October 15, 2011

The Departure

The scenery outside the window invites me to come. I rise from my seat and walk towards it. If there's no glass layer ahead of me, I would let my body  be carried away by the wind. Standing at edge of the building, I would look up to the clouds and stretch my hands far apart, feeling the air brushes against my skin: fresh, but mixes with the pollution from the heavy industrial factory. The air felt arid suddenly and pit starts to form in my stomach. Down below  are nothing but hot asphalt and a dumpster not  very far to the spot where I could fall to.

 Don't worry, I'm not going to do a suicide.

I still have Alex, Rose and Val - my babies, and I am still alive. Those are the most important thing that matters... the ones that keep me sane up to this moment, and the good thing is there's still a glass layer holding me from doing the worst.

The fingerprint of my thumb is slowly making its mark on the window. Behind me, laughter and squeals of Rose and Val distract me away. I turn to them and realise how lucky Alex and I are. They're still alive, healthy, cheerful and I couldn't ask for more. They have become my reasons to live -- to be brave to face the things that's been happening now, even though I don't really know what's been happening. Even Alex seems like a stranger to me. 

I'm trying to be calmed and pretend there's nothing wrong in front of the children. I love him and I'm worried of him. Ever since our last visit in Italy, there's something going on and I can feel that Alex is hiding something from me. Even that time I found myself in jealousy of my best friend before she let out her last breath. I know there's nothing going on between them. Eve could not have betrayed me, but I can feel that they both were keeping secrets and they seemed so close, discussing things I hardly knew. 

And now... he told me that he made a mistake in his lab, something involving chemicals material in a gem. All the medias are spreading about the explosion across the country. Alex has been fired from the Science Facility. Being a scientiest was his dream and still is. They even revoked his patent right which involves the new medicine for cancer.... his hard work for years.  Our house is destroyed  after the explosion and what's left are only ruins. We have nothing left here, so it would be better if we decided to stay in France especially when all the neighbors who once good friends to ours refuse us to live here. They even stood in front of the hotel where we're staying for a week  and held a demonstration there. They felt like strangers to us now. But I must be strong for them...for my little angels. Rose and Val should not experience our frustrations. Let it be only Alex and I who feel it.

"Children!" I call them, but they are still laughing and running around in the waiting room. The sounds from the information desk inform us about the delay making it hard for my weak voice to be heard. 

A grandmother sitting on a chair held Valentin's arm, trying to tell him to be quiet and watch TV instead, but it's so apparent that her efforts have no use since Valentin has always been an active little boy, and Rosaline, though, is far more quiet than him, eventually taken along.

"Children!" Still not an answer from them and I finally give up. Rolling my eyes, and as a sigh out from my dry mouth, I scurry off to grab  them.

"Val honey, listen, okay?"

Valentin is still wriggling around in my arms, I lock my gaze at him and finally win his full attention for which I'm about to say. "Wait here! I'm going to find your father. Don't go anywhere! Mommy will be here again soon. Watch-over Rose, okay?"

"Okay, mom."

Valentin's green eyes lit up with a smile. He really does remind me of my father. They look so alike and I miss my father. I used to talk to him when things got rough.

"Mom!" Valentin pushes me away as I hold him close. "I'm not five." He grumbles. His grim visage made his cheeks look more chubby and I just want to squeeze him and hold him closer.

"Oh, but you'll always be five in my heart, sweetheart. What's wrong with a mommy's hug, huh?" I kiss his forehead, but I can see how red his face is -- to have seen being kissed by his mommy in the airport. I brush the damp hair off his forehead. "Don't you love your mommy?"

He shakes his head. "I love you, mom." Then, it's his turn to hug me. His small body felt warm and I don't want to let go of him forever.

"Why should we go, mom?" He entreats after pulling himself away from me. "Can't we stay? I'm going to miss my friends, and what about school?"

"Oh, honey." As much as he wants, I don't want to leave this town either. My heart had fallen for it at the same moment Alex put a wedding ring on my finger. Leaving it would be the last thing in my mind, but I doubt that everyone is going to accept us back even when the radioactive's effects have disappeared for good.

"Honey, I know it's too much to ask, but I need you to understand about our situations. Your dad and I agreed that we have to leave Sunset Valley. We cannot stay in our house again, honey. Do you understand that?"

My fingers trace the ice cream stain on his face, wipe them off immediately and then I bow down to clean his shirt, sprucing him a bit. He looks at me with a wonder, full of question, and a bit sad.

"You liked that ice cream? I'm going to buy you more if I have found your father."

