Tag Archives: flash fiction

The Myth of the Merrow

“What are you doing?!” Marcail shouted, as the men around her tied her legs together. She tried kicking them, bucking her hips, anything to stop them but they over powered her.

“Now listen lassie,” the captain of the ship started. His thick Scottish brogue dripping with false sympathy, “I understand this is scary, but yer just bringin’ us more bad luck. We’ve had nothin’ but storms since we found ye stowed aboard.”

The woman stared at the captain in shock, temporarily forgetting the position she was in, which allowed the two sailors to finish tying her legs together, and another two other sailors to finish binding her arms to her sides.

“NO!” she screamed, the wind whipping her long red, curly hair around her head, her voice echoing around her. Strands of her curly hair were caught in the rope around her body, but she couldn’t feel the stinging in her scalp over the fear pulsing through her body, making the sound of her heart beat threaten to deafen her.

“Lassie, it’s bad luck to be bringin’ such a fine woman as yerself on a ship, ye know that. I’m sorry lassie, but this has to be done.”

With that, she was picked up and thrown overboard. She had just wanted to get out of Scotland, and now she was bound like a lamb going to slaughter and thrown over the side of the ship. She had secretly climbed aboard the ship in the middle of the night, when she knew the sailors were out drinking before cast off. She had overheard the sailors talking in the market place the day before, talking about how they were sailing to the Ireland to trade, and she wanted to see what it was like. Marcail’s parents would never let her leave their tiny village, let alone go to Ireland.

She tried to hold her breath as she hit the water, but she knew she wasn’t going to be able to survive this. She tried to twist, trying to loosen the knots made to make sure she sank to the bottom of the ocean, but it just made the knots tighter. The sailors were arses, but they could tie a knot. She could feel her lungs starting to burn as the lack of oxygen made the edges of her vision go black. If she could cry, she would.

The further she sank, and with the heavy dress she was wearing she was sinking fast, the pressure of the deep water pressed on her chest. Just as she was resigned to dying she saw something green swim past her, and then something swim the other way. She tried to turn her head and follow it, but she was too tired, and her lungs were starting to ache. Then three green women were in her eye sight. Their skins were only light, pale green, but their hair looked like the color of algae. It flowed out around them, as they floated in front of her. Their eyes were all the same blue of the ocean. Their upper bodies looked like a woman, but she could see their bottom halves had scales like a fish and they had fins.

Merrow, she thought. She had heard the stories of merrows all her life, of the evil sprites that lived in the ocean, seducing the sailors and dragging them into the ocean, where they stole their souls and kept them at the bottom of the ocean.

Suddenly, the ropes that bound her arms were undone, and a slightly webbed hand was reaching out to her. She touched the hand and watched as her skin went from pale and freckled to light green. She opened her mouth and could suddenly breathe in the water. Her dress fell off of her body slowly floating away from her, and the ropes that once bound her legs disappeared and her legs started to mesh together with scales. She looked around and her hair, starting from the ends and going to the roots, stayed curly but changed to dark green.

“Skye,” a musical voice said. She turned back to the merrow, and saw she was pointing at herself.

“Marcail,” she said, pointing to herself.

Skye smiled and swam up, and Marcail followed her. When they reached the break in the ocean, Marcail looked out and saw the ship she was just tossed off of. Skye started singing and Marcail joined. When the sailors looked over the side of the ship, the captain barked at them to stop looking. Marcail and Skye sang louder. The men couldn’t resist looking at the merrows, and for the first time in her life, Marcail felt powerful.

Who Am I?

I sat up gasping, out of breath. I looked around, realizing I was in the bathtub. Did I fall asleep? No, another dream. Another nightmare. I quickly got out of the tub, dressing in my usual pajamas without bothering to dry off. I emptied the tub, then left the bathroom, walking down the hall to my room. When I laid down in bed, I dug my fingers into my eyes trying to get rid of the images in my head.

God they felt so real.

This time I was in a business meeting, three piece Armani suit, tailored to fit me. The board members sat around the table, unhappy with my latest decision. But I didn’t care, I was going forward with it. I was stepping down as active CEO, taking a back seat, letting someone else run the daily functions, while I maintained my position on the board. I’d still make money, but it was time for me to take a step back. I didn’t want them to know I was slowly losing my mind with visions of myself doing–

What was I doing? I don’t know. In these dreams, I could feel myself struggling with reality and fantasy, I was struggling maintaining the company, I was struggling in every relationship I had, but I couldn’t figure out why. Why was I struggling? What visions was I having?

