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Calamity's Discontent


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This is my next be project, completed. I'll understand if I don't get replies, because it's about as long as The Ninth Round.

If you want to make comparisons between this and how the rough version started out, [URL=http://otakuboards.com/showthread.php?threadid=22549]Click Here[/URL]

His psychiatrist?s office smells something of orange peels and rose petals. Yeah, that?s about right. He wonders who the smell belongs to, if it?s a smell of its own. He wonders if she takes the smell with her or brings it with her, if she even knows it?s there, or if it?s like an elbow--something she recognizes, but takes for granted without giving it a second thought. When he asks her about it, she only raises an eyebrow and smiles.

After she leaves him in the company of himself, he starts to think. There are lots of reasons why he?s here. It?s not like he?s crazy for seeing someone. Everyone needs to seek guidance out once in a while in a world like this. This one-stop circus known as life, where for all its balancing acts and times when we must play the clown, we wear artificial smiles and ceaselessly juggle one problem after another.

Everyone needs some kind of leverage--tight rope walking through side show after side show, because in this act, there is no net. When you fall you fall and Archie doesn?t want to fall. He?s been experiencing a perpetual free-fall his entire life and he?s tired of it. It?s that simple. He wouldn?t have asked for the help if he didn?t need it.

She told him before that all the answers to his problems are within his reach, that if he opens himself up, if he looks deep enough within himself, past all the computer crashes, taxes, and daily 401k nuisances of adult life, that he can find them. Because they are only hiding, not invisible.

All he needs is the desire to find them. So, that?s what he does. He starts searching and there they are, not the answers, but the problems, and they?re more pronounced than ever.

It?s the beginning of a story that?s reached its end. This is the dissection of Archibald, just Archibald, an ordinary working man who loses his car keys and eats egg salad for breakfast. It?s confession day in a room with central air and an eclectic mirror and a desk and a window and framed pictures of little men who eat M&M?s as much as they used to eat paste and sell lemonade during the summer months because their mother is too busy to take them to the pool.
The office is small. Sitting there alone makes him feel like he?s trapped inside his head, a prisoner ensnared by the veritable shackles of his consciousness. He?s been abandoned at the expense of the comfort for which he came to seek, left to expire and spoil like neglected milk. Archie shifts uneasily, a naked specimen under his own probing inner-eye?s examination.

Again he studies the pictures because they remind him of his memories, forever vivid snapshots, only pieces, of accounts that can never be recovered or changed.

Now he?s hunched over, leaning his elbows on his thighs. When his legs become tender under their weight, or when invisible pins prick at his wrists, he shifts again with a sigh, crossing and uncrossing his legs. Every now and then he runs his hand over his thinning hair, as if to be sure it hasn?t abandoned him entirely.

All is still. Now he knows. Men speak many different languages, but none louder than silence, an oxymoron to all, save those who are left, without distractions, to bend helplessly under the weight of their own troubling thoughts. At any moment, he could spontaneously combust. The room could wear his truths and untruths like a coat of gray paint. An endless torrent of pain and heartache might trickle and flood, drowning him between the confines of the four walls.

Ah, the tales these walls must know! Stories of decisions and indecisions, disorders and troubled conditions. They can speak, almost. He can just about hear them.

It?s 4:08 pm.

His form imposes on a black suit that hugs his body. It stretches tightly over his back. The arms are too short; they reveal his naked wrists. So, he sits back in the leather chair, relaxing the overworked material. He blends into his shadowy surroundings.

It?s 4:10 pm.

He straightens his tie with anxious fingers and gazes past a large artificial plant, through the room?s only window. It commands a view of a divided highway. Clouds appear to be painted onto the sky with the bristles of God?s paintbrush. Colors bleed from it, and sharply contrast with a flat of skeletal trees that line the road. They have long been stifled by the bitter grasp of winter. He reaches into his breast pocket and withdrawals a Zippo lighter.

It?s 4:11 pm.

He plays with the flame, allowing himself to become distracted by the clicking and hissing sounds. Patches of diminishing daylight filter through the window pane and fall on picture frames and plaques, garnishing the room in a fusillade of sparks.

