Unfortunately, I’ve had to put all fictional works in progress on hold the past few months to finish editing assignments and deal with the chaos of life, but my subconscious insists on creating mysterious tales to entice my lazy Muse to visit again. I dream a lot. Many times I don’t remember much about the details, though I might retain just enough memories to spark a story idea. The dream I had the other night was so vivid that I couldn’t get it out of my mind when I awoke. Not that I wanted to. That morning I wrote the whole scene down as it played out in my head. Perhaps one day it will become a full-blown short story or a novella. Perhaps not, but I admit I’d like to find out what happens to the narrator when she finally confronts her destiny.
“The Man with the Beautiful Smile”
I didn’t belong to them – I was aware of that from the start. I remember my real mother. Oh, my adoptive parents kept telling me those memories were just dreams, not reality, but I knew the truth.
Our last day together is forever etched in my mind. Party hats, and four candles on my Raggedy Ann cake. I had crazy red hair just like the famous doll I loved so much, and so did my mother. My fingers were sticky from the too-sweet icing. She cleaned my hands and took me out to play in the cool sand near the shore.
I was busy building a lopsided castle, listening to the waves crashing on the beach, and at first I didn’t realize that Mama had walked away from me. I looked up just in time to see her disappear behind a sand dune. When she didn’t come back right away, I got curious and followed her footprints until her slender figure came into view. She stood straight and still, staring out to sea, the foamy waves lapping at her bare ankles, the salty breeze lifting the skirt of her bright blue dress.
I called out to her, but she didn’t answer. When she turned to look behind her, that’s when I noticed the dark-haired man. He stood at the top of a nearby sand dune, dressed all in black. I still remember quite clearly how he smiled at her. That beautiful smile made me feel afraid, and I didn’t know why.
My mother was crying now. I could hear her sobbing over the noise of the surf.
I wanted to run to her, but for some reason I couldn’t move.
Mama started walking forward into the sea, only slowing down when she was waist deep and the waves slammed into her. She screamed right before she vanished beneath the water.
The dark-haired man appeared before me, suddenly, blotting out the sun. He knelt down and stared into my tear-streaked face. His eyes were the color of an angry sea.
“Run home now, darling Claire,” he said, with a voice deep and gentle. “Your mother is gone, but one day you’ll see me again.”