Fiction logo

An Attack of Nostalgia

Created for the 3am vocal challenge.

By MikMacMeerkatPublished 3 days ago 9 min read
Top Story - June 2024
12
An Attack of Nostalgia
Photo by David Werbrouck on Unsplash

There were three types of immortal beings. Those that were born. Those that were made and those you couldn't make more of. I was the third variety.

“Not asleep yet my dear?” My mother perched on our couch, its worn green velvet draped in lace doilys. A tattered romance novel braced in her time wrinkled fingers. The warm yellow light of the lamp at her side made her white hair glow like fire. I knew Rhonda Green was a good mother even before I remembered the others. She viewed life with a calm wisdom that I had never been able to access.

That I desperately needed right now.

“If I sleep, I will have that dream again,” I said, I linked my skinny arm with her plump one and folded my legs underneath me.

“You’re hotter than noon on the Fourth of July!” she said touching her cold fingers to my forehead and cheek.

“I know Mama,” I said. I’d taken to having ice baths before bed to ease the heat. She tutted, fanning me with her book a few times before placing it on the side table. My eyes caught on the couple on the cover. A nurse and a soldier intertwined. I snorted at the irony.

“And what’s in this dream that makes it so terrible,” she pressed a quick kiss to my cheek as I sunk into the couch at her side.

“Love,” I said.

“Ah, the most terrible,” she laughed, and then quieter, with a squeeze of my hand, “tell me.”

I’d tried to explain this so many times before.

“In my heart there is a corridor full of doors,” I said, “A long hallway, full of mismatched, locked doors.”

“Locked doors?”

“They must remain locked,” I insisted.

Vampires stayed frozen forever. The Djinn life force came from another dimension. They were lucky. Unlike them my particular brand of immortality was like a cheap and nasty form of reincarnation. Live, die, burn, repeat. A process that came with a near debilitating side effect.

Memories.

“Behind each door is a life. A tiny infinity. Locked. Safe,” I told her. She knew I was different. Figured it out not long after she adopted me. The strange little girl that could speak dead languages. The one who knew stories from before the oldest history books.

She knew what I was, and she loved me anyway. I’d taken something from her of course. A quirk in my evolution made me adopt traits of my primary caregivers. From her I’d stolen brown hair and a smattering of freckles. Like a cuckoo bird tricking a mother to steal its nest.

“Every so often there is a knock.” I explained, “Something, somewhere has linked to another life, another me. I can turn the handle and peek inside. But sometimes. . ”

Sometimes it was a battering ram and the memories spilled out into my chest.

My mother pressed her hand to my heart, it glowed behind my sternum, peaking through muscle and bone. Reaching a tracery of golden veins across my collar bone and up to my left ear to whisper secrets while I slept.

“And what has triggered it this time my Firefly?” she brushed my blonde hair from my face and tucked it behind my ear. I hadn’t had her brown hair for a long time now.

“A voice.” My new neighbours voice to be exact.

In the last year's of his life Mozart was deaf. But he remembered the music. Remembered each instrument so well he could still write symphonies. His voice was the melody I could remember from lifetimes away. Like a bullet it thread through my heart and found a door. White with one pane of frosted glass. A red cross painted neatly on the glossy surface. An entire lifetime spilled out in that instant.

And it burned.

“It was The War,” It didn’t have a number yet, “I was a nurse and he was . . “ I stopped. How to explain what he was to me? An entire life of a person. Did I describe the rich brown of his eyes? Or the way his fingertips felt against my skin? The flash of his smile beneath his dark beard? Or how when he whispered in my ear with that voice of his he had a vocabulary that could make the devil blush.

“He was black,” I said.

“Black?” My mother laughed.

“Creole,” I corrected, “deep voice, accent.

“There was a coloured ward and a white ward,” I told her. It was a different time, “the coloured ward needed another nurse. I volunteered.”

“When I bandaged his shoulder he asked me if I thought his colour would rub off on my skin. It was the first time I heard his voice,” and he was insulting me. Seeing the old world through new eyes always made me cringe. What was once normal now felt backwards and wrong.

To my left the door I came through creaked.

“I told him that every man bled the same colour red and that if he wanted proof, I could fetch a scalpel.”

“And then he fell in love with you,” my Mama teased.

Pressed my smile into her soft knit cardigan and breathed in her mint scent. “And then he fell in love with me.”

“I used to make sure he was the first person I saw on my rounds. I wanted to see him when his voice was rough from sleep and full of dreams.” My smile was quickly chased away. The happy memories hurt the most. Rolled like magma through my chest. Blisters formed around my heart, ready to pop. Happy memories end.

“Each night I pack it all back up again, and each morning I hear him. . .” I laughed, “He sings in the shower.” Every note was sweet agony.

“This has happened before, when you were ten, you remembered a life where you lost your foot. You limped for a week.” She tickled my side. “What did we call it?”

“An attack of nostalgia,” I winced as the fire flared in my chest.

“Did he know?”

“Yes, mama, the first thing I tell a suitor is how many times I’ve gone through puberty,” I rolled my eyes.

“This does not sound like a bad dream.”

“That is not the dream.”

The door in the kitchen sighed again and I turned away from it. Taking the time to memorise my mother’s face.

Unlike me she wouldn’t burst into flames when her heart stopped. She wouldn’t become a child again. She wouldn’t live another life.

She would simply disappear. Travel to that place where all my loved ones went. The place I could never follow. The glow in my chest intensified, and hot tears stung my eyes as the fire climbed into my throat. I wished that some of her remained in my face. But too much time had past. She had been written over by inferior women. Now they were all I could see.

