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Old 04-22-2013, 05:44 AM   #1
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The Saddest Anchor (closed for DeliciousMaiden)

Johnathan "John" Moore sat at the kitchen table, in front of him a bottle of Jack Daniels and two pill dispensers. Two weeks' worth of beard covered his face, his hair messed up, he wore only a black vest and grey boxers. One hand rested on the table and the other hand was holding a glass, still half with the same whiskey that sat in front of him on the table.

John was a writer, recently he lost his wife and that loss had hit him harder than any other tragedy ever would. She was his life, she was always honest with him, he could discuss everything with her and she would tell him exactly what she thought of his ideas and if needed she would add her own ideas and made him see what the people liked about his books. Of course writing various genres and having twenty films made out of the fifty books he had written had given them both a quite comfortable life. But then the accident tore her from him and he was saddled with the backlash and of course the loss.

He had retreated to his cabin on the lake, on the lake meaning that there was poles sunk into the lake bed and the cabin built mostly over the lake, but at least four rooms still stood on solid ground. He liked the lapping of the water against the shore, it lulled him to sleep after a bottle or two of good old Jack.

At that very moment John was staring out onto the lake, the sun was rising and with it brought cries of water birds, signs of life all around as fishes jumped out to catch the insects hovering above the water. He took a swallow of the whiskey and sighed, they told him to eat something, he knew that there was a tin of beans somewhere. Most likely he would have to go in to town and that means getting dressed, he ran a hand over his face. The thing he hated the most, how the people stared at him, talked behind his back, always saying one thing: "How the mighty have fallen." Just because he was famous it didn't make him mighty, the only thing it did was remind him of just how human he really was, nobody bothered to offer their condolences, not that he needed it, but neither did he need their judgement. He finished the glass and poured himself another one, he needed some sort of courage to get into the shower and getting dressed.
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Old 04-23-2013, 07:25 PM   #2
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Grace Moore - 1987 - 2013



Feel no guilt ...

Feel no guilt in laughter, she'd know how much you care.
Feel no sorrow in a smile that she is not here to share.
You cannot grieve forever; she would not want you to.
She'd hope that you could carry on the way you always do.
So, talk about the good times and the way you showed you cared,
The days you spent together, all the happiness you shared.
Let memories surround you, a word someone may say
Will suddenly recapture a time, an hour, a day,
That brings her back as clearly as though she were still here,
And fills you with the feeling that she is always near.
For if you keep those moments, you will never be apart
And she will live forever locked safely within your heart.


The Funeral Order of Service laying on the desk was the only item within her office that Grace had not put there. Other than that one anomaly, it was as if she had only just stepped out or at least was due back there soon. The computer went undisturbed in the far corner. Her notebooks, pads, stationary and all the minutiae of such a room remained where she had left them. The room was in the back of the house and looked out across the lake. She had loved working in here due to the excellent light and the amazing view across the water. Unlike her husband, Grace needed a constant internet connection to keep on top of her email and to administer the websites, update the twitter account and through which to submit her reviews.

The first time she met Jonathan had been somewhat inauspicious. She had attended an 'author's talk' which was populated by the his avid fan base. Instead of posing probing questions the largely female audience were less than challenging. And then Grace had stood up. Her first question got his attention, the second secured it and her third had him intrigued ... She had expected that her assumed vanity of the man would kick in and brush her valid queries aside; but she had been amazed at not only being allowed to question him at length, but at being offered insightful answers, which demonstrated a depth to the author she had not previously expected. True, she had admitted later, she had been prejudiced against him due to what she considered his amazingly good looks, a fact that they had laughed about at length in the years to come, but she had soon been won round by his brains and come to admire his brawn.

She was an arts critic and only just starting out at that time. He was a famous author. yet any admiration she accorded him he had had to earn. Grace wasn't easily impressed, especially by people whose 'name' preceded them. But once Grace and John met, each seemed intrigued by the other until this 'interest' developed into attraction and almost instantly it seemed they fell for each other.
After the talk, there followed a book launch which she attended and then found herself invited 'on set' where an adaptation of one of his books was being filmed and it was then that he truly 'wooed' her. And they had been inseparable ever since.

Now, 5 years later and after just 4 years of marriage, dust danced in the shaft of light that pushed its way into the room despite the drawn blinds which were intended to shut out all evidence of light or life... In fact, though early morning sun streamed into the house from every side, the place was silent. All that could be heard was the occasional chink of glass on glass as John topped up yet another glass of JD.

Out of nowhere, a loud crash reverberated through the silence of the house as a blind seemed to detach and fall from the office window, it's fractured slats strewn across the book case below as light poured into the previously subdued office as light reflected from the water into Grace's room ...

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Old 04-24-2013, 02:16 AM   #3
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The crash drew him out of his reverie, he got to his feet, not as steady as he should be, not as unsteady as one should expect. He carried his glass with him as he went, the crash had come from the back and he walked down the hallway and checked each room, only to be met with light reflecting from the water, blinding him. He closed his eyes, shielding them with his free hand and stepped further into the room.He removed his hand and blinked, there was a figure...he blinked more, specks dancing in front of his eyes, encumbering his view,

"Grace?"

