Descent

       
Curled against the headboard of her bed, she cried quietly. Three hours now she had been sitting
here, feeling miserable. She waited... but he didn't come, no one came. No one was going to come, and
she had to accept that. 'Pick yourself up.' She told herself. 'Be independent now... at least for the night.
Make-up, dress... black dress. Funeral...' But still she didn't move.
       
       Staring at her balcony doors she pulled her knees up to her chin and rocked on her feet. 'Sleep.
Sleep sounded wonderful. Wonderful sounds: Vincent's voice, pipe messages, water, trees in the wind.
Wind: warm, cold, high, calm, breeze, Vincent's hair.' She couldn't stop. Her mind wandered as she
stared into the blackness of the night.
       
       'Night: darkness... sleep... moon, stars, black. Black: cloak, misery, dress. Black dress: make-up,
funeral, death... Vincent. Funeral... you have to go.' Finally she found the strength to get up off the bed.
       
       The bathroom was the first destination. All she wanted to do was sleep. She wanted to loose herself
in the nothingness of her mind, assuming that her mind wouldn’t plague her with dreams. ‘No... keep
going. Shower, and clean your face up.’
       
       She scrubbed her skin as if there were something underneath it, refusing to wash off. It had never
felt so good to scrub her face. Any trace of left over make-up was gone. All that was left was raw, red
skin. She began washing her neck, and flinched when her fast and sharp scrubbing contacted her jaw-
line. She touched the welt gently a few times. ‘Collapse. Sleep. Nothing matters.’ She pushed hard on
the injury, forcing it to sting. It felt good to inflict her own pain; it always hurt more when someone else did
it. ‘Pain; sharp, cut, injury, strike. Strike; today... Stop!’
       
       The mirror was fogged when she came out of the shower, but she didn’t bother wiping it off. She
didn’t want to see herself. Not yet. She wrapped herself up in her bathrobe that seemed to let all the cold
into her body.
       
       She came out of her bathroom and rested against the doorframe, starring at the room as she had
left it. Her blankets strew everywhere and some things thrown in the heat of anger. Only one thing in the
whole room was in its place; a red, leather bound book. Great Expectations. She starred at it for a whole
minute, just remembering her first sight of the precious book. ‘Don’t think. Just keep going.’
       
       Nothing fancy. Just a plain black dress. She slipped it on and was thankful for the long sleeves. She
had forgotten just how comfortable this dress was. She was going to need that tonight. Comfort was key
to making it through. She looked over to her vanity table in the corner; make-up and perfume bottles
thrown and knocked to the floor. Her vanity. Vanity.
               
       She sank into the chair in front of the mirror, and for the first time Catherine Chandler starred at
herself. This used to be so easy. Just sit down, apply lotion, base, eye make-up, lipstick, blush, and fix
the light hair that brushed her shoulders. It was different now. Her skin was raw and tough, much more
than before. Her eyes had darkened to a steely green, it would be hard to compliment them with the eye
shadow she owned. Instead of accenting her eyes, mascara and liner would only darken and anger her
features. And that hair that used to simply wisp back, easily clipped together, had grown long and
layered. Now at the middle of her back, it had grown so thick that there was no way to simply clip it into a
bun. Maybe no one would notice how drastically she had changed in only a year.
       
       She saw all of her movements in slow motion. The strokes of brushes, putting in her silver earrings;
she even thought in slow motion.
               
       She picked out a purse, piled her keys and wallet into it, threw her coat on and left her apartment.
She knew she was late, but she didn’t rush. Every piece of her journey was methodical. New York City
was one big network of monotony, never changing. Everything ran on schedule. There was a language of
the city’s own that was easily learned for the lack of words. They were gestures and grunts. Raise your
arm for a taxi, wait at the stop for the bus, and avoid human contact on the subway. It was a simple jungle
if you obeyed the rules.
       
       She chose to raise her arm for the taxi. It was faster, easier, and maybe a little more expensive, but
she didn’t care anymore. Every part of her theory proved true when she climbed out at the funeral home.
       
       Her legs were weak. She wanted to let them fall out from under her and just sleep on the pavement.
‘No. Keep going’ She pushed herself through the doors.
       
