Short Story Workshop

Each year, a small group of members participates in the rigorous short story workshop. They work closely together, learning short stories and getting feedback about their work.

Below, you can read their final products. Enjoy!

2014-2015 Participants

Estella – The Awakening of Ethan Bladell

Cheyenne – Dark Water

Rosalind – The Gluttunous Lust of Salem Cain

Sarah – Alteration

Naylene – Dangerous Existence

Hannah - The Phantom of the Rift

Isabella – The Dusty Bookshelf

Character Interview by Shannon

Character: Airell Mitchell (Airell is pronounced air-ell.)

Airell is a name that means nobleman, or in this case, a noblewoman in ancient Celtic language. Airell is from Northern Ireland, and usually oblige to follow her heritage.

Airell’s Interview Questions:

Today I traveled to Ireland, just to learn more about Airell than what meets the eye! Here are three questions, that will venture you into Airell’s world, and her main deisre4s in life.

  1. Looking at your family background, would you say you are very “unique” when it comes to your interests, hobbies, and even passions?

Airell: “I would say I am a unique girl, because my family, well, one side of my family, I grew up in a single-parent household, not knowing who my father was. Anyways, though I will say i’m quite unique because my family is a family that loves to challenge themselves. Whether it’s playing a new sport for the first time, or adventuring out of your comfort zone, count my family in! As for me, I usually love to read, which isn’t challenging at all, unless you make it challenging, and that’s what so unique! I love to be quite, my family loves to be loud when trying new things. I like to enjoy gentle hobbies such as painting, and simply hiking, my family turns that into a splatter painting contest, and a race to get to the top of the trail fastest. I am completely opposite from my family, and that’s what I say is unique about myself in terms of family backgrounds”

  1. You usually option for a more casual lifestyle, rather than going for the full heritage commitment, why is that?

Airell: “ I usually try to avoid my heritage, mostly because it links to my other half of my family. As mentioned before, I don’t know who my father was. My mother refuses to talk about hi, or his family altogether. In fact, the only snip bits of information that iv’e obtained, was that he was very inclined to the Celtic culture. I feel that if I were to go all out on my culture and heritage, I feel like that will hurt my mother much more altogether.”

  1. What is one thing in life you desire to achieve?

Airell: “I desire to find my identity. It may seem easy living with one parent, but with a a parent who won’t contribute to finding your identity, is a struggle all by itself. To find out where my roots come from, rather than listening to stories my mother conveys to me, is a life long goal of mine.”

Character Interview by Rosalind

Channing Cutler Jacobs (A.K.A – C.C)

“What is it in life that makes you the most angry?”

   “Depends on the day really. Your grudges can crawl over one another like wild rats in a fish tank, but I find that waking up with something new is what keeps my anger from becoming too stale. After awhile emotions like fury get too old to be passionate, especially when you let two things overlap. I’m not saying I forgive and forget, but I suppose I push things back to where they don’t feel as deeply. It’s like a storage locker, you fill it up and you make room for more, but that payment still keeps coming out of your wallet each and every month.”

“What is it in life that you fear the most?”

“Fear is something that takes effort I don’t have. You always hear about people being afraid of falling ill or dying young, but death rarely scares those hopeless in life.”

“What is your biggest problem?”

“What isn’t? Or does that sound too lazy? Hell, I don’t care. People tell me it may just be myself. I believe it’s my mother and my father; though it changes which one of them is worse by the day. Sometimes the anger I hold is the stone I wish to throw at my mother, but other days the hate all comes to gravitate to the old man. Maybe it’s because they’re the reason I’m here, and gratitude doesn’t come often for this life. They always seem too carless about my problems. As if my anger is my own fault, which everyone always seems to agree with. Maybe I place blame, but I think that’s just human nature.

“Who is your biggest enemy?”

