Out of Time: Two

Fiction By Anna // 9/8/2011

2
Aunt Jess raised me, and when I was little I thought she just had a bad memory. She often struggled to monitor me, from asking me to turn on the oven twelve times straight to forgetting, in the car, that she was driving me to the library for a school project.
As I got into the double digits, I realized that too many people in my life had this problem. Teachers read my name at roll call and stopped to furrow their eyebrows, as if they couldn’t remember a student named Rhosyn Watcher. (I’ve heard my name pronounced different ways, but I always say “HROSE ine,” gently on the h.) People cut in front of me all the time and apologized when I hollered, but immediately did it again.
My best and only friend, Brodie Taylor, was a lifesaver or at least a sanity-preserver. With him I felt completely normal because that’s how he treated me—reliably, always, whether about birthdays or the conversations we held two years back.
Speaking of birthdays, every year on mine, Aunt Jess pulled out a photo of a young man in his late teens. “That’s your dad, Rhosyn,” she’d say. Her lucid moments were strangely dreamy. “He’s coming back for you. He promised thirteen years ago today” (or six or nine or however hold I was turning that year).
When that promise turned sixteen years old, I couldn’t hold my secret any longer. “Aunt Jess, I think Dad visits me,” I blurted.
She blinked at me and tucked her blonde hair into her headband. “What do you mean?”
“I saw him leave those roses on our doorstep this morning,” I blundered on, pointing to the vase on the kitchen table. “He once fed ducks at the pond. Two months ago he dropped an ice cube down my back and did a runner.”
“At the picnic? He was there?” Aunt Jess smiled in bemusement. “I don’t remember your mentioning that then.”
“Well, I did, but I didn’t say it was him.” I turned over my palms, helpless. “I’m not making this up! I keep seeing him ‘round, all my life really, as if he’s popping in to check if I’m all right.”
Sometimes, I thought but didn’t say, he acts like a hero… directing danger away from me. When our neighbor’s house nearly burned down, the newspaper used a photo of him comforting the youngest kid.
Aunt Jess’s smile faltered. She fingered the edge of the photo. “Are you certain he’s the same person?”
“Yes,” I said immediately. “He’s older than he is in that picture, but I’d swear in court it’s him. I just wish he’d talk to me…”
I stopped. My aunt had gone rigid in her seat the moment I mentioned Dad’s age. That jarred her somehow.
“Aunt Jess, are you okay?” I touched her hand.
“Too old,” she whispered. “He was too old when he came… One day nineteen, the next thirty, the third missing. Never spoken since to him…”
I found myself gaping at her. Aunt Jess said things about her brother on my birthdays, but she never really told me anything about him. I couldn’t decide if now she had lost her mind for good or just had it back.
The day after my birthday, she lost me.
I keep telling myself I definitely left a note to her about Brodie’s invite to a movie, celebrating my birthday a day late. Notes, I had discovered, worked as a better reminder than spoken word, because my aunt could come back to a note if she needed to. And I still tell myself not to feel guilty for going.
When I got home, Aunt Jess was curled up on the sofa under a blanket, crumpled tissues strewing the living room. Tear tracks ran down her pale cheeks.
I dropped my purse in the doorway. “What’s wrong?”
She gasped, jumped up, and pointed at me with a shaky finger. “Rhosyn, where were you?”
Fear gripped my stomach. I prayed it didn’t squeeze too hard. “Brodie and I went to the cinema for my birthday. The Last War came out a couple of weeks ago.”
“You were gone for hours. I was about to call the police!”
“It’s a two-hour film. Did you check your messages?”
Aunt Jess just stared at me as I drifted to the wall phone and pressed “play messages.” The light wasn’t blinking, which meant she had heard it, but I let my tinny recorded voice ring out:
“Hey, Aunt Jess, it’s Rhosyn. The film’s over. Brodie wants a Coke, but I’ll be home soon.”
The message was fifteen minutes old, so we’d taken a long Coke break to supplement the film as a gift… But surely Aunt Jess was overreacting. Her eyes were even bloodshot.
“You went to a movie?” she asked, still in a whisper.
“And left a note and a message,” I added, coming forward.
“Sorry, sorry.” Aunt Jess shook her head. “Why couldn’t I—? I’ll tell the neighbors you’re home.” She looked embarrassed. “I sort of freaked out and asked them about you.”
I was so relieved I laughed. “I’ll bet you did.” Freak out, that is, especially since the neighbors could hardly remember I lived there.
Aunt Jess turned toward the door, and suddenly I heard her sob. She flung it open and screamed down the road, “Rhosyn! Can you hear me?!”
I’d had many surreal experiences with people’s memories. This one cut me too deeply to move or speak.
Over my aunt’s shoulder, I saw the two boys across the street let their basketballs bounce away and looked at each other, confused. “Who?”
“Rhosyn’s my niece!” she cried at them. “Have you seen her? She’s been missing for hours—”
“What does she look like?” they asked.
I found my legs below my waist and ran out after Aunt Jess. “Like this, thank you! Aunt Jess, I’m right here. Right here.”
She hugged me tightly, panting. “I’ll go tell the neighbors.”
“But you just—”
She tore out of my arms and started down the street, hysterically calling for me in front of every house.
“You just asked us.” One neighbor boy rolled his eyes. “I keep telling you, we haven’t seen anyone!”
Terrified, I sank onto the doorstep and struggled not to cry.
“Aunt Jess, I’m right here…”  I repeated. Why couldn’t anyone remember me? “Please try… I’m not invisible!”
I shouted the last sentence. For a moment, she whirled to look at me, her eyes unfocused. And she moved on, leaving me there alone. I pulled up my knees to my chest and buried my head in my arms.
Minutes later, a hand startled me by coming down on my shoulder, then gently—intimately—rubbing my back. “I’m so sorry, my beauty. You’ve been out of your time too long. Maybe someday she’ll remember what I told her—sixteen years ago—about when and why you’d have to leave. If not, she’ll forget you were ever here.” His voice fell. “Blimey, that’s not a comfort, is it?”
The Lancashire accent reminded me of Aunt Jess’s, though hers softened by so many Londoners.
I wiped my eyes so I could see the man who’d plopped himself next to me, whose voice I’d never heard and instantly loved. Once I saw his face, my arms instinctively went under his. “Dad!”

