I watched as the man lowered her, screaming, down to the bottom floors of the rotting mansion. The rickety, rope-hung elevator still showed signs of its past grandeur. Her hands grasped the tarnished gold rails with their art nouveau flourishes: a beautiful cage. The elevator clanged against the basement floor. She ceased crying out, as though resigned to her fate. The man who had held the ropes was gone, footsteps receding on the wood floors above.
With a slight falter, she swung wide the door of the elevator cage. The metallic groan of its hinges echoed among the cobwebs and the empty rooms. She was utterly alone. Or was she? A sound, somewhere through the dark. The house settling. Or was it the scrape of a shoe against floor? My chest froze as I watched her step from the elevator into the darkness.
“Hello?” she called, and I wanted to shout, Don’t speak! Run! Hide! But she moved forward without the fear I felt. And there was that sound again, deliberate. Not the house settling: a footstep. Then another and another. A hulking figure stalked her through the dark, a half-human monster. As the moments became years in that basement, her dress became tatters, her body only a skeleton of blue-white beneath the ribbons of fabric. He did not kill her but did not leave her, the man-monster, always lurking in the shadows nearby, her own Frankenstein.
I don’t know how I saw her, only that I could see her whole life trapped in that basement with him. Just before I woke and ran down the hall to my parents’ bedroom in my footed pajamas, crying and shaking with the remnants of the dream, I was crossing over the hill toward the dilapidated mansion in the distance. A rescue mission. I would bring her home safely.
Amazing the power of dreams. This nightmare came to me when I was eight, yet I still remember it as vividly as if it were last night. Not just the details and the visual images, but the emotion of watching helplessly as that woman grew old in the basement of a wrecked mansion with her monster companion. Dreams can be like that: vivid and so very real. A world our own minds create, but which we cannot control.
With writing, sometimes my best work is like a dream: a product of my subconscious that carries itself along best when I get out of the way. (Click to Tweet) Our best ideas, the ones that really take root and movement and grow life of their own, are like that childhood dream of mine. We cannot always trace their roots, but they bloom and grow almost of their own volition and will. They are full of life and haunt us, in good or bad ways. These pieces are the ones that require less work and maybe only a delicate pruning at the end. They come with a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment, like the feeling I had at the end of my dream as I rounded the top of the hill to save the woman trapped in the basement.
Have you had this experience lately? Have you had it ever?
Writing does not always come with this ease. Often it is simply sweat and commitment.A lot of it. (Click to Tweet) Determination to sit at the keys or with pen in hand, working one sentence, one word at a time. There is a great sense of accomplishment also that comes from that kind of writing as well—knowing that your work came from sweat and sheer will. We sometimes ride the words with ease, bareback, and other times must wrangle them like wild ponies. (Click to Tweet)
Whether your writing at the moment is alive and carrying you along or whether you are driving it with hard work and gritted teeth, I’m glad you are here and hope that you share your work with us. The “us” being a very small community of varied bloggers coming together weekly to share our Not So (Small) Stories.
This week, the prompt is memory or dream.
I like prompts that are general and meant to do what their name suggestions: inspire. Not control or corral you into a particular type of post. Be free and run with it.
The rules of this community are simple: link up something new and link back to this post, whether by the code with the button in my sidebar or a simple text link. And because I hope that this will BE a community, don’t simply leave a link—go visit the other links. Let them know you were there by a comment. Share via your social platforms if you feel so led. I will be visiting all the links during the next week and sharing, even if it takes me all week to do it. The link will close Saturday, so you have some time!