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Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level
My reason for Living.....
Taken by Begin Again
    Use these words in a story Contest Winner 
 Category:  General Fiction
  Posted: April 3, 2010      Views: 397

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 ABOUT
BEGIN AGAIN 
Begin Again is a resilient "senior citizen". Reinventing and restructuring her life has become almost common place for her.

I love music, books, and sitting by the water. Each of these activities brings a sense of life to me.
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She is an accomplished script writer and is currently at the #13 spot on the rankings.

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The afternoon sun filtered through the dust-laden blinds. My trembling fingers placed her favorite vinyl on the vintage record player. Closing my eyes, I envisioned her svelte body gliding effortlessly across the thread-worn carpet, her emerald eyes sparkling, and her sultry voice singing ...

Surround me with love, I need you beside me
I want you to hold and hide me
When this world is closin' in on me
Surround me with love, oh and I can make it
Whatever comes, you know I can take it
Just as long as you surround me with love ...


Tremors of pain racked my body. I slumped into the Queen Anne chair. A faint scent of Obsession clung to the dusty blue fabric. My heart lurched for a moment, imagining her standing nearby, and then the horrifying memories flooded my thoughts once again.

A year ago, Janna had been a budding artist. I'd returned from my second tour in Afghanistan, unable to cope with everyday life, and homeless. For different reasons, we'd both navigated daily to the city park. After weeks of pleading, I finally consented to let her paint my picture. While her brushes stroked the artist canvas, she chattered, drawing me out of my shell, bit by bit. Soon, I couldn't imagine a life without her.


On the day Janna finished the painting, we decided to share a picnic lunch along the riverbank. We chose a grassy knoll, semi-secluded by a row of lilac bushes. We laughed and nibbled cold chicken until our serene setting was shattered by a loud popping.

Without thinking, we jumped to our feet and peered through the bushes. Two men in long black trench coats stood over another man, riddling his body with bullets. Terrorized, a blood-curdling scream ripped from Janna's throat. Simultaneously, their heads jerked in our direction, and then toward the overweight beat-cop lumbering across the park toward them. A black sedan's tires screeched as it careened to a stop at the park's entrance. The doors flew open, the two men jumped in, and the car disappeared from sight.

Being the Good Samaritan, Janna provided the police sketch artist with a perfect description of the shooters. Their faces were plastered on every television screen along with the woman who had identified them.

Two weeks later, I arrived at Janna's studio apartment to find the entrance barricaded by police officers.

"What the hell's going on?" I screamed at one officer. "Where's Janna?"

"Do you know Miss O'Brien, Son?" His matter-of-fact voice grated against my raw nerves.

I tried to push past him, but another pair of arms grabbed me. He nodded at the officer, "It's okay. I'll take care of him."

Anger replaced my fear, seething through my body. "I don't need you or anyone else to take care of me." Tiny bits of spit spewed from my mouth. "Where's Janna? What are you and half the police force doing here?"

He guided me into the apartment. Years of combat couldn't prepare me for what was inside.

A large dark pool of blood spread across the linoleum. I choked. Fear raged through my trembling limbs. Shards of glass from the shattered mirror littered the floor. A chunk of Janna's long, silky blond hair clung to the broken frame. The sofa cushions were scattered around the room. Chair legs faced the ceiling.

Gulping for air, I leaned against the kitchen table, knocking over a wine glass. An imprint of Janna's ruby red lips kissed the rim. Unable to speak, my questioning eyes met the detective.

"I'm sorry, Son. We got a tip, but we were too late. She's gone."

"Gone?" The thought wouldn't register. Dumbfoundly, I repeated it again, "Gone? Gone where?"

The detective extended his arm toward me, offering his condolences, "I'm sorry ... she's dead."

"Nooo ... oh, God, nooo!" I slid down the wall, crumbling to the floor. "I told her not to do it, but you convinced her she wasn't in danger. Now she's dead?"

