I have absolutely no ideas this week for #MondayBlogs on Twitter, but I figured I’d post this excerpt from one of the short stories I’m still working on for my collection, Supernova Entropy.
This story, like the song by Arctic Monkeys, is called “Mad Sounds”, and here’s how it works. There’s Hope, who is working hard at medical school to become a doctor, but she also loves ballroom dancing and is practicing her rumba, waltz, and tango to compete at a ballroom dance-off for amateurs. Unfortunately, her handsome dance partner wants to bail on her because he has a plan with a wealthy socialite, Oliver, who is bedridden with a terminal illness.
If you’ve seen the Steve Martin movie All Of Me, you’d get the gist of what’s about to happen. Hope’s dance partner is giving his body to Oliver, so that when his body decides it’s time to die, his soul will go into the healthy, handsome dancer’s body. But things don’t go exactly as planned.
Here’s what happens:
When I left the building, something changed in my body. I felt my head growing heavier with every step. Then I felt a tickle in both my ears, and I could have sworn I heard voices. As I turned a corner and glanced at my reflection, I could have sworn I saw someone different in the window. But when I looked back, I saw myself looking back at me. So I walked ahead. Then I heard a British voice echoing in my head, “What is this? What am I doing here? This isn’t my body!”
The next thing I knew, someone was controlling my hands. I looked behind me; no one was there. But I felt my hands touch my belly and over my chest. My hands gave my breasts a squeeze. “Those are not mine!” the voice cried. My hands immediately went to my butt, and then massaging my hips. “That is not mine,” it said again.
Finally gaining control of my hands again, I took out my compact. When I looked in the mirror, I saw him. Oliver, the sick man in bed, now looking less pale than he used to be, was staring back at me. We both screamed as I dropped my compact. I started running until something stopped me in the middle of the sidewalk. I couldn’t move my legs. Someone was controlling my legs. My hands went up into my hair and started pulling at it. I was yelping in pain, until finally I decided to keep calm and go right to the bridal shop window. Then again, there was my stiff legs. I punched both legs with my hands. He screamed inside my head as I yelled, “MOVE!”
He moved my legs and I went right for the window. He started pulling my hair when I shouted at him in the window, “Get a HOLD of yourself! SHUT UP!”
He stopped pulling on my hair and looked at me from the reflection. He looked like he stopped breathing.
“Breathe,” I said.
We both took some deep breaths together. I guessed he had control of one lung and I had control of the other. I hoped no one was looking.
At long last, Oliver spoke. “I think there’s been a slight mistake,” he said. “I was supposed to be in the body of your dance partner.”
“Ex-dance partner,” I said. “What are you doing in my body?”
“I… I have no idea,” he said. “I was dying… and I saw this faint glow ahead of me… I assumed it was coming from my window. Then just as I thought I was going into the body of your ex-dance partner, something went wrong. I felt my heart go dead and my left arm was in massive pain, as if I was having a heart attack or something. But when my butler pounded his fists on my chest, I felt myself spiraling out of the window and into something… fleshy. And when you pulled out that mirror, I saw you in the reflection and I panicked.”
“I wouldn’t call that panicking,” I said into the reflection of him. “I call that scaring the straights. Even as I’m talking to you, I feel like people are staring at me because I’m talking to a window. Pretty soon, they’ll be calling Sheppard Pratt and hauling us to the looney bin.”
Hope you enjoyed it! There’s more where that came from…