The Sailor's Stories

2051 Chapter five – Book II

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For eons over eons, countless suns rose and fell, on that place before man would ever set his destructive foot there. Time stretched on, like it always does, as the seasons came and went, providing the very framework that shaped the land as mother nature intended. Through the sun baked days and the many storms of all those years, the trees grew tall sturdy and strong, before they fell, only to be replaced by others. As always in nature, the old forever making way for the new, this is the ever growing circle of life. Life that always finds a way to battle on, no matter what hardships that had the gall to present themselves.

Grasses grew along side those trees, as if holding the very land with which they grew from together. Kissing the earth of both dry land and wet, through springs summers and falls, simply waiting for the inevitable flattening from the heavy snows of winter. Though the snow was cold hard and oppressive, it never quite managed to overcome the hardy robustness of that grass and when the thawing spring came, the sun came with it to kiss the blades back to life once more. Lawn mowers, swing sets, wire fences…, a snow slick cobbled path…, as far as nature was concerned, those were relatively recent developments in the grand scheme of things. Nothing more than mere obstacles in the Earth Mother’s losing battle to regain what she’d lost.

Traveling ever westward, man conquered everything in his path. Great herds of animals were slaughtered, for no other reason than to feed his never ending hunger, or comfort. Ancient springs, and mighty rivers, were diverted or drained dry to slake his thirst. Mountains that seemed at first insurmountable, were tamed and subdued. His ever growing need for open land saw many great forests forced back into oblivion, industrialization taking it’s fatal and seemingly final hold. All the while, Mother Nature just slipped quietly back into the shadows, patiently biding her time awaiting the inevitable collapse that would one day require her hand to put right.

For her it seemed like it was nothing more than the blink of an eye, since man had finally come to this part of the world, in his ever escalating drive for expansion. But in doing so, Man always found new and disastrous ways to improve upon his desire to change what he saw was lacking. Wrestling with the Earth Mother, fighting life and limb from her to shape things as he saw fit…, bending the will of anything he came in contact with to make things as they should be in his eyes. If one was to look at all of those years closely, they would see that very same shaping of man’s desire, was rarely in balance with the nature that he seemed so hell bent on suppressing. But sometimes…, just sometimes, whether by accident or design, he did manage to get one or two things right.

From the time of the earliest settlers, that place had seemed to go almost unnoticed, rocky and hill covered as it was with it’s small lake in the center, no one really saw fit to develop it towards anything…, useful. It was always just there, until one day many years later, when in a strange and seemingly random turn of events…, one wise man had a vision. Since the time that vision had been realized, people had enjoyed their would be seemingly wasted afternoons or often dreamy mornings, walking the paths, swinging on the swings, and climbing the fences that he had created for more years than was possible to count. Well…, that’s what he would have thought…, if he could’ve been bothered to think about it at the time.

He’d always loved that place, from the very first moment he’d set his sweet young eyes on it all those years ago…, in fact if he was pressed to admit it, he knew that it was indeed a pretty popular place…, one for all ages. So much so, that on any given day, it was one of his most favorite places to visit. A place where he could go to clear his head, a place that was grass and trees as far as the eye could see, a place filled with quiet and comfort. A place that was far enough away from what had once been his destructive home life…, a place that he almost felt the safety he so yearned for, a place to finally be himself. But above all, it was a place where the simple beauty of it’s being, wasn’t overshadowed by that same industrialization that formed man’s meager achievements.

That day wasn’t all that different really…, even though he could feel in some way that it was…, after all, even now it was still beautiful. It only dawned on him much later that, that day, it was more the kind of beauty that looks back at you with thoughts of just how tasty of a lunch you might make. During the night a moderate storm had passed through the area and the snow had still been reasonably heavy that morning. Even though he loved the snow, that was a fact which hadn’t helped to cheer him up all that much. So much so, it appeared that day that…, like man…, the snow was doing it’s very best to overcome anything in it’s path.

Not that he’d noticed really, well not at first anyway, in fact he hadn’t even paid that much attention to where he was going until he got there, so dark was the cloud that followed him. But trudging his way along the many walks and footpaths, he began to see the trees themselves, the metaphor that is the forest for the trees, was slow in coming to him that day. Though as time went on, and his mood lightened slightly, he began to see the trees that once so green and lush, were now hunched over by the burden that snow created, and white…, white was all you could see. The starkness was what finally caught him off guard…, the possibility of a clean slate.

