Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2017/06/11

“Tell me once more, Olivia. What do you see when you look in the mirror?” I’d asked the question a thousand times, and Olivia always gave me the same answer.

“Not what you want me to see, doc.” She shook her head, and looked into the mirror in the remains of her family home. “Not what you want me to see.”

“I know.” I took a deep breath. This wasn’t about fixing things. Fixing things was easy. No. This was about bringing the dead to life. “So, tell me, please. What do you see?”

Olivia stood from where she sat, legs crossed, on the barren, wooden floor. A floor desperately in need of repair. Cleaning wasn’t enough. The floor needed work. Lots of it. So did the walls, and the brick they were made of. Brick that once hid behind smooth, well kept plaster. She walked to the mirror, cracked and no longer held in its casing. Like the entire home, it was wasting away.

“He’s there, you know.” She pointed at the remains of the mirror. “He’s there. Waiting for me.”

As the house wasted away, so did Olivia. Every since that day, so long ago, when the car came around the corner too fast. Jonathan had been playing, dancing to a sound only he heard. “He told me it was the piano from Beauty and The Beast.” She always cried when she spoke the words. “He moved right in time with it. I could hear the music as he danced.”

She collapsed to her knees, and once more was consumed by tears and grief. “He’s there. I see him dancing in the mirror.”

The car came around the corner too fast. The driver crossed into the other side of the road, aimed straight at an oncoming car.

Olivia stared into the mirror. “It’s there. In the mirror. Over and over again. My boy. Dancing.”

The oncoming car had nowhere to go. The fast car struck it head on. Parts flew in all directions. Glass from windshields, parts of headlights, side view mirrors, plastic and urethane from car bodies. Radiator fluid. All of it. Everywhere.

“He never got to say good-bye.”

All of it. Right next to Jonathan.

“He never got to look at me.”

Some of the parts from the collision had struck the boy. Olivia had seen it all. Seen her son stop dancing, the music of the song stop playing, as Jonathan was yanked in strange directions by the shrapnel from the wreck.

Then, before she could even scream, the momentum of the collision pushed both cars straight into Jonathan. The boy never had a chance.

Olivia stared into the mirror. “He’s there. Waiting.”

I’d been trying to reach her every since. Trying to help her through her grief. Through her sorrow. Not to heal her, for I knew, there are some wounds that never heal. Like the loss of a limb, or the ability to walk, or talk, or hear. Olivia had lost part of herself.

On that day, when those cars collided, and Jonathan died, so did Olivia’s heart. So did her soul. All that was left was an empty shell, slowly decaying, like the house she never left.

And I wondered, as I had every day for three years, if her heart and soul had died, was there any way to bring her back to life?

563 Words

Miranda Kate‘s weekly short fiction challenge is in it’s 14th week. You can read about the challenge here. As I do every week, I wonder where the words I have written came from. How this started as a picture, and a song, and wound up where it did, I may never understand. But, I’m OK with that. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that show up. They are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.


#FinishThatThought Week 2-38 : The Grass Never Grew

They never asked why I set the tree on fire. I tried to tell them, to explain, but they never understood. Mom and Dad drug me to all kind of doctors, and I spent months in therapy. I still have to take these stupid pills. And I’m in the middle of 24 months of civic service as punishment for setting that tree on fire. And no one ever asked why I did it. Not even the doctors. All they ever said was, “You set a tree on fire. That’s wrong. Here’s what we need to work on.”

But, see? It wasn’t like that at all.

There was a place on the ground, beneath that tree, where the grass never grew. Dad tried for years to grow anything there. He even planted that stuff that’s supposed to grow in the dark, without any water. Nothing. Nothing grew in that spot under that tree.

No one knew why, but me.

I used to sit on the back porch, and watch her on the swing. Yeah. I know. There was no swing. We never put one up. But she was there, on the swing which hung from the lower limb of that tree. She played there every day. Her name was Barbara. I know, ‘cause I asked her.

“I’m stuck,” she told me. “I’m stuck doing this over and over. I can’t escape. I’ve tried.”

“Why are you stuck?”

“Watch me every day. You’ll see.”

I did. I watched her every day. She was always there, swinging away. On the 100th day, everything changed. Barbara climbed the ropes for the swing. She climbed into the tree. She got to the lower branch, worked her way to the trunk, and then moved from one branch to the next, as up she went.

She climbed really high. It was exciting to see. She climbed all the way to the top. Then, she balanced on the branches, and reached for the sun. Like she wanted to hug it. “I’m free!”

There was a sick sounding crack from one of the branches she was standing on. I watched as that branch gave way. Barbara fell. She bounced off branches. Limbs stabbed her, tore at her skin, her clothes. She fell from the tree.

Barbara was dead. I knew that. But, you see, she landed in that spot where nothing grew. Everywhere she touched the ground, every place a drop of her blood landed. Nothing grew.

The next day, she was on the swing again. “I’m stuck. Now I have to do this all over again.”

See. That’s why I set the tree on fire.

Now, Barbara’s free.

439 Words

I wrote this for Week 2-38 (Year 2, week 38) of Alissa Leonard‘s Finish That Thought. Please, go read all the creatively shared stories in this week’s challenge.

#FSF : Accident

It looked like an accident. Twisted metal, shattered glass, radiator fluid, oil, and gas pouring out everywhere, discoloring the road. People shouting into their phones, calling for help, holding their cameras aloft, taking pictures. Shock and disbelief filling their eyes, knowing they’d witnessed people die in a horrible collision between two cars. I closed my eyes, nodded, and drove off knowing everything had worked according to my plan.

Here’s my weekly attempt at Lillie McFerrin‘s flash fiction challenge, Five Sentence Fiction. This week, the prompt is Accident.

Please, go read all the other entries to this week’s Five Sentence Fiction. It’s amazing what creative people can do with just five sentences.