Friday, July 10, 2015

Fiction Friday - Flashes - Chapter One

** Poetry Friday has been renamed Fiction Friday, as my fiction post has become much more popular than my poetry. Enjoy! **

            My name is Meagan Wright. I am named after my grandmother on my mother’s side. I am an American mixture of Irish, German, English, and Scottish heritage. Several of my mother’s Irish ancestor’s were reported to have certain psychic powers. I suppose, if I believe in that sort of thing, that’s probably where my problems originated.
            I’ve heard of photographic memories and telepathic people. I consider myself to have more of a videographic memory. The images that flow through my head seem like a historical-fiction action movie. I receive glimpses into the life of some other character from the distant reaches of the past like a movie clip.
            Typically, my visions occur after some traumatic or emotional experience. The flashes are probably related in some way to what they call “feminine intuition”, only much more vivid.
            I may have experienced these visions as a child, but the first one I remember was in my college years. I lived in a somewhat run-down apartment building right on the edge of campus. Rent was less than the dorms, when split with three roommates, and I enjoyed the semi-privacy afforded by separate bedrooms.
            I tended to keep to myself, and ended up having three different roommates move in and out of my dorm room my freshman year. A separate bedroom was a luxury after a school year filled with loud music, late-night typing, early morning risers, prank phone calls and some frightening female drama.

