West Of The Moon

West of the Moon is the unofficial, temporary meeting ground for the members of Christendom's Guild of the Cross and the Quill. Sadly West of the Moon won't be in our future permanent web URL because a number of other selfish people already registered all permutations of the URL years ago without even consulting me. For that they shall pay.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Bathrobeman - the greatest story ever written

“I’m going to kill everyone,” I said.

Aah! The roommate coughed! I lurched in my sheets. I tried to subdue my stress with a forceful sigh, the ones that come out jaggedly, like a noisy can of soup bouncing down a cliff. I spoke it again, “I’m going to kill everyone,” but this time with a profound sincerity. But rather than murder, I simply rolled over in my bed. I shot my next sigh at the wall, transforming the exhalation into a deep groan of bitter agony. Then fearfully I glimpsed at the red glow of the clock, blazing like a hellish ember in the dark, mocking me, prophesying my upcoming doom in the morning.

“Shut up,” I said to it. “I’m going to kill you too.”

To my consolation, my eschatological thoughts were drowned by the resurrection of my roommate’s snores.

“Thank you,” spoke I aloud at my friend’s slumbering recitations. “I feared you would not return!”

With that, I jumped out of my bed, entirely forgetting that it stood upon another, and consequently providing myself with an unexpectedly painful descent onto a pile of books, clothes, and probably a garbage can. A litany of curses came from my mouth. My ruckus, however, silenced the evil snores from my roommate, tempting me back into my bed. But reason dictated otherwise. I knew what he was thinking. The bedridden symphony would surely return in a dissonant vengeance if I took the bait.

My calling that night was elsewhere, I knew. It was a strange night. But as it was my freshmen year, having apparently lost the ability to sleep before four o’clock in the morning, I had nothing to lose. I didn’t have any friends. My roommate hated me. And I despised him too. His personality was tolerable, but his snores unforgivable. He denied the existence of his snores and would laugh at me. Just the other day, I stood on the precipice of snapping — of chucking my laptop into face like a frisbee. It was a close call.

I couldn’t see anything in the darkness. And what semblance of Christian charity I had left for my roommate withheld me from getting the idea of turning on the light. I felt around for clothes on the floor, and put on what fit my purpose of getting dressed. Some articles probably belonged to my roommate, and all of them, no doubt, were overdue for a wash. I put on two different kinds of shoes and then strove to find some species of coat, as outside there was a wintery seasoning. Just then my roommate’s song came in for a final movement. Irked by my inability to find adequate layers amongst the tiresome melody, I ripped off the blanket from my friend’s bed and headed for the door.

“Hey,” mumbled the roommate in a stupor, “hey, my brother should be an altar boy.”

“Well, you know what?” I shot back in defiance, “I don’t care because you’re talking in your sleep, and I can do whatever I want and you won’t remember a thing, so ... go suck an egg!”

I exited into the hallway like a king in a regal robe after telling an enemy monarch to go shove it. I didn’t the know what the heck I was doing, but I knew I would regret it. However, in the end, it all turned out to be rather providential, at least in some far-fetched manner, if you look really deep into it. So there I was, wearing two left shoes, a stained T-shirt, brown dress pants, and my roommate’s blanket, trotting down the stairs and out of the dorm into the nippy, icy air of whatever month it was.

I looked over the hauntingly dark ice-plains of the campus, speaking ghostly words through the frosty winds, and leaf-less trees swaying like skeletal hands. Promptly I stated, without composing more narrative metaphors, “Forget this. I’m going back to bed.” But upon my decision to return, I noticed something in the darkness.

[by: Julian Ahlquist]

I was looking southwards, in the direction of the Quad. Between it and myself lay the dark November forest, glistening with mystery, with the crescent moon gleaming in the eastern sky. As I surveyed that frosty darkness, I could tell that something was moving along the forest border, its figure barely distinguishable from the gloom that surrounded it. I imagined it was a deer or a bear, and I thought about getting my gun, and giving Chef Ron a real surprise in the morning. But something about its movements through the dusky leaves was too regular to fit the wanderings of a bear, and too heavy for a deer, so I decided I would keep watching, and try to figure out what it was. As I watched, my eyes grew more accustomed to the darkness, and I realized with a start that I was gazing upon a man. I couldn’t see much in that pale moonlight, but I could tell that he was short, and he was carrying a big pack on his shoulders, as he walked along the forest border down in the direction of the river.

