Author Topic: The Angels Weep Tonight  (Read 2134 times)

Offline zak_wolf

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The Angels Weep Tonight
« on: March 15, 2006, 08:54:16 PM »
            A short story... please take your time.   

                Raging sand had blown over the fresh tarred highway that seemed to lie toward the very direction where the sun began to rise. The wind gradually grew warmer, leaving its summer night chill to die. On one side of this road, left if you face the sunrise, was the wild range of aging trees and foliage. Yet on the right were the sandy grassland that eventually sloped down to a small river.
   Down at Ryan Creek and under the bridge that was forged several feet above it, a dark-haired girl of seventeen years awoke. She glanced at the shimmering water and relaxed. After washing off the grimy dirt in the nippy stream, she dried herself off quickly. Breakfast was short and sweet – a dry, chocolate chip granola bar and a gagging over a small gulp from the river.
   “Better than being with the Reeves,” she muttered. Her foster parents, the Reeves, were her least favorite people of all. She wouldn’t even call them favorite at all, for she had another obscene name for them. And to think they wanted her to take their last name… she would be as she was originally called: Debbie Monahan.
   She furiously thrust a rock, causing a ruckus among the geese that unfortunately chose to wade down Ryan Creek.
   Debbie had walked countless miles and with two granola bars and a short daydream later, the sun still lingered above. She began to notice the extreme heat take its toll as miniscule beads trickled under a light blue shirt, leather jacket, and ripped jeans. She didn’t bother with sandals; instead she gladly went barefoot in the sandy grass on the side of the road.
   Not before long, a glinting metal appeared in view behind her. She turned to see that a white Toyota truck came her way. She knew she shouldn’t hitchhike, but inside her, it was the only way to get out of Telaskurt and away from the Reeves.
   “Do you need a ride?” a man in a plaid shirt and a cowboy hat asked.
She scoffed, “No, I just decided to take a walk.”
   “Nice day for it,” the man chuckled, seemed to be unaffected.
“Are you going anywhere with this?” Debbie gave an unattractive scowl which set off a goofy, familiar smile from the driver.
   “You look too young to hitchhike – are you planning on going somewhere or do you want me to drop you at home?”
   “I don’t have a home anymore,” she muttered, then reluctantly hopped in the truck. “Take me to Pipersville, will ya?”
   “Sure thing, miss,” he rumbled the engine to life and began off with a slow start before cruising down the highway. “You know, you’re lucky you have a guy like me to pick you up than one of those perverts that hang around the road. I’m a married man myself – so you don’t have to worry about me.”
   Debbie said nothing for a while. “Can you turn on the radio for me?”
“Sure thing, miss…”
   “Okay, my name isn’t Miss,” she snapped angrily.
“Well, that’s my way,” he chuckled unnervingly. “I was born with manners, I did. What’s your name? You look like an Elizabeth.”
   Debbie silently listened to the acoustic rock song that was suddenly toned down by his hand.
   “I can’t just drive with a stranger sitting in my truck if she’s got nothing to say but a thank-you…” the man gravely spoke.
   “Look, sir – “
“The name’s Michael,” he interrupted, to her surprise. I thought you were born with manners, she almost blurted but stopped herself in time.
   “Michael, I appreciate you giving me a ride and all, but I feel really, really uncomfortable talking to a stranger I just got in a car with,” she winced at the thought, and knew she had made a huge mistake. “Now that I’ve thought about it, I think I better get out. Stop the hitchhiking and all.”
   “Don’t you trust me?” the man looked hurt. Debbie sighed and gradually shook her head no.
   “Alright, can’t deny a woman that’s made up her mind,” Michael nodded, slowed the truck, and pulled over once again. Then it dawned over her that she was just being silly. He was willing to give her a ride but also willing to stop as well, unlike those sexual predators.
   “Um, I changed my mind,” Debbie forced a smile. “If that’s okay with you.”
“Better than watching you walk,” he snorted. “I would have just driven by your side, just to make sure you got there. It’s thirty miles, quite far.”
   “That’s right nice of you, Michael,” she looked straight forward, attempting to not fumble as she attached her seatbelt, just to look bold.
He continued to press harder on the pedal, “May I ask your name, if you don’t mind?”
“Ann,” she recited her foster mother’s name, hoping he wouldn’t recognize it.
“Ann Reeves, born and raised in Telaskurt, Arizona.”
   “Nice introduction, Ann,” Michael gave another of his goofy smiles. “You should call me Mike. I’m just going to Pipersville to my wife and children from work. I’m a salesman, did you know? The Fourth of July and all. Busy weekend, but family’s been bugging me all month with long-distance. You got family?”
   Debbie stiffened, wiping her forehead, then nodded once she realized he noticed her somber look, “Yep.”
   “Ah,” he replied and seemed to know how she had felt then.
“This is why I didn’t want to talk,” she started yet didn’t finish.
   “No, no – don’t explain… I should have known better.”
“I had a family,” Debbie said out of the blue. “Once, but just once.”
   “What… do you usually do on Independence Day?” Mike uneasily touched the subject again.
   “I was only five when they were gone,” she murmured. “I guess I can only remember so much. I remember my dad take his hot dog plain, that’s why I do too.”
