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When she’d woken up after her latest death, naturally she hadn’t expected to wake up somewhere familiar.

She put on some clothes and found a driving licence in the pocket of the coat hanging by the front door. That told her what her new name was, and she went out to familiarise herself with the new area as well. She walked around for a while and eventually she had to admit it to herself. That nagging sense of déjà vu wasn’t déjà vu—she really had been here before. She’d had the flat before. She’d had this name before.

She looked at the street with different eyes as she walked back to the flat. This was it—her very first life.

Or rather, her first life after her original life. And death. When they’d needed a guinea pig and she’d needed a miracle. Because she really had been too young to die. Nineteen and in her first year at art school—there was still so much she wanted to do.

Her father had been upset when she decided to sign the consent form. But she’d told him afterwards: “You don’t understand how it was for me. I wished I had a future, anywhere. And now I do.”

Though inside she hadn’t truly believed the procedure was going to work. It had seemed like... overwhelming illogic. You’d have to be crazy to believe there were parallel universes lying on the border between reality and fiction. And that a group of scientists had found a way of writing a consciousness into these parallel universes over and over again.

But she had undergone the procedure, her disease had killed her—and she had woken up in another world with a different name and a different appearance. Such an odd world—she’d realised there was a little less choice. It felt as though her life story had already been written and all there was left for her was to come up with the details. That universe had insisted she was a painter and a painter she had to be. But she’d had choices within her art, and that was all she’d cared about. It had been a long, productive and on the whole happy life, which had eventually ended when she’d died of old age.

And then she’d woken up in a universe in which she was a novelist.

She’d died in a car accident in her thirties. Afterwards she’d woken up as a dancer.

And so it went on.

During the first few lives, she’d often wondered if the treatment had been used on anyone else. She’d mention it in poems or a novel or as part of a TV programme. But nobody ever made contact. Perhaps the doctors had believed the treatment hadn’t worked and never used it again. Perhaps the government had decided to suppress it. Perhaps any treated patients ended up in separate universes. Whatever the reason, in a sense she was always alone.

But she’d carried on. She’d been a photographer, an actress, a playwright. She sculpted and threw pots. Being an acrobat in the circus had been particular fun. She’d told her father long ago:

“It has always been for me a stable nourishment. I use it. It can change the way that I feel in the mornings.”

And she still felt that way about her art. Whatever the art might be.

Thinking about her father gave her a pang. She would have loved to have told him about all she’d achieved. She’d been famous many times. That probably wouldn’t have impressed him though. What did he used to say?

“Fame can take interesting men and thrust mediocrity upon them.”

Well, he was right in a way. Fame itself... doesn't really afford you anything more than a good seat in a restaurant. She’d done a lot of good work that sometimes hadn’t been seen beyond friends.

She arrived back at the flat and let herself back into what she now knew was her new home and her old home too. The doctors had warned her of the possibility of this, of course—that the lives might form a huge loop, rather than go on forever. That she might start living lives over and over again.

She considered this information from long ago and did the logical thing.

She put the kettle on.

Then she sat down with her tea and thought about her situation.

So it looked like this was middle-age for the immortal. You get to a certain age, and you are forbidden access—it was the end to the novelty of waking up in new worlds, and the beginning of a new phase in her life. A case of learning how to exist and have enthusiasm while settling into the comfort of an older age.

She sighed to herself. Did it truly make that much of a difference? So much has gone and little is new anyway, it seemed. And her lives hadn’t all been plain sailing. She’d had to deal with terror and fear and isolation and abandonment. At least now she would have some idea what was coming.

She took a sip from her mug.

And she could never regret having the procedure. When she was a little girl, somebody said that as you get older you become the person you always should have been. And she would never have had the chance to become that person otherwise.

She looked forward to the future that was also her past, and smiled just a little. There were so many children, partners and friends she would be able to see again. And she would be able to revisit each kind of art—improve on her skills. Do even better work.

The only drawback she could see…

She laughed quietly into her mug.

In three or four lifetimes she’d have to be that bloody mime artist again.
980 words.

Written for Flash Fiction Month 2016: Day 29.


The challenge today:

DAVID BOWIE DAY


ELEMENT ONE - We are the dead


Your story for today must explore themes of death and/or identity.


ELEMENT TWO - For in truth, it's the beginning of an end


Include something beginning and something ending.


ELEMENT THREE - Homo Superior


Incorporate Transhumanism into your story.


