Please vote for the piece you feel is most deserving:

Poll closed Oct 23, 2011.
  1. Exclusive - Droste (An Adaptation)

    2 vote(s)
  2. Pythonforger - Gray Puzzle Pieces

    0 vote(s)
  3. The End - Destiny's Choice

    1 vote(s)
  4. MarmaladeQueen - For Mary

    2 vote(s)
  5. Poppyrose- Words

    0 vote(s)
  6. irishgirl1616 - Mr. and Mrs. Mathers

    1 vote(s)
  7. W.Locke - The Man From Montevideo

    0 vote(s)
  8. PastPresentNFuture - From the Perspective of Wilhelm

    0 vote(s)
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  1. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England

    Voting Short Story Contest 103: Amnesia

    Discussion in 'Monthly Short Story Contest Archives' started by Gannon, Oct 10, 2011.

    Voting Short Story Contest (103) Theme: Amnesia

    Thank you for all your entries. The winner will be stickied until the next contest's winner is crowned. No more entries are allowed in this contest.

    Voting will end Sunday 23rd October to give you all a chance to read the entries.

    It is possible to vote for yourself, but I would hope in the name of good sportsmanship that you would only do so if you have read all the other stories and given them your honest evaluation. You gain nothing if you base your vote solely on how you feel about the author or whether you have personally invested time and effort in the story. In the end, your conscience is your only judge.

    Any entries under or over the suggested word limit will be flagged as such - they are still entered in to the contest. It is for you to decide whether they are still worthy of your vote.

    Any entry not in accordance with the theme will be dealt with on a case by case basis to determine eligibility. Consider how the author has responded to the theme in making your decision.

    Good luck to everyone

    ---------- Post added at 12:52 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:48 PM ----------

    Exclusive - Droste (An Adaptation)


    Do you know how a creature survives?

    Set up a hunter in the woods against an imposing, hulking Grizzly bear for the first time. He gets slapped around, slammed against the trunk of a redwood, okay …three redwoods. If he’s lucky enough to crawl away from the encounter on his own strength, the hunter will return.

    More people.

    Better tools.

    In other words, this hunter adapts. He remembers the pain he felt and doesn’t want to experience that ever again. You see? He adapts, he survives.

    He thrives.

    Now, imagine a creature that can take away your ability to reliably adapt as a human being. Not directly but, indirectly. This is a creature that could distort memories through direct contact of its’ own secretions into the bloodstream of its’ prey. Inhalation of its’ pheromones (or any deep scratch wounds) leads to immediate short-term memory loss. A bite? The worst case scenario would entail a severe case of amnesia. This amnesia would then cause depression, even, dementia with the possible development of obsessive compulsive disorders.

    Imagine getting that scratch and then, almost immediately, losing your short term memory.

    No, really. Imagine.

    Getting that scratch and then almost…

    --Immediately, losing your short term memory. No? Really imagine, getting that scratch and then almost immediately, losing your short term memory.

    Instead of the hunter leaving to return with allies and ammunition, he’d leave …only to come back moments later to the same spot where he’d fought the Grizzly bear. Why? Well, he’d have forgotten ever facing it. In fact, should he lose his short term memory again, he’d be doomed to repeat the very same mistake. This will happen over and over.

    All the while, this hunter gets weaker and weaker with each encounter. So, how does this hunter survive now? He uses the evidence around him to deduce his current situation. His scratches. His shortness of breath. If the hunter has an extensive knowledge of zoology, he could create a composite of the (already forgotten) creature that has just attacked him. If he’s good enough, he’ll be correct.

    If not, then it will mean a slow, dehabilitating, torturous death.


    These autumn hued, skeleton-esque apparitions stand; no… slither at roughly seven feet tall. They have the most twisted, porcelain constitutions, but their “faces” especially. The top of their heads would be oriented one particular way, in one direction, and then…

    --Abruptly, the midsection of their “face” would wrench and jerk in an entire different orientation. Wait, I’m sorry. That doesn’t quite make sense, does it? Why would they have “porcelain constitutions” when they’re crimson hued? Well, let’s figure this out together. A creature’s structure is always predicated by is function, right?

    A creature’s function is, ultimately, survival. This much will never change, and so this is the best place to recover our train of thought. Survival.

    Anklowraiths. Do you know how a creature survives? Set up a hunter in the woods.

    Against an imposing, hulking Grizzly bear for the first time; he gets slapped around, slammed against the trunk of a redwood. Okay, three redwoods. If he’s lucky enough to crawl away from the encounter on his own strength …the hunter will return. More people. Better tools.

    In other words, this hunter adapts. He remembers the pain he felt and doesn’t want to experience that ever again. You see, he adapts. He survives. He thrives.

