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Part 1

Another Beginning... September 15, 1995

I found this book on the way home today. There was one page that had been written on. It simply stated that: whoever found it could keep it and write their adventures in it. I don't do adventures though... so what would i write in here.

I just don't know what to do anymore. I've lost so many things it'd drive most people mad... so may things have gone wrong. My family's torn apart by their constant bickering, I've lost my job because of how i acted, and my friends don't see me as i really am.

I can't trust anyone... maybe i should just jot down what my feelings are, my thoughts, my secrets...

I dunno, what should I do?


March 2006. The Car was idling in front of my house. Three of my friends were in the car waiting for me and The CD. Sure it was a burned copy but we didn't care. We were proud to be fans of such a good work of art.


I was running thru my house grabbing what I could for our trip. Snacks, batteries, more cds, my trusty backpack, my cell, and finally my wallet. They honked a few times before I could get out of the house. When I did, he popped the trunk and in went the backpack and snacks. The CD, cds, wallet, cell, and batteries rode shotgun with me.

Just as we did our final checklist, I had a track in mind to start the first few minutes of our trip. Miss Murder from A Fire Inside. As soon as The Car crept forward the first few notes blasted forth from all working speakers. Of course we all had our parts. Our driver had the vocals, I had that first bass, passenger-side had drums and driver-side had the guitar. We left that house with our favorite song. All of us, just singing and our groovin' moves. That was what started our trip. Our destination: anywhere but here.


Part 2

March 25, 2006 - Roslyn, Washington

Our first stop was at the nearest gas station. We all pitched in some money to get some gas in The Car. Yeah, our car had no real name 'cept for "The Car". It's a 1970 Dodge Challenger Stardust Yellow Convertible. It had all it needed to be kick-ass. Our favorite advancement was a cassette-to-CD converter, so we could listen to whatever we wanted. Anyway...

Our "vocalist" Todd Crevan Than, who currently is using the pump. He's 24, loves the songs that you have to find on a cd and less heard on the radio. He owns The Car. And can carry a conversation till the cows come home.

Our "guitarist" Ayla Nina Jaci, who jumped out to use the can, is 23. She loves The Andersons, yet no one knows why, and likes to swear when it's is called for. She also like to run and tackle the opposition when she feels like playing. She's really just a big kid, don't let her age fool you.

Our "drummer" Misha Mara Tien, who went to get us some sodas, is 28. She rocks, and she rolls with whatever cd you give her. But be warned: if she don't like it, it will be destroyed. Also, she's also an ex-marine. So, yeah, she can kick your ass.

And I am Sullivan Rae Talbot. I'm 26, I love AFI, doing random things, and own my very own home thanks to some grants I've received. I'm the navigator of this expedition. Anyway... Whe're currently located at a gas station in Roslyn, Washington. We never knew that it's be our last time here.


"So where're we heading next, Gilbert?"

"I dunno, let's find out." I pulled out a map of Washington and stepped out of the car.

"What do you mean 'let's find out?' I thought you had this all planned out."

I placed the map on the ground and got a pebble. "Since when do I plan an adventure?" I tossed it at the map. "We're going to Richland." I picked up the map and headed back to the car.

"That's not too far, but I thought you had this roadtrip planned."


"Next time we're going on a random roadtrip, count me out. God this is lame."

"That's not our only destination."

"It's not?"

"Nope. We are going to farther than we have ever been."

"State line?"

"No. Way farther."

"We can't do that. You know how long that would take? That's just crazy. You and Misha could go. She could drive. And I don't think Ayla's going to like this."

"Yeah, Misha and I want to go. We've already asked Ayla and she wants to see the rest of the states. We all figured that you'd want to come, 'cause... well..."

Todd looked down at the pump handle. "'Cause I have nothing better to do..."

I sat down and put the map away. "Yeah..."

"What about money? Sure you and Misha are loaded but me and Ayla aren't."

I grabbed the keys and went to the trunk. "Not a problem." I opened the trunk and opened up my backpack. "It's twenty-five thousand dollars."

Like a deer in headlights he froze. "Dude... it looks like you knocked off a bank."

Misha walked out of the gas station with the sodas and saw the commotion. "We better not have a dead body back there or a stowaway."

"Hey, Leatherneck. Gilbert came loaded."

Misha tossed Todd and I out sodas. "Yeah, it was hell trying to count it all." She got in thd car and looked for another CD.

I zipped up the backpack and closed the trunk. Todd was finished with the pump when I sat down in the passenger seat. Soon he was in the driver's seat. The three of us sat and listened to the tracks of her cd. After a while finished our sodas. Ayla's included. Then some more time went by and Ayla finally came back from the can.

"Damn, woman. Took you long enough. Was there a fire that we missed you put out?"

"Oh, piss off Todd."