“Myself? Yeah, that’s a question, not an answer, because maybe I’m not sure because I don’t want that responsibility. The easy answer is all my brothers, my whole family on a bad day. My brothers are the ones to take the cake on a normal day. The problem is that we’re cutthroat. These people sit across from me at the dinner table each and every evening, I sleep below one of them in a bunk bed at night, but I’d never be the one to take the bullet. I think that I can speak for just about all of them when I say this. We are brother’s by genetic default, everything else just doesn’t seem to matter that much. My family has in fact been known to prey.

“When you find yourself lying awake late at night, what is it that you believe is keeping you up?”

“I have been known for my covetous nature, and sometimes this gluttony can be awfully consuming. Many of the nights I have been stricken with spouts of maddening insomnia, I find the causes behind it simply vary based upon what it is I yearn for into my pillow under that specific moon. I’m not satisfied, because my middle class life is quite low. Or maybe, I just have been cursed with greed, and I will always linger on what I want, even if it means losing sleep.”

“Who is your greatest love?”

“Zoe Juliet Martins; more beautiful than Aphrodite the goddess of beauty herself. Nothing on or off this earth could be as sweet. She’s like the waves of the ocean. She’s powerful, but sacred. She is as precious as stone, and she is my greatest love. I feel in love with her for the fact that she is everything I barely will ever be. She is every element of the earth, and when I kiss her I taste life. She is animated; she is lit; as if she’s a firework, a sparkler, a bonfire. I don’t believe I will ever be able to prove this to her, so maybe this makes my love a sham. She certainly doesn’t believe it now. She’s life and I’m death, she’s awake when I’m asleep, she may not always love me, but I will always love her, even if she doesn’t know it.

“What about yourself do you hate the most?”

“I think sometimes I get too caught up in the secondary things of my problems. Like, I could say that I hate my weight, because I do, I really do. I could say I hate my thoughts, because the things I think can hurt. I could say I hate my vices, my addictions, my obsessions, because they’re part of this hell. I really suppose I could say I hate a lot of things about myself, but what I hate the most, I just can’t seem to figure out right now.”

“If you were asked to paint your life in one picture, what would it look like? What colors would you use? Why?”

“Shut your eyes while I explain it, so you can picture it better. I think I might do the same. It would be a picture drawl either in pencil or ink. A family of nine black rats would be sitting at a dining room table. The one at the head of the table is holding a knife and fork, carving up a dead bird or something that was scavenged from the street above. The setting is a sewer, dripping with green gunk and human waste, and the carpet is made of newspaper while the chandelier is made of spare change and paper clips. That fat rat with the pitiful look on his face, you already know who that is, and he’s got a plate full of garbage. None of them look to one another, but each of them hold one knife, while also baring a second one right in the center of their backs placed there by the rat next to them. The perfect representation of my family and my life really. Just a bunch of savaging rats, stabbing each other in the backs.

 “Whom do you pray to at night?”

And why would it even matter? Most nights I’m too busy in hazy discussions with inner demons that only I am able to hold enough understanding of to worship. Maybe as my brother always states, I am my own God, only because I am unable to accept the formula of anything above what is working for me right now, and it sure isn’t a God or prayer. Maybe I feel as though I can’t be helped, or maybe faith exhausts me. Or quite possibly, maybe I just think much too highly of my own humanity to believe in anything that may sit in a bigger throne. Whatever the reason might be, the form of this answer that could be taken more simply is no one. I pray to no one at night.”

 

 

Character Interview by Hannah

I glance around at the dark gray steel walls, my eyes settling on a single tinted window. I sit back in my chair and cross my arms, speaking towards the wall in front of me. “Are you going to keep me here all day?” My hip feels light without my mechanized dagger sitting comfortably in its sheath. And although they did not force me to change out of my gray armored clothing, they still took my cloak away, causing me to feel exposed.

“If that’s what it takes to make you talk,” a cold, female voice replies, the sound crisp and clear through the hidden speakers, as if she were here in this room with me. “Bear in mind that this is 2243, and your right to remain silent is a mere formality, not an actual defense.” She doesn’t wait very long for my response before continuing. “Also, we have a lie detector hone in on your signature, just in case you decide to try and feed us false information.”

