The Other Me

Another round of BeKindRewrite’s Inspiration Monday.

*****

Casual footsteps sound on the dock behind me. If I turn around too fast, she’ll think I’m afraid. The ducks take flight, their white bellies stained orange from the water. I’m glad it doesn’t kill them anymore.

“Don’t pretend you don’t hear me.”

I wait a few seconds before responding. “I heard you. I was watching the ducks. They can swim in the water now.”

“Good for them.”

I spin on my butt and look up at her. It’s dangerous on the end of the dock with my back to the water. But I don’t move. I’m not afraid of her. Not anymore.

Mona-Thena appears at the corner of the house. I know what she’s thinking. Keep her talking.

I open my mouth, but my heart has climbed into my throat. Words can’t squeeze by.

Mona-Thena places both palms on her temples like she’s about to bend some spoons. Snapping wood cracks the air. I shove to my feet and leap over the hole in the dock. Don’t look down. Close your ears.

I stiffen my legs to keep them from running me to the house. All I hear is that squirrel, high up in the tree. Not the splashing. Not those screams.

“Don’t look so guilty, you’ll give us away,” Mona-Thena says. “She can swim.”

“Not in that water.”

A gust of wind burns my skin. Mona-Thena sucks air through her teeth and pulls her sleeves down. The acid content of the air must be high today.

“Just remember. She can’t hurt the baby anymore. She can’t hurt momma anymore.”

“She can’t hurt us anymore.” That’s the new me talking. The other me is still sitting on the end of that dock, watching the ducks.

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26 thoughts on “The Other Me

  1. Ominous, and with a hint of post apocalyptic paint it takes an eerie tone. I really like that you don’t go too deep into motive from a moral point of view. It leaves the story ambiguous in the right way.

  2. Loved this. Sounds like a book I’d want to read – do you have it written already?

  3. This is good. I was fearful as I read, worried about what would happen. I like how it ends. I’m left with a feeling that can’t be explained.

  4. My favorite thing about you: I have visited many blogs that talk about writing, but only a few show that they can write.

    This snippet is mysterious, but there’s enough there to set the reader’s imagination off.

    • I don’t know what to say! This means so much – mainly because I feel I have a long way to go. But this makes me think I’m improving. Thank you!

  5. Very thought provoking – I read it several times. There is so much to this , not only in what you have written, but in the spaces between. And some things we take for granted to be a certain way such as water, ducks in flight and even the gust of wind all have an eerie, discomforting feel. Is this just the beginning, the ending, or somewhere in the middle? I wonder where this will go in your book?

    • I doubt it will ever be a book. Although I would love to develop it. A world with water so acidic you can feel it in the humidity would be so fun to build. I just hope it’s not Earth! Great feedback. Thank you.

  6. I love the image of orange stains on the ducks, and the bit about the water not killing them any longer. It’s as if there has been a survival of the fittest, which perhaps fits into the rest of the narrative.

    Enjoyed,
    D

    • Thanks. I hope it’s not too obvious. I’m trying to work on subtlety. I like to think that those who learn to work together will be more successful, but I might be an idealist. It seems most humans are incapable.

      I lost myself in your blog last week. Lots of good stuff there. I read so much but I don’t think I commented on anything. Sorry for the lurking! :)

  7. Pingback: Inspiration Monday XI « BeKindRewrite

  8. Right, but if I were to try to read the full book, if it were a book, I wouldn’t be able to. I know you love puzzles, but I just like to read a story I can get into. If I have to dig too deep, like poetry, it becomes more like work than pleasure. I know this group of writers all love puzzles, but some of us just love a good story. I’m not being contrary, just honest, which I hope is OK. I’m just saying what’s important in stories to me. Subtlety is good, but I still need a few facts. Consider a story like The Lottery. It’s horrifying but forthright. Just my opinion Kay. I have to either give my opinion in a comment or not comment. Maybe better to not comment…

    • I totally agree. You’re probably rolling your eyes. I sound like a hypocrite. But this is why I’m such a picky reader – if it’s over my head, I just get frustrated, and I end up not caring about the story or the characters.

      But… I hate it when things are so easily spelled out that the story is like a book report. I want bits and pieces, an idea here, an idea there, then the big reveal. Or, then something happens when all the pieces come together. Not really like mysteries (which I’m not really into), but more like, the characters are on a journey to understand something and I’m along for the ride. Which is why I like first person better than third. You’re stuck in the character’s mind. You only know what they know.

      So, if this piece were part of a novel, it would slowly unravel. I’d give you this scene, then another, and by the end of the book, it would all make sense. I dropped in the ducks being together and surviving the water to mirror the two girls being together and surviving the antagonist. It’s not really important to understand that since this is just flash fiction, and I mostly just put it in there for myself. If it was in a novel, I’d flesh it out bit by bit so you’d see it and understand it. When I write, I leave these little ideas as building blocks. It just happens – I can’t help it. Maybe something will come of them, maybe not. But if something does, it will be obvious.

      I love your comments. You’re pretty much the only one around here who points a finger and calls others out (that’s a compliment). Everyone loves to talk about and explain their own writing, at least I think so. I know I do. So when given the opportunity to answer a question.. well I jump on it. :)

  9. I will admit I read this a few times to take it all in and work through the different layers but my final opinion is that it is sinister in a necessary way. Great piece but certainly not a setting I want to visit.

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