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Angel's Cottage / Re: Where have you been?
« on: June 28, 2020, 08:50:58 PM »
 :yawn:

Heyyy guys, randomly checked Tome for a change and saw this thread.
I haven't been active myself much at all online since end of Feb as I started a job. Technically classed as part time, so can get away with only one day a week off so it's been rough.
Hours are silly, currently up at 4:30 am most days of the week, so I'm either catching up on sleep or trying to play catch up on things during the day when I have the energy to do it.

And, of course I started just before lockdown. Worked all the way through as I was classed as an essential/key worker.
And, due to headaches at work, our supervisor left us, leaving us short staffed, meaning we had to work over one of our rest days. So for two-three months or so we were out working 13 days in a row, with one day off.

Our stores now opened up more sections that were previously shut for three odd months so we're trying to cover what we can before it opens but we're already stretched thin as it is. Dreading when it all opens up...Even with our current supervisor it's a heck of a job to cover it all.

Been itching to work on some stories myself but until now it really hasn't been feasible to do anything other than plan them out in my head.
Just the other week someone was off so I covered her hours, plus working over my day off as overtime too. I was mentally shattered by the end of it, as that was when the store opened up a whole floor, so the stress to cover it all was unreal. Anyway...   :shrug: enough ranting from me for now.
Glad to see people posting again.
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Phoenix Chronicles / :Chapter two: Unwelcome news.
« on: November 17, 2019, 11:16:10 AM »
Off-Topic: show
UPDATED: OCTOBER/NOVEMBER '19.
Any errors, please mention.


:Chapter two: Unwelcome news.

   Andi awoke with a start, and ran his hands through his short brown hair. The room was cool, and was almost calming despite the heavy rain falling outside, but he could tell that something was wrong.
   He pulled his knees up to his chest, and reached for his phone in the darkness. Gregg and parents were already several hours late arriving back already, and he was starting to get really nervous.
   “How much longer are you going to be?” he mumbled aloud to himself.
   After a few minutes of sitting in silence, Andi shuffled off the pull-out bed he had been sleeping on, and left the comfort of his friend’s bedroom.

   It had been his idea to stay with Mike, whilst his own family had to go away for the weekend. Homework was strictly not allowed to be completed though, as even though it was nearing the end of the summer holidays, it was also their last year in secondary school.
   Instead of worrying about their upcoming exams and studying, the aim was to relax and to think about where the future would take them.

-

   Andi nervously bit his lip, and started twiddling his fingers around. The hallway was lighter than Mike’s bedroom, but only because a light was illuminating the bottom half of the staircase. Outside the moon and all of the starts were shrouded in darkness, as clouds covered their natural shine.
   He made his way down the stairs quietly and slowly, wondering who else would be awake at this hour as he did so.
   The sitting room was quiet, and there was a cool breeze was drifting through the open door and up the stairs. Halfway down, Andi paused as he began to wonder if he should just try and go back to sleep. It certainly wasn’t the first time, that he could recall, where his imagination and paranoia had left him feeling rather silly.
   He stood, standing in the same place, for only a minute before the light was blocked. He then glanced down to the door, to see Mike’s mother, Jennifer looking directly at him.
   “Andi, you should be sleeping,” she said in a somewhat worried tone. Although almost straight away, she ushered him inside the room that she was on the verge of leaving herself.

{~}

   Gregg opened his eyes slowly, as he sat curled up on his fathers lap, but otherwise didn’t move any further. Several uneventful minutes followed, where he used the time to listen to what was going on around him.
   An ambulance was on its way, the sirens were quickly approaching-which both surprised and saddened him. The roads were still a dangerous place to be after all, the accident that he had just been involved in had proved that.
   “The ambulance should be here shortly,” somebody said as they approached.
   Gregg then turned around, to see the man that he had spoken to kneeling beside the opened car door. The rain was still pounding everything that it could touch, drenching it within moments. This even included the stranger next to him, regardless of the fact that he was wearing a thick coat.
   Then, he turned around once more and focused on his parents. He held his breath and braced himself for pain as he reached across to his mother. It didn’t work though, and he ended up wincing and closing his eyes the further he reached out.
   The necklace his mother wore, was a beautiful butterfly design-which was decorated with several different coloured gems that were placed inside the wings. Andi had chosen it for her birthday several years before, and had saved up over half of the money to buy it for her.
   The only other jewellery that she always wore, were her wedding and engagement rings, which were covered in a variety of flowers and a range of different sized diamonds. Gregg removed them all carefully, and slid the bands onto the chain with the pendant, and glanced at her one last time.
   When he was done, he then moved back to where he had been, and did the same thing with his father. His necklace and ring were simpler design, rather than delicate and detailed. They matched in colour, and shimmered in the faint light.
   Although it was cramped, Gregg finished the task relatively easily, and slowly started to slide out from the car one last time.
   “What’s going to happen to all of our suitcases?” he asked tentatively.
   “I can put them inside my car?” the stranger offered.
   “I guess that would be okay,” Gregg struggled to say. “What’s your name?”
   “Mitch,” he replied.
   “Nice to meet you Mitch,” Gregg said as he stopped on the verge of standing. Moving out from the car was far more painful than he had first thought, and the injuries that he had sustained were starting to show-now the shock was passing. “My name-” he continued moving, and took a deep breath as he stood up.
   As he did so, he felt the rest of the bruising and damage that he had suffered catch up to him then-and he was then able to feel the full impact of what had just happened.
   Mitch dived in front of Gregg as he fell, and watched in horror as his legs bucked and gave way. Though his quick actions were able to catch Gregg’s chest and head before they hit the floor, the support that he was able to give wasn’t enough.

   As the seconds drew on, Gregg felt his head and body become colder as it was placed onto the middle of the road. It was in that moment that he realised that the dampness of the rain no longer bothered him, which both surprised and amused him. He opened his eyes for a few moments, and saw that Mitch was kneeling beside him with a concerned expression on his face.
   “Where does it hurt?” he asked Gregg, slightly louder than he had first intended.
   After a few seconds of silence, Gregg closed his eyes, and tried to focus.
   “My leg,” he cried out in reply.
   He had found that, now all of the distractions had disappeared, the aftermath of the collision was starting to take its toll. Adrenaline was wearing off, enabling him to feel the pain from all the injuries all over his body. He immediately sat upright, and cradled his right leg with his arms, burying his head as he did so.
   “What’s wrong?” Mitch asked, panic now starting to show in his voice.
   “My leg-” Gregg began. “-It feels like it’s on fire.”
   “It may be fractured, does it hurt anywhere else?”
   “Everywhere,” he sighed. “It hurts everywhere-” he continued in a quieter tone, though Mitch was able to hear him. “Ugh! This isn’t fair!”
   Mitch stood up slowly and looked around cautiously, several houses that Gregg had knocked on were now showing signs of life. Many families were peering out of their windows, others had opened their doors to see what had occurred-but no one was willing to help and leave the safety of their homes.
   After a few moments of disbelief, Mitch then placed his hand on Gregg’s shoulder briefly.
   “I’ll be back in a second,” he assured the teenager. Then, reluctantly, he turned and rushed back to his home.

   The ambulance was getting closer with every second, even with the road blocks hindering the progress, Gregg could tell that it would arrive shortly. He instead focused his attention on lifting his head slightly to see what was going on around him.
   “Are you okay?” someone asked as they approached. Their voice was different-feminine and soft, and came from the direction of the first house that he had approached.
   He looked up to see someone nearing, with an umbrella raised above their head. She stepped into the light as much as she could, and immediately inspected the car. “Oh-oh gosh-” she stammered.
   Taking a few steps back, she then turned around and rushed over to Gregg, placing a large coat over his shoulders without another word.
   Her light brown hair had turned darker in patches where the rain had managed to hit it, and several damp patches had managed to cling to her face-refusing to break away. It had been pulled back neatly in a plait, which was resting over her left shoulder. Without another word, she leant down next to Gregg and tried her best to keep him dry.
   “Sherry,” Mitch called out in acknowledgement as he approached once more.
   “I didn’t realise, I heard someone knocking on the door and-”
   “Don’t.” Gregg cut in, his eyes now fixed on her brilliant blue. “Please- just don’t. I don’t want to know why you didn’t answer, how you could have helped-it’s to late now.”
   He then turned away, unable to say anything more, and instead gazed around at the many houses that were now showing signs of life.
   “Why aren’t they helping?” Mitch growled lightly to himself. Sighing, he then tried to wipe the rain off his face and hair, and knelt down beside Gregg once more. He was tall, towering over him with both build and height. A complete contrast to his friend opposite him, who was hesitant to bend down further in case the rain hit her any further.
   “Are the people in the car your mum and dad?” Sherry asked.
   Gregg took a deep breath and nodded. His voice had now threatened to never return, along with his strength, as he sat in the middle of the road. Torn between wanting to be taken away from the situation in front of him, and wanting to stay with his parents-unwilling to leave them with strangers.

-

   As the minutes drew on, the sirens grew even louder, until the lights could be seen in the darkness. Mitch and Sherry continued to stay beside Gregg, regardless of the fact that they didn’t know his name, to offer support and keep him company.
   The only time anyone moved, was when Mitch waved to the ambulance to show them where to go. Even then, he returned to his previous position-beside Gregg, as soon as he was able to.
   Gregg watched as the paramedics rushed over to the three of them, and saw as they understood the situation in front of them. The scene was a tragic one, with the unwelcome essence of loss thick in the air.

   The two paramedic’s quickly assessed Gregg’s parents in the car, and tried to get them to speak. After quickly checking their vital signs, the two of them then made their way to the middle of the road with their unused equipment in tow.
   Henry was the first to approach, and sit down next to Gregg on the floor. A father of three, he immediately felt for the teenager beside him. He brushed his own shoulder length damp hair from his eyes, and called out for his partner to bring the kit that he needed.
   Sarah handed him the box, then motioned for Mitch to step aside so that she could help. She was a mother of two herself, and had initially wanted to stay home with her family and watch films on the television. Upon seeing the devastation in front of her, she regretted ever thinking or hoping to do such a thing.
   “Hello sweetie,” she said softly.
   The rain had eased up upon their arrival, enough so that the moonlight could now be seen as the dark clouds had moved on. It was now shining enough light to show the full extent of the accident that had occurred, and the sheer size of the tree that had been struck and fallen over-which was now blocking the entire road.
   “What’s your name?” Henry asked.
   “Gregg,” he replied as he paused for a minute. “Are they really gone?” he asked. Not knowing where to look, he gazed at the car that he had been reluctant to travel in that day.
   “I’m afraid so,” Sarah replied. “Are they your-”
   “-Parents?” Yes, my mum and dad,” he said sadly. “My brother! We were supposed to be home by now, he doesn’t know what’s happened,” Gregg continued suddenly alarmed.
   “It’s okay Gregg,” Sarah tried to reassure him. “We can let him know, he can meet you at the hospital.”
   “No,” he paused once more. “No, I need to tell him about mum and dad, he can’t hear that they-” He bit his lip gently and closed his eyes as tears split down his face. “He needs to hear it from family, not from a stranger.”
   Sarah and Henry nodded in understanding, and instead tried to focus their attention on his injuries.

   After checking that the rain had completely passed, Sherry moved out of the way and collapsed her umbrella. As she did so, she noticed that other families had started to make their way over, which made the guilt that she felt grow. Why hadn’t she opened the door to the boy who clearly needed help? Was she afraid? Selfish? Lazy maybe?
   She had heard the crash, and had even looked over to see what had happened. It had also only been two days since she had spoken to the house opposite, to advise them to cut the trees in case they caused any accidents.
   Clearly they hadn’t heard or paid any attention to what she had warned them about though. Even as she looked back at her driveway, she could see branches and leaves invading it from the once tallest tree on the street.
   The whole situation in front of her now seemed so unreal, and she didn’t know what to do. So she just stood on the sidelines, as she watched as Sarah and Henry ran through all the usual medical questions to Gregg.

   In each of his hands, Gregg clutched the necklaces and rings that he had removed from his parents. As he sat on the floor, he placed each one around his own neck slowly. Henry disappeared momentarily as he did so, which left Sarah wondering what Gregg was thinking.
   He had only answered their questions about his injuries so far, and seemed to be unable or willing to tell them anything further.
   It was obvious that he wanted to keep the jewellery safe, and only hoped that they would be kept together when Gregg’s belongings were taken and placed in storage when he stayed in hospital.
   “We need to get you inside the ambulance now,” Sarah said to him. “Do you think you can stand?”
   “No,” Gregg replied as he shook his head. “The pains getting worse,” he explained.
   “I’m on it,” Henry called out, as he opened the drivers side door. After a few minutes, he had started the engine up once more, and reversed slowly down the road. Once he had parked up, this time a little closer, he stepped out and opened the back doors.
   As he pulled the stretcher out to meet them, Gregg glanced at Mitch once more.
   “Mitch?” he called out weakly.
   “I’m here,” he replied rather quickly. Within moments he had rushed over to the three of them, and patiently waited until he was lying down on the soft portable bed.
   “Our suitcases, in the car-”
   “-I remember,” Mitch paused. “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of them.”
   Gregg instantly relaxed and lay down properly, watching his surroundings carefully as he was pulled inside. He had managed to compose himself, managed to hold back the tears-somewhat successfully- and fear that had threatened to escape until that point. Now though, as the doors closed shut, the panic was starting to show.

{~}

   Andi sat beside Jennifer in front of the sitting room window as they waited; both hopeful and nervous. It was getting increasingly dark outside even though it had stopped raining, and it was making them both worried.
   “I’m sure they’re both okay,” Jennifer said softly.
   Andi took a deep breath, unable to say anything in reply. A sickening pit had formed in his stomach, one that refused to go away. In the back of his mind, he could tell that something was seriously wrong, but what was it? And where were his family?
   Jennifer immediately sat upright as she noticed a pair of headlights nearing her home.
   “Maybe that’s them?” she offered. Andi only shook his head, noticing the police car markings as he did so.
   He sighed weakly and stared at the car as it slowed, it was definitely parking somewhere nearby.
   “Where do you think they’re going?” Jennifer asked, unable to take her eyes off the moving vehicle.
   “Hopefully not here,” Andi said struggling.
   “I doubt they would be Andi,” she said pausing to look at him. He was becoming increasingly afraid and worried with every second that passed, and it was beginning to show. “They’re probably just making sure that the roads are safe.”
   Andi took another deep breath and forced himself to look away. The unwelcome feeling in his stomach was growing wider and further, and he was now struggling to catch his breath and breathe properly.
   There was only reason that he knew of, in which police made house calls apart from arrests, and that was to notify the residents of a death in the family. He covered his face with his hands, and took a few seconds as he tried to recollect his thoughts and think clearly once more.
   Just then, the phone began to ring-cutting the deadly and unnerving silence with a loud screech that faded and increased in volume every few seconds.
   Andi immediately had the urge to answer it, finding that a sudden urge to find out if it was his parents finally explaining what was taking them so long to get home. As he was staying at someone else’s home though, he held his composure the best he could, and waited anxiously for Jennifer to answer it and return.
   To pass the time for a few moments, he instead tried to see where the police car had disappeared to, only to find that it had already passed the house.

-

   Andi waited silently, and found himself clutching onto a nearby pillow as the minutes drew on. The situation he was in was so surreal to him, nothing like this had ever happened before.
   After a little while, slight noises out in the hall caught his attention, and he looked up expectantly with his eyes wide with hope. Only to find that it was Mike, not Jennifer, who entered the room.
   “What’s going on?” Mike asked him. He rubbed his eyes as he made his way inside and sat down, clearly still half asleep.
   “I’m not sure,” Andi replied. “My parents aren’t back yet, and it’s really late.”
   Mike shook his head briefly, as he tried to rid himself of the tiredness that threatened to overpower his body once more, and then looked to Andi. He had clearly just woken up, as his light brown hair was sticking up at odd angles, and his eyelids were drooping over his brilliant green eyes.
   He also knew that this wasn’t the time to leave his friend, and so tried to stay awake the best that he could. It certainly was late after all, his bedside clock had shown that it was fast approaching two in the morning. Just how long had Andi and his mum been awake?

   Jennifer walked into the room once more, as she dreaded what was about to happen. She was visibly distraught, and avoided eye contact with both of them as she sat down.

   Andi and Mike then looked to each other in alarm, unable to say anything or move, they simply sat and waited for news they were both sure they didn’t want to hear.
   “What’s going on?” Andi asked, suddenly alarmed.
   “Mum?”
   “We need to go to the hospital,” Jennifer said slowly.
   “Why? What’s happened?” Andi cried out. “Are mum and dad okay?”
   “I’m-” she began. “I’m not sure dear, they wouldn’t tell me everything over the phone. She just said to head down right away, so you had best get changed. I’ll drive you down as soon as we’re all ready,” she continued. After a few minutes of silence, she then made her way over to Andi, and wrapped her arms around her. The hug though, was more for her benefit than his, she noted as she did so.
   She was shaking with anxiety, and was worried about her friends and family. The news, whatever it was, would surely change all their lives forever.



This is by far the most polished version of Foundation that I have so far! Please give feedback where possible. This story has been my life for so long, and I really need people to read and let me know what they think.

I have been going through gradually, and have fixed all the errors in the in the most updated file that I had as I've been writing NaNo. I've corrected and changed out so much that I didn't spot initially. Where speech doesn't end, where I've written in the wrong character somewhere and not intended, where I've fixed names and other minor details that didn't 'fit' or make sense.
   I've also added more detail, more emotion, more history. This has taken months to get to the stage that it's at, and I really need you; the reader, to enjoy it as much as I have loved writing it.

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Phoenix Chronicles / :Chapter one: You can’t cheat death.
« on: November 01, 2019, 03:16:01 PM »
Off-Topic: show
UPDATED: OCTOBER/NOVEMBER '19.
Any errors, please mention.


:Chapter one: You can’t cheat death.

   As the hours passed, the weather quickly deteriorated. Eventually, it turned the small streams nearby rivers into deadly and unforgiving ones-that roared with anger. They had now, long since burst their banks-leaving the water levels to grow increasingly higher. The endless rain had caused this to happen, and had already managed to overflow the drains in the roads.
   The deadliest part though, was the combination of the fierce winds, and unrelenting lightning. Many lines had already been knocked over or damaged by falling trees, which had left many without power-or the ability to call anyone. News and weather reports during the day had advised people to stay in their homes because of the many dangers, and had mentioned that many of the roads were blocked due to all the debris.

   Regardless, several families were determined to get to where they needed to be. Some had been out before the storm had worsened, and hadn’t realised just how bad it would get. Others just wanted to check on loved ones, to make sure that everyone they cared about were safe. One small trio summed up their risky journey on the road under both categories.
   Justin was driving carefully though the rain, as he couldn’t see properly through the window. A mixture of condensation and the rain had meant that it was getting and more dangerous to continue, but he was anxious to try and get home none-the-less.
   Gregg-his teenage son, who was sitting in the back seat behind him, had been a little unsure of whether to travel in the car to begin with. Whilst he had been waiting for his parents to get ready, he had been watching the reports and knew that the storm would be approaching at some point during their journey.
   His brilliant green eyes, just like his fathers, were mostly hidden under his light brown hair. He had tried to hide how uneasy he was feeling, by hiding his face as much as he could-especially as he didn’t want to hold them up further.
   His mother, Leia, had been able to tell however. And had wrapped her arms around him protectively before they departed that morning, lightly placing a kiss on his cheek as she did so. When Gregg bit his lip gently and turned to look at her, she then spoke so that only he would be able to hear.
   “Andi will be waiting,” she had said as softly, as she mentioned Gregg’s non-identical twin. “Try not to think about it to much, we’ll be home before you know it.”

   She glanced nervously over at Justin-who was beside her in the car, and then at Gregg, before taking a deep breath. Her long, soft brown hair was tied neatly in a ponytail, which she ran her fingers through. She knew that it was only a matter of time before they were home now, and so she decided to break the uneasy silence by talking to them both about something that had been on her mind.
   “Me and your father are a little worried about you Gregg,” she said as she tried to raise her voice over the rain.
   “Why?” Gregg asked curiously.
   Leia thought for a moment before replying, she didn’t want to mention that Andi had gone against his brothers wishes.
   He had been adamant that he didn’t want Gregg to know that he had said anything, which had worried her more than she wanted to let on. How long had he known there was a problem? And how had she not picked up on it until it was brought up in conversation?
   “We know you haven’t been sleeping very well at the moment,” Leia said thoughtfully. She was trying to divert the topic away from how she had found out, but somehow knew that Gregg had realised. It was only a matter of time now before he asked about it.
   “Gregg sighed and took a sip of water out of the bottle beside him. There it was, the little secret he had tried to keep to himself, out in the open.

