Eye of the Beholder

This is my response to the six sentence word prompt of MUNDANE, by girlontheedge. We have returned to Faerie this week, where the fickle nature of the Fae is shown, when they choose to give Casey exactly what she wants. Poor Casey.

When Casey stepped into the ring of mushrooms and demanded visitations, she crossed into another world where she had experienced wonders beyond compare; she seen the greenest of all grasses, waterfalls that ran in rainbows, and flowers so beautiful that there were not words to describe them.

When she returned, finding only seconds had passed, she had believed that she had been given the gift she had so rightly deserved. Her art went from average, to extraordinary, as buyers lined up for a chance to bid on her glimpses into the strange new world she nonsensically called “Otherland”. They called her a visionary, and her contemporaries wondered how she could so easily let go of such extraordinary work, as it was said she didn’t keep a single one for herself.

No one saw the toll it was taking, as she frantically filled canvas after canvas, trying to recreate something that hovered just out of reach at the very edges of her memories. She mixed palate after palate, but could never quite recreate the colors she had seen, this world lacking the pigmentation required, and each time she finished and saw the pale imitation she had created, she wanted it out of her sight immediately, it’s very presence mocking her in her failure.

What at first had seemed a gift, now seemed a curse, torturing her for her arrogance, leaving her longing for a place she could not return to, and now unable to see anything but dull lifelessness in the mundane world that surrounded her.


The Purge

So this one will hit hard for anyone who has went through a large layoff, and been one of the ones still standing after it all. I have been laid off a few times, but until a bit more recently I had never experienced this from the side of those left behind. Tried to work a little of that feeling into this, and then twisted it a little and ramped it up to a 9.

Her chest heaved as she tried to get air, and at the same time tried to breath evenly to imitate calm. She quietly excused herself and walked as quickly as she dare towards the washroom, feeling the warmth in her eyes the signified the welling up of tears.

She went into the last stall and let out a ragged gasp, just breathing, trying to breath, and calm down. It was okay, the worst thing that they could do was fire her. It was okay, she would be okay, she could live on unemployment, she would find another job, and why were people being such assholes today?

She wiped her eyes, blew her nose, used the facilities and centered herself in the mirror. It is okay, I will be okay, she squared her shoulders, turned, and walked out into the chaos that was the loss of too many jobs, none of them hers.

A Sunday Visit

This is a six sentence story, for girl on the edge’s six-sentence-stories, the word was RAMBUNCTIOUS. I decided to combine this with an old idea of mine about an anthropomorphic animal grandmother, greeting the family for a Sunday afternoon visit. Bonus points if you can guess the animal. If you know your groupings, fluffle will give it away.

Ella breathed in the smell of warm chocolate as she pulled yet another batch of cookies from the oven. It was Sunday, the best day of the week in her opinion, because that was the day that the entire family came to visit her warren.

She got up just before dawn to make sure she would have freshly baked cookies for all of them, and as she put the 14th pan of the day into the oven, she heard the first inkling that they were on their way.

One long ear turned towards the door, and she smiled as she realized that the pattering she had heard was in fact that of dozens of tiny feet hopping their way down the lane. She had switched from sweets to drinks by the time the first of the little ones knocked on her door, and smiled as she saw it was the was the eldest of the bunch, Kara, run ahead to help.

They powered their way through the remaining work, so that when the rambunctious fluffle started to pour in Ella was able to great each kit with a hug, a kiss, a treat, and though she was tired from the early morning and hard work, she knew that she wouldn’t have traded this for anything.

Monster in the Dark

This short story is inspired by a day I walked from the movie theatre to the car at midnight and had that feeling on the back of my neck. I was across that parking lot and in the car faster than I thought possible, and while I was mildly embarrassed by the guy in the parking lot being close enough to hear the door locks, there was a part of my brain thinking something like the below would occur. It didn’t, but a writer’s imagination is not always a good thing…

He oozed out of the darkness, like he was made of the same oil that sat thick in his hair. I started walking faster before I registered that I had seen him. It was like something old, and primitive in my brain was screaming predator, and I fought the keys from my jacket pocket, slipping them between my fingers for a weapon if it came to that. I prayed that I wouldn’t slip on the snow covered ice in my mad dash, once I was down all bets would be off.

I didn’t dare unlock the car until I was almost on top of it, in case he leapt ahead and managed to get inside. I pressed it once to make sure only my door opened, and threw myself into the car, desperately clicking the lock closed behind me.

I heaved a sigh of relief, only to have it cut short as a loud rap sounded on the window. “Open the door!” It was the man, screaming at mer, pounding the window with one hand while the other tried at the latch. I considered setting off the alarm, but he and I were the only ones around, and there was a risk of unlocking the door. I turned the car on and the pounding got louder, and I feared that the window would break.

I slipped it into gear, pressing the call button on the steering wheel with one hand, “Dial 9-1-1” I reversed slowly, blindly, unable to see anything through front and rear windows covered in a layer of snow. The phone connected.

“9-1-1 whats your emergency?” The operator asked, calmly.

“There, is a man, hes trying to get in my car, and I can’t see, and I couldn’t clear the windows and I think he’s going to get in.” I gasped, struggling to breath though my panic.

“Where are you?” The operator responded.

“Uh, the theater on 6th and crescent.” I wasn’t sure.

“Okay, are you moving?” The operator asked.

“Slowly. I can’t see out the the windows except the side” Which seemed even dumber as I said it out loud, what was I thinking.

“Okay, stop the car, and put it in park” The operator said calmly, and I did.

“Okay.” I said to fill the silence.

“Take the keys from the car, and slip them-” The operator started

“Between my fingers” I finished.

“Yes, usually driving away would be best, but if you can’t see I am afraid you are going to hurt yourself or others. A squad car will be there in 2 minutes, just hold on.” The operator relayed, and I panicked in response.

“Don’t go” I pleaded, feeling foolish for asking.

“I am not going anywhere. I am going to stay on with you, every step of the way, and when the police have finished arresting him, you are going to tell me, and then I will hang up, and not before then, okay.” The operator’s voice was soothing as ash spoke.

“Okay” I took a deep breath, feeling calmer already. The operator would be there until the police arrested him.

It felt like the car was pressing in on me, and I struggled to breath. I wanted nothing more than to open the windows and get a breath, but I knew what would, what could happen if I did. I started to cry, and that when I heard them.

They were faint at first, and I thought I was imagining it, that I wanted to hear them so badly I was making them up, but then the operator spoke up.

“Do you hear that, those sirens? The police are almost there, stay with me.”

I flinched as he banged harder and harder on her windows, and it cracked, and I knew I didn’t have long before he was through and in.

It didn’t matter though, because now the sirens were deafening, and then one loud bang later, and he was being pulled from the window and thrown to the ground. He hit the ground screaming, and I sat crying, jumping when the police man knocked on my door.

“Ma’am its the police” And looked up and it was. The man who had tried to attack me was being shoved in the back of the car. The operator came though.

“Unlock the door.” She asked, and I did. The police officer opened the door and I collapsed against him sobbing. I heard him talking, and then he reached past and ended my call. Paramedics showed up, and I was taken in, shock apparently, and as I sat in the ambulance wrapped in a blanket all I could think was that it could have been so much worse.