Quaquaversal #atozchallenge

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Quaquaverasl; moving or happening in every direction instantaneously. 

There were days Nancy felt like everything was happening at once and was all out of her control. She felt pulled like a rubber stretch doll in all directions, knowing she would soon snap. The only escape she had was in her mind where she could pretend everything was all right.

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Mind Falling

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Everyday I was falling through my mind. Imagines and thoughts tumbling by which I could only half process. Strangely, my current thoughts seemed to be with me and I could think as if I was on the outside again. Mostly, I wondered about when this was all going to stop and what had been the cause of it? How does one man become trapped inside of his own mind and how can he break free?

The answer hadn’t come to me yet, so I was still falling though memories. There were flashes of things I’d totally forgotten but somehow had been stored here and other flashes of things I’d rather not see ever again. There were happy scenes, sad scenes, holiday, birthday scenes and dangerous scenes that triggered all kinds of things deep within me.

After awhile, I stopped paying attention. That was until, I reached my childhood memories. A weird feeling grew and I realised how little happy memories I had at this time. Also, how much I had forgotten. Had my teacher really had green hair? Had my painting really been in that gallery display? What had been my best friend’s girlfriend’s name? Where were all this people now?

I couldn’t really answer any questions, that knowledge wasn’t stored here. What did that matter anyway? The past wasn’t going to happened again, even though right now I did feel like I was re-living it. When all those memories ended there was nothing but blackness. It seemed I was drifting through space, but I didn’t think that was true.

What was going to happened now? Was this for eternity? Or would I cycle back around. I tried shouting, but like last time nothing came of it. I tried to stop moving, but couldn’t. Then all my thoughts stopped.

 

(Inspired from; https://whatthehellisreal.wordpress.com/2017/08/10/photo-fiction-99/ with thanks).

Mind Lost

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The bell on the bus rang and with a few glances in his mirrors, the bus driver pulled up smoothly at the next stop.

I looked down the aisle and saw an elderly gentleman wearing a large brown hat and in a long, light brown coat getting to his feet with the aid of a wooden walking stick. He tottered to the hissing opening doors and looked out.

‘Wrong stop,’ he announced and hobbled back to his seat.

The bus driver with a loud sigh, closed the doors, indicted and pulled off.

The old man sit down again and looked out of the window, watching the rows of houses and small patches of green grass go by.

I returned to my open book, cursing my broken headphones as I felt the first pings of my anxiety starting up. Public transport always triggered it, even if I had taken the same journey hundreds of times. There was no stopping that strange wiggly worms sensation in my stomach and the loss of concentration on my book.

The bell rang again. The bus driver slowed and pulled over, easing the bus to a stop and opening the doors.

The same old man got up and walked over. He looked out then said loudly, ‘this isn’t my stop! This isn’t where I’m going!’

‘It’s all right. Just sit down again then,’ the driver said calmly.

Over the top of my book, I watched the elderly gentleman shuffling back to his seat again. He sat down heavily and started muttering to himself.

The engine rumbled, the indicted clicked and we were off again.

Sneakily checking out the other passengers, I saw that none of them were bothered by the elderly man’s mistakes. They all seemed to be in worlds of their own. There was a business man typing away on a small laptop, another man was reading the free newspaper and a third older man was on his phone. Of the four woman, not counting myself, one was reading a library book which I couldn’t see the cover of, two were sat at the back, heads together talking softly and the fourth woman was dozing off with a sleeping baby in her arms.

I turned my eyes back to my book and tried to get into the romantic story of an angel falling in love with a human he was banished from being with. Your typical young adult supernatural mush but I loved it. However, my mind couldn’t focus and I began to picture what would happen if the bus was suddenly to crash.

It was a reoccurring image brought on by the anxiety. I was caught up in it for a few moments, wondering what everyone would do if we became trip in the turned over bus. There’d be smoke, screaming, blood. People would die – the driver, maybe the old man and baby. Maybe even me…

I shook the thoughts away and placed down my book. My fingers still inside the closing pages. Oh, how I wished for my music! The loud beating and fast lyrics of heavy metal noise that I could fade into and forget about everything.

