Why Read The Chapter Blog?

I have published several novels and short stories and studied under some of the most prolific writers of our time. My hope is to entertain you and teach you how to write fulfilling stories. Many people are already doing this through video essays, but if you are interested in writing novels, there’s a better way.

A more direct way.

Through novels themselves. 

So, do you want to read a good book? Read this one. An entire free Fantasy Novel.

Enjoy short stories? New ones posted regularly.

Interested in learning how to write stories? Learn about writing principles and see them applied in each chapter.

Questions? Message me with questions about writing stories and I’ll write a new chapter based on the answer.

And if you like what you read, you can see a free sneak peek of my published novels below, available for purchase on Amazon/Kindle!

Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed. — G. K. Chesterton


Short Story. Funny Things.

A short story based on the prompt from Reedsy: write about a character standing in front of door doors and what happens when they choose one.

Doors are funny things.
Maybe not “haha” funny… but maybe more like “force a smile and nod” funny. The kind of gut-wrenching funny that hurts so bad, all you can do is laugh.
Yes, they’re that kind of funny, which is why I’m laughing now as I stare at two doors.
Two choices.
My fingers tremble as I raise my hand toward one and then the other.
The doors are so similar, but there’s enough difference to give me pause. One path is darker than the other, more intimidating, but I suspect it’s the better choice in the long run. The other is brighter, easier… but there’s something I don’t trust.
One of them is the door I made, and the other handed to me.
These are doors. But as you may have guessed, they are also not doors.
One of them begins to shake as if something is trying to break through. The disturbance is unnaturally loud in my mind, the thuds growing louder as I stand before it, stuck in my anxiety.
I grab the door by its edges and hold it in place, squeezing my eyes shut as I will it to calm. It doesn’t, at first, only growing louder until it becomes nearly unbearable. Only when I’ve finally convinced myself it will never end, does it finally descend into stillness.
I let go of the door and step back. It is back in place. I have control over my mind… for the moment.
That’s the amazing thing about doors; they offer the illusion of control. I decide when to allow the world to pass through my walls. I decide when to leave my home behind. I decide… Unless the doors decide for me.
The other door doesn’t move, doesn’t shake, but I can feel it weakening. It will disintegrate any second now, betraying the illusion.
I grab it like the other, but more gentle this time, holding it close to my chest as I attempt to lend it my strength. I will not have the decision made for me. I will open the door I choose… I have not already chosen. I HAVE NOT.
The door grows thin, weakening… but it still stands, held together by my arms, so I remain, afraid to let it go. My arms shake at the effort, but my mind is strong, strong enough to choose. I have control. I have control. I have… two choices and no time left.
The door in my arms grows so thin that I can see through it. I can see what will happen if I walk through it, and it’s so dark that I wonder how I could ever go through this door knowing what I know now.
I pull my eyes away, staring at the other door instead. I can’t see through it. I have no idea what would happen if I open it, but the desire to know… it’s stronger than ever before.
I want to go to it, to open it just far enough to peak, but I cannot move. Even as I lament, the other door trembles yet again, and this time there will be no stopping it.
One door will fall or the other will be broken. I must choose or have no choice at all. Control and anxiety, they fit so well together… until they don’t.
A second passes.
The doors no longer exist.
I have already chosen, long before my mind was mired in sand. Long before I laughed at my choices.
I never had control at all. This is what pulls me out of my mind, bringing me back to reality.
A doctor is staring at me, having asked a question I can no longer remember.
She gives me a tight smile. “Do you remember what happened?”
I begin to nod and stop immediately as a shooting pain flares down my spine. “Yes,” I say instead. “I… I chose the wrong door.”
“You were hit by a car.”
I worked my lips, scrunching my nose as I felt for the bandages on my face. “And I immediately regretted it.”
The doctor’s eyes narrowed. “Are you saying you got hit on purpose?”
“So, what are you saying?”
“That I opened the wrong door.”
She tilts her head. “The car door?” I nod, wincing at the pain. “You couldn’t have known,” she said after a moment, her face softening.
“I could have.” My mind wants to shut down, to replay that moment over and over again until it discovers a different outcome. I had a choice. I had control. Until I had neither.
“Stay with me, Grace.”
My eyes refocus on hers, the edges of my mind at bay. “Are they okay?”
The doctor hesitates, her eyes flickering between her chart and me. “They will be.”
“How bad is it?”
“You need to rest,” she tells me, her eyes no longer able to meet mine.
I push myself up, ignoring the pain in my limbs as I straighten in the bed. “You wanted to know what happened.”
She nods, her mouth opening to object, but I interject before she can.
“I saw them coming. I thought I had time, so I… I opened my door, and they hit me. They tried to swerve away, but… well, I didn’t see it, but I heard the car over the ringing in my ears. It was so loud…”
“There’s no need for more,” the doctor says, resting a hand on my shoulder. “It was a mistake.”
“It was a choice.” But the heat in my voice dissipates under the pressure of the words. “It was a stupid decision made by a stupid person.”
“We all make mistakes.”
“Yes,” I agree, trying to hold back the tears pooling in my eyes, but my mind will not relent. Most people would have waited for the cars to pass, they would have opened the other door, they would have… well, done anything else.
“The family asked after you,” the doctor says after some moments of silence. “They wanted to make sure you were okay. They even asked to come and see you, as long as you were okay with it.”
I hesitate before giving the slightest shake of my head. “Tell them I’m fine.”
The doctor watches me for a second before leaving the room, closing the door behind her.
And now I face another door, thinking of the family I hurt and the ways I could have avoided it. I welcome the many parts of my body throbbing with pain, using it as a reminder of my choice and the hurt I inflicted.
I want to sit in my room, protected and alone behind my closed doors so I can wallow in my mind. That’s what anxiety says… what it insists on doing… but there’s another door: one that leads to my victims and the potential for forgiveness. An opportunity that I do not deserve.
I slowly roll out of my bed, acting before my mind could freeze as it so often would. A machine starts to beep, but I ignore it as I reach out to my door. Despite every warning in my head, I will seek out the family and accept what comes. I will open that door.
And just as I reach the handle, the door slams outward and knocks me to the ground, revealing a frazzled nurse standing over me, and at the sight of her shocked face, an eruption of laughter takes over. I am in so much pain, but I am stuck no longer.
Doors are funny things.

