Currently on hiatus. Will resume in July, or sooner.

Current story updates:

Current story interludes/Side stories:
Every other Saturday

Other pieces:
Every other Saturday (Saturdays I don't run the Interludes/Side Stories)

During certain periods updates may come more often; at other times updates may come less often. This schedule is my hoped-for goal.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Writers Craft Short story #3: At the end

So this is the final story I wrote about Gavin. I really grew to hate his character. Probably because a lot of what I wrote about Gavin came from me and my experiences. But anyways, here is the last story I wrote about him. I just wanted to get it over with so that I could start on into another set of stories or things that I had written, Next up is likely going to be Kronos, one of my older stories set in the same universe as my 'Hunting you Hunting me' but far in the future. As they both progress I'll try to connect them more. As it is you van see similar themes in the thoughts and actions of humanity in Kronos and Hunting.

At the End
By Kees Schuller

Gavin held Debbie close as they stared out the window at the snow falling down. After a moment he continued speaking.

“I want to say, I’m sorry. And, Debbie, when I was stuck on that train, when I was not sure if I was going to get back from there, there was one person that I thought about, one person who was on my mind”

She looked at him, and smiled nervously.


“You Debbie. You”

He smiled, and leaned down to kiss her, but she pushed him away and broke the embrace. Gavin pulled back as well, surprised.

“I am so glad that you are safe Gavin. I was really worried about you. But, at the same time I was doing some thinking. And, I don’t think that you can give me what I want. I don’t think that you can be the type of boyfriend I need after so long as friends. I think you were right Gavin, and I want to move on. I’m sorry that I made you make a choice”

She got up and moved to stand in front of the fireplace. She didn’t see Gavin’s face falling, collapsing in on itself, mirroring his emotions, his newfound hopes.

‘I am an actor’ he thought ‘I can’t let her see this, not after everything else that I have put her through’ When she turned back his face was composed again and he was staring out the window. She didn’t notice him rubbing his wrists.

“Gavin, I am sorry about making you make a decision, but now we can go on with our lives. I can move on, and you can stop pretending to like me, or whatever it was you’ve been doing”

Gavin just stared out the window as his thoughts spiralled out of control. ‘Why now? Why now after I’ve already decided that I like you Debbie? Why now after I’ve decided that we can be a couple, that we can go somewhere’ But he didn’t say anything.

Debbie took a step forwards and waved a hand across his field of view. “Earth to Gavin? Hello? You in there?”

“Hmm?” He looked around at stared at her again “Oh, yes, I’m fine. Well, I’m glad that you made that decision. I have to get going”

He lurched to his feet, and pushed her arm aside.

“I can find my own way out, you’ll have to lock up behind me”

“Gavin, wait, you are not ok. Come back here”

The door closed behind him and he ran down the hallway, his feet pounding out a staccato rhythm on the floor.

As he threw the door to the stairs open and began to barrel down them he could hear her door open again as she came after him.

He didn’t stop running until he was at the ground floor, out into the snow again.

He stumbled to a halt out there, the wind blowing past him, and slumped against the wall.

“What am I going to do now?” he moaned softly. His acting had stood him in good stead there, but even then Debbie had seen something was wrong. There was really no way out of this now. No way out of this stupid situation he had gotten himself trapped in.

“Looks like I gave hostages to fortune. Again”

As he slumped there he felt at the scars on his wrists again. How easy it would be to take out his swiss army knife and just slit those scars open again. How easy, and everything would end.

He had heard once that bleeding out is a nice way to go. You don’t feel much pain, and its just like going to sleep at the end. Same with freezing to death, except that required shivering first, and he wasn’t going to take off his coat.

He sighed, and pushed himself off from the wall. He had things to do in the morning.

Namely work.

He sighed again and started walking.

Work. Music. Art. Drama.

Nothing else much to his life right now. He pushed along the street. But, he didn’t head for home. He finally arrived at work, and stared up at the weather beaten sign above the weather beaten facade. The Artist’s Palette it read.

He fished his key out of his pocket and let himself in. When the rest of the morning shift arrived they found him asleep on the sofa in the break room.

By lunch he was exhausted again, and spent his break sleeping in the back. By close he was hungry from no lunch.

Nothing seemed to happen all day. People were wandering about, in and out of the store. Buy something, then leave.