-

   Leia shifted uncomfortably in the passenger seat, watching the windscreen wipers as they tried to push the rain away. She knew she had to break the awkward pause that had occurred with a different topic, but she just couldn’t bring herself to do it. Instead she just simply waited, listening to the heavy pounding on their small car.
   The silence continued for another few minutes before Gregg finally spoke once more, although it was clear that he was still uncomfortable doing so.
   “So, what do you want to know?” he asked.
   Leia gently smiled with relief for a brief second, then turned around to face him so that they would be able to hear each other a little better.
   “How long have you had a problem sleeping?”
   “A while,” Gregg admitted. He then paused to think for a moment, leaving Leia waiting patiently. After a short while, he then continued, knowing that if he didn’t mention the small details, that she would only end up asking for them anyway. “I started having problems sleeping around the beginning of June, I thought it was down to all the school work at the time so I didn’t think it was worth mentioning.”
   “June!” Leia exclaimed. “Why didn’t you say anything?”
   “Because it wasn’t a big deal,” Gregg replied nervously. “I thought it was just a faze or something, and that it would pass over the holidays-but it’s been getting gradually worse.”
   “If you had told us, we could have taken you to see a doctor Gregg. He could have given you some sleeping pills or something to take or something. What are we supposed to do now?”
   “I don’t know!” Gregg cried out desperately. He hung his head in the dark, feeling the weight of his secret growing heavier on his shoulders as he did so.

-

   He had always hated being the one that asked for help, preferring to sort little problems out by himself so that others wouldn’t have to. Lately he was struggling though, and he was realising this more and more as the days went by.
   “Gregg, please-” Justin began. “-You may be uncomfortable talking about this, but we do need to.”
   “But why? Why now?” Gregg asked desperately.
   “Because we have been looking into places that may be able to help you, if you stay with them for al little while,” Leia said firmly. “Your father is right, this is something that we need to discuss.”
   Gregg didn’t know how to respond, so he instead folded his arms out in front of his face as he tried to find a better way to hide his emotions.
   “Gregg, we love you so much,” Leia said calmly. “We wouldn’t send you away unless we thought we really needed to.”
   “I can sort this out though” Gregg cried. “I can start sleeping better, but only at home. Please-just don’t send me away.”
   Leia and Justin then looked at each other for a moment, just long enough to mutually agree with what their son was asking them. Although they never said a word aloud, they both understood that giving Gregg time was the best thing to do.
   To give her son a little comfort, Leia then reached over, and lightly squeezed his arm-smiling gently when he looked at her.
   “Okay, we won’t send you away,” she smiled reassuringly.

-

   Gregg relaxed a little, but it was only for a few moments. The road they were on had become more perilous, and Justin was finding it hard to control the car. Taking a deep breath, he lowered his head once more into the comfort of his arms, and tried to steady himself. Usually he enjoyed the quiet periods when he travelled as it gave him an opportunity to think, but today was different. Now he just wanted to escape it all; the loud pounding of the rain, the awkwardness of the conversation that still lingered and the whole idea of being sent away.
   So many thoughts were running through his head, each one left trails of questions that he doubted would ever get answered.
   How had his parents found about his sleeping troubles? He had made sure to be so careful and not wake them. The only other person that had known before hand was Andi, and he had made him promise not to tell them. Would he really go against his brothers wishes? And what places had his parents found that they reckoned would help?

   Sighing, he glanced up to see that his mother had turned around, and was holding both of her arms in front of her face. Was she copying what he had been doing?
   He looked carefully at her reflection in the mirror-no she wasn’t. Her eyes and mouth were wide open with terror, and she was staring straight ahead. This wasn’t right, something was seriously wrong.

   Gregg opened his mouth and tried to speak, to see if he could find out what was going on, but found that he couldn’t hear anything. The noise of the rain had stopped- so had everything else as well. And-even though it had only been a few moments beforehand when he wished to escape the confines of the car, he now regretted it. He found that he needed to listen to what was going on, at least to get some clarification to what was happening.
   He felt the car lurch suddenly, and then swerve as Justin tried to avoid the debris. The sudden movement shocked Gregg’s brain into finally registering everything around him, and he was able to hear once more.
   He heard his mother’s ear piercing scream. His father crying out, and the grating of the front of the car being crushed by the large tree blocking the road.

-

   Gregg opened his eyes slowly and carefully, and felt his whole body ache with a dull pain. The weather was unrelenting and angry, and he cried out with intense hatred towards it. The storm, the same one that he had warned his parents about, had caused this crash to happen.
   He gingerly unfolded his arms and unclasped the seatbelt clutch from the holder. It sprung back quickly, leaving him to wince a little with pain as it caught his hand.
   “Mum, dad are you okay?” he asked quietly.
   When they didn’t reply, he quickly looked up and cried out once more-this time loud enough that they would be able to hear him.
   “Mum, dad!”
   “Leia?” Justin croaked. “Leia, please say something-”
   “-Dad are you okay?” Gregg asked loudly. Then, bracing himself slightly, he moved so that he was between the two front seats.
   Reaching out, he touched his mothers arm and quickly let go. Her head was leaning on the window, and as Gregg had tried to see if she was okay, he had seen the blood starting to trickle down her face.
   “Gregg-you need to go and get some help,” Justin said with a quiver in his voice.
   “No, no-I’m not leaving you two here!”
   “Gregg, please-your mum needs help, she needs to go to the hospital. I need you to go.”
   Gregg then managed to shift his position to speak to his father a little better, and saw that he was looking directly at him.
   “But-”
   “Gregg, just go. Please,” Justin asked firmly.

   Unable to argue with his fathers wishes any further, he nodded and turned away. As soon as he had pulled the car door open though, tears filled his eyes and threatened to fall, and he realised that he had been able to hold back from crying until that moment.
   He clambered out of the car and stood up, feeling the small amount of layers that he was wearing getting heavy and damp as his body froze on the spot. Within a few seconds though, the shock of what had just happened hit his body. He felt his legs give way, and painfully cried as he collapsed on the road.
   “Gregg!” Justin cried out. He had opened his car door just in time to see him falling to his knees, but knew that he couldn’t help him. Instead of trying to get out of the car, he tried to use the energy to call out to him, to make sure that his son was okay.
   “What just-” Gregg mumbled quietly. Groaning quietly, he then painfully stood up once more, and stumbled away to the nearest house that he could see.

-

   There were many houses down the street, but only a couple still had their lights on. Gregg rang the doorbells of three houses, banging as he did so to try and attract as much attention as he could. One of the buildings he tried had almost every window illuminated in the darkness, but nobody answered at all.
   The second and third houses he tried had no signs of life whatsoever. Were they all asleep? Trying to protect themselves from getting wet or maybe even hurt?
   He then tried to think of other tactics, other ideas to get people to answer their doors and help.
   “Please! Please help!” he cried out.
   He was knocking on the fourth door that he had managed to painfully reach, when he finally heard some movement.
   “I’m coming,” Gregg heard a man’s voice grumble from the other side. He watched as several lights were turned on, including the porch one, before the security latch was pulled back.
   A middle-aged man stared at Gregg for just a moment before reaching for the phone. When he returned, he tried to motion for him to come inside, but Gregg quickly refused.
   “No, no I can’t,” he replied as he shook his head. “It’s my mum and dad-” he began.
   “-There’s ben a crash?”
   “Yes,” Gregg cried.
   “I was wondering what that loud noise was just now,” the man replied quietly and sympathetically. He ran his hands through his receding blonde hairline and quickly keyed the emergency number into the phone. “I warned my neighbours they needed to do something about that tree,” he continued, grumbling to himself.
   “You need to phone-”
   “I’m already doing it son, are you sure you don’t want to come in and get warm?” he replied.
   “I need to go, my dad just told me to get some help-”
   “Well I’ll make sure that it’s on the way,” he said firmly. “I’ll be out with you in a minute or two once I know they’re coming.”
   Gregg then nodded weakly in acknowledgement and spun around, and started to make his way towards the car once more.

-

   He saw his dad leaning out of the drivers side as he approached, and quickly limped over. The moment he was beside him, he collapsed on by the open door, and knelt down on the damp road.
   “Did you manage to find anyone?” Justin asked him. Gregg looked at him, then to his mother who had been moved recently and nodded. Leia was now leaning across the drivers side, and her head was resting on his father’s left shoulder.
   As Gregg looked at her, he noticed that her eyes were closed, and that she wasn’t moving at all.
   “Dad, is she-” he began. Unable to finish the question though, he simply turned his attention to his father- who was slowly nodding.
   “Yes,” he replied quietly.
   “Dad-”
   “-Gregg, it’s okay, she won’t be alone for long.”
   “Wait-what are you saying?” Gregg asked as tears threatened to fall once more. “I found someone that said he was phoning the ambulance service now, you’re going to be okay.”
   “Gregg, please-”
   “-No dad, just no! You are not leaving me!”
   “Do you really think that I want to?” Justin snapped. Gregg recoiled away from him slightly, unsure of what to say next. As he did so, he took in the full extent of his fathers injuries.
   The dashboard was sitting on top of his fathers legs, pinning him down into his seat as a result. There was no way that he was going to be able to get out of the card, without being cut out from it first, and the urgency was taken even further when Gregg spotted blood dripping onto the floor of the car.
   Shards of glass were covering his chest and arms, some had even managed to bury their way into his skin, and were shining-almost mockingly, in the light from the car door being open. The ones that had broken through, had caused tiny red rivers to form. Although they weren’t flowing any longer, it was clear that the pain was more than enough to handle.
   “I am trying to hold on,” Justin weakly sighed. Gregg took a deep breath and regained his composure slightly, and he was able to kneel next to his father once more.
   His whole body ached from the bruises from the accident, and he could feel the injuries from when he had fell, starting to take their toll as well. Only one thing was on his mind though, making sure that his dad was okay.

   He braced himself mentally, telling himself that he could do this. That he would be the one to sort this whole thing out, knowing as he did so that he wouldn’t be able to. Sighing gently, Gregg then edged closer and undid the zip of his jumper. Justin watched in confusion, staying silent as they looked at each other once more.
   Gregg’s light brown hair had become much darker due to being wet, and he moved it slightly out of the way so that he could see a little better. He had taken a lot of facial features from his father, including his kind and sensitive eyes, but had strangely pushed away the idea of being closer to him than his mum. Now, in this moment though, it had all changed.

   Gregg bit his lip gently, and tried-in vain, to remove some of the glass that was covering his dad. Most of the shards were brushed off easily, and fell without a problem. They landed gently and quietly off his clothes and skin, and were forgotten about. Others though, were a little more stubborn and tricky to remove. After failing to remove several of the larger ones, he tried desperately to pick them out with his fingers instead.
   “It’s okay-” Justin began.
   “-Can you stop saying that it’s okay!” Gregg snapped. “It isn’t okay, none of it is. I told you about the storm,” he cried out. “I told you we should have stayed put. You should have listened-”
   “-Gregg,” his dad spoke firmly, but held a small quiver. Gregg took a deep breath and looked into his eyes once more, instantly feeling the full weight of the situation in front of him.
   Justin then, carefully slid Leia off his shoulder, so that she was resting against the opposite car window once more, and turned to his son.
   “I need you to listen to me.”
   “I’m listening,” Gregg replied weakly.
   “I mean-”
   “Dad, there is no way that I’m leaving you right now. I’m not going anywhere, say what you need to say. You have my full and complete attention.”
   Justin smiled weakly, and held his arms open, to which Gregg rushed to clamber into. He heard his dad wince in pain, and was about to back away slightly-when he felt his dad squeeze him tighter.
   “It’s been a while since I gave you one of my old proper hugs hasn’t it?” Justin whispered. Gregg stayed silent, finding that he couldn’t find the words to say anything in that moment. “I need you to do something for me,” his dad continued.
   Gregg pulled away then for a moment, but didn’t fully let go. Tears were freely falling down his face, and his dad smiled gently as he wiped them away-but left his own to continue making the neck of his t-shirt damp.
   Justin then slid something into the pocket of Gregg’s wet jumper, but shook his head when he began to reach for it.
   “Later,” he chuckled gently. “I just need you to look after that for me, can you do that?”
   “Of course I can,” Gregg replied quietly.

   Justin then pulled his son into a hug once more, and squeezed him gently one last time. The pain from the pressure in his legs and injuries hurt him more than he was letting on, but knew that Gregg couldn’t see that-or know how much. Right now, being here with his son was the most important thing to him, so he found himself blocking out the increasing level of pain he was in and focusing on that instead.
   “I am so proud of you, do you know that?” Justin spoke once more, his voice breaking as more tears fell. “I was so worried that I wouldn’t be a good father to you three, that I would do something wrong-”
   “-You were always my hero dad, and nothing will ever change that,” Gregg whispered into his ear.
   Silence followed shortly after, as they both relished and savoured each second with each other. They had both been independent, preferring to sort their own problems and do things on their own. Although it was useful, it also mean that spending time with family was missed out on many occasions, especially as the tasks took longer to complete.
   “Gregg,” Justin quietly spoke once more.
   “Yes? I’m still listening dad,” Gregg replied quietly.
   “I need you to look out for your brother for me. You two need to stay together, you were always a team from the start. Without us around, and Adalyn abroad, I’m really afraid of what will happen to you both.”
   “I promise,” he whispered. “I won’t let anything happen to Andi.”
   Justin quickly squeezed his son once more, realising as he did so that the energy he had at the start was quickly draining. Taking a deep breath, he then whispered five more words-knowing as he did so that they would be his last.
   “I love you so much.”
   “I love you too,” Gregg cried back quietly.

   Moments, that was all it took. Mere seconds after Gregg replied, Justin smiled once more and closed his eyes. He remembered the day at the hospital where he had first held his daughter, and then again when his two sons were born. He wondered often what kind of father he would be, and only hoped that he had done and taught them all enough.
   His mind raced through so many memories, all in short bursts, and he peacefully watched everyone in turn.
   When Gregg had been ill on holiday that one year. When Andi had dressed up as a pirate for a school play. When Adalyn had attended her end of school prom, and had showed off her dress with a beaming smile upon her face.
   So many memories, all filled with joy, laughter and-most important; love.
   The last image that he saw, and the one he focused his mind on, was one of Leia.
   “I’ll be with you soon my love,” he thought smiling, as he took his last breath.



EDIT: 17th Sept
So, I just spotted that the version I initially posted on this thread wasn't the most updated.  :shrug: Um... My bad.
Now it is the most recent version from my NaNo file, and has been updated to include more important information and fillers which I initially missed out.
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4
Fiction Factory / 4.
« on: July 12, 2019, 09:12:48 AM »
   I’m trying to be brave, to push past all the boundaries that have held me captive for so long. To acknowledge that I can’t continue with the same battle of self-hatred that I’ve been losing any longer.
   I know-I know I need to fight. To learn from my mistakes, my past and insecurities and move on but it’s hard when everyone is telling you that nothing is wrong when you know there is.
   This ever growing drowning feeling is suffocating, and I can’t see how only I can see that it’s damaging my abilities to do what I was doing before.

   Sighing, I close my eyes and try to strategise my next move. How do I escape from this hell? To the place where I’m happy again, and where I’m not second guessing every move that I make. This war inside my mind has been going on for so long now, and I’m not sure how to end it.

   As my eyes open once more, into the bright sunlight that’s streaming through the windows, I slowly look at my reflection in the mirror. The empty, light hallway is a complete contrast to how I’m feeling right now-and know it will only get worse.
   All I can see are scars covering my body like a blanket of bad memories. Traces of events that happened, hurtful words that were spoken and ghosts of people who said them. Each mark is a reminder, one that will now no longer disappear from my mind.
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5
Fiction Park / Re: From the Ground Up
« on: July 04, 2019, 01:52:18 PM »
Character development: two different futuristic species, who are related in some way.
Environment: oldern style.. (like horse and carriages for transport, instead of cars.)
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6
Phoenix Chronicles / :Chapter eight: Remembrance.
« on: July 02, 2019, 12:34:43 PM »
   Raye pulled up to Caroline’s home, trying to hide her true feelings as she did so. It had been two whole days since since she had driven Gregg and Andi here with hope that their aunt Tabitha would take them in. And even though she was still happy to do so, doubt was starting to creep into her heart with just how long it would last.
   The Sabbat family had arrived the night before, insisting that they put off meeting the twins until the next day.

   She stepped out of the car, and felt the cool air flow through her hair. It made her smile a little as she closed the door behind her, and start to walk up the path.
   Within moments, Caroline called out to her, and she turned her head to follow her voice.
   “I’m over here,” she announced. Raye searched around for a moment before spotting her and waving, then made her way over.
   To her left was a small gate which was open, surrounding it was a rather tall hedge that easily blocked her vision of anything on the other side. Caroline was waving to her just behind the leaves and greenery, which made her smile a little.
   She stepped through onto the back garden, and made her way to the paving slabs which held a garden table and chairs on top of them.
   As she sat, she placed her bag beside her and gazed at the small piece of serenity in front of her.
   “You’ll tell me the truth if I asked you an honest question wouldn’t you?” she asked.
   “Of course,” Caroline answered, with a sudden peek of interest.
   “How are they doing?”
   Caroline sighed beside her and peered at her home behind her, as soon as she was happy that Gregg and Andi wouldn’t be coming outside, she answered.
   “As well as can be expected to be honest, although I’m not entirely happy with moving them from here to stay with their aunt if I’m being frank with you.”
   “Oh?” Raye looked to Caroline and encouraged her to continue.
   “I mean, Andi admitted that they’ve seen their parents will. They explained that if anything were to happen to them, that Mike’s parents were to take them in.”
   “Yes, but only if family couldn’t be contacted,”
   “I’m not sure if I’d count the aunt that’s coming to collect them as family,” Caroline admitted. “They haven’t seen her in so long, it doesn’t make sense to place them with people they barely know, and in a town they don’t know.”
   “I know,” Raye sighed. “I would prefer them to stay with Jennifer and Charlie too. I’m kind of hoping that their other aunt will be able to do something when we finally get in contact with her, but there’s no promises.”
   “And their sister?”
   “I’m not entirely sure,” Raye paused. “We’re still having trouble contacting her. The only contact details we have are an address and a phone number that still doesn’t work. I’m starting to get a little worried, I’m just not sure what to do.”
   “Just do what you can Raye, it’s all you can do,” Caroline said sympathetically.

   Raye relaxed in the chair slightly and thought over all the events and discussions that she had been involved in and closed her eyes for a moment.
   “It just doesn’t seem right,” she admitted. “I would prefer them to stay with Jennifer and Charlie, as I said, but it doesn’t work that way annoyingly. What’s right for the children doesn’t always matter in cases like these.”
   “Well, it should,” Caroline growled angrily.
   “I know, and if I’m being completely honest, I’m not entirely sure how long their aunt’s placement will last. I have a horrible feeling that it won’t, but that I won’t be able to do anything if it doesn’t.”
   “What do you mean?”
   “I mean,” Raye opened her eyes once more. “From all the conversations we’ve had, it doesn’t seem like they actually want to take the boys in, not really. And, if they don’t-and we still haven’t contacted their aunt Marian or sister, they’ll likely be placed into care.”
   “Put up for adoption? No, surely not,” Caroline said shaking her head with disbelief.
   “I’m hoping it won’t come to that obviously, they’ve been shuffled around more than I’d like as it is right now, especially with Gregg’s leg.”
   “Yes, Andi told me about the little discussion you had before they arrived,”
   “I’m not proud of what I said to them that night,” Raye said sadly. “It honestly did make more sense that they were to stay where they were but I have to follow the rules, and that’s what their family wished. Even if it was a little bizarre,”
   “A little is an understatement,” Caroline sighed. “They arrive this afternoon don’t they?”
   “Yes, around five so before tea.”
   “Well, we have a bit of a wait then. Are you staying or do you need to head off?”
   “I’ll stay, I need to talk to the boys anyway,” Raye replied as she stood up.
   “Don’t beat yourself up too much, you know there’s only so much you can do.”
   “I know,” Raye paused as she walked around the outside of the table. “But that doesn’t make it any less hard or better at times like these, I just wish I could do more.”
   “You’ll figure it out,” Caroline said encouragingly, although Raye never replied aloud.
   She just nodded and sighed, admitting to only herself that she was secretly unsure if she ever would.

