Here’s something I wrote at a writing workshop a few weeks ago on ‘Imagined Worlds’. It’s not perfect, just a thing I wrote in twenty minutes that I doubt I’ll revisit We were told to write something based on: ‘Who or what does the character fear? Put them in a darkened place.’ I didn’t have a thing in mind when I started writing, so the plot behind this surprised me!
White, hairless and aged, the Being approached me. I knew this day would come. It’s the one certainty in life: death. The room was dark and yet his face somehow illuminated in the darkness, a sickly glow-stick preparing to butcher me. Cold, grey. Everything around me lacked colour.
In the distance I could hear drops of rain. Not a shower, nothing dramatic like that. My death would not be a show.
The being didn’t seem to walk. Instead it glided, as though its feet didn’t touch the ground. It didn’t have the toils we did; the etherial being took lives away but did not live. Perhaps that’s why it did not hesitate before snatching souls. It could never understand love, loss, pain.
It wasn’t a being that everyone saw, so my mother said. Yes, said. She is not with me anymore. I would say us but she was mine, my mother. Perhaps soon I would be reunited with her.
‘Do not try and engage in conversation with it. It will prove futile,’ so says one of the ancient books in the basement of my family home.
Its hand was outstretched, imploring me to come forward. The hand was transparent in its whiteness and then I blinked. The hand changed. It was olive in skin tone, smooth with two blue veins prominent. The large thick fingers were familiar. A trait of the women in my family.
‘Grandma has huge hands!’ we’d laugh. And then when my mother turned sixty we noticed she shared this feature.
‘Mum?’ my voice trembled.
‘It will show you your greatest wish just before it kills you.’ The books also say.
But when you want something bad enough you ignore any sense of logic or knowledge.
I stepped forward, tripping over my own feet. ‘Mummy,’ the words escaped my mouth. I haven’t said ‘mummy’ since I was five, twenty years ago, and yet here I was, revered to a child-like state.
‘Darling,’ the voice says back to me, her accent exactly how I remembered it, high pitched and light.
I grasped her hand desperately but it didn’t feel soft like I remembered. It was rough, ice cold, and the nails were sharp as they dug into the back of my hand.
Panic made my heart stop and my pits were suddenly sweaty. Heat rushed through my body. The room became completely black as I fell into the unknown hole that is death.
I wondered if my mum felt nausea as she fell. I wondered if I was the last person she thought of. I wondered if I would see her again or if it would all just be over.