       People never greeted her, only a sea of black and white. They all flowed as they walked, in a wave-
like motion. The faces starred, but they never spoke, they just hid behind their black waves. They all
seemed to know, as if they could see the movie of what had happened that afternoon playing in
Catherine’s head.
       
       A hand on her elbow made her flinch and she spun to face whoever had disturbed her entrancing
haze. It was Carol from data-entry. Catherine had spoken to her a few times, mostly for information and
typing favors. She couldn’t fathom why Carol would want to speak to her.
       
       “Cathy...” She moaned and looked around the room melodramatically, at least to Catherine, “isn’t it
horrible?”
       
       Catherine didn’t answer. She figured that Carol wasn’t looking for one anyway. She was the type of
person to get overly upset about little things. Well, this wasn’t a ‘little thing’, was it? Was it? Who was she
here for again? Someone from work, she knew that. ‘Think Catherine!’ She scolded herself. But every
time she tried to concentrate, she just saw that horrific scene that she was trying so desperately to forget.
It was no use, though. No name or face, except Vincent’s, came to mind.
       
       Suddenly, through the fog of her thought process, she heard Carol exclaim.
       
       “Oh my goodness, Cathy! What happened?” Carol was horrified and, like a mother hen, attempted
to fuss over Catherine. She touched the stitches on Catherine’s chin and both women flinched away.
“What happened? Does it hurt?” Carol pressed.
       
       Catherine contemplated letting her sarcasm take over: ‘No, actually, it feels fantastic! Thanks!’ But
she didn’t. “I’m fine. I just cut myself. I was... cooking.”
       
       “Oh...” Carol cooed at her. She would have gone on fussing, but she spotted someone new and she
allowed her ADD to take over. “Well, feel better, Cathy.” The woman said on a hurry as she slid past and
caught her new prey.
       
       Catherine didn’t even hear her. Her mind was a fog, even her steps were unconsciously made. She
found herself focused on the table she nearly ran into. Glasses of champagne were set on the table, not
so much for drinking as for display of the family’s money. Why was she here again? Who’s funeral was
this?
       
       She glanced around at the sea of faces surrounding her, swarming her, but never looking at her.
They never saw her. The story of her life: a swarm of people gathering around her, looking at her, but
never seeing her. They’d poke and prod, and once in a while someone would take her down off her
pedestal. Oh how that felt good! But it would only be to play with her for a short while, muss her up
maybe, but they always put her back up there on display, leaving her with another heartbreaking phase of
hopelessness.
       
       Until Vincent, anyway. She had fallen off her pedestal, but he picked her up, dusted her off and,
though he was forced to keep her on that pedestal, he became the box protecting her doll’s life. A clear
box that said “look, but never touch”. Pressed against him, she knew there was life beyond, but wanted
no part of it anymore. She was happy to be in his box and was proud that no one was allowed to come
near. She was Vincent’s, and she wasn’t to be played with.
       
       She took a glass of champagne and gulped it down. ‘Wash it away.’ But the memory lingered, so
she grabbed another.
       
       She forgot how many she had drank, but the table was only half full of glasses now, and she hadn’t
encountered anyone else at the table in the last hour. She was getting dizzy and threatened to sink under
the table from lack of energy. She took another glass. Just something to steady her nerves.
       
       “Well... Cathy! I didn’t know you two were so close.” A young man’s voice whispered sarcastically
through the haze. She looked up and saw Jesse Fuller. He was younger than her, but had been with the
D.A’s longer. “Don’t worry about it.” He whispered confidentially to her. “The guy was an asshole. We all
knew it!”
       
       Catherine cleared her throat and shook her head to clear it. It didn’t work; she swayed a bit, woozy
and desperately trying to see through the fuzz.
       
       Jesse quickly grabbed her elbows to steady her. “Hey, you okay?”
       
       She nodded, and added a groggy “yes” she her broke her arms away gently.
       
       “You’re sure?” He ducked down to try to see into her eyes. But her nodding just made her more dizzy
and he caught her as she was falling into the table. “No, you’re not.” He wrapped her up and walked her
outside. “Come on!”
       
