Revealing

Upon opening his eyes, he wanted coffee. What had woken him wasn’t clear, but his eyes felt strange. Sleep must still be clinging to them. Everything looked blurry. So he made his way to the kitchen and turned on the coffee. He tried rubbing the sleep out of his eyes to no avail. Giving up, he just grabbed a mug for the coffee.

Immediately, images began flashing before him. The lines around the mug – the blurriness – resolved into a scene, his ex purchasing the mug, wrapping it, and giving it to him several years ago. He expected – no ‘expect’ is the wrong word – he thought the images would end there. Instead, the scene continued to play out: the next year of their relationship, the messy break up, his move into this place.

He found himself hoping the mug would show him what happened to her. As if in response, the display shifted to her. She spent several unhappy months before meeting someone. Not wanting to see it, he skipped through their courtship. Their wedding followed, as did scenes from their marriage. She was unhappy and trapped.

The coffee maker beeped to signal it had finished. He let go of the mug and looked at the machine. The images vanished, but more lines surrounded the coffee maker. Now he recognized them as holding potential, the promise or threat of revealing the history of people involved with the item. Having understood them, he found it easier to see them and ignore them, reducing the blur.

What did any of this mean? What was happening to him? He found himself reluctant to touch anything for fear of what it might show him. And yet, the possibilities were fascinating. Perhaps he could help solve crimes, or even uncover forgotten treasure. What might different objects reveal?

A thought arose, and he quickly went to the closet, the coffee forgotten. Inside the closet was the blanket knitted for him by his mother years earlier. He clutched it close to him and sat on the floor.

He watched as she knitted the blanket over months and then gave it to him on his birthday. He felt a measure of joy at seeing her smile again. The joy turned to sorrow as he watched the cancer consume her once more, tears welling up as the funeral unfolded. But he pushed on. Rather than follow his own history with the blanket, he switched the vision to his mother’s story, just before her death, and followed it beyond.

Days later, he was found sitting, still clutching the blanket and staring blankly. Alive, but unresponsive, they took him to a hospital where he received care. But his stare never wavered, and he never spoke to another person again.

Obsolete

The phone rang, its shrill voice breaking through the darkness and silence. The obsolete machine continued to follow the rules dictated by its hardware, oblivious to the portable devices that had replaced it. And it was not alone. After several more rings, an answering machine clicked on.

“Hello. I’m not home right now. Please leave a message after the beep.” A click followed and the the tone signaling the caller to talk.

A female voice, distorted by the old, shoddy speaker, echoed through the room. “I cannot believe you still have a landline. Are you ever going to make it into the 21st century?

“Anyway, about last night… I know you’re upset. I was hoping to catch you, to talk to you…

“Look. This isn’t easy for me, either. I don’t like it, and I don’t want you to think I wanted this to happen. But sometimes it does, and we just have to figure out how to move on. It’s up to me to decide what to do about it, but I still want to talk to you.

“I… I don’t feel right talking about this on an answering machine. I don’t know where you are or what you’re thinking. Just call me back, okay? I’ve got my cell with me.”

After the faint sound of the line going dead, the machine turned off. Bleakly, the red light flashed in the darkness, announcing that there had been an attempt to communicate. The significance, however, was lost on the empty room.

Trapped

The stone floor was rough and dug into the exposed skin of his face and hands as he lay unmoving. The blood flowed slowly through the channels on the uneven surface. As it touched his face, he twitched. Slowly consciousness returned to him. Pain surrounded him, and he could not remember how he had gotten here. Finally, the sticky sweet blood penetrated the daze, and he pushed himself off the floor with a start.

The source of the blood became immediately obvious as fresh pain shot through his side. Pressing his hand there, he felt the ooze soaking through his shirt. The lightheadedness nearly caused him to pass out again. He steadied himself and took account of his surroundings.

The room was square and small, no more than 10 feet to a side. A single stone slab served as the floor. The walls and ceiling had no seams, either. A strange glow seemed to emanate from the walls, and a heavy wooden door was the only feature that interrupted the stone. Where was he? How did he get here?

His mind refused to give him any answers. His side had been slashed, and now he was closed into an unfamiliar place. Walking slowly over to the door, he was unsurprised to find that there was no way to open it. For whatever reason, he was trapped here. The exertion had drained the last of his meager strength, and he slumped to the floor.

He knew he had lost a lot of blood already, even though it had nearly stopped now. Without some help, some food and drink, some attention to his wound, he didn’t think he could last much longer. Did anyone know he was here? Had he been left here to die?

Consciousness began to slip away, and he gave up trying to fight it. There was nothing he could do, so what was the point? Not knowing if he would ever emerge again, he let the darkness envelope him.

However, it receded once more. He never knew why he woke again, but now the door was open. Weakness still pulled on him, making any movement difficult. He forced himself to crawl to the door. His vision was dark around the edges, but he focused on staying conscious.

At the door, he paused to pull himself up to his feet. He needed the wall to lean on and keep himself upright. Every moment was another in which the door might be slammed shut. Fear grew nearly to a panic as he struggled to move faster.

Finally beyond the threshold, he found himself in a hallway. There was no indication where it went or what dangers it might hold. He felt the weakness grow with every minute that passed; walking sped up the drain. He did not want to stay in the room, but leaving held the unknown. He might escape down the hall, or it might cost him his life. Surely someone would come by to check on him, to help him.

Looking one last time down the hall, he decided not to risk it. Instead, he turned and crawled back into the room. He collapsed on the floor and waited to hear someone coming to save him. But the hall remained silent.

Hoar Frost

Yesterday, I woke up to find the world had turned white. In addition to the snow already on the ground, hoar frost covered everything. I was in heaven.

White Trees

Fog in the air gave the outdoors the feeling of void, or emptiness, consuming the world, or waiting for a creator.

Prairie Frost

The frost lasted all day. The spikes growing longer.

A Single Branch

The white untouched snow on the river belies the water flowing below the surface.

Around the Bend

And it was still and quiet, except for the breeze occasionally causing a shower of snow fall.

Still Water