I’ve wanted to incorporate some of my short stories into this blog and had planned earlier this year to make Wednesday’s that day.
So, here we go. If you’d like to see more of this, please let me know.
Today’s writing prompt was to take the last sentence of any book and use it as the first sentence in your story. I picked the Kindred by Octavia E. Butler. It was actually already in my hand because I’m writing a long overdue review.
“We are,” he said. ” And now that the boy is dead, we have some chance of staying that way.”
“But it wasn’t suppose to happen this way.”
“But it did,” yelled Jason. “He’s dead and there is nothing you can do about it.” He glared at me and for a moment I could see it – he was hurting too. Jason and Caleb were never close and Jason always referred to him as ‘the boy’ when something went wrong. As if he wasn’t his son too.
Jason’s chest heaved as he worked to gain his composure. His hands shook. “He never should have gone,” he said quietly, but with a shaky voice. “We never should have let him go.”
How do I tell him, I regret letting Caleb go too. But we couldn’t protect him forever. He was 19 soon to be 20. He was a man. He wasn’t our clumsy little boy anymore. He had to go and go alone. He wanted and needed to do this by himself. Jason wanted to go with him. Jason knew how dangerous the mountain could be when you’re alone. He had been part of more search parties than he cared to admit. And when the call came to get a search party together for Caleb, Jason, of course, was right there. He refused to sit on the sidelines while others looked for his son.
Jason led the search from the ground and his brother, Mike was in charge of air support and I manned the radio at home and plotted everyone’s whereabouts on the map. When everyone had checked in after the third day, I knew Caleb wasn’t coming back to me. He had been radio silent for five days.
Early in the morning on the fourth day I heard a voice scream over the walkie, “I think we found something.” I remember pushing myself back from the kitchen table, knocking over the chair and running over to the radio. I tripped over the Caleb’s favorite chair and had to scramble to my feet. “We found something,” the voice bellowed.
“Who is this?” I screamed. “What team is this? What’s your position?”
“It’s Riley! We’re at the top of the left ridge.”
I called Mike and told him to head to the left ridge of the mountain. When he got there he could see a campsite and someone from Riley’s team repelling to the bottom of the ridge.
“It’s him,” I heard Riley say excitedly. “We found him,” he said. There was relief in his voice, but the tone was somber; and I knew Caleb was dead. My heart sank. My stomach sank and I felt like I was going to be sick.
Mike was able to retrieve Caleb’s body and fly it back to town, but they wouldn’t let me see him. They said that I shouldn’t have that memory. I imagined what he must have looked like, but I also kept seeing this cute little clumsy 5 year-old and an awkward 16 year-old waiting and wondering when he’d grow facial hair.
I didn’t know what Jason meant when he said, “we have some chance of staying that way.” And when I asked. He turned and looked at me vacant eyes.
He reached over and took Caleb’s picture from the mantle and with tears in his eyes, he said a family. “We have some chance of staying a family.” And he turned and left the room