Reincarnation, Rebirth, and a little bit of Regret

Submitted into Contest #158 in response to: Write a story about a character who is trying to become a better person.... view prompt

4 comments

Fiction

It was but a lost child. I probably shouldn’t have stared at it so horrifically. 

“Can you help me? I’m lost.”

“Oh god,” I uttered before I could stop myself. I tear my heavy glare away from the short, chubby little thing. I ran in here to lose myself, not to be found. Another quick little glance is stolen before I smear my hand across my dry eyes, feeling the cool relief from my fingers seep through weary eyelids. 

“Fine,” I sigh, dropping my hand from my face. “Make sure you’re following me. I don’t care whether you’re behind me or not.” 

It gives a single nod and that’s the last time I decide to look at the thing. 

Though I wasn’t looking for an exit, I wouldn’t have known how to get out of this dead forest anyway. The crunching of dead leaves under my soles, dense fog making it nearly impossible to see more than six feet in front of me, and trees with wicked shadows were all I could guarantee was in this dreadful place. 

When a demon stepped through the haze, void piercings glaring, did I suddenly remember there was something walking beside me- still walking beside me. I thought it’d stop after the whimper; a tug on my sleeve sends my eyes rolling. I yank my arm away.

“What do you want?” I growl. 

“I-I’m s-scared,” it whines followed by a scream of pure emotion. 

“Cool. Deal with it. And don’t talk to me.” 

“W-why? Help me, p-please! Why?” it cries behind me. I had only moved another couple of feet before standing still again. The devil’s little spawn tilts its head, spiraling sockets illusioned like they had widened in mock, though I know they can do no such things. I shove its quivering head out of my way, body willingly wrinkling with it. The cries and screams are eventually drowned out by the crunching underneath my feet, and I mutter the curious response:

“Because I had to deal with it.”


***


She deserved it. 

She deserved it, she deserved it, she-

“You’re really going to leave her behind like that?” 

I scoff. “What’s it to you? And what are you doing here again?”

“Geez. For someone that would never leave anyone behind, especially-” she coughs- “if they needed help, you were sure quick to ditch her.”  

I groan in response. “Why are you taking her side? I thought you hated her too.” 

“No. Not like this,” I hear her steps hasten. “All she wants is someone to be there for her. Just like I did.”

A silhouette passes me and skids to a halt just a few feet in front of me. I nearly stumbled into her. 

“Just like you do, Narcia.”

The get-out-of-my-way shove was getting old. 

“Don’t say my name,” I hissed as I pushed past her. “I hate that name.” 

“For someone who’s only twenty-two, you seem to hate a lot of things in life, Narcy.” 

“Ugh!” I shout, mostly in exasperation, and continue to storm my way down the vicious-looking path. I just want to be left alone. 

“You’re going to regret it, Narcia! Please…this…” her voice fades in the distance. 


***


She deserved it.

She deserved it…so why did I still feel so guilty?

The fog dispersed to make way for pitch black, signaling the end of the road. Still, no exit, but the darkness was comforting enough as I felt my knees buckle and I crumple to the chilled concrete floor, tears overflowing down my cheeks in a moment of silence. 

“All she wants is someone to be there for her. Just like I did. Just like you do, Narcia.”

A breeze nips at my face and I blink, uncovering my hand from my eyes. The scenery surrounding me was still dark, but this time I looked- really looked, and realized there was more than just concrete beyond where I lay. Whatever was on the ground felt rough, dry, and crumpled easily between my fingers… 

Ah. Dead flowers. A fitting complement to my mood. 

The tears didn’t stop there, however; by the time I refocused my vision through swollen lids, my hands were so cold the skin cracked. Bony digits, nearly numb, seemed to be put through lenses that captured everything in slow-motion. I drop my hand beside me and it slowly crawls until it plucks the thin, textured stem of a lifeless bloom. I ease my body from my back onto my side, gazing without much thought at the nearly weightless floral perched softly on my palm- except for the vague wonder of what flower it was. 

I wonder if it succumbed to the cold. Or maybe a disease wilted it from the inside out, leaf to leaf, petal to petal. Perhaps it shriveled simply from the lack of sunlight, a hope it needed to preserve its blossom and leaves green. 

With a heavy shudder of breath, I draw my arms close and tuck my head into them, knees bent towards my body in a seek for warmth.

And somewhere along the bleak staring into the abyss, I fell asleep. 


***


Sleep was very restless. 

The demons had finally caught up, slow as they may be but ever-present, and began picking at my hair, poking my skin, and grasping at my clothes. Swatting one away only allowed for another to take its turn pestering me- but I remained in the same spot and position, far too drained to bother driving them away. 

So when I heard a voice speak out loud did I finally decide to grant sight to my surroundings. The demons can’t speak-not verbally, at least. 

“Are you sleeping? That child is still out there, you know…”

I take a moment to compose myself, to fully bring my awareness back to where I was, what I was doing, and what had happened. I press a pair of cold fingers to my face. 

Right. The crying. 

I had a feeling that seventeen-year-old girl was not going to be leaving or shutting up anytime soon, so before I could change my mind, I heaved myself up and began kicking, hitting- whatever worked- the demons away. They weren’t very persistent today. 

