Chapter One Of The Dark Society Novel - *Note* In the editing and revision stage*
|The midday sun settled, as Tim and Julia attended their daughter's graduation. Sabrina, 18, was a keen enthusiast of Mathematics and Engineering, with a deep devotion to education. However, she wasn't the typical girl next door. Sadly, she'd kept to herself, concentrating on schoolwork and family. Characteristics she'd adopted, and followed religiously. Additionally, though shadowed, Sabrina connected with influential friends while attending Chase County Junior/Senior High School.
Friendships she'd cherish, and hold close. But regrettably, as graduation approached, she'd become unsettled, as notions of forfeiting relationships weighed. Yet, despite happiness, college preparations would take a toll. Nevertheless, Sabrina stood with family and friends during this most significant of moments.
Coincidentally, the graduating class of 2019 was the largest in the history of the institution. Near eight hundred alumni receiving degrees before a crowd of fifteen hundred. Joyously, family and friends packed the five thousand-seat stadium, while students segregated in preparation. Thus, Sabrina lingered with a discrete crowd of friends she felt comfortable with.
The first, Raina Henderson. Raina and Sabrina met during freshman year and instantly bonded. However, outside of school, they didn't occupy the same interests of other teens. Lamentably, absorption into the supernatural characterized them as outcasts. A label Sabrina and Raina welcomed.
However, they wouldn't have to bear the burden alone. And by sophomore year, others were taking an interest. Still, it'd be awkward to befriend others, while relishing in the bizarre. But, as Sabrina and Raina socialized, others mocked their beliefs. Hence, they'd withdraw, and further their passions individually. Luckily, Sabrina ultimately met two upperclassmen, Michelle and Marc Dyson. Resembling Raina, Sabrina felt a connection, and over time, a bond grew.
Still, as Sabrina progressed, she'd keep herself well-grounded. Furthermore, as various orders engaged the church, Sabrina viewed religion highly, and often attended services. And though she felt differently, Tim and Julia always nurtured her beliefs. As guests entered, postgraduates greeted everyone with immense joy. Unfortunately, Sabrina's parents weren't formal, and though Tim stood proud, he loathed wearing a suit. Thus, Sabrina moved through the crowd, figuring he'd need reassurance.
"Where is she?" he asked, combing the crowds.
Julia smiled, nodding. "Patience, there's a lot to do."
Unfortunately, Tim didn't like waiting, but enjoyed every minute. Successfully, he'd been an engineer for Clive & Austin Incorporated for eighteen years. A reputable fabricator, yielding oil rigs and mining equipment to contractors throughout the country. Fortunately, he valued family. Especially his beloved wife Julia, whom he happily wed during a glorious ceremony in Pohue Bay, Hawaii twenty - two years prior. Consequently, Julia appeared more diversified.
Following high school, she attended Oklahoma University, earning a Master's degree in Literal Arts. And though she and Tim shared values, Julia honed methods with a genuine motherly instinct. Besides, Tim stayed as a provider, while Julia handled the home, and mentored Sabrina. Still, he repeatedly judged the likelihood of the family's long-term future, while Julia mentored Sabrina's training.
Fortunately, Sabrina excelled, and endured grading at the top of the class. Selfishly, she'd hoped for class valedictorian, and thrilled at the nomination. However, Tim and Julia marveled at Sabrina's sudden interest in attending college abroad. Thus far, she'd received bids from Notre Dame and the University of Southern California, but strongly considered a lucrative offer from Imperial College in London.
And though programs were rewarding and respected, Tim and Julia weren't excited. Besides, Sabrina, only 18, possessed no means of supporting herself. But, the more dejected they appeared, the more resolute Sabrina became. Thus, there were many heartfelt trade-offs about what steps were appropriate. Nevertheless, Julia's eyes opened as Sabrina neared.
"I thought we wouldn't notice you beforehand," Julia implied, holding Sabrina.
Sabrina twinkled as her mother took a picture.
"You knew I was going to, so get over it," Julia declared.
Though her mother could be oppressive, she loved having Sabrina elated. But, Tim and Julia's glowing pride stood as a focal reason for Sabrina's resolve.
"You're going to embarrass me, aren't you?" Sabrina asked.
