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Awakening Chapter 2: Burn

by Otterpop


"Remind me next time: I owe you for those chapter notes."

"Yes, yes you do."

June could not help but smile, and Blake responded with a gentle elbow to her arm. After the events of this morning, the rest of his school day had luckily been uneventful. And, of course, he hadn't mentioned to any of his friends the incident involving the spirit.

Now it was just him and June, walking the same way they'd come from that morning. Their houses stood only a block up ahead, easy to identify even among the long stretch of homes down the street.  

"So, I know Amelia can get a little carried away with plans, but you have to admit. Planning out activities for the summer sounds really exciting."

Blake nodded. "And just think. We'll be in 9th grade next year. Freshman."

"I know! And then four years later? Off to college!"

"You know, with your grades, you could easily grab a couple of scholarships."

June let out a small laugh as the both of them stopped in front of Blake's front yard. "Aww, thanks. I could see you snagging a small scholarship too."

"Yeah, I don't know." He shrugged his shoulders and rubbed the back of his head. "Academics isn't my thing."

She gave a response to his comment but he only half paid attention. Another strange chill ran up his spine, and he fought the urge to make an irritated face. This many in less than a day? his mind screamed. One last night and another the afternoon before...this is starting to happen more often than normal.

"So...you won't, right?"

Blake returned to reality, and realized he had no idea what June had told him. But given her slightly furrowed brows, he could only make an educated guess about the context of her inquiry.

"No, I won't. Promise."

Unfortunately June did not look entirely convinced, but Blake gave her a quick wave before he walked down the path leading to his house. "See you tomorrow, June."

He pulled out his keys from the side pocket of his backpack and stuck them in the door. As he unlocked it, he looked left and saw June at the next house over. He then watched her disappear into her home after a quick wave in his direction.

Blake's key jangled when he turned them and finally entered his home. He set his backpack on a kitchen chair nearest the door, and stretched his arms up. But he did not relax for long. The chill up his spine reminded him that he still had another order of business to attend to.

He slowly walked down the hall, looking left and right, and waiting, trying to get a sense of things. He waited a few moments longer, before his gaze made its way to the other side of the house, and the door to the backyard. Blake's eyes narrowed a little as he entered a small office, complete with a couple of chairs and small desks, a single computer sitting atop one of the desks. Directly in front of him stood a door with a light blue curtain that covered the window on the upper half of the entryway. It was locked, but Blake unlocked it and opened it halfway.

The backyard was a simple one, with grass and dirt patches, surrounded on three sides by a tall wooden fence that was taller than him. Blake performed a quick scan of the yard, but did not initially notice anything unusual. Even so Blake could sense something here. Another spectre, but different from the one this morning. And he was certain an entity stood in the middle of the yard. It took a few moments for the spectre to take notice of his presence.

Blake narrowed his eyes and concentrated hard. An adult. Female. And an individual that felt lost, just like the little boy. Yet at the same time, this spirit emanated waves of calm.

"Do you need help?" he asked.

The entity seemed accepting of his offer, but Blake couldn't really feel anything else. He stepped out further into the backyard, but left the door behind him open.

"I need a bit more to go on," he said. "Where are you from?"

A moment later, an image of mountains flickered in his mind, and for a few seconds the hairs on his arms, legs, and neck stood on end.

"Mountains....like the Rockies?"

The spectre did not respond. Blake thought harder.

"What about the Appalachians?"

A sense of familiarity rushed over him. Blake was surprised for a moment, but he shook his head.

"You're a long way from home then," he said. "This is western Idaho, practically the other side of the country. You'll want to go east, far east."

It seemed the figure understood. However, she did not move. Blake waited a few moments longer but still nothing happened.

"Is something wrong?"

For a second he caught a whiff of something. Burning wood. But the scent was not a malicious one; it was calm, and warm. He also smelled pine and shrubs. He sensed strength and energy emanating from her, and though he needed a few moments he eventually understood.

"You were camping, right? In a forest east of here. There was some kind of accident?"