Nothing seemed to have meaning anymore. Broken, empty, lifeless.

For the next week Gavin avoided his apartment as much as he could, getting back late and leaving early. He didn’t see much of Marcus and Louise, although he knew they were there. Lucky them, they found each other. They are happy, they have someone.

The days dragged on until the weekend.

Work in the morning, shift ends at lunch, head to Cliffhanger, act for five hours, longer, as long as he could stay. When that was done, take the long way home, walk even.

Nothing seemed worthwhile, nothing had purpose. And always that swiss army knife sat there in his coat pocket, taunting him. No matter how many times he took it out it always seemed to end up back there again.

And then the weekend. He woke up at 5 as he had all week and stared at the ceiling. No work today, no drama today. Usually he painted.

He rolled over and went back to sleep. There was no point in getting up today. No point at all.

When he finally got up the sun was high in the sky, but it looked cold outside. Massaging his temples he walked out of his room into the main room.

“Gavin” he jumped, and looked around.

Debbie sat on the couch. His heart lurched, gave a pang. Again his acting helped him. His voice was steady, didn’t fade away, didn’t stick in his throat, didn’t squeak or lurch or betray any emotion at all.

“I’ve got to shower Debbie. Let me do that first will you?”

“No, Gavin, we need to talk”

“I’m going to shower. It can wait.”

He pulled the door closed, and turned the water on. Sat on the toilet with his head in his hands.

“I used to enjoy life. I used to not have any worries. Damn it, I’m overreacting! She’s right, she’s right, I need to move on. I never really liked her anyways, it was just because they were forcing me to make a decision”

But he knew it for the lie that it was. The water splashed down, and finally he got up and had a shower. Towelled his hair dry, brushed it back, combed it into its little raised tuft thing at the front.

“I have to talk to her at some point” The mirror stared back at him, impassive “I do, you know that. I need to, or else I will go crazy”

For some reason that stupid face in the mirror bugged him more than anything else at that moment. Smug little face with the stupid douchey hair and the little goatee and the stupid stupid stupid him.

He fumbled around and grabbed his razor up, hacked at his goatee with a vengeance. Flattened his hair down again, patted it flat.

“Brushing your hair up like that. I doesn’t make you any taller. And everyone knows that you are just covering up for being short” He sneered at the mirror before finally turning away and wrapping himself in his bathrobe.

“Why can’t I move on?” he muttered to himself as he opened the door and headed for his bedroom.

He didn’t bother to check to see if Debbie was still there. But, his eyes drifted towards where she had been anyways.

She was still sitting there, a book open on her lap. He flinched and pried his eyes away.

Slammed his bedroom door and sat down on his bed. After a few moments passed he got up and threw on his jeans, tee and hoodie. Slipped his shoes on, and moved to the door. He opened it and stepped out as Debbie looked up and closed her book.

“So, what was it that you wanted to talk about?”

“I’ve been talking to Marcus and Louise and-”

“Speaking of which, do you know where they are?” Anything to avoid looking at her, talking to her. But his eyes still drifted back even as he pretended to look around the room for Louise and Marcus.

“Gavin” His eyes snapped back to her, of their own accord “I’m being serious here. We need to talk”

“Yes, we do, and I need some breakfast. Want to walk down to Timmies with me? We can talk on the way there as easily as we can here, and I can think better on a full stomach”

He didn’t wait for her answer, just got up, pulled his jacket and boots on and started down the hall.

She had to jog to keep up.

“You lock the door Debbie?”

“Yes, I did. Now, will you listen to me?”


“Stop being so flippant about this” She was mad, almost shouting at him.

The elevator doors opened and he stepped inside. An elderly couple moved aside to make room “I’m not being flippant. What did you want to say?”

Debbie looked at the couple and decided that it could wait until they had relative privacy again “Later”

The doors hissed shut and the elevator began its long descent. At the bottom Gavin brushed past Debbie and started off again after wishing the elderly couple a good day. When he reached the doors and saw that they too were exiting the building he waited to hold the doors for the two.

“Thank you”

“Not at all Sir, Ma’am. You two have lived a long life, done a lot for all of us. Its time that we all pay back some of that debt”

They walked off through the snow chatting about the ‘nice young man’ and how he was ‘so polite’.

Debbie just glared at him “What was that about Gavin?”

