Back in Time

You wake up one morning to find that you are your three year old self, with your parents again, with all of the memories and experiences of your current life. Write this scene and express the emotion and frustration your character undergoes as you internally try to sort this out.

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

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834 thoughts on “Back in Time

  1. Caspian6757

    I slid out of bed and headed to the door while pulling a wet diaper out from between my small butt cheeks. I paused, rolled my eyes, then turned around and headed for the clean diapers. Tearing off the soaked one and shoving it in the bin, I pulled on a fresh one and grabbed my blanket and headed back to the door. Now, the next challenge was reaching the blasted door knob! The teddy bear stool in the corner served a nice purpose. The hall was creepier than I remembered but perhaps that was the child in me, or rather the child I was and not the adult that felt the fear. I, the adult part of me, knew there was nothing really out there. Determined, I headed towards the kitchen in darkness. It took a few tries but the fridge door gave under my will of domination. Grinning with all of four tiny teeth I rummaged for something good. “Cookies! Oh cookies how I’ve missed you!” Old age hasn’t been kind but by god I’m loving this! My grubby little hands reached and made contact just in time for someone to flip on the light. I turned and screamed, startled to see my mother, tired, and a bit bemused at my guilty posture. Blanket gripped for life in one hand and package of cookies in the other. “Now, now, I don’t think so buddy. Let’s get you back to bed little mister.” For a moment I understood the rational point of view here, but then the crinkle of the cookie package made me loose it! Wailing like the child I currently was, the cookies were taken away and my mother put me back in my bed, this time with the bars up on the side. Exhausted from my irrational fit I grabbed my blanket and stuck my thumb in my mouth. “Tomorrow for sure, I’ll get you tomorrow you crafty cookie and your little crumbs too!”

  2. Doug Langille

    SMOKE
    ======

    Peter wanted a smoke. It wasn’t so much a physical need as an emotional imperative. After all, he was three years old. Fucking gypsies.

    He woke up staring at that God damned solar-system mobile again. That thing scared the shit out of him for years last time around. Mom never figured out that he’d broken it on purpose. She never noticed such things, too busy scratching tickets with a dirty penny to notice. Even now, as Pete stood in his playpen, he saw the ashen heater of her cigarette arc into the ashtray as she furiously rubbed away the silvery coating of wasted money. Man, that smoke looked good.

    “Mom,” said Peter. Nothing. “Mom!” Still nothing. “Yo, Mattie,” he bellowed, as best as a toddler could bellow. Fucking gypsies.

    His mother looked up. “What, Petey. What do you want now?”

    “Don’t call me that. I always fucking hated being called ‘Petey’.”

    “Sorry, Peter. I jus-”

    “Pete. I go by Pete.”

    “Okay, Pete. What can mommy do for you?” She readily accepted that her little boy’s body now housed a thirty year-old version. It never crossed her booze-addled brain as to where three-year-old Petey went. Mattie Johns simply rolled with it. Government Mothers Allowance didn’t care. So what if this brat could hold his liquor better than her! If only this Pete wasn’t so damned needy. She forced a saccharin smile.

    Pete wasn’t buying what she was selling. “Gimme a drag will ya? I’m croaking here.”

    “Just one puff. I don’t want you coughing again.” She leaned over and passed him the butt.

    “Whatever. Thanks.” Pete took a long pull and tapped the ash into an upended Megablock. He passed it back.

    “Bastard! You finished it. And stop staring at my tits. Creeping me out.”

    Pete shrugged. “When’s your next customer?”

    “Ten minutes and he’ll be here.”

    “You’ll leave his pants out here this time, right?”

    “Yes, Petey, I mean, Pete.”

    “More than ten minutes?”

    “Jesus, this is Gordon. You got five… tops.”

    “Him again? He’s as horny as he is dumb, ain’t he?”

    Mattie smiled, not wide enough to expose the gap, but still managed to show some motherly affection. There was a knock at the door.

    “Shit, he’s early,” she said. “Ready?”

    “As always, Mom.”

    Mattie bent down and kissed her son on the forehead, much to Pete’s delight. Standing, she pushed up her breasts and smoothed her t-shirt. “Showtime, bud.”

    “Hey,” Pete said.

    “What now?”

    “One word: Tictacs.”

    She gave him the finger and grabbed the case off the table, shaking one out as she headed to the door.

  3. bg83mn

    “Honey, do you hear that? Hun? John!”
    “What? I’m sleeping.”
    “The phone, your phone was ringing.”
    “So what? It’s the middle of the night. If it’s important they will call back.”
    “They did dear, many times.”
    Just then the cell phone on the dresser lit up the ceiling and a ringtone echoed off the wall, in recognition to the statement just made.

    John lifted the restricting covers off himself and went to see what the panic was regarding. “It’s two o’clock in the morning for damn sake.” John sleepily pressed the buttons on the phone. “It’s Carla, Mitch’s wife.” he curiously stated. “five missed calls? No message.” John pressed the return call button and awaited through the single half ring.
    “Hello? John?”
    “what is it Carla? What’s Wrong?”
    “John? He’s dead. Mitch is dead… He left us. That son of a bitch. He finally left us.”
    “What? He… How? He’s young. We’re only 35?”
    John took in all the information that was given and hung up the phone. “Mitch. He’s dead. I grew up with him. e was healthier than me. Died of a heart attack. My best friend. He’ll my only friend. I’m going to go have a smoke.”
    John’s wife watched him leave the room and worried in silence.
    John went downstairs to the enclosed front porch. He sat on his recliner, lit a cigarette and held his head in his hands, weeping over his loss. After his tears were exhausted he laid back on the recliner and lit another cigarette. John’s eyes grew heavy with sleep. He abruptly opened them soon after they shut. He noticed he was in a bed again, ‘not my bed, what is this?’ John felt himself saying “Mom? Dad?” he thought for a moment, ‘why did I say that. Dad’s been dead for years. What’s going on? Where am I?’

    John climbed from bed and ran downstairs ‘This is my old house. I haven’t seen this since I was a kid.’
    “Johnny boy come get breakfast. Oh, there you are come and eat.” John looked at his mother in stunned silence unable to understand. But he fond himself eating a moment later, without so much as a question.

    John’s mother brought him to daycare for the first time that morning. John was hesitant to be left with strangers and wasn’t sure how to communicate his situation with anyone. He was trapped inside himself. A much younger version apparently, but still himself. John cried and watched his mother leave. Long after she was no longer in sights John felt someone tap his shoulder. John turned about and fond another boy of similar age and stature holding his hand out waiting to be shook. John fond his courtesies and shook the boys hand, “My name is Mitch” he said. And John looked back in amazement, “I’m Johnny”, he stated. ‘I never knew how I met you’ he fond his emotions all a jumbled. ‘I’ve always known you. We were inseparable. My friend. Nah, my Brother.’

  4. Red mage

    One of the more prominent lies of adulthood is that your childhood was so much better than whatever happened past puberty. You figure, you’ve been a productive member of society, you know true misery. That reality, however, pales in comparison to the sheer annoyance at my current situation. I don’t care whether this is a dream, a bizarre acid trip or some divine prank. All I know is that I have regressed in height and that there are a bunch of stuffed lion, tigers, and bears staring at me with large soulless eyes from various corners of the room.

    My eyes darted to a large clock with a smiley face on the wall.

    7:14 AM? I haven’t woken up this early without an alarm since…well forever.

    Alert and wide awake, I climbed out bed—much closer to the floor than I’m used to—and head to the ajar door, the hallway light peeking through the crack to banish any monsters from my closet. Of course, I realize now that it was mostly for my mother’s benefit, so that she could hear any possible mischief I was planning.

    My old house looks different from my current perspective. Everything’s taller; even the ceiling looks like it’s too high. I made my way passed my mother’s room and went downstairs. If time travel has indeed occurred, science fiction has taught me it’s best to avoid confrontation as long as possible. I know about Facebook; I could do some serious damage here. Feeling hungry, I went to the kitchen and encountered my first problem.

    No chair is going to help me reach those Cheerios.

    Okay, how about a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?

    Luckily, the jelly jar is on the bottom shelf on the refrigerator door. I took the jar out and twisted.

    It didn’t even budge. It also didn’t help that I could not even maintain a proper grip because my hand was too small for the lid. That’s no good.

    Fruit? I have no fingernails to peel an orange properly. Apples it is.

    Hunger problem solved, at least for the moment, I stood in the middle of the living room at a loss.

    What did I do for fun when I was three?

    My mom would have a fit if I went outside without her and playing with dolls just doesn’t do it for me anymore.

    Good ol’ television and the days before parental controls.

    Of course, the networks I watch when I’m older are still showing paid programming and infomercials at this hour because real adults want to sleep in on a Saturday morning. That’s okay though. I do remember how much I enjoyed Saturday morning cartoons. I immediately turned to my old favorite channels.

    The nostalgia wore off quickly.

    There is no internet, my current books barely surpass the five second rule, I cannot feed myself, I have no freedom, height discrimination is suddenly a real thing (again) and even TV has failed me.

    Childhood is overrated.

  5. Cceynowa

    <>

    I think I peed myself. How could this happen? I am a 26 year old woman for crying out loud! And where is my husband? This isn’t our room. My feet are pinned to the bed. What the fuck?

    I sit up, taking stock of my surroundings, and find myself face to face with Flicka resting on my feet. I start to scream. Flicka has been dead for over 10 years. She died when I was twelve. We buried her in the backyard.

    I hear running feet. My mom appears at my side, her dyed red hair styled by sleep. I have only seen pictures of her red hair phase. What. The. Fuck.

    Flicka begins to growl.

    “Mom. Oh my God, mom,” I say. My voice is too high, and I have a slight lisp. Realization hits me. I’m a child, a toddler. My boobs are gone and my hands are fat. My legs are short and bowed. I’m sitting in a rapidly cooling puddle of pee.

    “It’s okay baby, accidents happen,” my mother sooths. “Flicka, get out. Out.” Mom shuts the door behind the still growling Flicka and heads to the dresser for, I assume, fresh clothes.

    “Mom, listen. This isn’t right. I’m not three.”

    She looks confused and bemused. “Oh, and how old are you, my big girl?”

    “Cut the shit, Patty. I’m a married woman. We had a bad falling out when I married Bryan. Just ‘cause I’m back in time doesn’t mean I forgot the woman you truly are.”

    She looks dumbfounded, but, in true mom fashion, quickly recovers by focusing on the wrong issue. “Young lady! How dare you.”

    After she spanks me, rather harder than I remembered her ever doing so before, I am left to sit in the dark, in my own pee, and ponder my future.

    Best I can figure, I’m approximately three years old. No clue why I’m back to being three, but I’m not going to marry that loser Bryan again.

  6. fushigisuppi

    I wake up, my head stinging painfully. The overwhelming hunger I feel overpowers every sense of pain I should be feeling right now though. How do I get out of this small fragile body? I know I look so pale right now. Please, anyone, anybody, give me something to fill my tummy. I extend one of my hands. I see it trembling with dirt and wounds I’m too numb to feel. I try to look so pitiful – a look I’ve mastered long ago. No one notices.

    I try to move. I can’t. I’ve gotten used to just sit here; my back leaning against the wall. It’s the dirtiest place a kid like me shouldn’t loiter. That’s the problem. I don’t just loiter here, I live here. A street so narrow but seems so big. A street so big nobody hears my stomach growling. Nobody sees my dehydrated lips so dry. I drink my own saliva.

    I don’t know how I managed to wake up. I remember I was staring at some distant future where I’m living a luxurious life. A 30-year old version of me with life so different from this. A life so convenient I don’t know how to live. A life free from dirt and hunger and sorrow. I smile wryly. I want to go back there. I know how. I’ll sleep now and please don’t wake me up. I would want to not wake up.

  7. vaderize03

    I just joined, and this my first post. Not sure if it fits, but I wanted to give it a shot.

    * * *

    I looked down at the foot of the bed, and there it was. My lungs froze, and my heart began to race like a rabid jackhammer. It hovered in plain sight, a shiny red cylinder topped with a glowing red ball, mocking me.
    The Contonaton.
    How I knew its name, I did not know, but the sight of it filled me with unspeakable fear. I sat very still, staring at my nemesis, and waited for its next move. I wanted to cry out, but was afraid to break the spell. What are you? I thought as the sweat began to flow. Where do you come from?
    Silence. If it could read my thoughts, it would not give an answer.
    Inch-by-inch, I began to move. First my hips, then my legs. I never took my eyes off of it as I slid to the floor and straightened up. My knees clicked, but the monster didn’t move. One foot at a time, I backed towards the door. It was eyeless, yet I felt its stern gaze. Please G-d, I prayed as I groped for the handle, don’t let me die. Not like this.
    My fingers closed on the cold metal. I paused, unsure of what to do. Fast or slow? I thought. Stealth or surprise? As I pondered the question, it began to move, slowly at first, then faster and faster. Its glow increased, and the room turned redder than a fiery island sunset. Without warning, it came to a halt, then suddenly released two high-pitched shrieks. My nerve snapped, and with a whistling scream, I bolted down the hall to the safety of my parents.
    The room was dark, but my eyes were keen. I saw her first, curled in sleep’s blissful embrace, and scurried over.
    “Mommy,” I whispered. “I saw a shadow.”
    A shift and a groan, then a blossom of light. Grumbling under his breath, my father reached for a book and started to read. After donning her glasses, mom pulled back the covers and tucked me in. A hug and a kiss, then the four words that made everything okay: “It was only a dream.”

    1. Critique

      I liked this vaderize03. A dream from a child’s perspective with some of the adult thinking thrown in. There’s nothing quite as comforting as a Mother’s snuggles and reassuring words.
      May I offer a tiny suggestion? Space out your writing so it doesn’t look solid – like one paragraph – it’s makes it much easier to read :)
      I hope to read more of your prompts!

      1. vaderize03

        Thanks for the feedback, I really appreciate it!

        Quick question: I had it separated into much more readable segments when I copy/pasted it from Pages, but when it uploaded, it reformatted into what got posted.

        Do you know if there’s any way to prevent that?

        Thanks! (and looking forward to posting more!)

  8. lynnshoemate

    “No mama, please stop! I’m sorry!” 

    Who said that? It didn’t sound like me. It sounded like a child. But there’s no one else here. I feel the blows, so maybe it was me. Is that my mother standing over me, hitting me? I’m cowering in my bed. I’m wet. The bed’s wet. And this woman is raging mad about it.  

    Am I dreaming? It feels real. Then somehow I know. I’m three. She’s my twenty three year old mother. I’m not dreaming. But how did this happen? How did we get back here? 

    A voice speaks to my heart and tells me He did this. 

    “I had to bring you back here to experience this again. As an adult. When you were three you had to bury this or it would have destroyed you. But it stayed with you, in your soul. A festering wound that needs to be healed. It will still be painful but you’re safe now. Safe from her. Safe to feel – not the physical pain of the abuse, but the emotional pain of a mother’s rejection – and not be destroyed by it. You have many wounds that need to be healed. We’ll have to come back to heal each one. I’ll be with you and you’ll survive this even though it may not feel like it at times. You cannot be healthy and whole until we work on healing your wounds. They won’t heal on their own.”

    He was right. It’s extremely painful when I go back and visit the abuse and rejection I received from my mother. Yet, I know it’s necessary. I denied and repressed until I was forty nine years old. Then God said, “No more. It’s time to remember so you will never forget how it really was.” 

    Sometimes I think the feeling and grieving are going to knock me down so hard I’ll never get up again. But it hasn’t yet. God always picks me up and assures me this will not last forever. So I keep going back. And I feel the healing and the freedom it’s giving me. 

    1. Critique

      Lynnshoemate this is a well written very dark tale of abuse – from a Mother – the one who should be your protector and nurturer. It felt real to me. I’m glad the MC is experiencing healing from the past.

      1. lynnshoemate

        Thank you Critique. I know it’s dark and most people don’t want to hear/read/know about this. But this was my life as a child. And writing about it brings healing and helps others. I appreciate your comment.

        1. Critique

          Thanks for sharing so personally lynnshoemate. When I read your prompt I thought perhaps it was close to home for you. You did a super job portraying the situation and kudos to you for sharing your experience (not an easy thing to do) to help someone else :)

  9. Shell

    Regression
    By Shell Ochsner

    Where am I?

    I don’t understand.

    Is this a dream?

    Why is that woman singing my name?

    “Meeeeeshell my Bell, wake up punkin.”

