Kyria had been warned since she was a small child, beyond the veil was dangerous. Her older siblings had told her monsters lived there, that there were witches waiting to eat a young child.
What the adults said wasn’t much better. Her Grandma Iris said she’d lose her soul if she was caught in the veil beyond. She talked about shape shifters and immortal creatures of the dark such as vampires and werewolves.
One day hanging the laundry on the line at her grandmothers, Kyria gazed at the veil nearby. She hadn’t thought of it for a long time and she wasn’t sure why it called to her now. She’d never admit she could hear the whispers of the creatures which lived their. They were tempting her and she knew it.
Did everyone in the village see the veil as she did? Kyria believed they had no idea where it physically was, that to them it was was only folklore for children and not a real thing; it was extremely real to Kyria and she knew for her grandmother as well.
Kyria was twenty-four and long past the age of adulthood. Her parents lived together and her siblings with their families. She hadn’t found a suitable man to marry so her father decided she should move in with her ailing Grandmother and care for her. He thought she needed to be of use somewhere since she hadn’t married quickly as her sisters did.
The more Kyria thought about the veil and the mist shrouding it, the more she thought about how she’d never put herself out there in life. She’d always done what she was told and when others failed she was the one who took their place, who filled in so everything went smoothly.
It was how she made up for her so-called “selfishness,” still being single and not having children for her family and village. She wondered why she had never pushed her boundaries and was tired of being ruled by her father’s and her grandmother’s whims.
Kyria loved her Grandma Iris the most because she understood Kyria better than anyone. But her grandma still cautioned her to never cross the veil daily. But grandma was inside sleeping and Kyria heard the whispers from veil more and more these days. They were a sirens call to her.
She ignored all she had been told by her grandma, her family, and her friends as a child. She decided today she would cross the shrouded veil into the other world. Dropping the laundry Kyria walked towards the veil and into the mist surrounding it. The veil shimmered as she came closer and sonorous voice could be heard singing on the other side.
When she reached the line where the spiritual and natural worlds met Kyria stopped for a moment and stood. She smiled and with both hands raised in front of her she was able to feel the mystical energy she was about to pass through.
She stepped into the shimmering fog and breathed deeply. Her long blond hair flew out behind her and it was the last thing her grandmother saw as she watched her granddaughter cross into the other world.
Grandma Iris sighed in frustration but she knew as it had been with her, the veil had been too much of a temptation for Kyria. She knew that adventure and discovery awaited her sheltered granddaughter. As it had been with Iris, the veil and it’s magic was in Kyria’s blood. Grandma Iris was the only one besides Kyria who actually could see the veil, she had made herself guardian of the gateway and hoped Kyria would take over for her one day.
But as the last of Kyria’s blond hair slipped through veil and disappeared, Iris couldn’t help being thrilled for her granddaughter. What awaited Kyria would shape and change her. It would motivate and hurt her, it would be an experience far beyond the scope anyone in the village would ever experience.
Iris blew a kiss towards the veil and whispered a blessing for Kyria. The feelings of excitement in Iris were so intense it was as if it were fifty-years-ago and she herself was crossing the veil.
“When you’re down and out / When you’re on the street / When evening falls so hard /I will comfort you (ooo) / I’ll take your part, oh, when darkness comes / And pain is all around / Like a bridge over troubled water / I will lay me down / Like a bridge over troubled water / I will lay me down.” – “Bridge Over Troubled Water” – Simon and Garfunkel
Wes called up to a young woman sitting on the bridge ledge.
He gulped and climbed up beside her, assessing her. She shook her head, “I’m not here to jump, it’s only peaceful up here.”
He settled beside the woman on edge. “I’m Wes,” he said, “I’m not a fan of heights. I don’t understand how you can sit here and find it tranquil.”
She laughed, “I’m Becca, Wes. Scoot back and look at everything from this gorgeous view.”
“See, the moon’s a giant light in the sky illuminating everything so the bridge doesn’t feel eerie at night. Now, look at the water below you.”
He peered down: “I see darkness, turbulence, and fear. I see a river where too many people have jumped and drowned in.”
“You see this bridge as dangerous Wes. But without the bridge, no one would get across to the otherside. Without people in our life–our friends, loved ones, God, helpful strangers –we wouldn’t make it through troubled waters.“
“Yeah, I know Becca,” he said.”It’s like the song by Simon and Garfunkel.”
“Sometimes, we help ourselves, with a little effort.”
“You stopped yourself, having every intention of jumping before you saw me,” Becca said gently.
“You saved me Becca,” Wes admitted.
She shook her head and smiled, disintegrating. He gasped, carefully, moving off the ledge onto the bridge’s walkway.
It began in an elevator. One of those unexpected moments which occur in life. You were gazing at me and I looked up at you transfixed; there was a sparkle in your blue eyes.
