View Full Version : Recluse (small amount of language)

November 13th, 2010, 04:06 PM
This is a short story I'm writing. I've only let one other person read it, so I figured it was time to get some feedback.


Pasha loved his adventures. The house was amazingly large, and as beautiful as it was big. It was an old victorian, and it still held some of the grandeur of the past. Its festive red and cream paint was growing chipped, the walls grown over with ivy. It looked to the world as though it were decaying, uncared for and overlooked, but the inside of this place was still very much alive. From top to bottom, the house was stuffed full of interesting items from bygone days. There were rooms full of books and boxes of treasures from far away. It was heaven for a curious child, and he had never been bored of for a minute. He could adventure anywhere within these books, and felt as though he had been to the far reaches of India, explored the waters of Greece. He felt as though this house held a mystery, and if he searched long and hard enough, the place would divulge its secrets. There were things here that made Pasha think that this house had been owned by a family all its life: newspaper clippings from long ago, a box full of baby clothes. He often imagined that if he looked in the right places, he would find himself. This place felt as though it had seen many things.

Today he was searching for a book to read, hoping to find a cookbook. He felt like making something new for dinner. It was annoying to look for books, because some piles were organized, sometimes whole rooms. Then there were corridors lined with random novels, and he had to wade through hundreds of them before finding just one. After much search, he found a recipe book, not the sort he was looking for, but one that would do nonetheless. When he was younger he had made a game out of organizing these books: fantasy in the red living room, poetry in the bedroom by the garden. He had abandoned this task long ago: it would take years to sort all of this out, even when not getting new books in the mail.

Pasha shook himself out of his thoughts. He had stopped walking to allow himself to focus solely on his thoughts. As usual, he had cleared a spot on a couch and sat down without thinking, forgetting what he was doing. It annoyed him to no end when he lost track of time. Sometimes he lost whole days this way. Smoothing down the velvet of the couch next to him, he rose to his feet.

Someone had loved this house once, devoted enough time into the building to make it seem a home. There were comfortable couches everywhere, and the tall bookcases which lined each wall were scuffed from years of love. Even the countless books had been cared for, coffee stains and broken bindings showing they had been read. The books spilled out from the shelves onto whatever surfaces were nearby, engulfing coffee tables and encroaching onto chairs. It could be difficult to walk through certain rooms, and Pasha had a difficult time now, navigating to his room.

His room was at the far end of the house, difficult to find. He had chosen it because of that quality. He liked feeling like he was living in the middle of an intricate maze. Perhaps he fancied himself the minotaur, waiting for a prince to slay him and bring an end to all this. He kept his room spartan, with only the odd book or two lying about. In such a cluttered house, it was necessary to have a few places free of unncessary items. He kept his favorite books in the rooms surrounding his bedroom, neatly organized. No one had ever come in his room, and he felt it to be his sanctuary. When he was younger, he had wandered from bedroom to bedroom, sleeping whenever he felt tired. It felt good to have a place to come to every night.

When he had first decided on making this his room, it had been full of trunks and suitcases of old clothing. Most of it had been women's clothing, but there were a few dresses that were for a little girl. Pasha wondered whose room this had been, wondered what had happened to them. He wondered if John had known these people. He didn't ask, though: if he questioned the man too much about things he found, John would become more sad and silent than usual and not leave his office for days. Though the two of them were not particularly social, Pasha liked having someone to talk to, so he didn't ask too many questions.

He never went inside John's office, and John never went to his side of the house. He was mildly curious about John's role in all of this – was he a guardian, an uncle? But truthfully, he found the man boring and did not go out of his way to make friends. He had his own carefully ordered world to tend to, and had never wanted more. He thought of the house as his world. He did not live in it: he explored it. He only lived in a handful of the rooms: his bedroom, the kitchen, dining room and a few bathrooms. The world outside of this house had never really interested him. It wasn't that he was frightened of it – he had read plenty of books and thought he knew what to expect – it was the people. He had never connected with anyone. John was there only to bring him things he needed. He was not a companion of any sort. The only people Pasha ever saw were the mailman from afar and whatever delivery men came to the porch.