Comments

I am very interested

 I am very interested to see where you take this. There's a lot of mystery here. I'm curious about a lot of things, but especially about her aunt. Good job on Rhosyn's voice. How did you choose her name?

Kathleen | Thu, 09/08/2011

 Too American? Favorite

 Too American? Favorite should be favourite... ;) Apoligised. I don't think you meant spellings, though. But I didn't notice anything. Film and cinema. Very good. :) 

I love it, but it is slightly confusing still. The part where Aunt Jess is talking to Rhosyn about the movie and then all of a sudden can't see her is a bit jarring. 

I didn't really know they were in England (or at least British) until you mentioned the accents. That would add some good description.  

Kyleigh | Thu, 09/08/2011

Good! :o)

Kind of confusing in parts--but really, the last few paragraphs were the best! I can't wait to see what's happening with her. And how old is her Aunt, exactly? Anyway, great job again! :D

Madeline | Thu, 09/08/2011

everything was better when/you would call and I'd be like/yeah babe, no way

 Anna, this is really well

 Anna, this is really well written and an original idea (at least, I think it is; I've never read anything very similar, and have never watched Dr. Who). However, I agree with Kyleigh that I didn't realize it was supposed to take place in Britain. A few more British-isms would have been good, though I guess cinema should have given me a hint :) Also, in the prologue and this chapter, I thought that the main character was male, and then I learned that in fact it was a girl, and it kind of threw me off a little. That probably looks like a lot of criticism, but actually there's not too much to criticize. I like it a lot, and hope you write more!

Laura Elizabeth | Thu, 09/08/2011

*************************************************
The best stories are those that are focused, unassuming, and self-confident enough to trust the reader to figure things out. --

http://lauraeandrews.blogspot.com/2014/05/dont-tell-me-hes-smart.html

Review

If you want British English, this is a good link (contains a few bad words, so be warned)http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BritishEnglish.

Plotwise, there still isn't much to crtiic. This is a good beginning though

Julie | Thu, 09/08/2011

Formerly Kestrel

I love it! I don't see

I love it! I don't see anything to critisize.

Erin | Fri, 09/09/2011

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

 This is really cool. I like

 This is really cool. I like it a lot. The history makes sense, and flows nicely I think. Well, I can't really say it makes sense totally since I'm not sure why people don't see or remember her, but I can't wait to read more and find out!

Renee | Fri, 09/09/2011

Cool!