I guessed maybe he was one of those hikers that come through town pretty often in the fall, down along the Appalachian Trial, and had made a camping ground down by the Shenandoah River that runs directly behind our school. The only thing that didn't make sense to me is why he was here on school property, instead of across town, where the trail lies. Besides, even if he had a good reason for being here, what was he doing out at this hour of night? I began to get suspicious; I wondered if he was a criminal. As I watched this man vanish into the woods, the sleepy feelings left my eyes, and I forgot about the comfort of my bed. I was fully awake now, and all my senses began to kindle in the chilly morning air.

With my robe snuggled tightly around my shoulders, I stepped stealthily down the steps from the safety of my dorm to investigate the dark fastness of the forest. I figured I would take a quick look around to see if I could spot a campfire, or any indications of where that man had gone. All was still in the forest, while the darkness of the woods streamed up to the buildings, and the moon was climbing into the faraway depths of an early morning sky. And yet that darkness was pregnant with mystery; it pulsed and throbbed with the breath of the night.

The forest!---I had been too long away from it. The swaying shadows of the woodland trees seemed almost to stir and rouse themselves like a living thing and speak to my listening ears. They besought me to join in their adventure. I was convinced that the moment had come to take heroic action, or to kill forever the love of adventure that burned in my heart. Orion, shining overhead, seemed to beckon me to the hunt, and in an instant thrill of excitement, I returned the summons. I took a few steps, and entered the woods, as the trees kept the rhythm of the wind, and the darkness seemed to close in upon me with a sense of gloom and foreboding.

A minute after I entered the forest, my roommate reached the open door of the dorm, irate and shivering. Unable to slumber with a thin sheet as his only cover, and for ventilation the steady stream of an open door, he had left his bed, thrown a bathrobe over his shoulders, and stalked out to demand the return of his blanket. But I was not there. Seized with a sudden anxiety, my roommate turned on the lamp over the dorm porch, and discovered my footprints in the icy lawn, leading straight to the forest.

[by: Jacinta Wittaker]

In this instance of the story, I should like to bring in the security guard. His name was Carl--a burly man of fifty-two with no hair upon his head, and barely able to squeeze into his uniform. He used to belong to the Marines and was greatly overqualified for his job, though not anymore. Since this assignment, he had assumed a great deal of mass and indifference. The small liberal arts college seemed immune to trouble, save the occasional townie who would chase girls. Under the bureaucratic fetters of his job, doing anything enjoyable infringed the policies to which he was subject. Technically, they forbid him to read or do anything of the productive, innocent sort while he sat in the lobby – all night long, doing nothing. He had to smile at passerbys, an oppression more tyrannic every day as he grew more bored and lazy. Relief only came in the hourly patrol of the campus and the use of lavatory in the adjacent room. One pastime which he believed did not rebel against policy and which he employed to his own amusement was trying to identify the gender of each person who walked down the hallway to his desk, judging only by the sound of their feet. After 6 months, he arrived at what he thought might be the pattern to make sound judgments on the issue, but it didn’t test fool-proof, though one day he had 84 percent accuracy. That glorious day was fiendish fluke, though, and the project broke his heart when he even started misjudging his own gender.

Carl was a nice guy. Truthfully, he had once been a navy SEAL, and even a some kind of secret agent I found out later. Because of a strange turn of unfortunate events, some of which involved bar fights, I think, the government exiled him to this. This security position did not even recommend to its workers a firearm. With what means he was supposed to subdue criminals Carl could not fathom. He had pursued his superiors with inquisition but they kept changing the subject with a pitiable smile. In a pinch, though, Carl still knew a vast array of hand-to-hand combat, though in the recent years, this gauntlet of inaction had reduced his physical tools to questionable performance.

