Kaleidascope 2018

OneWithTheStars's avatar
By OneWithTheStars   |   Watch
2 5 78 (1 Today)
Published: June 16, 2018
Ball & Chain - 13:22
    With finality, I closed the door behind myself.  It was like at last pulling out the festering thorn that had been festering in my side for years.  I knew she still didn’t understand; we were moving too fast and I was in over my head.  I couldn’t take it any longer.
    I yearned for my freedom.
    With a hitch in my step, I pulled my suitcase along the sidewalk toward the car, everything that I had kept at her apartment contained within.  The breakup was absolute; no lingering visits to reclaim possessions at the other’s dwelling, nothing shared between the two of us we’d have to continue doing so.
    All ties had been cut.
    Loading my suitcase into the back seat of his sedan, I took my place behind the wheel and started the engine.  Gripping to the wheel affectionately, I listened to the engine idle for a moment, fantasizing of all the places I could go now without having to answer to another.  Shifting into drive, I pulled away from the curb and took off down the street.
    Opening the windows of the car, I let the wind rush throughout the cabin, turning the volume up on the radio as I took the onramp to the highway and shot down it, letting my foot push the accelerator a bit past the speed limit.
    Freedom never tasted sweeter.
    Twenty minutes later, I pulled into a parking spot lining the street of my apartment.  Whistling lightly, I exited the car, then retrieved my suitcase, wheeling it down the sidewalk once more before carrying it up the stairs to the front door.  Pulling it down the hallway, I then unlocked the door to my place and stepped in.  Taking a deep breath, I felt the weight gone from my shoulders, looking around the living room to see only my possessions in place.  Closing the door, I wheeled the suitcase through the living room and down the hallway to the bedroom.
    Upon entering the bedroom, I hoisted the suitcase up and placed it upon the bed, opening it up and began to put everything away.  After putting clothing into the dresser, I grabbed the toiletries and moved for the bathroom.
    It was stepping into the bathroom that it finally hit me; in going to put away my tube of toothpaste, I looked at the holder half occupied, it already holding a tube of my own.  Glancing at the toothbrush holder beside it, it looked empty with the single toothbrush in it.  Only pausing for a moment, I filed the spare toothpaste and toothbrush in the holders before putting away several other items.
    Making my way back toward the kitchen, glancing at the clock told me it was time for dinner and I instinctively sniffed at the air, only to find a glaring lack of savory scent permeating into it.  She had always loved cooking meals on the weekends.  The pang permeated only briefly, but dissipated as I moved into the kitchen and rummaged through the refrigerator.
    Eventually coming up with a sandwich and a glass of water, I moved into the living room and plopped down onto the sofa.  Turning the television on, I surfed a few channels before landing on one, replacing the remote with my sandwich and sat back as I ate.
    I remained like that for a few minutes, finishing my sandwich as well as my glass of water, relaxing back upon the sofa while the movie on the station progressed.  Before I knew it, I had shifted my left arm, opening my side for her to situate up beside me, the way she had always done while pulling a blanket over the both of our laps—
    Glancing to my left, I saw nothing—no blanket, no her.  So, this was my new freedom.  It was funny, but at that moment, I didn’t remember being chained…and the melancholy finally set in.
    All ties had been cut.

Promises - 20:00
    I felt him draw up beside me underneath the bedsheets, an arm slipping about my torso and firmly hold his chest close to my back.  “What…are you doing?” I asked, feeling the flush of crimson tinge my cheeks.
    “Fulfilling my promise to your husband,” he softly responded, his voice muffled by the tresses of my hair tucked against the nape of my neck.  The silence enveloped us for a moment as he cuddled close and nothing more, a mixture of anxiety and comfort welling up within me in response to the uncharacteristic attention from him.  The longer I let him do so, the more comfortable it felt, almost becoming natural.  Listening to him breathe in time with the rise and fall of his chest against my back, I soon found myself sleepy, letting my eyelids slowly close, and carried off to slumber shortly thereafter.

