Sunday, October 26, 2014

Raif and Me: Part 4

It's back around to me again.

I've been working with my two friends, Kelly Martin and Wendy Knight, on a pass-around writing experiment. And this story has definitely taken some surprising turns already.

Need to catch up?
Read Part One here.
Part Two here.
Part Three here.

And without further ado, Part Four:

I knew I couldn’t. No matter what the Cooperation said. Not with him this close. Not with the memory fresh in my mind.

“They want you back, Raif.” I whispered it, but I knew they were listening. “They aren’t too particular about how they get you.”

His eyes betrayed no emotion.

“Why now?” It came out a growl that reverberated deep in my own soul. “Six years, Tabitha. That’s how long you’ve been watching me. Why now?”

“I-I-I don’t know.”

He stepped closer.

I couldn’t breathe. I could only stare into his eyes and hope he heard the things I couldn’t say. Not with the Cooperation listening. And shouting. So much shouting.

I knew they were sending back up. I had failed in my task. But I didn't care. I was under Raif's spell. Exactly where I'd wanted to be since the last time he'd held me.

His breath was warm on my forehead. He lifted his hand slowly to my face. I closed my eyes in anticipation of the familiar touch.

The touch I had craved for the last six years.

But it wasn’t familiar.

Instead of the velvet warmth I remembered, the cold distant texture of a black leather glove caressed my cheek. Raif gingerly pushed my hair behind my ear. My eyes shot open the moment I knew, but it was too late. He ripped out the earpiece by its roots before I could react, sending me spiraling into darkness.

I heard a blood curdling scream, then just as I fell into the thick haze of black silence, a whisper that sent a jolt down my spine.

“I’m sorry, my love, but justice will be served.”

Stay tuned for Part Five, coming next week from Wendy Knight.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Raif and Me: Part 1 — a Pass-Around Writing Experiment

Just for fun, two of my friends (Kelly Martin and Wendy Knight) and I have decided to do a pass-around story. I'm starting it off with the section below, and each of them will take a turn picking up where the person before them left off and just take the story where it leads them.

Without further ado, I offer you the first installment of Raif and Me a Pass-Around Writing Experiment.

Raif Michaelson's routine never changed. On Mondays, he left the house at 8:07 and walked three blocks to the bus stop on the corner of Elm and 17th. He sat with his backpack hugged tightly to his chest and waited exactly six minutes for Bus #12 to arrive. When he boarded the bus, he sat close to the window in the third seat back on the left hand side. Then he read twelve pages in Plato's Republic.

The same twelve pages every Monday.

At the bust stop at 35th and Longfellow, Raif disembarked and walked 132 steps to the Walker Building, entered through the middle doors, stopped and sanitized his hands at Sanitizing Station 4, then disappeared around the corner to the right.

He reappeared at precisely 4:12 in the afternoon, repeated his hand sanitization at Station 4, opened Plato's Republic, and left the building through the single door on the left, walked 137 steps to the bus stop at 35th and Longfellow without looking up from his book once.

Bus #71 arrived nine minutes later. He read fifteen pages in his book — the same fifteen pages every Monday — and was dropped off three blocks from his house at 5:03 P.M.

That's just Monday, but I can tell you that the only thing that changed from day to day, Mondays through Fridays was the pages that Raif Michaelson read in Plato's Republic.

On Saturdays and Sundays he never emerges from his house.

How do I know? That's your next question.

I'm Tabitha Charles. Some might call me a stalker. I prefer to think  of myself as a Raif-ologist.

For the last six years, I have lived and breathed Raif Michaelson. Call it an obsession if you'd like. I've studied him intently. Every move he makes. And what I've found is unwavering predictability.

That's why when Raif Michaelson, dressed all in black, emerged from his house at 7:07 P.M. on Friday, October 31st, I was completely taken by surprise.

I can't wait to see what the next installment holds!

Some time in the next week, Wendy Knight will add her part, continuing the saga. Please look for it on her blog at