SHORT FICTION MONDAY – “The Last Remembering” by Cat Lumb

Last week I asked for some stories to post here on the bloggy-blog. Enjoy today’s story – THE LAST REMEMBERING. If you’d like to submit, leave a comment or email me at authorlady22@gmail.com

 

The Last Remembering

 She saw the headlights out of the corner of her eyes as she skittered across the road. Initially she didn’t think she would be hit, but then a sense of brightness overtook her and a searing pain radiated out from her hip across her entire body.

 For a second everything was black. She heard a thump. There might have been a crack of thunder, although it hadn’t started raining yet. She tried to open her eyes but her eyelids felt heavy. There was no distinction between having them open or closed anyway; everything appeared dark.

 Then she heard a voice. High pitched and shrieking, repeating the same phrases over and over again.

 “Ohmygod. Are you okay? Ohmygod. Please be okay.”

 She groaned and the sound became muffled. A slit of light appeared and then disappeared. She focused all her energy on opening her eyes and found herself looking up at the sky, a faded light seeping in from one corner of her vision and then a face. It was a pale, haggard face of a woman with a wide mouth and smeared lipstick. She felt an urge to mention this and tried to lift her hand to put it to her own mouth. Neither the words or hand materialised.

 She became aware of a trickling sensation on her leg,  like an army of ants crawling up toward her thigh. It intensified, going from pins and needles to burning fire in less than a minute. She tried to scream. The only sound she heard was a low moan.

 The face shifted out of view. Her vision was smudged grey, the sky mixing with the dim light. Voices began to merge. There must be more than one person.

 “…came out of nowhere. I called an ambulance….on it’s way.”

 “…Gordon has first aid training, I’ll get him…”

 “Do you know who she is?”

 Abruptly the light vanished. Everything was black. But after a moment her sight was restored and she saw a man above her. His eyes were a deep shade of brown. He looked concerned. Focusing on him made the suffering bearable.

 “Can you hear me?” he asked.

 She tried to nod her head. Pain burst into her brain like firecrackers.

 Yes, she mouthed. Though no sound accompanied it.

 Another voice, in the background: “Do you recognise her? Who is she?”

 The man studied her. “Can you tell me your name?”

 The only answer that made itself available was incorrect. She knew that. But her lips moulded themselves around it anyway.

 “I think she said Callum.”

 “That doesn’t make sense.”

 The man faded and she felt herself being tugged backward, despite knowing she was laying the road. That’s what had happened. She had been hit by the car. She was laying in the road.

 There was pressure around her waist, like someone was sitting on her. She attempted to look, but there was nothing. She thought she could see the night sky but the stars were twinkling too brightly.

 “No wallet or purse,” someone said.

 Were they trying to rob her? Well, they wouldn’t get much. All she had in her pocket was a five pound note. She didn’t even remember picking up her mobile phone.

 A quiet wailing interrupted her thoughts. She was sure she had something important to tell them. She needed to say something, something about the five pound note. But the wailing turned into a screeching and made her feel as though she was drowning. She couldn’t see anything now, not even when she was sure her eyes were open. There were bright patches, but they came and went like a blinking lighthouse inside her head.

 “Stay with us love, the paramedics are here now.”

 That was the man. She thought she could feel his hand on her face. It was cold. A dull ache pounded in her right side. She felt sick.

 As quickly as it came the nausea dissipated and she relaxed. The stars in the sky had gone now and the sun was coming up. She could feel the warmth on her skin and there was a gentle haze of light in front of her.

 She had only ducked out to get some milk. She remembered now. Her cup of tea would still be on the kitchen counter with the tea bag in it, an empty carton of milk beside it. She had only expected to be a minute. A quick run down the road to the shop on the corner. She’d have been back in less two minutes.

 The light enveloped her. It was bright but she became confused. It felt like a dark velvet caress even though it was a blinding white. She felt weightless now. A little bit dizzy. She wondered where the man had gone.

 Her last thought as she lay in the road was one of panic. The realisation came to her just as her mind succumbed to the pinprick of darkness in the overwhelming stark white.

 The baby. She’d left the baby in the house.

Writers Are Made of Pencil Shavings and Unicorn Spit (and other truths)

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Earlier this week I tweeted something to the effect of “[we] balance the line between narcissism and self-loathing.” I’m sure some of you have seen this phrase on a meme or two. That’s where I got it, and it couldn’t be more IN YOUR FACE accurate if it included whiskey and frequent bouts of isolation. Whoever the original sayer of said phrase is, I give complete credit to you.

Sure, we joke. We laugh. We call ourselves IN-FUCKING-SANE. But behind that lies a deep-seeded fear that, yes. We really are certifiable. 

Writers are different. We see things in different ways and interpret our observations in ways that can be manipulated into story. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell the difference between what’s real and what SHOULD be real, because as we see it, fiction is the only real. Magic SHOULD and DOES exist, in our eyes. Psychopaths REALLY DO live in the apartment next door and the gates of hell DO open inside a Krispy Kreme shop. 

