Shawn – Dream and Fiction 1

I regained consciousness with a tube in my trachea, many more attached to my body, and an expression on your face that I could not discern.

I tried to tell you that I remember the accident in its entirety and ask if anyone survived. If anyone died, my life would be truly pointless. The others in the car were my mom, sister, nephew, and your parents.

If my sister died, her children would become orphans, as their father died nearly two years ago. If she survived and my nephew died, she would be devastated with the loss of a child and a spouse, within two years. If my mom and your parents died, we would have the loss of both parents in common, along with our love of football (soccer as others call it). The possibilities were endless. I needed to know that all others survived.

You left the room. You left again. I tried to yell for you to come back. You leaving is what helped this chain of events. I know it sounds selfish, but I need to know your intentions from that night and why you ran away from me.

The tube prevented any of those words from escaping and I blacked out.

I remember the day we met. I was at the apartment office making sure my rent payment cleared. You were applying for your residency. You asked how long I lived in the community and if I would recommend it to a friend. I responded 12 years and I did just recommend the last unit to a friend, so you were probably SOL due to that recommendation. I quickly added a, “Just kidding and good luck” to my response. You asked me my name and I said and spelled it. It is a difficult name to spell. I returned the question. You answered. I asked you if it was spelled with “ea, au or aw” as it could be spelled many different ways. You told me you would text me for the avoidance of doubt. I retorted that it was a clever way to ask for someone’s phone number, but I gave it. My phone buzzed with your number and the word “Shawn”.

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all together in the end

The fog, heavy upon the land, stifled movement and choked what little light there was.  Even the moon, full and majestic, did little to break the grasp of the dense blanket of dew.  While the metal walls shielded me from the cold and damp, my bones still ached from them.  Everything but time was dulled and slow.  My joints throbbed in time to the seams of the road.

Thump-thump.  Thump-thump.  Thump-thump.

I scanned the darkness in search of lurking dangers.  The view from my cage on wheels was distorted through the layers of fog.  Other cars could have been inches away and they might have gone unnoticed.  Pedestrians and bikers would have been invisible completely.  I scanned the darkness and was plagued by doubt.  Was I in control or was that just an illusion of hope?  My heart beat furiously in my chest.

Thump-thump.  Thump-thump.  Thump-thump.

The sounds of the drive were all wrong.  The water heavy air absorbed all, robbing me of the clarity in all senses I might have had otherwise.  Not quite all, though, as the most sinister of pitches slipped through unblemished to plague my worries.  I adjusted the stereo to cover my fears and music blared through the speakers around me.  I joined my voice in song as the drumline rattled my cage.

Thump-thump.  Thump-thump.  Thump-thump.

They say that things are often darkest before the light, and in those moments well before sunrise with the night dimmed further by the thick fog, I dreamt of bursting free of my isolation as the sun peeked over the horizon.  I dreamt of driving into the fire while the dew burned away in splashes of golden red.  I dreamt of stepping clear of my cage to revel in the glory of another new day.  The fears gnawing on my thoughts fell away and the rhythm of my heart slowed to match the beat of the music.

Thump-thump.  Thump-thump.  Thump-thump.

My driving dreams did not come to fruition, of course, as the world often failed the expectations of my imagination, but the fog did dispel, relinquishing its grasp on my senses.  The full moon, directly overhead, exploded light onto the fields around me.  My aching bones ceased their complaints.  The sounds of the morning returned.  My sight returned as well.  It was early still and the day had plenty of time to bloom glorious.  The music, my heart, and the road came together in anticipation.

Thump-thump.  Thump-thump.  Thump-thump.

a new story…

I never just stare at a blank page.

I don’t start to write unless I have something to write about.  A picture.  A line.  A thought.  But, that can be problematic because the need to write is often so pervasive that it distracts me from other things.  So, then I sit down with whatever snippet of an idea, or even less than that on occasion, has been paramount in my thoughts and I plunk at the keys to see what comes of it.

Rubbish usually follows, of course.

And I will then delete what I wrote and move on with my day.  On the rare instance that I like what I wrote, I’ll still end up reworking it because the original idea wasn’t related at all to the result.  However that “reworking” process evolves, at some point I will look at the words and tell myself the following:

Write something worthwhile

Write something provocative

Write something memorable

Write something funny

Or

Just write

I want to be good at the first.  I aspire to the second.  I would love to do the third.  I feel like I used to do the fourth sometimes.  These days, however, I just need to write.  Whatever the words end up being, if I write enough of them maybe I’ll find my way back to something that actually means something to somebody, myself included.

