Going home or, more accurately, travelling from your home to a place you used to call home years ago drowns you in familiar dislocation. Perhaps it’s the lack of sleep or the fact that these journeys so often start in the soft hours before dawn that heightens our sensitivity to the weird. Either way, you feel like an interloper in a land where time, unlike your memories, has ticked on.
Bypasses plough their economically booming furrow through the land. New buildings thrive in the displaced earth on either side. That’s what it said on the slideware so it must be true, right? I wonder what happens when there’s nothing left to bypass.
Didn’t so and so used to live there? Next to the roundabout? Wait…was there a roundabout there before?
Last time I tried a free writing experiwosname I wasted a whole bunch of time (mine and yours) going on about useless prompts I’d been given as part of the let’s do a search on google for stuff to write about adventure I’d embarked upon.
No such frippery this time.
Unless you count the whole recapping past blogs thing.
But you’re not that pedantic, right?
“Maybe we should take a trip this weekend?”
I offer it up but with no real enthusiasm. Put it out there. Knowing full well it’ll be shot down.
“Where do you want to go Ray?”
“I don’t know. Maybe a cheese place or something?”
I feel like there’s an opening so I keep talking. Warm to my theme like some riffing comedian we used to watch at the studio years back.
The silent underground station held all the charm and colour of a mortuary slab. Running between the two empty platforms were a series of circular wooden benches each separated from the other by dull, concrete constructions no doubt used in times past to advertise some useless gadget or a piece of music from the fad-band of the hour. Despite their purpose nothing was on display and not a single shred of historical eco-solvent, self-adhesive, rainforest-aware billboard paper remained to indicate they had ever carried out their allotted task. It mattered little. Only one soul occupied the platform and she was oblivious to anything beyond the breath fogging in front of her face.
The lady in green was sitting on the first of the spherical benches with her back to the stairs, allowing her vision (if it were paying attention) the full run of the platform and the empty tracks on either side. She held her breath for a moment before puffing out the contents of her lungs with as much force as she could muster. As had happened with each previous exhalation her breath oozed out languidly before hanging in a viscous cloud an inch from her nose. She lifted a hand to her face and watched in fascination as tiny droplets of water formed on her fingertips and slid gently towards her palm.
“Weird how it does that isn’t it?”
I wrote a post last month discussing unusual points of view from which to construct a story (it’s here if you want to refresh your memory). My personal experiment was with second person future and it seems it was a success – or at least in the eyes of my fellow Literally Stories editors who agreed to let it loose on an unsuspecting world earlier today. Hope you enjoy it – and I’d love to hear any thoughts you have on whether the POV enhances the piece or detracts from it.
The ice will wake you. You’ll hear it dropping in the plastic cup, sense it being passed in front of you to the woman in the window seat you haven’t spoken to since the flight began. You’ll drift, then you’ll open your eyes and stare into a face that would be prettier with less make-up. Her strip-light smile won’t fade as she asks you, patiently, for the third time if you’d like something to drink. You’ll order a gin and tonic even though you don’t want one because that’s what you do on flights. While she rummages for the gin needle in the haystack of unwanted brandy you’ll wonder if you’ll get peanuts or mini pretzels.
You’ll bet on pretzels.
And you’ll be right.
[continue reading on Literally Stories…]