The clock finally dictated to Carl another leisurely patrol. The bear-like security guard rose from the confines of the desk and opened wide the door to the chill of darkness. Carl liked the darkness. He felt safer. He had been trained to fight in the dark and use it to his advantage against the enemy. Some people thought he was just weird.

It was then that Carl spotted me, running into the woods with large blanket. The sight immediately brought a suspicious flavor. Before pursuing me, however, his eyes fell upon my roommate, close in pursuit in his bathrobe. His location provided enough time for Carl to intervene and so he did.

“Hey, there!” Carl bellowed in a deep, bear-like voice, “Are you a student here? Could I see your ID? Nice bathrobe.”

[by: Julian Ahlquist]

As the security guard, wolflike, culled the straggler from our little herd, I hurried after the mysterious figure. He was moving down the steep path to the dam. As my eyes adjusted to the darkness and saw him outlined against the trees, he seemed a slight figure. He crept at a fast, but stealthy pace, his knees bent. Slowly, as he descended the path, he dropped out of sight.

I rushed after him, blanket spreading out behind me. I must have looked ridiculous, running around in a blanket like a little boy pretending to be Superman. But I was so engrossed in catching up with this mysterious night rover that I quickly put the thought out of my mind.

I reached the top of the path and stood a moment, peering down into the darkness. The roots and stones of the path were nearly invisible, but I could see, faintly, the slight, dark figure moving carefully down.

Glancing at the sky, I saw the crescent moon was climbing further up in the eastern sky. Dawn was only a few hours away. I started down the hill, cautiously, but still as quickly as I could.

The rocks shifted treacherously under my feet. I glanced down, but then looked back up, fixing my eyes on the figure ahead of me and kept moving forward.

Big mistake. My foot caught in a root and I pitched headlong. Unable to break my fall, I tumbled all the way down the path. I heard a short, high-pitched noise from the figure in front of me before I crashed right into him and sent him sprawling.

I lay still a moment, feeling individually each of the numerous bumps and bruises that had accumulated around my body. Finally, I had taken stock of all of them. I sat up and waited for the stars to clear from my head.

Next to me, my friend the dark figure was also sitting up. A number of things surprised me greatly. The first one was that he was not a he.

I hadn’t given it much thought, but I had sort of assumed it was a man—either hiker or Mexican bandito. But under the hood of the heavy black sweatshirt was a slim, pale face, framed by straggling wisps of brown hair.

The second surprise is that it was a face I knew. I didn’t know the person it belonged to—but I had seen the face a hundred times. She was a sophomore, and in my opinion (and not mine alone) the best-looking girl in her class at least, and maybe on the whole campus.

The third thing I noticed was that she looked absolutely terrified. She glanced around wildly, then tore off her backpack and clutched it to her chest. “Don’t tell anyone I was here,” she whispered frantically. “And for God’s sake, don’t follow me. Go back—quickly!”

“But Diana,” I asked, bewildered, “what are you doing here?”

“Shh,” she whispered, barely audible, laying her finger to her lips. “It’s too dangerous. Go back. I can’t answer any questions. Just let me go.” She tried to stand up, trying her weight on her right ankle. Then she grimaced fiercely and grabbed hold of the tree beside her.

“Let me help you back up,” I said, taking her elbow. “Then you can go back to your dorm and—”

“No!” she hissed. “Let me go! He’ll see you!”

[by: Sheila]

"I don't think it's easy for anyone to see anybody in this dark, so what's your real worry?" I said rather impatiently. Frankly, I wanted to know why the hell was I here.

"Look, John, just go home, and leave me alone. I'm going to the dam, that's all. The rest is none of your business. Just ... for heaven's sake just leave me alone," she whispered.

"Wait a minute ... who's he? Why are you down here, what's going on?"

