Pripyat

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic


This is another plotline that I am yet to start working on.


this is just the skeleton of the plot. 

Pripyat

A young man, an adventure seeking tourist decides that a visit to the pripyat town, chernobyl, would be perfect-its a ghost town, an historic site and just plain exciting. He drives to Kiev, stays overnight, books a trip to the disaster area, goes along with tourists, reaches the ghost town and is allowed to wander freely. He sees the swimming pool and the ferris wheel and the amusement park and even walks into abandoned residential buildings. fallout 3 and 4 scenery greet him inside. Morbid fascination compels him to explore these houses, the abandoned toys, the dusty floors, the beds that have fallen apart and the creaky doors. Late in that day, towards dusk, he enters a one storey building. the staircase to its upper floor has collapsed-he notices they form a thin ledge and, trusting lady luck and still driven by curiosity, decides to brave the ledge. he crosses, goes to first floor, entering what seems to be a baby's bedroom (rusted crib, building blocks on the floor, crayon paintings on the faded walls)
  He sees a pristine oval mirror on one wall. he runs his hands over its decorated frame-the frame seems to have shells (sea? snail? ) stuck onto it, and small figurines carved into it, he can tell this by feeling them. but the lighting is too bad to actually gauge the mirror-but he can tell it is untarnished. he promises to himself that he'll return there the next day.

 next day, after the screening for radiation and other procedures he again wanders about, worried that he had lost the house and cursing himself for not placing some kind of marker. after some searching he does find the house, and again crosses the ledge to go check the mirror.
 he looks in the mirror and is instantly enchanted. you guessed it, of course it doesnt just reflect whats in front of it-too banal. no, he sees inside the mirror almost like into a TV series. the town of pripyat is alive and bustling, people going to work or school or just walking around enjoying the day. then the mirror shows the entrance of the house-the one storey building he is currently inside-and the view seems to transport him in. just imagine TV-mirror. he sees a small child, barely old enough to run about, screaming and laughing, playing with its mother. the mother is a true scandinavian beauty-golden hair, blue eyes, tall and slender. our hero falls in love. he observes what goes on in the house-the child's antics, the father when he returned from work, and the familial and obvious love that ran through the family. enchanted yet jealous he stares hungrily in the mirror all day. dusk comes, too dark to see anything, he again promises himself he'll be back here.

 same thing as yesterday, he comes here, sits before the mirror, and again is privy to whatever the lady is doing. he is so madly in love with her, he desperately wants her in his life-yet he has no idea whether this mirror shows the past, or an alternate reality, or whatever the shit. but he is too enchanted to worry much. he is jealous of all the attention lavished on the baby by its mom-and he wishes she had no baby and no husband. he imagines how the lady would be if she had no family-how she might wander up to the mirror, and would just chance to glance into it and see him, and fall in love with him in return. the child-old enough to run-is, in the mirror, dodging its mother. both child and mother are laughing and running about. the baby runs from the kitchen to the hall, is cornered by its mother and sees the only way out is the front door. it laughingly runs out and keeps on running. the mothers playful appeals that the baby stop and have its milk turns into a shrill scream of pure terror. the baby continues onward, unmindful of its mother's sudden change of tone. out the door the baby goes, far enough out to reach the road. it no longer hears its mother, but instead the loud roar of an engine. 
 
our hero is witnessing, horrorstruck, his mirror-love's child being run over by a truck. he runs all the way back to the borders of pripyat town, from whence he rides the bus to his lodging in a hotel, a nervous wreck.

 intensely disturbed he spends a sleepless night wondering if his spiteful wish had been granted. he cant forget the look on the lady's face. he decides to go back to the mirror, to see how she is coping. he catches himself secretly hoping that this tragedy had just brought him a step closer to her, and is disgusted with himself.

 next day, same trip to mirror. he witnesses the funeral of the child. both the parents are inconsolable. by the end of it the father looks catatonic. he doesnt talk, doesnt cry, just stares at his shoes. people are offering consolation to them, hugging them, whatever else theyre expected to do. they take the parents back to the house. the father sits on the couch, still in the same state. the mother comes up the stairs to the baby's room-and breaks down in tears. when our sit-at-the-mirror-guy recognizes the room the mirror is showing, his heart skips a beat. he intensely wishes that she turn around and look at the mirror. he hears a sudden thud-the mirror shows a book which has fallen off a bookcase, right beside where the mirror hangs. the lady absent-mindedly puts the book back-and looks in the mirror.

