Hello. I'm more than a month late and I'm afraid this is all I have to offer.
No wait, that's not true, I am withholding some of the later parts but that's because I'm still writing (and rewriting) those. This part is more confirmed so I'm more confident about sharing this.
But of course I'm starting my story in the middle again! Sorry.
Here's the breakdown: My friend Darren wrote a story called Fatal Imprudence some years back. Here it is. I did mention this in my last post but in case you didn't see it...well click the link. I wanted to continue the story for one particular character's sake, and that is Zhi Tian. You really have to read Darren's story to figure out who and what he was. Please do, it's a good read. I wanted more of him. And so I did...and didn't. Because my side of the story is incomplete. In fact...the part that I'm about to share with you is the one I did that one night 2 years ago when I decided to continue his story.
There is a bit of a rumour (a teeny one) that the original author (Darren) may write a little prequel (but only a little) to the original story. IF that is true
(which can be if you pressure him...just saying), and with what i'm doing being an..epilogue of sorts, then the original story will be the middle. hem.
So...here's....a bit of what I've been working on. The continuation of Fatal Imprudence.
Seriously, read the original first. Or you might be rather confused. But it's up to you.
Zhi Tian sat broodingly, his back rigid and straight with tension. There was a lump in his throat that he could not swallow, probably because of the hard knot in his stomach.
They will be out of those cold grey doors any moment, and what on earth was he supposed to say? What should he do? How can he explain?
He cursed, slamming his fist on his thigh. He hated being the mediator, hated having to be the one to explain everything to everyone, hoping that he can smooth things over. Some things just can’t be smoothed, and surely that isn’t his fault? Is it? He decided not to answer. He grimaced and leaned forward, his face in his hands as his elbows leaned on his thighs. Closing his eyes, he could see it all over again. The old man’s fist connecting to David’s face, the bus, the rain…the collision…
Abruptly, he pulled himself up again, beads of perspiration on his forehead. He bit back a groan. Men don’t cry, he thought bitterly to himself, we don’t show weakness. He rolled his eyes as he realized that he too, was steeped with the mindset of his homeland, despite his years abroad. It was in his blood and his name. The mindset that killed David. For yes, no matter what the doctor said about “depending on the circumstances” and “doing all we can”, he knew from the weary detachment on his face that his friend was as good as gone. It was only a matter of time. He felt defiled.
He wiped off the sweat from his forehead with the back of his hand, and brought it down to his pants. How long had he been here? A day? Two? A week? He honestly couldn’t remember. Everything had passed in a dull blur. A dull, lonely blur….for in contrast to May’s funeral, no one came here. No one would dare, after what had happened. The only bit of colour during that period was when that…that…old man came again to see not his son-in-law, but him. He turned hot from the memory, seething again.
The heat morphed to freezing cold as the grey doors swung open. He stood as he felt a swooping sensation in his gut. New drops of sweat broke out again as he turned to face David’s family. He did a brief headcount: His parents, his older brother and dear heaven, did they have to bring his younger sister, David’s favourite sibling? The flight would have been enough to drain her.
They all looked like what he felt – a wreck. Mrs. West had a face buried in her husband’s shoulder. Her oldest son, had an arm on her shoulder, the other clutching his sister tightly, as if she too, would disappear like David had. His eyes were bloodshot and he was staring at the floor with a twisted mouth. Mr. West, however, was staring keenly at Zhi Tian, his eyes wet but unwavering. It took all of his efforts to not squirm or drop his gaze. It was a long time before he spoke
“Mr. West, I- ” Zhi Tian paused. Mr. West waved a hand.
“How many times have I told you to call me Ben? But let me say what I have to first, before I can’t.” He choked slightly. “David’s gone, boy. We had him off the life..” He took in a breath. “It was for the best.”
Zhi Tian felt like a train had slammed into him. For all his preparations, he was suddenly winded, as if he had ran a marathon. Nothing prepared him for reality, where David was really gone, gone for good, leaving him in this mess. He gripped the wall with one hand as everything seemed to turn into a blank haziness. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Then he opened them again and refocused.
“Mr. West, I’m so sorry… I – ” And he paused again, for what could he say? Instinct made him fall to his knees and bow his head. “Sir, I apologise. I'm sorry for..for..” and he stammered into silence, vaguely surprised at himself. He never realised that he would actually remember his mother’s strict discipline of proper behaviour.
“Boy, wadya think you’re doing? Get up!” exclaimed Mr. West hoarsely, releasing his wife to pull Zhi Tian off the floor. Mrs. West clung on anyway, breaking out in fresh sobs and shaking. The sister - oh yes, her name was Doreen - made a strange choking sound as she reached out to support her mother, nearly pulling her brother, who was still gripping her shoulder, down. Zhi Tian didn't know who to help. Before he could decide, Mr. W-Ben, had pulled him up, and steadied his entire family. He let out his breath in a hard puff. “C’mon. Stop, just...let’s just…sit, ok? There now..” his voice was shaky, but commanding. Zhi Tian was ashamed. Here he was, being comforted when he was the one who should be comforting.
It was awhile before everything returned to the dull, grey calm again. The Wests sat along the hall, facing him. Mr. West’s eyes were burning into his face, but his voice was gentle. “Boy, I don’t blame you for anything. But I need to know. We need to know. What happened?” Mrs. West turned her face away from his coat and stared up at him beseechingly.
Zhi Tian’s jaw clenched. Here goes everything.