Tuesday, 5 July 2011

F3 Cycle 38 - REVERIE

This week's F3 prompt, set by Doc Shaw, was to explore one of the many facets of madness and produce a short work of fiction.

One aspect of insanity that intrigues me is how you would deal with everyone else marching to a different drum-beat than your own - what would it feel like to realise everyone else was behaving or talking in a demented fashion, compared to yourself? Is pure insanity not likely to present itself as completely rational and lucid to the sufferer themselves.....?

(Maybe that explains a few things! ;-p)

Anyway, here's my 'take' on this week's challenge - it doesn't seem right to say my usual 'enjoy'!


The years have faded into one long summer. A time of memories, children running down the grassy banks, tumbling into a heap of sunburnt arms and legs, of grazed knees exposed by warm-weather shorts and a world of adventure to explore in the long vacations.

Then, there are other memories; faded and torn, like old photographs burnt around the edges as if someone had tried to obliterate them.

Forgive me, but the faces and the places are a jumble. They are perfectly stored in my memory but the filing system is not working properly at the moment.

Was it I or my sister who disappeared all those long years ago? I have disjointed images in my brain: a truck pulling up silently to the den we had created, voices, a man’s heavy work boots at my eye line, the view pierced by green shards of grass. I sense a feeling of fear, a smell of dampness and decay and something that makes me afraid of darkness and confined spaces. Are these my memories or someone else’s? Do I remember truth and fact, or do I merely remember someone else’s account.

Somewhere in the labyrinth of my mind lies the answer to what happened all those years ago; suppressed through early adulthood and like the stuff of dreams as I raised my own sweet babies. Then the stroke stopped time and reset my body clock and what had been forgotten was suddenly a reality. In morbid fascination I’ve begun to reconstruct the past, replacing the fabricated memories that were reinforced by well meaning parents and family with the odd flashes of truth that pierce the dark blanket of unknowing.

Today there is something new; a memory of movement, the rumbling sensation of wheels that rattles and vibrates inside my tiny childish frame and the rough feeling of the cover over my face. It smells of grease and petrol, but I cannot move my hands to push it away.

I must hurry and write this down before oblivion descends. They torment me with their lies dressed as truth, dismissing my thoughts as fabrication. I hear the bell ringing again, it always heralds the demise of thoughtful clarity and soon the fog will cloud what little judgement I have. They like to call it Alzheimer’s and treat it with pills and potions, trying to wash away the memories I try to cling to.

But I have noted it all down, in scrawled writing that defies their understanding but which is plain to me. It may be days before I find my book again and then, reading through, discover once more a reality I thought was just a terrifying dream.

Pink and green pills today, a bitter taste I recall, so I have stored them in the rough seam of a pocket, but the subtle feeling of fear that crouches like a demon at the edges of my mind is already evaporating like rising mist. Perhaps they have realised my deceit. I wonder, idly, if they’ve put something in the water instead?

The drowsiness descends, obliterating the rational processes of my mind and wrapping me in a cocoon as readily as they wrap the blanket around me and push my chair out into the sunny day-room to lie semi-comatose alongside the other ‘vegetables’.


  1. Okay, this is art. Great work! I started my story on Saturday but got caught up in getting ready for the cookout on the Fourth, will finish it today but its no where near the level of your story.

  2. Thanks, Beach! Means a lot to me, given your prowess with all things literary!

  3. This is a wonderful piece of writing.

  4. Very captivating...nice one Sue.

  5. Nice sue, Loved it.

    "trying to wash away the memories I try to cling to"

    I would recommend you a movie 'Black' which is a bollywood movie that tells the story of a kid who cannot see, talk or hear and her relationship with her old teacher who teaches her to survive in the world. It also has an alzheimers element in the movie

  6. "writing that defies their understanding but which is plain to me."

    I have to agree with BB, this is art. Beautifully done.


  7. A very straight and piercing look at this from the other side. Very nicely written - well done Sue.

  8. Excellent work in describing a horror beyond comprehension. Alzheimer's terrifies me.

  9. This is brilliant. Your writing is so beautifully constructed, "art," as others are calling it. Every sentence you write is entertaining in itself, simply because it's written so well. And the concept of your story was amazing. I was captivated. Thank you.

  10. Poignant and moving... almost overwhelmingly sad... the knowledge that her "keepers" are trying to take away all her yesterdays with their pink and green pills... and she is powerless to stop them.

    The others are right, Sue... this isn't writing... it is art!

    Beautifully crafted... this story will be etched in my mind for some time.

    You have very artfully dealt with a very sensitive topic. I stopped being afraid of death a long time ago, but Alzheimers frightens me to the core, where, with its onset, each day is "la petite morte" to the mind.

    Excellent and moving story, Sue! thank you for sharing.

  11. Forgive me, but the faces and the places are a jumble. They are perfectly stored in my memory but the filing system is not working properly at the moment.

    This paragraph perfectly describes my life with multiple sclerosis (mainly cognitive symptoms). I like this story.

  12. ... the odd flashes of truth that pierce the dark blanket of unknowing.

    I found this sentence to be particularly chilling. And overall, the situation is maddening, but the narrator seems quite sane. Great piece!

  13. Thank you all for your kind and generous comments.

    I'm working my way round everyone else's stories, so apologies to those I haven't visited yet - I'm getting there!

    Bumper crop, this week - tapping into our inner madness has obviously struck a chord! :-o

  14. I did not get my link posted in time, so it is not on the list with the others. If you find the time... I do so appreciate your comments and value your opinion.

    Thank you.