I sometimes had memories, within these visions, of me as a child. I would remember empty bottles of Jack Daniels on the counter tops, with chipped, dirty glasses and dishes everywhere. I would remember pain, searing, debilitating pain, but I would never cry. I would remember yelling “dad” at the top of my lungs, to distract the man that was hitting a woman.

But that wasn’t my dad.

That wasn’t my family. That wasn’t how I grew up. But it looked just like me. It sounded just like me. That’s what I looked like growing up. But it wasn’t me. I was going crazy. In my dreams and in reality. No matter what happened, no matter where I was, I was going crazy. Sometimes I wondered if when I the billionaire CEO was my reality. If when I thought I woke up, I was really dreaming then.

I sat on my twin bed, looking around the small room. I looked at the dresser that had only four drawers. Those four drawers didn’t have many clothes in them. I live a simple life. Simple, but good. My parents where great people. Amazing people. And they loved me fiercely, never laid a hand on me. Our house was always clean, all the dishes were washed and put away after we used them. My father kissed my mother before leaving for work every morning, and kissed her when he came home. They loved each other.

They loved me.

They passed away almost two years ago, but I can still feel their love. It keeps me going even on my hardest days. I seem to be having a lot of hard days. The nightmares keep me up, give me headaches, make me sick. I can’t keep doing this to myself. Every time I fall asleep, I wake up drenched in sweat. I can’t take it anymore. I live a good life now, good but simple. Before the night terrors, I would wake up and be happy, ready to start my day. I’d get breakfast at the cafe downstairs, near my apartment, and go to work. My job isn’t a fun one, I don’t make a lot of money, but I enjoy it. I’m a nurse at a nursing home, and although I like my patients, I don’t like the duties that come with working with the elderly. It can get gross. When I come home, I make a small dinner, and relax. Read a book. Watch TV. Nothing special.

I check the clock and see that it’s almost six in the morning. I couldn’t sleep last night, so I took a bath hoping to relax. It obviously worked since I fell asleep, but more time passed then I thought, and I need to be up in an hour anyway for work. I decide to just get up.

I take off the pajamas that I just put on, and put my scrubs on. I look in the mirror, seeing my short blonde hair a mess, even though I’ve run my fingers through it to try to clean it up. The bags under my eyes are getting worse, my green eyes and pale skin looking worse for the wear. Not good.

I try to keep my routine, to keep my sanity. Before I go to the little cafe in the downstairs, I grab the mail that I forgot to get yesterday, then grab a cup of coffee and a muffin.

“Conner, hey!” I turn and see a friend of mine that lives in my apartment building, Mason. He’s around my height, just over 6 feet tall. While I’m light all around, Mason is dark. Dark skin, short black hair, dark eyes that look more black than brown. He’s wearing a business suit, compared to my scrubs.

“Mase, man, what’s up?”

“Nothing, just thinking I might propose to Clara tonight.” He runs his fingers through his hair, and I can tell he’s unsure.

“That’s great, man. Clara’s awesome,” I smile and hug him. We chat a bit more, more small talk, and promise to get together to watch the football game this Sunday before moving on to work.

When I get there, I see my best friend at work, Melissa. We both smile as we greet each other. Melissa’s a doctor at the nursing home, and I work with her sometimes. Mostly, I work with another doctor, Dr. Jude Ramirez.

I can see the concern on her face as she looks me over. She puts her hand on my forearm as I’m checking into work.

“Conner, are you still getting the nightmares?” She asks softly. I look down at her, because she’s much shorter than me. Her blonde hair is a shade darker than mine, and pulled up into a ponytail. Her blue eyes stare up at me, sympathy shining through her eyes. “Why don’t you come into my office and talk about them?”

I just sigh and nod my head, yes. I go to the locker room. As I put my mail in my locker, a letter falls to the floor. When I pick it up, it’s addressed to me, but I don’t recognize the return address. I open it, then can feel myself frowning.