   “Nothing is good on the hot dogs,” Mike agreed. “But my wife buys everything like ketchup, relish, mustard. Everything.”
   “That reminds me of my mom, because she always overdoes the decorations,” Debbie broke into a smirk. “I remember holding a sparkler for the first time with my family. We were on a blanket out at night, the backyard to ourselves. The fireworks in the sky… they were beautiful.”
   The radio played softly and then a sign passed: Tony’s Stop – Grill and All.
“Wanna grab a bite?” Mike asked, and without pause, she nodded. Lunch doesn’t come free as often, and even her stomach growled.
   A small café-like restaurant shimmered in view, but only in a cold glare. The sky was already darkening to a dull blue, for the clouds now lingered in the path of the high noon sun. There was a rumble in the distance, making Mike squint.
   “Looks like it’s going to rain soon.”
“Yeah,” Debbie’s eyes welled up, but wiped them away to avoid looking vulnerable. “Are we going to grab a bite or what?”
   Mike opened the door and allowed her to go first, joking about being such a gentleman. Once Debbie was inside, she felt a strange coldness overwhelm her. The cigarette smoke, the neon pink glare, the stools for the pub, and the rustic tan walls.
But the one thing she had hoped to never see again remained in the same corner as it was since twelve years ago – the jukebox. It was out of order but it struck her numb all the same.
   “Pick a booth,” he walked past her, heading for the pub to ask for a waitress. She felt obliged to do so, right next to the exit doors. The rain began to pour heavily now, she noticed. She remembered every time when it rained, her surrogate mother would say, “The angels weep tonight.” And with that, only her father would sing her to sleep by his lullaby, Daddy’s home. 
   “Beverages?” the waitress drew her out of a trance-like memory.
“Just Coke, thank you,” Mike replied.
   “Me too,” Debbie was handed a menu, but she already knew what she had wanted. It was the same as twelve years ago, when she came here.
   “I’ll be back,” the waitress replied with a snap of her gum, and departed to the kitchen in the back of the diner. She said nothing else, but somehow she anxiously felt Mike’s dark eyes burn into her.
   “Your hair’s black but also blue at the same time,” he closed his menu.
“Yep, black and blue – just like my arms,” she accidentally blurted.
   “Your family’s been beating you?” Mike’s eyebrows rose.
Debbie sighed mournfully, “Foster family. Ever since they had me. Chris, my foster father, meant to teach me a lesson, so I don’t become like him. Ann…”
   She froze.  Had he noticed?
   “Oh, so you and your foster mother have both the same name? Interesting,” he said innocently, and she nodded quickly.
   “Ann always defended him,” Debbie nastily spat. “I had it up to here – so that’s why I left Telaskurt. I’m not going back, not ever.”
    “So,” Mike curiously asked. “What do you plan to do now?”
She looked at him squarely in the eyes, and decided to confide in him, “I wanted to hitchhike to Pipersville – they have a train there.”
   “Right,” Mike nodded as if he should have known.
“I don’t expect any pity, Michael,” she suddenly caught him off guard. “I don’t.”
   He stiffened and remained silent.
The waitress returned, “Have you decided what you guys want?”
   “A cheeseburger, fries, and chocolate malt,” Debbie announced.
“Yum,” Mike grinned goofily. “For me, just grilled cheese and tomato soup.”
   “Thank you, your food will be in shortly,” the waitress replied sweetly. “Anything else?”
   “Nope,” Mike said once he saw Debbie shake her head.
“Alright,” she left immediately to give the cook their orders, and stand in the corner, secretly gazing at Michael with a stir in her heart.
   “I reckon she likes you,” Debbie teased.
“Ah, but I’m married,” he reminded her. “I’m an honorable man, I keep my vows.”
   For a while, she remained quiet, examining the dusty, framed pictures of clipped out newspaper articles, and the décor of fishing nets and bullhorns on the walls. The jukebox still bothered her.
   The food had come, and Mike began humming a familiar tune. So familiar Debbie dropped her burger. She stole a glance at his sunken eyes and five-o-clock shadow on his face.
   “Quickly, get in your covers,” she softly sang. “Close your eyes with a smile, because Daddy’s home. Daddy’s home…”
   Mike stared deeply into her eyes with a growing realization. “Debbie?”
“You’re my father, aren’t you?”
   “Oh Debbie… I never meant –“
“Well of course you didn’t,” Debbie snapped.
   “Ever since Mommy died, you blamed me,” she continued her rant. “You brought me here. Gave me my food, and a nickel. A nickel to put into that jukebox so I can have my back on you while you abandon me! Of course you never meant to see me again! You never meant to hurt me; you just wanted a new family. A new life.”
   “I am so sorry,” Michael sniffed, his eyes tearing up.
“I remember Mommy only for so long,” she sobbed. “Now I only remember her perfume and that black Hail Mary necklace. I had her hair, didn’t I?”
   “Yes you did, honey,” he stood up.
“What was her name?”
   “Jules.”
“Why did the hell did you leave me?”
   “I had no money, Debbie! I couldn’t just bring you with me!”
“Yes, you could’ve – you just took the easy way out! Just like everybody!”
   Michael couldn’t take it. He left the diner towards his truck. Debbie stood up fearfully and ran after him in the furious rain.
   “No!” she screamed as he started up his truck, banging on the locked passenger door. “Don’t leave me again! Not like this!”
   He mouthed two little words as an apology before revving away, leaving her to cry her heart out to the sky as she kneeled into the road. Drenched and lost, Debbie hugged herself in the cold rain. The angels weep tonight…
   