       People starred as they passed, but he just starred back. His only concern at the moment was now
half lying in his arms.
       
       He sat her on the steps of the building and watched her fold her arms and hunch over her knees. “Do
you need to throw up?” He asked a little loud to keep her concentrated on him.
       
       She shook her head and shivered. “It’s cold.” She mumbled.
       
       “No, it’s not.” He slid close and rubbed her arms vigorously to warm them. “In the middle of a heat
wave and you’re getting cold chills.” He mumbled ironically. “So,” Jesse started after an awkward
silence, “what’s wrong?”
       
       “Why do people always assume that something is wrong, huh? Maybe I just like to drink!” She began
to rant in her slurring, woozy tone. “Maybe I like the taste of champagne! Maybe I just feel like getting
drunk! You’re young, you’d know about that!”
       
       “At a funeral?” He watched her skeptically. “You hate champagne. I was watching you drink, it looked
like it burned you all the way down. You seem more like someone who likes harder drinks.”
       
       She smiled faintly. “Something harder would be nice.” She cooed.
       
       “No, it wouldn’t.” He laughed a little. “So,” he was serious again, “what’s wrong?”
       
       How to say it? Not at all, was the best solution, but Jesse wouldn’t give up until he knew. Jesse liked
to find answers, to put puzzles together. That’s why he worked for the D.A. Put it in terms he would
understand, that was the key.
       
       “My... boyfriend... he left me this afternoon. We, um... well actually I don’t know what happened.” She
spoke reluctantly, but it almost felt good to tell someone other than her pillow.
       
       “And you’re here?! Geez, you’re nuts!”
       
       “Did you just say ‘geez’?”
       
       They laughed about that for only a second or two, and then the night was quiet. Smog billowed from
a vent down the street and drifted their way. A cat in an alley knock over a trash can.
       
       “How long were you two together?” He broke the silence with a whisper that sounded like a roar.
       
       She sighed. “Three years.” She let the number fall out and the scene played again in her mind.
       
       “Crazy.” He commented in monotone. “Any marriage plans or anything?”
               
       She sighed again and smiled ironically. “No. There was only the dream of it.”
       
       “I’m sorry.” He said quietly.
       
       “He’s done this before.” She didn’t know why she was still talking. She tried to stop herself, but it
didn’t work. “He’s um... got, kind of a... low self-esteem.” She stumbled. “Has this crazy idea that he
doesn’t deserve me. And what he can’t get through his thick head is that I don’t deserve him.” She
laughed, but it quickly became tears that she couldn’t stop.
       
       “Hey...” he fumbled, not sure of what to do. Finally he just tightened his arm around her. “Listen
Cathy. You are beautiful, and you deserve the best guy you can find. I mean it! You’re intelligent, and you
have a great sense of humor. I’m having trouble even imagining anyone leaving you.”
       
       Catherine didn’t really hear much of what he said, but she heard the last part and looked up at him.
She was starting to sober-up, but that haze was still there. He looked like a little cherub through that haze,
blurring his features, except for the tinted blonde hair and grey eyes. Yes, he was definitely a little baby
angel sitting next to her. “They do it, though.” She replied with a strain in her voice. “Everyone of them.”
       
       It was that moment, as she spoke, that Jesse saw the gash in her jaw and the stitches holding the
skin together. He touched it gently. “That looks nasty. What happened?”
       
       Catherine immediately pulled away, nervous and agitated. She tried to hide it by tucking her chin,
putting her hand over it. But the numbing affect that the champagne had was wearing off and now it really
hurt. “Nothing, I cut myself.”
       
       Jesse watched her closely. Her shaking hands, and how she nervously glanced over her shoulder at
him. He sighed heavily and shook his head. “Of all the people in the world, you are the last person that I
could see in an abusive relationship.”
       
       Mortified, she turned back to him. “No, no, it’s not like that.”
       
       “Really?” He was suddenly angry. With her or Vincent, she couldn’t tell. “Then what is that?”
       
       “An accident!” She insisted quickly.
       
       “I don’t believe you’re sticking up for him!” He refused to look at her.
       
