Miss Me When I'm Gone: A Novel

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Overview

Read Philip Stephens's blogs and other content on the Penguin Community.

"A lavishly written, vividly imagined, and wholly compelling work of fiction...I was spellbound. Often, in fact, I was in awe."
-Tim O'Brien

After years of indie-label exile, folk singer Cyrus Harper returns to Apogee, Missouri, to tend to his mother. But the musical and haunted world of his past is morphing into just another strip of ...

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Miss Me When I'm Gone: A Novel

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Overview

Read Philip Stephens's blogs and other content on the Penguin Community.

"A lavishly written, vividly imagined, and wholly compelling work of fiction...I was spellbound. Often, in fact, I was in awe."
-Tim O'Brien

After years of indie-label exile, folk singer Cyrus Harper returns to Apogee, Missouri, to tend to his mother. But the musical and haunted world of his past is morphing into just another strip of middle America, corrupted with pawn shops, meth labs, Clear Channel radio, and-if Cyrus's brother has his way-a golfer's paradise. As news of a murderess in the woods confounds the memories of his sister gone missing long ago, this prodigal son is drawn deeper into the cave- riddled realm of stalwarts and misfits he knew in his youth. What he discovers there will change everything.

A phantasmagoric tale of American music set during the crucible of its changing industry, Miss Me When I'm Gone plumbs our storied melodies for their essential purpose-to mine the soul for the longing, the passion, the love and rage that drive us.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Music writer and poet Stephens (The Determined Days) turns out a debut novel that reads like a murder ballad as it evocatively chronicles folk singer Cyrus Harper's return home to Apogee, Mo., an Ozark town ravaged on one side by meth and on the other by Cyrus's brother, Isaac, a real estate developer looking to turn their childhood homestead into a resort. Battling the DTs and the same propensity his sickly mother has for seeing "hog-eyed men" and holding conversations with the dead, Cyrus searches for his sister and childhood singing companion, Saro, whose voice "suited tunes of botched love, misdeeds, and murder." She vanished years ago, but reports of a strange woman roaming the woods stoke hope in Cyrus. Little does he know that the woman is clearing a path of destruction that would make Lizzie Borden blush. Though some readers will find the material stretched too thin, others will appreciate Stephens's determination to comprehend our darkest natures and motivations, a mission accomplished with a rueful swagger. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
"A compelling and insightful depiction of not just the land and what haunts it, but of human desire . . . Stephens has made this part of the Ozarks an underdog we can get behind and root for. It resonates out of the pages like an old folk song."
-Noah Homola, The Kansas City Star

"Miss Me When I'm Gone is a lavishly written, vividly imagined, and wholly compelling work of fiction. Philip Stephens has an unfailing ear for the rhythms (and subtle treacheries) of human speech, which gives this book its unusual immediacy and power, as if the reader is eavesdropping on the life-or- death conversations of travelers on a train. I was spellbound. Often, in fact, I was in awe."
-Tim O'Brien

"A melodic, heart-aching read."
-Oxford American

"Lost and living by their wits, Philip Stephens' wise and foolish people drift along the hardscrabble edges of America, some trying to escape the past, some to reclaim it. Miss Me When I'm Gone mixes the barbed language of Denis Johnson with the eternal verities of roots music. This is a rich and beautiful debut."
-Stewart O'Nan

"Philip Stephens is an uncommon writer: lyrical, frank, gothic by turns, his prose draws us into uncharted worlds and minds. He transforms small-town Missouri into a mythical landscape, peopled by lonely misfits of Faulknerian proportions. Miss Me When I'm Gone is a novel you will never forget."
-Claire Messud

"[A] many-layered, spirited debut . . . Stephens' voice has the clarity of an aged banjo, and resonates like a catchy sing-along."
-Jonathan Fullmer, Booklist

"Philip Stephens knows a lot-about music, religion, the great midwest, life in a small town. What he knows the most about, however, is the plain old human heart. At various times throughout this elegant, moving first novel, he wrote scenes that broke mine, because I had come to care so much for the people I found in these pages. Stephens is a special writer, and this is a special book. I was sorry when it ended."
-Steve Yarbrough "[In] Philip Stephens's rich debut novel . . . the magic realism of Garcia Marquez or a Vargas Llosa operates in a setting that evokes Twain, Faulkner, and O'Connor . . . in a river of song flowing beneath the Ozarks."
-Michael Ray Taylor, Chapter 16

