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Question by Blissfully oblivious: Just a little story called Soul Protector?
So, here are those long-awaited edits. Haha, the age thing is still an issue (you’ll notice how I changed fourteen to twelve, but it still kind of bothers me…), but other than that, I like it. What do you think? Better? Worse? No comment?

Soul Protector

by Ashlyn Valentino

Charlie grabbed the picture from his nightstand and bolted out of the front door, almost tripping over Alfie. Alfie was grandma’s 105-year-old yellow lab— that’s in dog years, of course. They shared the same birthday together, only one year apart. Charlie was only twelve, but somehow, since the passing of his parents and grandfather, he felt older, wiser. Alfie acknowledged the disturbance of his nap with a lazy, single bark and then settled his head back down on his arthritic paws to dream the rest of the summer day away.

Across the street, Ashley was playing in her tree house, pretending to fish off one of the large supporting branches that cradled the house in the tree itself. Charlie skipped into the backyard and waved up at Ashley.

“Hey, whatcha doin’?” his hands behind his back, sporting a silly grin from ear to ear.

“Trying to fish,” she replied, her wide eyes growing narrow; she was glaring now. “But SOMEbody is swimming where I’m trying to fish and scaring ‘em all away!”

Charlie laughed, “maybe you need better bait?”

“Just get up here before the sharks get you!”

Charlie scrambled up the board ladder, nailed to the side of the tree, and climbed through the bottom hatch of the little tree house. Crawling along the branch to the wooden platform where Ashley sat, Charlie gingerly positioned himself next to his cute, little brown hair, brown-eyed neighbor. For as long as he could remember, Charlie had a crush on her, but he wouldn’t tell a soul.

Ashley’s mom poked her head out of the second floor house window, “you two better be careful up there! Oh,” she paused to take a mental picture of the scene. “Let me get the camera; you two look so adorable!”

Charlie and Ashley looked at each other and made a sour face. They both felt self-conscious when forewarned about a picture being taken. Mom came out with an old Polaroid camera and pointed it up towards them on the tree branch.

“Say cheeseburger!” Ashley’s mom beamed from behind the camera.

They beamed back at her, arm in arm, celebrating a simple— but memorable summer day of their youth. As the flash lit up the shadows of the giant oak tree, Charlie could feel Ashley start to tremble and shake. This wasn’t good. She sometimes, rarely had a tendency to go into epileptic seizures. They were so rare, though, and usually happened while she was watching t.v. or looking at the computer screen.

Before Charlie could grasp the seriousness of the situation, Ashley shook free of his arm and slid off the edge, plummeting towards the green grass 15 feet below. Her mother screamed and ran to where she landed on the ground. Despite being lost in a state of shock, Charlie jumped down from the latter and found himself by Ashley’s side.

“No, no, no!” Ashley’s mom cried, as she gently lifted her head, finding a tree root underneath along with some blood. Instantly, shock turned to urgency.

“Call 911! Now, Charlie, call them!”

As he quickly, nervously dove his hand in his pocket retrieving his cell phone, he called for help. Despite the lack of clarity in Charlie’s trembling words, the operator took note of the situation and assured Charlie that help was on the way.

“They’ll be here soon, Mrs. Valentino,” he said, almost on the verge of tears, looking down at Ashley’s now still body. The convulsions stopped once she lost consciousness.

Charlie reached into his other pocket instinctively, as his mind became numb with sadness, and found a photo. He pulled the photo out and looked down at his grandfather’s peaceful, angelic smile. The photo pictured his grandfather and himself when he was maybe seven-years-old, pausing for a break on their hike along a wooded path of the Appalachian Trail. This was his most cherished and favorite picture of them together. It was the doorway; the walkway into another plane. He knew what he had to do and he had to do it quickly.

Charlie kneeled down and held Ashley’s hand. The air became light, as his surroundings began to blur. He allowed the darkness and butterflies envelop the both of them, all the while repeating in his head, “Come on, come on, you’re going to be okay.” He held her hand as firmly as possible without trying to hurt her. His love for her was pure and innocent. Charlie wouldn’t allow anything to happen to her, not his Ashley.

After the whirlwind of wings and bright lights subsided, Charlie came back to consciousness. He found himself lying on the ground next to the trail. His eyes fluttered open, discovering his grandfather’s gentle, wise eyes looking back at him.

“Where is she? Is she here?” Charlie asked, starting to look around.

“She’s fine, she’s right here, Charlie. You did g
Well, G, your efforts (and frustrations… haha) surely paid off. I mean, I really enjoyed the story. I liked the picture it painted for me and I liked the entertainment value. It irritates me that the end was cut off, and I forgot to save a copy of my edits on my computer (not sure where my mind has been these past few days… nope, can’t use that excuse for “ladder,” though, because I thought it was always called “latter.” Hm, I feel pretty stupid right now. Haha, oh well, at least I’ve only been going fourteen years thinking it was a “latter.”), but at least it was only a small portion. Still, I really need to start checking these things and saving my edits.

Anyway, I noticed that you just asked another question, which I’m assuming has the newest edits. I’ll take a look at that. 🙂

Best answer:

Answer by G Love
It cut off again for ya Bliss 🙂
Heeey, we took turns, even steven, you started the first story, I started this story. BUT! …. you’re next 😉 You have NO idea how hard it was to write this one. I HATE starting a story from scratch. I have no idea what will happen, I literally have to see it in my head first, and then to make it realistic or interesting and keep it short, I went NUTS! I sat at my computer during lunch at work no less, and sat there with my head in my hands and tried to close my eyes and it took well past lunch to envision something. It was hard! So honestly I think you have a gift in coming up with ideas, I am much more comfortable going with or embellishing upon something roughly written 🙂 But I will definitely take turns with you because it’s good practice, as hard as it might be. I think it’s because I get so tired of it after the first round that I have a hard time finding the energy for any accuracy or detail (hence me trying to do it all in my head FIRST before I even start writing)

I DEFINITELY like your touch! I definitely enjoyed the parts you cleaned up! Just ONE thing I noticed…. your spelling of “latter”, aka “ladder”, but that’s just something small. I’m curious to see if you did anything to the end? ANy fixes or cleanups?

I think you’re right about the ages…. maybe I can change them to 17? Take out the skipping? Make Ashley fishing with a real fishing rod, but trying to hook snacks that mom left under the tree? Something more grown up? They can still be innocent.

UPDATE:
I had posted the latest version but then I felt like cleaning it more 🙂 I kept the age at 14 but I made her fishing with a real pole. Here are some exerpts:

“Across the street, Ashley was playing in her tree house, using her dad’s fishing pole to hook small bags of Pepperidge Farm Goldfish her mom left for her under the shade of the huge tree. She perched herself on a small wooden platform that was constructed on one of the large branches supporting the tree house. Charlie strolled into the backyard and waved up at Ashley covering his eyes from the sun while adjusting his sight to see Ashley under the shade of the tree.”

“For as long as he could remember, Charlie had a crush on her, but only his grandparents knew. He was too afraid to risk changing their perfect friendship. ”

“The photo pictured his grandfather and himself when he was maybe ten-years-old, pausing for a break on their hike along a wooded path of the Appalachian Trail. This was his most cherished and favorite picture of them together. It was the doorway. On the other side, Charley – and Ashley, would be protected. He knew what he had to do and he had to do it quickly. ”

I didn’t feel like we should explain it too much, to another plane, I want to keep it mysterious and let people use their imagination. It’s a doorway, they’ll be safe, that’s all they need to know. The end sort of gives a better picture of the storyline.

What do you think? Answer below!

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