This 500 word story was inspired by a challenge set forth by the brilliant Maggie Stiefvater, who was holding a mini contest for a story about friendship without using the word “friend” or “enemy”.
Mia is a Pisces and I’m a Scorpio, which means we’re pretty compatible because we’re both water signs. Plus, we’ve known each other since we were 8, so there’s that, too.
My older brother and mom are also Pisces, and one thing I can say about that sign is that no matter how close you are to one, it feels like you never truly know them. Mia’s the same way. I know the basic stuff: she wants to be an artist, she hates the color yellow, she’s a cat-person, she has a crush on Jake the Senior, and she hasn’t had her first kiss yet. I even know some weird things: she secretly loves urban dance films, she believes she can talk to trees, and she has recurring dreams about elevators.
She often accuses me of being secretive because I’m a Scorpio. Ok, I can be sometimes. But not with her. Never with her. She knows everything there is to know about me, which makes her own secretiveness more frustrating. Her hidden nature is subtle, shimmery. You think you see something there, a briefly troubled expression, parted lips hinting at a word about to be spoken, and then it’s gone, rippled away, smoothed out by her tranquil mask.
Everyone thinks Mia is cheerful and forthcoming, but it’s a façade. I want to know what’s behind that mask. I want to know the real Mia.
That’s what we’re doing today. We like to dabble in harmless occult stuff. You know, tarot cards, Ouija boards, stuff like that. We haven’t tried hypnotism yet though. I looked some stuff up online and I think I know enough to try it on her. If the real Mia won’t tell me what I want to know, maybe the subconscious Mia will.
She leans back onto the couch, giggling as I swing a makeshift pendulum before her eyes and lower my voice.
“Ok,” she snickers.
“You’re not taking this seriously!”
“No, I am. Go ahead.” she pulls her face into a serious, sober expression that makes me burst out laughing too.
It takes a few tries, but soon she seems to be relaxing and her eyes droop as I lead her though a soothing visualization exercise.
“On the count of three, I will snap my fingers and you will be fully hypnotized,” I intone in a low voice. “You will remain in this state until I snap my fingers again.”
She doesn’t even nod, and her eyes look glassy. Is she faking it? Is this another one of her masks?
I count down and snap my fingers. She doesn’t blink, doesn’t move a muscle. I wait a moment, just watching her.
“What do you see?” I ask her gently.
She mumbles something I can’t make out. It’s like she’s sleep-talking at one of our sleepovers.
“What do you see?” I ask again, more firmly.
“The… person I love.”
There is a long pause. Then, “No.”
Another long pause. And then, “You.”
© 2012 Tania del Rio
This article was written by Tania