"A gripping novel . . . speckled with colorful and amusing characters that add levity even as they propel the story . . . I recommend Miss Me When I'm Gone to anyone who is unafraid of facing an honest story that takes you deep into the world of struggling musicians, desperate mothers, meth addicts, sinful preachers, and an array of successes and failures that make up the realistic characters Stephens has created."
-Michael Carey, Neworld Review

Acclaim for The Determined Days: Poems by Philip Stephens

"Stephens has a realist fiction writer's flair for scene, speech, and character, and the incidents in his poems are as all-to-humanly true as those in a good John O'Hara short story...An excellent first collection."
-Booklist

"Read as a whole-as they should be-the cumulative effect of this truly accomplished collection is powerful, disturbing, and authoritative. I am filled with admiration for Mr. Stephens's work."
-Anthony Hecht

"A poet for the people, an accessible writer whose work fuses the beauty of Robert Frost with the conviction of Walt Whitman."
-Kansas City Star

Kirkus Reviews

In this murky novel, two tormented characters, on separate quests, find the going rough.

Old-time country music is Cyrus Harper's lifeblood, inherited from his mother Ruth, a fiddler and singer until her husband found religion and forbade secular music. That didn't stop Cyrus and his sister Saro from singing together at gigs in their hometown of Apogee, in the Missouri Ozarks, until she mysteriously disappeared at age 19. Cyrus moved to San Francisco, hoping to find her. The guitarist and singer/songwriter produced one album full of songs of deep gloom. Now more than a decade has passed, Saro is still missing, and Cyrus is drinking heavily; she was his muse. He gets a call from his brother Isaac, a developer who never left Apogee; Ruth is near death. Cyrus returns home, still hoping Saro will show up. His point of view alternates with that of a woman called Margaret Bowman, who is armed and dangerous. Once married to a junkie, they had two kids. The junkie, now dead, killed their small son; Margaret did time as his accomplice. She has skipped parole and is passing through Apogee to retrieve her daughter Madeline from her in-laws. It's not a rest stop; she will blow the head off a would-be rapist, a high-school football player, and then kill his three harmless buddies, burying them in the woods. A hunt ensues, but Margaret escapes and reaches Madeline's house, then decides to leave her be, thus calling her mission into question. Her role evidently was to contribute blood and guts to an anemic story line, but it doesn't work. What does? Well, the novel is authentic in its celebration of dedicated musicians, now gone; its nostalgia is heartfelt. The plotting, though, is ramshackle. The mystery of Saro's disappearance is solved in a way that's both lurid and anticlimactic, while Cyrus is overwhelmed by the same trippy visions that had plagued his mother—malevolent hog-eyed men, an authorial indulgence.

Glib fatalism and self-conscious prose obscure a potential talent.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780452296787
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/25/2011
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Philip Stephens is the author of the poetry collection The Determined Days, which was a finalist for the PEN Center USA West Literary Award. His work as appeared in The Oxford American, Southwest Review, and Bomb, among other publications, as well as in Da Capo Best Music Writing 2004. He lives with his wife and sons in Kansas City, Missouri.
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Reading Group Guide

INTRODUCTION
After learning that his mother has taken ill, indie-label folksinger Cyrus Harper returns to his hometown of Apogee bereft of success, estranged from his former family and friends, and still haunted by the loss of his sister who disappeared years ago.

While Cyrus struggles, through a haze of pills and alcohol, to reconcile with his past, a mysterious woman roams the woods on her journey to reunite with her daughter. As their paths hurtle toward their fateful intersection, a murder ignites the town, a death pits Cyrus against his brother, and a long-lost, horrible truth is finally unveiled.

Miss Me When I'm Gone is a mythical tale of music and of loss, of memory and its effect on what we call home. It is a story about the lengths we go to reckon with our pasts and the ways some old ghosts tend to linger on.

