[ eyl-yuh-nist, ey-lee-uh- ]
** Either a story beginning, a story ending, a piece of flash fiction, a poem–inspired by the word, alienist, where does it take me? Where does it take you?
What does it matter to them what I think? What I see or believe? I’m not preaching anything or trying to teach anything. It’s just a little confusing sometimes which reality I’m pulling memories from.
I’m walking down a trail in a park, Central Park in New York City. My hand is holding Sarah’s, the sun is bright, and she’s happy. What’s not to be happy about on a day like this?
“I love you,” she says, prompted by nothing.
I smile down to her, “I love you too.”
What a great day that was! Only when I bring up the memory to Sarah, she reminds me that we’ve never been to New York. She’s worried. It’s her dream to go to New York.
I look around Sarah’s art space, now a spare bedroom.
“Sarah,” I call to her. “What happened to all your paintings? Did you put them in storage?”
She looks at me with a scolding glance. “Why would you say that? There’s no need to be mean.”
I’m stunned. Mean? I was just curious. Then, it hits me. Sarah hadn’t picked up her paintbrush since her mom died eight years ago. Wrong life. Different Sarah.
A dozen mistakes like that, and I now sit surrounded by four plain white walls. People don’t like hearing about their hidden potential, apparently. Oh, well. It could be worse. Where shall I go next?
I think I’ll go walk in Central Park again. Yes, that’s one of my favorite memories.
There could be a really cool story here. Someone who’s able to see multiple dimensions, multiple lives of himself. Perhaps the ability extends to the lives of others as well.
What if the story started with this guy in a mental institution, and then we start going into all these past memories. Only towards the middle do we realize that all the memories are of different lives and worlds. That maybe he’s not crazy, but gifted.
The whole time we’re thinking we’re following memories that lead to his institutionalization, and in a way, it’s true. It just turns out that the reasons in “this reality” get revealed later. Like how Sarah hasn’t painted in eight years and so on.
We could throw in a threat or conflict of some kind where that gift of his becomes needed. Perhaps by knowing the potential lives of others, he can help solve a crime.
There’s an episode of Fringe like that. They use what they know about a man in one dimension to catch a killer in the other dimension. Love that show! There’s a cool twist in that episode, and I won’t spoil it : )
As always… oh, the places we can go!
What do you think of Alienist?
Sound like a fun story to read? Is he crazy or gifted?
Leave your thoughts, your own story beginning/ending, flash-fiction, or whatever in the comments! Where did alienist or my story take you?
If you liked this, check out Ripples.
Today’s word is from Merriam-Webster.
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