Things can change in an instant, sometimes in ways we can hardly believe.
Writing Contest - The Writer’s Cramp 5th of February
Prompt: Write a story 1000 words or less or a poem 40 lines or less about someone who is trapped outside of their right place or time. This may be as literal or as figurative as you would like to interpret it.
Word count: 998
Just a Little to the Left
Desire was not the sole realm of adulthood. No, if four year old Gareth could articulate his thoughts he would explain just that. How potent desire could be, and how easily it was fueled by caring parents.
“You leave that outlet alone now Gareth, do you want to get electrocuted?” His mother’s voice still rang in his mind, but it was small now, small compared to the allure of the forbidden. Maybe if she hadn’t been so insistent that he have nothing to do with the curious little plates set low in the walls, he wouldn’t be so strongly attracted to the mystery of them.
Maybe he wouldn’t be seated in front of one now, in the early hours of the morning when everyone else slept. Humming “Old McDonald had a Farm” under his breath, the small blond boy pried the little plastic child protective plug out of the socket. He’d been playing out in the yard the day before and had found a long nail while digging at the edge of the garden. It was the perfect size for the little slots that beckoned, their loud voices given strength after so many lectures and smacked hands.
“With a baa baa here, and a baa baaaAAAAA” The childish song ended in a high wail as he shoved the old rust coated nail into the socket and electricity roared though his immature system. The force of the current sent the boy sprawling in an unconscious, static haired heap.
“Gareth? Gareth hunny where are you?” The voice drifted though his aching head, and the little boy whined low in his throat. His whole body felt itchy and unhappy. All he wanted in the world was for his mommy to come and make it all better.
“Mama?” He croaked as he got shakily to his feet. His hand hurt something awful, and the small fist had swollen to twice its normal size and was an angry red color. “Mama, I’m here, Mama!” The little boy shouted. Tears were already pouring down his pudgy cheeks when she rounded the corner between the kitchen and living room. With a wail that only a child in distress could give, the boy held up his arms.
But, his mother’s lovely green eyes passed right over him as they swept restlessly though the room. “Mama?” Gareth’s voice was small and frightened. Why was she just standing there looking around? “Mama!” Still nothing.
Just as his mother was about to turn away and search the house again, the child threw himself at her legs. A terrified scream rose up when he fell right through her and crashed heavily into the couch behind her. His hand jostled painfully, but Gareth didn’t care. The hysterical boy followed forlornly after his mother as she went room from room searching for him, every time he tried to reach out and grab her hand or leg, he found it impossible to touch her.
The next few days passed in a shocked daze of police, his mother’s hysterical weeping and the seemingly endless search for a boy who couldn’t be found. Days bled into weeks that trotted into months as Gareth, with the flexibility of children the world over, adapted to his new reality. He quickly grasped the laws that governed his new reality.
He wasn’t a ghost like Casper, because he was pretty sure he wasn’t dead. His hand had been hurt for almost two weeks, and had healed up too. Also he got hungry, and sleepy and still went potty. All those things weren’t ghost things. He couldn’t walk though walls and no one noticed if he jumped out and said “Boo!” Gareth learned that he could interact with the physical world, but that it was kind of tricky, like a cartoon where broken things fixed themselves when you weren’t looking. If he did little things, like watched TV and moved the remote, it stayed where he put it. But if he broke something, like the time he accidentally threw his baseball though the TV, it would fix itself the moment he wasn’t looking at it.
The little boy couldn’t interact with living things. They didn’t see him, and even when he moved stuff around right in front of them, they just continued to look past him. Not even Rex, his puppy, could see or feel him. Mittens could though. Gareth thought she could anyway. Any time he came into a room the old black and white cat would stare intently at him, and if he got too close, she would hiss.
Time passed, as it often did, and Gareth grew. Because he’d been such a young child when the accident happened, he never left home. The outside world was a scary place after all, and with a mommy who couldn’t see you it was even more frightening.
The seventeen year old stood on his toes as he unscrewed the light bulb on the high lamp in the living room. He loved the light this lamp gave off, and it was easy to draw by, but the bulb had burnt out. The tall blond didn’t notice the tired woman laying on the couch watching the TV disinterestedly. She wouldn’t notice the brightness anyway.
He held the new bulb between his teeth as he unscrewed the dead one. Suddenly his finger slipped just as he got the old light out and a sharp jolt of electricity shot though him. Cursing in pain, Garth jerked his hand away, and the new bulb fell from his open mouth and crashed like a mini bomb on the hard wood floor.
A small feminine shriek made the blond jump again. His mouth gaped in shock when he turned to see his mother staring straight at him. “G-Gareth?” She whispered in a strained voice.
“Mama?” He almost couldn’t say the word, too frightened that it would go unanswered, just as it had that day when he’d ended up just a little to the left of reality.