Lightning flashes in the hospital window. The sign it will happen tonight.

They bring a capsule that you tongue against your gums to keep it dry as you suck water through a straw. Alone in the dark, you hide it with the others. Without the capsule you can dream.

His shoulder brushes yours in the motel lounge. The swimming pool sparkles without end. He climbs on the bar and executes an elegant dive. You follow, butterflying in the blue water. As you reach for him, he turns on you with a demon grin. You spin away from him, cocooned in water, unable to call his name.

You perch on a rock overlooking the sea, emblematic, like a woman on a vodka label, smearing your breasts with lipstick. And shriek with joy, knowing he will come.

You drink with him in smiling communion. The goblets, the table, everything is made of glass. Shattered by his laughter, it cuts you to pieces. You kneel on the hotel bed. The mattress is a shallow bowl brimming with lotions and cosmetics mixed in a lurid soup. You plunge in the bowl and begin to swim and then realize you’re covered in blood. Even in sleep you feel it, sticky on your skin.

You crushed his skull with a lamp, they say. In your rage you smashed his face to pulp. They say you had a motive, as if you understood what that is. But you’re not guilty, only broken.

You tremble between sheets that nothing can soil or soften, that contain all kinds of suffering and death. The time has come. No more dreams, no more storms, no more addictions or pride. While the nurse works her Sudoku and the stomach pump stands helpless, you’ll swallow the capsules and set yourself free.

 

“Lorelei” is my entry in Cherie Reich’s 2nd Annual Flash Fiction Blogfest. To read the other entries, please click here.

40 replies
  1. Cherie Reich
    Cherie Reich says:

    Thank you for entering my 2nd Annual Flash Fiction Blogfest! The six finalists will be announced on Friday, May 25th. I will further comment on your entry on Thursday.

    Reply
    • Dreambeast7
      Dreambeast7 says:

      Thank you. Second person is interesting but hard to sustain. Easier with a short piece like this one.

      Reply
    • Dreambeast7
      Dreambeast7 says:

      Thank you. I’ve been reading other entries, and the competition is steep.
      With second person there’s always a danger of seeming to address the reader and seeming kind of presumptuous. But this character is talking to herself.

      Reply
  2. Chris Fries
    Chris Fries says:

    Whoa — that was intense and disturbing. What a churning stew of emotions! The second-person also forced me into the story, much like the nurse forcing one of those capsules down my throat…

    Excellent work!

    Reply
  3. Li
    Li says:

    Well executed, the dream sequence is realistic and the emotion is raw and yet (thankfully) understated instead of being soap opera-ish. 🙂

    Reply
  4. Dreambeast7
    Dreambeast7 says:

    Thank you, everyone, for being such generous readers. All the comments on second person are sparking some ideas for an essay on the subject.

    Reply
  5. nephylim
    nephylim says:

    What a sweet window on madness. Slighly confusing in that at first I thought she was aiming to not take the pill because she didn’t want to be drugged, and then at the end that she was intending to take it because it was poison. Not sure what was going on there, but the story was too interesting to make that confusion a real issue.

    Reply
  6. Dreambeast7
    Dreambeast7 says:

    Thanks for the kind words, It’s such a thrill to have so many readers and so many good stories to read.

    I meant to create some misdirection about the narrator’s intentions, but the line between misdirection and confusion can be very thin. 🙂

    Reply
  7. Mina Lobo
    Mina Lobo says:

    That was masterfully mind-bending writing. A seriously bad trip, but brilliantly executed. I agree with another commenter who wrote that the ending haunts. Very well done, indeed.

    Reply

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