How many mornings she sat here, the sun streaming in, defining her form through her light summer clothing, or casting her in mysterious shadows. The bright smile she flashed him in greeting, bright enough to rival the sun...the figure did not move...

"Grace?"

He moved closer and the figure finally drew into focus, it was just the coat hanger, her drab grey coat still hung over it. He moved closer and ran his hand over the material, how many cold evenings did he stroke over it, feeling her warm body underneath, radiating her heat through the thick material? He was about to turn away when he stepped on something, looking down, he noticed the broken blind for the first time. He looked at the window, but that wasn't broken. He took a drink from his glass and placed it on the desk, he had to clean this up, Grace would not like it to be dirty and unorganized. He knelt down and started to pick up pieces, inspecting the frame he noticed that one of the screws had pulled out, normal wear and tear. He sat there looking and the loose screw, he had to fix this, can't leave Grace's office in disrepair. He slowly got to his feet, eyeing his glass, he found a way to carry it as he stepped out and headed to the kitchen again.
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Old 04-24-2013, 05:58 AM   #4
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Grace Moore

The poem was Grace’s choice. Aside from her profession, she was an avid reader of novels, plays and poetry in her spare time. The shelves of her office were filled with scrap books and note books in which she collected and commented on all manner of items that caught her attention. It was this poem with the annotations around it and the fact that she had added it to her portfolio merely weeks before the accident that had led to its being selected for the funeral service.

Sitting at the desk , her eyes running over those 12 important lines, sorrow filled her. Being taken from him had been bad enough, but to unable to do anything but witness his pain broke her heart time and again and yet she could not leave him like this. As the grief radiated from her, the blind pulled free of its fixings ...

Long moments later, John came through the door. Temporarily blinded by the reflected sun, he struggled to seek out the source of the noise that had reverberated around the house. Grace stood, the sight of his unkempt appearance and the unsteadiness resulting from his drinking doing nothing to lighten her spirit.

"Grace?"

She froze as he spoke to her.

"John..."

She whispered his name as she watched him try to focus, his eyes directly fixed upon her and thought that at last she had made it possible for him to see her by merely willing it to be so.

"Grace?"

He moved closer, but then seemed to refocus and stepped on past her reaching out instead to the coat that still hung. She stepped back to perch on the desk, watching as he reach out to the fabric and ached for his touch and longed in turn to hold him and comfort him …

But try as she had over the past weeks, John was too caught up in his grief to be aware of her and the many times she had tried to draw near to him.
And he was angry. She could feel that. Anger was an emotion that was alien to the husband she had adored and it did not sit well with him. And somehow she felt that it prevented him from gaining comfort from her presence.

The irony of John turning to alcohol for consolation was not lost on her … given that the drunk-driver had walked away from the accident with barely a scratch...
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Old 04-24-2013, 08:53 AM   #5
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At the table he set down his glass first and then the pieces of the blind, he inspected it, it was beyond repair. Much like how he felt these days, he gave a sardonic grin and emptied his glass, setting aside the empty glass he stared at the blind, it was Grace who decided they should buy it from a store in town.

"No need to import if you can buy it local."

He smiled sadly as he heard himself echo her words, scratching the stubble on his jaw, he frowned and ran his fingers over his jaw and cheeks. How long? He could remember washing, he just couldn't remember shaving. The last shave he could remember was for the funeral, the thought just made him look at the bottle, but it was nearly empty as well, the empty glass next to it a clear reflection of his own hopes for himself. He sighed and looked at Grace's chair, he could swear he could see the chair pushed away from the table, like somebody was sitting there. Was it like that? He searched his befuddled brain, but he just couldn't remember, he moved to throw away the pieces of the blind, keeping the frame for referance.

"I miss you Grace, I miss you so much..."

His voice caught as the raw emotions caught up with him, he blinked away the tears and walked to the bathroom, the least he could do was shower. He turned on the water and waited for it to heat up before he stepped into the shower. The shower was right next to a tub, the bath was Grace's idea, she liked to soak, listening to her soft music and read a novel. He just wanted to get clean, of course he did join her at times, but that long, lazy moments usually didn't end in the bath, but in his mind those moments was part of which cemented their relationship. Taking his time he showered and shampoed like he haven't in weeks, then he stepped out of the shower, rummaged through his toiletry bag to find his shaving gel, razor and aftershave...that kind of answered him about how long ago he had shaved. Two weeks. He turned to the rather spacious basin, again Grace's idea, of course afterwards he saw the wisdom in her choice. He filled the basin with water and then reached up to wipe the mirror clean, in the corner of his eye he saw a reflected image, dark hair, those lovely blue eyes...he spun around,

"Grace?!"

But behind him was nothing but the towels against the wall, he sighed and ran a hand through his still wet hair, then turning back to the mirror he applied his shaving gel and started to shave, cleaning himself up. He knew that he had to eat, there was a nice little diner at the road turning off to town, they served the interstate and townspeople who didn't mind to drive the four miles. Once he was done, he toweled himself dry and got dressed, a checked shirt, jeans and hiking socks with boots. He stopped at the kitchen table, picking up the blind frame, his hand reached for the bottle, stopped and then withdrew, he had drunk enough for the day, there was later more time. He headed for the door.
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Old 04-24-2013, 10:37 AM   #6
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"No need to import if you can buy it local."