Valentin purses his lips and nods. With his hands, he wipes the snot off his nose. I smile and shake my head. "You have to do it with a handkerchief." Pulling a handkerchief from my bag, I help him clean it. But, after a few wipes, I find him sobbing. 

"Oh, mon fils." I can't blame him. It's been the tenth time he asked me about it. I should have understood him. He's just too little to understand it. He's going to lose his friends, adapt with a new school, friends, and even culture - and it's not going to be easy for him.
Two pats on his shoulder and his attention is diverted away. Rosaline is standing next to him. I have noticed her a few seconds before when she was bouncing around toward us as her two braids hair waved in the air freely and excitedly. "France!!" She spreads her hands like wings in the air. Butterfly is a perfect word to describe her cheerfulness.

"We're going to meet new friends!"

"Heh, why are you so excited about it?" 

Playfully, he pulls her braid hair and then runs away. Rosaline always manages to cheer him up. I don't quite really understand it. 

"Val, no running!" but still, they are. I release a deep breath again, nevertheless some of us find cheerfulness in the middle of this and then I find myself looking at Rose again. I hope Eve will be fine with me taking her daughter like my own. Rose always brings happiness to us. 

It's been a while I'm standing in the middle of passengers waiting for the announcement of our flight. I look at my watch. Alex has not arrived yet. He told us to go to the airport and he would catch up soon because he has something to do first. But now it's already seven thirty in the evening and still he hasn't arrived yet. I must find him soon before the plane takes off. I'm walking to the information desk and going to wait for him there, but a strong grip pulls my back and a harsh slap hits my cheek until I stagger and almost fall.

 "Murderer!" A woman is standing in front of me. Her eyes blaze with hatred. She must be one of them - the demonstrator. 

She turns around to the other passengers starting to swarming us with confusion in their eyes.

"This woman here ... ." She said. "Have you any idea because of her and her husband three men have died and- "  She turns to me. A pain written on her face.  "- and my daughter has just died in a hospital this morning, and not only that, we don't know yet about the effects of the radiation ten years from now. Certainly, it's cancer for sure. Dead cert! Are you just going to let them get away from this easily? They should be imprisoned for what they did." The sounds of crowd murmuring echo inside the waiting room. "Punishment is what they deserve. Devils in disguise, putting a curse to all of us and our grand kids."

The crowds turn silence.

"I know her." A voice wafts out from the corner, a heavy voice of a man standing with his arm on his hip  as he was leaning heavily against the wall. "This woman is right." He says and with that all the crowd turn to him. 
I hardly see his face because he's wearing a hat and is bowing his head down. His chin overgrows by beards.

"Can you explain how he's going to pay for what he justified as an accident? Your husband should have known that underground lab without full protection is risking others. What can he say now?" He says with a cynical tone.  Others follow him and soon it all become a cacophony of people muttering around and angry. The attentions are all on me. Humming to each other, the voices gather into a loud tone piercing into my ear drums.  "Yeah, what will he do about it?"

"I'm sorry. " I drawl. "It really was an accident. My husband and I have stated in the press that we are very sorry to have caused such so much chaos, but my husband has -" 

I shake my head to diminish the trembling and to let  the words out correctly.

"He has stated that the vaccine is going to prevent the cancer and herbal medicine is going to be the perfect cure. I promise you that we are going to be responsible about it and we will find a solution to it."

"How would you do that?"
"We're not going to know about the effects, not until after ten years later."
"Why is it only your family that's safe? Why ours?"

"Wait!" A man, probably in his forty, diminishes the voices. "Listen! I think she's right. It really was an accident. They are not guilty because of it. Besides, they have made an apology to the press and told us they are going to find the solution soon. What more could we ask for?" 

His words put them into silence, but it doesn't last when the woman who fired up the feud shouts out again. "Don't listen to him! It would only be fair if she and her husband are put into the prison. Blood must be paid with blood. There's law that they must be obeyed as we all do, right?"

"Yeah, right." Her words trigger others to respond.  
"She's right!"

The voices are getting higher while the crowd is growing larger - cornering me until I feel like a small ant ready to be trodden by their feet. Looking at the their eyes, I can only cover my mouth, but my lungs scream for oxygen. I desperately need it. I need to escape and find my husband and my children soon. My back bumps against the wall and I am sinking into the remembrance of the explosion in that evening. It should not have happened, but it wasn't our fault. It has to be not. But, it was. As much as I'm screaming in my heart, our hands had already been tainted by blood, though invisible ...and not by knife. We are murderer now. The explosion should not have occurred in the first place.

I couldn't even face my own child's stare as he's looking at me in frighten and confusion. This is not your fault, honey.