   “Are you okay?” the waitress saw her return.
“Can I… borrow a nickel?” she gasped for air, her legs uncontrollably weak. Her body shivered and her heart broke.
   “Here,” she handed over the coin. Debbie took it without a word and headed for the payphone on the wall. The nickel was thrust into the slot.
   A single ring came before it was picked up. She hadn’t been prepared for this.
“Hello?” a rough, coarse voice came on the other end.
   “Chris?” her voice wavered. “This is Debbie. I’m at Tony’s Stop.”
“That far, huh?” his voice seemed glad, and almost proud that she had gone further than he had imagined. “I’ll come get you.”
   “Chris?” she interrupted before he could hang up.
“Yeah?” he asked, a little irritated.
   “I love you,” she replied. “And I’m sorry.”
He paused, “I’m sorry too… I’ll come get you.”
   “Is Ann there?”
“She’s in bed… ever since you’ve been gone, she cried herself to sleep.”
   Debbie was lost for words.
“She will be glad once you come home, okay? We love you, don’t forget that.”
   “Never,” she shook her head, looking over her shoulder at the slick highway.
“Good-bye, I’ll see you soon,” Chris hung up.
   She placed the holder on the receiver with a light click, unaware that everyone in the diner had been staring at her. She sat back in her booth, and continued to eat her cheeseburger alone as she had did twelve years ago.
Just a quote I will always remember from Edgar Allen Poe:


"Nevermore!"