He had no interest in meeting people. They were what made his books wonderful, but in reality he thought of them as dangerous. They were always hurting each other and making stupid, rash decisions. Take John for example, Pasha thought. He was obviously damaged by a person. Unable to go outside except for the very basics, completely stuck in this place he had created for himself. Pasha was amazed the man hadn't gone truly crazy yet – he couldn't imagine staying in this place for his entire life. One day, he was going to go on adventures. One day, when he got tired of this house. So far, it hadn't happened; he was content with his life. There plenty of things to do – reading, for example. He could read for whole days and never feel the need to move.

When he did tire of reading, he would go into the kitchen and cook. There were plenty of cookbooks to be found, and if he wrote a list of the things he wanted, John would get them from the store. There was a computer that John would hook up now and again, then Pasha would sit and find all the things he wanted, and they would be brought to the house. It didn't really work for food, though, so John went into town occasionally.

It was a large kitchen, the huge windows letting plenty of sunlight in. He would grow basil and tomatoes on the windowsills when it got a little warmer. There was a large fireplace that was cozy during the colder months, and Pasha imagined the house was so old that perhaps someone had cooked over that fireplace. At one end of the kitchen was a door that led outside, at the other end was the pantry. It was a large pantry that was full of food, spices, and whatever books he felt belonged there. There was always a pillow in there, should he feel like reading in there. He liked the kitchen quite a lot. It was one of the only places that were free of clutter; he kept it that way.

Before he had started to cook around age eight, they had eaten whatever was around – store-bought food and lots of canned things. Pasha did not miss those days. He didn't consider cooking to be his passion, though. True, it was very calming to have control over something, but it was not enough to fully occupy him. Anyway, he mused, this was silly to think about. He didn't have to get a job or leave. Why would he have to? He was safe and happy here. The thought of choosing something to do for a living was a foreign one. Pasha felt as though his life here was timeless, and he did not seek an end to it.

He stopped by the fridge on his way to the garden to find an apple to snack on, and slipped on a pair of shoes by the door. He liked the garden. It was spacious and smelled fresh and good, especially after the rain. Raspberries would grow here during the summer, and he would pick all of them and bake tarts. He walked absentmindedly to the back of the yard now and checked on them. The yard ended in forest, but he had only been in there a few times. He didn't know where it ended, and as a boy he had read some frightening stories that had kept him away. He turned back to the yard to choose a spot to sit and read. Today he was reading under the shelter of a fragrant lilac tree. Sometimes a wind would shake a petal or two free, and they would drift lazily down to nestle in the grass. It smelled like lilacs, mown lawn, and moist dirt. A squirrel was busy collecting nuts far away, and Pasha watched it sleepily for a while before noticing another movement.

John was busy digging something at the corner of the house, a plant perhaps, or flowers. It was strange thing to see. Perhaps the man had something on his mind. He didn't usually come outside, or garden. He usually stayed shut inside of his office, writing his book. He was a rather boring man, never going out of his way to talk to Pasha. This might have hurt Pasha's feelings if he cared enough. Sometimes Pasha did feel the need for companionship, to talk and discuss ideas with someone other than himself. Then he felt lonely.

Realizing he had not been reading for some time now, or even started, he dogearred the page of his book and settled back to watch John work. As always, the man had a way of moving that made you imagine that his mind was miles away, focusing on something else entirely. Humming noises coming from nearby bees began to lull Pasha to sleep, and he allowed slumber to take him. He fell asleep to the methodical sounds of dirt being shoveled.

Pasha woke up to find the sky was growing dark. His limbs had grown a little stiff and cold, and he rose to his feet quickly, hugging his arms around himself. Picking up his book, he fled to the warmth of the kitchen. It didn't surprise him that John had not woken him. The man had probably not even noticed his presence.

The kitchen was pleasingly warm and still smelled of the pumpkin pie he had made earlier. Pasha bent down to start a fire in the fireplace, surprised at how cold he was. With the fire lit and growing, he turned his attention to the stove's clock. It was already five thirty, probably time to start making dinner. He didn't feel like trekking back to his room to get the cookbook he had found earlier, so he turned to the ones already in the kitchen.