       “God, how I hate men!!” She yelled at him, now thoroughly frustrated and confused. The headache
was setting in and she let the weight of her head fall into her hands. “You’re all so pig-headed!” She
yelled at him from her hands. “None of you understand! You play the kind, understanding man just to
make us feel better, but you really don’t get it! You jump to conclusions and assume that we’re so weak-
minded that we couldn’t possibly comprehend, much less fix it, but you don’t let us! You come up with all
of these excuses just so that you can keep yourselves all wrapped up, safe and secure in your damned
little lifestyles! You’re afraid of everything we think and say because it just might ruin the little haven, the
bubble you’ve formed around yourselves!”
       
       There was quiet as Jesse slowly turned to look at her. “What did you say?” He watched her through
squinted eyes of confusion.
       
       Catherine laughed into her hands and then stood slowly.
       
       “Where are you going?” He was on his feet in a flash.
       
       “I...” she began, hooking her purse over her shoulder, “am going to go inside, throw-up a little, and
go someplace where I can get something that will wash out my brain and start fresh.”
       
       “Well...” he started to protest, watching her walk back to the door.
       
       “I really don’t give a damn what you do, Jesse. Stay, go... whatever. See ya.” She ended by opening
the door and closing it behind her.

       
       
       Catherine stepped back out into the night of New York City, feeling overheated now. Her stomach
turned from lack of food and too much champagne, but she refused to throw-up one more time. She
sighed heavily as if it would clean out her mind of her thoughts, it didn’t.
       
       Suddenly Jesse was in front of her, waving for a taxi. She watched him curiously.
       
       “Feel better?” He asked over his shoulder, still waving.
       
       “A little.” She admitted, still watching him skeptically.
       
       “Good! I figured if you were gonna get trashed on the streets of Manhattan, I may as well go with you.
Ya know, me being a veteran and all. Besides, somebody’s gotta look after you.” He held the door of the
waiting taxi open for her.
       
       She laughed and quickly crawled in with him.





The Children’s Song

       Catherine Chandler rolled into the sunlight beaming from her skylight that spilled onto her couch.
Was it Sunday or Monday? God, how she hoped it was Sunday. She shielded her eyes from the sun,
rare to New York City, and pulled herself into an upright position. She had fallen asleep while watching
television again. She would get scolded for that.
       
       “Mommy!!” The inevitable voice of her seven-year-old called.
       
       “In here, sweet pea!” Catherine replied, wiping her eyes that seemed glued shut.
       
       She waited as the little girl, no more than four feet with straight and silky tawny hair, and green eyes
like the sea scrambled into the living room. Her sweet face was all scrunched in disappointment. She
had a pair of jeans and socks on, but everything above the waist was still in pajamas. Her hair, in a braid
when she had fallen asleep, had pulled apart and now hung in strands all over her shoulders. She found
her mother, stood far enough away to observe her, and folded her arms confidently.
       
       “You’re going to ruin your eyes.” She stated plainly, but that cute little face stared at her
disapprovingly. “Not to mention your back.”
       
       “Thanks for the advice, Doctor Chandler.” Catherine smiled, climbed off of the deep couch, and
towered over her daughter.
       
       “What if I had a scary dream? Huh? Then what would we have done?” The indignant child followed
her mother into the kitchen and sunk into the chair at the table.
       
       “I’m sorry, babe. I fell asleep on accident.” She turn the switch on the coffee-maker and started her
daughter’s toast.
       
       “Well... just make sure you don’t do it again. Otherwise I’ll be all alone. No more, okay?” She clumsily
poured herself milk when Catherine set it and the glass in front of her.
       
       “Okay.” She promised with a hint of a mocking tone. She often found herself hating her little girl’s
sense of reality. Imagination was something Catherine herself was never short on as a child. Why couldn’
t her little one be the same? Besides, she herself didn’t even want to be reminded of reality sometimes.
       
       “Thank you.” The girl nodded stately. Quickly, she began digging in her canvas backpack that was
much too large for her. “Mommy?”
       
       “Yes, sweetheart?” Catherine set the toast and scrambled eggs in front of her child.
       
       “You gotta sign this paper with me.” She instructed and triumphantly retrieved the photocopied sheet.
       
