Bring Her Back

I’m a bit late posting my story for Turn-a-trope Tuesday, but I’m still on time, damn it!  This week, the Trope was “Make a Wish”.  Thanks again to Mark Baron for hosting this challenge, it always manages to keep me on my toes.

I spent a good two days with absolute stillness in my head; no ideas, no spark. Nothing.  It was like a ghost town in there.  I was a little panicked, but I decided to give myself some time (actually it was more like screaming and crying that I was no longer creative and I couldn’t write anymore).  I spent some time reflecting on past stories and how far I feel I’ve come when it hit me on Saturday to use a character I had already created.  After that, it became much easier.

I’m a little over at 1,064 words, but I hope you enjoy my take on turning “Make a Wish” on its head, as well as Jaden’s continuing story.

Bring Her Back

Sitting in chains on the dank cellar floor waiting for my trial, I knew I had made a mess of things, but somehow I just couldn’t bring myself to regret what I had done. I regretted my own loss more than anyone could imagine, but my actions had saved someone I loved severe heartache and pain. Was that so wrong?

Mom had warned me countless times not to get too close to my human, not to care too much, but my bond with Xander was unique and most Guardians didn’t understand, Mom included. The thing was we had a set of rules to live by. We could only step in when the rules said so, but most times, we were just watching. Sure, we influenced their emotions sometimes, helped guide them in different directions, but the big events like death were written down and we could only step in when told to do so.

Xander was a great kid and it was hard to believe ten years had passed. Ten years of growing and learning together. When his first big tragedy hit, he was the same age I was when he was born and I was unceremoniously entrusted with him.

It was a tough thing to watch. Tougher still that we had this connection where he seemed to know I was there and counted on me.

He was lying next to his deceased mother in her hospital bed, holding her close one last time, tears streaming down his face. Everyone had left the room to give him some time alone, but I was watching, feeling helpless. I would have done anything in that moment to take his pain away; it was all I could do to stand by and not offer anything.

I was so caught up in our shared grief, I barely heard him whisper into the stillness.

“I know you’re there.”

He didn’t look up or turn his head, just soft words spoken into the desperate silence. I knew he was talking to me, but I kept quiet, bound by the Guardians’ rules.

“I think I’ve always known you were there. I just want my mom back and I know you can do it! Please, help me. Please bring her back.” He was staring straight ahead, holding her hand as he cried out his plea.

It broke my heart. I knew I couldn’t bring her back, but how to make him understand? I tried sending calming waves in his direction, but it didn’t help. He cried, pleading and begging, all the while hugging his mother, kissing her hand.

All I wanted was to comfort him, to make it stop, to bring him some release.

I don’t know if it was the overwhelming emotion, our connection or something else, but in the midst of the emotional assault, I felt something give inside me. It was the same feeling I had felt when Xander and I connected at his birth, but this time, it directed itself toward his mother. Xander must have felt it too because he lifted up and looked at his mother’s face. We both watched as her eyelids fluttered and a loud breath whooshed out of her mouth.

I was dazed, not entirely sure what was happening, when the air stirred and my own mother flew through the window and landed next to me.

“Jaden, what have you done?

Seeing the concerned look on her face and feeling the joy coming from Xander, I realized I must have done it. I had given his mother back to him.

“Mom! I don’t know. I didn’t know. How did you know?” The words and questions flew out of my mouth reflecting my inner turmoil.

She gently placed her hand on my arm. “When things like this happen, we all know. You need to fix it, son.”

“Fix it? I don’t even know what I did!” My voice was panicked.

“I will help you. You need to gather that same feeling, the one you had when you brought her back and direct it towards her again, but this time you will think the opposite of what you were thinking when it happened. I will do the rest.”

“I don’t think I can. Look at him!”

“Jaden, we are Guardians. If it wasn’t written in his file, then you can’t step in.”

“What happens if I let her live?”

“The consequences are too numerous to go into right now. You need to fix it quickly before life sets in for good. At that point, it will take a whole lot more than what you and I have to make it right.”

I looked back at Xander. He was laughing and crying and hugging his mom. He was saying thank you over and over again and I knew it was directed at me. I was torn. On the one hand, even though I hadn’t done it on purpose, I knew it was wrong. On the other hand, how could I take back what was given? To make him lose his mother all over again simply because I didn’t know what the hell I was doing?

“Jaden?” Mom’s soothing voice penetrated my thoughts.

I looked at her and nodded my head, all the while holding back the tears that threatened to well up. I knew I didn’t have a choice.

I held her hand and focused everything I had into Xander’s mother. At the same time, I felt Mom’s energy flowing out of her and mixing with mine. It wasn’t bright white like before, but stardust gray, billowing and melting like molten lava towards the heartbeat that should never have restarted.

