Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge 091416

This way to Wonderland…

Blue Line, Boston, MA


Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge – September 14, 2016. Showing the ways people move from one place to another on land. Photos ©2016 Leara Morris-Clark.

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If A Tree Falls In The Forest

It’s like the question about a tree in the forest.

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I was haunting my life, not really living in it. I was going through the motions and I was sure if I stopped, no one would notice. It’s a strange thing lurking your own life. One would think that my routines would have some people recognizing and expecting me, and maybe it was like that in the beginning, but after a while, I faded into the background. My face looked like any other and melted into indistinguishable features, lifeless eyes staring from the pages of magazines, ads on trains, or posters at the station. I could be anyone, no one.

A cup of coffee and a newspaper at the corner before the subway; sometimes I didn’t even read the paper, but I bought it every day. It was comforting. Missing that stop would have me off-kilter for the duration.

Staring at the reflections in the windows as I passed by before going below was a habit. I never looked at myself anymore, though. I hated that I was frumpy and unfashionable, but not enough to do anything about it. I didn’t think anyone saw me anyway. I mostly took notice of the people surrounding me. I was uninterested in the details. I just saw the crowd moving like a flock of birds, a school of fish, or a herd of sheep; all changing direction at the same time and all heading toward the same unspoken destination, guided by some force of nature. I was always tempted to change directions or turn around in the middle, thinking it would result in utter chaos. Maybe I was just tempted to see if anyone noticed me at all.

On the train, I alternated between focusing on the passing lights and walls of the tunnel, and my disappearing and reappearing reflection in the glass as we sped along the track. The blinking lights caused a strobe effect that sometimes made me nauseous. My face blurred in with the walls, the glass, and everyone else.

I had a theory that if I went unnoticed long enough, I would cease to exist. It’s like the question about a tree in the forest.

We entered the station, so I moved with the current onto the platform and turned back toward the train. There was a commotion, and I was curious. I haven’t spoken to anyone in so long, I wasn’t sure I still knew how.

“What’s the fuss?” I croaked from a dry mouth.

No one heard my question, so I made my way closer to the edge of the platform and looked where the gawkers were pointing.

I peered down at myself lifeless on the track. It’s a strange thing lurking your own life. I guess I disappeared a long time ago, I just never noticed until now.

– Written for YeahWrite.me fiction|poetry #278. Prompt up sentence, “I was haunting my life.” WC 462. Photo by Arturo Donate.

Puppet On A String

The old man looked at me with a snaggletooth grin.


Our train pulled into the station. I saw the old man and his raggedy clown puppet. There were a few people nearby watching his show. I liked marionettes. It was amazing how with just strings, he could make it move so life-like. It danced, walked, and entertained as more people crowded around.

Mum made some comment about keeping homeless off the subway platforms, but I didn’t see any harm in it. I watched intently.

I saw a constable and worried he would make the man leave. “About time,” Mum said and went back to her book.

The old man looked at me with a snaggletooth grin. With his free hand, he made a strange motion toward the policeman. Suddenly, the officer began to move in step with the clown. No one else noticed, as the old man and the puppet captivated them.

The officer had a sightless look in his eyes and moved in a jerky motion, arms and legs swinging unnaturally.

The old man still smiled and then he winked at me.

I watched the officer dance his way toward the opposite tracks and off the platform as the other train entered the station. I stifled a scream with my hand over my mouth as it came to a screeching halt, while the body flew through the air.

Our train started to move. I stared, wide-eyed as the crowd became frantic. I searched the platform, but I could not see the old man or his clown anywhere.

– Written for Microcosms 21 weekly contest. Related to clowns with prompts Puppeteer/Subway/Horror. WC 249. Photo from Pixabay.com.