This is a short story I wrote yesterday after my friend told me to. Yes, I do as I’m told. Sometimes.
Her prompt was: It’s raining here – write about a spirit trapped in the fountain at the center of the Plaza breaking loose.
I’m not sure who I am or what I am, but I do know that I’ve been trapped in this fountain at the center of the Plaza for a long time. I’ve seen people come ago, I’ve seen fashion trends that overstayed their welcome. I’ve even seen Hollywood’s latest starlet puking her guts up. For the most part, I observe. Occasionally I wonder if I have a moral compass. I snicker whenever I see someone trip over some wayward pebbles and commiserate whenever another jackass picks this fountain as their breakup spot.
It’s never really been an issue because I’m trapped here. I’ve never really considered what it would like to be free.
Would I wreak havoc on those that deserve it or would I drift through streets and try to explore what’s out there. I may see a lot from my fountain, but my view is narrow. Perhaps that means that I never see the full picture. Again, that’s something that’s never piqued my interest until now.
Now, I’m free.
I don’t know how it happened. One minute the fountain was spluttering violently, raindrops crashing into the water in a staccato beat. The next, I was transcending above it. It was surreal to say the least.
I’m not sure what abilities I have if any, but I try my luck in directing the rain towards a woman feeling from the downpour. The water crashes into her and sends her skidding into a huge puddle. She stops and turns around with an accusatory expression but she’s forced to carried on when there’s no one there. I let out a whoop of glee, although it sounds more like a hoarse whistle.
I begin to glide through the streets, passing numerous shop windows.
I have no sense of time but I guess that it’s around mid afternoon. The stores are beginning to get busy, either with patrons escaping the poor weather or college students with nothing better to do.
It’s then that the thought hits me. What if there was a way that I could experience that. Life. Not as whatever I was but as a human. I wasn’t sure how that would be possible, but I wasn’t going to change my mind either. I just had to choose a vessel to occupy.
I continue to venture down the street and by some miracle, the rain subsidss. I wait momentarily to see if I will suddenly re-emerge in the fountain, but nothing happens. Within the hour people begin to stream back outside. There are young mothers with their screaming toddlers, giggling teenagers who seem to possess more energy than everyone else combined, and their wearier parent. There are hipster millennials who had an affinity for flower garlands, the young men who are adorned in baseball caps and tight jeans. And one ghastly individual with a fedora,but none of them catch my eye.
At least not until I came across a gentleman who seemed to be posing for the same shot repeatedly. I paused, suddenly fascinated by both the vanity and technology. My spot in the fountain exposed me to countless types, from the Polaroid to the digital camera and the flip phones. However, I wasn’t as prominently featured in images before the rise of smartphones. The bright shiny object that this gentlemen was poring over now.
A woman walks past and mutters something along the lines of, “There goes another narcisstic selfie.” She trundles away with a disgruntled sigh and I turn back to the gentleman. He’s posing for another shot, but I’m not entirely sure what he’s trying to capture. The surroundings or himself.
Even so, I’m intrigued. I decide that this will be my vessel. I close my (figurative) eyes and take a (yet another figurative) breath before I launch myself forward and hope for the best.