The End of September: Part 5

October 1

My fears have become a reality. I awoke this morning, hours after I intended to have been gone, to the sound of sirens and shouting. I believe that they are surrounding the place at this very moment, and I think that I am tired of running. Whoever said that it is all about the journey was partially right, as my journey has been absolutely marvelous. I have felt alive these past two weeks, but I must admit that I am ready to arrive at my destination, even though it is not the destination I originally planned for. Or maybe it is, I cannot really tell.

The feeling that I had last night is back in full force this morning. I keep seeing their faces everywhere, hanging in the pictures on the wall, sewn into the rug on the floor, even floating in my glass of whiskey. I just wonder why this is troubling me so much now. I have never been affected by it before. My thoughts keep going back to the last thing the man said to me, “God have mercy.” Without the courage brought about from the whiskey and in the light of the rising sun, my claim at having more strength than God seems to be somewhat irrational. But, I must remind myself that such a thing doesn’t exist in the first place.

I can tell they are getting closer. I look over one last time at my host. He hasn’t moved an inch since I last saw him, and his face still holds the same expression of terror. Even though, now that I take the time to actually examine him, it almost appears as if his face has a peaceful quality to it. For the first time, I begin to wonder who this man is. Does he have a family, a job, or friends? I find myself staring into the emptiness of his eyes. You know, in the end it doesn’t matter. I needed something that he had, he refused to give it to me, and I was the stronger man. That’s all this life is about, I am sure of it. Once again, I remember the last thing he said.

“God have mercy.” The shouts are beginning to get louder. I find myself unable to move, unable to do anything other than think about those three words. In my mind, I hear them being said over and over again. I drain my glass of whiskey from last night and stand up, the room spinning around me.

I make my way to where I left this journal. My thoughts are racing.

God have mercy. I only have one shot left. God have mercy. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life as a prisoner. God have mercy. What if the man wasn’t talking about himself? What if he was talking about me? If he was asking God to have mercy on me?

I quickly push the thought from my mind. No one could possibly think that way. There is no such thing as God, no such thing as an afterlife, no such thing as mercy. Or is there?

 

I guess I will know soon enough.

.       .        .

 

Sheriff Morris closed the book and slid it across the table. Neither man spoke for a long time after that, both staring into the distance and lost in their own thoughts.

Lieutenant Rodgers finally broke the silence, “How can someone think like that? I don’t understand how you can do the stuff he did and live with yourself, much less be happy about it.”

“Well, in the end, I don’t think he could,” Morris replied. “Go home Rodgers. You deserve to spend some time with your family. Lord knows we both need it. I’ll call you if anything comes up.”

Lieutenant Rodgers nodded and got up to leave. He paused at the doorway and glanced back, looking at the journal one more time, before leaving the room, pulling the door shut behind him.

Morris stood up and stretched, futilely trying to rub away the headache he was beginning to suffer from. He walked over to the window, staring out at the sun as it sank behind the trees. The sheriff couldn’t get the last entry of the journal out of his mind, as it seemed that in the man’s final moments, he seemed to feel remorse.

Morris shook his head. “Why should it make a difference?” he said to himself. “Nothing can change what he did.”

Yet, as he turned off his lights and went to leave, he couldn’t help but look back at the book lying on the table, illuminated by the dying sunlight. Where he once felt anger and disgust towards the man who wrote it, now there was only pity. As he turned around and shut the door, he found himself whispering one last thing:

 

“God have mercy.”

 

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The End of September: Part 4

September 30

I can barely even remember the last time I had a chance to write in here. A lot has happened since then, but for tonight, I find myself warm, full, and comfortable for the first time in days. You see, as I was taking a stroll down this old, country road, I came upon this quaint little cabin. So of course, I had to stop in for a stay. The man who lives here did not take too kindly to it at first, but I think eventually he came around and has been great company ever since.

Unfortunately, he has not exactly been the most hospitable, as I have had to show myself around the place and figure out where everything is, but it has been most refreshing to be able to take a hot shower and eat a hot meal. Sadly, the man had mostly canned vegetables and canned tuna, but I would not be deterred. I rummaged around until I finally hit the jackpot, which is to say I found a can of beef stew! And just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, I discovered that he had a small collection of whiskey, so for tonight, I consider myself to be lucky. The stew was quite delicious, even though it could have used some pepper and a biscuit or two, and the whiskey was not of the best quality, but hey, who am I to complain?

I have been in a strange mood tonight. I don’t really know how to describe it, other than it is something that I can’t recall having felt before, and something that I don’t particularly care for. I have tried to distract myself by watching TV, but it seems as if every channel is talking about the same thing, and they all keep showing a picture of a man with wild, dark eyes and unkempt hair. I also tried reading, but my host seems to have nothing but books about philosophy and morality, neither of which I find much interest in. So here I am twiddling my thumbs and trying to figure out what is troubling me.