{~}

   Julian twirled his phone between his fingers nervously and shut his eyes, Colin had been supposed to call him as soon as he had found Adalyn’s home but he was still waiting.
   As he sat in silence, he listened out for any noise on the floor below and out in the hall. Only his younger sister and father were home, as his mum had taken Ashley to her friend’s party.
   Megan knocked on his bedroom door and opened it slowly. As she peered in, he patted the space beside him a few times and smiled nervously. She gazed into his emerald eyes, and saw the dismay within them. Ever since Mike had asked for his help, he had brought it upon himself to do all that he could to get hold of Adalyn.
   And now, now that he was so close, it felt to him as though it would never happen.
   “He hasn’t arrived at hers yet?” she asked.
   “I’m not sure,” he replied as he placed his phone onto his lap. “He hasn’t called yet, maybe he’s just tired?”
   “He did say that he would drive over there all night, so I’m not surprised if he is. Just give him a little more time, I’m sure he’ll phone you.”
   “I do too,” Julian sighed hopefully. “I’m just nervous, I know Mike wouldn’t have phoned unless they were running out of options.”
   “Well, the storm was a week ago now,” Megan said sadly. “And if they still haven’t managed to call or contact her, I’m not surprised they’re trying other ways to let her know.”
   Julian gazed at her peacefully and wrapped his left arm around her shoulder. Without saying a word, she rested her head on him for a moment and sighed.
   “This whole situation kind of just reminds you how horrible life can be sometimes.”
   “I know what you mean,” Julian said as he flipped his phone over once more. The screen remained dark though, which renewed the doubt in his mind.

   After a few minutes of silence, Megan stood up and ran her fingers briefly through her long dark hair, hiding her dark green eyes as she did so.
   “Let me know if he calls you Jul,” she said frowning as she realised there were tangles. “I need to brush my hair quickly and get changed to meet Robin and Jack in town.”
   “I will,” Julian said as he picked his phone up once more hopefully.
   Megan left moments later, leaving him alone once more. Sighing, he glanced briefly at the clock on the wall facing him and then down at his lap again. It was just before lunch time, so it would be several hours before in America. Colin had said that he was hoping to go straight to Adalyn’s, but now he wasn’t sure if he had or not.
   Then again, maybe he wanted to leave it so it wasn’t as early?
   A loud ring tone filled the silence with an almost joyful melody, making Julian jump off the bed-and causing his phone to fall onto the floor.
   He scooped it up within seconds, and answered. As he spoke, he took several deep breaths as he tried to calm himself down from the slight shock, and closed his eyes.
   “Julian, what time is it there?” Colin asked.
   “Around half eleven, why?” he replied.
   “I was just wondering,” Colin sighed. “You do realise how early it is here?”
   “I do, but you know I wouldn’t ask you to do this unless it was important.”
   “Yes,” he sighed. “And that’s why I’m doing it.”
   “So are you at the address I gave you?”
   “Yes,” Colin replied. “If this is a hoax, or if you’ve given me the wrong-”
   “I haven’t, that’s the address that my friend gave me. That’s the last one they have for her, so it has to be right.”
   “You’re just saying that because you’re hopeful that it’s the right one aren’t you?”
   “Is that such a bad thing?” Julian asked as he sat back down once more. “I mean, with all the stuff going on right now with their family, a little hope wouldn’t hurt.”
   “I know, I understand what you mean. I just can’t imagine how to begin this conversation.”
   “You don’t have too,” Julian said as he swallowed and took a deep breath. “Just put her on the phone, I’ll explain the best I can.”
   “Are you going to tell her about her parents?” Colin wondered.
   “No, it really isn’t the news she should hear over the phone.”
   “Okay, if you’re sure about this?”
   “I am Colin, just knock on the door,” he replied.

   He waited in silence, listening in on the other end intently. He was unable to make any of Colin and Adalyn’s conversation out though, other than her slightly annoyed and sleepy tone of voice.
   After a minute of uncertainty, the phone was passed too her, and she spoke straight away.
   Julian, a little taken aback, caught himself before he dropped his own on the floor once more and started breathing deeply.
   “Hello? Who is this?” she asked.
   “Julian,” he replied.
   “Well Julian, do you realise what time it is? Five minutes ago I was asleep in bed. I’m not happy right now.”
   “I’m sorry,” he said sympathetically.
   “Sorry?” she sighed. “It’s not even six o’clock, geez-”
   “Adalyn, I really am sorry. I wouldn’t have asked my friend to knock on your door unless it was important though.”
   “That’s a point, how do you and your friend know where I live- and my name come to that. What is this about?”
   “Your brothers, Gregg and Andi,” Julian replied.
   “You know my brothers?” Adalyn asked, intrigue audible in her voice.
   “Yes, they go to my school,” he explained.
   “Are they okay?”
   “I can’t say,” Julian closed his eyes and massaged his forehead slightly. “They’ve been trying to phone you for a little while now.”
   “Why can’t you say? What’s happened?” Adalyn demanded, concern flowing through her words.
   “There was an accident, I really don’t want to explain over the phone. You need to fly back, as soon as you can,” he explained.

   Adalyn was silent for a moment as she went over all the details in her mind. As she did so, Julian waited patiently for her to speak once more.
   “I will book a last minute flight back, but I will need to speak to them before I board to make sure they’re okay and make sure this isn’t a hoax,” she announced.
   “That’s fine,” Julian said relieved. “Is your home phone out of order still?”
   “Yes, they should be fixing it this afternoon but who knows right now. I’ve had multiple appointments cancelled already. I’ll give you and your friend my spare phone number that I’ve been using since it’s been playing up. You can call me on that whenever, just not too early from now on if that’s okay?”
   “That’s fine,”Julian agreed.
   “I’ll let you know the flight details as soon as I’ve booked them,” Adalyn assured him. “Do you know if Gregg and Andi’s numbers are the same at all? I’ve tried calling them, but I think my dad changed their numbers to get a better deal with the packages.”
   “I think they have, but I couldn’t tell you without being sure,” he replied honestly.
   “Okay, well I’d better go. I apparently have arrangements to make, it looks like I’ll be speaking to you again very soon though.”
   Adalyn then ended the call without another word, leaving Julian to relax and wonder what his next move would be.

{~}

   Caroline stepped inside her bathroom, holding a plain white carrier bag with her left hand. It was cool, and the window to one side was open which occasionally blew in essences from the garden. She smiled sadly, and knelt in the middle of the room.
   Sitting on top of the toilet seat in front of her, Gregg was staring at the pale blue ceramic tiles surrounding the bathtub. Most were plain, except for a couple which were scattered around. They had been drawn on with markers, which previous temporary residents had decided to customise.
   “Are you sure about this?” she asked him. Gregg took a deep breath and looked at her with complete certainty.
   “I’m sure,” he assured her.
   “I mean, this will change how you look from now on until it-”
   “-I’m sure,” he repeated. “I’m doing this for a reason, it’s not something I’m doing for fun or that I’ll regret later.”
   “You never said beforehand that you were doing this for a specific reason,” Caroline said softly.
   “I didn’t really see how important the decision was when I told you I wanted to do it,” Gregg glanced at the bag beside her and then down to his fingers. The smaller cuts had started to form scabs, but the bigger ones by his elbow and wrists still had to be covered with dressings.
   “May I ask what the reason is?” she asked quietly. He smiled sadly and nodded, although he took his time to actually reply.
   “I want to do this because of my parents,” he said slowly. “I want a visible way of showing that I remember what happened to them, that I won’t forget them.”
   “You won’t ever forget them Gregg, they were your parents. I mean I’m happy to help but-”
   “-People wear black when they’re mourning don’t they?” he asked.
   “Yes, they do,” she replied.
   “I want this to be my way of mourning them both,” he said finally.
   “Okay then,” Caroline reached into the bag beside her and glanced at Gregg once more. “Do you think you’ll ever go back to it being your natural colour?”
   Gregg nodded slowly, then shrugged.
   “Eventually, just not now,” he explained. She smiled in understanding, pulled out the black hair dye, then stood up once more. Gregg then stood up gradually, and pulled Caroline into a grateful and loving hug.

{~}

   Tabitha was the first to step out of their car, and onto the driveway, though her partner George was moments behind her. She instantly took a dislike to Caroline, as she noted the well looked after flowers and garden was a complete contrast to her own.
   She stomped around the outside of the car and opened the boot, moving her dyed deep red hair out off her shoulders as she peered inside. Her dull brown eyes gazed across the empty space they had cleared out, and she sighed with annoyance.
   Jealousy immediately started to shroud her judgement of the person that she had yet to meet in person, which caused her to resent her decision to take her step-brothers children into her home.
   “Maybe this is a bad idea,” she said to George, who was admiring his surroundings.
   “What do you mean? Coming here today? Or-”
   “Taking the boys in,” she sighed and rolled her eyes. “I haven’t seen either of them since they were around five years old, and it’s certainly not as if I have experience looking after children.”
   “Well, the two of them aren’t exactly children now are they, they’re teenagers. In a couple of years they’ll be out in their own homes doing their own thing.”
   “A couple of years is a long time you know,” she mumbled quietly.
   “Yes, but they’re family all the same. If it doesn’t work out, then there’s always other people who can take them in surely,” George shrugged and walked to the front door.

   He knocked moments later, leaving Tabitha standing beside the car. Within a few seconds Caroline opened the door and encouraged them to step inside.
   “No, we don’t have time I’m afraid,” Tabitha called out to her. “We need to get going, it’s getting rather late.”
   Caroline thought to herself that she was being extraordinarily rude considering, especially as it was their decision to pick Gregg and Andi up at their preferred time. She stayed completely quiet though, and her opinion of the stranger in front of her was never spoken aloud.
   Andi was the first to leave, holding out two of the bags they had brought with them. George quickly reached for the largest one that he was carrying though, and together they walked to the car.
   “Do we really have to leave?” Gregg asked Caroline just inside the door.
   She nodded sadly and embraced him one last time.
   “I’m afraid so my dear, but you can call me whenever you need to okay? I’ve slid my number into your bag for you.”
   “Thank you,” he said gratefully.
   “You know,” she smiled sadly as she inspected his hair once more. “I think the black hair suits you.”
   Gregg smirked happily, and watched as George walked towards them both to pick up the last of the bags.
   “I’ll be asking Raye how you two are doing, and I would love to see you walking properly once your cast is off,” Caroline said firmly. “Do you hear?” she said smiling, although the tears in her eyes gave her true feelings away.
   “I hear,” Gregg said as he promised her. “I’ll come back to see you, I just hope it won’t be too long away.”
   “Is this the last of them?” George asked as he stood up.
   Gregg nodded as he picked his own shoulder bag off the footstool and slid it around his neck carefully.
   George was muscular, and rather large considering his height. It was a complete contrast to his father, who was tall and thin. He couldn’t even make out his hair colour as most of it was covered up by a baseball cap. Gregg sighed and slid his free arm into the other crutch, giving up on trying to figure out what his new ‘family’ looked like as he did.

{~}

   Mike answered the door forcefully, to find Julian standing about to knock once more. He was out of breath, and uncomfortable as sweat had started to form down his t-shirt as he rode on his bike.
   “Isn’t your arm tired? You were knocking continuously for a minute there pretty much,” Mike asked him.
   “A little,” Julian admitted. “But I had to come over,”
   “Did you manage to speak to your friend?”
   “I did, and I convinced him to go over and see her.”
   “He’s managed to speak to her?” Mike asked surprised.
   “He has, and so have I-”
   “-Does she know?” he asked.
   “No, I didn’t think it was right to tell her over the phone, but I told her she had to come back as there had been an accident. She just let me know her flight details, she’s getting on a plane alone in a few hours. Is there any way to let them know?”
   “Gregg and Andi? Maybe, I’ll find their social worker’s number,” Mike replied thoughtfully.
   Leaving the door ajar, he then stepped into the sitting room and reached for Raye’s number that had been left on the dining room table and his house phone. Once he had the two things that he needed, he called Raye, hoping that she could pass a message on.

{~}

   Adalyn nervously brushed her long hair into a ponytail, and handed her passport and ticket over. She had arrived early, an hour too early to step aboard the plane but it didn’t matter to her. What did, was knowing that her family were okay.
   Once the flight attendant was happy, she rushed to the nearest pay phone and dialled in an extension to be able to call abroad.
   The phone number that Julian had given went through immediately, and within only a few seconds Raye picked up on the other end.
   “Hello? Who is this?” she asked.
   “I’m Raye, Who am I speaking to?”
   “Adalyn, I was given this number to talk to my brothers?”
   Raye gasped, and motioned for Gregg to come over, he did so slowly as he watched Andi and George take the suitcases inside their new home.
   It was smaller than Caroline’s, and not as well looked after, but he figured he could help out once he was able to walk around easier. He just wasn’t sure how to approach his aunt about the subject, as it was clear from their awkward conversations in the car that she wasn’t easy to talk too.
   “Hello?” Gregg spoke.
   “Pea?” Adalyn asked. “That had better be you,”
   “Adalyn?” he asked as tears shrouded his vision. “How? We’ve been trying to phone you for ages-”
   “-Your friend Julian helped to contact me,” she explained. “What’s going on over there? He said there was an accident, are you two alright?”
   “I-” Gregg began. “-You need to come back Addie,”
   “What’s happened?” she demanded with a little more force. Panic was starting to spread throughout her bones, causing her hand to shake as she held the phone.
   “No, not over the phone. Just come back, we need you,” Gregg sighed and hung his head.
   Julian was right not to break the news over the phone, and he was grateful that he hadn’t.
   “I’m about to board in just over an hour, I’ll be there by the morning,”
   “Addie?” Gregg said as fresh tears fell.
   “Yes Pea?”
   “You don’t know how amazing it is to hear your voice right now.”
   “And you have me really worried now,” Adalyn frowned. “Let Little Bat know that I’m okay and I’m on my way okay? I’ll be with you soon,” she said as she set down the phone once more.
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7
Phoenix Chronicles / :Chapter seven: Supportive connections.
« on: March 20, 2019, 12:09:56 PM »
   As Mike awoke the next morning, he was surprised to see that both Gregg and Andi were no longer in his room. He dressed quickly, picking up his mobile phone off the side table as he did so, and then made his way through the house.
   It didn’t take him long to realise that he was completely alone as there were no signs of life throughout, which made him a little confused. All the clocks that he passed showed that it was still early morning, so it wasn’t as though he had been asleep all day.
   Deep in thought, he moved into the sitting room and slid his phone out of his pocket, and scrolled through all of his contacts. One of them, and the person that he was hoping to speak too, was Julian Stockwell.

   The two of them were in many of the same classes at school, although Mike never really spoke to him much outside of it. He was doubtful of the eleven digits on his screen, as he realised that the number may not even be his any longer. He took a deep breath though, and readied himself for the potential inevitable dial tone that would show he was right.
   “Mike?” Julian answered. “Is that you?” he asked.
   Mike, now alert, leant forwards slightly and ran his free hand through his hair.
   “Yes, sorry-I wasn’t sure if this was still your number or not,” he replied.
   “Ah,” Julian paused for a moment and waited. “Was that all you wanted? It sounds like something’s wrong,”
   “Everything’s wrong,” Mike admitted. “I need your help,” he said as he took a deep breath.
   “Oh? What is it? I’ll help if I can.”
    Mike smiled, and could only hope that his plan would pay off.
   “You mentioned before that you knew someone in America, are you still in contact with them?”
   “Yes, I am actually.”
   “I need to get a message to someone,” Mike tried to explain. “-To some people, but we’ve been having trouble contacting them.”
   “I can try and phone my friend up and see if they can pass it on?”
   “They really need to be able to drive over to theirs if possible, her phone line is out and there really aren’t any other ways of getting through.”
   “I think I can persuade them to help me out, they owe me a favour,” Julian said happily. “What’s the message? And who is it for?”
   “It’s for Gregg and Andi’s older sister,” Mike sighed sadly.
   “Oh, I forgot she was over there too. From what I remember she’s actually not too far off where my friend Colin lives.”
   “That will be useful,” he said hopefully.
   “So what should I tell him?”
   “Their aunt’s family is over there too, they all need to fly back as soon as they can.”
   “Should I say why?” Julian asked a little, slightly worried.
   “Gregg and his parents were hurt in the storm,” Mike answered. He heard Julian gasp on the other end and closed his eyes as he continued. “Gregg’s okay, sort of-but their parents didn’t make it.”
   “Right,” Julian said as he spurred into action. Mike could hear movement over the phone, and after a minute or two he spoke once more. “Give me all the details you know, I’ll write everything down and contact him as soon as we hang up.”
   “Won’t he be a little annoyed with the early wake up?”
   “Maybe,” Julian replied. “But the last I heard he worked late nights, so he’s probably still awake right now.”
   “Thank you,” Mike said gratefully.
   He then walked across the room to the pile of paperwork that had been left behind for Jennifer to look through, sitting right on the top were Adalyn’s contact information and home address.

-

   After passing along all the information that he could to Julian, he then called three other numbers. This time, instead of explaining himself over the phone, he asked if they could come over to his house. They all agreed instantly, and assured him that they would be there soon.
   As he waited, Mike rummaged around the house for something to eat and moved outside into the back garden. To make it easier for his friends to enter, he unclasped the lock on the gate as he passed, and made his way to the patio area which was sheltered from the sun by several tall trees.
   Ryan showed up first, announcing his arrival with an almost exaggerated arm gesture that Mike found himself laughing at.
   He closed the gate behind him, and grinned with satisfaction.
   “I haven’t been over to yours in months, when was it? April or something like that?”
   “That sounds about right,” Mike replied nodding his head. “I’ve asked Courtney and Alex over as well,” he said as Ryan sat down.
   “That’s alright, it’ll be nice to see them again. I don’t think I have since we broke up for the Summer holidays.”
   “Me either to be honest, I know Courtney was away on holiday for the first week of August, but she’s back now.”
   “I am indeed,” her voice beamed. “And happy to be too, that holiday camp was a nightmare. It rained the whole time we were there,” she said complaining.
   Ryan laughed in reply, showing off the light in his bright blue eyes as he creased up with joy.
   “It’s not funny you know,” Courtney sulked playfully, taking her place beside Mike on the chairs.
   “Isn’t it? Who was it who said that that would happen on the last day of term?” Ryan grinned.
   Courtney thought for a moment, and then glared at him.
   “You,” she replied shaking her head smiling.
   Her light brown hair was styled neatly, with a small section at the front tied in a plait across the top of her head. The rest bunched together in a side ponytail, which was gliding down her left side.
   “Wait,” Ryan began as he began wondering to himself. “Were you right behind me walking up the driveway? I didn’t notice you,” he asked Courtney.
   “I was,” she snickered. “I was trying to sneak up on you, but you were walking too fast. My ninja skills are only as good as the speed that people are walking apparently,”
   She beamed once more as she saw Alex approaching, and stood up to hug each of her friends in turn.

   Once everyone was sitting down once more, Mike leant back on his chair unsure of how to approach the subject of why he had asked his friends to come over. Alex upon seeing this, smiled encouragingly, and sat back in his seat as well.
   “I’m not sure how long I have before my mum and-” he stopped as he waited to find the right words. “-But I’ll try and explain as quickly as I can.”
   Ryan shifted in his chair slightly, and turned all of his attention onto Mike.
   “What’s going on?” Courtney asked. “Is everything alright?”
   “No, not really,” Mike replied sadly. “I’ve asked you three here because you’ve been really good teaming up and organising things in the past. And I need you to do that right now.”
   “I think we can manage that,” Alex nodded. “What are we organising?”
   “A group of people, I’m not sure how many yet but quite a few.”
   “Are we all going to see something fantastic? Like a show?” Courtney asked hopefully.
   “No,” Mike replied as he hung his head. “Hardly anybody knows at the moment, it’s not exactly a secret but we wanted to make sure that Gregg was okay fully first.”
   “Is he? What happened?” Ryan asked, concern audible in his voice.
   “He was driving home with his parents in the storm-”
   “-Is he okay?” Courtney cut in. Even though he wasn’t looking at them, he could tell that each of them was visibly worried about the situation. Which was the main reason he couldn’t bring himself to look up.
   “Emotionally, right now honestly no I don’t think he is. He was the only one that made it out of the car that night,”
   Mike heard each one gasp with shock, and took a deep breath as he prepared himself for the questions he knew they’d ask.
   “Where is he?” Ryan wondered.
   “He’s with Andi and my mum in town, I think. They were all out before I woke up, so I’m not entirely sure though. I also don’t really know all the details but they’re apparently being taken to a temporary home before they move on to their aunts.”
   “Their aunt Marian? I love her, she gave me home-made fudge for my birthday once,” Courtney said hopefully. Mike shook his head, doubtful as he did so as he wasn’t entirely sure. He hadn’t wanted to know, due to being angry that they hadn’t been able to stay with his family, and so hadn’t asked.
   “I think it’s with his other aunt, they’re still trying to track down his sister from what I’ve heard too, so I’ve asked someone else to see if they can get hold of her in America.”
   Mike then sat in silence, listening as they discussed the best way of contacting. The only indication that he was paying attention, was to nod when they asked if they were gathering everyone for the funeral.

