‘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.’
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
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 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.
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.
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.
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.