It?s 4:13 pm.

The empty ticking of a large oak clock belts out a baritone rhythm in time with the chorus of chatter in the adjoining secretary?s office.

He pretends that she?s there, sitting across from him, listening like she always does. And he rehearses what he wants to say to her. She listens. Her eyes light up when he finally opens like a flower in full bloom. It?s nice like it should be. She even seems proud.

He tells her that Old Hickory is dead. That?s right, dead, he says to emphasize the importance of it. He tries to make the words deep and impactful for her. Wants her to think that he has stumbled upon some emotional breakthrough and found words that were there all along.

He calls Old Hickory the gray monster, the raging relic, the seed of his bleeding heart?s contempt. But, even when his psychiatrist is there when she really isn?t, she says that he?s being too profound with his wordplay and tells him to relax. Just relax.

Somehow, he doesn?t think her reaction will be the same when he really tells her. Especially when he tells her that he?s the one who killed Old Hickory.

Finally, his psychiatrist enters for real. The door clicks open, allowing the outside sounds to permeate the room for only a brief instant, before being swept out again by the empty thud of the door closing behind her.

He shifts in his seat, instinctively shrinking away at the presence of another human being. And yet, he had felt so at ease with her when she was sitting there but not really sitting there, only moments ago.

She pauses at the mouth of the room, reopens the door slightly and leans her head out.

?-And be sure to tell him that I won?t be available tomorrow,? she says before nodding thoughtfully to some muffled reply and saying ?Tomorrow, yes. Okay. Thank you.?

It?s their time again. The air is thick with ripening discord.

?Oh, what a day! It?s been so hectic,? she says. She says ?I?m terribly sorry to have kept you waiting, Archie. Are you comfortable? Would you like a glass of water? A cup of coffee? I can have Dianne get it for you.?

He attempts to speak, but his voice has grown hoarse during the space between the present and the interruption. He clears his throat and his words are released from their throaty prison.

?I?m fine,? he says, ?thank you.?

?Are you sure? It would be no problem,? she says ?Once we begin, I would prefer that we had no further interruptions.?

?I?ll be fine,? he says waving his hand, ?I don?t want anything to drink.?

Wouldn?t drinking intensify his discomfort--that not-so-pleasant urge to use the bathroom? He wonders why she would offer him something that could possibly instigate further interruption in an effort to avoid interruption when, in fact, it was she that was responsible for their prior interruption. What must she be thinking? He doesn?t know, because he?s not the mind reader here.

She glides though the room in a whirlwind of sweet smells and takes a seat across from him. Her chair appears to be elevated higher than his. But it?s not. He just feels small. Like he?s an insect or something like that.

For the first time, Archie notices a manila folder in her acrylic clutches. His heart fights to stay in his chest. He inhales deeply, scoffed at the prospect of the whole endeavor, at the climate controlled, leather seated, modern deco decorated splendor swallowing him whole.

?Well, where do you want to begin,? she says, ?What do you want to talk about??

?I?m ready to talk about her,? he says, ?I?m ready to talk about it this time. I need to talk about it.?

He stares at her. Once again, his elbows are resting on his knees. His fingers are steepled, as if he?s in deep contemplation over some matter. She smiles. Her red lips part, revealing perfectly straight, icy white teeth.

?Well, this is a pleasant surprise,? she says, ?I didn?t expect you to come to terms with your problems so soon, but I agree with you wholeheartedly. You really need to do this. You need to face the past if you ever want to move forward.?

?I know,? he says, ?I?m ready to talk about everything. About Mrs. Whittlebone.?

?I?m listening,? she says, ?Tell me more about this Mrs. Whittlebone. Let me in Archie. ?


He pauses to take a moment for himself, leans back and melts into the chair again. His eyes are half-open--like he?s lost in a state between consciousness and sleep.

?It?s okay,? she says, ?I know it?s difficult for you.?
?Well,? he says, taking a deep breath, ?Mrs. Whittlebone was a widow who lived on Magnolia Cove with her two grandchildren.?