{~}

   Andi stepped out of the car and looked out onto the perfectly manicured lawn, and sighed sadly. It simply didn’t make sense to either of them that they couldn’t stay with Mike and his parents until their aunt arrived, but what else could they do?
   The house in front of them wasn’t what he had expected, although that wasn’t hard. Neither of them had asked about it, other than what time they would have to be there. Other than a rather ominous first impression, it was a well looked after building.
   The single story building was surrounded by flowers and trees in full bloom, which made Andi frown a little as he remembered how his mother had loved gardening too.

   Gregg shifted his hair slightly, so that the wound on his head was hidden slightly and opened the car door on the other side. Raye was by his side within moments, trying to help as he reached for his shoulder bag that was beside him.
   “I’m alright,” he halfheartedly stated, not quite believing himself as he spoke.
   Andi glanced at the two of them and walked around the outside of the car to the boot, and peered inside.
   There were three suitcases in all, two smaller ones and a slightly bigger one which had the majority of their clothes in. He picked the first one out without a word and began to reach for the next when he heard someone approaching.
   “Raye, I’m glad you made it okay,” a woman said as she neared the three of them.
   “Traffic was horrible on the way over, I they’re doing more clear up work in the town centre,” she explained.
   “Ah, that would be why you were a little late, I was starting to wonder.”
   “Gregg, Andi-” Raye began as she indicated to them both. “This is Caroline, she will be looking after you until your aunt Tabitha arrives, and we can sort out your living arrangements after.”
   Gregg stood up painfully and gave her a brief smile, which she returned somewhat gratefully.
   “I’m so sorry for your loss,” she said sympathetically.
   Gregg immediately looked away and gazed at the floor, wondering as he did so how many people would say it throughout their lives.
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8
Phoenix Chronicles / :Chapter six: A temporary beginning.
« on: March 11, 2019, 12:21:51 PM »
   Andi stood outside the room as he battled with the decision of whether to leave or stay. Every ache in his body was screaming at him to go back inside the room a little later, to let Gregg calm down before he tried to speak to him once more. But there was also a small part of him that wanted to just go back to Mike’s house and avoid the situation and confrontation entirely.
   He swallowed as he tried to bury the emotions that were threatening to surface, and searched up and down the corridor. Emma and Brendan were no where in sight, and he slid his hands into his pockets-to give himself something to do, not because they were cold.
   The door creaked quietly open beside him, and he felt Michelle place her hand gently on his shoulder.
   “Can you spare a few minutes to talk?” she asked him calmly. Andi nodded in reply, and followed her down the hallway to the waiting room.

   Once inside, she motioned for him to sit on one of the comfortable large sofas to one side, as she herself opposite him.
   “Gregg was just surprised to see you,” she said quietly. “I really wouldn’t take it personally, he’s had a rough time here.”
   “I tried saying sorry, I really didn’t think about why he wanted to tell me about our parents until today.”
   “You being here with him would have helped, but he’s been having issues I doubt you would have been able to do much about,” she said as she leant forward. “I think what happened has hit him personally,”
   “Like, physically?” Andi asked. Michelle shook her head, and frowned slightly as she thought.
   “No, I think he’s finding it hard to deal with it all, it’s-” she said pausing for a moment. “It’s almost as if he’s blaming himself right now.”
   “But why? It wasn’t his fault.”
   “I wish I knew Andi, I really do. Listen, we’ve been trying to get ahold of your sister. I know Raye has been asking for contact details but as the number we have isn’t working, I was wondering if it was the right one?”
   “It is, she just hasn’t had much luck with her phone right now,” he explained.
   “Is there any other way you can think of we can try and let her know what’s going on?”
   “Not really,” Andi replied honestly.
   “Okay, well you’ll let us know if you think of anything won’t you?”
   “Of course,” he nodded.
   Michelle then stood up to leave, seemingly satisfied with his answers. As soon as she was about to leave though, Andi stood up suddenly, causing her to turn back around to face him.

   A few moments passed in silence, where Andi tried to gather the nerve to ask what he was thinking. After that, he took a step towards her and rested his hand on his mothers necklace underneath his t-shirt.
   “Is he okay?”
   “In what way?” Michelle asked.
   “I saw the cast on his leg, and his arms,” he thought aloud.
   “The bandages came off on his arms only this morning, most of the cuts are healing but the bruises are still going to bother him for a little while.”
   “Is he hurt anywhere else?”
   “There are some nasty bruises on his ribcage and stomach, some of them were making it painful for him to breathe initially but they’ve started to clear up now. There is also a nasty gash on his forehead, you probably saw the dressing there.”
   “I did,” Andi confirmed. “Is he okay other than that though? I mean, did he have to have any operations?”
   “No, he was fairly lucky considering. His leg will take the longest to heal, he’ll need to come back in around five weeks to remove the cast so he’ll be on crutches until then.”
   “Okay,” he said as he tried to calm down. He had wanted to ask Gregg personally how he was doing, but it didn’t seem likely that he would want to talk about his situation with him right now.
   “If he doesn’t stress himself out too much, or injure himself further, he should be able to leave tomorrow. Do you have anywhere you can stay?”
   “I’ve been staying with Mike’s parents since the accident, my parents wrote in their will that if we couldn’t stay with family then we were to stay with them. I didn’t know where else to go, so I just stayed with them.”
   “Well I’m sure Raye will figure something out soon,” said reassuringly. “She may not seem like the nicest person right now but she really does try to do the right thing.”
   “We’ll see I guess,” Andi sighed.
   “I need to head back, will you be okay here on your own? The canteen isn’t too far away if you’re hungry.”
   “I’ll be okay,” he assured her. “What makes you so sure I’ll stay though?”
   Michelle smiled and laughed gently.
   “I don’t know, but I’m hoping you will.” She replied, leaving the room shortly after.

-

   Andi stood outside the door that Gregg was behind, battling with himself as he questioned his next move. Emma and Brendan had gone home hours beforehand, and he was completely on his own just as he had been earlier on in the day.
   The evening had rolled around slowly, with the night sky gradually creeping in. Still, he had waited, wavering on the verge of wanting to avoid the potential argument that would happen, and needing to be by his brothers side.
   Nervously, he clutched onto the toy that he had purchased in the hospital gift shop, and squeezed it gently. The little raccoon didn’t protest, and went back to it’s original shape moments later.
   He sighed and reached for the door handle, holding onto it tightly as panic spread throughout. As he paused, he noticed that the lights inside the room were turned off. Maybe Gregg was sleeping?

   Michelle approached him slowly, carrying a thin blanket and a pillow in her arms. As her shift had ended, she had changed into a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, which was why Andi didn’t agknowledge her as she stood beside him straight away.
   “I checked on him a little while ago, he was resting then,” she said calmly. He glanced beside him, smiling awkwardly as he relaxed a little.
   “I never left you know,” he said as he turned away once more. “I couldn’t.”
   “I hoped you wouldn’t,” Michelle admitted. “He really hasn’t been doing well here on his own.”
   “I tried apologising, but he wouldn’t listen.”
   “A brother’s bond is stronger than you realise, he may be hurt but he’ll never leave your side. You two are a team,”
   “My mum said that once,” Andi said sadly.
   “And she was right, are you going inside?” she asked. He nodded slowly as he took a deep breath,  leaving Michelle to smile and pass the bedding over to him. “If you need anything, you can ask for Hannah or Henry, they’ve been looking after Gregg and are doing a late shift tonight.”
   Andi nodded and slid both the pillow and blanket under his arm. Just as Michelle was about to turn away though, she stopped and spoke once more.
   “Andi,” she began. He turned to face her once more, as he felt the need to listen intently to what she was about to say. “You and Gregg need to be in this together from now on. The next stage of your lives without your parents is going to be tough. So you need to be in this together from the beginning, you need to listen to each other and trust each other completely. Everything around you will be changing yes, so you two need to be facing it on as one. This is going to be hard enough on you both on your own, so don’t make it harder than it has to be.”
   Michelle concluded with a stern expression, which made Andi frown as he realised she was right.

   He turned the door handle slowly, and as quietly as he could, as he tried to make sure he wasn’t disturbing his brother at all. As he crept in, he could see a faint glow that was streaming through the window, which illuminated the room in a muted glow.
   Andi closed the door behind him, and made his way over to the chairs and sat down staring at Gregg as he slept. He was frowning, and shuffling around occasionally, grimmacing with his eyes closed. As he was unsure if he should wake him, he glanced down at the racoon teddy that he had picked up and placed the bedding on the floor.
   He took a deep breath, and stepped forward a few steps to be beside Gregg’s bedside and placed the soft toy under his arm.
   Gregg awoke straight away, but opened his eyes gradually. Upon seeing Andi’s face, he winced and shifted so he was lying on his side facing him.
   “Sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you,” Andi said quietly.
   “I didn’t think you’d come back,” Gregg shrugged, looking at the gift his brother had brought him.
   Andi frowned, had Gregg hoped that he had left him after all?
   “I never actually left the hospital,” he replied. “I left the room because you wanted me out, but I stayed here.”
   “Oh,” Gregg glanced at Andi and the chairs behind him and back to the racoon. “Are you staying here?” he asked.
   “I was hoping too,” Andi replied awkwardly. “I can go if you really want me too though.”
   Gregg shook his head slightly, but it was enough for Andi to relax enough to wrap his arms around and give his brother a hug.
   “I thought you’d left me again,” Gregg whispered to him. “I don’t like being alone.”
   “I only left because you told me too, I wanted to stay. I’m sorry,” Andi apologised once more as he pulled away.
   “I’m sorry too,” Gregg admitted. “I was just upset earlier-”
   “-I get it, you don’t have to explain.”
   “The raccoon’s pretty cool, thank you.”
   Andi grinned and pulled up one of the chairs as Gregg looked on.
   “You can buy little accessories for him in the shop, bandages and first aid stuff. I was tempted to get a leg cast for the little guy,” he joked. Gregg shook his head and chuckled, picking up the raccoon’s little legs as he did so.
   “It’s not a good look, I’m not sure he’d suit it to be honest,” Gregg said grudgingly. “He’d have to have the crutches to go along too to help him walk.”
   “I thought raccoons walked on all fours?” Andi thought aloud. Gregg nodded in reply and pointed to the window.
   “This guy’s different,” he said smiling slightly. “There’s a pull out sofa bed over there if you want to sleep, it’ll be more comfortable than those chairs.”
   Andi nodded and immediately stood up to get ready to sleep, he did so without another word, as when he turned back to pick up the blanket he saw that Gregg was asleep once more.

{~}

   Jewel awoke the next morning, restless but also excited. Her bed had already been taken to her new home, along with most of their furniture, and so she was reduced to sleeping on a pile of pillows from their sofa in what used to be her room.
   It was a long drive to the new building, so an early start was in order. Usually having to wake up didn’t bother her all too much, but today was different. She hadn’t slept well, as she had worried that there wouldn’t be enough time to pack the last of her things before they had to set off.
   Sighing, she gathered what she could carry and carefully placed them in the last box that her mother, Ava, had given her the night before. There wasn’t much to put inside after the cushions were out of the way, and her wash bag was packed, still she worried.
   She combed her long blonde hair, tying it up and placing it into a messy bun that rested just above her neck, and tried to ready herself for the move.
   It would take them several hours to drive at least, music and pit stops along the way were going to be important to avoid getting bored.

{~}

   Gregg stepped outside the hospital, with Andi, and gazed at the sky. Even with the crutches he was finding it hard to balance, although that wasn’t the thing that was going through his mind as he stood waiting for Jennifer to catch up with them.
   It was because he couldn’t believe that the weather had turned so drastically the night that he had arrived. Now as he stood outside, he almost couldn’t believe that it had been so damaging to everything that it touched.
   “Are you okay?” Andi asked as he knelt down to tie his shoe lace.
   “I’m fine,” Gregg lied as he struggled to piece together the last few days inside his mind.
   Jennifer tapped him gently on the shoulder, and he spun around to see her carrying a bag.
   “You left some things behind,” she smiled as she indicated what she was holding.
   “I’ll take them,” Andi offered. Jennifer handed it to him, and he peered inside for a moment before taking out a seeled envelope.
   “Can you open it for me?” Gregg asked him. Andi nodded, and peeled away the backing so that Gregg could see what was inside.
   Andi pulled out their fathers necklace, with wedding band still attached. He stepped forward straight away, and motioned for Gregg to lower himself a little so he could place the chain around his neck.

   Gregg, who was taller than Andi by almost a head in height, did so carefully as he kept an eye on the envelope. Something else was inside it, but he couldn’t work out what it could be.
   As soon as the clasp was secure, he reached out to see what it was, only to almost drop what it was when he saw it.
   Andi caught the pocket watch with both hands before it hit the floor, and breathed a sigh of relief.
   “How-?” he wondered aloud.
   “Dad-” Gregg began. “He asked me to look after something but wouldn’t let me see what it was. He slid it into my pocket, I completely forgot about it until now.”
   “Well, you’d better look after it then,” Andi said as he bit his lip gently. He then placed it safely in Gregg’s pocket, and placed the now empty piece of paper into the bin beside him.

-

   Gregg awoke later in Mike’s bed, in the late afternoon, to hear people talking downstairs. His friend’s bedroom was cool, with a refreshing breeze that was drifting through the open window to his right. He sat up slowly, and slid the pocket watch out to inspect it closer.
   Both Mike and Jennifer had insisted that he were to sleep on the bed, refusing to accept that he would be okay on the floor or pull out guest bed that they rarely used. Although grateful, Gregg did feel a little strange doing so.
   The silver metal was cold in his hands as he held it, but it didn’t bother him. He smiled instead, opening the clasp and watching the hands tick on perfectly in time from when he had wound it up from earlier on in the day.
   On the inside, he could see the individual cogs that helped the little piece of machinery to run smoothly, and he found himself transfixed as he stared at them.
   Facing the dial and hands, were words that he had chosen to be engraved for his fathers birthday three years earlier.
   ‘Our time together is just never quite enough. From Adalyn, Gregg and Andi.’
   Gregg closed his eyes as he clasped it shut once more, and fought the urge to turn it over and look at the secret compartment that hid something that his father refused to let him see until now. Instead he slid it once more into his pocket for safe keeping, and slid his legs over the side of the bed.

   The crutches that he was using to support himself were just within reach, so he wouldn’t have to stretch too far. It was however painful to lean upon them, especially as several of the cuts on his arm were still healing, which Gregg knew he had to bare as it was the only way he was going to be able to move around for a long while.
   He reached out for them and stood up gradually as he tried to make out what was going on downstairs, and carefully made his way into the hall.
   As he started to descend the stairs, Andi appeared in the doorway and made his way up a few of the steps to meet him.
   “Raye is here,” he said quietly. “She managed to get through to aunt Tabitha, she’s apparently going to take us in.”
   “I’m not sure if that’s good news or not,” Gregg mumbled.
   “Me either, I think Jennifer was hoping that we would stay with her as we don’t really know her all that much.”
   “She’s dad’s step-sister isn’t she? Mum always said they didn’t see eye to eye.”
   “That could be just a family thing though, I know we don’t usually,” Andi pointed out. “Anyway, she wants to talk about what’s going to happen next. I wanted to wait until you were awake first though.”
   Gregg smiled weakly and reached the bottom of the stairs just as Andi disappeared into the kitchen momentarily. He reappeared with a drink, which he took into the sitting-room and placed beside an empty seat.

   Gregg sat down beside it, taking a deep breath as he agknowledged Raye sitting at the other end of the room with paperwork once again in front of her.
   “Has Andi told you we have managed to track down your aunt-” she began.
   “-He has,” Gregg replied. “So you haven’t managed to get through to Adalyn or our aunt Marian at all?”
   “Unfortunately not no,” Raye frowned. Gregg and Andi looked to one another, wondering what this would mean for them both.
   “So, what happens now?” Jennifer asked.
   “They have asked that you both move to a temporary home until they are able to travel some time next week.”
   “Why can’t we stay here? It doesn’t make sense to move somewhere, and then again a few days later,” Andi asked.
   “I know it sounds strange, especially as they have listed Jennifer and Charlie as people to look after you both in their will if family can’t be contacted, but-” Raye paused. “-Considering they are willing to take you in, we feel it will be best to respect their wishes.”
   Gregg laughed out loud, causing everyone to stop and stare at him,
   “I’m sorry, but considering what’s happened, wouldn’t it make more sense to leave us here? I can barely walk at the moment, so why do we have to move twice because family we haven’t seen in years have asked us too?”
   “It’s just what they’ve asked of you two,” Raye replied.
   “Well when are they expecting them to move into this half way house?” Jennifer asked her.
   “Not a half way home, a temporary shelter between stays. I’ve made arrangements for the boys to travel today-”
   “-Today?” Gregg snapped. “Come on, we haven’t even been home to collect any of our clothes yet.”
   “Really? I would have thought that would have been the first thing you would have-”
   “-There were more important things to think about,” Andi cut in.
   Raye paused for a moment as she stared at Andi, collecting her thoughts as she did so.
   “Yes,” she spoke after a while. “I can’t change the plans now, they’re expecting you.”
   “This is a joke,” Andi laughed as he stormed out of the room.
   “Gregg, I know we may have stepped on each others toes when we first met-”
   “-You’re right there, but you’re certainly doing nothing to change my opinion of you,” he stated. Then sighing, he stood up and followed his brother upstairs once more.

-

   On the landing, he walked past Mike’s room where Andi was talking on the phone, and waited outside Heather’s bedroom. After knocking three times, he leant against the wall and listened as she shuffled around her room.
   Mike’s older sister answered the door after a few moments, and instantly gave Gregg a hug which he promptly returned. Her dark brown hair was down for a change, and flowing effortlessly over her left shoulder. He smiled weakly as he welcomed the affection, relishing in the warmth of her arms wrapped around his shoulders.
   “Mum asked me to keep an eye on your cuts whilst you were here, do you want me to check any over?” she asked as she pulled away slowly.
   Gregg thought for a moment and nodded, there was one that he was slightly concerned about.
   “On my right shoulder blade,” he said nodding. “Michelle covered it this morning but it’s still stinging a little when I move.”
   “I’ll get the first aid kit,” she said as she shuffled towards the bathroom.

   Gregg stepped inside her room and sat down on the footstool beside her bed. As he waited, he gazed around at the posters covering the walls. They were all images of musicians, apart from one just above her bed.
   “My dad took that photo on our last family holiday,” Heather explained. “It’s one of the few pictures we have with the five of us.”
   “I was just surprised to see it that’s all,” Gregg smiled weakly once more.
   The enlarged photograph that he continued to gaze upon, was of the Halo household five years ago. Heather was sitting beside a ten-year-old Mike and their parents, with a six-year-old little girl waving excitedly behind them all.
   “I know, mum and dad have their own way of dealing with Rosie’s death. Most of the pictures of her are hidden away in albums, it’s a shame really,” Heather admitted.
   Gregg turned so he was facing away from her, and lifted his t-shirt so she could look at the wound on his back easier.
   “Does Mike talk about her much?” he asked her.
   “Not as much as he used too,” she replied. “He mentions her occasionally, but he was rather young at the time, I’m not sure how much he remembers of her to be honest.”
   Heather then peeled the dressing away, and Gregg winced a little.
   “How does it look?”
   “It’s been bleeding a little, and it looks a little inflamed.”
   “Sleeping’s going to be fun then,” Gregg sighed as he rolled his eyes.
   Heather said nothing in return, as she instead focused her attention on gathering another dressing and supplies out of the medical box beside her.
   She worked in silence, cleaning the wound and covering it the best she could. When she was finished though, she wished that she could do more. Many of the bruises were only just starting to show signs of disappearing, especially the ones covering Gregg’s rib cage.
   “Does it hurt to breathe?” she asked him. “It really looks as though it does.”
   Gregg slid his t-shirt on once more, with Heather’s help, and nodded slightly.
   “A little,” he admitted. “The pain isn’t as bad as it used to be though, I was more worried about my leg then so I didn’t really pay attention to much else until they put a cast around it.”
   “So you’ve had trouble sleeping I bet, did they give you any pain killers or anything to help?”
   “The first night wasn’t actually that bad,” Gregg thought aloud. “It was the morning and days after where I really felt what happened. All the swelling showed up then, and most of the bruising on my legs and chest.”
   Heather wrapped her arms around Gregg, pulling him into yet another cuddle. He chuckled sadly and turned around to face her once more, as he hugged her back once more.
   
