Tuesday, April 15, 2008, 3:30 PM

For the Flash Fiction Carnival, a 693-word story using the elements: earth, air, water, fire (spirit).


Sensation came slowly, beginning in a curl of warmth at Marikita’s feet that tickled. She inhaled, feeling the passage of air inside her body and out. A strand of her hair loosened and blew across her face and her breathing quickened in reaction. The warmth came with more force now, racing upwards and inside, shocking in its intensity because there was nothing before it. If she could, she might have pushed it away. What was happening?

It's time, Marikita. Your turn.

For some reason, the voice gentled Mari’s fright to wary curiosity. Were her questions not going to be ignored this time? Was she really going to feel what it was like to be human?

Her left ankle broke free of restraint in burst of aqua sparks, a moment that would surely have caught the attention of watchers. In a place where movement was nonexistent, there was nothing now to hold her motionless. Her arm stretched outward in a rainbow of color. Midnight, indigo, violet, magenta. She named them as they streaked outwards, dropping silver stars in their wake that went plink, plink, plink as they hit the ground and floated back up to her.

Catch me, they said. Catch me if you can.

She tried and fell outside of her world into a new one. Gasping her first cry of pain at the sting of her cheek against rough cement, she pushed herself up on arms that trembled and squinted her eyes under the bright intensity of Helios.

The sun. The star around which the earth revolves, she thought. Information was everywhere, she just had to think about it—

Marikita brought the palm of her hand against the hurt cheek. Pain was new. Feeling how gritty the dirt was from the ground was new.

As she stood on her bare feet, she lifted her chin and spun in a circle with arms out flung. She could feel. She was here. Alive.

The air smelled like rain. No, wait. The ground was wet. So this was what it smelled like after a rain in early spring: loamy, earthy, baked warmth. Little droplets of moisture on the wind dropped onto her tongue. She asked for more and sprinkles became heavy dollops that wet the top of her head. One hit her forehead between her eyebrows. She laughed and straightened, crossing her eyes to watch it roll down her nose to the tip, where she caught the drop with her tongue as it fell.

No rules applied here. It was like being suspended in time, but no one else was here. She frowned, then thought of Ram. A gust of wind stirred the long white skirt against the back of her legs. Her hair, also white, blinded her until she turned into the wind.

Ram stood in front of her, looking perplexed at being called in such a way. His eyes, the color of fire when angry, met hers. His confusion dissolved and the wind lessened, then stopped. He reached for her, knowing just as she did that this was their chance to be together. His fingertips against her skin familiarized her with the feeling of warmth again. A different kind of warmth, one that made Ram look as surprised as she felt.

His hands lowered to the sides of her waist before he picked her up and brought her body against his. Mari wrapped her legs around his waist and he slowly bent his face to hers. He had a beautiful mouth, wide and tilting up slightly at the corners. She divided her attention between his eyes and his mouth, her impatience.

His lips were soft and hesitant against hers, but the glow of their fierce attraction and the means to finally act upon it was real. A gift. She broke the kiss, but kept her hand against his face.

“We have all the time in the world for this one time,” she said.


She turns and smiles at me before she disappears with Ram against the glow. I stare at the screen and laugh a little, but I don't know why I'm surprised. Marikita's still with me. She always has been. I just have to know how to listen to her.

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