I give the metal wall in front of me an equally steel gaze, hoping that there’s a camera placed there so they can pick up on my dislike of the whole situation. “What did you do with my dagger?” I demand.

“This interrogation works the other way around, Miss Venici,” the voice replies sharply, “And your dagger is currently being placed in evidence, along with your other…things.” I smile, thinking of the small bomb I set to detonate in five minutes. They probably won’t find that’s it’s been activated till the timer runs out. This interview shouldn’t last long. “Now, question one. Is your name Ferraria Venici, and is your planet of origin Mahonda Five?”

“Yes and yes,” I reply coolly.

“Wrong answer,” the voice snaps, “Your name is Vivianna Forge, and your planet of origin is Mia’ad. Nice try, but the equipment caught your lie.”

“You could’ve just read that from my file,” I counter.

“Question number two,” the voice continues, ignoring me, “What is your occupation?”

“I sell ice-cream for a living to cute children,” I answer, somehow keeping a straight face.

“Lies,” the voice hisses, “You have been connected to several assassinations over the past five years.”

“Connected, but not convicted,” I state. I almost continue “and not guilty, either”, but then I remember the lie detector, and I chew my lip, wondering if I’d be able to fool it or not.

“What is your purpose here on Mahonda Five?” the voice presses on.

“Pleasure,” I answer calmly, “I was here to pick up a friend.” It’s true. I was here to pick up my dagger after shipping it separately for travel, and I’ve been friends with the artificial intelligence computer nestled inside it for years. If friends is what you could call our relationship.

“What is the name of your friend?”

“Anubis,” I reply curtly.

“And where did you meet him?”

“The post office,” I respond truthfully, “We touched base there.” There’s so many people crammed in the intergalactic section of the post office at any given time, I’d like to see them try to find where I manage to slip in a few words with any one of them.

“What was the purpose of meeting him?”

“To catch up with how he was doing,” I reply. It’s true, he had many complaints about the way packages are treated during intergalactic travel.

The voice becomes a bit more serious with the next question, and gives up on the angle of finding a connection through my “friend,”, “Do you remember the faces of the people you killed?”

Great. The emotional plea. Designed to throw me off my game.

And it’s working.

“I’d advise you to answer my question, convict,” the voice threatens.

I struggle against the lump in my throat. You think that an assassin would have come to terms with her occupation after five years of contracts, but I still haven’t.

“Do remember the face of your first victim, Robert Veniro, before you stabbed him and killed him?”

I remember that day. That wasn’t a contract. I wasn’t even an assassin back then. “I have a terrible memory,” I murmur, my gaze falling to the floor.

“Do you remember running from the android law enforcement not hours after the alleged assassination of Robert Veniro?”

“It’s Mia’ad,” I growl, my voice distant, “Whether you’re guilty or not you don’t want to be caught be the robos.” It’s not enough of a straightforward answer to be caught by the lie detector.

There’s a bit of a pause before the voice speaks again.

“Why did you become an assassin, Miss Forge?”

I grit my teeth, and stare at the wall with hatred. “I think that’s enough questions.” An explosion goes off, making my ears ring and the side door of my cell shatter from the force of the explosion. I calmly get up from the chair and walk towards the wreckage, stepping through the wall and towards the evidence room. I pick up my dagger and walk confidently out the door while the frenzied shouts of scrambling law enforcement officers echo behind me.

 

Meeting Next Week!

Harks and alarms! Greetings and Salutations, Scribblers!

Our next meeting is Thursday, April 2, 7-8pm EST.
During this meeting we will be exploring poetry for NaPoWriMo – National Poetry Writing Month.

Please send me your favorite poets and poems to share during the meeting.

If you’re not able to join us this week, I will send out information about the assignment.

Open Mic
Want to read some of your writing at this week’s meeting or have someone else read it?
Open Mic Requirements:
-Please only submit poetry for this open mic.
-You must email your piece by Wednesday, April 1.
-Your piece or excerpt should be 500 words or less.
-Pieces must be school appropriate.
-Pieces will be read on a first come, first served basis as time allows.

