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
@mysoulstears


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.

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#MWBB 46 : End Of Time

I realized, standing there, looking into my eyes in the mirror, looking back at me, I hadn’t looked into them in years. I almost smiled at that. I’d told everyone, for years, I was OK. “I can look into my own eyes in the mirror, no problem.” And yet, I never did.

“I should have noticed that.”

I should have. Years ago. If I had, perhaps things would have turned out different. Better. I hadn’t. And it was far too late to change anything.

“I never noticed how empty they look.” They looked glazed over. Dull. Like eyes that no longer saw anything. Eyes that no longer worked. If only I’d have looked years earlier.

I started at myself, remembering her.

“I’m supposed to cry, right?” I asked the me I saw in the mirror. “Or get angry.” But the me in the mirror never answered. He just looked at me, his empty, glazed over eyes staring into mine. I didn’t cry. I didn’t get angry. I stood there. Staring into those empty eyes.

“The eyes are the mirror to the soul.” An old proverb I’d heard growing up. One I’d heard in countless songs. So many songs.

“How can you see into my eyes, like open doors? Leading you down into my core, where I’ve become so numb.”

I asked the man in the mirror, “Don’t people cry when they have broken hearts?” He just stared at me. A lifeless, empty stare. He didn’t smile. He just stood there. Carved of stone. As if he had no heart left. No feeling left. No soul.

I remembered the note she’d left on the bed, where I couldn’t help but find it. Handwritten. She never wrote anything by hand. Unless she meant it. Unless it was special.

“You don’t love me any more.”

Those words echoed in my head. In her voice. Every time I closed my eyes, I saw her, saying those words. “You don’t love me any more.”

She’d left. Didn’t tell me where she was going. Just, “You don’t love me any more. Don’t try to follow me. Good bye.”

I saw the tear stains on the paper. I couldn’t miss them.

I looked at the cold, heartless, stone man in the mirror. I wanted to scream at him. I wanted to scratch his eyes out. I wanted to rip his heart from his chest, and throw it away. He didn’t need it. He had no heart left. No soul. He was a walking dead man.

And he stood there, in the mirror, his glazed, empty eyes, staring back at me. He never said a word. Never shed a tear. As if he were a man of stone.

She’d written the words of a song on her note.

“I’ve come to realize
Tonight my friend the end of time
Is not so far away
We cannot pray to save our lives”

I stared at the dead man in the mirror. “Cry, damn you. Cry.” I whispered the words. Knowing the man in the mirror wouldn’t cry. Couldn’t cry. He’d forgotten how so long ago. And I kept hearing her speak the words she’d written. Her last words to me.

“You don’t love me any more. Tonight my friend, the end of time is not so far away.”

And I knew. There was nothing left of the man I saw in the mirror that day. He’d reached the end of his time.

571 Words
@LurchMunster


This is my entry for week 46 of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other stories in the challenge.

NOTE : Song lyrics referenced in this piece consist of:

1. Evanesence – Bring Me To Life
2. Lacuna Coil – End Of Time

#MWBB 35 : I Am Going To The West

I closed my eyes, and listened to her song, and felt once more those first words touch my heart, and stir my memories.

In this fair land, I’ll stay no more
Here labor is in vain
I’ll seek the mountains far away
And leave the fertile plain

It’s what I’d done. I’d left the land I’d lived in for nearly 30 years. I’d abandoned it. Because it was a dead-end. That land of work I used to live in. Where nothing ever changed. No matter what I did. No matter how hard I worked. No matter what I tried. Nothing ever changed.

I didn’t have the words then, to explain what was happening. How do you explain to everyone you know that you’re trapped? Stuck in place. In a cage. That’s what work had become. A trap. A cage. Where nothing would ever change. Where I faced the same day, the same problems, the same expectations every day. Where there was only one way to behave. Only one way you could be.

I remembered the words I’d been told a thousand times, across a thousand days. “You should be more like him.” I used to wonder how I could. “How can I be like someone else? Someone I’m not?” Until I found myself asking, “What would he do? How would he react? What would he say?”

And I lost me. Somewhere.

Do you want to know if you’re trapped? Look in the mirror. Into your eyes. And ask what the person you see in the mirror wants. What that person feels. If you don’t know. If you can’t answer. You’re trapped.

And I listened to her words as she sang them. I know they weren’t meant for me. But it felt like they were.

Where waves of grass in oceans roll
Into infinity
I stand ready on the shore
To cross the inland sea
I am going to the West

Her words echoed in my memory. For 3 years now, I’d been on a journey. Across an inland sea. A sea within me. A sea I had to cross. To find my heart. To find my soul. To breathe life into me. I remembered standing alone. Straining my eyes, my mind, my heart, to see the future, what was ahead of me.

I couldn’t. No one can. If they tell you otherwise, they lie. Don’t listen to them.