It had taken the three days since he and the twins had had the sit down with Danny to get where he was, and he definitely wasn’t at all that happy about the strange and seemingly random turn of events that had taken place since then. Danny was still in the house, though he had gone home for a while, but only to get some clothes, and now it was almost as if he was actually living there. Not that it really mattered to him though, but since that first night, he and his new dad, had been sleeping in separate rooms. Neither of them had even bothered to explain much of what was going on, but from what he could make out, it seemed that Danny was in a rather precarious position financially, because of possibly leaving the navy. That and the fact that the two seemed to be getting closer, it was looking more and more like a sure thing.

That’s the part that was really getting to him, and because of it he was totally torn. He knew that his dad was a very lonely man, even though he and the twins showed him as much love as they could. But even Corey could tell you that that wasn’t enough, that was a nasty thought he realized, as soon as it popped into his head, but by then he couldn’t take it back anyway. It was there that the tear started to form, because although he knew that Cam needed someone…, he couldn’t get past the fact that he needed him too…, needed him desperately.

Carl loved his new dad dearly, that much was painfully obvious to anyone that bothered to look. He never wanted to see him hurt, the man who had taken him in against his better judgment, the man who showed him more love in the last few months than he’d known in the last few years. He wanted him to be happy…, he truly did…, but at the same time, he just wasn’t ready yet to share his attentions. After all, he still had the twins to compete with there, and he wasn’t sure how much Cam really did have within himself to give out.

That morning had seen the first major argument that Carl had had with his boyfriend, the argument that had led to him leaving the house just before lunchtime that day. Because of it, he’d left in such a strange mood that he started to run at first. A slight cold wind soon put him off that however, and he found himself walking instead…, even though it was still with a great deal of determination. The thing of it was though, he was totally oblivious as to where or in what state he might end up, not that he had cared much about that at the time.

He’d so desperately wanted to talk to Cam that morning, to try and sort a few things out, but as it always had seemed lately, circumstances conspired against him. That alone was enough to make the usually placid boy mad, up until then he thought that he could always go to him, no matter what it was that was bothering him. That really was one of the things he truly loved about his new dad…, but not that morning though…, now that Danny was there…, he knew pretty quickly that he was out of luck on that score. He couldn’t even talk to his boyfriend about what he was feeling, because both of the twins seemed to be accepting of the situation. After that argument he decided that rather than really blowing his stack, he could do nothing other than leave…, not one of his best plans as it turned out.

The mood he’d been waking in lately, it just wouldn’t leave him alone, that was his real problem. Every morning since that night, he’d woken up with a strong sense of dread and despair…, as though the miracle run he’d come to accept as reality, over the last few months, was almost over. Even then he realized, he still wasn’t that angry about it, well not yet anyway…, more numb than anything else, resigned to the fact, if you will. But one thing was very clear…, he was rapidly becoming rather sad about it…, he just had that ‘Out of sorts’ kind of air about him. Adding to all that, the fact that he still hadn’t had a chance to sort out his other problem, was also causing a level of grief within him. He was so scared about what might happen, because of the adoption that as soon as Dale went to sleep, each night since then, he’d gone downstairs to sleep on the couch.

That was another thing that was serving to tick him off…, as if there needed to be anything else to add to the mix. If Danny hadn’t been there, he would have been able to sleep in a warm comfortable bed, his bed…, instead of freezing his nuts off downstairs. Dale of course knew nothing of this. Because of Carl’s sleeping habits, he was able to get back to bed before his boyfriend woke-up each morning. In fact, to all concerned, outwardly, there was nothing wrong with little Carl.

In and of itself, that was another problem, Carl couldn’t…, or wouldn’t show what he was feeling when he was really upset, because of it everyone else thought that he was fine. Consequently not a single one of them could figure out, or understand why he was acting out like he was. Over the years, stuck in a place that frowned on feelings, that saw any kind of weakness as bad, Carl had gotten good at hiding his true feelings. So good in fact, that when he wanted to, absolutely no one was ever the wiser as to the internal forces that always seemed to get so perilously close to tearing the poor boy apart.

