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Our Story So Far... III [01 Dec 2006|10:34pm]

The White Hot Room.

I feel like I've wandered into an early George Lucas film, before he became a genius and lost his mind. It's white. White and white and white. So white I can't tell where the walls are, and probably won't until I walk into them.

For the sake of argument, I walk about 100 paces in a straight line, more or less. Sense of direction not being my middle name, I manage to put one foot more or less in front of the other. Then I turn around and walk 200 paces in what I feel to be the exact opposite direction.

100 paces back, right angle turn, 100 paces. About face, 200 paces. Still no walls.

I'm about 75 paces into a 45-degrees-from-that-last-line trek when it hits me. Something in the back of my head, that little bit just before the lizard brain says 'Check your pockets."

A quick patdown produces my wallet - damn driver's licence is all blurry and hard to read, about $45 in assorted bills, two credit cards - my keys, and an origami crane.

The keys and wallet go back into said pockets. Wonder what happened to my small, useful knife? I look at the crane. White paper. Something I can't smudge, or smear, or soil in any way, something tells me. Light ricochets off it with no loss in velocity. The damn thing practically glows in my hand.

Very, very carefully, I unfold it. Tilt the paper, squint. Very faint writing in... yes... white ink. Opaque white that soaks in light as readily as the paper reflects it.

Four letters. Two words.

A. Sun.

A name to conjure by - dozens of thought chase each other through my head. I haven't thought of him for years. I just was talking to him. I just read something - no, that wasn't me. Well, it *was* but that was me minus myself... crap.

I fold the paper back up, on a whim. Somehow I manage to keep to the prefolded lines. Taking careful grasp of the tail and the little bit just below the neck, I pull.

The crane flaps its wings, and the room gets whiter. It takes a bit before my brain parses "whiter" as "brighter" and I realize that I'm looking into a very, very, very bright object perhaps 20 yards in front of me.

"Hello, Doctor."

Blink. That's me. Ok. "Hello, Adrian. Can you tell me what the heck I'm doing here?

"I can, but I can't. You're going to hear something similar for every one of us you find, you know."

For some reason I'm not suprised. I may not be working with a full deck, but the cards I have show me what cards I'm missing, sort of. Assuming I'm playing with a poker deck and not pinochle or bridge.

"Yeah, I think I get that. What *can* you give me? I think... someone is trying to do me harm. I mean, someone set off a bomb in my apartment - one of them... uh... Austin. College time."

The light bobs a little, a slight vertical movement before returning to center. "I didn't know that." It always thrills me to know something these semi-omniscient folks don't. "Someone may be trying to do you harm. Can you get back there?"

I think about that for a minute. "Nnnnnnno. I'm still not sure where that was, now, and where I *am*, now."

A chuckle and the light oscillates from side to side. "Perhaps you should speak with a priest."

I get half a syllable asking what he meant when the light goes away, far too fast for my liking.

Dark. Dark with little lines of light around the edges. Push between the lines.

The phone booth door opens and I'm in bar somewhere.
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Our Story So Far [28 Nov 2006|11:11pm]

... a continuation after four years ...


Cards. 52 of them, each one with a unique face, a unique value. Depending on who you talk to, each one has its own unique meaning and derivation from the depths of the common psyche. Real deep James Campbell stuff, yeah?

Imagine cards shuffling together. Things dovetailing, overlapping in an almost perfect mesh of 1-2-1-2-1-2-1-2.

Imagine playing with less than a full deck for what you believe to have been your entire life, only to discover that you're not even playing with half of it. Imagine only learning you're playing with not-quite-a-full-deck after you've had a few more cards mixed in.

Imagine learning this and suddenly knowing it, and knowing that you did and didn't know it, an didn't know it, and still don't know it, and god knows if you'll ever know it all at once.

That's what happened when I tried to get "Robert" to let go of me, "Bob". Or rather, when I tried to wrest myself from my own grip.

1-2-1-2-1-2-1-2-1-2-Austin-Berkeley-SanJose-Dallas-Nashville-16-14-23-32-Tina-Molly-Angie-Bethany-coder-actor-writer-mystic-bits and pieces filling in on some giant jigsaw puzzle.

Some giant jigsaw puzzle that was me. Him.