ELEMENT FOUR - Turn and face the strange


Include at least 10 David Bowie quotes and/or lyrics into your work. Be sure to cite them in your artist's comment!


ELEMENT FIVE - The last of the dreamers

Include a character that is based on David Bowie. Enigmatic musician? Alien? Chameleon superstar? A young boy(or girl) with a passion for music, and a dilated pupil damaged in a schoolyard fight?

They don't have to be the main character, and it doesn't have to be Bowie per se, but it should be some facet or fictionalised incarnation of him given life.



1. My central character dies over and over again, and has many lives with many different identities. 

2. ...it was the end to the novelty of waking up in new worlds, and the beginning of a new phase in her life. (When she will be reliving old lives.)

3. Er, yes? ^^" My character undergoes a procedure that means her consciousness survives death and lives over and over again in new bodies. 

4. 
1. ...put on some clothes... From Oh! You Pretty Things
2. I wished I had a future, anywhere... From Miracle Goodnight 
3. ...overwhelming illogic. Full quote: When I'm stuck for a closing to a lyric, I will drag out my last resort: overwhelming illogic.
4. It has always been for me a stable nourishment. I use it. It can change the way that I feel in the mornings. Full quote: Art was, seriously, the only thing I'd ever wanted to own. It has always been for me a stable nourishment. I use it. It can change the way that I feel in the mornings.
5. Fame can take interesting men and thrust mediocrity upon them. 
6. Fame itself... doesn't really afford you anything more than a good seat in a restaurant.
7. You get to a certain age, and you are forbidden access... Full quote: I'm well past the age where I'm acceptable. You get to a certain age and you are forbidden access. You're not going to get the kind of coverage that you would like in music magazines, you're not going to get played on radio and you're not going to get played on television. I have to survive on word of mouth.
8. A case of learning how to exist and have enthusiasm while settling into the comfort of an older age. Full quote: Everything I read about hitting a midlife crisis was true. I had such a struggle letting go of youthful things and learning how to exist and have enthusiasm while settling into the comfort of an older age.
9. So much has gone and little is new... From Cygnet Committee
10. ...deal with terror and fear and isolation and abandonment. Full quote: I'm not one of those guys that has a great worldview. I kind of deal with terror and fear and isolation and abandonment.
11. ...somebody said that as you get older you become the person you always should have been. Full quote: I'm very at ease, and I like it. I never thought I would be such a family-oriented guy; I didn't think that was part of my makeup. But somebody said that as you get older you become the person you always should have been, and I feel that's happening to me. I'm rather surprised at who I am, because I'm actually like my dad!  

5. My central character is an artist in many different areas, and has many different external identities while still being essentially the same person. 
Add a Comment:
 
:icontheskaboss:
TheSkaBoss Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
xD love it! Such a good concept and this hits such a sweet emotional note :heart: and then ends with humor and :la:
Reply
:iconthecheshercat:
TheChesherCat Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Oh, I really like this. Not quite as absurd as your other work, but with a nice punch at the end. I'd love to see this become longer, but... Well, I know how you feel about longer work!
Reply
:iconscfrankles:
SCFrankles Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Actually, I've been working on learning to write at length - longest piece I've written so far is 26,600 words ^^ And this story might be something to come back to in the future. 
Reply
:iconthecheshercat:
TheChesherCat Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Wow! Will you ever share the longer piece?
Reply
:iconscfrankles:
SCFrankles Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
It's a Dear Ladies fanfic - so I've posted it elsewhere ^^    
Reply
:iconthecheshercat:
TheChesherCat Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Ah. Well done! That's not easy...
Reply
:iconthe-inkling:
The-Inkling Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2016   Writer
That was lovely. It slowly reeled me in as it went along, and the ending fit so perfectly. If one is going to re-live the same continual loop of lives over and over again, then that's a really nice outlook to have. On another note, this would make a pretty interesting afterlife situation! Samsara + multiple dimensions! :dummy:
Reply
:iconscfrankles:
SCFrankles Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
I've just had to look up Samsara ^^" But Samsara + multiple dimensions is indeed a perfect description of my character's situation ^^