?Oh yes, I know. That?s where we left off in our last session,? she says delicately scribbling notes into the pages of the folder.

?Yeah, it was a quiet little area and her home was the oldest,? he says, ?Which, of course, was fitting because she was the oldest woman in town.?

?How old was she,? she says. She says, ?I?m just curious.?

?When I ki--excuse me, my voice isn?t very good today. When she died, she was eighty-seven years old,? he says, ?and I was eleven.?

?Hmm, I see,? she says, ?So, why does her memory trouble you so much; were you a friend of her grandchildren? What was the relationship? These are the important things at this point. You can tell me.?

?I need to describe the house,? he says, ?That?s important to me.?
?Okay, go on,? she says, ?I won?t interrupt.?

?It?s really important,? he says.

?I know,? she says.

It feels like he?s spilling his life out onto the canvas of the world and he doesn?t know how it makes him feel. His chest isn?t any lighter and his breaths come out in thin gasps. Everything has to be perfect and only then will he find peace.

He tells her, in not so many words, that the house was ghastly--a decrepit building whose foundation bore stress cracks. It was large--dwarfing surrounding homes. He says it seemed isolated, sitting atop a hill, far removed from the rest of civilization. Surrounding trees made its features nearly indistinguishable and when night inevitably defeated day, it was transformed into something even more hellish . It was the old haunted house cliché. That?s what he tells her--again, not in so many words.

Through the psychiatrist?s glasses, his thoughts and imperfections are magnified. He?s never felt this before. She?s able to view the most intimate fears of his soul, he suspects. Even things that he cannot see. It holds him in a paralyzing stasis until the impromptu chiming of the large clock gives him a start.

The psychiatrist removes her moon-shaped glasses and dabs at them delicately with a violet handkerchief.

?Can--you tell me now, Archie--what was your relationship to Mrs. Whittlebone? Did it have something to do with the house??

He tells her that the house benefited little in the way of renovation. It settled under the dominance of age and lack of care. Dust touched everything, emanated from spider web constellations in the corners. It even coated the furniture. It diminished the luster of a once exquisite cherry wood dining room set and gave the carpet a somewhat ashy complexion. Mrs. Whittlebone had developed an acute sense of loathing for anything less gray than herself.

?That?s the way it was? he concludes.

The somber words now give her pause. Her face expresses nothing.

?She was my grandmother,? he goes on, ?We grew up in that house. She raised us.?

?Did she have a husband,? she says, scratching, now furiously, more notes into the folder.

?I said she was a widow,? he says, ?I never met my grandfather.?

His psychiatrist removes her glasses once again and rubs the deep blush indentations on the bridge of her nose. Daylight is now peeling off behind her, in negotiation with the oncoming evening. She runs her eyes over him once more as if to plot his thoughts. His black hair is sharp and dagger-like, parted somewhat to the left of center, and hangs over his face in rigid jawline-length wisps. His face is shadowed by the receding light, defined by red streaks of sunlight that run across it diagonally, like knife slices.

She concedes to herself that the fleshless groping fingers of the past aren?t going to release this one easily, so she decides to take a more direct line of approach and assert her control over the session. Psychoanalysis won?t work. He?s too unstable for it.

?Archie,? she says.

?Yes,? he says, ?What?s wr-?

?Can you tell me, Archie, what was your grandmother?s first name??

?I don?t know,? he says.

?Pardon me?? she says. She says, ?You don?t know?? Her voice has become low and her scratching pen still more furious.

?I don?t remember,? he says, ?I don?t think I want to.?

Slowly, his eyes creak open. Shaking the cobwebs out of his head, he begins to realize that an entire portion of his life is missing. What he doesn?t know however, is why. Running from the truth is what he does know. He?s heaving. Sweat beads on his brow and trickles downward creating a beard of the essential fluid on his face.

The wrath of her hickory stick comes back to him in all-too vivid detail, animating his body with wild spasms, while his psychiatrist looks on in a wide-eyed, terror-stricken paralysis. She can call out to him, but, where he?s at, her voice will no longer reach.

