Monday, April 8, 2013

Trifecta: Mind Shadows/Dream State

Trifecta: Week 72: Mind Shadows


Use the third definition of the word "Alchemy" (an inexplicable or mysterious transmuting) in a story between 33 and 333 words.

Photo Source

The haunting image flashed at inexplicable times in her dreams, always awakening her as she clutched her throat while screaming, body soaked in perspiration, pulse racing. She was clueless to its meaning. And she feared learning of its significance. Or was it merely a random image in a scary movie she once saw? It nagged at her so pervasively she finally sought help from a therapist who also specialized in hypnotism. MacKenzie had to rid her dreams of this symbol before it haunted her waking hours as well.

Uneasy in the therapist's office, she described the menacing shower curtain, even joking that perhaps it was from viewing Psycho as a teen. As the therapist asked probing questions about her childhood, MacKenzie was puzzled by her lack of detail for those years. A few pictures from a scrapbook and the same childhood stories told repeatedly by her parents were all she really knew.

Several months into therapy, MacKenzie was at ease with her therapist, Georgia, a somehow comforting name. A few times they had tried hypnosis to reach into a known memory of her childhood only to reach an impasse in MacKenzie's mind. The fear of the unknown was overwhelming. Today both were determined to gain some ground. Suddenly, in MacKenzie's trance state, the image of the shower curtain appeared. Fear overwhelmed her senses and she begged Georgia to perform an act of alchemy to transform what might be behind the curtain. Georgia gently awoke MacKenzie from the trance reassuring her that one day the answer would be known.

That night, MacKenzie, intent on an answer (against her therapist's advice) intentionally focused on the frightening image. When it appeared in her dream, she defiantly flung back the curtain. She awoke in such a state of shock and terror, she was barely able to dial 911. She swore to herself then she would never return to that internal horror.

317 words

48 comments:

  1. I think the best part of this, is we still don't know what's behind the damned curtain. Cruel.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You were reading mine while I was reading yours! You don't want to know ;-O Thanks so much for the time to read and comment!

      Delete
  2. Oh,what a fantastic build up-a beautiful narrative & a nail-biting end,leaving the reader in a haze!Now,you have snatched away my sleep-will be dreaming of that curtain-hope I won't peek behind though ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "nail-biting" Wow. Very much appreciate your time to read and comment.

      Delete
  3. I was ready to dial 911 myself! This is so gloriously mysterious! The lack of childhood memories-and that shower curtain! I want to know more...

    Excellent!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Valerie! Your comments and the others have made my day. My husband challenged me to write more than a 100 words to stretch myself and this was it. Am so happy everyone felt some reaction to it!

      Delete
  4. All who have seen Psycho fear the shower curtain. Damn you, Robert Bloch!
    Very impressive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much and I loved your story!

      Delete
  5. Good use of the shower curtain - ever since Hitchcock one of the scariest things in a household.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Well done you painted a clear picture.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Damn it I want to know what was behind the curtain! (:

    ReplyDelete
  8. I've always been afraid of what's behind shower curtains, this only made it worse! >:| Good job!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks to all who read and commented. What a lovely find! Didn't mean to give people nightmares. haha. My revenge for vampire and zombie stories ;-O Sorry, Draug. Please don't hate me.

    ReplyDelete
  10. This is a strong contribution. You do an excellent job building tension, and the plot line is engaging. I love that you leave it up to your readers to fill in the blanks. Nice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Brenda, for the very nice feedback. It helps a lot to have the specificity. Appreciate your time and comments.

      Delete
  11. The tension and build up to your final para were brilliant Maggie. Of course leaving the reader wanting more is always a wonderful way to end. Funny (or not so) even on reading, I saw the knife in the hand of Norman and it brought back chills. Well done Maggie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh thank you! Am so delighted to read of your reactions! Norman wasn't on my mind but I've always had a creepy feeling about closed shower curtains.