That day is not today.  For now I’m in search of inspiration and I would enjoy some help along that path.  I seem to do better at writing projects that involve other people at the moment.  Somehow that keeps me focused in better and able to actually see it all through to some sort of conclusion.  So, in that vein, how about joining me for a game?

The rules are simple.  Create a character and I’ll use all the characters to write a story.  So, I’ll create a character.  You all create characters too.  Either send them to me directly or post about them and link back to here.  Then I’ll write a story that somehow incorporates all of the characters.  I’m not promising it will be more than a short story, or more than a blog post for that matter.  I’m not promising it will be worthwhile or provocative or memorable or even funny.  But, I will write something.

How does that sound?

Good, I’m glad you like the idea too.  I’ll start…

Here’s my character:  We begin with a girl.  Because there’s always a girl.  This one is named Heather.  She has hair that beams golden in sunlight as it cascades below her shoulders.  Her eyes, hazel, crinkle at the edges when she smiles and her laugh is far more playful than she ever intends it to be.  She lives in a small apartment overlooking the beach, though she never actually bothers to gaze out towards the breakers or walk along the edge to let the waves lap at her toes anymore.  She doesn’t even hear the crashing booms of the waves echoing on the otherwise silent nights except on those nights when she needs sleep the most and the noise agitates her rather than sends her to sleep.  She spends her days at an office an hour commute away, where she does work she enjoys but is always left exhausted and feeling like she’s missing something by the end of the week.  She loves movies and books nearly equally, in all genres and styles.  She cries when she’s happy and when she’s sad.  And, she knows she will always be single, but isn’t sure why that it is.  There is some part of her, something buried or forgotten, that she doesn’t fully understand.

And, that is your introduction to Heather.  So, who else is going to go into this story?  Let me know so I can get started on it!

glory

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Yellow was ruthless with its appetite and continued to devour the sky.  The other colors realized their danger and fled for safety, streaking away from the horizon, but they would find no sanctuary.  Yellow would eat them all before night came to wipe the sky clean so the colors could play again the following day.  Perhaps orange would win then.  Or maybe purple.  Tucked away in the warm comfort of darkness, the colors slumbered and dreamed vibrantly of the waiting adventures and glory.

Same Time Next Year

Happy Halloween!

Last Year

He clasped my hand and whispered, “You made it through another Halloween.”

My expression darkened and I growled, “You don’t know how angry I am at you right now!”

He returned my glare with a smile and responded, “You’ll forgive me because I’m irresistible.”

I rolled my eyes and retorted, “Yeah, in your own mind.”

His eyes became serious and he made me promise that we’d do this again the same time next year.

This Year

I didn’t expect one kid, yet I bought a jumbo bag of candy. By 8 PM, with no one stopping by, I wrote “Treat” on the bag and set it on my neighbor’s porch without ringing the doorbell. I had my own business to conduct.

The pink capsules allowed me to sleep. The orange tablets lowered my blood pressure. The white caplets eased my pain. The blue ones were my favorite. They took away my anxiety. A vodka chaser completed the mix.

He and I barely spoke in three months, and as Halloween approached, I assumed he forgot my promise. As I downed the last of my cocktail, his text pinged. It read, “You broke your promise. If you aren’t here in an hour, I’m coming for you.”

I cursed under my breath. Within 40 minutes, I reached his house. A couple was leaving and I snuck through the door. The drugs were taking hold. He thumped my shoulder, smiled, and handed me a martini and a bleu cheese olive. As I finished the olive, a beautiful woman entered the kitchen and introduced herself as his fiancée. My knees almost buckled, partly because of the news and partly because of the pills and drink.

He introduced me as a coworker from out-of-town whose hotel room was cancelled at the last moment. My suitcase made the explanation plausible. He led me upstairs to the spare room. I remembered it from last year. The view from the balcony was gorgeous and peaceful.

I put my clothes on the couch, sat in a lounge on the balcony and closed my eyes.

He knocked and entered the room. I jumped and ran to the door as I heard my name.

“Are you okay?”

“I am.”

He grabbed my hand and as I flinched and pulled away, his fingers slipped through mine as if they were fog. He tried again. We stared at each other, then ran to the balcony. We saw my body slumped on the chair. He tried to revive me, but after a few moments, I begged him to stop.

He clasped my hand and asked me if I felt it. I didn’t, but in order to make him feel better, I nodded my head.

“You didn’t make it through another Halloween.”

I gazed at him.

His expression darkened and he growled, “You don’t know how angry I am at you right now.”

I smiled and blew him a kiss and responded, “You’ll forgive me because I’m irresistible.”

He asked me what would happen next

“I’ll see you the same time next year. I promise.”