Writing Wednesdays

Because I’m a writer & storyteller and enjoy weaving words together into tapestries of stories both real and imagined, I’ve dedicated Wednesdays to my novel writing, either exploring new ideas through writing prompts or posting something I’m considering resurrecting and revising.

And I’ve decided that it’s time for me to finish something I started. You see, I have a pattern I need to break, a pattern of starting a novel-length story and then not following it through to its end. In November, during National Novel Writing Month {NaNo}, I started writing a story about a young man named Daniel who embarked on an incredible quest, but I didn’t finish his story. That’s about to change; I will finish it here, on Writing Wednesdays, and I hope you’ll join me on this creative journey to uncover Daniel’s story. Because that’s what writing is for me, uncovering a character’s story according to the character.

serving God & others through writing
serving God & others through writing

The Dream Quest – Chapter 1

“You realize that was a red light you just blew through,” Daniel says through clenched teeth. His hands instinctively brace against the dashboard.

“I wish you would come up with me to see him,” Peter replies, glancing over at Daniel. He pauses then adds, “For me.”

“You know you almost hit him,” Daniel continues. Even though he is the younger brother, he inevitably feels forced into being the older brother whenever he’s with Peter.

“What are you talking about?”

“That guy on the sidewalk,” Daniel gestures back toward the intersection, deliberately keeping his voice calm as Peter’s rises a pitch or two. “He was just about to cross the street when you blew through the light.”

“You’re not even listening to me.” says Peter.

“See. you don’t even care.”

“What is your problem?”

Daniel inhales deeply, quietly. “The light was red. That’s all,” he states matter-of-factly.

“Is it asking that much of you to just run upstairs with me? We don’t have to stay very long–”

“I really wish you’d slow down.”

“Fine. Sit in the car. See if I care.”

“Fine.”

“Fine.” Peter cracks each knuckle on his left hand and then starts on his right.

“Pull over,” Daniel says, breaking the impasse.

“What?”

“Stop the car,” Daniel tells him and motions to the side of the road.

“Right here. You want me to stop the car? Right here?” Peter asks incredulously, taking in the Roxbury neighborhood. “Do you have any idea where we are?” he says, assuming a big brotherly tone. “Stop the car–”

Without hesitating and with a sense of authority Peter has never mustered, Daniel interrupts him. “Yes. Stop the car. I’m going back to my hotel.” He pauses, looking directly at his brother now. “And I’d rather walk.”

Peter looks at Daniel, then scoffs. “I’m not going to stop the car.” He shakes his head. “You always have to overreact.” In his mind, Peter recalls half a dozen similar moments he’s had with his brother. “I said we don’t have to stay very long. Why are you making such a big deal out of this?”

“Because I don’t like the way you drive,” Daniel says. “The light was red. That’s why. It was red and you were wrong. Do you get it?” Daniel’s exasperation is pretty clear. “You can’t just do whatever you want to do. When you see a red light it means stop. It’s not open to interpretation or discussion. Now stop. The. Car.”

“Fine.” Peter pulls over.

“Fine.”

Peter stops the car on the dark, deserted street and Daniel gets out. Behind him looms a large church with wide double doors and a tall, stone steeple.

“You’re taking your life into your own hands walking through this neighborhood,” Peter tells him.

“As opposed to your version of a drunken Daytona 500. I’ll take my chances.” Daniel stands on the curb, arms crossed.

“Look. Would you just get back in the car? You can drive.”

“Thanks anyway.” Daniel turns and starts to walk away.

“Seriously. How are you going to get back to your hotel? Daniel. Daniel!”

Daniel stops and turns around. “Oh, and drive safely.” He then turns away and disappears into the shadows.

And with that, Peter squeals away from the curb leaving Daniel standing alone on the dark street. Daniel glances around and begins walking toward the front of the church. Toward the wide double doors.

A man who looks to be in his 40s steps out of the shadows. “I’ve been waiting for you,” he says to Daniel.

“I know.”


 

Daniel sits in the shadow of the steeple wondering what he’s doing here. He takes in the somewhat disheveled man sitting a few feet away from him and for one fleeting moment he considers leaving. As if sensing his uncertainty, the man turns and looks at him. Daniel shifts, straightening his slumped position and hoping to exude a confidence he does not entirely feel.

“So, what now?” the man says in his quiet voice.

His voice matches the darkness around them, Daniel thinks, the way it wraps itself around them. It is powerful despite its quietness.

“How about names,” Daniel replies.

Without missing a beat the man responds. “Well we both know that you’re Daniel. So I guess what you really want to know is who I am?” A knowing smile touches his lips as he lets out a laugh, as if he is sharing an inside joke. Except that Daniel is not in on the joke. He keeps his eyes on the man, who suddenly pushes himself up from the stairs so that he is looming over Daniel.

“Walk with me,” he says.

Daniel sits a moment longer than he thinks he should, wanting to maintain at least a modicum of control over his own choices. This man doesn’t make my decisions for me, Daniel thinks, staring up at the guy. Standing on the bottom step, the guy appears to be bathed in a spotlight, the full moon bright above them. In the moonlight, Daniel can see that his hair, which seems to stick out in every direction, as if it has a mind of its own, is mostly an unnatural shade of blond except for one streak of blue in the front.

Odd choice, Daniel thinks. And not what he expected, if he expected anything. Now that he’s sitting here, he can’t really remember what he expected. He wonders again what he’s doing here.

The guy turns and hops off the bottom step and begins walking.

“I know. I know. You don’t know my name,” he says over his shoulder. “But you will.” There’s that smile again. His eyes seem to pierce Daniel’s facade, as if the man can see inside him. Read his thoughts. Read his uncertainty.

Before he can change his mind, Daniel rises and follows, taken aback slightly by the sense of familiarity and comfort this guy radiates. He reminds himself to keep his guard up and falls into step next to the guy, who claps him on the shoulder animatedly.

“It’s going to be a wild ride, Daniel,” he says, his laugh ringing heartily through the darkness.

 

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2 thoughts on “Finishing What I Started

    1. This is the first time of posted this story here and it is indeed the opening chapter of the book. Depending on how much time I have, I plan to post at least one chapter a week until the story is done.

      Several chapters are written and need some rewriting as I post them. Other chapters still need to be written. I figured that doing a little bit was better than doing nothing at all, you know?

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