|Swallowing Stones The Confrontation
Author: Kiyiamayu PM
You've read the book. You've seen the ending. You know Michael Mackenzie will tell Jenna Ward the truth she already knows and hates, about him accidentally killing her father, but what will their conversation be like? This is my version.Rated: Fiction T - English - Hurt/Comfort - Words: 2,398 - Reviews: 1 - Published: 07-22-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8348402
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Swallowing Stones by Joyce McDonald
Okay, so I was required to write a script for the conversation between Michael and Jenna after the end of the book Swallowing Stones for my English class. I decided instead of a script that I'd write the dialogue in story format. And thus, this was born unto the world! I got a pretty good mark on it so I decided to just submit it to this site because I need to submit something. Plus, the ending of the book was just way too disappointing and I thought it would be good to give it more of a conclusion. Anyhow, I hope whoever reads this will enjoy it.
Michael kept his vigilant watch up for many hours, the rifle that had caused so much hurt resting determinedly behind his uncomfortable perch on the large boulder. His dark, solemn eyes remained trained on the peacefully sleeping Jenna, only pausing to blink. That small smile he had seen was still there and it pained him to know that it would instantly disappear the moment she saw him. Then when he finally told her the truth, the cold horrible truth that he, Michael Mackenzie, killed her father with one single stray bullet... She'd hate him. What else would he expect?
He jerked his head away and craned his neck to the glowing horizon, the sun lighting his face with its sparkling, luminescent rays. He squinted against them, not exactly sure of what he was looking for. Maybe he was trying to find more courage, trying to find the words he'd always wanted to say to Jenna but could never actually vocalize for fear of being despised, arrested and shunned. A bitter laugh left his lips at the thought because, in a moment of lucid clarity, he had realized that what he was doing, hiding and denying, was completely selfish. Yes, he was afraid. Yes, he didn't want to be labelled as a murderer or feel the crushing shame and disappointment from his family and peers, but Jenna needed closure. That was more important than his own problems.
As he sat there, the wind tousling his hair, he understood that subconsciously he felt like he needed to be punished too; he was beginning to choke on all of the stones he'd swallowed and it needed to stop. He knew he couldn't run away. It just wasn't right to cause so much suffering, accidental or otherwise, and not have any of the blame placed upon him. To make the situation worse, he inadvertently caused his loyal, best friend to be the main suspect in the murder case. And Amy, she knew what he had done. Withholding important information from the police could get her charged with obstruction of justice, or she could become an accessory to murder. No matter what, he just couldn't let that happen. Even if it meant him being torn away from his own life and being locked up in a prison cell.
Michael took a deep breath and closed his eyes, the cool, crisp air tickling his throat and clearing his lungs as he inhaled and exhaled. He needed this. He needed this tiny reprieve, if only for just a moment. Just a moment where he could relax and bask in the thought of letting out all of his guilt and regret. It certainly won't make Jenna's caring father come back, or Meredith's loving husband. Nothing can. But maybe it will help them heal. He dearly hoped so.
Jenna's drowsy eyes slowly fluttered open, blurry and unfocused. She quickly swiped a hand down her face, causing the dirt remnants to smudge and smear. Paying the mess no heed, she yawned and stretched from her place on her makeshift bed. As expected, the warm sunlight filtered in from between the large, comforting branches of the Ghost Tree, illuminating the ground and its occupant. Jenna smiled tightly, feeling more safe in her many memories than the real world. She sighed, the guilt still pooling in her stomach, threatening to overwhelm her once again. 'What if's' clutched at her mind, but she drowned them out with the strong, unbreakable bond she carried with her father. Jenna knew he wouldn't want her to blame herself, or anyone else for that matter. Not even Michael, the one who she believed to be the cause of his death. She yawned once more and shook her head, still disoriented from sleep.
Suddenly, Jenna felt a prickling sensation along her arms, goosebumps beginning to form. She glanced down at them curiously, a slightly unsettling feeling of being watched appearing. She wasn't sure if she was just becoming paranoid or if someone actually was staring intently at her. Cautiously looking up, she spotted a lone form silhouetted into darkness by the rather harsh light of dawn. Jenna raised an arm up to shield her eyes in an attempt to determine who the person was. Although, deep down, she knew.
When silence continued its reign, she didn't feel annoyed or impatient. Jenna felt dangerously calm while awaiting some sort of response. But the silence spoke more words, carried more meaning, than anything else in that single moment. Finally, like ashes in the wind, his soft voice reached her ears. Two little words. Two little words that conveyed so much emotion, sadness and remorse. Two little words that caused her heart to pound furiously in her ears, and for tears to come rushing forward but not fall. Two little words that rebounded furiously in her head, solidifying the fact that yes, Michael did shoot that gun. Yes, he did kill her father on that horrible day. Yes, of course she blamed him. But no, not even now when he was standing right in front of her, did she hate him.
A whisper. That was all it was. "I'm sorry." Yet, somehow, it caused so much pain and relief. When Jenna was folding up her father's clothes and sending them away, it was only the beginning of her farewell. Those words seemed to make everything concrete. Her father was dead. Michael shot him. Maybe now she could move on; cherish the memories and let go of her vehement denial. "I'm sorry," he said again, louder this time, gesturing vaguely to the dirty rifle on the ground beside him. "I-I fired the gun that..." "I know," she interrupted, voice wavering. "I know what you did. You don't have to tell me." Even with the light casting his face in shadow and his head turned away, she could see the blatant surprise flit across his face. Michael also took notice that Jenna's eyes no longer held that haunted look he had seen in all of the newspapers he had read. Some of his worry slowly melted away.
