Writing Prompt: Write a story that takes place in the year 2563. Include the words space station, knuckle, interview, horse, twenty-seven, lipstick, transformation, studio, distribution, assert. Limit yourself to only 45 minutes to writing. Ready, set, go!
If I were the type of person to believe in reincarnation, which I am, I would tell you that I was likely a witch in a past life. I would tell you that while I can't move things with my mind, or bend people to my will, I do have the ability to spark curiosity every now and then. Curiosity is a powerful tool and if used correctly can lead to many things. It was curiosity that lead me to Mara's Antiques on Beaver Street, just a mile down from the yellow Victorian house I always admire on my morning runs.
Mara's Antiques is surrounded by chain restaurants, a hardware store, and the hustle and bustle of any typical commercial area. But there is nothing typical about Mara's Antiques. The little building is short and narrow, like a tiny house that isn't so tiny, but small nonetheless. The wooden shingles are a worn out burgundy that used to be a bright red, and depending on the angle, one could really appreciate how lop-sided and ready to fall the shop is. The faint of heart might suggest the building is haunted, but I would argue that Mara's Antiques is charming and full of character; a building with stories and many foot steps.
I was just about to twist the knob when the door opened on its own with the sound of hollow wind chimes. A soft, soothing, deep belly sound. Every part of me was ignited with ideas of what I would find inside.
"Hello dear" A small-framed old woman with wiry white hair, mocha latte skin, and a dense Caribbean accent, greeted me as I entered. She opened her arms and gestured towards the far end of the store as if to welcome me to poke around and have a look. The bulky citrine crystals around her neck created a kaleidoscope effect of rainbows shining and reflecting off everything glassy around the store.
"Are you looking for anything in particular? Or have you come because of the pull?"
The pull? I wondered. She smiled gently to assess the confusion on my face and it wasn't until then I realized the old woman is blind.
"Yes dear, the pull. The feeling in your gut telling you to enter the shop. The curiosity in your legs, moving you forward and in through this door. The understanding that you were meant to be here, and that great and challenging times await you." She grabbed my hand, soft as cotton, and I was overwhelmed with a sense of familiarity. I knew this woman. I don't know how and I don't know where from, but old lady Mara was no stranger, not really.
"Ah yes, remember dear. Open your heart, and let it reveal what you already know"
Though blind, she moved with ease and a confidence that can only be attained through many years of living, hard living. It's strange how strange her words, how strange her mannerisms, and how strange that nothing seemed strange at all. "Go on dear, look"
There were plants hanging from exposed wood beams in the ceiling; organic chandeliers. My eyes landed on the blown-glass sculptures, the fine linens, the delicate artwork, the hand-painted furniture, and the goldfish aquarium. The shop was immensely large inside, and only appeared to be larger the further in I walked. As I stepped across the creaky floor I felt the pull. At first I didn't know what she meant but I felt an undeniable feeling of wanting to explore, to touch, to see.
"Go on dear" Mara sat down on a blue rocking chair beside the register, in front of an old typewriter.
I was drawn to an oval shaped emerald welded into a ornate copper casing, hanging from a long elegant chain. Next to the rest of the costume jewelry it would have been easy to miss but I recognized it right away. I had the same feeling I got when Mara touched my hand, the pull she was talking about.
"Careful, dear, the emerald has extraordinary powers." Mara had a way of singing her words. Everything she said sounded like both premonition or a poem. A riddle. Something to be deciphered even in its simplicity.
The amulet felt cold as ice in my hands. My fingers numbed by the sharpness of being exposed to the cold for too long. I felt my body fade from me. I felt myself falling into a dream-like state, and Mara's voice further and further in the distance echoing.
"Careful dear, the amulet has eeeextraaaaordiiiiinaaaaryyyyy poooowersssss"
A monotone female voice came through an intercom. "TRANSFORMATION COMPLETE. YOU MAY REPORT BACK TO THE STUDIO FOR YOUR INTERVIEW."
My vision was cloudy, my head spinning, my legs stiff, and my left ring finger knuckle burning with the sting of a fresh tattoo; a barcode. Number 71014. Looking around I was at a doctor's office, in the waiting room sitting on a recliner surrounded by other people but everyone seemed fine.
A nurse with orange lipstick approached me "You're all set. Dr. Lombardo said you were just dehydrated and tired. Go home, avoid stress, and get plenty of rest".
I walked outside and didn't recognize my surroundings. The flying vehicles, and the seamless glass sky-scrapers as far as the eye could see. The trees were tall but frail and lit internally with an electrical current shooting up and down within the tree trunks, all the way to the tips of the branches and back. The streets were full of people, moderate traffic, and children playing in a playscape not too far away, but everything was so quiet. No one spoke above a whisper, no music, even the traffic sounded more like a breeze than a street full of moving cars. No one noticed me, and being invisible made me feel threatened, isolated.
I needed to figure out where I was, and how I got here. My pockets were empty but I did have a thin gold bracelet with a horse pendant, and a white plastic hospital bracelet on my right hand:
Gloriana Juniper Vega
Age 27 | Female | Citizen 71014
Saint Augustine Hospital Space Station
Admitted: August 21, 2563 | Released: August 22, 2563
I don't understand. I remember being at the antique shop, but this date must be wrong. I was just with the old lady Mara, and it was August of 2019. This must be a dream. A big misunderstanding. Wake up Gloriana, wake up, wake up!
WOOO WOOO WOOO WOOO - an alarm filled the landscape and everyone froze. Even the leaves on the trees stopped moving. Aside from the drones hovering over me, everything was still.
"CITIZEN 71014 - PLEASE REPORT TO THE DISTRIBUTION CENTER. COMMAND ASSERTS THAT YOU HAVE NOT FILED YOUR STATUS IN THE PAST 24 HOURS."
I didn't know what to do so I ran. I ran as fast as could and the world started moving again, the alarms faded, and everyone was awake again, except now they could see me. All eyes were on me. They were pointing at me. The baker in the yellow apron, the little girl with the pig tails, the man walking his dog, everyone. They stared and chanted in perfect harmony "CITIZEN 71014 - REPORT TO THE DISTRIBUTION CENTER." And a little louder ""CITIZEN 71014 - REPORT TO THE DISTRIBUTION CENTER." "CITIZEN 71014 - REPORT TO THE DISTRIBUTION CENTER."
I wanted to scream but I had no voice, just fear, and legs that wouldn't stop running. I wanted to go back to the shop, to be in my own time, to be safe, please make this nightmare stop, please!
"Are you ok my dear?" Mara's hand cupped my face and my cheeks were icy with the power of the emerald. "I told you to be careful. This amulet has extraordinary powers"
She took the necklace from my hand returning my body to its natural temperature. I was me again, I was solid, grounded, planted. "Let me wrap this up for you."
I followed her back to the register with a lump in my throat. "Mara? Am I? Did I just?" I couldn't find the words.
"Consider this a gift, my dear. And worry not. You'll get the hang of it soon enough. You've always been a talented witch. Just like your mother. Just like your grandmother"
"But I'm adopted, I've never known my biological family. I don't understand what..." She cut me off before I even got a chance to organize my thoughts. Then she smiled again, the same soft smile she greeted me with. Her hands found themselves around my face once again and it was like looking in the mirror, how did I not notice the resemblance before?
"Mara, are you my grandmother?" Mara hugged me close. "Welcome home, my dear"