Davide Castel Davide Castel
Recommendations: 39

Paul, should it be farewelled?

Paul Day Paul Day
Recommendations: 14

Yes I just changed it. :)

Maddie P. Maddie P.
Recommendations: 10

Should 'Your father insisted we all stay' be in quotes with Dane saying "Yes" or did you mean to say 'Her father insisted they all stay.'

Jim Miller Jim Miller
Recommendations: 29

Charlie (and) never met a true (gentlemen) before. Did you mean... Charlie had never met a true gentleman before.

Jim Miller Jim Miller
Recommendations: 29

But Dane seemed as close to a (gentlemen) as was possible these days. (gentleman)?

Paul Day Paul Day
Recommendations: 14

Yes, lol. Got it wrong way round. :)

Jim Miller Jim Miller
Recommendations: 29

Yes were close. How do you want to revamp this?

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Paul Day Paul Day
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Enter The Dream: Chapter 1. The Death of Dreams

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Under the Double Star - Chapter One

Chapter 1 done. Tell me what you think.

A funeral is not the nicest experience at any time, but when the one being farewelled is your own mother, it is a place much worse than any nightmare or dark vision. For Charlie and her father it was a day when not a word was spoken between them. Instead it was an uncomfortable exchange of nods, hugs and the occasional sobbing. Her father was a deeply religious man and had insisted on a chapel as the fit and proper way to send his wife off to another life. For Charlie the very idea of death was so horrible, that she could not imagine a God who would allow it. She had made up her mind a long time ago that she could not accept, as her father had, that a God who was supposed to be loving, could rip loved ones from the very arms of family. 2 comments

But having to deal with extended family and their polite, but pointless conversations at the best of times was barely tolerable and at this time impossible and Charlie had to find a way to escape the crowds of people who had seemingly come from nowhere to say their goodbyes. Where were all these people when she was alive, she wondered.

There used to be three. Three people to share life with. A doting but sometimes distant mother and a loving, caring father. What more could Charlie have asked for. A brother, perhaps. It was something she clearly remembered asking her mother for when she was a child. But her mother had merely paused and with her eyes glazed over simply said, “It’s not possible”. Charlie never thought to ask why not and her parents had never thought to tell her. She had figured there was some medical reason and had decided not to pursue it. But in her dreams she often dreamt she had a brother.

She managed to get far enough away from the crowd that she found herself on a swing in a nearby playground. Why anyone would put a playground next to a funeral parlor and cemetery is beyond me, she thought. As she swung there, she was reminded of a more innocent time when she used to play, mostly on her own, in the park, with her little dog Sammy. He was a cute miniature Schnauzer with a short, scruffy beard and shiny black eyes. His hair was pepper gray and all matted and unkempt. It had always been impossible to get the coat straightened. He had a beautiful personality, but he too had gone too soon, having been run over on the road right out front when she was only 10.

Another family member killed on the road, Charlie thought almost absentmindedly and then the realization that she would never see him or her mother again impressed around her and she was overcome with grief. It was not until Dane found her lying curled up on the grass that she forced herself to shake it off. She stood, still wiping the tears away and turning her head so that Dane could not see. But a simple sentence was all it took and suddenly she felt better.

“It’s ok, Charlie, it’s ok.” She did not know her cousin all that well and previously had only seen him whenever her father ran out of excuses to visit his brother out on the farm. When she had occasion to, she managed to look into his eyes and realized that whatever he had become, it was very different to the sniffling little freckle-faced boy she once knew.  His mop of curly red hair had straightened somewhat and darkened in color. His chubby face had narrowed and he wore a heavy chiseled chin, which protruded only slightly, not so much that it looked odd, but just enough to make him look…handsome. He had very defined cheeks, as all her cousins had. When he spoke his voice was that of a man, though he was still only 17.

“Are you staying with us?” she asked, surprised herself at the questions, “I mean, if your family is…you know.”

“Yes.” Your father insisted we all stay. He smiled and it filled her with warmth to know that apart from her father there seemed one other person she could now rely on to not look on her with judgment or indifference or distance. 1 comment

He took her with an arm, which he presented as a chaperone might present, politely and gentlemanly. She accepted, tucking her arm right under so that her hand curled up over his forearm. With her free hand she rested it on his shoulder briefly and then let it swing down again. Charlie and never met a true gentleman before. The boys at her school seemed interminably incapable of manners, belching, farting and fooling about to impress each other and the girls who happily hung around. But to Charlie they were foolish young boys who only knew how to wrestle and fight and make stupid noises. But Dane seemed as close to a gentleman as was possible these days. 3 comments

Dane noted the perfect row of roses in full bloom and to her surprise even knew some of their names. It should not have been such a great surprise, because his father had an Orchid Farm on the outskirts of town. Not a large property, but big enough to make a substantial living from. They not only grew orchids of course, but all sorts of flowers, including many varieties of roses.