And apparently a bunch of other people.


The world came back into focus - a little apartment in a little fourplex somewhere in Northern California. Out of college, sprawled on a big oval rattan orientalist beastie of a chair. Inhale. Exhale. That still works. Good.

The room is very, very quiet. I know, somehow, there should be noises. These places aren't built with soundproofing in mind. People upstairs (one grey fluffy cat which I continually mistake as female), next door (70's Hard Rock when they think I've gone to work), lots of cars and trucks rumbling outside. But it's quiet. Unusually quiet.

After some flailing, I use my legs to cantelever myself from the bowl-of-Bob chair and manage to make it to my feet. I take stock. Jeans, collarless shirt, Converse All-Stars. Not much money and barely squeaking by. Ok. This is me. I remember all this.

Only I didn't remember it when I was, where, Austin? Moments ago.

"That's right, white boy. You didn't."

Great. Now I'm talking to myself. That's a sure sign of an impending mental collapse.

"No, it's a coping mechanism you developed from all those years of being an only child and being quite content in your own company, brought on by the awkwardness of moving about so much and always being the new kid. Especially after Brentwood."

Yeah. Got a point there. OK, inner voice. What's going on?

"Simple. You need to find yourself."

Everyone in California says that.

"No, you need to find... right. Look outside."

The curtains are behind the chair of doom, and I can't lean over them to open that up. So I walk to the front door, bumping the overbuilt desk chair I brought all the way out here from Austin, and had reclaimed all the way from Utah, and open the front door.

Into the white hot light of something that was not California.
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In the twilight of that world [10 Oct 2002|03:02am]

There, beneath a pale and swollen moon, there she stands against the sea, broken.

                    I'm waiting for you.

The island on which she keeps her vigil is small, barely enough for her to lie down and rest upon its unforgiving surface. In every direction, as far as her eyes can see, she is surrounded by a still and caliginous ocean. The azure sky gazes serenely down at her with a thousand glittering eyes. Her exiguous island boasts two stone pillars, each one the height of a man, broken and in disrepair. She leans wearily upon them for support.

                    It's been a long time since last I saw you. You asked me to wait here. You said you'd return soon.

She wears a tattered, threadbare dress that might once have been white. Slender, almost frail, she shivers and sways weakly with each shift of the wind. Her hair is long, and a startling white; yet her face is that of a young girl.

                    I want to see you again.

A young girl, yes...but she knows that her face is not pretty. Not anymore. Her skin is clammy to the touch, her countenance unnaturally pale and sunken. And her eyes...

                    If I pray hard enough, if I scream to the sky, will you come to me?

Her eyes, rimmed with the deepest black, tell a thousand tales with a glance; tales of unutterable sadness, of shattered worlds, of the death of innocence a hundred times over. Hers are the eyes that look into one's soul, and knows it well; hers is the understanding of pain, of suffering.

The wind around her increases, yet the water remains calm. She shudders involuntarily.

                    If I open myself, if I paint the ground with my life, will you take pity on me?

She does not stand of her own accord. She is bound to the pillars with cruel chains. Her wrists are scarred where the bindings have sliced into her delicate flesh.

                    So long. It's been so long. I'm tired. Please...please, let me rest. Let me just see you one more time.

For untold time she has stood here, watching, waiting. Now, her eyes grow heavy...now, her limbs tremble with fatigue...now, finally, she grows weary of her vigil.

The wind rises further; she cannot stop shivering against it.

                    I don't want to die like this. Not alone. Not without you.

For the first time in her fading memory, her cheeks are warm with tears. She had forgotten warmth. She stirs feebly and looks to the sky as if in prayer.

                    Please...wherever you are...come to me. I've waited for this moment.

In her mind, she sees him. Young, strong, proud, the captain of his vessel. A master of men. She remembers his grace, his beauty. She remembers the gentleness of his embrace, and wondering at how such tenderness could come from such strong arms as his. She remembers her love for him, and his smile. She remembers the promise he made to her, and she to him, so many years ago...

The wind is angry now; she staggers against it, pulling on her chains for support.

                    Please...I'm so sorry, I didn't want to cry...I didn't want to disgust you with my weakness...I've tried so hard to be strong for you. Please, forgive my tears...I can't help it....