    “Mom?” The sound of my childlike voice startled me to the point of tears.

    In a futile attempt to assess the situation, I start inventories. I’m wearing a Wonder Woman nightgown, laying in a very uncomfortable spring bed in a bedroom that I barely remember.

    Panic stricken I try to find a rational explanation of why I’ve suddenly woken up as my three-year old self. “I shouldn’t be here.”

    Misunderstanding my predicament, mother comes to me for comfort. “Did you have a bad dream sweetie? Shhh, now don’t cry. Momma’s got you.”

    This can’t be happening. I’m a forty-year old woman with my own children. I have a career, husband, and a house. I have a life! If this is a dream, why aren’t I waking up? Reality usually presses on when the fantasy’s revealed.

    It’s useless to struggle against her grasp as she strokes my forehead while gently rocking. Dazed and confused I submit to her nurturing. “Would you like some breakfast sweetie?”

    The mere mention of the word sends my toddler senses into a frenzy worthy of a shark attack. My stomach noisily growls and I wince at my vulnerability. “Yes please. I would like to eat now.”

    With a big kiss on my forehead, she goes towards the kitchen to prepare my meal once again singing my name, “Meeeeshell, my bell.”

    I revel in the moment as I lay here listening to my beautiful mother singing to me. I forgot about how pleasant she was before her drug use. My young body responds with tingling happy feelings that make me want to run up to her and jump in her arms. But my adult brain keeps me still, stymied as I’m hypnotised by her loveliness.

    After breakfast, I give in to the temptation to explore. It’s strange to walk around a house when your barely three-and-a-half feet tall. My hands are so small, it’s with great difficulty to hold on to anything.

    Astoundment strikes as I approach our rocking chair. “That chair’s so big!”

    At one fell swoop, I’m soaring through the air then we crash-land in the chair. Both of us broke out into uncontrollable giggles as she hugged me tight.

    How could I not remember this about her? Tears streak my guilt-ridden cheeks as she tightened her arms around me once more.

    “Awe honey, don’t be upset. This is just my way of telling you how much I truly love you. And I’m sorry for all you endured. I wanted you to know that it wasn’t always bad. I love you and I’m proud of the beautiful woman you are today. ”

    The look on my face must have said it all.

    “Yes my sweet. This is where I will spend eternity. This is my heaven.”

    I let her hold me until sleep took me back where I belong. “Goodbye mom.”

  10. Juliakinter

    “Christmas Fire”
    My eyes flutter open and after a few minutes of adjusting to the sun light peeping in through the curtains, I sit up. The pink walls are the first to catch my eye, then the dolls and purple rug. My hands rub hard against my eyes, I often dreamt to when I was a child but never this vividly. I look to my bed side table to my hello kitty alarm clock. As it strikes 6 am the meows go off, one after the other until I reach my hand out, feeling the smooth, silver snooze button for a minute, then I press it. I pull my tiny hands back and look them all around ‘could this be happening? No, of course not!’ I think to myself. I stand up, feeling the carpet run through my small toes, I look up and down; I’m wearing a soft, pink night gown with horses and hearts on it. ‘Ok, maybe this is happening.’ I think as I explore more around my room.
    “Connie, why aren’t you up, Its Christmas!?” mom says as she opens my door.
    “Mom, I’m not me” I cry
    “Oh, honey, did you have a nightmare?” She says, bending over to get to my eyes level, her brown hair hanging down. “But you had Mr. Bear to protect you! Now come down stairs! Santa’s been good to you this year!”
    “No mom, I’m not me!” I cry as she picks me up and carries me down the steps. When we get to the bottom, the whole house is full of crayon drawings of Christmas trees on construction paper and multi-colored lights.
    A smell of warm, fresh pancakes fills my nose, a smell I hadn’t smelt in forever. I run into the kitchen to find my father flipping pancakes, I run over to him and hug him so hard he falls back on the hot gas stove and the fire leaps to his shirt. I stand back watching as the fire engulfs the room.
    “Get out, Connie!” My mother yells and I run out the back door, my mother stay in to try and find daddy but comes out a few minutes later, alone. Tears and ash cover her face and body, as she runs to me and hugs me tight and sobs into my shoulder. Suddenly I realize why my mother never told me how my father died.

  11. Sabrinaannbell

    My eyes flick open in panic, noting that the room is basked in a light glow of orange, the sun must be trying to peak in behind the curtain. I wonder what time it is. Passed 6:30, but how far passed; I do not know. My heart has started back up once again, allowing me to take in a breath, one I had not realized I was holding. Falling, that’s what woke me; I have had the falling dream, once again. There is a throbbing in my head, the hammer pounding down as I try to recall the events of last night. I remember Dylan, lots of shots, and praying profusely to the porcelain gods’, but after that my mind is blank. Did I make it home last night? Is this my bed? I roll over feeling the presence of another human being beside me.

    Mom? Her eyes snap open. She regards me warmly, with a smile, bringing the corners of her mouth almost level with her nose, revealing the perfect white rows of pearl like teeth. She looks different, younger.

    “Hi, sweetie.” Sweetie? She hasn’t called me sweetie since I was ten. What’s she been smoking?

    “Let’s see if you made it through the night without wetting the bed.” She wonders aloud, propping herself up onto her elbows, and eventually into a kneeling position over me. Gee, mom, I might have been drunk last night but I’ve never managed to piss myself.

    “Hey! Put me down.” I wail, in a high-pitched screeching sound. Was that my voice? Hands tucked under my armpits, holding me a foot away from her, my mother has paused mid swing as soon as the first words rushed out of my mouth. We both stare at each other. My mother’s face a mask of worry, revealing the shocked look that must be plastered on mine.

    I look down at my dangling legs in the air. My legs! Where are my legs? I’m frantic, my fat stubby arms, trying desperately to reach them, while I kick both feet furiously back and forth. Failing miserably, not even able to reach over my mother’s arms blocking the way. The dawning realization that I am three years old, hits me blindsided like a Tonka truck tossed into a toy filled sandbox. I go limp in my mother’s arms as everything around me goes black.

    1. Sabrinaannbell

      Okay, I just wanted to say sorry for my eye sore of a short story on here a couple of extra times. I know that duplicity can sometimes take away from the content intended to come across, people find it annoying, but on a positive note at least you can see my editing process. :) If you do plan on reading one of them, I recommend this one. It’s my final edit.
      Thanks
      Sabrina

  12. Sabrinaannbell

    My eyes flick open in panic, noting that the room is basked in a light glow of orange, the sun must be trying to peak in behind the curtain. I wonder what time it is. Passed 6:30, but how far passed; I do not know. My heart has started back up once again, allowing me to take in a breath, one I had not realized I was holding. Falling, that’s what woke me; I have had the falling dream, once again. There is a throbbing in my head, the hammer pounding down as I try to recall the events of last night. I remember Dylan, lots of shots, and praying profusely to the porcelain gods’, but after that my mind is blank. Did I make it home? Is this my bed? I roll over feeling the presence of another human being lying beside me.
    Mom?

    Her eyes snap open. She regards me warmly, with a smile, bringing the corners of her mouth almost level with her nose, revealing the perfect white rows of pearl like teeth. She looks different, younger.

    “Hi sweetie.” Sweetie? She hasn’t called me sweetie since I was ten. What’s she been smoking? “Let’s see if you made it through the night without wetting the bed.” She wonders aloud, propping herself up onto her elbows, and eventually into a kneeling position over me. Gee, mom, I might have been drunk last night but I’ve never managed to piss myself.

    “Hey, put me down.” I wail, in a high-pitched screeching sound. Was that my voice? Hands tucked under my armpits, holding me a foot away from her, my mother has paused in mid swing as soon as the first words rushed out of my mouth. We are both staring at each other. My mother’s face a mask of worry, revealing the shocked look that must be plastered on mine.

    I look down at my dangling legs in the air. My legs. Where are my legs? I’m frantic, my fat stubby arms, trying desperately to reach them, while I kick both feet furiously back and forth. Failing miserably, not even able to reach over my mother’s arms blocking the way. The dawning realization that I am three, hits me blindsided like a Tonka truck tossed into a toy-filled sandbox. I go limp in my mother’s arms, as everything around me turns black.

  13. DMelde

    Peter felt death rise up to greet him as he fell inside of his dream.

    “If you hit bottom when you fall in a dream then you die.” his mother had warned.

    Peter struggled to wake up before he “hit bottom”. Every night he had the same dream. Every time he struggled to wake up. After two weeks, Peter decided- Enough! And the very next time he fell in his dream he didn’t struggle to wake up. He fell and fell for a very long time. Then he hit bottom, but he didn’t die. Peter learned that mother was wrong. He also learned that day that he was a very, very good dreamer.

    Peter went on to learn how to control every aspect of his dreams. He even learned how to die in them. But over time, dreaming lost its excitement, and in a few years Peter grew bored, so he decided to try something new. He decided to transition from being fully awake to being in a dream, without falling asleep first.

    He practiced transitioning to the dream world. Every time he felt sleep approach Peter would gently pull his mind back, until after years of effort, he was able to hover between the two worlds of waking and dreaming. It felt like he was crossing a room, entering through the front door of being awake, and exiting through the back door of dreamland. Then a curious thing happened.

    While walking one day between awake and dreamland, Peter glanced towards his left where he saw a third door in the room. He reached out to it but he felt a push, and Peter fell into sleep. He tried many times but every time he tried crossing the room he was pushed until he fell into sleep. Peter learned how to gain control over the pushing. When he was finally able to cross the room he felt like he was crossing against fast moving water where the slightest misstep could send him falling again. Finally he crossed safely and he reached out, and he touched the third door.

    The door was icy cold and Peter felt the cold deep within himself. With a turn of the handle he opened the door. There was nothing there. Beyond the door space did not exist. Peter didn’t feel the familiar push from inside the room; rather, he was pulled through the door and into time.

    “Time is peculiar.” Peter thought. “We drift through it much like a boat drifts downstream. But this pulling through time feels like being turned inside out.” And, after a while, Peter fell asleep.

    He awoke to the smell of freshly washed sheets. He was wearing his power ranger pajamas and he was three years old again. Peter was in awe. He had been given a gift. He walked downstairs to the kitchen where he gave his mother a surprise hug. He beamed a smile up at her and she smiled down at him, as only a mother can.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      I loved this story DMelde. What an interesting concept, training the mind to leave body and plummet back into time. And then to know when to stop. Your story line expresses this in such a rational manner, the reader believes it and becomes a part of the story. It was really an exciting voyage. You’ve done a great job on this one.

    2. Observer Tim

      Interesting metastory, DMelde. It provides a thought-provoking explanation of how Peter worked his way up to the prompt. I’m curious about whether he can go back to any age he wants in his dreams, or just that three-year-old age of innocence.

      1. DMelde

        As in all things, Peter would learn how to control the pull of time. He was, after all, the boy who never grew up. Such is the stuff of legends. Thank you for your thoughts.

    1. Brian A. Klems Post author

      When you’re new to posting to the site, your posts go into a folder and need to be approved before they get posted–and I’m the one that has to approve them to confirm the posts aren’t spam (we get a TON of spam). Once I approve the first couple, you won’t have problems anymore and the posts will show up automatically and immediately. Often, if the first posts by a new user are on Friday afternoon or over the weekend or on a day I’m not in the office, I won’t be able to go through the folder until I return.

      Anyway, you are now approved and can post away! Welcome to the Writer’s Digest community.
      Brian
      Online Editor

      1. Sabrinaannbell

        Oh, my bad. Sorry I posted 20 million times, then. Makes sense. I thought maybe that was the case but then someones else’s appeared and mine still wasn’t there, so I thought it just wasn’t working. Thanks and sorry.

        1. Sabrinaannbell

          There isn’t by chance a way to delete the seven extra copies of this story on here that I was stubbornly trying to make post themselves by magic, then?

  14. Sabrinaannbell

    My eyes flick open in panic, noting that the room is basked in a light glow of orange, the sun must be trying to peak in behind the curtain. I wonder what time it is. Passed 6:30, but how far passed; I do not know. My heart has started back up once again, allowing me take in a breath, one I had not realized I was holding. Falling, that’s what woke me; I have had the falling dream, once again. There is a throbbing in my head, the hammer pounding down as I try to recall the events of last night. I remember Dylan, lots of shots, and praying profusely to the porcelain gods’, but after that my mind is blank. Did I make it home? Is this my bed? I roll over feeling the presence of another human lying beside me.
    Mom?
    Her eyes snap open. She regards me warmly, with a smile, bringing the corners of her mouth almost level with her nose, revealing the perfect white rows of pearl like teeth. She looks different, younger.
    “Hi sweetie.” Sweetie? She hasn’t called me sweetie since I was ten. What’s she been smoking?
    “Let’s see if you made it through the night without wetting the bed?” She questions, propping herself up onto her elbows, and eventually into a kneeling position over me. Gee, mom, I might have been drunk last night but I’ve never managed to piss myself.
    “Hey, put me down.” I wail, in a high-pitched screeching sound. Was that my voice? Hands tucked under my armpits, holding me a foot away from her, my mother has paused in mid swing as soon as the first words rushed out of my mouth. We are both staring at each other. My mother’s face a mask of worry, revealing the shocked look that must be plastered on mine.
    I look down at my dangling legs in the air. My legs. Where are my legs? I panic, my fat stubby arms, trying desperately to reach them, while I kick both feet furiously back and forth. Failing miserably, not even able to reach over my mother’s arms blocking the way. The dawning realization that I am three, hits me blindsided like a Tonka truck tossed into the sandbox. I go limp in my mother’s arms, as everything around me turns black.

  15. Sabrinaannbell

    My eyes flick open in panic, noting that the room is basked in a light glow of orange, the sun must be trying to peak in behind the curtain. I wonder what time it is. Passed 6:30, but how far passed; I do not know. My heart has started back up once again, allowing me take in a breath, one I had not realized I was holding. Falling, that’s what woke me; I have had the falling dream, once again. There is a throbbing in my head, the hammer pounding down as I try to recall the events of last night. I remember Dylan, lots of shots, and praying profusely to the porcelain gods’, but after that my mind is blank. Did I make it home? Is this my bed? I roll over feeling the presence of another human lying beside me.
    Mom?
    Her eyes snap open. She regards me warmly, with a smile, bringing the corners of her mouth almost level with her nose, revealing the perfect white rows of pearl like teeth. She looks different, younger.
    “Hi sweetie.” Sweetie? She hasn’t called me sweetie since I was ten. What’s she been smoking?
    “Let’s see if you made it through the night without wetting the bed?” She questions, propping herself up onto her elbows, and eventually into a kneeling position over me. Gee, mom, I might have been drunk last night but I’ve never managed to piss myself.
    “Hey, put me down.” I wail, in a high-pitched screeching sound. Was that my voice? Hands tucked under my armpits, holding me a foot away from her, my mother has paused in mid swing as soon as the first words rushed out of my mouth. We are both staring at each other. My mother’s face a mask of worry, revealing the shocked look that must be plastered on mine.
    I look down at my dangling legs in the air. My legs. Where are my legs? I panic, my fat stubby arms, trying desperately to reach them, while I kick both feet furiously back and forth. Failing miserably, not even able to reach over my mother’s arms blocking the way. The dawning realization that Iam three, hits me blindsided like a Tonka truck tossed into the sandbox. I go limp in my mother’s arms, as everything around me turns black.

  16. FamousAuthor

    My face was smashed against my pillow when I woke up.

    Ashamed of myself for drenching my pillow with grotesque slobber, and realizing how embarrassing it would be for my husband to see what I’d done, I quickly lifted my head and turned towards him. Not only was there no husband, but there was no other side to the bed.

    I was about to lie back down, surrendering to the dream I must be having, but then I felt something stuck to my face.

    No wait – impressed into my cheek, and it hurt!

    “Wha da heck? Owweee!”

    Lifting it away, I looked carefully at it. A pacifier. It really was. I’d seen them stuck to my children’s faces on many occasions, but never to my own. I threw it onto the floor and began to get out of bed. When I swung my legs over the side, I felt completely off balance. It was like my legs were barely there at all. I put my head down to look for my legs and my heavy head threw me completely off of the bed.

    Against my will, I cried so loudly that I felt quite immature.

    “Mommeeee!”

    Why can’t I control myself?

    I was even more shocked when my mother – the same one who had died twelve years before – came running into the room. My mind told me I was going crazy, but my body stood and ran toward her.
    “What’s wrong sweetie?” were her gentle words.

