midnight_medusa t1_ja6d3ze wrote

The station was packed with multi-colored folks who clung to pieces of paper. They moved around each other like currents in an Ocean, ensuring they got a good look at everyone’s face. Some lunged into excited conversation and others passed by each other without a second glance. We couldn’t explain it… the connections. But as the memories came back and so did the old loves and friendships. It was all a very confusing and intense process.

I sighed as I fumbled with my own stack of paper. Actually, it was thick enough to be a book. It was bound together roughly and contained details from every life I had lived on Earth. It was strange to be holding all your lives in the palm of your hand. It made each life feel less grand, somehow. As if being able to write everything I had ever done down so neatly took away from their significance. I’m not sure how… it was just a feeling.

My eyes wandered back towards the evermoving current of people and I began to people-watch, something that had become quite a bit more interesting as of late.

It was an odd sea of diversity; each individual being different from the next in both physical appearance and choice of fashion. It only took about two days after the Activation for the fashion of the times to be completely abandoned. Seamstress’ got a sudden influx of orders they had not prepared for as women and men alike felt a deep yearning for a time long past.

I smiled as I spotted a group of women who were flocked closely together as if sharing a very deep secret. They wore clothes that looked straight out of the Victorian period, with purple and green stripes, skirts that were fully, and overly decorated hats. They fanned themselves as they looked around nervously, it seemed their lips never stopped moving.

A few men in the crowd were dressed in armor and carried weapons at their hips. Their eyes were sullen from years of war they just suddenly remembered and they walked with a stride I did not recognize as from “this time”. It was odd to see which lifetimes people cherished and which personality they felt the most connected to.

Most of their lifetimes had been similar, of course, since you only change so much between lives. But one thing it seemed everyone shared was a special connection to one or a small set of lives. It’s hard to explain, but certain time periods and fashions just feel more natural since the Activation. Even I had a lifetime that felt the most “me”.

I glanced down at my own 1920s style dress, long coat, and shoes.

A sudden loud noise and echo alerted me and I looked around. The crowd began to part as a man and woman walked into the room. I rolled my eyes and sat back down. The “Royals”.

These were the most annoying people. When they got their memories back they suddenly remembered the many lives they lived as royalty. It took them only about five seconds after this realization to declare themselves the “rightful rulers” and try to force everyone to treat them like seventeenth century Kings and Queens. And some people were! It was getting out of hand frankly.

Bored with their display my eyes wandered around the small café. It was a smart business model frankly. The café had been set up as a “meeting spot”. Each person can rent out a table for a period of time. While they are renting it they can display four to one hundred lifetimes where there is someone they are looking for. Other people at the station can come and see if they recognize any of the lifetimes. It gave me hope, but somewhere deep down I knew that it was mostly futile.

I glanced around the café at the other miserably hopeful souls who were waiting to be connected with their lost loved ones, just like me. It was weird to be so ordinary in such a unique situation. Everyone, it seemed, was looking for their soulmate.

A waitress delivered my coffee and I blew on it as I watched the people go by and found myself thinking about my Peter.

We’d only been married for three years when he went to war. Our second daughter was on the way, though we didn’t know it was a girl yet. He didn’t want to leave, and I of course wanted him with me. He went missing in action, I’m not sure what happened to him. I suppose I was looking for closure too. I wanted to know where he vanished to.

“Excuse me?” A voice said from behind me and I turned suddenly to meet the kind eyes of an older woman. She pointed to the chair across from me. “May I?” I nodded my head.

“I am waiting for someone,” I said, “But you’re more than welcome to wait with me.”

“Well,” the woman said, leaning back. She was dressed in a style of clothes I did not recognize. It was simple but flowing, it looked very comfortable and was fastened at the waist with a belt. She had many objects hanging from the belt but it was hard to get a good look. “I may not be who you are looking for, but I think you might be happy to have found me.”

I furrowed my brow as I took a good look at her. Nothing about her in this body and life felt familiar, but there was something inside my chest that flickered when she met my eyes.

“Mom?” I said, feeling like suddenly all their air had been knocked out of my lungs. Her eyes creased as she smiled. That was it, there was something familiar about her eyes.

“One of them,” she laughed. “Maybe the oldest one.”

“From…” I paused as I thought about the life that was on the tip of my memory, but still far away. I remembered pure river water, fireplaces outside, the sweet smell of flowers, the wind in my hair, the way I felt climbing trees and fishing with my father…

“It was a long time ago,” Mom said sweetly, placing her hand on mine. “It might take some time to remember. It was also so much different than this,” she motioned to the café and the busy train station. “Out of curiosity, who are you waiting for?”

I blushed slightly and looked at my hands clutching the mug.

“Oh,” I said, “He was a past love… maybe one of my true loves. Maybe my only true love. I lost him in the Great War.”

“I am sorry dear,” Mom said. “I hope you find each other again.” I smiled weakly.

“I remember you telling me to trust in Mother Earth,” I said, “The language was different… and so much else is foggy. But I remember you saying that life is like a river. We can only control so much. Sometimes we are in calm waters, others we are in rough conditions. But we’re always flowing forwards and learning on the way.” Mom’s eyes filled with pride.

“I’m so happy you remember,” she said then added, “My daughter” in that old language fondly.

Mom’s eyes moved over my shoulder and her eyes softened. She handed me a piece of paper and kissed my hand as she stood up.

“Let’s catch up sometime soon,” she said, nodding to someone behind me. “I think you two might have some stuff to talk about.”

I turned, Mom’s paper still clutched in my hand, and saw him, and knew him right away. He was different in this life, taller and with darker features, but he was my Peter. Tears filled my eyes and I jumped up and wrapped my arms around him. He dropped the flowers I didn’t realize he was holding and spun me around. The people in the café clapped and whistled as my feet hit the ground.

“Peter,” I said, touching his face fondly. “It’s really you.”

“I told you I’d always come back to you,” Peter said sweetly, “I’m just sorry it’s been so long.”


midnight_medusa t1_j9splbe wrote

Bael was exhausted and irritated as he busied himself with preparing his contraptions for climbing. Misty refused to leave his side and although this was very sweet Bael was in quite a mood and she was just getting in the way. After the third time she blocked him from reaching the tower in time to connect his contraptions properly Bael sighed and patted her affectionately, “Okay,” he said softly, “I suppose I should take a break and try to have something to eat.”

The birds sung sweetly as Bael prepared himself a quick breakfast of bread, cheese, and the last of his grapes. He checked his pack and realized that he only had four apples left so he tossed Misty one and put the others away. She needed them more than he did.

With his belly only feeling a little satiated Bael began to place the first contraption on the tower wall. He worked on soothing his breathing and containing his fears as Misty watched him anxiously.

“Don’t look so worried,” Bael said, side-eying Misty. “You’re making me worried. I’ll be back before you know it. It’s easy,” Bael looked up and tried to push down the lump in his throat. “Piece of cake really….”

The annoying thing about being a hero is the fears never go away, you just get better at pretending you don’t feel them. Bael imagined it was a lot like stage fright. Even the best theatre performers say they feel anxious and afraid before a big performance. In his ripe age he was beginning to realize that he would always feel like that worried young man before a battle or a big challenge. Bael took in a deep breath, closed his eyes, held it for a second, and then released it loudly.

It’s now or never, he thought.

Bael carried the rest of the contraptions in a bag that hung off his shoulder and also had with him some basic supplies. He was pretty sure the Princess was alive and well kept up there in the tower, but he couldn’t be certain that her father didn’t leave her up there with nothing to eat.

Bael tested the wire of the first he had placed on the wall, as far as his arm could reach, and it held, so he pulled his crossbow off his back and found the right bolt in his pack. He fastened the contraption to the end of the bolt with the back of it facing the wall. He connected the contraption in the crossbow to the one close to him on the wall and then took some steps back.

Bael aimed, closed one eye, and released the bolt about 50 feet up. He heard the proper clicking sound as the contraption made contact with the wall and nodded.

Bael fastned another contraption to his crossbow, connected his belt to the wire, rubbed his gloved hands together, and began to climb.

Bael knew that there were no traps in the first five feet, but he kept his eyes open as he made his way from one contraction to the next. His belt dragged along the wire that connected the two contraptions. It was enchanted with a locking spell so that if it got suddenly jerked in one direction it would lock into place and instead of falling to his death Bael would hang against the side of the tower.

This was perfect except if there was a trap close beneath him. Because of this, Bael did not intend to fall and hoped he would simply be able to avoid all the traps. He’d planned his route many times and optimized it, but he knew that the King could’ve added more traps or changed things around between the plans he saw and the finalised ones.

Bael promised himself he would not look down so he kept his eyes firmly up. He was approaching the first trap, he suspected, so he took out his crossbow and aimed above him and to the right. This path would hopefully take him between two traps. As he climbed he noticed a hole in the tower and two serrated blades waiting for something to trigger them. Bael was careful about which bricks he placed his hands on to pull himself up. He knew many of the bricks were what activated the traps.

