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David Nearly 13


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Thought I'd post part 1 of the story and see what you think of it.

David Nearly Thirteen

Part 1

He threw back his cowl and looked at the face that stared back at him - the empty sockets for eyes, the hole for a nose and the hideous grin for a mouth that made even him turn his head in revulsion.

Lifting his bony hand he passed it over the mirror and the face changed. He looked again at the reflection and the transformed image that stared back at him. It was to his liking. The face he looked at was of a young black haired man with vivid green eyes. His lips, which were full, were of the lightest pink; his complexion was so fair that it emphasised his striking features. He sighed with pleasure at his appearance and stripped away his black cloak and threw it to the ground, then stared at the rest of his body and was pleased at the result.

He donned his 21st century apparel and Death, for it was he, transported himself to his favourite site on the planet, far away from the mortals that he had moved amongst for the last one hundred years, where he could relax and let what had passed before be but a faint memory for this one day of rest.

He could have selected any one of an infinite number of planets to spend his day of rest, but he had worked on this particular planet since its formation, and to him it was one of the best that the boss had created; he?d really gone out on a limb when creating it. So why not spend your day off at home?

The site had changed over the century. Now where he lay he could gaze up into an azure sky with nothing to cloud his view. The last time he lay here there was no sky to be seen, only the green canopy provided by the trees that had surrounded him; now the only trees in sight were a bit further up stream.

He wished for nothing more than to be on his own on this one day of respite from his involvement with the human race.

He saw enough of them on his daily excursions, from the very young a few seconds old, to those wrinkled and toothless patiently waiting for him to appear, the obese and malnourished, the rich and the poor. He was not prejudiced in his choice of victims he embraced them all into his arms as he sucked the life force from their bodies leaving an empty carcase for the bereaved to deal with.

As he lay on the banks of the river he closed his eyes and let the warmth of the sun play over his being and indulged himself in a bit of thought-free relaxation.

His mind floated in a void completely at rest. He would stay like this till it was time for him to return to his calling.

He was jolted from his solitary tranquillity by a sudden scream. He opened his eyes, lifted his head and looked in the direction of the sound.

He could see a person splashing in the water. Looking closer it seemed to be a young boy struggling to stay afloat. The boy went under and he didn?t move to assist him, instead he looked around expecting to see his stand-in for the day appear but no apparition was forthcoming.

?Seems that the boy is not wanted yet,? he thought, ?I wonder where his rescuer is,? suddenly he heard a laugh from above and he groaned.

?Damn! The boss has a wicked sense of humour,? he mumbled. He thought about walking over to the boy and pulling him out of the water but decided against it, he didn?t want to have to answer awkward questions if any other humans in the vicinity saw him. Instead he divested himself of his outer garments and dived into the river. A few powerful strokes assisted by his mind brought him alongside the boy. He wrapped an arm around the struggling mortal and within seconds had them both lying on the river bank. He turned the boy onto his stomach then placing a hand on his back pumped the water from his lungs. The boy spluttered as the water was expelled and shortly he groggily sat up.

?Thanks mister! I thought I was going to die back there.?

He looked at the mortal that he?d pulled from the river and inwardly smiled thinking of the irony of it. Death saving a human?s life that one day he would have to claim. His thoughts were invaded by the boy asking.

?Would you like to come back to my campsite where we could both get dry??

?No you go ahead. I?m okay. I?ll soon dry off in the sun.?

?Oh come on mister.? the boy stood then grabbed his hand trying to pull him to a standing position.

Reluctantly he gave way to the boy?s demands and got to his feet. ?So where is this campsite of yours and how many of you are there??

?Only me! I?m camped at the bottom of our garden?

?So what?s your name and how old are you??

David, David Jennings, and I?m nearly thirteen, well in about seven months.?

?Alright David, nearly thirteen, how did you manage to get in the water.?

?You see those trees at the edge of the bank,? the boy said pointing, ?And how the branches reach right over the river, well I was trying to get up to a higher branch and I slipped and fell in.?

?If you?re going to play near a river wouldn?t it be advisable to learn how to swim.?

?Yeah I guess so, but my dad and mum don?t seem to have the time to send me for swimming lessons.?

?So don?t you have swimming lessons at school??

?I don?t go to school,? the boy said squeezing some of the water from his T-shirt, ?I?m privately tutored.?

?Ah I see, so where?s your teacher??

It's summer holidays now; he won?t be back till September. Come on! Lets go to my camp? Then we can dry off.?

