"GO TO HELL!!" Amy screamed for, as
far as Marc was concerned, the last time. She threw his last box
of clothes and a few of the last remaining things he hadn't sold
in a desperate attempt to make rent. The box lay overturned on
the wet concrete, its contents soaking in the fresh puddles.
Marcus could do little but stare, he had earned this. He had
ruined the last thing he had in this world, his relationship with
Amy. That last drink had been too much. That last hit the last
"Idiot. You damn, idiot." He
breathed, speaking only to himself. He picked up the now soggy,
and even more unappealing flannel shirts from the sidewalk, and
turned to the mail-boxes beside him. Might as well take this
before they end up in the sewer. A crack of thunder signaled the
start of more rain. Marc quickly opened the mail-box, shoved the
mail in the pocket of his worn leather coat, and hurried for the
nearest dry spot. Finding an empty bus stop, he sat, placing his
box and his suitcase beside him. The rain beat loudly on the
sides of the plexiglass structure, but the white noise was good
for Marc's concentration.
Flipping through the same envelopes
of debt notices and check bounces, he threw them all into the
lonely street in front of him. All of it was such a triviality,
but a necessary one. That life should revolve around green pieces
of paper with faces on them, and within computer screen with
numbers showing on them. Rage boiled within him, but he had no
one and nothing to direct it at.
Anger had always been Marcus'
issue. He never could keep a job, had only a few friends, and Amy
was the first real relationship he ever had. But that was gone
now as well.Picking up his box, Marcus took off in the direction
of the nearby law office building, his last hope was within, and
he knew it. Wet, and even more pitiable in appearance, Marc
entered the building. It was new, elegantly designed, and
spacious. Marble floors adorned with beautiful rugs and
sculptures, it was one of the greatest spaces Marcus had ever
been in. His gut was roiling with nerves as he ascended the stony
staircase to the open alcove of the firm. Peaking in to the small
yet open offices, he saw people discussing their issues. Issues
of money, more than he would ever see, mostly. He stopped in on a
young woman who was crying a quiet sob into her hands in the
presence of a slightly older man who was banging his head up
against the fine wood of the table.
Marcus, trying to be as subtle as
he could be, coughed into his hand as he set his box down. The
man, wearing a fine suit and an apparent lack of sleep on his
expression turned to see the drab figure of Marcus at the door.
Turning to the woman, the man said, "Ms. Roahan, I need to have
a word with my associate here. I'll be back in a moment." The
woman, Ms. Roahan, simply kept to her balling, despite the fact
that no one was listening. True sadness. Truly sad.
Marcus gave an apologetic look,
"You seem busy, sorry to burst in Jake-"
"Don't give me that. I am busy,
you know I'm busy. I haven't slept soundly in weeks, so just
tell me what you want." Jake said leaning up against the wall
of the hallway. Marcus looked down at his feet, trying not to
seem like the mooch that they both knew he was.
"Amy kicked me out," Marc
grumbled, "I was wondering if-"
"No, Marc. Just, don't." Jake
raised his hand, as if to signal stop. "I can't do this
anymore. We've been friends for years, but I cannot deal with
this anymore." Jake reached into his pockets and produced two
sets of keys. One was a nearly pristine house key, the other
a grimy and overused key to an old Ford. "Go back to my
place, grab the crap I've been holding for you, take a damn
shower, then get your car out of my garage," he said, tossing
the keys to Marcus, "Give me a call when you get a handle on
your life." With that, Jake turned and walked back into the
room with the crying woman. He said something in a desperate
attempt to comfort her, but Marc paid no attention. Marc
lifted his box in his arms and walked the stairs again. The
doors opened to him once again, and he reentered the dreary
Turning the key swiftly, Marc
pushed himself into the door of the apartment. The interior
could be more likened to a luxurious hotel more that a
Seattle apartment, which led Marc to wonder exactly how a man
as apparently uninspired as Jake Brenner could achieve this
level of success.Marc closed the door, and placed his
belongings on the leather sofa. The room was an odd mix of
darkness and mysterious beauty; the drawn curtains blocked
out the rain drops, but allowed the grey-blue light of the
sun to filter into the space. Strange shadows cast off the
furniture, making Marc feel a touch nervous. Marcus tossed
his coat casually onto the sofa, but as the fabric touched
leather, a strange noise resounded; paper, the crinkling of
an envelope. Marc stopped for a second, making sure the noise
was not just a figment of his imagination. Retrieving his
jacket, Marc reached into the inner pocket and, sure enough,
he produced a letter from the interior. The envelope was old
and had a musty smell to it, as though it had been ready to
send for years, but never got it's chance until now. The
letter was heavy and made an annoying crinkling noise every
time the contents shifted. To avoid further annoyance Marc
quickly looked at the return address.
"Phillip Dunlam…" Marc said out
loud. Uncle Phil? Great Uncle Phil? Marc thought deep for a
moment, trying to hone in on exactly what his distant
relative could be asking of him. The envelope peeled open
very easily. Reaching inside, Marcus' hand was now filled
with eight, one-hundred dollar bills, and an old hand written
note. His eyes open wide now, Marc set the letter's contents
on the counter and unfolded the note.
It is with my dying hand I
write to you, my nephew. I understand you never knew me all
too well, but understand I do this for your
Surely you remember the
old inn, the Ever-Pine? I have taken care of it for my entire
life, and it has guided me on my path even into the grave. I
have enclosed directions, and some money so you may make the
The Ever-Pine is a
cleansing experience and an inspiring locale, and I hope it
enriches your life as much as it has mine.
My assistant care-taker
will meet you at the location.
Marcus set the letter down on
the counter. Mulling over the text, a sense of relief
welled inside of him; a new beginning.