"Stop shouting, damnit". I didn't think I was shouting. Something was terribly wrong and I knew it. The dam had become a dangerous place to go than in previous years. Wandering toward that side of the woods was not my idea of adventure. The drug route ran right through Front Royal. Everyone knew that. Sheriff McSheffrey was shot by one of the gangs in broad daylight while he was eating at the Fox's Diner. Everyone here insisted it was safe enough. Mad deluded bunch. They still wouldn't let that fatso security guard carry a gun. Maybe the dam was still safe. I had my doubts. My roomate's damnable snoring, and his hateful face seemed to become more and more forgiveable, almost desireable.

"My boyfriend, and he's gonna kill you if you say anything." I knew she was lying, she saw that in my face. "John, I've been through alot. Don't ask questions, and you won't get painful answers. Go back to your dorm. What you don't know isn't gonna hurt you. Leave me alone, and let me live my life."

I stood still, and couldn't say a word. Her boyfriend? That was new to me. It couldn't be true. Everybody seemed to know everything about anybody at Christendom. Who's going out with whom, who broke up, who likes whom, whom likes who, who is dating but not really, were things so well known that nothing was secret. Only the storms of the soul were shrouded in secrecy, and only exposed in the confessional, or the closest confidant. Something had to give between us. And yet, all I could do was look at her, and let the words 'let me live my life' echo in my brain.

A face is hard to make out by the light of the crescent moon. Only the barest outlines discern the shape, and those two shining lights looking into my face gave it any real definition. The light of her eyes. Those two lights filled me with the sadness that lay in them. Diana was one of those Christendom girls a fellow can fall in love with, and never know. Oh, I always wanted to talk to her, maybe be friends. I loved her roguish smile, and her sense of humor: two things which I never saw again when I heard her mother was killed last October. And now, I was talking to her, under circumstances I wish to God, now, never happened.

I couldn't leave her, and I couldn't go with her. I needed to say something desperately. "What's in the bag?"

"Ha, ha," she chuckled sardonically. She tossed her head back, and stared straight into my eyes. "John, you're a literary boy aren't you. Yes, you are, you're always reading those silly love poems, and writing articles, and other pretty things and fake fairy tales on that stupid laptop. Well, Johnny, I'll tell you a real story, and then you're going to let me go or I'll scream, and it won't look good for you. Do you like me?"

My eyes sank to the ground. "That's a rather random question," I muttered.

She stepped closer to me, I wrenched my eyes from the ground and met her blazing eyes. "Well, maybe you think I'm pretty. Oh, yes you do, thank you, John. You're sweet."

"Why in God's name did you say that! Why?" I helplessly thought. No word in the world could I muster. I was only thankful that the darkness hid the color of embarrassment from my cheeks.

"Now, the story, John, begins 'once upon a time'... they all begin like that don't they?"

"Not particularly," I said.

"Well, they should. This one does. Once upon a time, there lived a happy family in the happy kingdom. There was the king, who worked all day, the queen who was happy at home, and the royal princess who was just a sweet baby. One day, the king didn't come home, and the queen was always crying and very sad. See, the king had left his little kingdom for another. Poor mommy, oh sorry, the poor queen had to work in the kingdom for her little baby. The royal princess grew up with her mother, the queen, and never saw the king again. The princess, and her mother were very happy, until she had to go far away to Christendom. Then when the queen was all alone a dragon came and killed the queen driving home from work on the interstate." The tears down her faced glistened in the moonlight.

"Diana, where's this going?"

"Let me finish the story damnit. Can't anyone tell a story besides you?" She snapped back with the fierceness that seeps from wounds no physician can cure. "So, the princess alone and distraught in the world, had to stay at the land of Christendom. I couldn't afford the flight tickets home, my mother's dead and buried ..." she broke off, and tore her gaze from me. Then in a tortured whisper, she said, "God I hate this place!" She quickly turned around to face me again, and bravely wiped the tears off her cheeks. "Oh, but I must finish the story". She smiled weakly, and trembling began, "Now, the princess found that there are magic things that make the pain of sorrows cease. There's a wonderous magical water, which once it is drunk, makes all little sorrows cease. It comes in bottles, by the way. Down the throat like fire it goes and burns away all the pain ... for a while ... and then the charade begins again. Now, sweet freshman, who likes me and has no friends, leave me alone. I have a rendez-vous at the dam- that's French for a meeting - and now you're making me late!" She took several steps back, then slung the pack over her shoulders, and with a sad but defiant glance toward me stepped into the swallowing darkness of the night. The swallowing darkness of the soul.