    Now, imagine a creature that can take away your ability to reliably adapt as a human being…

    ---------- Post added at 12:53 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:52 PM ----------

    Pythonforger - Gray Puzzle Pieces

    The man had called himself Auguste Trask, the father of long-lost Jonas Trask. Ma Weatherkeep, of course, was happy to tell him everything. She'd asked him which coffee he liked best, and proceeded to brew him a cup of black coffee, his favourite type. Or what he claimed was his favourite type.
    "Your boy Jonas, he came to my diner about... when was it? About a year and a half ago. Just walked right in, his clothes all wet and everything from the huge storm, then handed me a damp coin and told me he wanted a cup of black coffee. The exact same sort of coffee sitting in front of you right now. A chip off the old block, I'd say. I gave the poor boy his coffee and told him it was on the house. Then he moved in here and came to my diner every day, without fail."
    The man who called himself Auguste Trask nodded silently, then got off his stool and exited the diner unhurriedly.

    It was only a week later that an impish hotel manager was approached. It was the same man, but he used a different name this time:Clark Nash-Trask. Supposedly Jonas' son. The thing was, no one could ever say for certain what age Jonas was, and no one could ever say for certain what age the man was, so he had no problem raising or lowering what he claimed were their ages.
    The manager had said little by the standard's of ordinary people, but both the man and the manager knew that he was not the sort to blabber about everything that he heard about. Quite unlike plump and jolly Ma Weatherkeep. Still. Information was information, which was why the manager left ten dollars richer. And the man left a piece of information richer.
    The next was a war veteran, who swore that yes, the person he had bunkered with during the Kaliban bombing raids was Jonas Trask. He swore, in fact, by his one remaining eye. The man rather thought that he was telling the truth.
    And the list went on. Bored secretaries, ancient shrivelled prunes in wheelchairs, conmen with sly tongues and once, even an asylum inmate, though the man got no information out of him.
    Days passed. Months passed. Years passed. And then the man had finally tracked down Jonas Trask. An information broker told him exactly where Jonas Trask was.
    Jonas, he had said, was last seen five years ago, leaving Ma Weatherkeep's diner unhurriedly.

    ---------- Post added at 12:54 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:53 PM ----------

    The End - Destiny's Choice

    Hathan gazed on with a blank expression. The spiral staircase loomed in front of him reaching into the heavens. The stairs wrapped around a ridge that led to the highest point of the mountain. The clouds blotted out the sun like a candle snuffed by a breeze. Wind whipped his hair, stinging his face, and still he gazed. Motionless, he searched the deepest reaches of his mind. Nothing revealed itself. All he could see were the past few moments. He searched everywhere for any hint of a memory. In the end, all he found was darkness. An emptiness that he could not explain or understand.

    Taking a deep breathe, Hathan took a step forward up the stone staircase. With each step he replayed the tests in his mind. Nothing reached further back than standing in the cave where the Oracle met him...

    “I have waited a long time for you, Hathan,” said the Oracle. Her white hair draped her shoulders and scarce, but richly adorned clothing clung to her young form. “Some men have destiny forced upon them. Others run from destiny. And still others embrace destiny.” She eyed Hathan and circled him. “You,” she said coming close behind him, “were born for destiny. Destiny leaps to be intertwined with you like two lovers in a hot embrace. Men and women change their lives to follow you.” The Oracle ran her finger along Hathan's shoulders until she stood in front of him staring into his eyes, inches from his face. He could smell her strong perfume and feel her warmth. “You don't even know why you're here. I do.” She twirled around and laughed. “The truth is before you. All you have forgotten can be revealed. What will you do? Is she truly your love? Is remembrance worth facing the truth? Go. Destiny awaits you.”

    Her words hung over Hathan like a plague that needed a cure. Unlimited questions barraged his mind. Still nothing made sense. What had he done? The gaping hole in his mind screamed to be filled with anything. Anything would have been better than the emptiness. With next few steps, Hathan ran through his encounter with Avarice...

    “Come, take the wealth of the lands,” said Avarice holding out a document sealed with golden thread. Avarice stood smiling kindly, like a man offering a gift to a poor soul. “Take it and be done with your journey. Treasures await you where you may rest in luxury.”

    Hathan started to reach, but stopped himself. “What journey?”

    “It does not matter. A bright future is before you!” Avarice's smile grew, as if he hoped it would override Hathan's question.

    “Tell me!” said Hathan. “I need to know!”

    Avarice's face shifted to a snarl, “If you do not accept, cursed will you be! Poor in flesh and always hungry!”

    “Never,” said Hathan softly. “Give me the truth.”

    Avarice's face darkened, “So be it.” And he was gone...

    The ground shuddered as thunder sounded above. The lightening lit up the staircase for a moment, then left Hathan groping blindly. Even that did not compare with the darkness inside. Nothing left him as blind as his memory. His mind itched to remember the forgotten. His ragged clothes, bare feet, and blood stained skin confirmed that he had been on a long venture, but nothing more. Equivocator’s offer didn't make anything easier...