Bael had placed three more bolts and avoid seven more traps when his foot slipped and he sharply fell. In his panic he reached out for the wall but his finger caught the edge of one of the trigger bricks. Suddenly the wall was full of sharp spikes that jutted out and, if the rope had been made of anything else, it probably would’ve broken.

Bael’s breathing was heavy as he assessed his situation. He was hanging just beyond the reach of the spikes, but they were close. He couldn’t use them to climb because they were very sharp. He bit his lip and eyed the situation.

He took out another contraption, put it on a bolt and activated the locking spell on his belt by saying the secret word “bak’ell.” He tested the best and it held firm. Bael put his feet against the wall and leaned back, aiming his cross bow up. He kicked off a little and shot the bow about thirty feet up. He came back to the wall and held onto it with the gloves as he unlocked the spell.

Suddenly Bael kicked away from the wall as hard as he could. While in the air he pulled himself up the wire as quickly as he could so that by the time he swung back he was above the spikes. His boot caught the tip of one of the spikes and he thought he punctured the leather, but otherwise he made it. Bael snuck a look down. He was only about half way up and his arms were getting tired. But he needed to keep going.

Bael made it up the rest of the tower with just a few near misses. He was almost burned into a crisp, almost stabbed through the chest, and nearly lost an arm, but he had reached the clouds and he could see the Princess’ window.

When he finally reached the window the sun was nearly setting and shadows were filling the clearing beneath him. Bael peered through the window but the room was completely dark. He tried to open the window but, unsurprisingly, it was locked. Bael dug in his pack and pulled out another small contraption. He fastened it to the window, pushed the sides, and moved away from it, shielding his face. A small “bang” boomed and the glass shattered. Bael cleared the glass and pulled himself through the window.

He felt an immense sense of relief as his boots touched the ground but that was quickly taken away as he looked around the room he’d entered. This was not the Princess’ chambers, and Bael was afraid he’d have a long way to go before he actually found her.

End Part Three


midnight_medusa t1_j9sphzx wrote

The rest of the night was uneventful until after the sun had set. Bael found himself dozing in and out of sleep, the crackling fire and night bird songs soothed his exhausted body. He tried to stay awake but the days of travel were weakening his ability to resist the whispers of the sandman. He thought of his beautiful wife, Mel, and his three daughters. He fell asleep to the image of their joyful faces.

A snapping noise startled Bael awake. The fire was embers and it flickered on and off as if the fire was breathing. The hairs on the back of Bael’s arms were rising as he stumbled to his feet and grabbed for his sword.

You should not have come here,” an amused, high-pitch voice said from the trees. Bael’s eyes looked at every shadow but he couldn’t see who was speaking. He waited and she continued, “No one is to see the Princess. No one is to climb the tower. I must kill you, by order of the King.”

A red whip struck forwards and almost caught Bael’s right leg but he moved just in time and it wrapped itself around air and flickered back. Bael lifted his ornate shield and held a defensive stance. There was a moment of silence and all Bael could hear was the sound of his own uneven breathing. It was hard to see in the dark but the moon was high in the sky and full, so shapes were relatively illuminated. Bael shifted his weight and looked around just as an eerie, thick, grey fog began to billow into the clearing, swept up by the wind like a great wind storm.

“I am here to free the Princess,” Bael shouted in no particular direction, his loud voice echoing around the clearing, “No one should be held prisoner like this. She is innocent.”

Innocent?” the voice sneered as another attack whipped forwards. This one caught Bael’s sword but he turned with it and managed to pull his weapon away before it could be wrenched from his hand. “She is anything but innocent. I warn you, leave this place, or die.”

Lightening struck the ground in front of Bael and he jumped back before it snapped against his pants. His eyes found a figure in the mist and he ran forwards, dodging the whip and deflecting it away. Finally he saw his attacker, a tall, thin witch with black hair, grey skin, and black eyes. She smiled coldly, her thin mouth full of small, sharp teeth, and blew a gust of freezing air towards Bael. He caught the wind and frost in his shield and, activating his Knight Stone, absorbed the magic and threw it back at her. She was caught off guard for a second and Bael slashed at her with his sword. She vanished and reappeared further away from him. Rising her arms she snapped electricity towards him and he dodged it just in time. Bael groaned in annoyance and took his crossbow off his back. He whispered the secret word to it, “Agathenthia” and it began to glow with red light that flickered in the witches black eyes.

Where did you get that?” she managed to say before she was blasted back and stuck into a tree with the bolt sticking out of her chest. Her body spasmed chaotically, red magic rippling through her, before her body went limp and she hung there silently. Bael breathed deeply and fastened his weapon on his back. He spat towards the hanging witch and made his way back to the tower. He tried to sleep but was still awake as the sun began to ignite the land.

End Part Two


midnight_medusa t1_j9spg6k wrote


Through wind and rain Bael rode,

Facing dangers of monsters known and untold.

He rushed to free the abandoned Princess

Who found herself cursed and in deep distress.

Bael the Gentle, kind and good

Knew his journey could be misunderstood

So he carried with him a rose and ring

Representing his family, his life, his everything.

The tallest tower in all of Elderwood cast its long shadow across Bael and his trusty steed, Misty. The summer was slowly fading into autumn and the wind that whipped Baron's dark blue cloak around him carried with it a new chill. Bael shifted his weight in his saddle and tried not to think about how long he’d been away from his family. Misty began to stir beneath him, her dark brown eyes watching the trees suspiciously. Bael patted the side of her white and grey head and cooed, “It’s okay girl, we’ll be on our way home soon.”

With a gentle kick Misty began to walk forwards and into the dark shadow of the tower. Bael looked up as they walked, feeling his stomach turn and twist in knots. The tower was impressive, he’d pay the King that much of a compliment. It loomed above even the tallest trees in this ancient forest. They swayed and moved around it yet it stood firm. The construction of such a building was magnificent to behold, it was such a shame that the King was using it for such a sinister punishment. For his very own daughter too.

Bael’s stomach twisted as his eyes moved slowly up the side of the white tower and his thoughts slipped towards his own daughters. He imagined climbing up the tower and falling down part way up. He imagined his crumpled bones and the agony on his family’s faces when they realized he would never come home.

Bael shook the thoughts out of his head and took in a deep breath. Weeks of travel and the discomforts that accompany it were making him think unreasonably. He was a brave man, but he always prided himself in his ability to think things through and plan. Bravery alone makes people rush into bad situations to prove themselves. Bael was old and successful. He had nothing more to prove to anyone or himself. He was not here to prove anything anyway. He was here on principle, on the moral truth that he felt about right and wrong. It was wrong to imprison a young girl like this for any reason, Bael didn’t care what one’s relation to that girl was. A true father would never disrespect his daughter so, and Bael was here to right that wrong.

So if it took his ageing body longer than a spry young thing to climb up the tower, who cares? He would get there eventually, and he would get there alive. Plus, there were no witnesses, so the songs and stories that spread through the land about his journey would most likely include some fantastic climbing sequence that made him look like a hero of legend. A smile softened Bael’s bearded face as they reached the bottom of the tower.

Bael hopped off Misty and began to take off the saddle and prepare her for the night. She had spent many days travelling and Bael knew he pushed her to her limits. He bumped his nose against hers affectionately as he handed her an apple from the palm of his hand.

“You know how much I love and appreciate you right?” He said, nuzzling her as she happily chewed the apple to bits. Her brown eyes smiled and she nuzzled him right back.

When Misty was taken care of Bael began to set up his own tent and sleeping arrangements. As he did he couldn’t help but look up at the tower. It was so tall that the top of it seemed to be lost in the clouds. Bael’s stomach twisted at the thought of climbing that thing again. From what he had learned in his research about it and its construction, this tower was built so that there was only one way out and that way could only be opened from the top. But this exit was also secret and kept safe with many riddle-locks. Bael didn’t know exactly what riddle-locks this tower contained, the King never wrote that down, but he did know what kind of riddle-locks the King had been looking at during the construction of this tower. Bael had spent many late nights studying every riddle-lock he could get an example of and so he was fairly confident that once he got into the tower he could get out.

But getting into the tower was a completely different and unique challenge. There was a piece of the tower that connected to the top and worked like a lift. The King would’ve used this mechanism to get his daughter up there but he also would have taken that back home with him. As far as Bael could tell, climbing was the only way in.

Climbing something this tall in itself was enough of a feat, but even that was complicated. In the blueprints Bael had stolen from the King’s Guard for the tower, he noticed that the sides of it were full of traps and contraptions designed to make any climber fall. Unfortunately, the blueprints that Beal had were first drafts and so some of the plans could’ve changed, but Bael knew there would still be traps. Ropes could be cut, hands would most likely be wounded, and the climbers would surely fall.