By the time he hit the park that day, his internal struggle still hadn’t gotten much better. And by then he was cold, wet, tired and hungry. He knew he couldn’t go home though…, not yet…, he had to work this out first, had to come to some sort of peace with it. Over and over again he went through it in his mind, but every time the best that he could figure it, through all his musings, was that simply put…, he felt abandoned. And what’s worse…, abandoned by the only real dad that he’d ever known. That was a strange place for him to find himself in, he knew that…, because if he really thought about it, deep down…, he also knew it wasn’t true.

Talking with Danny and the twins that first night hadn’t really helped that much either. They seemed all for the idea, and that alone made Carl start to resent them slightly, he thought they should be more on his side, not that he’d made clear what his side was at the time…, that’s just not how Carl did things, not that it mattered anyway. Instead they came down on the side of the interloper that he felt Danny very quickly becoming. Oh sure Danny had made some promises, foremost of which was, that he wouldn’t get in the way of Cam and the boys, but also that he hoped the boys wouldn’t either. To Carl, that all sounded dangerously like a very serious ultimatum. Like a “Stay out of my way, and I’ll try to leave a piece for you.” That’s when his true depression started to creep in, sure he did have Dale, a boy he loved very much…, but he needed, no craved, so much more.

It was his cravings that were getting him into trouble, although over the last few days he never went out of his way to cause any problems…, he was always just there with a subtle jibe if things looked like they were going wrong in any way. Dale was smart, he’d seen it for what it was right off the bat…, and tried to stop it where he could. Carl, however, was relentless in his somewhat childish behavior.

This was a side of Carl that Dale had never seen before, and because of it, much to Carl’s dismay, a rift was starting to form between them. Of course for Carl’s part, he saw that as Danny’s doing too. Never once did he stop to realize that it was simply him that was the cause of all the tension lately, everyone else was just trying to make the best of things. Carl was definitely at loggerheads with that theory, and it was Dale calling him out on his attitude that had caused the fight in the first place.

Traipsing through the slush, formed by the already melting fresh show from that mornings storm, he had to wonder just what the hell he’d been thinking in the first place. This just wasn’t him…, he wasn’t that guy, not even back then. He was being jealous, and greedy…, it took him a long time to realize that, but when he did, he found the startling truth of it to be almost more than he could bare. Of course just as quickly, he knew he had to come up with some way to fix it. After all, he’d come from almost nothing, he could afford to lose a little now…, or at least that’s what he thought anyway. Dale was first, and it startled him to see that he decided that before he even knew there was a decision in the offing. The simple fact of the matter was, that he had to find some way to make it up to him. Then would come the hardest bit…, Danny. He’d been such a prick to him, a guy that really didn’t deserve it, he had to make that part right too.

Now that he had some semblance of a plan forming within his mind, he stopped feeling sorry for himself for a moment, and started to take in his environment. Fear set in as he found that he was about halfway down a steep hill. Taking a quick look around to get his bearings, he could see a few benches off to the left, so he knew that he was still on…, or at least near, the path. Unfortunately for him, the weather and the time of day, had conspired to make the path down that hill, already slippery from the wet slush caused by the snow, rather treacherous. Stealing himself for the inevitable, and with not a little trepidation, it dawned on him that the only way forward was down, picking his steps carefully he trudged on ever so slowly.

Being out in the cold for so long that day, however, had started to have a strange effect on his reflexes, and every now and again he slid faster or lost his footing altogether. Although he was able to regain his balance most times, he had already slipped twice on a few patches of wet mud or slick ice. Becoming more and more pissed off at his own stupidity, not to mention his very wet backside, by the forth or fifth time he’d fallen over he just couldn’t be bothered to get up anymore. In a moment of reckless childlike abandon, he let his already considerable momentum carry him ever forward down the slippery slope.

That course of action, which was dangerously close to being a metaphor for his current predicament, was a risk, but the way he was feeling right then he simply couldn’t bring himself to care. And as it happens, as these things tend to do, it had started to become a little fun after he began to pick up speed. When he reached the bottom of the hill, even though the thrill of his slide was still coursing through him…, now that the fear of it was gone, unfortunately…, everything else flooded back in to take it’s place.