Julia sneered. "Who me?"
Sabrina laughed, gazing. "Yes, you."
Julia smiled, adjusting a collar. "You damn right."
Sabrina glanced. "You gonna be all right?" she asked, arranging Tim's sport coat.
"Don't worry, I'll be fine," he'd reply.
Sabrina cuddled, grinning. "I hope you're proud."
Tim paused, ogling. "Eternally."
Expectedly, graduates gracefully crossed the stage, humbly receiving their degrees. A time, families were joyous and prideful. Yet, the day also heralded a time of upheaval into a precarious future. Unfortunately, college remained a costly excursion many couldn't manage. A reality Sabrina weathered, as some classmates accepted their highest status of schooling.
Hence, the anger felt sincere while judging lifestyles, and the misfortunes dealt to positive people. Afterward, Sabrina gaped at the diploma, wondering if she stood fortunate, or ordained for something more. Nevertheless, she wouldn't parlay the family's gaiety into a broad gala. On the contrary, she'd share every moment with the people she loved.
Ergo, following heartfelt goodbyes and memorable photos, graduation concluded. She felt like an adult, but tackled focal life-changing choices. Sadly, she seemed resentful, as ideas weren't developing as planned. Ordinarily, she'd remain cautious when vocalizing passions. But, as variances surged, Sabrina formed a tolerance when speaking openly.
Unfortunately, she'd comfort her father, as the shock of leaving remained delicate. Thus, opening the door, Tim hunkered on the swing, staring into the distance, with his hands drawn. The reality was more than any parent could endure, but Sabrina always gave a cheering smile. However, as the passé springs whined, Tim didn't budge.
“Can we talk?” Sabrina questioned with an upsetting tone, jostling back and forth.
Strangely, she felt intimidated, but made him proud with renewed maturity. However, Sabrina wasn't fearful knowing he loved her more than anything. But, the emotions were obvious as he stretched out. Sadly, his eyes were bloodshot and swollen, and he'd been praying. Thus, Sabrina occupied the seat, resolved to soothe his torment. Unfortunately, she'd be leaving for London, and the certainty influenced her parents dismally. But, Tim detested the change more than Julia.
Still, while Sabrina sank into the pastel, she held her father's hand as a tender whiff ensued. Still, his daughter growing up, and branching out, terrified him. Sadly, he dreaded this moment, but figured capable of handling the outcomes. Unfortunately, as they nestled, Tim wept while caressing a hand.
“If I said I don't want you to go, you'd hold it against me, wouldn't you?”
Sabrina scoured her dark hair aside, frowning. “I know it hurts, but if I stay, you'd never forgive yourself, and begrudge me for not seizing an opportunity,”
“But, you'll be so far away,” Tim retaliated. “Alone in a foreign and diverse country.”
Sabrina squeezed close, as an awkward stillness befell them. However, the atmosphere of conciliation they shared felt serene. Unfortunately, no matter the words, nothing facilitated their spirits. But Sabrina sounded panicked, never before fearing a lecture from her father. But, this time stakes were higher than a childish school suspension, or mediocre grade. Besides, college was an actuality parents faced, but Tim and Julia knew Sabrina evolved too rapidly. Dejectedly, however, they'd collectively reach a point of acceptance.
“What am I supposed to do?” Tim pleaded.
Sabrina reared, ogling.
“I'm sorry I wasn't there when you needed me,” he added.
Sabrina began to cry. “You've done everything asked of you. I have no resentment, and you shouldn't either.”
Tim drew close and hugged Sabrina, as Julia filled the doorway, enjoying a moment between an adoring father and his devoted daughter.
“I know you're there,” Sabrina stated, peeping.
“I'll always be here,” Julia replied, stirring on the porch.
Like Sabrina, an avid enthusiast of nature, and its concessions. Except, there was something about summer, and the power it held. Still, Sabrina's birthday neared, and her parents arranged a prolonged celebration. However, the observation was different now that Sabrina was older. Still, birthday parties were moments she loved and deemed special. Additionally, Julia stayed preoccupied over these times, always holding a camera. An addiction everyone anticipated, despite the annoyance.
“I demand pictures,” she'd state, readying the camera.