Short Story. Knuckles.

A story story based on the prompt from Reedsy: A story about two people who need each other but are too stubborn to admit it.

Do you ever not know what to do in a social situation? Like, when someone smiles at you and, for whatever reason, your reaction is to bow? I know some of us are out there. If you’ve never bowed to someone, chances are you’ve been bowed to. Maybe both, who knows.
I’m the kind of person that bows to strangers. So when I tell you that I have no friends, you know why.
Now you might be thinking, ‘but you seem so clever and handsome.’ Well, thank you, but it has gotten me nowhere.
I did have one friend. She understood me and laughed at my jokes and supported me… until she didn’t.
Now I see her in the halls and I don’t bow. I don’t say anything, because she never even looks at me. It seems I did something wrong, but there’s no telling what it was. So I stick to bowing to strangers.


I can’t even make eye contact with that idiot. He’s walking around like he did nothing wrong as if he is completely innocent. He’s a dope. An awkward fool… but I can’t help but miss him.
He’s the only one that listens, truly listens when I’m in pain. I can talk about my family and my insecurities, and he will make everything better by merely holding my hand.
He’s my best friend… but he’s not listening anymore. If only he would ask for forgiveness… even admit a fraction of what he did, and I would happily take him back.
But that would require he know what he did… would necessitate even an ounce of awareness. I’m not holding my breath.


Two can play at silence; I’m very practiced at it and I’ve been told by many annoyed acquaintances that I “couldn’t hold a conversation if it fit in the Pam of my hand.” To which I would reply… “huh?”
I imagine, if I wasn’t so good at silence, I’d have made more friends, but if they were so jealous of my talents, then I’m better off without them.
So I employ them here, ignoring her the way she was ignoring me. Well, not quite, since I couldn’t stop glancing in her direction, but mostly.
We pass by in a silence so thorough that I’m genuinely unsure whether or not she saw me.
I begin to wonder if she’s really mad at me at all. She has other friends, in fact, so maybe she is just distracted.
I look back at her and happen to meet her eyes as they bore a hole in my head. Okay, yeah, she’s ice cold.
I’m certain now that I did something wrong, but I have no idea what it was. Still, whatever it may have been, she knows I’m not responsible for bringing it up. She’s the one that tells me I’ve misstepped. She’s the one that apologizes for me and explains social etiquette.
If she wants to be my friend, she has to bring up the grievance so we can squash it. The fact that she hasn’t yet, suggests she no longer wants to be friends. That scares me more than I’d like to admit.


I’m not explaining it to him. I can’t. Not this time, not for something that should be so obvious.


