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Stream of Consciousness Saturday: “Reservation”

“When did they let you off the reservation?”

Christopher didn’t bother rolling his eyes or turning to the kid who had come up behind him. He’d been born in a suburb, not even on a reservation. Hadn’t even set foot on one. but, some people thought they were so funny. He’d dealt with it through elementary and high school, but he’d thought college might be different.

The kid said more as he continued to follow Christopher out of the building, but he ignored him. He’d gotten good at blocking things out over the years. If he’d let every taunt lead to him throwing a punch, his mom would’ve…well, he wasn’t even sure. He’ couldn’t even lightly say she’d kill him. There’d been too much death in their family for him to joke about that.

“Seriously, man, just leave him alone. Do you even realize how ignorant those comments make you seem?”

Christopher smiled at the way John thought he need to swoop in to the rescue. The smile fell away at the name the boy called his friend, but John put a hand on his shoulder. “Just leave it. My face is scarred, everyone knows it. It’s not even a good insult because he doesn’t know how I got them. And we’ve got more important things to do. Arlene is waiting for us at the library.”

That brought back his smile. Spending time with those two always managed to do that.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt was to use ‘reservation’ any way you like. Christopher is a side character in Flames of Renewal, which I just sent to my proofreader yesterday. He’s only fifteen in that one, which is when he meets John. There’s a story for them and Arlene forming in my head. I thought it would be the next one in my ‘The Rileys’ series(which is a spin-off from the Flames series, and Arlene is the Riley connection here), but it looks like they’ll wait one more.

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A to Z Challenge – B is for John Brockway

Name: John Brockway

Age: 16 years old

Description: John is tall, and still rather gangly. He has dark brown hair and jade green eyes. He has burn scars on his arms and face and walks with a limp.

Short Bio: John is the older son of Bobby and Linda Havis. His brother, Adam, was born about six years after him. John adored his father, very nearly worshipped the man. At least for the first ten years of his life. Then, Bobby was arrested on multiple charges of arson. John didn’t completely understand what was going on, except that his father was gone and his mother said he wouldn’t be coming back.

That scared him, and he wasn’t sure how to deal with that. So, it turned into anger and bitterness. It might have eaten him up, but his little brother needed him. And then his mother started bringing Sam Mitchell around. He wanted to hate the man, didn’t want him to replace the dad he still hoped would come home.

But, Sam didn’t go away. And his dad didn’t come back. His mother had already gone back to her maiden name and changed the boys’ name as well. Nothing was left of his father, except John’s memories and the eyes he’d gotten from him. His mother wouldn’t marry Sam, but it didn’t seem to be for a lack of the man’s trying, and he was always around. John was accepting that this was the way things were going to be.

Until the day shortly before his fifteenth birthday when he saw the man loitering out on their street. Even after all these years, he recognized his father. But, he didn’t come any closer to the house. And when he caught John looking, he turned and walked away. The anger came back after that, along with confusion. His father was out of prison now, but he still wasn’t coming back. And John didn’t understand why.

One night he’d heard a commotion downstairs and started down there. Only to find his little brother huddled halfway down the stairs. He could hear a man’s voice and his mother crying. For a moment he’d thought Sam was there, and they were fighting. He’d heard her and his father arguing years before, but she usually yelled right back at him. She hadn’t cried those times, though. And he’d never heard Sam yell and rant at her like that.

The rest of that night is vague in his memories. Except for the pain in his knee and the flames leaping around him. His attempt to get to his mother and brother where they somehow got trapped behind the couch. And then the firefighters who came and carried them out.

He didn’t wake up until days later, only to learn his mother was dead and his little brother was fighting for his life. Sam was now their guardian, but John could often smell whiskey on his breath. They all struggled to come back in their own ways. But, they’re finally starting to get there.

