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Chapter 1
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Joined: 21 Oct 2004
Posts: 4123
Location: Hollywood, USA

Posted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 12:32 am    Post subject: Chapter 1  

Chapter 1

As the sun slowly mellowed, another dry, sunburned evening began to settle in the small California town. The heat had ceased to smother the air, and soon a crisp freshness would begin to enliven the atmosphere. Robbie could practically smell the baked earth on his hands and taste it on his parched lips. His back was sweating under the weight of his over-laden backpack, stacked with school books. Robbie barely noticed; he enjoyed the walk from school to his home, a low, cream-colored, ranch-style house with a small porch. It was only large enough to fit his family, especially now that Robbie had moved into his own room, bestowing his younger sister with their old room.

The saunter home was brisk and invigorating, and Robbie would always allow his mind to meander. He observed a bed of purple flowers planted to the side of the road; as he crossed by he moved into a powerful waft of fragrance which pervaded his smell. He smiled in wonder as he moved away from the saturated cloud of floral perfume. What if all of the air in the world smelled like that? he speculated

Robbie observed as the cars rolled by, silently grinding the sidewalk, humming and churning out smoke from their escape valves. He imagined that every driver was surreptitiously glancing at him, peeking from behind their windows as soon as he stopped following them with his eyes. Finally one of the cars, sunrays reflecting on its gleaming hull, slowed up as its driver rolled down his shaded window and stared directly at Robbie, who in turn nodded at his father.

The boy with the short chestnut hair halted and advanced towards his father's vehicle, which was already approaching the side-walk.

"Hey, kid. How was your day?" inquired Robbie's father, a mild-mannered, clean-shaven man.

"Fine." answered Robbie succinctly. He gazed outside yearningly as his father mutely drove off. He watched the trees, lampposts, and mailboxes zipping in and out of view and envisioned a giant knife protruding from the car which would cleanly slice and topple them. Robbie was about to cut down another signpost with his imaginary blade when his thoughts were disrupted by his father's speech. The enormous knife vanished as Robbie turned his head towards his father's seat., but the image of the fallen trees prevailed guiltily in his mind. If those trees are ever chopped through and collapse, I promise I'll fix them.

"Robbie. Are you listening to me?" insisted his father.

"Yeah." Robbie replied.

"Okay, then answer me when I speak to you." his father commanded petulantly.

"Okay. Fine." consented the boy.

"Robbie, I talked to your teacher today. She said you aren't taking class seriously."

"What?" exclaimed Robbie, "She's stupid! She doesn't know what she's talking about!"

"Robbie, why aren't you concentrating in class?" questioned his father, softening his voice.

"I don't know, I guess I get distracted." conceded the boy, and a surge of guilt in his chest cause him to cast his eyes down in shame. Robbie's father, however, made no further reply. "I keep daydreaming." Robbie said after a few moments of silence, accompanying his statement with a sigh.

"Well, son, your mother isn't going to be happy." declared his father, furrowing his brow. "But if you promise to concentrate in class, I won't tell her. Can you promise me you'll try harder?"

"Yeah, I promise!" Robbie earnestly assured.

The dusty car pulled into the driveway of their house. Robbie's mother's car was already parked in the garage, a sleek, black Toyota Avalon. Robbie pulled open the door of his father's old car wearily, and lugged his backpack outside apathetically. He waited for his father to lock the car and then slide his house key into the front door; Robbie strode into his room as quickly as he could, barely acknowledging his surprised mother.

"How was your day at school?" she called out as Robbie rushed through the living room.

"Fine." he muttered before he closed and locked the door of his own room. He tossed his backpack onto the floor and allowed his body to drop onto his bed. Closing his eyes, he tried to picture what his life would be like if he were a better student. He visualized himself wearing a tuxedo, carrying slender, intellectual glasses on his nose, and his hair smartly combed to the side. He shook his head in distaste.

Opening his eyes again, he noticed an older boy sitting in a seat by the computer; a boy with a small mouth, delicate features, and a wise smile.

"Oh, hello, Mike, I didn't notice you were there." greeted Robbie, momentarily surprised.

"It's my fault," answered the older boy, standing up from his chair, "I should have warned you I was in here." He moved towards the bed languidly and sat down without eliciting a creak from the mattress. "You look sad today, Robbie."

"I'm not sad." denied Robbie, trying to hide his feelings.

