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Twist of Fate

by Lisa VanGalen 4 months ago in Short Story
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Destiny can be controlled. If you are strong enough.

Twist of Fate
Photo by Chris Chow on Unsplash

Nicky had warned her not to invite them all in at once. Their voices drowned out her own thoughts, her identity lost beneath the ravings of the three sisters.

If only Moira could figure out who to listen to. Somewhere in all the noise was a path through the madness. Wrapping her arms tightly about her, she struggles to her feet. Moira had only wanted to control her destiny. Now, the fate of humanity lay somewhere in her mind, the tapestry of life unravelling as insanity took hold.

A tapping at the door announced the arrival of Dr. Tempest. She supposed he would want to talk about the painting. Or give her drugs. She didn't like the drugs. They made her brain feel thick, like a wet wool blanket was weighing her down.

With a withering glance, Moira moved into the far corner, feigning interest in scraping the paint from beneath her nails.

“Do you want to talk about it, Moira?” asked Dr. Tempest, his voice low and nonthreatening.

“No,” she replied, her gaze drifting around the room.

“What about Chloe? Does Chloe want to talk to me?”

Moira shook her head as fast as she could. She couldn't solve the puzzle if Chloe was talking. It made her brain hurt. But it was too late. Chloe loved the spotlight.

Her face twitched as Chloe pushed her consciousness aside. Confidence filled her tiny frame, her shoulders setting back as Chloe turned her doe eyes on the doctor.

“It's good to see you again,” she purred as she began to slink across the room. “It's about time you came to talk to me, and not that pushover.”

Dr. Tempest kept his face neutral. The change was extraordinary. Never in his career had he anticipated a case like this. Inside, thoughts of the papers he could write were interrupted by Chloe's demanding tone.

“For someone who wanted to listen, you aren't very good at it.”

“Sorry, Chloe,” he said calmly. “I was just recalling our last visit.”

“Liar!” she spat. “You think I don't know what you are thinking about? I control fate. If it weren't for me, life would cease to exist on this puny planet!” She pointed fiercely at the images. “See!” she stated. “That's me. Right there.” Chloe's long fingers raked the painting of the shepherdess with her flock. Piles of wool lay about, the shearing having been done.

Dr. Tempest obliged his patient and looked closely. Chloe drove his face into the wall. “These threads. I make these. For every one of you measly humans. And no one ever looks at them.” She released the doctor. “I am tired of being 'misunderstood'” Her fingers making air quotes about the words looked like snake fangs delivering a fatal blow.

Dr. Tempest rubbed his neck and face. The encounter rattled him. Chloe was much stronger than Moira appeared. He would do well to keep his distance.

“Doesn't Moira understand you?” he asked, hoping this was safer ground.

Chloe spun on her heel and advanced, pushing the doctor toward the door. “She is not strong enough to hold us all. And if I get out first, I will change the world.” One last shove propelled Dr. Tempest through the door and into the hallway. He scrambled to bolt the door, uncertain of Chloe's intention. This was the first time she had been violent. His hands trembled as he looked in the window.


Chloe's hand rattled the Plexiglas, his bladder loosening in fear. Gulping, Dr. Tempest pulled his clinician's coat in snug, embarrassment colouring his face. Chloe smirked and moved back into the room.

“How dare you, Laci!” she yelled as she spotted the weaver's loom depicted in the corner image. “How dare you take my threads.” Her voice dropped to a hiss as she scratched at the painting before slumping to the floor, unconscious.

Moira's over-worked arms twitched as she woke. Fighting against Chloe drained so much energy. Laci was much calmer, but Moira didn't trust her. She was too smooth. If Moira could only get a decent sleep, she might have a better chance. Instead, an inner compulsion dragged her to the table where her brushes lay.

The smooth motion lulled her into a submissive state, fine threads appearing in the loom as though by magic. With a blink, Moira realized Laci had taken over, her distinctive lines creating a new section of tapestry. Throwing the palette on the floor, Moira yanked at her hair, trying to shake the lingering inkiness loose. Laci always made her feel slimy inside.

Tap, tap, tap. Moira stopped with her back to the door. She was in no mood to talk to anyone else today. Anger at being interrupted bubbled up and with it came the overwhelming energy of Rose. Moira clung to her own thoughts, wishing she could prevent the change. It was futile to resist. Rose shoved her frail soul aside and stepped into the light.

“How are we feeling today, Moira?” The therapist's sickly sweet voice stuck in her ears like taffy.

“If Moira was here, she would tell you to piss off,” Rose replied, her voice sharp. “No. She probably wouldn't. She is nice like that.”

Dr. Edwards consulted her chart, ensuring she addressed the proper identity. “So, Rose,” she started, “have you got anything to share?” Dr. Edwards looked over the edge of her glasses as they slipped down her nose.

Rose strode across the room to lean against the solitary blank space. She trailed her fingers along the pristine white plaster before drilling her gaze at the therapist. “Do you really think you can help her? That Moira can be saved?”

Before Dr. Edwards could reply, Rose pushed off from the wall and landed in front of her. “You know I control your destiny, right?” she leaned in to whisper. “That I could end your life right here, if that pleased me?”

