Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wednesday Writings # 33 - Motivation

Welcome to my weekly "Wednesday Writing" post. These weekly exercises serve as motivation to ensure that I spend at least 30-60 minutes each week doing some creative writing. In the ideal week, I will write every day. But at the very least, I will do at least one writing segment which I will share here on my blog.

I intended the "wednesday writings" to be individual exercises or stories but since April, I have been continuing the same story thread and doing some general free writing using the same characters and continuing the plot. There are some definite continuity issues in the overall course of the story, but I have slowly come upon a cohesive plot (which will require significant editing of earlier editions to make them valid). You can find the entire story by clicking through the following chronological links:
  1. Morning Machinations
  2. Communication Between Friends
  3. Daydreaming Decisions
  4. Off to the Park
  5. Driven
  6. Coming Home
  7. Revealing Photographs
  8. Just a Dream?
  9. At the Tower
  10. Caught
  11. Revelations
  12. Lunchtime
  13. The Watch
  14. Visions
  15. Escape
  16. Evan (part 1)
  17. Evan (part 2)
  18. Evan (part 3)
  19. Formulating a Plan
  20. Testing the Boxes
  21. Betrayal
  22. Julie
  23. Out of Time
  24. A Problem of Paradoxes
  25. Taking Charge
  26. The Chase Begins
  27. Friends Reunited
  28. Freedom?
  29. Unraveling the Plot

Not sure what I think of this yet. We shall see.



Dalton casually sipped his drink through sinister smiling lips. Everyone else stared at Gabby. Gabby shuddered involuntarily as chills swept over her skin and her heart fell into her feet. She wanted to speak. To scream. But she felt like her mouth was filled with cotton. Her throat tightened and her head grew thick and heavy. She heard someone speak but the voice sounded distant and everything around her looked like it was in a cloud.

A hand touched her softly on the shoulder and shook her from the daze. She was suddenly aware of Julie standing beside Dalton's chair shouting violently at him and flailing her arms wildly trying to reach him. Carlisle struggled to hold her back, his eyes looking pleadingly at Evan for assistance. Dalton just stared on with sadistic laughter mirrored in his eyes.

Gabby looked over at Evan. His hand squeezed her shoulder and then he pulled her to him and hugged her tight. The noise around her vanished again. She buried her face in his shoulder and blocked out the world. With his strong arms around her, she felt comfortable. Safe. Secure. Then the sounds of Julie's outburst broke through her concentration again and the horror of the situation brought her spinning back to the present. She pulled back from Evan and turned towards the others.

"Stop it. STOP IT!"

She had to scream to get Julie's attention. Julie stopped shouting and pulling against Carlisle's grip. She glared at Carlisle without speaking. He held her still for a moment more but when she patted his arms and nodded her head, he let her go. She stood still for a second then made a quick jump at Dalton and punched him as hard as she could. His glass went flying across the room and shattered against the baseboard. Carlisle raced to grab Julie again but she shoved him off and walked back around to Gabby.

Dalton regained his composure quickly but lightly rubbed the side of his face, patting gently the area just below his left eye. Gabby just stared at him, unsure what to say. She wasn't even sure if she could talk to him. To the man who just admited to killing her mother. To the man who, sometime in the future, would kill her. She shuddered again and turned away. Evan wrapped his arms around her and spoke the words she couldn't bring herself to say.

"Alright. So you've proven to us that you're homicidal. Psycopathic. Why do you expect this confession to endear you to us? If anything, shouldn't it make us more desirous to see you behind bars?"

"Or dead!"

Julie lunged a half step towards Dalton again. It was an idle threat but she'd hoped he would at least have the decency to flinch. Instead, he just sat still and looked at each of them in turn. Then with a slight chuckle, he replied.

"Homicidal? Psychopathic? Really Evan? I would have thought you knew me better by now. Tsk. Tsk. I may have different methods than you, but I am not an evil man. I simply push the bounds of scientific ethics."

Evan began to interrupt but Dalton raised his hand and continued speaking.

"If the victim of a murder is once again alive...? If the very act of killing is negated to the point that the actions never happened...? If the event is made void...? Where is the harm? Indeed my dear friends. With a few simple actions, all of the violence and crimes we discuss will be erased so thoroughly there can be no culpability for there will be no crime.

"However, if you go against my wishes. If you fail to cooperate. Not only will horrific events come to pass but you, my dear friends, will be accessories to the very murders of which we speak. For you know of the events. You have the means to stop them. You have the means to force my hand. Your failure to comply will result in your own guilt."

Dalton paused for effect but quickly spoke again when Evan prepared to reply.

"I mean none of you any harm. I am ethical and compassionate. But I have seen the future as well as the past and I found no other way to persuade you to help me. And I will have your assistance. One way. Or another."

His eyes tightened and Gabby felt as though he were staring directly into her soul. The force of his eyes was so strong she again buried her head in Evan's shoulder.

"What is it you want from us?"

Dalton continued to stare at Gabby a moment longer before looking at Evan to answer the question.

"I want the same thing all of you now desire. I have lives that need saving. I have lost people very dear to me and I need your help to bring them back to me."