    Equivocator stood tall with long black hair and shining armor. “Take my hand and leave this dream. Reality is just a choice away. You have been asleep for far too long. Do not chase this hopeless fantasy. They aren't real. Wake up to reality and forget them.”

    “Who are they?” asked Hathan.

    “No one of consequence. You obviously don't care enough to remember your friends. Surely you can tell this isn't reality?” Equivocator stepped forward, his hand outstretched. “Come, be done with this place and its illusions.”

    “No,” Hathan said backing away. “Tell me who they are, I need to know.”

    Equivocator stopped cold, “With every step forward you seal your doom: forever alone.”

    “Give me the truth!” yelled Hathan.

    Equivocator bowed, “So be it.” And was gone...

    Hathan slipped on the cold stone. His shins scraped the stairs and hands burned with the impact. Grimacing, he rolled himself to a sitting position. Blood trickled down his shins and his hands threatened to burst from the dull throb. Hathan had no idea who “they” were. Some strange emotion that he couldn't identify beckoned him to remember, but all that came was darkness. He sat in despair and remembered Aphrodisia's temptation...

    Aphrodisia sat on the bed with gleaming eyes. She stood up slowly, never taking her eyes off Hathan. The nightgown she wore floated behind her revealing long, smooth legs as she glided towards him. “Come, rest and forget your troubles,” she said smoothly. Her bare arms slid around his neck and her deep eyes threatened to seduce him. “I can heal all wounds, replenish all strength, and give peace to all weary travelers.” She licked her lips and pressed her body to his.

    Hathan's heart raced and he struggled to keep control. “Who is she?”

    Aphrodisia's eyes flashed, but were deep pools again before Hathan could blink, “I am all you need. My lips fulfill all thirst and my pillows a place for rest. You are tired and don't know of what you speak.”

    “The Oracle,” said Hathan breathing hard, “She mentioned someone. Who is she?”

    Aphrodisia smiled softly and leaned back to reveal ripe breasts. “Forget her and all. There is none but you and me.”

    Hathan pushed her back, “No! Tell me who she is!”

    She let go and whirled around in a fury. “Obsessed!” she screamed. Glaring, she turned and marched upon Hathan. “She is all you talk about! All you want! Even with my offers, still only her!” Her eyes seemed to burn a hole in Hathan. “Fine. So be it! Forever destined to be alone. Never will you feel the warmth of another body beside yours!” And she was gone...

    Snow started to fall around Hathan as he sat. Already a layer had gathered itself upon his shoulders, but he didn't move. Thinking back to all the encounters, he wondered if he was making the right choice. The tests had made him doubt, but reaching the bottom of the staircase threw his heart into conflict...

    Hathan stepped out of the cave to find the spiral staircase that led up the mountain. On the wall before the stairs, in scarlet letters, read:

    At the top, truth is revealed,
    There your destiny is sealed.
    It might tear you apart
    Or heal your heart.
    Love forgotten and truths unknown
    Are reaped from decisions sown.
    The journey so long
    Has written a song
    Of sorrow and pain
    And hopes in vain.
    But in the end,
    Where there are no friends,
    The truth will set you free
    From all chains that bind thee.

    When Hathan stirred next, his face was blue and hands shaking from the cold. He snapped out the past and looked around. Snow covered the ground. His muscles screamed as he stood up. With heavy steps, Hathan made his way up the staircase. Each step was painful. A few times he slipped and almost slid off the edge, but still he pressed on. Memories of the curses haunted his mind, yet the questions and truth urged him forward. He had to know.

    The snow fell harder and the wind roared around him. Lightening lit the sky, and clouds watched his progress darkly. The elements even seemed to curse his choice. The closer to the top he got the worse the weather became. As he reached the last step, the snow was so dense he could barely see what was before him. He trudged through the snow to the middle of the mountain. In the distance he could make out a shadow. A pale body on a cross, covered in ice. He turned and realized twelve figures hung dead on twelve crosses all facing the middle cross and encircling himself. Afraid, Hathan stepped closer. There she hung, on the middle cross. Her beautiful face was cold and lifeless. Searching the hollow eyes, Hathan sunk to his knees and screamed. He remembered.

    ---------- Post added at 12:55 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:54 PM ----------

    MarmaldeQueen - For Mary

    I’m dedicating this to a lovely Irish lady called Mary who I met a few years ago when I spent eight days in hospital on an orthopaedic ward. Mary had Alzheimer’s and spent much of her time wandering about the ward and getting into other people’s beds since she couldn’t remember where her own bed was. Nor could she remember the way to the toilets. The nursing staff were neglectful and even cruel to her, leaving it up to us other patients to try to care for Mary. The nurses really did say “Mary, Mary, Quite contrary,” to her and she had enough comprehension to know that they were being mean to her. To this day I feel angry at how Mary was treated.