    “I fawed off da bed”, I clumsily said, continuing to cry.

    My giant, once-dead mother bent over to pick me up. She kissed my forehead and said, “Well, that wasn’t a good way to wake up on your third birthday.”

    I stopped crying.

    My head didn’t hurt the same way it had only moments before, but my mind hurt worse than ever. It was too much to process. In actuality I was a forty-four year old woman with three grown children and a husband – somewhere. I knew that. But at this moment, I was three years old with child-like impulses, and it was my birthday.

    I contentedly rode on Mom’s hip for a while. I knew it couldn’t last – after all, I had an appointment with my agent at 9:00 a.m.(to go over the details of the six-figure book deal I had in front of me).

    Mom walked me to the kitchen and set me down in a wooden high chair. When she pushed the tray in, I felt it squish me (feeling similar to the bra I dreaded putting on every day). I watched my mother put her apron around her thin waist and listened to her sing “The long and winding road …”.

    “Good morning Stevie!” I heard her say.

    I turned to see the older brother I’d forgotten I had, and there was a ball flying at my head.
    __________

    “Honey. . . wake up. You have an appointment with your agent this morning.”
    I opened my eyes-and missed my mom.

  17. JMac64

    Circa 1967. It is bedtime.
    My older brother, who is 10-years-old, and the 8-year-old twins, girl & boy, had been compliant and gone quietly to bed.

    However, as fidgety, 3-year-olds, it is tough trying to collectively go to sleep. Although we are identical female triplets, dressed in identical pajamas and looking alike, this does not equate to “acting alike.”

    Mama & Daddy make separate trips by the bedroom door to tell us to be quiet. But NO…my identical triplet sisters insist on giggling and talking. We are going to get in big trouble. My parents, especially Mama, are not ones to repeat requests over and over.

    “Will ya’ll be quiet!” I tried to warn my sisters. They both ignore me, while we lay in our full-size bed. It is like watching two holograms of myself. One talking her head off, while the other is laughing. All of this happening in real-time. On and on, they continue. Mom has given warning #2 – she never goes past #3…ever.

    Finally…she calmly enters the dark room with a fly swatter! Since she does not know who the guilty party is, she just starts spanking legs. We are crying out, trying to avoid the inevitable punishment. Ouch! I managed to avoid the majority of the swats, but unfortunately caught a few. “Now go to sleep like I said!” she proclaims as she exits the dark room. Daddy peeks in, looking sad. Although he is tough and firm, he is a “softie” when it comes to discipline.

    We are whining…our feelings hurt more than the swats. Guess what? In a few moments, you hear nothing but ZZZZZZZZZZZs :).

    1. Observer Tim

      This is a charming story of a family that nowadays would be called big. It’s an entertaining slice of life piece, and a light and friendly read. I giggled when I pictured the fly swatter.

      You’ve definitely got the storytelling side of things down solid, but my red pencil noted two points of style (i.e. they’re not errors, they just look a little unpolished).

      First, you could easily lose some of the commas. For example, the second paragraph could begin: “However, as fidgety three-year-olds, it is tough…” Also the comma after “triplets” in the same paragraph isn’t really necessary and breaks the flow a bit.

      Second, small numbers (up to about twelve or so) should generally be written out unless you’re using them in a calculation. They jar the reader into “math mode”, even if only for a second.

  18. Xevirus

    Quick and dirty:

    Fits and giggles. There was no other way to describe the behavior of Clementine, newly three and recently given to swearing like a sailor on shore leave. Lauren could not understand what had come over the girl, or how, and once the incredible swelling of pride at this sudden transformation had deflated just enough to see how problematic her daughter’s genius was going to be, just how much work would be required to care for someone so precise and demanding in how to be handled, yet so incapable of handling herself (or unwilling, Lauren secretly considered. She’s got to know how; you don’t just get to be that smart and not know how to do basic things, do you?), Lauren began to wonder whether she might rather just have the old Clementine back.
    Jealous friends reminded her just how fortunate she was to have a daughter who, in a matter of three weeks, seemed about ready to test in to high school, but those friends didn’t have to actually wake up in the middle of the night to see the dwarfish figure of their daughters clad only in moonlight, squatting at the foot of their beds, waiting for them to wake so that they could give minutes-long screeds about what’s going to be different this time, and spiels about investing in cump yooters or star track phones or apples (?). They don’t have to deal with the constant barrage of reporters flying in from around the nation and the globe, each more eager than the next to assault the wunderkind, and the parents who birthed her, with questions about their home life – hoping for secrets, or what sounded like secrets, for replicating or predicting Clementine’s brilliance – or asking what’s her opinion on the Watergate scandal. Lauren knew in her heart that any three year-old with an opinion on political happenings was, in some way, an unhealthy three year-old, but Clementine had an opinion: “Those pig fuckers.”
    True, it was a blessing, too. Daniel had been fired from the plant, and with prospects not looking great, he had taken to “looking for work” into the evening, which he didn’t know she knew meant drinking at O’Hearlihy’s with Spencer and Frank and Jan, the good-looking one. After a time, he began bringing his job searches home, and while Lauren, always one to hope for the best with the tightest lips possible prayed nightly that God would give her man the strength to be a man, Clementine crawled onto the sofa, up onto her father’s chest and, as he smiled at how much she loved him, she slapped the beer until it fell from his hand, then she slapped his face before he could speak, and, pointing her stubby finger directly into his nose, she told him: “No father of mine is going to waste his, my mother’s and my next twenty years sinking deeper into a glass bottle while the world leaves us behind. Its not happening this time. Okay, pig fucker?”

    1. switchgoose

      HA! I’ve read this three times already, and still, that last line packs a punch. It takes some guts to have a three year old character use the words “pig fucker.” That is so great! I also liked some of the little touches you included, such as ‘Jan, the good-looking one.’ The reader is able to infer so much from those few words. Lovely story!

    2. Observer Tim

      It’s interesting to see things from the other side of the three-year-old. There very likely would be a media circus, at least for a while. Then other, darker types of attention…

      Hopefully Clementine will manage to grow up in the years to come as well. She’s carrying a lot of anger.

    1. agnesjack

      I was just thinking the same thing when I saw 769 comments (now 770). If you go back and look at much older prompts you’ll see that this community has been growing and growing. It’s wonderful.

  19. sealskin

    When I woke up I felt terrible, slightly feverish, weak. I had gotten sick during the night. At least it wasn’t yet another relapse of bronchitis. I opened my eyes. I didn’t recognize these surroundings. There were wooden slats on the sides of the bed. I looked down at my body and shrieked – or something similar to it. I saw what remained of me – a torso, a stump, both of my legs were gone from the hips down. Sweat began to pop out on my face (which strangely also itched mightily), I felt a wave of nausea washed over me as I tried to remember, to grasp, how in God’s name this had happened. Suddenly a massive black woman strode into the room, easily over seven feet tall. She had kind eyes. She strode over to the bed and picked me up, bouncing me gently in her arms. I could now see that I did have legs, though very tiny ones.
    “Yo mama gone to Ladies’ Circle meetin’, so I’m takin’ care of you dis mornin’. Why you scream like that? Somethin’ scare you? Yo fever gone down some I think. You feel like eatin’ anything? Maybe try some cream of wheat?”
    The voice. The face. The scent. These things, plus the bed and its wooden slats, plus the slant of morning light through the oddly familiar curtains, plus distant forgotten aromas from the kitchen, came rushing into my waking consciousness. With a sudden flash of horror and elation I understood. I was three years old!
    What. The. Hell??? Last night I had been on Facebook until I got sleepy and crashed. I had decided to stay indoors for a while hoping that the critically high pollen count in which I had spent hours this weekend wouldn’t precipitate another bronchial spasm and put me in bed for a week. Evidently it did not. I kept reading posts from my group “You may be from… if you remember…” and seemed to remember some dream scenarios related to my adolescence and childhood. Whether it was part pollen, part Prednisone, part steroid nasal spray or – maybe that Grofian regression breathwork I did twenty years ago finally kicked in, but I had been hurtled 59 years back in time to age three.
    I played disinterestedly at the cream of wheat given me by Sally (that was her name). I knew I shouldn’t, but I couldn’t refrain from scratching the maddening eruptions of chicken pox (which is what I had) on my arms and shoulders and face.
    “Don’t go scratchin’ them chicken pops! Spread all over yo body!”
    I looked out the screen door. My god, the kitchen door! I felt a stab of nostalgia – an odd sensation for something in the present time yet one of my earliest memories. The April morning air stirred through the screen. The whiff of Gardenia. The narrow alley of grass between our house and the next. The little stoop leading to their side door and another jolt of memory: “Amy!”
    Amy, little red-haired Amy, with the dimply smile. She was my next door neighbor, and my first girlfriend. The first girl, indeed, that I ever loved. Yes, I remembered this day. Amy would be coming out of the side door within minutes, I reckoned. Well, this time would be different. I knew something of the ways of love now. This would be my strategy…

    1. Observer Tim

      You build a fascinating juxtaposition of old and new here, sealskin, from the personal circumstances of “the present” to the social ones of “the past”.

      The last two sentences kind of creeped me out – just how is he going to approach Amy? Hopefully like a three year old, not a sixty-two year old.

      1. sealskin

        Thank you for the comment. “Back in time” has always been fascinating for me.
        Re: last two sentences. If there were a Chapter 2, I bet you’d read it just to find out, yes?

  20. jimmieg

    The Middle Aged Bed Wetter

    In his dream he was hot tubing with Carol from accounting, the water wrapped around them both like frothy, warm blankets. Suddenly the water ran cold and itchy like icy wool. Scott woke to the realization he had just pissed himself. With the exception of a few legendary nights in undergrad, Scott hadn’t pissed himself since he was a kid.

    Scott had regressed in a great many ways since finding his wife in bed with his business partner. Scott was lamenting the ruin of his lesbian fantasies when he noticed he was wearing spiderman pajamas.

    What the…what did I do last night? Why do my legs look so short?

    A wave of disorientation came over him as he stood from the bed.

    Is this my…why am I…parents…why is my dresser so big?

    Scott’s breath rattled in his throat, wet and heavy. His old NFL bedding was bright and new. A Pre-reboot Battlestar Galactica Viper Launch Station, complete with choking hazard, launch-able Viper. Scott’s eyes tickled with the expectation of what be buried under a pillow on his bed.

    His hand lifted one of several pillows and his heart exploded nostalgia, and sci-fi exuberance, and kind of “I wish I hadn’t dismissed the possibility of a God, because this is some time-shifting craziness” type of fear.

    There it was. The newest, most awesome toy any three year old boy could own in 1974. J.I. Joe with Kung Fu Grip.

    He grabbed the toy. Real or not he wanted to play with the action figure again. There was one last test to confirm he had gone bat shit crazy.

    The walk to the bathroom was a long ten steps. The wooden step stool was at the base of the sink just as like when he was a kid. The Mexican tile he thought outdated and garish seemed fresh and daring.

    Scott slowly opened his eyes and was met by a young boy he knew only from pictures. He spit expletives at the mirror but it was no use. All he could see was 1974. He had broken his mind somehow.

    His mother barged in suddenly. None to pleased at the language she heard he three year old son using.

    She was magnificent. Vibrant, young, beautiful, and alive. She wouldn’t die for seven more years.

    Scott didn’t know what would happen if he screwed with the her timeline. Would he blow up the world if he stopped his mom from getting in the car on April 12, 1981? He sure as shit was going to find out.

    The smiled he wore stole away all her anger and she gave him a big hug. It was the happiest moment the three year old had felt in forty-three years.

    1. Observer Tim

      This story is a pleasant reminder of childhood memories, jimmieg. Given the state of his life beforehand, I can see why Scott is happily letting the past take over. I hope he stays there long enough to save his mother’s life.

      I especially loved the last sentence. It sums everything up so succinctly.

          1. Kerry Charlton

            I don’t know the song either, jimmieg, but I know good writing when I read it. It’s kind of mystical, Scott wanting to stay around for seven years to save his mother’s life. Interesting thought, is it possible to change events that have already happened? A mystery question since H.G. Wells book, ‘The Time Machine. We will know someday.

  21. benedictdanny02

    That sweet fragrance of coffee that my mother used to make every morning, that softness of the bed that never ceases to pull me back to sleep, that yawning moment and stretching my legs to shake of my laziness, that special excitement to see my crush in the neighboring department, that mature trimmed beard of mine that I used to rub with my hand every day, except that it felt unusually trimmed today.

    With eyes half open and the ceiling blurred I try to pull myself up, but to some reason that it was more difficult today than any others. With the same blurry eyes I turn towards my left to see my cupboards, table, chair and even my pillows, all unusally bigger like I was sleeping at a giant version of my room, while hearing my mother shouting my name and coming towards my room.

    “How many times should I tell you to get up early and pack yourself upto university; won’t you ever ever listen to my words” said mom while walking and there I hear the door clicking opened by my mom.

    She smiled and slowly peeped into my room, I replied back to her with a smile. She was similing and smiling and smiling more today. It was as if her face alone was paused while watching a movie and the rest of her body slowly moved towards me with the same unchanging expression as when she peeped to look at me.

    As she came near, I felt as if she was becoming a giant herself. Maybe I thought it could be some crazy dream. Maybe because I was discussing about giants to my girlfriend yesterday that I am getting these kind of crazy dreams.

    And then I heard the scream “Daaaavid!! Daaaviiid!!…. Daaaviiiid!” shouting for my father who came running towards my room and I try to jerk myself of the bed but it is like I am crippled.

    Both of them were staring at me with mixed emotions keeping on changing for every five seconds and then looking at each other startled for the next five as though I am some weird alien.

    And then spoke my father after several minutes of silence “I told you that Bastard is having an affair with some college girl and he has pushed his burden into our heads now”.

    Now my mom spoke “Please don’t keep on shouting at your son, after all he has trusted our grandchild in our hands, legitimate or illegitimate he is going to be in our care from now on. Please focus on finding him first. By that time let me take this cute little monkey to a bath first, he is already wet near the pants and the only thing I didn’t like about our son was wrapping this fellow into his shirt”.

    Thousand thoughts stroked me at that same moment when my mom finished her sentence, unable to accept that I have changed into a child form. The depressing part was I had a special date today with my girl after college and was all excited to lose my virginity today.


  22. benedictdanny02

    That sweet fragrance of coffee that my mother used to make every morning, that softness of the bed that never ceases to pull me back to sleep, that yawning moment and stretching my legs to shake of my laziness, that special excitement to see my crush in the neighboring department, that mature trimmed beard of mine that I used to rub with my hand every day, except that it felt unusually trimmed today.

    With eyes half open and the ceiling blurred I try to pull myself up, but to some reason that it was more difficult today than any others. With the same blurry eyes I turn towards my left to see my cupboards, table, chair and even my pillows, all unusally bigger like I was sleeping at a giant version of my room, while hearing my mother shouting my name and coming towards my room.

    “How many times should I tell you to get up early and pack yourself upto university; won’t you ever ever listen to my words” said mom while walking and there I hear the door clicking opened by my mom.

    She smiled and slowly peeped into my room, I replied back to her with a smile. She was similing and smiling and smiling more today. It was as if her face alone was paused while watching a movie and the rest of her body slowly moved towards me with the same unchanging expression as when she peeped to look at me.

    As she came near, I felt as if she was becoming a giant herself. Maybe I thought it could be some crazy dream. Maybe because I was discussing about giants to my girlfriend yesterday that I am getting these kind of crazy dreams.

    And then I heard the scream “Daaaavid!! Daaaviiid!!…. Daaaviiiid!” shouting for my father who came running towards my room and I try to jerk myself of the bed but it is like I am crippled.

    Both of them were staring at me with mixed emotions keeping on changing for every five seconds and then looking at each other startled for the next five as though I am some weird alien.

    And then spoke my father after several minutes of silence “I told you that Rascal is having an affair with some college girl and he has pushed his burden into our heads now”.

    Now my mom spoke “Please don’t keep on shouting at your son, after all he has trusted our grandchild in our hands, legitimate or illegitimate he is going to be in our care from now on. Please focus on finding him first. By that time let me take this cute little monkey to a bath first, he is already wet near the pants and the only thing I didn’t like about our son was wrapping this fellow into his shirt”.

    Thousand thoughts stroked me at that same moment when my mom finished her sentence, unable to accept that I have changed into a child form. The depressing part was I had a special date today with my girl after college and was all excited to lose my virginity today.

