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The Letter

Posted on Wed May 11th, 2022 @ 9:28pm by Unawakened James Corrigan

Mission: Tales of the Unawakened
Location: North High
Timeline: The Present

The first part of the day had gone as normally as any day in high school ever went. James was not in the popular crowd, but neither was he in the outcast crowd. He was quiet, and so he pretty much got ignored by both. He was fine with that. In fact, he preferred it. It limited the amount of dumbass drama he would get dragged into.

The bell rang for lunch, and James quietly gathered his books, left the classroom, and put the books in his locker, locking it behind him. He then made his way to the lunch line, waiting silently for his turn while listening to the droning inanity of those around him. The “pretty girls”{ were, as usual, alternately preening and critiquing the “ugly girls” or “nerdy girls” even though neither group had asked for those opinions. The jocks were clustered at “their” table talking sports, dissing the nerds, and making sure everyone present saw that they were dating the hot cheerleaders. Meanwhile, the “underdog” groups were just trying to go unnoticed and failing.

James wanted no part of it.

When it was his turn, he took a tray and moved down the line. Each lunch station plopped something else on his plate. The first was a meat-looking thing that was purported to be meatloaf. The second was something they called potato wedges but looked more like french fries. The last station was some kind of green vegetable that he didn’t even want to try to identify. Then he moved on to the station where he could choose drinks. He grabbed a carton of milk and went to his usual table away from everyone.

He didn’t normally get bothered, so he set down the tray, sat, and took the small envelope from his pocket. Opening it so that no one else could see what was in it — he really didn’t want any of these people in his business — he found a credit card and a note. Frowning in some confusion, James took out the note, slipping the envelope with the credit card back into his inner jacket pocket. Opening the note, he read.

Dear James,

I know that things have always been hard for you in this family, and while your father will never apologize for his part, I do apologize for mine. Mine was that I didn’t stop it. I mediated somewhat, but I didn’t stop it. And I am so sorry, Son. I love you, and I never wanted this for you.

So I am giving you and your sister a way out because we both know that, if you up and vanished, he’d take out his frustrations on her in a sort of displacement.

James paused his reading and frowned deeply. She was right, of course, and living with a psychiatrist, he knew what that clinical term meant. In this context, it basically meant that their father would take an ‘I can’t punish James anymore, so I’ll punish you instead’ approach to Kat. And Kat didn’t deserve that. Hell, that was one of the main reasons he had never just run away. He was protecting his sister.

But the rest. What did his mother mean by ‘giving them a way out’? He decided that the only way to know was to keep reading.

I can no longer bear to see this happen to you, and I could not bear to watch it shift to her, I have enclosed one of my secret credit cards. I have a few that your father doesn’t know about, and I am giving you one. Take your sister and go far away, as far from us as possible. Find somewhere that you and she can start over. That card has enough to let you do this.

Know, Son, that I don’t want to send the two of you away. I just feel that it is your sanest choice at this time. I love you both. Never forget that.


For several long moments, James just sat staring at the letter in his hands. His mind refused to fully process what he had read. She was sending them away and giving them a credit card to facilitate the start of a new life. What…?

The part of him that had been beaten down by his father immediately wondered what he had done so wrong that his mother would send him away, but he knew better than that. She had told him better than that in the letter. No, she thought she was protecting them, giving them a chance at something better. But should he do it? Take this card and his sister and run away?

The truth was that he didn’t know just then. So he shoved it all back into the back of his mind and put the letter back into the envelope which returned to its resting place in his jacket. Then he ate his lunch in silent thought and finished the school day like someone in a trance.



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