The Girl Who Lived (9)

Part IX: Happy Family

‘Mel never said I was. She never said I wasn’t, either.’

‘You kept my fish alive. And I look like you. You must be.’

‘Come with me.’

I’m reluctant to tear myself away from the fish. Seems to me there are memories swimming in their tank and if I wait long enough, they’ll float to the top. But he’s gone to to take something out of a drawer. I follow the halo of the lamp. It’s a photograph.

It’s my mother, me and him.

‘You, Mel and her husband Tim. A week before you left.’

‘You are twins?’

‘We were.’

 

The Girl Who Lived (8)

I’ve used this week’s FFfAW photo prompt (which happens to be one of mine) for the ongoing serial. It might not stand alone, so you’ve been warned.

Please note that I’m visiting family and won’t have as much time as usual to read everyone’s stories and to reply to comments. I’ll try, though.

fish, London Zoo

Part VIII: Fishies

The hermit stares into the distance. I’m annoyed, but for some reason I follow his eyes and catch a flash of purple. The longer I look, the more colour I see.

‘What’s that?’

He startles, as if he’s forgotten I’m here.

‘Oh, the aquarium.’

I walk towards it.

‘Fish. My fishies.’

Until a few seconds ago, I’d have sworn I’ve never seen an aquarium in my life.

‘You remember.’

I touch the glass tank. The fish hide behind the coral. I’m not supposed to bang on the glass or Daddy will have to tell me off.

‘Are you my father?’

The Girl Who Lived (7)

Part VII: Information Underload

‘That’s impossible.’

‘How long have you been with them?’

‘Ever since they found me in the plains. I was four or five, they think.’

‘Yeah, but how many years?’

‘Dunno. Nine, I think.’

The hermit processes the information for a moment.

‘It’s been that long, eh.’

He pauses. He attempts to stroke his beard, then puts the hand back down when he remembers the beard’s gone.

‘I don’t understand.’

‘Can’t blame you. Barely understand it myself.’

The question in my head is growing stronger, threatening to drive me crazy. Why doesn’t he tell me?

‘Why do we look the same?’

The Girl Who Lived (6)

I’m still moving and don’t have WiFi. So responding to comments is a bit tricky, but the stories are all scheduled.

Part VI: Unfamiliar Face

I hesitate.

We have no mirrors in the camp. I see my reflection in the well, if the level is high enough. But there are no polished, reflective surfaces. Something to do with us being made in the Creator’s likeness and we’re not supposed to picture him – I never understood that one, we see other people, don’t we. I’m a bad believer, I question everything.

So I have no idea what I look like.

I take the mirror and hold it up to my face. I blink, put the mirror down. Look again. It’s startling. I almost drop the mirror.

The Girl Who Lived (5)

Part V: Familiar Face

The hermit returns. He has shaved his beard off and washed his hair.

‘You have water, too? That’s it, I’m staying here.’

Outside, thunder is followed by more thunder. I wonder if the world will still be there tomorrow.

‘Look at me. Study my face.’

It’s a strange request, but I do. Without the beard, and his hair combed and slicked back, he looks younger. He looks familiar, like someone from a long time ago I’ve almost forgotten. I want to keep examining his face and my memory, but he turns from me.

‘Now look at yourself in the mirror.’

The Girl Who Lived (4)

Part IV: Trailers, Tents and Castles

The storm’s in full swing. With every flash of lightning, I marvel at the room. For me, who grew up in trailers and tents (only during dry season, obviously – nobody’d survive a storm like this in a tent), it looks like a fairy tale castle. I’m not supposed to know about fairy tales. But I don’t see what damage they’d cause, when all my people do is read stories in an old book of prophets and kings. I’m tired of their rules, and I’m sick of being treated like a sign from above just because I survived a storm once.

The Girl Who Lived (3)

Part III: Impossible

He turns away. It’s my turn for incredulity when he lights a lamp.

‘You have kerosene.’

The flock have run out of fuel ages ago.

‘Good to see you’ve a firm grasp on the obvious. Come closer.’

‘Why?

‘Need to take a proper look.’

‘Why?’

‘Just come here, will you?’

I step into the circle of light the oil lamp is casting.

‘Impossible,’ he says.

‘What is?’

‘You.’

He snatches the lamp and walks away.

‘What are you doing?’

‘Wait and see,’ he grumbles from far down the room.

‘How big is this place?’

My words echo after him unanswered.

***

I’m moving this weekend, so it may take a while until I get round to answering comments. The posts are scheduled, though, so the story will continue.

The Girl Who Lived (2)

Part II: A Discovery

Many endless seconds later, a view hole opens. He checks me over.

‘You’re one of the missionaries,’ he grumbles.

‘Storm’s about to hit. Please, I need shelter.’

‘Shouldn’t have run that far from the flock, then.’

‘Yeah, that’s what they say, too.’

The hole closes. The door opens wide enough for me to slip through. The place is dark.

‘Rule breaker, are you?’

I shrug.

‘I’m Christa.’

Lightning illuminates the room. It lasts so long, it must have struck. But I’m surprised there are windows.

The hermit examines my face, and it changes. From hostile to incredulous to spooked.

‘What?’

The Girl Who Lived (1)

I saw the picture for this week’s Picture It & Write challenge and before I knew it, I had a new serial on my hands. Since I’m about to move again, this is a good thing – it means I know what I’ll post over the next few days.

Hope you enjoy the story.

(c) Kaeros-Stock

Part I: The Hermit

The metal steps are vibrating underneath my pounding feet. I’m going to bang on the hermit’s door in a second, so there’s no point in being quiet. It’s counterintuitive, going up a metal staircase, but it’s better than making it in the plains. The rumble of faraway thunder makes me climb faster.

I’ve survived an electrical storm before, but I’m not in the mood for fate-tempting. If he doesn’t let me in, I’ll find out if I’ll survive another.

Bang, bang, bang. The static that means lightning is about to strike fills the air.

Please, let him open the door.