Wordy Wednesday (The End Where I Begin, Chapter Eight)

I am currently sitting on a bench between classes, absolutely exhausted and basically to the point where I want nothing more than to sleep for the next 48 hours until it’s the weekend. Midterms are kicking my butt, but THANK GOD, because I just turned in a literature paper in my previous class, and that was the second to last major thing I’ve got this week (every day has had something–quiz Sunday, quiz Monday, exam yesterday, paper today, project tomorrow; I basically feel like I’m going to die).

Meanwhile, yesterday I had the huge honor of participating in an event here in which creative writing instructors nominate their students to share their short stories and poetry in a reading at the undergraduate library, as well as in an annual anthology. I read my short story “The End,” which you can check out here if you’d like. It was really fun. Everyone else’s pieces were amazing and so unique and it makes me really proud of my school to know such talented people attend here.

Reading 2014

This week’s Wordy Wednesday is Chapter Eight of my NaNoWriMo project for 2013, The End Where I Begin.

As always, a reminder that this has seen little to no editing and I’m still in the process of writing the novel, so there will be mistakes and inconsistencies and all that fun stuff throughout.

Read previous chapters:

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

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Chapter Eight

My pulse slows. Dr. O’Brien is not sweating due to heat—it’s nerves.

He has been nervous that I will be upset that Ramsey does not remember me. That she actually does not remember me.

My jaw throbs as I smile. “Ramsey doesn’t remember me? Ramsey’s personality has been altered by that of the Fourth Reality Ramsey?” A laugh builds in my chest. I suppress it. “Okay. That explains why she suddenly got so violent.”

I’m lightheaded, but I don’t know why. The soft, expensive yellow lights are too bright overhead.

“Would you like to sit back down, Miss Dylan?” Dr. O’Brien’s tone is gentle, but spikes with alarm on my name.

“Yes. Yes. Maybe.” I giggle and smack a hand over my mouth. I gasp with pain as my fingers connect with the bruise. “Ow. Sorry. Ouch. That hurt.”

“I understand this is big, complicated news.” He stands and places a hand on my back. He leads me to the table. My palms brace against the cold-as-ice steel and the urge to laugh leaves me as quickly as it came. The lightheadedness does not.

I pull myself onto the table and press my palms against my temples. The lights are so bright.

Ramsey probably does not remember me.

If I am the only one who remembers all those conversations we had, all those games we used to play and the nights we spent soothing her little sisters’ nightmares, how real does that make them? Do they even count?

My Identiband flashes again, and this time I cannot help but stare at it. My eyes have trouble focusing, they struggle to take in the color I do not have a name for—the color that I have never seen before, that does not seem like it should exist.

Dr. O’Brien clears his throat. “Is something wrong with your Identiband?”

“No.” I shake my head once, twice, then three times. I clench my eyes closed to clear the fog, then open them. “It’s fine. I’m fine. I’m sorry. I don’t know what that reaction was.” I turn to where he’s standing beside me, an awkward but safe distance away. “I’m fine. That was strange.”

Something feels incomplete. Missing. “You mentioned that something major had to have happened in the Fourth Reality in order for their influence to bleed into ours. To alter Ramsey’s memories and personality. How does that happen? Why are you telling me these things?”

Dr. O’Brien takes another step away. “It’s tricky, these things. Inter-reality communication is difficult to say the least. After all, we weren’t even aware of the existence of the multiple realities and the Quantum itself until sixteen years ago.”

“I’ve taken history classes. I know that.”

“Of course you do.” He nods. Quieter, more to himself, he says, “Of course.”

“Doctor O’Brien.” My eyes ache, but I stare at him until he meets my gaze. My jaw throbs with the effort to speak. I hear my pulse in my ears, my heart is pounding so hard, and I don’t even know why. “What happened in the Fourth Reality?”

“Well, we aren’t… positive… exactly, yet.” He lifts his shoulders in a manner that would seem almost sheepish if it weren’t for the fact that he is the authority figure in the room. The way he looks at me has stopped being the way a parent views a petulant child and more like the expression my father wore the day he told me Mom had passed.

Lips pinched together so hard they lose some of their color. Eyebrows low over downcast eyes and a stiffness to every swallow.

