The One After

The clock struck midnight and she was gone.

There was no spark of light, no crackle in the air, not a single silver shoe left behind.

She had simply vanished- vanished, not dead- when just the second before, she had lived. Her arms had hung limply at her side, breath held in, eyes fixed firmly on the clock as it ticked, closer, closer.

11:57

11:58

11:59

Voila.

And I was there, in the very place that she’d relinquished, breathing in the air that had whooshed out of her lungs, feeling the phantom touch of her, tingling.

Sparks of guilt and anger flaring up, uncalled for and unwelcome.

I felt like a snake slipped out of its skin; pristine in a way that is distinctly unpleasant, the knowledge of my own transience clouding the loss of my former skin.

You are reborn, renewed, they would say. Replaced is more like it.

She was gone, and I had never met her, never seen her. And yet, I knew her, like no else ever had.

She was a memory as faint as a song in a dream, a certain inexplicable sorrow accompanying it.

If I pictured her, it would only be as a bright unravelling spool of colour that hung from the cusp of recollection, fleeing away into the wind at the slightest threat of capture, tangling in the smatter of stars ahead.

And she would never return now, her time here was over. Over. That grandiose thought, the utter finality of it, it scared me. I had taken her place. And I would follow.

The longest hand of the clock reached twelve, and I was a minute old.

I had just twenty-three hours and fifty-nine minutes left.

I wonder if the one after me would remember.

Photo by Darius Bashar on Unsplash

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109 Comments Add yours

    1. Thank you. That means a lot. ❤

      Like

  1. Nahlabels says:

    I’m in love with this piece, I feel like I can read this 2 times a day and call it a good life

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Starting to see a theme here. As I read this I was reminded of your words in your bio. – something about the slipping in and out of being here, a way of being both in and out of sight – or, that is, between the lines.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. TMDigital says:

    A great read! Really enjoyed that – captivated me with the prose. Thank you 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Glad you liked it. Hope you have an incredible 2019! ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Powerful, I would to know a little of the back story to this piece.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you. I’m afraid it’s open to interpretation as of now. I didn’t have anything particular in mind when I wrote it, though my readers have already come up with a couple of excellent theories. What do you think?

      Like

    2. I was originally thinking reincarnation or reinventing yourself. But the 24 hours to the knew one comes is throwing me. I will have to think on it more .

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Looking forward to hearing what you think! ❤

      Like

  5. Ruthie Rose says:

    This is incredible… wow !

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much! ❤

      Like

  6. Before reading this, I acknowledge the fact that every day one becomes a new self, but it never touched me. So beautiful and moving 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m so glad you liked it! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment!<3

      Liked by 1 person

    2. It’s my pleasure! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  7. raajashok says:

    It’s so beautiful and haunting.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much! Glad you liked it! ❤️

      Like

  8. Wonderful images! I wonder what I will do with the remaining minutes of my day.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha glad you liked it! ❤

      Like

  9. gatesinlife says:

    What an interesting mystery, and very colorful descriptions! I enjoyed this one. Will this be continued or is this one people call “flash fiction”?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it! No, not a series. I guess it is Flash Fiction then.
      Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment! It really means a lot ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Your use of language to communicate thought and emotion is superb.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much! Glad you liked it! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Julia Novak says:

    Beautiful. You’ve captured Spirit leaving the body, on to the next lifetime. Our endless cycle of embodiment where there really is no space or time. Hopefully we remember what came before to take into this present life. That’s the goal – to remember. Love it!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That was such a fresh perspective, Julia… I’ve honestly never thought about it that way. Thank you so much for offering a new viewpoint and taking the time to read and comment! It really means a lot ❤

      Like

  12. Kalliope says:

    Gasp. Natalie. That’s beautiful…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! Glad you liked it! ❤

      Like

  13. Jesus, Natalie, this is so very powerful…intoxicating, really. I was immediately drawn into that space, teetering between the fear of unraveling and the anticipation of liberation. You have a gift, of that there is no question.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That means so much to me. Thank you for taking the time to read and leave such a lovely comment! I’m so glad you enjoyed the piece ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Écrirature says:

    The one after, Always one after ? Dead wins.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Beautifully written ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much! ❤️

      Like

  16. netdarpan says:

    Nice article.I have an important topic to discuss with you.so may we???

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! You can contact me through my Divulge Your Thoughts page: https://themidnightember.wordpress.com/contact/
      Looking forward to hearing from you! ❤

      Like

    2. netdarpan says:

      Not here.Join our facebook page NetDarpan.com or email us at netdarpan@gmail.com .we will discuss there.

      Like

  17. Gulraj Bedi says:

    Hi, would like to talk to you regarding one of your written pieces. Do let me know a good time to talk.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey, Gulraj! You can contact me through my Divulge Your Thoughts page: https://themidnightember.wordpress.com/contact/
      Looking forward to hearing from you! ❤

      Like

  18. PERKY says:

    Your composition is truly Marvellous…”tangling in the smatters of stars ahead” truly wow👍

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much! Glad you liked it! ❤

      Like

  19. Wao Natalie, you expressed in such a wonderful series of thoughts and imagination as a reader is living through your words. Felt the depth. Awesome work

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That really means a lot to me, Raushan! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment! It really means a lot ❤

      Like

  20. Macxermillio says:

    I have such admiration for your writing.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That really means a lot to me. Thank you so much! ❤️