Waking Nightmares - 20:43
    I was behind the wheel of my sedan, speeding down Millersport Highway.  I don’t remember why I was driving at that time or where I was going, but it was the moment I felt the other presence that I realized the situation was anything but normal.
    While heading south, I couldn’t even register if it was day or night the moment I felt the evil surround me.  Adrenaline spiked in my veins as the memories of such an experience flooded into my mind—evil chasing me, jumping into my car to escape, the forces following me, attempting to overtake me.
    I didn’t try to pull over—I still am unsure why—but I kept my foot on the accelerator, vainly thinking I could somehow outrun the spiritual force.  It had failed the time before, and it likely was a vain effort this time.
    And then, he was there in the passenger’s seat area—not sitting like a physical entity would, but invasive of the general proximity, reaching toward me as he rushed along with the car to keep up.  I never could fully discern what the evil spirits were trying to do, whether they were reaching for the wheel to crash the car into the ditch or reaching directly for me; my sixth sense was what registered them, allowing me only glimmers of forms through my mind.
    In any case, this one was out for me and everything I had done to throw it had proven futile.  The panic was rising fast in my essence and I knew I was going to have to attempt to banish it like I had with the one before.  The doubt crept into my mind as well; was this all in my mind, including the ability to banish evil spirits from my presence, or was it all real?  Regardless of the truth, it took so much concentration and mental energy to will the strength to stand against an evil spirit and it was hard to maintain safe driving while doing so, but I didn’t have a choice.
    Keeping my right foot on the accelerator and my left hand on the wheel, I glanced at my right toward the evil spirit and with an outstretched hand, I snarled my face and focused all the energy I possessed, shouting, “Be gone!”  I prayed my shout alone wound conjure the power to do so.
    In that moment, my consciousness registered my slumbering body attempt to say the words aloud—was this all a dream?—but I couldn’t formulate the words or possibly spoke in another language; the fear was too great.
    The words seemed to pierce the evil spirit, that or the unseen power that I possessed, and I sensed him scream out as he began to fall back.
    I gasped as I opened my eyes to the darkness, ripped from the vision to realize I was on my left side in my bed, safely in my bedroom at the bewitching hour of 0300.  Coiling my arms upon themselves in front of my chest, I clutched to the fabric of my blankets as I curled up slightly, physically trying to create a barrier from the horrible moments prior.
    And then, the comforting arms of another quickly wrapped about me as a body pulled me into its clutches.  Chest nestled against my back, I merely whimpered as I then confessed to the night air, “It happened again; they were after me again.”
    I know…
    I squeezed my eyes shut as his words passed through my mind and I let the spiritual energy coalesce tighter about me in a desperate attempt to comfort me.  “I’m scared…” I confessed, my mind confused and scared, so overwhelmed by the unknown that was far beyond my scope of control.  “Don’t leave me…”
    That’s why I’m here.  It’s why we’re all here.
    I felt a sensation trace over my hair and along my arm, the comforting thought of a hand stroking along me immediately coming to mind.  “Thank you,” I whispered softly into the room.
    You defeated him on your own again.  You’re getting stronger, and I’m proud of you.  We all are.
    There was a long pause, I feeling an occasional tingle along my skin where he touched me in attempts to comfort me.
    Don’t worry; we will protect you.

To Join - 22:24
    I watched him smile at me, his eyes studying my appearance with all the warmth and love in his eyes while his hands grasped to my own.  “You look beautiful,” he eventually stated before leaning in and kissing me tenderly against my cheek.  His complements were still something to get used to, his personality softening the longer we had grown to know the other.
    Blushing underneath the makeup that had been professionally applied to my face, I then warmly looked at him as I responded, “Thank you,” before leaning in and hugging him tightly.
    Withdrawing a moment later, he placed his hands upon my upper arms as he looked at me and remarked, “Be careful, you’re going to cry,” causing me to laugh briefly as I blotted a forming tear from my left eye.  While I had, he reached his hands up and pulled my veil over my face; it was time.  At that moment, the music from the string quartet filtered into the bridal chamber.  Giving me another smile, he then said, “This is what you wanted, so let’s get to it.”  Moving to the doorway, he looked back at me one final time before disappearing out and making his way into the hall.  Taking my place at the doorway to the bridal chamber, I took a deep breath, letting the butterflies in my stomach momentarily settle before taking the step to exit.
    The moment I had, I watched the opposing chamber door open and the familiar tall figure stepped out.  I couldn’t help but stare on as his frame was adorned in rich white fabrics similar to my own and trimmed with shimmering gold.  His reaction was similar; the moment his eyes locked onto mine, he froze in place, staring intently before the radiant smile drew over his lips.  The two of us moving forward, we met in the center before the open doors into the vast hall.  Unable to look away from the other, he eventually whispered, “You’re absolutely beautiful.”
    “Thank you, beautiful,” I answered, then glanced down at his proffered right arm.  Slipping my left arm into his, we pulled up side by side, glancing at the other briefly before facing forward and slowly began our procession down the rich red carpet toward the front of the hall.
    The music filled our ears as I could feel my heart beating rapidly in my chest, all eyes on us from the many individuals gathered in the rows of seats lining about either side of us to witness the momentous occasion.  We continued our methodical trek down the aisle until at last, we came before the lavish alter positioned atop the short summit of stairs.  Carefully, we took each stair in tandem until reaching the top, those of our bridal party standing upon either side of us and occupying each stair sequentially.  My eyes drifted over from my intended to ever so briefly lock with my dear friend, to which he smiled warmly and gave me a faint nod.
    Smiling back at him, it was my intended’s left hand coming to rest upon mine conjoined with his right that gave a warm and reassuring comfort to me, drawing me to turn and look up at him.  Reaching my right hand over, I caressed it along his right arm still entwined with my left before we faced forward, ready for our beginning.

