Coming of Age Contemporary Fiction


Her worst nightmare began as soon as she stepped in. A black rotary dial hang on the wall, missing some bits and with a hole that exposed a few wires but not much. It had a scratch or two to the left, and there was nothing else in there. She pulled herself from corner to corner in the living room and paused now and then to peek through each other room wishing for something different. She stopped when her feet hurt and then continued again, hoping to have missed anything. Little difference that it would make to the obvious. She leaned slightly on one of the orange walls. Bit by bit, she rested her back on it and then descended with her whole body until her bottom sank to the cold ground. She lit a cigarette and took a deep, slow breath, while the ashes landed beside her.

To her right was the door that led to the guest room, formerly her father’s study. The colors of the room differed from the orange that covered all the house. They were brown like coffee but with a small tinge of milkiness. Her dad sat his stuff from paperwork, paperbacks, and an old computer on a brown rectangular desk with curved widths. He himself sat on the blandest of chairs. Two similar ones were on the other side of the desk where no one ever sat. His chair had a fiber-emitting hole, the other didn’t. Her mother sold everything either way. When he died, her mother turned it into a guest room where no one ever slept. A small bed with no nightstand. A bedside lamp that had a buckle extended from it squeezed the bed frame as a source of light. She often slept in that room for the smell of it, afraid but relieved that the lamp might smash her head anytime. The walls remained the same, unique and further away from the rest of the house. To an extent, this room was the only part of the house that had a sign of singularity. It was now empty, like the rest of the rooms, but it still was another house inside the house. 

Sara held the butt of the cigarette high level with her eyes and looked at everything on the left of the cigarette and then on the right and then looked at everything at the same time with the cigarette in the middle; she increased her focus until everything became unbearably blurry. She lowered the hand holding the cigarette and stared at the unfamiliar scene for a moment and raised the cigarette and repeated the same pattern again and then again and again. With a flick, the butt hit the opposing wall. She left the door open and ran down the stairs.

The streets were empty; she could hear the wind rustle the terrain, every crack, twist, and corner. It was neither late nor early. A few hours ago, it was midnight and after a few more, the sun will rise. She headed towards a pub by the corner that had a small sign with the name ‘inanis’. She entered and took few slow steps scrutinizing the dark place. A woman looked in her forties sat in the far corner and stared at the window. The woman sat at the corner away from everything: the door, the bartender, and the window she was staring at. She was at the farthest point. Sara took a seat close to the woman, but not too close, and starred at the same window. She searched for what the woman was looking for or gazing at and thought maybe they were searching for the same thing. Sara could see herself sitting alone in the same chair the woman was sitting on. She would drink the same martini in silence and stare at the same window. Everything would be a replica except for the heavy cloud surrounding her. Sara lit a cigarette and waved to the bartender. “Scotch, neat.”

Clutches of grey paint devoured the black white-dotted wall behind the bartender. Pyramids of glasses and some bottles gave the paint a different shape from each angle. She sipped her scotch slowly and ordered a few more, and after a few more shots, she was out. The sky was bluish-purple, like a fresh bruise. She will head back to the airport now. Her mother remarried a year ago, just by her first fall semester at college. She took out her phone and wrote to her mother that they shouldn’t started moving without telling her. They weren’t starting but finishing. She didn’t tab send. Her mom and sister were moving to her stepdad’s, and she thought she should’ve known about it. It wouldn’t matter because she was far away from all the rackets. They maybe never tell her because they knew she was busy. Little difference it made. She wanted to see them, but this was a summer break cut short. She will be back to where she came from now, in a matter of few hours. She walked and by the corner, there was an abandoned car. It was empty, only the frame left. It wasn’t a good time to drink. She made her decision to go back and take one last look.

She slammed the door behind her and starred at the floor. She stood there; her back slightly hinged against the door, with everything in orange and white. She was almost one with the wall and everything. Her pullover was the same shade of orange as the wall. And her top was porcelain white, just like the door. She had this look on her face as if she wasn’t there. To her right was a window with an orange frame and between her and the door was a black rotary dial that drooled an endless black wire. She wondered if the house was still theirs, but she used her keys, so it must be. She also thought about her dad’s rotary dial, how it’s the only thing left there, and what will happen to it. Will they leave it be or come back for it? In her head, that vintage decoration rang and rang, without being picked up. She tilted her head midway between the telephone and the orange wall opposing her. Her face went from pale ivory to orange at an unnoticeable speed and the phone from black to the same orange, for soon all of them and everything will become one. 

September 29, 2021 11:01

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Kathleen `Woods
16:21 Oct 02, 2021

This was somewhat confusing in places, though in might've been state of mind. Your perspective character seems to be dealing with some intense feelings, in regards to her family. Thanks for writing!


A Dead Poet .
16:33 Oct 02, 2021

Thanks for the feedback and for taking the time to read my story.


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Sharon Williams
07:15 Oct 07, 2021

Hello Dead Poet. Critique Circle here. I found this piece extremely atmospheric. I wonder if it is relaying a dream sequence, which felt like a nightmare, rather than factual events. There are some brilliant, graphic descriptions. For instance: 'drooled an endless black wire' and 'the wind rustle the terrain, every crack, twist, and corner' There were a couple of areas where if I felt unsure whether you had purposely made it unreal, or they were mistakes. For example, from your description of the time, it was the early hours of the morning w...


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