“My Firefly, why are you crying?”

“You never had a door in your kitchen Mama.” I pressed her cold hands to my cheeks before kissing them in turn. Unfolding myself from the sunken couch I ran a hand down the peeling blue paint of the old and worn door. The handle was warm as I turned it pulling it open just an inch.

“This is the dream,” I said, letting go of the handle, it creaked open slowly. A corridor spread beyond it, door after door pressed into dark walls. Lit only by the light that seeped through the cracks in each frame.

The curse of my kind. So many versions of me existed in my head and heart. So many lives lived. A labyrinth to get lost in.

“I thought I had made it out this time,” I inched a foot out onto the cold stone floor. Across from us the door with frosted glass and a red cross loomed. On its own accord the handle started to turn. I lunged at it, pulling it shut. It railed against my hold. But I kept it closed.

A dark hand pressed against the glass. A shadow on the other side. The pull against the door stopped.

Mama stepped up to the door behind me. Her worn cardigan hugging her against the cool air.

“He told me he would come back for me,” I choked, the fire climbing up my neck. I pressed my pale white hand over the shadow of his.

“Then why so sad?”

“Because he was lying”, nobody ever came back from where they sent him.

Sometimes I saw someone who looked the same as one I loved. Like a memory come to life. But they aren’t. Just some cruel trick of genetics. No matter how much I wished it.

“I continue on, but the people I love do not come back,” I curled my hand into a fist and dropped to the floor. Weeks of this dream. No way out.

“And then I died,” I could still remember what it felt like when the bomb hit. The door behind me shuddered. Fire licked the other side of the window and the paint began to blister. Soon the explosion would roll through here and I’d feel it all again.

“You remember what it’s like to die?”

Booms sounded down the corridor. Every door shuddering in its frame. Water spilled from beneath on to my left. To my right blood pooled. I pressed my head into my hands covering my ears from the noise. Memories slipped beneath the frames. I knew what water felt like in my lungs. How poison felt down my throat. What a sword felt like buried in my chest and on and on.

My Mama, stepped out into the hallway, sheepskin slippers on the cold white floor.

The noise stopped.

“How long have you been alone my Firefly?” Doors stretched out to her right, disappearing in the distance.

“A long time,” I sighed.

“If we do not come back then how am I here?” She asked, kneeling in front of me.

“I keep you in my veins,” I whispered, pressing a hand to my heart.

She took my chin and tilted my eyes to look in hers.

“God has a plan,” Mama said, “But God is a man, and we all know how men are at planning.” The ghost of a smile formed on my lips. “So, while you can trust that you will get there in the end, the journey ain't gonna be clear or comfortable.”

She took my hand in hers, unfurling my fist. “There is a man who sounds like love outside your door.”

“I miss your advice, Mama.”

“How many times will you have this dream before you take it?” I didn’t want to leave her. When I woke up, she would be dead, and I would be alone.

“At least once more,” I whispered.

“Then just one more. Don’t fall asleep in a bath of ice.”

I came back to reality in a rush. Spluttering I pulled myself to the side of the tub and pulled in a deep breath. The glow in my chest had receded. The ice had done its job, for now.

The pipes in the wall next to me started to groan as water was pulled into the next apartment. Then he started to sing.

I closed my eyes floating in the cold water and let his voice wash over me. Even muted by the wall it struck sparks in my chest. The memory that flowed into my heart was warm. That last night, when the moonlight shimmered and he held me close, singing softly into my ear. I will come back. He had said. I will come back.

God has a plan.

The singing stopped and the pipes gave up their duet.

I will come back.

I dressed and headed to the front door of my postage stamp sized apartment. My hand hesitated on the handle.

I pulled the door open in a rush. Never happier to see the dull grey stone landing of my apartment complex. I could have cried.

Across from me the door opened and there he stood. He didn’t look like my soldier. His skin was darker, his eyes a different shade of brown. But it didn’t matter.

“Hi,” I said.

“Hi” he said, in that voice of his. I pulled the edges of my denim jacket together to hide the new glow.

“Do you want to get coffee?” I asked.

He blinked in surprise, “I ah, yeah, sure.”

He shrugged into his jacket and winced.

“Are you okay?” I asked, taking a step towards him. Too big a step, when he looked down at me, I could feel his breath on my face.

“Sore shoulder,” he whispered.

Short StoryLoveFantasy
12

About the Creator

MikMacMeerkat

I spend so much time daydreaming I figured I should start writing it down.

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights

Comments (7)

Sign in to comment
  • Wali Ahmed Khanabout 8 hours ago

    "Beautiful content! I support you and appreciate your support for me. Together, we can achieve great things! 🌟😊"

  • Christy Munson2 days ago

    Fascinating writing! Reads as dreamy and floaty on the one hand, and heavily weighted with an impactful uppercut on the other. Could be a societal metaphor in some ways. I enjoyed it! Congratulations on Top Story! 🥳

  • Ameer Bibi2 days ago

    Incredibly written Really enjoyed till.end Congratulations on TS

  • The way you blend the protagonist’s supernatural essence with poignant, relatable feelings of loss and love is captivating. The vivid imagery and the intricate interplay between past and present create a compelling narrative that lingers long after the last word. Thank you for sharing such a unique and moving piece.

  • Congrats on your top story.

  • Khan3 days ago

    Congratulations on the top story ❤️

  • D.K. Shepard3 days ago

    Wow! This is tale of epic proportions! What an incredible concept and well written composition! Was not expecting the anchoring scene to be a dream! Congrats on Top Story!

Find us on social media

Miscellaneous links

  • Explore
  • Contact
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Support

© 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.