please, just hurry up."
Once inside the building they saw their father standing in the middle of the lobby floor. A crowd of tourists were face down around his feet. He had his jacket off, exposing a bomb the size of a coffee cup straped to his chest.
The red, glowing lights read 1:23....1:22...1:21. [december]
the subject line [Story 01 Paragraph 10]
I am amazed at the quality of writing I see on the blogs of the people who frequent here. I want us to create a story.... together.
Here is how it will work (read carefully). Below is the on-going story. I wrote the first paragraph and expect YOU to write the next one. Read the story as it stands then email me the next paragraph (click on my picture/slide above to get my email address). I will sift among the submissions and, like an editor, pick one and add it to our story. We then start the process over again and I will ask for submissions for the next paragraph. Do NOT put your entries in the comments section, I will only consider entries sent via email. Please use the subject line I post so I can keep this organized. If I pick one of your submissions BUT you do not want credit (you want to remain anonymous) please note that in your submission.