-

   To pass the time before they knew they were going to be asked to leave, Gregg and Andi decided to sit and watch movies in Mike’s bedroom, where they all sat in silence.
   Even though the door was ajar, they still all jumped a little as Jennifer knocked upon it.
   “Mum! you scared us,” Mike announced as he recovered slightly.
   “Sorry boys,” she said smiling gently.
   “Is it time to leave?” Gregg asked, without looking up.
   “Actually no,” Jennifer said as she leant against the wall. “I had a word with Raye after you went back upstairs.”
   “Oh?” Andi wondered.
   “You do still need to go to the temporary placement, but tomorrow instead. And after we’ve gone into town to pick you out a few things.” Jennifer explained. “As soon as we can get ahold of Adeline and your aunt Marian, she’s asked that you go to your parents place though.”
   “So we’re staying here tonight?” Andi confirmed.
   “Yes, so you’d better think of what you want for dinner because I need to start cooking it.”
   “Anything that isn’t hospital food,” Gregg joked quietly.
   Jennifer grinned and rolled her eyes playfully.
   “I think I can manage that,” she joked as she left the room.

{~}

   Jewel sighed peacefully as she lay back on her bed, smiling as the day was almost over. Although many of the boxes had yet to arrive due to a small delay during transit, the rest had either been unpacked or were waiting to be.
   All of the beds though, were the main pieces of furniture that had been set up and ready specifically so that her whole family could relax after the big move.
   She closed her eyes, finally happy that the journey was over, and nervous about starting a new school.
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9
Phoenix Chronicles / :Chapter five: An uncertain future.
« on: March 08, 2019, 04:50:35 PM »
   Emma took a deep breath and sighed as she stood staring at the sympathy cards for sale in front of her. No one close to her had passed away before, and so she wasn’t sure which one to get. A simple design? One with a poem? One with or without glitter? Flowers? Maybe she should just settle for a ‘thinking of you’ one. She sighed, realising she would likely encounter the same issue picking that card out too.
   Brendan was meant to be meeting her in the town, so far though, he was running a little late. She hoped that he would be able to help her chose when he arrived, whenever that was.

   In defeat, she decided to wait for him outside the shop. It was a surprisingly nice day, considering only a few days before the storm had destroyed a lot of the town centre. The sunshine was warm as she stepped outside once more, with a cool breeze which made her smile briefly.
   It lifted her side fringe slightly as she walked over to the benches in the middle of the high-street, which she peacefully sat down upon.
   After a few moments, she pulled her legs in towards her chest and wrapped her arms around so they touched her bare skin. Shorts had been an obvious choice to wear despite the weather, it had been chilly as she had set out just over an hour before hand but it was warming up nicely as the day wore on.
   As she thought about Brendan, she traced the faint intricate designs of the fabric she was wearing that faded just above her knee. Just how long was he going to be?
   She looked up and down the high-street and rolled her eyes with slight annoyance. He was never usually late meeting up, then again quite a few things had changed since the storm had hit. This could be one of them, although she hoped it wasn’t.

   Emma then glanced down at her arms, and moved the blue cardigan that was covering her wrists to check the time. It was getting close to lunch, where all the shops would become surprisingly busy for two hours, and she was hoping to visit Gregg one last time before he was discharged.
   Up until now she had avoided calling him to find out where he was, he had let her know not long before hand that he was on his way. She just never found out how far that was before the signal cut out. He could turn up any minute, so was it worth turning her music player on to ease the boredom?
   She signed once more, and began to reach through her shoulder bag that was resting against her legs. There was a notepad and small number of pens for when she had the urge to randomly draw things, along with her purse and a small drink. She pulled out the water bottle slowly, even though she wasn’t actually thirsty. It was to give her something to do as she waited, however long it would be.

{~}

   Even though he was close, Brendan was aware of how late he was running. Constant, small problems had made his morning turn into a stressful blur. Connor hadn’t helped the situation either, adding his own issues on top of his. And, although he was happy to help his twin, by the end he was starting to feel like it was a one sided effort.
   He rushed down the street towards Emma, there were now only two roads separating himself from the town centre and he was determined to make the waiting up to her. As he sped up, the breeze lifted his hair away from his face, revealing his cool blue eyes as it did so. It was the only difference  that he and his brother shared, as he had soft brown.
   As he waited for the traffic light to turn green so that he could cross, he took his phone out of his pocket to check the time-and how late he was running and covered his face with his hands in disbelief. He was supposed to be with Emma almost an hour ago, how had time passed so quickly?
   The siren blared next to him, indicating that it was safe to walk across- and he did so running. He hadn’t meant to keep her waiting, and only hoped that she was still around.

   He made his way down the high-street, hopeful that Emma was still where she said she had been when he had phoned her. It hadn’t been that long ago, but he wouldn’t blame her if she had moved onto somewhere else.
   The middle of the town was split like a cross junction, with shops placed on each branch. Brendan made his way down one of them, looking everywhere he could to see if he could see her as he did so. Though as he turned to walk down another, he stopped and changed directions.
   Walking, not too far away from him as he left a newsagents, was Andi.
   Without thinking, he slid his phone back out and immediately redialled Emma’s number. She answered straight away, clearly expecting a call.
   “Are you close?” she asked hopefully.
   “I am, I’m in town now actually. Can you come back up too Robertson’s?”
   “I can,” she said pausing. “But why? Are you hungry or something?”
   “Yes, but that’s not why,” he said smiling slightly. “Andi’s here,” he explained.
   “I’ll be right there,” Emma assured him. After hearing the dial tone, he hung up and made his way over to Andi who was now starting to walk further away from him.

   Within a few moments, he had caught up with his friend, and had placed a hand on his shoulder.
   Andi spun around straight away, relaxing slightly when he saw Brendan in front of him.
   “Are you okay?”
   “Everyone keeps asking me that,” Andi replied slowly, but with an annoyed undertone.
   “We’re all just worried about you that’s all,” Brendan offered.
   “I know, and it’s nice and all-but still,” he paused to see Emma walking towards them both.
   “Do you know how Gregg is doing?” she asked as she neared.
   “No, I don’t,” Andi replied.
   “Oh? How come?” Brendan asked.
   “Because I haven’t seen him, and I don’t want too.”
   “Andi!” Emma gasped. “Why? He’s your brother-”
   “-I know he’s my brother. I never said he wasn’t-” Andi rolled his eyes and looked away.

   Brendan and Emma glanced to one another, unsure of what to say next. Did Andi really not care about Gregg any more?
   “I guess what Emma is trying to say, is that she’s just surprised you haven’t been to see him considering,” Brendan said quietly.
   “Considering what? That he kept something from me?”
   “I don’t think that’s what happened Andi, I really don’t.”
   “And what would you know hmm?” Andi asked as he questioned her.
   “I know you,” Emma said flatly. “And I know him. I know you two more than you know, so stop making me feel like I don’t. We’ve been friends since we were five years old Andi, you don’t get to push me around and talk to me the way you are because you have managed to read a situation wrong.”
   “Emma-” he began.
   “-No.” She said as she interrupted. “Just don’t. You don’t get to backtrack on this conversation, but you do need to explain. Gregg is your family, and after what happened you need to be with him. So why aren’t you?”
   “If he’s family, then why try and hide the fact that our parents died?”
   Emma took a step back for a moment to collect her thoughts before she spoke. When she did though, it was in a tone that she had used only once before hand. Her voice became solemn and quiet as the sadness in her heart overwhelmed her body.
   “He wasn’t trying to hide it, he was trying to protect you.”
   “How could he protect me from it? I was going to find out eventually.”
   “I know that, everyone knows that. But you aren’t listening to me, like you weren’t listening to Gregg the last time you were together that night.”
   “What do you mean?” Brendan asked curiously.
   “I mean,” Emma sighed and took a deep breath. “I know that whoever told you would not be able to change the situation, that it wouldn’t make it any less devastating or life changing.”
   “Right,” Andi agreed. “It wouldn’t have, no.”
   “Andi, are you really saying that you would have preferred to hear the news from a complete stranger? From someone that neither you or Gregg knew? From someone that didn’t love you?” Emma took a deep breath as she wiped tears away from her eyes. And hoped, as she did so that Andi was actually listening too her. “Gregg was protecting you, he cared enough to tell you the hardest news that anyone should ever hear, even after watching it all happen in front of him. So tell me, why aren’t you with him right now? Because if it was my sister, I wouldn’t have left her side.”
   “I-I don’t know,” Andi replied quietly after a few moments of silence.
   “Well it’s about time you did, he’s been on his own pretty much since that night. And that isn’t fair,” She concluded.
   “No, it isn’t,” Brendan agreed. “We were going to head over today if you want to tag along with us though?” he offered.
   Andi nodded in reply as he didn’t trust himself to speak any further. Emma was right, and he had made a foolish mistake thinking that Gregg had tried to deliberately hurt him.

-

   They arrived at the hospital, after having lunch, and walked up to the reception in silence. Emma smiled at Hannah as they approached, a gesture which she returned straight away.
   “You’re becoming a regular here,” the nurse chuckled quietly.
   “I guess I am,” Emma replied sadly. “It’s a shame under the circumstances really. Is Gregg still in the same room?”
   “He is indeed, are you okay making your way there?”
   “We are,” She assured Hannah. “Thank you though,” she continued as she turned away to wave.
   After a brief pause, Andi took a deep breath and linked his left arm through Emma’s right.
   “I’m sorry for being an idiot,” he said apologetically. “I should have known what Gregg was trying to do.”
   Emma stopped walking straight away and looked beside her, Andi was looking directly at her with a glisten in both of his eyes. She smiled and bit her lip as it started to quiver with sadness once more. Fighting the urge to cry, she wrapped her arms around his shoulders, reassuring him as she did so that it was okay.

{~}

   Gregg rolled his eyes, feeling yet another wave of frustration flow throughout his body as he repeated himself for what seemed like the countless time.
   “I am not talking about my future without Andi here,” he said to Raye.
   “I have been trying to talk to him, but every time I have gone to Mike’s house to see him, he’s been out.”
   “I really don’t know what you expect me to do about that,” he laughed. “I’m not allowed to leave until tomorrow at the earliest, what makes you think I can bring him here when I can barely stand right now?”
   “Gregg-”
   “-I’m sorry, but I just don’t get why you’re telling me this. I haven’t seen him since Monday, and it’s now Thursday. I’m not a wizard, I can’t just wave a magic wand or summon him here. It’s like you think I enjoy going through this same conversation every day or something.”
   Gregg shook his head in disbelief and ran his hands over some of the cuts covering his arms. The bandages had been removed for the last time only that morning, and he now only had dressings to cover where the larger wounds were.
   “I need to tell you where you’ll be staying when you leave though Gregg, you know that-”
   “-Seriously?” Gregg growled. “I know you need to do your job Raye, I’m not doubting that for a second but this is silly. I’m really not comfortable talking about this without my brother here, so please just-” he sighed with annoyance once more and shook his head.
   Just then though the door opened slowly, which he then focused his attention on. Brendan walked through first, then Emma. They both glanced between Raye and Gregg, wondering if they should leave so they could talk in private for a moment.
   Gregg, grateful for the distraction, waved them both over to sit down. They did so smiling, although Emma gave him a hug before she settled in one of the uncomfortable chairs.
   After a few seconds of awkwardness, she then turned to her left to see the light streaming through the gap that they had just walked through.
   “Is something wrong?” Gregg asked. Shaking her head, she stood up and readied herself to see where Andi had gone.
   “No, she was just wondering what was taking me so long,” Andi replied nervously as he stepped inside.
   “I’m sorry, and you are?” Raye asked. Gregg stared at him, wondering as he did so what he would say next, and if he would apologise for not visiting.
   “I’m Andi, Gregg’s brother,” he replied.
   “Right, finally,” she sighed with relief. “I need to speak to you both, is that okay now or-?”
   “Now that Andi’s here, yes.” Gregg looked away. Unable to hide the hurt any longer, he forced himself to focus on something else.
   Andi sat at the end of the bed, unsure of what to expect or say any further. He had never upset his brother this badly before, so he wasn’t sure how to put things right between them.

   Raye reached down beside the chair that she was sitting on, and pulled out a folder with many pieces of paper in. As she sat upright once more, she placed them on top of the hospital bed in front of her so she could spread them out a little.
   “Andi, I’m Raye-your social worker,” she said as she introduced herself.
   “I kind of figured, Jennifer kept saying there was a social worker coming around to visit me,” Andi replied. She waved his comment along, giving the impression to them all that she just wanted to get to the main conversation, and reason for her visit.
   “Do you know where Adalyn is right now? I’m talking about your sister here,”
   “I figured that much,” Gregg sighed. “She’s living in America until the end of October.”
   “I thought it was until January,” Andi thought aloud.
   “And you have two aunt’s yes?”
   “Marian and Tabitha,” Gregg confirmed.
   “Our Aunt Marian is visiting Adalyn right now though,” Andi said as he turned to face Raye directly.
   “That will be why I’ve been having trouble contacting them, is her partner with her?”
   “And our cousin, yes.” Gregg answered.
   “Okay,” Raye thought aloud. “Do you have a contact number for Adalyn? Maybe we can try and phone her?”
   “I doubt it,” Gregg sighed. “She was having issues with the phone company before the storm hit, mum was trying to phone her the night before we left.”
   “And your aunt Tabitha?”
   “I don’t know, we haven’t seen her since we started secondary school. My dad didn’t really get along with her, I think they had an argument the last time they spoke,” Andi replied.
   “Okay,” Raye said quietly. She then took out a pen and started to make notes on a sheet of paper.
   A few minutes of silence later, Raye then packed all the paperwork together once more and stood up.
   “I’ll come back a little later when I have a little news, hopefully I’ll be able to track someone down for you both,” she said in a firm, but almost happy tone.

   Raye left the four of them alone moments later, leaving the atmosphere thick with tension as she did so.
   Knowing that Gregg and Andi needed to talk things over, Brendan stood up, and reached out for Emma’s hand.
   “We’ll be back in a minute,” he said as she shot him a confused expression. Gregg sighed sadly and nodded in understanding towards them, leaving them to walk out without another word.
   For the first time since the accident, Andi and Gregg were alone. The difference this time around, was that night, Gregg had wanted-and needed him to be there. Now, almost three days had passed. Most of which, he had been by himself.
   Andi turned to face his brother once more, to find him struggling to reach for a glass of water on the side. He immediately stood up, but Gregg shook his head and waved him away.
   “Don’t,” he growled.
   “I was just trying to help,” Andi sad sadly.
   “Why? You haven’t been here to help me before, why start-”
   “-I made a mistake,” Andi said as he bit the inside of his mouth gently.
   Gregg turned away, hiding his face completely as tears of anger and confusion started to flow down his cheeks once more.
   “Yes, and so did I. I should have just let someone else tell you-” he began.
   “-No, Gregg-No. I was wrong, I’m sorry. I should never have left the way I did, I should have stayed with you.”
   “Well you did didn’t you,” he spat. Gregg then turned to face Andi, his face contorted with so many emotions that he had been trying to shield and deal with on his own. “You walked away, you didn’t care. Why is it a surprise that I now don’t?”
   “Gregg, I’m sorry-” Andi said quietly.
   Gregg sat bolt upright, pulling out the cables and tubes that were attached to his arms as he did so.
   “Sorry?” he shouted. He swung his legs over the bed and tried to stand, only to find that his fractured leg was too weak and unstable to support his body weight without support. “Sorry?” he cried. “You left me here alone!”
   Gregg leant on the bed as he took the few steps separating them both and pushed Andi as hard as he could out of the way. Which wasn’t very much, as pain was starting to spread throughout his body once more.

   Andi stood up and backed away a few steps as he watched Gregg collapse in an exhausted lump on the floor. Just as he was about to move closer and help him up, Gregg shook his head violently and looked away once more.
   “Go,” he said quietly, “just go.”
   “I’m not leaving you alone-” Andi began.
   “-Go!” Gregg shouted. “I don’t want you here! Just go away!”
   “Whoa, what’s going on here?” Michelle asked as she rushed in. “Gregg, you still need to be in bed sweetie.” She made her way calmly to him, and gave Andi a reassuring smile as she passed.
   “I’m fine,” Gregg growled with defiance.
   “Oh, I know you are,” she said as she helped him lie back on the bed once more. “You’ve been a really good patient up until now, what happened?”
   “I have an unwanted visitor,” he replied.
   Andi hung his head and found himself walking towards the door in silence. Michelle, upon seeing him edging away, quickly walked over to him and placed her hand on his shoulder.
   “Just let him calm down for a moment, don’t leave. He really does need you,” she said only loud enough for him to hear. He slowly nodded his head, understanding but not quite believing her words, he left unsure of what to do next.
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10
Phoenix Chronicles / :Chapter four: Battling authority
« on: March 07, 2019, 11:27:17 AM »
   Gregg held his breath and closed his eyes. Out of all the scenarios he had played out in his mind, he had never expected Andi to react the way he had done. As he started doubting whether he made the right choice or not, he began to question just how long it would take for him to return.
   He was stubborn and defiant, but was also easily hurt emotionally. It was because of his nature, that predicting just how long it took for Andi to cool down varied depending on the reason.
   So many questions and fears were going through Gregg’s mind, all were left unanswered and left to fester as more piled on top.
   ‘Where are we supposed to live now?’
   ‘Who is going to take care of us?’
   ‘Are we going to be able to stay together?’
   ‘Will we have to move?’
   ‘Will we have to leave all our friends behind if we do?’

   In defeat, he opened his eyes once more and gazed down at his body, piecing together all the injuries that he never had before this had all happened. Both his arms were covered in light bandages, from cuts sustained on the impact and the fall when he had first managed to climb out of the car. Although small, they were scattered all over. They mostly gathered on his palms, and hid a multitude of different sized bruises-some of which hadn’t even begun to show.
   His fractured left leg was placed in a protective, but heavy cast, which was covered by a thin blanket. How long did the doctors say he had to wear it? Six weeks or so?
   Gregg frowned and ran his fingers through his hair, immediately feeling along to a small patch on his forehead as he did so. The medical tape holding the dressing tugged at his skin as he winced in pain touching it gently, which caused him to groan and sigh with defeat.
   “Oh,” Jennifer gasped aloud. “Oh my-is it true? It must be. You poor thing,” she thought aloud.
   Gregg avoided eye contact as he shuffled uncomfortably for a moment. Although he had spoken the words aloud, and been there, the whole event still didn’t seem real. How could both of them be gone?
   Unable to escape, he lay in silence with a loss for words. Everything had suddenly become so confusing, and there was no way that he could avoid it all.

{~}

   Panicked and confused, Andi rushed back down the hospital corridor, towards the exit. He had felt the urge-the need to run ever since they had arrived but now there was nothing stopping him from doing so.
   Tears briskly formed as he sped along, hearing annoyed groans as he roughly pushed past people walking the other way. It didn’t stop him though, in a way it made him more determined to be free.

   He reached the set of doors and turned around, several strangers were staring at him. Although they couldn’t place whether he was upset or simply acting out. Most diverted their gaze to pay attention to what they had been gazing at moments before, the rest changed to focus on Mike-who had been following Andi the moment he saw him pass the room they had been waiting in.
   Andi turned on his heels once more, and ran outside into the cool night air. As he did so, he waved his arm briefly, motioning to Mike that he wanted to be alone.

