Inside My Eyelids (9)

It’s the dreams that happen after I have to wake up in the middle of the night, for whatever reason, and then go back to sleep, that are the the most colorful. And the most difficult for me to cope with.

Last night, I woke at three-thirty in the morning. I’m old. I wake up every morning to go pee. Last night was no exception. After my nightly trip, I pulled the covers back up, and waited for the heat to build back up, which always sends me back to sleep.

Back to the land of dreams.

I remember walking. The same streets I’d always walked, all through my neighborhood. A long walk this time, one that took over two hours. As I walked, I wondered, “Where are all the houses? Where are all the cars? The trees. The buildings. The signs. Everything was gone. Everything. There was nothing to either side of me, nothing ahead of me, nothing behind me. There were no clouds, not birds, no planes, not bugs, the sky was empty.

It had rained earlier, though, I could tell because of the puddles on the street, and the sidewalk. Puddles that worked like mirrors, and reflected the images of everything around them. Those puddles were more confusing than everything being missing, because they were filled with images of everything that had been there. Everything I always saw when I walked was still in those puddles.

But none of it was left anywhere.

I walked from puddle to puddle, examining each one, trying to figure out what I was seeing in each puddle. The one in front of where my home had been still had reflections of my crepe myrtle trees in it. I watched the image of the bottom of my car in the puddle as my invisible car drove across it. The water didn’t move, there were no splashes. It was like my care wasn’t there. Like I was watching a movie screen.

There was a puddle a few blocks from home, where I could still see the buildings that used to be beside the road, even though there was no sign anything had ever been beside the road. In that one, I watched a passenger jet fly through the puddle, while no jet was anywhere to be seen.

Except in the puddle.

Most interesting was how, as I walked, I saw myself in the reflections of the puddles. As if the puddles were saying to me, “We only reflect what’s actually there.” And yet, there was nothing there to reflect.

I decided to try finding one of the street signs I saw in a puddle. A stop sign, at the corner of a road. It was crystal clear in the puddle. I kept my eyes on the puddle, as I moved my reflection closer to the signs reflection. Until I could reach out, and place my reflections hand on the sign. Except, there was no sign. There was nothing.

I wound up back at the puddle before where my house had been. I walked back and forth, left and right, even in circles. Nothing. My house wasn’t there. There was no sign it had ever existed.

There was a song, long ago, where the singer sang,

“Let me take you down
‘Cause I’m going to Strawberry Fields
Nothing is real
And nothing to get hung about”*

As I woke from my dream, I heard that song playing over and over again in my head, with some strange voice asking me, “What is real, and what is a dream, and how do you know?”

599 words
@mysoulstears


* The song is Strawberry Fields, by the Beatles.

Songwriters: J. Lennon / P. Mccartney
“Strawberry Fields Forever” lyrics © Sony/atv Tunes Llc, Sony, Sony Atv Tunes Llc, Sony Atv Music Publishing France, Sony/atv Tunes Llc Dba Atv Obo Atv (northern Songs Catalog), Wixen Music Publishing Inc Obo Harrisongs Ltd

I wrote this for week 144 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can learn about Miranda’s challenge here. The stories people share for the weekly challenge are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. Please go read them all.

 

Inside My Eyelids (4)

She stands where she has stood for years, on the seat of my old desk chair, the one I inherited from my parents. I think they got it from their parents, but no one really knows. No one remembers that far back.

Dad never understood why I got her, my doll. Her eyes fell out when I was still a child. Her face got colored with magic marker, and paint, a dozen times. I gave up trying to fix it, and put a mask over it.

She stands there, in my chair, in the corner of my room, where she can see me at my desk, and my computer.

Dolls were for girls when I was young. Boys didn’t own them, and didn’t play with them. If a girl wanted to clear a room, she broke out her dolls, and all the boys left.

But, something drew me to my doll. I saved my allowance for months until I could afford her. That was Mom and Dad’s rule. My allowance was mine. I could spend it how I wanted, on what I wanted. But I could not ask for money. I had to make decisions about money, about what mattered to me, and learn to build up the funds to get what I wanted.

