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Original Fiction... What?!

I've had an idea bouncing around my head for a while now. Today I felt like it needed to get out. So I wrote this scene that triggered the development of this idea. I do plan on developing this idea more, and this scene is the start of it all, but I don't think I'll post more here for now. I did some basic proof reading, but other than that all mistakes are my poor attempt at my native language.

Hope you enjoy!

The Eulogist

When I was eight my Uncle Sebastian died in a car accident. The funeral was held in a stuffy, dusty church located in the middle of nowhere, Wyoming. I had never been to a funeral before, much less seen a dead body. Sitting wedged between my parents, we were at the far end of the pew, and no amount of stretching my neck would let me get a glimpse of my Uncle except for a small tuft of brown hair. Disappointed I sighed and leaned back, wiggling my butt hoping to get more comfortable on the hard pew. I knew I was supposed to be sad that he had died, but for the life of me I couldn't conjure any tears to my eyes.

The Church was stifling. I looked up at the rafters of the church. There were several ceiling fans that turned in slow circles, but I couldn't detect any air movement from them. What was the point of having them way up there if they didn't do anything? Moving on from the fans, I looked around at the other pews. Grandma and Grandpa sat right in front of us. I couldn't see their faces, but from the way they sat, leaning on each other, I think they were really sad. Aunt Kim and Uncle Jim sat next to us. They were probably my favorite Aunt and Uncle. Not only did their names rhyme, but they were so much fun to be with. Uncle Sebastian had always been kinda angry and never liked me coming over to his house. He had an amazing collection of comic books, and I always wanted to read them. Once he caught me taking one out of it's plastic cover, he grabbed my hand and pulled the comic away before I could slide it out. My hand hurt for a couple days after that. I don't know why he wouldn't let me look at his dumb comics; what's the point of keeping them in plastic anyways?

I felt an elbow in my side. My dad leaned down and whispered in my ear, “You're being rude. Quit fidgeting and eyes upfront.” His breath smelled like cheese.

I crossed my arms over my chest and wrinkled my nose. This was so boring! The church was hot, I wasn't allowed to look around and see who had come to the funeral, and I couldn't even see Uncle Sebastian from where I sat. I looked up front at the Reverend. She was wearing a voluminous green robe that made her flushed face look all the more red. A few strands of hair were plastered to the side of her face from the sweat. It looked like she really wanted to stick a fan under her robes and let the air billow them up around her.

Everyone stood up suddenly. I was caught off guard and my dad jerked his head indicating me to stand as well. Confused I looked around, wondering if the service was over, but I realized that people were lining up to look inside the coffin. Finally something interesting was going to happen. We waited our turn before stepping up on the raised dais and approaching Uncle Sebastian.

My mom pulled me close to her, like I was her teddy bear. She had a tissue in her other hand. Uncle Sebastian was just a year older than her, and although I don't think they liked each other very much, she wasn't taking his death very well. We stood in front of the coffin and gazed down at my Uncle. I was at the perfect height to see right in, but not have to lean down to get a really good look. It was the weirdest thing I had ever seen. There was Uncle Sebastian, looking relaxed for once, he almost looked comfortable. It took me a second to notice there were other things that were wrong. His color was off, and there were places on his face that looked like they were caked with makeup. I heard Aunt Kim telling my mom that they did a good job with his makeup. She had been worried that they would need to keep the coffin closed. It made me smile, thinking that my Uncle was wearing makeup. He always complained about girls wearing too much of the stuff. Mom said I was still too young though.

I wondered if he felt cold. I reached my hand out and was surprised when mom didn't tell me to stop. Afraid to actually go through with touching him, I rested my hand on the edge of the coffin. That's when my had went numb. I pulled away from the coffin in surprise. It felt like I had stuck my hand in a snow drift. Before I could contemplate the strange sensation any more, mom ushered me back to our seats.

We sat quietly, watching the rest of the people stop and stare at Uncle Sebastian. I noticed a few people placed things inside the coffin, but I wasn't curious about whatever they were. The cold had scared me, and I wanted to get Uncle Sebastian's weirdly relaxed face out of my head. I looked down at my hand, it felt normal now, but the sensation was vividly seared into my mind. I didn't like it at all.

A murmur ran through the church. I looked up and realized everyone was looking toward the back of the aisle. A thin man stood there, dressed in a dark blue suit. I wondered if he felt as hot as everyone else, but as he walked by our pew I didn't see any sign that he was sweating.

