This one won the REVERSE WRITING PROMPT contest at HeavyGlow - a flash fiction magazine. The prompt was inspired by the movie MEMENTO (directed by Christopher “Dark Knight” Nolan), to write a story in reverse. I decided to experiment further and write a true palindrome, one that can be read in both directions. You can read the sections either from top to bottom or from bottom to top (the section flow goes in order of writing).
It was fun to write. The subject matter is kind of dark and violent though. You’ve been warned!
Sometimes you smoke, because you’re awake.
I can’t sleep anymore. For me, life is one never ending polar night. I don’t care if the sun comes up tomorrow morning or if it goes down the evening after. I sit on the ledge of my window-sill and look at the world outside, not actually noticing anything.
The knife clatters down to the ground. The world is spinning too fast and it’s hard for me to focus. The red haze slowly descends onto me. I feel my eyes close and I sink down to the floor. The floor is slick with blood.
Some of it is my own and the rest… Mara’s.
It’s a coronary. I just know it. Feels like someone poured molten lead down my throat. I’m flushed, been trying to cough it out, tried to beat it out of my chest even. It’s almost as if someone has lit a fire in my lungs. I take the knife and try to slit my ribs to let the fumes out, stab my arms again and again, just feel the pain, some acknowledgment that there are worse things than what burns inside me.
I bang my head against the walls.
The loneliness is gone and it feels like a weight was lifted off of my chest, as the realization hits me like a two ton truck speeding down the freeway. I don’t feel sad, because there is no sadness at her parting. That’s how it should be. What we had could never be forgotten or whittled away. I won’t let that happen. I’ll fight till the last shard of my sanity to hang on to that sweet feeling, move mountains to make sure I remember her.
The Mara I knew would never cheat on me. It must’ve been someone else, someone who hijacked her very being, corrupted her soul and made her a walking travesty of infidelity and debauchery.
Yes, that must be it. She’s possessed, or rather what remains of her is. What she was is no more, her mind purloined and her body commandeered by some demon from hell.
I make up my mind. I must free her from the foul entity that infests her shell. I’ll do it for Mara, for us, for the times we had together.
Is there something wrong with me? I feel guilty. I should be crying rivers, yet here I’m sitting quietly on the ledge, my legs dangling into the dark night.
Sometimes you smoke to stay awake.