Illustrate a Trouble Winner

Posted: December 22, 2014, 01:24
Here is the winning entry in the illustrate a trouble Contest I ran here at Lilja's Library. The winner is Darren LeBlanc who will get a signed cast photo. And here is his entry (which I would love to see):

"If They Could Only See Me Now"
By: Darren LeBlanc

   The Wilson family of Haven had always lived on the fringe of society. They were not only on the poor side of town, they were on the outskirts of even that. Introverted to say the least, their lack of self-esteem and self-worth made it extremely difficult for them to look anyone in the eyes. Thankfully, this was not a concern to the other residents of Haven. When they would see members of the Wilson family in town, they would instinctively look away as to not even acknowledge the poor family's existence. The Wilsons were made to feel invisible in their own town. And when that town happens to be Haven, Maine... those feelings can have bizarre repercussions.

   2William Wilson tried his best to make a decent living for his wife Libby and their sons Justin and Brandon. But the life of a handyman in a town where people would rather cross the street than look at you makes a living harder than it should be. Like his father, and his father before him, William knew that the Wilson family would forever be ignored and unwanted. Always present, and yet never noticed. Until that day at Maine First Financial.

   When the bank manager told him that his loan application was being denied like all the others, William felt a tiny snap deep inside his head. It could have been because this was the fourth attempt at getting the desperately needed funds to try to pull his family out of it’s continuously downward spiral. It could have been that this was the fourth time his application had been denied. Or it could have simply been that even as Mr. Anderson was shattering William’s hopes for the fourth time, he had still never once looked directly at William while doing it. As he walked out of the manager’s office, passed Mrs. White at her Customer Inquiry desk, and passed the long line of people waiting for their chance at the one open teller’s window, not a single person would look at him. He had never felt so lost, so meaningless, so invisible. And then, before he could realise it himself… he was invisible.

   Looking at the spotless front window of the bank, where his despondent reflection should be, there was nothing. Well, not exactly nothing. He could clearly see Michaud’s Fish Market across the street, directly behind him. He could see the backwards writing on the U.S. Mail truck passing by. He could even see the hurried images of the townspeople walking passed him on their way to their lucrative and joyful futures. But just as he had always felt, he simply wasn’t there.

   Later, sitting on the park bench, he remembered the stories his father would tell him about being invisible to others. He always assumed it meant that others chose not to see them. But maybe there was more in his father’s stories than he realised. Maybe much more.

   It started small at first. A few dollars left on the café table by a satisfied customer, an unattended purse at the diner. It was so easy. Whatever he touched became as invisible as himself. Why should they be allowed to have it when his family was living day to day, wondering when those next meager paychecks when come in? Soon, it was new toys for Justin and Brandon, a nice dress for Libby. Their expressions were always full of surprise and delight when he brought each item home, which filled him with a sense of pride and value that he had never known. It also blinded him to the other expression on Libby’s beautiful face… a look of concern.

   It didn’t take long for Haven P.D. to notice the rash of thefts around town. And once Detectives Parker and Wuornos took notice, William knew he would have to act fast. The few dollars and trinkets were fine, for now. But he needed something more. Something that would allow him to take his family far away from this town, to a place where they could be welcomed and seen as productive members of society. And then he knew. He suspected he had always known. The perfect combination of financial security and deeply embedded revenge. Maine First Financial.

   Twenty minutes after William kissed Libby goodbye, hugged his sons, and left for what he believed would be his last job ever, Nathan and Audrey knocked on the door. After seeing the interior of the shack they had seen coming up the winding dirt road, they began to think their suspicions were correct. After hearing Libby’s tearful tale of the Wilson family heritage, and her own deepening concerns about William’s recent windfalls, they knew they were correct.

   It was so easy, William could hardly believe it. He knew he could walk straight into the bank unnoticed… he had been doing it all his life. But working his way passed Mrs. White, and poor unsuspecting Mary at the teller window, and all the way into the open vault at the back, he was still undetected. All he had to do was calmly walk back out… with as much money as he could carry. Enough to make his dreams come true, enough to watch Haven disappear in the rear view mirror of his new Mercedes as they drove to their new future together. He could see Libby and the boys sitting there with him, with their arms out the side windows feeling the crisp, clean air of coastal Maine run through their fingers. But something was wrong, something was terribly wrong. He could still see Libby, but she was no longer smiling. She was crying. She was calling his name. And she was standing inside the front door of Maine First Financial.

   Why had Parker and Wuornos brought her here? How did they know? How could they be doing this to him? With all of these questions racing through his head, he looked for the only thing that ever really gave him value. He looked into Libby’s eyes, and she looked back. And then he knew. He knew that the thousands of dollars he was carrying would be worthless if that face no longer looked at him. The world could disappear, as long as she could still see him as the man she loved.

   To say that there was an immediate sense of shock on everyone’s face when a man suddenly materialised in front of them, carrying a sports bag filled with cash, would be an understatement. They all watched him calmly put the bag down, the entire bank saw him slowly walk towards his wife, and everyone who was there that day witnessed a desperate man gently embrace the only person in the world that he needed to see him.

The End.