"Robbie, you can't lie to me. I know you're unhappy today." said Mike, smiling knowingly.

"Alright, fine. I'm kind of mad." pouted Robbie.

"Why are you mad?" coaxed Mike, laying his hand over Robbie's shoulder.

"I'm mad at Mom and Dad. They're always bothering me about something."

Mike pondered noiselessly, and Robbie stared into his blue eyes, searching for the older boy's understanding. Those eyes were like clear blue lakes, calm and profound. But before Mike could arrive at a resolve, the doorknob rattled unexpectedly. When the intruder realized the door was locked, she knocked on the door.

"Robbie, are you inside there? Open the door." she appealed. Robby trudged over to the door and opened it wide.

"What were you doing in there?" she asked suspiciously while brushing her dark-chocolate colored hair out of her vision in order to better distinguish his face.

"I was talking to Mike." answered Robbie. Abruptly, his mother's pink face drained of color.

"Why...why would you... say that?" stuttered his mother, gaping at him in astonishment.

"Because it's true!" responded Robbie, frustrated by his mother's behavior, "I've told you before!" She covered her face with her hands as tears began to trickle down her cheeks.

"What's going on?" demanded Robbie's father as he arrived on the scene. Robbie's mother pointed at her son and sobbed.

"He...he told me that he was talking to... to Michael just now." she said, before burying her head in his chest and weeping disconsolately. Robbie's father's expression hardened.

"Why did you say that Robbie? You know that your brother died over a year ago." his father reproached him, "Why do you have make your mother suffer by saying those things?"

"But he's not dead! He's sitting on my bed, can't you see him?!" shouted Robbie.

"No, I can't, Robbie! You're imagining it all!" his father shouted back, and then Robbie's mother renewed her weeping more vigorously. Robbie's father sighed in exasperation and caressed his wife's head. "Stay in your room," he ordered Robbie, "I'll deal with you in a few minutes." Robbie's sister Adrianne peeked towards the commotion from within Robbie's old room; her father shot her a warning glance as well, and she retreated behind the door. Robbie likewise shut his door without locking it as his mother and father walked outside onto the porch. His mother was still crying and his father was doing his best to comfort her.

"Do you see what I mean?" Robbie asked the boy sitting quietly on the bed, pointing in the direction where his parents had recently stood.

"Yes, I understand Robbie." replied Michael.

"If only there was a way of leaving this world..." Robbie mused, "If only I could go someplace where people would like me because I could imagine things that they couldn't..." He clenched his fist in vexation.

"Oh, but there is such a place." whispered Michael, his blue eyes shining eerily.

"There is?" Robbie gasped, his heart hammering excitedly.

"Yes." muttered Michael. "But you mustn't go there; I wouldn't have told
you about it, except that I thought it might gladden you to know." he added apologetically.

"Never mind if I'm not supposed to go there," laughed an elated Robbie, "just tell me how to get there."

Michael observed his younger brother carefully. "Is that what you really want, Robbie? Would that make you happier than anything else?"

"Of course!" exclaimed Robbie, hugging his brother impetuously. Michael glowed with joy as he released his brother; his bliss twinkled in his eyes, obscuring all other emotions.

"If this is what you wish for the most," he said, "then I will instruct you how to leave this room, this world, and this universe."

"How?" asked Robbie eagerly.

"All you must do," stated Michael, "is lie down under your bed and fall asleep there."

"That's all?" demanded Robbie.

"That, and you must wish to leave this world with all your heart."

"Okay, I can do that." grinned Robbie. He swiftly crawled under the bed and closed his eyes, coughing twice due to the dusty carpet under his bed. Then he opened his eyes again, and frowned.

"Aren't you coming with me, Mike?" he requested.

"No," said Michael, lowering his head onto the floor until it was level with Robbie's, "My place is here, in this room."

"Okay, then; you'll be the one missing out." beamed Robbie, closing his eyes again and almost immediately falling asleep.
When he woke up, true to his brother's word, he was no longer lying under his bed in his room; he was lying on sparsely vegetated dirt, on the top of hump of a hill which was surrounded in all direction by a variety of small, bleak towns. The large, tall chimneys, incessantly discharging a foul coal black smoke denoted the towns as industrial centers. This place isn't like I thought it would be, thought Robbie, picking himself up and brushing off the dirt from his clothes.

