Day 26 Not Quite Written

I didn’t think I’d get to go to a friend’s wedding this week, but surpassing things happened, and tomorrow I’m leaving!

The day has gotten away from me, and tomorrow I’m not taking my laptop with me. So, I’ll try to write thing by hand. We’ll see what happens. I’m a bridesmaid and will be doing wedding-esque things. Which, because my friend is who she is, involves a morning spent driving bulldozers. That’s right! Playing in the dirt. Apparently it is a thing. Go Las Vegas!

I’m looking forward to it.

But not sure how much writing will happen.

Hope you have a good week.

Day 25 of Story-a-Day May.

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Trying to understand my characters. Almost to the end of Story-a-Day May! Woo!

Thank you for reading.

*

Tommy’s inability to make a decision grew the closer into town he drove. Going home seemed a bad idea. His parents would call the police. They’d never liked Hannah, and this would confirm their suspicions that she was a wholly unsuitable girl.

He took turn after turn driving to where he hadn’t consciously decided to go, Hannah’s house. The sight of Hannah’s dad standing in the driveway took Tommy by surprise.

Tommy parked in the street in front of the house. He rolled down the window. “Mr. Wygant,” he called.

Hannah’s dad titled his head to the side. “Tommy?”

“Hannah home?” Tommy asked.

“Isn’t Hannah with you?”

Tommy frowned. “She ain’t with me, Mr. Wygant. That’s why I’m asking.”

Gerald Wygant shuffled over to the truck. “Why are you driving this truck thing?”

“I think Hannah’s in trouble?”

“That’s why you’re driving a truck?” Mr. Wygant touched the truck door.

Tommy always found Hannah’s dad frustrating, but he was brought up to be polite to anyone older no matter what. “Sir. If you get in the truck, I’ll take you where Hannah probably is.”

“I thought you drove that Chevy pick-up.”

“Yes, sir. I borrowed this. All right?”

Mr. Wygant nodded, and he walked around the front of the truck through the glare of the headlights to the passenger side door. He pulled himself into the truck. “You look like you’ve got blood on your face,” he said.

“Yes, sir,” Tommy replied. “I got myself into something of a scuffle.”

“Is Hannah all right?” He buckled his seatbelt.

“I hope so, sir. I really do. But that’s why I’ve come to you, sir. I thought a proper grown up was necessary.”

Mr. Wygant looked alarmed. “She’s not in jail?”

“No, no, no,” Tommy said, pulling the truck back into the road. “Hannah’s too smart to end up jail, sir.”

“What’s she done?” He fussed with the folds of his bathrobe. “I’m in my pajamas, you know.”

Tommy stumbled over what to say. “It don’t matter none about what you’re wearing.” He wasn’t sure that was true, but he hadn’t paid attention to what Hannah’s father was wearing.

They were nice pajamas, and the robe was monogramed. Her father didn’t look half bad. “Hannah…” He trailed off. He didn’t want to get Hannah into more trouble, but he saw no way around it. “Hannah went to the Asylum. I don’t think she’s come back out yet.”

Mr. Wygant’s head snapped up. “What’s she done? Say that again?”

“She’s gone into the Asylum, sir.”

“Why in blue blazes has she done that?”

Tommy saw no reason why the truth would be helpful. “Just curiosity. You know how she is, sir. She’s always wanting to know things.”

Mr. Wygant opened his mouth the say something, but ended up saying nothing. He stared out the windshield. “I’ve warned her. I’ve warned her a hundred times not to go the Asylum. Why does she never listen to me?”

Tommy considered Mr. Wygant, and he weighed his words carefully. “All due respect, sir, and I really ain’t meaning to offend you in any way. But have you ever told Hannah anything useful?”

Mr. Wygant’s eyes widened. “Tommy Adams. I’m her father.”

Tommy kept his eyes on the road. There was no traffic, and most of the town’s lights flashed yellow. He was making good time back to the Asylum and his stomach was in knots. “I know that, sir. I do. And you’re darn good dad. You put food on the table and you never raise a finger to your family. Why, I think you’re the nicest dad I know. But your daughter is smarter than the two of us combined, and when you don’t answer her questions, she figures out how to find out for herself. No disrespect meant, sir.”

“She’s gone to find out about my mother, hasn’t she?”

“I reckon she has, sir. It burns in her, wanting to know. I don’t claim to understand it, but she isn’t going to have no peace until she knows.”

