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(A short story of 4016 words)

My Mind's Eye


by Jo Reardon

Anna Maria is an opera singer who, following an accident, has forgotten how to sing. She starts to find her voice again in the most unlikely place and with the most unlikely people, in a place of sanctuary where the strangest character of all is a young boy whom only she can see.

As I move through the wood, the pylons above my head tick like giant cicadas in the damp late August air. It’s almost dawn, still dark and everyone else is sleeping, apart from the devout few who get up every morning to pray or to do whatever it is they do to save their souls, our souls. We are the outsiders here, the ones who are sick, who came here for healing. I hope they pray for us, I know we need it.

Since the accident I feel safer in the dark, before the daylight finds me again. There’s no one here, no sound but my own breath biting back at me, my soft footfalls echoing my thoughts, repeating the fears that haunt me now wherever I go.

Every day I come this far and no further, to the bend in the path that leads to the lake. I don’t know what lies beyond the bend because here the path swoops downwards into the trees and doesn’t invite further trespass. I hear the water of the lake lapping, a large lake which I have glimpsed from the verandah of the house, but have never seen completely. At first, I thought there was no way down to the water, but then I discovered the path, the twisting turning branches above it, the trail of pale stones and the violet lilies rising up from the reed bed as the lake grew closer. Like a yellow brick road, it seemed I had to follow it. It was to be the beginning of my journey.

A sound startles me – the swans coming to life, the low thrum of their wings beating in time to the blood in my heart. I watch them disappear over the trees, the walls, and on towards the flat marsh lands and the sea which I know is only a heartbeat away...

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A review of My Mind's Eye from the CUT team....

A moving and elegantly written short story about how the past is never really done with us. Bad memories follow Anna Marie as she seeks to recover from a past trauma in a new location; yet when she gets there she finds that it has memories of its own. Highly recommended.

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