Bael glanced around shyly, half expecting to see some poor dead fools who had attempted to climb the tower scattered around. He didn’t see any, but he also knew that there were wolves and other beasts in these forests who would most likely claim any body that happened to fall down.

So with all the conventional ways of climbing out of the question, Bael had to be creative with his plan on how to climb up the tower.

The fire sparked to life just as the last, lingering sun rays were fading from the sky. Bael began to prepare his dinner as Misty stood close by, her eyes still watching the edges of the forest. Bael felt it too, this strange tension in the air and the smell of a threat he hadn’t quite discovered yet. As his dinner of rabbit and potatoes sizzled on the fire Bael pulled out a wooden box and opened it up gently.

Inside were about fifty small metal objects that shimmered in the firelight. Bael was quite proud of this invention. He knew that the King did not plan on the climber’s using magic to climb, it was expensive and hard to come by. He also knew that the King didn’t plan for materials stronger than basic rope and wood.

He pulled out one of the contraptions and turned it in his hands. It was perfectly circular on the front but completely flat on the back. It was, cold to the touch and heavy, but not too much of a burden. They had to be heavy enough to be effective but light enough to carry many up the side of a mountain or, in this specific case, tower. At the bottom there was a metal wire, made from one of the strongest metals known to humanity and a hook. Bael would be able to fasten the back of these contraptions to the walls and they would bind to the stone. No matter what happened that binding could not be severed. Bael also had a pair of metal gloves that were made for this purpose. They clung to stone walls and allowed him to hold on if anything else failed.

Bael looked up at the tower nervously. He was sure this would work. It had to.

End Part One


midnight_medusa t1_j9ns2d9 wrote

Drea's father's eyes were weary as he took a seat and ran his fingers through his thick beard. He leaned forward, his bright red hair catching in a beam of pale yellow sunlight. Specks of dust danced around his face as his hard eyes went from frustrated to exhausted. Drea took in a deep breath, feeling the anger inside her chest flickering from a forest fire into a small, dying ember.

"You are right," Her father said in a rough, deep voice. Drea took a step back and tried to remember exactly what she had just yelled at him loud enough to tussle his hair and bring tears to his eyes. Her chest suddenly tightened and she felt a deep stinging sensation in her gut: regret and guilt.

"I'm sorry Dad."

"No," he said forcefully. "Drea, you are right. You are a terrible student because I am a terrible teacher." Drea felt an immense empathy for this broken man who never asked for this. He didn't choose to fall in love with someone as powerful as her mother and he never planned to lose her so early in her life. She was being unfair.

"It's okay," she said taking a seat as all the anger had sizzled out of her. "I know this isn't easy for you either."

Drea's father turned his head to the side thoughtfully, a small smile forming on the corners of his mouth. He got to his feet and walked towards a sword that hung on the wall. It was beautiful, with a pale white, sharp blade and forest-green embellishments across the sides. Drea knew her father had used it to kill many people, yet that did little to diminish its beauty.

"Long ago," He said, "I was a lost young soldier roaming the countryside with nothing but anger and hatred in my heart. I did a lot of evil in that time. A lot of good too... but the deaths... the choices I made..." he trailed off and Drea sat perfectly still, afraid any disturbance would take her father out of his trance and he'd retreat from his memories like he usually did.

"Your mother," He continued with a glimmer in his eye, "Saw something in me. She was wise, kind, but had this flame inside her soul." he nodded to Drea with affection, "The very same flame she gave to you. I know that." He sighed deeply. "Wars mess with your mind. Guilt erodes your soul. The past haunts you. You think the pain is left on the battlefield, you think your actions only matter as long as the war rages on but..." his eyes wandered lazily across the room and towards the open window. A summer breeze swept through his hair and beard and he took in a long deep breath. "But the actions follow you, like shadows. Whispering truths about you in your ear. Always reminding you that no matter how much good you do, you will never make up for the bad."

"I'm sorry Dad," Drea said, not sure what else there was to say. "I know you had a really hard life."

"I am a bull," Her father laughed, "I approach everything horns first. I'm a talented fighter and sometimes feel like I can slow down time, but I'm not delicate." He nodded to Drea. "Your powers are precious, like crystals or stone. They need nurturing and patience. Your mother would meditate for hours a day and study just as much. She was more intelligent than I can ever hope to be. I'm afraid I cannot teach you."

Drea's heart sunk and tears flooded her eyes.

"No," she sputtered, "Dad, please. I didn't mean what I said. I take it all back. I'll listen more I'll-" she could feel the desperation hugging her tightly, suffocating her. Her father pulled her into a hug and the pain eased.

"My dear," he said, "I don't mean I'm giving up on you. What I mean is I see now that I don't have the knowledge or the tools to teach you properly. But I know where we can go where people can." Drea's cried into her father's shoulder but nodded.

"Okay," she said. "Are we going to go there?"

"Yes," her father said with the comfort only a father can offer his child. "We will go together and stay together. You are my heart, my family, my life Drea. Where you go, I go. You are all that matters."

"How long will it take to get there?" Drea asked softly. Her father held her at an arms length, his eyes creasing with a smile.

"About six months," he said and Drea's pale blue eyes widened, "What do you say? Are you up for an adventure?"


midnight_medusa t1_j80lla3 wrote

"Have a seat," she said, "Do you want any tea?"

"Trying to poison me are you?" Martha snaped, "No, I will be gone soon, once I get the proof I need."

The girl emerged from the kitchen a minute later with a steaming cup of tea.

"Suit yourself," she said lightly, as if defeated. "I'm sorry to disappoint you, but it's just us girls living here."

"I saw with my own eyes!" Martha said, "All those people arrived but they didn't leave!"

"Do you remember what most of them were wearing when you saw them?" the girl said. "Or any other details about them?"

Martha thought back to the people she had recently seen arriving. They were all smartly dressed, the women wore dresses and then men looked like Mark when he started his first corporate job. Now that she mentioned it, they had been dressed in older fashions. Martha narrowed her eyes.

"What are you saying?" she asked with narrowed eyes. The girl's gaze peeled away from Martha's and fell towards her steaming tea cup.

"I did a bad thing," she nearly whispered, "I-I dabbled with forces I should not have. The other girls haven't been home in weeks because of it and I can't afford this place without their help. But they couldn't live with what I did and I don't blame them."

"Stop talking in riddles," Martha snapped, "You truly take me for the biggest fool around. I know what I saw, I have pictures!" Martha took out her phone and turned the pictures towards the girl whose eyes washed over them briefly. The sides of the girl's mouth lifted slightly.

"My grandma used to tell me how people close to death could see ghosts." the girl gave Martha a pointed look as she took a sip of her tea. "I never believed her of course. But last week I accidently called upon a force that will kill me in a few days. And then the ghosts started to come. They watch me, taunt me, call to me, tell me strange secrets. I promise you Martha, there are only ghosts here."

She let her last words linger and the hair on Martha's arms lifted. She turned the phone towards herself but realized with a cold terror that there were no people in those pictures, just blurry backgrounds captured quickly.

"You mean besides you and me?"

A man walked into the room, the same man with the suitcase. He was almost blurry, or out of focus, or moving too fast for the human eye to catch. He removed his hat and Martha gasped, nearly falling out of her chair which would have been awful for her hip.

"Hello darling," Mark said. "I'm here to take you to the other side."

Martha looked helplessly back at the girl but she was now different. Her eyes were red and her skin pale.

"Like I said," the girl whispered, "There are only ghosts in here."


(Edited to add the "conclusion" to Martha taking pictures)


midnight_medusa t1_j80lk4f wrote

Martha's husband used to deal with the rentals, and she liked it much better that way. But since he had so unfairly died before she did, it was now her responsibility to tend to both the properties and the tenants.

Now, Martha had always known that she isn't exactly "good with people." She had been told by everyone that ever knew her that she was difficult, abrasive, and overall unfriendly. This last descriptive marker made her feel more proud than she let on. You see, Martha has always enjoyed arguments and overall unpleasant conversations. They make her feel a light inside her soul, like a warrior on a battlefield, two arrows stuck in them raising their sword for the final kill.

It thrilled her, the art of the argument. But, when having to conduct herself in a more professional setting Martha had always let her rabid-dog-like conversational skills run in full capacity and it had resulted in multiple firings and a few annoying court proceedings afterwards.

Martha pulled the curtain back a little more to get a better look at the small rancher-style home that was located across the street. Some part of her did love that home. She had initially picked it out for her and her husband to start a family inside. But Mark thought it was beneath him, and so he purchased the far larger and nicer home across the street and gave Martha a rather unhappy surprise when, on moving day, he blindfolded her and revealed that this hunk of junk was her "real" new home.

Martha was devastated and she chose to show this emotional distress by sprinkling little offences or inconveniences in her husbands life for the entirety of their marriage. A rock in the toe of his shoe here, a hem sewed slightly off center there, a missing sock that returned only to go missing again right away, and many other little things that made Mark begin believe he was the unluckiest man alive.