I’d wanted my doll.

She was my friend. The person I could always talk with. The person who would never argue with me. Never tell me I was wrong. Never tell me to be more mature. To toughen up. Or that boys don’t cry.

She was the only one I could hug. The only one who would put her head on my shoulder. The only one who would kiss the hurt parts, the skinned knees, the cut fingers, to try to make me feel better.

I knew she wasn’t real. No doll is. Perhaps, one day, with enough artificial intelligence, and enough advanced electronics, we humans might make dolls that could act like they were alive. That wasn’t going to happen in my lifetime.

I never gave her a name. She’d never needed one. When I spoke to her, I called her, “you”, because it made sense.

The worst fight I ever had, growing up, was over her. When the boys at the church found out I owned a doll, all hell broke loose. They taunted me, insulted me, called me a girl, named me “Sally”. Eventually, like anyone would expect, after months of torture, I made the mistake of responding to one of the boys. I told him what I thought about him, and his insults.

It took two weeks for the bruises to fade from my face.

I still have her. She still stands, in my chair. Like she did then. Now, I write stories of a warrior, with high tech armor that makes him invisible. With guns, and explosives, and the ability to do what he believes needs to be done. A warrior who defends little boys who like dolls. One who beats the living shit out of the fathers whose sons torture such little boys.

In my dreams, at night sometimes, my warrior talks with my doll, about how to change the world, make it better, turn it into a place that doesn’t kill the dreams of children, and doesn’t teach them boys hate dolls.

And she watches me sleep, as she stands on the seat of my chair, in the corner of my room, each night.

I would have it no other way.

582 Words
@mysoulstears


I wrote this for week 140 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. It’s been a hard time, getting through the house repairs. I haven’t had the energy, or patience to write anything in weeks. That’s changing now. You can learn about Miranda’s challenge here. The stories people share for the weekly challenge are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. Please go read them all.

Dreams : A Safe Place

Seems some people believe
I’m able to capture dreams.
Put them on paper.
Make them real.

Really.
Who can do that?
Capture something that isn’t really there.
Bring it to life.

All I can really do
Is share a few words
Now and then.
A few words.
Nothing more.

Take my hand,
If you will,
And walk with me.
See.
I’ve put a blanket on the ground.
In the back yard.

It’s just a blanket.
It’s not magic.
It’s not a gift from a genie.
I bought it at a Wal-Mart
Several years ago.
It’s a bit worn.
It shows its age.

So, I use it in the back yard now.
Let me show you how.
See, I start
By taking off my shoes.
Yeah. I know.
It’s freaking strange.
Every since I stepped on those nails,
When I was a kid
Like 40 something years ago,
I don’t go barefoot outside.

But, see.
There’s this blanket.
I know what’s under it.
I checked.
I know the blanket
Can’t hurt my feet.

And then, I take a step on the blank.
And sit down.
And take off my socks.
And that’s where things get fun.
‘Cause I wiggle my toes.

Why don’t you take off your shoes.
And your socks.
And sit on the blanket with me.
And wiggle your toes.

Silly thing, I know.
Sitting on a blanket in the back yard.
Barefoot.
Wiggling our toes.
But, damn.
It sure feels good, don’t it?
To have nothing on your feet.

My toes are free!
Watch!
I’m gonna wiggle them some more!
Like this.
Oh, I could wiggle them all day.
Well.
At least until they got tired.

I have to let you know.
It’s been a while.
I mean.
Since I took the time
To sit on a blanket.
On the ground.
In my backyard.

I’ve thought about it for some time.
But I’ve never made the time.
Well.
Maybe made is the wrong word.
Maybe it’s I never took the time.
Let’s face it.
Sitting on a blanket in the backyard
Ain’t exactly a grown up thing to do.

You know what else I do on my blanket?
I stretch out.
I lie down.
And I watch the clouds.

I’ve always loved
The sky so blue.
That crystal blue it sometimes looks to me.
With white cotton candy clouds.
All kinds of them.