It was as if his voice repeating her own words evoked her presence.
Silently she sat and watched him wrestle with the blind and finally bin it.
He looked so alone, so confused.

"I miss you Grace, I miss you so much..."

Her eyes searched his finding such a deep despair there that her own tears brimmed. And still, even though he seemed to be speaking to her, he was oblivious to her presence.

She watched as he left the kitchen and heard him enter the bathroom and put on the shower. He was taking care of himself. It was a good sign she knew. Well, an improvement anyway. She looked around and saw the whiskey bottle sitting on the side, but try as she might she could neither move it, nor break it. Without that distraction, she found she could no longer leave him to his ablutions. Helplessly she felt herself drawn to the bathroom and entered in time to watch him exit the shower: His strong body was thinner than it had been before, his face older and his eyes ... She looked over his shoulder watching his eyes in the mirror and seeing the weight of the world in them.

"Grace?!"

He spun around so rapidly that they stood face-to-face, she frozen in shock and he searching a space beyond where she stood. She felt his sigh and drew closer as he turned back to the sink and set about shaving off the accumulation of growth. Her arms moved around him, wrapping him in her embrace. She was sure he couldn't physically feel it of course; she could only hope that in some way it would soothe him. As for her, the only comfort it offered her was at least the semblance of reaching out to him. The sensation of touch was beyond her, so far at least ...

When he finally finished and he rinsed the large bowl with cold water, dissipating the steam in the bathroom, she too was gone ...

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Old 04-24-2013, 12:42 PM   #7
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The trip to the diner took a lot of concentration, he knew he was drunk, his perspective screwed, but wasn't it that kind of mentality that took Grace from him? He didn't wish to do the same onto another person, so he drove slowly and as straight on the road as he could. At the diner he stopped when there was a parking space open. He fed himself with a breakfast so big that it left him feeling ill, the coffee was so strong it almost sobered him up...almost.

The trip into the little town of Kurtz was quicker, first thing he got was the blind, wood filler and screws. Then he went shopping for food, he had to tell the doctor that his medicine wasn't worth the money they charged him. He was so wrapped up in his own world that he basically heard no off-hand comments, nor notticed the other people moving around.

"I know you!"

The excited shout brought John around, he blinked and noticed a teenage boy pointing at him,

"Kevin!"

His mother's admonishment fell on deaf ears as the boy continued,

"You're Johnathan Moore, you wrote the Companions trilogy and my favorite book, The Legionaire."

The mother smiled apologetically,

"I am so sorry, he gets so excited."

A little of the old John forced a placating smile,

"It's quite alright, not many kids read these days, so young a fan is good to meet."

He stuck out his hand,

"Good to meet you Kevin."

Kevin shook his hand solemly,

"When will you continue The Legionaire's series?"

The silence held many answers, but John knew better than to hurt a child's spirit with crassness, so he merely shrugged,

"Not sure yet, perhaps soon."

Excited the boy rushed off, most probably to go tell his friends, the woman smiled apologetically, he nodded at her,

"Ma'am"

And he was on his way, he got home after lunch, he unlocked the front door and pushed it open.

"Honey I'm home..."

Then he remembered and stepped in, still waiting to hear her voice even though he knew it wouldn't come.
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Old 04-24-2013, 02:55 PM   #8
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Sarah Shelton

Sarah Shelton:

Sarah was new to town, but that did not mean that she had not been fully informed of Johnathan Moore’s circumstances. The town seemed rife with gossip and much of it seemed unsympathetic. It was a small town steeped in tradition and based upon community, which as far as Sarah could see meant that it gave everyone ‘carte blanche’ to poke their noses into other people’s business. She too had had her share of the town’s insular ‘small mindedness’ and as a young single female of a ‘questionable profession’ she had been eyed with suspicion, especially given her decision to take a room over the surgery rather than enter into more ‘traditional lodgings’ – at least so the gossip across town went.

But in less than a month she had made the tiny rooms above the local health centre habitable and was quite at home in the 3-room studio flat which combined sleeping and living quarters complete with incorporated kitchenette within the main room. A small bathroom with shower cubicle and then a 3rd room which she made into her office completed the accommodation. It had seemed a perfect set up: In return for offering her services as counsellor and working with the Doctor to update the practice with developments in her field, she would be able to continue writing up her paper with the hope that she might find some interesting ‘subjects’ for her research paper. But it was slow going. She found Dr Simon Matthews very open and welcoming, though the older, out-going partner of the practice prejudiced by her age and appearance not only refused to treat her professionally, but put around town that she was a ‘shrink’ and implied that she was here to spy out ‘loonies’ to add to her portfolio.

She had initially been askance at the older man’s slur on her ethics, but upon advice from Dr Matthews she had let it ride and focused instead upon slowly but surely getting to know the locals and gaining their trust in that way. So far she had made progress on her paper and made pleasing progress working with Simon Matthews finding his wife and family particularly welcoming. However the tiny consultation room which she held downstairs went almost entirely unused by potential clients who simply did not come to through the door.

That had been until that morning …

As her car neared the cabin she had been directed to, Sarah could not help but think that this was a bad idea. Simon himself had said that the potential client had not really responded to the suggestion that morning, but the urgency of offering some support far outweighed her concerns as she finally pulled up outside the breathtakingly picturesque house.

