December 1926, Harrogate
The woman gazes out of the window at the chilly, beautiful town bustling away below, her face as blank as a page. Unaware of the frantic search for her that is taking place at this very moment, she can't hear the dogs barking and snuffling, looking for her trail.
Think of her like a swan on a lake. He appears serene at first glance, but there is immense effort being wrought below the surface.
The woman isn't entirely sure where she is, or how she got there. More worrying, she's not sure who she is.
She knows some things. Just yesterday evening she spent the evening dancing in this gorgeous hotel. Some part of her knows the steps. She can walk and talk and dress herself. Moving her face into the right expressions, she moves around like a ghost, or like a person in a dream.
A full-grown woman of means and intelligence, she's aware that people don't just spring into being as adults. They don't pop up from holes in the ground. Every person has a background - a story of how they came to be, from birth to the present day, cascading behind them like a wedding train. The thought pains her, though she isn't sure why. She pushes it away for the time being.
I, too, must have a story.
What is it?
Dare she hunt for it? What might she find? The prospect fills her with dread, and she backs away from it, obeying some instinct wiser than she can be at this moment. Content, then, for now, to dance. To take dinner, to smile at other guests, to take the cure.
Teresa. It's a name of great significance to her, so perhaps it is hers. Even the lowest dog has a name, so she claimed this one. It seemed a logical thing to do. This very room was booked under it several days ago.
She moves away from the window at last, ready to descend the stairs and take a seat in the luxurious dining room.
A man's voice calls out, and it's clear as day that it's directed at her.
"Mrs. Christie? Mrs. Christie! Is that you?!"
Word count (excluding note): 366
Submitted on 8th February at 23:00
*Quick Author's Note*
Thank you for reading! Please leave a comment so I can reciprocate. Your thoughtful engagement is appreciated. If you enjoyed this, the best compliment you can give is to share it, or read another.
The story behind the story: This one is based on a true story! In December 1926 Agatha Christie disappeared for 11 days. She drove off after arguing with her husband. Her car was found abandoned, and she vanished. She was eventually found in a hotel in Harrogate, and her husband believed she didn't know who she was. There has been a lot of speculation since about whether this was revenge on her cheating husband, a PR stunt for a book release, or some kind of disassociative fugue state/retrograde amnesia. I choose to believe this was a genuine case of distress and poor mental health, even less understood a century ago than it is today. I chose the swan metaphor because the hotel where she stayed during this episode was The Old Swan.
(Edit: this was almost a Misplaced entry, but I felt it did better as a micro in the 3rd person, so it wouldn't have hit the word count or the criteria.)
My story every day project: I'm writing a story every day this year. This one makes a 39 day streak. You can find all of them in my Index post. It's also pinned to the top of my profile.
If you're joining me on this "story every day" madne adventure, please leave a link to yours in the comments!
If you'd like to buy the cow, (or get more free milk on Kindle Unlimited):