Wednesday, August 4, 2021

The Other Side (short fiction) Ch. 8 by Leanne Dyck

 Ch. 7 Owen and Mara move into their new home. Relaxing in the laundry room, Mara hears music. She thinks it's her next-door neighbour. However, later, when she meets her neighbour she discovers it wasn't.

"Vancouver" photo by ldyck

The Other Side

Chapter eight

The next day was overcast and the grey clouds finally released their load, like someone taking a knife to a waterbed. It pounded against our living room window threatening to break the glass. 

I flipped the pages in my paperback--not bothering to read them. I couldn't wait to be home alone--in the laundry room.

Owen stopped to give me a kiss before flying down the stairs, hair still damp and smelling of aftershave. "It's a great night for TV. See you soon," he called up.

Take your time, I wanted to call back.

I heard the front door close.

I skipped down the stairs, ran through Owen's office, flew down the hall, and landed in the laundry room. Cross-legged beside the dryer, I leaned against the concrete wall.

Plunk. Plunk. Plunk. A guitar strummed. Clang. Clang. Clang. A cowbell rang out.

"Slow down, you move too fast." I recognized the words--Simon and Garfunkel's Feeling Groovy.

It was heaven--.


I sprang to my feet. 

The dryer was cold. The electrical outlet was fine. 

Burning wood?

I searched the room. No match. No lumber. No firewood. Not even a splinter. 

Still, the smoke kept coming.

Deep breath in; deep breath out. Deep breath--.

The silver smoke turned sky blue, spring green, bright orange, purple. It continued to drift up to the ceiling and slowly began to clear. Blinding rays of sunlight poured out of the hole, where the wall had been. When my eyes adjusted to the bright light I saw a green meadow. 

"Mara." Someone was calling my name.

Far off in the distance, a purple cow munched strawberry red grass. I rubbed my eyes.

A bunny wearing a top hat hopped down an oatmeal cookie path. "Mara," he called. He stopped right in front of me and looked up. "Come on, Mara, we've been waiting for you." He wrapped his paw around my pinkie finger. Something about his touch eased my worry. 

Hand-in-hand, the bunny and I skipped up the path. Lollipop trees stood under candy floss clouds. Birds sang the familiar words, "Feeling groovy."

We climbed a small hill and I saw the musicians--a brown bear with a guitar and an orange cow with a cowbell hanging around her neck. In the middle of the circle of thatch-roofed cottages and lollipop trees, people danced.

The bunny led me over to a woman leaning against a lollipop tree. Her dress of eye-popping colours--orange, yellow, and green swirls--had wide sleeves and a full skirt. Round, steel-framed glasses balanced her nose, and a thin, leather band wrapped around her head. Her sun-bleached, straight hair fell to the middle of her back. She wove daisy after daisy into a long chain.

The bunny danced around singing, "She came. She came."

"Chill, dude. Don't have a cow." Her words swirled around lazily in the air, finally landing on my eardrums. "It's all cool. Everything is groovy."

"She came. She came. This is her. This is Mara."

Finishing the chain, she danced in a flowing spiral over to where I stood. "Far out." She slipped the chain over my head. "Welcome to my side of the wall." And I thought she said, "My name's Wendy.", but when I repeated her name, she corrected me. "No, my name's Windy--with an 'i', dig?"

"Dig? Dig what?" I asked.

Instead of answering me, she joined the party. Everyone had long hair. The women wore dresses like Windy's. The guys' blue jeans were faded and their cotton shirts hung loose.

Windy's arms flew gracefully in the air like wings. Her bracelets sparkled in the sunlight. Her dress floated around her like feathers.

Feeling Groovy ended and Windy rejoined me. "Join the happenin'."

"No, I couldn't. I'm too... I'm too shy to dance."

"Mellow out." She returned to the dancers.

This place seemed so safe that I thought maybe I could try. I closed my eyes and felt the music fill my body. I spread my arms out and floated on each note like I was flying.

I opened my eyes and I was dancing.

photo by ldyck

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On this blog in August...

Every Sunday and Wednesday in August
from Sunday, August 1 to Wednesday, August 25
I will continue to publish installments of 
The Other Side

Sunday, August 29
Book Review
Skinny Legs and All
Tom Robbins