Okay, okay... i know a lot of you wont know what the heck JCL is, but i used to write a Pokemon fan-Fiction for the Pokegym Forums, and this one was up to 16 chapters. well, with the crash of the 'gym, i lost all of the story, so i decided to revise it. now, in a non-pokemon version, the Journey called life: ================================================= The Journey Called LifeChapter OneThe journey called life is filled with bumps and turns.It’s up to you whether or not you get carsick.The mist-shrouded morning blanketed the small town of Montpelier as Greg’s eyes found two more of his classmates. They were leaving for some big city today. Greg frowned deeply and turned his back. If only…Downstairs, Mother’s voice beckoned to him sweetly—almost as sweet as the smell of pancakes which wafted up to the second story of their old house. It was a morning like any other, with one all-encompassing exception: There would be no more school. Greg dressed quickly nonetheless. There might be no school, but there would be work to do in the mini-mart with his father. He sighed once, heavily. He would be in the mart while everyone else was off on their own adventures. Kimberly was in New York, studying medicine. Geoffrey was in Jamaica, on a sabbatical to “find himself.” And Jeanette was touring the countryside. Only Greg was staying in Vermont. He let out a deep breath and headed for the stairs.===“Greg, your father is already in the ‘mart. Please eat quickly.”This is my life. Greg’s eyes surveyed the table, full of nicks and scratches from years of service. The pancakes loomed over a platter of bacon and eggs. Everything was already half gone. The kitchen was filled with familiar furniture and familiar smells. This has been my life for years. And it will be my life for years. If only I could…“Greg? Greg, you’re not eating, and your father really needs your help.” His mother’s eyes started to fill with impatience. She sat next to him and put a gentle hand on his shoulder with a sigh. “Greg, I know this isn’t the future you wanted for yourself. But… You know your father can’t run the mini-mart without you. He loves you so much Greg, and he really appreciates your help.” She looked to the table, then said, “You better hurry up and eat, Greg. Your food is getting cold.”This has been my life for years. And it’s never going to change. === If there were any bottles underfoot, they went flying as Greg—on break from the ‘mart—stormed through town. His fists were clenched, as were his teeth, and his eyes could bore holes through concrete. Not only was he unable to leave town, but it seemed that everyone from his class couldn’t wait to rub their freedom in his face. Deep in his heart, in a place he couldn’t see right then, he knew they didn’t do this on purpose. But the three boys who had stopped by the mini-mart to gather sustenance for trips to the lands of their daydreams had been too much for Greg to handle. How can they do this to me? He thought. And dad and mom… and everyone! Why me?!Suddenly, he heard the faint sound of someone hurtling through the undergrowth. The gloominess which surrounded him was cast by the dense foliage overhead. Just when had he walked into the forest surrounding town? And for that matter, where WAS town? Greg’s hazel-brown eyes darted to and fro, but nothing in the shadows looked familiar. He couldn’t even remember which way he had come from. Another loud crash, nearer this time, sent twin chills of hope and fear through him. Maybe that was someone from town, someone who knew the way back. But maybe it wasn’t; there were many wild animals in this eerie forest which could rip grown men to shreds. Greg knew he had to chance it. Besides, if I don’t find my way back, the animals will get me anyhow, right? Three careful, timid steps, then another few, and he was nearly in a clearing. Peeking over a thick shrub, he saw a medium-sized grey animal, head alert to the noise Greg had made. With the pointed ears and doggish paws, Greg knew he had just found a wolf. With a snarl and a look of hatred in its malevolent eyes, it raced forward at the human who had invaded his territory. With his back turned to the new enemy he had made, Greg couldn’t have realized that the wolf’s brother and sisters had all joined the pursuit. One hesitant look backwards told him the story; a pack of six was now on the hunt. Greg picked up speed as he rushed under trees and through the bushes which tore at his clothes, trying to keep him within the forest’s borders. But no matter how fast he was or how carefully he picked his steps, the wolves were always quicker and steadier, ready for any move Greg could make. How can I outrun them? I don’t want to die in this forest!He could hear at least one of the wolves on his right side now, rushing through the brush. They’re going to try and head me off! Greg ducked, nearly stumbling, as the wolf roared through the air above him. Its finely honed claws caught his shirt, tearing the sleeve to shreds. Another one of the brutes snapped at his heels, threatening to bite them through. Greg kept his pace up, but his side was throbbing with pain. He had loved Physical Education in high school, but nothing could have prepared him for this, short of Army boot camp. For every four steps he took, the wolves took an equivalent of five, and there was no way he could maintain his speed. He let out a yelp as one wolf’s claws dug into his side, tearing cloth and flesh. If he didn’t find town soon, he wouldn’t make it out of there. I wish I was back at home, even if I could never, ever leave! Greg heard first one blood-curdling yowl to his left, then another behind him. He kept running, a slight limp beginning to form. Then, the howls got a little further behind. Not for a second did Greg slow his pace. Suddenly, the darkness of the forest was broken by a blindingly hot light from above. One hand shadowing his eyes, Greg took a look around, and saw the town he had so despised for the past few weeks. Tears began to well in his eyes as he stopped running, relief filling his entire body. “Greg? Hey Greg!”Greg stopped to wipe furiously at his eyes before turning around to meet Gracie, his best friend’s little sister. “Greg, your mom’s been lookin’ all over for you, and she said… Hey Greg, what happened?” she asked, her eyes searching his ruined garments. A hand when to his side, and when he flinched, she gasped. “You’re bleeding! Oh my gosh! We’ve got to get you to the doctor’s!”“Wait, Gracie…”“No, you need to see Doctor Lyons NOW.” ===Doctor Richard Lyons applied one last adhesive strip to Greg’s side, and sighed. “Wolves, eh? Well, they’ve been a problem for a long time ‘round here. You shouldn’t be goin’ out to that forest alone. You know that, Greg.” He picked up Greg’s tattered shirt and handed it to the young man. “You best be gettin’ home now. Your momma’s gonna be…”“Oh my…Mom’s going to be so mad! And dad..! Oh no, I was only supposed to be gone a half hour! It’s been… God, it’s been four hours! I’ve got to go! Bye Doc! I’ll talk to you later!”===“Greg, I can’t believe you didn’t come back to help your father at the ‘mart! He had to close early, and we’ve been out looking for you at everyone’s houses all afternoon! And your new shirt, the one I just bought you..! Wait, Greg, how did this… Greg, what happened to this shirt? Is this blood?”“I’m sorry mom.” Greg’s eyes were cast downward. He was so ashamed for having left all the work to his father. “I’m really sorry.”His mom eyed him up and down, then said, “Well, it can’t be helped now. Go upstairs; in the morning, your father will be ready to talk to you.” She sighed, then touched his rumpled hair. “We love you, Greg. And we were really worried. It’s not like you to run off and come back looking like… like you got into a fight or something. Just… go to bed and we’ll all talk in the morning.”Greg left the conversation with his mother feeling like a piece of ground beef, both on the inside and out. How could he have been so irresponsible, getting lost in the woods and worrying his parents like that? Even if he had told them the reason he came home looking the way he did, they would have been just as disappointed in him. Maybe he really wasn’t ready to be on his own. He took off his clothes and dressed for bed, his side aching and his heart despairing. As he lay under the warm woolen covers, a tear slipped from his eye. If only I could make my dreams come true…===well, what didya think? please, post any comments/questions/suggestions!!