Literature Chat
Do you want to share a book you’ve read or an author you love with the club? Maybe you read about a writing technique or idea that you’d like to share.
Literature Chat Requirements:
-You must be present to discuss your slide and have a mic to be able to speak to the group.
-You must create a powerpoint slide about what you’d like to share.
-You must email your piece by Wednesday, April 2.
-Your powerpoint should be limited to one slide.
-Topics must be school appropriate.
-Topics will be read on a first come, first served basis as time allows.

Character Interview by Jillie

  1. Interviewer: So Ebony, let’s get down to business. Give me all of the details on what your brother was doing and where he was the night the bank was robbed.

Ebony- Well, I don’t keep tabs on him but I think he was down at his friend Jake’s house watching a Harry Potter marathon. he’s sort of a big nerd..

 

  1. Interviewer: Mhhm. What car does he drive?

Ebony: He drives a black Land Rover. Mom bought it for him on his 17 birthday.

 

  1. Interviewer: And what was he wearing that night?

Ebony: I don’t know! He just called me to tell me where he was going because that’s what little brothers do! Trust me, he wouldn’t do this. We are fine financially, and I don’t see why he would even need or want to do this!

 

  1. Interviewer: Okay, now let’s stay on topic. Was he acting suspicious or extra careful that week? Anything that would have rung any alarms?

Ebony: No. He FaceTimed me every night from his dorm room and told me how his day was. He was perfectly fine! I seriously don’t see why you are wasting your oxygen. Tim if a good student, brother, and friend. I mean, for anything it could have been Jake.

 

  1. Interviewer: Okay, okay, good. Tell me about their friendship.

Ebony: Jake and Tim have known each other since high school. They went to different colleges, so they hang out on weekends. Tim texted me and said that he was going over to Jake’s for the marathon on TV. Wait! Hold on a sec…

 

  1. Interviewer: Anything you want to tell us?

 

~Ebony quickly searches through her texts from the week before.~

 

Ebony: Here! He kept saying to me over and over again that he loves me and mom very much and he wouldn’t do anything to hurt us! But it doesn’t make any sense. Why would he do this?

 

  1. Interviewer: Well, was he under any drug or alcohol use at the time? Those things are very common.

Ebony: Well, when you took him in to questioning did he pass the alcohol test? How am I supposed to know if he was under the use?!

 

  1. Interviewer: Okay okay calm down. Just a few more questions.

What time did he tell you that he was going over to his friend’s house?

Ebony: It was about 7PM.

 

  1. Interviewer: Can you give me a background on Jake?

Ebony: Well, he was a really good student in high school. He was on the varsity football team and had lots of friends. Jake, well, he wasn’t the nicest of the group but he was really smart. OOOOOHHH! HOLD ON!

 

~Ebony checks one more time through her texts~

 

  1. Interviewer: Umm… What did you find?

Ebony: Here! My brother told me that Jake and his mom were going through a rough time in relation to money! It has to be him! It just has to! I’ll give you Jake’s information but promise me you’ll check him out.

 

Interviewer: Thank you for your time, miss. And yes, we will keep an eye on your brother’s friend.

Writing Prompt

From Tea: Start your first line with: “Don’t give me that look…”

Write for 10 minutes. Post your piece to comments.

Is It Happiness or Joy? by Tamar

On March 5th, my family and I celebrated Purim, a Jewish holiday that commemorates the salvation of our ancestors from a wicked decree that attempted to annihilate them. One of the customs of this holiday is to go to synagogue, and listen to the Book of Esther being read. Every year, I start getting distracted as the reading goes on. I always struggle to remain focused on the text – it’s quite long!

However, this year, there was a line in the book that caught my attention:

The Jews had light and happiness, and joy and honor.

Light and honor are two very distinct things. But what about happiness and joy? What differentiates them? These terms are often used interchangeably, but do they really mean the same thing?

