How long has it been?
Has it been years?
Waking up not seeing concrete jungles still amuses me to this day. I’ve been in isolation for as long as I can remember. But why do I feel empty? Isn’t this what I terribly wanted? To be alone, so no one could bother me? Why do I long to see my family and genuine friends?
Even filling my lungs with air doesn’t satisfy me. And when I put my hand to my left chest, nothing’s beating. My ribcage feels lifeless. I’m not breathing air—I’m breathing the silent agony of an empty yearning. Yearning for things and people I could no longer have and see.
Menard’s deep but sweet voice rings inside the bleak room. I haven’t even heard footsteps coming in.
“Yes?” My voice comes out shaky and disturbed though I try to conceal how erratic my heart is. Oh! I almost forgot. I no longer have one. If I do, it might’ve been rotten by now.
“The ceremony is about to start. Are you ready?”
He floats towards me. One second his voice is distant as if he is standing by the entrance a few meters away from where I stand. The next second he is hugging me from behind, tucking his nose in my neck.
“I can’t wait for this ceremony to be over,” he said.
Melodious, but poignant, violin tune harmonizes with the humming of the blackbirds and the bellow of the glow-in-the-dark whales, swimming in mid-air. Murmurs, coming from various strange creatures, filled the hallway as I walk down the aisle.
‘How did I end up marrying a non-human?’
Tears gently kiss my gaunt cheeks as memories of being alive flood my half-expired brain.
I was twenty-three, and a ‘darling’ as most people would say, well, except me. I didn’t believe the compliments I received even when I was still a child.
“Don’t go out at midnight, or they’ll come after you,” my grandma reminded me. “Your pretty face could attract humans and other entities.”
“Grandma, the latter doesn’t exist.”
Every time she said that I would shrug and giggle, thinking her advice was a joke. Until I had proven it wasn’t.
One night while the crickets hummed with the warm breeze, I saw a light posse of fireflies, gliding swiftly with the wind and turning into various shapes. I followed them without a second thought until my feet brought me to the end of the village no one had been to.
My heart almost leaped out of my chest when a child’s scream echoed from a distance.
“Hello?! Where are you kid?” I called in a nervous voice, pretending not to mind the blood-curdling howl of the night dogs in our area.
The scream percolated in the icy air, adding to my racing heartbeat again. Only the second time it was closer.
“Where are you?”
The drumming organ in my chest deafened me, making me numb as some vines began to scrape my arms and legs while walking through the dense forest. Someone needed my help—and it was a child, so I hurried.
As I struggled with the vines and thick bushes, my chest tightened because of oxygen deprivation. My lungs could explode at any moment if I remained in this place. I kept searching until I saw a protruding hand. I kept my pace disregarding the burning sensation of scratches and scrapes from the spikes of some—
Wait! Was I running or swimming?
Why were there stones instead of bushes?
Was that mom calling me? It was her voice.
I was about to swim to the surface to answer Mom’s call, but I remembered the child who was… gone!
Where did the child go?
I need to—
But everything went blank.
“Callassi?” Menard whispers to me with a nudge on my side. “The priestess is asking you a question.”
I haven’t noticed that I spaced out. Never thought that my half-rotten brain is still capable of imagining my previous life as a human.
“Darling,” the priestess whose bulging eyes scare the hell out of me calls my attention. “Do you wish to see what really happened before you land here in the world that you once thought wasn’t existing?” Though scary, her stare ironically gives off some sense of warmth—the same warmth I felt when I was still alive.
“Would that be okay?”
“Of course, dear. In your soulless, somber eyes, I see that you seek comfort from getting the answer.”
“Yes, please. Thank you.”
A lump of cloud descends from nowhere and, it projects me swimming in a river with a strong current tossing me like a ball. I can also see my mother who was crying by the river bank. I was indeed saving a child from drowning. I had saved the child, but no one could save me.
“I—I wasn’t in the forest then?”
“Yes, dear,” the priestess said.
“But what’s with the illusion of being in the forest? Who did that?”
“Menard has his eyes on you ever since you were a child. He waited for years to get you.”
I glare at the faceless guy standing beside me. “Really?! You resort to luring me with your hallucinating power just to kill me?”
It takes several minutes for his cherry-red lips to appear. Then his nose, his eyes, and his eyebrows become vivid, too. “I’m sorry. I couldn’t help it. It was the only way for you to be mine.”
“You’re just being selfish!”
A familiar voice cuts the other words I have to say. From the sea of attendees, a silhouette so dear to me steps out.
“Grandma? Wh—what are you doing here?”
She takes a few steps closer and hugs me. “I’m one of them. You’re one of them, too. I’m sorry you have to live a life filled with lies. I’m sorry I kept this from you. When our human body dies, we return to what we really are… except your father who is a real human.”
“How about mom?”
“She’ll be with us soon.”
Hearing that from one of the most important people in my life washes away all the uncertainty and confusion. Grandma’s confession has given me comfort, and I guess I don’t have a choice but to embrace the truth and get used to my new home.
Hello! Happy New Year!
😊🤙🌈🎆🎇 HAPPY 2023! How's ur year goin so far?
Ironically, there's nothing new 😆
Everything is still the same.
YUP, same is all good. :) at least HIVE price is moving up AND down again.. not just down down down like last month.
