Part 2007 – A Shared Reading Experience.

Capernaum stood off to the side and watched Jeff and LM take turns reading ‘How To Kiss A Girl In Fifteen Days’. It had taken them a while to figure out a good rhythm. They finally settled on one page at a time, instead of splitting sections.

Jeff was a much better reader than LM. Jeff put all of the emotion and feeling into the words. He brought the characters to life. LM’s reading was emotionally flat. He tended to psychoanalyze the characters too much and complain about how the main character did not make any sense.

Capernaum smiled.

But I wouldn’t expect him to be any other way. LM is LM.

His smile faded as he felt it — the all encompassing desire to go back. He floated over to the window and looked up at the sky.

He hadn’t come from the sky. He couldn’t pinpoint where he’d come from. It was like coming from light into darkness.

“And I am still in darkness, longing for the light.”

His gaze dropped to the sidewalk and the parking lot far below. Other ghosts walked in the night. Some desperately sought those who could break their ties to the living. Others stood in the streets alone, dejected, and unmoving. A few lucky ones lost shape and form and turned into brilliant outlines of light before disappearing.

That will be me some day. I’ll be free to leave. I’ll finally be able to go back.

He looked up at the sky again. If he still had a heart, it would have been crushed by longing.

One of these days, I will finally go back.

***

“Devin removed his gray sweatshirt, exposing his bare torso. All of the girls in attendance let out rapturous screams.

All of them except Jamboree.

She flicked him a disinterested look and that was all of the acknowledgement he got from her.

He smirked.

But I got her to look. This is progress.

Time to kick it up to the next small notch.

He twirled his shirt above his head and flung it right at her.

Unfortunately, Mrs. Widdenschraggenfrimmenhomren entered the room at just the right moment and walked directly into his sweatshirt’s airborne path. It landed on top of her lavender-scented beehive hairdo. She plucked it off her head and threw it back at him so hard it knocked him back three steps. “Please put your shirt back on, student, and KEEP it on.”  Jeff said the last line in his best impersonation of Alan Rickman…if Alan Rickman were a middle-aged woman.

LM watched him as the former hunter kept reading.

He seems to be having a lot of fun. I wonder why. This story makes no sense to me. The characters are so odd and inconsistent. How could anyone enjoy a book like this?

He looked down at Missy.

I wonder if she would enjoy it. Or would she agree with me? If she were sensible, she would definitely agree with me and call this book a tragic waste of paper and ink. But she is his daughter. How sensible is she?

But she is XQ. She is Antioch’s XQ. She has seen pain and betrayal. She knows that life isn’t a room of fluff that one can roll around in. It’s bricks and mortar. It’s blood and agony. It’s grief. It’s loss. It’s heartache and loneliness.

He thought about Carthage.

It is broken trust.

Jeff turned the page and handed the book to the half-fey. “Your turn.”

LM sighed. He read out loud in a flat line that was so flat it could have reached the moon, “Jamboree waited until everyone had left the gym. Even then, she kept up her shield of profound disinterest. She strolled over to the downed sweatshirt.

She thought about him and kicked it several times…just in case anyone was watching. “I HATE DEVIN!”

Satisfied that such a strong declaration would scare away any and all spies, Jamboree knelt and picked up the sweaty gray shirt. She pressed it against her face and inhaled his torrid stench.”

Silly girl. Why is she doing that if she hates him?

LM frowned.

Or does she hate him?

I don’t get it.

This girl doesn’t make any sense at all.

The half-fey tilted his head and blinked quickly.

Maybe that’s why Jeff likes this story. Because…because it doesn’t make sense. Or rather…it’s an escape from things making sense. It’s a release from worrying about all of the strict, straight lines in his life.

Maybe that does make sense.

LM thought about Carthage and Capernaum and Antioch and the burned down Institute. He thought about being homeless and friendless in a great big city.

Maybe I need that release too.

He resumed reading, but this time he read with a little more enthusiasm.

***

Jeff listened to him read.

And he smiled.

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