 I love this second part! I think it's a really cool way to introduce all of the characters and some of the elements of the story. It really leaves me wanting more. There are a few things in particular that make me curious. Why can Brodie still remember Rhosyn? Does that change now that even her aunt can't remember her? 

 

Anyways, I really like your story! I can't wait 'till you post the next part!

Elizabeth Anne | Sat, 09/10/2011

See him with his books:
Tree beside the brooks,
Drinking at the root
Till the branch bear fruit.
See him with his pen:
Written line, and then,
Better thought preferred,
Deep from in the Word.
~John Piper

I couldn't really tell till

I couldn't really tell till you said about the actually places (London) they were in England, but I'm epically slow, so that doesn't mean a lot :P.

I think you need a bit more detail about her aunt, like how old she is, and a bit more detail about Rhosyn, except I think that's the point...we're not SUPPOSED to remember her! Great stuff...

About your last comment on One, the part in parenthesis at the end is unnecesary, but the rest of your changes were spot on...I think you could meld the old and the new one, because I really liked parts of the first beginning (I can ellaborate on that if you want...).

I love this. I'm totally hooked. Please tell me you'll stick it out to the end, because I'm dying. It has so much potential and it's ALREADY amazing! I am totally facinated by your plot and your characters and your style! Keep up the amazing work...I believe you can truly make writing your career with talent like this! : )

Clare | Sun, 09/11/2011

Aredhel: Rhosyn is the Welsh

Aredhel: Rhosyn is the Welsh name for Rose. I discovered this while looking up art for BAD WOLF, and I really liked it, so I stuck it on a random character and it turned out rather significant to the story.

Kyleigh: No, not spelling... I'm writing with an American computer, after all. Thanks for confirming that the part where Jess forgot so quickly needed work... I'm trying to figure out how to describe that they're British without a super-obvious "Oh, I'm British by the way," which would just be lazy. Maybe surroundings?

HomeschoolGirl: Jess is thirty-six at least. Haven't quite worked that bit out, but I think I'll be getting into it in part six.

Laura Elizabeth: Uh-oh. You thought she was a guy? I guess first person is ambiguous that way... At what point did you realize she was a girl? I can try to throw in hints or something, but it might be nice to know when it becomes clear...

Kestrel: Oh, thanks! That's going to be very helpful. I had the first floor/ground floor mistake in a later part, among a few other things...

Erin: Thanks! Honestly, that kind of review also makes me happy. :D

Renee: I hope the whole issue with people remembering will become clear over the next couple of chapters. If it still doesn't make sense by... oh, part five, I've got a problem on my hands... But I'm sure y'all are smart enough!

Elizabeth Anne: Brodie comes in at part six, and I assure you his abilities are significant and explainable. He's tricky, but I really like him.

Clare: Thanks for going back to read the comment. Okay, I get it, the paranthesis is going the way of all the earth... I'm interested to see what you'd like carried over from the first one. So elaborate, do, please.

I'm absolutely sure I'll stick it out to the end. There are just certain chapters that are snags. But I have the entire miniseries worked out!

Thanks for all the encouragement. :) :) :)

Anna | Tue, 09/13/2011

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

@Kyleigh

So I moved on from part 1 and tried to fix up the jarring part in the middle...

 

“You went to a movie?” she asked, still in a whisper.
“And left a note and a message,” I added, coming forward.
“Sorry, sorry.” Aunt Jess shook her head. “Why couldn’t I—? I’ll tell the neighbors you’re home.” She looked embarrassed. “I sort of freaked out and asked them about you.”
I was so relieved I laughed. “I’ll bet you did.” Freak out, that is, especially since the neighbors could hardly remember I lived there.
Aunt Jess turned toward the door, and I saw a shudder run through her shoulders. She leaned on the door with both her arms, and I ran up to support her.
“Are you all right?”
Jess turned and held me close. “You’re back. You’re back.”
I tried to pull away. “You’re scaring me, Aunt Jess.”
“Where have you been?” she whispered into my shoulder.
I pushed her off. “Really, stop it.”
She was panting. “I’ll go tell the neighbors.”
“You just said that—”
Her eyes widened as if I’d gone invisible where I was standing. She rotated ninety degrees on one foot and her eyes dropped to my handbag. “Rhosyn?” she asked.
“Yes?” I asked hopefully, and suddenly I heard her sob.
Aunt Jess flung it open and screamed down the road, “Rhosyn! Can you hear me?!”
I’d had many surreal experiences with people’s memories. This one cut me too deeply to move or speak.
Over my aunt’s shoulder, I saw the two boys across the street let their basketballs bounce away and looked at each other, confused. “Who?”
“Rhosyn’s my niece!” she cried at them. “Have you seen her? She’s been missing for hours—”
“What does she look like?” they asked.
I found my legs below my waist and ran out after Aunt Jess. “Like this, thank you! Aunt Jess, I’m right here. Right here.” I grabbed her, but she tore out of my arms and started down the street, hysterically calling for me in front of every house.
“You just asked us.” One neighbor boy rolled his eyes. “I keep telling you, we haven’t seen anyone!”
Terrified, I sank onto the doorstep and struggled not to cry.
“Aunt Jess, I’m right here…” I repeated. Why couldn’t anyone remember me? “Please try… I’m not invisible!”

