Posted in Flash Fiction Friday, Prompts, Writing

Memories

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My fellow colleagues and friends,

Along with this letter, I have enclosed an artifact that may very well be the pinnacle of my findings: a pocket watch, hidden beneath the floorboards of an early twentieth-century cottage in Liege, Belgium. The watch, though rusted and covered in dust, is in near perfect condition and a wonderful addition to the historic archives of the university; however, I urge you to be cautious when handling this precious artifact. In fact, I implore you not to open it but instead to quickly put it somewhere safe and far away from human contact.

Perhaps it would be better if I withheld the watch and returned it to its blanket of dust underneath rotten floorboards, but I am not strong enough to resist my natural affection of the preservation of history, no matter how dark or iniquitous that history may be. This small memento, though its impact is actually larger than some may believe, is extremely dangerous. It contains vivid memories of the “War to End All Wars,” the very first World War. These memories are filled with dark and sad emotions: the fear of the Germans as they attacked Belgium and the excruciating sorrow of one who has died in the trenches.

My friends, this artifact seems to have captured the memories of its owner or owners. I’m clueless as to how this has been accomplished, and I cannot explain it scientifically, but this pocket watch is cursed. These horrid memories have seeped into my mind and the minds of my crew, and we have all felt as if we were reliving a war that happened a century ago.

I can only ask for your trust, my logical friends. Many of you may think I’ve gone insane or sipped too much wine, but neither is impacting my words today. When the watch is opened, the memories are released into your mind. When the watch is closed, the memories vanish and only traces of the strong emotions remain until nightfall when the memories reenter your dreams. We have all felt it here in the cottage, and it has caused a few members of my team to abort our mission. Not only do the memories echo World War 1, but they also relive terrible occurrences that have happened inside the cottage where the watch was discovered. Through my extensive research, I have discovered that the cottage has been abandoned for more than fifty years.

Though I fear the pocket watch because of its power to poison my mind with horrific scenes, nothing can rebuke its value. Never have I encountered an artifact that speaks directly to the mind. Some may believe it is magic, but if anything–I believe it is cursed.

To end this letter, I again ask that you do not open the watch. It is too valuable… or too dangerous to leave here, although I fear what the consequences may be if the memories cannot be contained at the university. However, I completely trust the professors there to keep the watch preserved and safe, which I hope is enough.

I am sorry that I could not deliver this in person. I am going to remain here, researching and developing a more logical explanation to this mystery. If I should return soon, I hope the reason will be a positive one.

-Professor Iven

Posted in Flash Fiction Friday, Writing

Backbone

“Show some backbone, Tori.”

Tori shuddered as her knees hit the tough, dry dirt. “I’ll try, Brad.”

She slowly lowered her torso all the way to the ground and tried to ignore the ants that meandered around her. Despite having to deal with an older brother that loved the outdoors, Tori had never liked the wilderness and the creepy crawlies that came with it; however, in her family, it was nearly impossible to avoid being out in nature.

The girl hesitated before army crawling underneath several thorny, low-hanging branches. She paused midway, but Brad kicked her foot and kept her moving. With every shuffle of her body, Tori came closer and closer to the animal on the other side of the underbrush.

Although she hated bugs, Tori loved animals. She had grown up feeding the deer, rabbits, and other wild animals that wandered into her backyard. Brad, like their father, loved animals even more and would often travel up the mountain to find some of the dangerous animals that lived there. Today, Brad brought Tori up the mountain to meet the most dangerous animal of them all.

As her head brushed past the heavy branches and she got a whiff of evergreen, Tori scanned the clearing. There he was, an animal the size of a sheep, looking at his own reflection in the pool only a few yards away. Tori whistled and the creature turned abruptly, his scaly skin glistening in the sunlight. They stared at each other, not daring to blink.

Tori lowered her head slowly, remembering the wise words of her brother. She opened her hand, revealing a gold necklace taken from her mother’s dusty jewelry box. Without looking, she stretched her arm out towards the rigid animal.

The silence dripped with tension. This morning, Brad had reminded her what to do when meeting the creature. Act weak, don’t appear dominant, offer the gold. It won’t hurt you without a good reason. If only Brad knew how scared she was right now.

In a moment, Tori felt sharp talons snatch the necklace out of her hand.  Surprised, she looked up to see the creature’s wings spread out as he flew back to the spot by the pool. He snorted and let out a small burst of flame, eyeing Tori the whole time.

Brad crawled his way through the branches and smiled. “You did it! He took your offering.” He pulled himself up to his knees and the creature perched himself on Brad’s lap. Brad smirked and petted the creature’s purple head. “You did it, sis. You met the most dangerous animal on earth.”