Into the darkness of the night, I faintly called out, "I'm lonely too." I headed back up the beaten trail, tormented by griefs for one lonely soul that now quashed the vile hatred I had held toward all.

I walked slowly up the trail, my numb feet hurting at each step. The dry twigs snapped and crackled beneath my frozen toes. I could take it no more, and finally I sat myself down on a rock overlooking the winding Shenandoah, and the small campfires by the dam. I wrapped the blanket round my numb toes, and warmed them with my hands. Such a clear and starry night! Ah, there was Orion, that mighty warrior, going to rest in the west from chasing his enemies in the sky. The lovely crescent moon hung in the sky. In my other times of loneliness and solitude I might have found these things romantic, and conjured up new stories, but I felt a sadness for someone other than myself and couldn't think. I frustrated my life at Christendom. I had not any friends, and I kept to myself. I had kept quiet enough at Christendom, and since I was quiet people didn't really take that much note in my existence. I was there, but never really apart of their conversation. I became a wallflower. Oh, yes, I took charge of the Stream, and people once said they never found a better editor since Mr. John Jalsevac of whatever class year at Christendom. Yet, I've been merely a name and a face. Most never bothered to go beyond that. Frankly come to think of it, I never really let them even if they did try. Until now, and now for the first time, all I could think of was that another lonely soul down there needed help for the loneliness that no amount of drink can drown, not even the waters of death.

I lay back on the rock, and looked up at the stars. "My God, how beautiful You made them." That was new. I hadn't said anything to God in a long time. Funny how the suffering of another can make you do that. The stars in all their splendor stretched before me. How the little stars twinkled and danced that vastness! All I could hear was the rushing of water over the dam, the rising echo of quarreling voices, and the deafening crack of gunshots forever breaking the peaceful rhythms of the night.

[by Peter Jesserer]

The gentle breeze turned icy as my thoughts raced. There was nothing I could do, nothing. She was dead. I knew it deep within my heart, knew it with greater certainty than I knew my own existence. Why did I leave her, why did I let her go down alone? My anger at my roommate, my teachers, and my acquaintances coalesced into blank despair that tore me deeper and burned far hotter than any anger ever could. Before I could consciously will my limbs to any kind of movement I was halfway down the slope.

I ran, ran faster than I had ever run before, my blanket streaming behind me like a pair of enormous wings. In the dim moonlight distance was uncertain, and shape indefinite. Trees rushed up to strike me, stones turned under my feet, and roots snatched at my legs, but in my rush to reach the bottom of the hill, I bulldozed over everything in my path. Then, with a wild scrambling, and a rush of debris I went over the lip of the small cliff that borders the dam.

I landed hard, and my ankle turned under me. Panic blanketed the pain beneath a wave of adrenaline, and blanked my mind of everything but bare sensation. I stumbled into the circle of light cast by a small wood fire nestled in the rocks, wild-eyed. “Where is Diana?” I gasped. I knew exactly where she was. I had seen her the moment I entered the light, but my mind had yet to catch up with my mouth. Several faces turned towards me, and with the distant amusement of the half-drunk they gestured towards a figure seated some distance away from the fire, leaning against a rock. She didn’t even turn her head to see what the commotion was about. Adrenaline drained from me, drop by painful drop as my mind slowly came out of overdrive. All that was left was weariness and humiliated self-contempt.

