60 comments

Jul 17, 2020

Mystery

Fire. Glitches of fire, then it was pitch black with just a small beam of light on a simple brown urn. It felt cold and empty like this was what loneliness felt like, only it was for an eternity. Then there was another glitch and in the distance, a man was hunched over, but it was facing to where you could only see its back. You could hear it, the aggressive breathing like someone was suffocating through a gas mask.

Inhale.

Exhale.

Inhale.

Exhale.

You could also hear in the distance, murmuring. It was like someone, or something, was screaming, but only it was continuous as if it was trying to say something. Then where it stood, bones started cracking as it stood up straight. Slowly, but loudly, it turned its neck all the way, leaving its body unmoved. Because it was completely dark, the face remained unknown, but its body shape was disoriented. As soon as the man's neck stopped turned, the murmuring stopped, and the sound of falling drops of water and fire cracking filled the silence. The screaming stopped in the distance and the sound of a clock ticking echoed across the darkness.

Tick.

Tick.

Tick.

Tick.

Then the man quickly crawled its way towards her, murmuring and screaming in agony the entire way, it was just seconds before it reached her. She tried to move, no muscles moved. She tried to scream, but nothing escaped from her mouth. The creature crawled faster with a choir of laughter and raised both its claws, ready to strike it across her…

Ms.Willows woke up.

***

Ms.Willows stared at her bookshelf, hoping for an idea to pop in her head for just that one spot that was missing something. She's had this bookshelf for the past few days and nothing came to mind on what to put there. She stroked her chin in hopes that it would help her think, but her mind remained blank. She crossed her arms after pulling her glasses back up to her eyes, maybe she should go to a quick stop at the thrift store. They’ve got to have something there. She grabbed her fur coat and stepped out into the winter air. On the way to her car, the snow under her feet crunched at every step. As soon as she closed the door of her car, she immediately turned on the warm air and felt the heat melt away the cold that tightened her skin. She looked into the mirror, fluffed her blond hair, and examined the lines of her wrinkles from old age. Next to the mirror she stared in was a picture of a man. Ms.Willows never knew who he was but she always forgot to take the picture out. She told herself she’ll have to do it after she’s done. So with that, she backed out of her driveway and drove to the nearest thrift store.

Walking through the thrift store reminded her of her grandmother. Her house smelled musky but it wasn’t so bad, just a slight essence of wool with a mix of the smallest essence of cigarette smoke from her next door neighbor. She always told her grandmother to close the windows to prevent the smell of smoke coming in, but she always said that she loved the small gust of wind that flew around her room and sometimes whispered in her ears but spoke no words. She never understood what she meant by that.

Ms.Willows walked around, scanning the store for anything that would fit among her bookshelf. Only clothes caught her eyes, so she walked towards the back. Normally they have shelves of random stuff. She made her way towards the back, her eyes fixed on what looked like a vase, maybe she could put some flowers in there and just put that on her bookshelf. As she walked, her eyes drifted off to looking at the cloths instead. It was crazy how there were so many cloths but yet none of them were her type. After looking around for a short period of time, she decided that it was time to go home, completely forgetting about the vase.

***

She sat there on her table with a plate of food in front of her, staring at the bookshelf as if she hoped for something to come out of thin air and fill up that empty spot. It didn’t work. She took another bite of her food in disappointment, something should’ve been there by now. She stared out her open window and the wind slowly crept around her room, blowing slightly in her ear as if whispering something. There was a small scent around the room that she couldn’t quiet make out.

Just as she finished her last bite of her food, there was a knock on her door.

Come in she called.

Grandma, how many times have I told you to not let random strangers in the house, what if I was someone else? And how many times have I told you to stop opening the window, you’re making the smell of cigarettes come in here.

Oh hey Marley girl.

Grandma, my name is Charlie, did you forget to take your medication today?

Ms.Willows stared at the girl in front of her, she knows that face but yet doesn’t remember, I have medication?

Grandma yes! Its that note right in front of you!

She looked in front of her, and there on the table was a sticky note that read take medication.

You know what happens when you don’t read that, you better not have gone out today.

She shook her head, I didn’t.

Good, now I have to go, just wanted to check in with you, I love you and take your medication!

And with that, Charlie closed the front door and left. Ms.Willows watched as she got in her car and drove away, already forgetting who that girl was.

She looked down at her plate of food, wondering where it all went. But all she did was look up at that same spot in the bookshelf, something needed to go there. All that was up there was a picture of that same man as the one in the car, only he had his arm around her. She gazed at the picture through her glasses, Charlie always told her that was her love of her life, but he passed. Ms.Willows always knew she was joking, she would’ve remembered him.

