The Twins (Teaser - Not BCB related)
Thomas Porter sighed as he sank into the heavy armchair. He held a glass of red wine in his left hand while his right hand still hung on to the telegram he received from his wife.
He sighed again and took a sip from the crimson wine. He suddenly noticed that he was still holding the small slip of paper. He stared at it without registering a word of the curved handwriting. He didn't need to; the words burned in his mind like a white-hot branding iron.
The short directness of the telegram message did not stop him from sensing the despair in her words.
"Doctors did all they could. Stop."
She was admitting defeat, giving up on her last dream and letting go of her hopes for the future.
"I am coming home."
These words, which in any other context would have made his heart soar like a hot-air balloon instead filled it with cold lead. He hadn't seen Millie in two years, five months and twenty-five days, but her return would not be a happy one.
He shuddered and tried to gulp on the wine, found that he couldn't swallow, and spat it out into the glowing cinders in the fireplace. The embers hissed and released a puff of smoke which was quickly pulled into the chimney. He looked back down at the telegram.
"I am coming home."
Her words carried a tone of finality which was quite unlike her. She had traveled all over the world, spent her entire life savings and met every 'expert' in the field; refusing to give up even when one after the other the quacks told her, always quietly, that there was nothing they could do. Until now.
"I am coming home."
Her spirit was finally broken. He knew that if she accepted what this doctor told her she would carry the weight of all their words on her shoulders for the rest of her life.
He put the glass aside and pressed his palm to his forehead, massaging it with his thumb and finger. Suddenly a loud rumble from outside tore him from his thoughts and back into the present. He got up to open the curtains. As he raised his hand to the fabric he noticed with a start that he hadn't let go of the little telegram. He used the back of his hand to push the drapes aside and saw a rushing torrent of rain illuminated by the window. A flash of lightning far away revealed that their garden was flooding. He felt his hear sink again.
They had prepared the garden together, him and Millie, spending an entire month from dawn to dusk making sure it was ready for a child to play in. They planted only the softest grass, the most colorful flowers and only kept the gnarled old oak tree so they could tie a swing to it.
The swing was being violently tossed around by the wind, but miraculously the two old sea ropes holding it refused to break. He watched them fly around for a while, strangely uplifted by watching those two ancient knots survive the violent onslaught of the ocean storm.
A small mewl distracted him, and he saw the family cat crouching beneath the armchair he was sitting in a moment ago. The cat mewled again. A flash followed by another rumble made him race out and hide under the coffee table. Thomas smiled at the innocent fright of the small tabby and bent down to stroke him. The cat hissed at the paper which Thomas unwittingly rubbed against him. Thomas stared at the letter in disbelief. He groaned out loud and placed it gently on the table.
"I'm coming home."
How would he greet her? He won't lie to her and pretend not to care about the circumstances of her arrival. She would despise him for that.
A scratching noise disturbed his brooding once again, and he found the young cat scraping his tiny claws against the door. It looked at him, made a loud "Mrow-ow-ow!" sound and raked his claws against the wood again. Thomas stared at his in surprise. "You want to go out int that? You?" The cat looked at him with round, pleading eyes, and didn't even flinch when a massive roar of thunder shook the entire house. Perplexed, Thomas opened the door a fraction. A gust of wind slammed it fully open, blasting the telegram off of the table and casting it into the fire.
"NO!" cried Thomas, but it was too late. Orange flames licked hungrily at the paper. The edges turned black and started curling up, and then the letter crumbled into ash.
Thomas felt a very strange sensation. His blood felt as though it was burning as well, his vision turned red and he stared right into the small blaze still shining in the fireplace. The flames seemed to be taunting him, cackling as they receded back into the coals. Thomas bellowed and almost punched the fire before he regained some of his senses. The flames weren't to blame; The cat was! He turned around, eyes blazing, full of dangerous emotions threatening to tear him apart. He found the cat hunched over two small bundles lying on the small front porch.
He felt himself deflate, his fury evaporating, and the dangerous emotions flowed away as quickly as they engulfed him. The cat sat down, blocking the rain with it's own body. It gave Thomas a look that said "Well? What are you waiting for?". Thomas started and walked towards the bundles. They were wrapped in lavender colored towels just like he and Millie had.
He took another step forward. He saw a letter 'T' sowed onto one of them in black. There could be no more doubt: these were the towels he made for Millie on their first anniversary! What were they doing out here? Did they get blown out by the wind? No, they were wrapped around something. He saw two small faces, almost identical, each with a small mouth, a tiny nose and two eyes peacefully closed,seemingly oblivious to the tempest around them. How did they get wrapped in our towels? Thomas thought, amazed at what his eyes were seeing. He looked around for a note and found a small piece of paper which seemed to have been ripped from a blank corner in a newspaper. He couldn't see any writing on it. He crouched to flip it over, and when his skin touched the paper he felt an overwhelming surge of love and trust. There was no writing on the back, either. He looked back to the towel-wrapped bundles. The one on the left seemed to have blue hair, like the color of a clear summer sky. The other had a lock of bright red hair like a cherry blossom.
"I'm coming home."
Thomas smiled for the first time that evening. Perhaps it could still be a joyous homecoming.
Well? What do you think? Please don't be too mean it's my first attempt at writing something and I did it spontaneously.
- 24 April 2011 - 11:31 AM
One thing to note for the future is to lay out paragraphs in a slightly more flowing way; several times, most notably in the passage about the swing, you cut off the paragraphs and then continued them on below, which doesn't seem to make much sense. I don't know whether this was by accident or design, but it did somewhat inturrupt the flow of the story. Another thing to note would be progression of the story. It seems that you have rather dashed through what could otherwise be a very good short passage; I know it was a spontaneous thing, but all the same some parts seemed like you just wanted to push past them, most noticeably in the passage where the telegram is burned; Thomas's reaction seemed a little underwrought and could have been more built on. Overall, however, this was very nice, and I for one hope to see more from you in future. I'm sure you'll get plenty more criticism from those who feel it necessary, as we have rather an abundance of critics on these forums.
- 24 April 2011 - 12:03 PM
All of these things are from stuff I did write but I didn't type up because I thought it was dragging on a bit.
Several things I should also note:
- Thomas is not the main character; the twins are.
- The prologue has a completely different feel and theme from the rest of the story
- I haven't named the cat yet...
- 24 April 2011 - 05:25 PM