Mr. Wygant nodded. “I tell you what, Tommy. If we find my Hannah safe and sound, I promise you that I’ll tell her everything she wants to know. All right?”

Tommy nodded. Silently he prayed that they weren’t too late.

Day 24. (Or Why Is This Month Lasting So Long?)

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Yesterday I couldn’t think of anything. I”m working on a major art project and getting ready for a trip and generally distracted.

I’m trying to have a career of making things (stories and art) and I still don’t know how to pull that off.

Anyway, I wrote something for day 24. Thank goodness this month is almost over! Thanks for reading.

*

Hannah’s father couldn’t sleep. He wandered through the house in dark unsure what to do. He wasn’t used to sleeplessness.

Television didn’t interest him at that hour. The book he’d been reading failed to hold his attention. He walked in circles around the living room. A school photo of his daughter caught his eye. She worried him every day.

Children always looked sweet and innocent in their sleep. He stared down the hallway. He’d like to see Hannah as his little girl again. Maybe if he peeked in on her, he’d remember how she used to be.

Stepping quietly, he made his way down the hall. Her bedroom door opened without a sound. He stood in the doorway and tried to see his daughter sleeping in her childhood bed. But it was too dark.

He stepped into the room. He squinted. It almost seemed as if the bed were empty, but that couldn’t be right. He stepped closer, wishing he could turn on a light. He’d be embarrassed though if she found him checking in on her.

It really did seem as if her bed were empty. He strained to listen. The room was quiet. Quiet as if no one else were in the room. He leaned forward and closed his eyes expecting to hear her breathing.

Nothing.

He walked over to the bed not ready to believe the bed was vacant. He sat on the edge of the bed and reached out. He felt the blanket and the sheet. He felt the flat emptiness of the bed. “Hannah?”

He waited. “Hannah?” he said louder this time.

He turned on the bedside lamp. His daughter was gone.

His mind raced to understand. She was a teen. He’d snuck too as a teen. But where would she go? She had no boyfriend. He frowned. He thought she didn’t have a boyfriend, but of course she could be keeping some rogue a secret. His stomach twisted. How often did she sneak out for a secret life? What did she get up to? He didn’t like his thoughts.

He hurried out of the room. He could tell his wife, but he thought the better of it. He grabbed his car keys. He find his child on his own. He knew where his search should start.

Day 22

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Still here! Next week, I’ll be without a computer for a few days! Egads! I’ll write on paper, but I won’t be posting. But that’s not until next week. In the meantime, I managed something for today.

Thank you for reading!

*

Everyone in town said a flock of blackbirds from the east brought bad dreams to everyone and misfortune to a chosen one.

Hannah loved to watch the blackbirds though. Breaking her parents and her community’s rules, she would climb a tree as high as she could and look for swooping dark cloud of birds. Weeks could pass before she’d see them, sometimes in the distance and sometimes surprisingly close.

If she were caught up in the tree with her father’s binoculars, her mother would rage. “Why do like to invite trouble?” her mother would shout. “Do we not provide you with enough problems?”

One night at dinner, when Hannah was fourteen, she asked her mother, “Which is worse: looking for blackbirds or climbing trees?”

Her mother slammed down her fork. “They both cause broken bones and bad luck. That’s what matters.”

“But how can birds break bones?” Hannah asked.

Her father focused on his food. His pasta seemed quite interesting to him at the moment.

“Hannah Clare,” her mother replied. “Why must you always ruin dinner with nonsensical questions?”

“But—”

Her mother pointed at her father. “His side of the family I blame for this. Curiosity pollutes the entire bloodline.” She dropped her hand to the table and turned to stare out the dining room window. “You don’t have to feed your curiosity. You don’t.”

Hannah knew she should keep quiet, but the same impulse that drove her to the treetops threw words out of her mouth. “I’d rather feed it than drown it like you do.”

The slap Hannah got ended the conversation. It did nothing to end Hannah’s fascination with the rumors about the birds.

Day 21 with a headache

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I’m distracted, but I forced myself to write something. Can’t wait to go back and fix the mess I’m making!

Oh. And this scene references a scene from last year.

Thanks for reading.

*

Hannah wondered what she had gotten herself into. That moment a couple hours earlier when she’d been standing on the Asylum wall seemed so long ago.

She then remembered the boy on the roof. He’d slipped from her mind. A boy had been on the roof and seemed to disappear. What had happened to him?

