Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wednesday Writings #9 - Coming Home

Today's "Wednesday Writing" is a continuation of a story started back with Morning Machinations, and then continued in Communication Between FriendsDaydreaming Decisions, Off to the Park and most recently in Driven.

And definitely if you have thoughts, comments, or feedback, feel free to throw it my way.  I'm not sure if I'll completely finish this story on the blog or not.  It's fun doing a sort of serialization effort here but I don't know if that's really what I wanted to do with my "Wednesday Writings."  The original plan was that they'd be more "flash fiction" style exercises to help break writer's block and keep me fresh and ready to continue working on my larger works in progress that I've been heinously neglecting.

Still, I'm having some fun with these characters and the story.  Hopefully you are too.


Coming Home?

After struggling to turn the car around and then slowly working her way down the canyon, Gabby finally turned the corner to see the roads winding back down to the city. In the distance, the sun was barely visible on the horizon, bleeding out brilliant pink, orange and red as it drifted away.

During her drive down the canyon, she'd argued with herself over everything that had happened over the past 24 hours and especially over the events of the past few hours. She replayed the events in her mind, trying to make sense of them.

Less than twenty four hours ago she had met a good looking guy who had seemed genuinely interested in her. Even though she really couldn't remember her meeting with him, she felt like there was a connection there and based on what Julie had said, Gabby had kissed the mystery man after a late night bite at the diner. Then the next morning, a cryptic note arrived with $100 and instructions to meet at the park.

With more curiosity than fear, she'd arrived at the park to be given another note with another hundred dollar bill, a book, some keys and more instructions. Amazingly, the keys gave her the choice of a few cars and led to her driving this beautiful new BMW. All that seemed to be required was for her to deliver a book to a house and then return home. And that's when the police showed up.

The police!

She suddenly remembered leaving Julie behind to follow after Evan, the mystery man on the motorcycle. She hoped everything was alright with Julie. Gabby glanced at the clock. It had been nearly an hour since she'd last seen her friend. She flipped open her cell and called. It went straight to voicemail.

"Julie, this is Gabby. Call me as soon as you get this. I'm sorry for running off on you like that. Call me and let me know you're okay."

She hung up and continued driving down the mountainside. The color on the horizon was nearly gone now and lights were starting to glow all over the city. Gabby turned onto the highway and headed back to her apartment. She was confused and tired and really just wanted to go home and get some sleep. But first, she needed to talk to Julie and to find out what was in the backpack Evan had left for her. As she drove, she called Julie two more times from the road and sent a quick text as well.

In another ten minutes, she was home. Turning the key in the lock, a shiver ran up Gabby's spine and she worried that someone might be waiting for her. Someone had already proven they could get into her apartment. During the day, she hadn't thought much about it. But now, standing on her dimly lit porch on the third floor, she felt more than a little scared.

She flung open the door and jumped backwards onto the landing, as though expecting some mystery assailant to charge her immediately. Breathing heavily, she reached inside and turned on the light. The entryway was empty. She grabbed an umbrella from near the door and gripped it firmly like a baseball bat.. Slowly and methodically, Gabby slunk from room to room. Each time she found a room empty, she was both relieved and fearful that someone was waiting around the next corner. Finally she decided the place was empty and she fell with a sigh onto her couch.

She sent another quick text to Julie and then pulled open the backpack. At the top was another plain envelope with her name written on it. This time, instead of the large block print, the writing was uneven and looked hurried. Before looking at the rest of the contents, she opened the envelope, removed a letter and began to read.

Dearest Gabrielle,
I am certain by now that you are confused, frightened and perhaps a bit frustrated with everything you have been put through. I truly wish I could enlighten you and help you catch the vision of what is going on around you. But alas, it cannot be so. At least not for now. 
What I hope to do for you my sweet, is to allay some of your fears and give you the conviction and resolve to persevere amid the confusion and chaos your life is about to become. Unfortunately, I am certain that my method of trying to boost your confidence in the situation will prove to be even more perplexing and to bring more questions to your mind.
Sadly, I only have two courses of action open to me. The first would be to avoid all contact with you and to let you muddle through this without any sense of hope. The second, and the path I choose now to follow, is to bend the rules as much as I dare and to draw you into my confidence. 
The rules I follow do not allow me to directly communicate anything to you that will reveal my purpose or your purpose. I will interpret this as meaning I can reveal nothing to you by either speech or writing. Instead, I will allow you to infer what you can from the few articles I have now placed in your path. I fear I cannot discuss them nor explain or respond to anything you will find.
But I will end by saying this to you:
I WILL keep you safe from harm.
I will ensure your success.
And when this is all over,
I WILL be there for you.
Yours yesterday, tomorrow and forever,


Gabby finished reading the letter and set it aside. She was more confused than before and, if the letter was any indication, she was about to become even more muddled. The backpack contained two large binders filled with plastic page inserts. She pulled them out, set one aside and flipped open the cover of the other. She gasped aloud as she stared at the first page of a detailed photo scrapbook.

Surrounded by stickers and hand drawn images of flowers, cherubs, hearts and fireworks was a 5 by 7 photo of a bride and a groom standing side by side, holding each other's hand and smiling brightly at the camera. Above the picture, written in Gabby's own fanciest handwriting was the title "When Two Become One: The Story of Evan and Gabrielle"

She had no idea how long she stared at her own wedding picture, but Gabby was finally shaken back to the present by the sound of her phone ringing in her pocket. Still unable to take her eyes off the picture, she answered the phone. It took her a few seconds to realize that Julie was shouting at her.

"…believe you actually left me there to be arrested. Do you have any idea what I've been through? Have you ever been arrested Gabby? Do you know what it's like to be dragged into a police station? I told you this was a bad idea. I told you we should go to the cops in the first place. But no. 'No problem' you said. 'What could it hurt' you said. I'll tell you what"

"Julie. Julie!" Gabby had to shout to interrupt her friend. "Julie. I know you probably hate me right now. I know I have no right to ask anything of you. But, can you come over? I really need to talk. And there's something you need to see."

Gabby could practically hear Julie fuming on the other end of the phone.

"Are you serious? Really? After leaving me stranded to be arrested you have the gall to ask me to come hang out with you and console you? I'm the one who's just been traumatized. I'm the one needing somebody to come help me out."

"Julie. I really just need you to come over here tonight. Please. I need your help."

Gabby listened to the silence and, when Julie didn't respond, she set her phone down and hung up. Then, she started turning through pages of the scrapbook and looking over her own wedding. A wedding she was sure had never happened.  Or at least, she thought she was sure.


Brian Miller said...

snap. this is really good...i am enjoying all the twist and turns...

Phoenix said...

Wow... a wedding picture? From the future, maybe? I'm so intrigued/addicted to this story...