ABOUT PHILIP STEPHENS

Philip Stephens is the author of the poetry collection The Determined Days, which was a finalist for the PEN Center USA West Literary Award. His work as appeared in The Oxford American, Southwest Review, and Bomb, among other publications, as well as in Da Capo Best Music Writing 2004. He lives with his wife and sons in Kansas City, Missouri.

A CONVERSATION WITH PHILIP STEPHENS
Q. There is much attention to scenic detail in this novel, specifically in terms of flora and geological features. What role, for you, do these natural details play in shaping a novel?

Place is character; character is place, though some folks might argue that place forms character, and I expect that's fair enough. But if we can agree that a story at its most skeletal tells of someone who wants something and what he's willing to go through to get it, then place—in my case, hills, rocks, springs, streams, backroads, caves, trees, tarpaper houses, doublewides, town squares, and barns—becomes a character through which each character must interact. I feel like my writing has to bring to life, to a reader's reality, what could happen. I want to make myth real. Wakoda County and Apogee Springs, Missouri, may not appear on the state map, but one of my jobs is to make the places appeal to senses, to a reality that can be seen, heard, tasted, smelled, touched, and tossed around.

My grandpa Stephens used to cut and ride ties down the Osage River to Bagnell, Missouri, where he sold them to the Bagnell Line. He had to know white oak from red oak, walnut from hickory. The differences meant food on the table for five boys, one daughter, and his wife.

Later, he used to send his boys to clear brush on property across the road from their house. No matter the season—leafy summer, barren winter—they had to know which trees to cut, which ones to leave. That's a writerly metaphor straining to be—knowing what to leave in, what to leave out—but what has impressed me, and made an impression on me, is how my dad can name a tree or bush by looking at bark or shape, and how he knows where such and such a tree will grow. Nobody hopes to be ignorant, but I don't want to be ignorant of the physical world. I'd end up lost as a person, let alone a writer.

So just as I have to know where I am as a writer, I have to say on the page, "You are here." I have to show just what is here and where to go. Chert differs from karst. Cave-spring water looks, tastes, smells, feels, and sounds nothing like dammed river water. Second growth timber varies from cedar and blackjack oak encroaching on a knob. Each resides in its place; each appeals to senses in a different way. If I can't make that clear and real, I lose the reader, which at first is me, and the reader is lost.

Q. Each character has a distinct way of speaking throughout the book. How difficult is it to maintain consistent dialogue? How do you go about capturing authentic, realistic speech patterns for your characters?

My forebears traveled out of east Tennessee and Virginia into the Ozarks. Language is culture, or switch that around. They hauled their language with them, and I guess it got passed to me from my folks, who came from south Missouri, and from their folks, whom we visited regularly.

Such as: "You'd complain if you were hung with a new rope"; "He doesn't have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of"; "It's black as ole Coalies' ass"; "I'll do that soon as I eat this hot bucket of shit"; "He don't know shit from Shinola"; "Shit or get off the pot"; "You were born tired and never did get rested"; "He don't do nothing and don't know when to stop"; "He don't know beans from buttermilk"; "He don't know his head from a hole in the ground"; "She could talk the bark off a tree"; "I'm so hungry I could eat the ass out of a bear"; "You would argue with a fencepost."

Sometimes these got cleaned up for a little boy's big ears, though mostly I heard, "You'd complain if you were hung with a new rope" and "You would argue with a fencepost." Music, metaphor, euphemism—these were part of my day, and I loved to hear old people talk. In my house, "Foot," was a substitution for "fuck," at least when employed as a term of disgust. When my mother dropped a bowl of batter, cut her hand on broken glass, figured an error in the checkbook, she'd say, "six and two is eight." Not simple addition, but a euphemism for "shit."

Some years ago I went to tour the Ryman Auditorium with my wife. We sat through the introductory film, which, of course, features Minnie Pearl. When I heard her, I got teary, and my wife asked what was wrong. "She sounds like Memaw," I said. My mom's mother, Memaw, we called her, had died twenty years before then. My wife gave me a quizzical look: "She sounds like your mom."