I fold my hands in my lap, fingers gripped so tight my knuckles go almost immediately numb. “It’s bad, then?”

“The fact that it is bad is entirely the reason we chose to recruit you, Miss Dylan. And why you are here today.” Dr. O’Brien steps around the table and faces me head-on. The lights reflect off his receding hairline. I hadn’t noticed his age until now, because his hair is cropped close to his skull and the wrinkles around the corners of his mouth smooth when he frowns.

But Dr. O’Brien is indeed older than I assumed, and it is this—the fact that he has been alive long enough to truly experience life, to know when something should be made a grand event or not—that scares me. He is old enough to know when to be alarmed, and alarmed is the best way to describe the wobble of his Adam’s apple as he speaks.

“We think you could be of some use to us, you see.”

“I don’t understand.”

“But don’t you?” He is trying desperately to maintain is composure, I think. The sweat continues to drip from his brow. It catches on the dark shadow along his chin and slips down his throat. Damp patches have gathered beneath his arms. “As I said, we have monitored you for many years to decide whether or not to recruit you, and even without the unfortunate circumstances we currently face we most likely would have invited you to join at the Recruitment Assembly next year.”

I twist my fingers until one of my knuckles cracks, and the sound is like a gunshot in the small room. Dr. O’Brien’s stare leaps to my hands and I separate them, return to clenching them around the edge of the table. I lick my lips.

He brings his eyes back up to meet mine. “As I was saying, we likely would have recruited you anyway. However, at the moment you are in a unique position that has become most valuable to the Clinic.”

“How exactly?”

His left eye twitches, like he is trying not to blink. Like he is afraid to lose the staring contest we have stumbled into. “The only notable way the Fourth Reality has bled into the Fifth has been in the personality shift and memory loss of Miss Carp. You know her better than anyone. You could help us determine why the events in the Fourth Reality touched ours solely through an otherwise unremarkable sixteen-year-old girl.”

Ramsey has never been unremarkable, not to those who know her. But of course he doesn’t, so he doesn’t know that.

I don’t want to work for the Clinic, but if it’s important enough for them to recruit me one year early, I probably should. The Clinic would not change their traditional protocol unless it was important.

Perhaps that’s why I said yes yesterday afternoon, as well.

With my heart in my throat, I lean as far forward as I can without losing my balance. My fingers slip against the smooth steel and my knees clench. “I’ll help you find out why what happened to Ramsey did. What do you need me to do?”

Without thinking, I glance around the office again, in search of a clock. How late is it getting? An hour must have passed since I first slid onto this table. The metal has grown warm beneath me.

“Thank you, Miss Dylan.” Dr. O’Brien walks to the door. “If you will just follow me.”

I don’t move. “Follow you where?”

He releases a breath that almost sounds like a sigh. “You are going to speak with Miss Carp for us. We will monitor your interactions to see if her behavior aligns with our theory, in which case we will be able to better determine what occurred in the Fourth Reality.”

“When? Now?” I am not ready to see Ramsey, not when I have still had so little time to think that I will never have to see her again.

I don’t want to see her again.

It’s not fair to take this away from me so soon.

Dr. O’Brien slides his fingers around the doorknob. His knuckles are swollen. He has been using his hands too much for something, and I do not want to know what. I have already learned more than I want to know.

He nods. “Now.”

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~Julia

PS. My sleep-deprived brain just realized that the short story I read at the library is “The End” and the novel the chapter above is from is The End Where I Begin, and for some reason this is hilarious.

PPS. I WANT SLEEP.

Wordy Wednesday (“Cadence, Super Special Excerpt of Specialness”)

We’ve got a three-way tie for this week’s Wordy Wednesday, so between that and the fact that this is the first Wednesday of 2013, I figured I’d give you a special treat instead of the usual poem or something. BEHOLD: A Cadence excerpt.

Back Story: [Redacted]

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[Sorry this is no longer available–I’m editing Cadence now with the hopes of maybe, possibly publishing it someday. Thanks for the interest, though!]