  23. switchgoose

    We hung the owl box when you were three. The tree we chose to hang it in stood about a hundred feet from the family room window. Daddy said that would be good for owl watching. Later that night when you and your sister still believed an owl would come to the box and were checking it every ten minutes or so, she said that it had been there for 100 years and it was very, very old. You asked her what was very old. “The tree, silly,” she said bumping you playfully with her hip. “If Daddy cut it down, we would be able to count the circles inside to know how old it really is. Maybe it’s more than a hundred. Maybe it’s two hundred!”

    You recall that conversation as you look at yourself in the bathroom mirror. As you attempt to conceal another sleepless night, you realize: circles don’t tell shit about age. Circles tell pain. Pain that goes around and around like that amusement park ride that spins so fast that it doesn’t even matter if the floor drops out from under you because you’re stuck to the wall. You can’t move. You haven’t been able to move for thirteen years. Now you realize you have run out of concealer and you have to be at school in 15 minutes. You leave with one eye unmasked, unprotected. It is just enough of a breach for the hand of time to reach through and swing you back to your third year of life.

    You understand you are not really three again. You vaguely wonder if you slipped into some other dimension, one that includes time travel and rabbit holes. You don’t much care; those aren’t the answers you’re here for. Six months have gone by since the owl box was hung. Like an unfulfilled promise, it hangs in the air crooked and empty. Your sister has all but forgotten it, but you occasionally still check it. You are only three, but you have a patience about you that is grounded in hope.

    This time when you’re three and you see your father crying at his desk or in the kitchen when he believes he is alone, you don’t get scared and run to your room. This time you go to him and crawl into his lap. You ask him what’s wrong. You put your head on his chest and your arms around his neck. You feel his stubbly beard poke through your hair as he rests his chin on your head. His soft lips, the ones he would very soon wrap around the barrel of a gun, kiss your forehead. You wait for him to answer.

    Thirteen years later, you are still waiting. Waiting for the owl, and for something to fill the empty space. You have a patience about you. You are beginning to understand: it’s this patience that keeps you moving.

    1. RuthieShev

      I don’t know how to respond to this one except God Bless any family that goes through that. I think maybe your writing fills the empty space and hopefully will help in the healing process. I could feel the pain although thankfullyI have never been through an experience like that.

    2. jmcody

      I keep looking for the new prompt and thinking this one is over, but I’m so glad I stopped to read this one. In so few words you conveyed something profound about pain and loss, hope and perseverance, and the ongoing tension between them. I loved the metaphor of waiting for the owls, and the likening of the rings around the trees to the rings around your MC’s eyes was poetic. Although tragic, this was hope-filled and wonderfully written, and gets a great big satisfied sigh from me.

    3. margi33

      I liked this. The second person pov was effective and I enjoyed the sort of rambling style of the narrator. As jmcody said, the tree ring analogy was a great touch… Lots of deep thoughts contained in there as well.

    4. Reaper

      Echoing what everyone has said. The correlations were perfect. The second person and present tense added something to this story that they often take away from others. I felt like I was reading a half written suicide note until I got to the end and felt hope. Your flow is amazing, slow and surreal and your words are beautiful. So many lines in here are amazing. Other than the last line which was perfect I think this is my favorite, Like an unfulfilled promise, it hangs in the air crooked and empty. Pure poetry.

      1. switchgoose

        Reaper, thanks so much for your response. Your comment about flow was helpful- it’s something I will continue to think about and pursue in future writings. Same thing for point of view. Thanks again!

    5. Observer Tim

      What a depressing story! Saying “I like it” is not quite the right response: it’s well-crafted and really makes me feel the pain the narrator is writing about. It is a very entertaining read. Thanks for the journey.

      1. switchgoose

        Observer Tim, it is a depressing story, isn’t it? I wrote it late and went to bed afterwards feeling a little down myself. Maybe it was less about feeling down and more about feeling unsure. Suicide remains a “taboo” topic to many, and I wasn’t sure how it would be received. Thanks for checking it out.

      2. Kerry Charlton

        I have to jump in on this. Your writing, so strong and powerful, led me where I didn’t want to go. Once there, I dissolved into the screen and found myself in the middle, trying to figure what I could do to help. Nothing I thought, I’ll just share the pain.

  24. freshwriting

    Shit, it’s Monday. Ugh. Well, prolonging the morning struggle is just going to prolong the day. Might as well get up.

    I finally sat up and stretched my arms to the ceiling, eyes still closed. I folded one arm behind my neck, and pulled at it with my other. My skin felt soft, must be the new body wash I got. I threw off the blanket and opened my eyes. I blinked away the sand and goop keeping my eyes shut. I felt like a mummy raised from the dead. And all I wanted was to lie back down.

    I plopped back into my pillow. Baby steps.
    I rolled onto my stomach and heard a rustle from my sheets.
    What is that crinkling noise? Did I forget to put away the evidence of my potato chip binge last night?
    I blindly felt through the blankets and heard the sound again. I sat up, determined to find out what it was. Every time I shifted I could hear it.
    Was I sitting on the bag of chips? What is going on here? I ran my hand under my bottom to check.

    Wait a minute…what is that?
    My hand passed something warm sagging off my ass. Gross. Did I get my period or something? Did I shit myself?

    I gasped and got up. I was standing now, on top of my bed, fully alert. I looked out across a striped room. This was not okay. I am a twenty-five-year-old spinster and if I just began the habit of messing myself in my sleep, I will never be married by the time I turn 30.

    What the…

    I stumbled back, hit something hard.
    Whoa, it’s like I haven’t used my feet for the past 20 years.
    I turned around to face my antagonist, the rungs of a …crib?

    I started to panic, running around across my miniature sheets, screaming and kicking at the bars that contained me. I looked down at my toes, and found they were much closer than expected, less than two feet away.

    Did I shrink? What is going on?!
    Soon, this gigantic person came rushing into the room, talking to a dog or baby or something:
    “Shh. Sh. Sh. Don’t worry baby, momma’s here.”
    Oh god. She’s talking to ME!
    A pair of hands came at me and soon enough I was scooped up, and smashed against a young woman’s bosom. I sniffled, then sobered up. Wait. I was balling my eyes out. When did I get this sensitive? Jeez.

    I sniffed again, picking up a familiar scent.
    What Is that?
    I leaned my head against this giant woman’s’ shoulder and sniffed again.
    White Diamonds.
    I pulled back from this large lady and peered into her face.

    “Ma?”
    “Yes baby, mama is here. Sh-Sh-Shhh.”
    I shushed her back, and wriggled viciously in her arms. She seemed surprised, put me down to observe her rebellious child. I walked towards my pink dresser and jumped up towards the mirror. Not even close. My mother seemed to understand, and picked me up again, hesitantly. She placed my feet on the top of the dresser, and held tightly onto my waist, so that I was peering into the mirror.

    A freaking baby stared back at me.

    I must still be sleeping.
    Haha, good one, Subconscious, you almost got me this time…

    1. Observer Tim

      You did an excellent job capturing the disorientation and confusion of the change, freshwriting. It had me giggling. I think the MC may have been a little slow catching on, but people are like that.

      1. freshwriting

        Thank you for the feedback! Yes, I agree the MC was a tad slow, but I thought extending the process of her realization might better convey the human tendency to be stubborn in accepting things deemed unbelievable. In the end, she stubbornly sticks to the laws of logic: it must be a dream!

  25. nwdahl

    Just the other day my father was recounting a time when I was still an only child and unrestricted in my play. He reminded me of when I took a plastic toy bat and hit him in the place you should never hit men. While telling the story to me over the phone, my father sounded far away. He was back in what I imagine to be a crappy apartment above a small liquor store. It was almost funny how my father was talking to me that day. He told the story as if I was right there with him, as though I had the same vivid memory hidden away in some undisturbed place. I of course, have no memory of my life from when I was three. No solid memory at least, nothing I can trace back to reality. Maybe there are traces of memories woven into my subconscious. Maybe the feeling of déjà vu can be attributed to a memory buried so deep in your psyche, from so long ago, that it can’t fight its way to the surface. All it can do is scream from below layers of other memories, “I remember this place, don’t you?”
    I guess the point I’m trying to get across is, no one knows what it feels like to be three years old. The way we interpret the world and process things at that age would be so foreign to us now. I’m making this point simply to help you understand why, when I woke up in my three year old body, I had no idea where the hell I was.
    Upon waking, I immediately realized that something was different about my body. I looked down at the new version of myself the same way that Gregor Samsa must have seen his body transformed into that of a giant insect. These hands were not my own, these feet were not my own, and although my new skin was soft and somewhat luxurious, it had no place encapsulating my insides. I was a women transformed into something even more disturbing than a giant cockroach. I was a three year old child and I was powerless.
    Frantic would be a good word to describe my reaction to my recent reverse metamorphosis. I went from butterfly back to caterpillar, and all the life experiences in between stood before me like the trail back up a mountain I had just peaked. I took in several deep breaths while I pondered my terrible predicament. My eyes surveyed my surroundings for the first time. I was in a tiny room and there were toys strewn across the floor in what can only be described as the calculated randomness of child’s play. Amongst the toys I spotted an object that caused me a horrific feeling of déjà vu. In the corner of the room, leaning against the wall, there was a red plastic bat.

    1. Observer Tim

      Kafka? People are pulling out all the stops this week. The MC’s self-analysis is intriguing. Great scene, nwdahl.

      This sort of intenses introspection would work much better in a longer story. As it is you really only got to the beginning. Also, please put an extra blank line between paragraphs so older guys like me don’t get confused.

  26. PeterW

    The only way to describe how Gary felt was emotional and frustrated. He had gone to sleep (alone) in his Brooklyn apartment at 3a quite drunk in 2014 and had woken up in 1984 as his three-year-old self in Camden, New Jersey. He was strapped in a high chair in his parent’s house and his parents were chatting stock commodities vs mutual funds over sunny-sides, drippy; toast, Texan and burned; and grapefruit juice, cheek-clenching sour. Gary gave a massive burp, which tasted like the red wine and scotch he had consumed with cosmopolitan artist friends last night, but it also tasted like oatmeal and mished-up peaches. Gary’s mother’s turned, cheeks a-shimmer, “That was awful.”

    “Boy is just hearty,” said Gary’s father, “now like I was saying about mutual funds. They are risky. They are monopolized by corporate idiots. Let’s give our savings to this Johnson. He seems like a real man. I trust him completely.”

    “I don’t know. It’s a lot. Holy-cow, were you drinking last night, honey?”

    “Yes, but that’s not important,” said Gary’s father.

    Fuck, thought Gary, no wonder we were so poor. Fuck, he also thought, I am so hung-over. He reached for the grapefruit juice, but his arm was too short of reach it. It didn’t make it past the high-chair’s try. My god, they have me trapped in here, thought Gary, realizing his little body was restrained by straps. My god, there is food all over my face and hands and clothes. My god, there is pee in my diaper. He wanted to yell, “Mom, don’t let Dad invest your saving. Dad, why didn’t you teach me how to me a man?” But most importantly, “Let me out of this chair.” However three-year-old Gary didn’t have that kind of vocabulary, so it came out as, “NOOO.”

    “I think Gary agrees with me,” said Gary’s mother.

    “Does he now?” said Gary’s father and he waved his gigantic fingers directly in front of Gary’s face. Then he took a piece of toast and said, “open wide; plane incoming.”

    Thirty-three year old Gary squirmed and yelled, but three-year old Gary kicked his little legs and giggled and let Daddy smashed the piece of toast in his mouth. Old Gary spit out the piece of toast and managed a somewhat coherent, “No stock! No stock! No stock!”

    Both parents looked quizzical. Gary’s mother whispered, “I think he is a bit slow.”

    “Course he is,” said Gary father, “perfectly good toast. Should I make him eat it off the floor?”

    “No, for Heaven-sakes, he already eats enough things that have been on the floor.”

    Gary squealed, “Nooooo.”

    His parents looked at him, amused, a bit concerned. Gary’s slowness would be confirmed many a time. Especially, at age 14, when he wanted to be a writer. His father coming home from a hard day’s work at the car company had incinerated all of Gary’s comic books. “I will not have you spending my hard-earned money on this trash,” his father had said.

    But this time around, in 1994, at age 44, in a 14 year-olds body Gary managed to hide his comic books. But at from ages 3 to 7/ 33 to 37 he didn’t prevent his parents from in investing all their money with Johnson and losing it all on Black Monday in 87. Despite his 30 extra years of experience Gary was still a loser in high-school, still never got to make-out with Cheryl, his cute neighbor, still just barely make it into Rutgers, and still failed to be at his life-long dream of being a writer. But this time around he didn’t work as grave-digger and bartender in Brooklyn, he worked as a mortician and bartender in Manhattan. This time he skipped his father’s funereal. This time he forgave his mother for failing him. And at the age of 33/ 63 sat at a dumpy bar with his cosmopolitan artist friends (different ones) and didn’t get drunk off of wine and scotch. No, Gary was too old for hang-overs. Gary had finally learned.

    Instead of 3a, Gary went to bed alone at 1am. He woke up and his body had aged his rightful age. Fuck, thought Gary, looking at his sagging nips and feeling his spine arch and his feet creak, this is really not ok with me. It really frustrating and emotional… emotional…

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Peter W, I rode all the way through your story, chuckling my fool head off. The humor is so dry, it reminds me of British comedy. The crowning jewel, “But this time around he didn’t work as a grave digger and bartender in Brooklyn, he worked as a mortician and bartender in Manhattan.” Priceless.

        1. DMelde

          I liked this line too. Funny at times but overall I felt bad for Gary. A second chance is so rare, and for Gary not to make good use of it, was tragic.

    1. Observer Tim

      This is great, PeterW. It manages to put a long and imaginative piece into a compact package. It’s especially interesting to see the wider perspective in the last three paragraphs.

      I’m still not keen on the profanity, but that’s my hang-up not yours.

  27. benedictdanny02

    That sweet fragrance of coffee that my mother used to make every morning, that softness of the bed that never ceases to pull me back to sleep, that yawning moment and stretching my legs to shake of my laziness, that special excitement to see my crush in the neighboring department, that mature trimmed beard of mine that I used to rub with my hand every day, except that it felt unusually trimmed today.

    With eyes half open and the ceiling blurred I try to pull myself up, but to some reason that it was more difficult today than any others. With the same blurry eyes I turn towards my left to see my cupboards, table, chair and even my pillows, all unusally bigger like I was sleeping at a giant version of my room, while hearing my mother shouting my name and coming towards my room.

    “How many times should I tell you to get up early and pack yourself upto university; won’t you ever ever listen to my words” said mom while walking and there I hear the door clicking opened by my mom.

    She smiled and slowly peeped into my room, I replied back to her with a smile. She was similing and smiling and smiling more today. It was as if her face alone was paused while watching a movie and the rest of her body slowly moved towards me with the same unchanging expression as when she peeped to look at me.

    As she came near, I felt as if she was becoming a giant herself. Maybe I thought it could be some crazy dream. Maybe because I was discussing about giants to my girlfriend yesterday that I am getting these kind of crazy dreams.

    And then I heard the scream “Daaaavid!! Daaaviiid!!…. Daaaviiiid!” shouting for my father who came running towards my room and I try to jerk myself of the bed but it is like I am crippled.

    Both of them were staring at me with mixed emotions keeping on changing for every five seconds and then looking at each other startled for the next five as though I am some weird alien.

    And then spoke my father after several minutes of silence “I told you that Bastard is having an affair with some college girl and he has pushed his burden into our heads now”.

    Now my mom spoke “Please don’t keep on shouting at your son, after all he has trusted our grandchild in our hands, legitimate or illegitimate he is going to be in our care from now on. Please focus on finding him first. By that time let me take this cute little monkey to a bath first, he is already wet near the pants and the only thing I didn’t like about our son was wraping this fellow into his shirt”.

    Thousand thoughts striked me at that same moment when my mom finished her sentence, unable to accept that I have changed into a child form. The depressing part was I had a special date today with my girl after college and was all excited to lose my virginity today.

