Saturday, November 27, 2004

Cascading Flashbacks

Last night I realized that I had forgotten all about the boy Jacob who David Graham first meets when he gets to town. He appears briefly in several chapters, but I had neglected him completely in Day 4. Since I need him to come to the tent meeting and tell Graham that there's a problem with Maya, I figured I better set that up ahead of time (Jacob telling Graham about Maya sets off the big chain of events leading up to the finale).

Jacob Olsen sat in his room, alone. He had had trouble sleeping the night before, pumped up by the Hymnsing, stressed out over Maya. He had found out at the Hymnsing that Maya and her mom hadn’t left Graphite as early as they had initially planned. If he had known that, he thought, he would have stopped by to see her, to say “goodbye, get well soon, see you around” – something.

Now, that missed opportunity snowballed into a paralyzing fear that he was too late. That that had been his last chance, and having missed it, had consigned her to an unimaginable fate. When he had gotten out of bed in the morning, he had thought of calling her. “Nope, too late, sorry Charlie, that ship has sailed and it hit an iceberg getting out of the port.”

During school, he had been distracted in class. He saw the decorations on Maya’s locker and sunk deeper into depression over not having bought her a card, or even made one out of construction paper or the card-making software on his computer. In class he had doodled “get well Maya” over and over again, filling in spaces with bouquets of flowers and sketches of her face.

Several times before lunch he had seen Mr. Graham walking by his classroom door. He’s come to bring me bad news, Jacob thought. He’s found out something and wanted to let me know personally. During lunch, Jacob searched everywhere for his friend, even stuck his head inside the faculty men’s room and called out “are you in here, Mr. Graham?” The calculus teacher, Mr. Prentiss, was the only person in the restroom and didn’t take kindly to the intrusion. He checked at the office if someone had left a message for him. The receptionist acted as if he were playing a practical joke.

(daily word count: 3,819 words; total word count: 60,718 words; words remaining: n/a)