I know, I know. Fan fiction is the bastard child of writing. But you know what – a lot of people nervous about creating their own worlds, started out there. Yeah, a lot of it is bad. Very bad. Then again there are a lot of bad books with original characters and worlds out there.
The above is an attempt at rationalization on my part. I have not written much fiction yet and even less fan fiction. The piece below is fan fiction. It is meant to fill in one of those moments in a movie that one knows must have happened but is not shown. This is a missing moment from one of my all-time favourite movies. Read it and see if you can figure it out.
Is it any good? Well that is totally subjective as usual. I like it. Sometimes that is enough.
The sight of the huge oak tree brought Andy to a halt. It had been over twenty years since he had last been here. Hidden by the tree line at the edge of the field, he stared at the tree at the top of the hill. It towered regally over the landscape. Long branches fanned out into the sun-drenched sky; arms raised in triumph.
Nothing here had changed. Andy remembered himself and his wife-to-be walking up the slope of the field towards the tree. He retraced that path again. Being so exposed caused diametric feelings of joy and fear to course through him. One feeling had been a constant companion, the other a distant relative. He walked beside the stone fence wall that bordered the field. On Andy’s other side, a light breeze danced across the alfalfa stalks bending them in green waves.
It felt like time had stopped here as he stepped under the shade of the branches. He smiled at the sight of the grassy bed tucked between the fork of two large roots. It was on that spot they had made love for the first time. In the afterglow of their passion, Andy had proposed to her.
They had come back here several times before work had consumed him. One time, in a flight of romantic whimsy, they had left a time capsule. Andy could not believe that such feelings had ever existed in his earlier self. The small cairn of rocks marking the burial spot of the capsule still stood, undisturbed.
On his knees, Andy removed rocks looking for a unique one. It was soon uncovered. He lifted it out and wiped the dirt off. The black rock’s shiny, glassy exterior gleamed back at him. He hefted the rock for a moment and then placed it reverently off to one side. Handfuls of cool, dark soil piled up at the edge of the hole until he tapped against metal. Tracing the edges of the object, the outline of their time capsule took form.
He pulled the tin cigar box from the ground, sat back, and blew the remaining dirt off the lid. On the lid was the picture of the ocean liner they had taken on their honeymoon. The picture was faded, like his memories. The tin box was the only physical evidence of their relationship left in the world. All the regrets, the self-recriminations, and the guilt crashed through him. Head bowed between his knees, Andy’s body shook with the release of his sorrow.
Some time later he found himself again. Time was pressing and he had to go. Would have been gone if not for a promise he had made. Taking the edge of his T-shirt he wiped the sorrow off his face and took a deep breath. He took in the smells the country air had to offer and marvelled in them all. His coming here had been to offer possible aid to a friend. Now Andy realized that returning to this spot had helped him as well.
Inside the tin box a small bag protected the few keepsakes that were there. The items consisted of photos of them on their honeymoon, a matchbook from the ocean liner, and a lock each of their hair. He replaced that bag with a new one. The original bag contained memories from the past; the other held an offer for a new future.
It held hope.
Eager to be on his way, the tin box was soon buried with the black rock over top of it again. Andy looked around one more time. Twenty years ago on this very spot, the whole world had laid open before him. Today it renewed that offer. He felt the same feelings but with the deeper passion and appreciation that only freedom can bring. He left without a glance back. The world ahead of him had his full attention now.
It was time to get busy.
If you guessed the movie in question was The Shawshank Redemption you are da winner! I always wondered how Andy Dufresne felt when he went back to that oak tree to leave Red the money and letter. In my own stumbling amateurish way I hope this piece does some justice to that moment.