Anna | Thu, 09/22/2011

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

   There you go! Good stuff! 

 

 There you go! Good stuff! 

Clare | Fri, 09/23/2011

Almost as good as the first part!

Very well done!

I agree! I like the version you wrote in your comment much better! It is less confusing! But this was really good!

The fathers comment was a bit confusing, but one of those good confusings that is explained latter in the story, about being out of this time and everything!

Wonderful and I have no critisism!

Keep it up!

Write on!

 

Kassady | Sat, 09/24/2011

"Here's looking at you, Kid"
---
Write On!

Is there more....

Is there more? (hehe!) I've been keeping an eye out for updates. Thanks! 

Madeline | Fri, 09/30/2011

everything was better when/you would call and I'd be like/yeah babe, no way

I'll probably post the next

I'll probably post the next part this week or next. There is a separate piece I'd like to post, though, so that might come first.

Anna | Fri, 09/30/2011

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

@Laura Elizabeth primarily

I started to add more clues that Rhosyn is, in fact, a girl, and I ended up changing the beginning a bit. Still working on the British-isms, though.

2

Aunt Jess raised me, and when I was little I thought she just had a bad memory. She often struggled to monitor me, from asking me to turn on the oven twelve times straight to forgetting, in the car, that she was driving me to the library for a school project.
As I got into the double digits, I realized that too many people in my life had this problem. At roll call, teachers stopped to furrow their eyebrows. “Is a girl named Rhosyn Watcher here?” they asked as if they couldn’t remember a student by the name, much less pronounce it.
Over and over, I raised my hand. “Yeah, that’s me, and it’s hrose-ine.”
“Huh-rose-ine,” they repeated.
I just had to sigh, “Go gently on the h or you’ll break it.”
If, however, they had used the Welsh girl’s name enough to dent it, I would have felt better. I got the same feeling when people cut in front of me all the time, apologized when I hollered, and immediately did it again.
My best and only mate Brodie Taylor, a year ahead of his age in school, was a lifesaver or at least a sanity-preserver. With him I felt completely normal because that’s how he treated me—reliably, always, whether about birthdays or the conversations we held two years back.

Anna | Mon, 10/03/2011

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

@Laura Elizabeth primarily

I started to add more clues that Rhosyn is, in fact, a girl, and I ended up changing the beginning a bit. Still working on the British-isms, though.

2

Aunt Jess raised me, and when I was little I thought she just had a bad memory. She often struggled to monitor me, from asking me to turn on the oven twelve times straight to forgetting, in the car, that she was driving me to the library for a school project.
As I got into the double digits, I realized that too many people in my life had this problem. At roll call, teachers stopped to furrow their eyebrows. “Is a girl named Rhosyn Watcher here?” they asked as if they couldn’t remember a student by the name, much less pronounce it.
Over and over, I raised my hand. “Yeah, that’s me, and it’s hrose-ine.”
“Huh-rose-ine,” they repeated.
I just had to sigh, “Go gently on the h or you’ll break it.”
If, however, they had used the Welsh girl’s name enough to dent it, I would have felt better. I got the same feeling when people cut in front of me all the time, apologized when I hollered, and immediately did it again.
My best and only mate Brodie Taylor, a year ahead of his age in school, was a lifesaver or at least a sanity-preserver. With him I felt completely normal because that’s how he treated me—reliably, always, whether about birthdays or the conversations we held two years back.

Anna | Mon, 10/03/2011

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

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