Sunrise (Book 1 – Story 1) My name is David. On an ordinary day, my grandson and I had set out to do some ordinary tasks. However, the events of that day brought things that neither of us could have expected. The result may be something we do not like, but a motivation to try and make a difference. Whatever comes of that day is anyone’s guess. There is no doubt that a new beginning is upon us, and as is the case with every new beginning, you never really know how it is going to end. — Approximately 10,000 words.
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Review by The Scattering: Sunrise Review
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(BOOK 1 - STORY 1)
Copyright © 2010 B.C. Young
The day started as any other day would start. The alarm clock rang at 5:00 am, and I got out of bed, putting on my slippers. I enjoyed waking up before the rest of the world because it was peaceful and tranquil. I went down to the kitchen to make my morning coffee and turned on the holovision.
“Good morning, David,” the holovision sounded its usual greeting in the morning.
“Good morning, Alice,” I would always respond. I’m not quite sure why I named the H.V., but I did. No one knew about this except for me. I only referred to the H.V. by name when no one was around.
“Do you want to watch your usual morning news?” Alice asked.
“Of course. But, Alice, please be sure the volume is low. I’m sure Danny forgot to turn you down last night before he went to bed, and I don’t want to wake him yet,” I responded.
As I made my coffee, the news started with its usual chime. An image of the news anchor projected onto the barstool in the kitchen..
“In today’s headlines, a key Karhath member says one day there will be people in his party that have prominent positions in government. A winter storm in autumn? Our forecasts say yes! And in local news, a Bradsbury Township woman is fighting for her right to decorate the outside of her home as she chooses. But first…” I could not help but chuckle. Sometimes I would wonder if it’s a slow news day or if someone working at the station just has a good sense of humor.
As I looked out the kitchen window, the news anchor’s voice faded in my ears, and I reflected on how much better things had been recently. In the past year, some horrible things had taken place. They were hard for my grandson and I to bear. Losing my son and daughter-in-law tore me apart. But I knew for him it caused a torment I couldn’t begin to understand. But we made it through them. While we could not change the past, and it would no doubt always affect us, at least now we managed it much better.
The bell rang on the coffee machine, signaling it brewed the coffee. I poured my cup and sat down to watch the rest of the news. Yes, I loved the mornings. At 54 years old, I needed that slow wake up period to get ready for the day’s events and the events that day required all I had.
“Danny. Danny,” I whispered as I tried to get Daniel to wake up. “Danny, time to get up?”
Daniel slowly shifted in bed, and he started to open one eye then closed it. They still needed some adjustment to the light around him. Finally, he opened both eyes and looked at me.
“Morning, Grandpa,” he said.
“Good morning, Danny,” I replied. “Did you sleep well last night?”
“Kind of. I had a dream about Mom and Dad,” he told me.
He frequently had those dreams. His parents’ death haunted him. He’d often dream they were alive again, taking him to his favorite place to eat or playing his favorite games with him. The first six months after they had died were tough on him and me. Often, in the middle of the night, he would wake up crying. I would console him when that would happen, but I’d cry, too. His parents were wonderful people and ones we would always miss.
“Is everything okay” I asked him.
“Yeah. Yeah I’m okay.”
“Good, because today we have some plans. We’re going into the city to Central Market.”
“Can we ride the FloCo?” Daniel asked with an excited tone.
“Of course we will! Now why don’t you get up, get dressed, and have some breakfast with me. I made your favorite.”
“Pancakes with blueberries?”
I left the room while Daniel got up to get dressed. He was a good kid. At ten years old, he had endured more than most children his age. It made me happy to know I could be there to help him and support him through the tough times. We had grown close over the past year. While he needed me to help with the healing process, I needed him just as much to do the same.
Daniel came downstairs for breakfast, still rubbing his eyes awake. I had prepared pancakes just as he liked them. I did more than just pour the blueberries on the pancakes because I liked making them fun. So sometimes, I would form a face with the blueberries. Other times I would make an interplanetary ship. It depended on my mood and how well the creative juices flowed.
“Wow!” Daniel exclaimed. “That looks like a sunrise.”
My creativity flowed that morning. I had taken the blueberries and carefully made a sunrise coming up over a large mountain. It was probably the best pancake and blueberry work I had ever done.
“Yes it’s a sunrise, Danny. Do you like it?” I asked.
“It’s great!” Daniel said.
Daniel began to dig in to his “Sunrise Pancakes”. I joined him in eating breakfast. Sometimes I would do things on purpose in order to use it as a tool to teach Daniel. So the pancake masterpiece had a deeper meaning behind it and I had a point to make.
“You know, Danny, when I see a sunrise, I think of something. It’s something you should always remember.”
“What’s that Grandpa?” he asked.
“No matter how bad things may appear or how bad they really are, two things will happen. On the one hand, the day will end, the sun will go down, it’ll get dark. The moons will appear in the night sky, along with the stars, and it may get cold depending on where you live. But at the same time, you can always count on the next morning. You can always count on—”
“The sun rising?” Daniel interrupted.