Such an imaginative tale. A heartfelt-plea, a disavowment and an eventual acceptance. You take us on a journey to the afterlife that is, indeed, something other than any of us could possibly fathom. Cleverly, you thread a “beating heart” throughout the story adding to our sense of otherworldly peril. Excellent portrayal, remarkable storytelling and interesting character creation. In fact your story has it all. Very nicely done!
Thank you so much for appreciating my story. This means a lot to me, especially since I have been feeling that my passion for writing is diminishing slowly.
Hi @idlemind :)
I'm screening for DreemPort - and I see that you have an image there without a working source link. for this time, I'll screen it in- but for the future please be sure to have a working link so that we can verify that the image has no copyright issues :)
thank yhou so much!!! and happy to see you in DreemPort! hehe
Thank you! TBH, I was really having a hard time attaching the image link. It has been my trouble every time I have to attach the link and even upload the image. I don't know how to resolve it. I would be very grateful if you could help me with this concern. :)
creepy on several levels - creepy good that is.
while this does stand as flash fiction as it is I see plenty scope to develop it into a longer piece that one of the SF/F/H mags would consider
Honestly, most of the short stories I have uploaded here are in the process of being written as novellas, if not novels. I only think of expanding them right after I have submitted them. 😅
Geez.. This is creepily awesome... I love that she found comfort at last.
I didn't really know how to end this when I started writing. Being a pantser sure is challenging. I'm not fond of making an outline before I write; I just sit, write, and let the creative juice flow. That's why sometimes I'm not sure if my stories make sense. 😆
It does make sense Sis... You did amazingly well☺.
Wow! I enjoyed your story @idlemind.
She didn't know how she got to the afterlife and sought the answers in her blank mind.
I love how the story turned out; her grandma's confession and her acceptance. I'm happy she will be reuniting with her family in the afterlife.
I read your post through #Dreemport.
I'm glad you enjoyed reading it. 😊 I was really hesitant to upload it at first because I thought it might be confusing to read.
I still got the message from the story
Wow! Beautiful story and use of words. Every description and narration are amazing. Can't wait to read more of this. You're such good at doing tales! 🤗
I'm from @dreemport, btw.
Hello! I never thought it would come out like this. Thank you for appreciating my writing style and skill. Thank you for looking forward as well. 😊
That's a great imaginative piece... I enjoyed reading the story
Popped in via @dreemport
I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thank you taking the effort to read and comment on my story. 😊
You are welcome
Great stuff! I came across this on dreemport.
Thank you for appreciating it! 😊
This is a nice tale, I was so glued to the end.
You are a wonderful writer, I hope to read more from you.
I'm grateful for the appreciation and for looking forward to my next stories. I'll try my best to be diligent in uploading new ones.😊
This is everything. You've got a creative mind. Keep it coming.
Thank you! I just hope I could keep being creative. Sometimes procrastination and writer's block are waving. 😅
This is a masterpiece @idlemind, you do have a way with each character. Life and after-life, because we don't believe in it doesn't mean that it doesn't exist.
Came form #dreemport
😊 Thank you for liking it. The topic of the afterlife is as mystic as it is mind-boggling. Perhaps, our minds are limitless to come up with places we don't even know are existing for real.
I agree 👍
The "Concrete Jungles" phrase made me stop and think for a bit.
The fact Callassi kept reminding herself she no longer has a heart is funny and sad at the same time. (I assume Callassi is a she. Did I mention that I like the name?)
The grandma advice reminds me of our folklore, people in my grandparents time used to say things like "attract humans and other entities.” Now, I'm older, I believe those entities exist, but not in the way described in our folklore.
I expected what happened in the end, including the grandmother turning out one of them. I wonder how these entities look. Glad she saved the child, at least.
This was a nice read!
@idlemind, @ahmadmanga(6/10) sent you LUV. | tools | discord | community | HiveWiki | NFT | <>< daily
@ahmadmanga I'm glad you have appreciated my story. Now that you mentioned it, I wasn't indeed able to describe the entities. Perhaps it was because I focused on describing Callassi's emotions. BTW, you're right, Callasi's a 'she.'
I used 'concrete jungle' to refer to city buildings. 🙂
I got curious about your folklore and wanted to know more about it. :)
Thank you for the gift.
Ah, I thought so, but it's nice to know for sure!
About the folklore. In Islam, we believe in Jinn. Entities that are invisible, but affect humans and can interact with them. It's like the concepts of ghosts in many parts of the world, but we believe they're their own people, not dead humans.
My Grandmother used to tell us stories of people who have met Jinn, and their description of them is quite detailed. Not always the same, but mostly they look like humans but with animal legs, and only appear in the night. Since I didn't see anything like that, and don't know someone who's sane have claimed to see them, I don't think these stories were true.
But I still believe in the existence of Jinn, because they explain a lot of things I experienced. It's just I believe they're invisible, and don't think they look half human half animal like my grandmother's stories.
@idlemind, @ahmadmanga(1/10) sent you LUV. | tools | discord | community | HiveWiki | NFT | <>< daily
This is exciting! I want to research more about this entity.
I gifted $PIZZA slices here:
@ahmadmanga(6/10) tipped @idlemind (x1)
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