       “Well, how about you write it out and I will help while I get ready for work?” She pulled her own toast
out and took a sip of the coffee she’d just fixed.
       
       “Okay!” The girl agreed, happily independent. She picked up a pen off of the table and scanned the
page. “Child’s name.” She read off.
       
       “So, what do you put there?” Catherine prompted.
       
       “My name.” She stated proudly, looking up for praise.
       
       “You’re full name.” Catherine enforced with a nod.
       
       “Full.” The girl whispered, falling back into her form. “Caroline Anna Chandler.” She worked out loud
as she wrote in her odd child’s handwriting. “Mother’s name.” She read again.
       
       “Catherine.” She informed, chewing her toast. “C-a-t-h-e-r-i-n-e. And then, Chandler.”
       
       She finished writing the name and scanned with the pen for the next empty spot. “Father’s name.”
She read off quietly.
       
       Catherine was quiet for only a second, but quickly caught herself. “You’re gonna leave that one
empty, Ann.”
       
       “But...” she began with an ulterior motive, “they say they want my father’s name. We gotta...”
       
       “Anna, that’s only for the children with fathers who live with them. Your daddy’s not here, so that part
doesn’t matter to them. Understand?” Catherine explained with practiced skill. It hurt to admit it though. It
hurt so badly. But Catherine’s tone was straight and strong, informative.
       
       Little Anna nodded sadly and then pushed the paper toward her mother. “You gotta sign it now.” She
took her first bite of toast and then slid out of her chair. “I have to get dressed.”
       
       

       “But why?” Anna whined. The secret plan had fallen apart. Now, nearly jogging to keep up with her
mother, the two were at the point of arguing. All discretion had been thrown to the wind.
       
       “Because I say so, Ann.” Catherine held her seven-year-old’s hand tightly to be sure not to loose her
in the hurry of morning traffic.
       
       “I dunno one kid in my class who doesn’t know their father’s name!” She argued. “Why not just tell
me?”
       
       “Why do you need to know? He’s not here, he’s not a part of our life. His name isn’t even relevant!”
Catherine glanced at her watch; they were late. The walk signal was going to change soon. She sped
them up to try to catch it.
       
       “It is to rel-ev-ant!” Anna objected, sounding out the new word. “People ask me all the time: ‘Oh,
hello little girl,” she played with the voices of her characters, “and what is your daddy’s name?’ I sound
dumb if I say that I don’t know!” She stamped her foot to make it final.
       
       Catherine sighed and mumbled to herself. “We’re not gonna make it.” They didn’t. They stood
amidst a crowd, waiting to cross the street.
       
       “Mommy, why not just tell me?” She fed her the most logical little face and waited patiently.
       
       “No, Ann. And that is the last I want to hear of it. You’re late.” Catherine nearly dragged the child
across the street and around the corner to her school.
       
       “Mommy, please, just tell me.” She gave it her last shot and immediately regretted it.
       
       “Caroline!” Her mother warned. Using Anna’s first name always meant that she was really angry.
She took a deep breath and knelt to the girl’s level. “Do you want to know why I won’t tell you?”
       
       She thought about that for a second. “No. I just want to know his name.”
       
       “Well, you can’t.” Catherine told her, beginning to loose her calm. “Listen, you and I are both really
late, but I will tell you this and I don’t want you to tell anyone else, deal?” Anna nodded. “Okay... you can’t
know his name. If you knew his name... people could get hurt.” She couldn’t help but think of what this
sounded like to a passerby. “His name is very secret. Understand?” Again Anna nodded, though she
didn’t completely comprehend. “As for him as a father... he isn’t one, as far as I am concerned. He left us
and he didn’t look back. But that’s okay with me...” she painted a smile on her face and hugged her
daughter tightly, “because I have you all to myself! I don’t have to share you or anything. You are mine.
And I love you so much.” Anna, pressed against her mother, nodded once more.
       
       “Now, you are late for school, and I am late for work.” Catherine pulled the girl out of her arms. “I love
you.” She kissed her cheek. “Do you have your lunch?”
       
       “In my bag.” Anna nodded.
       
       “Good. Make sure you get on the bus with the others, and I’ll pick you up at the YMCA at 6:00.”
Catherine re-reminded her of the plan.
       