As he paused, Gabby thought she heard sorrow in his voice. A small tingle of compassion started to tickle in her head but she fought it down and forced a scowl.

"Evan and Carlisle. You know of the events by which I lost my wife and daughter."

He paused and each of the men exchanged glances and nods but said nothing.

"Gabrielle. My three-year-old daughter Samantha was diagnosed with leukemia. Chemotherapy was prescribed as the first treatment option. My wife and I watched as she was treated. She exhibited most of the normal side effects. Hair loss. Nausea. Vomiting. Then the doctors told us she was suffering from tumor lysis syndrome. The chemotherapy had broken open the cancerous cells and flooded and overwhelmed the kidneys.

"My wife and I watched the world pass around us as though we were spectators rather than participants. Different forms of chemotherapy and radiation treatment were attempted. All to no avail. She seemed to be getting worse instead of better. Finally, things started looking up. The doctors grew hopeful and talked about remission.

"After what seemed like an eternity, we were finally released to come home but with a huge pile of documents to read and strict instructions on follow up visits and when to call or return to the hospital. My wife and I were both so overjoyed to have her home. So happy in fact, that neither of us wanted to admit the truth when, just 3 weeks after coming home, Samantha's cancer relapsed.

"Back in the hospital we were frantic. The doctors began talking about alternative treatments, surgeries or transplants. My wife and I were each tested. To our delighted amazement, my wife's tissue type was a close enough match to Samantha's that she was a viable donor.

"The stem cell transplant was scheduled and my wife and I held each other and cried ourselves to sleep with joy the night before the surgery. I sat paralyzed in my daughter's hospital room while I waited for the news. Hours passed. Nurse's came in from time to time to reassure me that all was going well. And then. Nothing."

Gabby heard Dalton's voice break. He poured himself another glass of water and took a long drink.

"After nearly two hours with no communication with anyone, I went out to the nurse's station and asked for an update. She dialed up a doctor and asked about the surgery. I couldn't hear what was said, but by the way the color drained from her face, I knew something was wrong. She tried to shake off her worry as she hung up the phone and told me the doctor was on his way to talk with me. I asked her what he said, but she just shook her head and told me to wait for the doctor. Then she turned away and fiddled idly with some papers on the table behind her.

"A moment later, a doctor I hadn't seen before approached and asked my name. His face was tired and sad. He led me back to my daughter's room and asked me to sit. I told him I'd rather stand. He told me there were complications. My wife's heart had failed partway through the operation. They were able to get it started again but then it stopped again. They started it a second time and have been monitoring it for the past thirty minutes. Her pulse was abnormally low and her oxygen levels were not holding. For some reason, her body was slowing down.

"The doctor sighed sadly and put a hand on my shoulder. He told me that it was touch and go but he was confident they would be able to revive her. I felt the tears in my eyes and my throat. I fought hard to choke down my emotions enough to ask about my daughter. He explained that they were only just now finishing her treatment but that it was looking to be a success.

"Right in the middle of his reassurance, the nurse came in and told him he had an emergency call. I stood in the doorway of my daughter's room and watched as he took the call on the phone at the nurse's station. It seemed like he kept glancing back at me and trying to avoid my gaze. I thought I was being paranoid but then he looked back at me and held my stare, his face drawn and hollow. His lips moved and he handed the phone back to the nurse.

"In a blur, I remember him walking over to me and putting his hand on my shoulder. Telling me that my daughter had gone into shock and he had to go attend to her. He....he....the next time I saw him. He was apologizing. Neither my wife nor my daughter had survived."

Gabby just stared as Dalton began to cry. Five minutes ago, she hated this man and was ready to kill him. Now, she struggled not to pity him. He struggled to speak again.

"I....My, my world fell apart. Everything collapsed in on itself. I didn't know which way was up. Some fancy lawyer from the university ended up getting me an enormous settlement that paid for this home and left me comfortable for as long as I could see. But I didn't know how to be comfortable. I had lost everything. I saw no sense in living. No purpose."

He looked straight at Gabby, his eyes afire.

"That was five years ago this winter. I withdrew from everything for nearly a year. I finally went back to work teaching. One of my students that spring submitted a paper on time travel and it became my new fascination. My obsession. I promised myself that I would find a way to turn back the clock and save them. For years I felt like I was turning into the crazed lunatic that others claimed I was. But then, you came into my life. You Gabrielle, with your dreams. Your visions. Placed with the genius and aptitude of Carlisle and your boyfriend Evan, along with my resources and persistance, I finally saw the truth that had long elluded me. Through you, I found the path I needed. You Gabrielle, can bring them back to me."

A shiver raced down Gabby's spine. She stumbled forward and collapsed into the chair in front of her. She met Dalton's gaze and stared him down. She watched the tears trickle down his cheeks. She closed her eyes, and cried.

1 comment:

Phoenix said...

This is so good... I love the twist that we now pity the man we've hated for so long, and Evan now has Gabby's complete trust. I really enjoy stories where there is black and white but rather shades of gray that leave the reader wondering, Would I have done the same thing...

Very well-written! I like this turn of events very much!