“Dear Conner,
I hope this finds you well. You don’t know me, and there is no reason you should. I should start by saying a couple months ago, I started having dreams. Dreams of a better life than the one I had. Dreams of being a nurse and working with the elderly. I’m a CEO for a Fortune 500 company and have never been to a nursing home. Ever. I started looking into my background, and found things I couldn’t possibly believe. I have put copies of those things in this letter. One of those things is my birth certificate, and yours. It turns out that we are twins. You were given up for adoption by our parents, but they kept me. I never even knew you existed until I started having these dreams. I want to come visit you. Please, call me. Let me know if we can meet.
Best,
Colin”

I pull out the copies of the birth certificates, the adoption records, everything that proves that I have a twin. I have a twin. One that has been having dreams, while I have nightmares. He’s a CEO, and he’s dreaming of being a nurse, while I’m a nurse dreaming of being a CEO. What the hell is going on.

I leave the locker room, in search of Melissa, with the documents in my hand. Maybe she can help me. I find her in her office, sitting at her computer. I knock on the door, and I can feel panic starting to bubble in my throat. Panic I’ve never felt before.

“Conner, please, come in,” Melissa smiles, and I tell her about my dreams.

“The nightmares are getting worse, Melissa. I’m barely sleeping,” I pull my fingers through my hair. “The worst ones aren’t the ones where I’m wearing clothes I’ve never seen before, or where I’m in a city I’ve never visited. It’s the memories of being abused. And I know-”

“Conner, we’ve talked about this.” And I know I won’t tell her about the letter I received. “You need to take your medicine. It’s going to help you,” she says softly. It’s comforting, but a lie.

“Melissa, the doctor gave me sleeping pills. They just keep me trapped in these nightmares for longer. I can’t take it.” I look at my watch on my wrist and sigh, “I’ve gotta get back to work. I’ll talk to you later.”

I get up and go about my day, while wondering about the letter, and about Colin.

At lunch, I sit in the cafeteria with my cell phone in hand and text the number that was in the letter.

Me: Colin? This is Conner.

Colin: I’m so glad you got in contact with me. Would you be willing to meet with me?

Me: Yes

I wait a few minutes before he responds.

Colin: I’m in town. Near you. I had hoped you would want to meet.

Me: I work at the nursing home on Walnut. Want to meet me there? We can grab dinner. I get out of work at five.

Colin: Perfect. I’ll meet you there.

I breathe out a sigh of relief. And I wait until it’s time for me to clock out.

My day moves slowly, the time crawls, and I can feel anxiety knot in my stomach. I try to push through it, and focus on my patients, but it’s not easy. I keep checking the time. It’s obsessive, and I know it. I can’t help it. It seems every five minutes, on the dot, I am checking the time. First the clocks on the wall, then my watch, then the clock on the wall again. At 4:58 I am in the locker room, grabbing my things and the mail that I put in there earlier. Before I can leave to clock out, Melissa stops me.

“Conner, we need to talk.”

“Melissa, please not now. I’m meeting someone.”

She looks at me and sighs.

“Conner, I found this in my office. You dropped it after you left,” she holds out the copy of my adoption record. “Your not taking your medicine, and I’m not talking about the sleeping pills. You’re not talking to Dr. Ramirez. I’ve seen you check the clock all day. This is a problem. I’ve spoken to Dr. Ramirez, and he’s going to meet us in my office. Let’s go talk to him.”

“No, Melissa, you don’t understand. Those records are proof. I have a twin. I was put up for adoption. He’s been having the same dreams as me. But of my life. Look,” I pull out the letter and show it to her. She looks at it and bites her bottom lip.

“Come with me,” as we walk out of the locker room, I look to the front door and see him. Colin. He smiles, but I can see the bags under his eyes, just like mine. I smile too and wave him over.

“Melissa, look. This is Colin. I told you. I have a twin.”

Melissa looks at the both of us, and I can see more concern crinkling her brows. She says “follow me” to the both of us, and we go to her office. Dr. Ramirez is waiting for us there. He’s tall, but not as tall as I am. His skin tone is darker, but not like Mason. Just tan, but a natural tan. His brown hair is cut short. Close to his head. His brown eyes look over at me and are filled with worry. Colin and I make our way into the office but there’s not much more room. He motions for me to sit so I do, while he stands in the back.

“Look, I know I haven’t been taking the sleeping pills–”

“Or any of the medication,” Dr. Ramirez interrupts.

“I don’t need it. Look, you see Colin? He sent me a letter. He told me he’s having nightmares too. He told me we’re twins.”

“Conner,” he sighs again. “We’ve talked about this. You’ve talked about this with Melissa. Those nightmares are your memories. They are not your twins memories. You were the one being abused.” I shake my head.

“No, no that’s not true. In my nightmares I’m a CEO. But I’m a nurse.”