 from her point of view its a normal miror-it reflects only her. it also reflects the crib standing behind her-she looks at this and breaks down in tears. the hero has the intense urge to console her, to wipe away her tears-yet, is powerless to do anything. the lady runs downstairs to her husband and weeps in his arms. he absent mindedly hugs her and wipes away her tears, looking around him for the first time in hours. the hero is intensely jealous of the husband. how dare he hug her...by all rights he should hate her. that was the key, he realises. in order for her to join with him on this side of the mirror, the husband had to leave. doesnt he hate her now, enough to just walk away?

 sure enough, he does..the husband suddenly screams that it was all her fault that the baby(let the baby be a boy, im tired of gender neutrality) was gone, wasnt she supposed to be more careful? instead of feeding the baby the mother drove him to the road! he hurls obscenities at her, then suddenly quiets down. he takes his car keys, gets into their car and drives away. we don't see him again-but the lady doesnt know that

 she is still sobbing. this continues for hours as the hero watches on helplessly. his mother always gave him tea when he was sad. if only he could make a cup of tea for her...

 the lady wipe her tears, goes to the kitchen and takes out tea bags and milk and sugar. her eyes are puffed up and red and she doesnt really pay attention to what she is doing.
 
 a cup of tea and some laughter, to momentarily drive away sorrow, muses our hero despondently. the lady takes a sip of the tea and immediately spits it out, scrunching up her face. she realizes she's added salt instead of sugar to the tea and laughs.
 
 the laugh is nothing more than a chuckle, barely two seconds long, before her face takes on its former agonized expression, yet the hero is elated. he doesnt articulate it yet, but the observant reader might link the dots and say, hey, his wishes here seem to affect the mirror world. and the reader would be right to think that.

 its dusk again. the hero is eager to come back tomorrow, certain that he will somehow contrive a meeting with his lady love.

 same routine, same passage for hero back to his well-worn position in front of the mirror. he looks in and sees the lady. she is pacing around the room, her hair disheveled and dark circles under her eyes (whatever you get when youre really tired). the lady comes to a decision-she lost her child but wont lose her husband. she changes her clothes and goes out the front door. her plan is to go to the husband's work station-that is where his friends will be, and they might have an idea where he has gone. she walks toward the nuclear reactor, where her husband worked as a turbine operator. 
 
 its a chilly morning. the lady drew her coat tighter around her. empathizing with her, our hero thought it would be very pleasant if she were suddenly bathed in sunlight. in the mirror, the lady walks on, suddenly stops and looks up. the cloud that was blocking the sun had just moved away, and bright sunlight streamed down.
 our hero is elated. it finally dawns on him that what he wishes for here, might come true there. while he is digesting these implications, the lady has almost reached the reactor site. the mirror-gazer stops ruminating on possibilities, and wills with all his might that the lady look back. she doesnt. he imagines that an errant gust of wind would blow away the umbrella that the person just in front of our lady is holding-and it so happens that the umbrella is carried away by a merry wind. 
 
 yet, our hero is able to effect zilch on the lady. when we want something intensely, and we dont get it, we get frustrated. and the more immature of us give vent to this sudden surge of frustration. so it was with our hero.

 "bitch!! i hope that reactor blows up!! that'll get your attention!"

 there is a rumble from the mirror..and the hero, filled with trepidation and regretful anxiety, presses his face to the mirror. the lady is very close to the reactor, perhaps just a hundred feet more would bring her to the gates to the facility. she hears the rumble too. everyone in the vicinity stop and look up-at the thousand foot fireball that the reactor is now shooting into the sky. they have little time to process whats happening. few even have the time to scream. the reactor throws out molten chunks of metal and twisted pieces of machinery. our hero watches the spectacle, open mouthed, much the same way as he watched the baby run over. 

 the mirror suddenly stops showing the disaster, and instead shows the present day site. it was this image that drew our hero to pripyat town in the first place-the ghost town feeling of the entire thing. the hero slowly gets up and looks out the window-at the distant reactor site, barely visible through the haze from here. had he caused the explosion? had he been looking at the past all this while? if it was the past, how did he have any say in it? did he inadvertently kill the woman he loved? he is nauseated by this thought, and backs away from the mirror. he blindly waddles back, his hands groping for the handrail, seeking only a way out of this house.
 
 he finds the handrail, and his feet step backwards, expecting the staircase. the staircase that had collapsed years ago.

 the authorities receive a complaint the next day from the lodge our hero had checked in. he hadn't returned that night, and  consequently hadnt checked out either. was he lost? had he run away without paying?

 three days of rigorous searching later, our hero is found exactly where he fell. his neck was broken by the impact of the fall. he is, of course, dead. 


Submitted: April 09, 2018

© Copyright 2021 LordShoebox. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Barry Foster

Very well done!
I like the way the "looking into the mirror" works in this story.

Tue, May 1st, 2018 1:30pm

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