For people who don’t think that way, it seems like a pretty awesome way to live. And it is.

Most of the time.

In his book, Stranger Than Fiction, Chuck Palahniuk said: 

“The worst part of writing fiction is the fear of wasting your life behind a keyboard. The idea that, dying, you’ll realize you only lived on paper. Your only adventures were make-believe, and while the world fought and kissed, you sat in some dark room masturbating and making money.”

These are the times when thinking the way we do – disappearing into our worlds of fiction – is not so great. It’s lonely. We choose isolation over little misadventures out in the real world because the adventures in our heads are SO MUCH BETTER. And when we’re lost in the words of someone we admire, or absorbed in our own fictions, it doesn’t matter. We’re perfectly happy.

You know that feeling when you come out of a movie that, while you were watching it, reached deep in your chest and held your heart, making it dance in time to the movie’s tension and sadness and happiness? When the magic is over and the real world just doesn’t quite live up to what you’d just experienced? 

That’s how we feel. All the time. Every day. When we come out our darkened rooms, away from our desks or tables or couches or nooks where we write. The real world just isn’t up to snuff. So we go back to our darkened rooms. Our books. Our words. We surround ourselves with people who are lost in their own worlds – even if only in the twitterverse. 

Writers: I’m talking to you – it’s OK to be a little crazy (even that kind you’re afraid of). It’s OK to prefer the company of books to real people. Real people can really suck sometimes because they just don’t get it. It’s OK to be in love with your work. In fact, you should be. It’s OK to want to be alone in a crowd of people so that you can watch, undisturbed. It’s OK to miss out on things that you don’t really have an interest in, even though you think it’s something you should do just to be apart of everyone else.

You’re not everyone else.

You’re a writer.

*cue cheesy inspirational 80’s music because it’s awesome*

5 Things I’ve Learned About Myself From Editing REAPER

1. I hate editing. I hate it more than I hate a lot of things, and that’s a lot of things. I hate that I’m so obsessed with every little word and making sure it’s the perfect word. I hate that it makes me want to rake my eyes out with a back-scratcher. 

2. My characters are healthy characters. They walk and sprint a lot. Every page, walking and sprinting. Occasionally they trot, but mostly they walk. I should buy them all pedometers.

3. I repeat things a lot. Usually. In. Short. Sentences. Aiming. For. Effect. But. Really. It’s. Annoying. Ya know?

4. I like the word, “fuck” especially when used in the most unnecessary places. Fuck fuck here, and a fuck fuck there. Here a fuck, there a fuck…

5. My characters operate on a green screen. Setting? Pfft. You figure it out. I have to make them DO and THINK shit. Why can’t you just figure out where they are? WHY? *deep breaths* Sorry. Yeah, setting’s an issue. We’re working on it.

 

What do you discover about yourself while editing your work? What annoying habits do you have? Don’t lie and say none because that makes you a lying liar pants. 

Things You Should Know Before You Date A Writer

Truth. All of it.

Thought Catalog

The whole professional writer thing is the only game I have. To an unsuspecting potential mate, I’m just like every other unremarkable femme with long dark hair and glasses in the bar. But when they ask me what I do with my time and I reply with, “I’m a writer, editor, poetess and photojournalist, who runs one of the top 100 LGBT blogs in the world,” they melt.

I understand wanting to f-ck a writer. Or date one. I can’t blame you. We’re alluring. We’re elusive. We’re romantic. We’re witty. But you really need to know what you’re getting into.

We have no money.

We writers pour our hearts into soul-sucking work for next to nothing. That means we’re always going Dutch.

We can’t help it.

I’ve always been a storyteller. As a child, I wrote plays for each holiday and made my sister act them out with me, each…

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Wanted: Executioner

You know, when I wrote that title, I thought it was cute and pithy because it echoes a prior tweet of mine

“Researching publishing options is like personally choosing your executioner.”

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But then I thought: Shit, now I’m going to be on all these lists.

But then I thought: I’m probably on ALL KINDS of lists by this point, so no big deal.

So here we are. It’s been a long morning. Can you tell?

As I wait for a few more of my FABULOUS beta-readers to provide me needed feedback for REAPER, I’ve been delving into the research that precedes querying, submitting, and a few other terms that strike fear in the heart of every writer. With so many options available to writers now, it’s somehow HARDER to figure out how to publish. We no longer have to stand in line, twiddling our thumbs or picking our noses, waiting for the gatekeeper to see us. We can CIRCUMVENT that bitch via small presses and self publishing.

I’m a little overwhelmed.

The only thing I’m sure of is that self-publishing is NOT for me. 

Yet.

Who knows. My long-winded point is: REAPER is inches away from being publishable. So on that note, who wants the job?

*photo courtesy of deviantart.com