Gloryland Read 1576 times


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« on: September 21, 2013, 11:56:33 pm »
Why do they call it a wake?

Reed Blackwood looked at the people who crowded the house, most family, all friends and wondered why they were here.  Jessie was dead.  His older brother wouldn’t be waking anytime soon, and no one should see his body, mutilated as it was.  There was nothing here to celebrate even though someone played hymns in the living room while others swapped plates of food and drank tea.

People were smiling.  That bothered him most of all. Death was tragic and not the joyous passing into another life that the preacher claimed.  If the scriptures were right, Jessie now lived in hell and suffered while his killer roamed free, ready to strike again.  Reed looked out the window, half expecting Bobbie Blackwood to crawl up the driveway and finished what he started.  Since the gravel drive was empty, that meant Reed would need to go look for him.

Fifteen minutes.

No one would believe it, so Reed hadn’t shared what he’d seen in his nightmare, what he suspected his cousin Dolly saw three nights ago when she found Jessie.  The story was type you might read on the back of a glossy paper back:  Bobbie Blackwood went out one night hunting a demon, and disappeared, only now it seemed that he decided to hunt his own. All Reed’s training hadn’t prepared him for the possibility of possession and revenge, but Reed figured he’d find a way to be up for the challenge.  It wasn’t like he needed to grow-up, he’d finished school and held a job, even made a decent living riding rodeo which allowed him to see more than the backwoods or tiny town where he’d grown up.  It wasn’t like he was needed here.  His mom was more than capable to deal with the younger siblings and the farm; she had more family than Reed cared to count.  Although…

Not for the first time he glanced at his watch, the movement subtle as he set the food on the table for all the guests. From here he could see his Chevy pickup out the window, washed and parked at the end of the drive. Escape, yes, but he wasn’t going home.

Ten minutes.

Jill the Ripper

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Re: Gloryland
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2013, 02:07:56 pm »
Oh Lord you know I have no friend like you,
If Heaven's not my home then Lord what will I do?
The angels beckon me from heaven's open door,
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore

This World Is Not My Home, Jim Reeves

Her mother, cutting through a thick, treacle-dark apple stack cake, handed Dolly a slice on a floral edged plate.  "Make yourself useful and get out of the way," The older woman told her crossly.  Dolly, dark eyes glinting, grinned in spite of herself.

It'd been just days since she'd discovered Jesse -- and Pa.  As she thought it, the grin faltered.  The past few nights had meant she'd sat up, awake and burning, alone in her childhood bedroom, just staring at the door and trying not to think.

Behind her Uncle Phil was now strumming idly, still in the black of the Church, clearing his throat as he started to sing - another hymn.   Music was his comfort, Dolly supposed, though there was one that seemed beyond it's reach: Reed.

His blue eyes - softer than the sloe black of Bobbie Blackwood's line - kept glancing to his watch surreptitiously.

Shrewdly, Dolly watched him for a moment, then someone was cupping her elbow and handing her a jug of iced-tea, saying, "Be a dear, sweetheart, and see to it that no one needs a top-up."

She hadn't even had a chance to eat her cake, but it didn't matter.  Dutifully, something no one in the Blackwood clan could ever rightly say Dolores Blackwood was, she set down the slice and, jug in hand, walked over to her cousin.

He was only a year older than her - and since Dolly had been caught in the middle of her siblings, it proved valuable.  There was always someone there.   Until, of course, they all hit ages where they could branch off, leave, try to forget the legacy that waited.

Dark hair over a slim shoulder, she slid up to him, and tried to smile - though she thought of Jesse's face as she did, the way his eyes open and unseeing.  It left a bitter taste.

"Drink?" She offered, brandishing the jug, the ice inside clinking heavily.  "One of the Aunts sent me over, though - " Dolly paused, eyebrows arched.  "You seem like you're just about to take-off.  What's up? What've you-" Unable to bring herself to saying it aloud, she wiggled her fingers.  "You know.  Seen."


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Re: Gloryland
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2013, 04:46:01 am »
Don’t want to let you down, but I am, hell bound,
This is all for you, don’t want to hide the truth…

~Demons – Imagine Dragons

In his peripheral vision, Reed could see Dolly as she took the jug of iced tea and meandered around the room looking for glasses.  Or, at least she should be looking for glasses to fill; it seemed Dolly always found a way to take a mundane task and make it her own.  She’d fluff her hair, smile, chat.  Reed kept count of the glasses that actually got poured, and almost smirked when the total remained zero.