The thought was bothering me all day long. But I was so busy with the holiday that I didn’t have time to research the topic! Finally, when everything was over that evening, I was able to sit in front of my computer. I went to my all-time favorite website, Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary (yes, I know that’s super nerdy!) and looked up the definitions of happiness and joy. Naturally, multiple definitions came up, but here’s a basic summary of what I found:

Happiness – A state of well-being or contentment

Joy – An emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune, or by the prospect of possessing what one desires

Okay, so “well-being” is included in both of them. But other than that, the definitions are completely different! “Happiness” is simply a state of being. It is independent of anything else. However, according to the definition of “joy”, joy is an effect of something. It is the aftermath of having been successful or fortunate, or the precedent to getting what you want. It depends on other occurrences in order to exist.

Pretty interesting, huh? I thought this was fascinating, especially because I’ve been misusing these terms all along! Next time you’re writing anything, be it an essay or a story, think before you choose to use one of these words. If your character has just achieved something they’ve always wanted, chances are they’ll be feeling joyous, not happy. If you’re talking about a time when you suntanned on the beach, you were feeling happy, not joyous.

So many words in the English language are believed to be synonymous, when their meanings are actually not the same! I encourage you to research other pairs of words that are used interchangeably, and check if they really are synonyms. You might be surprised with what you discover!

Happy researching! … Or is it joyous researching?

Writing Prompt

From Cheyenne: For those of us who tried this, remember how in school we would build our own leprechaun traps and then come back the next day to see if we caught him? Well, your character has constructed their own leprechaun trap! When they come back the next day, what do they find?

Write for 10 minutes. Post your piece to comments.

Character Interview by Brittany

I was not ready for this to happen, not now and not ever. I missed my two best friends. They were gone now, and I’d never see them again save for those photographs I kept. That, and the videos on Joell’s phone. I can’t believe myself, holding onto that worthless piece of junk from the twenty first century, but it helped me a lot. Now, the only thing I had with me was that phone, along with my clothing and my identification card. I was trapped here in infinite darkness, and I wasn’t sure of what way to go. There was no floor to be seen, but I was on a solid platform for sure.

“Evening, Hikaru.” A girl’s voice commented nonchalantly.

I didn’t recognize that voice. It wasn’t Erune’s or Aiko’s, and it certainly wasn’t Lexi’s. It was one I had heard before, though, one that lingered in the back of my mind. Joell swore up and down that he saw her writing to him in dreams before, but Joell was not exactly the most sane person when he was alive. I turned around, a girl sitting on nothing like there was a bench there. She had crooked bangs that covered her eyebrows, long and jagged brown hair, gray eyes reflecting the small electronic tablet on her lap. Her clothing was a hiking vest, a white long sleeve underneath, a pair of dark jeans, and some tennis shoes. She never actually looked at me.

“Who are you and where am I?” I demanded.

The girl smiled to herself as she typed, “I’m nobody important, and you’re in the first Subdimensional Rift.”

“Wait,” I paused, licking my lips, “That’s real? The Subdimensional Rift isn’t just one of Hiroko’s theories?”

She looked at me and said, “Hiroko was written to be smart. Of course he’s the second one to have developed the Subdimension theory.”

“Written?” I narrowed my eyes.

I watched her eyes shine for a moment, and she ceased typing for only a second. “I’m Brittany, and I’m the person who decides whether or not your friends live or die. Congratulations.”

“Excuse me?”

I decided to label this girl as a lunatic. Nobody could be deciding my fate for me, not after all the hard decisions I had to make. If she was telling me the truth, though, I would make her very sorry for taking them away from me. I paled slightly after realizing how much power she could have if she was being honest.

“Ask me anything, Hikaru.” She snapped, “I know you because I created you.”

I licked my lips. “Full name, birth date, and place of origin.”

