Category Archives: short

Snowed in

A frigid morning welcomed me with open arms today. Tossing and turning, I mustered the energy to get out of bed. It was challenging, for certain, as the central heating malfunctioned throughout the night. It left my humble shack devoid of warmth.

As I pulled the blinds of my room, a white, frosted wall hindered my view. The inconsequential, yet familiar and reassuring outdoors were no more. A blank canvas replaced it.

It was going to be one of those days. Suit up for the harsh weather ahead, pick up my shovel and get to it, same old. Or so it seemed. My mind played its tricks on me, for the last time.

Turns out, I was still bedridden. The bitter cold had me in a synchronic shivering paralysis. Its icy, gentle caress crept in, merciless and unerring.

With a yielding approach, I resolved to reminisce as my presence in this world ran its course. The outset of my fleeting memoirs began with my decision to lead a life of isolation in this cabin. Time was of essence, everything before that turning point I deemed irrelevant.

A glimpse of a recollection crossed my mind: the need to disappear. Faint images of quarrels between loved ones brushed my psyche. A paroxysm of anguish struck my heart. An inordinate amount of time, squandered on petty grievances. Ah, the assault of pins and needles throughout my body began.

My final moments approached with unsparing mercy. A thought roused from the depths. Was this willing confinement freedom, or a self prescribed prison? Hesitation bombarded my brain. Coalescing a lapse in judgement with pride is a deadly concoction. I never gave forgiveness a chance. Numbness invades my imminent corpse.

The candle of my cognition was all but extinguished. A collage of disjointed dreams was all that remained. In my denouement all I could muster was to pray for oblivion to seize me. Heaven, hell, reincarnation, I renounced them all. My vision began to blur.

At last, I’m free of the yoke that is life. I welcomed the void with open arms.

Disillusion

I’ve been living alone, stranded in an island for many years. A hermit, in other words. I used to have a name, but I’ve long forgotten it. It doesn’t matter anymore. I’m myself, no matter which name I decide to use.

At night, the stars and their constellations were my silent, twilight poets. Long after my life concludes, their everlasting memoirs would comfort whoever succeeds me.

The sunrays pierced the windows drapes of my crude hut, waking me up at the crux of the morning. A brand-new dawn greeted me. An invariable ritual executed by companion, sol. Grateful for witnessing a new day, I dressed up and set out to begin a new day.

My life is quiet and peaceful. Nature’s bounty keeps me well fed and amused. A myriad of flora and fauna littered the islet. I’m blessed by these circumstances. Or so I thought.

With the passing of time and running out of hobbies to pass time, I came up with an idea. I decided to coordinate a way to map out this piece of land I was stuck in. I gathered enough food and supplies that I would hope they would last for a while. I would begin my expedition by dawn of the next day.

Feeling confident, I set out to the western half of the island, hoping to find something exciting. What I discovered left me dumbfound. As I kept roaming, curious structures cropped up in the horizon. Could they be remnants of a long bygone civilization? Regardless, I kept marching, puzzled of what I would find ahead.

By the time I drew near, it was indisputable that this was, in fact, a prosperous town. I could discern a municipality, stores, and whole neighborhoods. Was I hallucinating? This revelation freaked me out. A breakthrough of my own myopic delusions.

The locals were as astonished. “Where did this eccentric hermit come from? How come we never noticed him? Is he able to communicate with us?” – their whispers and murmurs of the gossiping were quiet yet deafening. The townsfolk were wearisome.
I felt disillusioned. I discovered a domesticated herd. A congregation of dull folks.

With utmost politeness, I refused their offer to be part of their community. I bid them good bye and hoped never to cross them again. I left this standardised confinement in the middle of the night.

I was at a loss on how they’d enjoy living. Nights devoid of stars. Paved, stony roads, designed to deny themselves of the gentle caress of nature in one’s feet soles. Worst of all, a willingness to design gilded cages. They gave up freedom for the sake of a comfortable, self-imposed incarceration.