“Dude, man you look kind’a tight. Want a beer?” My eyes slowly focused themselves on the Good Samaritan standing before me, in his hands a brown bottle, which was shining old gold in the firelight. The night was black, a velvet background with the firelight flickering before it like fading shreds of sunlight. Sparks rose out of the fire like stars rising to meet the dawn; and imposed before this whole pageant was a cylinder of warm brown glass, alive with the color of the fire. It was one of the most beautiful sights I had ever seen, but at the moment I could have cared less. I would have traded all that beauty for the squalor of my room and the sound of my roommate’s snores in an instant. At least up there I fit, however imperfectly. With a mumbled thanks I took the beer from his hand and collapsed against the embankment. Conversations continued, unchanged by my presence. My eyes lost focus again as waves of sound washed over me. Two voices continued a very heated discussion over the proper Catholic mindset towards money and profit. Several others expressed the opinion that the argument had been going on quite long enough and burst into an off-key rendition of a soon-to-be-forgotten pop song. One person remarked to another that, what with all the backfiring that was going on a moment ago, Allen must have arrived up above. Then someone called out from the trail.

The pop song lost some of its volume as various people stopped singing to call back to whoever was up there. Somebody by the fire turned and yelled “Hey Diana, your boyfriend is coming.” The calculating venom in that voice almost shook me out of my depression, but as my mind registered the word “boyfriend” the heat of anger vanished, and once again I felt only the cold void of despair. With a cacophony of voices Allen and his friends walked into the circle of firelight.

[By Sean]

The arrival of Claudius onto the set of Hamlet could not have filled me with more loathing. I despised Allen, not because he was the supposed boyfriend of the girl whom I had minutes before admitted was pretty: no, I disdained the fellow because I knew the truth about him. He was the R.A. in St. Joe’s, and everybody thought he was the steady stickler type. But I knew better. He kept alcohol behind the oversized statue of Mary in his room and held “quiet” drinking parties with his special friends who knew how to keep their mouths shut. I was the only one who knew about this fact aside from his co-revelers, and I only discovered this dark truth about him because I stumbled upon one of these AM parties as I came to get approval to watch Howard’s End. They not only mocked me for obeying the rules (“Dude, nobody does that—and Howard’s End?), they told me that they would kill me if I told our Dean. I never talked about it, and now wasn’t exactly the right time to resent Allen for his behavior: I was breaking curfew and drinking, so who was I to talk. But the situation continued to bother me because I’m the sort who usually obeys the rules, even when it’s tough. My own mother told me that that was probably why I didn’t have any friends, but I disregarded her opinion. It didn’t matter much to me in the current situation.

What mattered now was the fact that I was no longer needed down here at the dam. Who was I deluding? I was never needed in the first place. Diana was secure having an interlude with her bottle and her newly-arrived boyfriend. There was no reason for me to remain in the tree-cast shadows, swallowed by feelings of disgust and the ever-encroaching chill of early morning. My rumpled hair, the torn clothes, the dirtied blanket now wrapped around me like a child’s security toy: all were reminiscent of a defeated superhero, all existed to prove that, somehow, I was a lesser man than Allen, who had sauntered so confidently into the spot that he belonged to. I didn’t belong at the dam, and I found little comfort in my moral superiority over Allen when I could start to feel the damp of wet leaves coming through my thin borrowed pants. I prepared to retreat, acknowledging my own inadequacy to either react against him or offer any genuine assistance to Diana, who remained slumped against a rock. The girl held her lone bottle and stared off into the dark with eyes consumed by hungry indifference that was too affected to be real. She barely acknowledged the arrival of her boyfriend with even a look, preferring to nurse her sorrows in the sight of the gathering shadows preparing themselves for dawn. I was content to go.

But Allen wouldn’t let me leave. Inexplicably and suddenly aware of my presence, he turned to me with that damnable, charming fake smile and said, “Hey man, why don’t you hang out a little? Stay by the fire,” he said, letting his eyes travel down my odd assortment of borrowed clothing, “you must be cold.”

“No, really,” I muttered, fumbling away towards the dim path in the trees, “I have to get going,” looking down at my two mismatched shoes before I threw out one last look at Diana and then at her annoying boyfriend. But he wouldn’t let me take my exit. And now he had seen me look at her. The friendly face fell. Oh for pete’s sake man, it was only a look.

“Oh, I suppose you wouldn’t have any special reason to stay, would you?” The iced sarcasm was not lost upon me. Good Lord, I guess Diana wasn’t joking when she said that Allen would kill me for talking to her. Who the heck slipped this guy past the Admissions Office? Couldn’t we just go back to me wanting to kill everyone?