“Easy. Hikaru Takuro Masano, or, more properly, Masanao Hikaru. You were born in the year nineteen ninety four during August, the day was the sixth. Your hometown was in Okinawa, but you and your mother moved to France, where your mom had your two French brothers: Jarvis and Jetawn.” Brittany stated that like it was common knowledge. “Your mother and stepfather were killed in nine eleven, and you woke up in the twenty second century about six o’clock in the afternoon in the year twenty one fifty nine. I never dated it on paper, but it was September ninth. Same day, same place as nine eleven, just in the future.”

I felt chills run down my spine. “To the letter.”

“Enjoy.” She growled, then turned to a more pleasant tone while looking me in the eye. “Anyways, I need to do an interview for my club, and I picked you as my victim.”

I winced slightly, realizing that meant she had control. I couldn’t get out if she actually had me in one of those Subdimensional Rifts. She knew how to put me in here, she had to know how to get me out, which meant I had to comply with her ridiculous ideas. I had to actually have an interview with this girl. I grimaced lightly, knowing that Joell would make some cheery comment about how he didn’t think that it was so bad in here even if it was creepy and smoky, and that the eternal darkness made for a good Halloween theme. A twinge of nostalgia ran through me at that idea, and I must have agreed, because a chair appeared behind me.

“Great. Well, if you do the interview, I’ll tip you off to how your brothers are.” Brittany said.

I agreed, “I’ll take it.”

“Good. Question one, when did you first meet Joell and Alexis?”

“Oh no.” I said to myself out loud, remembering the way Joell and I met. “Alexis, I met last year. She was apprenticed to Joell and I, so that’s how I met her. Joell… I met him when I was eight or something. He was cadet for The Project- Project Humanity, that is- and he crashed his Duo Latera battle mech into the woods. I was assigned to retrieve Joell from said location, and he was grinning and laughing like crashing a three billion dollar mech was absolutely fine.”

She asked, “Question two, what are each of your intelligence levels, and how do you score intellect in your time?”

“Were. Joell and Alexis are gone.” I snapped. She gave a nod, and I then said, “We score it on a scale of one to twenty. I have a fairly high level, at least a sixteen. Alexis had hers at an official fifteen, only a fraction above the majority intellect of twelve. Joell apparently had a nineteen, so he was a genius, but he wasn’t quite right in the head. He could track six different conversations at once and name every battle tech unit on either side, but he couldn’t read.”

Brittany tapped on her keyboard, writing down what I said. “Well, question three. What is the most important thing to you?”

“It used to be…” I swallowed hard, then restarted my sentence, trying to ignore the guilt in my chest. “I used to care more about my career than anything. I wanted to be General. Now that I have it, I seem to always turn around to say something to Joell or Lexi, but they aren’t there. They were the most important things i my life.”

She gave me a long moment, then continued to ask questions. “Question four, if you could change yourself in the past, what would you change?”

“I’d stop being such a workaholic. If I just stopped being so obsessed about working my way up the ranks, I wouldn’t have… I would still have my friends here. My obsessions are what got them killed. If I hadn’t followed orders to the letter, they’d still be here.”

“Here’s to the zeros, I guess.” She muttered, “Not-exactly-a-question five, name your relationships.”

I frowned, “I hate Reiner, that Dazai freak. Sure, he turned on them, but… I can’t forgive Ludwig Reiner for all the stupid things he put us through. He’s the reason we’re fighting a war. Joell, he was my best friend ever. He stuck around with me even if I was being a horrible person, and I swear he’s always with me even if he’s gone. Alexis was his girlfriend, one that I wished was mine. She wasn’t exactly sweet like Joell, but she could switch from screaming at me to giving me a hug in seconds, and I could never see what was coming with her. Hiroko, I hate seeing him without his sisters since they left for the base in Italy, but he’s a good guy. Erune and Aiko, it was hard. I wasn’t sure who was who, they were the same person a lot of the time. The only thing different was that Aiko was always making trouble, and Erune was nicer than Aiko.”

“Sure, but you missed some people.” Brittany told me.