Now, she collapses against her chains. They do not let her fall to the ground -- she instead hangs limply from them, without even the strength to cry out in pain. Around her, the wind increases to a fevered pitch, howling and screaming at her, furious that she is there to impede its blind journey across the unnaturally tranquil waters. She feels it pummeling her, buffeting her with its unseen forces. Slowly, she feels herself being lifted up, pulling against the chains, as the wind tries to take her; she cannot scream, for she has forgotten how to speak. She closes her eyes and tries as hard as she can to stop crying.

In the morning, she is gone.

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Our Story So Far [10 Jan 2002|12:43am]

[Writer's note: If you haven't guessed, this is a continuing saga. This is very much a first draft, and all (c) (tm) (R) (etc) M. Legare and Lionshare Productions etc. Comments welcome)

I am dealing with a lunatic. A well-dressed lunatic, but a lunatic nonetheless. Someone who knows my name, thinks he's me, and is sitting about 2 feet away from me. My chair skootches a little, putting him two and a half feet from me. He notices and that irritating grin doesn't waver a bit. "I know. Scary, ain't it?"

"That I'm having a conversation with a crazy person in a coffeshop I don't like because he called me on a cell phone -"

"- which you don't remember owning -"

"- which I don't remember�" Blink. How long have I had this phone? Hell, how long have I been here? That explosion must have shaken me worse than I thought. Concussion? "Which� I don't remember.." the little green thing looks like � well� a cell phone. Green. The come in blue, don't they?

"� because you're not all here. And not just because He blew up your apartment, which happens to be the apartment you built six years ago�"

"Built? I'm not into heavy construction, 'Robert'�" I rented it, like anyone does when they're going to college. Going? Hang on.

"Because this isn't the real world."

I just sit there and stare at him. "You're. Nuts." Sounds so good to actually tell him this. Maybe he'll get the idea. Maybe I'll get the idea and leave. How fast can I run on a bruised leg? We'll find out in a moment.

"Not quite, Bob." His hand comes down on my shoulder - big fellah like him shouldn't be able to move so fast. I grab for it - show him that joint lock Conner taught me called 'Go up on your toes and walk backwards' and

And the world caves in.
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Our Story So Far [08 Jan 2002|03:47pm]

My phone rings - do I have a phone? Yes. Right here in my pocket. One of these days I have to remember to plug it in to charge , although the battery's been at three dots (four max) for months now.



"That'd be me? Who's this?" I look at the phone - BLOCKED CALLER. Oh yeah. I'm spending good money for this useful indication of who it is.

"It's me, Bob.. this line isn't secure. Meet me at Quack's." Quacks? Oh yes, the mighty Captain Quackenbush's. Coffeehouse to the young, artsy and angsty.

"Ok, me I'll me you there. I'll be the one who looks like hell." Pause. "Well, the one who's not entirely in black."

A chuckle on the other end, "Gotcha. But I'd recognize you anywhere. And you'll do the same." Click. Thank you for using Big Mighty Cellular. Fine.

Captain Quackenbush's has been around for as long as anyone can remember, a sole pinnacle of independence against the increasingly large clump of Franchise Hells along west campus. I score a table, and as an afterthought, order an Italian soda - lime. They get it right. That's one of the reasons I'll tolerate coming in here.

After about 2 lime sodas and a pass through the 'personals' section of the Independent (you know, that 'free' paper that's 60 percent ads - all metros have one) I see him. Bookish. Real bookish. Tweedy. Pudgy. Little round glasses, close-cropped hair. Neat moustache. I know him from somewhere - must be that 'me' from the phone. He spots me and makes his way over like a junkie scoring a fix - a straight line through the wavy cluster of chairs and tables - no idea how he manages it.

He thumps into the chair next to me without making a sound. "Bob."

"That'd be me." Pause. "Going to tell me who you are?"

He grins. No teeth, just lips pulled up under that moustache. "Ever get the feeling that something's going on that you don't know about?"

"Aside from my apartment blowing up, you mean?

He look surprised for all of a second. "Wow. He's moving quick."


"Yes. Bob, let me ask you how's your memory? How long have you lived around here?"