The bell ring and this time the man with the laptop got up. He hardly waited for the bus to stop and the doors to open, before he leaped to the pavement and hurried away.

The elderly man seemed not to have noticed the bus stopping. He was looking out of the window. He was still muttering, but I could not make out what he was saying.

The bus driver lingered for a few minutes, perhaps waiting for the old man to get off or maybe for a big enough gap in the traffic.

I looked through the open doors, feeling the cold winter breeze on my face and trying to relax. We were next to the old Jewish cemetery. The curling gates at the top of the driveway were locked but the smaller side one was half open. I could just make out the tops of the headstones. New apartments flanked both sides of the cemetery, looking out of place and making me recall an argument about the developers wanting to move the headstones and bodies to another location.

The bus doors hissed shut and with the engine sounding grumpy, the driver cut through the traffic and drove us on.

I saw the old man reach for the bell button and touch it. He got up and went to the doors as the bus pulled up only a little bit down the road. The doors opened and I really hoped, though it was so mean of me, that he was getting off this time.

‘Is this Courtly Way? No, it’s not,’ the old man began rambling, ‘I don’t know those trees there. Driver? Where are we going? You’ve taken the wrong route again! I want to go home!’

‘It’s okay,’ the driver said calmly, ‘I’ll take you home. Just go and sit down.’

The old man huffed and began hobbling back to his seat.

The bus moved off again. A car horn blaring from beside us as a car sped passed and jumped the changing traffic lights.

How could the bus driver be so calm? I wondered, surely he’s getting annoyed with all of this now?

‘Hello, Annie!’ the old man cried.

I looked and saw he was staring at me.

‘Why didn’t you tell me you were getting this bus?’ he asked.

‘I’m not Annie,’ I replied, ‘I don’t think we know each other.’

‘Of course, you’re Annie! I’d know you anywhere!’

‘No. You’ve made a mistake. My name is Eleanor.’

‘What are you taking about? We’ve been married fifty odd years, Annie!’ the old man shouted.

I shook my head, sinking back into the hard seat as my anxiety rose. My book began to tremble in my hands and my breaths started catching in my throat. Those stomach worms wiggled more, causing a dull pain to start up. Terrible thoughts came to me. The bus crashing, people dying, blood, fire, the scent of smoke, the smell of death, the whiff of leaking fumes, my book laying upwards with it’s open pages crushed against the roof as the bus land upside down.

‘Annie! Annie! What’s wrong!’ the old man was shouting, ‘Driver stop! My wife has been taken ill!’

For the first time, the bus driver slammed his brakes on at a stop. Passengers were thrown about and my head knocked into the wall of the driver’s cabin. I felt fuzzy and my ears were ringing. I shut my eyes and counted backwards as around me complaining voices rose and the baby started crying.

‘Are you alright, love? Do you want to get off?’ a new voice was asking me.

I opened my eyes and saw the bus driver looking at me.

‘He thinks I’m his wife,’ I muttered.

‘What?’ the driver asked, glancing at the old man who was hanging onto the newspaper tray.

‘He says I’m his wife,’ I repeated louder.

‘Oh. He says that to all the young pretty girls. He’s harmless,’ the bus driver added.

‘My wife?’ the old man suddenly said, ‘where is my wife?’

‘Come on now, Bert,’ the bus driver said politely, ‘sit here and be quiet now. We’re almost home.’

‘Home? Ah yes, that’s where we are going. My wife should be there. She’ll have tea on the table and wondering what’s taking so long. Get on with it, driver,’ the old man snapped and rudely waved the driver away.

The urge to question what was going on here grew but as the driver passed me I couldn’t say anything.

The bus started again and a few stops later, we slowed down and pulled up. The doors opened and the driver got out of his cabin. He walked past me and to the old man.