I looked at her for a moment, then remembered. “Ah, right. I didn’t know Shaw for long, so I couldn’t tell you much, but he was with Lexi a lot. He was shipped off to Canada. Then there was him…” I glared into the darkness of the unseen floor, “I can’t believe that Adrian betrayed us, that snake! I will get him for that one day… Miss Matsuko is my cousin, she’s actually really nice.”

“Question six, what’s your biggest achievements?” She said.

I looked up, almost regretting staying. “I guess forming the Shadow Legion. Meeting Alexander Parker was a high point, too. He’s just as skilled as his sister, Alexis, was, so I gave him an invite to join the Shadow Legion.”

“Question seven, if you had remained in the past, where would you be?” Brittany asked.

I hated giving this answer. “In a grave. I would have died in nine eleven.”

“Question eight. If you could tell your brothers anything, what would it be?”

“… I…” That took me by surprise, but I knew the answer. “I would say, ‘you two need to look out for each other. You were given a destiny, and if that destiny is without me in it, so be it. Just never give up.'”

The blue eyed girl smiled slightly, “So be it. Question nine. Explain why you joined The Project.”

“I had nowhere else to go. I was angry. I wanted to believe I had power over something.” I murmured, “I was seven, I passed the tests in under a full year. I was a pilot before I was out of elementary school, and I had taken it upon myself to study on my own accord. I wasn’t going to be stupid, but honestly, being stupid was the least of my worries.”

Brittany asked, “Question ten, how did you change the most?”

“I used to be haughty and self-absorbed. I was only focused on getting somewhere in life, and that took out the purpose of life. Now I’m learning to slow down.” I admitted aloud, feeling the anger and guilt from years of shutting people out lifting, and I physically felt lighter.

She raised an eyebrow, “What is life, then?”

“Life is…” I licked my lips, realizing how difficult it was to try and explain it. “It’s… like a train that has no destination. You can’t see the ending coming, even if you want it. Half the time, you can’t see what’s coming ahead, and other times, you have an assumption of how it might end, but you’re wrong. Sometimes, the train comes off the rails and you’re left to pick up the pieces of it. It’s when you don’t know what to do that you finally try to stop the train, but it has no brakes on it. When you finally find that unknown destination you were seeking, you just…” I felt my mouth get dry. This philosophy wasn’t mine to say. It was Joell’s. “You just find yourself in a better frame of mind. Life’s not fair, but it’s beautiful. I promise you it will always be beautiul. I choose to… enjoy the ride.”

Brittany smirked to herself, “Isn’t that what Joell told you while listening to Relient K or The Maine?”

“Yes. Now, my information on my brothers?” I leaned forward, wanting to hear this information, but more or less wanting off the topic of Joell.

She said, “Jetawn’s been watched over by Jarvis until he died. Jarvis then joined the Shadow Legion. Your family is basically scattered across space and time thanks to 9/11 and a bad incident in two thousand fifteen.”

“What? Jetawn’s gone?!” My breath caught.

She shrugged and nodded, “Pretty much.”

“I… I don’t know what to say…”

“Then say nothing at all. That’s what you always do.”

After a long moment of silence, she began typing again. My vision started to blur, her silhouette slowly fading into the darkness, and eventually she became nothing but the darkness she was surrounded by beforehand. When I woke up, I was sitting in my bed, and I was holding a clipboard. I looked around. Maybe it was all just a dream? No, when I looked down, she had scribbled on my notebook.

“Thank you, Hikaru. Jarvis will be fine.” The scrawled mess read.

I stood up and walked out of my room, clutching Joell’s phone in my hand carefully. I needed to find Hiroko. He was probably working in the engineering bay, as he always was. I sped up and made a left turn through the pale blue stained glass double doors, ignoring everyone who was talking to me about work. They should know by now that I want nothing to do with work since Joell and Alexis died, but they obviously never got the memo. That didn’t matter right now, though.

“Hey, Hiroko? You mind running that ‘Subdimension theory’ by me again?”

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