After staring at the picture for a few minutes, she then decided to put her plate away and walk across her hall, not sure where to. She stopped in front of a door, there was a sticky note that said basement. So she opened it and there was another sticky note that said watch your step. Ms.Willows slowly went down the stairs, hoping to find more of these sticky notes, but down the stairs was pitch black. There was a small beam of light that shone on top of a brown urn. Perfect! It would go perfect on the bookshelf! So she made her way towards it, stretching her hands out like a baby asking to be held, it felt very cold down here, and for some reason, everything was covered in black ash, almost as if there was a fire down here. Ms.Willows ignored that realization and grabbed the urn, making her way back up the stairs.

She grabbed herself a step stool to make sure she didn’t drop it. She placed it in that very spot of emptiness, it went perfect.

So that night, Ms.Willows went to bed with a smile on her face. The one thing she needed was found. When she drifted off to sleep, she had the same dream once again, only it was a little different. This time, the fire was more intense, the room wasn’t as pitch black, it was more like a basement. But that man remained there, only he was lying on the floor, screaming once more. Ms.Willows tried to walk towards to man, but once again, couldn’t move. The intense breathing came again, the room became foggy as dark shapes appeared, running towards the man. The murmurs became a bit more clear, sounded like a he’s here, he’s in here! But the man seemed to still be screaming and mumbling. The shapes continued talking, whats he saying? I think he’s saying he wants his wife. He’s asking if shes okay. Sir! Can you hear me? Whats your name? Whats your wife’s name! We need to get him out of this fire! The murmuring continued and turned to screaming. He said Marie Willows! His wife’s name is Marie Willows! Sir! Whats your name! But the fog disappeared as the urn appeared once more in the darkness.

***

That morning, Ms.Willows felt disturbed but she couldn’t exactly figure out why. That urn was looking more familiar to her now and she didn’t know why. Everything was always feeling familiar though. She drank her coffee as her glasses stood on the table. She stared out the open window again, but her eyes kept drifting off to that urn. There was something yellow on it, maybe a sticky note? She got up to look more closely at it, does that say Harry?

Ms.Willows sighed and reached up to grab it so she could read it better, but she didn’t use a step stool to grab it this time, so the cause of not using a step stool was horrifying. The urn slipped right through her fingers, slowly falling into the floor, breaking in the process. It scattered all over the floor, but among the broken pieces of the urn, were ashes. The yellow sticky note slowly drifted to the floor and landed on her foot, reading Henry Willows ashes. Do not touch!



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60 comments

Sue Marsh
22:51 Jul 28, 2020

interesting story line to say the least I enjoyed the twist at the end

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00:42 Jul 29, 2020

Thanks!! :)

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11:13 Jul 25, 2020

What I absolutely adore about this story is your use of second person to make the reader feel he/she is the main character in the story. Very few writers can use second person as powerfully as you did. Well done! 👍👍👍 Also, would do you mind checking out my story? It is called "Her Dark Brown Eyes". Thanks!

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18:58 Jul 25, 2020

Thank you so much and of course!

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Keith B.
02:35 Jul 31, 2020

Engaging story...just watch your grammar errors-can be a bit distracting...other than that well done!

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06:09 Jul 31, 2020

Thank you and you are welcome to tell me any errors I have made. I love to learn from my mistakes. Be as mean as you want! ;))

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Jonathan Blaauw
15:30 Jul 30, 2020

Dream sequences are so tricky, especially in short stories, because it's very hard to get a reader to care about the dreams of a fictional character... But you handle it brilliantly! Your opening bit sets the story up really well. Starting that way was very brave, unless you were just trying to show off your writing skills? I did notice you change perspectives mid-dream. Never seen that before. But maybe you did it intentionally? Who said dreams have to make sense? It does nothing negative to your story though, enhances it in a surreal, drea...

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16:18 Jul 30, 2020

Thank you so much, this means so much to me :)))

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Joy Rayner
15:23 Jul 29, 2020

This was really haunting! I like that you included hints of her memory loss so the reader also puzzled through the things she was struggling with. I normally don’t like stories that open with a dream, but this was really eerie and I love that it came full circle. I feel so bad for her, which can only mean you’ve done an excellent job! My only constructive criticism, if you’d like it, is that it could use another proof read for grammatical errors. Nonetheless this is a fantastic story!

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17:12 Jul 29, 2020

Wow thank you! Means a lot that you liked mine even when you don't like stories with dream beginnings! :)

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Aly Amr
14:55 Jul 29, 2020

That is such a beautiful story! I particularly liked the first dream where you described the various sounds she heard, it really brought the story to life. I also think you did a great job revealing the backstory bit by bit. All in all, it was very enjoyable to read

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17:10 Jul 29, 2020

Thank you so much! Means a lot!!

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Tammy Pieterson
09:01 Jul 29, 2020

I love relatable stories, stories that are based on people's everyday lives - this is one of them:) Heartbreaking and honest, love it!