As the elevator went higher, the people emptied out onto their respective floors. Eventually, we were alone.
I felt my breathing quicken and could hear your breath speed up beside me. I listened to you breath, in and out, desire for you rushing through my veins.
There had been a meter between us in the elevator, now you somehow were right beside me. I could smell your cologne: ocean, vanilla, and a note of something sweet.
I felt your eyes peering down at me, inspecting me from head to toe. The mirrors around the elevator reflected my image: Shiny black booties, polk-a-dot hose, a black A-line skirt, and a hot-pink sleeveless blouse. Makeup lightly done, eyes bare except for mascara and black eyeliner, and pink lipstick. My light blond hair was braided, stray hairs framing my face.
You saw me, catching you giving me the once over and you smiled genuinly, daring me to look you over. My eyes discovered your form: tall, and lithely muscled, wearing a navy pin-stripped suit, grey dress shirt, and a grey-blue tie. The tie matched your blue eyes exactly and your face was freshly shaved with a defined jaw; your brown hair curled slightly at your collar.
I blushed, staring at my booties, comparing them to your designer shoes. It felt as if the elevator wasn’t moving at all, or maybe time was standing still.
“You look pretty,” you told me. Your voice deep and a bit husky. “I like your perfume, it’s floral but not overwhelming; it smells delicious.” You gave me a devasting smile and I nearly swooned.
Instead, I gathered my wits and smiled back at you, blushing again.”I like your navy suit,” I stammered. “The blue, blue of the tie and the navy of the suit, it matches your eyes. And your cologne, it smells wonderful.”
I couldn’t believe what I said. I saw you grinning at me from the corner of my eye as I stared shyly down at my boots. It wasn’t normal for me to be so nervous, my heart beat so furiously.
You tipped my chin up to better look me in the eye.
“The elevator.It’s not moving,” I said.
You chuckled, “I made it stop. If only for a moment or two.”
But then, your lips touched mine. Soft and questing at first. Gently, coaxing my month open, until your tongue danced inside. Rubbing and sucking on my tongue, causing me to sigh and fall against you.
I returned your kiss grabbing the lapels of your jacket, kissing you harder, wanting more of you, of your magic taste, your delicious mouth all over my skin. Your arms came around my body, holding me close.
Suddenly, the elevator started moving up again. We both pulled back from each other panting.
“Why did it start again?” I asked.
You gazed at me with your intense blue eyes, still gathering yourself. “I’m not sure. You have to have high-clearance to make the elevator start and stop. I didn’t make the elevator move again. Believe me!”
Before we could say more, a beautiful woman with dark hair, walked into the elevator on the twenty-sixth floor. The woman smiled at as both, not oblivious to what had gone on between us minutes before.
“You have lipstick on your face, darling,” she said to you. Your face went pale and you tried to speak but the woman only laughed at you.”Don’t say a thing, you do this all time. But I’m your wife and I know, you’ll always come back to me.”
Your wife exited at the top most floor and you gave me a longing gaze, whispering: “I’m sorry.” In only a few minutes, you broke my heart.
What is it about elevators? I wondered later. My recent experience with you made me think of many TV shows and movies, where elevators have great symbolic and/or metaphorical value.
Elevators are the place for the beginnings of trysts and romances, as I had hoped today would be. They are the places stopped for people to reveal truths and secrets. They are a place where the everyday manners and values are quickly forgotten. Elevators can even be symbolic of life and death.
Today, I felt cheated. I thought the elevator was our beginning. In reality, I had been caught in the middle of some rotting relationship. You were extremely deceitful and right now, I can’t forgive you for what you did. Your lies have killed my attraction to you.
So much so, on Monday when I see you get in an elevator, I will wait for the next elevator going up to arrive. I know you’ll notice, it’s exactly what I hope.
Jessica and Paul grew up together in Kelowna. Both of them had spent a lot of time learning to snowboard. At nineteen-years-old, Jessica could easily catch big air and do tricks.She often went freeriding down the mountain with Paul.
Jessica was worried because she had not seen Paul in two days. It was unusual for him not to contact her. She took the bus down Big White and thought she might go to Paul’s place.
Suddenly, the bus stopped. They were “within a mile-and-a-half of the service roads when [the bus driver spotted a man],” lying on the side of the road. Jessica got off the bus. Recognizing the man’s face she saw it was Paul. Tears slid down her cheeks.
“I love you Paul. Please be okay,” Jessica cried.” We are supposed to go to the next Winter Olympics together. You’re supposed to marry me.”
The RCMP arrived then and a female officer gently pulled Jessica away from Paul. “How do you know this man?” asked the officer.
“He was my boyfriend. We grew up together.” The officer squeezed her shoulder.
After an autopsy was completed Jessica found out why Paul had died. He had had an aneurysm in his brain; it ruptured. Jessica was shattered.
Thanks to Roger Shipp for hosting this flash fiction challenge.