?Okay David nearly thirteen - lead on,? he said, as he stooped to retrieve his clothing and, bare footed and in his underwear, he followed the boy along the river bank.

?What?s your name?? The boy asked over his shoulder.


?I don?t know,? and the boy thought for a while, ?umm Michael.?

?Death smiled at the name wondering if a certain winged being was listening in on the conversation. Then he asked, ?What made you choose Michael??

?Just ... You sorta look like a Michael.?

?You really surprise me. Are you able to read minds? Because you guessed right!?

?Really?? The boy asked, turning around to face the man and walking backwards, ?It was only a guess.?

Inwardly death smiled before saying, ?Well that?s my name. Are you sure you can?t read minds??

?No, honest I can?t; it was just a fluke. I had no idea what your name was.? the boy said, with a look of consternation on his face. Then turning around again and continuing his walk saying, ?Come on, Michael! We?re nearly there.?

The man let the boy assume his name was Michael; he didn?t suppose it would go down too well if he were to tell him by what name the human race knew him.

As they neared the trees that the boy had fallen from they came upon an enclosure that stopped short about twenty feet away from the river bank and was surrounded by a wire fence. The boy halted and turning to the man said, ?The fence is electrified but we only switch it on at night in case of burglars. It won?t kill you but it will give you a nasty shock.?

The man smiled at the remark. They skirted the fence; then came upon a gate which was open. With the boy leading the way they walked through and when they had entered he closed it and locked it with a key which hung around his neck.

Michael looked around and saw a tent - rather large for just one small boy. It was situated roughly in the middle of enclosure that was approximately fifty metres wide and ran all the way towards what looked like quite an impressive house. It was about 100 metres away. ?Are your parents at home??

?No they?re away in Athens, on some world conservation meeting.?

?So who?s looking after you??

?Rupert, the butler. What time is it, Michael??


?How do you know? You don?t have a watch on.?

?Trust me. I know! It's 12.39pm now.?

?Well, if you?re right, Rupert will be having his afternoon nap. If he were awake I?d take you to meet him. He?s really very nice but quite old.?

?Don?t worry, David. I?ll meet him later.?

?Okay! Come on into the tent and I?ll get you a towel.?

?Its okay I?m dry now.?

The boy came forward and felt the man?s underwear which was bone dry. ?Gosh how did that happen? My clothes are still soaking.?

?Body heat! I told you - I dry up quickly.?

?Well, alright; come into the tent anyway, while I dry and change my clothes.?

They went into the tent where the boy, without any inhibitions, stripped and dried himself. When he?d finished he put on a clean pair of jockey briefs then pulled on a tracksuit bottom and yellow T-shirt.

While the boy changed, the man dressed himself and sat down on the foot of an air mattress.

David came over to him handing him a comb, and sitting on the ground between the man?s legs with his back to him said, ?Could you do my hair please Michael??

?I don?t really know what style you have it in.? - he was looking at the boy?s tangle of blonde hair that had been rubbed to a reasonable dryness.

?Just comb it straight back. I like it when someone combs my hair; it?s a really neat feeling.?

He held the boy?s head with one hand and started to run the comb gently through his hair from front to back. The simple action caused a tingle to run through his being. Never in his existence had he been so close and intimate with a human. The sensation was new to him. He savoured it and let it envelope him as he continued combing the boy?s hair and stroking his head. David was silent and his head moved with each stroke of the comb as if he had no control over it.

Michael sensed the boy was sleeping; he stopped combing his hair and gently lay back on the air mattress pulling the boy up beside him and at the same time letting David?s head rest on his chest.

He lay content for a while and let his mind drift, casting all thoughts from it so that he could rest, and soon joined the boy in sleep.

He woke up knowing that David was watching him. He opened his eyes and was aware that a few hours had passed and that the sun would soon set.

?Did you sleep well?? The boy enquired.

?Yes thank you, David.?

He frowned and knitted his eyebrows, ?Are you an Alien??

?What makes you think that I?m an Alien??

?When I woke up my head was on your chest. It felt really nice lying there but then I noticed I couldn?t feel or hear your heartbeat. I could feel mine but even when I felt you all over I couldn?t feel yours?

?Would you be scared if I was an Alien??

?Nope! If you were going to harm me you wouldn?t have bothered to save me in the river or let me sleep using your chest as a pillow.?

?Good point.?

?So you are an Alien then??

?Well sort of, but just let?s say I am. That will save me having to do a lot of explaining.?

?So where?s your spaceship?

?Umm I don?t need one.?