The Reverend cleared her throat, “Sebastian requested that a Eulogist attend today to help deliver his final thoughts and words.” She nodded at the man and motioned that he step up towards the coffin.

I kept my eyes glued on the thin man. I had no idea what a Eulogist was, but I had heard the term before. They were very uncommon, but I think they were very important people, that was all I knew.

The Eulogist faced us and said, “What I say to you today are not my words, but the last Sebastian Franklin will be able to convey to you in this world. He will speak the truth, as lies have no use in the afterlife.”

He approached the coffin and looked down at my Uncle for a long moment. His face was blank at first, then when he reached into the coffin and placed his hands on either side of my Uncle's head, his face contorted in pain. He froze like that for several minutes. I discovered at that point that I had been holding my breath. The Eulogist pulled away from the coffin and turned to face us.

It wasn't the thin man looking back at us. He still had the same face and features, but the expression was all Uncle Sebastian's. I jumped when he began to speak.

“Wow,” the man walked down towards the pulpit the Reverend had been using. “Look at all of you. I didn't know I was such a popular guy.”

The voice was not the same as the one I heard moments earlier. It had Uncle Sebastian's Wyoming drawl. I watched this strange event with rapt attention.

“So, I guess I'm dead. Not soon enough for some of you though, eh?” He chuckled softly. “Ok, I'll ease off a little. No point in pissing off the relatives when I can't watch the aftermath.” Someone near the back of the church sniggered. “I guess you all want to hear some speech about how great my life was, and my final words of wisdom and blah blah blah. Sorry to disappoint, but you all ain't getting this sugar coated. You sorry lot need to grow up. Being dead is pretty damn final, so if you've got something to say to someone, say it now before you become worm food. If they don't like what you've got to say they've got the rest of their life to come to terms with that. At least you've gotten it out there and put the ball in their court.

“Now a couple more personal things. Mom, Dad, don't let loosing me hold you both back from living. You've still got Kim and Lauren. So that's something.” He looked at my mom, “Lauren, I am the one that cut your Barbie doll's hair off. So no more blaming Kim.” He smiled, “In all seriousness, take care yourself and that kid of yours.” His eyes moved to Aunt Kim next, “Kim. My baby sister. Spoiled rotten, but still you turned out ok. I'm sorry for picking on you, teasing you, and telling Lauren that you were the one who vandalized her Barbie.”

I shrank back between my parents when he turned his focus to me. The numbness in my hand came back and spread through my entire body. I was no longer hot, but instead freezing cold. I couldn't look away and I was terrified.

“And my brat of a niece. I want you to have those comic books I never let you touch. But you've got to decide if you'd rather sell them and use the money for college, or read them and get your grubby little paw prints all over them. Because they served no purpose whatsoever for me just sitting in those little plastic pouches except waste space.” He broke eye contact with me and I felt the heat of the church flow back into me.

Turning towards the rest of the church he continued, “And that's all I've really got. Except remember this: wear your God damned seat belts people! I wouldn't be in this mess had I done that.” And then he was gone. The thin man was back, standing at the pulpit, looking worn.

I had just witnessed my first Eulogist. Then I threw up all over the pew in front of me.



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 16th, 2010 04:52 am (UTC)
I know you said you wanted me to give you thoughts, but I always gotta ask again... Are you sure? ;)

Truthfully, it's a fantastic concept and very different from what I envisioned it to be. I like when a story can draw me in and surprise me as well.
Jul. 16th, 2010 05:14 am (UTC)
Honesty is always welcome. Because I know that's the only way I'll get better at what I'm doing :) And I know that you won't hold back, so when you say there's something good there I know it's not just platitudes. Which is why your input is so awesome.

I'm thrilled you think it's a good idea. There is still a lot of development I need to do, and I found writing this helped with a few more ideas.

Thanks for taking a look at it!
Jul. 16th, 2010 05:53 am (UTC)
The one thing that I really noticed was the voice. You appear to want the voice to be that of a child, but you switch back into a mature thought process. That's one of the hardest things about writing a 1st person POV, to maintain a child's perspective with a grown up mind. If you're going to continue working it from her POV, then you'll really need to pay attention to language and the complexity of her thought process. You need to ask yourself, "Would a ___ year old see it this way?"
Jul. 16th, 2010 08:36 pm (UTC)
I had gone through and removed a bunch of words an 8 year old wouldn't use, but I didn't really focus too much on it. Writing in first person is a PITA! I'd take the easy way and use another pov, but I think that first person is what makes it good too. Grr... this is going to have to be something I'm going to have to actually WORK to get right ;)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )



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