by Martin Webb
She reaches back through time, grabs a handful of memories, and is gone again like dust on the breeze. She sits silently, oblivious to all else, fastidiously sorting through her treasures, snippets of a former life, parts of a whole. There are voices, faces, fleeting images, visions of joy and of sadness and of loss.
She has lost everything, an entire lifetime of building a home and a family, a lifetime of sacrifices and love and the tumbling cascade of emotions that forged the person she used to be. That stranger stares back at her from a fractured mirror, fractured by anger, as fractured and fragile as she feels on the rare occasions she feels anything at all.
A man in a smart white uniform walks up to her, speaks soothingly, but his words are a nonsense. He points and her vacant eyes follow to where another man waits. This second one is old, flanked by two younger people. They all look so grave, so serious. What do they want with her, all these strangers, these interlopers? Can’t they just leave her alone to mourn the passing of her mind?
A brief glimpse, the face of a loved one, so similar to the man standing at the foot of her bed. Only much younger. And happier. She was happy once, she knows she was. But the things that brought happiness, the moments that created them, those have long since departed. She sobs and distant hands comfort her. She sleeps and when she wakes the visitors have departed, if they were ever there in the first place. A girl in a green outfit places a tray on the shelf across the bed before offering her a cup of water and a handful of pills.
Loss, such an overwhelming sense of loss.
The lights go out and she’s left staring at the blank wall opposite, a dull glow from the street reflecting the uncertainty of an alien world. The light is fragmented, just as she is, shattered by uncontrollable influences. That visitor from earlier, the old man, ignites a spark of recognition, one of those insubstantial memories she’s tried so hard to cling to. His name … his name …
And then she’s gone again. Like dust on the breeze.
Martin Webb worked as an editor for DC Comics before beginning his writing career. He has had numerous articles published in magazines and has featured in Cosmopolitan and Penthouse. He currently lives near Oxford in England and writes constantly, usually flash fiction, while simultaneously editing his second novel. Blog: pedanticrant.wordpress.com.