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10. & 11. Crossing

by joydaly 

Posted: 29 November 2016
Word Count: 779
Summary: YA Psychological mystery/thriller
Related Works: 9. Crossing • 

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I still don’t know how they managed to punk me, but as I lie in bed, every part of me aching is for revenge. The vellum’s spread out on the desk and my throat’s clenched as I try to rip it in half, but it’s way too tough. Stuff it. I have more important things to do before breakfast and I swipe the matches from the cutlery draw.
   The shed’s the same inside. Boys on boxes grinning at me from the shelves, except for the box I dropped on the floor. I’ll start with that one. I already have the matches in my hand as I squat down beside the grinning faces of the kids. I grin back and feel its savageness.
The lid glides off like it’s new. Probably is. Bastards.
And, I can’t understand what I’m seeing.
How have they managed to place the struts and cogs and wheels and angle braces. and... They can’t have – unless they’ve done it with every box, because they couldn’t have guessed which box I would choose first. And even the ultimate punk hasn’t got a $100,000 dollar budget. There’s no way they could set this up and I glance up at the empty windows.
‘Let’s play.’
It’s a boy’s voice – Sammy’s voice.
This can’t be happening again.
I run.

The shed is still open. I didn’t lock it before I ran away last weekend and I stand on the pavers, hearing my rasping breath. Why am I here? But I know.
... Sammy – who would have been Sam, if I’d been the one who disappeared. Sammy is back, even if his voice has changed.
After he’d disappeared from the park, he came back. I couldn’t see him, but I could hear him for weeks. Then I told Mum and Dad – big mistake. They told the psych; the same psych who gave me the bull-shit about deep-breathing and he prescribed these little brown pills. Mum said they were to help me sleep. Another bloody lie. And Sammy was gone – for good.
It’s taken me a week to return. I should have been back the next morning. Hell no, I shouldn’t have run in the first place, but it’s taken me the whole week to get up enough courage to come here and go back. Back to when there was Sammy. When there was Jacky. Back to when I was nine and the world was good.  
And now...
The door swings open almost as soon as my fingers touch it and I’m walking to the middle of the shed, crouching beside the crane kit – waiting.  My ears straining.
‘Come on, Sammy,’ I urge into the continuing silence.
After around an hour, I sit cross-legged, waiting. The minutes on my wristwatch tick around, and around, and around. Eleven, Twelve, Two, o’clock.
I heard him, I know I did. Why won’t he talk to me?
Five o’clock. I have to go in for dinner.
‘Bye Sammy,’ I say before I lock the door.
It takes an age to get back to the laundry, I can hardly lift my feet and when I’m in my bedroom, I pull out my mobile.
Think I heard my brother a week ago
In a secret shed in the back garden
I wait for Tom’s reply.
Seems like all I do is wait.
Then my mobile rings. It’s Tom.
‘Hey,’ I say, surprised. Texts are cheap, words aren’t.
‘Hey,’ he says, and I can hear worry.
‘Are you okay?’
‘Yeah,’ I say and my voice is steady.
‘Your text freaked me out.’
‘I heard him; I heard Sammy.’
‘Have you told your mum?’
He doesn’t believe me.
Tom was in our class when Sammy left me. I don’t know whether that was part of the reason we became friends – he was sorry for me, or whether he saw an opportunity to connect with somebody who had previously been completely absorbed by his other half. Whatever. There was a gaping hole and Tom filled a bit of it, then a lot of it. He plays electric and acoustic guitar like Hendrix and we jammed together, me following his riffs with my sax, We’ve been best mates for years and he doesn’t believe me.
‘Have you told your Mum?’ He repeats into the silence.
I don’t answer. I can’t. And I feel like somebody has kicked me in the balls as I realize this is the last time I’ll hear his voice.
‘Hey, Jack, are you…’
I hang up and grab my sax.
Boulevard of Broken Dreams echoes around the room. Halfway through I spit out the mouthpiece.

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Comments by other Members

andinadia at 15:47 on 29 November 2016  Report this post
Not there yet, Joy, I don't think. I'm beginning to feel I'd like to see a synopsis. I feel the plot is lacking some structure, despite a good theme and setting and a strong character in Jack. Opportunities are going begging! devil

Ch 9 ended with that satisfying dive into the water, which seemed to signify something. Could Ch10 open with him lying on the bank, drying off or something? And then resolving to go back to the shed, rather than starting Ch10 inside the house. It's almost as if each chapter is following a template that involves starting off at base camp (home). Ch8 was interrupted by mum calling him, after he was shouting 'bastards' and dropping the meccano box. Then in Ch9 he went hunting the 'intruders'. I don't think you can interrupt the action yet again. In fact, at the end of Ch10 you have him running back to the house yet again! If instead he goes to the shed without going home he doesn't need any matches to look inside the box. Either he can open the window shutter for some light or he can simply take the box outside. (I realise the voices told him that 'the box stays here', but is he really going to heed those voices?) How about if he was to hear 'Let's play' as he approaches the shed?

He wonders at first whether all the boxes contain made up models, yet he doesn't get any other boxes down to have a look?

Rather than expository sentences like 'Back to when there was Sammy. When there was Jacky. Back to when I was nine and the world was good.' can we have another flashback, maybe when he hears the voice as he's about to enter the shed. The flashback could be another scene showing how the world was good. Bring the lost brother back to life. Show what they had in common. Make him present.

I think we need to see a little of how he realises that the voices were after all not some lads playing tricks on him, but instead is the voice of his long lost (long dead?) brother. This must surely come as a much bigger revelation that it does at the moment. It would have huge emotional implications, as well as causing quite a bit of doubt about things spiritual, and not least about what it means in terms of the meccano sets and the message in the box, etc, etc.

'This can’t be happening again.' - What does this mean? Has he heard such voices before? When?

'‘Come on, Sammy,’ I urge into the continuing silence.' - Taking the step of actually addressing the voice of his brother is one more major stage that needs to be contextualised. Not everyone who hears (or thinks they hear) voices will so readily talk back, will they?

It's a bit (a lot) of an anti-climax that he just sits in the shed for hours. I wasn't convinced.

'‘Hey,’ I say, surprised. Texts are cheap, words aren’t.' - Not sure what that's supposed to mean. Is it intended figuratively or that calls are actually charged? Most mobile phone packages wouldn't charge for calls - the calls would be part of the bundle, like the texts.

'‘Have you told your mum?’ - Hmmm. My credulity is being tested! Is that how a YA would respond when told by his friend that he'd heard the voice of his long lost brother?

'He doesn’t believe me.' - That's not how I would interpret someone saying '‘Have you told your mum?’

The bit of back story about Tom should have come earlier in the story I think, when we first came across Tom. Here, it just breaks the mood.

'I realize this is the last time I’ll hear his voice.' - What does that mean?

The ending feels a little melodramatic, while I would expect the drama to be coming from this realisation that he's in contact with the 'other world'.

joydaly at 03:39 on 30 November 2016  Report this post
Hi Andy,

Thanks very much for your comments above. Excellent. Am wondering what length of synopsis you would like to see - have the standard 600, then a 300 word summary, Also a chapter by chapter version which runs into over 3000 words??



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