‘Bert, you’re home now, time to get off,’ the driver said softly.

‘Ah yes. Thank you,’ Bert replied.

The driver helped him up then off the bus. I looked out the window and saw the sign for an old people’s home in the front garden of a large building. At the bus stop, a woman dressed in dark blue trousers and a uniform looking top greeted the bus driver and Bert. I watched her link arms with Bert and take him towards the house. They were talking but I couldn’t hear the words.

The driver got back on and headed for his seat.

‘Is he okay?’ I asked.

The driver looked at me and nodded, ‘he has dementia. Some days he’s okay, other days he believes we’re in a past year and the worse days are when he forgets who he is. It’s a horrible thing and I should know! My dad had it and I had to watch him slowly forget me, everyone else and himself.’

I just nodded, not sure what to say to that.

‘Are you all right? He really didn’t mean you any harm,’ the bus driver added.

‘I’m fine…I suffer from anxiety attacks. It had nothing to do with him,’ I explained.

‘I see. You okay, now though?’ he said

I nodded, thanked him and he climbed into the driver’s cabin.

The bus started again, the seat vibrating underneath me and the voices of the disgruntled passengers muttering. My mind was far away though, reflecting on the bus driver’s words.

 

Dreams

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There was always safety in dreams. Logic didn’t have to apply and fantasy ruled. It didn’t matter what the adventure was or who was a part of it, just that it was happening. One night I fought the grim reaper in a sword battle and won. The next my friends and I were tripped in a church whilst zombie animals tried to get in. Then there was that one time when I had to save a beautiful woman and she invited me back to her bedroom…then she turned into a vampire and tried to bite me.

The best dreams though are the ones that only make sense of dreams. Like the time I wrote the world’s best novel ever. I was sitting in a cafe and was working on the final drift, but this old man kept interrupting me with his ideas which then I ended up writing into the novel and the old man got his name on the cover instead of me! Or the time I came across a group of kids who had a time machine that was an massive acorn.

Of course, Nightmares are the worse, but there’s always some kind of get out and it’s only your mind playing tricks with you. My nightmares always have a graveyard or cemetery in them, which is odd but it’s how I know it’s a bad dream. I’ve been having this repeating on lately. I’m being chased by something, it’s like a dark shadows that take on long human and animal shapes. I’ve no idea what they want, but I hide in this old cemetery, which seems to go on forever. Then I always come to this cliff edge, which is well hidden by large statues of like Romans.

I always try hard to stop myself from falling, but then I always do. On waking, I know I’ve just died in the dream and it takes me awhile to realise I’m alive. I hate those kind of dreams. What do you think it means? That I’m going to die tragically? That I’m trying to run away from something I can’t let go of? I just don’t understand it. I prefer the happy dreams.

Do you think that’s why I’m here, Doc? ‘Cause my dreams are making me insane? I didn’t even know that was possible, but I guess anything can be…Like they say dreams can come true, so I bet nightmares come real too, don’t they?

All In The Mind

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‘I worry,’ muttered the vampire sweet jar at the side of Aurora desk, ‘about her current state of mind.’

He flicked his red rimmed eyes to the left and right, spotting both the grey plushie cat and black sparkly beanie bat. Both were hidden under and in-between packets of sweets and chocolate.

‘Why?’ the bat squeaked, though he seemed to have no mouth to do so with.

‘Because,’ the vampire began then trailed off with a sigh.

The plushie cat was mumbling something underneath him and he had to slide over, so she could free herself. Moving back again, the sweets stored inside of his black plastic body rattled loudly. He watched the cat scrambling up a packet of gold dusted chocolate Easter eggs. She went to rest on a colouring book that was sticking out from the stack and started trying to nuzzle into her felt fur.

The vampire cleared his throat and began again, ‘because she has clearly lost it.’

‘Lost what?’ the bat questioned.

He flapped his too large wings uselessly about which resulted in him tumbling off a small cardboard box and hitting a large jar of felt tip pens.

The vampire rolled his eyes and watched the bat struggling to right himself before plopping next to the keyboard and Aurora’s fast moving fingers.

‘Her mind,’ the vampire repeated.

The bat looked at him, then the cat and finally Aurora.

‘I don’t understand,’ the bat called up to them, ‘she’s doing what she normally does at this time of day and look! There’s a new creation just waiting to be sewn next to her.’

The cat peered down, trying to look snotty, but her wobbly black line mouth made it look more like she was trying to hide a smile. The vampire joined her by looming over and was surprised to see a square of blue felt with a strange paper shape on top of it just above the keyboard.

‘What is that?’ he asked.

‘I don’t know…I think it has a curly tail and nose though,’ the bat answered back.

‘Can you all please be quiet?’ Aurora broke in.

Her bright green eyes landed on the group and her pale lips formed a strained frown line.

The vampire shrunk into the gold dappled flock curtain behind him, knocking over a box of fudge as he did so. The cat hissed and swung up to join him, landing on the chocolate eggs again. Whilst the bat turned his eyes upwards to the mountain of snacks and wondered how he was going to get back up there again.

Aurora groaned softly and picked up the bat. She placed him back on the stack next to a packet of mixed mints and the printer’s tray. She folded his wings in, but they flapped out again.

‘I’m not losing my mind,’ Aurora added, ‘it’s just the depression again.’

‘Is that why you’ve had the urges to sew?’ the bat asked, wishing she’d pick him up again. He had long forgotten what it felt like to be in her warm hands, having his fluffy fur rubbed.

‘A little. But I need to write this story first and submit it. Though I don’t know why I’m bothering,’ Aurora added with a shake of her head.

She turned back and began typing once more, her eyes darting from screen to keyboard. The words before her started to blur and tears filled her eyes before she could stop them.

‘Here,’ the vampire called, ‘have a lollypop.’

Aurora turned to him and picked up the plastic jar. She tipped him over, twisted off the lid at his base and pulled out a Halloween themed lollypop. Securing the lid, she placed him back, disturbing a packet of oat biscuits. Moving them to the side, she sat for a few moments whilst she opened the lolly and took a few licks.

‘So what is it?’ the bat squealed.

‘A seahorse,’ Aurora replied, ‘I’m going to make it into a key ring for my new bag.’

‘But you all ready made a purple octopus,’ the bat pointed out.

‘I know, but I wanted a seahorse too and then there’s this…’

Aurora went to the other side of her desk and grabbed a plastic wallet. She shuffled through the papers then showed them a pattern for a felt mermaid doll.

‘She looks nice and summer like.’

‘I don’t like her…’ the vampire muttered, ‘can’t you make her more gothic?’

‘Maybe,’ Aurora said and put the papers down.

She popped the lolly into her mouth once more and looked at the computer screen for a few moments. The words typed up there didn’t seem to make sense any more.

‘Do you think it’s true?’ Aurora whispered as she looked over at the cat, ‘have a lost my mind?’

The vampire shot her a sad, fang flashing smile, ‘Yes. You’ve started giving us voices in your head again. We really are not really you know…Maybe you need to get some help? Perhaps before you start believing you headphones are trying to kill you again?’

Aurora sighed and got up from her computer desk. The room was silent but for a ticking clock. She picked up the bat, rubbing his fluffy fur against her cheek. Deep down she knew the vampire was right, just like he always was.

Locked

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Shutting the door she had created in her mind, Amber told herself she’d never go back again. She imaged letting go of the brass doorknob and slotting the golden skeleton key quickly inside. Pressing a hand to what she thought of as cold wood, she sighed deeply. For a few seconds, she pictured the memories cluttering the dreamed up room. Removing her hand, she told herself it was the right thing to do. Amber locked the door and slipped the key out. She glanced at the other doors that lined this part of her mind then she walked away. The grief and heartache locked safely away forever.