Despite it's small size, the rancher had a beautiful interior and three rooms. It would have been more than enough room for a small family and then they could've upgraded when the other three little ones came along. But, alas, Martha never got what she wanted. She always got something, but it was never what she wanted.

And Mark had doomed Martha to a life where she had to watch other people misuse her beloved home and feel entitled to it. She fantasized about just burning the place to the ground and everyone inside.

But she would never actually do that... she didn't think.

Over the many years Martha made life at that little blue rancher as annoying and inconvenient as possible for the unlucky souls who chose to rent from her and her husband. She always started off strong with a nice dress and a batch of freshly baked cookies that she would drop off on moving day. She would play the friendly neighbor and concerned landlord to make her unsuspecting victims feel safe and happy. And then she would take off the mask and let her true colors shine brightly.

Martha liked to remember the "good-old-days" but she was nearly 70 now and her games and inconveniences were far less interesting and complex. She had gone from the perfect performer to the bitter old lady who, due to lack of creativity, chose to be simply awful to deal with and that did cause some annoyance and distress for her tenants, but it wasn't nearly as satisfying for Martha.

Martha's small green eyes darted towards a man dressed in a long black coat who was strolling down the street, pulling a suitcase behind him. Martha smiled, snapped a blurry picture on her old phone, and recorded the incident in her notebook.

Three people had arrived at the little rancher in the last few days, all of them with luggage. Martha could feel something exciting building. It had been years since she had ammo, had some good reason to confront her unsuspecting tenants.

Usually, Martha and Mark wanted the house to be rented by a family, but since a lot of people had fallen on hard times, this last time Martha rented her house to three young women who were studying at the University. Martha grinned a terrible grin. These girls thought they could just move in their boyfriends and friends without her noticing?

Martha saw everything.

With a small burst of energy Martha grabbed her walking stick and put on her best hat. Her old bones were nearly buzzing with excitement. She couldn't wait to see the look on those girls faces when she screamed at them and reminded them that only they could live there. She couldn't wait to put those good-for-nothing girls out on the streets. She hadn't been this excited since Mark fell ill and the doctor told her he was going to die.

She closed her door behind her and squinted in the sunshine. It was a warm day, perfect for a long and unpleasant conversation on a porch. Martha made her way slowly down the stairs and across the street. She had a slight limp due to a bad hip and she had to struggle a little to get up the three stairs that led to the blue door of the blue home.

Martha raised her cane and knocked loudly on the door three times.

After a moment the door opened shyly and the youngest girl with brown eyes and copper hair stood behind it. Her eyes were tired and she smiled weakly at Martha.

"Hi," she said, "Can I help you?"

"I know what you're doing in there," Martha hissed, hardly able to control herself, "I know all about it. Moving in your boyfriends and your friends. You thought you could trick me? I am going to ruin all of your lives." The girl seemed taken aback, but not because of Martha's threat and that angered Martha so she continued, "You don't think I see all the people you've had over in the last few days?!" she held up the notebook for proof, "It's all recorded in here. I just saw a man with his luggage come over. You are in breach of your rental agreement and I will ensure none of you ever get comfortable housing again!"

The girl blinked and opened her mouth only to close it and blink again. This angered Martha. She wanted to scream and fight but this girl was giving her no kindling for her fires. After another long second the girl leaned forwards, looked around as if worried someone else would hear their conversation and said in a tiny voice, "You can see them too?"

Anger erupted inside Martha like a storm crashing against the shore. So this young lady was going to play it like that? Make Martha, the old woman, think she was losing her marbles? How dare she.

"Don't play stupid with me, girl" Martha growled, "I have pictures and evidence. If you think you're being funny you are not and-" The girls eyes went wide and she put her hands up in defense.

"No," she said, "I'm sorry, I'm not mocking you. I-" she turned around, her eyes sweeping the living room before she pushed the door open more and nodded to the side, "You might as well come in."

Martha, looking like nothing more than an elderly toddler on the cusp of a meltdown huffed but took a step inside. Her curiosity was too intense and if she was inside she'd be able to spot these girl's secrets.

The interior of the home was beautiful, original wood floor, a brick fireplace. Martha sighed as her old eyes wandered around her would-be-home. She wished so badly for things to have been different. She could've found happiness if things had been different.

The girl walked towards the kitchen and motioned towards the living room.


midnight_medusa t1_j0rhnc2 wrote

I stumbled to my feet using the couch as a support. My entire body felt like it was more stimulated. I realized I could feel the light breeze as it whispered across my skin. I could feel each step as my foot fell between the plushy threads of the carpet. I could taste the sunrays that spilled shadows across the floor. They tasted like lavender and mint. The shadows waved against the bumpy carpet like the crashing of waves in a mighty storm.

I was here and yet…

I reached my hand out, spreading my fingers. There was still evidence of the scribbled note on my hand and it creased as I opened and closed my fingers. Now that Klara had explained it, I could feel a link. Something far off, like a light at the end of a very long tunnel. There was something not quite right about my body and that was because it wasn’t truly mine.

This existence was not mine.

Thank fucking God.

“Ammon!” Klara said, she had her hand in the hallway closet, her eyes widely looking at me. “Come on! You’re probably still feeling the effects of the elixir. Try to snap out of it.”

“I feel weird.” I said as I took an unsteady step forwards.. “It’s like I’m in so many places all at the same time. Hey, what’s ‘Her’ah?”



I jumped as many hard objects flew cross the room and hit me. I shielded my head and then glanced around nervously. Metal objects of different shapes and sizes laid at my feet and a metal decoration had been pulled off the wall and towards me. But Klara found the studs and it was hanging in midair, as if being lifted by a ghost breeze. I giggled. Klara stomped towards me and grabbed my arm tightly in her hand.

“I should’ve waited to give that to you,” she said, but she was smiling a little bit, I saw it.

“What was that?”

“A spell,” Klara said with what I suspected to be annoyance lacing through her tone. “Try to be careful before you just say things. Write the spells you think of down first and I’ll tell you what they do.”

“Okay,” I said, clearly half-listening.

“I mean it,” she said as she pushed me into the closet just as I was beginning to be mesmerized by a painting. I swear the people were moving as if it were a true window to a different reality. She pushed me through the closet door forcefully.


The arm of a leather jacket hit me in the side of the head and I waved the coats away as they attacked me ferociously. The back door of the closet had swung open revealing a spiraling staircase. Odin was standing at the top of the stairs, his mouth happily open and his bright pink tongue hanging out.

“Hey,” I said as I squeezed past him with suspicion. I took his chin in my hand and looked deeply into his hazel eyes. “Aren’t you supposed to be a lion?”

Odin licked my face and wagged his tail. It thumped against the wooden steps in a light rhythm.

“What have they done to you?” I said, then started giggling again. Klara encouraged me down a few more stairs and then closed the closet door, or rather, the door in the closet behind us and a lock clicked into place. Klara turned and nodded down the stairs.

“Okay,” she said, “Any time now.”

I didn’t move. I was too captivated by how the shadows played on the wall. “Right, don’t mind me. Please, keep staring blankly and giggling.”

“Odin is supposed to be a lion!” I said with a deep laugh as I turned to walk down the stairs. My hand traced a wavy line along the stones as I went. I sang a song that I must have heard somewhere about the mighty lion who lost his mane in a bet with a wee mouse.

Down, down, down we went. I was beginning to wonder if this path was endless when a stone floor revealed itself. The room was a cube, about the size of an average bedroom. There were desks lining the walls and with many different plants on their surfaces. Beakers connected with tubes and filled with shimmering liquid bubbled over yellow and blue flames. Different colored lightbulbs shone against the walls, creating rainbows that smiled at me.

This looked like the lair of a great Alchemist.

“You’re an Alchemist,” I said as Klara closed the door at the bottom of the stairs, locked it, and turned to me with a deep release of air from her lungs. She nodded and walked towards me. She pushed my hair off my cheek and nodded.

“Yes,” she said. “I am.”

“You’re very good.” I said, “This stuff is fun.”

“I bet it is,” Klara said with a sweet tone. Her eyes softened as she gazed at my face. “I prefer your hair longer.”

“Me too,” I said. Klara leaned forwards, hesitated, and let my hair fall from her hand. I got this intense feeling that she wanted to kiss me and show me deep affection but she was being distant. Unlike with Jennifer and Claudia, I wished she would treat me like we were more familiar. Odin rested his head on my knee and wagged his tail. Klara was back to work, mixing some liquids together and admiring them under bright lights.

“Right,” she said, handing me the light purple liquid. “This should sober you up a bit.” She grabbed a journal and shoved it onto my lap with a pen. “Write down everything you think you remember in here. Don’t cast any spell that you’re unsure of what it will do. The last thing I need is to be blown up here before we can get you out."
“How am I getting out?”