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Before I go, I figured I’d take a second to talk about New Year’s Resolutions, since I’m one of those sentimental weirdos who makes resolutions every year (12, actually–one to represent each month). So, an update on my progress from last year’s Resolutions:

  1. Blog twice a week: I almost succeeded on this one. Almost. But then Spanish class had to come and mess it all up this past semester. I’m still pretty proud of myself for sticking with blogging throughout the entire year, though, since I’ve never been the type of person patient or responsible enough to keep a diary or anything like that. So this is like halfway accomplished.
  2. Write a novel: This is another halfway one. While I didn’t write a complete novel in 2012, despite my best efforts to, I did finish one novel and get nearly 90,000 words into another, so I’d say this one was nearly accomplished as well.
  3. Do my best to get a literary agent: Check plus on this one, although I didn’t succeed in actually procuring a lit agent. I feel like I made some pretty big strides, though, towards snagging an agent someday, this year.
  4. Do my best to get a talent agent: Yeah, this would be a failure. Namely because I realized partway through the year that I really ought not pursue the acting industry–as much as I love it, I don’t love it enough. Which kind of sucks, but oh well.
  5. Make new friends: Check plus, although really: I’m a freshman in college. It would be sort of difficult NOT to make new friends.
  6. Enjoy college, no matter where I end up: When I wrote this resolution, it was because I had just been deferred from the University of Michigan and thought that I was probably going to end up at every Wolverine’s worst nightmare, Michigan State. Not that I personally have anything against Michigan State, really, because a ton of my family went there, but at the same time: A ton of my family went there. And I didn’t want to just be following in the footsteps of everyone else (hence how a born-and-raised Spartan became a Wolverine). Luckily, U of M ended up accepting me a month or two later, and I got to go to my dream school after all. And I have most definitely been enjoying college so far. So check plus.
  7. Get all As for my last two semesters of high school: I was so close. SO CLOSE! And then my senioritis caught up with me at the end of second semester… and in the middle of it… and at the beginning… and yeah. I got a B. Ugh. This is another halfway accomplishment.
  8. Start posting covers of songs on Youtube: Total and complete failure, although I did end up putting up a couple of original songs this year. This is going to be an unofficial Resolution in 2013, because I still think Youtube is the coolest thing ever and I kind of desperately want to find a way to be more involved in it. But anyway, for 2012, this was a failure.
  9. ENJOY LIFE, even if it’s not going my way: Check plus. 🙂
  10. Help someone who I don’t have to – be selfless: Check plus.
  11. Change the world: Check plus, I guess, since I did “change the world” this year, technically, although not in as major of a way as I would have liked.
  12. Find happiness. Check plus. 

And now, drum roll please…

My New Year’s Resolutions for 2013:

1. Do something selfless at least once a week

2. Pass all of my classes (especialmente Españ(y)ol(o)), and with a 3.0 or higher

3. Make new friends (but keep the old—one is silver and the other gold)

4. Write a novel

5. Participate in FAWM (February Album Writing Month)

6. Blog at least twice a week

7. Start querying a novel

8. Save $365 to give to charity

9. Go to church at least once a month

10. Get a heck of a lot of planning done for Ch1Con 2014

11. Learn how to do a Proper British Dialect (#11 is subject to change)

12. Get my driver’s license (<–Don’t laugh at me. I’ve never had need for it before, but now I do.)

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Do you have any Resolutions for 2013?

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~Julia

Oh, and PS: I totally 4-pointed my first semester of college. I AM SO HAPPY YOU HAVE NO IDEA AHHH. 🙂

Wordy Wednesday (“Cadence, Chapter Five”)

Well, I wasn’t planning on continuing to post Cadence after Camp NaNoWriMo ended last month, but since I haven’t been doing a whole lot of writing lately other than working on it, and revising the novel I finished earlier this year, well… here’s more Cadence.

Links to Previous Chapters:

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

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[Sorry this is no longer available–I’m editing Cadence now with the hopes of maybe, possibly publishing it someday. Thanks for the interest, though!]

 

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… Now we’re back to the ever-pressing question of: What next? And just because I’m such a super technical genius (*cough* Word Press is so easy to use), I’m giving you an official poll this time, with options and everything. SHABAM!! Vote away!

~Julia