Maybe I had made my point a little too clear, or maybe he expected these little talks we had. Either way, I’m sure he didn’t know what my analogy meant.
“Yes, the sun rising. The point being, no matter how bad things get and no matter how horrible you feel, it’ll pass, and things will get better. For instance, what was your dream with your parents about last night?”
Daniel stopped eating as he thought about my question.
“Well, I can’t remember the whole thing now. But we were in our car and we drove somewhere. I remember in the dream being excited. Mom and Dad kept telling me I would be so surprised—” he paused as he recalled what happened in the dream.
“Go on,” I urged him. “Try to remember the rest.”
“So the next thing I remember, we pulled up to a house that I had never seen before. We went up to the door and rang the doorbell. Do you know who answered the door?” he asked.
“No, who?” I asked back.
“It was you, Grandpa.” He smiled. But then his smile went away, and he said, “Then I wasn’t sure what had me so excited.” He laughed.
“Ha-ha, very funny,” I said. “But you see how there is a brighter side to things. Just like a sunrise waking up a dark night. In your dream you were with your parents. While you can’t be now, you have me to help you.”
“Grandpa, are you saying you’re a sunrise? I think you need to get over yourself.”
He laughed again. Boys will be boys. Sometimes Daniel would listen to what I had to say with seriousness. But that day, while I think I had gotten my point across, he just wanted to have a good time. That is exactly what I wanted him to do. It encouraged me to see him in such a good mood. For too many days sadness filled our home, and recently the happier days outnumbered them.
“Ok, Danny. Finish up your breakfast. We’re going to catch the ten o’clock hover to Central Market. We don’t want to be late.”
The hovertrain arrived at the stop at ten o’clock. Daniel and I entered and sat down near the front of the train. We made sure to sit next to a window, because Daniel enjoyed looking outside as the train moved. The tone sounded warning passengers the doors would close, and the hover would start moving.
I sat there with Daniel looking out the window. As the hover began to move, a snapshot of a picture outside the window turned into nothing but a blur. We had three stops before we reached Central Market, but we would still be there in twenty minutes.
As I stared out the window, my eye’s focus changed from the outside to what reflected in the window. Other people looked out the window on their side. Some who stood looked out the window on my side. One individual didn’t do either, but he appeared to look at Daniel and myself. I watched him in the window reflection. The way he acted made me uneasy.
He was a tall man, probably about my age. Gray hair reached his shoulders, and his face had no expression. It was as if he thought deeply about something, and at the same time he couldn’t stop looking at us. As I turned around to ask the man if I could help him with something, Daniel interrupted my attempt.
“Grandpa,” he began, “why’d you want to go to Central Market today anyway?”
“Oh, because there are a few things I need to get, and I thought it would be fun. We haven’t been down there in a while, and I figured you would want to go and have some fun..” I kept my gaze on the windows and watched the man to see if his focus on us changed.
“Oh, ok,” Daniel said.
My suspicions began to grow stronger. He acted odd just standing there and looking at us. My nervousness stemmed from all the recent activity from the Karhath. The organization terrorized people in one form or another. They didn’t always use outright violence, but through the fear they instilled, most people viewed them as a violent group. Like bullies, they’d use some well placed pressure and solid punches to the shoulder, and the people’s fear and imagination did the rest. If this man was part of them, I wondered why he appeared to single us out.
As I attempted to turn and speak to the man again, the tone sounded on the hover, signaling it arrived at the next stop. As all the people shuffled in, those on board adjusted where they sat or stood to accommodate them. Once everyone had settled, the hover began moving again. I scanned the area to see if I could find the man but didn’t see him. Either he had moved to another position on the hover or had gotten off at the last stop. Either way, I didn’t allow it to worry me at that point.
“How long until we’re there, Grandpa?” Daniel asked.
“Well let’s see,” I glanced down at my watch, “In about five minutes.”
As is always the case with Central Market on weekends, people crowded the area. A lot of people go there to eat, shop, and enjoy some recreation. I planned on doing a little bit of everything with Daniel.
“So what are you here to get Grandpa?”
“I want to check out Chief’s,” I told him. “Maybe he has some replacement parts I can use to fix our clothes cleaner.”
“Why don’t you just get a new one or get a robot to fix it?” he asked.
Daniel asked me that all the time. Most people today left the mundane tasks to the robots built to handle them. Most people didn’t care to repair broken appliances or make their own coffee anymore. They had busy lives and didn’t want to be bothered with that stuff. But I found a therapeutic element to fixing things myself or doing a task some might consider “mundane”. I enjoyed the satisfaction that came with knowing I did it myself. Most people didn’t understand what I meant when I tried to explain it to them. They’d just nod their head and say, “Oh”, when I told them.
“Because Danny, it’s good sometimes to do it yourself. It’s good to get your hands dirty a little bit. When we get back home you’re going to help me, and you’ll see what I mean.”
“Oh,” was all Danny had to say to that.