“That was part one of three elixirs you will need to drink,” Klara said and then tossed me a regretful glance. “Sorry, they don’t taste great but they will help you begin to unweave yourself from Jennifer’s influence. Once you can pass a basic memory test you will be distant enough from her for your consciousness to escape back into your body through the portal.” I sipped the liquid, it tasted much better, like grass and flower petals.

“Then I need to be able to physically get away,” I said. Klara nodded.

“It will be tricky, but…” she leaned against a desk. “One thing you need to know about yourself is you are very strong and powerful. You are a match for Jennifer in a diminished state and arguably better than her when you’re at your best. Before we leave I will help instruct you on the spells you can use to break your binds. After that you’ll need to get to the door Shelia and I are trying to infiltrate.” I drank the rest of the liquid and nodded.

“Okay,” I said, “Sounds like the odds are stacked against me.” I grinned, “But I always perform best when the odds are against me.”

“There’s the Ammon I remember,” Klara said.

- End Part Nine


midnight_medusa t1_j0idujh wrote

Wow thank you so so much! That is one of the greatest compliments I've gotten as a writer. I'm trying to be published and your kindness and support makes me feel like that dream is within reach. Thanks so much, truly :) <3 It is probably easier to read it on my profile, it's pinned if you want to read it there. Happy holidays!


midnight_medusa t1_j0avz7j wrote

(This is now also being posted on my profile under the post titled "The Brink of Oblivion")

I lifted the steaming liquid to my lips and sipped it lightly. It was absolutely disgusting, bitter and thick. I pulled it away making a face and shook my head.


“What were you expecting?” Klara said with a knowing smile, “Hot coco?”

“No,” I said, eyeing the muddy brown water as a leaf floated through it. “I just don’t understand how drinking mud will help.” Klara’s eyes softened. It was kind but it was irritating. Everyone was treating me like I was helpless and naive. It was maddening when everyone but you seemed to know what was going on.

“It’s an antidote of sorts,” Klara explained, “Jennifer is very powerful and she has trapped you in a kind of… labyrinth of the mind. She has been separating your mind and body from itself in the hopes that she can just peel you like an onion until she eventually finds what she’s looking for.”

Klara eyed me playfully, a strain of her golden hair tumbling across her eyes. She was radiant in the sunlight. But she would be radiant even in a place void of all light. Something about her illuminated the entire room and made me feel whole. I relaxed slightly as I allowed myself a second to believe that she loved me.


“But I know you.” Klara continued, a laugh behind her eyes, “And you knew she was coming for you. I suspect you hid the information she seeks somewhere deep inside yourself, maybe somewhere so deep you wouldn’t be able to access it either.”

“Am I really that clever?” I said. Klara leaned forwards, placing her elbows on her kees. Her light purple dress fluttered around her, illuminating the fabric around her shoulders like a halo.

“Ammon,” she said, “You are the most obnoxiously clever man I have ever met. You think everything through, it drives me insane sometimes. You never take a move that is not already fully calculated. You are a scientific man, deeply fond of data and observation. But I suspect you know this already. Tell me,” she cocked her eyebrow, “has there been a step you’ve taken today that wasn’t fully thought out? A decision you made where you didn’t weight all the sides you could think of, even in your broken state? Could you describe any of your actions as ‘impulsive?’”

“Well,” I said, leaning back with my hand on Odin’s head. “You could argue that attacking Claudia was pretty damn impulsive.”

“She attacked you first,” Klara pointed out and then smirked,“I’m right aren’t I?”

“Sure,” I said, “I like to think about things before I act. But how do I know any of this is even real?”I motioned to the house. “How can I be sure that I’m not just losing whatever is left of my mind?”

Klara nodded to the liquid.

“That should help,” she said, “I hoped that it would bring back some more memories. Like the one where you remembered that spell. Clearly your desperation allowed you to access a powerful memory and I’m hoping to recreate that with less pain and, uh, threat of death. It should also help us sever her link to you. Jennifer works for what they call a ‘police department’ in this reality. It’s like our Renoke Warriors, but with the advanced technology of this time and place behind them. This mostly means that she has access to lots of information and power in this world. We can’t let her find you.”

I grimaced and started to sip the brew. It had cooled and that wasn’t helping. I took a few big gulps, telling myself that it would be over soon, and only let myself bring the bowl away from my lips when I’d consumed every last drop. I chewed on the leaf as I handed the bowl back to a rather happy Klara.

“Okay,” she said, “It should start helping in a few minutes.”

I laid down on the couch and closed my eyes. Her home was comfortable and, despite my stomach groaning in protest, I was feeling relaxed. There was a gentle breeze floating through the open window and I smelled the fragrant flowers.


I was a little boy with jet black hair playing in a garden full of different colored lilies.

I shifted my weight and opened my eyes. Was that me? The world was spinning. What was in that awful brew? I felt like I was suddenly not in control of my mind and where it took me, I was just along for the ride.


My vision became consumed with thin red threads. They cycled and twisted, pulling me through them. I saw flickers. A man standing in a stone-walled room, bowing to a woman dressed in a velvet purple robe. An open field surrounded by razor sharp ridged mountains that shot out from the ground like spikes. A book full of oddly shaped letters and other symbols I felt I knew but couldn’t remember.

A woman with bright blue eyes. No, ocean eyes. Swimming with blue, green, and gold. She beckoned me closer.


I tossed and turned, unable to control myself. A scream erupted from my chest.

A red beam hitting my body. Pain surging through my veins.


I moaned. The woman with yellow eyes sneered. She struck me again.

A prison. A black walled room. A man with long black hair hangs forwards, his bowed head encompassed with a red ball of light. Geometric bars surround his head. His body is thin, weak, frail. His beard is long and unkempt.

Man I look like a common thief.



It was as if a lost fragment of myself fit suddenly into place and I felt… well it was hard to describe even to myself. It was as if a severed connection was rewired and this feeling of self consumed me. It was still very much not complete, and I knew I was still very lost, but one shard was back.

Spells, names of the Universe, and other important information crashed into my mind, colliding with each other and setting off fireworks behind my closed eyes.

Then, it was over. The silence returned. I sat up on my elbows and met Klara’s ocean-blue eyes. She looked at me, curious and expecting. My chest fluttered. “It”, that feeling of love, that bond that can only be forged by lovers, was suddenly present in me when I looked at her.

“I think I love you.” was all I could say. Klara jumped with a sudden burst of ecstatic energy and wrapped her arms around me tightly.

“I need you,” she said as sirens began to echo from far off.

“I feel a little more… me-like?”

She kissed my cheek and then looked deeply into my eyes.

“Good,” she said, “Because I’m going to need ‘Ruthless Ammon’. There is no way we’re getting out of here without a huge fight.”

“How are we getting out of here?”

Klara stood up and walked to the window, pulling back the curtains only a little.

“Shelia and I have found an exit of sorts.” she said, “It opens at the peak of a full moon which, fortunately, happens tonight at midnight. You have to disconnect your mind from Jennifer’s prison a certain amount before we will be able to free your mind through the portal. Following me?”

“I think,” I said.

“Once you’re out of here and back in your own body, the real hard part begins.”


“You’re still physically restrained. Shelia and I are working to get into Jennifyiar’s hiding place but, it’s rather difficult.”

-End Part 8


midnight_medusa t1_j0apbg4 wrote

Thanks so much! Now that I'm serious about writing it I'm going to make a subreddit. I can also post on my page. I just wanted to have a "working title" before I made the subreddit.

Any suggestions for a title are much appreciated.


midnight_medusa t1_j08l06j wrote

Where am I?

I held Odin’s leash in my hands tightly, afraid that if I lost him I’d lose some critical part of myself. Without him I would be truly lost.

He wandered and sniffed about, taking his time and making his mark. His tail wagged as his nose reached for every passer by. Each one greeted him with a smile which was then given kindly to me. Some people said, “Beautiful dog!” as they passed. I tried to smile but knew my features were locked in some stressful clench. I was watching the street signs as we passed them in vain. I didn’t know where anything was in relation to the address, so it was useless. Like having the answer to an unknown question.

Odin led me right and off of the main road. We entered a park with big, wide oak trees and many people wandering about. I wondered if Odin was choosing this route strategically. It was harder for Claudia and Jennifer to attack me if we were in a public place. Or maybe this was just the fastest way to, what was it again?

4966 Forest Road

So that I can remember. Was it because Jennifer didn’t know I knew this and so couldn’t erase it from my mind?

Odin’s tail began to wag as he turned left and then he suddenly lunged towards a squirrel that had ventured too close. The leash was ripped out of my hand and cold, icy panic grasped my neck. I chased Odin who chased the squirrel. Some people gave me a look and my cheeks flushed. I must have looked insane. We went around in circles, cutting sharply and following the chaotic path of a squirrel running for its life.