If you want to know a secret,
I’ll tell you.
Sometimes I look at the clouds
In the crystal sky.
And I giggle.
Because I think,
“It’s like God’s painting.
In 3D.
Again.”

It makes me sad sometimes.
When I think about it.
About how many people never look.
Never see.
The cotton candy clouds,
In the crystal blue sky.

If it’s alright with you,
I think I’ll just lie here a while.
And watch the sky.
And the clouds.
And yeah.
To be honest.
I wouldn’t mind
If you stretched out with me.
And you watched the sky too.

Just so you know.
As far as I’m concerned.
This is a safe place for me.
And if you like.
I’ll make it a safe place for you too.

On this blanket.
In my backyard.
Beneath the sky so blue.

I don’t know at all
Why people seem to think
I can capture dreams.
Things that don’t exist.
Things that aren’t real.
And put them down on paper.
And bring them to life.

But know this.
You are safe here.
On this blanket.
Beneath the sky so blue.

#ThursThreads Week 89 : Then I Can Help You

Jonathan had not touched the clay he  loved so much in years. Every time he thought of his clays, he saw his beloved Daphne, and their daughter Chelsea, and his hands went cold, and his world turned black.

Everyone lied. “Give it time. You will get over it.” But the magic was gone.

He sat at his table. His tools to his left, a block of clay before him, and wondered if he could ever touch clay again, or if all his dreams had died with them.

He watched his hands shake, then closed his eyes. “Just remember to breathe. Remember to breathe.”

I floated close to him, and whispered in his ear, “Listen to your heart.” Jonathan sat, motionless, as the hands of the clock on the wall moved. “Listen to the words it speaks to you.”

His hands touched the clay, and slowly began tearing chunks away. Then they reached for his tools and began carefully carving fine lines, curves, surfaces. Placing fine detail in. Bringing the clay to life.

For three days, he left the table only for another can of soda, or to answer the call of nature. When he finished, he studied his work.

A Valentine’s heart, torn in half, jagged edges unable to heal. Two tombstones, one on each side of his heart. A river of tears flowing from the heart to the ground.

I whispered in his hear. “When you listen to your heartsong, then I can help you.”

246 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Siobhan Muir‘s #ThursThreads, Week 89. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are good reading.

#MWBB 31 : LA Song

I helped her pack her suitcase. I helped her fold all her clothes, carefully picking the ones she wanted to take with her, leaving the ones she no longer wanted neatly folded, placed in boxes on the closet floor. We put a small makeup kit together for her, with her favorite nail polishes, lipsticks, eye shadow, blush. We put her favorite jewelry in little boxes, and stacked them neatly between her clothes and the side of the suitcase.

We talked. About where she was going. She had so much to say. She told me of all her heart breaks, all the men she’d loved and lost. How she’d cried countless tears each time, and wondered if her heart would ever heal.

She told me again, all the stories of the girls at work. The way they treated her. The way they tortured her. Always talking about how they were all engaged, or married, or had a baby on the way. How she wasn’t one of them. I calmly wiped the tears of anger from her eyes, wishing I could find a way to stitch her cut and bleeding soul back together. Wishing God would give me a way to take those wounds from her, make them mine, so she didn’t have to endure the way her heart ached, or the tears I knew her soul cried every night.

She told me how the men of LA were heartless. Soulless. Colder than any ice. Harder than any stone. How all they wanted was another bitch they could lay. Another trophy on the mantle. Another name in their black books. She told me no one slept with her because they loved her. But because she had boobs, and an ass, and her vagina. And that’s all they wanted. To get into her vagina. And I held her again, as she cried more tears of rage, and tears of pain.

The tears of a child. A little girl. Whose world got destroyed before her eyes. Whose dreams got crushed beneath the boots of a world that wasn’t at all like it she’d hoped it would be.

I carried her suitcase, and makeup kit to my car. Put them in the trunk. I opened the door, and let her in. Knowing it wouldn’t do for me to cry. It wouldn’t do for me to say anything. Knowing she trusted me to help her.