We don’t have class together until the afternoon, but I spend the morning thinking about her. About how unfair this is and how much I miss her despite the fact that she almost certainly doesn’t miss me.
It occurs to me I may need to make an effort and figure out what went wrong, even if it should be her responsibility.
I didn’t kill anything of hers… her plant was safe the last time I saw it, and I stayed far away from her dog.
I didn’t share anything embarrassing with her parents, right? I mean, I may have been especially awkward, but I can’t help that… Let’s see, I was flustered and gave them knucks when they tried to shake my hand, but they didn’t seem to mind. Then I told them about my sand collection, but I don’t think that would have bothered her…
I didn’t spill any secrets… literally, no one to spill them to.
I genuinely don’t know what I did.


He might not figure it out. Maybe he never listened at all and it was all just a big act. If he paid any attention to her at all, he would know what he did. He would know what he missed.
No. Not this time.


I give up.


I pull the hair away from my face, fixing my pony tale so it pulled tight against my scalp. I know this is what I do when I get anxious, but I can’t help it.
I start envisioning class with him in the afternoon and how I might avoid him, but I don’t want to avoid him. How do I bring this up so he might apologize?
One of my classmates shoots me a smile, leaning over her chair. “Happy belated birthday,” she whispers while our teacher is turned.
“Thanks,” I whisper back with a tight smile. Maybe he isn’t the only one that listens. I have other friends; people that remember and care about my birthday. I don’t need him.
My classmate waits for another opening from the teacher before whispering back. “What’s the coolest present you got?” I feel a little weird about the question, but try to come up with an answer all the same. I was too slow. “Mine was a laptop,” the girl says before I can answer. “I get a new one every year….”
Her words turned into background noise, a rambling diatribe about herself with zero regard for me or the teacher.
My thoughts turn to my friend once more. Maybe I do need him.


I find something in my locker between classes, stuck inside one of my books.
My heart leaps as I imagine who it’s from. Maybe she’s forgiven me… but it’s not from someone else. It’s something I left in my locker last week, right before the weekend. A note to myself. “Don’t forget Lucy’s birthday.”
Crap. That what I get for not being on social media.
I find her in the hall, her eyes flickering nervously between me and nothing in particular as I walk in her direction. They finally settle on me as I stop directly in front of her.
She says nothing.
I bow. “I’m so sorry I forgot your birthday.”
She smiles, giving me knucks as a wave of relief washes over me. “All is forgiven.” And she tells me all about it, happy to listen to a friend.

Short Story. Burned.

A short story based on the prompt from Reedsy: A story about someone nervous to attend their first party in a long time.

“Ninety percent.”
Bella pops her head through the bathroom door, frowning at me the way she does when she’s trying to decide whether or not to smack me. “What?”
“If you were wondering what the chances were that I’d hide in the bathroom the whole night… It’s about ninety percent,” I say, allowing a smirk to play on my lips.
Bella rolls her eyes before disappearing back into the bedroom.
“You could join me!” I yell after her, no longer able to hold back my smile. My mood quickly deflates, however, as I stare into the mirror.
“That would defeat the purpose of going to the party in the first place!” She yells back. I genuinely can’t tell if she’s amused or annoyed. Probably both. “Do you really find spending time with our friends so loathsome?”
“Loathsome?” I whisper, frowning at myself in the mirror. “Strong word.” Louder, I reply, “They’re fine! Though I do often find them annoyingsome.” I think I hear a chuckle.
Bella pokes her head back in, fiddling with an earring. “Because they’re only annoying some of the time?” I nod. “Good one,” she says, disappearing yet again.
“And they’re your friends, not mine!” I follow up after a moment, still frowning at my reflection. My hair is chaos, my complexion marred by scars.
“They love you!” She chides.
“They love that I’m married to you.”
“One of your best qualities,” she says as she joins me in the bathroom to finish her makeup.
I shrug.
She smacks me, but it doesn’t provoke the usual response. I’m quiet now, my ears buzzing with anxiety. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been to one of these.”
Bella meets my eyes through the mirror. “A party?”
I nod. “Not since the accident.”
She takes my hand, calmly running her thumb along mine. “They love you,” she repeats.
“Sure they do.”