“What are you going to do when you grow up?”

“What are you going to do to earn a living?”

“How are you going to pay the bills?”

“Where are you going to live?”

Yet, no one ever asked the questions that mattered. And it was those questions that ate away at me.

“Who am I?”

“What do I want?”

“What do I believe?”

“Are my dreams still alive?”

“Am I still alive?”

I remembered everyone thinking I’d gone crazy. Telling me to pull my boots up, and get tough. “They’re watching you. If you don’t straighten out, they’ll get rid of you. If you don’t behave, they’ll get rid of you.”

They did. And it hurt like hell. And it scared me stupid. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t sleep. I swear there were times I couldn’t breathe.

But with time, that changed. I figured it out. I’d done what I had to do. To save me. I’d escaped.

You say you will not go with me
You turn your eyes away
You say you will not follow me
No matter what I say
I am going to the West
I am going to the West

It cost me everything. Every friend I had. Every person I knew. To escape. To take those first steps into that inland sea. To begin to ask those questions.

“Who am I?”

“What do I want to do?”

No one followed. That was what scared me the most. What kept me there in the first place. What kept me trapped. What kept me lost. The fear everyone would say what they’d said all my life.

“I will not follow you.”

“You can’t live that way.”

“You can’t be that way.”

“You’ll always be alone.”

If only they knew.

If only they knew.

693 Words
@LurchMunster

NOTE : The song lyrics used are from the song I Am Going To The West, from the CD The Border of Heaven, by Connie Dover © Taylor Park Music/Connie Dover


This is my entry for week 35 of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other entries in the challenge.

#VisDare 19 : Mirror

That night I slept on the sofa again. During the middle of the night, Alice woke me. “Leighla’s in trouble.”

I didn’t let her ask me, “How can I help?”

Alice hugged me, “We have to hurry.” She grabbed my hand and we raced back to the train station. We got on the same train that we’d ridden before, but this time there were supplies and weapons in the car. Alice started arming herself. I did the same. “These aren’t guns like you think.” I pulled out a gun. It’s barrel was solid, with no hole bored in it. “They shoot beams of particles.”

As we rode, I asked, “Is it Wraiths?”

Alice nodded. “They have her trapped outside the shack. So far, her shield has protected her.”

When the train stopped, we retraced our steps to the shack, this time stepping out of the mirror, into the room.

149 Words
@LurchMunster


This is the 15th piece in a continuing story I’m working through for Angela Goff’s Visual Dare. Please read the other entries in this week’s Visual Dare challenge.

#5SF : Empty

I looked into my own eyes in the mirror, and wondered. Married with a beautiful wife, and beautiful children. A nearly perfect job, with lots of vacation time, great medical benefits, and great pay. The house, and car, and all the things I’d always wanted. And yet, staring into my own eyes in that mirror, I couldn’t help but see how empty they looked to me.


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

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.

He Hides

He hides.
In his home.
Day after day.
Alone.

She goes to work.
His children are grown,
And gone.
No one’s home.

He stays inside
Most of the time
Never going out
Living alone.

I wonder sometimes
What happened to him?
Was he hurt by something
Or someone?

What’s it like for him
To be that way?
Staying by himself
Each day?

Sometimes I see him
In his yard.
Pulling weeds
From his flower beds.

Sometimes he steps
Outside his house.
And mows the lawn.
And checks the mail.

He almost never speaks
To anyone.
But he always smiles and waves
If you say Hi to him.

I’ve seen him walking
Through the neighborhood.
In the dark.
Before the dawn.

And I wonder
Does he have any friends.
Or is he  always
Alone?

I know he goes to work
Several days each week.
I’ve asked him about it
When I’ve seen him leaving.

But he never talks about it.
About what he does.
The things that happen
In his work.

He keeps them
To himself.
Just like he lives.
Alone.

I hear he’s got accounts
On Twitter and Facebook.
His wife told me
He spends too much time on them.

I’ve asked him
About that.
When I saw him working
In his yard.

All he did
Was nod.

When he looks
Into the mirror
Every morning,
He knows something’s wrong.

He knows he’s alone.

He knows he uses Twitter,
And Facebook.
To pretend it’s all OK.
While he keeps people away.

He knows he trusts
No one.
And wonders
If he ever will again.

And every time I see him
In the mirror
Looking back at me.
I know why.

For I can see the scars
Forever painted
On his heart
When it got torn apart.

By a world
He just can’t
Understand.

 

#BCF : Month 2, Prompt 1 – It Was All A Lie

BCF_Month_2_Prompt_1_PictureBCF_Month_2_Prompt_1

I wrote this for Business Card Fiction, Month 2, Prompt 1. Please go read all the other entries in this round of Business Card Fiction. They are all well written, well crafted little pieces of art. You can links to them all here:

Business Card Fiction, Month 2, Prompt 1, Judged by J. M. Blackman