She swallowed the lump in her throat as Michael took a step forward, seeming to grasp the courage to look at her directly. "Jenna I never meant for this to happen. It...It was my birthday, I had just got a rifle from my grandfather. A present," he affirmed. "I thought it would be okay to just go behind my house to try it out that night." He paused, a strong type of sadness obstructing his words. "It was a stupid, rotten mistake. I shot a bullet up into the sky and somehow..." He turned away again, murmuring the rest of the incomplete sentence. "It just... Somehow the bullet hit...him." Michael grew silent, a grimace twisting itself onto his face. "I'm sorry. That won't even begin to change anything...But I'm sorry. So very, very sorry." His voice audibly cracked at the last apology as liquid formed in his eyes; tears for her tragic loss, and tears for the life he will lose all because of his own actions.
"Why didn't you tell us earlier?" Jenna inquired softly. Michael looked at her in despair. "At first, I wasn't even sure if I had caused it. But the facts all matched up and it was too big of a coincidence for it to be anyone else. ...I was scared. Terrified of what would happen to me," he conceded. In that second, he sounded more like a lost, confused child than she could've thought possible and Jenna couldn't help but pity him. All of this time, she had only thought of her and her mom's feelings. Never the murderer's. She had thought the culprit wouldn't feel any guilt, but apparently she was dead wrong. It was clear in his eyes and the way he held himself; insecure and desperate for some form of forgiveness. Studying him further, it looked as if he had resigned himself to his cruel fate in jail. The past Jenna out for revenge smirked internally, but the current Jenna winced and frowned in sad sympathy.
She breathed in through her nose. "Thank you," said Jenna. Once again, Michael looked at her in inquisitive surprise. "For what? I don't... deserve your thanks." She smiled weakly, a miniscule tug of her lips. "For telling me the truth. It'll help." He looked at her in faint gratitude, realizing that she had actually accepted his desperate apologies. Another pause, then, "It was you, wasn't it? The person who cleaned our gutters and weeded the flowerbeds?" It was said as more of a statement than a question. Michael flinched in embarrassment and nodded. Jenna chuckled morosely. "You actually did a good job. We were kind of avoiding doing the chores after... Well, you know. So it saved us the trouble of doing it ourselves or hiring somebody." He haphazardly attempted a smile. "I was feeling guilty. I felt that the least I could do was help around your house since I was unable to tell you what happened." She nodded absently and stared off into the distance.
The sun shone high in the bright, blue sky, casting even more pristine light onto the land. Michael fidgeted awkwardly from his place standing in front of Jenna. Moving her gaze back to him, she asked, "What are you going to do now?" A tired, world weary sigh was his answer as he gulped nervously. "You're going to turn yourself in?" She had already guessed this, but it seemed like a horrible idea to her now. Her dad needed justice, but Jenna had already forgiven Michael. Well, not completely, how could she? But, she wouldn't wish jail on him anymore.
He cast a forlorn glance to the Winchester. "I have to. It's the right thing to do, and I've been denying that this whole time. I can't let Joe take the fall for me. He's innocent." Michael grinned at her painfully, the expression now a shell of its former glory. She found herself thinking that if Andrea had seen him in such weakness as he was currently in, she probably would have bursted into an inconsolable crying fit. He really felt so bad about all of this, didn't he? Jenna sighed. "You're a good person despite everything," she declared boldly. He obviously didn't believe her with the way his eyebrows raised incredulously, but he nodded in grateful acceptance.
More silence passed between the two, this time truly companionable. It was filled with unspoken, countless apologies, grief and sorrow, forgiveness and gratitude, and the blind hope that something good will eventually come out of all of this mess. In that moment, Michael had the strange thought of embracing Jenna in a hug. She was being so brave and strong, and he was so relieved that she didn't outright hate him. A content sigh escaped his lips, and he allowed himself to enjoy his last day of freedom. Michael continued to stand while Jenna sat, their hair and clothes swaying in the wind in an oddly soothing manner.
The Ghost Tree was certainly a place of healing for the both of them, even if it was just the beginning.
"I'd better get going," Michael muttered, his voice hoarse. Jenna stared after him as he made his way back to a boulder she hadn't noticed before, and tentatively walked back down the way he came from. She was going to call out to him, but instantly stopped. As he took one last look at the girl who's life he had cruelly, and unintentionally, shattered... Jenna had seen a face resigned, yet filled with a blazing, determined fire. He knew exactly what he had to do, and he would do it. No one would be able to talk him out of what was clearly the right thing to do. She found herself smiling almost fondly at his retreating back. Her father's murderer was definitely not the cold-hearted fiend she had pictured him as. And for that, she was grateful beyond measure.
Michael held the rifle close to him as he left, allowing himself one last time to cry out all of his feelings before he had to leave this sanctuary. His throat clogged up and his eyes watered, obscuring his vision as he continued on. The liquid rained down his cheeks and lightly soaked the ground below. His shoulders shaked and he clenched his fists, refusing to make any sounds.
This was the price he had to pay for killing someone and lying about it. This was the price he had to pay for taking away an important person from Jenna's life. And so, he'd confess to his parents. He'd be taken to jail and imprisoned. But now, a heavy weight had been lifted and the stones had been relieved from his mouth and stomach. Michael had finally expressed his sin to the one who was most affected, and apologized. She and her family could properly heal, and he was content in knowing so.
Amidst the wetness adorning his face and leaking from his eyes, Michael Mackenzie grinned. For him, it was the only true smile he had shown in what felt like years.
And he savoured every last moment.
. . .
Yes, so, I apologize if it didn't live up to your [the imaginary readers'] expectation(s) but I tried. =)
Thanks for reading! ^-^