    I know nothing of Mary’s history since she was unable to really talk to us. Her accent was from the West coast of Ireland and she was a lovely, gentle character. In the eight days I was there she had not a single visitor, and I can only guess at her story or why she had ended up so alone in the world.

    I feel this is far from my best writing, so I’m not particularly expecting any votes. It was hard to capture Mary in words, but I wanted to try.


    Mary eased her legs over the side of her bed and shuffled into her slippers. She grasped her walking frame and slowly raised herself to standing. She looked across the room, saw the sun glancing off the building opposite, the dust dancing in the light, the smears on the floor where the cleaner had swiped his mop.

    “You’re in hospital, Mary,” said the nurse for the nth time.

    “Oh yes,” said Mary with her soft Irish lilt, but it meant nothing to her. All she knew now was that her bladder was bursting and she set off across the sea of beds to find somewhere to relieve herself.

    She was sure she’d found a toilet before, but where? She hesitated when she reached the corridor, and then turned left. Left was as good as right. There were walls full of writing that she couldn’t read, corridors cluttered with trolleys, commodes, medicine cabinets, overflowing laundry bins, a hoist with a piece of paper stuck to it. People walked up and down, talking, not talking, rushing, dawdling. None of them were faces she knew.

    “No Mary, not that way,” called out a voice.

    Who had said that? Mary stopped. Turned. There were so many beds, and so many people. Now she couldn’t work out where she had come from, any more than she knew where she was going to.

    Someone came up to her any took her hand. “This way, Mary.”

    Ah the bliss at last of sitting on the toilet, the piss torrenting out of her. Mary sat there for a while after she’d finished. It felt safe there. Familiar. Mind you, they didn’t have flush toilets like these when she was a child. Twelve children in a two-roomed cottage with a single cold water tap and a privy at the bottom of the garden. Until the measles. Then there were only nine of them and she would cross herself as she passed the little grave on her way into Mass on a Sunday. Just the one grave since they’d all died within a week of each other.

    That was a long time ago. She didn’t know what had happened to the rest of them, where they were now or even where she herself was.

    “You’re in hospital, Mary,” the nurse said.

    Liam. He’d been her favourite. Always up to mischief. Then there’d been Aoife. They’d been close in age, but Aoife was always the prettier, with her red curls and green eyes. What ever had happened to Liam and Aoife? Had they died of the measles or was that Ciaran and Brigid? Caitlin. She’d died. She was only a babe in arms.

    As Mary stood up a trickle of urine ran down the inside of her right leg. There was no toilet paper that she could see. Not even the cut up newspaper they used to have in the privy. She remembered cutting up those newspapers. It was her job because she should be trusted with the scissors, being the eldest. Twelve years old, that was how old she'd been when she left school to look after her brothers and sisters. Maeve and Patrick hadn't even been born then.

    Her hands hurt where she gripped the walking frame. Arthritis. All those years of damp and cold and soft days bending double in a potato field with the poor soil of Ireland caked to your hands. You could never get it out from under your finger-nails. Peat-cutting. That had been another job that never seemed to end.

    As she walked she could feel the wetness of the urine between her thighs. What did that remind her of? She couldn't remember just now, but it would come to her in a moment. She was sure she'd remember in a moment.

    She been a nurse herself, she told the slip of a girl in the blue uniform who had come to wash her. Came over on the boat once the youngest was out of school. She’d hoped for a sweetheart back home in County Clare but all the young men got the boat to England or to America. America was better people said, but then you needed so much more money to get there, and more money than anyone ever had to come home again. Only letters ever came back from America, never people. So she worked and saved and worked and saved until she had enough money to take the train to Dublin and the boat to Liverpool and then another train all the way to London. She had no idea the world could be so big, or so lonely. Ward assistant, that’s what she was. It was hard work. They scrubbed floors in those days on their hands and knees and matron would scold you fit to die if they weren’t clean enough.

    Now where was that bed, Mary wondered to herself. She looked down the line of crumpled bedclothes and old ladies. Every step hurt her now, but they kept telling her she had to keep moving.

    “You must do your exercises, Mrs Lenahan” said the man who stood at the foot of her bed in his white tunic but she couldn’t remember any exercises. She couldn’t remember where she was or why or who these people were. It wasn’t like the old days back in Booleynagleragh where she knew everyone and everyone knew her.

    There now, Mary thought to herself, seeing her bed at last, taking off her slippers and climbing in to it.

    “No there Mary,” sang out a chorus of voices. She took no notice. She’d found an empty bed and she felt tired now. She wanted a little nap and then perhaps it would be lunchtime. Or teatime. She had know idea what the time was, but it wasn't yet night, she knew that much.

    Someone came up and put a hand on her shoulder.