He recounts the patches of sickly pink welts that would rise and fade, but never truly dissolve. He can remember the feeling her hickory stick streaking across his torso depositing a fiery mixture of sores and blood. Left behind were everlasting scars that penetrated his flesh and became forever embedded in the workings of his soul, ultimately transforming him forever.

?I do everything for you kids,? Mrs. Whittlebone would often say, ?What do you do for me? I ain?t your mother! You kids are somebody else?s problems. I don?t hafta do anything for you! This is my house!?

He remembers a time when they were watching television, her programs, the three of them.

He was lying there at his grandmother?s feet when, by chance, his brother struck her in the back of the head with his small rubber ball. Archie looked up and scrambled to his feet, knowing that a storm was brewing. Her silver hair unfolded and fell to her shoulders and her eyes suddenly sparked with an inexplicable life--with the rage of a bull. Yes, her face was as cold and unrelenting as usual. It held its powerful glare with a certain familiarity.

The incident was blamed on Archie, and to his astonishment, the old woman?s cane found its mark not on his brother, but on the head of the accused--his head. His forehead was slit, causing a slow, molasses-type drool of visceral fluid to slide down it and around his eyes--almost like a mask. If only the mask could hide him from his terrible existence. Then it wouldn?t be so bad.

He learned to do things differently, to be quiet and still, but it never seemed to be enough for her. Because she always found ways to introduce him to her thorough brand of discipline. He lived, breathed, dreamt, and ate sticks. Felt sticks on his calves. And sticks on his knuckles when he forgot his manners at the dinner table or when she just thought he did.

When he lost his front tooth as a consequence of one of her attacks and later accidentally pronounced ?Kibbles and Bits? as ?Kibbles and ?*****,? Mrs. Whittlebone was there to reel back, and deck him flush on his rubbery nose. Blood splayed into the air as his head reeled back, and the attack continued when he sank onto the floor after Mrs. Whittlebone discovered that two red stripes marked the once-gray carpet.

For a long time, he hated himself--he couldn't wake up in the morning sometimes. Even then, it didn?t take long to realize that his self-hatred stemmed from something--namely, fear. But, only when he was eleven, did he make the connection and realize that he had become a byproduct of hatred and unfiltered pain. A product of love withheld. And he began to grow angry, because anger is the natural response to fear, after all. It didn?t take a psychiatrist to tell him these things.

His psychiatrist watches, as rivulets of hot tears stream down his cheeks. She watches as his grief bridges over to this world. He?s still now, like a sculpture, a religious statue weeping for the world?s repent. A dramatic effect.

When he acted out, he acted out spontaneously. It was at supper. He had moved to get up, slowly and deliberately. And he folded his arms and stared ahead, at nothing in particular, and put his index finger on his bottom lip--as if to feign deep thought, when, in fact, he was only attempting to still the quivering.

?What?s happening Archie,? his psychiatrist says, ?what do you see??

What day was it? He couldn?t remember despite the fact that this moment had occupied his mind since childhood. It was an endless blur of reminiscence of the living nightmare. In this moment of reprieve, however, he realized that he was holding a stick, her old hickory stick.

?The judge would throw the book at you,? Mrs. Whittlebone said, ?he?d take one look at you, one look at me, and he?d throw the book at you!?

In the blur of his mental recollection, he saw his brother?s pale face and it made him smile. He speaks, but his voice is lost in a wave of disruptive static.

And he?s back to reality, shaking out the cobwebs.

?I lifted the stick over my head,? he says, ?and brought it down with full force. I broke it over my knee. I killed Old Hickory. It was the stick. Not Mrs. Whittlebone.?

She wonders what on earth he is talking about.

?It is of the utmost importance that you regain your mental bearings,? she says ?but this is a little out of my league. I?m afraid that I can?t help you alone. You need something more. Special care Archie.?

?You don?t understand he says, ?I remember things. I broke her stick over, over my knee, you see. The one she used to beat me with, Old Hickory-?