      Delete
  12. Great metaphor - we can all relate to it - that damn shower curtain. Nice job on the therapy too, peel back that curtain to face our fears. Well done.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Should have named it "Damn Shower Curtain" after reading the comments ;-)

      Delete
  13. Shivering. Not knowing makes it even more daunting. Well done!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Marie! Hidden memories are like that. Wanting to know and not wanting to know simultaneously. Am glad that came across.

      Delete
  14. I like the blend of dream and reality. (RogRites)

    ReplyDelete
  15. This is great - I want the next installment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Kelly! lol...Not sure I do ;-O

      Delete
  16. I am always a fan of someone who can take 'pretty' writing (I don't know what else to call it, prose that sounds almost like poetry, maybe...?) and use it to write harrowing subject matter. I also liked the character specifically, that she threw back the shower curtain like a boss even if maybe it wasn't the best idea ever.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your very thoughtful comments, Shannon. I remember once being home alone afraid thinking someone was hiding in the closet. I stupidly opened the closet door totally unarmed and screamed as I did so. Luckily no one was there. I think it was that kind of "bravery" she had. Really not a good idea. lol

      Delete
  17. This was excellent, but I wanted to keep reading -- at least till I found out what was behind the shower curtain... Will there be a follow-up? Seriously, you just can't leave us hanging... Oh wait! Was there someone hanging behind the curtain??? Will I ever know?

    I truly enjoyed this - excellent writing!

    Blessings,
    Cheryl

    ReplyDelete
  18. I was more concerned with her dialing 911 as a reaction to the dream. Left me wondering if the shower curtain reveal was the dream or reality. Good one!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Alrighty then, my imagination is filling that space behind the shower curtain with a multitude of horrors. Well done!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Am thankful for all the comments and also giggling at reactions. If it were a tv show or movie, I'd be covering my face and you want to know?! Criminal Minds fans? hehe

    ReplyDelete
  21. I agree with a lot of what's been said - and I think the best part is the way we're left not knowing, only guessing at what memory she's repressed and what it means when she finally recovers it. Sounds like an interesting basis for a horror movie

    ReplyDelete
  22. Repressed or dissociated memory? Sounds like you know a bit about memory, Brian. Kymm, FWIW, the dialing 911 was from her difficulty breathing from her waking with such an intense panic attack. Am thinking maybe I will think about a next "installment". Thanks to all for whom I didn't make individual replies. All comments truly appreciated!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Looking at all the comments, I'm not the only one who wants to know whats behind the curtain. Just break it to me gently. I don't know if I can take it full blast.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Based on the comments, I did write another "installment" that hopefully I can conform to a future trifecta. It "goes there". Thanks for your comments, Ann. Was really a challenge being challenged by the comments!

      Delete
  24. Hey looks like you won!! Congrats :)

    ReplyDelete
  25. Wow, Sam, thanks! Must go look.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Nice! Oh, congrats, by the way... well deserved. Now, what was behind the shower curtain?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Have a draft under 333 words but have to wait for a challenge where it works. Such horror hungry readers. lol

      Delete
  27. Maggie, congrats on the win! We all want to know, what did she see? Well-deserved - great tension!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, and congratulations to you as well! I was able to vote for you and Kir but my computer wouldn't let me vote for a third. So alchemy (?) kept me from a third vote. Yours was indeed excellent writing.

      Delete
  28. As soon as I saw that shower curtain I thought, "Psycho" I had a friend in HS whose mom wouldn't take a shower if she was alone in the house, because of that movie! She would always ask us to wait until she was done in the shower before we left the house. I wonder what this girls repressed memory was? or maybe I don't want to know! Do I?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You might get a chance to know. I did have a Psycho-like experience once. Didn't hear then husband come into bathroom while I was in shower. I heard noise and peeked out. He was dressed in plaid winter jacket and hat, boots and a shovel! OMG I screamed so loud. PTSD. *snork*

      Delete
  29. well done, Maggie - congrats on your win!

    ReplyDelete