Chapter 8: Not alone

New discoveries lie around the bend…

A day has passed since Chambers began his journey, but it felt like an eternity. With each step he was reminded of the pain in his side, causing him to rest against trees just to regain his composure. He wasn’t sure of how far he traveled, but he knew in his heart he was making progress. The path had to lead somewhere. From the clearing, there was only one direction to travel. If the clearing was the end of the path, what would he find at the beginning?

He couldn’t take the pressure any more. Chambers leaned against a tree along the path, slowly inching his way down the trunk until he was sitting on the ground. Lying back, he clenched his eyes in pain until he head rested on the dirt floor. Staring up at the sky, he could only think of the pain in his side and how he wished it would go away. But for now, enjoying a moment where he could rest would have to do.

He wasn’t resting long when his mind started wandering and then playing tricks on him. The sound of the wind passing through the leaves was interrupted with the sound of footsteps and a female voice humming merrily in the distance. The more he listened, the less he focused on his side, finding the tune to be very soothing as the though of pain faded from his mind. But as the stepping grew louder, the more Chambers began to realize that the song was not coming from within his mind.

Chambers worked his way up into a seated position and noticed an old woman slowly walking down the path enjoying the serenity of the woods. He sat there and watched as she gracefully walked along the tree line, running her fingers against the leaves while humming her song. Not wanting to startle the woman, Chambers raised his hand and gentle cleared his throat – or at least tried to. He retracted his arm quickly and grabbed his side as coughed, causing himself much pain. Continuing to walk towards him, the woman seemed unfazed.

After a short while, she made her way to where Chambers sat. Looking down at him, she placed her had on top of her head as she slowly walked around him without breaking her stride. “Excuse me,” he stated as he tried to get her attention. “I’m in need of aid. Can you help?” Smiling, she reached down and plucked a small purple flower near where Chambers sat. She lifted the flower to her nose and then handed it down to him, motioning him to do the same.

Taking a sniff of the flower, he sensed a slight sensation in his head. “It will help with the pain,” the old woman finally said, encouraging Chambers to continue smelling the flower. “I know of someone who might help you, if you wish to follow me.” Continuing to smell the small flower, Chambers thanked her for her kindness and gently stood up to walk with the old woman.

“What is at the end of the path,” Chambers asked, searching for some answers as to where he is and what is going on. So far, nothing has made any sense to him since he first woke up. Something had to be at the end of the path.

“The house, of course. Everyone comes to the house,” she replied.

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3 Responses to Chapter 8: Not alone

  1. admin says:

    Hmmm… on second thought, I should have merged Chapters 7 and 8 together. Sorry about that folks.

  2. ilikeverin says:

    Huh. Now that is interesting. I wasn’t expecting this story to go here.

    His pain seems really indistinct. Usually, if I am in pain, I make some attempt to see what’s the matter and whether I can fix it, but Bill doesn’t at all seem interested in looking at his side. I wonder whether this is by design or unintentional. But it might be by design, seeing as Bill has no problem walking for a whole day (!).

    I don’t really like you having him think he’s hallucinating the woman, though. Your transition from “he thinks he’s hallucinating” to “he knows he’s not” is abrupt. I’d suggest ditching the beginning and skipping to the part where he perceives the woman walking towards him. Even if it’s foreshadowing that she’s really a hallucination, the thing about hallucinations is that they’re quite real to the hallucinator πŸ™‚ Also, I think “stepping” in the last sentence should be “steps”. It’s a bit awkward at a gerund when a perfectly good noun exists.

    “and gentle cleared his throat” – should be “gently”

    There’s an odd tone change right before the “…” For the most part, you use fairly simple, straightford words. But all the sudden he’s “retracting” his arm and “causing himself” much pain, both of which are fairly awkward sentences. Make them simpler, and your story will seem more coherent.

    What is the “…” for, anyway, and why does it take the woman so long to reach him when moments before it seems like she’s right there? πŸ˜‰

    What a strange old lady. Like I said, this is an interesting twist.

  3. Ethel says:

    Paragraph 2: “dirt floor” – maybe just make it the damp ground.

    Paragraph 3: sound of footsteps crunching leaves, maybe? Chambers seems like in a great deal of pain. Not sure if he would hear footsteps walking on a dirt path.

    Paragraph 4, 2nd to last sentence: . . . grabbed his side as he coughed . . .

    Paragraph 5: Maybe combine the first 2 sentences: Making her way to Chambers, she placed her weathered hand on top of her head as she slowly walked around him without breaking her stride.

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