Sabrina snickered. “Do you need some help with that?”
Julia glanced with a quizzical sneer. “Nobody loves a smart mouth, young lady.”
Commonly, Cottonwood Falls never exceeded eighty degrees, but today felt atypical. Still, Tim quietly noted the eccentric synergies of Sabrina and Julia, as they huddled closely. Fighting back tears, he treasured the moment, knowing tomorrow, Sabrina wouldn't be there. Sorrowfully, they minded Tim's endless gaze, feeling his heartbreak. Thus, Sabrina leaned in, whispering.
"What are you up to?” Tim questioned.
Sabrina grinned, sitting. "Relax dad, I'll make you proud — I promise."
Tim hugged Sabrina while Julia took pictures. "You already have,”
“So," Julia said, sitting. "What do we do with this beautiful evening?”
Sabrina smiled, cradling hands. "I don't know, but I'm doing what I want."
Tim contemplated. "There's something else, isn't there?"
Sabrina happily stared. “Should we?”
Julia nodded. "I think so.”
Sabrina felt like a kid in a wide-open toy store while prancing from the porch. Julia spouted in laughter, photographing the childlike display.
"She'll never change,” Tim said, standing. "I guess I better find that shovel?"
Julia twinkled as Sabrina meandered around. "I hope she never does,”
Sabrina demanded reminders, but didn't want to leave. She'd been given opportunities to succeed, and a degree from a well-known university would benefit greatly. Yet, Sabrina pondered the pros and cons, while the beautiful settings made decisions worse. Julia rested on the swing as Tim turned to Sabrina.
"Where do you want this?"
"Right here!” Sabrina retorted, directing to the foot of a tree.
“Looks like you have your work cut out,” Julia announced, stepping inside.
She wasn't tactful when something unnerved her, and Tim believed Julia's day to mourn had come. Still, Tim had carted over a heavy silver receptacle. But where Sabrina found it, or meant to use it, remained a mystery.
"I want mom here.” Sabrina affirmed.
Tim set the canister against the tree, and glanced at the house. "Don't worry honey, she'll be right along,”
Sabrina clutched the shovel, curiously poking the earth. Surprisingly, it was solid due to recent dry weather. And generally, the conditions were an advantage, but not for what she'd planned. Luckily, many agricultural communities inhabited the region, but if the aridity resumed, crops would languish. Sabrina stood strong-minded, knowing the community depended heavily on farming. However, declining weather wasn't the sole concern. Sabrina strongly aided the farming business, but harvesting had become much harder.
“Dad,” Sabrina whispered, plucking the soil.
"Yeah sweetheart, what is it?"
Sabrina judged emotions and opinions collectively, trusting she'd reached the proper conclusion. "What if I took a year off, and settled things.”
Tim shrugged, leaning against the tree. It was the same idea she'd proposed a thousand times. He didn't want her to leave, but he also couldn't be selfish, and make a personal choice.
“I thought you'd made up your mind?”
Sabrina stayed hesitant, but needed him to understand. Sorrowfully, she'd spent enough time procrastinating, and spoke from the heart.
"I don't want to leave,"
"We don't want you to either, but you've made commitments," Tim explained.
“You're right.” Sabrina agreed.
"Aren't I always?” Tim answered.
Sabrina winced, heading to the house. "What's taking mom so long?"
Sabrina approached, hearing the overt rustling of glassware and utensils from the kitchen. Surprisingly, Julia felt stifled by opinion, but overwhelmed with emotions. Yet, as the customary creak of the screen door echoed, Julia sheltered.
"You all right?” Sabrina asked, stepping closer.
"I'm fine,” Julia replied, laying a moist dishtowel on the counter. “Damn allergies.”
"OK," Sabrina answered, turning to the door.
“Wait,” Julia shouted, crying. “I don't want you to go. Call me selfish, but I want you home."
Sabrina embraced Julia tightly. There wasn't a demand for clarification, because she'd summed up her resentment with a few words. Tim, though, sat outside, listening to Julia's appeals, assuming they'd fallen on deaf ears. But regrettably, it's what Sabrina wanted, despite second thoughts. Hence, Tim returned to the garden, while Sabrina and her mother ironed everything out.