“Conner. You were the CEO for one of the top marketing firms in the country. You couldn’t handle it anymore. You’re not a nurse.”

I keep shaking my head.

“Colin is real. He’s right there.” I turn around to look at Colin, but he’s not there anymore. I shake my head to clear it and look, and there he is. He’s got his hands in his pockets, and he’s wearing a suit.

“Conner,” Melissa says. I turn around to look at her. “There’s no one there. You did have a twin but he died a long time ago. You were both abused by your father, and he died because of that. You went into foster care, and found a loving family. They adopted you when you were fifteen. You went on to become very successful, but when they passed away two years ago, you had a breakdown. You were admitted here, to this hospital, to help you get better. You’ve been here for two years. When you first got here, you were saying that Colin was alive, that he was a nurse somewhere in the mid-west. You wouldn’t listen to anyone. You were making progress with the medication, but you stopped taking it when we trusted you to take it on your own. That’s why your having nightmares again. That’s why you’ve brought Colin back from the dead.” On her desk, is a little cup with medication in it, and she pushes it towards me.

“Conner, you need this to get better. So you can leave. Colin is real, but he’s no longer alive. If you don’t take the medicine Melissa gave you, then you will be monitored again. All day, every day.”

“What about Mason? He’s my friend. He was going to propose tonight. He works in the stock market. We live in the same building.”

“Mason is another patient here. His room is on your floor. Clara is a nurse. They’re not together.” Dr. Ramirez states this matter-of-fact. I put my hands to my temples. What the hell is going on?

“Conner,” Melissa says. I look up at her and she gives me a small smile. “Take the medicine. If you don’t, you will not be able to ever get out of here. Talk to Dr. Ramirez and myself. We can help you. We want to help you.”

I see Colin move out of the corner of my eye. Melissa and Dr. Ramirez don’t look in his direction, but I hear him speak softly. Almost a whisper.

I take the medication, and they both smile. As I leave, making my way to the cafeteria, I can feel the medicine kicking in. I lose my energy as I slump into my chair. The words Colin spoke repeating in my head.

Take the medicine. Get out of here. They’re lying to you.

 

 

 

Thanks for the inspiration Melo!

Am I Dying?

It feels like there’s an elephant sitting on my chest and I can’t breathe. I am actively reminding my self to breathe in through my nose, out through my mouth.

In through your nose, out through your mouth.

In through your nose, out through your mouth.

In through your nose, out through your mouth.

Over and over again, I keep repeating this to myself, hoping I can get through the fog in my head. But it is like I am whispering this mantra. While I am actively making myself breathe, there’s another voice in my head that’s louder, that’s reminding me that I cannot breathe. My lungs don’t work. And then I start panicking all over again because I can’t breathe.

I can’t breathe. I cannot physically breathe. 

I can see people around me, moving and talking. I think I know them. I think they’re my friends, but I can’t remember. I am too busy whispering to my body that I can breathe and that my lungs do work. But if these people moving around the room are my friends, why aren’t they helping me? Why aren’t they calling an ambulance?

My lungs aren’t working!

I want to scream and yell, but that requires breathing, and I can’t do that. So instead, I stand in the corner, not focusing on what is happening in the room. I’m not focused on who is moving around me, or who is bumping into me with a mumbled apology. I hold the red solo cup in my hand, but I don’t drink it. If I drink it, will it get into my lungs while I struggle to breathe?

In through your nose, out through your mouth.

“God, Rey, you’re so freaking anti-social. Go talk to someone!” Someone says next to me. I look to see, I think, my best friend Alessia, but I can’t be sure. My vision is starting to blur from the lack of oxygen. “Seriously, you look like such a bitch standing over here, alone, in the corner. And you’ve got RBF!”

I think I made a sound.

“Yeah, resting-bitch-face! You look so unapproachable. This is why people complain about you. Sometimes I don’t even know why you come out to these things.” She flips her brown hair over her shoulder and walks away from me.

She thinks I am purposely standing in a corner, with a drink in my hand, looking like an anti-social, unapproachable, person. I’m just trying to take a deep breath. Get some oxygen into my lungs. Something.

Anything.

I look around the room again, but my vision is starting to go black. Blindly, I stumble towards the door, where I think the door is, down the stairs and onto the street. I sit down on a curb somewhere, anywhere. I put my head in between my knees trying to breathe. Trying to get air into my lungs. Trying to get my lungs to work.

In through your nose, out through your mouth.