“Um, no, not really, it’s really cold and my roommate is wondering . . .” and really all the while I’m thinking to myself why the hell did I follow Diana like a damn Alice chasing a white rabbit down a hole. Inadequate. Fumbling. Going to get killed. Yes, that is me at 4:38 AM on a Monday morning down by the dam. Always thinking like a literary man, even in the most harrowing of circumstances.

Allen opened his mouth to speak, with hands clenched. Yes, I noticed those hands. Thankfully for my face, the world will never know what he intended to say, and it will probably never mourn for the loss.

For at that moment, the Sheriff Shenandoah patrol started their multi-tonal sirens and beamed their spotlights onto the quickly deteriorating scene taking place in my life. I loosened my pent-up desire to escape and had started to stumble up the ragged path, when a hand grabbed onto my own and Diana gasped out to me, “Help me make it to the top, oh, please John.”

“Why don’t you have Allen help you?” The snide comment inevitably escaped from my lips, and I regretted it an instant later.

“He’s being arrested for trespassing right now.”


Together we made it back to upper campus, once again dodging the sight of the incorrigible Carl, who had finally decided that the struggle was not worth it and had bust out The DaVinci Code to help while away the hours. I didn’t talk to Diana on the way back. I was too full of embarrassment, and really too ashamed with the unexplainable thought that I had failed her somehow, even though she had never asked for my help; she had refused it outright. As we reached St. Joe’s, Diana turned to leave but I, hoping for some small ounce of a chance to redeem myself, quickly whispered, “Wait—let me walk you back to the dorm.” She hesitated, then slowly nodded her assent. It was the least that a guy could do.

<> At the back entrance of St. Catherines’s basement, I opened the door and then turned aside to make my final retreat, but she continued to stand in my way. Diana faced me with oddly swimming eyes and said, “This probably won’t mean much to you, but Allen never walked me back from the dam to my dorm. Never.” And then, overcome with the apparent cheesiness of her forthcoming words, she murmured, “thank you for caring and I’m sorry” and softly closed the door.

I had never seen her look so beautiful.

I stood there for a couple of moments, and then slowly turned away. My pace started off slowly at first, but then it lengthened, turned into a stride, accompanied by the gently billowing cape of a blanket that made me feel, just somehow, like a superhero. A minor one in borrowed clothing who had gotten no sleep and who was returning to a roommate who suspiciously muttered about dams and Carls in his supposed sleep; but a bit of a hero, nevertheless.

Diana and I never talked again about that night, and we never dated nor had reason to deny that we were dating, so you might say that that entire night was a failure according to Christendom standards. But the light had started to come back in her eyes, and the next semester she transferred to a college closer to her old memories of home. Allen was expelled and the story of that early morning by the dam was hushed upon campus. Contrary to my desires, I never did get to kill anyone. And to this day, my roommate still asks me what the heck happened to his blanket.

[by: Adrienne A.]


Blogger Little Thalia said...

Wackos. All of you.

10:38 AM  
Blogger Captain Oblivious said...

Adrienne... You are awesome! I was so smug, so sure that I had made the ending obvious... and then you come along turn the story around and write a better ending than anything I could ever have imagined. Beautiful!

12:09 AM  
Blogger The Wayfarer said...

:) I still like the other story better.

10:17 AM  
Blogger Ibid said...

So now I feel the need to say that, finally reading the story, everyone makes beautiful music together.

3:38 PM  
Blogger Sheila said...

I love it . . . I love what everyone did. I was sort of unsure about where I was going, and I had a feeling I was going the wrong way entirely, but somehow the people after me managed to make something beautiful out of it.

All the different styles and ideas people had somehow harmonized into something really neat. I like the way people dealt with the "dark side" of Christendom. (Hopefully it's never really that bad!) And I like the idea that our hero helped by doing a simple Christendom thing: walking the lady back to her dorm.

On a practical note, John, will you please remove my last name? I try to keep it hidden from the blogger world.

8:16 PM  
Blogger The Dude said...

Will do.

8:51 PM  

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