Chapter Books

Timmy hears things that no one else hears. Is he going crazy or is there something out there? If something is out there why doesn't anyone else hear it?

All work herein is Copyrighted and may not be distributed or published without the prior consent of the author. Copyright 2006, 2007. Kim Bentz. All rights reserved.

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Kim Bentz, Writer and Photographer, living in Viriginia (Washington, D.C. metro area). Graduate of Colorado Springs Christian School, Student at American Military University. Government contractor by day. 

Kim lives with her husband of 30+ years, nearly 2000 books, a great collection of jazz records, and thousands of photographs taken all over.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Chapter Twenty-Two

Mrs. Tucker anxiously rearranged the candlesticks on the coffee table for the twelfth time, standing back to check the overall impression of the room. Nervous as a young filly, she trotted across the room to adjust this picture, fluff that pillow, and turn the lampshade just so. She couldn’t remember a time when she had been this nervous. Mr. Tucker had given up trying to calm her and had gone into the barn to tinker with the tractor they had rescued from the side of the road. Both had their own ways of handling their anxious thoughts.

Timmy had been scrubbed and tucked into his best pants, a dress shirt and even been forced into a tie. Even his overwhelming distraction did not keep him from fussing about the tie, which now hung loosened and askew from beneath his starched collar.

Now that the deed was done, Timmy had slipped back into reverie. He had heard a new note this morning, deeper than any he had heard before. He had taken to creating his own notation paper so that he could accurately chart where on the scale the music actually played. He had charted this at 32 octaves below middle C. It was a thrill, but one he could not share with anyone. While he thought about that, an intense loneliness grew in his chest. It had been there ever since he first heard the music, and had grown stronger and stronger each time he heard something he could not talk to anyone about. Now this.

The note itself was lonely, though it did not sound lonely so much as alone—solitary.

His mother opened his bedroom door. “They’re here,” is all she said, but he followed her to the living room where his father sat with two strangers.

“Timmy, this is Professor Visvaldis and he brought along…” his father hesitated, waiting for the introduction.

“This is Valter. Valter was one of my students, and a remarkably talented one.” The man in the black suit and goatee pointed to his much less formally dressed friend. Walter appeared to be about thirty with a slightly vague expression, and a haircut that looked like he simply hacked off locks of hair whenever they got in his way.

Timmy looked at them, aware that he should do something, but the music was gathering in intensity and he was having trouble registering what they were saying. He looked at his mother. Shake hands, she mouthed silently.

Oh, that’s right. He reached out his hand absently, distracted by a trill outside the window behind them. His eyes strayed to the world beyond the window, sliding off their faces with scarcely a hint of notice.

He began to hum along.

His parents squirmed in their seats, his mother wringing her hands in her lap.

“I’m sorry,” she apologized to both men.

“Do not vorry about it.” The professor responded.

Walter’s eyes were glued on Timmy. His face was alight with pleasure and he began to hum along. The professor clapped with delight. “Oh this is vonderful! Just vhat I hoped for!”

“Valter?” he interrupted.

The humming stopped. “Yes?”

“Vhy don’t you take the boy outside vhile I talk to his parents, yes?”

Without another word, Walter reached for Timmy’s shoulder and guided him out the door. He never even glanced back.

Eric stood in his room, looking down as Timmy was guided to a bench down by the old oak tree. He watched as he sat with the stranger with the odd hair and felt fury growing inside of him. Timmy was talking; actually talking to this man. Wait. They were singing one of those odd wordless songs Timmy had been obsessed with of late. Timmy’s face was lit up with a smile that mirrored that on the stranger’s face.

It had been weeks since his brother had been normal; weeks since they had talked or played; weeks since he had any idea what his brother was thinking. He had tried to get his brother back, and here a stranger was getting more response than he was.

Whirling from the window, he stomped out the door, down the stairs and out the back door, grabbing a couple of the forbidden cookies on the way. (“Don’t touch those, they’re for our guests!” his mother had warned him earlier in the day.) The door slammed behind him with a satisfying explosion of sound.

He ran past the barn, past the paddock, past the field where his father grew vegetables for the family, past the line of fruit trees that edged the wheat fields, down to the spring fed pond where they swam in summer and skated in winter. On the edge he sat, breathing hard, having run off some of his fury. His fists were clenched, white-knuckled and shaking.

As his fury dissipated and his breathing became more normal, deep feelings of loss and pain filled him. He began to cry as he hadn’t since his grandfather had died. It felt as if everything had changed. He didn’t know Timmy anymore, who looked through him or past him as if he wasn’t there. His parents were so concerned about Timmy that they would scarcely have known he existed any more. The wretchedness of his loneliness filled him, ‘til he was aware of nothing but that wretchedness.

And so he sat, clothed in gloom until the emotions so drained him he had not the strength to grasp them anymore, and slowly became aware of his surroundings again. Well, actually he became aware of the fact that he hadn’t worn a coat and the snow he was sitting on had melted and his pants were wet. He was freezing, shivering in the chill air, and more than a mile from home.

He tried to run, but he had burned off most of his energy getting to the pond, so he ran-walked back to the house, arriving in the midst of what appeared to be a celebration. No one even seemed to notice his arrival, though they were gathered around the table, eating cookies and drinking coffee. Timmy and his new friend were not there.

Sadly, he climbed the stairs, hung his wet pants over the back of the chair in his room, pulled on dry pants and lay down on the bed, pulling the covers over him, back to the door. He was hungry, but the cookies he had grabbed were crushed in the pocket of his pants.


Blogger Beth said...

This is great - I love how you keep reminding us how this experience affects each member of the family, especially the brother.

5:46 AM  

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