My jeans are suddenly too tight, my hair is too long and it is helping suffocate me. My shirt is starting to stick to my skin as I sweat. The sweat is beading across my forehead. It drips down my arms. I am drowning in a pool of my own sweat, and I can’t breathe. My mind cannot get past that I cannot breathe.

Why can’t I breathe? Am I dying?

No. This is anxiety. I know this is anxiety. My lungs work, I know this. I know this. But it’s so hard to make my brain remember this. It’s so hard to make my heart remember this. I don’t know why my anxiety comes. It starts slow.

A crowd of people; a knot in my throat.
A date with a new guy; butterflies eating at the inside of my stomach.
My friends telling me I’m not social enough; I can’t breathe.

Tonight it was all three. My friends invited me to a house party. There were so many people there, and the knot in my throat made it so I couldn’t talk. They wanted me to meet a new guy, so the butterflies ate at my stomach lining. I couldn’t tell anybody what was wrong. And then the complaints started. How I don’t talk enough, I’m not social enough, and then I can’t breathe.

But nobody cares.

Nobody can tell.

In through your nose, out through your mouth.

Dahlia

Dahlia sat with her back straight in the chair. Not blinking or moving. Her long, voluminous black hair hung down to her backside, curling off the chair. The oak chair she sat in was far from comfortable, which only added to tension to the situation she had found herself in. Across the room stood the love of her life, the man she thought she’d marry and make babies with. She could feel the anger rising in her again about his betrayal, but she swallowed it down. She had decided it would be better to look impassive than to look like the crazy woman he accused her of being. There he stood, looking as perfect as the day she met him, while she sat looking like a frump, forced into the clothes by the situation. God, she hated him almost as much as she loved him.

If only she hadn’t been so naive to think someone as perfect as him could love someone as flawed as her.

She remembered it clearly, the day her heart broke into a thousand pieces and her world turned on its side. It had been early, six thirty in the morning. Dahlia had just finished putting on a tight black dress that emphasized her curves. She put on a little bit of foundation to make her pale white skin gleam a pearly white. A pop of dark red lipstick pulled her look together. Her icy blue eyes just made her look even more innocent in her eyes. By seven, she was out the door, driving to Matthew’s house. The man who held the key to her heart.

She had met Matthew two years earlier at work. They both worked for an accounting firm in the city. His shaggy, dark blonde hair and hazel eyes gave the impression that he would be a surfer, but he was as dedicated to his job as he was to her. They dated for two years, and Dahlia was sure he was going to ask her to marry him.

Until she walked through the door.

When she unlocked the door to his house, she heard a noise upstairs. She followed the noise, walking quietly up the carpeted staircase. She had slipped off her heels when she came into the house, because Matthew was a neat freak. There were many shoes by the front door, so she didn’t think anything of the female slippers sitting besides Matthew’s loafers. A trail of clothing, both male and female, led to the master bedroom. She opened the door to his room, and there he was, with another woman, laying in the bed. Naked. Dahlia’s not sure what sound she made but two pairs of eyes turned her way at the same time. It’s possible she screamed.

“Dahlia! What are you doing here!” Matthew yelled. She started laughing, while tears fell from her eyes.
“Matthew, honey, I came to make you breakfast,” Dahlia said quietly. She couldn’t drag her eyes from the pair on the bed.

Matthew got up, pulling on a pair of boxers. The woman just pulled the sheet up to her chin.

“Dahlia, sweetheart, we broke up,” he said, coming towards her.
“Matthew, tonight is our anniversary. You were supposed to ask me to marry you!”
“We broke up a year ago! Aren’t you listening to me?”

Dahlia didn’t answer. She just turned around and closed the door to the bedroom quietly, locking it. After that she couldn’t remember.

And now these people were saying she killed Matthew and his little whore. But how could she have killed him, when he was standing RIGHT THERE, smiling at her? Smirking at her? LAUGHING AT HER? She was sentenced to death because of him, and they weren’t even looking at him! She was going to die because of him!

So there she sat, with her back straight in the chair. Not blinking or moving. The oak chair she sat in was now unbearable to sit in, which only added to tension to the situation she had found herself in. The man beside her strapped her to the chair, and hooked a machine to her head. And across the room stood the love of her life, the man who had falsely accused her of murdering him. There he stood, looking as perfect as the day she met him, while she sat strapped to a chair in an orange jumpsuit. God, she hated him almost as much as she loved him.