The month of November is coming to a close.
Although I did not participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), I did decide to focus this month on creative writing. As a part of that goal I have developed the premise for two new YA novels: Tragedy in Times Square and The Walk from Winleigh. I have also joined an online critique group which has already helped me grow so much as a writer. My group is participating in a contest in December so you will hopefully see my piece from that contest in the early days of 2017!
All in all, it has been great to shift my focus back on to fiction writing. I love to blog and write about my life, but my first passion in writing is fiction.
Last week I introduced you to Clara, the main character for Tragedy in Times Square.
This week, I want to introduce you to her Uncle Mark in the second installment of this story. As always, I welcome critique and feedback although I also have brought this piece to my critique group and received feedback there as well. Enjoy!
Tragedy in Times Square (Part 2)
by Lauren Sisley
“Wait here…” I motioned to Aspen to stay in place as I began to move toward Mark.
“Where are you going, Clara?” Aspen asked. She was just as surprised and freaked out as I was. Mark stopped by a tree fifty feet in the distance. He was leaned to one side of the tree as if waiting for me to meet him.
“I’ll be right back. I want to check this out.” I strode past Aspen and toward the small tree and the unexplained figure of my deceased uncle.
With each step I could feel my heart thudding. It felt as though it may escape my chest. It was on it’s way up to my throat. I tried to swallow back the lumps forming in my throat as I walked. This is what fear does to the body.
As I approached the tree I was careful not to break eye contact with Mark.
He held a hand out to me silently. On impulse I reached my hand out to fill his. I watched as my hand cut the air where I should have made impact with his. There was nothing there. My face wrinkled in disbelief as I watched.
“Hello, Clara.” His voice was soft and gentle.
“Uncle Mark?” I questioned and he nodded in response. “But, you’re…”
“I am, Clara, you’re right.” I was beginning to feel like I had lost my sanity. I became aware of the others approaching on the street and how odd it must look to see a girl talking to no one under a tree.
“How are you here?” I asked with a shaky voice.
“That doesn’t matter. It’s why I’m here that’s important.” I began to look him over from head to toe. It wasn’t like the movies. He wasn’t illuminating there under the tree. He looked real. For someone that I never met he was so familiar. He resembled my mother in a great way, but also was familiar because his face filled the frames of countless photos around my house and my Grandmother’s home in Albany.
“Why?” I couldn’t even mutter a full sentence. This was such a surreal experience.
“I’m here to help you and your mother, Clara.” His eyes turned to a sad expression. “Nothing makes me more sorry than the way she is hanging on to me.” He spoke as though he had been present over the years-like he had seen the way she mourned him with ever fiber of her being.
“So why did you come to me?” I asked confused about my role in all of this.
“Because, Clara, there is no one on this Earth more important to your mother than you. You are the reason she has held it together. Her love for you is deeper than you can imagine.” Mark was going on about my mother’s love, but after the morning I had experienced I found it hard to accept his words as truth. “If anyone can help her it is you.”
“Do you really think so?” I asked unsure of my own standing with Mom.
“Yes, absolutely. Plus, I never got to meet you in person.” He winked at me.
“Now you have.” I smiled back still unsure of this whole situation.
“And you are as wonderful and beautiful as I had hoped you would be.” A tear fell from my eye. I pretended to lean back and look at Aspen so that Mark wouldn’t see me wipe the droplet as it escaped my eye. “Who is your friend?” Mark asked gesturing toward Aspen sitting alone on the curb a few buildings away.
“That’s Aspen. She’s my best friend.” I couldn’t help but smile as I spoke about her. Aspen had proven to by loyal and caring time and time again. Both of us were looking at her now and Aspen could sense it.
“Ready to catch a movie?” She called out to me from where she sat.
“Just a minute.” I returned her call.
“It’s fine, Clara, go enjoy your birthday.” Mark smiled.
“But, you haven’t had a chance to tell me anything.” I pleaded.
“Oh, do not worry. I will be around for awhile.” He gave a slight grin. “I’m here until the mission is complete.”
“What does that mean?” I was confused.
“It means you will see me again. I won’t waste any more of your precious birthday. I will be back again soon.”
“But, how will you find me?” I asked with a worried expression.
“Clara, you of all people should know that I am always with you. It’s never been a matter of finding you, but more a matter of whether or not you would see me.” Something within myself confirmed his words. I had always been taught that the people who have passed never really leave us. Even though I had never met Mark I grew up under the impression that Uncle Mark was watching over me. Mom and Dad had relayed that message on numerous occasions. This isn’t quite what I thought they had meant.
“So I will see you again soon?” I wanted this answer before I would walk away.
He nodded. “Happy Birthday, Clara. I am so proud of you.” He gave one last bright smile as he turned and faded from my vision.
I turned toward Aspen who was patiently waiting for me, and I began to walk in her direction.
“Is everything okay?” She asked. I moved my finger tips which were freezing cold toward my face where a stream of warm tears were gathering. I nodded to reassure Aspen as she embraced me. I crumbled in her arms and began to cry aloud.
“It was Mark.” I sobbed.
“Did something remind you of him?” Aspen was reaching for a way to make sense of what just happened.
“No, he was here.” I realized how insane I had sounded and prepared myself for laughter or jokes from Aspen. I should have known better.
“What did he want?” She said supportively.
“To help my mom and to wish me a Happy Birthday.” I was still crying pretty hard. I saw a few other pedestrians pass us pretending not to notice my meltdown.
“Well, that’s not so bad, Clara. There’s no need to be upset.” Aspen was soothing. If anyone else had been witness to this event in my life I would have been the butt of jokes forever, but Aspen held me with an embrace that communicated understanding. She didn’t judge me or poke fun of the fact that I was claiming to have seen and spoken to my dead uncle. In that moment my gratitude for her friendship emerged to a new level.
“Thank you, Aspen.” I said as I began to gather my composure. “Let’s go see that movie.” I smiled as we broke free from each other’s arms and began to walk toward downtown.
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