My short story “Anamnesis” is now available in the May 2023 issue of Metaphorosis. You can buy the issue if you’d like to read my story and the ones below, including interviews with the authors and origins for their stories.
- The Diamond Noose — Ramez Yoakeim
- The Conch Shell — Elizabeth Raphael
- Anamnesis — Karl El-Koura
- The Zoo Diaries V — Frances Pauli
Cover art by Carol Wellart.
by Karl El-Koura
At first she thought the white cloud floating across the blue sky had an interesting shape, almost like the face of a man.
Her head resting on her intertwined fingers, Allie lay stretched out on her long beach towel, which had been imprinted with multicolored stars and nebulae against black space. She let her gaze drift to the sun, so bright and beautifully yellow, then down to her friend Marcia.
“What’s that thing called,” Allie said, “when you see something that looks human?”
Marcia had been posing, more than relaxing, her torso lifted on her elbows, one leg drawn up; trying to catch the eye of the boys chasing the waves while pretending she didn’t notice them. She shrugged, but answered: “Pareidolia.”
Allie nodded, then returned her gaze languidly up the sky, back to the cumulus cloud. Except it wasn’t just vaguely suggestive of human features anymore. She sat up. The cloud had taken definite shape; as if some cosmic god had stuck his nose into the mist, which had molded around his face.
“Marcia,” she said, pointing. “Look.”
Reluctantly Marcia tore her gaze off the muscular boys. “I don’t see anything,” she said, then began to hum.
“What are you—?” The rest of the question died on Allie’s lips. The tune reminded her of something. Of someone? “What song is that?” she said finally.
Marcia stared. “What song?”
“The one you were humming just now.”
“I wasn’t.” And then, as if the question had reminded her of it, Marcia took up the tune once more, the melody beginning again in her throat, escaping through her closed mouth.
Allie shut her eyes, tried to place the melody. After a few minutes, her mind refusing to give up the answer despite, or perhaps because of the forcefulness of her concentration, she opened her eyes again and set aside that puzzle for the moment to focus on another: the face in the cloud. The oval shape, the dimpled chin, the thin lips, the protruding arrow of a nose, the round eyes a little too close to each other, the thick eyebrows and bald head.
“I know him,” she said.
Marcia stopped humming long enough to say “Who?” and then resumed the song.
The answer was there, but just beyond her mental reach. She could sense it, like something tucked away in a closet she couldn’t open. “I’m going home,” she said, standing.
Still propped up on her elbows, Marcia stopped humming, said, “Okay,” then began the song again.
Allie bent over to pick up her towel, but realization broke through: my God, it’s a lullaby.
Had someone sung it to her as a baby?
Now that she tried, though, she realized with rising panic that she couldn’t remember, not that far back … and not anything at all, as if a shroud had been cast over her memories.
“Marcia, I don’t feel so good,” she said, before she fell forward … and fell and fell, because the hard, gravelly sand wasn’t there to catch her. Instead she tumbled into one of the black empty spaces of her towel, slipping past the interstellar clouds, distant stars rising around her like columns of fire … falling and falling in the endless void until she lost consciousness.
Keep reading by buying your copy of the May 2023 issue of Metaphorosis.