Have You Seen Me

Submitted into Contest #246 in response to: Write a story about someone who takes a joke way too far.... view prompt

8 comments

Fantasy Romance Fiction

This story contains themes or mentions of substance abuse.

(YA-Adult)

Enshrouded in the shadows of the back seat, I found myself ensnared by the serpentine mountain paths that rose with an almost sacred severity. The driver, a silhouette of concentration, navigated the labyrinthine ascent from the right front seat, their hands a study in determination upon the wheel. A peculiar sense of déjà vu enveloped me as I observed her. A faint recognition flickered in the shallow depths of my memory.


The flooded roads made each turn an unexpected encounter. She skillfully navigated the challenges with a deft touch, the engine emitting a low, reluctant growl. As we pushed through the muddy terrain, the headlights cut through the darkness, illuminating the path ahead.


The landscape seems alien to me. The bone-jarring ride appears to launch me into the air before ruthlessly yanking me back onto the unforgiving seat. It was a delicate dance, defying gravity and blurring the line between control and chaos.


With a laugh, she says, “Hold on,” her eyes sparkling with amusement as I glimpse them in the rearview mirror. This path was nothing new to her.


The roller coaster ride ends when she turns off the road onto a long gravel driveway on what appears to be an extensive field.


Moonlight caresses the grass with a distinct outline of a house in the distance. The silhouette of tall trees blocks out stars on the horizon. The visible stars are so intense that none of the familiar constellations stand out as they do in the city. I recognize Mizar realizing that the big dipper is not where I would expect it to be.

I open the door and take a deep breath of the fresh breeze like I’ve never done before.


Several strangers embrace me as their own. Their kind gestures make me feel instantly at home. Accents of different dialects seem like gibberish as I focus on the redheaded woman who brought me here.


Something in the brew—a potion concocted with the whispered secrets of moonlit herbs and the elusive essence of forgotten dreams—swirled within the depths of my chipped porcelain cup. The air thickened, and the flickering light by a fire danced upon the rim, casting shadows that clung to the edges of reality.

I sat alone in my thoughts, which eluded me of any depth. The fire crackled, its warmth seeping into my bones, and the skunk scent hung like a promise. Laughter and hushed conversations wove a tapestry of secrets, each thread pulling me deeper into the enchantment of the place.


The brew whispered ancient incantations as I raised the cup to my lips. It tasted of memories replacing others, which seemed to fade from my reality. There appeared to be a bittersweet ache of lost friendship.


I laughed, which echoed among those sitting around a large fire. Men and women turned, their eyes curious, their own stories etched upon their faces as they attempted to dismiss the past through magical potions.


And then she appeared—a vision in midnight dropping her red patterned dress at my feet. Her eyes were the color of forgotten constellations. Her name? Ah, that remains a secret; some enchantments are best left unspoken. She glided toward me; her footsteps silent as moonbeams on fresh snow. Her lips curved into a smile, and I wondered if she had sipped from the same brew.

She leaned in, her breath warm against my cheek, and whispered, “You’re a mischief-maker, aren’t you?” Her voice held the promise of forbidden spells and stolen kisses. And then, with a tenderness that unraveled my soul, she pressed her lips to mine.

My heart fluttered, caught between the mundane and the magical. For that kiss was no ordinary kiss—it was a binding of destinies, a weaving of starlight and firelight. It tasted of moonflower petals and the echo of forgotten promises. In that stolen moment, I glimpsed eternity—the kind that exists beyond the veil, where time dances backward and forward, and love is both a curse and a salvation.


Time, that relentless chronicler, appeared to lose its dominion here as the flickering lights danced in harmony with the strumming of her guitar. This rhythm seemed to beat in sync with the very heart of the universe. And at that moment, I knew that this was no mere gathering; it was a conclave of souls, a junction of fate and destiny, where every note played. Every smile shared was a thread in the tapestry of a grander design, one penned by an unseen hand in the annals of eternity.


I see someone toiling away at my feet, coaxing me to stand. Before they guide me to a blanket on the ground, a refreshing breeze caresses my skin. As I walk, the sensation of the cool grass beneath my feet catches my attention, but my focus quickly shifts to the warmth of the fire.


