Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Never-Ending Story: Chapter Three

This is a meme that Ruth started to create A Never-Ending Story. I have written a Chapter Three based on Diane's Chapter Two. You are invited to either write a Chapter Four from here or take off from someone else's previous chapters. If you want to do a Four from this one, here are the rules: Put a link to this post. Label the Link "Chapter Three." and to Ruth's "Chapter One. "Write your own installment and label it "Chapter Four." Remember to leave it unresolved.Come leave a comment on this post when you're done. If you want to follow one of the other threads, head on over to Ruth's blog where there is a box dedicated to this meme. You can find links to all the chapters in process and pick a thread to follow.

Chapter Three
The voice on the other end of the line was unfamiliar but pleasant.
“I'm sorry to call so early, but I was hoping to reach you before you left for work. I'm assuming I've reached Ruth Williams.”
There was a pause as if the caller were waiting for me to identify myself. When I said nothing, he went on, “Of course, you must be wondering who on earth I am, calling you out of the blue like like this. Of course you are cautious, why wouldn't you be, being single and all.”
At my sharp intake of breath, the caller stopped, and began again “Ms. Williams, Ruth, I'm sorry. I am going about this all wrong, breaking all the rules”....he gave a rueful laugh. “But that's part of the problem, I guess, I never have been very good at playing by the rules. I suppose that's why I never seem to make it to the end of the game.”
What on earth... I asked myself, who was this man and what did he want with me? At his mention of rules and games the dream had flashed through my head and I had lost track of what he was saying for a moment. But I gave myself a mental shake and forced myself to pay attention as he continued, “My name is Jim. Jim Hartman. I knew your dad. In fact we were really close friends, once upon a time.” I had no recall of anyone by that name, but I was only eight when daddy died, and it was so long ago. And there was so much about that time that I did not want to remember. As I stood in the slanting sunlight in my familiar warm kitchen, I suddenly found myself shivering. I could not begin to imagine who this man was and why he had suddenly turned up out of the blue after almost sixty years, or what he could possibly have to do with my life. Nor, I realized was I sure I wanted to. Though some people may have thought my life dull, I rather liked it that way. There had been enough drama in my earlier years to last a lifetime. But like it or not, he was still speaking, “Your dad and I, well we always sort of promised that we'd kind of watch over each other, each other's people, have each other's backs, you know, be there no matter what....” he trailed off with a bitter laugh. “I don't guess I did such a good job of that. Ms. Williams, Ruth, may I call you Ruth?” He went on without waiting for my answer, “I feel like I know you well enough to call you by your first name after all the time I've spent thinking about you over all these years...yes a lot of years it's been your dad's been gone. A lot of years of my not keeping my promises....a lot of time I've had to think about you.”
“Look,” I said, Mr. ....Jim, whoever you are, I don't know exactly what it is you want with me or what this is about, but I need to go now!” And, shaking, I hung up the phone.


Diane said...

hey! I like this. If no one else posts a chapter, I might write the next one... I'll wait a couple of days, and then see.

RevDrKate said...

Glad you liked it! I haven't written fiction since grade school but this was fun and came surprisingly easy. Would love to see what you come up with next.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Oh, this was very interesting. The mystery just deepens and deepens.

I want to know why this man didn't keep his promise and why he is suddenly doing it now. And why the narrator's dad and he made such a promise in the first place. Did they do dangerous work?

You also convey a lot of emotion with details--the sharp intake of breath, the contrast between the sunlight in the kitchen and the shivering of the narrator.

The dialogue sounds believable. I think someone in Jim's situation would wander all over the place the way he does from nervousness.

This was a great addition. Thanks for playing. I'll go post the link now.

Katherine E. said...

You are GOOD, Kate!