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No Greater Love 3rd Installment!


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Posted (edited)

Sorry it's been so long, folks! Here is excerpt # 3: I hope you're still interested enough to read!

 

Water dribbled off his chin onto the wet railing. His mind felt numb. Thoughts jumbled together in his mind and kept him from thinking clearly. He blinked again and started to wander away. A siren sounded faintly, but it meant nothing to him. He continued walking, unable to attach significance to the swarms of people that piled out of their houses to stare at the disaster that was left of the Mayville Dam.

An hour later he found himself standing in his living room, his flashlight dangled unnoticed by its string, its light shining weakly on the carpeted floor. The phone in his pocket vibrated. He pulled it out and stared stupidly at the screen.

            MAYOR BOWMAN

                He let it ring without answering it and stared at it until the screen fell asleep. Slowly, he pulled up the Mayville news and watched the blonde, perpetually surprised anchoress elaborating on the disaster. He hardly heard her: it was the sliding news clip on the bottom that held his eyes riveted to the screen in horror.

            23 DEAD, 17 MISSING IN DAM DISASTER. ONLY 7 SURVIVORS FOUND.

            He shut the screen off and slid the phone into his pocket. In a haze he walked into his study and picked up the picture frame on his desk. The careful, optimistic lines of water that poured over the pencil-sketched dam seemed to mock him. Their very harmlessness made his stomach tighten like lead.

"No, no, no!" in a gesture that was more like a spasm he hurled the frame across the room and watched it shatter against the wall. Glass chips crunched under his tennis shoes as he crossed the room and lifted his masterpiece. There! Right there. The sound of ripping paper was loud in the waiting living room as he tore apart the walkway where she had been standing. Then the carefree water, and the reinforced beam that would have saved her.

Then slowly, almost mechanically, he sank onto the living room carpet and started to cry.

            An hour later the noise of a car door woke him out of a restless sleep. He was awake in an instant, shaking glass bits off as he started up.

            Who’s here? What’s wrong? For a moment all he felt was a dim sort of  panic. Then he remembered. 23 dead and 17 missing. He groaned and sank back onto the carpet that crunched with glass. He didn’t even notice the sharp pain in his knee as a shard cut through his jeans and started a little stream of blood trickling.

            The knock sounded loud on the door.  Jason scrambled to his feet and lurched over to the window, an undefinable fear rising in his mind. The shape of a police officer was just visible on the doorstep. A metal buckle on his cap gleamed faintly, and the bugling silhouette of his holster seemed ominous. He knocked again, louder this time, and a strong voice called, “Mr. Roberts. Mr. Roberts!” For an instant Jason stood stalk still. He couldn’t move. He couldn’t even think. Thoughts swirled in his mind, colliding with one another: 23 dead, 17 missing. Only 7 survivors.  One of those 23 was the woman win the white scarf, and he went unaccountably cold at the memory. Then one thought rose above the rest, and pounded with his heartbeat in his brain: 23 dead. 23 dead. 23 dead. 23 dead…and I killed them.

            “Mr. Roberts, are you there?”

            The cold panic that was shut somewhere inside of him spurted out and he stopped thinking. His body could move, and before he knew what he was doing he was sprinting across the glass-covered floor. He had unlocked the back door and turned the handle in another second, and then the cool night air brushed his face, and he was running down the gravel alleyway.

            Behind him somebody shouted, and an instant later a flood light shined down the alley, followed by shouts and running footsteps. Jason ducked down a side street as the police car started its engine. His heartrate pushed him forward, though all his reason told him to stop. His blood pounded in his ears so loudly that he didn’t hear shouts from behind or notice the heavy crunch the gravel made under his own shoes. 23, 23, 23, 23. He ran faster, swerving into one side street and then another.

            He didn’t stop running until he was out of the city limits, and then he only slowed to a walk. His face was hot and sweat trickled down his back, but he trotted on. Finally, along some dark road south of Mayville he slowed to a walk. His limbs trembled, and he was hot and dizzy. He looked around. The night was dark and cloudy, and there wasn’t a road sign in sight; he had no idea where he was. He kept walking a few more, stumbling steps, and then fell forward on the dusty gravel, onto his hands and knees, hardly noticing the dirty scrape that sprawled across his palm. Sweat dribbled off his nose, and he was suddenly cold in the brisk wind that blew off the hills. His arms buckled underneath him, and he lay face down. His tired brain had only enough sense to roll over into the ditch, before everything went dark.

Edited by Leah_Donavan
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That's so sad! 

23 hours ago, Leah_Donavan said:

He was awake in an instant, shaking glass bits off as he started up.

This part threw me off, where did the glass come from? What did I miss?

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Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, Rene said:

That's so sad! 

This part threw me off, where did the glass come from? What did I miss?

Thanks. ❤️ I, ah, like writing sad things...

Oh, sorry. I was wondering about that. He broke the picture frame in the last segment. I will have to note that. thanks!

Edited by Leah_Donavan
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1 minute ago, Rene said:

@Leah_DonavanAh! The picture frame, I do remember that in the last installment. Or do I? Suddenly I don't trust my own memory, but I do remember him looking at the picture frame. 🙂

Your memory is fine. I thought he broke it in the last installment, but apparently it was all in my head, and he hadn't broken it in any installment. *sigh* But yes, he did look at it then. 🙂 thanks for pointing that out.

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