Offline zak_wolf

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Re: The Angels Weep Tonight
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2006, 09:56:32 PM »
Please cricitize...
Just a quote I will always remember from Edgar Allen Poe:


"Nevermore!"

Offline zak_wolf

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Re: The Angels Weep Tonight
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2006, 09:11:37 AM »
Criticism needed...  :(
Just a quote I will always remember from Edgar Allen Poe:


"Nevermore!"

Offline mary

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Re: The Angels Weep Tonight
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2006, 10:02:03 AM »
Hi Zak,

  Well I hate to see a grown man in a predicament. I'll give you what I can. Here goes. I think you have a good story in there. I hope this is your first draft because I think it could be tightened up a bit. Are there better ways to present your conversation dialogs that would move the story along?  You have a good "moral to the story" situation going on here but its a bit like trying to find that favorite sweater in a messy closet. I know it's in there! Looking forward to seeing your revisions.  :) mary

Offline Autumn

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Re: The Angels Weep Tonight
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2006, 02:01:01 AM »
I thought it was pretty good. The ending could use some work, and considering I have the attention span of a rodent on crack after 9:00, you kept my attention but lost me with some of the dialouge. And the ending could use some brushing up. I felt like you left me hanging there.

I'm not fond of hanging.

Autumn
Before you  criticize someone, you need to walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you'll be a mile away and you'll have thier shoes.
- Anonymous 

I've always loved this quote. It makes me bite my tounge often.

;D

Offline zak_wolf

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Re: The Angels Weep Tonight
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2006, 12:37:53 PM »
Okay, sure. I also have a short-attention span as well, but I chose the dialouge specifically because I feel this shows how they really are inside. I mean, when Michael and Debbie spoke about the times they had, they had no idea that they were thinking about the same thing. Yes this is my first draft... I'll look it over again to edit some things, thanks.
Just a quote I will always remember from Edgar Allen Poe:


"Nevermore!"

Offline tigger

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Re: The Angels Weep Tonight
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2006, 03:00:37 PM »
Hi Zak...

I've just finished reading this piece and I liked it except for a few minor details.

Here's my take:

The story is good, except when I got to the ending I thought it predictable. Howso? The ending was too easy.

Let me think...

Maybe I would have liked to see the story go a little differently, like Debbie getting to the place she wanted to go, having hitchhiked only to discover the train ticket was more than she could afford, there was no way for her to make the money and after spending several days trying to beg a few coins for food, she ends up walking back to the Reeves' house, only to be picked up by the same driver again. Only this time, when they get to the diner she remembers something about him, that she hadn't thought about the first time. Maybe she sees something on him like a tatoo on his wrist as she glances over at his hands holding the steering wheel, or maybe a chain on his neck or a scar on his eyebrow... whatever...she sees it and it sparks a memory. Then she begins to ask him questions. He answers vaguely. Before they get to the Reeves, he realizes she knows who he is, though she doesn't say. As she gets out of the car, the rain begins to come down, and she turns around to say, "the angels weep tonight". The title needs to have more significance/more of an impact on the story, if you're going to keep it. So maybe, dad could have used this phrase the first time he picked her up hitchhiking; and now, she uses it when he drops her off in front of her foster home.

Nothing else is spoken to solidify the recognition. But both parties know:  "this is my...father/ daughter". More importantly, the reader knows.

Okay. I'm at work so I have to go but...

Using this application, would leave room for you to expand on story. You never know, you might make it longer, or you might turn it into a series of stories, allowing for a book at some point...

Just my thoughts...

Oh. One more thing. Please go through your prose and check your tenses. There are a few places where you need to change this in order to keep the story sharp.

Good Luck...

Offline zak_wolf

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Re: The Angels Weep Tonight
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2006, 06:38:49 PM »
That's a pretty good idea - yet I want this story to impact everyone. To impact both of them, not just one at a time. Makes it more powerful, more ... unbearable for both of them - they can't take it. Thanks everyone!
Just a quote I will always remember from Edgar Allen Poe:


"Nevermore!"