As the music plays, the ladies spin and dance to its enchanting melody. The wind caresses their long hair, sending tiny specks of orange light swirling in the air like miniature stars. Smiling at me, the sound of my laughter entertained them. Like the other dancers, they have bared their bodies to some ancient deity and stay closer to the flames, their skin illuminated by the flickering firelight.


The pungent skunk aroma wrenches my gaze away from the gyrating dancers, casting a spell of curiosity over those beside me. A flicker of flame from a lighter cut through the darkness, casting an eerie glow over a swirling pool of water and smoke, representing a primordial soup of dreams as they pass it from one guest to another.


Straining to piece together their actions, my eyes adjust to the dim light, and a startling realization dawns on me—they, too, have abandoned the constraints of their garments. The scene unfolds with raw, primal honesty, a moment of vulnerability and wild abandon captured within the confines of that transparent chamber carrying magical vapors into the bowl of dreams as it kisses the water’s surface.


Reality has slipped, like a silk glove sliding from a lady’s hand. With a simple shift of light and shadow, the mundane twists into the extraordinary.


As the flame from a lone candle dances and flickers, casting its golden glow upon the goddess before me, I find myself ensnared in a moment both intimate and otherworldly. The air is thick with anticipation, and the scent of beeswax mingles with the faint perfume of lavender.


She leads me to her bed, where I sink into its embrace, the fabric cool against my fevered skin. But then—a creak—the familiar protest of the bedstead. Someone else is here. I see her long red hair and green eyes peering into mine. Her soft kiss sends me into yet another reality.

She hovers over my face, blowing out the candle as her warm flesh mingles with mine.


***

The open window welcomes gentle breezes that blend with the sweet melodies of birdsong. Once muffled, their voices filled the air with clarity and understanding.

Through the misted pane of the window, my gaze sought the familiar but found only the unrecognizable contours of a world turned alien. A shiver of dread crept up my spine, a silent scream in the quiet of the unknown. The world outside was a stranger, and I, a lost soul, peering into the abyss.


The warmth of breath against my cheek pulled me back from the edge of terror, a gentle reminder of life amidst the disquiet. I turned, and there she was—a lady cradled in the crook of my arm, her presence an enigma wrapped in the softness of slumber. Her arm, a tender vine, lay heavy over me, a bond forged in mystery.


Panic fluttered in my chest like a trapped bird, its wings beating against the cage of my ribs. Who was she, this silent companion of the night? Her face, serene in repose, offered no clues, only deepened the puzzle that held me captive.


In the quietude of that room, with only the whisper of our breaths for company, I grappled with the reality of her. A stranger? A guardian? A fragment of a dream? The questions loomed large, yet in the soft morning light, I felt the stirrings of a connection, an unspoken understanding that perhaps, in the grand tapestry of life, our threads were meant to intertwine.


Red curly hair, a sprinkle of freckles, and her body holding mine is soft, warm, and naked.

My rapid breathing must have awakened her as she told me to calm down. “It is ok.”


“Where am I?”

“Oi, mate, with me and the gang, ya don’t recall?”


I shook my head while her hand reached under the cover. “You remember nothing?”


My head hits the pillow as I peer at her once again. There was something familiar about her touch.


“Ok,” I admit. I lift the sheets to glance at the two of us, and she smiles. “Like what you see?”


I nodded, curling her head in my arm. “Who are you?”


She smiled before kissing me once more.


“Name’s Tina,” she said with a pronounced Australian accent. “Strewth! Ya wanted to marry me last night.”


I reached for her hand, looking for rings. “I am guessing we didn’t get married?”


She smiled. “Nah, I ain’t just a one-off fling, either.”


She noticed the look on my face before asking me. “What is it?”


I peered into her green eyes. “Tina, I don’t know my name.”


“Aw, c’mon, rack your brain. We crossed paths at that shindig with your mates, had a few good ones, shook a leg, and you turned on the charm. Reckoned you were a bit of alright, so I snagged ya, and we shot through to me mountain pad.”


