So this is probably the shortest of my short stories, and I don’t know if there’s a set definition to qualify as a short story, but here’s my newest writing! Feedback is very much appreciated!
He was at the ocean, peering down at the water from the steep dunes. He shifted his feet, which caused some of the sand to slide down towards the shore. However, it slid at a fascinating fervor, collapsing at the bottom but coming up immediately in the form of himself. As his typical nature, he looked on without saying a word. It seemed pointless to try to communicate with sand, no matter the resemblance to himself.
This new manifestation of his body suddenly collapsed after only a few steps into the ocean. He looked in, thinking that must be it, and while it was rather strange, he could just play it off as some hallucination or daydream even.
But right in the midst of his thoughts he saw his replica stand back up, only with words scrawled all over its body, which was now skin instead of sand. This figure was now identical to him, with every scar (even though there was only two), freckle, hair (that he could see) among other things. He squinted to try to get a better understanding of those four words, which was all he could distinguish.
Then he heard the blaring noise of a woman singing the words
Can you hear me?
and he saw that source was from his clone’s (twin’s? replica’s?) mouth, except it wasn’t exactly a mouth anymore. Now a black strip had been attached to its mouth, which appeared to be a speaker only repeating that line.
After thirty or forty repetitions of this line, the replica’s (better, less human, less frightening, maybe more?) eyes began to melt down its face almost as if they were becoming their own tears. Its eyes slowly slid down its body, ending up swirling in his right hand. But as its fingers turned into strings, its eyes dripped off of its hand into the water.
As the replica stood in the water, no eyes, speaker-mouthed, string-fingered, a bride came out of the sand without any sand sliding from the dune he was standing on. She moved gracefully towards the water, but her sand-etched eyes showed struggle (due to walking in the water) and fear (due to, what?). She then approached the replica, but it still remained motionless, replaying the beautiful question without waiting for an answer.
So the bride then removed her eyes and ran them over the replica’s face, giving it its sight back. When it looked at her, its eyes showed something, a mixture of terror, sorrow, and tremendous passion.
But the bride continued.
Without her eyes she still knew what to do, proving so by removing the black speaker strip from its mouth. She continued to help, then submerging her hands into the water directly in front of it, where its eyes had gone. She began to swirl the water around and extracted a single eye, which she then placed firmly in its hand. She was almost done, something about her movement in the water revealed so.
But as she was reaching her hands toward the replica, terror dampened her forehead like sweat as a wave crashed through her.
She would not rise again.
He witnessed the replica stare into the water, and be still. The replica’s mouth then opened wide, the veins in its neck bulging. It was screaming, but the song could still drown it out, no matter how deep it was in the ocean.
He was now on top of his bed, the alarm clock blaring
Can you hear me?
and he laughed. It wasn’t inappropriate. It wasn’t mean-spirited either. It was dry. It was almost as dry as her sandy-throated laugh fromCaliforniaafternoons far from now, because everything is far from now. Everything is so far since the back of his neck is so close to the end of that hangman’s knot. Even the tip of his toenails resting inches away from his carpeted bedroom floor would be so far from everything.
As he stepped forward he stepped off that dune but fell so far above everything else that he should’ve gotten a halo for those damn wings that she forgot to take from him.
But wings and all, you can still see him trying to drown out her song in the ocean, his neck pulsing as hard as it can with his fingers holding tightly onto it from his ceiling.
He could still hear her swimming in his ears.