Dinner that night was curry. It was incredibly spicy, and it was necessary to take a bite of yogurt to take the sting away. Pasha liked spicy food. John winced with every bite and ended up consuming most of the yogurt. He was busy writing as he ate, and would probably have eaten a carpet if it was arranged nicely on his plate. His book was due in seven months, and all of his attention was focused towards it. Pasha felt vaguely jealous of the novel. Maybe if it did not exist, John would have woken him up. Probably not, though.

John was the author of at least a dozen works of literature. Pasha had read them all and decided that they were rather dry. They must be received well, though, for there were never any money problems. Pasha watched as John wrote busily on a few pieces of paper, stopping now and again to tap at his laptop keyboard or take a bite of food. Deciding there would be no conversation tonight, Pasha opened his own book and began reading while he ate.

He had only finished half of his dinner and was just beginning to think about the custard for dessert when there was a knock on the front door. The knock was rather soft, as the front door was four rooms away from the dining room. He put his fork down and looked up at John. The man wrinkled his forehead and scratched at his graying beard before rising. Annoyed, Pasha followed suit, closing his book. It was probably just a new delivery man who didn't know better. They should ignore it and continue eating.

With a sigh, Pasha followed John as he made his way to the door. No one ever knocked on the door. All the delivery people were told to just leave the package on the steps, even the new ones. This had never happened. He tried to think of who it could be. A new neighbor, asking for a few eggs, like what sometimes occurred in his books? That would be interesting.

He ducked behind a precarious pile of books while John opened the door, trying to see who it was and not expose his position. John clearly knew who it was, for he just ushered the person into the foyer. Pasha remained in his hiding place, eyes narrowed. This was the very first time that he had ever seen anyone other than John inside this house, and he did not know what to think. Why on earth was this person here?

The visitor was a woman, unlike anyone he had seen. Which was not hard to accomplish. She had bright red hair, not a natural color but something clearly dyed. Pasha thought it was probably called “fire engine red”. She had a metal ring through one eyebrow and wore paint splattered jeans. She was strange and beautiful and frightening.
“How was the train ride?” John asked. The woman smiled and replied: “Just fine, dad.”


John's daughter. For what was not the first time, Pasha considered his role in all... of this. A daughter. What was he? Why had he never seriously investigated this before? Well, he had a bit, but he had not pieced it all together... He had read many, many books. He did not consider himself to be unintelligent, but in that moment, he felt very stupid.

“It's fucking messy in here, dad,” the woman said, stepping further in. Pasha retreated further. She had a green, worn-looking military bag over one shoulder. How long was she staying? Surely not overnight? She dumped the bag unceremoniously on the floor. “Don't you ever get out?” The old man grumbled, shook his head. “I'm busy these days, June. You know that.” The woman, June, stood with her hands on her hips and berated him. “Too busy to take my phone calls, hmm? I haven't seen you in four years, you know.” And with that, she swept from the room and began taking stock of the house, walking right past Pasha. Pasha gave a sigh of relief that she did not see him. “At least your kitchen is full of food,” she called out. “Maybe you've got a woman squirreled away in this mess somewhere?” John slowly followed her, pausing when he noticed Pasha wedged between the pile of books and the wall. “You should probably go to your room.” Pasha nodded gratefully and escaped, not overlooking the fact that those were the first words John had said to him all week.


It was past time to make dinner, but Pasha did not move to get up. He was not reading, either, just looking out the window. He could see the whole garden, and there were fireflies out there tonight, making sporadic flashes of light. After June had invaded his house, he had come straight to his room and shut the door, but he had not remained there. He had crept out to a room overlooking the driveway, and looked down at her car. She had not left yet. He went back to his room and had not moved from his window seat.

He was curled up arms around his knees, the curtains drawn close around him when his door opened. The curtains were sheer enough to allow him visibility, and he watched as June entered the room and looked around. She was a short woman, slender and self confident. She picked up a few of his books, put them down again. Bent down to look at the photo on his bedside table. Pasha did not move, gave no noise or movement to give away his position, but she saw him and started.
“Shit, you scared me,” she said, raising a hand to her chest. “How long have you been sitting there?” Pasha shrugged. He did not know what to say. His chest felt tight and he was as angry as he could ever remember being. He did not want her in here. She was destroying everything.
“The picture on that table,” June said, gesturing behind her: “is that your mother?” her eyes told him that she already knew the answer to that question. Pasha shrugged again. She would tell him if she wanted to. Pasha had found the photograph in a trunk full of baby clothes. The date on the back of it, along with his name, told him that the baby in the photo was him. Who the sad woman with the long dark hair was, he did not know. He had not bothered to ask John.

