[Image description: A rocky path surrounded by cliffs.] Image originally by Petura.
Ronda and Tonya are young women locked away so their noisome hallucinations don’t “bother” society. Ronda is determined to summon a selkie from the sea and become immortal; all so she and Tonya can live somewhere where no one will bother them.
But fairy gifts always require a sacrifice.
Ronda strained against the car window to peer at the sea below.
Her departure from the real world was on a cold winter morning. She left nose wipes in her wake and fogged the window with her hot breath. Besides her sat not her parents but a social worker. The woman let her do as she pleased.
Ronda constantly wiped the clinging moisture away, desperate to see a full form of the implied shapes among the waves. The road followed the line of the cliffs below and Ronda yearned to open the door and fall into the crashing waves. Nothing solidified however in the froth of the water devouring the cliffs. Yet she would chase the dream every night. The fantasy of falling into a different world.
In the seat between her and the social worker, half-submerged in the front passenger seat, and the floor-boards between Ronda’s legs were her alters. The social worker and the driver were as still as fearful rabbits in their eerie presence. The alters however had no more concern for this world than the angels above.
From the age of twelve, the same time as her first menses, Ronda had been accompanied by alters. It had been a simple affair. She had simply awoke one day and at the foot of her bed there they had been; three black, shadow-like figures. They were ostensibly male, but with smooth anatomies one could not say for sure. They had no eyes, mouths, nor ears. There were indentations where such orifices should be present, but like the genitals there was only a suggestion of what should be.
The alters were solid and perfectly black. It was as if a noontime shadow had been given life. Yet they were silent things. They watched with no eyes, and never attempted to interact with any person or the environment itself. If an obstacle was in their path, they simply moved through it, as seamlessly as water through a sieve. If that barrier should happen to be a person they would complain of feeling death raking its claws over their soul.
They would swim like fish through walls and floors; floating on some intangible current. They never strayed far from their point of origin; Ronda. Sometimes there was one, two, none, but never more than three. They came and went as easily as a free roaming cat. They were as unconcerned with the uproar their existence created as any feline as well.
The institution chosen for Ronda’s own good was a red brick building that brooded over the high granite cliffs. It was government run as the Vogelsang Family were stanchly working class. The institution had a large child population and the most successful public program of rehabilitation. And for its failures, it also had the largest retained population.
The sound of the ocean was the most distinct feature of the place to Ronda. It roared every day and night. It shrouded the people and building with corrosive salt. They breathed in the sea’s caustic breath every second of their lives and the girl imagined polyps of salt forming in her body. One day they would burst her heart and she would become someone else. Someone who could go where she liked. Yet she foiled her own plans for weeks with the tears she wept every night.
Her kin were an eclectic bunch. There were schizophrenics with reality warped around themselves like a distorted mirror. Their world shook and screamed with an intensity a thousand times greater than that of other people. There were those with bugs crawling along their innards and their skin puckered and fell as their minds broadcasted what was within. There were the patients with borderline personality disorder whose every fault was magnified and broadcasted. Those who could hear the music of the spheres and it manifested as a heavenly light around their head. There were the depressed whose nagging voices manifested as screaming mouths all around themselves.
Ronda was given her own room, with a bed and dresser. Every Friday the library cart came through. There were lessons for the children, and in segregated classes. After all her womanhood was the reason she was here.
The only reason she was here.
This poor little story got caught in the crossfire of my illness (https://dmorgenstern.org/please-read/). Due to my ongoing issues I’m downgrading my professional presence. As this story will never be circulated for publication, it will rest here.
This story will be posted over the next three days. So don’t worry it’s already complete.