I'm so pleased you liked this one. I'm very proud of my ability with comedy but I do sometimes feel like a one-trick pony. It's nice to think that I can occasionally do other things too ^_^
Reply
:icondragoeniex:
dragoeniex Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2016
The resolution here really works for me. I was worried for the character- that she might end up viewing everything as a kind of trap instead of hanging onto possibilities, etc. But she starts focusing on how she gets to see certain loved ones again, and... that's actually very sweet. :)
Reply
:iconscfrankles:
SCFrankles Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
To a certain extent I was using my own feelings about being middle-aged - though my character's situation is very different. But at my age it's difficult to get excited about the world - I understand it too well at this point, and I'm aware of my own limitations. But on the other hand, I am continually trying out new things amongst all that repetition and familiarity - not terribly dramatic things, but still ^^
Reply
:iconaliqj:
AliQJ Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2016
This story was a lot deeper than many of your stories (don't take that the wrong way - I love pretty much all your work!) But it definitely made me think :)
Reply
:iconscfrankles:
SCFrankles Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
I would agree with you that this goes deeper than my usual stuff - bit of a departure for me. I'm so pleased that it did make you think ^^ 
Reply
:iconkreepingspawn:
KreepingSpawn Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
:giggle: inspired!
Reply
:iconscfrankles:
SCFrankles Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you ^^
Reply
:iconilyilaice:
ilyilaice Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2016
I was surprised with how serious this was. I really enjoyed listening in on her musings. I wonder what happens next. This concept is super cool. But of course I still loved that punchline. :XD:

This may be random, but have you watched the film The Lobster? I watched it recently and I adored it. When I read your bleakly humorous last line, it reminded me of it.
Reply
:iconscfrankles:
SCFrankles Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Must admit I couldn't really see a funny angle to go with all the elements. My humour tends to the silly of course - finding the comedy in serious subjects is more difficult for me. But I'm very pleased that you enjoyed the story - I trust your taste ^__^ 

D'you know, I hadn't even heard of The Lobster ^^" I've just looked it up and watched the trailer. It does looks like my kind of thing - I'll have to see if I can borrow it via the library. 
Reply
:iconmister-scarab:
mister-scarab Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2016
I really liked this one. Seems like an obscure concept at first, but you managed to describe it perfectly. I actually was able to visualize the character going to through her various lives. :)
And I liked how you showed that us humans get bored of everything. Even if we may get to live completely new lives in completely new universes. I look forward to more stuff like this. :)
Reply
:iconscfrankles:
SCFrankles Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Oh, crikey - thank you so much for your lovely comment ^__^
Reply
:iconwei-en:
wei-en Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2016
This was a really lovely read~
Reply
:iconscfrankles:
SCFrankles Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you so much ^_^ I'm so pleased you enjoyed it ^_^ 
Reply
:icongdeyke:
GDeyke Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2016   Writer
Despite the punchline, this was interesting on a serious level. I love the fact that whatever she wakes up as, she is always some form of artist.
Reply
:iconscfrankles:
SCFrankles Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
I'm really pleased you did find it interesting ^^ I was trying to go a little deeper than my usual silliness ^^" 
Reply
:iconstarfall-glow:
starfall-glow Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2016
This is really nice and deep and just a really cool idea. I'd be totally fine with this happening to me! So much to look forward to!
Reply
:iconscfrankles:
SCFrankles Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
I'm not sure how I'd feel personally about there never being a complete end - but it's not a bad way to spend your existence, is it? ^^

Thank you so much for all your kind words ^_^ 
Reply
:iconvigour-mortis:
vigour-mortis Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
This was absolutely wonderful. It felt like a departure from your usual style, but then I read the last line ;) I really enjoyed reading this. The details were just enough, and the tone was just right.
Reply
:iconscfrankles:
SCFrankles Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
I'm really pleased you thought the tone was right. This is quite different from my usual stuff but when I was writing it I felt pretty confident about it - I felt like I knew what I was doing.

Thank you so much ^_^ 
Reply
:iconvigour-mortis:
vigour-mortis Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
You obviously knew what you were doing, and then some! Loved it!
Reply
:iconthat-rudolf:
that-rudolf Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2016  Hobbyist Photographer
Excellent. The punchline really made me laugh
Reply
:iconscfrankles:
SCFrankles Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks ^^ It was a cheeky nod to David Bowie's interest in mime. 
Reply
:iconthat-rudolf:
that-rudolf Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2016  Hobbyist Photographer
Oh I see. Are you a Bowie fan?
Reply
:iconscfrankles:
SCFrankles Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
In the broadest sense - there are a lot of his songs that I love. But doing some research on his life was part of the challenge. 
Reply
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