“What’s your favorite?” she asked, pleased she could think about something other than the funeral for once.

“It has to be the Ice Berg. It’s simple white petals are delicate, with just a hint of pink and they bloom almost the whole year round.”

Charlie was impressed that a boy, any boy, would not only know about something like that, but show no apparent embarrassment at revealing such knowledge. Charlie had to stop herself from becoming to enamored with him, knowing that they were cousins. If only he weren’t, then I could throw myself at him, she thought and then scolded herself for allowing the guilty pleasure to invade her otherwise disciplined mind.

He led her back to the car park where people had started mingling. They had finally made their way out of the chapel and Charlie had hoped it would not be long before she could return home to the relative solitude and peace and quiet of their small acreage. Her father had seen her and headed over to see how she was.

“Dane,” he said, shaking his hand, “It’s been too long. Wow. When I saw you last time you were no taller than a ride on mower and now look at you.”

“Hi Uncle Pete.” Said Dane politely.

“So we’ll see you back at our place?”

“Ahh, yes. That’s if it’s still ok?”

“Of course, of course. Why wouldn’t it be.”

Someone had called her father’s name and so Charlie did not get an opportunity to talk to him. It would have mattered only moments before, but now that Dane was here it hardly seemed to matter anymore. But as her father walked off in the direction of his own grandparents, who were waiting, sullen-faced and grim-looking not too far away, she called after him.

“Is it ok if I go with Dane?”

Without so much as turning around, her father merely raised an arm and waved his approval. So, before they were really supposed to, they left in Dane’s Cruiser. It wasn’t very far from the chapel to the family home. Huntsville was only a small town, with perhaps four thousand calling it home these days. There acreage was on the very edge of town and it backed on to rolling hills so that if you looked out West and ignored the fact there were houses on the other side of the front street, you could convince yourself you were in the middle of nowhere. Indeed, often nights it was so quiet this was not too hard to do.

“I haven’t been here in ages,” Dane said as they pulled up the long driveway. “You still have the tree house? Cool.”

Charlie had almost forgotten about the times they had spent playing in the tree house. She didn’t have any girl cousins her age. Her mother’s sister had married early in life and her children were already grown when Charlie came along. Dane was only a year older than Charlie, however and they had done everything together whenever he did come to visit. They had fished in the lake, had gone camping at least once a year in school holidays and apart from a couple of her closest friends, he was the only one she had really spent any time at all and now it occurred to her that it was never enough.

Even then, she recalled, Dane seemed different to other boys. At times she had wondered whether he might be gay, but had discounted the idea whenever he talked about girlfriends. It’s an odd thing to talk about relationships with a boy, but Dane was always as open and honest as he was smart and friendly. Charlie was so lost in her fond memories of growing up that she had not heard Dane’s question and had to ask him to repeat it.

“Your mother. Were you two close? If you don’t mind me asking?”

If you don’t mind me asking, she repeated to herself and suddenly the phrase seemed at once entirely odd and yet perfectly appropriate. The previous day if anyone had asked that question, she would have run to her room, locked the door and not come out for the rest of the day.

“Yes and…no. Yes we were close. I mean, I had a good relationship with her, but she was always, well, distant.” Charlie suddenly felt awkward talking about her own mother in the past tense. It had only been 9 days since the accident and already subconsciously she was beginning to accept it and move on. “She changed, suddenly. She used to be lively and happy, even singing around the house and then something happened. I don’t know what exactly. I never asked. It just seemed that there was never an appropriate moment. 1 comment

Charlie stopped to pause. The sun was already setting as they sat up in the tree house, there gangly legs just brushing the branch below as they swung back and forth. Dane thought she was never going to continue and he did not want to ask her any more pressing questions so he had decided to leave it there.

“I had a dream the night before,” Charlie said suddenly very seriously. “Have you ever had a dream so real, so vivid that it had to be real?”

“No, I don’t think so.”

“Everything that happened in my dream came true.” As she said this a tear rolled down her cheek and Dane gently wiped it away. "And I never want to dream again."

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