  28. benedictdanny02

    That sweet fragrance of coffee that my mother used to make every morning, that softness of the bed that never ceases to pull me back to sleep, that yawning moment and stretching my legs to shake of my laziness, that special excitement to see my crush in the neighboring department, that mature trimmed beard of mine that I used to rub with my hand every day, except that it felt unusually trimmed today.
    With eyes half open and the ceiling blurred I try to pull myself up, but to some reason that it was more difficult today than any others. With the same blurry eyes I turn towards my left to see my cupboards, table, chair and even my pillows, all unusally bigger like I was sleeping at a giant version of my room, while hearing my mother shouting my name and coming towards my room.
    “How many times should I tell you to get up early and pack yourself upto university; won’t you ever ever listen to my words” said mom while walking and there I hear the door clicking opened by my mom.
    She smiled and slowly peeped into my room, I replied back to her with a smile. She was similing and smiling and smiling more today. It was as if her face alone was paused while watching a movie and the rest of her body slowly moved towards me with the same unchanging expression as when she peeped to look at me.
    As she came near, I felt as if she was becoming a giant herself. Maybe I thought it could be some crazy dream. Maybe because I was discussing about giants to my girlfriend yesterday that I am getting these kind of crazy dreams.
    And then I heard the scream “Daaaavid!! Daaaviiid!!…. Daaaviiiid!” shouting for my father who came running towards my room and I try to jerk myself of the bed but it is like I am crippled.
    Both of them were staring at me with mixed emotions keeping on changing for every five seconds and then looking at each other startled for the next five as though I am some weird alien.
    And then spoke my father after several minutes of silence “I told you that Bastard is having an affair with some college girl and he has pushed his burden into our heads now”.
    Now my mom spoke “Please don’t keep on shouting at your son, after all he has trusted our grandchild in our hands, legitimate or illegitimate he is going to be in our care from now on. Please focus on finding him first. By that time let me take this cute little monkey to a bath first, he is already wet near the pants and the only thing I didn’t like about our son was wrapping this fellow into his shirt”.
    Thousand thoughts stroked me at that same moment when my mom finished her sentence, unable to accept that I have changed into a child form. The most depressing part of it was I had a special date today with my girl in the evening and was all excited to lose my virginity today.

    1. Observer Tim

      Like father, like son. Maybe this reminder of his own genesis will make him think about the consequences. Probably not, but life goes on. Great story, benedictdanny.

      From the red pencil, many of the phrasings here hint that either your English skills are under development or it’s not your first language. That will take time to happen either way. Also, please put an extra blank line between paragraphs; it makes the text easier to read.

      1. benedictdanny02

        Exactly Mr. Kim, English is not my first language and this is my first time writing a scene.

        Thank You for your comments, hoping to improve myself in the future.

  29. Batmanshero

    Uggggg why do you guys always have to treat me like a child? asked sara
    What has gotten into you lately? Asked sara’s mom.
    You keep treating me like i’m 3 years old”
    “You are 3 years old”
    “well what if i don’t want to be 3 years old?” Asked sara
    “I don’t know maybe you should find you some friends that are your age, and go play with them. Said mom
    “ But no one wants to play with me. They said that I’m ugly.Cried sara
    “Well do you believe them?”
    “ yes they haven’t lied to me before so why would they lie to me now?” Asked Sara

    1. RuthieShev

      This was short but said a lot in those few words. Haven’t we all felt ugly at times? Haven’t we all believed a friend over our Mother? And certainly haven’t we all wlanted to be a different age than we were? I think we can all relate to this story.

  30. CaniahT

    It was Sunday morning, my birthday, but I felt very different inside and out. I felt smaller. I looked around I seen that my bed looked shorter than it use to, even my body. Where am I? What happened? I scanned my room seeing unicorns and rainbow wallpaper, the way my room used to be when I was little. All of sudden I felt something warm and wet. Turns out I had a pull up on, was I getting potty trained all over again?

    “Mommy?” I cried. I even sound different, younger. I started hearing footsteps as I looked at my mirror. I shrunk! My eyes were so big I didn’t know how to react.

    “Oh look who’s up, happy birthday sweetie.” My mom talked to me as if I was a little girl. I’m 17. What’s going on? I tried talking but my words slurred, I was so freaked out, I didn’t know what to do.

    As my mom got me dressed for my “party”, all that went through my head was what happened. I remember is I was talking to my best friend, Annie, and we were planning my 17th birthday party for today, which turns out to be my 3rd birthday party all over again.

    It was already 1:00 p.m. and people started arriving. A lot of their faces looked familiar, turns out they were a lot of kids from my class, my real class, the senior class of 2014. I seen Annie walk in with her mom and we both spotted each other with excitement. Finally someone I can talk to that understands me. I tried talking to her but she was so confused she started playing with the other kids. I continued feeling alone, no one understands me.

    At 2:30 the party was over. I was still in shock from everything. I didn’t know what to do because my mind started changing in a lot of ways. I started to forget how to eat, instead of using forks or a spoon for my cake, I used my hands I even had trouble with going to the bathroom and I think I tinkled on myself a little bit while rushing to the bathroom.

    The next morning, Monday was the first day of preschool. I felt like things got a lot worse but somehow I still remember I’m not 3. Surprisingly I started getting excited after my teacher greeted me at the door. She gave me crayons and a book full of blanks pages.

    “Here so you can be creative on her own.” She smiled. Me being 3 I forgot what that word meant, so I just smiled. Maybe this could work after all. I liked being 17 but I love being 3 in preschool again.

  31. pinkbamboo

    here I am with this week’s prompt. Trying another direction here. Cheers!

    **************************

    Calendar states 1990. Why am I back in 1990? I grabbed my head but instead of my long brown hair, I pulled out a clip on ribbon. What is going on? I have to get to work but my body … oh no, why do I have short limbs? I steadied myself with both hands, stood up and walked towards the mirror. This is me .. like in the photos that I saw when I was … me. Now I’m 3 again? How did this happened? Am I dreaming or have I gone crazy? I was just in my queen size bed a minute ago and I just blinked.

    I started crying but instead of quiet sobs, my cries came out loud and piercing. A woman came in to pick me up and I looked at her. Mother. She looked thinner and much younger. She carried me out of the room and down the stairs as my eyes darted around. This is crazy. This is the same house I grew up in and nothing much has changed. Except me. I’m not 3. I’m a grown up woman trapped in my own 3 years old body. Help!!

    Father was busy writing in the corner and mother put me down in the middle of the hall where my toys were. Oh hello clown in the box. Back then I was not afraid of clown .. yet. My teddy, my cooking set and my dolls. Can’t believe back then, these were things that amused me and occupied my day. Mother was keeping an eye on me while she was ironing.

    “Mi ..I big girl” I stood up. What? Why are my words turning out gibberish?

    Mother smiled “Yes, you are. Sit down and play”

    Suddenly the door opened and I turned to see an older man walked in. He mumbled a word to father and turned towards me. My heart nearly stopped. Grandpa! I walked towards him with extended arms to touch him and he picked me up with a laugh.

    I stared at him with amazement. Grandpa passed away when I was 8 and back then I didn’t quite understand what happened. I remembered my parents rushing back and forth the hospital and then one day he was laying inside this wooden box. The grandfather who once doted on me was gone and I felt there was a hole in my life for a while.

    “Oh, why are you staring at me like that? It’s me grandpa” he chuckled.

    I knew it was you. I started tearing up and my lips started quivering. Grandpa looked startled.

    “What’s wrong, girl?” he bounced me in his arm for a bit.

    “Maybe she’s hungry. Let’s get your milk” mother came and tried to remove me from his arms.

    I screamed and gripped on to his collar. Both of them were shocked but mother removed her arms so that I can stay in his. She handed me the bottle but I pushed it away.

    “She’s a little fussy today, isn’t she?” grandpa put me down on the floor with my toys.

    He poured tea for me with my tiny teapot set and pretend to slurp it with a long ‘mmm’. I just stared at him. The grandpa that I loved and missed so much sitting in front of me, well and alive. Grandpa poured me a cup too and brought it to my lips as he uttered a long ‘mmm’ on my behalf. I laughed with childlike innocence at his amused expression.

    He’s going to pass on in 5 years time and only I know it. I stood up and walked towards him and sat on his lap, wanting to be close as possible with him.

    “Love” I jabbed his shoulder but he misheard me.

    “No, you wear your glove here” he held both of my hands in his and started clapping together with me.

    “Gran.. papa” I smiled as he arranged my tea cups in front of me according to color.

    “Good girl. One day you’re going to grow up to become a doctor cause you’re just the smartest girl I’ve ever seen”

    No, I didn’t become a doctor. I shook my head in response and he laughed. I wanted to tell him so many things. My first day in high school, my graduation, my first kiss, my first love, how he broke my heart, my first job interview and how bitchy my landlord was. I wanted to tell him about my dogs that I adopted and the colors I chose for my apartment. There’s so many things to share

    “No? You don’t want to be a doctor?” grandpa shook his head too, mimicking me.

    I picked up my crayon and tried my best to write as poorly as I could. I think he would get a fright if I can write perfectly like an adult. I wrote an “I” then a nugget shaped heart and a “U”. Grandpa clapped his hand proudly and picked the paper as he smiled at me.

    Suddenly mother came over and picked me up from behind.

    “Come on, I think you didn’t get enough rest. She was tossing and turning around earlier” she mentioned to grandpa.

    I screamed, cried and kicked to protest being dragged away from him. My grandfather.

    “Oh, then she should get her nap” he agreed with mother as I shook my head.

    As mother carried me up the stairs, I shrieked .. “no no no .. gran .. papa … gran..papa! I want! I wanttttt!! ” and reached my arms out towards him while he stood by the stairs repeating “good girl go for nap nap” as he tried to console me.

    It broke my 3 years old heart for I knew that was the last time I truly saw my grandfather alive.

    1. Reaper

      I was wondering where you were this week. Then on a terrible day for me you return like a ray of sunshine to make me cry.

      This is beautiful. There are some tense shifts, and in your first couple of paragraphs the wording seemed off in a couple of places. However, in this story that worked well for you because it seemed intentional and drew me into the confused mind of your character. The frustration of this, that longing for things forgotten. You have a way with love stories and that turned towards family hit me deeper than just about anything else. Maybe it’s just that I miss my own grandfather, and my great grandfather who I could see in your description. Your power to pluck those heartstrings was perfect.

  32. margi33

    Better late than never…

    _________________________________________________________________________________________

    The mountains sat softly against the sky as dusk told shadows to lay their last mark upon the ground. The few shoots of green grass that pricked up from the barren, tan brush told me spring was here.

    “Timbo,” my mother spoke softly. “Time to gather into the tent now. The light will be leaving us soon.” I soaked her voice in like dry dirt drinks a sudden rain. It had been thirty years since her soothing hush had graced my ears.

    “Yes, mama,” I heard myself say. I didn’t mind being back under her direction, much like I didn’t mind the musty smell of animal hide and close bodies. This was home.

    I had no idea why I had re-entered my three-year-old body, but the Gods were strange at times. Perhaps they were giving me a second chance to save my family. Though my tiny body wasn’t much longer than a log on the fire, maybe this time I could make a difference.

    I toddled into the tent with a smile set on my face. Coziness struck me like a drum as contented faces tickled my sight, and the smell of salty broth tempted my nose. Pride and sadness made the tears trickle from my eyes. I brushed them away and nestled into my bed of fur, enveloped in warmth.

    My innate sense told me that this would be the fateful night. The night that the man slew my father, ravished my mother’s body and pierced her beauty through with a spear. The night the ground turned crimson with baby Kety’s blood as she was ripped from my mother’s breast. The night my family’s souls fleeted, and I ran, alone, into the wilderness only to be taken in by strangers just before death.

    Determined to change fate, I peeked into the darkening shadows of the tent, trying to locate weapons and conjure scenarios. Nearest to me was a hatchet and nothing else; it would have to do.

    Hushed voices whispered happily as I pretended sleep. Deep into the dark the night passed and all fell quiet, until I heard the beat of hooves, muffled at first and then incessant, like a death march. Huffs of voices traveled to my tiny ears, and I scooted silently into position. I could see my father’s dark form moving as well.

    The door flapped, and the leather was ripped aside. Eyes stared into the tent, their whites set off by the black paint surrounding their edges. Red lines on the face bespoke death – this time it would be his.

    Despite a strong fight, my father was chopped down first, his trunk falling like a tree. Then the man set upon my mother. I sneaked around him as he was ripping at her clothes and swung with all my might at his neck. Though my hatchet only traveled three inches, luck allowed it to nick a major artery. Blood gushed like a black river.

    My mother’s arms swung out and hugged me to her breast, with baby Kety beside. Her touch warmed me like a ray of sun in winter. I had saved us.

    Safety was a fleeting thought though. Multiple heads jutted through our tent flap, angrier than the first. I stood and swung my weapon, slicing ankles and toes until I was plucked from the tent by my ear and slung into the cold, night air.

    And again, I ran. Failure followed me through the night like a determined shadow and cloaked me in loneliness. Failure would be mine for eternity.

    1. snuzcook

      Excellent, margi33!
      Your story presents a full, descriptive story with a plausible reason for MC to be reliving of an horrific event. Very compelling and engaging. Your choice of descriptions were beautifully consistent with the context and premise of the story.

    2. seliz

      I really enjoyed your descriptions. They were unique, but understandable. I felt bad for the MC, but it made me think that maybe certain events can’t be changed.

    3. jmcody

      Wow, Margi, this was really good. You created a whole world that was believable and palpable, and ultimately tragic, as a three year old is forced to relive horrifying events and his own sense of failure and futility. You have a powerful imagination.

    4. Marc Ellis

      What a terribly sad, wonderful story. It seems like fate and the ability, or lack thereof, to change one’s destiny has been a common theme with this week’s prompt. You story pulled me in, and I felt the MC’s sadness and sense of failure.

    5. jhowe

      I liked this a lot. Your voice perfectly illustrated the time period and was very exciting. Hopefully Timbo will not feel the failure for etternity as he tried with all his might.

    6. margi33

      Thanks everyone for reading my post & for the positive comments. I would have written about my own childhood, except I have a terrible long term memory, so couldn’t remember much. It was almost easier to transport to a different place & time :).

      And sometimes I do think that fate is just that – fate. Perhaps we couldn’t change our path even if we were able to go back. Who knows though? That’s the fun part about pondering the unknowns.

    7. Reaper

      Stunning writing. While I agree with the comments about fate and not being able to change it and the sadness that is not what struck me most powerfully. The two things that your MC seems left with, though probably unknown until later, are what struck me.

      One, his mother is proud of him and nothing can ever take that away. Unlike last time he knows that she knew he did everything he could and more than could be expected a three year old even in the world you have described.

      Two, he has learned a lesson that most of us only come to much later in life. That sometimes it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, sometimes it only matters that you fight.

      1. margi33

        Very good points Reaper. I agree completely. You seem to always be able to delve further into people’s writing then they can even figure for themselves. I like your introspection :)

    8. Observer Tim

      This is an excellent story, margi33. I wonder how long it will take the MC to realize that the point wasn’t for him to save his family but to come to grips with their tragic end and the fact that he couldn’t do anything about it. That’s a hard lesson to learn.

  33. Scott

    I woke up under a pink polka-dot blanket with the smell of cooking eggs distantly noticeable. This was, most certainly, not the room of a twenty-one-year-old man. I wracked my brain, wondering how I got here. Yesterday was Wednesday. I had marching band in the morning and screenwriting and nursing classes in the afternoon. Then I had a late shift at the fire house, and then I went to bed. I hadn’t had a sip of liquor since Saturday.
    Did something happen at work? I could’ve sworn I finished my shift and went home, but what if something happened? This couldn’t be Carrie – my partner’s – room. The bed was too small, the room too girly.
    “Sarah!” a familiar voice called, startling me out of my thoughts. I bolted upright, and it was then that I noticed that the outline of my legs under the blanket was small. I held up my hands and stared at them, a vague sense of panicked familiarity coming over me. I glanced around the room at a dizzying pace. Pink and purple paper butterflies graced white walls. My sheets were of a flower print, and the pillows matched the blanket. The bed was tiny, hardly bigger than a crib. And the white dresser was littered with toys and books and unused diapers.
    “Sarah!” the voice cried again, and I whimpered quietly. This was Sarah’s room, my room, when I was still Sarah. I kicked the blanket away and stared down at myself. A cutesy floral nightgown fit loosely around me.
    I was Sarah, once more. Sarah, who I hadn’t been since I was thirteen years old and sad and scared and uncertain. What happened to twenty-one-year-old, witty, well-liked Scott? Scott, who was a few months away from completing his paramedic exam and had a year and a half until he was a registered nurse. Scott, who had been such since January of the year he turned fourteen.
    I shimmied out of bed and threw the door to my room open. I peered into the hallway. The bathroom was just a few steps away, my parents’ room a little further, and my future sibling’s at the end of the hall. I tiptoed into the bathroom and hoisted myself onto the sink, peering at myself in the mirror. Gray-green eyes the color of dull seafoam stared back at me behind a cloak of fine, light-brown hair that fell messily to my chin. I was a cute child, archetypally innocent. I frowned at myself. The little girl in the mirror was Sarah, not me. I hopped down from the sink and shuffled downstairs where my mother greeted me cheerfully.
    I cared little about the fact that I was three, judging by the nursery that patiently awaited its occupant and my mother’s round stomach. I was Sarah again; I was a girl again. Perhaps it was a dream, I assured myself. Or maybe I had too much to drink. Or I could be too stressed. (I should really lighten my workload.)
    “Good morning, Sarah,” my mother cooed, cupping her palm around my young chin. I missed this; lazy mornings spent devouring scrambled eggs and turkey bacon. I did not, however, miss Sarah. I’m Scott, not Sarah.
    At least I can tell them a lot sooner this time around.