After a three minute walk from the hover, we made it to Chief’s. Maybe Daniel didn’tt understand why I would want to fix something myrself, but he always loved Chief’s because it had gadgets and tools. Daniel didn’t know much about the tools, but he liked looking at them. Chief’s store was a dying breed, and it remained in business because enough people enjoyed this hobby.
“Well good morning, gentleman,” Carl said. “What can I do for you today?”
“Good morning, Carl. Good to see you,” I said.
“Morning, Carl,” Daniel said, as he looked at a box full of old tools.
“So how are Davy and Danny this morning?” Carl asked.
“We’re doing great, but we won’t be if we can’t put on some clean clothes,” I joked. “It looks like the water dispersement regulator malfuctioned. It’s an older model machine, but I thought you might have the part I need. “
I had taken the part out at home and concluded it broke. I pulled it from my pocket to show Carl. He examined it, somewhat in a trance. I’m not sure if he just familiarized himself with the part or looked for a part number etched on the piece. Either way, he always found what I needed.
“You’re not kiddin’ that this is an older model. I’d say this part was made at least 50 years ago. You know, David, I love catering to those who build and fix things, but 50 years ago? They have clothes cleaners today with no moving parts. The odds of them breaking are slimmer than you walking outta here and seeing the Karhath attack Central Market.”
“But Carl, if I get one of those, I’d have nothing to fix,” I said.
“Very true,” he laughed. “I’ll check if I have anything like it. Can you come back in an hour or so?”
“Not a problem. Danny and I are going to catch a bite to eat and go on some rides. We’ll be back around one or two o’clock.”
“Sounds good,” Carl said. “I’ll have the part ready for you then.”
Carl retreated to the back of the shop to figure out the part. If he couldn’t find it, he’d build it. I turned around to leave the shop. As I looked out the window at the front entrance, I saw the same man from the hover. This time, he didn’t stare at me, but he held a device. He touched a few buttons on the screen and look around cautiously. Then, he resumed using the device.
“Grandpa!” Daniel exclaimed.
I jumped a little as he had disturbed my concentration. He had called me two times prior to me hearing him.
“What is it, Danny?”
“Can we get something to eat? I’m really hungry.”
“Sure, sure. No problem,” I said and looked back to the man outside, but he’d left.
“Then we’ll ride the FloCo, right?” he asked excited.
“Yes, we’ll ride the FloCo.”
We decided to eat at a cafe right near the coaster called “The FloCo Café”. Not an original name, and I didn’t expect the food to be either. As I expected, the menu had foods named after the FloCo in one form or another, like the “FLOrito” and “FLO Fries”. But that didn’t matter. When you’re hungry, you’re hungry, the food’s name doesn’t matter so much. After we ordered, we went to our seats and waited for our food..
“Let’s sit right where we can see the coaster,” Daniel said, excited.
“Okay,” I said.
We sat at a section of the cafe with glass above and beside us. I couldn’t see the coaster at the moment, so our view looked out into the sky. We continued looking up, waiting for the moment when the coaster would pass our view.
Suddenly, screams of people approached. It was the only noise the coaster made. The screams became even louder until finally the coaster came into view. We looked up, and it looked like the coaster would plunge straight through the glass above us and onto our table. Just before that happened, the coaster straightened out, and it sped away from us. The screams trailed off into the distance.
Daniel asked to play on the playground in the cafe while we waited for our food. As I watched him play, my gaze turned from him as a man sat at the table right next to me. It was the exact same man I had seen on the hover and outside of Chief’s.
“Excuse me,” I said to the man. “Do I know you from somewhere?”
He turned and looked at me. He didn't seem surprised I had spoken to him. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say he expected it.
“I don’t believe so, my friend,” he said. He looked down and continued eating his meal.
“I only ask because I saw you on the hover. In the window reflection, you seemed to be watching my grandson, Danny, and me. You looked at me like you knew me.”
“Well, I’m sorry, my friend. You don’t know me. Well, I guess you do now. If I stared at you, I apologize. I didn’t mean anything harmful by it.”
My paranoia had gotten to me. I felt sorry I suspected the man’s motives. I associated him with the Karhath, and I shouldn’t have done that.
“I apologize sir—”
“My name is Jack, and no problem,” he interrupted.
“Sorry, sometimes my paranoia gets the best of me. I even thought you were part of the Karhath for a moment. Ever since my grandson’s parents died, I tend to be suspicious of people. I apologize.” I felt bad for what I had assumed. I tried not to do it, but it would happen all too often.
“I’m sorry to hear that. Do you mind my asking what happened?” Jack asked.
It surprised me he would ask details about something so personal. But I had accused him of something that would have offended most people. So I decided I would tell him what happened—plus I’d learned every time I talked about it, the pain healed a little more.
“Well, it happened a year ago. Danny and his parents were on vacation. There’s nothing special about where they went or what they did. But while there, a horrible accident happened.”
“Where was this?” Jack asked.
“At Bungkor Beach on Ptolomo,” I answered.
“So what happened?” The story intrigued him, but I couldn’t guess why.