To Feel, A Modern Tale (02.02.11)

CHAPTER ONE <Click here for all of CHAPTER ONE.>

CHAPTER TWO <Click here for all of CHAPTER TWO.>


Chloe walked slowly up the dusty road, stretching out each step to take as long as possible. Her mind raced at how she would explain this stranger who trailed behind her to her mother. She could hear him breathing more heavily the further along they walked. Sometimes the steep hill was too much for visitors. To her, it meant infrequent company and a sometimes lonely life but she had gotten used to her home, dull as the village may be, when a friendly older couple, whom she had since grown to consider her mother and father had taken her in those many years ago. Her father had recently passed away and she missed him for his good humor, for his compassion but especially for his trust. Just three years ago, he had come to Chloe and approached her about the truth behind her sudden appearance in CarthMoore. He was the only one who knew everything – besides Ecker, whose breaths could be heard now even more loudly than before. She spun around to confront Ecker.

“Are you going to be okay? Do you need us to stop for a moment so you can catch your breath,” she asked him, resting her hands on her waist and looking at him with what appeared to be a thin layer of disgust or so Ecker thought. Okay, so I’m a little out of shape, he admitted to himself. But she doesn’t have to look at me so judgmentally, he thought. “I’ll be alright,” he said. “Let’s just stop here so I can fix my shoe. I think I have a stone trapped in it.” She rolled her eyes and walked back to join him at a grouping of large, sandy white rocks.

Ecker squatted on the ground, hunched over his dirty boots. “So what are you going to tell your mom about me?” he said trailing off after the mom reference which still puzzled him so.

“I’m going to tell her that you and I used to know each other when I lived in that other place and that you just accidentally ended up here while on vacation,” she said sitting on the large rock anchoring the mound of white, snowy rocks that lined the road. She wiped away the dust from her sneakers as she waited for him to finish checking his shoe for a pebble. “What did you think I was going to tell her? Everything?”

“So she doesn’t know?” Ecker said and rested his back gently against the same large rock as Chloe sat. “About you or me or where we come from?” Chloe stopped rubbing her shoe and glanced over at him. There was total silence between them now. It was understood, and with that, they began their journey up the hill again and spoke no further for the rest of the way.

As the two approached the top of the hill, they were greeted by the yips and licks of two very affectionate yellow labs and Chloe’s mom, who came walking swiftly to them while wiping her damp hands with a dish towel. This was Lu, a tall, full-figured woman with a natural penchant to speculate and doubt, and someone who usually greeted everything with skepticism in her voice and a scowl on her face. This had only intensified since her husband Hal had died. She rushed to tell Chloe news she had just heard.

“Maura just called me and said there’s some man in town who’s got everybody talking. She said something about making things disappear and reappear, and that he seemed to come into town out of thin air. I think Maura might be talking a little crazy again, but no one seems to know who he is—“ Lu abruptly stopped talking as she saw a stranger, a young man who looked perhaps no more than 22 or 23, trailing far behind her daughter. He was approaching her now with a weak smile and an extended hand. “Who are you?” she questioned Ecker.


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