With that we were back on the road. To Richland. Nothing could stop us now.

"Hey. Where's my soda?"


September 27, 1995

It's my first day back in Roslyn. Last time I was here... well... that's a story best not told, heh...

It was weird seeing my old friends again. They've changed so much. The entire town has changed since I've left. One of the last things I found out today was that... my friend's house burned down. They say that she's still in the hospital. She's been in a coma for the past 5 months. Tomorrow I'm going to go see her. She was the only person that kept me going.

Funny thing is... I came back for her. Maybe running away wasn't a good idea...


Part 3

September 28, 1995

I got to see her today. Well, almost. As soon as her parents saw me the damn near ripped me apart. When I walked passed her door I saw my old man's pocket watch. It became apparent that she went back in to grab what was left of me five months back.

I wish she was awake. I would like to hear her voice again.

September 30, 1995

I went back home today and nobody was there. I was told later that they had left about a month after I had ran away. I picked up some things and headed to my friends house to spend the night. I don't think Jay's parents like me coming over on such short notice.

October 3, 1995

Jay's dad told me that I have to leave or get a job and pay rent. So, tomorrow I will start looking. Maybe I could get a job over at Mr. Tien's restaurant. I heard that their daughter had left for the army or something. They might accept my help there.

October 7, 1995

It's my second day at work. Mr. Tien hired me as a dishwasher. He'd said that he's going to give me minimum wage and if I stay for five months he'll think about giving me more to do since they aren't in real need of assistance. At the moment.

I checked up on Ayla today. Her parents weren't there to kick me out. She looked so peaceful. My pocket watch was sitting on the farthest table in the room. It was a little dirty from the fire. I cleaned it and set it on her heart monitor. There had been talk that she was talking in her sleep, but no one knew what she would say. As I left she mumbled a bit but she seemed to be worried. I felt her hair and walked out just as her parents came to check on her.

I hope she wakes up soon.


March 30, 2006 - Asotin, Washington

When we hit Richland we got a bit to eat then headed to Asotin. There we got a couple of maps of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. We spent the night and found that our next destination would be somewhere in Idaho. It was also one of the last places that I heard that my friend was last seen.


Todd and I had a room while the girls had theirs. Todd had been watching the news so he could find the weather for the next day. I stepped out and got some sodas from the vending machine. We were going to go to Idaho. Reason was that I wanted to find my old friend. I wanted him to come along with us on our trip.

I walked back in and tossed Todd his soda. "We're going to Idaho for a bit longer than the other places"


"It was the last place that they saw my friend at."


"Quinn." I took a sip of my soda.

"Oh..." Todd fell silent for a bit. Opened his can and took a short sip. He looked back at me. "I don't know about this, Gilbert. We hardly even know the guy."

"I don't think they do." They didn't. All they've ever heard about him had been from me. "Think the'll go for it?"

"Well, since this 'roadtrip' has no real destination, I guess we could visit him."

"Cool." I turned to watch the news.

After a few hours of watching the television and a movie, we went to sleep. I was bothered by my own thoughts. Not many people liked Quinn for what he had done. It was inexcusable. But, still, he's my friend.


Ayla was sitting on the car. She was waiving for me to get over there. And that's when it came. What it was I could never see. Always blurry. Forever moving just out of focus. Todd tried his best to run but it swallowed him whole. Misha was using a shotgun against it but it was no use. I was just standing there watching all of the chaos. Then it turned to me. That's when it...


Misha threw my empty soda can at my stomach. "Hey Sullivan, wake up!"

I came out of my dream. "Ugh... stupid sun... must you wake her up first." I mumbled to myself.

"If you want food you better get up before I get Ayla up. Knowing her she'll eat your share like we did with her soda." Yeah this was a habit among us. If you're late it become ours, theirs, whomever. It's the reason we like what the other has in terms of eating and drinking.

I turned my head to her. "Five minutes?"

"All right, five minutes till I wake the 'black hole.'"

"'Kay, thanks." Misha left to make out food. It may not have been the best food but it was good. Todd rocked in the food making. Misha rocked in the "kick your ass" department. And Ayla rocked in being a smart ass. Me, well... I could cook but I'm lazy. I could kick ass... in video games. And as far as me being a smart ass... I'm a smart ass of a different sort from Ayla.

Todd woke up. "Dude... you smell that?"

I rolled over a smelled a light scent of waffles. "Who got..."

Both Todd and I remember who got waffles. "Ayla."

And like that we both jumped out of our beds got dressed and ran out the door. Misha was making waffles next to The Car. She had already made half the batter and Ayla was already enjoying her second helping. Not even a hey guys, good mornin'. She took a third helping and ran off.

Misha was making more by the second. "Sullivan that was yours that she took."

Yup, just another morning like we lived back at the house. Misha and Todd cooking up a storm. Me chasing Ayla after my food. We may have been around for a while but we were like family.

