Shen Hart of The Review Hart posted this picture and asked writers to write a flash fiction piece about it, something that seems to be part of a larger story. I took up the challenge, and here is what I wrote:
“The same one every time?”
“Every time,” I confirmed.
“And when she turns around…she has no, uh…”
“No face. Right.”
He shook his head. “Jesus. That’s fucked up.” His mouth opened to say something else, stayed that way for a few seconds, and then closed itself.
“So what does she do with the rainbow picture?”
“Nothing,” I told him. “It just hangs there.”
Pushing his plate aside so that it hit the ice-choked tumbler with a low clink, he scowled. “Okay, forget it. Getting information from you is like pulling teeth. Find another oneiromancer. Or try the haruspication girl down the street. She’s good with goat guts.”
I held out a hand as he started to get up. “Hold on! Wait. Just…it’s not easy to talk about. I’ve tried other ones. No one’s been willing to take my case.”
On his feet now, he motioned with his head at the door. “Thanks for the burger and all, but there’s no way on the gods’ green Earths that I’m going to risk my soul on a trip into the deathscape you call a subconscious. Screaming teddy bears, faceless girls… there’s something else you’re not telling me. So forget it.”
My fingernails scraped along the seam in my skull, the rough line that separated opaque bone from translucent yellow crystal. “Just give me a second, okay? I’ve…I’ve got to get this out of my head. You can see that, can’t you?” I meant it literally: the dream had manifested itself as a black tumor, spreading hair-fine tendrils through the visible parts of my brain.