Tuesday, September 23, 2014

WEP - Changing Faces - What Now?

I wake up, look in the bathroom mirror, and a different face looks back at me.


Write, Edit, Publish at Denise Covey's site


Parts 1 and 2 are summarized, Part 3 is New


Take Me Away - Part 1, Beginnings

As I gaze at the Seine River from the Pont D'Iena, I don't regret what I have done. My past life is gone forever. My family, my work, all gone. I wish the river would take me away too, but I have a few things to do first.

In this, my new beginning, I burned the letters which would incriminate others. They were worth a fortune. But there is one more, an important one. The Paris letter is hidden in the lower levels of the Louvre, in one of the statues in Antiquity. 

I know which one. . .

(for full original post click on title)

***


Part 2 - Louvre Antiquities Letter: The April Fool

I looked at the charcoal grey envelope in my hand held close, as if I might lose it. This was my freedom letter, my payoff. The last thread of my old life. . . before they kidnapped my sister. The envelope had been exactly where I was told to find it, in a cleverly concealed narrow crevice in the back of the Sekhmet statue. Perhaps the Egyptians had passed missives that way too.

As I sit waiting in the private train compartment at the Gare St. Lazare, my thoughts are interrupted by the rumble of the engines, the ringing of the bells and blowing of the whistles, interwoven with the slightly oily smell and the hissing of the air brakes. I  close my eyes to shut out the noise and drift into a short nap, finding myself back in that dimly lit hallway of an older apartment building. . .

. . .I'm walking down the corridor. . .I hear small noises like talking, I'm almost there, get ready, release the safety, secure grip, push door, throw in a smoke device. It lands between them on the bed. This man killed my sister. They turn as one, I aim and fire, intent only on accuracy. Snick! Smoke is filling the room. No witnesses. Aim. Snick! Keep moving fast. . .  Focus. Remove silencer, empty chambers, get out of the building. Into the car and on the road.

I live in Paris now, maybe a long time, maybe not. Yesterday, I went to the old cafe in the Marais. I sat at a different table the first time after the surgery and they treated me as if I were a new customer. On the second visit to the Cafe Louis Phillippe, I sat at my old table, but none of the waiters working now had been here five years ago.

(full original post click on title above)

Paris - Cafe Louis Phillippe, by DG Hudson


***

Part 3 - Changing Faces: What Now?

I've been transformed, given a new lease on life, but the inside me is still the same. The voice is slightly smoky now, an effect achieved by fraying the vocal cords minutely. . .all part of the Changing Faces deluxe identity package.

Changing faces gives me freedom, protects my identity and may even give me cover. I've cut all the ties to my previous life, so I've closed any way of them tracing me. No forwarding addresses are sent out and I've moved a few times.

I can't communicate with anyone, relative or not. I need to blend into the centuries old buildings that survive in Paris. They said disappear. I plan to, including disappearing from them too. Never trust those who want you to disappear.

It will take a long time for the fear to recede. I will stare at those who look similar to the ones responsible. One day, I may get my revenge on all of them. Or not. I don't know how I'll feel about it once I feel settled.  But will I ever feel safe?


Paris - the Eiffel Tower, Seine River, Bridges and Lampposts by DG Hudson



My name is now Lise, although that isn't my birth name. I'm sitting at a table for two at the Resto Med, a cozy family owned café at 77 rue St Louis, Île Saint Louis, one of the islands in the Seine.

I saw an old and dear friend come in and my heart jumped, but he walked right past, even though he looked directly at me. He saw my face, and my eyes, which are colored by opaque contacts. There was no sign of recognition. He looked no different, just a slight graying at the temples, and now he wears a neatly trimmed mustache.  He was a lover at one time. After he was gone, my mood changed.  I was not 'me' anymore. That fact had just been slammed home.

In the mirror, I see a face with no flaws, a mannequin face. No one warned me about the psychological implications of morphing into a different shell. C'est la vie! It is done. I will try to wear this skin as if I was born with it. A sip of wine and a perfectly seasoned curried chicken on rice will help me to soothe my woes.

My new life begins today. From now on, I live for me.


***
WEP

Would you like to challenge yourself? Try Write...Edit...Publish! aka WEP

Join us for a monthly signup and some very interesting reading. It's flexible. I joined the once-a-month bloghop since I wanted to write a few short stories or write in installments like the old-time serials. I've also met fellow writer-bloggers with the same penchant for responding to Denise's challenges. WEP can help you practice short writing and the prompts will invigorate your creative thinking.