? Woa way out! You?re like a super hero with special powers.?

?Yes I have special powers, but I?m not sure about being on a par with super heroes.

?Can you move really fast??


?How fast?

?Do you know the size of your planet??

?Uh huh.?

?Well I can be in ten thousand different places anywhere on the planet at the same time.?

?Woa, Superman or Silver Surfer can?t move that fast.?

?Who are they??

?They?re just pretend super heroes.?

?So what do they do??

?They go around the world putting all the bad things right.?

So who?s your favourite??

?Silver Surfer; he?s way cool.?

?What does he look like??

?Umm sort of ...?

?Never mind! I got the picture from your mind.?

?You did! Way out! But you look a lot younger than them.?

?How old do I look??

?Dunno; about nineteen, or twenty.?

?I?m a bit older than that, but if it's looks that count and I look about twenty then we?ll leave it at that.?

?Can you show me how fast you move??

?No, but when I leave you can watch me go?.

?When are you leaving??

?Just before midnight.?

?Oh man! Can?t you stay for a few days and keep me company. I?ve only got Rupert here. He?s nice but he?s too old to play with me.?

?Sorry David I have to be back by midnight. If I don?t leave on time my superior would yank me back pretty quick and then I?d be in big trouble.?

?Can?t you talk to him Michael, and ask him to let you stay for a week. We could do all sorts of things and I?ve also got a canoe which you could teach me how to paddle. My dad hasn?t had time to show me yet. And you could sleep on the air mattress with me; it?s wide enough for two or if not I could get you a sleeping bag.?

Just then their conversation was interrupted by a voice calling the boy?s name.

?That?s Rupert, I have to go in for my evening meal but I?ll be back unless you want to join me.?

?No thank you David, I don?t need to eat anything.?

?I thought so. Okay I?m going and while I?m away you have a word with your boss and see if he?ll let you stay for a week. Tell him I asked.?

David left the tent and Michael sat wondering how he was going to tell him that his request had been denied.

?You haven?t asked,? a voice said inside his head, ?And there?s no need to. You?ve got a week! Make sure you?re back here on time and bring the boy with you; you need an assistant since the human race has multiplied so rapidly in the last hundred years. And think about a new working image when you get back. The boy won?t like your present one and, personally, I think it?s become a bit dated.?

He transformed himself into David?s image of the Silver Surfer, ?How?s this boss??

? Well its better than that bloody skeleton look. What about the boy??

?He can be a replica of me but in Gold.?

?Okay, you?ve got a week.?

?Yes boss.? And he transformed himself back to Michael.

Grinning he lay back relishing the thought that he was to spend a week here! Just him and the boy, doing all the things the boy wanted to and he would be able to indulge himself in the boy?s presence, and get those wonderful sensations again.

Then, after the week, they would have an eternity together.

Twenty minutes later he stood outside the tent watching David walk down the garden towards him. When David-nearly-thirteen stood beside him. He smiled at him saying, ?I?ve a got a week.?

?Yeah? the boy yelled jumping into Michael?s arms.


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It's not my normal 'cuppa tea', if you know what I mean, but I did find the premise intriguing. I kept thinking I'd stop reading, but something kept drawing me back. It does need some grammar and punctuation work, but nothing enough to make me want to quit enjoying the story. I do find the age difference acceptance and the trust by David a bit hard to understand but I've never had my life saved that way either, so who knows how I'd have felt in like circumstances.

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It is an interesting premise, but I don't find either the age or the trust by the boy unusual. Boys on the threshold of puberty have a variable range of reactions to people and places, often dependant on the influences of their developing hormones in conjunction with their environment and experiences.

I think it is this wide variation that makes it so difficult to write or read a story around a boy of that age, particularly if our memories of that period in our own lives, are different . Discussions on the Net have led me to realise how different and individual our experiences are, at that time of life, even though we might tend to feel they are common.

Historically, anthropologically, the twelve year old has not always been considered or treated as a "child". Indeed, our cultures for the last 150 years may have assumed too much "childhood innocence" in the young human at the point of their puberty. What we must carefully consider is that the individual must have the freedom to develop in puberty without undue adult influence. Sadly, undue adult interference as well as cultural conditioning are all too prominent and far too invasive in fanatical circles, which are often nearer than you think. Such influences may well stall maturity rather than assist it.

It is these undue influences, these invasions into the minds and attitudes of the developing personality of the young, that often make us uncomfortable, especially where they happen to be outside our own experiences.