    1. Observer Tim

      This is thought-provoking, Scott. It’s a well-written piece from an oft-neglected point of view. A lot can happen in the course of a life and to have it undone can be a tragedy.

      One quibble: my friend who went through the ‘TG experience’ had to go through years of therapy and medication before the operation (and after). Maybe that part is omitted because the format is too short.

  34. bellefleur

    The first ray of light from the morning horizon shoots laser like through the tiny space where the bottom of the blind doesn’t quite reach the window sill.

    I’m up! Pushing back the covers, I’m wondering why my suddenly tiny legs don’t hit the floor immediately. Everything in this room seems strangely familiar. Plastic milk crates serving as shelves for stuffed animals and toys line the wall on my left with my mother’s childhood vanity sits between the windows on the opposite wall.

    This is my dusty old memory of my little girl’s room at the first residence I can remember, but why aren’t things dusty? Why the comforting smell of ‘80s laundry detergent? Also, this is the most alert at 6:08 a.m. I can remember being as an adult!

    Swinging my little legs onto the bed, I fall back on the pillow and close my eyes. Surely, I’ll wake up in a minute and be back in London with my own toddler secure in the bedroom next to me. Fun, vivid trip back in time, though. … … … Nope. Nope. No…

    I’m still here, still small and still awake. What were those stories my mom used to tell me from this time? Oh yeah, I wasn’t allowed to go into my parents room before 7:00 a.m., so I would yell from here asking if it was time yet. Maybe that’s a way to test the waters and see how complete this experience will be. “Mom-mee!!! Can I get up yet?!!”

    At first there’s no response. Then, soft padded footsteps precede the creaky opening of the bedroom door. My mother sticks her head in and says, “Ok, we’re up now. Let’s go downstairs and get some breakfast.”

    I’m frozen in disbelief. What is this crazy Groundhog Day experience and when is Bill Murray coming to relieve me?! However, breakfast does sound good, and so do some mommy cuddles. In fact, I’d really love me some mommy cuddles. So, I pop out of bed and careen downstairs to hug her leg in the kitchen while she makes me some scrambled eggs with cheese. If this is an accurate reflection of the past, my 6-month-old brother will be awake any minute, so I better make the most of it.

    “Mommy, will you pick me up and sit with me on the couch? Will you read me a story?”

    “Sure, sweetie. Let’s eat your eggs first, and then we can do that. I love you, Carrie.”

    “I love you, too, Mommy.”

    I’m not sure what’s brought me here, but knowing that the future can be rough and tumble, this innocent, loving time of life is a welcome respite. If it lasts, I’m even looking forward to helping out more with my baby brother a little later. Maybe I’ll spare my mom the “He likes cheese!!” incident.

    1. Observer Tim

      It’s a clever tale, bellefleur. I can see going through the day over and over as a three-year old would get extremely frustrating.

      But my inner skeptic asks, if Carrie has been through this so many times, why is she so disoriented when it happens again? Just sayin…

  35. snuzcook

    A CURTAIN STIRRED (529 wds)

    On tiny, bare feet I follow the aroma of bacon and cinnamon to the warm heart of the house. I am drawn there, where I know with the certainty of a three-year-old that my mother will be magically chasing away the shadows of the night and weaving the day into order with a hot stove and soapy water.

    Standing in the doorway of the kitchen, I see a young version of my mother bending to pull a pan of muffins from the oven, her single thick braid of raven hair swinging across her shoulder. She sets the muffins to cool, then turns to the skillet of bacon on the stove, spearing the done pieces and laying them on a folded paper towel.

    I cannot help but marvel at how gracefully she moves, each motion with purpose and anointed with a aura of joyfulness. She is not just my mother, but The Mother, the iconic personification of mothers at the center of their families, stirring up the embers that sustain the home, protecting from the darkness.

    I am aware of her in these terms, but I am also in this moment her small child. I do now know how I can see her now through a lens of years and mature experience, and at the same moment through the eyes of my own distant toddlerhood. Some breath of time has wafted aside a curtain and I have stepped through into my own past, her past.

    I clamber up into the high wooden chair that sits at the right hand of her place at the table.

    “Good morning, my Little Squirrel,” she kisses the top of my head, then lays out plates for my brothers across the table from me. I can hear my brothers overhead as they hurry to dress. Soon I know they will come pelting down the stairs like a rock slide, anxious to get to the table on time.

    As she turns away I see fresh red and purple welts on her neck running down under her collar. I peek toward the dark place at the end of the table, the dark brooding place where the dark brooding man will soon appear to preside over the meal. I listen for his heavy steps and I touch the place under my pajamas where the shape of his fingers remains in fading greens and yellows.

    The place at his the end of the table is empty. Puzzled, I see his tall dark chair is pulled aside to a place near the back door where my mother’s floor mop and bucket, smelling of disinfectant, stand waiting to be put away.

    Before I can form a three-year-old’s question, the phone rings. A cloud shadow of fear crosses the sunshine of my mother’s face for just an instant.

    “Good morning, Sheriff. No, he hasn’t been home all night. I don’t know. Yes, he was drinking. Well, you know how he is. His truck? Where? All right, Sheriff, I’ll be here.”

    She hangs up the phone, and picks up something from the counter. It is a set of keys, my father’s keys.

    A breath of air stirs a curtain somewhere, and I shiver.

    1. Bilbo Baggins

      The first sentence just hooked me, especially since I love bacon. I’ve seen the Norman Rockwell, idyllic pictures and stuff and you ran with it at first until racking up the tension near the end to a place I really didn’t expect. Great job, Snuzcook.

      1. snuzcook

        Thanks for your comments, Bilbo!
        I have been gone all week, and when I finally got to responding to this prompt, I guess I had a dark streak that needed to come out.

        If you (or any other responders) are willing to give some specific feedback:

        Some of my personal observations are that the pacing of this story was a bit off due to the descriptive phrases, and that the shift to the ‘dark side’ was perhaps a bit abrupt.
        Wondering also how much the circular references to Mother making light out of darkness/cleaning (as a foreshadowing and justification for the ‘brooding man’ being missing and mother having his keys) and the curtain reference were effective as elements to keep the story a cohesive whole.

        1. Bilbo Baggins

          I’m hardly qualified to really give good, specific feedback, but I’ll try here. First off, the change from idyllic to dark was a little abrupt, perhaps. The only way I can think this would be remedied is maybe by including a small foreshadowing of uncertainty before (P1 and 4 seem like good spots). It really seems fine to me, but maybe it’ll help. Secondly, the two parts about the curtains, and including the title, I felt really tied the story together. Don’t worry about that at all.

          Also, I really liked the part about how the kids would come down like a rock slide. Besides all that, awesome job.

          1. snuzcook

            Thanks for the extra response, Bilbo! It confirms for me that the foreshadowing in P1 was too subtle, and reassures me of the parts that did work just fine.

        2. lionetravail

          I think it’s very good, Snuzcook. It does leave a lot to the imagination- for example, I’m not sure if there was foul play afoot, but it seem possible… and if there is, why is the MC seeing it this time? Did it happen last time when she lived through it? I’m a little confused, though I think I sowed more confusion with my take on this prompt :)

          Given the 500 word limit, I think the pacing was pretty solid.

          If there was only one thing to add,I’d like to know if what the MC was witnessing now was something she’d not noticed when she’d lived through it, or if this was a totally new round on the ‘wheel’ she was living through. (If it was something she didn’t see before with an actual 3 year old’s perception, maybe she’s under deep regression hypnosis as an adult?) There’s so many ways you could take this- as an exercise, I think you hit the mark, but you have so much potential to make this into something superb if you take the time to flesh it out.

          1. Kerry Charlton

            I’m hopping in with lionel. I think your flow was fine and as soon as I read the description, “as she turns away, I see freshn red and purple welts on her neck, and following,”and I touch the place under my pajamas….’ , I know the story, I don ‘t need more clues. She caught him abusing his own daughter, walted for sleep and killed the SOB, although the struggle produced the welts.

            I also agree, expand this story, maybe 2000 words or what ever you need. It is important.

          2. snuzcook

            Thank you for your detailed response, Lionetravail!

            I often find that I have left a lot to the reader’s interpretation, which sometimes works really well, because the reader comes up with a more brilliant story than I had in mind ;0); other times the story is just vague.

            Here, we learn that in the midst of a warm, idyllic home is a dark shadow. The dark brooding man is physically abusive–hand print bruises on the little girl, fresh welts on the mother’s neck, a bullying presence at the table. The mother exists to provide a safe, nurturing home for her family. The bad man hurt her child(ren), the bad man attacked her. The bad man is now gone and all trace of him and his demise has been mopped up with disinfectant. His truck has been found abandoned somewhere with no trace of him. The only hint is the child’s recollection about the keys, the one piece of evidence that her mother made the darkness go away by direct action. Something the child saw but perhaps did not realize at the time.

            Why does the MC relive this moment? My intent is that it is part of her coming to grips with the truth of her mother–as we all must do at some point. For instance, it was an epiphany to discover that my gentle, soft-spoken and very proper grandmother appeared to take real pleasure in snipping or salting the slugs in her garden. When I got over the shock of the image of her malicious cackle over their mangled bodies, it helped me understand her as a three-dimensional human being rather than a sainted icon.

    2. margi33

      I thought it was an interesting and good read because of the excellent descriptions. I did have to read it more than once at the end to make sure I got what had happened, but I am a little slow sometimes ;). Overall, very enjoyable and I thought the pacing was fine given the word constrictions.

    3. seliz

      I loved where you went with this prompt. The small details the MC notices this time around that hints about what happened to their father were perfect. It was comforting with the description of The Mother, but then creepy as well.

    4. jmcody

      Hi Snuzcook. I thought the pacing was fine. I understood the story just as you described it in your comments, although I did have to read it twice to make sure. The disinfectant and the keys confirmed the meaning for me. The only part that I am not entirely sold on is when the narrator is talking about his (her?) mother as being the iconic mother. I think you could have conveyed this without stating it so overtly. It struck me as spoon-feeding the reader a bit more than was necessary. I did love the language you used though, about the stirring of the embers and protecting the home from darkness. I would keep that but weave it into the MCs remembrance instead of into his conscious awareness, if that makes sense. I am only giving these suggestions because you asked. Overall it was excellent, and I appreciated the subtlety with which you painted this dark portrait.

      1. snuzcook

        Thanks, JM. You put your finger right on the place where it jumped out of line–some alter ego of the author slipped under the fence and made a soapbox statement. And it would be so easy to say it without the pedantic language. Good catch!

    5. Reaper

      snuzcook, for me I’m going to say… don’t. change. anything. With two exceptions I will get to in a moment. I have read the other comments and while I can see the value in them I believe the pacing is perfect. The soapbox comment could be spoon feeding but what it said to me was that this was not new. Left to our own devices we might assume that this was the mother’s way of feeling guilty over the father, making up for it, or as a way of ushering in a better era. With that one comment we know that, no, this is just how mother always made the house and nothing has changed. As for the pacing I liked the abrupt change because it spoke of the father. He is not in the story but that switch is like a sudden stormcloud out of nowhere which is how I imagine the father entering the room.

      I actually had a thought in my mind that transitioned with this story. It went like this. Rockwell painting fading to the Screamer and evolving to a Warhol. The fact that my mind works in words and not images means you did an amazing job of walking me through this to get my mind there. Oh, and your opening line was perfection and there were nice echoes of it both dark and light later on in your other descriptions.

      The two things that jarred me. I can hear my brothers overheard, I would suggest removing the overheard or rework the beginning to eliminate hear because I was deep in the trance of this story and this pulled me out of it for a second. The second is a typo only. In P4 you have I do now know when I believe you meant not. That’s it. I’m still trying to catch my breath.

      1. snuzcook

        Thanks so much, Reaper!
        It’s funny, each time I read the story, I change how I feel about it.
        I really appreciate your perspective! I think you grok it.

  36. RuthieShev

    As usual even at three years old, I am the first one up. I look around and my three sisters are still asleep. Later on there would be six of us girls sleeping together in the two double beds pushed together in the back bedroom but two of my sisters aren’t born yet. Back then I thought my brother, who was the oldest and only boy, was so lucky to have his own bedroom even though it was very small. Later on I grew to love the closeness my sisters and I had and still have today even though I am getting close to sixty-seven years old.
    Jumping out of bed, I run to the bathroom first which was a little closet type room in our bedroom. Everyone had to come in our bedroom to use the toilet because we only had one in the house which would eventually be home to nine people. Often you would see someone sitting on our beds squirming with anxiety waiting for the bathroom to come free. At least we had an indoor plumbing as several of our neighbors still used an outhouse.
    Afterwards, I hurry to the dresser and pick up my favorite doll. I would let her sleep with me but my sister would not accept my dirty, dingy doll in our bed. Yes, she was dirty, her hair was ratty and even her dress had been mended several times. I know she had a different home before me even though I don’t know exactly who she came from. Santa had given me SusyQ for Christmas and it didn’t matter at to me one bit that she was old and had seen better days. I loved her as much as anyone could love a brand new fancy doll from the 5 and 10 cent store. I sat back down on the bed and begin talking to SusyQ when one of my sisters complained “Don’t you ever stop talking, Ruthie? Go back to sleep!” After that I whispered to my dolly until my momma and daddy got up to get us breakfast.
    Following Momma around, I tried to help her get breakfast on the table. While pouring milk in the glasses I spilled some on the table and Momma just smiled as she wiped up after me. “You are always such a good helper, Ruthie”, she said with conviction. I talked Momma’s ear off the whole time as we got breakfast ready but she didn’t mind. She actually told me that if I wrote as much as I talked, one day I could be a famous writer. I won a state writing contest once in high school by just putting my words into essay form. Yes, I was a talker then and am still a talker but now I try to write down all my words and hope my mother was right and one day I will be a famous writer.

    1. snuzcook

      This was a lovely, nostalgic glimpse into your narrator’s (your?) experiences, RuthieShev. It felt very authentic and full of details that are both sweet and revealing. Thanks for sharing this story.

      1. RuthieShev

        Thank you. It is actually what my life was like as a little girl, many, many years ago. I was blessed to be raised in a “Walton” typed framily. I was describing my bedroom (and bathroom) when I wrote this and almost all our Christmas gifts were makeovers. I remember repainting and making new clothes for our old Barbie Dolls for our younger sisters for Christmas. It was a special time in my life.

    2. Critique

      Reading this felt like a peek into someone’s memoirs. I liked the feeling that came through of growing up in a loving family. I hope I get to read more of your writings Ruthie Shev :)

      1. RuthieShev

        Thank you very much. We were a very poor family in the Pennsylvania hills and sometimes we just had syrup bread to eat but in our family of nine you always knew the love was there. Although I sometimes wished to be weathier and have material things like a others I knew, I learned that the love was the most important thing our parents gave us.

    3. Reaper

      This is lovely and I want to see more of your writing. Knowing what it is like to be a talker I am always happy to see another literary writer. That love shown for the doll spoke volumes and your mother was or is a wonderful woman. It is hard to find that kind of encouragement for the writer’s passion in wealthy families. In ones where there is less artistic leanings are often considered frivolous and wasteful. So it is funny that those families actually seem more supportive, or maybe it’s just that there are more of them, or more that produce artists so you hear it more often. Your family sounds amazing.