"This is not our fault." 
"Helen, are you alright?" Alex holds me and lifts me up, but my knees are already shaking. I cannot find the strength to stand on my own feet. Leaning against him, I still see Valentin and Rosaline holding each other's hands in fear. The airport police are making body fences to protect us from the other passengers. They even have secured the woman and have taken her away.

I find myself burying my face in Alex's chest.

"I'm sorry, honey."

 "It'll be okay. We'll go home... to France. I'll fix this. I promise."

"Run" by Snow Patrol


Notes: This is the time when Alexander and his family must leave Sunset Valley after the explosion occurred in his lab. I have finished written this months ago... but haven't published it until now. It's supposed to be the prologue, but few things being hidden in the previous chapters are mentioned here. It's connected to Chapter 5 - Her Questions    and also first parts of the story : "Our Life in Sunset Valley." It's been so long, I almost forgot where I put the file. I even thought that I have to re-write it. I did re-write it, but only changed it to be first person narration.  And, oh, I made a poll. Please choose :) Thanks!


iron mum said...

People can be so cruel, so it was Alex's fault not the company's lack of protection or anything else for that matter. I can understand their anger but to take it out on her was stupid.

I love your writing, its deep and descriptive - brilliant.

I hope everything works out in the end and look forward to more.

♥MJ said...

Yes, part of it was Alex's fault. There's something more to it that's quite... frightening, and of which they should avoid it.

Thank you, Iron Mum. I'm glad you like it.

PiB said...

Ohh, more backstory. How the family ended up moving to France. It's nice to see where the family has come from.

Poor Helen, being the target of an angry crowd when there is nothing that she can do.

I'm glad Alex found them eventually.

Little Rose and Val, how cute they were as children. :)

Lovely screenshots and writing.

♥MJ said...

This one has been filed in my folder for months. It's been ten years from their timeline. Valentin was 8 in this and now he's eighteen.

There's going to be another back story that's going to explain why something is happening... especially to one of the characters.

Thank you, PiB.

Kaleeko said...

Aw man... I never really thought about the repercussions of what happened at the lab, until now. :( I can really see how much it impacted Helen, and... man. This is just so sad. :(

I'm really excited to see this, though--and knowing we'll get to know even more backstory makes me even happier! The pieces of the puzzle are all finally coming together... I love it. :)

Your writing is wonderful as always, dear--I'm glad that you finally got to share this with us. I know what it's like to have to wait to post something, it always feels great to finally get it out!

I can't wait til the next portion comes out--hopefully life gives you some breaks, soon. You deserve it! ♥

♥MJ said...

Someone has just chosen Rose for the poll and I'm guessing it was you.

Hopefully, the next portion will be out soon after I arrive home which is going to be one or two weeks from now.

Thank you again, Kaleeko! :)

~Drew said...

I do love me some back story. Interesting how you did this segment first person, very effective.
Still in awe with your storytelling and shots, very effective and emotional.

Really felt for Alex, and loved seeing Val and Rose as kids.

Great update!

♥MJ said...

I am glad you felt for Alex. He did not expect the impact of the accident to his family. This family has been on the run for years.. And you will know why eventually.

Thank you, ~Drew. It's lovely to read your comments. I really appreciate it. And oh,I have bought your novel and read it. It's wonderful!

Jen said...

As the others stated, backstory! lol

Really though it is so wonderful to see what happened, on the other side, so to speak. And you say there is more, wow. Look forward to it!

Lovely to see their parents. They seem so lovely and like they would do anything for their two children. So sad what had to happen.

Val and Rose as kids are just adorable. I'm not sure what it is atm but I am loving reading updates with kiddies in them, lol!

Great job MJ, keep it up!

Oh and I voted on your poll too! :)

♥MJ said...

Hi Jen,

Helen and Alex love their children even though one of them is not theirs :)

Rose was a very cheerful little girl - until after what happened to "her parents" she started to become more sad. Still, that part of her hasn't completely gone until now.

Val, on the contrary, he was quite naughty as a little boy :), but after losing his parents, he started to act more mature -- even become more protective over Rose since he's also trying to replace their father's role-- and he also secretly in love with her.

The back story now will only be revealed as the story progresses. This post should have been a prologue.

Thank you.. oh, did you vote for Rose?

Maurice Mitchell said...

I love this! Making up little story about the Simms. LOL

♥MJ said...

Ha3 XD! Yeah, in here are some stories about the sims 3. It's a hobby. But since I'm a sci-fi and fantasy geek, those genres influence these stories so much.

Thank you for stopping by, Maurice! <3