    “That’s not your bed, Mary. Your bed is over there,” she said, but when Mary followed the woman’s gaze she still couldn’t see which was her bed. So many beds. Would you believe there could be so many beds in one bedroom, or so many strangers all sleeping alongside each other?

    “You mustn’t keep getting into other people’s beds,” said the nurse. Mary felt she was being told off, but she didn’t understand why. She would have liked to cry, being told off like that, but being the eldest she couldn’t cry, her Mum used to tell her.

    Back in the cottage in Booleynagleragh they’d all slept in two double beds which sagged in the middle. Boys in one. Girls in the other. Top to toe. Róisín used to wet the bed but they all just had to put up with it until she grew out of it.

    Mary shuffled back into her slippers, hoisted herself upright on the walking frame, and set off again, in the direction the woman had pointed, hoping that she’d find the right bed. Did it really matter which bed she got into? There now, she thought again, there’s an empty bed. She reversed onto to, gripping her walking frame, and lowered herself onto the bed before taking off her slippers. Red slippers. How proud she’d been when she bought her first slippers when she’d started earning her own money at the hospital in London. There had never been enough money for boots let alone slippers, back in Ireland. Boots were passed down and mended and passed down again. They never fitted properly. That was why her feet always hurt now. Someone had told her that once but she couldn’t remember who.

    “No, Mary, that’s not your bed” sang out the chorus of voices.

    What was it that all these people seemed to know that she couldn’t follow? It reminded her of when she first came to London, living in the nurses’ hostel. So many rules and regulations. No Mary, not that way. No Mary, not there. No Mary, that’s not allowed.

    “Mary, can you please get back into your own bed.” That was the cross nurse with brown eyes and brown hair done in plaits, pinned up to her head. They didn’t wear white hats any longer, these nurses.

    “You’re a good girl,” her mother used to say, as she heaved the family washing through the hand-cranked mangle or peeled a never-ending mound of potatoes for their tea.

    “I’m a good girl,” Mary told the brown-haired nurse with the cross face.

    “That’s right, Mary, you be a good girl and get into your own bed.”

    The nurse turned away. “Mary, Mary, Quite contrary,” she said to her colleague and they giggled together. A tear slipped down Mary’s cheek.

    There. At last she was in a bed and no-one was shouting at her any longer. Maybe there would be potatoes for lunch today. She could just smell the lunch trolley approaching down the corridor. Or maybe it was tea.

    Perhaps she should just go and have a look. She needed the toilet anyway.

    Mary eased her legs over the side of her bed and shuffled into her slippers. She grasped her walking frame and slowly raised herself to standing.

    “Not that way, Mary” sang out the chorus of voices.

    ---------- Post added at 12:56 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:55 PM ----------

    Poppyrose - Words

    “Good morning Miss Bates. How are you feeling?” the police officer boomed.

    “Confused” Laura replied trying to adjust her own ears to the sound of the large man’s voice. He was your stereotypical bobby. Slightly overweight, slightly red faced.

    “Well, I think I have some good news for you. We have found your man” smiled the officer.

    For a second, Laura thought that she maybe had a boyfriend or even husband that she had also forgotten about. Then she realised he was talking about the man that had put her here. The man that had put her in this hospital bed unable to even remember her own telephone number.

    “Does this face mean anything to you?” The officer continued putting a photograph onto the small table that suspended over the bed. Laura cautiously lent forward to look. Worried that seeing the face would bring back some dreadful horrific thoughts. The doctor had told her that it was possible that her mind had chosen to block out the memory. She was anxious not to unlock it.

    The face in front of her meant nothing too her. She sighed. She wasn’t sure whether it was disappointment or relief she felt.

    The man in the photo looked….normal. Like someone she may pass in the street. Like someone who may be in the queue at the coffee shop. Even like someone that she would look twice at in a bar. He didn’t look like a “criminal”. He looked normal.

    “I don’t know this man” Laura mumbled. The officer looked slightly disgruntled.

    “Well, worry not Miss Bates. This individuals DNA matches that found on your car which we found dumped at the end of Hawkin Lane. It also matches the DNA found on your clothing. And if that wasn’t enough, we have a very clear photographic image of him walking in the direction of your vehicle whilst it was parked outside your workplace, minutes before your abduction. Luckily the Accountants further down the high street has a CCTV system and responded to our appeal for information.”

    None of this information made any sense to Laura. She couldn’t even remember turning in for work on the day this happened. In fact, she wasn’t even sure what day it was. Turns out she clocked into work at 9.05am and clocked out at 18.28pm. She knew this as her boss had provided a copy of her time sheet to the Police and Laura had made a note in the purple glittery – and slightly inappropriate – notebook that her mother had brought to the hospital for her; just in case she remembered anything.

    So far the notebook contained this information, and that she had eaten a prawn salad and a bag of pretzels for lunch. Her colleague had found a receipt on her desk and handed it to the police in case it was helpful at all.