{~}

   He had watched Andi disappear from the family room the nurse had shown them too, and then his mother shortly after. Now Mike was left completely confused, and unsure where to go. Would the doctors let him see Gregg? He concluded that his mother was with him, or was at least looking.
   Then again, it was obvious from the way Andi was acting that he didn’t want to talk about what had happened. Let alone be surrounded by someone who wouldn’t know and be curious to find out.
   Sighing, he turned around and saw a nurse approaching him.
   “Are you okay?” Michelle asked. Mike, unsure of what to say, simply stood and shook his head. “You’re mum is with Gregg,” she confirmed. “Would you like me to take you too them?”
   “Yes please,” he replied rather quietly.
   She nodded in understanding, and motioned for him to follow. He did so somewhat slowly, and somehow unaware of his actions.

   They passed through the same hallways that they had done not so long ago, only this time the patients they passed along the way seemed sad or lost. The storm’s damage had caused many to retreat to safe retreats, or hide away-but it seemed everyone else hadn’t been as lucky.
   He held his breath as he moved, was Gregg really okay? What could have caused Andi to react the way he had done?
   “It’s okay,” he heard his mother saying.
   Michelle pulled the curtain away without a word, allowing Mike to see the scene in front of him. No one had told him what was going on, but as he moved forward to be beside Gregg’s bedside they didn’t need too. He immediately moved to the chair on the other side without a word and sat down. His mother was crying, and was almost clinging for dear life onto Gregg’s left arm.

{~}

   Now somehow aware of his surroundings, Gregg slowly and regretfully lifted his arm and started uncurling the necklaces he had been protecting. Mike and Jennifer looked on in shock, then sadness, as they both realised what it meant.
   He had secretly hoped that Andi would chose which one he wanted to keep, as it would have made his choice someone else’s decision rather than something he had to think about. Now, as he lay them on the blankets covering his bruised and battered body, he realised that he had to be the one to pick.
   His mother’s chain was an obvious choice for Andi to keep. They had both put money in to pay for it for her birthday, he had found it though. His keen eye as they browsed the shops with their father had been the one to spot it first, and had instantly fallen in love with the design.
   He had also been the one to hand it to her on her birthday all those years ago, and grinned when she had smiled for the first time that day warm in bed.
   “You help me to see the colour in the world.” She had remarked proudly as she slid it around her neck.
   All of the different gems shimmered in the morning sunlight, and reflected onto the walls surrounding them all.

   Gregg smiled sadly and picked the necklace up once more, and passed it to Mike.
   “Gregg-” he began.
   “Please, I need you to give it to Andi for me when you see him.”
   “He’ll come back, you’ll be able to give it to him then.”
   Shaking his head, Gregg took a deep breath and sighed.
   “No, he won’t come back here tonight.”
   “I should take you two back home,” Jennifer sighed slowly.
   “No,” Mike shook his head. “I’m staying here with Gregg.”
   “I’m not leaving you here alone.”
   “I won’t be alone mum,” he said defiantly. “I’ll be here with Gregg.”
   Gregg watched on unable to say anything more, and instead focused his attention on one of his closest friends sitting beside him as he slid his mothers necklace on to keep it safe. He then covered it with his clothes and glanced at the curtain at the end of the bed, before turning to his mother once more.
   “Mum, I am not leaving Gregg here alone.”
   Jennifer hung her head gently and nodded in understanding, she didn’t want to leave Gregg either. Andi was worrying her though, and she knew that she needed to find him.
   “I’ll get your dad to come and stay for a while when he gets home, will you two be okay? Do you need anything?”
   “No, we’re fine,” Mike replied. “I’ll call you if there are any problems, just go and find Andi. I saw him running outside, and I’m not sure where he went.”
   Jennifer then stood up and walked around to give Mike, then Gregg a brief hug before assuring them both that she would be back soon.
   “I’ll call your dad as soon as I get home and explain the best I can,” she said as she wiped away a few tears.
   “We’ll be fine mum,” Mike replied nodding. Sighing with defeat, she then slowly walked away leaving the two teenagers alone.
   “Please, find Andi,” Gregg thought as soon as she was out of sight.

{~}

   After a few moments of silence, Mike shifted where he was sitting so he was on the edge of Gregg’s bed. The question that was burning inside him needed to be answered, and he knew that Gregg was the only one who could answer it. The problem arose, where he wasn’t sure if he wanted to know the answer.
   All the clues were there, all he had to do was speak the words.
   He opened his mouth, expecting and hoping something to come out of them. For his voice to fill the silence with hope, instead of lingering on an uncomfortable void between the two of them. Though, after only a few seconds he realised he simply couldn’t do it.
   “You don’t have to say anything,” Gregg said quietly. He glanced up at his friend then, and tried to hide the slight confusion on his face. “I know what you’re wondering, one of the nurses told her and she came straight to see me. So I’m not surprised you’re confused,” Gregg feigned a smile and weaved his fingers together the best that he could.
   The bandages pulled gently against his muscles as he did so, causing him to remember all the damage that his body had endured.
   “Are they both-” Mike began. He then paused, as he realised he couldn’t complete the sentence. “I mean, they have to be okay, right?”
   Gregg shook his head slowly, avoiding eye contact as he did so.
   “No, they aren’t.” he said simply. Unable to say anything once more, Gregg sighed and brought his right hand just in front of his face to inspect it closer. Small traces of blood were starting to trickle through the bandages, and he began to wonder when they would be changed.
   “They can’t be both-” Mike trailed off as he sat completely stunned shaking his head slightly. “I mean, where are you going to live?”
   “America,” Gregg said aloud. “Maybe somewhere near New York? No, somewhere quieter-with snow and a lake I can walk beside in the mornings before school.”
   “Gregg-”
   “Yes?” Gregg stopped looking at his arm, and turned his attention purely at Mike. “Are you saying I can’t dream of living somewhere? I don’t know what is going to happen. All I know right now is that my body hurts all over, that my brother hates me and my parents are-” he then paused to closed his eyes and look away. “Nothing is going to bring them back Mike, nothing.”
   “I just can’t believe it,” Mike wondered aloud. “It just doesn’t seem real, that’s all.”
   “Believe it,” Gregg breathed in deeply once more. “Trust me, I saw it happen.”
   Mike, unsure of how to react, ran his hands through his hair and rested his head upon his palms. Closing his eyes, he sat there in disbelief and shock, unwilling to move away from his friend.

{~}

   Andi awoke the next morning restless and angry, in Mike’s bedroom that he had been trying to sleep in not so long ago. Only this time, he was alone. Jennifer had mentioned to him the night before that Mike had decided to stay with Gregg at the hospital. It was clear from her tone that she wanted a reason to stay with her son, but he shook his head and turned on the spot, and began to walk to the car.
   He didn’t want to believe that his brother would hide something so important from him, they had never hidden anything from each other before now. So why the change? Frustrated and hurt, he just couldn’t face being beside Gregg at the moment. To be constantly reminded of the horrific accident that had left their already small family to become practically obsolete.
   He groaned with pent up emotions, figuring out who in their small family network were left. Would one of them take them in?
   Adalyn, their older sister, would in a heartbeat. Her kind and protective nature had caused her to go down a career path that meant that she was away for long periods in many different countries as she helped animals all over the world.
   The problem about asking her, is that she was currently living in America, and wouldn’t be returning for at least two months or so. Even if she was able too, she would be dropping her whole career to take them both in.
   Sighing briefly, he thought to his aunt Marian’s family who were currently visiting her abroad. Their family home was quite far away for the moment. Like Adalyn, they too moved around due to their aunt’s work. Which made him begin to doubt if living with family was even going to be an option.
   Tears threatened to fall, clouding his eyesight in a blur which only made him even more tense and furious.

   There was one other possibility, and that was their other aunt’s family. Although Andi doubted if they would even be contacted. He hadn’t seen either Tabitha or George for over ten years, and other than a phone call and an occasional card they hadn’t had any other contact. They certainly weren’t close, then again with the situation Gregg and Andi were in, were there any other options?

-

   He dressed quickly and brushed his hair, parting it slightly to one side as he did so. Then slowly, he made his way down stairs and into the sitting room. Jennifer was sitting on the sofa with her partner Charlie. Her head resting upon her hands, as if in thought. Though Andi could tell that only moments before they had been talking. As soon as he sat down opposite them both, she looked up and smiled weakly.
   Charlie took a careful sip of tea, inhaling the steam as he did so. It was obvious to Andi, from his silence that he wanted to say something-he just wasn’t sure how to approach the subject.
   He placed the cup that he was holding onto, on an empty coaster beside him and gazed expectantly at Jennifer. His shy nature was holding him back from initiating the conversation, so he was grateful when she saw and nodded in understanding.
   “Do you want to head to the hospital this morning?” she asked calmly.
   “No,” Andi replied shaking his head.
   “How come? he’s your brother-” Charlie began.
   “-I know who he is. I just don’t want to see him right now,” he almost growled back with annoyance.
   “Well I’m leaving in half an hour-” He tried once more.
   “-And you’ll be leaving alone.” Andi snapped.
   Then, before either of them could say anything further, he stood up and stormed out of the room-leaving the two of them unsure of what to do next.

-

    The storm had damaged many homes and objects as it passed over the course of the night. Many families, such as Gregg and Andi’s had changed forever because of one thing that others hadn’t previously thought of as a threat before.
   The tree that caused the Julestone’s car to crash was still lying in the middle of the road-only it was being cut into smaller pieces whilst the weather showed signs of sunshine.
   Mitch stood outside and glanced across the road to the source of the noise and frowned. It could have easily been avoided.

   He looked away, back towards his open front door and pressed a button on his keys. The boot of the car beeped briefly and he walked forwards a few steps to release the catch properly. As he did so, he heard a car approaching and glanced up. The Fayre family were home safely, he noted relieved slightly.
   Emma had always been kind to both him and his partner Jean, she had even occasionally brought meals over if she knew either of them were ill. He was glad that they had returned okay, especially considering what could have happened.
   “Mum!” he heard Emma cry out.
   Mitch raised his head once more, only this time it was in confusion. He couldn’t see much from where he was standing, so he took a few steps towards the end of the drive way and peered over the short hedge.
   “What’s wrong?” he heard her mother ask.
   “That car-” she began. Emma then pointed across the road from them, indicating the abandoned crushed vehicle that the recovery service was beginning to attach to it’s rear.
   “Emma, do you know who the car belongs too?” he called out to her.
   “Mitch?” Mary asked as she walked down the street to greet him properly. Emma followed closely behind her, panic showing in her eyes.
   “Do you know what happened?” she asked him.
   “Yes, there was an accident last night,” he replied. “Do you know who owns the car?”
   “It belongs to my friend’s parents. I know the registration number because it used to be my dad’s.”
   “Was it?” Mary asked slowly. She then turned around to check the car and realised that Emma was correct.
   “Are they okay? Do you know who was in the car?” Emma asked in an urgent tone.
   Mitch looked to the cases that had been in the boot of the car, which he had saved and shook his head.
   “A boy, and his parents,” he replied slowly.
   “Was it Gregg or Andi?” Emma swallowed as nerves began to rise to the surface.
   “Gregg,” Mitch sighed sadly. “Apparently his dad lost control because of the rain,” he paused for a moment and leant against his car for support. “They hit that tree just down the road there,” he said as he indicated the tree that they had collided with.
   “Oh-” Mary gasped. “-Oh no,” she gasped.

   Emma and Mary looked to one another in shock, and then to the cases Mitch was standing near. Unwilling to open their mouths to speak, they stood in disbelief and waited in silence for a few moments.
   Emma ran her hands through her long light brown hair, which was tied back in a neat ponytail, nervously as she began to worry about her friend and his family. Her eyes glazed over with tears, although she refused to let them fall until she found out further news.
   Taking a deep breath, Mary then turned on the spot and stared at the recovery truck which was now driving away.
   “Gregg is at the hospital,” Mitch offered.
   “So he’s okay?” Emma asked, her eyes brimming with hope.
   “I think he has a fractured leg and some minor injuries, but he was okay when he went into the ambulance.”
   “And Leia and Justin?” Mary asked, doubting her words as she spoke.
   “They didn’t make it,” Mitch replied sadly.
   “Both?-” Emma cried. “No-”
   “I was just about to head to the hospital to drop the cases that were in their car with them, do you think you would be okay to look after them instead? As you know the family and all, I would still like to make sure he’s alright-”
   “-That’s fine, yes.” Mary replied nodding quickly. “We’ll take them now, and head over to the hospital as soon as we have them all.”
   Mary then stepped around the outside of Mitch’s car and took a small bag and suitcase, and indicated for Emma to do the same as she passed her.
   Within only a few minutes, they had all been placed safely in Mary’s garage which was then locked for safety.
   Impatiently worried, Emma waited for her mother to hurry up locking up. Her legs had begun to feel unstable, and so she clambered back into her mother’s car once more.

   Mitch reappeared shortly after, and sat in the back behind Emma hoping that Gregg and his brother were okay after the tragedy.
   “I hope you don’t mind me tagging along,” Mitch asked as Mary opened the driver’s side door.
   “No, it’s completely fine,” She assured him. “I understand why you would be worried about him considering.”
   Emma was confused, although she never asked for the answer to the question that she was now wondering. Why would Mitch worry about Gregg? Had something happened to someone in his family in the past?

   They drove in silence and tried to focus on the road ahead of them, not the remnants and aftermath of the event which had taken at least two lives.

-

   Emma clambered out of the car quickly, feeling the wind lift her hair as she did so. Her mother and Mitch exited shortly after, and stared for a moment at the building in front of them all. The last time Emma had had to visit the hospital was over ten years ago when her she had managed to have a really bad fall at school. It seemed so surreal to be standing in front of it once more.
   “Mary? Emma is that you?” Charlie called out.
   Emma turned around, and saw him approaching with a small bag. She noted that he looked dishevelled as he rushed over to greet them, and frowned sadly.
   “Are you okay? How is Jennifer and Mike?” Mary asked alarmed.
   “We’re fine, I’m here for Gregg right now,” Charlie replied.
   “Do you know how he’s doing?” Emma asked quietly. He turned to her in reply and shook his head.
   “No,” he said pausing. “The three of them were here last night but apparently Andi didn’t want to stay. She drove him home last night.”
   “So Gregg was alone?”
   “No, Mike stayed. He actually refused to leave him on his own, I meant to drive down last night to stay with them both but I only arrived home a few hours ago myself.”
   Emma, slightly relieved, took a deep breath and tried to relax as they gradually made their way through the car park.

-

   Charlie walked slightly faster, and ahead of the others,  as he approached the reception. It only took a few moments for a nurse to come to his aid, and he was thankful that they understood the situation. He took a deep breath as Mary and Mitch caught up, and tried to give Emma a reassuring smile. The sadness over losing two friends, along with worry for what would happen to their children though, was so blindingly obvious she found it hard not to speak out.
   “This way,” the nurse said kindly, as he begun to lead the way.
   Henry was rather young in age, even though he was far more wise than he let on. He had only just started his shift not long before, but had been assigned to watch over Gregg wherever possible.
   As soon as he had been told about his situation, he had kept a close eye over him, and his friend. The paramedic, Sarah, who had brought him in had stayed close by until he had arrived. At which point, she had a hard time convincing herself to go home.
   He had understood immediately how devastating the storm had been, and had expected a lot of casualties as a result. Though he had never expected to feel utterly powerless to help even with all the training he had gone through.
   Taking a deep breath, he meandered through all the patients and staff, stopping at a slightly more private room that he had been placed in not long before he had arrived.

   As they all stopped, they could hear voices behind the closed door that separated them from the two teenagers. Henry and Emma frowned, Gregg was angry and upset.
   “You can’t tell him to leave!” he growled as she entered the room.
   “I need to speak to you alone,” the stranger said as she stood at the end of his bed.
   She was tall, and overbearing in nature. Even though she was talking directly to Gregg, Emma had the immediate impression that she was the type to push her luck with her bosses and push her opinions where they were unwelcomely received.
   Gregg sat upright, immediately regretting the decision as the wires attached to his arms tugged slightly on his skin.
   “You have no right,” he cried out.
   “Whoa,” Henry said as he gently ushered Emma to move out of the way. She did so quickly, allowing him to walk forwards and coax Gregg to relax a little. “What is going on here?” he asked.
   After a small pause, the stranger placed her small briefcase at the end of the bed and looked disapprovingly at the male nurse that was threatening to disrupt her time.
   “I’m Raye, Gregg’s social worker. I need to speak to him alone about his case.” She then turned to the door, and copied the expression to the people who were now inside the room. “Are any of you related to Gregg?” she asked bluntly.
   “No,” Charlie replied. “But that shouldn’t matter should it? Gregg has just lost both of his parents. If you only expect family to surround him right now he’ll be left pretty much alone for the whole time of his stay here.”
   “He has Andi does he not?” Raye replied in retort. Emma shook her head in disbelief and frowned as she walked forwards. Mike was sitting to one side of Gregg staring at the conflict in front of him with wide eyes.
   As soon as she realised how unsure he was, she smiled reassuringly at him and stepped around Henry to give Gregg a hug.
   Raye rolled her eyes in frustration and ran her hands over her face and through her long dark hair. Realising as she did so that this was one battle she doubted if she would win.

   Sure enough, after checking Gregg over briefly Henry ushered her out of the room to try and reason with her. She waved her arms in defeat, and picked her briefcase back up once more with a determined expression that she held until she left the hospital completely.
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11
Phoenix Chronicles / {Intro} :Chapter four: Battling authority.
« on: February 26, 2019, 09:23:23 PM »
   Gregg held his breath and closed his eyes. Out of all the scenarios he had played out in his mind, he had never expected Andi to react the way he had done. As he started doubting whether he made the right choice or not, he began to question just how long it would take for him to return.
   He was stubborn and defiant, but was also easily hurt emotionally. It was because of his nature, that predicting just how long it took for Andi to cool down varied depending on the reason.
   So many questions and fears were going through Gregg’s mind, all were left unanswered and left to fester as more piled on top.
  ‘Where are we supposed to live now?’
   ‘Who is going to take care of us?’
   ‘Are we going to be able to stay together?’
   ‘Will we have to move?’
   ‘Will we have to leave all our friends behind if we do?’

   In defeat, he opened his eyes once more and gazed down at his body, piecing together all the injuries that he never had before this had all happened. Both his arms were covered in light bandages, from cuts sustained on the impact and the fall when he had first managed to climb out of the car. Although small, they were scattered all over. They mostly gathered on his palms, and hid a multitude of different sized bruises-some of which hadn’t even begun to show.
   His fractured left leg was placed in a protective, but heavy cast, which was covered by a thin blanket. How long did the doctors say he had to wear it? Six weeks or so?
   Gregg frowned and ran his fingers through his hair, immediately feeling along to a small patch on his forehead as he did so. The medical tape holding the dressing tugged at his skin as he winced in pain touching it gently, which caused him to groan and sigh with defeat.
   “Oh,” Jennifer gasped aloud. “Oh my-is it true? It must be. You poor thing,” she thought aloud.
   Gregg avoided eye contact as he shuffled uncomfortably for a moment. Although he had spoken the words aloud, and been there, the whole event still didn’t seem real. How could both of them be gone?
   Unable to escape, he lay in silence with a loss for words. Everything had suddenly become so confusing, and there was no way that he could avoid it all.




The inspiration is flowing on this one at the moment, updates soon!  :read1:
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12
Phoenix Chronicles / :Chapter three: Spreading the heartbreak
« on: February 14, 2019, 04:45:56 AM »
   Gregg lay back, and rested his head on the thin pillow behind him. He could hear words-answers escaping his lips for questions that Sarah was asking him, but the voice-his voice didn’t sound like his own.
   It was as though his body was shutting down. Defeated and broken, it was simply going through the motions to survive a little longer.
   “Gregg, we need to know where it hurts,” Sarah waited for a moment before continuing. “Is it just your leg?”
   Unwilling to break away from the ‘trance-like’ state that his mind had put him in, he nodded-lying to the two of them as he did so.
   In truth, the pain was spreading all over. His fractured left leg definitely hurt the most, but everywhere else came a close second.

   He breathed in deeply, and closed his eyes for a moment. The denial spreading through him was threatening to cloud his judgement on what had just happened entirely, ensuring that breaking the news to his brother would be not only impossible, but also a form of blessing.
   “How are you feeling?” Sarah asked. Gregg focused on her soft voice, quivering slightly with unease as they travelled to the hospital.
   For at least a short while, she was to care for him. It was her job to make him comfortable, and take away any pain that he was experiencing, and she felt privileged to be doing so.
   The problem was, she could tell that he was not being completely honest with her. His eyes had a distant look upon them, which only seemed to be growing.