For long moments she went over the facts in her head and prepared to invade this poor man’s privacy:
...Refusing medication for depression, obviously drinking, but not fully cognisant of the social or health and safety ramifications of such behaviour, in early stage grief and currently reclusive, lacking family and local community support … all this exacerbated by his high profile …

If the benefits of fame were this wonderful property, the cost of it was evident in the account that the Dr had given of his medical circumstances.

Slipping from the car and locking it out of force of habit Sarah knew that she faced a difficult conversation. Naturally Simon would not have spoken to her if he had not gained patient permission, but as this had been verbally given whilst that individual was less that sober, it was possible that the man would not even remember the conversation at all, much less the details.

Knocking tentatively at first and then louder, she decided to call out.

”Mr Moore? Mr Moore, I’m Miss Shelton. Doctor Matthews sent me … “

Sarah Shelton - Image
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Old 04-24-2013, 04:18 PM   #9
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He was busy working on a new bottle of whiskey, the empty one was in the dustbin and he needed his wits around him to fix the blind. There was a knock on the door and a voice calling out. He frowned as he stepped out of Grace's office and listened, Miss Shelton? Who on earth was that? Running a hand through his hair, he slowly walked towards the door, the wooden floor echoeing his steps. He opened the door and glared at the woman standing in front of it, he scratched the left side of his chin, her eyes...he shook himself,

"Yes? Are you a nurse that the old quack had sent you? In that case you can take his medication back to him and shove it down his throat and tell him to bill it to himself for all the good it did me."

He stepped back and headed back to the office, he glanced over his shoulder,

"Well come on, unless you're a vampire or succubi, in that case stay there."

He motioned to the kitchen as he passed it,

"The pills are there."
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Old 04-24-2013, 05:28 PM   #10
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Sarah Shelton

There was the sound of footsteps and then the door was finally hauled open.

"Yes? Are you a nurse that the old quack had sent you?”

It did not bode well.
He was hostile and she could tell instantly that he had been drinking recently.

”In that case you can take his medication back to him and shove it down his throat and tell him to bill it to himself for all the good it did me."

She thought he must be talking about the other Doctor and still wasn’t sure he remembered his conversation with Simon. She began to answer, but he had already stepped back into the house.

"Well come on, unless you're a vampire or succubi, in that case stay there."

He was bad tempered and tetchy, but even in this state he was eloquent and even humorous she noted.

He motioned to the kitchen as he passed it,

"The pills are there."

She followed the direction of his hand and saw the pills sat on the table, but with only a quick look round, she could see an empty whiskey bottle in the bin and a second one he was obviously in the process of drinking.

”Mr Moore … “

She started again then realised that he had continued through the house to a room at the back and short of shouting after him, she followed him instead coming to a halt outside a half open door and tentatively pushing it open as she saw him already occupied with screws and putty.

”I’m not here about your medication, Mr Moore.”

She thought it best to dispel that presumption.

”I can’t take your tablets I’m afraid as I have no pharmacological qualification.”

She thought she had his attention, for a few moments anyhow.

”I’m Sarah, Sarah Shelton.”

She extended her hand to him attempting to start the introductions again.

”Do you remember Dr Matthews mentioning my name to you this morning?
He did ask me to call round to see you, but my work is completely independent of his and confidential.”


It was as far as she dared go with an explanation of her role for now.

”I can see you’re busy right now. I wonder, could we arrange an appointment for me to come round and explain what I do and how I might be able to offer you … support…?”

She suggested expecting to meet with resistance.

”A half hour, 30 minutes of your time, Mr Moore… “

She urged him.

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Old 04-24-2013, 06:13 PM   #11
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He had filled up the holes and was waiting for the filler to dry when the woman came into the office, his first instinct was to chase her out, but he knew Grace would hate it if he was rude to a person who seemed so tentative, yet searching acceptance. He sighed as he turned to her, her hand stuck out to him, he stared at it for a few moments, then shook the offered hand. He picked up the glass where it sat and took a sip,

"You know, I have been drinking. I never drank before and yes I habve lost time, it does dull the pain and I can assure you, I never forget even when drinking."

He took another sip and placed the glass down,

"I met no doctor today, the only people who spoke to me and not behind my back was Dolly at Mo's Diner, Larry at DIY Lumberhouse, a young fan named Kevin and his mother. So if you're some reporter snooping for a story, I lost my wife, end of story. If you are a fan, ask your question, get the autograph and leave, if you are some sort of soft-hearted do-gooder...I need nothing, just time and enough whiskey to do irreperable damage and help me write a good Sci-Fi series for young Kevin before I croak."

He turned to the window, tested the filler and then glanced back at her, almost looking at her in a different light,

"But like Ace Griphin I can see your clothing is too professionally chosen, you hold yourself in a manner that speaks volumes of your confidence in helping people, your eyes are intelligent, sharp and behind them there is an analetical mind, you mentioned the doctor of Kurtz twice now, which all brings me to the conclusion that you are in the medical field..."

He paused briefly,

"Ace Griphin is a PI who sold out five of the six novels about him. Picture a modern Sherlock Holmes. Now spit out what you want, I have a blind to fix and two more bottles and endless memories and thoughts ahead of me."
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Old 04-24-2013, 06:46 PM   #12
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He had shaken her hand, but he was far from convinced. In fact his response was to take up the glass and take a sip inevitably drawing her eyes in that direction.

