A new story, snow and a silent witness.

This one has taken a little while for be to be satisfied enough to post it. I’m not completely sure what was the trigger for the inspiration of this short story, but I do know that I’ve come across the subjects before. Like psychometry, the art of reading facts from touching objects or people. Or the fact that there is nothing to show that the laws of physics would not work if time ran backwards. Or the belief in the divinity of stories and storytelling. Or the curiosity about the points of view of other people, animals, or even inanimate objects. I hope you enjoy my latest foray into short stories.

Click the ‘More?’ link to read on…

What the mitten saw.

A single red mitten lay alone in the snow.

Eliza knelt close to it, snow crunching beneath her knees. She leant over the little piece of wool ceremoniously, like it was a sacred relic. It was one, after all. It was a memory of the world, with memories of its own. And aren’t stories the basis of the divine?

She slowly extended a finger toward it, shivering slightly from the cold. She closed her eyes. Then they touched, and her stomach cramped, turning over. Reality flipped around her, through her, but only behind her eyes. She could see eternity in the wear of the mitten’s scarlet weave.

She touched the past. The future. The momentary. The forgotten. The unseen.

This is the story of what she saw.

***

Police. A stream of blurred people in black and white and blue. Shivering flesh. Rising snow. Dogs eagerly leaping into the boots of their cars, which roll away, away… Backing slowly down the park roads, leaving carpets of unblemished white behind them. The delicate flakes rise more heavily, obscuring Eliza’s vision. Slowly, a set of footprints is uncovered and again, the red mitten, stark in its loneliness. A woman and a child walk the path, their likenesses obvious despite the lack of focus. The mitt leaps appreciatively to the child’s pale hand. Long, braided hair. A girl.

Eliza looks deep into her blanked-out face as she backs away, then walks after them. The snow seems to fade to nothing in the distance. Narrow horizons. Eliza follows the two of them across the park, her feet make no imprint upon the snow. The feet of her quarry erase their trails with retrograde brushstroke footsteps. They move faster. Running backwards, the odd motion making Eliza’s head spin. The woman leaps over a wall into a neighbouring house. The child falls upwards to her arms, from the snowdrift banked high against the brickwork. The smell of cordite fills the air, the girl cries silently. They step through shattered patio doors, the glass following them, dancing, rising up, up, and fusing to the doorframe, to each other, all trauma forgotten. Eliza steps through it without leaving even the smallest ripple.

The glove burns scarlet on the girl’s hand, standing out from its drained surroundings. Tears drip from the floor as her coat is put away, the woman striding to another room. She is shaking, looking at something in the room.

Eliza starts as the woman turns towards a dead man sprawled in the armchair.

He jerks, the bullet wrenching itself from his soon-to-be-fractured skull and back, back into the expectant muzzle of her gun. The blank faced woman shouts silently, waves her threat of death. The man lets her out through the front door. From his body language, he recognised her. The girl is playing forlornly. Her heart is not in it. Her gloves lay to the side of her.

Then Eliza sees the lines drawn in blood across the backs of her thighs. The man stumbles drunkenly backwards into the room, a steel rule in his hand. It comes down, once, twice, thrice, hard on the girl’s legs, forcing the scars beneath her tender skin. Her tears force themselves back into her blank face, her mouth gulping back screams.

***

“What did you see?” asked a nearby officer.

She thought about what she had seen. About the child’s suffering. About kinship. About right and wrong.

“Sorry Officer, nothing too clear. You’ll have to work it out the old-fashioned way.”

He looked at her curiously for a second, before turning away.

“Forensics!” he called across the urban glade. A couple of sceptics muttered something about psychic frauds and wasting police time and what the hell was psychometry anyway?

Eliza ignored them, the snow reluctantly giving way to her boots as she stepped across the snow, shivering. She could go back, fake a second attempt, tell them exactly what happened.

But then she thought of the girl. Her blurry visage crying out in silence as the metal bit her skin. And she smiled. She knew now, in her heart.

She knew she had done the right thing.

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Disclaimer:

'Quintconsequential' is a word of my own invention, despite the definition in the style of the Oxford English Dictionary featured on the site. By all means, use it, whisper it, shout it from the rooftops. But please, remember that you heard it here first!
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