I smiled, allowing my hand to gently stroke her back.


“Ok, that explains how I got here, but I don’t know who I am.”


Tina shot me a mischievous glance before strutting out of the room with an air of confidence. Her naked form momentarily diverted my attention from fear, evoking memories of the fiery-haired beauty with whom I had recently experienced an intense and passionate night.


Linda’s name echoed through the empty hallway. She let out a piercing yell as she shook her friend awake.


Minutes later, she returned with Linda, both sitting side by side on the bed.


“Hey lover, you remember nothing?”


With two nude women on the bed, I couldn’t complain.


“Help me piece together the night, starting with where we first crossed paths.”

***

They informed me about a bar, a drinking game, and how a mutual acquaintance mentioned me. Their description of me included words like stoic, reserved, and inexperienced. People claimed that I had maintained my virginity until the age of 34.


Linda noticed me peeking at her tattoos in personal places and smiled. “Just so you know, lover, we flipped a coin. Tina got you last night.”


I grinned as if she were joking.


“Oh, C’mon, are you pulling my chain?”


They both glanced at each other and giggled. “No, not really. Now, if you protest, you don’t have to go through with anything you don’t want to.”


I was unaware of my own identity. I had no idea where I was. I was unsure if I was awake or still trapped in a dream. What I was aware of was that I was blissfully happy.


I placed my hand on Tina’s back, extended my arm towards Linda, and touched her back at the same time. Their skin had a cool sensation when I felt it.


My grin gave away my thoughts, and they didn’t object.


“You two are cold. Do we get up and dress or lie here and get to know one another?”


Tina and Linda glanced at each other before crawling under the silky sheets.


By noon, we were desperate to find a bathroom and food. If I were a 34-year-old virgin, I was on my way, making up for lost time.


“I’m starvies,” Tina says. They both kissed me before climbing out of the bed.


“Righto, if you blokes fetch the H2O, I’ll kick off the barbie for brunch.” Linda said.


“Water?”


Tina glanced at me. “No electricity, no running water. C’mon, let me show you around.”


With a spring in her step, Linda happily made her way to the kitchen, her body swaying with each bounce. “What about clothing?”


Tina shook her head. “Not here, live my friend, take a chance.”


“Oh, so we were naked last night?”


She silently agreed by nodding. “We’re a bit like the old bushies or free rovers, cruisin’ through life with a fair go attitude and not fussed about slotting in. The oldies passed this beaut spot down to me, and Linda and I hit it off back in uni. Gave her the grand tour of this ripper place, and mate, we just gelled straight away.”


The sensation of my bare feet touching the ground, let alone being naked, was something I wasn’t accustomed to. Tina most certainly was, with her vibrant personality shining through every conversation.


As I cranked the pale into the well, the serene atmosphere of the place filled me with a nonsexual sense of exhilaration.


Both women had left behind their fast-paced city lives and successful careers to fully immerse themselves in a self-sustaining lifestyle in the tranquil countryside. Her friends from the previous night would occasionally drop by, adding laughter and chatter to her day. The mountain provided a safe haven for recreational chemistry, shielded from any interference from law enforcement, making it a truly unique place.


Eating things that came from the farm seemed natural to me. I struggled, not knowing who I was, but the ladies kept my mind occupied while showing me their world.


Bathing was a novel experience. We swam in a crystal-clear river that meandered down the mountain to a mile-away waterfall. The water temperature was freezing, but we got used to it soon enough.


As the days rolled into weeks, I got the hang of playing farmer. I ended up with a ripper tan, hands and hooves as rough as guts, and hair curlier than a roo’s tail.


They mocked my attempts to use their vernacular. Still, in all sincerity, I was trying to embrace their culture.


After a while, I got better at it.


From chooks (chickens), ducks, sheep, and a fair dinkum old white dog, they’re living the dream.


As I rummaged through my clothes, I suddenly realized my wallet had disappeared. We could only reckon that some drongo at the pub nicked it.