June sat down gingerly on his bed. She did not look to be older than mid twenties. She sighed and it transformed her into someone younger, lighter. “He didn't tell you I was coming.” Pasha shook his head no. His hands were clenched tight, his nails biting into his flesh. “I brought you a gift,” she said, tilting her head at him. Pasha uncurled his fingers a bit. “What is it?” he asked, curiosity getting the better of him.
“Come on,” she said, reaching out for his hand: “it's in my bag downstairs.” She had rings on each of her fingers, different metals and gems. The pointer finger had a silver snake wrapped around it, green eyes glittering up at him. Pasha took her hand and stood.
“What are you doing here?” he asked, his voice finally finding him. June looked at him with blue eyes and said: “I wanted to meet you.” Pasha reluctantly let go of her hand.


June's bag was where she had left it, abandoned in the middle of the foyer. She bent down and picked it up, swung it over one shoulder. “Is there a room I can stay in?” Pasha nodded. Of course there was a room. There were lots of rooms. But he thought she meant something more along the lines of habitable, so he led her to one of the less cluttered rooms. It happened to be on the opposite side of the house from his room.

This room was mostly green; green carpet, green blankets. There were some of the little elephant statues that Pasha loved on the fireplace mantle. June lingered over these, fingering their tusks. “These are lovely,” she said. She tossed her bag onto the bed and opened it. Pasha sat down on the bed, trying not to appear too eager. He was going mad from curiosity. He had never received a present. June drew the gift out of her bag carelessly, sliding it across the bed to Pasha. That was how she moved – unaffectedly, as if she didn't mind ruining anything. It wasn't exactly clumsy; it had it's own languid grace. The gift was wrapped in brown canvas, with a red ribbon tied about it. Pasha untied it carefully and laid it aside. The canvas paper was folded away to reveal a small painting. It was beautiful and strange, smudges of color. Pasha could not make out anything real; it seemed grown from a dream. “It's one of mine,” June said. “I paint.” She played with the red ribbon nervously, and Pasha said: “It's lovely. Thank you.”

Pasha remained in the room, at her urging, while she unpacked. She threw her clothes into a bureau, not bothering to fold them as she went. Her clothes were as strange as her, a zillion bright colors. Pasha couldn't fathom how she was John's daughter. He tried to tell her so, afraid his rusty words would make her mad. “You don't seem much like him at all,” he said. June paused in her work, an orange sweater in one hand. “Well, that's not surprising,” she said. “I went to boarding school. He didn't do much to raise me.” She had about five outfits with her, and Pasha wondered if that meant she was staying for a week. “He visited me a couple of times a year,” June went on. “Paid for my college, that sort of thing. He's not a bad father, just... not all there.” She closed the drawer, her face momentarily hidden from his. He thought she looked sad. “I'm sorry,” he said. He thought that John couldn't be his father, after what she had said. If John was, wouldn't he have sent Pasha off to boarding school, too?


June helped him make dinner that night. Pasha felt incredibly awkward around her, not knowing how work. He wasn't used to having anyone else in his kitchen. Or this house, for that matter. She seemed very talkative, and Pasha was finding it difficult to focus on anything for long. “I really can't cook,” June said, and started making a salad. “This is probably the one thing I won't screw up.” Pasha found himself cutting tomatoes next to her, and realized that they were the same height. She looked out the window as she was washing lettuce, smiled at the view. “It's a beautiful garden,” she said. Pasha nodded. “I read out there sometimes,” he said. “when the berries grow, I make tarts and pies.” June placed the lettuce on her cutting board. “That sounds wonderful.” The main course was already in the oven, and she sat down on a stool and poured herself a glass of wine. “Do you like it here?” she asked. It was a strange question. “I've never been anywhere else,” Pasha said, dumping the tomatoes into her bowl. “I think I do.” June brandished her knife clumsily as she chopped at the carrots one handedly, sipping at her wine. “What do you like to do?” she asked. She had little metal earrings all the way up her ear that the light caught. Pasha shrugged. “I read, and cook.” his voice dropped lower, conspiratorially: “I like to explore.” June stuck her knife straight up into the cutting board and dropped one hand to her hip. “Now that sounds like fun.”