Snippet:

“What makes you think you can swan back into our lives and tell us what to do?”
“I’m not trying to tell you what to do,” Bobby said.
“It sure sounds like it,” John said, his arms crossed in front of him.
Bobby leaned back against the couch. John looked so much like Linda, but he acted just like Bobby used to. And Bobby knew he’d had a hand in the anger that rode in every line of the boy’s face.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I know I’ve said it several times already, and it doesn’t make anything better. But, I am sorry. I screwed up, and I paid for it. You and Adam shouldn’t have, though.”
“You were out for more than a year before Mom died. Why didn’t you ever come to see us?” There was a hard bite to the boy’s voice, but his lip was trembling.
Damn it. That was a question he never wanted to have to answer. But, he didn’t want to lie. it was never something he enjoyed doing, and especially not to his oldest son. “I signed away my rights when I went to prison. I wanted your mom and both of you boys to have a chance at a better life. And when I got out, I promised her I wouldn’t drag you down.” He saw shocked pain on John’s face now and swore to himself. “Do not blame your mother,” he said. “It was the right thing when she didn’t know if I was going to stay on the right side of the law.”
“But, you have?”
He wished John didn’t have to ask him that, but he couldn’t really blame the boy, either. “Yes,” he answered truthfully. “I have.”
John nodded after a moment. “Good. I’ll see if Adam wants to see you. It’s up to him, though. I won’t make him do anything he doesn’t want.”
“I wouldn’t ask that of him, either.” But, he was glad he was getting a chance of at least being a part of his sons’ lives again. Now, as long as he didn’t screw it up again.

*Note: This snippet technically doesn’t take place in Flames of Renewal, at least not on the page. John only shows up momentarily in the actual story. But this happens around the same time. John will hopefully be showing up in more of the stories, though.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Door

Bobby stood in the doorway, just staring into the room. That was his son in there. It was hard to believe. He didn’t look like the boy Bobby remembered.

“Are you going to go in there or just hulk in the doorway?”

Bobby turned his head to look at the man who had snuck up on him. It had been a long time since he’d allowed himself to let anyone do that. “Sam,” he said, recognizing the man. Though, he didn’t quite look like the man Bobby had just seen with Linda a couple weeks earlier. This scruffy, bleary-eyed man wouldn’t have found his way into Bobby’s ex-wife’s heart.

“I bet John would like to see you,” Sam said.

Bobby shook his head. “He hasn’t seen me in nearly six years. It was better that way. I was trying to protect them.”

“You didn’t,” Sam snapped. “You hurt them. He worshipped you and then suddenly you were gone. He didn’t understand that you just couldn’t walk out of the prison and come visit him. And you never tried to explain to him. No, you left that all to Linda. You left him to be picked on at school about whether he got the fire bug gene, too. If he was going to set things on fire.”

Bobby winced at that. He’d screwed up so much in his life. He had deserved his punishment. His son hadn’t, though.

“I wanted to hate you,” Sam continued. “But, she never did. I never understood how you couldn’t even fight for her.”

“Because she deserved a lot better than me. She deserved everything, and I couldn’t give it to her. She deserved you, Sam. They all did. And it wasn’t right for me to try to hold them down. So, I let them go.”

“You’re a fool,” Sam muttered. “You threw it all away and for what? She’s still dead. And they have no one now.”

“They have you,” Bobby told him. “She’d want you to take care of them. And to stop drinking.”

“So, you’re just going to walk away?” Sam asked as Bobby started to do just that. “Not even let them know you were here.”

“I don’t see what good it would do. I don’t want a place in their lives if it’s only going to hurt them.” He just needed to close that door and lock it. Better for all of them that way.

“And what if it doesn’t?” Sam asked. “What if it helps them to see the change you’ve made to the path you were on. What if they need you, too?”

Bobby closed his eyes, as if that was a shield against the darts those words became. He wasn’t sure he could believe it was enough. But, he wanted to try.

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Today’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt was “door”. We were supposed to write about a door we walked through that wasn’t our own. Instead I wrote about a character not walking through a door, both figurative and literal. 😉 These characters showed up in the first book in my Flames series and then kind of disappeared. I’m thinking of trying to write them back into the series, and John may eventually have his own story. I wrote a little piece yesterday about these characters, too.

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