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Tug of War Wishes

 
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Josette Wheeler
Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm


Joined: 04 Oct 2013
Posts: 91
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 7:55 pm    Post subject: Tug of War Wishes Reply with quote

(A huge thank you to Lyra's writer for this wonderful playable.)

“Please Boz! Please Take me up!” Josie pleaded breathlessly as she spun a circle round him in a whirlwind of excitement before catching his arm. They are all so lovely tonight! Just for a few minutes Boz…I won’t tell Amos. He went into town with the others.” The carnival had shut down for the evening and Josie was begging him to allow her up to the top of the Ferris Wheel before shutting the lights down to look at the stars.

The scarred ride operator resisted, trying to gently extricate his arm away from the whirling dervish of a girl that spun in pirouettes of excitement around him as if he were afraid he might break her if he made the wrong move. The giant of a man thinking he might tear off one of her all too skinny arms like papier-mâché wings if he pulled away too quickly or too hard. She'd lost so much weight since she first came there. “I don’t know Josie, I ain’t supposed to be messin’ with Amos’ ride. He’s old as dirt and I ain’t gonna be the reason his ticker gives out cause I got handsy with the Wheel. We ride jocks got a code here and besides, I don’t think Isaac would like it. ” The usual grit and gravel in his voice found some bit of softness before her tender request was splattered across pavement into disappointment. A wary eye was cast about as if the knife thrower would suddenly make an appearance.

“Please.” Josie said softly, like a dove’s coo. Her fragility by some miracle had somehow always gone hand in hand with her strength.

Boz sighed, unable to look at the girl’s face and tell her no. Her eyes held a kind of raw longing that cut through even his grizzled heart. He’d deal with Amos’ wrath later even if Dixie, resident candy flosser and gossip queen opened her yap and squealed on him. “Alright darlin’….get in.”



Josie clasped her hands in delight and arched up on dancer’s toes to kiss Boz’s stubbled cheek as she scrambled into the car. “Thank you and don’t forget to shut the lights down when I get to the top!”

***********************

Once Upon a Hospital Room….




The feel of the hospital gown felt so foreign against her skin. It had been awhile since she had been back in this particular costume. Josie thought there must be a better way to allow a soul to preserve their dignity than this dehumanizing fabric that left her back exposed to the chill that laced its way up her spine and left her feeling numb. But these past few months had been a gradual stripping away--this day was no different.

“I’d rather be naked.” Josie murmured as she fingered the pale blue gown between fingers. Her Mother’s voice carried from outside the room, speaking to the doctor in hushed tones.


“You told me it was in complete remission not one month ago….”


“Re-mission.” Josie murmured with a little half smile. A little hiccup of breath between syllables as she refashioned word in a way that felt better to her the same way she played with the energy of the room.



“…abnormality in the cells. It’s a bit--we’ve never seen anything like it. I called a specialist that I know In New York who…”

No more tests. No more. Even now her cells were serving as a million tiny prisms filtering all the residue of sadness, grief, anger and fear in the room. The hospitals were always worse for her. People hung on so tightly and the density was so thick it almost choked her. In the opera house it was easier. People did not hang on so tightly when they were watching or hearing something beautiful. It made it so much easier for them to let go. The frequency of the music helped her with the energy.

Where are you still holding on, Josie?


Josie shut her eyes. She looked for a bit of music to take her away so she could get some of her strength and clarity back. She caught the wave of a song that drifted to her consciousness. She did not want to get caught up in the words going on outside the room. Not their words or their steps and so she shut her eyes and drifted.

“What does that mean?” Her Mother’s nerves were fraying outside the room. She could hear it in the vibration of her voice.


I won’t dance….



“The training is too rigorous for her body.” The doctor went on to explain. “I know it will come as a disappointment, but she needs complete rest so the body has a chance to heal.”

Don’t ask me.


