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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Bon Voyage (09/05/05)

TITLE: Andrew Caldwell's Journey
By Val Clark


Andy tidied his desk. The inbox was empty; the outbox full. He held his list; every item neatly crossed off, over the shredder and listened to its whining grind with new awareness. Without a backward glance he closed his office door. There remained only one thing to do and he would attend to that on the way home.

Home. the word caught in his throat.

Hobson’s Point. He pulled the BMW up in the car park and sat for many minutes savoring the sight of myriad yachts, homeward bound, silhouetted against the spectacular sunset.

Dear Matty,

He leaned his head on the steering wheel. The words, so carefully rehearsed in his head for days, refused to come. He had to write something. She had a right to know. His face heated with shame. A life, and half a world away, he’d wished bon voyage to his old self and invented Andrew Caldwell. Today he had run out of options. There was now nowhere to hide. Tomorrow his past would be front page news. He wrapped his final shreds of self control around himself and forced his fingers to tap out his last communication to his wife.

Love, Andy.

He shut down the computer and placed it gently onto the passenger seat.

‘You had no trouble doing it as a child. It’s the easy way out, I know, Andy, my old friend,’ he whispered. ‘One last journey, but this time you’re going in and you’re staying in.’

Andy stared out into the darkness.

Matty moved away from the hospital bed and watched as the doctor flashed a tiny bright light into Andy’s eyes. No response. But she’d expected that. She squeezed her fists into tight balls then forced herself to relax.

‘No change, Mrs Caldwell.’

Matty tried not to let the scorn in his voice sting.

‘He’s in some sort of self induced catatonic state. You should go home and rest.’

Home? Rest? That had to be the biggest joke yet. Their house was not a home without Andy. And how could anybody be expected to rest with the press pounding on the door and the phone constantly ringing?

When the medical staff finally left she sat on a chair beside the bed and gently took Andy’s hand in hers.

‘Oh, Andy. It didn’t have to be this way. We could have weathered this together. We said “for richer, for poorer, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health”, remember?’

His open eyes stared, unseeing.

Summoning all the optimism she could she pressed his cold hand to her cheek.

‘We could have got through it. Take my word for it, within a few days you’d have been old news.’

Echoes. I forgot how much things echo here. Here. Here. Here thoughts bounce around my head. Head. Head. Head further in, I’m still too close to the surface. Face. Face. Face the music Andy, you’ve been a bad boy. Boy. Boy. Boy! No. sir, please sir, I didn’t mean too. Too. Too Two wrongs don’t make a right. Right? Right! Right, I must get past this level get deeper to where there is nothing. Thing. Thing. Think of Matilda. Da. Da. Da. Dadda, no! No! Know, Matilda must never know. No. No news is good news. News. News flash - thirty years ago the man we know as Andrew Caldwell, entrepreneur and philanthropist, embezzled millions of dollars from a superannuation fund, abandoned his young family and. And Andrew Caldwell, thirty years ago. Ago. Ago Andrew Caldwell. Well. Well? Well, what have you got to say about it? It. It’s not supposed to be like this. This. This is supposed to be a place I can escape to. To. To oblivion. On. Bon voyage. Andy?’

‘Andy? Can you hear me Andy? I always knew you to be an honest man. Keeping all this secret – I’m surprised it didn’t destroy you earlier. I don’t know what desperation drew you to steal and desert your family. We’ll sell the house, cash in our stocks and shares, pay the money back. Then I think you should try to settle things with your family back in Ireland. Andy, I whatever happens, love you.’

You, you stupid boy! The echo has gone, at last. I must go deeper. Idiot. Failure. Miscreant. I duck and weave away from the pain. The memories. The reality of who I am. I am nothing. I am nobody. I have failed. I…

‘I AM WHO I AM, Andy.’

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This article has been read 1139 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Anita Neuman09/12/05
Fascinating story. I love the way you weaved the echoes into his thoughts. Brilliant.
Karen Ward09/14/05
Ooooh, I want to know what's going to happen next! Can people really do that to themselves? Interesting and unusual!
God Bless, Karen
Jan Ackerson 09/14/05
I was a little bit puzzled in the beginning, and by the sudden shift from Andy to Matty. But the paragraph that takes place in Andy's dead is a masterpiece of writing.
Debra Brand09/14/05
Amazing. Dark stuff!
Jan Ackerson 09/14/05
Rats, I meant Andys' head.
Linda Watson Owen09/14/05
O-o-oo...I can still hear and feel the reverberations! Great effect!
Debbie Sickler09/14/05
I agree with Jan, and maybe just an extra line of space to seperate the two sections would be all you'd need to make the transition a little more obvious.

I loved the echos blending from one thought to the next. I could never have done that so well, so I hesitate to even mention this, but...All the echo sentences were fairly short except the one revealing his crime. The length made it not flow as well and felt more forced. It is a very important line, so maybe break it into two echos or possibly make a few of the others longer to blend it? But like I already said, way better than most of us could ever hope to pull it off! Great job!
Suzanne R09/17/05
I really like the self-talk section inside Andy's head. Well done! I want to re-read it and soak it all in. An interesting take on 'Bon Voyage'. Good job!
Shari Armstrong 09/17/05
A little confusing at first, but the confusion makes sense later. A very intersting take on the topic!
Crista Darr09/17/05
I truly enjoyed the suspenseful beginning. I wonder if Andy is talking to his former self or is God speaking to him?? If it is God, why does he call him by his alias?? Still, intriguing and well written.
J. C. Lamont09/17/05
Very out of the box. Excelelnt.
B Brenton09/18/05
Yeg, you've done Bon Voyage good. Very well done. Brilliant, advanced work. I ought to read more of your stuff. :) Thanks for the read.
Maxx .09/18/05
Yes, this officially counts as out of the box. Very nice work. Held my attention all the way through. :-)
janet rubin09/18/05
Wow, it must have been some experience writing this. Great stuff!