"We did our best but -"

"You did your best! Your stinking best couldn't protect her from those murdering thugs." Tears threatened to spill from my bloodshot eyes. "Where is she? I want to see her ... now."

"Afraid I can't let you do that, Jason. They did a number on her face, cut her up pretty bad."

An agonizing, guttural, animal cry exploded from deep within my body. It was impossible to think of her sweet face sliced to ribbons. "I don't care. I have to see her," I pleaded.

"You're not family. Rules are rules." Shaking his head, he could only repeat, "I'm sorry."

I stumbled into the bathroom, vomiting until my sides ached. Just like that, Janna was gone from my life.



After the funeral, I lived, breathed, and slept in the park, trying to relive those precious moments we shared. More and more, my thoughts grew darker and darker. I lost all reason for living.

Now, sitting in the empty apartment, the song's words spoke to me.

Sometimes when life's poison arrows shoot me to the ground
Dreams come fallin' down, friends just can't be found
I don't worry, I don't wonder, I know what to do
I don't go crazy, I just go for you ...


My eyes stared at the spot on the floor where she'd taken her last breath. Tears rolled down my face. For weeks, I begged God to take my life, too. He either wasn't listening or didn't understand. The cross I was carrying was too heavy. I needed to be with Janna and there was only one way that could happen. My fingers pressed against the cold barrel of the .38 in my coat pocket. Unconsciously, I'd prepared for this moment.

Sighing, I lifted my weary body from the chair, took one last look around the apartment, and slipped out the door. The cemetery was within walking distance. Oblivious to my surroundings, I trudged down the street, setting my plan in motion.

Passing a street vendor, I bought a bunch of golden daffodils. She always loved flowers. For the first time since her death, I felt I had a purpose. Today, I would once again be by her side.

Kneeling beside the grave, my body stopped trembling, replaced by a serene peace. I belonged with Janna.

Pulling the gun from my pocket, I ran my fingers along the cold barrel. I wasn't afraid to die. I welcomed it. Living without the woman I loved, I was already dead inside, anyhow.

I lifted the gun to my head, placing the barrel against my temple. Thoughts of Janna rushed through my mind. My heart pounded against my ribcage. A smile tugged at the corner of my mouth.

"I'm coming, my love." My finger twitched against the trigger.

"You don't want to do that, Jason." A familiar voice shattered my pleasant thoughts.

Jerking my head toward the voice, my eyes stared into the steel blue ones of the detective. "Go away! Just let me end it."

The burly man inched closer to me, his eyes watched my finger stroke the trigger. "It's not what she wants -"

"She was my reason for living, without her, I can't go on."
Tears clouded my eyes. My hand wavered.

In one split second, the detective's fingers closed over the barrel of the gun, pulling it from my hand. "Just come along now."

"She's waiting for me, I know it!" Wiping my eyes with the back of my hand, I moaned, "Pleeease! I know she's waiting."

His strong arms lifted me from the ground, supporting my shaky legs. "You're right, Jason. She's waiting."

My eyes stared at her grave. "You don't understand. I can't do this alone. I need her."

"And she needs you." He gestured toward the road. Rays of sunshine filtered through the overcast sky. Another man stood next to the car. The car door opened.

I gasped. "How?"

Preventing my legs from folding beneath me, he smiled, his strong arms guided me toward the car. "She wouldn't go without you. So I guess it's the witness protection program for both of you."

She ran the remaining distance, and we fell into each other's arms, crying and kissing. My fingers touched the jagged scars on her face. Doubt clouded her eyes.

I pressed my palm against her chest. "I love you, Janna. You, what's inside, not your face." I gently kissed her lips.

Tears glistened in her eyes. "I love you, too."

The men ushered us into the car. Our new life was just beginning.















Writing Prompt
Use these words in a story. -dark -blood -studio -mirror -glass. Write a story that is under 2000 words.
Use these words in a story
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Recognized

Author Notes
Charly McClain - Surround Me With Love

Thank you Niko for the beautiful artwork.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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