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Category Archives: River’s Story

Fiction: Bedside (219 words)

River had finally fallen asleep.  Even still, David and Jack decided to keep a constant vigil at her bedside, making sure that one of them was always there, because they didn’t want her to wake up and find that no one was there next to her. They couldn’t do that to her, not now, and hopefully not ever. They wanted her to make sure that she felt loved, she felt complete, and she felt protected.  Especially considering they both blamed themselves for dropping the ball earlier.  They both thought, though they never said it aloud, that they were solely responsible for River’s kidnapping and torture, for the pain that she was in now. And because of that, they would make sure not to let her suffer any more than she had to. Not now, not here, not ever.

So, it was a lot waiting, a lot of being very quiet when she was awake, a lot of dark rooms and light meals and being very, very careful when all things considered. They weren’t sure if River was even aware enough to realize what was going on, but they didn’t really care if the she knew or not, they just wanted her to be as happy and as comfortable as she could be, if being happy and comfortable was even possible.

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2015 in River's Story

 

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Fiction: Through Town (142 words)

“Grin and bear it. Grin and bear it,” Nathaniel muttered as he walked through the town center.  People were less than discreetly pointing and whispering behind their hands.

Rose giggled to herself as skipped along next to her brother.  “Nate’s got Daddy’s temper,” she sing-songed under her breath.

“Doesn’t it bother you, Ro?  That’s River they’re all whispering about, you know. That’s our sister.” Nathaniel countered.

Rose slipped her hand into Nathaniel’s, watching as his face grew red with another old woman muttering ‘traitor’ and ‘their sister’ in the same sentence.  “I know.  But, I also know that River is more than capable of taking care of herself.  I’d bet River would thank you to remember that, too.”

Nathaniel let out a slow breath and gave Rose’s hand a little squeeze.  “I guess you’re right.”

“I know.  I got Momma’s smarts.”  Rose grinned.

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2014 in River's Story

 

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Fiction: Reunion (612 words)

“I missed you.”  It was too simple a sentence to explain everything but it was all I could think of to say.  David turned to face me from near the bed, his shirt still only half buttoned since I had interrupted him.  “I missed you and when Jack came back without you I…“ My voice cracked, and I couldn’t even be bothered to be ashamed of it.   David was standing in front of me and whole and alive and that’s all that mattered.  “David.”

“River.”  It was all he said, and it was all he needed to say.  It was the way he always said my name, with care and understanding, one part laugh, one part scolding, one part resigned sigh, one part celebration.  No one ever said my name the way David did, and it took me far too long to realize he said it with love.  I covered my mouth with my hand as I started to cry and slid down the wall behind me until I was sitting on the floor. “River?” This time there was an edge of panic as he rushed towards me.

I took my hand off my mouth and held it out towards him.  “It’s okay. I’m okay.  It’s just—You’re alive, David.  They told me it was unlikely, I didn’t want to hope, but you are alive.”

“I’m alive,” David repeated as if he didn’t say it, it wasn’t true.  He sat down gingerly next to me.  I reached out and pressed my palm against his skin under his unbuttoned shirt so I could feel his heartbeat against my skin.  I tried to ignore the fact that both the tips of my fingers and the heel of my hand came into contact with Annie’s gauzy bandages. He was going to be scarred when this was all said and done, but I could feel the gentle thump-thump of his heart.

He pressed his hand against mine, trapping it between his chest and fingers tightly. “For what it’s worth, I missed you too.  I knew I couldn’t die.  You made me promise to never leave without saying goodbye, remember? I hadn’t said goodbye.”

I laughed and I felt his heart beat a little faster.  “David I was seven. Are you ever going to let that go?”

“You were livid that I’d left that birthday party without saying goodbye.  I’ve never seen a seven-year-old capable of such rage—and it wasn’t even your birthday party.  I can only imagine the rage you could have mustered if I’d died on you.  You’d find a way to resurrect me just to give me a proper telling off and kill me again.   I figured if I just stayed alive I’d save both of us the hassle and it would make it so you don’t have to sell your soul to evil for resurrection purposes.”

“I appreciate that—you know how much I hate hassle,”  I replied as off-handily as I could manage with the remnants of tears still on my cheeks.

“I do know, which is why I’m so glad we didn’t go out and join a behind the scenes war against the religion both our parents are a part of which is likely to lead to death and or imprisonment.”  David smiled, pulling my hand from his chest and setting it on his knee so he could finish buttoning his shirt, before scooping it back up to hold it between his own.  “That would just be far too much hassle for either of us.”

“David, do shut up.”

“Oh, River.”  My name again. Beautiful. “That didn’t work when we were seven either. What makes you think it would work now?”

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2014 in River's Story

 

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Fiction: Matchmaking (425 words)

“I think you guys might very well be idiots.” Even though Jack’s eyes were still focused on the fire, he could see River and David turn to face him.  River’s face would be indignant bristling at the insult.  David would be calmly curious, wondering what led Jack to say that.  “We’re fighting a war here,” Jack continued, “Tomorrow we ride into battle, not a metaphorical battle or a hyperbole, but a literal battle.  We could all die.  The chances of all three of us coming back alive and uninjured are very slim.  If you two go to bed tonight without talking, without laying everything on the line—then you two might very well be idiots.”

“Jack. What?” River managed. She was flustered and possibly murderous, but he just couldn’t take it anymore.