Sabrina pulled back, gazing into her mother's eyes. "Do you feel better now?”
Julia patted Sabrina across the shoulder. "Do I look all right to you?”
Sabrina wanted to lighten the mood, but demanded patience to her mother's state of mind. "I have to go, you know that.”
Julia turned, arranging a service of iced tea. Yet, she'd breathe deeply, and slam her hands on the counter. "I'm sorry I'm being so damn selfish,”
Sabrina groaned, trapping her mother. "What should I do? Disregard the rest of the world?”
Julia seized Sabrina's hands. "I'm not saying that, but we want what's best for you."
Sabrina embraced her mother. "My love will never die, no matter where life takes me. So, stop hunkering and help me.”
They'd stand together, laughing, until Tim sped through the door.
"What's this?" he'd ask with hands in the air. "I'm out there shoveling a bloody hole, and you're enjoying a laugh."
Sabrina and Julia laughed, seized the tray of iced tea, and headed for the door. Julia rested the tray on the table and paraded arm in arm with Sabrina.
"Now, tell us about this contraption,” Tim asked, tending to the canister.
Sabrina stared into the hole, snatching the canister, while her parents watched; mystified.
"Well? “ Julia requested. “Are you going to keep us in suspense?”
Sabrina kneeled, closed her eyes, and mumbled under her breath.
"What's she doing?” Julia asked.
"Maybe she's having an episode. She isn't on medication, is she?” Tim asked jokingly.
Julia walloped Tim's arm as Sabrina sarcastically stared. "Make me a promise,”
Sabrina's expression became sedate, while placing the canister. "If anything ever happens to me, remember this container.”
Julia grew horrified. "What do you mean, don't say that!”
Sabrina pursed, knowing this wasn't something she'd usually beseech. But, she believed it was something she'd have to do. Thus, she'd gape into Tim's eyes.
Tim's lips parted, while his eyes widened. Usually, he understood Sabrina's humor, but the tone implied something different.
“Why ask this of us?"
Sabrina huddled tightly, as a tear cascaded. At only 18, she wasn't savvy or educated, but netted closure to adolescence, and embraced adulthood. Still, life would be laborious, no matter what safeguards she implemented.
“I'll promise if that's what you want.” Julia agreed reluctantly.
Sabrina smiled, kissing her mother on the cheek. “Thank You,”
Though he'd never refuse, saying the words proved challenging. Hence, Tim groaned, squeamishly clutching Sabrina's hand.
Sabrina smiled, moving close. “I have one last thing to finish.”
Roughly an hour elapsed since Tim and Julia left Sabrina alone. And though it'd become silent and placid, they felt uneasy. Thus, Tim stood attentively by the kitchen washbasin, gazing through the window. Sabrina seemed emotional, and though implanting a capsule seemed awkward, he and Julia willingly helped. But, the terms and conditions she'd leveled with it terrified them.
"Why'd she ask something like that?” Tim asked.
As Julia accompanied him, they'd spot Sabrina compacting soil, and leveling new grain. However, Julia remained silent, contemplating questions.
“I don't know...” Julia returned."...but, let's be supportive,”
Tim grasped Julia's shoulders. "I'll try.”
Julia chuckled with a heartfelt eagerness, because Tim stood as the overprotective father. An attribute the family revered.
"Don't worry,...” Julia replied, "...she'll be fine."
Tim would always be Sabrina's father, and never more than a phone call away.
"I guess you're right, I've got to let her grow up.”
Julia smiled, stroking Tim's face. "I'm afraid we do."
Sabrina shuffled into the house, following her parent's intricate discussion. "And, what are you crying about now?”
Tim glanced, grinning. "She's got us figured out."
Sabrina laughed. "Well, I have known you all my life, so what's left to do?”
Tim considered the proposal, but organized something special. "I suggest we get cleaned up, make some popcorn, and enjoy an evening together,"
Sabrina beamed. "You remember how I like it, right?”
"Hot, with caramel topping, I haven't forgotten.” Tim replied.
As Sabrina headed for the bathroom, Tim and Julia glanced at each other.
"You're gonna miss her, aren't you?” Julia asked.
Tim groaned, unlocking a cupboard. "With everything I have."