Sitting there with the wet ground, and the extra snow that had been dragged with him by his jacket, seeping through the seat of his pants …, he pulled his legs up into his chest to try to stave off the cold that was groping out for him like the hands of hell clambering for the souls of the lost. Forming himself into a tight ball, he rested his head on his knees, all too soon he began to feel a little scared at what lay ahead…, and started to cry at the unfairness of it all. He knew that he’d gone too far, he did…, and what’s worse, was that he also knew that he’d really fucked things up for himself. The cold did serve a good, but somewhat unwelcome service to him that day, as it forced him to start thinking clearly again. Deep down he did know that he was the one at fault, not Danny. Try as hard as he might, he just couldn’t demonize the guy.

When he pressed his tired mind, he actually started to realize that he really was a nice guy, but jealousy had a hard time leaving him. He remembered the first time that he saw Danny, all those months ago, in Cam’s office…, he had thought that the guy was really cute, and even then he could tell there was a special connection between him and his dad. But could he accept it, could he live with the extra competition that a relationship with Cam would bring. Still he was resolute in his plan…, he would make it up to all them, even if it killed him to do so.

Over the next few minutes as his tears tried desperately to soak through his jeans onto his bare knees, he realized that yeah…, he probably could. He still wasn’t sure if he should have to, or that he even wanted to, but what he also knew, was that he couldn’t afford to lose what he had. For the first time since his mom had died, he had finally found the love that he so desperately needed. Sure, it had come in a kinda weird way, but that made it no less real. He had a boyfriend that he never knew he wanted, but could now no longer live without, and he had a family…, a real one, one that loved and cared for him…, could that family also include Danny…, he still wasn’t so sure about that. Time just seemed to slip by, as he sat there in his sorrow, and because of the way he was sitting, he didn’t notice the two figures that were approaching him from the side of the hill.

*          *          *

The poor boy was beside himself…, almost literally. When he’d known them, he’d never seen his parents fight…, well not that he remembered anyway…, and when he thought about it, he was sad to see that his memories of them were slipping further and further away. But getting back to the point, he’d never seen them fight, not even once…, he’d never seen his uncle fight either for that matter. That was a fact which caused him a great deal of consternation, because now he realized that he had no real frame work with which to rationalize his first and hopefully only experience.

Dale was a thinker, that much was true, if nothing else was. Unlike his brother, who rushed headlong into things, hoping that he could maybe pick up the pieces later, Dale was all about the need to know what was happening before he stepped gingerly into the fray. When he’d finally figured out what his boyfriend was doing, and what he thought it was that was bothering him so much, he’d agonized over what to do. Until he finally decided to try to have a talk to him about it. Dale felt sure that he and Carl, could reason their way through it…, that he could make Carl see sense. Boy did that ever backfire, he thought. Unfortunately these things are never that easy, and even more so, Carl had taken his very well meaning intentions, completely the wrong way. That’s when the fight broke out, everyone had heard it, and no one was more shocked than Dale himself.

Heated doesn’t even begin to cover the words that had come from Carl that morning, and Dale was exceptionally hurt by them…, but what bothered him most, was that because of his lack of experience, he had no way to deal with what he was feeling other than to get angry himself…, something he rarely, if ever did. That’s not to say that he had never been that way, we all get angry sometimes, and for many and varying reasons…, it just wasn’t a place that Dale visited very often.

Before Carl ran from him, he called Dale a traitor…, Dale immediately branded him a coward, and said as much to his retreating back. In doing so, he was instantly disgusted by his own attitude towards the boy he loved, so much so that he just as suddenly regretted it. As his anger turned to sadness, he ran himself…, ran to his room, to his sanctuary. Putting in the ear buds of his Ipod, he fell onto his bed and did the only thing he could think of to do in that situation…, he started to cry. Corey had put it exactly right a few days before, when he said that his brother was the sensitive one, with the dark gothic melodies roaming through his head, Dale tried in a desperate attempt, to make some sense out of the chaos he was feeling.

He and Carl, had had disagreements in the past, that much was true, but nothing like this…, never once had they ever raised their voices at each other. Now that the rational side of Dale’s mind had kicked in, he realized that that was what really concerned him about it all. The mere fact that Carl, a boy that was usually so placid quiet and shy about everything, had felt so strongly about something to raise his voice to his lover…, now that really was scary, and in turn it made him cry even harder into the pillow he was now cradling in his arms. The pillow that was from Carl’s side of the bed…, the pillow that still smelled so strongly of him.

