Chapter 1

Written by: Lrennes

He sat in silence for some time, to the point where Angelica began to feel uncomfortable. She wondered if he was just going to sit there until she got up and walked away. Not wanting to be rude, she sat patiently, but the niggling feeling that this interaction was over grew stronger with each  passing moment. Eventually, just before she was about to leave, he broke the silence.

 

“Fallen apart, or falling apart?” 

 

“What?” She was taken off guard by the question. 

 

“Fallen apart, or falling apart?” he repeated. “It’s an important distinction...”

 

“Oh, ahh...” she stuttered. The moment didn’t seem conducive to the kind of deliberation the question seemed to require. “Falling... I guess...?”

 

“Are you asking, or telling me?”

 

“I don’t know... I hope it can’t get any worse.”

 

A smirk ran across the man’s features. Though she couldn’t see his lips beneath his beard, she could see his eyes curl upwards as his head bobbed with a gentle chuckle.  

 

“Well, the funny thing about lives falling apart, is that you never know how far they can fall until they do.”

 

She smiled dismissively. “That’s encouraging.” The sarcasm in her words was unmistakable. “You’re a real ray of sunshine...”

 

Again, he smirked at the deflection.

 

“Sad but true.” He nodded.

 

“So what you’re saying is, no matter how broken and empty my life might seem now, it can always break some more?”

 

This time, his face seemed to beam, the smirk expanding into a full fledged smile. 

 

“Yup!” He seemed to almost savour the idea.

 

“That’s... awful...”

 

“Yup!” he repeated himself, the same idiosyncrasies accompanied his beaming grin.

 

“Huh...” she digested the man’s words reluctantly.

 

“But,” he interrupted, “here’s the thing: Sometimes, we have to watch our whole lives fall apart, before we can rebuild them again. And they have to fall apart all the way, so that we can rebuild them, with a greater foundation.”

 

“Huh,” this time she smiled genuinely. Surprised that she liked the idea. “You speaking from experience?”

 

“I hope so! I live in a tree!” He laughed at his own response, invoking a subdued giggle from Angelica. “But I’m healthy, and I still have friends, and family. So there’s still farther to fall. Maybe the trick is just to stay alive. And you look like you’re alive. And well, I might add.”

 

“I suppose so.” She was beginning to like the man. He was strange, but simultaneously likeable and intriguing. 

 

“I’m sorry, I have to go now, I’m late for an appointment.” He placed a gentle hand on her leg before rising to his feet, as though being raised smoothly by a hoist.

 

With that, he began to walk towards a clearing in the park. Angelica hadn’t noticed, but while she had been talking to the man, a large gathering of people had quietly accumulated in the area towards which he now headed. He slowly approached it and sat down in front of the hundreds of people there, facing his audience.

 

Comments

I found myself drawn into the quick repartee between the two. This is dialogue that really works. I found myself getting a sense of their relationship by the way they spoke to each other and the distinction between falling and fallen reminded me of Alice Through the Looking Glass. The end was also intriguing and it left me wondering why the crowd had gathered which is perfect for the first chapter as the whole story has yet to be told. Well done.
I agree Suraya, this is excellent dialogue writing. It sounds realistic but not overly casual which is very hard to do. I loved this chapter, full of intriguing details and clues for the next writer.