A Chapter by Vin


"Come on in, I'm in the back!" a rumbling voice shouted. I poked my head around one of the many stacks of furniture and carvings and looked to the left, where I thought the voice had come from. I walked towards the sound of a saw, nervous. The guys voice had created the image of someone very large and strong, and seeing as he run a carpentry shop, this image fit well.

"Are you there, friend? Just follow the sound of the saw now!"

Something about the kindness in his voice made me relax a little and I picked up the pace, my shoes making clip-clop souds on the wooden floor. I looked up at the ceiling, at how big the store was when it had seemed so small from outside.

At last I rounded a stack of merchandise and found the source of the noise and deeo voice. The man was huge with tree trunks for arms and heavy brown leather gloves on his hands as well as an equally thick apron tied around his waist. I turned around and tried to leave under the cover of the deafening saw, but at that moment he turned it off and looked down at me.

"Leaving so soon young lady?"

I could feel his voice rumbling through the floor. That was the kind of line a killer asks right before he murders someone. I froze then slowly turned back around.

He was staring at me with his harms crossed over his broad chest, the light reflecting off his safety glasses. "Ah..." I said, very intelligently.

He strode over and stood looming over me, the way a cat would a mouse. "Now tell me child," he began softly, "what is a school girl doing in a place like this at night and on her own?"

I stared up at him with saucer eyes and opened and closed my mouth as though I was some kind of fish impersonator. "I-I don't really know...sir..."

"Hmm," he murmered thoughtfully. After a moment, his bass declared. "Well that settles it then. There's nothing else to be done for it. You'll have to come with me."

Then he started towards me and I immediately ran for it. Got away with it too, for about two feet. I bounced off someone, another freakishly tall person, and landed on my rear end. I looked up at him fearing the worst. He didn't look to be as strong or as deep voiced, but I could tell he had some muscle hidden behind his slim frame. He glanced down at me curiously like I was a strange insect that he had happened across. I hoped that he wasn't someone who got their kicks from squishing bugs.

Deep voice yanked me unceremoniously to my feet and spun me round to face him, his hands still gripping my shoulders. He looked concerned. I was so confused!

"You all right?"

I nodded dumbly, still hanging about an inch above the ground. I could feel my butt starting to tingle from the impact from the floor, and my hands we no better for breaking my fall. They were hot and achy, and I was sure they were bleeding.

The tall guy behind me said, "Put her down Dad, she's hurt."

He looked down, "Oh!" and put me down. "Sorry 'bout that," he mumbled. He cleared his throat and returned to looking at me. "Now, as I was sayin', you'll have to come with me."

"No!" I yelled, feeling the tears spill over. I was so pathetic. At a time like this and all I could do was cry. I was filled with self loathing and my tears changed to those of rage. "No! I won't go anywhere with you! Let me go home!"

Tall guy said gently, "S'okay, we won't hurt you. My da was trying to be the good kind of guy he is and offer you a room for the night." He regarded his father reproachfully, "You should be more clear, you scared her!"

His dad studied the floor abashed and mumbled an apology.

"I'll take her to Angie's room Dad, you can finish up here and close the shop without me right?" Tall guy gently pushed my back to direct me away before waiting for his fathers reply. I peered over at him and actually seen him this time.

He had wavy blonde hair and bangs that didn't let me see his eyes. His skin was lightly tanned and he looked like he had a proud nose and a strong chin, but I couldn't be entirely sure in the dim shop light. He looked back at me and I quickly turned forward again. He was beautiful.

Ashamed of my tears, I brushed them away and hissed in pain.I studied my hands and found they were bleeding sluggishly, little rocks and wood chips embedded in them. I moaned, quesy, squeezed my eyes shut and stood still.

My eyes opened when Tall guy bent down in front of me, a concerned look on his face.

"Are you okay?" I nodded, but he wasn't buying it. He took my hands by the wrists and pulled them up to where he could see them. I could see them too and another moan escaped me as my knees knocked. As I said before, pathetic.

Then I was in the air and being moved swiftly. I looked around and saw that Tall guy had picked me up and was carrying me like a damsel in distress.

Completely and utterly pathetic. Beyond all hope of recall!

"I'm so sorry," he said softly. I could feel his voice rising in his chest and I blushed ferociously. He was apologizing to me! I was the stupid one who thought a kind man was going to kidnap a useless nobody like me! "As soon as I get you to Angie's room I'll find the med kit and clean your hands up a bit."

"N-no, no! My hands are fine, just a little scratch or two," I laughed nervously.

He pushed open a door with his foot and walked me over to a bed, laying me down on it. I turned crimson. This was like any girl's fantasy, except for the torn up hands part. That, not so much. I mentally shook myself. This is not a fantasy, this is scary. This is real life!

