So Much Time, Too Little Time

Here is something I finished just a few days ago. I started it in December(2018) and then didn’t work on it again until this past week when I finally finished it. An interesting things about this particular short story is that I had no idea how it was going to end until I typed out the last sentence. I actually surprised myself. I briefly considered changing it, but then realized that’s how it is supposed to end. It’s how it needs to end. I wonder if that’s a writers thing, like sometimes our characters know their story before we do? Or am I the only one? Who knows.

I’m not going to explain anything further in this post. I’m just going to leave it up to your personal interpretation. If it really doesn’t make any sense you can email me by going to my contact page.


So Much Time, Too Little Time

Stinging cold at the tips of my fingers. Harsh wind against my face.

I keep moving forward, my feet numb, going deeper into the stream. Drops of rain find their way through the branches above me to brush against my face. My hand caresses the wet grass on the left side of the stream. I take another step and I am out of reach of the grass on the bank. My hand drops to my side, my fingers stretching downward toward the water, imagining the cold rush of the stream over my hands.

The water is up to my knees now, soaking through my jeans. My hair is already wet from the rain. The wind beats against me. I close my eyes against it and draw in a breath of icy air. I tilt my face toward the sky feeling the numbness seeping into every part of me. A memory flashes through my mind. My imagination kicks in and I close my eyes tighter letting the fantasy solidify.

The wind turns into the sound of crashing waves. The movement of the water around my legs becomes more violent. Water sprays up into my face. I don’t open my eyes but I can see the sky, dark and beautiful, clouds racing across it. I can see the water stretching to the horizon. I can see the waves, terrifying yet magnificent. I take a breath. It’s salty and cold and refreshing. Somehow the sea seems to call me. Unable to resist I take a step forward. The water surges around me coming up to my waist. I step again. It rises to my chest. A roaring fills my ears and my eyes snap open to see a wave towering over my head. My feet are swept out from under me. I close my eyes.

Memories.

Children picking flowers. Plates set around a table. Running through the field. Gathering around for stories. A head resting on a shoulder. Talking late into the night.

So much time.

Too little time.

Quick preparations. Packing box upon box. Tight embrace. Waves goodbye. Tears.

Plates set around a table. Alone in a field. Reading to herself. No shoulder to lean on. Lying awake late into the night, remembering.

A child picking flowers in a field, talking to herself. A girl walking in the rain, singing. A gentle breeze blowing hair across her face as she watches a sunset.

Grass swaying.

A starry sky.

The moon.

A melody.

The world is muted. I feel myself suspended in water, drifting in silence. I take a breath. I taste nothing, smell nothing. My eyelids are sealed shut. I try to move, to reach the surface, to escape, but my limbs are frozen. I drift in emptiness. Underwater, but I breathe. I should be drowning. I take another breath, willing the water to choke me. Why won’t I drown? I can’t escape. I am trapped beneath the surface, trapped in silence.

So much time.

Too little time.

Grass swaying.

A starry sky.

The moon.

A melody.

The silence shatters. A sharp pain stabs through me as arms take hold of me, dragging me from the water. I inhale and water burns my lunges. I cough, my body shaking. All at once a weakness settles over me. Numbness gives way to an aching pain. Slowly, I become aware of my surroundings: The sound of the flowing stream on my right, the steady drip of rain all around me, hard earth and stones digging into my back, the sky above me, a dark shade of gray, as if the sun has just barely set.

When I am able to move I turn my head and look around, I am alone. I get up painfully, every part of me aching. My soaked clothes are like frost on my skin. A fog is beginning to settle over everything. I make myself move, hoping that I can find my way home before the darkness and fog make it impossible for me to see. I go as quickly as I can while at the same time trying to protect my bare feet. Time seems to stand still as I make my way up a hill in what I hope is the right direction. The fog is thick now. It covers everything. I can barely make out the slight glow of the moon high above me. I hold my hands out in front of me trying to remember every tree I pass, every bush. Exhaustion begins to cloud my mind. I can’t focus.

Something catches at my foot and I fall forward, only just able to catch myself with my freezing hands. My feet are numb but as I sit up I can feel a trickle of blood down my left foot. I reach my hand out cautiously to find what I tripped over. My fingers brush against something and as soon as I take hold of it I know exactly what it is, a loose strand of barbed wire. I curl my knees up to my chest and feel my foot trying to see it through the darkness. I think the cut is across the top of my foot stretching from my ankle almost to my toes. I clench my jaw as the cut begins to sting. I’m too tired to move, too tired to try. A gentle yet constant and nauseating pain settles over me.

Someone puts their arms around me, lifts me.

I wake up. My eyes open slowly and I can see the sun shining through the window. The birds have already started singing outside. I take a deep breath, closing my eyes for another moment to soak in the peaceful morning. I begin to sit up and all of the sudden I’m wide awake. I glance around as if seeing my room for the first time. Something is tugging at the back of my mind.

Stinging cold at the tips of my fingers. Harsh wind against my face.

Strong arms dragging me from the water.

I’m too tired to move, too tired to try.

It was a dream. It must have been a dream. I glance around again. Everything looks so normal. Then I look down at myself: the wrinkled jeans and t-shirt. I swing my legs over the side of my bed and a sharp pain shoots through my left foot. I look down at it only to see a white bandage covering it. I bring my left leg back up onto the bed and hurriedly peel off the bandage. Underneath there is a rough cut starting at my ankle and stretching over the top off my foot ending right before my toes.

I jump off my bed and start searching for my jacket and shoes, ignoring the throbbing in my foot. I can’t find my jacket or shoes anywhere. They should have been right… then I remember. I was wearing that jacket when I went down to the stream. It was raining, and before I went into the water I took off my shoes and jacket and threw them under a tree. And then… I couldn’t remember it all. Just fragments here and there. But one thing I knew: I was alone. There was no doubt I’d gone alone. So how was I here? And why didn’t I drown?

Wasn’t that the point?

-E.M. Price

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