Eventually the little critter found a suitable tree and ran up the side. Odin circled the base of the tree, looking up with his tongue hanging out.

I picked up his leash, out of breath and feeling pathetic. I had been trying to carefully watch the route we took from the apartment but now, I looked around, I had lost my way.

Odin sat on the grass, his tail wagging against the yellow flowers. When I picked up the leash he stood up and skipped left. I followed him feeling once more like the frail old man who was losing himself. Would I ever feel whole again?

We turned down a narrow lane that led out of the park and into a cul-de-sac. The tree branches hung low and the sunlight sparkled along the dirt path. Odin’s nose was locked on the ground, sniffing intensely.

We rounded the corner and entered a quant looking neighbourhood. There were houses of many sizes, shapes, and colours. At the end of the driveway of a light green house surrounded with flowers and full, healthy looking plants a woman with long, wavy blonde hair paced. When she saw me approaching with Odin she smiled and ran towards us.

“Good boy Odin!” she said, as she came to a stop in front of me. “Come quickly, we need to get inside. I have defences up in my home but we are very vulnerable here.”

She looped her arm in mine and, her head looking around on a swivel, led me to her white front door.

The woman closed the door firmly behind us and swept her hand across the lock. The many locks clicked into place on their own as she turned and walked to her kitchen.

“I thought magic didn’t work here…” I said, watching the locks with a deeply furrowed brow.

“It doesn’t,” the woman said, her voice slightly muffled, “But, uh, just take a seat, I’ll explain everything in just a minute.”

I unhooked Odin from his leash and placed it on a table beside the door. There was a mirror hanging in the entranceway and I caught my reflection with a start.

I was not the old man. I was a much younger man, perhaps in his thirties, with raven-black hair and bright emerald eyes. My skin tone was darker than Keith’s, like desert sand. I touched my face and the reflection followed. The woman walked out of the kitchen holding a steaming bowl. She smiled as she saw me pressing on my face.

“This house is detached from this reality… in a way” she explained, but I didn’t really understand. “Sit down, please.” She took a seat on a comfortable looking forest green chair and I walked to the matching couch across from her. Odin happily jumped on the couch beside me and put his head in my lap. The woman’s gaze softened as she looked at him.

“It’s amazing,” she said, “Some things are so similar between timelines.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well,” she said, “Odin is more than your dog, in your original timeline he’s more like your familiar. You share a very deep bond that we call a “soul-connection”. You and Odin, in many ways, are one in the same. If you try you might even be able to see the world through his eyes. You do that a lot where we’re from.”

“I’m sorry,” I said, putting my head in my hands. “Back up, who are you?”

“Oh,” the woman said, putting the bowl on the table. She pulled something out from her apron and started to add it to the steaming bowl. “My name is Klara. I’m… well I suppose the closest thing here is “wife” but I’m more than that. It’s complicated.” she sighed, “Sorry, I’ve practised how to explain all of this to you, I promise, but so much of our reality doesn’t translate here. We are also connected in a soul-bond, like marriage but stronger and more long-lasting.”

“Is that why I knew your name, somewhere deep in my subconscious? I called Jennifer ‘Klara’ and she did not like that.”

Klara laughed, her face brightening and her eyes shimmering with a clever thought I wished I was privy to.

“Probably,” she said, “And I bet she didn’t like that. Despite her best efforts you’re strong and you’ve always had flickering memories that connect you to who you truly are.” she paused in thought, “Has anything, unexplainable in the rules of this world, happened to you?”

I told her about Claudia and how I managed to attack her with a single word. Klara’s eyes widened.

“It’s just as I hoped,” she said, excitement sparking in her eyes. “It’s true that magic doesn’t exist here, but you and I don’t really exist here either. Our original bodies are still in our timeline. This means that your mind is still linked to our world where magic is your speciality. If someone is a powerful enough spell-caster, like yourself, then I hoped that link could be used. I was able to do it so I hoped you would be able to as well. I’m happy I was right. Shelia will be so pleased.”

“Who is Shelia?”

“Our daughter,” Klara said, “She’s been the one sending you messages here. Jennifyiar and Claudia have infiltrated your wife and daughter’s bodies in this timeline.” she met my eyes, “If you were wondering, yes, somewhere in the vast universe you are an old man with Altzheimers. But not where you’re from. I guess in a way where you’re from you are an old man… but we age differently. That’s why you look so much younger inside my house and in your OG world, despite being the same age as this ‘Keith’ person.” She handed me the steaming bowl. It smelled like plants and dirt. “Drink that, and I’ll explain the next part of the plan. We don’t have much time.”

-End Part 7


midnight_medusa t1_j081msb wrote

Thank you! This makes me really happy, it's the "effect" I was going for. I wanted it to feel confusing and have both "realities" be plausible. I appreciate you so much, hope you're having a wonderful day.


midnight_medusa t1_j07x114 wrote

Author Note: Hey friends! So this is turning into a full-on novel I'm writing for fun/ practice. I want to see where I can take this story. I'll keep posting "Parts" as I write them. I welcome any feedback since I might try to get this published when it's done. Keep in mind it's a "first draft" and so I suspect I'll make a mistake with the plot here or there. But overall I think it's turning into a pretty cool story!

Thank you so very much for reading and interacting with this writing prompt response. It has been so amazing seeing all the wonderful comments. Hope you're having a good day, Happy Holidays!

-Midnight_medusa ;)


midnight_medusa t1_j00xtks wrote

The breeze on the balcony was sweet and brought up memories of lying in fields as a young child. I took in a deep breath and Odin rested his head on my knee.

The view was ignited with bright pink and purple clouds that reflected the setting sun. The sky was a deep purple/blue. Bright white sun rays cut through holes in the clouds, painting the entire scene in shimmering spotlights. The mountains loomed upon this horizon, shadowing the trees just yonder. It was beautiful and I hoped I wouldn’t forget it.

Claudia opened the door and stepped over Odin who watched her with curious brown eyes.

“Here you go,” she said, handing me a cup of steaming tea. I had no intention of drinking the tea, I was worried that Claudia might try to drug me or something, so I blew on it and held it in my hands. I hoped she wouldn’t notice I wasn’t sipping it.

“This is so beautiful,” I said, nodding to the sunset.

“Yea,” Claudia said, “It’s my favourite part of this place.”

“Would you mind telling me a little about yourself?” I said, “I assume you have a script prepared, I probably ask you this a lot.” Claudia laughed and nodded her head.

“We have been through this a few times,” she said, “it’s true. But I don’t mind. It’s nice when you’re interested in me.”

“Am I not always?”

“Some days you’re in a more… challenging mindset.” She said, “I can’t even begin to imagine how confusing it must be, losing memories all over the place, feeling lost in your own life. I do not fault you for having days where you just sit in your room and read or have some time alone. Days like today are very special to me. It feels like, well, old times.”

“Old times,” I said, watching as the colours of the evening began to darken. “I hope we were happy.”

“We were!” Claudia said, “We are. You are an amazing person and nothing could ever change that.”

“Thank you.”

“As for me,” Claudia said, “I’m a bit of a mess. I was in school but I took a year off. I’m working on selling my artwork and in this long process with a gallery, which I won’t bore you with. But life is really good but complicated.”

“I would love to see some of your artwork.”

“I’d love to show you! One minute.”

Claudia stood up and ran through the door. I glanced over my shoulder and then clipped the leash on… what was his name?

Right, Odin.

I ran for the door, got my hand around the lock but just as I was about to open it Claudia ran back into the room.

“Where are you going?” she said, pain in her eyes.

“I-” I said, but I couldn’t think of a good reason. The fog was coming back.

“What do you know?” Claudia said, her eyes narrowing as she took a step towards me.

“I don’t know what you mean,” I said, “Odin looked like he needed a walk.”

“No,” Claudia said, admiring my eyes. “No, I see it now. That little spark. There’s a light within you that is new. So I ask again, what do you know?”

I opened my mouth but decided I could probably push past her, even with these old muscles, and I tried to open the door.

Claudia moved too quickly. She was in front of me in the blink of an eye. She opened her mouth revealing sharpened teeth. She sneered and walked her hand up my arm which was on the door handle.

“Oh little mouse,” she said, “You cannot leave that easily. Do you take me for a fool.”

“No,” I said through gritted teeth. A smile lifted the corners of her mouth but there was something sinister about it.

“There is something different about you today,” Claudia said, “Usually you’re this little worm of a man with an empty head, consumed with confusion and anger. You lash out, you sit and stare at the wall for hours, and each day you lose a little more of yourself. But today…”

Claudia touched my cheek. Her hand was clammy and cold. Her eyes turned yellow as she leaned in towards me. “Even now, you can’t even begin to be able to understand what is real and what is being made up inside your own head.”

I pushed her into the door. Odin started to bark as Claudia laughed. Her black hair framed her face, her skin was pale but her eyes were the most changed. They reminded me of something I saw in my dream but it was just beyond my reach.