It was as if the spectre nodded. Blake focused for more details, but found none. Whatever had caused their demise, it had come too quick for her to realize. He focused even harder on the direction.

"I don't know for sure, but head northeast," he suggested. "If you were with someone, chances are good they're in that direction."

Surely the partial closure would have sufficed for this woman. But to Blake's stunned confusion, they still remained.

He squinted his eyes. "What is it?"

The spectre emanated a new emotion, one he did not expect: fear. But this was not fear associated with death. This woman feared something in their current state. They feared......another presence? Blake had not felt anything like this before, but perhaps he'd missed a sign of some sort. He looked around, and let his perception reach out further. He waited for the familiar sensation of a warm chill down his back.

But what struck him was something else entirely. He held his breath as a burn pulsated throughout his body. It radiated primarily in his arms and legs, and while the feeling seemed accompanied by a slight stinging sensation, something else alarmed him more. His chest was reacting to it. Why did his heart race in such a rapid and unpleasant manner?

He then noticed it. His fingertips quivered. Blake looked around with a start but had no idea why his own body seemed afraid right now. He'd never experienced this kind of sensation before.

Suddenly his gaze froze, fixated. He noticed movement, near the corner of the fence. A shadowy figure. Even with a step forward and squinted eyes, he could not completely make it out. The wispy shadow twitched, then disappeared behind the fence.

Blake was still as a statue, for what felt like a season. The strange burn ebbed away, but it did not completely take away the apprehension. Something was wrong. He'd been able to sense the presence of spirits since before he could remember. He could feel certain things, certain images, smells, and emotions. And even then he only made guesses on who they were and what they looked like.

But he had never seen anything like that shadow before. Not only that, but he felt like he had actually seen it just then. He swallowed nervously.

A chill ran back up his spine, and he remembered the woman again. They still stood in place, but whether or not they noticed what Blake did, he could not tell. He breathed calmly and cleared his throat.

"Do you, um, think you can head northeast now?"

The spectre seemed much more confident in themself, and Blake breathed a sigh of relief. A wave of gratitude washed over him in moments. The spirit then left, and the chill was once again gone.

But Blake was not done. He ran across his backyard, reaching the corner where that shadow had seemingly appeared. The splintered wood at the top prevented him from climbing up too much, though he managed a small look over the fence, enough to see other backyards and little groves of trees. Nothing; whatever materialized had long since vanished. Not to mention that strange burn no longer coursed through his veins.

With a heavy sigh he lowered himself from the fence, and rubbed off any wood shavings still stuck on his hands.

"Okay, okay," he muttered, walking back up to the open back door of his house. "Try not to freak out. That had to have been your mind playing a trick on you."

Yet even he knew how foolish that sounded aloud. His body clearly reacted to the shadow entity, whatever it was, and not in a very pleasant manner. His spirit-sensing ability had been with him a long time. In the past, he'd maybe sense a spectre, and make contact with it, every nine days or so. But in the last week.....he would sense many spirits in a single day, and make contact with at least one of them in that same time period. So maybe, just maybe, his ability was strengthening. So much so that he was seeing more than just harmless spirits. And these new creatures could see him too......

Blake slapped his cheeks with both hands before he closed the door behind him. Stop thinking like that, he told himself. Still, he leaned against the door and groaned with unease. If this got worse, he worried it would affect his everyday life.

Click. Click.

His heart stopped, and his legs tensed as he spun around. That was the front door. Was someone trying to break in? Instinctively Blake hid behind the wall, with only the hall and the kitchen standing between him, and the door.

It finally stopped.

"Blake? You home?"

He exhaled when he recognized the voice, and he pressed his back against the wall for a few seconds. But then he stepped out into the open of the hallway and gave a small wave. "You startled me," he said. "I didn't expect you to be home so early."

The woman before him wasn't quite forty, but most wouldn't have guessed it based on her fair-skinned face, with a sheen on her shoulder-length blond hair that showed no signs of aging or grayness. Even so....there were noticeable bags under Alisha's eyes, and her lips looked a bit dry. Not only that, her cheekbones did not appear to be quite full, as his were.