      Liked by 2 people

  21. Mantra says:

    You could turn this poem into a great fantasy story! Love it 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This was such a coincidence; I was literally just thinking about that!
      Though Ifeel like I might have some trouble in continuing the story after one day passes seeing how she pretty much loses her memory each midnight. But the idea is intruiging so I’m trying to work it out…
      Glad you liked it, Mantra! ❤

      Like

  22. Ashley says:

    I read this out loud–delectable. Such interesting timing for me too considering my recent thoughts. I love how much you captured in such short form ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Glad you liked it, Ashley! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Shagnik says:

    I think some things are beautiful because of their ephemeral nature. Like all of us. Trying desperately to be immortal, but settling for leaving behind a pleasant aftertaste. You capture that very well, I think. Your prose flows more like a river. Structured, but not rigid. It’s a good change, and I look forward to the one after this.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That was such a beautiful way to look at it, Shagnik. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and share such a lovely comment! Glad you enjoyed the piece! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  24. justMEpoetry says:

    This is BEAUTIFULLY written.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much! ❤

      Like

  25. I love you ethereal language in this piece – it is a great read!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, Jane! That really means a lot ❤

      Like

  26. Susi Bocks says:

    An incredible way of writing about new days dawning. So creative, Natalie!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Susi! Glad you liked it! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Tom Austin says:

    The photo is more than appropriate..it’s perfect

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Tom Austin says:

    The photo is more than appropriate…it’s perfect

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much, Tom! ❤️

      Like

    1. sunilmdabral says:

      You are welcome. You came here after a while. I wish you would share more and more.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. That really means a lot, Sunil. It does take me a while to come up with something satisfactory. I do try to stick to a twice-a-month postining schedule, but I might be shifting that to once a week during the course of the next year, maybe?
      Thank you for your readership ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    3. sunilmdabral says:

      Once a week. That would be great. Waiting for many more good pieces form you.😊

      Liked by 1 person

  29. Jon says:

    Slipping away to the next journey and untold adventures…..

    Liked by 2 people

  30. David Gaines says:

    Love the metaphor and abstract analogies! It drew me in, let me float a little, then wrapped up with the gentle reminder that each day, every moment, are gifts!

    Like

    1. That’s such a beauitful way to put it… thank you so much for taking the time to read and share your thoughts here! Glad you liked it! ❤

      Like

  31. And the most compelling fear…would the one after me remember?

    Liked by 2 people

  32. Janzajma says:

    Thanks for sharing. I know I’ve said it before, but I really enjoy your writing style!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much! Glad you liked it! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  33. Oh my gosh! This left me breathless (literally).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha thank you so much. Glad you liked it! ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  34. Great reading, thank you!🙏👍

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Glad you liked it! ❤

      Like

  35. Interesting…though I find myself lost to the meaning of the story.

    Nonetheless, I do like your writing. Keep up the great work

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Glad you liked it!
      I must admit, I can’t figure it out myself… it’s one of those piece where I started out to write something completely different but the words took a life of their own, and I had no choice but to follow. Maybe the readers will come up with their own interpretations, as they always do, something I’m personally waiting to read… or maybe, there is simply no meaning ❤

      Liked by 2 people

    2. jacklantic says:

      Yes! This. This is the most fun in writing; when it breathes on its own. Totally agree

      Liked by 2 people

  36. Beautiful. Just beautiful! Awesome job!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  37. CathyHiggins says:

    Reblogged this on Cathy L. Higgins and commented:
    This is so compelling.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, Cathy! That really means a lot ❤

      Like

  38. Masterfully written!! You had me on the edge of my seat. Your diction was whimsical and prosaic, but my particular favorite line has to be this one: “She was a memory as faint as a song in a dream, a certain inexplicable sorrow accompanying it.” Seriously, how gorgeous and devastating is this line? (The whole piece, honestly.) thanks for the fantastic share!! 😊 ~Kelsey

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That means so much to me, Kelsey! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and leave such a lovely comment! You just made my day ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  39. amwordism says:

    Wow! I’m moved! This is confusing in a very clever way, because it makes you think, and I love the way you’ve paced this! Definitely one to keep thinking about, well done!! X

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Gkad you liked it! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment! ❤

      Like

  40. bunnerbooky says:

    Magnificent! ❤ I have no words.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much! That really means a lot ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  41. G. Paul Randall says:

    please teach me how to write 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  42. Tom Burton says:

    Another fantastic read! 🙂 You really pull the reader into the scene with such beautiful prose! Thanks for sharing! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Glad you liked it, Tom! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  43. Anonymous says:

    “…you’ll find something that speaks to you.”
    It indeed does speak to me, about someyhing I feel so much about! That’s what you call true art, I feel! Thanks for writing it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So glad you liked it! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment! ❤

      Like

    1. Thank you so much! That really means a lot ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    2. jenanita01 says:

      Our pleasure, Natalie…

      Liked by 1 person

  44. become1one says:

    Each day is a gift………..leaving that which, no longer is, behind…………..so beautifully written

    Liked by 3 people

  45. Écrirature says:

    Rêve ou réalité ? Une étrange manière de renaître sans être vraiment né… très poétiques ces minutes d’angoisse ! Bon dimanche au plaisir d’échanges et d’une visite peut-être chez moi ! 🙂 Bruno

    Liked by 3 people

  46. Nicely done, Natalie, so beautifully expressed! Thank you for sharing. 💞

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Glad you liked it! Thank you so much! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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