Dr. Edwards backed up to the door, fear closing her throat as the threat sunk in.

“All I need to do is pull the right string and BAM!” Startled, Dr. Edwards jumped, her clipboard clattering to the floor. Grabbing up the papers, she grasped them to her chest as though their presence could deter Rose from advancing.

Rose chuckled. “Humans are so predictable.” She moved past the therapist and picked up Moira's brushes. “You see this section here,” she asked, pointing to a blurry area. “If I were to focus on an outcome, say, a car accident, the crash will appear. Right. Here.” The tip of the brush tapped on the wall with each word, the paint solidifying as lights and broken glass glittered in the scene. “Now. Is this your fate? Or someone else's? Guess you'll have to wait and see.” With a smack, Rose cracked the plaster, blemishing the smooth surface.

Keeping her eyes on Moira, Dr Edwards opened the door to escape. When the girl had come in complaining of voices and headaches, the staff had not expected a diagnosis of multiple personality disorder. Extremely rare, they had each anticipated learning a great deal while working with Moira. But now, Dr. Edwards stood in the hallway and shook. She was the last remaining member of the original team. In the past three months, tragedy had struck the rest. And each had reported a similar encounter with Rose. Finding her key ring, she dashed it against the wall. The casing shattered into tiny pieces on impact. There was no way she was driving home today.

Inside Moira's room, maniacal laughter rang out. Dr. Edwards shrunk against the far wall of the hallway, the sound freezing her in place. All of her training vanished as she recalled the wild look in Rose's eyes while she hammered the image of the crash into the plaster. Terror and panic propelled her from the ward.

Dr Edwards shakily punched a phone number into her mobile. The metallic ringing jarred her nerves further and she swallowed to clear her throat. No answer. Trying a second number, she settled for leaving a message.

“Nicole? This is Dr. Edwards. I think you should come to the clinic. Moira is deteriorating and I could use your help.” With a sigh, she disconnected the call, defeat written in the wrinkles on her forehead. Distracted, she pulled her coat over her shoulders and stepped outside. The fresh air was a welcome change. A smile tickled the corner of her lip and she closed her eyes.

Inside, Rose stood staring at the painting, tilting her head this way and that until she was satisfied. With a final flick of her brush, she severed the solitary thread. A grin creased her face as the crash reverberated through the building. Screams and the sound of running filtered in through the closed door. Rose fell silent.

Nicole rushed to the clinic, her hair flying about her head. On the front steps lay the remains of a staff member, the body crushed beneath the front end of a car. Dr. Edwards would not be meeting her after all. Pushing past the onlookers, Nicole strode down the hall. If the therapist was right, Moira was being destroyed by the three sisters.

Time for the trio to remember who they were. The door slammed against as the wall as she thundered into the room.

“That will be quite enough!” she bellowed. “You have had your fun. Now. Get out.”

Moira cowered under the sheets, her head exploding, her hands bloody from scratching off the paint. At Nicole's pronouncement, her body arched and twisted. The Fates were not ready to listen.

“Help me, Nicky,” she begged, her voice barely audible. “How do I kick them out?”

Nicole laid her hand on the young girl's head. “This is going to hurt my dear. I did warn you.” Tears filled Moira's eyes. Appealing to Fate had brought her nothing but grief.

“You must destroy the painting. All of it.” Nicole wandered around the room. “This is good work. They are quite a team, my daughters.” She stopped in front of the loom. “Start here. But you must keep them contained until you have completed your task. They must exit together.”

Moira cried. She had never been able to hold one of them back. All three at once? The task was too much.

From under her coat, Nicole pulled out a canister of paint thinner. “This will help.”

Screams pierced Moira's ears from the inside. She grasped the canister and flung its contents across the walls. Paint pealed from the plaster, the smell overwhelming in the tiny room. Adrenaline flowed and she charged the wall, intent on destroying as much as she could while the pressure in her brain steadily increased. Certain she would not live to see the morning, Moira decided if she had to die, the sisters would die with her. Picking up the near-empty can, she shook it, intending to drink the last of the paint thinner.

“Now, now, my dear,” Nicole said as she lowered the can. “Can't have you doing that.” She pulled the tin out of Moira's hand. “Girls. It's time to leave. This one is done.”

Nicole walked to the painting and ran her hand along the edges of the solvent-damaged picture searching for a solitary thread. With a yank, she pulled it from the wall. Moira gasped as the three Fates lurched out of her body, leaving her empty.

“Mother!” cried Chloe, Laci and Rose. “What are you doing here? We were just having a spot of fun.” The trio looked down at Moira, her blank eyes staring into space.

“It's time to go,” Nicole said firmly. Marching to the door, she began singing. Down the hall, their voices rang out clearly “It's gotta be a strange twist of fate, telling me that heaven can wait...”

Short Story

About the author

Lisa VanGalen

I am a panster by nature, discovering my characters as they reveal themselves. To date, my novel writing has involved the paranormal or magick within a more familiar setting, blending it with mysteries, police procedurals, or thrillers.

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