    She did not wish to write down the information that the Police and doctors had explained had happened to her. Writing it down made it seem real, permanent. The sooner she forgot about it the better as far as she was concerned.

    “So, even without your testimony, I can’t see any Court in the land letting this…. Unsavoury character… back on the streets”. The officer looked slightly smug.

    “Great. Thank you” Laura responded feeling like she should probably sound more grateful. They had clearly worked hard but, to be honest, it meant nothing to her at the moment. She felt numb.

    “I will leave you to rest Miss Bates. If you need us for anything, anything at all, please give me a call. Your doctor has our number.” He said with a genuine smile as he made his way to the door of her private hospital room.

    “Officer?” Laura mumbled, immediately regretting it. “Whats his name?”

    “Sorry?” The officer asked?

    “Whats the mans name?” she asked again.

    “Stone. Jason Stone” the officer replied.

    In that second the world stopped turning. The fair hairs on her arms stood on end. Her mouth felt as dry as sand and her body as cold as ice. A wave of nausea swept her body.

    Maybe she did remember something after all…
  2. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    irishgirl1616 - Mr. and Mrs. Mathers


    The trees seem to rattle with the wind as Edward hobbled forward, pushing himself to walk harder, testing the limits of his poor arthritic limbs.


    The lady turned, her handsome face quickly contorting into confusion and fear. "Who are you?"

    Edward's heart sunk and his throat became dry as he realized she wasn't having a good day.

    She side-stepped onto the grass, almost tripping herself as she left the hard cement and reached out to steady herself on the bench nestled underneath the oak's shade. "Leave me be!" She warned, her voice escalating into a panic.

    Edward reached out to her, his eyebrows scrunched together. "Be careful, Lillian; don't break a hip."

    "Help!" She cried to no one in particular. "Help!"

    Edward smacked his lips together in frustration. "Dear god woman, I'm not going to hurt you."

    A nurse calmly walked past Edward, gently placing a hand on his shoulder as she passed, giving him an apologetic look.

    She went over to Lillian, approaching her as if she were an injured doe. "It's okay, Lillian. Come now, would you like to eat lunch?"

    Lillian accusingly pointed a finger at Edward. "This man was trying to rob me."

    Edward snorted. "Of what? Your sanity? I'm sorry my dear, but that has already been taken."

    Lillian gasped and shook off the nurse's hand. She began to walk back from whence she came, telling everyone along the way to look out for the villain with the cane who would jump you if given the chance. Edward glanced back and saw her march right through the doors of the east wing.

    The nurse chuckled, and Edward slowly turned to face her. "What's so funny?"

    "I just wish my husband and I end up like you and Lillian," the nurse replied.

    "What, are you mad?" he scoffed, "We don't have our wits about us."

    "But you still love each other," the nurse laughed. She approached Edward, "Would you like to sit for a while?"

    Edward nodded. "She doesn't love me," he said absentmindedly as the nurse lead him towards the bench.

    The nurse patted his arm. "Of course she does."

    With a great effort, Edward sat on the bench, staring up into the nurse's face.

    "She doesn't even know who I am," he insisted.

    The nurse laughed. "Yes well, that doesn't seem to stop the two of you." She glanced up at the sky, closing her eyes and sighing. "Well, enjoy this sunshine Mr. Mathers."

    Edward grumbled a good-bye as the nurse walked back.

    He perched his cane upon his lap and leaned against the cool back of the bench.

    Closing his eyes, he remembered what came to his mind so often these days: his youth. Buying the cottage in the Cape and repairing it with his bare hands, the good ol' days when he could actually move about without a cane; fishing with his eldest grandson for the first time; teaching his youngest daughter how to swim in the quarry; marrying Lillian, they were quite a couple back in their day; hiking through the Appalachia mountain trail with his college buddies; prom with his high school sweetheart, dancing till the sun rose up... Oh he wished he could dance again. Edward had always been a natural on the dance floor.

    Edward sighed, and began to drift off to the sounds of the 1940s and Doris Day's angelical voice...


    He jolted from his sleep, briefly unaware of his surroundings. He blinked, clearing his eyes of the gook that had accumulated. It was afternoon, the breeze a bit chillier, the sun sunk deep in the sky.


    He glanced over to see who had called him and saw a woman approach, her handsome face lit with some unknown happiness.

    "Darling, why are you sitting all alone?"

    Darling, had she just called him darling? "I'm sorry, do I know you?" Edward called out, his voice gravelly from sleep.

    She continued forward with an air of determination and Edward became wary. "Miss, I would like to be alone right now..."

    The woman continued forward, babbling on about someone's children. "They came to visit just a few minutes ago but I didn't know where you were, you old geezer," she chided.

    Old geezer? That was it. "Lady-"

    She had reached him, her unsteady gait making her out of breath. She reached out, surely to touch him, and he whipped his cane forward.