I think this started with the last thing my host said to me. As he looked at me, he uttered something so quietly under his breath that I didn’t catch it. So naturally, trying to be a polite guest, I asked him to repeat it. He looked me straight in the eye and said, “God have mercy.” God have mercy? What a fool! Of all the things to be thinking about, that is what crossed his mind? It made me laugh at the time, and I still chuckle just thinking about it. How can someone believe in something greater than man? Was he calling out to some higher entity to help him? If so, they obviously decided he didn’t need the help. Or, perhaps God did try to help him, but I won in the end anyway. Now there’s a thought! I have always known that I was strong, both mentally and physically, but I never realized I was that strong. To think of how much more I could’ve accomplished if I had! Whenever I wanted something in life, I took it. Simple as that. What’s right for me is the right thing to do; I never wasted time thinking of how other people perceived it. And I’d like to think I’ve lived a successful and happy life because of it.

I guess that writing must be good for me because I can barely even remember what it was that was troubling me now. I need to stay awake tonight, as I am worried that they are not very far behind me. But the hot meal and the whiskey, of which I might’ve consumed more than I should have, are starting to take their effect.

Maybe if I just closed my eyes for a few moments.

 

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The End of September: Part 3

September 25                                                                                   

I am very glad to be off of that train if only it means that I have my own car again. Sadly, this new car is nowhere near as nice as my other one, as the previous owner left many stains and an abundance of empty food wrappers. Not all was lost though, as I did find some food that was yet to be eaten, and had myself a feast of some sorts.

I am farther west than I ever intended to be, but I think I am all right with that. Normally, I do not do very well with spontaneity, but, in this case, I think it may have been one of the best things that could’ve happened. You see, this whole time I have been traveling north. Most people, when they feel the need to get away, perhaps on a vacation of some sorts, tend to go south. But I hate the warm weather, and would much rather escape to the cold and dreary lands that can be found on the opposite side of the continent. I find that with the cold you can find silence, and that silence has always been good to me. I can go weeks at a time without feeling the need for human contact, as I don’t really need anyone else other than myself.

And besides, who doesn’t love a good snowman? I have only ever been able to create one proper snowman, and even then, it was more red clay and pine straw than snow. But I imagine that when I finally reach my destination, I will build snowman after snowman, creating an army of them if you will. I guess that means I will have to purchase a large number of carrots. Oh well, the price will be worth it.

I am almost certain that tonight will prove to be a long one, as I will be spending it trying to get comfortable in my car, trying to block out the smell of spilled coffee and God knows what else. I am afraid that I can no longer stay in motels, for fear of being recognized. I must admit that I am somewhat wary of sleeping here parked amidst the trees, as I have had troubling dreams of late. In them, I am walking along a bright, moonlit forest, minding my own business and having a grand old time. As I am walking, I find myself in sudden darkness, with the trees seeming to close in around me. I wake up in a cold sweat before remembering that trees cannot possibly move in such a way, but I would be lying if I said the thought wasn’t on my mind as I look out the window and see them standing all around me. And as you must know by now, I never lie.

 

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TFC Outdoor Club Presents: The Cherokee Challenge

The Outdoor Club at Toccoa Falls College will be hosting the first ever Cherokee Challenge , which will be a two-mile long obstacle course located right here on campus.

The event, which is being headed up by Sam Jury (the president of the Outdoor Club) will take place on April 25th. The price for TFC students is $25, and the price for the general public is $35. The Cherokee Challenge is a fundraiser for the Outdoor Club, with all of the proceeds going directly towards purchasing new equipment such as kayaks and canoes, tents, and backpacks, which will be available for students to use in the future.

The start and finish line will be located by the pond, and from there the runners will go through a series of obstacles such as a wall climb, tomahawk throw, mud pit, log carry, and army crawls. However, if a student is unable to complete a challenge, there will be an alternate challenge that they can do, such as doing a certain number of pushups, sit-ups, etc.

The race will be run in groups so that the course does not become clogged up, with the first heat leaving at 9am, and subsequent heats leaving every fifteen minutes until 11am.

There will also be several prizes up for grabs. The male and female that complete the course with the fastest time will win a $200 gift card to ZipNTime, a zip-line company located in Helen, GA. Even if you do not finish in the top two, there will be prizes that can be won through a raffle. Each student who successfully completes the race will have their name entered in for a chance to win a $500 scholarship from the college. Also, Lake Lanier Canopy Tour, a zip-line company located in Buford, GA, has donated an $800 dollar prize, which is good for a day of zip-lines for up to eight people. Each racer will also receive a t-shirt with the purchase of a ticket.