"You know, I have been drinking. I never drank before and yes I have lost time, it does dull the pain and I can assure you, I never forget even when drinking."

He took another sip and placed the glass down,

"I met no doctor today, the only people who spoke to me and not behind my back was Dolly at Mo's Diner, Larry at DIY Lumberhouse, a young fan named Kevin and his mother. So if you're some reporter snooping for a story, I lost my wife, end of story. If you are a fan, ask your question, get the autograph and leave, if you are some sort of soft-hearted do-gooder...I need nothing, just time and enough whiskey to do irreperable damage and help me write a good Sci-Fi series for young Kevin before I croak."

His words threw her. Dr Matthews had approached her about him today. It could be of course that there had been a longer line of communication and that she had misunderstood. She listened to him reel off who he met as if proving his sanity or sobriety. She noted his obvious attempt to rebuff her, to send her quickly on her way, but his reference to doing irreparable damage and speaking of what he had to do before he croaked had her worried.

”There must be a mistake … on my part that is. I was approached today by Dr Matthews and was led to understand that you had had a consultation today.”

Her apology was made to his turned back, however he did glance back at her as if trying to place what she was.

"But like Ace Griphin I can see your clothing is too professionally chosen, you hold yourself in a manner that speaks volumes of your confidence in helping people, your eyes are intelligent, sharp and behind them there is an analetical mind, you mentioned the doctor of Kurtz twice now, which all brings me to the conclusion that you are in the medical field..."

She did not react to his analysis of her and did not confirm or otherwise his conclusion.

"Ace Griphin is a PI who sold out five of the six novels about him. Picture a modern Sherlock Holmes. Now spit out what you want, I have a blind to fix and two more bottles and endless memories and thoughts ahead of me."

Again the defences were up and he was eager to be rid of her.
Despite her concern about him she was not to be cowed.

”After having mentioned at least three times that Doctor Matthews sent me you can hardly expect me to be impressed by your rather long winded deduction.”

A faint trace of irritation had crept into her voice.

”And yet you are wrong. I am not in the medical field.”

She informed him smoothly.

”But on one count you are correct, I am a professional and as such will only discuss my business at a pre-arranged appointment which, as you will recall, was all I wanted today.”

She reached into her pocket and pulled out a diary.

”Let’s say a morning appointment shall we? I can be back here at 9 am tomorrow?”

She began to jot the time down, speaking as she did so.

”And as you say, you have been drinking. This might be a discussion which would be best held sober.”

She raised her eyes to his and gave him a dazzling smile.

”So, 9 am it is! And that way, you can still be drunk by 10 should you so wish …”

She tucked the book away neatly.

”Please don’t get up. I can see myself out … “

She told him turning on her heel praying that she would get to the door before he refused to keep to the appointment she had railroaded him into.
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Old 04-25-2013, 02:21 AM   #13
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Luckily he was still facing her as she turned to leave, his response time therefor was much quicker than if he had his back turned to her.

"I'm as sober as Judge Deans ever will be, you will have to settle for that."

As her footsteps carried her to the front door, he wondered why he didn't just tell her to stay off his property, that was his right after all...he recounted her words, slowly sifting through them and then it struck him, it wasn't what she said, it was those eyes, he wished to see them again.

He turned back to the window and started fitting the blind, when he was done, he packed up the tools and picked up his glass, he headed back to his room and kicked off his shoes and removed his socks. The rest of the day he spent drowning his sorrows, he went to bed early and the next sunrise found him outside on the deck, sitting in his favorite lounging chair, his glass and bottle next to him on a small table as he took in the cool air and the sight of the rising sun.
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Old 04-25-2013, 05:13 PM   #14
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Grace Moore:

Grace watched the woman as she entered the office, Grace’s office. This stranger had no place in their home, but what shocked her more was John’s behaviour towards the woman. Sure he could be ‘prickly’, especially with tiresome fans, but it soon became clear to Grace that this woman’s intentions seemed right and in fact sensing the woman’s concern about her husband’s words Grace could not help wishing that John had not dismissed the offer of help so arbitrarily.

She watched John dismiss the apology which seemed sincere enough and watched him try to deliberately rile the woman by his assessment of her appearance and character and then by his attitude to her request that he be sober for their discussion. She watched helplessly as the woman turned on her heel and ignore John’s parting comment:

"I'm as sober as Judge Deans ever will be, you will have to settle for that."

She watched him turn as the front door closed and saw an unfathomable expression cross her husband’s face, but his intention to drink himself into insensibility did not falter and like Grace, she pulled away from him as he hit the bottle, finding it impossible to draw near to him when he chose to destroy himself like this.

Sarah Shelton:

”Dammit!”