    "Don't do it woman," he growled.

    "Edward!" she exclaimed in shock. Then her eyes clouded over. "Oh, I see."

    "Nurse!" Edward began to call frantically. "Nurse!"

    ---------- Post added at 12:58 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:57 PM ----------

    W.Locke - The Man From Montevideo

    A boy and a girl played on the rug in the sitting room. There was no need for a fire. Outside the city calmed as the lights went out. The mother of the two well dressed handsome children tapped her finger on the tabletop. The household staff sat by quietly while dinner grew cold on the plates.

    “Another maté, sir?”

    Marcos didn’t want another maté nor another café. The aftertaste in his mouth made vomit seem likely. The streetcorner moved crowded with carts and horses and pedestrians moving by on a million errands, all going somewhere in particular. The coins on the edge of the table confused him. Marcos got up and walked West. The sun is unknowingly merciless; sweat filled the creases in his shirt. He took his sport coat off still walking.

    Late afternoon Marcos was at the outer edge of Montevideo.

    Some time in the morning Marcos woke on the outskirts of the village Fray Bentos a few less coins in his pocket. The Uruguay river moved near him, strong and beautiful. He felt strong and beautiful, and damp. The dew had wetted his clothing and hair. He waded in. He began to swim. He had not swam against a current like this since boyhood. He remembered the fear in him so small against the water. He did not fear now.

    The gaucho called him ‘Montevideo’ again. Marcos spat on the floor. He looked at the spit, bubbly little puddle on the wood. Why had he spit? He brought his eyes back to the dirty man at the table. The man was standing, head toward him, arms back, with a horrid face.

    “I like your pretty clothes, Montevideo.” Marcos did not respond. The bartender, fat where he should be thin and thin where should be fat placed a knife down next to Marcos’ glass.

    “Outside,” quietly from the bartender.

    “Come now, Montevideo. My horse can wear your pretty clothes when you’re dead.” The man’s friends laughed and slapped the table again and again. Marcos did not hesitate. He took the knife and drained the glass. The man with the horrible face, scarred and ugly, unsheathed and raised his knife.

    “OUTSIDE,” shouted from the bartender. Marcos showed the door with his knife hand. The man moved facing Marcos, wrapping his poncho on his arm as he did. He went into the dark. Marcos walked toward the door. The bartender stopped him with his fat hand. He took Marcos’ sport coat and wrapped it for him, like the gaucho did. Marcos drunk(?) walked out into the dark to fight in the corona of a lantern. The bartender stood at the door with the kitchen’s cleaver. The ugly guacho’s two friends remained at the table. They heard a shout, a laugh, and feet shuffling dirt.

    Marcos entered. The two men sat down and finished their wine. Marcos’ bled to the tips of his fingers, no farther. He sat down. The bartender poured him a wine.

    The man from Montevideo scratched his beard. Atop a horse you can see everything, more than from a tall building. You look all around you. The men below you are just that, below you. From the Uruguay river he’d walked and swam to the first man he killed. He took the man’s horse and poncho. He let out toward Cordoba.

    Six months led him not to the life of a gaucho. Childhood gaucho stories were not this. He was a thief, a robber, a murderer. All day he was satisfied, fantastic when drunk, miserably so with women.

    Six men rode behind him. They shared the fire, not much else. Each man gave part of what he took, which the man from Montevideo usually left where it lay. The men picked the things back up for themselves. He took women and wine always, not much more than that. Tonight he took little of the roast goat and drank most of the wine. Always taciturn until the wine struck him, then he told jokes and talked of fortunes.

    A year put twenty men behind him, his reputation numbered them fifty. Bandits. He’d raped across most of Argentina, murdered and burned and stolen more than an invading army. He’d killed twenty men wearing national colors, five of his men looking for glory in fair combat. The men talked of more women and more food and more coin and paper in their pockets. The men had desires; the man from Montevideo quietly provided.

    Macedonio was the man close to the throne on the horse. Large, cordial, and ruthless. The man from Montevideo now told his jokes only to him.

    The last night, Macedonio, glowing with wine and excitement asked cordially and quietly the man from Montevideo’s name. The man from Montevideo paled.

    “I am Marcos Garcia. It has become dark and I have drank of too much wine. My wife and children sit by the table while my dinner grows cold. I have not seen them in a year. Macedonio,” he laughed a little at this point, “I had forgotten it all. One Maté at lunch and I forgot everything.” The man from Montevideo laughed again, and then quieted. “Macedonio, I am leaving. Thank you for being a friend to me. Those outside will listen to you now as you have listened to me. I have remembered myself. I am not this man you have followed. You are not the man who has followed. I will be leaving now.”

    Macedonio sat stunned with his cup in hand. Never had the man from Montevideo spoken this much at once. Never had he said anything like this. He couldn’t rise as the man now known as Marcos Garcia exited the tent. Macedonio did not follow until the sound of the horse was gone. The camp was silent, waiting. He slowly left the tent.