Of the Same Mold - 22:56
    Not all freaks look like the monsters in your fairy tales, she had said that night.
I knew what she had meant; this species could be unforgivably cruel, even those thought of as friend.  So little confessed, yet I felt the emotions pour silently out of her and into myself, such a strange, yet wonderful experience.  It would be something I would never forget.
    She had cited her hands as the prime example.  As she had mentioned them, she held the one up to me, palm facing me while explaining that they were deemed too large for a female, that her fingers alone were equated to as claws by others.  I think the most upsetting thing to me as she gave specific examples of the mockery was that she loved her too large hands and too long fingers.  She loved what she was, but couldn’t embrace it openly because of the opinions of others.  In my heart, I believed that was how she felt about all of herself in both body and spirit, but being surrounded by those that would mock anything different for so long, I could feel her worn down, her self-image so distorted beyond all reasonable assessment.
    So, as she kept her palm up and facing me, I reached my own calloused hand over, letting my fingers straighten out and relax to embrace hers while our palms pressed together, I almost taken back at how the very dimensions of her hand matched that of my own.  My remark about it only made her smile as she responded that it hadn’t been the first time she’d discovered her hand to match that of a male’s.  I couldn’t help but chuckle in response, wondering aloud what kind of man could fit so perfectly, to which she responded one that was five-foot-ten, just like her…
    Just like myself…

The Underdog - 23:27
    Groaning out heavily between labored breaths, the first visual of the individual came in the form of a hand struggling to crest above the high platform before falling back down to grasp desperately to the rope tied at its apex.  Another groan could be heard before the hand was joined by its twin, the other hand reaching over it and grasping higher upon the rope.  Immediately after, a head and shoulders for a young man appeared over the wall, covered in mud and dirt.  Hand over hand, he soon had his entire body pulled up to the top of the wall, only to collapse onto the ground before him, breathing heavily as he momentarily took a rest from the laborious task he had just successfully completed.
    “And he did it, ladies and gentlemen!  Alex Rodriguez successfully completes the infinity gauntlet to become the first human survivor of Intergalactic Warriors!”  The deafening cheer of the crowd nearly overtaxed his eardrums as Alex continued to lie there and take deep breaths.
    Being abducted had been terrifying enough, learning of other intelligent species in existence had blown his mind, but the underlying reason to have more contestants for a hit intergalactic reality television show was just ridiculous.  These creatures were far superior to humans in every way possible—physically, intellectually—and here he was, one of several new underdogs as they so called them snatched from their lives just for ratings.
    The underdog recruit had become the in thing to have on such reality competition series he had been told.  Forced through several different training regiments, he had learned to speak the language of the broadcasts for interviews, then put through rigorous training exercises in order to ensure a “sporting chance” of their survival in the games.  It seemed that the audience had grown fond of seeing weaker candidates struggle, hopes of them succeeding melded with the sadistic thrill of the possibility of them meeting their death in the process.
    He no longer found reality television competitions amusing.
© 2018 - 2020 OneWithTheStars
~Saturday, June 16, 2018~

The collection of flash fictions written for submission to :icondamonwakes:'s Flash Fiction Day 2018.  I have to confess, for the first several hours, I forgot about this, but on the bright side, I didn't have much of any time to write while not remembering, so I haven't lost too much time.  Many of these will be doubled up with prompts I'm behind on for another writing challenge as I try to catch up.

Update 1: One done, however, I did promise to go to a wedding that starts in just over an hour, so I won't be writing much until evening my time.  I really wanted to challenge my number written last year, but unless I get my game on this evening, I doubt it will happen.  We shall see!

Update 2: Only four done with one and a half hours only to go, so even though I won't come close to my record from last year, I hope to squeeze a couple more out.

Update 3: Well, only six stories this year (not even close to last year's nineteen).  Happy to crank them out nonetheless!

List of flash fictions
Ball & Chain
Waking Nightmares
To Join
Of the Same Mold
The Underdog
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penguinpyro's avatar
penguinpyroHobbyist Digital Artist
Wow, promises and underdog really stuck in my mind. Good work. 
OneWithTheStars's avatar
OneWithTheStarsHobbyist General Artist
Thanks a bunch!  :)  Underdog was another one that took a fun turn after its start; another fun one to develop.  As for Promises, there’s definitely more to it, but I wanted something short and simple so it could mean any number of things.
WindySilver's avatar
WindySilverHobbyist Writer
Nicely written! The last story is probably my favourite one! :D
OneWithTheStars's avatar
OneWithTheStarsHobbyist General Artist
haha, yeah, that one  was a bit of a detour from my normal stuff, but I liked it too!