The expletive echoed around the car as she headed back into town. She had done her best, to be sure, but it hadn’t been good enough. She mentally replayed their conversation and was annoyed with herself that she’d let him get to her. In fact her comment about his drinking would not bring about a positive result she knew. For a psychology expert she had struck out pretty badly there. She gave a heavy sigh. She had heard his parting comment, but he hadn’t outright refused to speak with her, so she’d go back the next morning and see if she could do any better. She was concerned about him, she had to admit. He was in a cycle of depression and self-destruction which had the potential to spiral out of control. She had to find a ‘way in’ somehow…



She wasn’t sure if she had chosen the right approach, but on the dot of 9 am the next day she pulled up outside John’s cabin. She had decided on less formal attire opting for jeans and a striped top. She would give the impression that she was just popping round to speak to him enroute to … wherever she made up later. Perhaps if she put this on a less professional and medical footing he might actually speak to her.

Closing the car door behind her she had started making her way to the door, when she noticed him seated out, the inevitable bottle and glass at his side. She bit back a sigh and decided that whatever condition he was in, she had to attempt to proceed regardless.

”Hi,”

She greeted him as she came to a halt just before him then turning to look around she commented genuinely.

”It really is lovely here … “
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Old 04-26-2013, 01:19 AM   #15
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He watched her approach, he was in fact a bit more sober than any other morning at the same time, he actually had some ideas for a story while he sat out side looking at the lake. He looked at her for a few moments,

"Good morning."

He looked back at the lake and then the surrounding woodland and nodded,

"It is why I picked it, helps when you wish to write about nomadic people or a thriller."

He motioned to the seat on the other side of the table,

"Would you like a seat? Or did you bring your lab coat and clipboard and choose to remain standing?"
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Old 04-26-2013, 04:16 AM   #16
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"Would you like a seat? Or did you bring your lab coat and clipboard and choose to remain standing?"

The words most likely intended to insult her made Sarah chuckle.

"Is that how you see me?!"

She seemed intrigued as she moved to take the seat adjacent to him.

"I've never worn a lab coat in my life! Though I guess I've been guilty of the clipboard thing..."

She let her eyes roam over the view from that vantage point, her eyes still sparkling with humour at his words.

"So you write thrillers? I'm not much of a reader myself .. "

She told him with a shrug. She always seemed to have her head buried in text books and research papers, so reading wasn't her idea of fun.

"I knew you were a famous author of course. The gossips in town have everyone typecast. You should hear what they say about me... "

She looked across at him and unashamedly assessed his appearance. He had been civil to her and was being civil. He seemed more sober than that afternoon, despite the inevitable appearance of the bottle and glass. Of course he caught her staring.

"You look better today,"

She commented, unabashed.

"Still pretty crappy though, huh?"

She enquired whilst acknowledging that whilst still at 'pretty crappy' level he was still a pretty impressive man and obviously had been totally devoted to his wife as she must have been to him.
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Old 04-26-2013, 12:48 PM   #17
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"Yeah Grace would agree that I look like shit."

He took a sip of his drink,

"There is coffee in the pot if you wanted any, so since you have no idea who I am, what I write and you got sent here by a doctor, let's share some information then."

He relaxed into the chair, crossing his left leg over his right, boot swaying gently to and fro,

"Who are you and why do you wish to waste your thirty minutes talking to a drunk author who might just be more creative now than he ever was?"
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Old 04-26-2013, 01:12 PM   #18
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"Yeah Grace would agree that I look like shit."

She supposed that he referred to his late wife, but merely nodded to acknowledge the comment, not daring to jeopardise that small step of progress.

"There is coffee in the pot if you wanted any, so since you have no idea who I am, what I write and you got sent here by a doctor, let's share some information then."

She shook her head, declining politely as she considered what to tell him.

"Who are you and why do you wish to waste your thirty minutes talking to a drunk author who might just be more creative now than he ever was?"

He reminded her that he was tolerating her presence for just that half hour so she decided to be straightforward about her reasons for being with him.

"You were referred to me by Doctor Matthews,"

She clarified.

"At some time you had a conversation about the ineffectiveness of your medication and an alternative approach was suggested to you. I'm afraid I'm that alternative .. "

She paused hoping he would recall the conversation which had allowed her to be consulted and definitely hoped that his verbal permission had been sought.

"I'm a psychologist."

She told him succinctly.

"Folks in town refer to me as the 'shrink lady'."

She informed him without any humour.

" ... a common misconception. I suppose you could say I'm an academic, but I'm currently practicing out of the medical centre in return for cramped accommodation, patronisation from the Old Doctor and what seems to be misinformed referrals when traditional medication either doesn't work or meets with resistance ..."

She grinned at the hinted suggestion that perhaps he was not sticking to the prescribed dosages and of course combining meds with alcohol was bound to reduce their efficacy she surmised.

"But why I came back when it's obvious that you'd rather I go to hell ... ?"

She smiled easily leaning back in her chair and meeting his eyes with her own frank gaze.

"You've had a tough time, I know understatement of the century! You're surrounded by a community which is less than supportive. And you seem to have no actual support systems or vent for your grief ... other than alcohol."

She was matter of fact rather than accusatory.

"As a newbie in time I know something of what it's like to be an outsider. With the burden of fame and the terrible events you've lived through lately I can't begin to imagine what that's like."

She told him honestly.

"Bottom line, I don't think you're coping. I think you're putting yourself in danger driving after over the limit. And I think I could help you. What form that help takes is entirely up to you and would be under your control."
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Old 04-26-2013, 03:17 PM   #19
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"Doctor Matthews?"

