A Story by BrynnaW.

Here, I sit. The mahogany desk beneath my paper is riddled with deep etches from my pen and countless spills and bumps. So, I write. The news of the world is filling in the background with heavy static and images of the dead. They’re coming, the words repeat in my head. I should be safe, my husband should be, and our children. Right? My husband, though, where is he? He went to get food, when is he coming back? The window above my desk is shrouded by curtains except for a small sliver to maintain the little sanity I have left. The sunlight peeks through and I let it warm my pale cheeks; they can’t find us, they won’t. My worries vanish as I take in the green grass just outside the house, extending as far as the ocean.

Hunter, Aiden, Christina. What are you doing? My children left their rooms and now gaze upon gruesome images displayed on the television beside me. The dead and the dying were visible for the world to see, wars and crimes had become a saint, and executions were humble reminders that others were still out there. Others like us. The images were not suitable for children; they did not deserve to see the world in its end. I cannot get up though; I must not leave my writing desk.

            Don’t look at that.

            “But, Mommy, we’ve seen worse.”

            Don’t say that. It’s not true.

            “Are we safe?”

            Yes, they can’t find us here.

            “But they’re coming?”


            Their innocent voices are echoes to my ears. I wish to hold them, I didn’t dare. It’s as if they are simply hallow voices in my head. Mommy, they call desperately. Mommy, they tug on my sleeve.

            “Where’s Daddy?”

            I don’t know.

            “Is he coming back?”


            I paused, pen poised above the paper. Will he come back? I can tell they have a question, but they’re hesitating to ask me. So, I write. No longer do I write with ink but with the life I have left. It’s only a matter of time.

            “Are we going to die?”

            They waited in anticipation, eyes slowly drifting from me to the television. They’re sure that the images on the screen are sure to become their fate as well; they speak these fears through their eyes. My daughter stepped forward, her finger running down the face of a crying man and causing the image to distort around her finger. I cannot protect them forever. At night, I hear them. Their muffled cries, their fits through nightmares, and their screams of agony while I stand outside their doors praying for morning to come. As a mother, I have failed my children; if only they could understand.


            They don’t react to my answer, they remain stoic. Or was it shock? Perhaps, I pulled a rabbit out of a hat. They’re coming, the words return again. Voices replace the images on the screen but any news to be stated was always bad news. The government seeks control over everything and fear was their tool of manipulation. Not me, though, not us, not my family.

            “Mommy, will you play with us?”

            I can’t, I’m sorry. Go outside and play.

            “Isn’t it dangerous?”

            No, no. Go outside, wait for your father.

            I hear their small steps, they’re leaving now with smiles on unknowing faces. I need to hug them. Why can’t I hold them? Quickly, hurry. They’re opening the door. Call them back before it’s too late. I can’t, though. So, I write, my pen never ceasing to scratch the page. More echoes.

            “Mommy. We love you.”

            Rule 1: Stay indoors. The door shakes on its hinges when it slams and blood-stained tears drop from my eyes, staining my white paper. I cannot stop, I must not stop. The curtains before me open further as if to tease my hungry eyes. Aiden sits in the dewy grass pulling dandelions up from the soil to blow his wishes away while he waves to me. Is it Hello? Is it Goodbye? Hunter and Christina chase each other, their mouths are open to laugh, but I cannot hear, not even echoes. They dance, they play, I sit. The news slaughters innocents.

            My children reach for the sky as if to catch the sun in their fists and tickle the clouds with their fingers. Catch it, I grin. I wish to be outside, a cool breeze through my hair and the sweet breath of autumn touching my skin. This is not a world for hopes, dreams, or wishes; this is a world of nightmares that have come to live. A world where time no longer exists. The earth trembles beneath my feet.

Rule 2: Stay out of sight. My children must feel it too; they look to me with fear and to the sky with hope. I cannot move. So, I write, waiting for the inevitable. They’re coming. I urge myself to call my children inside, to be their shield in the face of certain death. But where is my husband? The television fell off its stand, the pictures lining the walls crash to the floor, and my children drop to their knees in tears.

            Rule 3: Nothing that happens is real. Then, a jeep, or two. A tank by three. Oh, there, I see, my husband. Bound by the wrists, he bows his head; bound by a chair, I’m full of dread.


            Aiden, Hunter, Christina? No. Sam, Christy, Lee? No. My children... Oh Lord, what are their names?


Here, I sit. A white, glossy desk beneath my paper is as spotless as my white room. So, I write. A bed in the center of the room and a straight-jacket on the floor in a bundle. There are no echoes other than my own. My children, where are they? They don’t exist. But they do, they do, I remember them. They don’t want me to remember, but I do. Where’s my husband? Why is my leg confined to this chair? There’s a camera in a corner of the room; they must be watching me. It’s not just me though, there are many of us. We all remember. They don’t like that. I hear steps which must mean it’s time. A man came inside, he’s wearing all white and he has a clipboard cradled in his arms. I know better than to think he’s a doctor, it’s all just an act.

            “One last chance.”

            Where are my children? Where is my husband?

            “We’ve been through this. They don’t exist.”


            I try to jump from my prison chair but the chain holds, and I fall onto the sleek, white tiles. My hands want to hurt him; I was this man to suffer the same way I have. He laughs, though, as if I’m a pathetic child. I’m not crazy; I can’t be, am I? He untangles me from the chair and releases the chain before lifting me to my feet and jabbing me in the back to get me moving. We don’t conform, so they kill us. I’m led through several hallways; the man behind me has the straight-jacket clutched in his fist, the buckles chiming together while we walk to remind me of my fate. I can give up now, tell him I believe that nothing happened. But I won’t. He leads me into a room of walls, a padded chair set up in the middle.

            One last chance.

            The echoes hurt. Another man is peering into my face; I dare not respond to him. I hear the metal clink as the jacket behind me is being unraveled.

            “You know what to do.”

            I nod with my head down, a smile creeping over my dry lips. They’re strapping me into the jacket. I exist, I exist, the words chant in my head like a ritual... like echoes. I’m led to the chair and laid back; now bound by the body, I know I will die. Where’s my husband and his sweet words? Where are my children and their sad smiles? Echoes.

I now know that life has a fee. They pick up the blindfold as they count to three. And there, in the window. My children, I see.


© 2016 BrynnaW.

Author's Note

Posted this a while ago but putting it up again, hope you enjoy

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Added on April 30, 2016
Last Updated on April 30, 2016



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