Tall guy kneeled by the bed ad said anxiously, "Please, don't run away, I'll be right back. Just stay here and I'll come back!" I nodded and he quickly stood up and left the room.

I took a moment to look at my surroundings before panic set in again. You could tell at first glance that it was a girl's room. I was in a beautiful canopy bed with flowers carved into the bedposts, I assumed that Deep voice made it. Angie must have been his daughter, judging by the pictures on the walls. Kittens were all over the place, on clocks, posters and even on a rug. Artificial flowers adorned every free surface space and it smelled like a sickly sweet strawberry candle. I was going to be sick.

Have I mentioned that I'm not a girly girl? I should have. Fairies were the only things that appealed to me as a kid, probably because they could fly, and everybody loved them. The two things I wanted most in the world.

It was sort of nice, it was just pure girl and it made me feel like I was exuding femininity. If's that's at all possible.

My butt was now past the tingling stages and was advancing into the forming bruise part, which would make walking dangerous. Even the squishy bed made it ache. That was definitely a bad sign. I tried adjusting my position, but when I tried to move I froze up in pain and couldn’t move anymore. Definitely not good, not good at all.

If I let Tall guy know that I couldn’t even roll over then he would carry me around marriage-style again, not something that my pride could bear twice in one day. It was also too…embarrassing to be carried by him. I can’t really think of a better word to describe it. I would blush like a fool every time I looked at his face, and since that’s all I would be able to see, he would nickname me tomato girl or something.

Maybe I had some latent acting skills that would suddenly emerge and I could pretend that walking didn’t hurt. Fat chance. As far as I could see, I was doomed. Wait - how would I be able to sit in those hard chairs at school like this? Just thinking about it brought tears of pain to my eyes.

“I found it!” Tall guy was back again with a metal med kit in his hand. I made an attempt at a smile that obviously didn’t work because he ran over to the bed and opened the kit.

I decided that I shouldn’t try to sit up, so lying on my back, motionless, I tried to sound in control. “I’m fine, really. I’ll just go home now-” I tried to sit up anyway, but that was cut off by Tall guy pushing me gently back down.

He rummaged through the box and said, “Please, how would you think of us if we didn’t even try to fix the harm we caused? Lay down and wait.”

He picked up my hand again and looked it over carefully. “Your hands are pretty beat up. Um…how’s your…”

“Fine!” I said shortly, blushing again. I looked up and he was blushing too. That made me feel just a little bit better.

He got out some tweezers and I felt my stomach give a heave in protest. This was not going to be quick and easy. Then I felt a cloth on my eyes. “Here, that way you won’t have to watch. You seemed queasy when I brought you here, so…” he trailed off self-consciously.

No one had ever thought about how something they were doing would make me feel! Not even my imaginary guy thing. Then my sentimental moment was cut off by the sharp stabbing pain in my hand as Tall guy started plucking splinters and rocks out of my hand. I don’t recommend you do something like that for fun on a weekend.

“Um…” Tall guy was still plucking but I guess he was trying to distract me from the pain. So nice! “What - I mean, I don’t even know your name. Could you, maybe…tell me?”

I decided that he was the most adorable guy I’d ever had talk to me. He was the first too, but who cares? “Alula,” I gasped out.

“That’s a cool name. I’m Gail. And, uh, that guy you met downstairs is my dad, Malachi. He’s…not so good with explaining things that don’t have to do with his trade. That’s why I stuck around after my brother Jared moved out. I deal with the customers for him.” Well, he certainly was a chatterbox when you got him rolling. It was kinda’ nice. I was actually having a real conversation.

“You must love your dad a lot.” I was so proud of that statement. I pointed out the obvious! Great start…

He laughed a little. “You sure don’t miss much.” It was funny, but the way he said it wasn’t mocking at all. He actually seemed to mean it. “Yeah, I do. I’m the only one who still lives with him. My sister Angie and my other two brothers went off to college as soon as they finished high school.”

I winced as a particularly long splinter was yanked out. “What about you?” I hoped he knew what I meant.

He sighed and set down the tweezers. He patted something on with a cotton ball, probably peroxide. “I dropped out in my second last year so that I could help him around the shop and make sure that the house wasn’t unlivable. I’m gonna’ take over the store when my dad wants to retire, make sure that the name won’t have to change.”

It stung, really bad. Yup. Definitely peroxide. At least the floor was out of my hand now. “My family would never let me do something like that,” I said quietly.

I heard him cutting and felt as he wrapped some gauze around my right hand. “I can see that.” Then we were quiet for a while as he concentrated on wrapping my hand.

“Why,” he stopped wrapping and leaned over me to treat my left hand, “Were you all the way down here in the District, if you go to Kardana?” I stopped breathing. How, did he know where I went to school? Apparently sensing my distress or lack of breathing he said quickly, “It’s you uniform, it’s the one they wear at Kardana.”