       “You’re not gonna be late again, right?” Anna reassured with a smile.
       
       “Nope, I promise.” Catherine crossed her heart. “I’ll tell Uncle Joe that you need me desperately, and
I must rush to your side.” She dramatized.
       
       “I’ve been stolen by pirates,” Anna built.
       
       “Pirates this week, huh?”
       
       “Yeah! And they are ransoming me for more gold and silver.” Anna giggled. “And drugs, of course.
They’re always looking for drugs.”
       
       Catherine smiled and shook her head. “Something like that.” For a moment she thought her
daughter was simply in a fairy tale without a care in the world. She should know her daughter better by
now. “Okay, sweets! I’ll see you later!” She waved as the child bolted into the school, her dark blonde hair
sweeping behind her.
       
       “Bye mommy!”
       
       “Bye!” Catherine looked at her watch again. She was so late! A cab would be fastest. She laughed
to herself. ‘Good luck finding a cab this time of day.’ She had enough change, she’d walk until she could
catch a bus.
       
       She headed for the main streets and stopped at the crosswalk to make sure she had enough
change in her purse. She dug and dug. She was sure she had enough.
       
       “Penny for your thoughts.” A voice from the street floated up to her. He was a tall African- American
man, a guitarist who didn’t typically sit on this street.
       
       Catherine only glanced at him in her haste, but that was enough. He was a Helper, and had been
long before she ever knew of the tunnels. She stopped and stared at him, not sure if she wanted to even
acknowledge his presence.
       
       “You know, you keep telling that little girl all that junk, you’re gonna have a mutiny on your hands.” He
nodded, matter-of-fact.
       
       “Have you been following us?” She finally answered.
       
       “Just a couple days. I heard that this was her school. Thought I’d check up on you two.” He shrugged
casually.
       
       “We’re doing just fine without you. Throw us to the wolves and then you want to know how we’re
doing?” She brushed him off angrily.
       
       “Hey, this was just me. I was making sure you were alright.” The man defended himself.
       
       “After seven years?” She watched him shrug. “Well, we’re fine.” She told him curtly, trying to walk
away.
       
       “Not from what I see. Girl, you’re so bitter it’s even rubbing off on your kid! Now that’s sad.” He
strummed his guitar trying to catch the attention of a stream of people that passed them.
       
       She tried to respond, but no good argument came to mind. She turned to leave, brushing him off as
if he had never been there.
       
       “Catherine!” He called. She turned to him, very slowly, trying to talk herself out of it. “His name’s
Jacob. He’s seven. He has your smile and Vincent’s eyes.” Her hard edge wavered and she evaded his
eyes. “Here!” He tossed her the extra quarter she needed. “Catch the bus.”
       
       Catherine caught the coin and quickly turned away from him. She heard him strum a few cords and
then begin a sad, jazzy number to attract eyes. She hurried away.
       
       Her defense mechanism was shattered. ‘Jacob... his name is Jacob.’ After Father; a name wasted
on her beautiful baby. ‘Stop thinking about him. If you don’t think you don’t wonder and you can
concentrate on what you have. You have Anna... his twin. Jacob and Anna. Stop it! You don’t have
another child. He isn’t yours. Let him be, and you and Anna get on with your own lives.’ It sounded easy
enough, but there was suddenly a deep pain in her heart. That gaping hole; that wound had been
reopened... and it hurt so badly!

*************************************************************

       A large flowing cape spread out behind him as he ran from the drainage tunnel of the park. Candles
bent with the breeze he created, and the dirt he kicked up left traces of him as he passed. It seemed as if
his dark blonde hair spread almost as long as his cape behind him. A chill of thrill shivered up him as he
grabbed the rock wall to steady his spin into the corner he turned.
       
       He was in the hub now, flying past tunnel dwellers, fast as a breeze. People were out walking,
children on the way to classes, a few women were doing laundry.
       
       His skin was numb from the speed of his pace and, as his fur was blown around, it felt as if a foreign
feature to his face. His tiny frame ran past Mary who was out with Father.
       
       “Slow down, child!” She called with a laugh.
       