“She’s worked so hard. This company is everything to her. Isn’t there something you can…”


I won’t dance. Don’t ask me.


“I understand this is difficult. Maybe if I speak to her…”


“More like Corpse de Ballet, eh?” One of the shadows given voice, a blending of residues, all the different frequencies and thought forms that somehow managed to pool together in the lungs of the room and rasp a laugh from the corner. It connected with her own internal fears and so she heard them loud and clear-- invading the room and her ears like a dark oilspill. “Pretty Girl. Pretty Corpse—“ The shadow crooned like a parrot that echoed and reflected back what it heard. “Times up. Tick-Tock.”


Josie laughed and shook her head before finishing the song in her head audibly as she opened her eyes and looked into the shadow despite that clutching feeling of being choked. “I won’t dance. Monsieur with you.” Her voice warbled as she stared down at her feet that were a grotesque sight in the florescent light of the hospital room. Ugly bruises of various shades, torn toenails and raw arches. Pointe shoes covered all manner of sins when wrapped up and secured in the allure of pretty ribbon. Ballet is often brutal on the body. A fact that is easily forgotten through the veil of tulle and so much unearthly beauty of musical composition and form, but there was nothing else that gave her soul so much joy.

“But I recognize myself in you. I remember. Now bring the others and let’s be done.” Josie extended her hand to the shadow and watched as it shrank back along the wall. Fractals of energy emanated from the extension of her arm as she reached out to it and saw exactly where her own imprints were left.

The shadow began to spin in a dark vortex of interconnected webbing. It extended beyond the corner of the room as the walls melted away and she looked through the portal only to seeing endless patterns in that web that stretched across dimensions and realities. Fear, Despair, Desperation Grief, Guilt, Anger, Shame--the "room" had been a veritable hot spot for some time.

Josie rocked back as a wave of nausea tore through her, a flash of heat that soon cooled to a cold sweat that soaked through her hospital gown.

Josie breathed as the release rocked through her frail form and nearly made her lose control of her bladder. She bit her lip as she waited for the violent tremors to pass, her thighs pressing together as she leaned back against the wall, her fingers fisting in the rough paper that now clung to the backs of her thighs atop her hospital pedestal.



“My heart won't let my feet do things they should do…..”

**************



At the top of the Ferris Wheel, Josie’s eyes lifted to catch the blazing star that stole across the heavens in a magnificent splendor. Her palms came to rest atop her heart. First the left, followed by the right in a kind of quiet reverence. The star had picked a sacred time after all. This one was special and she felt it acutely through her whole being. She whispered her wish like a shared secret, using that ferris wheel car as a confessional as she slowly rocked back and forth. "I’m ready to go home when I’m called. I think I’m ready. I just don’t want Isaac--” Trepidation crept in as her thoughts and attachments hit a tripwire on her brother. Josie sighed as she shook her head and wished for release.

“But if it’s not too much…may I have just one more dance?”
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Isaac Wheeler
Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm


Joined: 02 Aug 2013
Posts: 28
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Can Be Found: Behind the Blade
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Night had settled over the carnival rather peacefully; the coming of twilight heralded by the whine of the generators spooling up to create all the fantastic shades of light long since shut down, which left the carnival grounds quiet. A gentle breeze waffled its way across the canvas walls of Isaac’s tent, the Showman propped up on a cot, Boomer asleep on the floor next to him, sketch book on his lap in a futile effort to banish the lingering fumes of anger which threatened to explode like gasoline.

Isaac worked the pencil with significant pressure, the lines bold and dark as the image slowly took shape. Josie had been with the carnival for about a month now thanks to his sister’s innate charm and Fia’s interceding. The fight between the carousel queen and the knife thrower hovered on the horizon like a distant, threatening thunderstorm…the two of them sticking to neutral corners for the most part since the explosion.

They’d made their feelings known and were diametrically opposed to one another: Isaac wanted his sister someplace safer, calmer and more apt to support and extend her health while Fia argued that Josie had earned the right to make up her own mind, and if she wanted to be with Isaac and he should honor that.