Pasha closed the door behind them carefully, so as not to make a noise. He did not know if John would mind if June was meandering around the house. “This is one of my most favorite rooms,” he said. June dropped to her knees in front of a trunk, ignoring the pile of books under her. “Baby clothes,” she breathed. “Man, these things must be so old...” Pasha nodded, kneeling down next to her. “There are a bunch of cool things in this house,” he said. “I keep thinking that if I look hard enough, I'll know what happened.” June looked sideways at him, red bangs falling in her eyes. “I know what happened.” Pasha nodded. “I know.” They sat there silent for a while, June ruffling through the many clothes inside the trunk. Eventually she stopped and turned to face him, moving books from under her. “Don't you want to know?” she asked. Pasha shrugged. “I mean, yeah. Of course I do. But I don't want things to change. I'm afraid that if I know, something bad will happen.” June sighed, picked at her bright nail polish. There was a different color on each nail. “I kind of came here to tell you.” Pasha plucked distractedly at a small yellow jumper. “I don't know if I want to know. Look,” he said, bumping his shoulder against hers: “If you peel back the edge here...” a corner on the inside of the trunk fell away to reveal old, yellowed photographs. “They have dates on the back,” Pasha told her. June ran her fingers over them eagerly, and Pasha could see that she was crying. “I'm sorry,” Pasha said. “I didn't mean to make you sad.” June shook her head and met his eyes. “This are happy tears, moron.”


Dinner that night was strange, but started out being one of the best Pasha had ever had. There was so much conversation it felt as if his head was buzzing inside. June talked at great length about her art studio, and how she had finally landed a show. Evidently she lived in New York, and the picture she painted made Pasha wish he could visit. John was unnaturally talkative, responding to questions and even chiming in occasionally. Perhaps it was the wine, or perhaps he was pleased that June was there. For a moment, just one moment, Pasha let himself pretend that June was going to stay here forever, that they were a family.

After dinner, they ate dessert slowly, still talking. “So how old are you, Pasha?” June asked. Pasha looked up at John, put his fork down next to his plate. The pumpkin pie felt like death in his mouth. “He's sixteen,” John said, smiling. Pasha took a deep drink of water. He had not known. It had never even occurred to him. Once, perhaps, when he had read about a birthday party. June nodded and went on as if she had not noticed Pasha's momentary confusion. “I just turned twenty three,” she said to him. Pasha nodded, filled his mouth with more pie. Sixteen. Twenty three. Seven years meant that they could be brother and sister. His chest suddenly filled with warmth as he imagined them truly being a family. Maybe he could visit her in New York. Maybe she could – no. No no no, he told himself. You start believing that something is going to happen, then you get hurt when it doesn't. Prepare yourself for the worst and you will not be disappointed.

“I can't believe this is my first time coming here,” June said, looking at John. “I wanted to, during summer. When I was at school.” John poked restlessly at his dessert, poured himself more wine. Pasha looked thoughtfully at June. Something had changed. She was sitting up straighter, looking for all the world as if she was hunting something. “I went and saw her,” June said. The mood in the room turned suddenly, bitterly cold. John rose abruptly from his seat, dabbing at his beard with his napkin. June seemed to grow large in her seat. “I saw her,” she repeated, louder. John left the room. Pasha heard the door to his office slam shut. June looked at Pasha with that same fierce gaze. “You have no clue what I'm talking about, do you?” Pasha shook his head. “Get up,” June snapped, throwing her napkin onto the table. “Come on.”


She had an old bug for a car. It had been painted green once upon a time, but was so chipped and fadednow that it looked more gray. She drove fast and dangerously, strange music blaring from the radio. They drove for a long time and passed many places. Pasha knew that they were not merely going to town; they had passed town over an hour ago. Where she was taking him, he didn't know. The music was too loud to speak over, so he leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes against nausea. His first time going anywhere, and he was losing a battle against vomiting. Eventually he slipped into blissful slip, despite the loud, crazy music.

