Mystery Fantasy Inspirational

This was getting out of hand, she has never denied having a very active imagination but this is too much even for her. This phrase, this message, these scribbles that seem to hint at her are starting to be a little too much for her liking. It started with this deja vu of reading the same thing twice, a happy coincidence, a story not even worth mentioning over dinner.  

A week later and maybe around twenty more deja vu moments, her mind it's definitely playing tricks on her; and maybe she should not be so sketchy about those therapy sessions, stress is a real issue in this modern world you know?  

She stopped checking the papers, stopped revising social media, even stop reading food packages, it seems like her cereal is out to get her too, of all the foods they got to her favorite Puffy Pops.   

But who are they? Is this some cosmic intervention? She has always felt a little bit different from the rest, but she thought it was her narcissist personality talking. Maybe she is part of something magical and special, or maybe she should stop watching Harry potter on a loop. It's not even a huge, groundbreaking epiphany; it's not a substantial mix of words that get to your soul, doesn't seem like a perfect sentence meant to save this world from whatever it is that's chasing it.   

She doesn't feel like a prophet, very far away from one if you take into account all her issues, it seems very unlikely that she's been sent to fix anything in this world besides her lack of adult performance.   

And the thing is, she should say something, to anyone, at least to her overly successful best friend who still sticks to her for whatever reason; maybe it makes her feel better, like a thank you to the gods for everything she has, she's used to her self pitting by now. But every time she tries to bring it up, there is a scorching feeling in the pit of her stomach, like a bad omen, like something inside of her telling not to reveal it, not to share it, to keep it within her, whatever it is.   

So here she is, after work, no stable relationship, cat or dog. She stopped being picky a couple of years ago, sue her. So what do you do when nothing is interesting in your life and all of a sudden a mystery worth of a Scooby-Doo episode comes knocking on your door.   

So for the sake of the remains of her sanity, she decided to test it a little bit further. This sentence, this phrase seemed to be linked in everything she reads, no matter what it is.   

So obviously she grabbed her shampoo bottle, closest thing and all. There, in tiny letters, next to a warning about rash and dryness, it said waste age, gain time.  

Even she must admit it's a little too intense for a hair reconstruction shampoo. So what does it mean? Isn't age a time measurement, isn't age the way time passes by a human being? How can you waste age and gain time by doing so? Now that she thinks about it, it might be a very deep message after all.   

With millions of thoughts circling her mind she decided Netflix was the right solution for this entanglement. So of course after a quick peek of options she ended up in the international movie section, and there it was: a Peruvian short film called: Pierde edad, gana tiempo. After two seconds of Google translator of course the title meant: waste age, gain time. So what are the odds? She must watch it now and after arranging the subtitles, because let's be honest she never paid attention to Spanish classes at school, she pressed play.  

The story began with Sofia, a married 34-year-old woman, tired of her mundane life. The typical story where the main character had everything: a family, money, and a nice job; but something inside her keep pestering about the hollow she felt every day, how the routine had damaged her relationship with her husband, how her kids did not trust her enough, how her friends were mere acquaintances. Sofia used to like writing, she did it all the time during high school, even won plenty of contests during her youth; but since college and "adult responsibilities" came into the picture, hobbies like writing did not stand a chance. So obviously, this is what she chooses to start doing again. She ended up writing a best seller, she quit her job and spend more time with her kids, she divorces her husband rather amicably (like what?) And became this incredible spiring woman who decided to turn her life around and leave amenities behind for an adventure that did not guarantee a thing.   

Without a question this just made her feel more inadequate with her life choices, but that's a pity party for another time. Opening the browser on her laptop she searched for the film, the director and screenwriter lived in the city, shocking! (Not really, anymore). There was an email address attached to the Wikipedia page.   

Wondering how creepy she could be, to write to this woman saying she's been reading her film's name all over for the last two weeks even before knowing it was an actual film. Well, she's done worse, right? Without preamble, she started typing what would probably be the craziest email she has ever send, and she used to forward every chain email she got when she was a preteen. She tried being funny (she is according to her few friends) but realized it may come across as a joke, so she decided to be as honest as possible. What could go wrong? What's the worst that could happen? Restraining orders are funny stories, right? After pressing send, with her eyes closed, she taped down her laptop, she refused to look at it until tomorrow when all the regret will come down on her.  

She picked up a glass of wine and started a Friends' marathon (totally safe subject apparently, so far at least). It was almost midnight when her cellphone went off, she was already sleeping on the sofa, burrito-style, with her favorite blanket. She was still drowsy so she didn't bother checking who it was.   

-Hi, been waiting a long time for this. Took you long enough.  

The voice was deep and enveloping, this woman's voice sounded like dreaming, like a whisper. When she tried to answer she felt like her voice was gone, there was a knot in her throat, and the effort she was putting in to find it make her feel like she was choking. The line went dead, and her mind started feeling fuzzy. With the sounds mingled and her vision blurred, she tried to sit up on the couch. And that was the last thing she remembered.  