I like to blame the Southern Baptist Church in which I was raised for teaching me that people fail to say what they mean or mean what they say. There, I witnessed folks disguise their personalities—contrary, morose, hateful, baleful, violent—with Christian language and bearing. Of course, disguising oneself is not limited to church. Conversations are rife with agendas, which as a writer you have to keep, but words often serve as a false face for the character speaking. I feel like when I write dialogue I have to be as much aware of what's not being said as what is being said.

When I worked as a signalman for the Southern Pacific Railroad out of San Francisco, California, James Agee's Let Us Now Praise Famous Men became a guide to me. The first sentence to his piece on Alabama tenant farmer's overalls begins thus: "They are pronounced overhauls." From there, he conducts a verbose study of overalls in their forms and changes: new overalls, old overalls, sweaty overalls, overalls slipped down in defecation. The importance of the pronunciation of overalls stuck with me, but so did the obsessive attention to detail of an object, which in turn gave life to the situation of a people. Agee went on and on about overalls, and I loved it. I fell for all things Agee, and, in turn, for the photographs of Walker Evans, which came to me not as nostalgic glimpses but as a documentation of lives and lifestyles and entire communities passing. I found a quote from Evans, made large-print copies of it, and I've carried copies with me ever since, sticking them to the refrigerator, pinning them to my corkboard: "Stare. It is the way to educate your eye and more. Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long." Maybe, for me, it's an edict. At least it says that the way I prefer to engage with the world is OK. Or crucial.

I make up voices—rubes, hillbillies, hermits, pirates, teenagers at the mall or on the street—to entertain my sons, though sometimes I'll keep up a voice to the point where my wife says, "Stop it. You're scaring me." One morning, a few years back, I sat in a rocking chair holding my two-year-old who was obsessed with The Beatles. "Talk to Paul," he'd say. "Talk to John." Which meant talk like Paul or talk like John. Before my first cup of coffee, my son required me to engage in a six-way conversation between John, Paul, George, Ringo, Winnie the Pooh, and a stuffed dog we call Tennie Hound because he grew up in Tennessee near Grinder's Switch and played sometimes with Hank Williams when he wasn't hanging out at Tootsie's Orchid Lounge.

Just as I have to know Tennie Hound's story, I have to know where a character comes from—physically and mentally—before I can make voices both consistent and distinct. I have to write to get there, though. Once I figure it out I can go back to drafts of dialogue and say, "Nope, he wouldn't say that" or "Huh-uh, she's talking above her raising." Then maybe I can fix it. I hope so.

In notes at the beginning of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain writes:

In this book a number of dialects are used, to wit: the Missouri negro dialect, the extremest form of the backwoods South-Western dialect; the ordinary "Pike-Country" dialect: and four modified versions of the last. The shadings have not been done in a hap-hazard fashion, or by guess-work; but painstakingly, and with the trustworthy guidance and support of personal familiarity with these several forms of speech.

Twain's probably gilding the truth a bit, but that's not for me to say. I don't write in dialect. These days, dialect would come across as poking fun, or being judgmental or bigoted. But I hope I provide enough of the sound and cadence of a character's speech to make the character real. I guess that's done mostly by ear. In a recent New Yorker article, an author maintains that Twain wrote as much by eye as by ear. I don't know what figuring the author had to do to come up with what I think is a specious equation. Twain probably had to read his words back to himself. He had to taste the words before he could say, "Yes, that's him." I'm no expert. But I read my characters aloud so I can say, "That's the same gal I wrote on page 38" or "Yeah, there he is." I have to hope I'm right.

Q. Music plays a huge part in your book. What's your relationship with the type of music featured in Miss Me When I'm Gone? What sort of research did you do in creating rich, historical detail for the musical elements of the book?

My great-grandfather, James Wesley Cunningham, often played fiddle, which he considered backsliding. When he wasn't a mason, he preached brush-arbor revivals for the Nazarene church. His daughter once had to retrieve his fiddle from the stove. "That's the Devil's instrument," he said. When he died, a Bible and a fiddle sat on his kitchen table. I have the Bible, which he marked extensively; he was fond of Job, Ecclesiastes, Proverbs; I play his fiddle.