”You got no right to be makin those kind of decisions for me or for her, Fia. She's getting worse and if you hadn't interfered this wouldn't have happened.”

”You ever think that you can’t control her or whatever’s gonna happen to her, Isaac? This is her choice and that's what I'm honoring because it's what she wants. That girl is more at peace with the world than anyone I’ve ever seen and you’re too stubborn to realize she’d rather be with you than anywhere else. Enjoy the time you have with her instead of wasting that time trying to battle something you can't win.”

The words still echoed in Isaac’s mind, joined the sounds of the wind and the scratch of lead across paper. Isaac glanced out the window of the tent, a make shift square cut into the canvas which could be rolled up during bad weather. The night was a clear one, the distant amber glow of the nearby town on the horizon hardly throwing up enough light to pollute the starry expanse above.

Such a sight made him think of Josie. She’d had a rough stretch the past week, bad enough that Isaac had canceled his performances to be with her. Fia’s words came to the surface of his thoughts again…thoughts about control and hopes…powerlessness and fate. Josie loved the stars…always had.

* * * * * * *

Once upon a visiting hour

“And one knows it sometimes when one stands by oneself in a wood at sunset and the mysterious deep gold stillness slanting through and under the branches seems to be saying slowly again and again something one cannot quite hear, however much one tries. Then sometimes the immense quiet of the dark blue at night with the millions of stars waiting and watching makes one sure; and sometimes a sound of far-off music makes it true; and sometimes a look in someone's eyes.” Isaac sat and read from The Secret Garden in one of those uncomfortable hospital chairs. It was one of Josie's favorite books.

He’d drug that uncomfortable chair up next to the big mechanical bed which seemed to dwarf and envelope the frail body of the girl lying on her side amidst a pile of blankets which never seemed to keep her warm enough. Isaac ran a hand over his freshly shorn head, the skin still a paler shade of white so fresh was the impromptu cut. He’d done it so the girl in the bed, his sister Josie, would hopefully not feel so self-conscious. Isaac’s thunderstorm colored eyes moved away from the page to Josie. Her eyes closed, her breathing deep and regular…were it not for the hospital gown, the machines and the cold sterility of the place she might be sleeping at home.

“Visiting hours are over. Josette needs her rest.” The nurse spoke as she came into the room, the sudden intrusion causing Josie to open her eyes and Isaac to glare in her direction.

“You woke her up.” Accusingly, the Wheeler scion’s back up at the way the nurse spoke. “She was restin jus fine.”

“Well I do apologize, but you’ve been here all day.” The nurse said while checking the clipboard at the foot of the bed and giving Isaac a sidelong glance of disapproval. She knew it was a school day. “You need to get your rest just like Josette.” Isaac had been the talk of the nursing station…coming every day for the past week and staying until he had to literally be chased out.

“Prolly get more rest if you jus let her be.” Isaac began but stopped when he felt Josie’s hand squeeze his. His temper was instantly snuffed out as if something that raw and violent couldn’t exist in her presence.

“He’ll be going, Nancy. I promise.” Josie said softly after opening her eyes and smiling at the nurse and then Isaac.

“Ten more minutes okay?” The nurse said before leaving the room.

“You’re too nice ta her.” Isaac grudgingly spoke to his sister while giving her hand a gentle squeeze. “You were already sleeping.”

“I wasn’t." Josie smiled. "I was listening to you read to me. It makes me feel better when I listen with my eyes closed. I like to forget where I am for awhile and just focus on your voice and the words. Since you don't like it when I..." Josie trailed off. "You know...my roamin.” It was difficult for Isaac to understand Josie going in and out of her body on her own terms. It scared him and more than once he thought she had passed. She didn't want to do that to him again so she resisted when he came to visit.