He woke up when the car stopped and the music turned off. They were in a parking lot, and it took Pasha a moment to fully shake off sleep. “We're here,” June said, shaking him fully awake. “up up up.” Pasha opened the rusty car door and shakily rose to his feet. The air smelled different here, he thought to himself. It was just starting to get dark, and he was growing afraid.

“I want to go home,” he whispered to June, but she either did not hear or chose not to. “Know where we are?” she said, tugging at his hand. He shook his head and followed her. It was cold out, and he had no jacket on. June was wearing one of her odd sweaters, purple and blue. The wind was making her hair blow out, and Pasha tried to look at her and find something of himself. He couldn't. She was pulling him across the parking lot at high speed, and it occurred to him that she was a force of nature. She had swept into his life and destroyed everything. It would never be the same. But even though she scared him, and he was mad at her, he couldn't help liking her. She was so much better than John.

“We're at a hospital,” June all but yelled, still walking at a tremendous speed. And what are we doing here, Pasha wondered unhappily, trying to match her pace. The place looked cold and forbidding, a dark stone. It looked impersonal and empty. The interior was no better. It smelled like disinfectant and there were colorless plastic tiles everywhere. June continued to hold his hand and slowed down. It was warm in here, and Pasha felt a bit better. They walked past a room full of plastic chairs to a glass window, where June conversed with a fat woman briefly.

After talking to the woman for a short while, June turned and continued on, Pasha following. They went down a long corridor, June muttering under her breathe: “Room 406,” she said. “I haven't been here in so long. Aren't you curious about what we're doing here?” Pasha shrugged. “Hospitals are for sick people.” That is what he expected to find here, although he had a nagging doubt in the back of his mind that he was the one who was sick. What if she had brought him here because he was sick? What if they wouldn't let him leave? “I want to go home,” he told June again. She turned and looked at him sadly. “Please just meet her.” Crap, Pasha thought. He couldn't look at June's unhappy face and say no.

Maybe this woman is sick. Maybe she started screaming and trying to kill her babies and they locked her up. I don't want to see her. His mind would not let him say the word that he was dreading. Mother. He thought back to all those baby clothes, the aging pictures. “Is she sick?” he asked June. “Am I like her?” They stopped in front of a door, and June pulled him close. It was the first hug that Pasha could ever remember receiving, and he melted into it. June was warm and smelled of vanilla. At last he pulled away from the embrace. “Okay,” he said. “I'm ready.”


The woman in the bed was shriveled looking, like an apple that had been left out too long. Her dark hair had turned gray at the roots, and her eyes were open but saw nothing. June went straight in, head held high, and sat down on the edge of the bed. Pasha slid into the room slowly, not able to take his eyes off from the sleeping woman. June intertwined her hand with the woman's. Pasha just stood and looked, trying to find the woman in the pictures. “That's her?” he asked. June nodded. “She doesn't look so good.” June laughed at that, brought her hand to her mouth as the chuckle became a dry cry. Pasha hated that sound, hated hearing June make it. He joined her on the bed, laced his hand through hers as it descended from her mouth. Her palm was warm and dry. “What's wrong with her?” he asked. His voice was soft in the quiet room. He imagined it sounded like the rustle of paper against paper. “She's just not here,” June said. Her hand tightened around his. Pasha looked down at all the hands and brought his free hand to his mother's, forming a circle of sorts. They sat there, not talking, for a long time.

“You're not sick,” June said finally. “I can tell.” Pasha continued to stare down at the hand circle. He liked June, didn't want her to be sad. He knew that somehow it wasn't just the woman making her sad. He was making her sad. “I'm not sick,” he said. “but I'm not normal, either.” “Fuck you're not,” June said angrily. “No one would be normal if they lived in that house all their lives and never left. Pasha,” she said, voice low and fierce, “I want you to come live with me.”