“Hey,” Hannah called out. She hated not knowing the old woman’s name. “Um, hey.”

The old woman turned around. “Yes?”

“Can’t you give me a name? I don’t want to say hey you.”

“Make up a name then. What’s your real question?” The old woman waited expectantly.

“I saw a boy on the roof earlier. When I first got in. Do you know anything about him?”

Meredith stopped walking and looked back at them.

The old woman sighed. “The birds.”

“The birds?”

“They take the children when they can. They get them out.” The old woman started walking again. “Hurry up now. We don’t have time to talk about birds and their children.”

They were outside the building now, walking across the grass. Hannah looked up at the night sky. “I don’t understand.”

“I mean walk faster.”

“No. I meant about the birds.”

The old woman shook her head. “Don’t worry. Chances are good you’ll understand before the night is over.”

Day Twenty! Another Day!

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I’m also working on an art project that I’m very excited about. And a magazine project for a friend that is also fun. But I will keep writing! Because what else do I want to do? Not much.

Thanks again for reading.

*

Tommy woke, scared of the darkness and weight over him. He kicked and swung out his arms. But his arms struck the sides of his confined space. He jerked, and hit his head on the floor.

The flailing of his arms pulled the blanket away from his face. He was looking at the roof of a truck. It made no sense. He sat up. He hurt. His chest felt as if it had been kicked.

He rubbed his eyes and remembered that he had been kicked in the chest. He’d been kicked all over.

What was he doing in the back of a truck? The guards? Were they taking him somewhere? The fear in his gut swelled. They were going to take him somewhere and dump him. Bury him alive. His family would never know what had happened to him.

Using the back of the front seat as leverage, he pulled himself further up. The truck door hung open. Tommy looked out into the dark. He looked around the inside of the cab. Why would they leave him with the door open? Did they think he was dead?

Tommy climbed into the front seat. No one was anywhere to be seen. He sat in the driver’s seat. He put both arms across the steering wheel and leaned forward to look up through the windshield at the night sky.

The stars gleamed sharply. His head ached. He sat back and took in his surroundings. The keys dangled in the ignition, and Tommy wasn’t sure if he should be happy or alarmed. He could leave. He could drive home.

But it made no sense that security guards would leave a truck unattended with the door open, the headlights on, and the keys for the taking.

Cautiously, he closed the truck door. He waited a second, until he was sure nothing was going to happen. He turned the key.

The truck came to life. Hannah finally came to mind, and Nate. Maybe he should try to find them. He shook his head. He couldn’t do anything without help. All this was Hannah’s idea anyway. He had no interest in the Asylum. What was the point in learning secrets? As the gash over his left eye proved, knowing secrets brought only trouble.

Tommy put the truck into gear. Leaving Hannah wasn’t really an option. He’d help her, but he couldn’t do it alone. The truck rolled forward. The headlights revealed a dark wide stain in the dirt road. He took no note of it. Nor did he give any thought to the wide-open gate as he drove away from the Asylum determined to find help.

Day 19. Made it this far.

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Thanks for reading!

*

The unlocked, unguarded gate further disturbed Hasher Mansfield. He didn’t expect it to be easy to leave the Asylum grounds. He hadn’t made his delivery and he had a bloodied teen stashed under a blanket.

He’d been prepared to drive full throttle through the gate if need be, but finding it abandoned made him come to a stop. He tapped his steering wheel, and debated the wisdom of getting out to look around. “Stupid,” he muttered.

Looking left to right, hardly keeping his eyes on the road, Hasher drove up to the gate and used his fender to push the gate open. He did this slowly while praying to attract no attention. He was almost through when the gate caught on something. Hasher stopped.

He applied a little gas, but the truck didn’t move. The gate’s opening was wide, but not wide enough. He backed up a foot, and the gate moved with him. He tried to think of what could have caught on the metal rods of the gate.

He looked back over his shoulder and down at the lumpy form in the back seat. “All right, kid,” he said. “Whoever you are. Mind the store ‘til I get back.” No reply was forthcoming.

Hasher sighed. The world was dark beyond the glow of his headlights. “I never should’ve taken this job. Mary told me not to.” He pushed open the heavy truck door. He listened. “Even the dead aren’t that silent. Hell. You’d think I believed in ghost stories.” He dropped out of the truck.

He took three steps to where the gate had caught on a forgotten split in the fender. The wind picked up, and Hasher heard something other than the wind in the trees.