It wasn’t funny really, but he couldn’t say he wasn’t amused.  Watching Dolly allowed the minutes to pass a bit quicker.  When he needed distraction she was often the one he let his eyes follow, although he doubted she noticed.  He found her entertaining and if he were honest, a bit of an enigma.  Where he was quiet, she was loud.  Where he was dutiful, she was rebellious.  Reed tended to spend time alone where Dolly surrounded herself with family, most notably her sister.  Even now he wanted to leave and be alone with his thoughts and tasks at hand, while she wanted to chat.

Reed didn’t have a glass of tea for her to refill.  He looked pointedly at the jug in her hand and the coffee mug he held as though confused by her purpose at approaching and asking questions.  His jaw clenched under the assumption that he might be up to something even though it was true.  He shrugged.  His free hand tugged at the striped tie that seemed too tight around his neck.  Reed wouldn’t admit it, but he always felt this way, like he couldn’t get a proper breath, when Dolly stood too close.

The look Reed gave her was somber, with his blue eyes more pronounced above the dark circles that showed proof of his next words.  “I haven’t been sleeping.”  His fingers lifted and mimicked the same quote symbol.  “Haven’t seen anything you need to worry about.” 

He took one last sip of coffee, daring her to ask him more questions.  “Like everyone else, I just want to go…home…or something.”  He checked his watch and sighed.  “I should say something to Ma.”  And with that he moved to walk off and find the other woman in the room he cared about.  To say goodbye.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2013, 04:47:56 am by Beau »


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Re: Gloryland
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2013, 09:49:03 am »
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better, it’s not.”

- The Lorax, Dr. Seuss

Times of grief seemed to always reveal the number of family photos were kept around. The house was full of faces, even when no one was home, and when there were people around, it was all the more crowded. Family came together in times like these, staying busy to keep from concentrating on the true loss of a dear one of its members. It was hard to see so many people go through so much pain from the enigma of Jesse's death. Daisy Blackwood walked along the length of the mantle, scanning the many photos of her father and his brothers as children.

She tended to wander off on her own without completing the task asked of her. Daisy avoided situations that forced her to say words of comfort or condolence. Talking about it just made the loss hurt more. Her mother gently nudged her to go entertain the little ones, "Tell them some stories, or better yet, sing them some songs." Her curled blonde hair was ruffled for encouragement as the older woman walked to help her sister-in-law with serving. Daisy had inherited her father's love for music, having tried out for the choir as soon as she had been old enough. She quite enjoyed other art forms as well, with a natural talent for painting and sketching. Again, she ignored her mother's request and took a seat behind the piano, joining her father in worship until he decided to take a break and mingle with the guests. She was most like him, though much better with pictures than words.

She was approached by a four year old before leaving the bench, who held up a black ribbon that had apparently come untied from her hair. Daisy quietly and almost robotically turned the child around so that she could tie it back into a bow around the thick brunette ponytail. Something about the blonde woman seemed to bring the little ones around during family gatherings. Many adults found Daisy unapproachable, her demeanor was icy to those who didn't know or understand that she was just lost in her head. As the younger girl walked away, Daisy glanced around, spotting Dolly, who was put on tea duty.

She watched her cousin make small talk with family, and wished that she knew what to say in times like this. Her pale hazel eyes followed Dolly to their cousin, Reed. The look on his face told anyone who stopped to notice that he did not plan on staying. If he was going, she would do anything for him to just take her too. The children were starting to follow her.

There was a gentle touch on her shoulder, and the voice of her mother telling her to replace the plastic wear, but Daisy turned, unable to do small tasks any more, "I'm going to get some air for a moment." She said, and before even accepting a nod from her mother, Daisy walked to the chair in the hallway that she had left her coat on. As she tugged at the screen door handle, she heard a gentle creak in the hardwood behind her and turned to see a small group of children, one holding a book, The Lorax" by Dr. Seuss. The woman paused, looking to each of their expectant faces. She felt her shoulders drop, and held her hand out to take the book, giving in.

"Fine, but just one." The four of them crowded on the love seat, and as soon as the last page was turned, Daisy made a move for the door again, but not before tying the youngest boy's dress shoes for him.

Outside the air in Devil's Falls was chilly, and Daisy shoved her hands into the cream overcoat that her mother told her not to wear. She didn't have another jacket nice enough, and she didn't plan on freezing. The blonde walked out the front door and stood in the middle of the gravel, unsure of what she had wanted to escape from more, talking about feelings or playing with children, who flocked to her like moths to a bug zapper. She inhaled cool, damp air into her lungs, glancing to the window at Reed again, who walked away from the window. Immediately, she went over to his car, finding it unlocked. She took a seat in the passenger side, hands shoved back in her pockets, shoulders hunched from the cold while she waited for him to come out.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2013, 09:51:33 am by Pach_Work »


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Re: Gloryland
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2013, 08:54:18 pm »
I want to hide the truth,  I want to shelter you
But with this beast inside, there’s nowhere we can hide.