Blink. Funny to be asking after my memory when he's so certain I know who he is. "Six years? Seven? Came here in '85 to go to college and - "

"Right." He looks like he's doing math in his head. "So, if I told you that you're not entirely here right now?"

"I'd say that this would be because I had a bloody grenade go off in my home this morning. Now your name?" I try and say it calmly, but it comes out in that slow, deliberate manner one uses with lunatics and DMV workers.

He grins again, irritating bastard. "Me? My name is Robert Theopolis. And I'm you."
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[03 Jan 2002|04:17pm]

[ mood | touched ]

"You think this is easy for me?"


"You think I want to do this?"

He stepped back against the door, searching for the knob with his hand. She grabbed his wrist.

"Jane. Don't."

"You couldn't go out with a girl like me could you? I'm ugly. I'm a nobody. There wouldn't be any fodder for the tabloids."

"That's not it. Please, let go of me."

"No, wait. There would be something for the tabloids." She held out her free hand and waved it across the air. "'Hunky Actor Thad Baker Dating the Ugliest Woman Ever!' You agree with them don't you?" She sqeezed his wrist. "DON'T YOU?!"

"Let go of my wrist, Jane." His voice was shaking.

She looked deep into his blue eyes for a moment. "Okay." She dropped his wrist and grabbed his neck. "Is this better?"

He gasped for breath, but she pushed her palm against his adam's apple.

"You didn't answer me. Do you think this is easy for me?"

His eyes pleaded with her.

"I fucking LOVE you!" she screamed. "You think it's easy for me? To kill you? Do you think that's easy?"

He struggled against her, but she easily kept her grip. She squeezed as tightly as she could until he stopped moving. She let go. He fell to a heap on the floor.

"I knew you'd see it my way."

She took his ankles in her hands and dragged him across the small apartment to the bed and pulled him onto the sheets. She propped his head up on two overstuffed pillows.

"You just rest for a while. I'll make you some soup. You'll feel better in no time."

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Our Story So Far [03 Jan 2002|01:28am]

When I woke up it looked like a bomb had gone off in my apartment.

This was due to the very logical reason that a bomb had gone off in my apartment. I was under the massive overstuffed leather chair I bought back when I was a high-paid consultant - all six months of that. Not a single thing was upright. Picture frames cracked, TV dead, technology... what technology? All that remained was a blasted crater with bits of powdered silicon, and half an office chair.

I dragged my least-destroyed overcoat out of the remains of the closet, found I was wearing my shoes, armed with my wallet and cell phone (military surplus and designed to withstand these damn things), and got myself out of there...

Down to west campus - time to recoup and grab a bite to eat. God knows I could use it, bomb and all that. I caught a glimpse of myself in the reflection of an arcade window - backlit by a thousand points of simulated carnage-describing light. Oh yeah, I was a mess.

Good. A bagel, something cold and caffinated, and a place to sit. That's what I need now. A chance to work out what the heck just happened.

And where the hell are my socks.
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Happy Anniversary [18 Nov 2001|02:28am]

[ mood | awake ]

It was our anniversary. I bought him twelve white roses and a golden ring. The papers were white too, but were stained with ink. Black ink, blue ink, red ink...all the secrets of my world hidden there. All the secrets of my empire. I didn't want to believe, as I watched him sifting through them. I didn't want to, but I knew. When I was fifteen years old I had realized (in a dark room a million miles from everywhere with the smoking of my father's friends and the clatter of youth destroyed) that in all my life I would never be loved. All the revelations stripped away by my own hope when I saw him first. The last bit scrubbed away by a year of 'I love you's whispered in the dark. And then it was gone.

I grabbed him by his ivory throat and held him inches above the floor. Before long a rope replaced my hand. Beside him I asked how he had lied to me and why. He had a family, he said, a beautiful wife, two beautiful children. In the back of his mind he told himself, as he covered me in loving kisses, that it was his wife that he kissed. The crack of his neck ended his life and began my life of loneliness and hopelessness. My dreams of a cabin somewhere far away from responsibility and ridicule left me only to tease me in dreams.

Did you forget me, my love, as we touched. Or, worse, did you think of me? Were you disgusted by me, repulsed by me, forcing yourself to smile and utter words you were so far from meaning? I know I am evil, but even the six headed snake that wrapped itself around my soul long ago does not deserve such a fate.

