Imagine a huge, sprawling city glistening with black rain, its endless, meandering streets full of nothing but broken-down picture houses towering above each other, each one unmarked (or with unlit neon signs half-hanging); this is the place where bad memories come to die — to live out the rest of their torturous lives as silent movie reels to be projected over and over — picture houses where no-one enters voluntarily, but finds themselves seduced and dragged in as reluctant victims of their troubled projections in darkness.

Such moments of forced spectatorship where becoming too regular for Shauna, and as the countryside streamed past her window, the train taking her further away from her life, she found herself being pulled closer to that terrible city until she became an unwilling viewer of that familiar, awful rope-swing again (knots frayed from hands gripping too tightly, the seat partly worn and smooth from being rubbed) and realised that after all these years, her life had unconsciously become the very thing she was running from — swinging between extremes, unsettled, at the mercy of harsh winds, empty — such a simple thing that should have brought joy had delivered only pain and anguish.

And as the autumn evening surrendered nervously to the night, as the train rushed past another unfamiliar town, Shauna knew it wasn’t the worn rope-swing but what it had witnessed that hurt the most — how it had swung playfully like a child in the late summer breeze, watching, creaking the branches of the wild cherry tree like a deliberate chuckle as that terrible moment unfolded — one terrible moment that would shape her life in ways she never dared to fear, one terrible movie that waited in some broken picture house somewhere in that glistening city, waiting to pull her in forever.

© 2016 Occasional Dreams
In response to: Three Line Tales, Week Thirty-Seven
Image by Ben Rosett


10 Replies to “Roped”

  1. I nice atmospheric read, leaves one interested in finding out more details inside of this woman’s narrative. I have to say, are parentheses a style that you want to write in? Because I feel that descriptions would have worked better than the parentheses you used here. But if it’s on purpose, then that’s your style. Either way, you left me craving more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the feedback. It’s always appreciated to hear what people think. I do use them from time to time as part of my style, but I set myself a challenge to pack as much as I could into three sentences and I felt too many commas and semi-colons would start to grate, hence the asides.

      Liked by 1 person

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