When she woke up again, she was perfectly tuck in her bed. The alarm clock indicated 7:30 am, birds were chirping outside, and some sun rays made an appearance between her drapes. Everything looked normal and strangely pleasant. Suddenly a throbbing headache started piercing her skull, she had to close her eyes, any source of light simply hurt too much, every noise was amplified by a thousand. Memories from the night before made an appearance at the back of her mind. With a lot of effort, she grabbed her phone and went to see her call log. The last call was from her boss at 12:30 pm, sadly work was her last social interaction. She remembered the call, could not conjure up the exact words said but she remembered picking up after she nodded off.  

With all the strength that her dehydrated and malnourished body possessed she crawl to the living room towards her laptop, open it, and searched for the movie. She knows she saw it, she remembers the plot, the Google search, the email, everything. There was nothing, not on Netflix or Wikipedia, there weren't any emails sent.  

Maybe she went for drinks with someone? Is alcoholism something to be worrying about? Should she go get tested? It may be too early for this; deciding to take a cold shower, get some breakfast and then contemplate early dementia, she marched towards her ensuite.  

The headache had lessened by now, but she still felt kind of wired. Deciding last minute for a hot shower instead, she jumped into the shower stall and let the droplets wash away whatever nuisance was left on her body. Feeling better and calmer, she stepped out and contemplate herself in the mirror. That's when she saw it, a silver lock of hair on her right side, it was perfectly structured as it has always been there. She barely touched it with the tips of her fingers, shock was written all over her face. There's no way she did this to herself last night, something it's going on and she needs to find out what.   

With a newfound determination and caffeine-loaded brain, she called her best friend, after several rings, she decided to leave a voice message asking her to meet as soon as possible.   

While waiting for her response, she decided to research the phrase again, as expected there was no Peruvian short film among the results. But after a while something called her attention, it was a myth, a tale of Peruvian folklore verbally passed from generation to generation. It tells the story of a boy who got lost around the jungle, the boy wanted to show how strong he was, how much better than the rest he was, how fearless he could be. But he got lost, and he seemed to be running in circles, the pathways once completely familiar now seemed part of an unbeatable labyrinth. When he thought he could hear the river nearby he started running faster, if he could follow the river he was sure he could get back to the village. When he almost reached the clearing, a clawed paw grab him from behind, terror was evident in his eyes, he could no longer hear the river or feel the dirt on his feet, he was being taken away and whatever it was it didn't leave an opening for fighting. The next day the boy was found very close to the river, his hair was completely white and his once youthful features now smeared with wrinkles of a long life not lived. They said the spirits from the land punished the boy for his arrogance and stripped him from his most valuable attribute: his youth. The boy lived a couple more years, he needed help for every activity he tried and learned to be humble in the short period the spirits had left him. In the end, it says: white hair served as a reminder of age wasted but time gained after all.   

She was beyond shocked now, this was definitely something else, and she was not making this up, there was no way she could have imagined it all. Her phone went off again, it was a text message from her best friend, she had to reread it to make sense of it, it said: it's been a long time since we've talked, it is good to know you're still alive, I don't think making a joke it's the best way to reconnect but even so I'm willing to meet up, let me know.  

What? Did they had a fight? I mean, it wouldn't be the first time but it never lasts for more than a couple of days, their connection too intense and deep to tamper it with meaningless disputes. She called her back thinking it was a joke, and she was just messing with her.  

After the phone call, she just sat on the floor of her cold apartment, with her eyes watering, her mind fuzzy and her lock of white hair twisting in her forefinger. Her best friend, Ana, just told her it's been years since she last saw her, that they had a fight about how different their lives were, how tired she was of listening to her successful life stories while she could not handle a job for more than a few months; how happy she was in her marriage while she could not keep a relationship or even attempt to have one. Ana told her she tried talking to her afterward but she never picked up, she eventually moved to another city and stopped trying.   

Laying there on the floor, she went over her social media, it seems she's been an outcast for a few years, she doesn't have friends nor is she close to her family. Everything she took for granted had vanished, she has lived a hollow life.  

Someone took every precious thing she had, every healthy relationship she never took the time to cherish. It's the same date, she's the same age but suddenly she felt old beyond her years; she felt alone, empty.  

The silver lock, a dark reminder of what she has lost, and the rest of her hair, the same chocolate color as always, a friendly oblation of what she could do to get it back and appreciated it the way she should have.  

A new beginning, a troubled past, an ancient curse, and the gift of second chances, the duality that defines a human being. 

July 20, 2021 03:17

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Driss Boutat
09:18 Sep 24, 2021

Your story is amazing breathtaking. How can human brain outcomes this kind of tale. Well done! A lot of thanks I love it🙏


14:30 Sep 27, 2021

Thank you! I'm SO happy you enjoy it!


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RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

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