That was so much better. “Oh, uh, I just felt like…finding a different place. Somewhere,” it hurt so bad…! “new.”

“Yeah, that’s how my parents found the District too. They wanted to find someplace that had life in it.” Now that I thought about it, why didn’t he go around to the other side of the bed to treat the left? Why was he leaning over me? I was hyper aware of how close we were, and I could feel the blood creeping up to my face.

“C-cool,” I said.

“I’m almost done, there’s just a little bit more stuck in this one.” He must have mistaken my flustered answer as me being in pain. A small blessing. I was probably just being weird since I’d never been near someone non-related before. At least not this close. Friends and random people must do this sort of thing all the time…right?

He stopped leaning then to set down the tweezers and get more peroxide and I could feel how cold I was in the absence of his body heat. I blushed even harder. I prayed that he would think it was a flush from pain, anything but realize what I was thinking!

“You okay? You look sorta rosy.” Oh God! He’d noticed!

I laughed nervously, “Y-yeah, yeah! I’m fine!” Apparently he believed me because my hand started stinging like bees were all over it. Maybe there was a little actress in me.

After a while he wrapped me up and took off the thing covering my face. The first thing I saw was his eyes. They were big and brown and beautiful. He looked at me doubtfully. “You sure that you’re okay?”

I nodded vigorously. He must have thought that I was a fainter and was worried that I would pass out on him. “Fine, just fine!”

He stood up after I gave him a tentative smile that was probably more like a grimace. “Can you sit up?”

Crap. My cover was blown. He was gonna find out that I couldn’t even roll over and carry me around or…try to fix my butt! I sat bolt upright immediately. I wanted to scream it hurt so bad! I looked up at him with watery eyes and gave a dismal excuse for a smile.

He gave me a dazzling smile and said, “Good! Since you’re otherwise okay, would you mind helping me out in the kitchen?”

The smile fell right off my face and his only got bigger. I was so dead! He leaned down until his face was right in front of mine and said, “Could it be that you were lying to me, Alula?”

What was that!? The angrier he got the bigger and more awe inspiring his smile?! That was so messed up! My whole face was going to melt off. I closed my eyes and prepared to be smote where I sat. It must be the final judgment!

I was flying. Apparently I was not going to be turned into a pile of ashes by this heavenly smile. I peeked out of one eye and it turned out that I was being carried like a princess again. I tried to die but it didn’t work.

“N-no! Put me down! I can walk!” I yelled and beat at his chest with the back of my mummy hands.

He laughed and it shook my entire body as he tromped down the stairs he had just recently carried me up. “No, I don’t think I can trust you. So I’ll have to carry you around until I’m sure that you’re all better.”

Was this Hell!? I was doomed to life of loserdom and being treated like an invalid! Even though I really was an invalid. But anyway, nooooo!

He set me down gently on a couch and wrapped me in an afghan draped on the back of it. His smile was that of a deity and it nearly made me grovel and beg for mercy. Why was something so beautiful so deadly?! “Now, stay here while I make some dinner. I assume you haven’t eaten yet?”

He left before I could answer and walked over to a doorway on my left, presumably into his kitchen. He had thoughtfully turned on a small TV in front of the couch before he went, and left me to cower.

I was such a terrible person! I had walked into a stranger’s shop, ran into his son and fallen on the floor, then Gail had taken care of me in his sister’s room, and now he was making me food! I was a shameless vagabond who deserved to be fed to very large and rabid St. Bernard!

I had about half an hour to reflect on my crimes and by the time he came out I was nearly in tears.

He walked over quickly and roughly set down the bowls he had been carrying. “Are you okay?”

“Why are you doing this?” I asked pitifully.

Gail looked confused. “What do you mean?”

“I mean,” this was the start of a tirade of guilt, “taking care of me and carrying me around and feeding me and being so nice to some random freak girl who wandered into your shop after hours!” I was crying then and I’m sure I looked like a drowned cat.

He laughed at me. He laughed at me! I was sitting in his living room, treading on his hospitality, and he was laughing at me for hating myself!

“Because, it’s not everyday that I can help someone like you!”

Did he mean a fool? “…Like me?” I sniffled.

“Well,” he looked thoughtful, “You’re a perfectly nice seeming girl who needed help, and I was able to help you.” He looked up at me. “It’s not every day that I can take care of a cute school girl.”

I was hurt. How could he lie like that? So I asked him, “How could you lie like that?!”

He looked at me with a dumbfounded expression so unconnected from the godly smile of evil he had given me a while ago. “What…?”

I glared at him from inside my ball of blanket and tried to look as menacing as a burrito look alike can. “Don’t try to tell me that I’m cute if you don’t think so! I have enough relatives already!”

