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Drama Fiction Mystery

I once met this real oddball, can’t remember her name for the life of me, but man was she odd, really. She said her dreams come true, but these weren’t any ordinary dreams, like running into an old friend and then bam, the next day you’re walking down the street and there they are buying a cup of coffee at one of those breakfast food trucks. No nothing like that. She said the clouds spoke to her, not in any sort of language, but that they told her the future in the way they moved. She was such a weird one that one.  I haven’t heard from her in years. The last she told me was that she had a dream about a man, a man I was to hear from. I can’t quite remember what this man did or who he was but that he would come into my life. That’s the last I heard from her. I’ve been trying to write lately. I’m working on my collection of short stories, this one story is about this tree, in the forest of fire—not that the forest is made of fire or anything like that, it’s just what the forest is called I’m not sure what will happen there yet but I had a dream once I was in the middle of the woods and the trees around me were all burning. I’m not sure if they have any significance in reality, but it’s where I got the name of this location—the forest of fire. That night, after sitting in front of my laptop, a partially blank screen and all three words, “forest of fire”, I decided to call it a night. I didn’t sleep much though it was one of those shallow sleeps where I tossed and turned and I had dream after dream. I needed water my mouth was so dry I got my glass and returned to bed I have a strange fascination with Christmas lights so my ceiling is filled with them I put them on stared at them until my eyes flickered closed for the night. I had dreamt about that fire again. The trees were really hot and glistened so beautifully, I had almost touched one. I couldn’t get my head wrapped around that real oddball—what was her name?  She said I’ll meet a man, who won’t understand me. I laughed and asked which one? I need to write today. I have to get some writing done today. But that damn dream is bugging me and that woman. What was her name? She said it’s in the clouds if you look real close that there’s your future. So three words— forest of fire—staring at me. Shouting, “got anything else?” But I resorted back to the pillow. Maybe, the dream will continue, give me more of a storyline or tell me that damn woman’s name.  That’s when I saw her, standing, in a room, it looked like an office of some sort. It had a bookcase and a desk and she was standing in the room and all of a sudden the walls started to crack and pieces of plaster and wood began crumbling. The walls were coming down and there were the damn trees with the damn burning leaves that damn woman what a real odd one she said he’ll take it away. What was it that he’ll take away? I can’t remember for the life of me. She was so peculiar this woman.  Green, red, blue, yellow, and orange, flash on top of me. I sat behind my laptop. Hand on the keyboard. Fire. Forest. Dancing. Who? Who is dancing? What was it she told me? Watch them float, she said. They change, they’re always changing, she said. The clouds. So strange, she said, the future is so strange, but watch it pass you by. It’s all around us. Look for it. So I closed my eyes and tried looking once more. There she was, watching the flames or was it me? I couldn’t differentiate the two. But she was there and so was the damn forest. It was all burning now the leaves. She said watch the clouds but when I looked up there wasn’t a cloud in the damn sky. There were only lights. Red green blue orange and yellow. Lights, above me. And then I opened my eyes. So bizarre, that woman. She saw it, in the way they moved. But all I saw were those damn Christmas lights. So I took them down. Those lights. I wanted to see the clouds. But when I closed my eyes once more, it was too late. I needed to write. I really have to get some writing done. So back in front of the laptop I sat and wrote “That real oddball.” Yeah but how can I talk about ole oddball if I couldn’t even remember her name. For the life of me I couldn't damn near remember. But she saw. Those damn clouds. She said she saw it. That they spoke to her. But I never looked up. I didn’t see. Maybe it was one of those damn clear days. When it’s just one of those days you couldn’t spot one damn cloud in the sky. How odd she was, really. She saw it in the clouds, the future and could see it in her dreams. She said they came true. But how am I supposed to write about oddball when that damn forest keeps haunting me. Not that the forest is haunting. It’s just on fire. Not sure if it has anything to do with that real oddball. But I decided maybe I’ll see it in the clouds too. What with all the lights taken down. I’ll see it tonight. If I closed my eyes maybe I’ll see and then I’d write. But remember that man. What’d she say, that he’ll take it away? What was it that he’ll take away? She said that I’ll lose it. How odd. So I closed my eyes and there I was in that room again. I thought for a second I was with ole oddball. But then the roof started cracking as if peeling away so that you could see the sky. And then right next to me I thought I saw the reflection of that real odd one. For a second I thought I got a glimpse and then I saw she was standing there I saw her. She stood right in front of me. You’re real odd she said. Look up she said. I saw the clouds. The leafy flutter of fire amongst the trees. I got up. I had to write. So I wrote and wrote until I finished. And then there it was. That story. I finished. Called it “Oddball”. It was in the clouds. I could see it in the clouds. If you look real close. You could see it—the future. It told me in the clouds and my dreams almost always come true. The stack of paper with the word “Oddball” staring at me. Haunting me. Not that I was scared I just couldn’t look away. I thought the best thing to do was burn it. I had to burn it. So I wouldn’t have to see ole oddball staring at me. My damn dreams come true. And that man, he did take it. I saw it in the clouds. But you ever like those clear days. You know in the sky when it’s one of those damn near clear days with no clouds in the sky. So I burned it. Because I saw it in the dreams. I burned the story. So I wouldn’t see “Oddball” staring at me.  I burned it and decided to lay down. I saw the Christmas lights on the floor and put them up on the ceiling. I wanted to see the lights tonight. Red, green, blue, yellow and orange bouncing across the walls. That real odd one staring at me. Reflecting off each bulb. She is such an odd one that one. 

October 14, 2022 01:46

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2 comments

Danika J
02:27 Oct 19, 2022

Loved this! I read the little blurb that you see in the list of stories, and I just had to know the rest of the tale! The 'oddball' was so intriguing, and you absolutely had me captivated. This was a very cool approach to the prompt. I do have on small critique, and that is that I think the following sentence could have been broken up into smaller bits: "I’m working on my collection of short stories, this one story is about this tree, in the forest of fire—not that the forest is made of fire or anything like that, it’s just what the forest...

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Dani Sheehan
03:25 Oct 28, 2022

Thank you so much for your comment! I'm sorry for just now replying! Things got hectic at my job! But of course writing is my passion. And I appreciate you taking the time to not only read my work but also offer a thoughtful response. I appreciate the feedback! I hope I can submit another story soon!! I would love to win one of these reedsy contests! Thank you for following!

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