He glared back at her “It's just something that I do. I believe those words that I said. The elderly have lived love lives, have seen things, done things that we haven’t. They have so much experience, know so many things. And, like I said they have done a lot for the world. They deserve to have the world pay them back”

Debbie turned away and started down the street muttering about how it figured that he only gave respect to one party and it wasn’t her.

“Uh, Debbie? Wrong way”

She muttered even more as she hurried to catch up.

‘I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I can’t do this anymore. This life, facing her, this all this. These emotions’ He smiled as she caught up “So, what did you want to talk about?”

“Oh my god you dense moron! Can you not be a sarcastic arrogant prick for just five minutes? Is that even possible for you?”

Gavin looked at her taken aback. But she had hurt him, and he was not in the mood for being nice.

“Umm, let me see. Nope, I don’t think so”

She slapped him and walked off in the other direction. He got his breakfast and went back to his room.

When Marcus and Louise walked in later he was sitting, staring at his easel, music playing but no art on the canvas. The paint jars sat unopened on his little table.

“Hey guys. I guess that I never got inspired today”

Louise glared at Gavin, then kissed Marcus on the cheek. “I’m going to go home Marcus. I don’t want to spend an evening with him”

“Hey, Louise, wait, what did I do…?”

But she was already gone, walking back down the hallway.

“Uh, Marcus, what did I do?”

Marcus looked at Gavin, no expression on his face “We are glad that you are safe, but you need to stop avoiding us, stop avoiding the problems. I don’t even know why you are avoiding us, but it has Louise thinking that you’re mad at her for some reason. She’s pretty pissed off. I better go talk to her”

He turned and as the door swung closed behind him, Gavin could see him starting off after Louise.

“What do I do?” Gavin asked himself as he watched the door slam shut behind his last two friends “What on Earth should I do?”

He was still sitting there staring at his paint brush as night fell on the city. The next day he got up, packed up his art, and walked out into the city.

No work, no drama. Because it was winter there would be no soccer game today. Nothing to stop him from doing whatever he felt like. Maybe he should go to a club and see if there were any pretty girls. Debbie floated through his mind.

There would be no dancing for him. Not for a long time, if ever.

He sighed and continued his slow walk. Somehow he ended up in the park. He sat down on a bench and looked around. Then, he leapt to his feet and backed away from that bench. Not that bench. He had painted it once. Maybe he could sit on another bench.

But not right now. Right now any bench would evoke the same thoughts. He brushed the snow off his pants and kept walking.

Why couldn’t he stop thinking about this? It had been a week.

He looked up and found himself outside her building.

Apartment 413.

He climbs the stairs slowly, almost reluctantly.

“I do need to apologize. I do. Thats the only reason that I am coming here”

He knocked on the door, and waited for it to open.

“Yes? Oh. Its you”

“Yes Debbie, its me. I want to say sorry for yesterday. I was a jerk”

“Yes, you were”

She isn’t making it easy for him, but he didn’t expect that she would.

“What did you want to talk about?”

“I just wanted to say that you didn’t have to avoid us. That we are still friends. That just because I want to move on doesn’t mean that I don’t want you around anymore.

“None of us want you to leave Gavin. You have to stop sealing yourself off from us. We do still want to be your friend.

“You’ve apologized to me, but you still need to go apologize to Marcus and Louise. I’m busy, so if you want to talk more can you come back later?”

“Ok. Sure Debbie”

The door closed in his face and he could not help but feel that it was closing off something more than just the apartment. That this barrier between himself and Debbie was significant in some way, symbolic. He could knock on the door, but why bother? She obviously didn’t want to talk to him anymore. And he had tried.

So he walked back down the stairs.

Stood outside the apartment and took a deep breath. The air was cold, and fresh. Invigorating.

Maybe he couldn’t forget about Debbie, couldn’t get her off his mind. But, that was no reason to stop living.

He had let his emotions and depression rule him for long enough. He walked off down the road, a tune on his lips.

The air was fresh and clear, the snow was falling covering everything in a soft white powder. This ugly dreary city didn’t seem so ugly and dreary, and at the same time it seemed more so than ever. That made him think of a good idea for a painting.

He pursed his lips and began to whistle.

Debbie’s favourite song. So bittersweet to be humming that now.

So so bittersweet.

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