Does he?

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Let me tell you something about dragons... [15 Nov 2001|10:14pm]

"Let me tell you something about dragons," he said, "First, never believe anyone who says 'forget everything you know about dragons'. Don't do that. Remember it, but remember that it could be wrong. Dragons listen to all the babbling that humans make abou them, and are not above changing the rules to fuck with us.
"Next, dragons have a very long, slow, deep strain of humor in them. Wit, they appreciate. Slapstick, they tolerate. Irony, they savor.
"For example...
"A shepherd once tricked a dragon into leaving his flocks alone. Don't ask me how - it's along story and I need to be on the move before the sun comes up again. Suffice to say it was every bit as clever as all those clever bumpkins people love to write stories about. Three weeks later, he was drunk and boasting about 'pulling the wool' over the dragon's eyes.
"Four weeks later - flocks were gone.
"Five weeks later - dragon appeared with a very large wool hat."
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The Flame (repost) [12 Nov 2001|08:23am]

[ mood | absent ]

I sit alone, in the near dark.

A single candle burns beside me, unwavering. I stare into the flame in an attempt to concentrate on what to write. Instead, I find my thoughts seductively lured into contemplation of the fire before me. There are few sights as beautiful as a naked flame, one that stands tall and burns brightly, reaching up into the heavens as if trying to touch its cousins, the stars. If I look closely enough into its depths, I can feel it looking back into my eyes, boring deep within my mind, as if trying to ascertain what it is I am thinking...I can almost hear its voice..."I live..."

I catch myself in my anthropomorphization and lean back. The flame is, of course, not a living thing. It has no voice. It is a chemical reaction induced by heat and fuel...yet...

It breathes.

It eats.

It reproduces.

It covets survival.

What, then, remains for it to prove its life?

I shake these thoughts from my head. I have no time for this. I should be writing. I have better things to do than stare at candles. And yet I find myself looking into the flame even deeper, as if trying to ascertain what it may be thinking. Its fiery depths yield no secrets, however, no mystical truths. It is, for all my wild speculation, just a flame. Just a controlled spark that is being fed at my whim so that it may render its light for my purposes. Slave to my desires, it is at my mercy. I can snuff it with a breath, or I can let it continue to live. Damn it, there I go again.

"Live". I can't let it live or make it die. Why am I thinking this way?

Movement out of the corner of my eye causes me to jump and upset the candle, nearly snuffing out the flame/life before me. I quickly catch it before it falls to the floor, and turn to determine the source of the movement.

In the flickering light of the near-extinguished flame, I see the cause of my disruption. It is merely a moth, having been attracted by the light. Sheepishly, I reset the candle on its perch and turn once again to my work. I have wasted too much time with this trivial contemplation. I set pen to paper and begin to write.

Thirty minutes later, I have only two sentences written, and I am again mesmerized by the candle and its new companion, the moth. The moth flutters in his orbit, confused by the light, unwilling to move on until he finds his direction from this new, bright star. The flame, disrupted by the slight breeze from the moth's wings, dances precariously on the end of its wick, nodding, winking at me as if to say, I'll prove it to you....."I live..."

The moth and flame dance together, partners in a death waltz. For at any moment, the fluttering moth might inadvertently snuff the flame, extinguishing the light and freeing him to find his way by the old, familiar lights, the ones above, in the heavens. Or at any time the flame might leap forth and claim the moth's frail, powdered body in its death throes, thereby allowing it to continue its still existence, undisturbed.

Fascinated, I am unable to look away as the moth, in his naivete, dances ever closer to the flame -- even as the flame, in its quiet predation, skirts death by waiting patiently for the moth to dance close enough for it to claim his dry husk. Closer....closer...

Finally, the moth flutters just a bit too close to this new star, and it is over. The flame proudly stands again, undisturbed. The moth writhes on the floor in seeming agony, unable to comprehend that this new bright thing has betrayed him, as a new flame engulfs his body. I look at the candle, almost aghast at the brutality and cold efficiency with which the flame lured its prey, trapped it, then laid its young upon the body of the moth so that it may feast upon him and have a place to live -- if only for a few short seconds.

