wrote this. domarzione said it didn't suck. Hence, ya'll get to read it. I suspect it will be part of a longer piece and will get retooled a bit, but in case it does not, look, it counts as a whole story! Right?

Random Sand scene
By Smitty


The electric in the brownstone had been shut off months ago. Sand Hawkins flipped the switch anyway, just to make sure. The lights stayed off.

The winter chill lingered even though the temperature outside had grown warm enough for Sand to doff the light jacket he'd zipped over his button-down and khakis that morning. A thin layer of dust coated the small Chippendale console table that sat against the wall under the stairs. Next to it, he could see the faint outline of the door to the little cupboard under the stairs. It opened with a creak and Sand was sad to see it was empty.

When he'd first come to live with Wesley and Dian, he'd done his very best to be a good boy and help out and not be a burden. But sometimes, the brave fašade faltered and the child who missed his mother came out in such force that he was forced to retreat to the cupboard, hiding among Wesley's coats and boots, to sob out his loneliness. Years later, overcome by teenage hormones and insecurities, he'd sit on the hard wooden floor, breathing in old leather and wool, and wait for the crushing pain in his heart to subside. And not long ago, really, confused by the world and frustrated by the modern culture and current social atmosphere running full-speed just outside the brownstone walls, he'd sat in that cupboard, breathing slowly to stave off the panic as he wondered if maybe he wouldn't have been better off staying in his gas-filled cubicle. That time, however, Wesley had opened the door and given him a lecture, delivered the classic Wesley way--gentle yet firm, on how he couldn't hide from the world forever and that trying to do so was the mark of a lesser man. So Sand had emerged, blinking shamefully in the harsh hallway light. And he hadn't hidden in that closet since. He'd found other ways to hide, though, moving into a secluded house upstate and traveling to the Orient. Wesley had thought the trip was a good idea. He'd loved his years in the Far East and encouraged Sand to spend his days and nights exploring, meditating, and finding his true self. Sand had gone, had backpacked around the countryside, skirting villages and purposely losing himself in the rush of the cities. He kept his human contact light and casual and he slept alone.

He'd returned in time for Dian to sit him gently on the settee in her office and tell him about the batteries of medical tests. In time for Wesley to thrust legal documents at him, documents that transferred ownership of the brownstone to him, that named Sand the executor of the estate and sole heir, that detailed how Wesley wanted his remains disposed of. Wesley would take care of Dian. Sand hadn't been able to do much but stand in Wesley's office, watching the older man plot and plan for his last adventure. When that had grown to be too much, he'd gone to Dian's office, watching her pack up notes and books and letters as she chatted away to him. And finally, that last morning, he could only kiss them goodbye and hug them tightly for the last time before they took off for the great unknown.

He'd returned to his own house, losing himself in the disaster movies of the 1970s and daily routine until Wesley called to tell him about Dian. He'd nodded and expressed his sympathy for Wesley's loss of his life partner and offered to come right away, but Wesley had refused. He would take care of Dian. She would want Sand to remember her the way she was the day she left. Not as ashes and dust. Sand had found his voice to agree, then exchanged more warm words with Wesley, and hung up the phone. He'd stared at the frozen television screen for so long, the VCR had stopped. The entire event was oddly anti-climactic.

But last night, when he'd dreamed, then he knew. The King of Dreams had come to him and that meant only one thing.

Wesley was dead.

Sand was alone in the world.

It wasn't particularly that frightening a prospect, at least not as much as it should be. The papers Wesley had left in the lockbox assured him comfortable life, even extravagant if he wished. He had been on his own for most of the last three years and survived, even thrived, under his own care. He ate well, even if anything he tried to cook past breakfast suffered from a slightly smoky taste. He kept up his physical training although he was never quite sure just what he was training for. He filled his days catching up on all the movies he missed while he was locked away, reading the endless supply of books Dian passed on to him, and surfing the internet in an attempt to understand current trends and interests from a distance. The lessons Wesley had taught him in his youth hadn't failed him. He handled his finances--and then Wesley and Dian's--with the skill and precision of an accountant. He kept his space clean and tidy. He let his natural curiosity roam through books on recent scientific breakthroughs and true crime and psychology. He'd handled himself in public with reserve and dignity.

And yet, now, standing in the darkened hallway, staring at a blank door and with a press conference looming in a few hours, he was starting to feel the ache of the realization that Wesley and Dian were gone forever. He closed his eyes and slid down the wall until he was sitting on the floor. Then, Sand folded his arms across his knees, rested his forehead on his wrists, and mourned for his loss.

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