    “Go back to your homes. We had all forgotten.” The men sat dumbfounded. Macedonio mounted his horse and rode south to Buenos Aires. Slowly, one after another the men mounted horses and left in all directions, speaking to themselves in exasperation and relief and fear.

    Marcos came to the Uruguay river. He patted his horse on the neck, then hard on the flanks. He was alone. It was morning again. The river moved the same as the year before. But he was afraid now. The water was cold. His feet never felt the other bank.

    The staff cleared away the plates.

    ---------- Post added at 12:59 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:58 PM ----------

    PastPresentNFuture - From the Perspective of Wilhelm

    October 4 1945

    “Foolish man, you have slumbered long enough. So much has changed if you do not rise now you will be completely be consumed by what lies in front of you!” A bright line consumed me and I woke up. As I did a huge feeling of emptiness washed over me. It was not despair, or sadness…just a feeling of pure emptiness. The following questions went into my head. Where was I? What time of day was it? How did I end up where I was? Who was I? The last of the questions was the most pressing of all. After I thought of my questions an animalistic surge of sadness filled me. The depression I felt was unlike anything I had ever felt, and I wanted to cry. I let out a suppressed lamenting moan.
    The reserved void settled on me again, and returned logic to my senses. The pitch of my wail told me I was a teenaged boy, not early teens unless I had a really deep voice. I also observed my surroundings and what lovely surroundings they were. The room was certainly opulent and lavish. I could tell I was lying down on an extremely soft four poster bed. To my side I could see a marble bathroom, with gold furnishing, and a piece of paper that said “The Plaza Hotel New York”- I assumed I was in this hotel in New York. An oil painting depicted someone I vaguely knew of. His name was Napoleon Bonaparte, a stout and short Frenchman who brilliantly conquered so much of Europe in France’s name…. how many years ago? It was before I was born, I could recall that. A pang of annoyance than filled me, who was I? Looking around I saw an ornate cut glass mirror framed with silver. I stood up to see who I was for the first time. I was indeed a teenaged boy. I was a lean built person, and I had black hair, blue eyes. In terms of clothing I was wearing a lush night robe over pajamas…. and a bandage over my left eye. What was that? An injury?
    Clutching my stomach, I realized I was famished beyond belief I staggered, knowing that I would not last much longer without sustenance.
    “Damn It! Where I can I get food” I’m going to-”
    On a polished mahogany desk I saw a feast fit for any king waiting for me. A large juicy steak was surrounded by grilled vegetables, next to a pile of golden French fries. A tankard of Coca Cola was next to a slice of apple pie. I wolfed it down so ravenously that I nearly forgot to notice leather bound book next to me. I decided to read it to see if it would give me clues, trying my best to stifle a belch.
    September, 27, 1921
    “Are you ready Dorian?” asked Durga
    “As ready as I will ever be.”
    My fiancée nodded solemnly looking as radiant as she had, when I first met her. The twenty year old Indian-British young woman was named after the Hindu Battle Goddess and for good reason. Durga stood at a tall five foot nine and long legged which revealed itself in her azure silk dress, the skirt of which revealed everything under the kneecap. Her hair was long, and braided as always and as always she had golden jewelry in the styles of fantastic creatures of Indian myth. The composure in which she held herself for what we were about to do, made me love her even more.
    Moving through the dark, tunnel abandoned for centuries, I went to a room with my little brother Wilhelm, and a dozen figures cloaked in red. He looked like an old man of sixty, not a boy of sixteen, wearing a linen bandage over his left eye. Apparently it had to be him, and no-one else. He was to fulfill a prophecy thousands of years in the making. I wanted to cry when I saw him with that bandage over him. He was just too young to have his life warped like this.
    “Dorian” he said “What will happen to me?”
    “You’re going to wake up twenty five years from now, but not age a day. When you do age, it will be dramatically slowed down. For every five years, you age just one year after this. Everyone you know will either have dramatically aged, or have died. I don’t want to sugarcoat this for you Wilhelm; it would be cruel if I did.”
    “I….understand” he said as tears rolled down his face.
    As hey lay down in a coffin, a man named High Master Jacques Renier arrived. He stood at an imposing six-foot five, his body framed with muscle, his hair long sleek, and black. He wore a robe like his underlings, but his was of royal blue, with cloth of gold cuffs.
    Jacques looked at me and said “Wilhelm will be taken to New York, and I will meet him there again. By then you will be forty-nine, while your brother still has the body of a teenaged boy, you know that oui?”
    “I understand” I said
    “Good, none of us wants to do this, but it is what the Eye of Aryx commands.”
    Nodding, I stepped back with Durga while the men performed an incantation in some ancient tongue. The whole room became white.
    “Wilhelm” said an accented voice.
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