“River won’t make the first move because she still fears that David is holding her refusal of the Order against her even though he knows she was right.  David won’t make the first move because he’s always thought that River was out his league, and he doesn’t want to hear that she never thought of him that way.”  Jack finally turned away from the fire to look at his two gaping friends.  “But—I swear—if you guys could see the way you look at each other when the other can’t see  If you could hear the way you talk about each other when you’re out of earshot.  We could die tomorrow guys.  Lay it on the line. Do what you can, spend your night together. Enjoy tonight. Don’t go into tomorrow with things unsaid.”

Jack had done all he could.  The ball was well and properly in their court now.  He pushed himself up to his feet and started to head back to his tent, hoping they would heed his advice, hoping at the very least they could bond over their anger that he’d just spilled their secrets.   He’d made it a couple of feet before he heard River ask, “Did a former priest just advise us to have premarital sex?” And Jack stopped softly.

David’s laugh was a laugh of relief.  “Oh, I love you.”

It was all Jack could do to not turn around and watch them.  “You do?” River’s voice was quiet, almost bordering on timid. Apparently, they’d found the one topic that seemed to scare River.

“Yeah,” David replied easily, “Yeah, I do.  I thought you knew.”

“Oh—“ She paused, Jack held his breath, “Oh, David. I love you too.”

Jack smiled, stepping forward again.  They’d be fine tomorrow, just fine.

 

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2014 in River's Story

 

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Fiction: Life and Death For Her (329 words)

Since he was small, David had this sinking feeling that River was going to be the death of him.  Not in a malicious ‘she’s going to kill me’ kind of way—but in he literally couldn’t say no to her ad he was going to end up doing something very dangerous kind of way.

When he was younger, he thought it would end up being something stupid like she wanted to climb a tree to see if they could get to the top, and he’d fall to his death from the upper branches. But now—here they were, living in the woods with people trying to find them and kill them not only for what they believed but for what they knew and what they had witnessed. All because he trusted River.  All because he loved River.

Granted—what he was doing now, what their lives had become, the cause they were fighting for was the right side to be on.  If he hadn’t followed River, he would have ended up doing despicable things, things that would have haunted him to his grave.  He would have ended up in these woods eventually, but River got him here sooner.  And this was a cause he would be willing to die for—but that didn’t necessarily mean he wanted to die for his cause.

But then River would come in with her half-smile half-seriousness and lay out the plan and he’d want to say “This is stupid-this is suicide. Why is it up to us to save the world?” but then he’d look at her and see her conviction and he would know for a fact that he was going to be on the front lines with her, take that charge, if only for her. Just to make her world a better place.

Since he was small, David had this sinking feeling that River was going to be the death of him.  And, to be honest, he wouldn’t have it any other way.

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2014 in River's Story

 

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Fiction: Sweet Little Family (302 Words)

River leaned against the door frame. She knew she should have gone to bed ages ago, but she just couldn’t make herself walk away. Four-year-old Stephanie, affectionately called Stevie by the rest of the family, was curled into a little ball in her “big girl bed,” curled around her brown teddy bear that her father had bought just before her birth. Unlike his sister, two and half year old Jackson was sprawled out in his crib, arms and legs going in completely opposite directions, head lolled back, mouth wide open. They were the most beautiful creatures she’d ever seen, her children, and she didn’t really want to turn away from them.

She felt an arm slink quietly around her waist. “You coming to bed?” David whispered into her ear.

“In a minute.” She replied, not mentioning that she thought ‘a minute’ would have actually been several minutes ago.

“They’re wonderful, aren’t they?” David murmured, resting his chin on her shoulder. “How do you think we got so lucky?”

“Well, we certainly had more than enough of bad luck before them, didn’t we? The world needs to balance itself back out. Do you think that’s why we got them as wonderful as they are?”

“I don’t know, but that’s as good as a theory as any.” David kissed her neck gently. “Are you afraid for them?”

“Every moment of every day.” River answered truthfully. “You?”

“All those moments and all the moments in the nights too.” David sighed. “We did some stupid things, didn’t we Rivs?”

“Yes. Many. But those two, they aren’t part of that.”

“No, and I’ll make sure that stays true no matter what.” David kissed River on the neck gently once more. “But come to bed. We’ll tell them how wonderful they are in the morning.”

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2014 in River's Story

 

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Fiction: Best Kind of Love (281 words)

Jackson weaved in between my legs as I wandered into the Kitchen. I took small deliberate steps to make sure that I wasn’t going to squish him or step on anyone’s toes, literally. “Hey, Momma,” He started.

“Yes, Jackson.”

“Will you tell the story of how you and Daddy met again?”

“You know I don’t remember how Daddy and I met. We were children, babies even. Younger than you and Stevie are now.”

“What about the story that you always tell Stevie?”

“I tell Stevie the story about when Daddy and I fell in love. That was very different than when we met.”

“So, it wasn’t ‘love at first’ sight then, Momma?”

“No, sweetheart, it wasn’t ‘love at first’ sight.”

“But isn’t that the best kind of love? That’s what Jamie said at school.”

“Well, I guess that’s Jamie’s opinion, isn’t it? But, no, I don’t think that’s the best kind of love.”

“Well, then what is the best kind of love, Momma?”

“I think that the best kind of love is any kind of love that you can feel. I think that the best kind of love for me is the love for your father, love for you, love for little Stevie. Those are the best kinds of love.”

“So, my best kind of love is for you and Daddy and Stevie.”

“Yep. Those are the best kinds of love.”

“And the love for Andrea.”

“Righ–Wait. Jackson. Who is Andrea?” Jackson began to giggle and sprinted out of the room. I forgot all about making dinner and chased my six-year-old out of the room. “Jackson Roderick, you get back here right now and tell me who is Andrea!”

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2014 in River's Story

 

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