At last, I retreated back to my haven. The irreplaceable joy of freedom aroused every one of my senses. I felt alive once again. The struggle of freedom eclipsed the anodyne of deliberate captivity.

Sometimes, the grass isn’t greener on the other side.

Dandelion

I spent about a week during my summer holiday camping with one of my male classmates. We decided to organize the trip on a whim. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I wished to get to know him more. We set off on a Saturday, early in the morning. We agreed to get back to our anodyne city dweller routine before our next college semester. In other words, we had until Monday to savor a brief respite. We were seniors, yet we didn’t act the part. “We have to grow up at some point”, I thought to myself.

The rural scenes left us in awe. Breathing fresh air was a welcome change from the city’s pollution. Surrounded by flora and fauna, rather than cars and deafening noises at every time of the day.

On the last day of our camping trip, we came across a dandelion field. While my classmate was too busy setting up the tent and a small campfire, I chose to pick one dandelion. It was full of seedheads. I blew on it and wished for these fond memories with him to last forever. The wind sweeping the seedheads mesmerized me. For a moment, I lost track of time.

My classmate brought me down to Earth and asked if I was alright. I told him about the wish I made moments ago. The mood got weird and he told me I’d regret said wish. His statement came out of nowhere and threw me off. Before I could ask what he meant by it, my vision started to blur. I passed out.

I regained consciousness to find myself in the middle of a celebration of sorts. With no time to get my bearings on what was going on, a friend of mine called me over. She seemed miffed of my cluelessness.

She brought me back to speed. Turns out I spaced out during my own wedding. The ceremony was about to start. She was the ever diligent yet neurotic maid of honor. Her mission was for this wedding to go with no hitches nor surprises.

Hoping that her insight would quell my worries, I told her what happened to me. I was on a camping trip with one of my college classmates then passed out. Afterwards, I regained consciousness while wearing a wedding gown. She gave me the weirdest look. She retorted that I’ve dated this “classmate” for years, and finally got engaged this year. She expressed relief that I decided to tie the knot. She joked that I’d turn into a crazy cat lady by how slow I was taking my relationship with him.

While I’m sure she meant well, what she told me disturbed me. What ever happened between these events? How could I not remember my relationship with him? My mind was teeming with questions, yet my presence at the altar took precedence over any answers.

The ceremony proceeded as expected. Or so I thought. As we were exchanging vows, my eyes glanced at the window. The breeze outside whisked away several dandelion seedheads. Once more, I began to lose focus on my surroundings. I tried to calm myself down by closing my eyes and taking a deep breath. It didn’t work. By the time I opened my eyes, I was somewhere else.

I was in a dining room, of what I assumed was our home. We were about to eat dinner, judging by the food served, how and where everyone else sat. My classmate turned husband was there, and two strangers. One was a child, a boy no older than eight, at most. The other was a teenager, a girl whose bored gaze spoiled her otherwise good looks. Were these our children?

Unsure on how to proceed, as I didn’t even know their names, or even the current date, I stood in silence. The oppressive stillness ended as my husband spoke up. He began with some small talk, in an attempt to dispel this stilted mood. I didn’t work. In mere minutes, our children drew out their smartphones. They took matters into their own hands. Our boy’s attention drifted away by some game he seemed to love, as he kept spouting factoids about it. Meanwhile, our daughter was tapping away at her screen, calm yet focused. I surmised that she was texting her friends as a way to get away from her father’s blathering. I pretended to pay attention to what he was saying, out of politeness. In short, we were a family. Not a perfect one, that’s for sure.

Our daughter interrupted the dinner by leaving the table at once. My husband protested and asked what was going on. My daughter’s answer was short and to the point. She was going out with her friends, stating that she’d rather spend time with people she cared about. Right as she opened the door and was about to storm out of the house, it occured once more. In the distance, I saw it. A dandelion’s seedhead. I knew what was going to happen and resigned to my fate. I lamented the fact that I wasn’t able to utter a single word during my brief time with my family. As before, my cognition faded away as existence reshaped itself.