He snorted,

"I haven't spoken to him ever since he gave me those sugar pills standing on the kitchen table. His last words: "Please Mr Moore, you must eat before drinking the medication." Bah!"

The word psychiatrist made him raise an eyebrow, yet he waited for her to continue before he interjected,

"So you have me all mapped out, how lovely. I'm a clear cut case, just like all those other people wandering the world who drowns themselves in the cheapest brandy or wine they can find as long as it dulls the pain and responsibilities of the world they live in, finding fault with society for their own failures."

He took a sip of his drink,

"Of course you could also explain to me, how a psychiatrist are not seen as a medical profession, although the last time I did read the very accurate Oxford dictionary it described a psychiatrist as a medical doctor who deals with mental disorders."

He sighed,

"Let's not waste each other's time, I don't have the time nor the patience to weigh each word to see if you are only telling me something I want to hear as opposed to the truth."

So far he had kept himself from looking at those eyes, the very same eyes that looked at him in a reflection yesterday morning, when he could swear he saw Grace and for just a fleeting microsecond felt her touch, like the way she had always embraced him when he shaved. He shook himself out of his brooding and ran a hand over his face,

"So Miss or Doctor Shelton, shall we start again or do you wish to spend the rest of your..."

He raised his arm to look at the empty spot where his watch used to be,

"Twenty minutes to tell me another something about myself that I already know?"
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Old 04-26-2013, 04:27 PM   #20
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Doctor Matthews? I haven't spoken to him ever since he gave me those sugar pills standing on the kitchen table. His last words: "Please Mr Moore, you must eat before drinking the medication." Bah!"

She laughed at his dismissal of the good Doctor, but his attitude changed when she told him what her role was.

"So you have me all mapped out, how lovely. I'm a clear cut case, just like all those other people wandering the world who drowns themselves in the cheapest brandy or wine they can find as long as it dulls the pain and responsibilities of the world they live in, finding fault with society for their own failures."

She had expected a reaction like that.

"Of course you could also explain to me, how a psychiatrist are not seen as a medical profession, although the last time I did read the very accurate Oxford dictionary it described a psychiatrist as a medical doctor who deals with mental disorders."

She hid a smile as he continued on his little tirade.

"Let's not waste each other's time, I don't have the time nor the patience to weigh each word to see if you are only telling me something I want to hear as opposed to the truth. So Miss or Doctor Shelton, shall we start again or do you wish to spend the rest of your... Twenty minutes to tell me another something about myself that I already know?"

If he expected her to leap to her own defense then he was going to be sorely disappointed. She could tell he was eager to have her off the property, but instead she forced herself to relax back into the chair and exhale a long deliberately patient sigh.

"Mr Moore, "

She began finally with emphatic patience.

"Perhaps if you paid closer attention to what I actually said to you both our times might not be so easily wasted?"

She noted his reaction with satisfaction.

"Firstly it is Dr Shelton, but that title is academic rather than medical, so I prefer to be referred to as MISS Shelton, or, preferably Sarah ..."

She smiled softening her next words.

"And you are of course correct, a psychiatrist is indeed a medical role, however psychiatry has nothing to do with my line of work."

She paused ensuring that he actually absorbed that point and leaned back again.

"I am a psychologist, which, as you're so fond of definitions, you will know is the scientific study of mental functions and behaviours. I'm a scientist and not a medical doctor. I'm currently looking into the practical application of my discipline and writing up my current research paper, which is why I find myself in the position to offer you support."

She moved her eyes to deliberately check her watch before continuing.

"My field of interest is in typical behaviour, not atypical, however as my specialism is personality psychology which involves the interaction between thought, emotion and behaviour, I do think I could be of help to you ... "

She checked her watch again and reached into her jeans pocket taking out a card and handing it to him before standing up.

"My credentials. Look me up. And if you would like to use our other 15 minutes to discuss how I might help you, then call me."

She extended her hand to shake his, reverting to her professionalism once more.

"And for the record, people are not 'cases'. And no one is 'clear cut'. I have nothing mapped out and I have no answers. How can there be a cure for grief, for losing the person you love the most?"

She hesitated wanting to reach out to him, wanting to comfort him and erase the pain that she knew he carried like a cloak.

"Whatever you decide, be kind to yourself ... "

She said instead.
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Old 04-27-2013, 02:28 AM   #21
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"Offer me support?"

He scoffed,

"More material for you to write your paper no doubt."

As she stood, so did he, his eyes finally found her own, losing himself in them for a few moments, they reminded him so much of Grace...but Grace was gone, left him here and not of her own decision either.

"I don't need your credentials doctor, feel free to tell Mathews that I stopped taking the medication before I took up drinking. It didn't help at all. Now if you'll excuse me, I have an idea that I want to pencil down before I forget it."