      1. RuthieShev

        Thank you very much. My mother was a wonderful woman and died at 92 years old a few years ago and I still miss her very much. You could be right Reaper and maybe it is because there are more of us that we are supportive. I think the fact that we didn’t have a lot of materialistic goods in our life that we turned to each other for support. My husband and I have been married almost 48 years, had 7 children of our own, and now have 16 grandchildren (plus one more in August) and 2 great grandchildren (plus one more in November). We have been blessed in more ways than money can ever buy, although sometimes I think it would be nice to have a little more money :).

    4. jmcody

      In an age when kids feel deprived if they can’t upgrade from iPhone 4 to 5, a memoir like yours is very timely and relevant. Your story is like an instruction manual for those who have been forced to reevaluate their priorities over these past several years of economic downturn. You have a valuable story to tell and I hope you will write down more of it for your family and for others. You are already a writer. Thank you for sharing this.

    5. Observer Tim

      This reads very much like a look back into the childhood of someone growing up in a large and poor family. Now that I’ve read the comments, I can understand why. It’s a beautiful glimpse into your personal backstory.

      For the sake of clarity, please put an extra blank line between paragraphs; it makes the story easier on my plastic eyes.

      1. RuthieShev

        Thank you for the comments and the advice. I appreciate your help. I wasn’t sure if we were supposed to title these prompts or just start in the prompt but I read a few and noticed they didn’t have titles so I left that part blank.

  37. Reaper

    I’ve never posted two in one week before. This one was floating around in my head before the other and as I was trying to catch up on the stories it decided it had to be told. A bit over word count and in the spirit if not the letter of the prompt. I hope I can be forgiven for both. I did cut it down as much as I could.

    ____________________________________________________________________________________

    Eben Echt

    Like that moment in the movies where the main character wakes up gasping for breath. Everyone thinks they understand but only those with sleep apnea or who have almost drowned do. That’s how I wake up.

    My throat is raw, my nose clogged with the dueling scents of lemon and pine.

    I know I am approaching middle age but the memories between the room I wake in and then are indistinct. I have lived that life in a dark cave. Surround by dream things that flit away when glimpsed.

    I want my mama. –I need to have a conversation with the mother.-

    I’m suddenly in the hall. I see her, call out to her, “-Beep… beep…-” Love fills me as her eyes move past me, pretending not to see. It’s the peekaboo game! A big boy version she always plays with me when I am sick or sad, which is most of the time.

    Three year old legs are not meant for running but when she steps into the kitchen I give chase. One step, two. I’m in the kitchen like I teleported the rest.

    She looks through me. Ice water slides over my soul. She looks so old, she must be fretting. That’s how she looks when I’m really sick. This isn’t the game. She’s giving me the silent treatment. I must have done something bad. That makes me mad. I stamp my bare foot and spew forth words in a voice filled with squeaky thunder!

    “Don’t be mad mama! I’m a good boy! Anger’s –survival is not realistically viable.-“

    Our house is creaky and old. My pint sized fury rattles the dishes. Mama looks surprised. Tears spring onto her cheeks as her mouth opens in an O. When words finally come they are in a whisper.

    “Spencer, you can’t be here.”

    Now I’m crying too. Doesn’t she love me anymore? I know I’m trouble, it’s not my fault I’m always sick. I intend to wail for forgiveness.

    “I –always kept her secret.-“

    The spicy tang of Old Spice mingles with the other scents in my nose. My dada is behind me. I ache for him to lift me up, to hold me. To ruffle my hair and tell me, everything’s okay champ. But his touch would shatter me. I’m –too fragile to be transferred.- When he speaks it is in a voice as old as mama looks.

    “Susan, do I need to get your sister here to look after you?”

    Mama stares at me. She falls to her knees, rivers running through the deep valleys on her cheeks. I want to run to her. I need to wrap my chubby arms around her waist and tell her she’ll get through this, that we can face anything together; like she always does for me. I can’t, I hate her! But I’m a good boy.

    “I… I’m sorry, Spencer.” She is choking on the words. “We had to remove the breathing tube. You were in a coma for thirty-nine years! I’m sorry baby. Forgive your mama. It’s my fault, I let them do it!”

    Dada is saying something, trying to console her but his voice is tired. He just lost his son again too. Why can’t he grieve? I don’t hear the words. My world shrinks to just me and mama. I am going to forgive her; going to return all her favors. I’ll tell her that!

    “-I suspect there is more for the mother to feel guilty about.-“

    Why do I keep saying these things? My world narrows more. Mama sobs out something. It must be bad. The floor shakes as dada falls to his knees. My tiny eardrums quake with his bellows of rage and denial.

    Now I want to comfort him too. Instead I stare at the cupboard where mama keeps lemon scented Pinesol.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      I feel as I’ve been on a trip into the horror of a life so shattered and yet still yearning for love. This may be the most powerful prose I have ever read, there is so much emotion in the words. The descriptive passages from the eyes of a too undrstanding child, are the most gut-wreching thing I have ever set my eyes upon.

      Where is the possibility of hope? There is none. Where does the blame lie? It lies everywhere. What about redemption? It doesn’t exist. What about God? He’s not there either. What about spirit? Aha, it does still exist. The human spirit of survival is always there. It is a built in reserve and is it possible to get through this? It definitely is and that is the beauty of your story. The human spirit will prevail, regardless.

      What a breath taking trip, Reaper.

      1. Reaper

        Thank you Kerry. I’m glad the emotion came through because I felt it when I was thinking of the story but the when I was done writing it felt like it fell flat compared to what I wanted to express. I think I learned more about my story from reading your comments than I did from writing it. You have an amazing way of doing that for me.

    2. snuzcook

      A very moving story, Reaper! The ache for connection, the confusion about time, and the child’s logic in the inexperienced mind of a middle aged person who has no time left to sort things out.
      The insertions of comments by outside observers/medical professionals really punctuate the story well, moving it forward while at the same time building the sense of disorientation.

    3. margi33

      I like this Reaper. The chopped phrases fit the urgency of the child’s desperation well. It is almost a stream of consciousness style mixed with a story. A cool and engrossing read.

      1. Reaper

        Thank you. I was going for a dream quality but didn’t want complete stream of consciousness. Trying to cut down to the word count helped with the chopped phrasing.

    4. seliz

      Wow, this had me hooked. The emotions of the MC and the descriptions were perfect. After the reveal, I found myself going up to re-read the first line again and it was eerie and fitting. Nicely done.

    5. jmcody

      I cannot fathom how you do this — you weave the threads of your story together so tightly and so intricately, and with such stunning results. You are both a master craftsman and a true artist. This was haunting and devastating. Now please tell me if I am understanding correctly that the mother caused this with the PineSol?

      1. Reaper

        I’m blushing over here. Thank you jmcody. You are understanding that absolutely correctly. The idea was the mother suffering? from munchausen by proxy syndrome. Her child ending up in a coma for decades and only allowing the life support to be removed when enough time had passed that her guilt had faded and the sympathy and attention for her child in a coma wasn’t cutting it anymore but a funeral would do. One thing I did cut was the father listening to his I’m depressed song when the ghost woke up. I figured his reaction at the end was enough to indicate that he didn’t know what his wife had done.

    6. agnesjack

      I have enough trouble posting one story, so I am in awe of those who post two. This is a gorgeous story, Reaper. So original. I could go on and on, but I really should attend to other things, so I will just say that this line: “I have lived that life in a dark cave. Surround[ed] by dream things that flit away when glimpsed,” grabbed me particularly. Amazing.

      1. Reaper

        Thanks agnesjack! I normally only post one but I am slacking on the other writing and editing the last couple of weeks and this one just happened to me. Thank you for telling me that, because I rewrote that line a few times to get it to where it was. I’m proud that it grabbed you. I am also thankful for the correction as I missed that in my editing and have corrected it in the saved copy.

    7. RuthieShev

      I actually felt tears of sadness well up in my eyes for the people in this writing. I was so moved, I must have read it 3 times to get the full affect of it. I am not any sort of critic but this is something that moved me very much and that is what writing is all about.

      1. Reaper

        Thank you RuthieShev. I have done my job for the day when I can touch someone like that. Your comments tell me that the emotion and the depth were what I was aiming for. Your statement about being a critic made me think of a quote, which when I was trying to find the source seems mostly unknown and to have many versions. I will go with the one attributed to Orson Welles. “I don’t know anything about art, but I know what I like.” Not exactly right because you do know about art, but those that say they are not critics are the best kind. Other writers who have strong feelings about what writing is about make the best critics to me, because you are telling me what you think from the same side of your brain that I wrote it from. You are feeling it not analyzing. Both have their place but I love seeing what my peers think and take the feedback very seriously.

  38. moscoboy

    Time Runt

    It was six in the morning and my evil brother Harry kicked me in the butt and yelled, “Mom, Freddie wet the bed again.”

    “Hey, what are you doing in my bed?”

    “You bed wetter, we sleep in the same bed until dad saves enough money to get us that bunk bed he saw at Goodwill. Go get mom to clean you butt.”

    I walked to my parent’s room and opened the door as my wet underwear slapped against my cold butt. I hadn’t wet the bed in sixty years. Why was I brought back to this point in my life?

    “Ma, I wet the bed.”

    “I told you not to drink that Kool-Aid, didn’t I?”

    “I don’t belong here mom?”

    “Not that again Freddie. You have to quit living in your fantasyland. Go change your underwear and I’ll sprinkle some baby powder on your side of the bed and you can cover it up with a towel and go back to sleep.”

    The evil one left at seven a.m. and walked to school. We lived in a small town and school buses were used to pick up farm kids. City kids had to ride or walk to school.

    I shifted my butt from the wet side of the bed to the warm middle of the mattress and wondered if Harry knew he would die of TB, would he make the effort to go to school.

    “Breakfast Freddie.”

    I put on my short pants and shirt and sat at the dining table. Fried eggs, bacon and toast with extra butter and a glass of milk. “Mom, this is bad for me.”

    “Yes I know, you tell me that every time, but you eat it anyway.”

    “I know,” I recited mom’s message, “because the little kids in Africa don’t have nothing to eat, and they never will.”

    “No more of your nonsense. Take your toy soldiers and walk to Maw-Maw’s house. I’ll pick you up after I get off work.”

    “Maw-Maw smells.”

    “It’s that kerosene stove she uses. Be a good boy and don’t bother Maw-Maw when she naps.”

    “I’m going to fight in Vee Naam mom.”

    “No Freddie, it was VE day and VJ day not vee naam.”

    “You’ll be proud of me mom. I’m going to fly an airplane and drop bombs and ‘pow’ kill all the enemy.”

    “Be sure and leave some for tomorrow.”

    I walked two blocks down from our frame home to Maw-Maw’s shotgun shack house. I yelled, “Maw-Maw, are you alive?”

    “Freddie I smelled you coming a block away,” said Maw-Maw. “Did you wet your bed again?”

    “It was an accident.”

    “Accident yourself into the tub and take a quick bath and I’ll fix you a bologna sandwich and you can tell Maw-Maw all about the future. People think I’m crazy when I talk about whiz-bang ovens and Dick Tracy phones. Am I crazy Freddie?”

    “No, it’s me, I’m stuck in the wrong time zone and I can’t find my way home.”

    1. seliz

      If I were the MC, I don’t know if I would want to find my way home. With his brother dying and going off to war, it seems like the MC had a tough life. I liked how no one took him seriously, except for his Maw-Maw.

    2. jmcody

      Same story but a completely different slice of life that was engagingly portrayed. The childish dialogue played well with the grown up internal monologue, and you have just enough of the right kinds of details to make it sing. Nice job!

    3. Observer Tim

      This reads kind of like an episode of the Twilight Zone or Night Gallery that they could never have managed to record back then. I can almost feel the camera pulling back at the end and Rod Serling starting his closing narration.

      Well done, moscoboy.

  39. Iffi

    There are very rare days in Mumbai when the climate is such that it helps you to sleep soundly with comforting temperature and less mosquitoes around your face, making annoying noise trying to find the perfect spot to lay their teethes on. I was happy that such things around me have changed just in a couple of hours and till then, I was merely switching sides.

    Wait a minute, wasn’t I sleeping in one of the finest five star hotels in Barcelona? How can there be mosquitoes in this room for which they charge so much? Am I dreaming?

    And suddenly there was an array of loud noise of falling vessels as if they were falling right from that seventh sky. I got up at once and turned my face around to find the place from where the sound came. I was horrified to see myself in body of three year old, as I never thought or wished for it, though my skin was cherubically soft and my legs were cutely little.

    I saw a man, wearing white old dirty pajama with bare chest, unkempt hair and ungroomed beard, pulling a woman with brute force against the wall. Her head hit the wall and a part of her forehead turned black and blue. I was not able to recognize their faces as they were standing with their back facing towards me.

    “Bitch! Give me money or else I will kill you” threatened man.

    I was still not able to figure where I was and thought maybe its booze, which I had while partying when Barcelona won 1-0, playing on my mind. I simply gazed, with my chins up, around trying to find out more about the place and these people. The walls and ceiling were having cracks and appeared as the skin of an old woman having wrinkles all around. However, few amongst them were filled up with cement as though the people living there cared for it once.

    As I gazed more, my heartbeats increased exponentially as it related me to my old house where I grew up and whose hazy images are still there in my mind. As my eyes were running across the room collecting more and more proofs and looking for one to make me believe that it’s not the place where I grew up, the woman turned around making it possible for me to see her face from the side. My heart stopped, as the woman was the one whom I have loved the most, my mother, but it was the first time when I didn’t have the usual smile on my face which used to be there, out of happiness which her face filled my heart with.

    “Sister Fucker! Will you spend this too at chowk, gambling and drinking?” asked my mother denying money to the guy who appeared to be my father.

    My heartbeat started again with my face down in sadness thinking, am I going to relive those days again? My face went grimmer as I was now able to understand all words and the context of their violent discussion too. I thought it was better then, as at least I didn’t understand them and can imagine it as some game which they play, but now it wasn’t. I broke down into tears and started my waa waa giving my mother an opportunity to slip out of the situation.

    1. TiaKuwai

      The last para is thought provoking – it’s so much simpler to accept things at childhood without understanding the meaning, but same things, when we understand what is happening, is painful.
      Good story.

  40. LiveOakLea

    There are times in Life when strange things happen, bizarre things, fifth dimension things, time warp things … and then you wake up. It’s been my experience that most people can relate when you tell them you sprouted wings and flew over a poppy field to spank a Wizard, if it’s a dream. Chances are good if you shared your most outrageous dreams, others would nod with total understanding, without dismay, and say they had a dream like that, except it was with their deceased grandpa. Our human minds can take us on extraordinary trips, when we’re asleep.

    What happens though when your world has, like an outlandish dream, lost the laws and constraints of time and space, abandoning you to situations un-refrained by the dictates of here and now, then and there, awash on the shore of absurdity, spinning on a plane outside the realm of plausibility? How do you handle the impossible, when it’s suddenly unavoidably real?

    I’ve lived almost 59 years, but I don’t think I’ve ever devoted more than a fleeting moment pondering that question. Never had much of a cause to consider how I would handle any episode more challenging to my routine than the night I thought I heard a freight train headed for my prize winning rosebush, only to find that it was the next door neighbor ramming her husband’s girlfriend’s BMW down the street, tires facing upwards and clawing at the sky, over the South Street Bridge, through the guard rail and tumbling unceremoniously into the cold Forge River.

    Neither my rosebush nor the girlfriend was harmed, but perhaps you can imagine the first instant my naive eardrums were assaulted by the vicious, grinding roar. The uncomprehending, cringing fear.

    That’s the feeling I woke up to this morning, and I’ve been held captive in its clutches since then.

    It’s not the people around me who scare me … in fact they are my dear parents. It’s not my surroundings … I’m in a home whose worn floors, scarred doors and marred wallpaper are like a second skin to me. But this scene around me disappeared from the world over a half century ago, including the child’s body I now inhabit.

    Gone are the flabby skin, the age spots, the hip replacement. My arms are chubby, my legs are stubby, my diaper is full.

    This can’t be happening. But it is.

    I’m plopped into my highchair, the metal one with the slightly rusted tray, its seat upholstered with the most carefree rabbits in the world. I shouldn’t be sitting here. I try to find the words to explain this absurd situation to my mom, who is surprisingly patient in her efforts to zoom the spoon of oatmeal into my mouth. I choke, cough, spit, spout and pound my fists against the tray. This isn’t right. I shouldn’t be here! But I don’t know how to say those words.

    All I can scream is, “No! No! Noooooo!!!”