?Don?t you see,? he says, ?that?s what killed Mrs. Whittlebone! I took away something from her like she did to me! The next morning, we found her dead in her room. She died in her sleep. It?s like they were one in the same, like it was a vital organ to her being.?

?You need help, Archie,? she says, ?I know an institution where you?ll be able to make the necessary progress. And-?

?What are you talking about,? he says, ?are you going to commit me! Put me in a nuthouse??

?Archie,? she says and sighs, ?there was no Mrs. Whittlebone-?


?Think about it, Archie,? she says, ?you can?t remember her first name. You can barely remember anything about your brother. You grew up in foster homes, Archie. So many things that you?ve told me are out of place or just don?t make any sense. And look at you. You just black out when questioned.?

?After her death!? he says, ?Yes, I was raised in foster homes, but my brother and I--we were separated. I haven?t seen him since we were--?

?You?re creating this world Archie, this false world and it?s taking you over.?

Everything adds up to such an answer.

Then it happens. A laugh, no, a cackle, emanates from deep within his mind. It shakes his body from the inside out. His eyes spread out like the wings of a hawk, and a frightful shiver overwhelms his limbs. He can bare only to silently mouth his hope that this wasn?t reality? that ?no.? She isn?t here now. But she is.

He rises to his feet and sheds his clothing like a layer of skin. Blank terror sweeps across her face, a visage only comparable to that of the poor boy in his so-called memories. He wants to show her, he hopes that he can show her, that she can see with her glasses, the invisible scars that will never heal. But it is she, that is not real. And neither is he at this point in time.

Mrs. Whittlebone feels as if she has been visited by a ghost. She snaps back to reality, as Old Hickory snaps over Archie?s eleven year old knee. She stares at the crippled symbol of control, the metaphorical symbol of cruelty.

The boy is trembling, his eyes flush with as much hatred and hurt as his body can withstand. His eyes are a clouded burning red with the blood that has seeped from his broken heart. And in those eyes, she sees what she is, what he is, and what she has done as if for the very first time.

Whether she ever finds the words necessary to mend what has been done or not can?t be written or read. It?s one of those things best left unsaid. But, perhaps, the truth lies somewhere at the bottom of a bowl of egg salad or in the flickering of a Zippo lighter, or beneath a pile of orange peels and rose petals in a small psychiatrist?s office in Anytown USA. After all, the answers aren?t invisible, they?re only hiding.
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[color=black][size=1][font=rockwell] That was amazing. Especially the ending. The ending was great.

There's grammatical mistakes. Like a few times you didn't use the quotation marks on a few quotations, but you'll weed that stuff out. Great job Charles, makes me want to write.[/color][/size][/font]
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Heh, yeah, it was supposed to be pretty disturbing. I mean, it's about an old woman who beats some poor kid with a stick. lol

For some reason, I thought of the movie [i]Willard[/i] when I made it. O_o

Soooo, I'm glad that you two liked it. Because the class is over, I'll never get an opinion on it from the professor, so I'm grateful that you two responded. Thanks for reading all that. ^^;;;
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I have to say this is probably you best work so far, and that is really saying something since everything you've written is great. Like I said about your rough draft it felt like I was reading a movie. I mean I could actually picture every little aspect of the settings and actions in the story in my mind as if it were a movie I had just finished watching.

It has sort of an eerie feel to it, and yet has some dark humor when it comes to Mrs. Whittlebone beating her grand kids with an old hickory stick oddly enough named Old Hickory.

This is work you should definitely be proud of. Great work.
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[color=black][size=1][font=rockwell] And spooky is a good feeling..eh..

Yes, Charles, you should definitely be proud. This story's got to be your best so far, as Mr. Ed Beans pointed out.[/color][/size][/font]
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[size=1]Heh. I like it. It's...dare I use the word "zingy"?

It flows well, and it described perfectly the face of people. The scent idea is brilliant.

There's a couple of mistakes there "Withdrawals a Zippo lighter", for instance, but they aren't huge.

Personally, I think it's great. As good as, if not better than, The Ninth round. Well done.[/size]
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