“You’re weak.” Claudia sneered, her lips uncomfortably close to my neck. “So close to death that all it has to do is reach out a sharpened fingernail and-” she traced a line across my neck with her sharp nail. “Death would sweep you away in a second. So I suggest you go back to your room, take your pills, and sleep the madness away.”

“Who are you?”

“I’m the creature that haunts you,” Claudia said. “Your keeper. Your mistake.”

I ran to the fireplace but Claudia jumped on my back. We fell to the floor, rolling around, limbs flying everywhere. Claudia bit me and blood flowed from my arm. She lunged for me but I rolled away. Odin bit her leg and she kicked him across the room.


I scampered to my feet but she was too fast. She grabbed my neck and lifted me up. I kicked my legs and tried to break free. I gasped for air, my eyes rolling into the back of my head.

“Don’t worry,” Claudia said, “You won’t remember any of this in the morning. Tomorrow I will just be your loving daughter and then, before you know it, you’ll be dead.”

My lungs were burning and I couldn’t breathe. I felt a cold hand reach out, death here to sweep me away. Images started to flicker through my mind. A man with black hair and emerald eyes. He shouted something and an explosion knocked back his foe. What were those words? The author said magic didn’t work here but, what if I could give it a try?

Claudia dropped me to the floor in a pile. I gasped for air, big gulps. She rolled her eyes and reached for me.

“Might as well fix up that wound,” she said, “Before I feel tempted to take just a little bit more.”

Her head was over mine, inches away. I looked up at her, right into her ugly yellow eyes and shouted: “Sh’okour!”


Claudia was thrown backwards with enough force to make a dent in the wall. I didn’t trust that she would be hurt too badly so I needed to take this opportunity. I ran to Odin who seemed mostly okay and flung open the door. We ran down the hallway until I found the stairs. We went down, down, down, spirling and praying that Claudia was not behind us and Jennifer wasn’t in front of us.

I reached the bottom floor and flung open the door and into a busy street. I turned in a circle unsure of where to go, but Odin pulled me right and I followed him without question because, Odin knew the way.

-End Part 6


midnight_medusa t1_j00xssy wrote

Oh shit. Okay, I don’t have much time. I have to make this quick:

You have become a monster with a blackened soul, but you haven’t always been this way.

You are Ammon to me but you are known by many names. You are a powerful spell-caster, also known as a wizard. You were once kind and I hope somewhere deep down you still have a good soul but you were tempted by the side of magic we do not touch. You- I will just say it, you allowed yourself to be seduced by a dangerous warlock known as Jennifyiar, who I warned you about but, whatever.

Together you discovered a powerful relic or something, you were rather withholding concerning the details. Bet you wish you hadn’t been now.

Anyway, this relic sparked some morality that was still inside of you and you stole it from Jennifyar. The relic consumed your mind, you said, and taught you something. Some ultimate secret of something that would be rather dangerous in the hands of someone like Jennifyar.

You were caught eventually. I’m not sure how. You and I had an argument, it’s not important what it was about, and I hadn’t seen you in days. Eventually I was able to find you and infiltrate your mind prison, but I have been cautious. Arising any amount of suspicion is dangerous, and I know I took many risks today. But it’s been really challenging and I have only recently learned how to send you information. She’s keeping you in some other time-line without magic so it’s been hard. It's also rather inconvenient that you forget everything the next day so I’m always starting from scratch.

Klara is the key to your escape. You can find her at 4966 Forest Road. It’s about a thirty minute walk from your apartment. Bring the dog, he knows the way.

You will need to leave before Jennifer gets home. She won’t expect you to attempt to leave the place since you’ve been a shell of a man for a long time.

I will try to contact you again soon but it's risky and I am afraid I will rouse more suspicion in Jennifer. Bring this book, I’ll try to contact you again this way.

You must do as I say. You must not hesitate. You must not let Claudia see you leave. She is not who she seems to be. She is just as dangerous as Jennifer.

I blinked and the words on the page began to move until they settled into an entirely new text:

The man stood on the hillside, admiring the manor that resided atop the rocky cliff. Many memories-

I closed and opened the book but the mysterious author was gone. I realised that she never told me her name. Or did she? I frowned, why did I assume it was a she?


I am fragmented.

What did that mean? And what did I learn from that so-called relic? And what did it mean that I was a monster with a blackened soul? What did I do? What had I become?

Where did she say I was? An alternative timeline? Does that mean that somewhere, someplace, I truly am this elderly man who is slowly losing himself to a terrifying disease?

It all felt too good to be true. Since the moment I awoke to this life I longed to be able to escape it. Being this man, Keith, who can’t trust anything around him, who wakes up only to learn about his life for the first time again. Trapped in this looping, daily cycle of confusion with no way out. The only question on his mind is the one that can never be answered: who am I?

It was terrifying, being this man.

So it would make sense, right, that this man would create an elaborate fantasy where he had a way out of this life. A mysterious saviour who could unravel him from his trap. It would make all this feel like it could have meaning. It excited me beyond words to be able to take this road and follow it to another possible life, even if that life came with its own challenges.

I didn’t know what to do and I was still struggling to figure out what to believe. What was at stake here? According to the author it was a lot. But what is the harm in taking the dog for a walk? The worst that can happen is I’ll forget where the house is and eventually someone will find me and take me home. So it was worth a try to follow this path and see where it goes. Maybe I am truly this Ammon person. Perhaps there is some power and strength within me that I had forgotten.

The dog knows the way?

What the hell did that mean?

I stood up and grabbed a jacket from the closet. I put the book in one of the breast pockets and opened the bedroom door slowly. The living room was empty but as I started to walk down the hallway Odin came running around the corner. He licked my hand and led the way towards the door.

“Where are you going?”

I turned around to see Claudia standing in her bedroom doorway. She smiled sweetly and stepped out into the hallway, closing the door behind her. I forced a smile on my lips and reminded myself that I needed to act like I hadn’t just been told that Claudia was dangerous. I needed to navigate this conversation carefully.

“I wanted to sit on the balcony, watch the run set.” I said. “Would you like to join me?” Claudia’s face brightened with a smile and she nodded her head.

“I’ll make some tea,” she said, “I’ll meet you outside.” I nodded and walked towards the balcony. On the way I snatched the leash off the wall and shoved it in my pocket.

-End Part 5


midnight_medusa t1_j009llb wrote

I shoved the pills and note in the pocket with the other one. I pretended to put some pills in my mouth and drank the water. Jennifer had peaked her head out of the bedroom door, her eyes like a hawk’s, watching me with something, suspicion maybe, in her eyes. She seemed satisfied with my performance and disappeared back into the bedroom.

I retrieved the book from the balcony and walked to the main bathroom. I hoped Jennifer would leave before I exited. She was beginning to give me the creeps.

I re-read each note before I ripped it up and watched the small pieces fall into the toilet. I took the pills out one at a time and dropped them in the water. Each one made a small “plopping” sound. I checked them all for markings before I let it fall off my palm and into the toilet but there was nothing distinct on the pills. I didn’t know if that was strange or not.

Someone knocked on the door and I jumped. I flushed as I said, “Yeah?”

“Keith, dear,” Jennifer said, her sharp voice slightly muffled. It was nice to have a door between us. “I have to go. Claudia just got home. I’ll only be there for about an hour. See you soon.”

“Okay,” I said. My heart rate began to settle only when I heard the front door open and close.

I sighed deeply and glanced at the empty toilet. I looked at my reflection next and felt the same emotions I did this morning. This didn’t feel like my face. I leaned forwards and inspected every inch of my facial features. As I did I noticed a slight flickering. Bright green eyes hidden behind my brown ones. Black hair under the grey.

“Keith?” Claudia’s voice said through the door and I jumped, knocking over a bottle of lotion.

“Uh, yeah?” I said as I picked it off the floor.

“You okay?”

“Yes,” I said, annoyance bubbling up inside my chest. “I am not a child.”

“Okay,” Claudia said. I couldn’t tell if there was a tone of hurt in her voice. She walked away and I unlocked the door.

Claudia was reading in the living room as I exited the bathroom. She looked different now, wearing a long floral dress and a decent amount of make-up. She smiled at me but I couldn’t bring myself to return it. The confusion and irritation was beginning to catch up with me and I worried that if I spoke to her it wouldn’t be kind.

I walked towards the bedroom and firmly closed the door behind me. The silence was soothing. I took a seat in a chair by the window bathing myself in warm yellow rays. The chair was placed in front of a bookcase that was packed with books. I wondered if it were I or Jennifer who had the book addiction.

I opened the book “Get out” and started to read the first page.

Ammon, we are running out of time. You are in grave danger. She has already broken off so much from your mind. You are not ill but you are fragmented. I know you can feel it, pieces of yourself being pulled away with each passing moment. You are almost out of time, once she finds what she is looking for she will not hesitate to kill you.