This time, reality was grim. I was bedridden. I was conscious, yet my body failed to respond. I could only gaze at the window, unmoving. My senses failed me altogether.

People surrounded me. I assumed I held them in great esteem throughout my life. Many came bearing gifts, such as flowers and cards. Others sat near me, sobbing. Any and all hints of happiness were absent. Take make matters worse, I failed to recognize anyone.

Detached as I felt, I let the charade go on for as long as needed. Dying felt like an eternity. Little by little, my sense of self began to dissipate. My grasp for the visual stimuli was the last one to go. In my last moments in this world, it happened. I was aghast. Was it fate? This known agent of chaos, disguised as an unassuming dandelion seedhead, showed itself. What was going to happen? The conclusion to my life was all but certain. Fear and anticipation interweaved in my heart.

I wasn’t prepared for what happened next. The wilderness of that fateful camping trip engulfed me. I was once more in front of the dandelion field. My classmate was right next to me, with a worried expression. He told me that I seemed to be in a daze for a bit, and joked about if this was my first time seeing a dandelion field. What happened?

I dismissed his comment and suggested that we should get moving before it gets dark. He agreed, but before moving on, he picked a dandelion. He began blathering, as usual. He told me to make a wish before blowing a dandelion. After letting their seedheads spread away, it might come true. I tried my hardest not to roll my eyes at him. If only he knew what I went through. This time, I refused to partake in his silly superstition.

One question would haunt my mind forever: what did he wish for?

Hubris

Glistening drops permeated a potted rose sitting in my balcony. Its rouge petals announced the arrival of Spring. It was dazzling yet menacing. Roses represent the superlative capriciousness of beauty.

This perennial child was a present from a gypsy I met on a flea market. She was keen on the arts of divination. She told me that this particular breed of rose didn’t need water or any specific care. She was willing to give it to me for free, on one condition. She instructed me to tend to it as if it were of my kindred. Failing to do so would lead to terrible repercussions. At the time, I didn’t understand what she meant by this.

It took all my will to not laugh at her absurd augury. Unlike her, I paid no heed to idiotic occult rubbish. Still, I welcomed her gift, for it suit my sense of aesthetics, very much so.

As days have started passing, I began noticing subtle changes. My flowery companion seemed to be in perpetual bloom. An ethereal aura protected its very life. Indeed, this rose refused to wither, no matter what.

I thought nothing of it. They were some novelty roses, hardy of constitution, I thought. Nothing more, nothing less.

Years began to pass. And yet, my youth and energy remained intact. Could it be that this humble rose was the cause of such miracle?

Impossible, I insisted to myself. How can a plant harness such power over a person? My imagination was playing tricks on me.

Moreover, diseases and minor injuries were a thing of the past. Indeed, it seemed that I had attained immortality. Not by my own accord, but thanks to a fortuitous favor. I chalked it out to a healthy lifestyle, but was that it?

Decades started to slip by. At that moment, an alarming transformation occured: I started to sprout roses from my body. They were minuscule buds at first, yet they were quick to take over my limbs. Both my arms and legs, infested by lovely yet ruinous clusters of blossoming roses.

It didn’t take long before they spread towards my torso. At that point, moving was out of the question. I became bedridden overnight.

I lost track of the passage of time. Did decades pass? Centuries? It all became a blur. I lost my sense of self: I became the host of a splendid, yet murderous rose garden.

Then I saw her. The vagrant from before. She who handed me out the rose that started it all. Her sly smile was enough for me to realize what has been in the making.

Her gift wasn’t meant in good will. Indeed, I served my function to the letter. As my consciousness faded, I saw her harvest the roses covering my body. A bountiful yield, ready to serve its vile purpose once more. She finished picking every one of them. Afterwards, she departed without uttering a single word.

A dried-up, human-shaped rose bush sat in a room, devoid of life, once and for all.