Too many eyes follow me as we make our entrance, having nothing to do with the chips cradled in my arms. They know about the accident, the burns up and down my face… but knowing pales in comparison to seeing.
Bella notices their noticing and grabs the chips from my grasp, holding them aloft like some token distraction. “We brought snacks!” She says, shaking the bag.
The spell is broken, our friends’ attentions briefly pulled away from my face, but their eyes still flicker to it too often. They’re not seeing me, only it.
“May I use your restroom?” I ask the group in general because I don’t know whose house this is. Bella gives me a look, but there’s no heat in it. She understands.
“Sure, buddy,” says one of the younger guys, clapping me on the back as he points down the hall. Steve, I think his name is. Or is it Francis? I’m not sure, but I suspect he’s in the same boat since my name is decidedly not ‘buddy.’”
“Thanks, pal,” I say with a small smile, following his directions.
He either doesn’t notice or doesn’t mind the joke. Bella just rolls her eyes.


I reappear sometime later, settling in by my wife’s side with no intent to engage in her conversation.
“…I couldn’t believe it.”
My ears catch the last bit of the sentence, but my mind is sitting on the couch at home, trying to decide what to watch next. Everyone chuckles in response, so I force a vague smile, giving as little effort as possible.
“What do you think, June?”
I blink, forcing my brain to wake up. “What?”
“What about you?” One of Bella’s closer friends asks. I’m almost certain her name is Jessica.
“Well,” I say, stalling as I glance at Bella. She knows I want her to bail me out, but she stays silent, smiling sweetly back at me. “You know… I’m sorry, I wasn’t listening,” I say, grimacing apologetically. “What was that, Je… u… you said?”
“No problem,” she says with a smirk tells me she knows I just stumbled over her name. “I was just wondering if you had any plans for the holidays?”
I answer without listening to my response, and the party rolls on.
The circle breaks up and forms anew with slightly different people and names I know I don’t remember. My wife holds court and I refill her drinks, happy for excuses to disappear.


“What happened to your face?”
I look up, startled. Not because of the question, but because I hadn’t realized anyone was standing near me. She was a younger girl, probably someone’s daughter, but her age was too ambiguous for me to tell. Bella would know who she was, how we knew her, and the exact day of her birth, but Bella was busy.
“I burned it,” I say, my eyes casting around the room for help, but we are in the corner of a room where everyone else is engaged elsewhere.
I let out a sigh, taking a sip of my drink, but the girl waited patiently, her eyes curious as they looked into mine. My eyes… not my burns. “It was an accident.”
“I should hope so.”
I nearly spit out my drink, unable to hold back a laugh.
She lets out a pleased smile as I crouch down to her level, ignoring the burning of my nostrils. “You don’t think I could have enemies?”
“I think you could have many enemies,” she says with a straight face. “I just doubt they would burn you like that.” She points to the scars on my face. “I mean, they would at least make some sort of design with them, right? Maybe write their initials.”
I take another sip of my drink, unsure what to say to that.
“So what kind of accident?” She insists.
“A tragic one,” I say dramatically, waving my free hand in the air. “I saved the world, I did. Twice, actually, but I slipped and fell the second time, so now I’m retired.”
“Retired?” She asks, her eyes sharp. “From saving the world? What if it’s threatened again?”
“Then I may have to come out of retirement,” I say somberly.
“So you can get the rest of you burned?” She says with her hands on her hips.
I let out another laugh, this time without firewater in my throat. “Fair enough, I guess I’ll stay retired. You’ve convinced me.”
She smiles wide, offering her hand. “I’m Lily.
“June,” I say, taking her hand. “Lily, huh? I’ll remember that.”

Short Story. I am Blind. But I am not Blind.

A short story based on the prompt from Reedsy: Write a story based in a city that suddenly loses power.

