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Fictory Stories

#BookbedFictory 020: ‘Visitor’

by Shien
This year’s Fictory is for a cause. We donate P100 to a chosen beneficiary for every fic submitted this July. Participate here if you can. Enjoy this one!

Prompt: You are going to be invisible for the next three hours. How would you make the most of this time?

Ida wasn’t sure if she was in for the best or worst three hours of her life. 

She stood in front of a full length mirror after ingesting that mysterious concoction, expecting to see her own reflection—partly still not believing in what the eccentric woman had said—but indeed, she only saw the wall behind her. Not even an outline of her figure was seen; when her disbelief vanished, she expected at least a shadow of her body to be present. There was nothing. It was as though she was a ghost!

She had humored a street merchant when she received that flask, at first pitying the old woman when she was first approached by the latter to purchase her wares. The woman, wrinkly and had the saddest eyes, wore dark tattered robes, her greying hair tied back into a messy knot, and she was dragging along with her a small cart, the bottles of all shapes and sizes and colors. Reminded of her Nanna, she decided to spare the old lady some of her time and snack. 

The woman’s expression brightened; Ida could see how grateful she was by the smile that she had when she took the pack of bread rolls offered to her and the repeated thanks she gave. Ida was going to go on her way when the old lady stopped her, a seemingly weak and wrinkled hand grasping her arm. 

For a moment, Ida thought she was going to ask for more, but instead, the woman shoved into her hands one of the odd flasks from her cart. Despite her protests, the old lady said it would help her, and she’d like to give her something in return for her kindness. 

She stifled her laughter when the woman said that the liquid in the flask would grant her invisibility for three hours. Of course she wouldn’t believe it—who would, in this day and age?

Still, there she was, in front of the mirror, and unable to see herself. She tried looking at her own hands; at least looking at herself—and not through a reflective surface—she could see herself.

That does remind her, what were the rules? She probably couldn’t walk past doors and other objects…

Might as well try it? She did, and attempted to walk through the door, and ended up hitting the door. 

Alright, she has to figure out what she could or couldn’t do.

Upon figuring those out, she went out, dressed decently at least (in case she couldn’t make it back to her apartment in time), and avoiding other tenants as much as possible. It’s actually hard to do so without the others seeing—they’d normally give way if they see another person coming towards them. 

The street is another monster entirely. The streets were incredibly busy at this time of the day—she really should’ve picked the time to take that concoction—but with so many people, most didn’t notice that they were bumping thin air. 

It was grating on her conscience all the things she knew she could do, that she could get away with now that people couldn’t see her. Discovering anything she wore or placed in a pocket she wore would vanish along with her made her feel powerful. And extremely tempted.

But there were far more important things to do other than petty crime. Ida did her best to weave through the people and make her way to her first destination. 

She took a deep breath as she walked away from the busy city streets to a quieter neighbourhood, the foot traffic becoming lesser as well as the number of cars coming and going. The residential area was not in any way an ideal place to be in, and on a normal day, Ida wouldn’t be caught walking here.

But this wasn’t a normal day. 

She could walk freely, and there was something in her movement, brought about by years of being too familiar with the surroundings. It may have been a long time ago, but virtually nothing has changed in the past decade since she has last been seen there. For anything else, she might not have gone back here at all. Right now though, she has been given an opportunity unlike any other. Now, she can go back.

After circling the block once, and determining that what she was planning was possible, she took a deep breath and stood in front of an apartment complex. Her invisibility hid the pain and anger her expression held, the structure itself a reminder of a past she preferred to forget.

It’s now a matter of waiting; the apartment complex has an entrance that can only be accessed by those who had a key, or those who were given access from the inside. When a resident opened the door, all she had to do was stand on the side and stick her shoe in to keep the door from closing and automatically locking.

Petty crime might not be in her list, but what she was about to do would’ve gotten her behind bars if she were caught. She wasn’t welcomed here anymore.

She still had her key, and it didn’t take her an hour to get in, and take what she needed from her old home and wrap it all in a cloth. She didn’t dare stay long, not wanting a confrontation, and quickly left as soon as she found what she was looking for. Tears in her eyes, Ida clutched the cloth parcel, and when she was at a distance from the apartment, she stopped and took the time to check what she had taken.

Smiling softly through her tears, she made her way to another building, this time a hospital in the middle of the city. Security was much tighter, considering the structure, but she managed to sneak past everything and everyone, preferring to go over the sides of the metal detectors and using the stairs rather than the elevator. 

Pilfering an isolation gown set, mask and a pair of gloves, she made her way in the ICU; normally she would be able to access this place, but she wouldn’t be able to stay as long as she wanted. 

Ida sat down beside a patient within the unit, her gaze at the woman lying on the bed as though in deep sleep, and reached out to grasp her hand.

“Mom…” She whispered, even though she was aware that she wouldn’t be heard by any of the staff; she was in the firm belief that even if her mother was in that state, she would understand and hear what was going on around her. “Mom, I was able to get it… Your things, I was able to get them from Dad’s apartment.” She smiled. “You don’t have to worry anymore, I’m keeping them safe, alright?”

She bowed her head; despite this being a one-sided conversation, she didn’t want her mother to see her tears. “I’ve gotten you out of there mom, and now these… so please, fight for us…” She squeezed her mother’s hand. “You would probably be so surprised if you were awake now, though.” To be fair, she didn’t want her to wake up to her hand being held up by nothing. That might be too terrifying. “Just… Hang in there, okay? I’ll be right here.”

Ida did spend the most of her time there; as a child she might have spent it somewhere else, but right now, there was no other place she’d rather be. ☁️

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