For the moth has stopped writhing. As the new flame spreads across his blackening corpse, it burns brightly with the fire of youth.

I look back to the candle, and I swear I can hear the voice of the flame....

"I live..."

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Soft, The Midnight Hours [11 Nov 2001|07:18pm]

Let your eyes adjust, as soon they will. The full moon lending everything a silvered air and glinting off the water. There are leeches in the water, and the rocks are too sharp to lie upon, but we can sit here. And we can talk. The bars aren't closed yet, but soon the drunken rednecks will begin assembling on the road above to smoke their weed and do their mating dance in the backs of their pick up trucks.

I'll pass you a beer and you'll flip a rock into the water and the bull frogs will call, sounding suspiciously like ducks in the darkness. I'll cross my legs, you'll stretch yours out, and in soft voices the talk will begin. The talk always begins in soft voices, and ends in softer. In such a place, at such a time, loud voices are grating, overkill on the senses.

You'll talk of your future, and I of my past. You of your friends, and I of my family. And somehow, in the middle, is us, sitting on the sharp rock beech of a dark creek, murmuring. I'll reassure you that you'll find your path, and you'll comfort me that my hard path is nearly at an end. Perhaps the tears will come, but you'll not see my mascara running in the darkness, and the soft breaths could be passed off as sighs.

Maybe you'll turn your face from my wrongs, and maybe I'll put a hand up against your fears. And maybe the rocks won't seem so sharp, the rednecks so loud, the chill so unbearable. I'll put down my cloak for a place to sit, and you'll offer your arms to ward off the chill, and perhaps one of the rednecks will remember they have a house to go to. When it's simply the moon and the water and the rocks and bull frogs and us, maybe words won't seem so important.
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The Door [11 Nov 2001|07:17pm]

He should never have opened the door. Mortals were not meant to have such knowledge, were not meant to see such sights. He was Prometheus, stealing from the Gods what he did not know how to wield, nor how to handle, nor how to stop. And now he was facing the ravens, paying the price.

It had been so mysterious, the door, standing so innocuously in the back of his mind, never even noticed until events had gone past the point of return. Spiraling into the madness of reaction, thought having fled, instinct all that mattered, and he had stumbled through before he realized it. The blood had dripped just so from his hands, scattering drops of life over the tile like so much paint. An ordinary dark red, colored by his perceptions into an unreal neon, impossible to miss, never to be gotten rid of. He could still see the stains, there. That one, perfect arch on the wall, an artist's stroke if ever there was one, marred only by the smear his hand had left when he had tried, desperately, to rub it off.

The door loomed, now, bigger every day. The latch was broken, and try as he might to keep it closed, to bar anything else from entering his waking thoughts, it slipped open. Again and again, unlocking itself, throwing everything aside. His rational mind fled at the sight, his body responding, taking up the slack, pushing to close it again before anything else escaped. And he was successful. At first.

They knew, though. They had found out. And they kept finding out. Strangers, even, people who couldn't possibly know, but they did. He could see it, in their eyes, in the way they turned their heads to look at him before passing. Even the sweet smile of Angela was not so inviting and welcome, anymore. She knew, too, and it was only a matter of time before she told someone. Only a matter of time. It had only been a matter of time for all of them, each person that had gone beyond that door.

He could see beyond it, now, into the black of the abyss, for it was never fully closed, any more. It waited for him, the gap opening a little wider, everyday. Inches at a time, when he wasn't looking. But he caught peeks, and they frightened him. He knew those eyes. The grey ones, peering out at him from the endless darkness. They looked shocked, surprised, almost comically round. But the question wasn't funny. Why? He could almost hear it, the question burning in those deep set eyes, never to be answered. Because there was no answer. He had stumbled through the wrong door, that was all.

More eyes, now, everyday there seemed to be a set that he knew, waiting for him behind that door, some angry, some fearful, most shocked, but all asking that one, simple question that he had no answer to, all of them waiting, waiting for some reason, for some sense in a senseless act. He knew, that someday, that door would be everything. Nothing left for him but to stand on the threshold and stare into the darkness that was looking back at him with a million eyes, pleading and demanding and questioning. And Angela would be there, too. Pretty blue eyes, sweet, loving, expressive eyes. Asking why.
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