I am blind. But I am not blind.
The mirror reveals too much, doesn’t it? We are vulnerable in its sight, a too clear reflection of what I cannot see. You can see the blemishes on my face? I cannot, but they taunt me with their sting, threatening to pull attention. You see my hair, wild and dry? You see my crooked teeth? I see nothing. What is mine is a mystery to me.
The needles of my brush pull at my hair, demanding obedience. I look at the mirror, searching it as the sighted might, a habit not yet broken. Nothing but my eyes are broken.
I live by myself, in an apartment on the second floor. They offered me the first floor. They not so subtly suggested a pet, a roommate, a crutch. I denied all three. I demanded the second floor and I got the second floor.
Yes, I am not alone. But I am not alone.
I run the brush through my hair. Again, until I’m certain it holds. Again, for good measure. Again and again, until there is no question. I am in control.
But I am not in control.
Finally, I run my fingers through my hair, feeling for knots and insubordination. It feels smooth. Controlled.
I reach out to the mirror, forcing confidence I don’t feel, pretending I can see through my fingertips. My light is on. Another habit. My sight is gone. But I can still see.
I pass a child in the hallway. I hear the scuffling of his feet as he crawls out of my way.
“‘Scuse me,” he mumbles.
I can hear the fear in his voice. What stories might he have heard about the lonely neighbor that cannot see?
“You are perfectly fine,” I say softly, forcing a smile to my lips. “Thank you for clearing a path for me.”
I hear nothing. I imagine he is nodding in reply.
It’s another morning in which I stare into the empty mirror. My hand trembles as it reaches for my hair, so I let it rest on the counter instead. I will not reach for the carton. I will not take another drag.
I do. And I do.
I am strong. But I am not strong.
“‘Scuse me,” The boy says as I pass him in the hall.
He shuffles to the side to let me through. It sounds like he’s crawling. It sounds like he’s not so afraid.
“Thank you, young man!” I say, smiling in his general direction.
“You welcome,” he replies. He sounds timid, but I can hear the interest in his voice.
My hand drags along the opposite wall, eager to show the boy that it’s not so scary to be blind. That I’m just another normal human being with friends and a family like anyone else. I don’t have to be scary. I don’t have to be weak.
I throw my cigarettes in the trash that night.
I dig them out in the morning.
“‘Scuse me!” My heart flutters a little at his voice. It sounds almost as if he is glad to see me, but I don’t hear the boy’s feet. He does not move out of the way.
“You are perfectly excused!” I say, a smile playing on my lips, but I hesitate to move forward.
“‘Scuse me, miss… um, lady?”
“Can you help me?”
My breath catches, lips trembling as I realize the significance of his request. I had not dreamed anyone would ever again ask for my help. No matter how small. “Of course,” I say heavily.
“It’s dark.”
My mouth is suddenly dry. “How do you mean?”
“I can’t see,” the boy cries, letting out a sniffle. “It went dark!”
My fingers twitch, instinctively reaching out to feel the darkness. I want to tell the difference. I want to say I knew the lights went out. But I could say no such thing. I could only say, “really?”
The boy doesn’t speak, but I assume another nod.
“Okay, don’t worry, just stay where you are.” I feel the wall beside me, dragging my hand down it as I kneel on the floor. I am strong. I am crawling. I am vulnerable, but the world is blind. “Can you talk for me, sweetheart? So I can tell where you are?”
Another sniffle. “I want mommy,” he says, his voice a mixture of distress and control.
“Yeah?” I say encouragingly as I shuffle toward his voice. “Do you know where she is?”
He gives no response, but I have the right heading, slowly feeling my way across the floor. “What about daddy?”
Still no response, but my hand feels a shoe. Suddenly, the shoe pulls away as the boy letting out a muffled cry.
“It’s okay,” I say. “It’s me, I’m just trying to find your hand.”
The shoe doesn’t return, but my hand stays where it is, palm open. “We’re going to be okay. You’re safe here.”
“I want mommy.”
“She’s okay too,” I say, my voice barely more than a whisper. “She’s going to find you soon, alright? As soon as the lights come back on she’ll come for you.”
“She’s at work.”
“Then we’ll wait for her to get back. Is anyone else home?”
No response.
I pull myself against the wall, careful to leave my hand where it is. “I’m going to see if anyone else is home,” I say, using my other hand to knock against the wall. “Is this your home?”
Again, no response. I have to stop using ‘yes or no’ questions.
“Where is your home?” I ask instead.
“Like right here next to us?”
No response from the boy nor the apartment on the other side of the wall.
“I’ll protect you either way.”
“Thank you,” the boy says, his voice wavering. And then I feel something in my hand. Small fingers clutching mine. I am not strong.
“You’re very welcome,” I choke back.
“You’re very nice,” the boy sniffles more gently.
“So are you.” I am not alone. “What’s your name?”
“Clive,” he says. I can hear his smile. “What’s yours?”
The boy squeezes my hand tighter.
I am blind. But I am not blind.

Short Story. Control.

Another prompt by Reedsy: Write about someone who catalogs everything in their life until their system gets messed up.