Would Carl come back to him…, they’d both said some things that they didn’t mean…, well he hadn’t at least, he could only hope that Carl hadn’t either. But would he? Now that he was thinking a little clearer, he remembered that Carl had only taken his jacket with him as he ran from the house, so he knew that at least he would have to come back for some clothes. As soon as he came to that conclusion all the blood rushed from his face…, he realized that some part of him, although the rest was fighting hard against it, but some part of him had already given up, and his heart shattered.

The sobs that were wracking his body came on anew, because he knew that he was over-rationalizing the whole incident. Once again he discovered that he’d fallen into the same trap he always did, by considering the worst case scenario over any other. That alone prompted him to change the playlist. Now that he had something a little more pleasant and poppy, he started to think through it again, as he put himself back together slowly, piece by small tiny sharp piece. Of course he would come back, he knew that, but he’d run off so angry that he may do something stupid before he did…, that thought hit him hard, and he started to cry with a different fervor, this time it wasn’t sadness…, this time it was fear.

Fatherly instinct had kicked in when Cam heard the row, and that’s how he found his nephew, cradling a pillow sobbing his little heart out lying on his bed, the bed he’d bought for the two of them. Without even a conscious thought, just like the last time he’d come unbidden into his boy’s room, he went to him. Even with the emotional stress his poor tired mind had been through over the last few days, what with Danny, and the dream…, and Danny…, his heart still broke at the pain that he saw his nephew was in.

With what little he had left, this time though, he thought that he knew what was wrong…, and this time whether right or wrong, he felt that he could actually do something about it. Throwing caution to the wind, he went over to the boy’s bed. Cam slid his arms gently underneath his nephew, picking him up like a rag doll, before he sat down pulling the small boy onto his lap. Cradling him close, that’s where they stayed for the better part of fifteen minutes as the young man cried himself out.

“He…, he…, ran away from me…” Dale spoke through his quiet sobs, sometime later.

“I know…” He replied, keeping up his slow gentle rocking motion.

“But why…, I thought he loved me…, why did he run…”

“Oh Shorty, of course he loves you…, he’s just upset is all…, people can do some real dumb things when they’re upset…”

“But…, he was so angry Uncle Cam…, I’ve never seen him like that…”

“I know kiddo…, we all heard it…, do you…, do you know what it’s about?”

As sad as he was, Dale had to think very carefully about that one. Sure he did…, but could he tell him…, should he tell him. After all, it was pretty much his uncle that Carl was upset about. Not directly, but close enough that it didn’t really matter anyway. Maybe a half truth would work, he thought, that’s not lying right? As he did so, he took a look at his uncle for the first time, seeing how drawn and tired he looked. He had to wonder what had happened to make him suddenly look so…, old.

“Um…, I…, I kinda called him out on how he’s been acting lately…, I don’t think he took it too well…” Dale said, with an almost, but sad smile.

“Yeah huh?”

“Yeah…”

“Were you right? … Did it do any good…”

“NO! … Maybe…, I dunno…” He sobbed softly again and again, as the still strong arms of his Uncle held him tight. Like always, he found some comfort there and eventually calmed a little.

“It breaks my heart to think of him out there all alone…, you know you have to go after him…, right?”

“I know…, I think I might know where he is…”

“Good boy…, let’s go get you cleaned up…, then we’ll go together.”

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Written by bigct/Octavius

July 10, 2010 at 05:56

4 Responses

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  1. Wow. What a great chapter. I really like the the new style as It shows off the boys point of view very well. Carl and Dale, both give the story a very different perspective. Kepp up the great work.

    NMDave

    July 10, 2010 at 07:41

  2. I like how this is developing. These emotional crises are every bit as good as the more ‘action’ based dramatic stuff in the last book.
    Then again we had the drama of the ambush, albeit in a dream, in the last chapter. A great mix.
    I know they will come through this, but it will be a grand journey.

    fb

    fb

    July 11, 2010 at 19:14

  3. I too am loving the new style. Getting all this insight on the different characters is awesome.

    Keep it up!

    _Kevin

    Kevin

    July 12, 2010 at 20:06

  4. Carls going to get hurt. What are those two men going to do to him? I don’t know if I want to read the next one. Hugs JJ

    JJ

    July 24, 2010 at 06:43


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