Not knowing which way was up, it seemed daft to chuck in the towel on my newfound freedom. Tina and Linda were stoked to have me around to heave the heavy stuff and pitch in with the chores. There was more, but this is a family-friendly tale.


Later that night, we lay out staring at the stars. I began naming them without warning, startling the ladies beside me. My past was on a collision course with the present.


The next day, while working in the orchard, the dog barks, alerting us that we have company.


Tina and Linda put on loose-fitting dresses stashed in a cabinet, just in case. Glancing at me, she hands me an apron.

I must have looked a sight before they recognized the car. “Never mind, it’s Twyla.”


She greeted us in the greenhouse and gave me the once-over before smiling. “Right, now it’s clear as day why I’ve been outta the loop with you two.”


A wave of amusement swept through all of us.


We went to the house for tea while she showed me a paper from town. My face was on the cover. “Have you seen me?”


Brisbane, Queensland — Distinguished astrophysicist Dr. Anthony Thompson has vanished under mysterious circumstances following his captivating lecture on the enigmatic possibilities of black holes lurking near our solar system. Authorities are scrambling to unravel the cosmic puzzle surrounding his disappearance.


My world was on the verge of disappearing again, and it hit me like a bombshell.


The girls accompanied Anthony to the local police station, where he received victim support and necessary aid. Following a twenty-hour flight back to the US, Anthony endeavored to resume his role as a professor.


This was a statement released by the police. Envious of his success, a few associates decided to challenge him to a drinking game. The first drink he had that night contained a widely used compliance drug. Anthony suffered total amnesia.


They repaired the damage, but emotional wounds remained. His decisions shocked the University and his family.


“Dr. Thompson, why are you dropping the charges? We didn’t know the drug would affect you that way. Even so, we damaged you?”


“Look, if I hang onto these charges, I gotta stick around for the court date. But I’ve got a date of me own, and it’s not on this sunburnt turf. You’d wanna watch it when you’re havin’ a lend of folks. Next fella might not take it on the chin like I did.”


He was facing yet another twenty-hour flight.


Anthony had grown so familiar with driving on the opposite side of the road that it felt instinctual. The familiar sound of gravel crunching under his tires was a constant accompaniment as he skillfully maneuvered through the winding roads. Upon entering the expansive paddock, his attention was immediately drawn to Linda and Tina hastily adjusting their loosely fitting dresses.

As he walked toward them, still in his suit and tie, they struggled to place him until they saw his familiar face.

It was a sweet reunion; while unconventional, it would stand the test of time.


To think it all started with a practical joke, taking a college game of beer pong too far.


April 14, 2024 21:13

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8 comments

William Mangieri
02:51 Apr 23, 2024

Had some trouble getting into it at first, what with him being high. But then, you couldn't have done this first person, start at the beer pong and then have Anthony lose his memory. Once he woke up in the morning - even though he didn't know who he was, he was sober and it was more coherent. Curious and enjoyed it from that point on.

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Scott Taylor
03:39 Apr 23, 2024

To do it better, I think I would need to 'experience' being high. Since I have never 'inhaled...' I don't know what that's like, so I had to guess. I would think fragmented and disjointed until he was no longer high would be it. Thanks for checking in! :)

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Trudy Jas
17:16 Apr 15, 2024

:-) Well, then. All's good. Great story. Can't blame Dr. Anthony for going back. Very poetic. Did you mean to switch past and present tense iin the beginning?

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Scott Taylor
18:32 Apr 15, 2024

I was trying for something very different. Yes, his past was gone through the wonders of pharmaceuticals, and then it was almost as if he were re-born. Initially, I had called it rebirth. The story's creation came from a dream that caused me to get up at 330 AM and write it before it evaporated in the light of day. -Best

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Trudy Jas
18:35 Apr 15, 2024

That works for me too. :-)

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Scott Taylor
18:36 Apr 15, 2024

Were you referring to the line where they embraced me?? I fixed it. Thanks

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Darvico Ulmeli
08:46 Apr 15, 2024

Great story. Like the idea of beer pong going too far. Hooked me from the start.

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Scott Taylor
12:20 Apr 15, 2024

Thanks, glad you liked the story. -Best

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