“I wish I could see the stars." Josie murmured in a way that sounded like she was homesick. "They’re so beautiful. I get tired of just seeing the light from all these machines at night.” And then, despite all that, she smiled at Isaac.

Isaac glanced over his shoulder and saw that the light from the room reflected against the glass at night and even though it was dim and subdued it made it impossible to see outside. When he looked back at Josie he had that impish grin on his face…the look his teacher would say he got when he was up to no good.

“Feel like breakin a few rules?”

It took a few minutes but Isaac eventually got Josie bundled up in several blankets and slid her slippers on her feet. He helped her slide from the bed, her hand in his as he snuck her out of the room. They crept like a young Bonnie and Clyde down the hall, crept past the bright rainbow colors and hallway wall paintings of cheery scenes meant to bring a bit of joy to children battling things children should never have to know. Isaac took the lead, his sister behind him with a death clamp on his hand. She’d never been one to break the rules.

The pair worked their way past the nursing station, backs to the wall of the counter as they edged around it. Isaac’s face was one of amusement while Josie was caught somewhere between exhilaration and fear. The challenge past, the pair then quickly made it to the stairwell. Isaac helped Josie negotiate the stairs...the blankets and slippers, the toll of her condition making it difficult…but Isaac was as steadfast as always and Josie trusted him as always. Eventually the pair conquered the stairs made it out onto the roof.

The sky was brilliantly spread open, the vast velvet blackness shot through with millions of luminous pinpricks. Isaac led Josie by the hand to the middle of the roof and together they stared up at the night sky. Josie pulled her hand from Isaac’s to lay her left palm and then her right across her heart. She stood there, seemingly transfixed, and just stared up at the stars.

“Whatcha doin?” Isaac asked, nearly breaking the spell of such a moment with words that seemed ungainly and ill-fitting.

Josie remained silent, a streak of light silently arcing through the sky. “Making a wish.” She finally spoke, her words soft, and measured-- if she had just enough energy for the trip and the wish. Though she reached out her hand to return it to Isaacs and tangle her fingers within his. “The stars are special. I love them…and you always have to wish on the falling ones. That’s their gift to us. Even if we can't always see that in the way it's delivered.” She said in such a way that Isaac would never forget them.

* * * * * * *

Isaac heard the Ferris Wheel music power up, the sudden sound pulling his attention back to the present. As soon as it fired up it disappeared. Isaac sat up and looked out the door of the tent to the see the flare of the wheel as it began to turn. He knew at once what was going on…Josie had been begging poor Amos to let her ride it at night.

Isaac set the sketch book aside, the half-finished sketch of a little bald girl in a hospital bed momentarily visible before a sudden gust of wind blew the book shut. “Damn it Amos…” Isaac growled, that antebellum accent deepening in his anger.

He stood up from the cot and stalked out of the tent. They should know better. He’d already warned them…Josie should be in bed resting. Greys were thrown skyward in a silent plea for patience else he’d end up throttling Amos and Benny certainly wouldn’t like it.

Isaac saw it then, the blazing star that stole across the sky. Josie’s words from all those years ago hit home and Isaac found his feet rooted to the ground as he watched. ”The stars are special…you always have to wish on the falling ones…that’s their gift to us.”

“I ain't asked anyone for anything in--" His pride faltered as he tracked the star as it streaked across the sky. He didn't want to lose his chance.

"Don’t take my sister. She hasn’t deserved any of this. I don’t want to see her suffer and I don’t want to lose her. Please.” The words tumbled from his lips, private thoughts suddenly and finally given voice as the usually quiet knife thrower wished for that gnawing fear to go away. It had been a long time since Isaac had dared wish for anything.

Unbeknownst to Isaac, his sister was making her own wish just a few hundred feet away. And there it was--a tug of war between brother and sister, contradictory desires given voice at the same time. One wishing for release and the other for just one life.

(Thanks to Josie's writer for the collaboration)
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