Never Chapter 3

Never Chapter 3

A Chapter by Montilee Stormer


“There has been an … incident,” said the woman to a room surprisingly quiet given the fact that it was full of young raggedy kids. “One of our number will not be returning, and while it makes me sad, these things cannot helped. You can grieve if that’s what you feel you need to do, but do not dwell. Believe whatever comforts you, that he has gone on holiday, or that he has left for another city, or that he is food for the worms, but know for certain in your secret hearts that he is not coming back.”


In the cinder block room behind the trains and away from the soot, her voice sounded flat and without life. While the echoes of the trains reverberated off the walls and caused the metal chairs to thrum to the electric rhythm, the woman sounded as if the room was lined with thick layers of wet cotton. It carried though, and it traveled through ears and through brains and into hearts that were heavy and sad. Her voice only seemed small to those would not listen, and that was fine. What she had to say was not for everyone to hear. She stood quietly in front of a wall in a long brown overcoat, metal pipes escaping in both directions to infinity above her head, dripping water down dirty walls into stagnant pools onto the floor. It was always damp down here, but it was warmer and much drier than up there.


She was just off of work herself and tired to the bone, her blonde hair the color of the dishwater she always seemed to have her hands immersed in. Addressing her army was her first duty, feeding them her second, and then it would be off to her own warmer drier place up there and away from the damp.


Her audience of children was dirty and bedraggled to the point of pitiful, long hair or hair cut with bowls and dull scissors, clothing caked with dirt, mud and [i]gah[/i] knows what else. Eleven little boys, none older than fifteen and utterly broken inside, were missing a brother who would never come home. There were some tears, and a little bit of loud weeping, the younger ones unable to suppress the overwhelming emotion of loss. It was not a new emotion, just one suppressed for a long time, and every loss was a new raw, wound, never before experienced. Some brave souls refused to cry, though they would probably go out later and hurt something, a stray animal or drunken hobo, and they would hurt that poor creature badly. He, the one who was lost, the one who would not be coming back, was the one they really wanted to hurt because he was just like them and they were supposed to live forever.


“Who?” came a question from one of the defiant ones, large tears standing in his eyes by will alone. The question isn't "who isn't returning," but "who has done this thing?"  A second glance and it is our boy, the one we are calling Dusty. He returned from his evening of being pulled, able to save one life but completely incapable of saving another. The woman thought that this one, this Dusty, could be one to lead the others, but he had something that couldn’t be erased as easily as the woman would have liked. Memories that were too strong, very vivid, brought on by smells or sights, sometimes got in the way of his actions, and memories like those stood in the way of great leaders. By the time he’d properly forgotten, it might be too late and he would be too old. She didn’t have that kind of time, not anymore, not since the arrival of the Others, the ones who had come to hurt and maim and kill. In another time and most definitely another place, he would have been perfect. It was a shame, but the woman would get over it as surely as she took her next breath.


“One of Them,” and the children knew of whom she was speaking. Small hysterical cries could be heard from the smaller ones, and the older ones shuffled uneasily. Them were They and They were dangerous. They stalked the children for sport because They believed that was the mission and it was all They seemed to know how to do, other than play the perpetual pretend of Adult-making. They, these Others, were almost indistinguishable from the Adults of the world that was not down here in the tunnels. They looked the same, and acted them same, but when the children least expected it, They showed themselves for what They were and then it was too late. They, these Others, were a cocky bunch and dirt-water stupid, and they could be defeated with the right mix of skill and luck and … that special something the children all had but could not speak of, not even to each other. When everything was perfectly in place, They could be conquered and even killed. Our boy knew that, and Port went down like a five dollar hooker, but perhaps the boy that was lost did not have his lucks in a row. He was caught Unawares.


The woman knew that it would happen eventually that They would come and make the lives of her boys uncomfortable and perilous, and unfortunately she was unprepared and so very short on time to teach them to fight properly. They would be hunted and their ranks would be thinned out, and she would have to pack up and move to start all over. Again. For how many more times or how many times since the beginning, she didn’t know. It was not important. It was regrettable, but she would get over as it surely as she took her next breath.


“He got careless, and we can never be careless. We are invincible but if we forget that, if we forget to hold that one thought that sustains us, we will perish. We can never be caught Unawares. Do you understand?” There were mumbles and more shuffles and even one choked back cry.


If one could not be forged from their ranks, she would not have time to find one from the outside to continue what was begun so far away in a place that she would never forget. She sighed internally. That was the thought that sustained her and kept her invincible. Some memories were better than thrice-folded iron shields.


There was more weeping and mumbling which did not satisfy the woman in the slightest. “I asked you a question. Do you understand?”


“We understand,” said our boy, his voice clear and only barely cracking around the edges. “We will not be caught Unawares.” The other children gathered around him in their seats, leaning in closer as if to feed off of his strength and warm their souls from the blaze that is his inner fire. There might be time yet, she thought. He may be the one, may [i]have[/i] to be the one. Beneath her brown coat, there was a flutter and a fine white powder fell to the floor and into the standing water. For a moment, the filthy water shone like brilliant rainbows and fireflies stoked with lava before winking out of existence like a dream moments after waking.


“Excellent. Now – who wants pie?”

© 2008 Montilee Stormer

My Review

Would you like to review this Chapter?
Login | Register


amazing first sentence and the whole thing moves with crazy truth.

Posted 11 Years Ago

It's weird---I was afraid I wouldn't remember parts 1 & 2 but as I was reading this, your words brought them back to me. Your descriptions are vivid and grimy with realism. This is also rather unsettling, especially toward the end. I like the aura you create for this. Good job!

Posted 11 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I really like the way this part opens. And the exposition rolls out well, laid out between one sure breath and the next. Aside from a few minor spelling errors and sentence-tightening, this chapter sings. The tone is very Gaiman-esque. I'm eager to read on.

Posted 11 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Added on April 25, 2008


Montilee Stormer
Montilee Stormer

Royal Oak, MI

Short Version: MontiLee Stormer is a troublemaker, writing acts of mayhem and despair for her own selfish pleasure. Her interests wander from abnormal psychology and serial killers, to lost loves and.. more..