Tori’s heart was still beating fiercely from the encounter, but she looked calm and collected. She watched the animal groom himself and nudge Brad’s arm. Although he could fly and breathe fire, he sure didn’t seem very intimidating in her brother’s lap.

“For a dragon, he’s pretty small.” Tori remarked.

The dragon stopped grooming and glared at Tori. He snorted and his throat rumbled.

Brad laughed. “You’re pretty small too, for a girl as brave as you.”

 

Posted in Flash Fiction Friday, Writing

Inside the Cloud

It was very dark by the time I drove home from work. The moon was completely covered by the broad clouds that still lingered from the evening rainstorms and the street lamps were dimmed by thin fog, but as I turned onto a street in my neighborhood, the fog thickened considerably.

I slowed down and leaned forward. Groaning, I squinted at the road that was barely visible and continued pressing down on the brakes. As I went further, the fog grew thicker and thicker until I could not trust my ability to drive. Except for the bright lights of other cars, I was completely blind. I flicked my brights on, but instantly regretted it as the entire space around me was illuminated.

That’s when I saw it: a silhouette only a few yards in front of me, standing in the middle the road. I screamed and slammed the brakes, causing my car to jerk to a stop. For a moment, I thought I hit whoever was in the road, but I didn’t remember feeling an impact. My stomach churned just thinking about hitting someone.

I peered through the windshield. A sphere of grey light surrounded my headlights, but nothing else was there. I could have sworn that whatever I saw was closer, but the road was empty, although the wisps of fog loomed around my car as if they were alive.

Just as I began to roll slowly forward, a pale figure darted through the sphere of light past my side window. I screamed again and pressed into my seat. Although I stopped again, I reached for the button to lock all my doors.

My music was already off, and the silence radiated through my body. I was completely alert- waiting for something to make a noise besides my own rapid breathing. Deep down, I really, truly hoped that I had imagined the pale figure. I shakily turned my head to the left, looking behind me… and my heart flung forward when I saw a sickly, grey face pressed into the rear door.

I couldn’t move. I couldn’t scream. I couldn’t cry. I just sat there, waiting for those sunken eyes to meet mine. The dry, chapped lips of the face snarled upward and the door handle started clicking and jiggling on the door. A loud pop signaled the handle breaking off. The creature used the handle to hit the window.

The loud noises put me out of my paralyzed state and I dragged my foot to the gas and floored it. The monster screeched as the car moved forward, but the pale figure did not hang on to the car. I drove as fast as I could through the fog, not looking back or caring which side of the street I was on. I couldn’t even feel my foot on the pedal or my hands on the wheel, I only felt the tears forming in my eyes.

A few moments later, I could see the street again. In fact, the night was so clear and visible, it was hard to believe that I had just come out of a very thick fog. It was as if I passed through a cloud in the sky.

I made a few turns and reached my house. It took a full 10 minutes to will myself out of the car, for I was so afraid of that figure jumping out again. Once I finally stepped out of the car, I shined the light from my phone on the left side of the automobile. I wanted to see if I imagined what had happened.

Unfortunately, I saw the cracked window and a gaping hole where the door handle should have been.

 

-Charlotte Emelia

Creepy? Not creepy? Let me know because this “creature” will appear again in my weekly FLASH FICTION FRIDAY.

Posted in Flash Fiction Friday, Writing

Aware

I don’t know what changed.

Before, my eyes were glazed over, and I didn’t care much about anything. Life was just a cycle- never ceasing, always dull. I was a grey, ticking machine in a crowd of robots. We didn’t feel, we didn’t care, and we didn’t love.

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But something happened in my dreary, dismal world: the touch of color brushed my cold skin and brought back warmth into my body. My eyes opened to a whole new dimension and suddenly every breath was a gulp of sentience. I could see the blue in the sky and I could feel a flutter of excitement with every beat of my heart… and every new experience was divine.

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And then that soft, tender touch of color left before I was ready to let go. The absence of it became unbearable as I was again thrown back into the crowd of machines where the only thing that mattered was completing the cycle of selfish, distant, unremarkable accomplishment.

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Yet, somehow, something was different. I could feel the damp ground beneath me, and I heard the distant sound of birds from the rooftops. If I closed my eyes, I could feel the beat of my pounding heart. Although it was difficult to gather, I could still see life thriving around me. I wasn’t focused on myself anymore; instead, I was perceptive to the world surrounding my small body. For the first time, I was aware.

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Although that warm touch that breathed life into my soul was gone, and my heart longed dearly for it, I couldn’t help but be at peace. Beneath those sad, melodious emotions, there was happiness.

I was aware, and that made me so, so much better.

-Charlotte Emelia

P.S. Shout out to my AMAZING model, Sidney Cameron.