I’ve never truly had control over my life.
Illusion of control? Sure. Rarely. But someone else has always been in charge.
The master holding my leash.
My parents. My friends. My teachers. My supervisors. Anyone but me.
I know this. Feel this. Yet, I buy into the illusion just as thoroughly as anyone.
I take notes every day. Others have called it journaling, but it’s not that in the slightest. It’s not feelings or memories caught on paper to be revisited. Not a release of the page. It’s… just control. The illusion of control.
My notebook is my world. A life reimagined.
When I see a bird in my window, I spiral. It’s beautiful… but what if it’s a woodpecker? I don’t know what woodpeckers look like. It could destroy the house! Even if it’s not, they attract mice, don’t they? Mice in the house could be just as bad. Where’s its nest? Where did it come from? Anxiety. No control.
And then I write it down.
It’s a bird in my window, it’s beautiful, and it’s not a woodpecker. It’s not attracting mice. Its nest isn’t inside my house and its baby birdies are perfectly fine, chilling in a tree somewhere. It’s my life. The way I write it to be. Control.
The illusion of control.
Of course, the bigger the lie, the more difficult it is to submit to the illusion. When I lose my job, for instance. When I lose a family member… it’s hard to spin that.
I’ll find a new one…
They’re in a better place…
My life on the page… it could be true. I wish it to be true, but the bigger the spin, the less my anxiety listens. Very little control.
I don’t look up, unable to face reality until I’d finished my thought.
“Stop writing in that stupid journal for once and listen!”
My hand trembles over the page, torn between self-loathing and my desire to continue writing, transcribing the words even as they’re spoken.
I drop the pen onto the spine. No control.
I don’t speak, avoiding the eyes now leveled at my own.
I flick my eyes to theirs for a moment, quickly tearing them away again. In the brief connection, I see accusation. Possibly even pity.
“I’m worried about you, man.”
I close my notebook, my fingers immediately becoming restless in their futility. I make myself meet his eyes again, longer this time to project strength. Stability. No reason to worry. “I’m fine.”
“Liar,” he says, his eyes narrowing. “You can’t keep avoiding it, Sam.”
“I’m not avoiding it, Liam.”
“What? Because you wrote it down, you’ve dealt with it? It doesn’t work like that.”
I shrug, itching to reopen my notebook. “It happened and I know it happened. I don’t need to grieve the same way as you.”
“Maybe not… but you haven’t grieved at all.”
“I have.”
“In your journal?”
“In my own way.”
“Show it to me, then. Prove to me you’re not avoiding it.”
I open the notebook, almost automatic in their eagerness to escape the conversation, but I don’t flip the pages. I can’t go back. But I don’t have to, as Liam grabs the book from my grasp before I can resolve my struggle.
“Alright, let’s see…” he says, flipping the pages. “May 9th… the day after… no, the day of.” He looks up at me, concern pressed upon his face, but he moves forward, reading my words back to me. “Trevor, my oldest brother, dies…” Liam nearly chokes over the words, whether over its significance or how I callously it’s written, I’m not sure. “He was thirty-three years old. Two years older than me. It was sudden death, but he felt no pain, death as subtle as the calmest sleep.”
Liam clears his throat, an odd look passing over his face as he meets my gaze.
“I told you I acknowledged it.”
Liam suppresses a shiver that passes through him anyway. “Trevor, though unaware of his expending death, was prepared nonetheless, having led a full life despite his young age.”
Liam bites his lip, a tear falling down his cheek. “Sam, he was our brother! And this… this reads like some kind of cold eulogy… I mean, seriously, did you even know him? Because based on this so-called processing, I’d assume you were strangers.”
My heart races as I reach to take back my notebook, but Liam pulls it out of my reach.
“You know what?” Liam looks me dead in the eyes as he tears my notebook to pieces. “No more of this. You can’t just keep a heartless account of our brother’s death and pretend it’s normal!”
I feel as thin as the paper falling to the floor, my every nerve twitching as I watch the last month disappear. No control.
“My brother was strong,” I say, the now-destroyed words falling out of my mouth like the tears spent over them. “He was a leader in a world full of fear. He wasn’t perfect. But whatever flaws he had, I could not see. For he was my brother. My example.”
Liam’s chest rises and falls, but his face slackens as he understands.
“He was stolen from us,” I continue. “Removed from a world to which he had every right. Stolen from the love of his wife. The love of his children, both here and on the way…”
My throat catches as Liam rests a hand on my shoulder. “I know… I know my brother’s passing is a great loss to the world. I know my life will be a little darker for it. And I know none of this is fair… but I also know what he would say. What he would tell me if he were still… what he tells me even now… ‘love is forever.’ And, I don’t know about you, but I don’t think death can stop ‘forever.’”
Liam wraps his arms around me, tears falling freely down his face while I hold back my own. I assert control. I buy into the illusion.
And Liam hugs me harder, saying what he could not with words.
And I no longer have control.
And that’s okay.