   Gregg kept his eyes closed, as he took a few deep breaths.
   “Numb,” he replied as he thought to himself.
   No longer able to say anything further, he instead stared at the ambulance doors in front of him. And began to feebly hope that maybe, just maybe-when they opened once more, that he would discover it had all been a cruel joke.

{~}

   Andi slid into the jumper that he had hung on Mike’s door silently, and inspected the room carefully. It was peaceful, apart from the rain that could be heard as it softly pattered the ground and window outside. It was almost calming, which was eerie to think of considering something serious had just happened.
   The atmosphere was thick with uncertainty and doubt, with the ever looming unwelcome news edging closer with every second that passed.
   It seemed so surreal, to not be with his family right now. The dynamics were changing, and he needed their reassurance that it would all be okay.

   Jennifer held her breath for a moment and looked in at Andi, who was standing to one side. She wanted to say something, to assure him that it was all okay, but she simply couldn’t. The concern, and urgency in the nurses voice on the other end of the phone had told her that something was wrong- desperately wrong. And that they needed to leave as soon as possible.
   Unable to trust herself to speak, she simply placed her hand on his shoulder and stayed as he turned around to face her, it was time to leave.

-

   The three of them sat down inside the car without a word, and forced themselves to shut the doors. None of them wanted to be facing the situation in front of them, and were all unable to trust themselves to speak.
   Jennifer, to ease the tension slightly-revved the engine up and placed music on to drown the silence. She had thought to put the radio on originally, although she quickly dismissed the idea. Most of the discussions that would be playing would be talking about the storm, which she felt was a bad idea to be reminded about.

   They set off cautiously, as Jennifer watched the roads-keeping an eye for upcoming obstacles. Along the way, she spotted firefighters and other local business owners, trying to clear the wreckage left behind. The rain and treacherous weather had passed, all that remained now was the debris.
   The path to the hospital was therefore mostly clear, apart from the odd leaves from the fallen trees, and rubbish from the bins that had been knocked over.

{~}

   Sarah and Henry pulled into the hospital with a solemn heart, but knowing they had a purpose and job to do. Gregg, although not visibly showing signs of pain, had done beforehand. And they both worried that the shock of what had happened was starting to take it’s toll.
   Encouraging him to speak and keep his eyes open hadn’t worked as much as Sarah had hoped, it was only a matter of time before the full effect was shown.
   Henry stepped out and opened the doors, to the back of the ambulance. Instantly Gregg looked up, Half hoping, half expecting them to reveal his parents standing and waiting for him. Instead, he was greeted with strangers. Nurses and doctors shivering outside in the cold, awaiting instructions and medical information so they could help him.
   In anger, and frustration, he closed his eyes.
   “This is really happening,” he told himself. “Why is it happening?
   He questioned the situation he was in without a word, the weight on his heart made it almost impossible for him to speak.
   Andi, did he know what was going on? Was he on his way?

   Unwilling to pay attention to his surroundings, he opened his eyes, and stared at the hospital ceiling. They were moving quickly, but in step with each other-a team of nine, working as one.
   Once on a hospital bed, Henry reached for the stretcher and began to wheel it away. Sarah however, hovered in the doorway. She glanced at her partner and began to frown and shake her head.
   “I can’t leave him,” she approached him. “Not like this, he’s completely alone.”
   “I completely understand,” he replied. “Listen, it’s the end of our shift now anyway. If you want to stay and hover around to keep an eye on him, then I’m not going to argue with your decision. If we’re needed, and get another call though-”
   “-I’ll be there,” she nodded.
   Satisfied, Henry then pushed the stretcher out of the double doors and left Sarah to decide where she wanted to stand so she was out of the way.

   Gregg was still watching the ceiling, although he did pay attention to a few things the doctors surrounding him were doing. They asked if he felt dizzy, he shook his head. When they asked him to follow the small torch, he complied and didn’t complain when all he could see was the remnants of the blinding light afterwards.
   Clothes were removed, questions were asked, information that he didn’t understand was exchanged.
   He was cold, in pain and battling with the right words inside his mind. How could he explain to Andi what had happened to their parents, if he still couldn’t believe it himself?
   He closed his eyes once more, feeling tears slide down his cheeks as he did so. Moments later he felt someone gently squeeze and hold onto his hand, and saw Sarah’s helpless and comforting gaze matching his own.
   Taking a deep breath, he brought his right hand up to wipe his eyes, stopping moments before his face. He stared for a moment and then looked away. Small cuts covered his palm, and spread a small way up his arm, and that was just from what he could immediately see.
   Gregg had blindly hoped that it was only his leg that had been injured, as he had tried to avoid looking at the state that he was really in. Seeing what his hand looked like though, made him realise that he was foolish to think so.

   The doctors were busying themselves as they attended the full extent of Gregg’s injuries. And, after a few moments of discussion between them, they announced that they couldn’t be sure of the full extent of the damage without a scan or an x-ray of some kind.
   “Here, this will make you feel better,” a nurse said soothingly. Gregg looked into her eyes and tried to smile, she was holding onto a blanket in her arms, which she unfolded as she continued to come closer.
   ‘Hannah Kitt’ her name tag announced.
   “Thank you,” Sarah said gratefully, as she helped to cover Gregg. “Gregg,” she said turning to him. “You need to have a few x-rays taken, especially on your leg.”
   “Are you staying?” Hannah asked her.
   “If Gregg wants me to,” she replied glancing at him once more.
   He nodded weakly, and bit his lip gently. She hadn’t been there from the start, but she was a welcome presence all the same.
   “It looks like I’m staying,” she weakly smiled.
   “Does-” Gregg began. His voice was rough and raw, and so he coughed a few times to try and help it. “Is Andi on his way?” he asked.
   “Yes, your friend’s mum answered. She should be driving down now,” Hannah replied. “Are you ready?”
   Gregg nodded in reply, and exhaled slowly as he let go of Jennifer’s hand. He had held onto the necklaces that he had taken time to remove off his parents in different places upon the trip to the hospital. Each time he had shifted their position, he found a different reason for holding onto them.
   The last place, was his left hand, which Sarah had held onto in a vain hope of comforting him.
   “Wait,” she said surprised. Gasping aloud, she unclenched her fingers to reveal two chains hanging from them-each one with a ring hanging upon them.
   “Look after them for me,” he replied weakly as he was wheeled away.

-

   Gregg was pushed out of the doors by a hospital porter, with only Hannah following beside him. The pain killers that he had been given were taking effect, although it was a gradual relief, not instant. It gave him the unfortunate ability to really focus on what his body was trying to tell him. Where did it hurt the most now?
   He didn’t really want to answer the question, as it would only make what was happening real. He was at the stage though, where he really didn’t have any other option. Andi needed to find out about their parents from him, not a total stranger.
   Their family had always been small and it felt like, to him, that it was his responsibility right now to be the one to let him know.

{~}

   Jennifer pulled into the hospital car park, and let the song that was playing finish before she turned the engine off. Nobody had said a word during the journey, as none were needed. And so instead they had let the silence spread.
   Once there wasn’t even an artist’s words and melodies to listen too though, that all changed.
   “The weather seems to have cleared up a little, we shouldn’t get too wet going inside.” Jennifer thought aloud. “Are you two ready?”
   “I guess,” Andi replied quietly. After taking a deep breath, he hung his head gently and opened the car door to be faced with a cold breeze that caught him off guard for a moment.
   “Are you okay?” Mike asked him.
   “No,” he replied nervously, “What do you think happened?”
   “I’m really not sure, it could be anything. Hopefully when we find your parents they can explain,” he offered.
   “We won’t know for sure until we head inside,” Jennifer said as she swung her legs out of the vehicle and stood up. “I’ll be back in a moment,” she announced briskly.
   The two of them remained where they were as she walked away to buy a parking ticket, which allowed Mike to voice a concern that had been buried ever since the initial phone call.

   He stepped around the outside of the vehicle and leant against the car, taking a deep breath as he did so.
   “I’ve never seen mum like this,” he said quietly. “She sounds so worried right now, it really isn’t like her.”
   “Do you think she knows what happened, and doesn’t want to tell me?”
   “No,” Mike replied. “She would have told you if she knew. Something is definitely off though.”
   He then sighed once more as he stood beside Andi, and slid his hands into the pockets of his jeans. Jennifer had started to walk back towards them, carrying a thin piece of paper in her hands,  and trying to conceal a very concerned expression on her face.
   “Come on you two, lets go inside shall we.” She then placed the ticket on the dashboard, and locked the car so they could all walk up together.

   The inside of the hospital was bustling with activity, with new and potential patients waiting to be seen on the many seats available. Many were wet, as Andi noticed as he walked past, even the ‘wet floor’ warning signs had been placed in various locations.
   To one side, a large wooden counter sat. The word ‘Reception’ stuck away ever so slightly, leaving just enough space that you could see what lay behind each of the plastic white letters.
   Jennifer hung her head slightly, and started walking towards the desk, which was also where most of the staff were gathered around.

   Andi hung back slightly, as a wave of dread spread throughout his body. Several of the doctors had glanced to face them as they approached, and each one turned away moments later and appeared to be discussing something very slightly out of earshot.
   “I think they know something,” he thought aloud.
   “What do you mean?” Mike asked him as he too stopped walking.
   “The doctors, they keep looking at me as if they know something. Like they know what happened to my family.”
   “Some of them would have to at least, if your family are here they would have to know why.”
   “I guess,” Andi sighed in defeat.
   Paranoia had been gradually winning over his heart, allowing fear to flow through his veins. His mum and dad could still be perfectly okay, and Gregg? He was a fighter, he probably only had a few  cuts and bruises if there was an accident. At least, that’s what he hoped would be the case.
   The doubts and suspicions were taking his mind into a state where he was doubtful of anything any more.
   He shook his head and closed his eyes, trying to rid himself of everything that was distracting him, but found that the thoughts only crept in again a moment later. Frozen to the spot, he simply watched as Jennifer asked someone where they should go.

   Moments later, Andi felt Mike’s hand on his shoulder. He sighed in defeat, unable to dredge his thoughts away from being negative as he had been swallowed by them, he started breathing deeply. Cold panic drained all the warmth away from his arms and legs, leaving his brain open to more horrible images.
   Brought back to reality, he brought his head up once more, and saw that Mike’s mum and a nurse were beside a pair of double doors waiting for them.

    Andi walked forwards towards Jennifer as he tried in vain to calm down. All he could hear was blood pulsing in his ears, as everything else just seemed muffled somehow.
   They walked together in a group down the hallway, passing several patients that were being taken to different parts of the hospital. Each one he made sure to check upon, as his eyes gazed over each individual, he checked to see if he knew them.
   A few smiled as they crossed paths, but Andi couldn’t return the gesture. He wanted too, but he simply couldn’t bring himself to do so.

   The nurse stopped walking as she stood beside a door with a small window. On the glass, the words; ‘Waiting room’ were stuck on the inside, although they were barely visible as blinds on the other side made it impossible to see them.
   “Someone will come for you in a moment,” she said feigning a smile as she did so.
   “Thank you Michelle,” Jennifer said gratefully.
    Smiling gently, she then checked the time on her watch, allowing both Mike and Andi to learn her name for a moment.
   Michelle Trent knew of the accident, and only wished she could do more to help. She, along with the other members of staff, had respected Gregg’s wishes to be the one to inform his brother of what had happened. They all knew how hard the job would be even with practice, let alone for a child to be the one breaking the news.
   She touched up her light brown hair, sliding a few lose strands behind her ears, before she bid farewell to the three of them. There wasn’t really anything else she could do, apart from see the end of her shift through and hope that the twins would be okay.

{~}

   As soon as Sarah was able to stay beside Gregg without any issues, she leapt at the chance. All through the check ups and tests, he had remained eerily quiet. The few words that he had spoken, were to simply answer questions, just like he had done in the ambulance.
   Otherwise he had remained utterly mute as he ran over every single heartbreaking way that he could break the news to his brother.
   He wanted and needed to be completely honest to him, and let him know everything that happened. The issue was, one side of him had shut some of the event behind a very solid locked door-and refused to open it.
   It was simply too painful to piece together, and he wasn’t thinking straight because of it.
   “Here,” Sarah said as calmly as she could. She then reached out for his hand once more, and placed the necklaces that he had told her to look after into the palm of his hand.
   Hannah glanced up as Gregg held them, taking a break from dressing his right arm as she did so. He smiled gently and frowned, had it only been a few hours before that that had set off? Why hadn’t his dad listened to him that morning?
   “Do you want the hospital to look after them until you’re okay to leave?” Hannah asked.
   “One of them,” Gregg replied quietly. “Andi needs to have the other.”
   “Do you want me to get him for you? he’s in the waiting room down the hall with your friend and his mother.”
   “Mike’s here?” he asked surprised. Then, after thinking for a moment he continued. “Of course he would be. Are they okay?”
   “They’re all fine, yes,” Hannah replied.
   Gregg took a deep breath, and shifted slightly as he lay down. As he did so, he saw that Hannah had just finished off dressing his arm and was now starting to pack the remaining unused dressings away.
   “Yes, you should get him. He’s probably really confused right now,” Gregg replied.
   “Do you want me to stay?” Sarah asked.
   “No, I’ll be-” he paused for a moment as he tried to find the right words. “I think-I think I just need to do this alone.”
   Sarah and Hannah nodded in understanding, and stood to leave. Neither had any comforting words to say, there weren’t any that would make the situation any less devastating than it already was.

-

      Hannah parted the curtains surrounding Gregg’s bed slowly as she half stepped through, and ushered someone to follow as she did. Gregg took a deep breath once more, this was it. Andi’s life was normal now, albeit confusing at the moment. As soon as he spoke the words though, the ones that explained what had happened only an hour or so ago, it would all change.
   Andi stepped through, and gasped in shock.
   “Are you okay?” he asked quickly.
   “I’ll leave you two alone for a moment,” Hannah announced as calmly as she could. She glanced to Gregg to see him nodding in understanding, then disappeared from view once more.
   Andi then took a few steps towards the end of Gregg’s bed and froze.
   “What’s wrong? What’s happened? Where are mum and dad?” he demanded in a panicked tone.
   “I don’t know,” Gregg choked. “I don’t know where they are,”
   “Didn’t they come with you? They should have driven at least two ambulances surely? Maybe they went to a different one?”
   “Andi-please, you need to listen-”
   “-I don’t need to do anything, just tell me where they are!” Andi growled, frustration growing clearer in his voice.
   “I don’t know!” Gregg cried out. “I had to leave them behind, I had to-”
   “-you had to leave them behind? How does that make sense? Why would you leave them?”
   “I’m trying to explain-”
   “-And why couldn’t someone else tell me? Maybe they would actually get on with it and let me know?”
   Gregg bit his lip as tears overwhelmed his vision once more. Why wasn’t Andi paying attention to what he was trying to say? He took a deep breath, and gingerly wiped his eyes with the side of his hand.
   “It was raining really heavily, I tried to tell dad not to drive but he just wanted to get home. He wouldn’t listen to me,” Greg began. Andi moved to the side of his bed, and leant on the metal frame. He was frustrated, and angry-but he couldn’t figure out why or who it was directed at. The emotions in his head were making it so he was lashing out at his brother, was it because he was the only one around that he could really vent at?
   “Okay, then what happened?”
   “Dad lost control,” Gregg bit the inside of his lip once more.
   “Are they okay?” Andi asked, concern visibly showing on his face.
   “-And we hit a tree that fell into the road,” Gregg continued, ignoring his brother’s question. Knowing if he did, he wouldn’t be able to get to what happened again. He needed to stay on track, to be able to explain it all. “Dad tried to get me to get some help, so I started knocking on a few doors-”
   “-And mum?” Andi cut in.
   “Andi,” Gregg paused. “They’re gone,” he continued quietly. After realising how silent his voice sounded, he tried repeating the words-only to find that they seemed to refuse being spoken any louder. Fortunately, Andi had managed to pick out what he was trying to say.
   “Gone? what do you mean they’re gone?”
   “They-they were both dead before the ambulance came,” Gregg replied heavily.
   “No, you’re joking-why would you say that?” Andi snapped. “Is this why everyone’s been staring at me? And acting strange? Were you laughing about me not knowing anything or something?”
   “No, I told them that I wanted to tell you-”
   “-So it was a secret?”
   “No, it wasn’t like that-” Gregg tried.
   “So you’re saying that keeping something from me isn’t a secret?”
   “Andi-”
   “-Gregg!” Andi cut in. “Do you realise how selfish you’re being right now? You wanted to be the one to tell me what happened, You kept it from me. All the doctors and nurses knew about it, so why didn’t I? They’re our parents, not just yours.”
   “I never claimed they were,” Gregg cried out. “I just wanted you to hear it from someone that you knew, someone that was there. I was thinking of you-”
   “-Yes, well you shouldn’t have.” Andi snapped. “Next time, just don’t bother. I’m fine on my own,” he growled.

   And then without another word, he turned around on his heels and stormed away. Leaving Gregg alone, and feeling completely and utterly helpless.
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13
Phoenix Chronicles / [Intro] Chapter 3: Spreading the heartbreak
« on: February 10, 2019, 03:37:46 PM »
Off-Topic: show
'Warning: this topic has not been posted in for at least 120 days.
Unless you're sure you want to reply, please consider starting a new topic.'


Well..Crud.


I haven't forgotten about this one! Here's the first section for you to enjoy/critique.



   Gregg lay back, and rested his head on the thin pillow behind him. He could hear words-answers escaping his lips for questions that Sarah was asking him, but the voice-his voice didn’t sound like his own.
   It was as though his body was shutting down. Defeated and broken, it was simply going through the motions to survive a little longer.
   “Gregg, we need to know where it hurts,” Sarah waited for a moment before continuing. “Is it just your leg?”
   Unwilling to break away from the ‘trance-like’ state that his mind had put him in, he nodded-lying to the two of them as he did so.
   In truth, the pain was spreading all over. His fractured left leg definitely hurt the most, but everywhere else came a close second.

   He breathed in deeply, and closed his eyes for a moment. The denial spreading through him was threatening to cloud his judgement on what had just happened entirely, ensuring that breaking the news to his brother would be not only impossible, but also a form of blessing.
   “How are you feeling?” Sarah asked. Gregg focused on her soft voice, quivering slightly with unease as they travelled to the hospital.
   For at least a short while, she was to care for him. It was her job to make him comfortable, and take away any pain that he was experiencing, and she felt privileged to be doing so.
   The problem was, she could tell that he was not being completely honest with her. His eyes had a distant look upon them, which only seemed to be getting worse.

   Gregg kept his eyes closed, as he took a few deep breaths.
   “Numb,” he replied as he thought to himself.
   No longer able to say anything further, he instead stared at the ambulance doors in front of him. And began to feebly hope that maybe, just maybe-when they opened once more, that he would discover it had all been a cruel joke.



More coming soon...  :write1:
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14
Fiction Factory / 3.
« on: October 15, 2018, 01:06:41 AM »
Off-Topic: show
A short one. Enjoy.



   The panic is spreading, through to my heart and lungs. It's becoming harder to breathe-to think clearly, and to stand. I'm becoming weaker as I feel my mind and thoughts turn from their protection, to the unnerving silence inside my head.
I don't know where this has all come from, but as the fear starts to spread through my arms, my legs-and everywhere else, I find it hard to keep still.
   I'm changing, becoming someone I never thought I could be.

   I wonder around my home effortlessly, gliding between the rooms as I barely pay attention to my surroundings:
   -The cold air flowing through my personal prison, allowing me to breathe fresh air every day.
   -The feel of the deep soft carpet, and the cold tiles in my bathroom and kitchen.
   -The smell of all the herbs growing in the hallway; basil, thyme, rosemary and parsley. All wilting as they slowly dry in the faint sunlight.
   Now, as I pass each one in turn, I acknowledge their presence but continue on.

   Each hallway, room and open doorway remind me of my past. Memories where I could be myself and not fear my surroundings, but now I'm not sure where my future is trying to lead me.
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15
Fiction Factory / Re: Noire
« on: October 14, 2018, 11:54:45 AM »
Finally caught up!  :faint:

I agree with Elsza here, the different points of view do seem to flow effortlessly as you flit between them all. Only I was a little unsure of how many different ones there are personally.
It may help if you format each slice of their story in a certain way. So some parts are put in italics, given different colours ect. It just kind of makes it easier for the reader to distinguish the different points of view.
I've only managed to write a story with two different pov's myself, but even if you just label the different areas before you post...
(Something like this..)


Swallowing the lump in her throat, Kate turned to follow her sister and father.