He picked up his glass, draining it and carried it inside, leaving the bottle on the table, clearly to return to his seat once he had done what he had said he wanted to. He closed the door firmly behind him and walked to his study, curiously enough he could see her car through the half-drawn blinds, he bent over his desk and picked up a pencil as he quickly scribbled down the most-promising idea of the ones he had...he glanced up as Sarah Shelton moved to her car, quite an interesting woman. As she drove away he went back to the kitchen, tossing the pills in the dustbin along with the empty bottles. Pouring himself a huge cup of coffee he set about making himself breakfast, he had perfected French toast by now, Grace would be proud of the increase of his culinary skills.
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Old 04-27-2013, 10:58 AM   #22
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Grace Moore

Grace watched from the window of her study. John was angry, she could sense it, but there was some other emotion there, one she could make no sense of. She watched as the young woman sat easily conversing with her husband and experienced a warm satisfaction as John gave her short shrift and effectively sent her on her way. Even after John had returned to the house, Grace's attention remained on the young woman. She saw her sigh heavily and stand for long seconds, her eyes on the door that had been firmly shut against her. She watched her reach out and place the business card near the whisky bottle and make her way slowly back to her car. Grace noted that she was obviously a 'city girl' as she dipped into her jeans pocket for the keys to unlock her car. Locals would not have taken the time to do such a thing, but then again she and John had not been considered 'local' by those who resided in the nearby town and for the slightest moment she felt a sympathy for the young woman. And then she noticed. The girl had been giving a last glance back towards the house, but now it seemed her eyes were trained upon the window and to Grace it seemed as if this stranger was looking directly at her!

For long moments it seemed they remained so until it was Grace who withdrew, moving back into the house, moving through the corridors and into her husband's office where she saw John seated and jotting down notes, yet even as she reached him he stood and strode back into the kitchen and after discarding the pills set about making breakfast. And all the time he was oblivious to her presence!

And yet there had been something, some connection between her and the girl who had visited twice now. Out on the front porch, Grace found the card. Sarah Shelton, psychologist ... The girl was a scientist and surely would never entertain anything so crazy as communication with a dead wife, but how else was Grace to try to get through to John? And so when John sat down to his breakfast, inexplicably Grace's card was laid on the table right next to his coffee cup ...
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Old 04-27-2013, 02:08 PM   #23
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He set the plate down along with the plate with the fresh scrambled eggs and French toast, he cut off a bit of the bread, loaded a bit of egg on it and took a bite, it was better than he remembered, he wanted to wash it down with some whiskey, but remembered that he had coffee, he reached for his cup with coffee and his hand stopped. He stared at the card next to it...he had not taken it...he was very sure of that...it wasn't on the table when he placed the cup down on it...he was sure of that as well. His fingers started with a tremor and he slowly withdrew his hand, the door had not closed nor open, there was no steps on the wooden boards, the only sound was that of the doctor leaving. There was a clanking sound and he dropped the fork that was clattering against the plate as both his hands was shaking now, how did the card make it to the table? More important how did it make it to the table while he was working on his meal a scant three feet from it?

He picked up the card, turning it over in his hands, inspecting it very closely, there was no residue, no oils, no holes, nothing out of the ordinary about the card, just words printed on a normal colored cardboard. How did this very normal card get onto the table inside the house? A faint grin cracked his lips apart and he looked up at the wall opposite him where a clock hung, the background the Chessire cat's grin, the arms a luminous orange, it was one of the purchases he had made as kid that survived his life and now stared back at him with the grin that made him feel as crazy as the mad hatter,

"They always say that writers are mad, perhaps I'm cracking now and imagine all this?"

He chuckled, a faint edge of insanity on his voice, he threw the card aside like it was radioactive and quickly finished his meal.
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Old 04-27-2013, 05:09 PM   #24
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Sarah Shelton

She hadn't expected it to be easy, but it was clear that Johnathan Moore was not listening. She had bitten her tongue when he accused her of wanting to use him as material for her paper. People just did not understand how academic research worked. The ethics panels were so strict that she wouldn't have been able to use his 'case study' even if she had wanted to. Besides, despite his protests, her current academic interest was in typical development and deviations from that, though of practical interest were not the focus of her write up.

She parked outside the medical centre hoping to avoid the Doctor as she made her way to the side entrance and moved quickly to her apartment. She was a rational person and though she hated herself for doing so, there was something that she wanted to check. Flicking on the computer, she pulled up the internet and put in the name Johnathan Moore . She was surprised at the numerous listings produced and realised as she scrolled quickly through them that he was a particularly prolific writer and successful given that many of his works had been made into films. On and on she read until she reached a link entitled biography and clicked on it, reading down until she came to the part where it listed his marriage to Grace ... With only the slightest hesitation, she called up a new tab and typed in Grace Moore and clicked image search.

"Oh my God ... "

She sat back staring at the computer screen before clicking on one of the thumbnails with an unsteady hand. There stared back at her the unmistakeable face of the woman she had thought she must have imagined seeing at the window ...
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Old 04-27-2013, 05:56 PM   #25
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He was seated on his armchair, his feet pulled up onto the seat, his attention was on a single spot a few feet in front of him. His eyes stared at a card, the card, the "mysterious" card. The thing about John's mind was that he ran through it was with his logical and also his more creative mind. He came to two conclusions, either he had taken the card, placed it on the table and forgot about it...or some other influence landed the card from a previous position to where he found it.

He ran his hands through his hair and then over his face, these thoughts was driving him mad. He did not forget things like these, he would remember, he wasn't even drunk yet! He did believe a great deal...but to believe that something could move a card...but...the woman said she could help...did that perhaps mean...?

"Grace?"

His voice was soft, unsure.

"Grace...are you...here?"

He voiced it softly, like he could not believe that he would even try talking to an empty house.
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