"Sorry, I needed to take care of some things." She walked through the hallway, past Blake, and towards the office. Specifically, towards the printer on the end of the desk. He then noticed the small set of folders that she clutched.

"Some things to take care of?" he echoed.

She unlocked the computer and opened up a folder. "The printer jammed again at the pharmacy. Debra doesn't think we'll get repairs until tomorrow evening, so I offered to print out some forms and documents we still need for tonight."

Blake could not help but smile. "You're too kind, Mom."

Alisha focused on the computer. But Blake noticed a little smile creep onto her face. When he noticed her yawn, and then cough right afterward, he frowned. He paused before speaking.

"You took a pill this morning, right?"

"I did, thank you."

"You forgot your medication last night though."

Her fingers stopped moving on the keyboard, and she briefly cast a side glance in his direction. Her lips tightened, her indication of embarrassment.

Blake simply raised an eyebrow in her direction. "Mom, you know you need your meds when you get these colds. I don't want you feeling miserable. You already don't sleep well and you get nasty headaches when you don't have a cold to worry about."

It wasn't exactly a medical condition, but Alisha's immune system wasn't exactly the strongest. She was often not well, but did her best. And she was more prone to even little things like colds, so when she got one Blake always made sure they had plenty of medications on hand so she was as comfortable as possible.

"I know. And I'm sorry. Sometimes I just get so tired that I don't think about it. I promise, I'll take it tonight." In a brief moment she pulled him into an embrace, with his face leaned into her warm chest. "I'm sorry you have to take care of me sometimes. I mean, I should be the one taking care of you, right?" She stepped back and returned to the computer.

Alisha sounded genuine and remorseful, and Blake thought it lucky that her forgetfulness was seldom seen. He also considered himself lucky that his own immune system was very strong. Even with his mother's genetics and frequently being around her, he'd not gotten sick once in his life. Perhaps his strength came from his-

Blake shook his head, not about to finish the thought. But for some reason, the memory of that strange shadow crossed his mind. He about opened his mouth and said something. But he held his tongue. No, he scolded inwardly. Mom doesn't need to know about any of that, remember?

Instead he focused on the current conversation. "It....happens sometimes," he finally said. "But just remember tonight, okay?"

"I will."

She looked at him with a smile and a twinkle in her eye, then returned to her work on the computer. Blake stood and stared for a moment longer, but eventually he left the office and headed for his room. He paused at the doorway, groaning to himself, but he entered anyway.


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Mon Apr 26, 2021 8:23 pm
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starlitmind wrote a review...



Hey! ^_^ I saw that this has been in the green room for a bit, so I decided to help nudge it out! c: Since I haven't read your precious chapter, please excuse me if I say anything stupid xD

After the events of this morning, the rest of his school day had luckily been uneventful. And, of course, he hadn't mentioned to any of his friends the incident involving the spirit.


Ooh, so there are some supernatural forces at play! I love the bit of humourous / sarcastic tone with the day being "luckily uneventful" -> that just goes to show how much that spirit encounter must've been crazy xD

Now it was just him and June, walking the same way they'd come from that morning. Their houses stood only a block up ahead


(oops just missing some end punctuation there) Ooh, what does that walk back home look like? are there rows of the same looking houses? is it mostly dirt paths or clean sidewalks? what's the weather like outside? just some thoughts ^_^

"And just think. We'll be in 9th grade next year. Freshman."

"I know! And then four years later? Off to college!"

"You know, with your grades, you could easily grab a couple of scholarships."


Ah, love this sense of growing up here :) Also, nice bit of giving information about June with the scholarship dialogue c:

this many in less than a day? his mind screamed. One last night and another the afternoon before...this is starting to happen more often than normal.


Ooh, looks like these spirit encounters are becoming normal to him :O

complete with a couple of small desks and chairs, and a single computer and monitor one one of the desks.


