Friday, August 12, 2011

Namless, They Call Me (Friday Fiction) [Character Swap]

This week's special edition of Friday Fiction is hosted by the talented Rick H over at his blog, Pod Tales and Ponderings. The theme of this week's scribbles is "Character Swap" courtesy of Rick's creative imagination, where some of us have written snippets for the swapped characters. Click here to read and share more great fiction!

Author's Ramblings: Hurray for our first ever Character Swap! Kudos to Rick for this wonderful idea. I have the pleasure of writing for a nameless character belonging to Abel Blake from his blog, my sKetchBook, borrowed from the post of I Listen...even when it hurts. Click here to read his original piece and read on to see my 'addition'. 

I leave Adelai behind as another visitor graces this new grave. I do not know what to say about her, but there is something different—something dangerous. The precious daisies that were gifted in memory of this Lucy seemed to wither beneath the glare bestowed upon them.

I didn’t dare interrupt.

The girl stood there for a very long time. The light fog turned into thick fog and then the overcast skies grew darker with every breath. I watched her.

She stared at the gravestone with eyes that saw nothing and something within in her that seemed so tortured and full of pain that I could not bear to watch—nor had the strength to turn from it.

“I hate you, Lucy.” She hissed, at last. “I hate you!”

The weight of her hatred stabbed through me in the same wound as Adelai’s raw grief. It hurts. It hurts so bad and I don’t know what to do about it. I feel as if I have been betrayed two times over, because I what I have witnessed was never meant to be seen.

Not by my eyes that have no right to judge, not by my ears that hear everything, especially the nothing. Sometimes I think it’s fine. I let it go. I live my life. I remind myself that there are checks and balances in the world. For every happy, peaceful moment that some human being experiences, there is an equal measure of pain and despair for another.

The pain is fading.

It never lasts long.

Just shows its head to prove to me that I am still alive, as if to cut deep enough to draw blood—as proof that I am no specter. But I don’t bleed and I don’t cry. Their misery and their mourning is their own.

I merely see what goes before me.

I observe.

I listen.

I hear when they think no one does.

But what does that make me? No, I don’t want to know. That can be one of those questions for another day where nothing remains to amuse me. I feel strange today, like a child whose playtime has been cut short.


What a strange term to give to these incomplete feelings and rebellious emotions. They betray me. They always do.

The real darkness of night looms widely overhead, beckoning to the ground as it closes in. I watch it approach and I stand there, for I have nothing else to do nor to think. I wish my mind was blank and empty, I almost want to forget, but in my mind’s eye, I still see him.

I see Adelai.

Time passes. I know nothing of it.

The crunch of footsteps on frozen ground draws my consciousness back to the present. I do not need to look to know who it is that comes for me. I feel a faint shuddering of warmth creep over to me, working its way through my half-frozen self until I am aware that something is being pressed into my hands.

It is a steaming beverage of some sort, the common Styrofoam cup design is native to nowhere and promises nothing extraordinary.

It should be safe to drink.

One thick, black-gloved hand rests on my shoulder with every ounce of deliberation it can hold. There is nothing said. There is nothing that needs to be said.

“Coming?” He ventures, after a moment of silence has ventured on too long for his comfort.

I return the cup.

He looks from the wisps of rising steam to me, his face barely visible in the first whispers of light about to emerge. “You can’t stay here.”

I cannot leave.

There is a loud sigh and a he stomps his boots, akin to a toddler throwing a tantrum when he cannot get his way. But there is something softer in his manner as he does it and I know I am pushing my limits.

I am lucky. I am blessed. Were it any other, I know that this would never have played out in such simple, painless terms.

Painless. Painful.

Sometimes, I think it makes no difference.

“Well?” He takes the cup back.

I can feel the cold crackling as it leaves my body, my newly warmed fingers able to flex and move. I hate winter. It brings me endless headaches.

“You could’ve frozen to death.” He grumbles, shuffling through the icy dew.

I watch him walk off and somehow, I know that I will follow in mere seconds. It is taking more than I have to stand here and stare at a lonely gravestone with shrunken daisies and two sets of nearly faded footprints.

“Don’t make me drag you to the-” The threat stops when I turn to look at him.

Within a minute, he is by my side and stuffing a warmed kerchief into my hand.

“Do you have to turn on the waterworks now?” He growls, but there is the faintest hint of fear behind his angry hazel eyes. “You’re going to freeze your-!”

I didn’t know I was crying. I didn’t feel it. I didn’t think it hurt that much.

But then, he is pulling me along, forcing me to follow with a hand on my shoulder and another on my elbow. His grip is strong and practiced, I know well enough by now that I will not be free unless he chooses to release me.

Betrayal. Regret. Grief.

Words to a script that I don’t know how to voice.

He yanks and tugs me through the Old North Cemetery where a black SUV awaits us at the curb. I am ushered into the waiting vehicle and the warmth inside nearly smothers me.

In the choking breath I breathe against the closed tinted window, I feel something stirring from deep inside me.


Somehow, it seems as if my body has betrayed me.


More Ramblings: This snippet was fun to write and I tried to keep it in character by not naming the MC and writing in the same tense/provided POV. I hope it did it justice. This was fun--can we do it again? ^_^ 


Julie Arduini said...

I love it. It's as much fun to read as it was participate, I hope we do it again. Your post helped me realize there is another Blake writing. I didn't know that! Now I'm off to find his work and become a fan.

Great work, Sara!

Marijo (Mary Jo) Phelps said...

Oh, my goodness....I love this "grabber"! Marijo

Abel said...

I was so psyched to see you got my character. The Listener was partly patterned after some of your scifi stories. But who the heck would hate Lucy? She's a depressed, suicidal, pregnant wife! The writing style was scarily similar. And once again so much is still left unexplained, very characteristic of you Sara. :)

Abel said...

Oh, and have fun in Michigan.

Sara Harricharan said...

@Julia--thank you! Yes, do look him up. He always writes something that will make you think.

@Marijo--thanks for reading (and glad to see you again this week!)

@Abel, I had a wonderful time--and thanks for the comment. I'm glad you enjoyed the swap (and that the characters weren't too far off)
As for poor Lucy, well, I guess the mystery girl has mysteries of her own. :P

Michelle Fayard said...

What a great idea to get authors to starting thinking outside of the box and strengthening their work. Thank you for sharing!

Hoomi said...

Here it is, next week, and I'm just getting a chance to read through the other submissions. I'll have to get the time to go read Abel's work, but I like the mysterious feel of this piece.