He just looked at me for a second and started laughing again. He laughed until he was curled up and tears were leaking from his eyes. I didn’t get this guy, he was so messed up!

Gail regained his composure after a bit and plopped himself down on the couch beside me. I leaned forward, which hurt like hell, and looked across him.

There was another seat farther away from me that he could have sat in. I opened my mouth to ask him why he was so close, but a forkful of mac and cheese was there in place of words. I looked up at him indignantly, which is very hard when you have cheese sauce on your face. I was having a very hard time making him take me seriously.

He laughed at me again, and I don’t blame him. “You want to try eating with your hands bandaged up like that?”

I looked down at my hands and saw that he had a point, but I sure wasn’t going to let him know that. I swallowed the delicious food and seized the bowl from him. I tried to pick up the fork but I couldn’t bend my fingers.

I handed the bowl back to him. He won again. So I sat there as I was humiliated in the home of a stranger and fed the most amazing food I had ever tasted by an isnanely handsome guy. I didn’t know whether I was in paradise or Hell anymore.

We watched an old re-run of a show on some local station when he finished embarrassing me and ate his own food. Then he took our stuff back to the kitchen and I sat in a food coma. He wouldn’t let me say I was full until I finished it all because he figured out that I was trying to get out of eating. The whole time I was trying not to drool on him.

It may sound pitiful, but I had never eaten anything better than that mac and cheese in my entire life. Until then all I’d had was frozen foods and nonperishables for dinner because I couldn’t cook, and no one else who could was around.

Gail picked me up again and this time wasn’t so bad because he told me that he was going to. I still hated myself for being pathetic, but not as much. He set me down on his sister’s bed for the second time in one day.

He rummaged through a dresser and pulled out some flannel looking pajamas and set them on the bed beside me. “You can wear an old pair of Angie’s night clothes so you don’t have to sleep in your uniform.”

He looked at me nervously. “Please tell me you can get changed on your own.” I looked at him with my eyes wide and babbled that I definitely could and how could he ask that kind of stuff.

I did a full body blush that time. As I squirmed painfully into the comfy pjs I wondered what he would have done if I had said no. Then I quickly cut that thought off because it was terrible and horrible and embarrassing.

Right as I was telling myself to stop that, Gail knocked on the door. “Are you decent?” I wanted to kill myself. It was all so weird!


He opened the door and came in. “You don’t look too bad in her pajamas. It’s a nice fit.”

I stared at my lap intently and hoped that he couldn’t read the thoughts he had interrupted. “Yeah, thank you.”

He cleared his throat and I looked up at him, and saw that he was staring at the floor too. “Sorry for coming back, but, ah, do you need to call anyone to let them know that you’re okay?”

I just sat there for a while, trying to control my voice so it wouldn’t waver. “No,” I said very quietly.

He looked so sad when I said that, almost like he was absorbing the negative waves of depression I was giving off. He was so sweet! I wanted to slap myself for thinking such a thing. Did I have to embarrass myself everywhere I went? Apparently so. I had no right to think about him as more than a Good Samaritan.

“Hey,” he brought me back from my thoughts as he shifted nervously from foot to foot, “If you, need anything, I’m just in the next room over, so give a yell.”

I looked at him gratefully as he snapped off the light, and he turned to leave. “Gail?”

“Yeah?” The light from the hallway illuminated him, making it look as if he was surrounded by a golden halo.


© 2010 Vin

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Right, sorry this last one took so long. Here we go.

There is no need for an apostrophe after words like 'gonna' and 'kinda'

Seriously, this girl is sad. I'm essentially skin and bone and I don't bruise or get cut THAT easily. She just fell on her a*s for Pete's sake!

This chapter stinks of convenience. As an avid reader, I'm no stranger to the concept of suspension of disbelief, but you're taking it a little far here. I have the same questions the characters do. Why is she there at that time of night? Why are they taking care of her? And my own question: how did she manage to hurt herself that badly from one little fall? Everything just seems set up so that it works for whatever you're trying to get at in the next chapter, not because it's realistic, and you suffer for it.

That being said, it's not bad by any stretch. Your writing is still wonderfully realistic and your dialogue is some of the most natural I've ever seen. Your characters still feel human, and your imagery is good. There's a lot to like here, but you've got to get a move on the plot soon and you need to make sure you can justify everything that happens.

Posted 12 Years Ago

Awesome book so far. i love this one the best. :)

Posted 12 Years Ago

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2 Reviews
Added on May 12, 2010
Last Updated on May 12, 2010



United Kingdom

I love Music, Photography, Literature and Art although maybe not in that order :S I love to laugh, I think it's the best thing we can do as people and I reckon no one does it enough. It is probably.. more..

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