"Gimmie my waffles!"

"Never! They're mine."

"Get your ass back here. It's been months since I had a real waffle!"

"Not my fault you buy that Eggo crap!" She stated as she ran past The Car.

"Come 'ere, you!" I got a foothold and jumped off The Car in Ayla's direction for my waffles.


Part 4

April 2, 2006 - Grangeville, Idaho

We'd been here for a little more than a day and we were already leaving. We had found our- my answer. Our next destination would be New York. As we left we stopped at a gas station to fill up on gas and supplies. No more motels, just pit-stops and gas. As we left we had to leave one behind, Ayla. She couldn't come with us because she was due back home. I know leaving her behind would be a mistake but we pushed on anyway. Several days later we got a call from her asking for some more money.


June 1, 2006

"We're here, Gilbert." Todd asked.

"Hmm..." I had been awake for about an hour but I had been looking out the window during the whole time...thinking.

"Yo, you awake?"

Something caught my eye as we passed by a local cemetery. "Uh, yeah...hey, Todd, pull into here for a bit. I wanna stretch my legs, I wanna take a walk." I hoped he didn't know what I was thinking.

"Sounds good. Hey, Leather-butt, you up for a run?"

Misha rolled over in the back seat. "A race, huh?"

"If you're up to it, no sense beating a girl whose not ready for it." Todd said smugly.

"Oh, you're just asking for it."

We pulled in across the street and got out stretching. Todd and Misha walked over to the nearest corner and discussed the race rules. I went into the cemetery. I was hoping what I saw was just my mind playing tricks on me.

I continued walking until I found him. I sat next to him. "So... how's life?"

I could hear his voice again. It'd been so long since I'd heard his voice. "Eh, Could be better. Wish you came sooner. I could've used you're help, like the old times."

"Yeah. The old times rocked didn't they. Took us a while to find ya."

"Sorry 'bout that. Piss-poor-planing on my part."

"Wasn't too much trouble. Just had to ask the right people, ya know?"

"I know you didn't come alone. Where's the rest of your crew?"

"They're around..." I let the silence get the best of me in that one moment. The reason Quinn left was because he had thought he was utterly alone. Family lived in Texas, never called. All but one of his so-called friends betrayed him. I was all that was left to him. I was never a good friend to him, sure we would talk, but we ended up on different sides of life. I ran, he stayed. I came back, he ran.

"Well, best be off don't ya think? Time to go back, Sully."

"Yeah... I'll- uh... I'll be sure to keep them close...like I should have kept you close."

"We were always close. We knew what the other was thinking before we talked. Made things easier. I'll catch you around kiddo. Treat them right. Catch you later, my friend."

I got up and walked away. "I will."

I never would have guessed in a million years that the last words I'd ever see about Quinn was...

-=Born November 25, 1981=-
-=Died April 25, 2000=-
-="Catch you later, my friend."=-


July 17, 2006 - Roslyn, Washington

"So, think she'll be mad at me?"

"If she doesn't beat the snot out of you, I will Sullivan."

"Fair enough." It was my fault leaving her behind. I didn't think she be stuck there for more than a day. I figured she'd buy a ticket home and not to try to follow us. We sent her some more money to go back, which was why she was more upset. She wanted to come with us, to see the adventure all the way through. Even if it was a bit late.

We all went back next year and every year afterward. To pay homage to our long lost friend, Quinn...

You know...I never learned his last name.


October 15, 1995

I was checking on Ayla this morning. I think she's dreaming. She was calling out to Jay. She seemed very distraught. Hopefully she stops because it seems that the dream may be from the fire. If it is I don't think Her parents are going to like this. I had talked to Jay and he said that he was there that night. He had forgotten his sketchbook and she had let him into the house.

There still isn't a clue as to where or how the fire started. Since Jay was there, he was the one who saved her. Her parents were out having dinner that night.

My watch wasn't moved. I was kind of surprised when I saw it still there. She might be able to pull thru soon. That's what I'm hoping for...

October 29, 1995

I was walking about a block away from the restaurant when I say Jay today. He told me that he was skipping town. Word had spread about Ayla's musings about Jay. Everyone involved thinks that Jay burned down the place. The police already confirmed that he didn't do anything but save Ayla.

Jay was going to head down south into California, maybe even stay there for a few days. It was all just thoughts and ideas from him. As long as I've ever known him, he's not one to just run away or even stay in one spot.

November 15, 1995

I'm really starting to think that Ayla's going to come out of it soon. I got to talk to the doctor and he told me that she had been calling out more people's names including my own. It worries me to think that something bad might happen soon...

I hate to say it...but I think it's time to run again.

Dear Ayla... if you find this journal, be sure to keep it. I'll wanna write in it again.


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