I am not here, not really. I have learned how to manipulate this reality to send you messages. You are the only one who can free yourself so listen closely. I will only be able to tell you this once and you will only be able to try to escape at exactly midnight tonight. That’s it. If you miss it you will die there, do you understand?

It is now or never. I know you don’t remember who you are but you are very significant. You have to believe me that this is all so much bigger than you. You must not let her find what she is looking for. You must not let her fragment the last pieces of you. Do you hear me, you spontaneous fool? I still need you. The world still needs you. It’s time to remember who you truly are. But I must warn you, you will not like what you hear.

-End Part Four


midnight_medusa t1_j009jm8 wrote

I read it again: “Destroy this note.”

I clutched my hand, crumpling the note in my palm. It felt real but who knows what kind of tricks unwell minds can play. I could feel myself split between two main beliefs: that the notes were real and I should listen to them or the notes were a figment of my own imagination and I needed to tell Jennifer and go to the, uh, you know, the place people go when they’re not feeling well.

What was that word?

“Destroy this note.”

I bit my lip and looked around, anxiety and confusion fogging up my ability to think. My thoughts were like a whirlpool, spiralling out of control and in uncomfortable circles. Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t seem to concentrate long enough to really think this through. I rubbed my temples in frustration.

Come on you stupid, old fool.


I took in a deep breath and closed my eyes hoping that I could try to imagine all the components of this problem in my mind's eye. I think some character in a book I read once called it his “Mind Palace”. Some detective who was super sharp. Holmes? I tried to channel him.


If I continued to destroy the notes then I’d also be erasing all evidence of the notes. How could I know for sure that they’re real without this evidence? And how the hell am I supposed to remember what the notes say? I tried to imagine the first note. I recreated the scratchy handwriting with looping letters. I believed I could remember what it said but I had already learned that my own recollection was unreliable.

I could write the information down somewhere, maybe I have a journal, but that was risky since I didn’t know if Jennifer would read it.

I unclenched my hand and read the note again.


Ok, if I can commit that to some fragment of my broken mind perhaps I can remember at least that much.

Ammon. Ammon. Ammon.

What is it people do when they’re trying to commit something to memory? I couldn’t think of anything so I continued to play the name through my mind like a song. It felt nostalgic, if that makes any sense.

I folded up the note and put it in my pocket. I leaned forwards and looked inside the living room but all I could see was the dog sitting at the glass window. He began to wag his tail as I met his eyes.

The dog, I should really ask his or her name, began to paw at the door and I walked over to open it. The dog whined and licked my hand. I checked out its collar.


That was cute. I wonder who named him.

He locked his brown eyes with mine and lifted his eyebrows. I got a strange feeling, as if the dog was trying to communicate something to me. I scratched behind his ears. I couldn’t remember what the breed was called, but he had long golden hair that made him look a little like a lion. Regal and beautiful.

Jennifer walked into the kitchen and began to grab some pill bottles from the cupboards. She was on the phone and didn’t sound pleased.

“Well tell them that wasn't what we discussed. Yes Claudia, that matters. They need to respect their initial agreement. Yes, it does work like that. No, you don’t have to have it written down for it to matter. Ok sweetie, yes, I heard you. Okay, good luck. See you soon.”

Jennifer hung up and walked over to me with a cup of water and a tiny bowl filled with about three small, white pills.

“Here you go dear,” she said, handing me the pills and the glass. “You need to take these every day, doctor's orders.”

A knot began to form in my stomach and I wanted to object but figured this was a losing battle. I took the water and the pills. Jennifer put her hand on my shoulder and squeezed. Her touch made me want to recoil but I remained still. She was a beautiful woman with long silver hair and captivating blue eyes. Her age had made her look powerful, like a witch of the woods, and I found myself drawn to her physical appearance. But there was something under her skin that made my own crawl.

Was Jennifer who she claimed to be?

Jennifer turned and walked back into the bedroom. I lifted the pills and felt a strong urge not to take them. I investigated each one and played with them between my fingers. The third pill I picked up felt different. I placed it in the palm of my hand and pushed on it. It was made of paper.

I turned my back to the hallway and unravelled the pill. It pulled out into a long, thin strip of paper.

“Do not take the pills and stop hesitating. You do not have a memory problem. You get reset each night. You will remember today unless she knows about it and erases it. You are being manipulated. Destroy the note Ammon, god dammit. Do you want to be stuck there forever? Take the book on the balcony to the bedroom and sit in your reading chair. Await your next instruction. Just destroy the fucking notes. I will explain all soon, I promise.”

- End Part Three


midnight_medusa t1_izvv4fr wrote

I heard a commotion from behind me and I quickly placed some more logs on the fire and took a seat on the couch. I sunk into it and it made me feel more relaxed but my hands were still shaking. Why was I feeling so anxious? It felt like some instinct was trying to tell me something but I couldn't place it.

I felt suddenly small, tiny, and insignificant. My chest tightened as I began to feel like my life had to purpose. Was this an existential crisis? How many mornings have I woken up like this? How many times had my family have to explain to me who I was? What did that note mean and was it even real? I glanced at the fire which had erased all evidence of the note.

Is this a test of some kind? Or a game? I shook my head and sighed deeply. The alternative is that this is all real, I have lost my memory and now I was perhaps losing my mind. Can I even trust myself or my own instincts if I don't even know who I am?

Klara entered the room, dressed now, in a long blue dress with sparkly earrings that she was still fitting to her ear as she walked in.

"How did it go?" she said and then furrowed her brow. "It's so hot outside, why make the fire?"

"I feel oddly cold." I said rubbing my shoulders as if that would help my case. The lie felt strange in my mouth.

"Okay," Klara said, "No problem. I'll open the balcony door though, give you a bit of a breeze." She turned to walk towards the door when a question struck me.

"Klara," I said, "One second."

"What?" Klara said, her brow furrowed as her mouth pulled into a tight line. Her eyes narrowed and she changed from friendly into something else. After a second she composed herself and her expression morphed into a tight smile. "It's okay honey, but my name is Jennifer."

"Oh." I said furrowing my brow. I thought back to the moment she introduced herself and all the things written in the photo album. I could've sworn she said Klara... that I read Klara... yes, she must have said Klara.

I thought back to that moment in the kitchen when she stood before me in her PJ's. The dog was at my feet or on my right... she said: "My name is -"

Now I couldn't even bring that memory to my mind. It was as if it was being erased in real time. The more I tried to focus on it the blurrier it became.

Great, so now I couldn't even trust my own memory from a time as recent as this fucking morning? Or was Klara another clue? It could be another clue if this Klara person could help...

No, this is illogical. I need to learn more about my life before I fall down rabbit holes I'll forget tomorrow. I have such a short window of conscious awareness and I didn't intend to misuse it.

"I'm sorry Jennifer," I said. Jennifer smiled.

"Don't worry about it, truly, it's fine."

Jennifer pulled open the balcony door and a sweet breeze struck me. I took in a deep breath of air, complete with the fragment of spring rain and blooming flowers. This made me remember my question.

"How old am I?"

"You are Sixty-Seven years young." Klara, I mean Jennifer, said. "I am three years younger than you. We've known each other since we were thirteen and started dating in our twenties. We went our separate ways for a while, but somehow our lives always intertwined."

"How old is Claudia?"

"She's twenty-five this year," Jennifer said proudly. "She's an amazing young woman."

"Why does she still live here with us?"

Jennifer took a seat across from me and folded her hands on her lap.

"Well," she said, "Claudia is very found of you. When she found out you were sick she took time off work and moved in with us to help out. She's been living here for about two years now."

"Oh," I said, suddenly feeling like a burden. Jennifer reached across and put her hand on mine. Her hand felt cold and clammy. "You have good days and not so good days. It's okay if you're struggling to remember today. Yesterday was a good day. All we can do is try to make the best of every day."

She was right but I was starting to feel scared and claustrophobic, like I was trapped in this life with no possible escape. Doomed to suffocate my family until I withered away into nothing.

"I'm going to get some air," I said, standing up and walking towards the open door.

"Enjoy," Jennifer said, "I will be in the room. I have a meeting. Claudia should be home soon. She'll be here with you while I'm gone."

I nodded and closed the door behind me.

I took a seat in one of the chairs and leaned back. The view was beautiful but like inside it felt a little bit duller than I remember. As if the colors were not as bright as I remembered. But could I really trust anything that had anything to do with my own memory.

I glanced at the little glass table in front of me and saw a book. It was titled "Get out." I picked it up and as I did a note fell out and landed on my foot. I glanced to the glass door but Jennifer wasn't there. I quickly picked up the note and opened it up.

"Klara is the key. Trust no one. Not even Claudia. I mean it, not even Claudia! Your name is Ammon. Reveal this to no one. Await your next instruction. Destroy this note."

-End Part Two