Hello loves. This is NOT fanfiction. This is an excerpt from my current project and idk if its something I should put in. I dont even know if I like it at all, tbh. Some feedback would be great, just putting that out there: open to all criticism.
Side note: I’m pushing it in form and structure here. This is heavily stream of consciousness which, atm, is my favorite plaything. Sorry. If its too weird, please tell me.
The setting sun: faint gold and orange. Orange like the tangerines sitting on the table in the morning, beside our breakfast. Gold like the colour of my spring dress that dances around my legs as I move through the space where the table once sat.
The floorboards creak; a long, familiar groan as they take my weight. Another step, and a protested response to match it. The next there will be no sound; the 6th board from the end of the stairs was the least worn of them all.
I step. Silence.
All at once I am three, five, six, and twenty-four. I am the toddler running through the house with reckless abandon. I am the child holding my dress out as if the stiff fabric of my church clothing was going to give away my secret. I am creeping through, trying not to make a sound on my way to the kitchen. I can smell moms cookies in the air.
I am six, walking through the silent house in the dead of night; the only sound I can hear is my soft footsteps and the groaning floorboards.
They whisper 'Don't go. Don't go.' but I do. I pass over them, undaunted. I stand in the doorway, facing the night.
"Come." The soldier yells at me.
'Come back.' The floors whisper. I turn to see you, standing in the hallway behind me. ‘Come back.’
I am twenty-four. I am the nameless face that has traveled the world. I am the girl that has watched the setting sun and traced patterns in its light, remembering. I am twenty-four, wandering through this empty house that is a shell and nothing more. You left it long ago, and I could not save you then.
I can not save you ever.
'You're home. You're home.' The house cries softly, wrapping itself around me. I can feel all the warmth in it, all the memories. I can feel your small hand in mine as we run over the weathered wood floors. I can taste fruit pie on my lips, honey on my tongue. I can hear your whining voice ringing in my ears. I can feel your heart beating under my hand as you lie on the low table, hand across your forehead.
'Am I gonna make it, doc?' you gasp, exaggerating the severity of your splinter.
'You'll survive.' I say.
I am twenty-four, standing in the dining room where we used to play with cars and flowers and army figurines. I am twenty-four and you are nineteen still, nineteen and so alone. The house is empty without you.
Thats why I never came back.
I look out the window to the low field that stretches out into the fading light. It is twilight now, the edge of the sun gone behind the horizon. The orange is fading quickly from the sky.
"I never wanted this." I say. Its too late now.
I turn my back to the old metal framed windows that line the wall; to the faded wallpaper, and the empty space slowly filling with darkness. I turn and walk away once more, for the last time.
The floorboards creak and call beneath my feet.
The house shudders with every step. This house that I have never walked in silence; this house that always knows I am here.
I pass through the kitchen and catch the lingering scent of tangerines in the air: a last reminder as I step out into the cold night.
I am twenty, and you are in my arms. “Go! Run! FORGET ABOUT HIM!!” They scream.
"Don’t go." you plead. I pause, coiled. "Don’t go."
In my mind I stay. I hold you. I’m there.
In my mind you are here, and you are twenty-three. In my mind the table is set with oranges, the twilight fading to a starry spring night.
"Come back!" You cry. "Come back."
In my mind I will see you at dinner, still covered in mud from the garden. In my mind you are still smiling, your face not twisted in horror.
'You're home.' I will say to you, the you in my head. The one that smells like dirt and tangerines and little brothers.
"Stay. Please." You cry as I step out of sight. A pause. "Remember-" you say.
In my mind you say ‘Stay’ and I do; 'Stop' and I kneel down next to you; 'Remember' and I ask ‘What?’. In my mind you are more than a vacant memory filled in with hollowed regret; you are real again, like you never left.
I am twenty-four and you are nineteen.
Four years and you still smell like tangerines.