In the case of this story, it matters whether the boy's trust is something that is taken advantage of, or whether the trust is respected and built upon for the boy's development and benefit. On the other hand, bilal may be telling a story on a concept of fun purely for amusement and entertainment, and I have no problem with that.

The premise of Death taking a holiday has often been explored in literature and film, with all of these possibilities, but mostly within the confines of heterosexual relationships. It was a common theme in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

I don't wish to influence the author's direction here as much as I would to see what he has in mind, by encouraging him to continue writing. On the whole I find the writing quite well done. The dialog flows naturally and the descriptions set the scene nicely. The "Boss" is nicely non-denominational.

Keep going bilal, you have us interested. :hehe:

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I remember this :hehe:

This was a submission to a contest on JeffsFort. Short stories were to deal with the subject "Death's day off".

I read the second chapter. Did you do more and where can we find them?

You can read the whole story Paul at IOMFATS.


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This is one of those instances that drive me crazy. I went to IOMFATS and couldn't find the story. I couldn't even find the author. Please, please, please, when you say something like that, provide a link. :hehe:

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I like this one, and hearing that it was part of a contest entitled "Death's Day Off" has me clapping

my hands for Caleb with the thought, "you got this from that?" Priceless!!

I just came over from the grammar section, and i'm and I have no idea whether the questionmark

goes inside or outside the quotations, haha. I ain't a writer, but I like to talk. :hehe:

I do believe I've been following this story on Nifty. Did I say I like this one? David portrays the balancing act of being on the end of childhood and the beginning of adolescence with all the fearless innocence of the former and the genuine ignorance of the latter.


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David portrays the balancing act of being on the end of childhood and the beginning of adolescence with all the fearless innocence of the former and the genuine ignorance of the latter.


You got that in One Tracy.



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To my great chagrin, neither do most of the writers on the 'net. To those who need the help, I could suggest to them where to put it, but as children might be readng this, I will refrain. :wub:


What an interesting idea. Thanks Cole, I'll get right on to giving that a try. Now where did I put my question marks? Aha, there is one now.

Here, little question mark, come here... :hehe:

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To my great chagrin, neither do most of the writers on the 'net. To those who need the help, I could suggest to them where to put it, but as children might be readng this, I will refrain. :lol:


Ah...if it were up to me, I'd put it...inside. :shock: The quotes, THE QUOTES, that is.

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Bill looked enquiringly at Tom, "What was it again, that Spencer asked you? "How far are you willing to go for love?"?"

Talk about ugly decisions. You know what they say, "Too many hooks spoils the dross". Damn, should that have been "...dross."?

Trab runs screaming from his own dross, or is it from Des' hooks, by crook. :shock::lol::icon_twisted:

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Nothing pleases me more, Caleb, than getting what I s'posed to got. :shock:

Seriously, I'd say you did your job and I did mine. :lol:

And the rest of you, i'm not supposed to laughing this hard at work,

they'll think they're paying me too much...

"...here little question mark?" hehe, but you're telling me it goes inside, right?

That question within a question is just enough to throw me off. Ask Cole, he

does it with his hands tied behind his back.

Now, there's a picture, eh?


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To think that they could confuse

the grammer that he wrote,

and question him of that right

to say what he wanted or might.

He delighted in his prose,

as he spent the hours to compose,

the words he delighted in his whim,

the words he had within only him.

It is dumb to think of what is right,

for he knows what is not right.

He has not the strength to fight

but he knows just what is right.

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Roses are red

Violets are blue

Except in BC

Where they are yellow.

Er, umm,

Where that ain't true...

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The Bull Pen

A place where writers can show examples of their work and receive advice.



Unfortunately, threads have a nasty tendency to get sidetracked here at AD :lol:

Des and Trabs both commented on your story at the start of the thread, but I think in general there isn't a lot to say. The original purpose of The Bull Pen was to encourage new writers, to give them a place where they can post something and get constructive criticism that will allow them to develop their writing further. More established writers, such as yourself, are free to post, too, but the main focus is for new writers :shock:

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I apologize, however. My mind gets caught up in whimsical thoughts evoked by what I read here, and while I shouldn't give them expression, I sometimes do.

Sorry if I prevented more discussion of your story, Bilal.


No need to apologize Cole. You're not responsible for what readers respond to. If they don't respond to the story then it's the fault of the story, not what you post.


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If they don't respond to the story then it's the fault of the story, not what you post.


Not so. It is the fault of the persons not responding, and no-one else. Okay, maybe their internet provider if the service was down.

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