Who am I? Think, think!
The void around me darkens, and a presence stirs within me as I morph through a painless sequence of mutations. Limbs bulk and wither, skin ages and scars, hair thins and greys. I turn my soft, slender hands without will or desire. Knuckles stiffen, palms callous.
Who am I? Concentrate.
Images form and fade. A cabin in the woods. A bright light in the night sky. Snow, gloveless hands, a number etched on my wrist. Are they memories or make-believe? I shut my eyes. There are bodies and shadows, but I can’t see their faces. I reach out to touch them, to pull them into the now, but they drift through my fingers like dust.
Lord, what will become of me? Hero or herald? Shapeshifter or shadow? Perhaps, if I’m lucky, I’ll wear rose coloured glasses or exist in a time and place where I can remember those I’ve loved and lost or those who trusted me with their secrets.
Wait! Someone is here. She’s here!
I call into the void, ‘Don’t stop now. Keep going!’ Can she hear me? ‘I need a backstory, a role, just give me a purpose!’
I breathe steady, listen and wait. Her silence sends shudders through my weary body.
Will I be realised in time?
‘You’ve got this!’ I cry in fear. My knees, hips, and hands are sore and tender. ‘Don’t give up on me now. I can be whoever you want me to be. I can do whatever you want me to do.’
In the distance, a light glows, and I see her.
She’s not in this world. She’s in yours.
In this realm, there is no matching her abilities. Even knowing who she is and the gift she possesses doesn’t guarantee safe passage, only the possibility of a brief existence.
‘Keep going!’ I shout into the blackness. ‘How many words do you have left?’ There has to be more–a place, a person. My heart aches for the unknown. ‘Just tell me who I am.’
The light glows again.
‘A mentor! Of course.’ A wooden stool appears on my right, and I take a seat, relieved to rest my aching feet. ‘That’s perfect,’ I tell her. ‘A mentor is–’
A blinding ball of light fills the void, a piercing scream echoes through the inky chamber, and the woman is gone.
The only sound to be heard is the tapping of the author's fingers on the keyboard. ‘Sorry, my darling,’ she says and clears her throat. ‘There’s only room for five-hundred words.’
© Michelle Upton