My great Uncle Bud, James Edward Garrett, played fiddle, mandolin, and guitar for rent parties and dances as far south of Missouri as Langley, Oklahoma, and as far north as Argentine, Kansas. My papaw, Hilgar Lee Cunningham, played any instrument you set in front of him, except the fiddle. Not a one of them had a lesson or could read music. Not a one of them got beyond sixth grade in southern Missouri.

My great-grandma Garrett, Ganky, she was called, played piano; so did Grandma Stephens. Uncle Bill Stephens at the age of eighty has a country-western band that plays for V.F.W. Halls and nursing homes, anywhere people care to hear the old songs. A while back, my five-year-old was beating on his ukulele and singing lyrics of his own concoction, and he sounded like he was channeling Son House. His seventeen-month-old brother can say a few words, but can hum songs entire. Maybe music flows through blood.

When I was five-years-old I heard fiddle at Lee Mace's Ozark Opry in Osage Beach, Missouri. I told my mom I wanted to do that, and she put me off for two years until I ended up taking lessons on my great-grandfather's fiddle. At first, I played classical, but Mom found a teacher who'd let me learn fiddle tunes too. When Papaw saw me playing a fiddle tune by reading music, he stopped, stared me down, and said, "That ain't fiddle playing." If a melody wasn't handed down by ear, it wasn't worth much. I learned my first tune by ear from Great Uncle Bud—"Ragtime Annie."

Like most anyone else my age I heard top forty as a child, though I still recall my mom's 45s and my dad's albums: Platters, Bill Haley and his Comets, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Chet Atkins. In the summer after my eighth grade year I lay in front of my brother's Realistic console stereo while a thunderstorm passed. " A Day in the Life," came on. Lightning kept interrupting. "Who's that?" I thought. My brother listened to Steve Miller Band and REO Speedwagon. I went from obsessions with The Beatles to Bob Dylan to Woody Guthrie to Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music, and from there I branched out everywhere from John Prine to Otis Redding to Lottie Kimbrough to The Allen Brothers to Charley Patton to the Old Pal Smoke Shop Four. I studied liner notes like they were Dead Sea scrolls. As I wrote the novel I read everything I could find by Charles Wolfe, Vance Randolph, Peter Guralnick, Nick Tosches, Miles Gordon, Greil Marcus, Ken Emerson, John Jacob Niles. Books and liner notes helped with accuracy, but I have to admit most of the stuff leaked out of my head.

I should say that I did sing in coffeehouses and bars, but I wasn't very good. Even so, I wanted to be a singer-songwriter before I ever wrote a poem. But to be such a thing you have to entertain, you have to perform, and it doesn't hurt if you can play well. I'm not all that entertaining, so I hope I'm better off performing for a blank page.

Q. How did you go about sculpting this story? What challenges did you face in balancing several complex storylines with intersecting characters?

I start writing and hope I end up somewhere. I scatter a mess of words. To use a brush-clearing metaphor, I have to hack, mow, landscape. By that time I may have an idea of what's going on in the story.

That said, I dreamt about the main characters in this book when I lived in California and wrote the dreams down. I do that sometimes; I don't know why. So: a woman shot four high-school boys; a man couldn't find his way home because the roads were new. Maybe seven years later, I started writing them. As I wrote, I drew maps of the land over which my characters wandered. I wrote long paragraphs about their history, their likes and dislikes: favorite sandwiches, laundry detergent, room lighting, brands of boots and shoes, information that never made it to story but helped me understand the sort of people I was fighting on the page.

Randy, the deaf-mute, the hog-eyed man, and idealistic ideas about old-time music insinuated themselves into the work, and I ended up with four intersecting story lines of six-hundred pages. Fine if you're working on a Russian epic. I was not.

I write by hand and type what I write, though what that has to do with anything I've no idea. I edit those pages. I retype. Pages go into a computer where they get edited all over again. One writer who saw a portion of an early typed manuscript asked what a hog-eyed man was. I knew a hog-eyed man was in more than a few old songs, but that was all. This was before Google. When I finally found the answer I had a decent understanding of the story. If I remember right, and I probably don't, I realized I needed to scale some characters back and bring others to the fore.

After my first son was born I went out back to what we like to call the studio—a messy room over our garage—to print what I thought was a once-and-for-all version of the manuscript. Three a.m. A new baby. The computer froze. I have a temper. I beat hell out of the machine and lost the hard drive.