       Little Jacob slid into his father’s chamber calling to him all the way down the iron ladder. “Father!
Father!” That sweet little smile radiated the dark room. “Father! I saw it! I saw it!” The boy found Vincent
behind a door of his bureau and let his story spill as he climbed onto the bed.
       
       “Where have you been this morning, son?” Vincent, amused, watched Jacob fidget with anticipation.
       
       “I went down to the park entrance and, and, guess what I saw!” He had peaked his father’s attention,
but he innocently continued before Vincent could scold him. “It was a dog!! I’ve never seen a dog in the
sun! It was so pretty! A Golden Retriever, I think! I have to ask Cat, though. She has the book.”
       
       “Jacob.” Vincent finally cut in. “How many times need I tell you? You cannot go Above during the
daytime. If someone saw you... who knows what could happen.”
       
       “You go Above all the time!” The child argued, his mood making a sharp turn to anger.
       
       “At night, Jacob. And I keep myself hidden even then. To go Above during the day... what if
someone saw you?” That argument was Father talking, but he wasn’t sure if he should scare his child
with reality. But, then again, how else would he learn? “Jacob... listen to me.” He sat on the bed and
stood his son in front of him. “Do you know what could happen if someone saw you?” He waited for the
boy to shake his head, puzzled. “Well, terrible things could happen. You could be taken away. Far away,
where you would never see me, Mary, Grandfather, Cat, or anyone else ever again. You would only ever
see the people who would...” he stopped. “Jacob, you know that you and I are different, don’t you?”
       
       He nodded solemnly. “We look different.”
       
       “That’s right, and that is not a bad thing, Jacob, but it can put limitations on us. The people Above,
they don’t know anyone else like you and I. They would be afraid of us at first, possibly to the point of
harming us. After that fear passed, once they knew that we meant them no harm, they would want to
know how we are the way we are. Jacob,” he pulled his son closer to him, “if they were to catch you
Above at any time of the day or night... they would take you away and they would probably hurt you in
many ways. Do you understand what I’m telling you?”
       
       “I think so.” Jacob’s wide blue eyes never left his father’s.
       
       “Trust me about this, son. It has happened to me before. It was the most terrifying experience of my
life.”
       
       “How did you get home?” Jacob made himself comfortable on his father’s lap, a new story to feed
his imaginative mind was always welcome.
       
       Vincent paused, and one of his rare smiles emerged from the memory. “Your mother. She found me
and rescued me from the men who held me captive.”
       
       Jacob’s smile spread with delight. “You see,” he began proudly, “mother will find me and save me
too!” He looked down at his fur covered hands and then cautiously back up at his father. “I was at Lena’s.
She said... she said that I’m a lot like my mother. Do you think so, father?”
       
       “Nothing of the sort.” A sharp voice sounded from the top of the iron ladder. It was Father, staring
down at them.
       
       Vincent’s harsh eyes fixed on the old man and they never broke for the duration of the man’s stay.
He slid Jacob off of his lap, his eyes ever fixed on Father. “Jacob, I believe you have a class to attend
this morning.”
       
       “Yes, father.” The seven-year-old admitted sadly. He was about to turn away, but Vincent pulled him
close again.
       
       “I believe that you are exactly like your mother.” Vincent whispered secretively, and then spun the
boy away from him. “Now, you go on. Be sure you’re not late.”
       
       “Yes, father!” Jacob happily nodded and ran out as fast as lightening, leaving his father and
grandfather alone together.
       
       “You fill that boy’s head with utter nonsense, you know that.” Father watched his son, frozen with
fixed and furious eyes. “You really should...”
       
       “What I choose to tell my son about Catherine is my business, Father. If you believe that my telling
him stories of us together is filling his head with nonsense, then...” he was a bit at a loss for words, “... I
will have to ask you not to voice your opinions around him. I will always regret what I did to her, and how
much I lost because of it.” In a flash he was out the other exit with school book in hand.
...They All Fall Down
by
Catherine Maya
This story has an unusual format.  Please pay attention to the time period of each section, as it
goes both backward and forward in time regularly.

A very special thank you to Ron Koslow for creating these wonderful characters and allowing
us to expand on his vision.
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