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When The Levee Breaks

Hello friends!

I recently decided to participate in Flash Fiction Month over at Deviant Art. I’ll be posting my flash fiction pieces this whole month of July so stay tuned if you like reading short short stories!

The theme for the 8th of July was ‘The Hands of Fate’. The protagonist in this piece is based off of my Fate Core character, Ripley, who is a water bender.

Enjoy!


She did this before and she felt just as powerful.

Ripley lifted one hand up and felt a fiery heat between her fingertips and within her sweaty palms. She could feel the water move and pulsate all around her. Every trickle, every droplet obeyed her every command; they swayed when her fingers moved.

The scars on her body seemed to twitch and throb beneath the skin-tight black suit she wore. Years of being submerged under water, held by different hands, some gentle and some tugging hard as they pushed and pulled until she could feel the tingles running down her spine as her vision blurred from being covered in patches of raven black hair. Ten lashes for every child who screamed. Ten more lashes on open palms for every child who could not soothe the waters around them. The scars adorned her pale body like second skin; stronger, tougher and unfeeling.

Ripley stood motionless and stoic. Her raven black hair fell behind her shoulders like a dark waterfall reaching down to her feet. She was calm like the ocean.

She turned her open palm up and water obeyed. She felt the gushing of liquid flowing faster and faster like a raging river.

In the back of her mind, she saw eyes of emerald green, jewels in muddy water. Ripley could not remember her name but she would take her away every night, when the horrible hands were asleep and there was no one around to catch the pitter-patter of scurrying feet and muffled sounds of childhood amusement. The girl with the emerald eyes would place her hands on her open wounds and it made everything better. They were sisters-in-arms sworn to protect each other till death did them part. Hooked at the hip, they kept each other’s secrets and the girl with the emerald eyes was the only one who witnessed Ripley’s darkest secret.

Ripley’s hands vibrated from the heat that surfaced all over her shivering body. She curled her fingers slowly to make a fist, tugging at the river before her, willing it towards the sea. She remembered this feeling. She was powerful then too.

She remembered standing over the lifeless body of a master, covered in warm liquid that slid across his glistening skin. Water was the source of all life; she felt it in her veins as much as she felt it in that lifeless body. The girl with the emerald eyes watched her, hand on her face, blood dripping down the side of her cheek.

“What did you do?” her voice quivered. Ripley felt the vapors around her shifting.

“I won’t let him or anyone else hurt you,” she said defiantly.

When the other masters found out what had happened, a swift punishment followed. The girls were separated. Caring turned to ignorance and love turned to hate. In her years of solitude, Ripley knew she had to escape the masters and she knew that she would need her sister. Somewhere in the back of her mind she knew she was too late.

As her fingers turned in to meet her palm, the river burst forth and released into a great sea of red. Warm liquid was washed over and oozed over the surface of skin as pale as hers.

What did you do? echoed a small voice in her head. She felt the soft touch of a child’s hand on her open palms.

“Something wicked,” she whispered.

Green eyes stared back in an ocean of red.

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Can you hear me?

As she stood there repeating herself, she wondered if she should have spoken louder.

She was fresh out of college when it started. She didn’t think much of it at the time because it happened too frequently to be noticed. Whenever she heard the inevitable What? she would clear her throat and repeat louder, never blinking twice. She was an only child, a shining emblem to carry her bloodline forward. She had to be heard. So she scoured the internet for free voice lessons because singers are always heard.

Somewhere around high school, she gained the confidence to say what she had to say. The repetitions became less frequent but were still unavoidably there. It was like a giant bug on her back; she couldn’t see it herself but she knew it was there and that others could see it. She sang in a few talent shows and brought her guitar and sang alone or with a couple of friends during study hall. Although she knew she wasn’t the best singer, couldn’t even reach those high notes without her voice cracking, in those moments she was happiest.

Then she took a year off after high school to pursue her interests. Her voice boomed louder than it ever had. Colors and ideas and inspiration came oozing out of her eyes, ears and mouth, she almost drowned in herself. She got so lost in the noise that she forgot about the future until it came and there was radio silence.

She found she could barely speak in college. She had to repeat herself more than twenty times a day. She knew this because she kept score of every single defect in her speech in the hope that she could concoct a cure somehow. Then she turned to writing; surely her words would leave an impression on people’s minds. And it made a difference, but only a slight one.

When she fell in love for the first time, she felt a sharp pain in her chest and her voice was too loud and out of control. She broke it off because it was too much to handle.

On the day that she graduated, she hugged her parents when she received her degree. They congratulated her heartily and she said thank you. She went about socializing with her fellow graduates and she knew now, that maybe it was the atmosphere of euphoria that intoxicated their senses. They drove home after lunch and the first thing she did was turn on her laptop to a headhunting website.

“I’m sending out a bunch of resumés,” she said, completely pleased with herself.

“What?” her father asked.

“I said I’m sending out resumés,” she cut her sentence short hoping he would piece the words together easily. He gave a warm smile, gave her a pat on the back and went back to reading his newspaper. She shrugged it off but when she received a job offer the next week, her parents were taken aback. To every explanation she gave, she received an even bolder What?

The job she accepted was a writing post in a local magazine. Her boss told her that she wrote exceptionally well but he asked, “Why don’t you ever speak up?” Then he turned around and left, her lip quivering in silence. So she became that one employee who never spoke, never said hello or goodbye or thank you or sorry, that one employee who had no manners.

She moved out of her parents’ house and rented a small but quaint apartment that was closer to work. She would visit them every month and every month, she would catch her mother unabashedly changing her clothes, adding a little too much rum in her Rum ’n Coke, or her father scratching an itch underneath his belt buckle, taking out an inexplicably large wad of cash from a safe box, looking at pictures of pretty girls on the internet. On Christmas Eve, she went over to their place, her old home, and rang the doorbell almost 21 times before she gave up. Her mother called the next day asking why she wasn’t there for the dinner party.

“But I was,” she said. “I rang the doorbell so many times and left because I thought you went out.”

“Hello? Sweetheart, is something wrong? Why won’t you answer me?”

The phone dropped from her face. Life was at a standstill and suddenly she was struck by lightning. It occurred to her that she was disappearing, turning into a simmering heap of ashes. She stepped outside of the apartment building and waited for a wind to pick her up and carry her away. She thought, no one will ever know.

And life went on without her.

And as for me, I didn’t know her, didn’t even know her first name. Yet, as my fingers urgently race across the keys, she comes back in flashes of memories. I hear her voice, I think that’s her voice, when they say What?


I’ve been repeating myself a lot lately. Could be I’m not loud enough, could be everyone else is deaf.

And then I thought, what if this wasn’t just about my voice? What would happen if you slowly disappeared out of other people’s senses? What if it was more than voice but actually you that disappears?