The non-life energy encompassed Xander’s mother and I was just about to breathe a relieved sigh when I realized it hadn’t stopped. The energy continued to flow to the heartbeat closest to hers and I was helpless to stop it. I looked at Mom, her eyes reflecting the horror in mine.

I thought I was focused and clear, but in the midst of the energy meld I divided my focus between Xander and his mother. I couldn’t bear the thought of him losing her all over again. I just wanted to take care of him, to guard him, to give him what I thought he wanted.

Xander would always be with his mother now and I had inadvertently sacrificed the truest connection I had ever felt.

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24 thoughts on “Bring Her Back

  1. Oh! And then to be placed in chains and put on trial! Not that I think there is any punishment that will haunt Jaden more than what has already happened.

    The Guardians seem to be a rather inflexible lot. I suppose hoping for compassion from them might be hoping for too much…

    Powerfully written, with a definit punch at the end!

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    • Thank you! I wasn’t sure I “earned” that ending or not, but with only a thousand words to work with, it’s hard to really flesh things out. This world is starting to really intrigue me and I loved Jaden when I first created him. I’m not sure I was planning on having things turn so tragic so quickly, but I’m feeling like there is a larger story there if I wanted to pursue it.

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      • I think the ending flowed well, and definitely had great impact for being so sudden. If you hadn’t woven in Jaden’s feelings for this boy, from the beginning, it would have been different…but, with the way you handled that, Jaden’s conflict and the disastrous unintended consequences of his being forced felt natural, if devastating All of life isn’t a happy ending, and I’m curious about what’s next for Jaden – and that’s a sure sign of good writing and good characters.

        You certainly have a flair for these shorter pieces. Maybe you could use that, when you need a breather or to work something out in your longer project.

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      • It’s funny how differently your readers view a story. I knew the ending almost from the beginning so it’s difficult to know how it will be received and if you told it in a believable way. It’s always good to hear that it felt natural to the reader, so thank you for that!

        I am definitely going to use what I have learned writing the shorter pieces in my longer projects. I think it will help to break down the larger story into more manageable pieces, and for me, that’s crucial. I also think you’re right in that they will give me some breathing room when I need to step away from the larger project.

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      • It can be tricky, getting naturally to an ending when it presents itself before the beginning or the middle, but you handled it beautifully. By giving us Jaden’s intense connection with the boy, and his sense that what was happening was too painful for the child to bear, you set up his motivation for bringing back the mother. In his confusion over what was right for the boy versus what was right according to his position, you offered the impetus for the tragedy that followed when he tried to set things to rights.

        I learn from every project, and they tend to feed one another. I don’t know if that’s true for everyone, but I can’t work on only one thing at a time nearly as easily as I can several.

        It sounds like you’re finding the path that works best for you. Hooray! =)

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      • You put into words (quite well, by the way) what I couldn’t manage to say about how I got to the tragedy in that story. The funny thing is how little I planned most of it. I chalk it up to how much I’ve read in my life. Perhaps not everyone learns how to write by reading, but I think that’s where the bulk of my learning came from.

        I’m not sure how well I can focus on more than one thing at a time, but I think it’s happenening without any plans from me. So, yes, I’m finding my path, slowly but surely. 🙂

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      • I write in much the same way, and I find that what comes naturally is better than anything I could force.

        I’ve learned by reading, writing, and living. There seem to always be stories rolling on in my head – tapping into them has gotten easier as I learn to pay greater attention to them, and give them space to breathe.

        I;m so happy that you are finding your path!

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  2. I really loved this story very well written. I also like your style of writing. I know Jaden is a guardian which suits my way of looking at life. I have been writing a story about a fallen angel similar but different too.
    Anyway great writing keep it up.xxx

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    • Thank you, Willow. I don’t even know where Jaden came from! I have never really had an interest in angels – at least not in the telling of a story, but once he was on paper, I couldn’t seem to let him go. Now that I’ve told a second story, it’s almost worse. I keep thinking about what happens next and is Xander really gone for good and I’m thinking this is how it happens – the whole writing and creating stories. 🙂

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  3. Fantastic job! And I have to say, I am rather amused by the fact that Jaden and Xander are both very unusual names…and also happen to be the names of two of my children! And Jaden, my eldest son, is very much the guardian of his much younger, autistic stepbrother. What a crazy, amazing coincidence!

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  4. Pingback: Turn-A-Trope Tuesday #7: “Good People Have Good Sex” – #WOEGTTT | Woegman's World of Witty Wonder

    • I’m really interested in this character, but he will have to wait until my current work in progress is finished. 🙂

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