Pasha did not know how to respond to that. This was rather a lot to spring on a person, he thought. Maybe she could have told him one shocking piece of news at a time. It would have been more considerate. He liked June, liked her more than he cared to say. Somehow, she had just marched into the house and turned everything upside down in two days. He felt as though he had been responding to these changes well. He had been social towards her, had been nice. Hell, he had even done the unthinkable and left the house with her. Why was she telling him all this so suddenly? She had just come from New York and dropped all of this on him. She hadn't thought of how strange, how alarming it would be for a boy who had never so much as gone to town.

“I want to go home,” he said. He was angry at her and did not like this place. It was tiring being outside of the house. It felt as though you had to watch everything in case it moved, did something unexpected. People were dangerous, Pasha thought darkly. At home, you knew what to expect. Nothing ever changed. Let one new person speak to you, and the whole carefully organized world came tumbling down.

“What does it matter?” Pasha said angrily. “So you're my sister, so John is my father. What does it change? I'm happy at home!” he disentangled their hands and stood. He felt in that moment as if June had spread some disease onto him. He wanted to shout things instead of remaining silent. “I get it, you're sad!” he screamed. “She's practically dead and you have no family! But that doesn't mean you can just come and fuck everything up for me. It was working. It may not have been great, but it was working.” He clenched his eyes shut, refusing to cry, refusing to look at June's shocked face. “Why should I want to leave? What is out here that's so great? All I see is pain!” he shouted, glaring at the comatose woman on the bed. “I want to go home!” June's eyes changed suddenly, shut down somehow. She went blank. “Fine,” she said. “let's go.” Pasha could feel himself shaking and wrapped his arms around himself. He had never yelled like that. It was empowering and terrible all at the same time.


The drive home was silent and somewhat slower. She was crying again, just a few faint tears. She said nothing to him and did not look at him. He was glad to be left alone. He bit his lip to keep from crying and didn't look at her.


She left the next day and he found he was suddenly no longer satisfied with the normal routine. John came out of his office once she left, and asked Pasha politely to make breakfast. Pasha did so quickly, wanting some company. He made a plate of eggs, buttered some toast and brought tea out to the table. For once John didn't have his book next to him, and Pasha hoped that they might have one of their rare talks. “Talk to me,” he said to John after serving breakfast. John put a spoonful of sugar in his tea and stirred before he raised his head and said: “What do you want me to say?” with the same blue eyes as June. Pasha looked at John hard, for what felt like the first time. He had lived alongside this man so long that it was hard to truly see him. John was a tall man, but he stooped so as to appear smaller. His beard was mostly gray, though it was beginning to turn white. Pasha did not know how old he was. “Am I sick?” he asked. John took a sip of tea, looking into Pasha's eyes curiously. “Who isn't?” And that was the end of the conversation. Pasha wanted to ask about the woman in the hospital, wanted to know what had happened, but he knew that John would just get up and go into his office. Pasha did not want to be alone today, so he did not ask.


Around lunchtime, John went out. Pasha knew that he would be gone for several hours, because he had asked if Pasha had a grocery list for him. Pasha waited until the car was gone from the driveway to go to John's office. The doors were not locked, and he let himself in. The office was dark and smelled faintly of cigars. The walls were lined with matching built in bookshelves, and though this room had actually been a library at one point. Pasha was surprised to find that it was not that cluttered in here. There were no books expect those that were on the shelves, making the room neater than most of the house. There were heavy curtains over the windows, and he pulled them back to let in some light. There were manuscripts all over the desk, and he leafed through them disinterestedly. He was looking for secrets, not an unfinished book.

November 13th, 2010, 08:03 PM
Don't stop now. I want to know more. Great story. Great characters. Great venue. Greater still if you'll give us some more of it.

November 13th, 2010, 09:17 PM
Didn't catch too much on a quick read through, but I did notice you overuse you MC's name. He's the subject throughout most of it, so it's obvious you're referring to him. Just use "he" or "him".

November 14th, 2010, 12:58 AM
Okay. I do notice that I use the main character's name a lot - I'm finding it difficult to discern from him and John. If I use he and him, I get confused about who I'm talking about.

Also, I do have more written, I just need to edit it more thoroughly before I post.

Thanks for the comments.

November 14th, 2010, 01:31 AM
Yes, more please. :) You've certainly gotten a hook in me, here.

November 15th, 2010, 07:39 PM
I edited and posted more. I'm almost done.