(or, Moving Toward Jordan), a YA novel

Mile 1


            Too many people dead, or just gone.  Or both.  Deadandgone.

            The words thundered in his head with every stride.  Deadandgone. Deadandgone.  Deadandgone.

            Sounded like a train, he thought, smiled wistfully.  Fraser wouldn’t approve of that particular refrain.  It’s supposed to be something positive, right?

            They’d been running up hills that day, and halfway through Timothy was flagging behind his coach.

            “Gotta tell yourself you can do it, over and over again,” Fraser had said, like he’d been reading Timothy’s mind.

            “What, like that book, The Little Train that Could?”

            “Don’t laugh,” Fraser said.  “A lot of people have gotten a lot done with worse mantras than ‘I think I can I think I can.’  Try it.”

            Timothy remembered running along, gently berated, quiet.

            “Are you trying it?”  Fraser said.

            “Trying what?”

            “’I think I can I think I can.’”

            “You were serious?”

            “I'm always serious, my friend.  Especially when I’m joking.”

            It was advice like that that got him here in the first place.  Encouraging, confounding.  Simplifying life even as if confused the hell out of him.

 *        *        *

            What are you doing out here, anyway?  Running a marathon.  A marathon, for God’s sake.

            Yeah, Fraser would have advice for that, too.  Something like, One Step at a Time.

            An awful lot of steps.  And you haven’t run in—what, two weeks?

            No, not since the wake.  Didn’t have the desire.  Not to run.  Not to do much of anything.  Hung around the house in a fog, waiting for the day to pass, so night would come again.

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