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17:09 Jul 29, 2020

Thanks!!

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Spider Baby
03:41 Jul 29, 2020

That second paragraph is horrifyingly spooky, the passage reminds me of the owl's body movement. I love that line is "Slowly, but loudly, it turned its neck all the way, leaving its body unmoved."' Very, very cool!

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04:08 Jul 29, 2020

Hehehe, thank you very much!

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Pamela Abwao
01:18 Jul 29, 2020

You are creative. I felt for Mrs Willows She lived alone? What should one do in case the ashes of relative are accidentally scattered? Good job

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04:06 Jul 29, 2020

Thank you so much!

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Helen Jett
01:00 Jul 29, 2020

Amazing and poetic story! Very well done!

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04:05 Jul 29, 2020

Thank you!!

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Charles Stucker
00:20 Jul 29, 2020

Intriguing shift from second person while in a deep dream to third as Ms. Willows wakes. At the end of the 2nd scene, you use "cloths" after using clothes. Either it is a typo (twice) or it would be good to mention bundles or cloths, or bolts of fabric to make the distinction from the thrift store which was full of clothes. Again you have managed a superb tale. I don't know if she is suffering from PTSD making her forgetful or if the cause is dementia, since she is very old. That question lingers, haunting me, because my mom is losing ...

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Zion Hintay
22:38 Jul 28, 2020

What a wonderful story. I loved Ms Willows character. A hapful woman. And the use of sticky notes for someone with Alzheimer was used so well here. My father is showing signs of it, and I worry very much for him as I try to consider work arounds to help with his memory too.

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00:39 Jul 29, 2020

Thank you so much! And I'm so sorry for you dad, I hope you figure out the work arounds.

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21:21 Jul 28, 2020

Love your story it's amazing:)))

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21:22 Jul 28, 2020

Thank you! :))))))))))))

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Keerththan 😀
13:39 Jul 27, 2020

I like your story. It is also a bit spooky. I loved it very much. Would you mind reading my story "the secret of power?"

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Conan Helsley
02:45 Jul 26, 2020

I really enjoyed this story, though there were a lot of basic writing errors, which you will correct the more you write. I think you have great potential so keep doing it. You can definitely tell a compelling story, the construction just needs some work.

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20:10 Jul 26, 2020

Thanks for your help! It means a lot to me!

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Conan Helsley
20:13 Jul 26, 2020

No problem at all. I like criticism, so I try to be honest in critiquing because I want to know when I'm not getting something right. I'm definitely a perfectionist, so I constantly feel I can be better. Thanks for following me! I was just asking myself why no one was following me. You're my first, so greatly appreciated!

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22:34 Jul 26, 2020

Wow that's surprising that I'm the first! You deserve more followers. I follow everyone who gives me feedback on my stories and you gave the best feedback so I followed you. :)

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Conan Helsley
23:01 Jul 26, 2020

Thank you for saying I gave the best feedback. I really try to make my comments on other's work helpful, so I'm glad if I can be of help to you. Just make sure that if you read anything of mine you're honest too, even if you think I might not like what you say. As long as it's honest, I want to hear it. And thank you so much for saying I deserve more followers, that means a lot.

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Abigail Slimzy
20:50 Jul 25, 2020

I admire your story. Good job

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20:08 Jul 26, 2020

Thank you so much!

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Sara Ullah
10:44 Jul 25, 2020

Amazing story! You did a great job at creating an unnerving atmosphere and I loved how you used show not tell to portray the protagonist's dementia! It was a great read and I hope to read more of your writing soon!

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18:57 Jul 25, 2020

Thank you so much!

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D. Jaymz
15:20 Jul 24, 2020

Angelina, You have a distinctive voice that entrances me to keep reading. Your descriptive and sensual language makes the characters endearing and memorable. The attention to detail paints vivid images in my mind that have a layer of emotion that is sad as to the unfolding situation of Grandma. Excellent! 👌 You did a great job with Grandma and in portraying her deteriorating memories (dementia). Clarification point: One place I had to blink was at, "She stopped in front of a door, there was a sticky note that said Attic. So s...

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17:25 Jul 24, 2020

Omg you're too kind. And yes, that should've said basement, thank you so much for pointing that out!

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Magsi Rover
20:12 Jul 23, 2020

I love your writing style. I can't say anymore, because they've said it all. :)

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02:38 Jul 24, 2020

Thank you!

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Deborah Angevin
09:32 Jul 22, 2020

It is amazing how you keep the readers hooked with the mystery, wanting to know what's going to happen next... (me included!) Also, would you mind checking my recent story out, "Red, Blue, White"? Thank you!

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02:41 Jul 24, 2020

Thanks for reading and of course!

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