Especially because the paragraph I pulled this from had a bunch of words in it, the repetition of "and" does stick out a bit - perhaps you could avoid that?

lake performed a quick scan of the yard, but saw nothing else besides that. His sixth sense, however, told him otherwise. Like at the school, Blake could sense something here. Another spectre, but different from the one this morning. Once again he did not see it, but he sensed an entity that stood in the middle of the yard.


Woah, this whole sensing process is pretty cool and creepy! c:
This paragraph to me is a bit repetitive -> like you repeat the fact that Blake can't see the specter but can sense it a couple of times. I think this could be compressed a bit c:

Blake narrowed his eyes and concentrated hard. An adult. Female. And an individual that felt lost, just like the little boy. Yet at the same time, this spectre dominated waves of calm.


Ooh, it's super cool how he can sense all of these things!

They feared......another presence?


0.0
I love the way you are building up suspense! I am also feeling some fear, like this spectre xD

He ran across his backyard, reaching the corner where he'd seen the shadow. He pulled himself up as much as he could, though he did not appreciate the splintered wood at the top. He managed a small look over the fence, enough to see other backyards and little groves of trees.


just some "he" repetition -> perhaps you could vary your sentence structure / how you start these sentences?

The woman before him wasn't quite forty, but most wouldn't have guessed it based on her fair-skinned face, with a sheen on her shoulder-length blond hair that showed no signs of aging or grayness.

Even so....there were noticeable bags under Alisha's eyes, and her lips looked a bit dry. Not only that, her cheekbones did not appear to be quite full, as his were.


up to you! ^_^ but these could honestly be in the same paragon , if you'd wish c:

It's really nice how much Blake looks after his mother! You can really get a sense of his personality by his actions and words to his mother <3

AH this chapter was super exciting! I may not have read the introduction, but I was able to really get a great grasp of the storyline! The whole spectre thing was explained quite well - it must be hard for Blake to deal with at times since no one? or not a lot of people know about his ability. It's hard to keep things to yourself!

I really enjoy your ability to build suspense. Also, I love your word choice; I've noticed you often use specific verbs and words like "twitched" (that's the one I remembered off the top of my head haha) so it makes the story more vivid :)

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this, and I can't wait to see where you take this! ^_^ Hope this helped!




Otterpop says...


Thanks so much for letting me know about the repetition! It was something I hadn't quite noticed myself but I appreciate you pointing it out.

I'll keep all your comments in mind as I'm editing this chapter and writing my current one! Thanks so much!!



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Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:53 pm
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MailicedeNamedy wrote a review...



Hi Otterpop,

Mailice back with a new review! :D

I'm glad to say that as I read the second chapter, I noticed that you continue to stay true to your writing style and you keep putting in the great descriptions that make it much more interesting to read.

Something that struck me was how Blake is in the backyard and there is this spectre. It seems a bit too quick, like he's being pulled there by a thread. I suppose because he can sense something there he goes there, but to the reader it seems a bit like he's going there deliberately. I would maybe rewrite it a little bit to make it seem a little more mysterious.

He approached the door, and pulled out his keys from the side pocket of his backpack. As he unlocked the door, he looked left and saw June at the next house over. He then watched her open the door and disappear inside after a quick wave in his direction.


I would rewrite the third sentence so you don't have "door" every time in this paragraph. It reads a bit bumpy here, reading "door" so often. Besides, it doesn't really matter with June, because she disappears into the house in the second half of the sentence anyway.

Her name was Alisha, and she was his mother.


I don't know yet what role Blake's mother will play in the story. The introduction in the last chapter was already very good and as a reader you could build up some questions (what are these medications...?), but here it seems a bit too " ceremonial." At least this sentence comes across as if his mother was an eminence or something else very significant. That's not really a criticism here, but I was struck by this idea of the person because it stood out in contrast to the others.

I can already make some assumptions after reading about how the story will continue, especially by means of Blake's ability and the detailed introduction of his mother in this chapter. I like that the story continues to have that quiet tone, and it's also starting to pick up speed.

Enjoy the rest of the writing!

Mailice.





“Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”
— L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables