Andrew Perez gets out the message: Finalist #4 of 6

Don't be fooled by the white hair: The editor-in-chief is ripped!

Perchance to dream?

Literati!

Here is your wake-up call! After posting Andrew’s story, there are but two more to post, at which time you can send in your votes for your favorite to thorn@awordwithyoupress.com.  Everyone who entered the contest can vote: one vote for each entry you submitted, and you can vote for yourself. You can certainly lobby for your fav by leaving comments in the box below. In case of a tie the Editor-in-Chief will consider all offers…And here is a bit of history to add to your bank of trivia: Washington Irving and my great-great grandfather, portrait painter Thomas Sully were known to tip a pint together: they were mates!  Here is Andrew Perez with his entry:

A Mirror, A Frame

by Andrew Perez

 

In a room where the sheets and towels were washed and bleached, seldom replaced when bloodstained, she looked out to a billboard of a portrait of a girl all smooth skin and anemic bones.    Games of hopscotch by her hair were played on a color wheel though she couldn’t remember if she was born blonde or brunette because that budding figure in the mirror never looked like her. She ate the lettuce around her sandwich then took another capsule. Sometimes for the pain in her chest.

Her manager knocked at her door and walked in while she dressed.

—You’ve got five, kid. God and the world are waiting.

—Give them this message from me, please: On my way.

As she swayed left or right in awkward posture, the man behind the clicks and flashes said he loved her most of all. But she was loved by many others, by those whom consumed intrusive images to raise and slay her throne.

Her nights didn’t end unless the sun rose and she nor those whom she called friends woke before it dipped again. Lines of ground, processed alkaloid leaves like tally strokes of chalk positioned on a hand mirror laid at a table next to bottles of wine preordained to fill the soul’s abyss. And when she took it in through a straw, a last glimpse in the looking glass spoke of infallible beauty.

Twenty years asleep, surrounded by shape-shifting faces and changing names. The scrubs always similar. The bright white walls had turned a mustard-grey. For her no time had lapsed; it was another evening waking from a doze.  She opened sore eyes to find herself in a familiar room where her mother used to rest. The same mechanic hum as in her childhood except the beep, this time, not flat and eternal, echoed like a metronome. With the push of a button she sat up, turned, and found her gaze on a picture frame displaying a black and white cityscape. She looked ahead until she caught a reflection of a girl who seemed to have missed her youth. Unbelieving, she tried to run to a mirror for a clearer picture but her legs caved. A woman in uniform ran in hearing the sobs and sat beside her in a pool of saliva and tears caressing the flesh above her heart to sooth the convulsing,

—It’s okay now. It’s okay. You’ll be okay. You’re awake.

***

 

12 comments

    • Andrew Perez says:

      This word reminds me of that time when I took the blue and red pill at the same time!

  1. Jon Tobias says:

    This reminds me a lot of something Phillip K Dick would write. At first it doesn’t seem that the waking up is hopeful because of the description of the environment, but there is a double meaning behind it. Also, she could have stayed “asleep” which would have been worse. Because of the sincerity of the nurse, we can assume that a lot of healing is about to take place for our main character. I like the creepy dream like quality this story has as well. Though, this particular dream seems drug induced.

  2. Michael Stang says:

    Living and dying on the fast set. Those drugs will kill ya, but not so for this flash. Don’t get me wrong, Andrew, I read this through and through, but I did not think the girl deserved the come back kid. Other wise an entertaining story from a writer with style.
    See you on the next one.

  3. Diane Cresswell says:

    Bittersweet – some come back and most don’t. Maybe this time the soul can find a new step forward. This is hard and soft – carrying one through the elements of living no life. A dream that one can be woken from in only one way. Powerful words and images.

  4. Laura G says:

    What I get from this is a nice twist of irony. Now that she is sick, she can be free. She is awake. She can finally be herself, not caught in fame or sexist games. Let’s hope she has a bit more time to discover her true self. Well done!

  5. Amanda Byzak says:

    What a price this woman paid! A true etching of what it’s like to “wake up” on the other side.

  6. Kyle Katz says:

    You have this style that goes from liquid slipping through ones hands as you grab onto a paragraph full of intense imagery, poetic climaxes that drop you gently like a fallen leaf. You scoop out the guts with a dull spoon making us feel deeply about your characters. A gifted surgeon of words. love this!

  7. Great play with words and action implied with choice phrases such as “clicks and flashes” and “games of hopscotch.” (Just a couple of my favorites!) Nice read, thanks.

  8. Grant Laurence says:

    Extremely descriptive, well composed, drew me in – nice job! Well done, Andrew 😉

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