The clouds were listless and heavy, and the somber sun shone through them half-heartedly. The towns, seven in all, appeared to be surrounded by marshes, and Robbie wondered whether he was located within an island. He chose a direction and bravely began walking towards one of the towns. He had noticed this particular town because he had caught sight a church steeple hiding behind some dark houses.

After a few steps, Robbie realized that he was ambling within the boundaries of a faded road which would not be noticeable except for the tread marks of a wagon of some sort. After a few more steps, as he made his way to the other side of the hill, he noticed a decrepit wooden signpost bearing seven arrow-shaped planks. Robbie could only distinguish some of the faded writing. Town #2, read one of the multiple arrows, pointing in the direction opposite Robbie was headed. Town #5, read another arrow. It didn't take much imagining to figure out what the other arrows said.

Robbie followed with his head the direction of the arrow which read Town #3, and observed that it pointed towards the steeple town. At the same time, he noticed a faraway figure making its way up the hill; Robbie could neither make out the person's face or attire, but he was fairly sure it was a masculine figure.

Well, what does Robbie do? Does he hide or does he confront the man, or does he spit in his face, or does he bargain with him, or does he throw a rock at him, or does he bribe him, or does he smile and keep walking, or does he play barbie dolls with the mysterious figure?
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Joined: 10 Sep 2006
Posts: 264
Location: Hell's Basement

Posted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 12:52 am    Post subject:  

IT'S A MURDERER!!!!! Nice chappy, D. ^_^=
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Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Posts: 8881

Posted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 2:36 am    Post subject:  

An enjoyable start well written D. I liked it better than your usual ones (though those are good) because it has a cleaner, simpler style which suits my lazy habits.

As for the DP, I say hang around and speak to this fellow, find out where he is.
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Joined: 10 Feb 2007
Posts: 1597
Location: Happily curled up in a Daemon's lap

Posted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 6:42 am    Post subject:  

This has a fresh, clean feel to it D. I like it.

Um, let's see.... approach the man and quiz him about the area that Robbie's in sounds like a safe be to me...

As long as Hak's not right and it's not a murderer.. O_O
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Joined: 04 Jan 2007
Posts: 92
Location: Innistrad

Posted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 8:34 am    Post subject:  

It was quite amazing D, I hope to see more soon.

I'm gonna F5 Lily and China go up and talk to the weird guy\possible murderer.
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Joined: 21 Oct 2004
Posts: 4123
Location: Hollywood, USA

Posted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 9:17 pm    Post subject:  

Chapter 1 Polling

Ok, because I want to have a chance to work on this over the weekend, I am polling starting monday night through friday at noon. In addition, I think that it is rather obvious as to where this poll will lead, which is why I am making it short. But please, feel free to surprise me by swaying the vote in an unexpected direction! :cool:

May the force guide your mouse and your wisdom.

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Joined: 18 Jun 2007
Posts: 1216
Location: dreaming away of tomorrows to come

Posted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 1:09 pm    Post subject:  

okay i had read this but forgot to comment (not that D wil be surprised about that!) but now i have voted and it was for introduce yourself.

he has no reason to think this person wants to hurt him - he wants adventure so elt shave him meet Mr Bojangles a septagenarian with eccentric overtones...
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Joined: 29 Nov 2007
Posts: 51
Location: "Calderia"

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 1:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Bittersweet Reverie  

I enjoyed this beginning - I'd only ask that in your final draft you eradicate all words ending in "ly." Just a nitpick - "ly" words sneak into my writing too.

So, the next question is, what kind of person is he going to meet? Is it human? And what about this world is going to make Robbie's imagination a valuable commodity?

Keep it up!
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Joined: 21 Oct 2004
Posts: 4123
Location: Hollywood, USA

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 5:55 pm    Post subject:  

You're right, Aponi, and welcome to the story, as well as to IF! :D

I am an adverb addict, and it's true I should work on making them less ubiquitous throughout my writing. By the way, I'd also like to point out that I am going to change the title of this story at some point.

Poll is closed, I will start writing the next chapter today. Here are the poll results:

How does Robbie deal with his first encounter?
He hides
16% [ 1 ]
He runs away (It's a murderer!)
0% [ 0 ]
He attacks the man/throws rocks at him
16% [ 1 ]
He introduces himself properly
66% [ 4 ]
He fashions a trap (If you vote this, please specify what kind of trap)
0% [ 0 ]

He introduces himself properly was chosen. Thank you for your votes. :cool:
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