            It was a Friday night, and although a nearby apartment had a party that night, the apartment manager had called the cops and things had quieted down by midnight. At about two in the morning, I woke up, smelling smoke and hearing a faint alarm. I pulled a blanket around my head to block the smoke and ran to my roommate’s rooms, banging on doors as I went.
            After waking everyone up, we made our way out to exterior balcony and stairs and down to the parking lot. Everyone seemed safe, but as I ran, huddled under the shelter of my makeshift hood, I flashed.
            A young woman, with dark brown hair and golden eyes was racing down a hillside in the forest. She turned to look over her shoulder, and stumbled over the rocks and tree roots. She pulled her shawl more tightly over her head as if she could block out the danger that was swiftly approaching as the hoof beats grew closer and closer.
            At that point I was startled out of the vision by my roommate. I had not even realized that my eyes were closed at the time. She was worried that I was about to pass out from smoke inhalation. When I started to think about what I had seen, I did start to feel a little faint.
            It’s not that I believe in reincarnation. There is a definite flaw somewhere in the idea of coming back as a worm - even if I had done something horrible in a former life.
My visions are always of women from the past. Not famous women, but I can tell that they aren’t me, something about their eyes and the third person perspective.  Maybe it’s just some type of time warp or interconnectedness. It doesn’t happen very often, but it does present some problems for my daily life.
            I have adapted since my college days. I have learned to try to keep my eyes wide open during tense situations. I found that I cannot flash unless I close my eyes. Of course it’s hard with the natural blink reflexes. My brother, Joe, made me flash once when he flicked a paper wad at me unexpectedly. Once my eyes are closed, it is almost impossible for me to stop the flash myself. Some interruption from the outside world has to occur.
            Joe, nice brother that he is, let me flash for almost five minutes. I still remember everything I saw that day. The woman I saw had a sharp white nurse’s uniform on. Her auburn hair was pulled back into a tight bun, with two long curls resting against her high cheekbones, sharpening her features. She was out in the middle of a field, knee deep in tall wavy grasses.
            After a few more seconds, the sound kicked in. I heard the sharp whine of a bomb. The bomb sounded loud to me, but was not close enough to turn her focus. She was gazing down toward what looked to be a trench, the grass was missing and fresh dirt littered the ground. The flash took me closer and I looked down into the trench. I saw two men, one American, one looked like a German soldier to me. Both had several fatal bullet wounds, and still carried their weapons in their hands.
            My character, as I had begun to think of the women during a flash, stepped down into the trench, clutching a medal or locket tightly in one fist. When she reached the German, she gently closed his eyes and adjusted the collar of his uniform. When she reached the American, she leaned her body across his chest, and I saw one tear drip down onto his uniform, the darkness of the teardrop blending in with the blood stains already covering most of the fabric.
            She pressed her hand to his head, and then reached up to gently snip a lock of hair from his forehead. Her task seemed to be complete, and she turned to leave the foxhole. The expression on her face as she turned changed from sympathy and love to terror and fear. She had seen the enemy. She raised her hands slowly in surrender as a troop of young German recruits pointed their weapons at her.
            At that point, my brother finally got bored of watching me with my eyes closed and smacked me in the forehead with the car magazine he was reading. He is supposedly three years older than me, but the maturity level is just not there.
            I’ve never really told my family about my visions. I feel that these flashes are something sacred, as if sharing them would somehow cut a piece out of my soul. So, most of my family and friends seem to think of me as a ditzy or flaky person sometimes. It’s definitely hard to explain away when those closest to me think I have just been zoning out on them, especially in a tense or difficult situation.
            There is one person that knows everything: my best friend in the entire world. I never had a best friend until my first job out of college. I had plenty of friends and acquaintances in middle school, high school, and college, but no one that I could really connect with. I felt disconnected from almost everything and everyone. We had a lot of fun times, but there wasn’t really someone I could spill all my secrets to.
This job wasn’t really a career, but the pay was enough to cover my student loan payments, and the hours were nice. I worked in the administrative division of a fairly large accounting firm. Our jobs consisted mainly of filing paperwork, retrieving paperwork, answering phones, setting up appointments for clients, and dealing with the invoices and billing.
            Peter worked in the payroll division. Well, the firm wasn’t that large, Peter pretty much was the payroll division. So, when I had an error on one of my paychecks, everyone I asked pointed me to his office. I observed him through his open door for a few minutes. His hair was a soft dark blond, and his ears were tiny. He had relatively large lips, especially given his otherwise delicate facial features. His brow was wrinkled as he squinted at the computer screen, obviously not liking what he saw.
            The blinds in his window were open, and there were several live plants on a desk top placed in front of the window. He had two comfortable chairs placed strategically in the room. Large file cabinets were placed along a back wall and next to the window were several bookshelves fill with a menagerie of volumes from the obvious accounting and payroll manuals to fiction and self-improvement books.
            I knocked on the doorframe and stuck my head through the doorway. “Are you Peter Van Moore?” I asked, even though the nameplate next to the door already told me so.
            He was deeply involved in whatever he was working on, so it took him a moment to glance up. “Yes, I am,” he responded. “And who might you be?” He reached up habitually, as if he were adjusting glasses that he no longer wore.
            “Meagan Wright. I just started working here about three weeks ago, in the administrative department. I had a problem with my paycheck, and I was told that you were the one I should speak with.”
            “Please, come in and sit down, I remember that name, let me see if I can pull you up in the system.”
            I sat in the most obvious choice of seating, directly across the desk. With the computer placed in the corner of the desk, I could still clearly see his expression as he swiftly typed in my name and pulled up my file. His eyebrows drew together to form a thin worry line until the screen he was looking for finally came up. When he found what he was looking for, he pursed his large lips, making them look even fuller.
            “Looks like you got your first paycheck last this past Thursday. What seems to be the problem?”
            As he walked me through the forms to fill out for my taxes and explained the city and state tax, I watched his shoulders. For an office nerd, as he appeared to be, he had fairly large, straight shoulders and almost a barrel chest. Fortunately, his mind was on the task at hand, and he didn’t notice my distraction during our 20 minute visit.
            When I spoke with my mother that weekend, I happened to mention Peter. She was the one who, simply by telling me how absolutely wonderful he seemed, convinced me to pursue friendship rather than a relationship. I was fresh out of college, and never had been one to pursue my MRS degree while I was in college. I knew it would take me some time to figure out my life on my own, and starting a relationship at work was not the way to go about it. So we became friends, and over the years, the best of friends.
            For some reason there are certain things I don’t share with my girl friends. We share shopping, food, beverages, lipstick, clothing, phone conversations, and shoes. But I can’t seem to open up about the serious stuff. All my girl friends tell me I’m a great listener – unless I happen to flash and they have no idea where my mind went. I think the reason I don’t want to share with them is not that I don’t trust them or love them. It’s more than I don’t know what to say.
            I’m sure they would be open-minded about visions, psychic vibes, or déjà vu, but this is something very different. When I’m in the vision, I see the person as they actually were in their era. In my mind they are currently in the middle of danger, excitement, and even sexual encounters. How do I describe this peeping tom vision to a friend? By the way, while you thought I wasn’t listening to you, I was actually watching a prostitute in early Beijing ply her wares on a dangerous street corner. My friend Jessica was incredulous enough when I told her I was thinking about getting some ice cream.
            I seem to still try to avoid romantic encounters. For one thing, they end up giving me flashes more often than not. One of my first boyfriends dumped me on the spot when I flashed during a particularly enjoyable kiss. You would think the guy would be thrilled to have “transported me” for a few minutes. Instead, the only thing that broke my flash was the door slamming on his way out.

            I have gradually whittled it down over the years, figuring out when the flashes will come. The trigger seems to be adrenaline. Now I generally try to avoid sources of adrenaline. Danger, new experiences, or even that sharp gasp of fear that supposedly cures hiccups can set me off. So, yes, sometimes my life is a little boring.
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