Reed walked over to his mother and took another gulp of the cold coffee, standing beside her in silence.  She was busy talking to the well wishers, smiling and nodding like the rest of them.  Reed’s gut twisted as he watched the artificial show, unwilling to interrupt and state his intent to leave, but knowing his presence meant next to nothing.

He’d taken on the arrangements for the day.  Jessie would be placed into the ground as the sun set, but he had no intension of driving out to the cemetery and watching.  Other things needed to be tended to.  The fact that Dolly was asking questions only cemented his desire to finish what was started.

Five minutes.

He could stand it no longer.  “Ma,” he leaned in and touched her shoulder.

The older woman jumped, her blond hair seemingly now more flecked with gray, “Oh, Reed.  You startled me.  Why don’t you make more noise sometimes?”

One side of his mouth lifted up.  His quiet movements fit his quiet persona.  “I’ll try harder next time.”  He decided not to explain that he’d been standing there for several minutes waiting for her attention.  If I’d been Jessie… He shook his head to dispel the jealous thought.  He leaned in and kissed his mom on the cheek, rather than explain why he was here.

His mother looked at him strangely, as though surprised by the gesture.  Then her eyes misted with tears and she put a hand to her chest.  “Thank you baby.”

Reed wasn’t entirely sure he should be thanked, for anything, but squeezed her shoulder in what he hoped was a comforting gesture.  His mother turned back to the people who waited for her attention.  Reed walked to the door.  Before he put his hand on the handle, he looked back once, but she wasn’t watching.  He wasn’t surprised.

The air was cool against his cheeks as he walked towards his truck.  Hands went to the pockets of his black dress pants for warmth and to check for his keys.  He waited until he was next to the driver’s door before he pulled them out.

The pickup would fit three across on the bench seat but he wasn’t planning on taking a passenger. His eyes narrowed as he glared at Daisy who seemed far too comfortable out of the wind. 

“You lost?”  Of course she wasn’t.  The wind whipped at his hair, pushing the bangs into his eyes.  He made a
frustrated gesture and pushed them away from his face, then let his arm rest on the door jam. “I don’t have time to run you to the mall in Clemson.  Out.”
« Last Edit: October 04, 2013, 08:57:31 pm by Beau »


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Re: Gloryland
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2013, 06:42:09 pm »
The cool air was a melancholic silence that hung around Daisy as she pulled her knees to her chest in her cousin's truck. Gloom around people was less peaceful than gloom by herself. She didn't have to be inside everyone's heads, understanding their thoughts and pain. She pressed her face into her knees, black tights scratchy against her fuller cheeks. If he weren't dead, Jessie would tell her to suck it up and quit being immature. Maybe he would. She wouldn't be remembering small moments during times spent with family. The blonde crossed her arms over her legs and gripped the toes of her boots. If God was punishing them, she wondered what it was for. What was it about death that made people see the lost so fondly?

Daisy glanced to the window when she heard the door shut, and saw Reed walking to his truck. She had been right about him wanting to leave, but where did he plan to go? She straightened out her legs when he opened the door to the side and slipped her hands back into her coat pockets. He wasn't excited to see her sitting there, though she hadn't really expected him to be. Her teeth scraped over her burgundy-stained lips,

"I know." She replied, "But where are you going?" Her shoulders hunched slightly as the cool wind seeped in from behind Reed's form in the open doorway. Daisy wondered if he'd seen anything unusual. The dark circles beneath his blue eyes was either a sign of no sleep, or interrupted sleep. He attracted questions with his elusiveness. She was far too inquisitive about people, unable to close her mind to what others may be thinking.

"I don't want to see the burial." She said, looking sadly down at her lap, goodbyes were painful, and Daisy didn't think she could bear to see the hurt wash over everyone's face when it was time to see someone off forever. There was something eerie about putting the dead in the ground. When she was younger, she used to picture angels rising from the body, and wonder if it hindered them from flying to heaven. She also wondered if her own soul would get trapped in the earth when she was buried. The girl looked back up,

"I'm not here to bother you," Her pale eyes softened, lids lowered, "There's too many things in my head when I'm in there." She said, leaning so that her temple pressed against the windowpane. Daisy looked at the front of the vehicle through the windshield. The truck was clean, almost as if it had been dressed up for the wake as well. Again, she turned to look at Reed, "Why can't I come?" It was a genuine question, not to make him try to think of a reason, or to prove that there may not be one. She just wanted to know why he didn't want her there.