I started over from old typewritten drafts, which I cut up with scissors and taped together. I rewrote. The hog-eyed man became an expert in song, as did Newbern. Randy became a chorus singing in blank verse. Without them, the book lacked a necessary layering. Without them, Cyrus and Margaret were strangers in a strange land, circling one another and lost.

Q. What projects are you working on now?

When people ask what I'm working on, I say, " a mess." So far I'm working on a mess of poems; a mess of essays about music and family; and an unholy mess of a novel that, these days, takes place in 1865, 1965, and 2005 in Wakoda County, Missouri. I don't know where that novel is going, but I know where it is.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  • Music plays a major role in Miss Me When I'm Gone. What is Cyrus's relationship with music and how does it affect his opinion of popular music? How do the rest of the Harper clan (Ruth, Saro, and Ott) relate to music and how does it inform Cyrus's experience?
  • Both Margaret and Cyrus lost someone close to them. How do these characters handle loss and how does this loss drive their actions?
  • When Loman catches wind of Cyrus and Saro's opry "rube" routine, he puts an end to it, saying "don't make a fool of music because music can make a fool of you." What stereotypes in old-time music is Loman addressing here? What preconceptions did you have about the genre and how has this book affected those preconceptions?
  • What is the relationship between religion and music in this story? What happens to Ott and Ruth that shifts their attitudes toward each and what impact did this have on Cyrus?
  • In talking about the Homecoming parade, the druggist tells Margaret, "Once you're gone, it's best to stay that way." What's your opinion of this statement? How would Cyrus feel about this sentiment? What does "home" mean to Cyrus and Margaret?
  • After Margaret kills the football players, it is later revealed she attempted to kill her boyfriend as well. What is your opinion of Margaret's reaction to the murder she committed? What does it say about her character and how does it relate to the loss of her son?
  • Through his conversations with Cate, we learn that Cyrus's memory of Saro isn't always accurate. How does the image of Saro in Cyrus's mind differ from what others say about her? What role does memory play in the story of Cyrus and Margaret?
  • When Cate plays one of Cyrus's songs to him, he says, "That song's not me. The singer's not the song." What's your opinion of this thought? Does Cyrus believe this sentiment at the story's end?
  • Margaret's final letter to her daughter suggests she found her but didn't actually approach her. Will or can Margaret ever have a relationship with her daughter and what do you think will become of both of them?
  • With hog-eyed men lurking in the shadows, Cyrus's story ends with him atop the bed of a pickup waiting to join a song with his fiddle. What do you see in Cyrus's future? Will he answer the call for another album? Will he remain in Apogee?
  • What role does Randy play in this story? What was your opinion of his relationship with Margaret and his inner monologues interspersed throughout the novel?
  • Who is the hog-eyed man? What does he represent to Ruth? To Cyrus? What must one do in order to stop seeing them?
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2013

    Christie

    Cant wait for more!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2013

    My review

    THIS STORY SUCKS! YOU NEED TO WORK ON YOUR WRITING AND GRAMMER

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2013

    Interesting

    Slightly a little worse from the beginning, and you couldve made it longer. Can you check out my story at 'evolved' if you havent or have the chance?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2013

    Awake chapter two.

    My story, like many, begins in highschool. Dont worry. This is not THAT kindof story. It was last minutes of the day, hen the teacher still thought she could cram some last minute knowledge into our brains though no one paid attention. But who would? There was only twp minutes before the bell rang, announcing sumer break with their music. I had plans, as did everyone else. I would go to parties, see friends, and hang out in the woods to practice on my guitar. Life was good. Simple. If only i had known how easily that would change. When the bell finnally did ring, the people crowded out, each a blur of facial features and cloths. A boy i hardly knew, but was very handsome came up to when everyone had gone. "Hey Rose." He had said. He was about to say more before he scurried off, almost looking...afraid? Weird. Now remember this boy he would be important. Without paying it much mind i went home, had a snack and went to the clearing. Oh if hadnt gone to that small section in the woods, this might never had hapened. But i did. So it did. If only i had known what tragic adventure was to pass. Because it was starting, oh it was starting.

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