“Listen-” 

“No. You listen to me. I’m tired of listening to you. God, was I really this annoying when I was your age?”

The girl, clearly disapproving of the statement, frowns. “Hey! I’m just trying to help! Narcia, she’s an innocent child.”

My agitation wanted to burst out a series of complaints, retorts, and desperate shouts- but instead, I pressed my lips together, trying to compose myself. 

Come on, Narcia. You know she’s not going to leave unless you address the problem. 

The problem. That stupid, stupid child-

I shake my head, disarraying that bitter thought. If I wanted the slightest chance of her leaving me alone and not feeling like an evil person, I had to at least address the child with a bit more kindness. 

At the bare minimum, with some decency. She’s not stupid, or annoying, or fat, or ugly, or a failure, a disappointment, ignorant, selfish, it's not her fault that I’m-

“Ugh! Forget it!” 

The girl in front of me jumps to my abrupt yell. I notice that her school jacket is now zipped up all the way, hands tucked into the pockets and arms pressed tight against her body. I storm back the way I came from, into the miserable deadlands, noticing the girl hastily following after me from the corner of my sight. A hand grabs my wrist and before I could say anything, the girl cuts through the brittle shrubbery, pulling me along behind her. 

“She’s over here. It’ll be quicker if we go this way,” she calls. “And it's so cold in here, too-” a breath- “who knows if she already froze to death.” 

“You’re being dramatic,” I mutter. 

The more we ran, the tighter my chest compressed into itself, and it wasn’t from the physical exertion. This feeling was far more distressing than the cold biting at my tired legs or my breath struggling to keep up with oxygen demands. 

“Wait!” I finally cry out, yanking my arm away. The girl nearly falls backward from the unexpected force and turns around, face expectant of an explanation.

But no voice had come out when I opened my mouth, only the ugly feeling that had burst from within my chest consuming my every being. 

“I…I can’t do it,” I whisper to lost and lonely eyes. “I’m sorry.” Warmth blooms from my orbs as they keep their grip on hers. “I know that you were expecting, hoping that I’d be different. That after all you’ve been through, it’d change-” my throat tightens. “That you weren’t broken, just lost.” 

She opens her mouth.

“And you’re not broken!” I cut in before she could say anything. “You just wanted someone to love you back, after all the love you gave to those assholes that didn’t deserve it. I-” my breath hitches as another series of tears stream down my face. “I’m the broken one.” 

The girl, having disregarded what she was going to say, instead softens her expression into a bittersweet smile, the typically joyous look eroded with painful reality and shattered visions. 

“So I had a dream, and it didn’t work out,” she replies, “but that’s because I was misguided. I put too much pressure on you for all the wrong things, Narcia. I’m sorry. I was just so desperate to find where I belonged.”

“I know,” I whisper, closing my eyes at the pain aching in my chest. I meet her gaze again by the end of a fixed exhale. “I don’t hate you. I don’t hate nine-year-old me, either. I hate that I’ve spent so much of my time loathing who I was growing up. I hate that there’s still so much hatred within me.” 

A shiver runs through my body. Seventeen-year-old Narcia was right. God, was it cold here. How my subconscious has been living like this for the past several months, I’m not sure. 

“But I can’t. I- I’m just- I’m not ready to face her yet. I’m not ready to face you yet, either. I’m not the person you guys deserve or need right now.” 

“That’s okay,” she says in a gentle tone. “At least now the child knows that. I reckon the demons will stop bothering her now.” she glances over the scenery around us. “You should get out of here soon. It’s dangerous for you to stay here too long.” 

“But-” 

“Me and the child will have each other here, always. So don’t worry too much about us. Worry about yourself first. That’s what you deserve. Go,” she gives a little nudge on my arm.

“One day, one day I’ll come find you guys,” I call as the world around me suddenly begins to crumble to dust. “One day, I’ll find that happiness that you guys deserve too.” 

Seventeen-year-old Narcia gives me a final glance before she, herself, erodes to the whipping wind around me, but not before I catch a smile on her face. This time, one filled with hope and recognition. 

The only thing that stood before me now was but a single flower, petals flaring as bright a yellow as a single streak of sunlight so willingly bestowed. 

I think I found a daffodil.

August 05, 2022 19:49

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

4 comments

H.R. Glick
21:17 Aug 17, 2022

Wow!! This was truly an interesting and beautiful read. Very poetic in the way you write and format your sentences and thoughts. I enjoyed the mystery and open-ended expression from the very beginning. I don't really know what happened, and yet I am totally fine with accepting it.... Beautiful!

Reply

Solana Lin
15:15 Aug 18, 2022

Thanks for the feedback, and mentioning your thoughts on its clarity!!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Carla C
15:31 Aug 20, 2022

Dont curse the Lord's name.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Layla Cole
22:23 Aug 19, 2022

Special thanks to HACK VANISH, a professional hacker I’ve been hiring for the past 2 years because, I find him to be an outstanding hacker who has aided me in various hacking-related issues, ranging from fixing my poor FICO credit score of about 437 TransUnion, 462 Equifax to 802 plus excellent score, tracking my cheating husband’s phone and currently has helped me recover my lost crypto funds from an online scam investment I recently ventured into, I must confess he is the best, quite brilliant, ever since I discovered him through a positiv...

Reply

Show 0 replies