Knowing she was walking out of my life. And I might never see her again.

I wanted to kiss her. To beg her, “Don’t leave me!” I wanted to tell her how much I loved her. How I wanted to make her happy. Make her smile. Do everything I could to bring her dreams to life. But I couldn’t. Not because I didn’t have the courage, or the heart. Because I knew, my heart knew, she needed to go. She needed to escape.

I knew. I had to let her go.
I drove to the bus station. I paid for her ticket. “I promise not to follow you.”

She handed me her phone. “I can’t take this with me.”

“I know.”

I wanted to tell her she was leaving for all the wrong reasons. Because she was hurt. Because she was afraid. Because she was running from herself. From her life here, in LA. Trying to escape herself. Trying to blame LA, work, the men she’d known, for her inability to live with herself. That it wouldn’t work. She was taking what she was afraid of with her. She couldn’t escape herself.

I didn’t. It wouldn’t have worked.

Instead, I let her go. I watched the bus disappear into the traffic of LA.

I let her go.

And I prayed, one day, she’d find herself. And remember me.

627 words
@LurchMunster


This is my entry for week 31 of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other entries in the challenge.

#FlashFridayFic #39 : The Door

Unicornio, by Salvador Nunez, shared as part of the Peru Arte Valor effort.The door sat across the clearing, just beyond the tree, right on the edge of the cliff. The face where the handle should have been laughed at me. “Coward!”

I’d brought my shovel to dig my way around the door. To its left and right. I’d looked for ground to dig through, but there was none. I could walk right up beside the door, to its left or right. The ground ended beside the door. There was nothing beyond the door. There was nowhere to dig too.

Beyond the door, there was nothing. No pathway. No land. No trees. No fields. No city in the clouds. Nothing. Just blue sky, clouds, and in the distance, mountains. Nothing.

The door face laughed at me. “You can’t figure me out, can you?”

“I’ve looked beyond you, you know. There’s nothing.”

“You mean, nothing you can see from this side of me.”

I got up, grabbed my shovel, walked up to the door and stepped to its left. “Watch this, you idiot!” I held the shovel by the handle, and reached to the right side of the door, grabbing the shovels blade. “See! There’s nothing there!”

“You mean, nothing you can see from this side of me.”

The door goaded me. “How is your cold, frozen, uncaring, bitter, lonely heart, human?” I glared at the door. “Do you long for more? Is there more to life? Has there got to be more to life than just your job? You dull, dreary, day-to-day life that never changes. Where there is no color?”

Then the door said the one thing I could not stand. “You’re afraid to open me, aren’t you, coward!”

I’d heard enough. I grabbed the face by its nose, and turned it upside down. I opened that door, and walked through.

And all my dreams were waiting there for me.

309 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Rebekah Postupak‘s #FlashFriday, Week 39. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #Flash Friday. They are good reading.

#FiveSentenceFiction : Vision

Dream sat on the grass by the lake, in the middle of the night, watching the surface of the lake reflect the image of the star filled sky. Whisper, as always, sat on her shoulder where he watched tears fall from her eyes, “Dear friend, I am not young, I am not new, and I can’t help but see how your heart aches, and your soul longs for someone you have not yet met, to hold you in the darkness of the night, and fill your dreams with light.”

Dream said nothing, not one word, but Whisper knew, as he looked into her eyes of blue, why those tears fell from her eyes, and why her heart ached on that night. He whispered in her ear, “Follow the vision of your heart, dear one, for it knows what to do, and it won’t lie to you,” then he spread his wings, and lifted from her shoulder.

With those words, Dream spread her wings and took to the sky, to follow the vision of her heart, to find the one to fill her dreams with light, and chase away the nightmares she dreamed on so many nights.


I’m trying something different. Each week, Lillie McFerrin hosts a Flash Fiction Challenge called Five Sentence Fiction. This is my first attempt at the challenge. There are some great five sentence works out there, from some great writing souls. Please, go read them all.