§¤§ Ari Davis §¤§

Ari Davis often said that the only constant in her life was her end-of-the-day star, a glow-in-the-dark sticker she had stuck on her ceiling as a child.

It just makes it easier for others to easily distinguish that the scene has changed.
It's just a personal thing for me though, so don't just take my word on it.


Otherwise, I'm really intrigued! It's really well written so far, and I'm definitely going to be watching out for more.  :thumb:
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16
Phoenix Chronicles / :Chapter two: Unwelcome news.
« on: September 21, 2018, 10:19:19 PM »
   Andi awoke with a start, and ran his hands through his short brown hair. The room was cool, and was almost calming despite the heavy rain falling outside, but he could tell that something was wrong.
   He pulled his knees up to his chest, and reached for his phone. Gregg and his parents were already several hours late arriving back already, and he was starting to get really nervous.
   “How much longer are you going to be?” he mumbled aloud.
   After a few minutes sitting in silence, Andi shuffled off the pull-out bed he had been sleeping on, and left the comfort of his friend’s bedroom.

   It had been his idea to stay with Mike, whilst his own family had to go away for the weekend. Homework was strictly not-allowed to be completed though, as even though it was nearing the end of the summer holidays, it was also their last year in secondary school.
   Instead of worrying about their upcoming exams, and studying, their aim was to relax a little and to think about where the future would take them.

-

   Andi nervously bit his lip, and started twiddling his fingers around. The hallway was brighter than Mike’s bedroom, but only because a light was illuminating the bottom half of the staircase. Outside the moon and all of the stars were shrouded in darkness, as clouds covered their natural shine.
   He made his way down the stairs quietly and slowly, wondering who else could be awake at this hour as he did so.
   The sitting room was quiet, and a cool breeze was drifting through the open door and up the stairs. Halfway down, Andi paused as he began to wonder if he should just try and go back to sleep. It certainly wasn’t the first time, that he could recall, where his imagination and paranoia had left him feeling rather silly.
   He stood, standing in the same place, for only a minute before the light was blocked. He then glanced down to the door, to see Mike’s mother, Jennifer standing in the doorway.
   “Andi, you should be sleeping,” she said in a somewhat worried tone. Although almost straight away, she ushered him inside the room she had just left.

{~}

   Gregg opened his eyes slowly, as he sat curled up on his fathers lap, but otherwise didn’t move any further. Several uneventful minutes followed, where he used the time to listen to what was going on around him.
   An ambulance was on it’s way, the sirens were quickly approaching which both surprised and saddened him. The roads were still a dangerous place to be after all, the accident that he had just been involved in had proved that.
   “The ambulance should be here shortly,” somebody said as they approached.
   Gregg then turned around, to see the man that he had spoken to kneeling beside the opened car door. The rain was still pounding everything it could touch, drenching everything instantly. This even included the stranger next to him, regardless of the fact he was wearing a thick coat.
   He then turned his attention to his parents, and held his breath as he leant across to his mother. Trying to brace himself for the pain didn’t work though, and he ended up reaching across wincing as he did so.
   The necklace his mother wore was a simple butterfly design, decorated with several different coloured gems that were placed inside the wings. Andi had chosen it for her birthday several years before, and had saved up enough to buy it for her.
   The only other pieces of jewellery that she always wore were her wedding and engagement rings, which were covered in flowers and a range of diamonds. Gregg removed both pieces carefully, and slid the rings on the chain along with the pendant.
   When he was finished, he then moved back to where he had been, and did the same thing with his father. His necklace and wedding ring were a simpler design, rather than delicate and detailed. They matched in colour, and shimmered in the faint light.
   Although it was cramped, Gregg finished the task relatively easily, and slowly started to remove himself from the car one last time.
   “What’s going to happen to all of our cases?” he asked tentatively.
   “I can put them inside my car?” the stranger offered.
   “I guess that would be okay,” Gregg struggled to say. “What’s your name?”
   “Mitch,” he replied.
   “Nice to meet you Mitch,” Gregg said as he stopped. Moving out of the car was far more painful than he had first thought, and the injuries that he had sustained were starting to show. “My name-” he continued moving, and took a deep breath as he stood up.
   The rest of the bruising that he had suffered seemed to catch up all at once then, and he was now able to feel the full impact of what had just happened.
   Mitch dived in front of Gregg as he fell, and watched in horror as his legs gave way. His quick actions were able to catch his chest and head before they hit the floor, but the damage Gregg had suffered was now starting to show.

   As the seconds drew on, he felt his head as it lay on something cold and hard. And he found that the dampness of the rain no longer bothered him, which both surprised and amused him. Gregg opened his eyes after a few moments, and saw that Mitch was kneeling beside him with a concerned expression on his face.
   “Where does it hurt?” he asked Gregg, slightly louder than he had intended.
   “My leg,” Gregg cried out in reply.
   He had found that now all of the distractions had disappeared, the aftermath of the collision was starting to take it’s toll. Adrenaline was wearing off, enabling him to feel the pain from all of the bruises all over his body. He immediately sat upright and cradled his right leg with his arms, burying his head as he did so.
   “What’s wrong?” Mitch asked, panic now starting to show in his voice.
   “My leg-” Gregg began. “-It feels like it’s on fire.”
   “It may be fractured, does it hurt badly anywhere else?”
   “I don’t know,” he cried. “Ugh! This isn’t fair!”
   Mitch stood up slowly and looked around cautiously, several houses that Gregg had knocked on were now showing signs of life. Many families were peering out of their windows, others had opened their doors to see what had occurred-but no one was willing to help and leave the safety of their homes.
   After a few moments of disbelief, Mitch then placed his hand on Gregg’s shoulder briefly and then rushed back to his home.

   The ambulance was getting closer with every second, even with the road blocks hindering the progress Gregg could tell it would be arriving shortly. He instead focused his attention on lifting his head slightly to see what was going on around him.
   “Are you okay?” someone asked as they approached. Their voice was different, feminine and soft, and came from direction of the first house that Gregg had approached.
   He looked up to see someone nearing, with an umbrella raised above their head. She stepped into the light, and immediately inspected the car. “Oh-oh gosh,” she stammered.
   Taking a few steps back, she then turned around and rushed over to Gregg, placing a large coat over his shoulders without another word.
   Her light brown hair had turned darker where the rain had managed to hit it, and the patches clung to her face-refusing to break away. It had been pulled back neatly in a plait, which was resting over her left shoulder as she leant down next to Gregg, as she tried her best to keep him dry.
   “Sherry,” Mitch called out as he approached once more.
   “I didn’t realise, I heard someone knocking on the door and-”
   “-Don’t.” Gregg cut in, his eyes now fixed on her own brilliant blue. “Please-just don’t. I don’t want to hear why you didn’t come out.”
   He then turned away, unable to say anything more, and instead gazed around at the many houses that were showing signs of life.
   “Why aren’t they helping?” Mitch growled quietly to himself. Sighing, he then tried to wipe the rain off his face and short brown hair, and knelt down beside Gregg once more. He was tall, towering over him with both build and height. A complete contrast to his friend opposite him, who was hesitant to bend down further in case the rain hit her even more.
   “Are the people in the car your mum and dad?” Sherry asked.
   Gregg took a deep breath and nodded. His voice had now threatened to never return, along with his strength, as he sat in the middle of the road. Torn between wanting to be taken away, and wanting to stay with his parents-unwilling to leave them with strangers.

-

   As the minutes drew on, the sirens grew even louder, until the lights could be seen in the darkness. Mitch and Sherry continued to stay beside Gregg, regardless of the fact they didn’t know his name, to offer support and keep him company.
   The only time anybody moved, was when Mitch waved to the ambulance to show them where to go, even then he returned to his previous position as soon as he was able to.
   Gregg watched as the paramedics rushed over to them, and saw as they seemed to understand what had happened. The scene in front of them was a tragic one, with the unwelcome essence of loss thick in the air.

   The two paramedics quickly assessed Gregg’s parents in the car, and tried to get them to speak. After checking their vital signs, the two of them then moved to the middle of the road where Mitch and Sherry were standing.
   Henry was the first to approach and sit down next to Gregg on the floor. A father of three, he immediately felt for the teenager beside him. He brushed his shoulder length damp hair from his eyes and called out for his partner to pass the kit that he needed.
   Sarah handed him the box over to him, motioning for Mitch to step aside so she could help. She was a mother of two herself, and had wanted to stay home with her family watching films on the television. Upon seeing the devastation in front of her, she regretted ever thinking or hoping to do such a thing.
   “Hello sweetie,” she said softly.
   The rain had eased up a little, enough so that the moonlight could be seen now that the clouds had moved on. It was now shining enough light to show the full extent of the accident that had occurred, and the sheer size of the tree that crossed the entire road.
   “What’s your name?” Henry asked.
   “Gregg,” he said pausing. “Are they really gone?” not knowing where to look, he simply gazed at the car that he had been reluctant to travel in that day.
   “I’m afraid so,” Sarah replied. “Are they your-”
   “-Parents? Yes, My mum and dad,” he said sadly. “My brother-we were supposed to be home by now. He doesn’t know what’s happened,” Gregg continued suddenly alarmed.
   “It’s okay Gregg,” Sarah tried to reassure him. “We can let him know, he can meet you at the hospital.”
   “No,” he paused once more. “No, I need to tell him about mum and dad, he can’t hear that they-” He bit his lip gently, and closed his eyes as tears spilt down his face. “He needs to hear it from family, not from a stranger.”
   Sarah and Henry both nodded in understanding, and instead tried to focus their attention on his injuries.

   After checking that the rain had completely passed, Sherry moved out of the way and collapsed her umbrella. As she did so, she noticed that other families had started to make their way over, which made the guilt that she felt grow. Why hadn’t she opened the door to the boy who clearly needed help? Was she afraid?
   She had heard the crash, and had even looked over to see what had happened. It had also only been two days since she had spoken to the house opposite, as she advised them to cut the trees to prevent accidents.
   Clearly they hadn’t heard or paid any attention to what she had warned them about though. Even as she looked back at her driveway, she could see branches and leaves invading it from the once tallest tree on the street.
   The whole situation in front of her now seemed so unreal, and she didn’t know what to do. So she simply stood on the sidelines, as she watched as Sarah and Henry ran through all the usual medical questions with Gregg.

   In each of his hands, Gregg clutched the necklace and rings that he had removed from his parents, which he carefully put on as he sat on the floor. Henry disappeared momentarily as he did so, which left Sarah wondering what Gregg was thinking. He had only answered their questions about his injuries so far, and seemed to be unable to tell them anything more.
   It was obvious that he wanted to keep the jewellery safe, and only hoped they would be kept together when Gregg’s belongings were taken as he stayed in hospital.
   “We need to get you inside the ambulance now,” Sarah said to him. “Do you think you can stand?”
   “No,” Gregg replied as he shook his head. “The pain's getting worse,” he explained.
   “I’ll go,” Henry called back. He had already stood up, and had started to make his way back to the ambulance. After a few minutes, he had started the engine up once more, and parked it again. This time making it so that it was nearer.
   He then opened the doors and brought the stretcher out to meet them.
   “Mitch?” Gregg cried out weakly.
   “I’m here,” he replied rather quickly. Within moments he had rushed over to the three of them, and patiently waited as he was moved and lying down.
   “Our suitcases, in the car-”
   “-I remember,” Mitch paused. “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of them.”
   Gregg instantly relaxed and lay down properly, and watched as he was pulled inside. He had managed to compose himself, managing to hold back the tears and the fear that had threatened to escape up until that point. Now though, as the doors closed shut, the panic was starting to show.

{~}

   Andi sat beside Jennifer in front of the sitting room window as they waited; both hopeful and nervous. It was getting increasingly dark outside even though it had stopped raining, and it was making them worried.
   “I’m sure they’re okay,” Jennifer said softly.
   Andi took a deep breath, unable to say anything in reply. A sickening pit had formed, one that refused to go away. In the back of his mind, he could tell that something was seriously wrong, but what was it? And where were his family?
   Jennifer immediately sat upright as she noticed a pair of headlights nearing her home.
   “Maybe that’s them?” she offered. Andi only shook his head, noticing the police car markings as he did so.
   He sighed weakly and stared at the car as it slowed, it was definitely parking somewhere nearby.
   “Where do you think they’re going?” Jennifer asked, unable to take her eyes off the moving vehicle.
   “Hopefully not here,” Andi said struggling.
   “I doubt they would Andi,” she said pausing to look at him. He was becoming increasingly afraid with every second, and it was beginning to show. “They’re probably just making sure the roads are safe.”
   Andi took another deep breath and forced himself to look away. The unwelcome feeling in his stomach was growing wider and further, and he was now struggling to catch his breath and breathe properly.
   There was only one reason that he knew of, in which police made house calls apart from arrests, and that was to notify of a death in the family. He covered his face with his hands and took a few seconds, as he tried to recollect his thoughts and think clearly once more.
   Just then, the phone began to ring. Andi immediately had the urge to answer it, as he found he needed to to see if it was his parents explaining what was taking them so long to get home. As he was staying in someone else’s home though, he held his composure the best he could, and waited anxiously for Jennifer to answer it and return.
   To pass the time for a few moments, he instead tried to see where the police car was, only to find it had already passed the house.

-

   Andi waited silently, and found himself clutching onto a pillow as the minutes drew on. The situation he was in was so surreal to him, nothing like this had ever happened before.
   After a little while, there was slight movement and noises coming from outside the door, and he looked up expectantly with his eyes wide with hope. Only to find that it was Mike, not Jennifer who entered the room.
   “What’s going on?” Mike asked. He rubbed his eyes as he made his way inside and sat down, clearly still half asleep.
   “I’m not sure,” Andi replied. “My parents aren’t back yet, and it’s really late.”
   Mike shook his head briefly, as he tried to rid himself of being tired, and looked to Andi. He had clearly just woken up, as his light brown hair was sticking up at odd angles, and his eyelids were threatening to cover his green eyes once more.
   He also knew that this wasn’t the time to leave his friend, and so tried to stay awake the best that he could. It was certainly late after all, his bedside clock had shown that it was fast approaching three in the morning. Just how long had Andi and his mum been awake?

   Jennifer walked into the room once more, as she dreaded what was about to happen. She was visibly distraught, and avoided eye contact. Andi and Mike then looked to each other in alarm, unable to say anything or move, they simply sat and waited for news they were both sure they didn’t want to hear.
   “What’s going on?” he asked, suddenly alarmed.
   “Mum?”
   “We need to head to the hospital,” she said slowly.
   “Why? What happened?” Andi cried out. “Are mum and dad okay?”
   “I’m-” Jennifer began. “I’m not sure dear, they wouldn’t tell me anything over the phone. She just said to head down right away, so you had best get changed. I’ll drive you down as soon as we’re ready,” she continued. After a few moments of silence, she then made her way over to Andi and wrapped her arms around him. The hug though, was more for her benefit than his, she noted.
   She was shaking with anxiety, and was worried about her friends and family. The the news, whatever it was, would change their lives forever.
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17
Role play / Re: The Lost Treasure: Character sheets. Cody
« on: July 23, 2018, 08:24:58 PM »
Sorcerer

Role Play info

Name: Cody Treyr (Code-y Tree-err)
Race: Shapeshifter
Backstory: Cody is a loner. Deserted by her family, she has survived living with animals and nature. Whilst doing so, she developed elemental powers, which enables her to protect them from harm.
When other familiars and beings realise, they attack. Apart from her original clan, nobody has seen her true form as she changes to fit in with her environment to avoid being detected. She roams the land with a small amount of objects; a bag which holds a small amount of clothes and a small box containing a collection of personal treasures from her journey. And is always seen with one of her closest friends; a talking raccoon named Luna, who is able to walk on her hind legs.
Why do you want to recover the lost treasure?: She is hoping the treasure will enable her to free and protect her animal and other friends, by strengthening her elemental powers.

Skill Challenge info

Athletics: 5 (+5) 10
Stealth: 10 (+5) 15
Arcana: 15
History: 15
Investigation: 5 (+5) 10
Nature: 5 (+5) 10
Religion: 15
Animal Handling: 10 (+5) 15
Insight: 10
Medicine: 15
Perception: 10 (+5) 15
Survival: 10
Deception: 15
Intimidation: 5
Persuasion: 5 (+5) 10

Combat info

Starting HP: 20

Special Skill 1: Sorcerer's Curse.  After this turn, all damage against the target monster is doubled.  In addition, roll 1d4 to damage the monster.
Special Skill 2: [Quick Combat.  This can be used after another player's turn as long as the DM has not yet replied.]  Double Trouble.  You imbue your ally with the power to act again.  If your ally used an attack, heal, or flee, roll the same die as your ally and add your score to that action.  Cannot be used on other Special attacks.

Familiar Face - Once per phase you can call upon your familiar to help you with a roll or skill check.  Describe how they help and add five points.

Attack Die: 1d8
Heal Die: 1d12
Flee Die: 1d20 (Success is 15 or higher)

Inventory

Weapon: A shape shifting ring, which channels her elemental magic. This can change forms with her different forms.
Armour: Not really seen wearing any protection, other than a long battered blue cloak. This shimmers, showing a sparkling universe in the light. Only seen during combat, and was given to her as a gift.
Items: Option 2: Silken Healer's Gloves.  Gain 5 points in Medicine.  Once per combat you can roll your heal action die twice.

(Dice rolls removed due to character level up.)
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18
Fiction Factory / 2.
« on: July 05, 2018, 11:22:12 PM »
I wasn't always afraid of my mind, but lately the darkness has grown. The confusion, the voices- have all extended in my thoughts. Now I'm wondering if I have anywhere left to breathe because of it.
It feels like so long ago now, when I can remember feeling like myself. Instead I am trying to work this all out on my own, knowing that it will take a long time for me to do so.

Why am I so scared? Do you really want to know?
For so long i have tried piecing together my emotions, trying to understand where I was. For so long I was in denial, trying to make sense of the world around me without giving in to things I couldn't understand.
Now, so many years later, I am finally starting to realise that it was all in vain.

Inside my head it feels as if a war has broken out, and each idea and brief hope of salvation that falls reminds me that it will be hard to reach a conclusion no matter which way it ends.

I've become what I feared I would be; a monster.
A pessimistic, paranoid being who now looks over her shoulder every step of the way.
I feel hated, and persecuted; victimised and pitied- but most of all confused. This wasn't where I saw myself as a child; alone and lonely. Not that it matters now of course, nobody will want to get to know me any more. I've hidden my emotions so deep, it's now impossible to see the beauty within the beast.
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19
Fiction Factory / 1.
« on: July 05, 2018, 11:21:36 PM »
   Lately I’ve been thinking more, about subjects and ideas that I shouldn’t. My head is filled with so many emotions, that often I find it hard to pinpoint which one I’m feeling-and my wardrobe is gradually consisting more of clothes that I feel comfortable in rather than pretty.
   The dresses are becoming gradually buried by trousers and t-shirts, as I try to replicate trying to fade them from my past just like what happened. And, even though it’s Summer, I doubt they’ll resurface anytime soon.

   In my head I’m going over and over the events that led up to it all, trying to piece it altogether and work out what went wrong. As I do, I can feel the level of frustration building, as the events begin to show the toll. I’m beginning to shake more, and lose the small amount of concentration that I had managed to hold onto before now.
   The stress has been creeping up upon me for a little while now, not that I really let onto how much it was doing so, but now I’m afraid. The sense of normality inside my head was wavering thin already, and that was before the ugly monster reared into existence.

   On the outside, my appearance has dwindled down to a shallow reflection of what I used to be. I don’t even recognise my reflection in the mirror any more.
   I even tried to hide the flaws that slowly started appearing, with make-up-which I ultimately stopped bothering with in the end. And so, little by little, my inner broken self started to appear.
   In the end I just watched day by day, as my features changed into someone I never thought I would become.
   In my bathroom mirror, I watched as the light in my eyes gradually faded, pleading for a spark or a glimmer of hope that I doubted I would ever get. As the days wore on, I secluded myself more and more, as I tried to figure out what was going on inside my head.
   All I knew, was that my beautiful and courageous side, was being gradually being transformed into the complete opposite.
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20
Fiction Factory / Blindside
« on: July 05, 2018, 11:20:57 PM »

Not entirely sure where this one's headed, just kind of needed to start writing something.
Longer posts in future, hopefully.
Feedback needed
:read1:.



"Beauty does not come from appearances, but is defined and measured by your heart and your choices."



[contents]
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