    1. TiaKuwai

      Loved this line, “My arms are chubby, my legs are stubby, my diaper is full.” Hope my baby dosent think like this being a baby!
      I felt the initial description was a bit long, otherwise the emotions captured well.

    2. Observer Tim

      I enjoyed this spot of reflection; given that it’s not unusual for me to self-examine, it seems somehow fitting. It’s interesting to see the new situation used as a mirror for the old.

  41. swatchcat

    I have another but this first. I just kept thinking, what if?

    “What, do you take me for a fool?”

    “No Noah but now that you have seen what is to come, do you think it can be different?”

    “I will be but a child Lord. What can I do? It will fall on deaf ears as it did before. Most merciful father, do not plague me with this task again.”

    “Just think Noah, if you fail, we will send Moses next.”

    But why oh Lord, you know your people are week. The pain and suffering. I can’t bear the sadness and hate. It is too much.

    “I will give you the strength you need to endure. Remember my covenant. Believe, have faith and follow me and I will protect you. I will show you mercy.”

    “Why God must we endure this test again,” asked Noah desperately.

    “I do not want to destroy the world by flame. Help me to find a way. I want to change my mind but I will not if the people do not change their ways.

    “Noah, my friend,” said his wise Moses, “fear not, you have five hundred years to convince the people to change their evil ways. With the wisdom of knowing, you have the advantage.

    Father Lemech and mother Betenos lived in a tent and lived in the wilderness. Noah laid sleeping in a cradle made of stray and sheep’s wool. Under the sun of the earth and God the Father they lay as Noah watched his parents and wondered how he would spread the word of God to save a number of people so large from hopeless chaos. He was only one man among countless fools who had lost their way.

    He watched as his mother rose to prepare for the day. He could feel through the opening of the tent the heat of the drought seep in. Noah sat up and rubbed his eyes. Just then his mother, Betenos, came in and fed him some food. Noah drank some goat’s milk and went to play in the corner. Before he left, his mother grabbed him and looked in his eyes. “Noah my love, you have such wise eyes for a boy. You will be brave and strong. May God have mercy on you and give you strength.” His heart was heavy.

    1. swatchcat

      Shit! “Weak” not “Week” and

      But why oh Lord, you know your people are week. The pain and suffering. I can’t bear the sadness and hate. It is too much.—-This should have quotation marks around it.

      Could you imagine any legendary person having to go back and do it again?

          1. Critique

            Your comments made me laugh… been there – done that. Here, once posted it’s beyond our reach.
            This was an interesting take on the life of Noah the child. Have you seen the film Noah starring Russell Crowe. Interesting as well.

        1. Kerry Charlton

          This is an incredible supposition, swatchcat. God choosing the only man possible to relive the nightmare task, the Lord placed on his shoulders, so many thousands of years ago.

          Anyone would resist this plea. Bill Cosby said it best.
          “You’ve got to be kidding!”

    2. Marc Ellis

      This was an interesting take on the prompt and a unique perspective in general. One can only speculate how significant historical figures would act if they knew what their futures entailed and the likely outcomes of their actions. If they could change things, would they? Could they? Could they do the same great thing again if asked or required? Could they expect similar results? This would be a test of the truly great, true destiny, versus the any-given-Sunday scenario.

    3. jmcody

      This was thought provoking. I don’t think even us lesser mortals could have handled it if we knew at three the biggest challenges life was preparing to throw at us. But that is the definition of faith — forging on without knowing or needing to know, content that the answers will be made available when they are most needed. This was sort of a harrowing thing to think about. Well imagined and well executed.

      1. swatchcat

        Thank you for your comments I appreciate them. I was going to do a more creative nonfiction approach using my own bits of background but as I thought about it, this came to mind. Like I said, what other characters whether non-fiction or fiction if given this chance or made to go back…what would happen? Hitler, Stalin, Marilyn, or Wendy & Dorothy; what if.

  42. TiaKuwai

    The horrors of the night were playing all over again. Whimpering, I snuggle up to the cozy embrace, wait, who would embrace me like this? I open my eyes just a tad, I see her and quickly shut my eyes tighter. How could this be? I was terrorized, I was relieved.
    I open my eyes again and try to get up. She held me firmly against her body and was cooing my favorite lullaby.
    I look at her closely in the dim lights, she looked younger and beautiful. I tried to get up again and felt arrested by her arms. “Go back to sleep my baby, it was just a bad dream. Momma is here, you are safe. Relax”, she said and continued singing and walking across the room.
    I couldn’t understand what was happening. How could she cradle me at this age? How could she be there in the first place?
    Suddenly I see a reflection of us in the mirror, good Lord! How did I reduce in size? I must be around three and she was younger.
    This definitely was a dream, I thought, and tried to wake up. Her arms still restricted my movements.
    I closed my eyes and tried to string the events of the day. I had visited her in the evening, I was drunk and I was angry. The heated conversation over the property made me angrier. I had flung a porcelain vase at her to stop her. And it had. She was dead.
    I must have fallen asleep holding her and crying and praying for her to wake up. Maybe my prayer is answered and I get this chance to correct my actions. I was little relaxed after clearing my thoughts, relief was stronger than terror.
    If this is a dream I don’t want to wake up anymore, I hope this is real. I close my eyes firmly and hold on to her tightly.

    1. Observer Tim

      This is very touching, TaiKuwai. I’m sure we all have things we wish we could go back and redo, and that one sounds like a doozy.

      One idiom thing: the sentence “I must be around three and she was younger.” implies that the mother is younger than three, which I doubt was your intention. The last bit should be replaced with “… she was a young woman.” or some such.

  43. Bilbo Baggins

    WHISPERS OF HOME

    Underneath the distant, craggy peaks, even below the foggy foothills in front of them, lies a small, sparse land only punctuated by rows of weathered poplars. A lone farmhouse and a red peaked-roof barn stand in its midst, the wailing wind rotating the creaking weathervane. The front screen bangs shut, and a lean man in overalls leads his young grandson out to learn the ways of the farm.

    “Pa-Pa, are we going to feed the chickens, and ducks, and cows?” I tag along behind him, the large pail bouncing up and down from my belt.

    “Of course, Billy,” he replied, hobbling along the gravel path. “The sky is light and clear, and it’s a beautiful day. I can hear them calling for food from here.”

    Something seems a little off, and I feel like I’ve been through this before. Abruptly, I recall the funeral and my future wife’s face, and the world spins out of focus for a second, but we arrive at the chicken pen and he turns to me.

    “Do you want to feed them?” he asks with a mischievous bounce to his blue eyes. I nod, and thrust my little arm through the fence.

    “Just be careful they don’t take your fingers off.”

    I nearly pull back but regain my confidence. One of the chickens struts triumphantly over and pecks gingerly at the feed. I let out a small squeal.

    “That tickles!” I place the extra grain back in the pail, but Grandpa doesn’t reply. I peer over to see him lying down next to the fence, his arms flailing.

    “George, get your gas mask on! George, don’t die on me! Please, George!” he cries out hoarsely.

    With alarm, I realize he’s having one of his attacks. I remember them often, mostly when I was supposed to be asleep, and when we drove past the shooting range. Grandma doesn’t ask him about anything, but whenever she used to talk to my mom she would mention the Somme and his old friends, always in hushed tones and holding coffee cups.

    “Grandpa, Grandpa, stop it!” I lean over and shake his legs. After a few more seconds, he rolls back over, his overalls stained with mud. He stares at me for a long time, and then tears start cascading down his cheeks.

    “What’s wrong, Grandpa?” What I don’t tell him is that I know exactly what is happening, and his old battle medals will haunt me for years.

    He rubs his sleeve across his face and hauls himself up, flashing an eye to the windows.

    “Nothing, lad. Let’s get back to the farmhouse. We’re done for the day.”

    I follow him, stepping into his oversized boot prints. He’ll never know what happens later, having died days after I turned fourteen. He won’t get to see our farm prosper, my marriage, great-grandchildren, the years rolling by. But that doesn’t matter to me. He still speaks to me within those faded red ribbons and snow-covered mountaintops. Whispers of home lift my wings and send me soaring as I place a lone pail on his headstone.

    (I’m a little late to the party with this second one, but here goes anyhow. GH)

    1. margi33

      I liked it… well done Bilbo Baggins. The beginning paragraph did a nice job of setting the reader into the scene and then it was easy to follow from there – nice descriptions and good emotion. And fresh after reading some of the same sounding stories.

      Better late than never… I have nothing this week – it’s just been beyond crazy.

    2. Critique

      I liked your descriptions: of the farm, the loving relationship between Grandpa and Billy. He lost his Grandpa but he still has cherished memories that live on.

    3. jmcody

      The mingling of a quiet farm life with the horrors of war was striking, as was the mingling of past, present and future. As always, you had some excellent sensory details — the creak of the weathervane, the bang of the screen door, Grandpa covered in mud. The pail on the tombstone was a poignant touch. Well done!

  44. john godfrey

    BABY TALKS

    Warmth.

    Darkness.

    No sense of urgency.

    Time has slowed.

    Suddenly, intrusion.

    Spindly claws grab for me.

    I scream.

    The claws reach further.

    They grab me.

    I am taken into another world.

    Bright lights.

    Beeping.

    I wail for comfort.

    Find none.

    “It’s a girl.”
    ***
    The monster grabs me under my arms.

    Force me to stand.

    I wobble, cry for her to stop.

    She keeps going.

    We repeat.

    Flung into air.

    Straddled under arms.

    Wail.

    Wobble.

    Fall.

    Finally, I stand.

    “Stu, come quick! Emily’s walking!”
    ***
    I feel my mouth.

    Tongue.

    Across mouth.

    Tiny things in my mouth.

    White.

    Square.

    I chew.

    “Look’s like Daddy’s little girl got her first tooth!”
    ***
    Something.

    Tickling my throat.

    I know what to say.

    Do not know how.

    Then, I speak.

    “Ma-ma.”
    ***
    I am three.

    I speak, I walk, I chew.

    But no more.

    The beam shines on me.

    I raise into the sky.

    The vortex swallows me.

    I look.

    Bright lights, strange whispers.

    Little men, green.

    Large eyes, black.

    I was abducted ten years ago.

    I was forty.

    They wanted to know.

    Humans.

    I become another test.

    Others stare.

    Other experiments.

    The animal-men.

    The living head.

    Some have worse fate.

    I live now as baby.

    Forever.

    They do tests on me.

    I do nothing to stop.

    How can I?

    They zap me again.

    The beam wipes my memory.

    My existence.

    It begins again.
    ***
    Warmth.

    Darkness.

    No sense of urgency.

    Time has slowed.

    Suddenly, intrusion.

  45. yaxomoxay

    This prompt brought the innermost part of our souls out. I have to say that I enjoyed each story. I had the privilege to be part of this unique degustation of what being a writer means. More than that, this week we had the opportunity to grasp a piece of humanity’s universal puzzle.

    1. Dennis

      I was having the same thoughts. Something deeper happened this week with the subject of the prompt. I think that is the great thing with writing, tapping into our souls and sharing with others. Thank you everyone for sharing.

    2. jmcody

      Degustation — what a perfect word for what happens here on this forum. You who call yourself ESL are now teaching me things about my native language! I agree that people dug very deep this week, and I feel like some of us got to know each other a little better. What an inspiring group of writers we have here!

      1. rle

        Wow! I’ve been having a lot of the very same thoughts myself. It just goes to show that even though we may all be from different parts of the world and have different beliefs and values, we all share one common bond. We all have a love of this crazy craft that we partake in here. To be able to do these prompts somewhat successfully, I feel that we sometimes have to expose parts of ourselves that we’re uncomfortable with. Although this is fiction, I find myself often drawing on real life experiences to make it all work. After all, like they say, sometimes truth is better than fiction.

        Although, I don’t comment as often as I feel I should, I want you all to know that I read each and every post, each and every week and feel as though I am in the company of the most elite group of writers this planet has to offer.

        I agree, that this week something different happened. A lot of these stories went in generally the same direction and I think that says something about each and every one of us and it’s not all about the writing. I think the bigger point here is how this speaks of us as human beings. This week gave me a much clearer picture of where I want to go as a writer. It gave me a renewed hope, and with hope we hold all of the cards.

        Thank you all.

    3. Bilbo Baggins

      Degustation- further proof that you can learn something every day. I have to say, this week really brought out the heart of my writing too. Childhood always seems a tender spot for some reason, perhaps because of its innocence and how it molds us. Once again, it is a pleasure to be writing these responses in the ranks of some of the undiscovered talents of this nation. Cheers, all.

  46. Licius Cashmere

    It was a fine day I woke up getting ready for a big game next week. I’m playing hockey against the Lancers High School Team. I went to the bathroom too do my morning routine. When I tried to look into the mirror I couldn’t. I was too short too get up. Suddenly I see myself in a hallway mirror, and I see my room.
    I freaked out, I didn’t know what was happening. When I went down too the kitchen, my Parents didn’t react differently. Like they knew I was three years old. So I asked my mom.

    “Mom why am three years old”, asked Jimmy
    “Well darling, its because you’re not four yet”, said Carol
    “What, What does that mean?”, asked jimmy

    I was confused, I started to think that I went to the past. That somehow I went from being a teenager too being a potty training!, bottle sucking kid. It was all messed up, I couldn’t tell anyone because my english wasnt that well understood. I was about to cry, but no one will think i’m a wimp because i’m three.

    I then wondered if anyone else changed. Or if it was just me? So my mom took me too where she worked, fortunately it was my school. She was a counselor, which was not fun for me. When she put me in her desk, Benny came in. He was the most meanest kid in school. I guess you could call him a bully. My mom asked him what was wrong.

    “What’s wrong benny?”, said Carol
    “I wet my pants again?”, said Benny
    “Don’t worry benny it happens to everyone, some day you will just pass it” said carole

    I started laughing, but what i didn’t know was that he bullies kids because he wants other kids too feel embarrassed like him. I suddenly felt bad for benny, and I swore to myself that I will help him, and maybe become his friend. you know if he don’t throw me into the trash first.

    My mom was done with her job, and it was a difficult job. I mean, I could never listen, and help kids as well as my mom does. It made me appreciate her a lot more. I went to her and gave her a big hug , but it wasn’t that big because I as three at that time.

    When I woke up the next morning, I realize that everything that I saw was a dream. It was a dream that made me realize what my family do for me. So I hopped out of bed, and I went down stairs, and gave my mom and dad the biggest hug. This time I could actually Hug them. Not just their legs. I felt bad for what i’ve done to them, so I made them breakfast, and I walked into school with my mom. Also started to talk too Benny. I think He liked it, having someone to talk too.

    1. swatchcat

      That was a nice take on the prompt. It’s interesting that your MC got to return to the present with a lesson to learn and new appreciations. You had some problems with capitalizations inconsistently placed and you seemed confused about the usage of “to” or “too” but that will come with time. Nicely done.

    2. Observer Tim

      This is a good tale of someone learning a lesson by finding himself in someone else’s shoes (well, technically in his own baby shoes). I like the happy ending and the moral; those are normally left to the reader to work out these days.

      The grammar is overall a bit awkward; this could benefit by your reading it out loud as a form of editing.

  47. CrAzy 8thz

    awhhh as I wake up from my morning nap, something about me felt different. I got up out of the bed but this time fell off. I was still sleepy but everything around me was bigger. I was wonder to myself why is everything is so much bigger around me. “Mom Mom” , i called but nobody answered. In the middle of the floor i just laid there dozing off right back to sleep.”Randy” my mom yelled ,i jumped up from up off of the floor.” What are you doing on the floor,” she said. “I don’t know “, i said as my mom cover her mouth as if she was shocked. “ Ben, “Ben come here, he just said his first few words,” mother screamed to get my father’s attention. “ Ben, he just said his first words and it was i don’t know! Oh my gosh get the camera.” My dad Ben ran downstairs to the basement and got the camera and came back. “ Why is you all is freaking out for, this ain’t new.”

    1. swatchcat

      Okay, so I will have to keep myself in check here. This has the potential for a good start for this prompt. Nice rough draft? I’m thinking you texted this along with all the glitches the auto-check couldn’t catch. If you get a note tablet app. you can write your ideas so later when home you can send it to your computer to enhance then submit. Just an idea.

    2. Observer Tim

      I have to agree with Swatch here (I seem to do that a lot, I hope it’s a good thing). This is the seed of a very interesting story, and I would love to see it expanded on. Separating paragraphs would be exceptionally handy.

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