The main feature of the morning will be the race, but there will also be plenty of other things to do for those attending. Barbecue will be available for purchase all morning, as well as games and other activities set up for all to enjoy. Jury wants it to be more than just an obstacle course, as he “hopes for it to become an annual event students (and the public) can look forward to.”

The event is being planned by Jury and the members of the Outdoor Club, but on the morning of the 25th, there will be over 50 students there volunteering and making sure everything goes smoothly. To sign up for the event, students can keep an eye out for tables set up by the outdoor club in the student center, and everyone can visit Active.com, and input “Cherokee Challenge” into the search bar.

“This is the first time an event like this has ever happened at TFC, and it’s going to come back and benefit students,” Jury said. “It’s going to be a great event; it will be a ton of fun, and (there will be) a lot of great prizes to be won.”

 

Photo courtesy of the outdoor club.

 

The End of September: Part 2

September 20

Today, I stopped at a fine little restaurant for lunch. You know the type of place: the hole-in-the-wall, mom-and-pop kind of diner you only find in obscure towns with strange names. I must say, the country fried steak and gravy, potatoes, and collard greens were excellent, and they served a fine cup of coffee. And the pie! I wish I could go back, but I am afraid that I will not be allowed back in.

You see, I don’t like it when people are nosy. The old lady who was my server, who up until this point seemed like the nicest old grandma you ever did meet, had the audacity to ask me why I was wearing my sunglasses inside! Can you imagine a ruder question? I refused to give her an answer, and when it was time for me to leave, I “remembered” that I didn’t have any cash on me. But that didn’t matter in the end. I can be very persuasive when I need to be, and when I tried to explain myself, the manager came out and tried to make a scene. Needless to say, I got my way in the end, and he will not be bothering me or anyone else with such foolishness anymore.

I must say this little incident proved to put a sour mood on the rest of my day. The open road seemed to lose its appeal, and I found myself constantly checking the rear-view-mirror and driving around roads I don’t think anyone uses anymore.

Tomorrow will be better. I lost my map some time ago, but I have always been good with directions, and I think I should be arriving at my destination soon.

September 23

It has been a few days since I have had time to write down my thoughts, and I must say that I was surprised to find that I missed it. In a way, it helps me to relax. I’m not sure how, as using lead to scratch things on this paper seems pretty silly when you think about it, but I feel a sense of relief whenever I do it. I wonder if anyone else has discovered this?

Tonight I find myself aboard a train. The repetitive sway and the constant clacking of the wheels on the track are very soothing, and I think I shall fall asleep soon. Lord knows I need a good night’s rest, as today proved itself to be one that I hope to forget. Here I was, just driving along minding my own business, when I notice a car following right on my bumper. Now, I am an excellent driver and am always calm and collected on the road, except for when I get angry. And what happened today made me very angry. For miles this fellow just kept chasing me, until I began to suspect that it was no coincidence that he was there.

So I did the only sensible thing to do in that situation; I tried to lose him. Sadly, my driving skills are not quite what you see in the movies, so the thrilling race only lasted a short while, and eventually I found myself in a ditch on the side of the road, and in my new car too. What a shame!

The only good thing to come of it was that I managed to get away from the enraged driver. I walked for what seemed like forever until I came upon a set of train tracks, which is how I find myself here now. I do not know where I am heading, and lament the fact that I am now on this detour because I have no idea how long of a detour it will end up being. But no matter; life is about the journey. At least, that is what I’ve always heard.

I have but one more complaint tonight: I am beginning to think that the former occupant of this very train car was someone who is homeless. How can I tell, you may ask? Well, for one thing, I found a bundle of rags, that I suspect were once clothes, which he must have forgotten. I imagine that somewhere out in the streets, there is a half-naked man wandering from alley to alley, desperately trying to find his lost shirt. Ha! The thought makes me laugh.

But the main clue as to who was here is the smell. The terrible, wrenching, unbearable smell! The disgust threatens to overtake me. The homeless are vile creatures, always traveling from one place to the next, sleeping under bridges and jumping onto trains without bothering to pay for a ticket. What is their purpose in life, other than to try and take money from people who have earned it by invoking pity in them? It seems to me like a terrible way to live.

But I do admit that I envy them in some ways. I can’t even really begin to imagine what life would be like if you were able to go from one place to another without ever worrying about petty, everyday pains. The homeless never ask themselves, “What am I chasing after,” or “What is chasing after me?” They only have to worry about when they are next going to eat, or where they are next going to sleep. Seems like a much simpler life. Maybe I should consider becoming homeless myself.

But in the end I know that I couldn’t live like that. I am afraid that it would give me too much time to think.

If only this train wouldn’t make so much noise, maybe I could actually get some sleep.

 

 

 

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