The house was patch-worked, with pieces of thin wood horizontally clumped into squares and rectangles and shapes of all sorts. A group of ripped, torn plants formed a vertical path, cutting across the stone ribbon meandering down to the house's dreary entrance. All the windows were half-moons, sitting in awkward places and showcasing the house's deprecating light.
I walked on the stone ribbon; minding the drooping weeds that grew from the deep cracks etched across the thick stone circles. Every step, every time my foot moved forward, my heart would tear and crack in many different pieces. Occasionally I would stop moving and find a spare log. To sit and try to stitch my wounded heart back together. The stone ribbon was long, it wound around like a river. With fallen trees breaking the current and creeping frogs and skinny cardinals.
My hands finally reached the door. It was an unnerving feeling; goosebumps sprouted up from my arms like unfriendly weeds, my stomach turned to stone, and my eyes watered uncontrollably for a feeling I couldn't fathom. A sable bat swooped down from a tree, nearly brushing my frizzled hair.
My head bent as I stalked into the house, feeling the air chill and space decrease. The sunroom ceiling was clear and glass, formed by hexagonal panes. The room felt old but present; the mushroom light was flickering tea pink spots. And a plate of half-finished cheese still lay unfinished on the leather coffee table. The presence of my mother wandered along the carpet's ruby tassels and the cracking walls. I pictured my young self, with a round face and rosy cheeks. My legs dangle from the chair and my lips form songs. My mother stands right beside me, with a grey mug filled with dark hazel water and small white cubes. She lays it beside me, on an embroidered mat, then leaves, purse in hand. My baby-toned yells echo around the big room. “Moma, where are you going? I want to play with you, Moma.” My young mother’s figure fades away into the fog, without a goodbye. She begins to walk along the stone ribbon and out of the lot. Away from me. Leaving my baby self lost and alone, eyes damp with fat tears.
I wiped my eyes and tried to stop the tears that rolled rapidly down my face with great difficulty. The sky above me is grey with many deep creases like a rapidly ironed dress. A silver stream of stars grows across the grey as the moon’s shape becomes more and more vibrant.
My feet bounced along with the hollow wood. The kitchen was empty yet a steel metal pot was bubbling. The living room was quiet as night, the sofas were sprawled with drapery and satin cushions. I placed myself uncomfortably on a small rocking chair that made peculiar creaking noises as it danced on the birch floor.
Do you love me?
My mother's voice purred. I straightened my spine and ruffled my hair.
Do you love me?
I didn't love my mother. I didn't love her cracking tone and her careless requirements. I didn't love her because she snuck off to parties in the middle of the night and left me alone. All the time. She left me when I came home from school, to make my own snack, fumbling with the delicate china and large knife. She left me on my birthday, to celebrate alone, with nothing but tears. I would make my own golden buttered pancake and blow out my candles in the scary darkness. She left me feeling like nothing, like a little rock that people would toss around with no care. But she provided me with a room and a warm bath. She provided me with a roof above my head and a fridge full of food. Did I love her?
Do you love me?
I was weak and broken and she was too. But together are we more wounded or are we mended? I ignored the voice and walked into the backyard. The oak trees towered over her grave. Providing it shelter from the damp rain that trickles over the grass. Her name is written across the cold stone, Carmen Granger. I pause and sag onto the ground, my knees sinking into the yellow grass. I cannot run anymore.
DO YOU LOVE ME?
Her voice is violent and ominous like a sharp blade brushing against skin. It chills my skin and sets my heart racing with fear, doubt, and uncertainness. I smooth my flying hair that is making dark lines against the grey sky.
"I do not." My voice is empty and powerless. It gains power as my mother's voice fades and the rain stops to trickle. The yellow light streaming from the square windows of the house stops glowing. And the house slowly starts to tear itself apart like a monster in defeat. The stars of the night leave one by one and the moon's eerie light begins to calm. The tree's leaves fall onto the yellow grass which is losing colour steadily. The sun blinks asleep, leaving me alone. In a cold box. White. Empty. Quiet. The sky turns white along with the ground and the air forms walls until I am trapped. The illusion softens and the world comes back to me.
I wake up unharmed. The white light flooding my eyes and cold air flushing my red cheeks. I feel a gentle grip tighten on my wrist.
A thin willowy lady looks down at me. Her gaze is strong and gentle but experienced. Every move is synchronized, the way she helps me from my chair and plucks out the tube from my pale arm. I stare into her tortilla brown, almond-shaped eyes that wander that sit peacefully against the satin chocolate skin.
"Your simulation is over." she smiled, her forehead wrinkling, “You are free to go. Now you are-” she searched for a word, “unburdened.”
I left the room as quietly as I came.
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Dang... Hmm.... Was holding to her remaining guilt against her mother something that kept her to this world? Love your first paragraph with what Her mother "left her." That was really impressively done. Good job Z.H.
Thank you very much! I appreciate it! Holding onto the remaining guilt against her mother was something that pulled her back like a caged bird, she was not free. If you enjoyed it, please like it!
Ooops forgot :P
"Leaving my baby self lost and alone, eyes damp with fat tears." This sentence caught my attention for some reason... Loved the story! Also, would you mind checking my recent story out, "Red, Blue, White"? Thank you!
Thank you! Sure thing!
Hiya! Here for the critique circle - hopefully you’ll have time to check mine out too. There are some fantastic details in this. I particularly enjoyed the living room being as quiet as the night and the mothers voice being a sharp blade. Both of these enhanced your imagery. One piece of critique that will hopefully be helpful is that in places your descriptions seemed overly contrived. I think this is because you have great swathes of description that are solely delivered in metaphors or similes. My advice for this would be to vary ...
Thank you for the long, detailed critique! It helped lots.
You’re welcome! Hopefully you’ll have time to do the same for mine!
Will do! I really appreciate feedback on other stories if you have the time.