Write…Edit…Publish! welcomes you to submit any of the following – flash fiction, poetry, non-fiction or playscripts to a word count of 1,000 words – artwork and photographs accompanied by your written inspiration in creating your work/s.

Next Challenge: October - Ghost Story

Denise Covey - WEP in detail, the signup and list of remaining prompts


***
Would you like to get a new face? One that makes you look totally different, not just plumped and tightened? Mirrors don't lie, do they?

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here, and I'll respond. Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to read my entry.
***

References:

http://www.yelp.com/biz/cafe-med-paris-2 Images on Yelp of the Resto Med. ( I didn't get a photo when we were there)

***

48 comments:

  1. A rich and full life; this was intriguing from start to finish DG.

    PS: My former name is Donna Hole.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Welcome back, Donna, glad to see you. I've adjusted my following to your new place! Glad you like my entry, too.

      Delete
  2. Another wonderful installment D.G. Loving the realistic Parisien setting. I want to be at the Resto Med. I love how Lise has changed, morphed, so remarkably that an old lover doesn't recognise her. Can't wait to read more.

    Thanks for your enthusiastic participation in WEP D.G. Thanks for the shout out. Looking forward to what you come up with for GHOST STORY.

    Denise :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a new idea for that one Denise, so I'll be there. I enjoy participating in your challenges.

      Delete
  3. Paris is one of the places I want to visit someday and the Parisian setting of your story had me right me there. Loved the ending, "From now on, I live for me."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lise has been through some trauma, but as you can tell from her past, she's no 'wilting violet'.

      Delete
  4. If he didn't recognize her, then it was a good transformation.
    Or just a typical guy thing of not remembering. We do that, you know.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I know guys can have convenient amnesia, Alex. . .

      Delete
  5. Maybe not a new face but I always cursed the body I got stuck with. I wish I could be taller and much thinner. If I could afford liposuction and a tummy tuck I'd do it in a heartbeat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Liposuction just sounds gross, but who wouldn't like a little body tightening? I think I'll stick with exercise and weights, though, JoJo. Surgeons like to 'cut', remove and tuck. . .for a hefty price.

      Delete
  6. I loved this piece. Excellent writing; it flowed easily, plot had me in its grip. I'd love to read the full length. I like your blog background (I'm revamping mine as you saw on your visit to Romance Under Fire). The blue in this column is a bit hard to see. Perhaps make the grey background lighter? Anyway, I look forward to your next WEP segment. Well done!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll consider the lightening but then the white font wouldn't show as well. Not quite ready to revamp yet. Thanks for the suggestion.
      I keep trying to finish this story, but it won't let me.

      Delete
    2. Can't follow back as you don't have Google Connect. WP and Blogger don't talk to each other.

      Delete
  7. This piece is your best yet: full of mystery, pathos, and hope for a dubious tomorrow. My Stetson's off to you. Mine will be on Friday. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll look forward to it, Roland, and thanks for the kind words. I was trying to capture the French spirit, they never give up. . .

      Delete
  8. DG, this is so rich and unique. I love the way your setting becomes almost like a character itself rather than just a backdrop. It adds to the realism. The parts and sum of the parts...beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Adura, Paris does have it's own character with all that history behind it.

      Delete
  9. Hi D. G.
    What mystery and suspense. Well written. At 62 I wouldn't mind looking younger. I guess I've earned my gray hair and wrinkles.
    Nancy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you can say you've earned them, that usually indicates a full life, Nancy. Ups and downs show on our face in the frowns, smile lines and crinkles by the eyes.

      Delete
  10. Interesting to put oneself into your characters shoes. What a challenge to remember who you are and try to reconcile it with the new image that has no history. Well written.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Psychological side effects interest me, as a Hitchcock fan. Our minds don't always believe what our eyes see, as Lise would see a face the mind didn't reconcile with it's past memories. In a computer, that could cause a breakdown. . .

      Delete
  11. It must be so difficult to look so different that old friends don't recognise you but you still feel the same inside. Very brave to change your physical appearance so drastically.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, Sally, something so final means even your friends wouldn't know you and might find it creepy to see a new face and hear a familiar voice. . .

      Delete
  12. I'm sorry I'm late! I saw a movie once with John Travolta and Nick Cage, "Face Off." It was very well done. Your story here made me think of it. I wouldn't want to have a new face unless something horrible happened to the one I have. I want to know more about your character in these stories...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I saw that too, Lisa, and it was creepy in a way, especially at the end. . . I'm only implying drastic surgery in this story, say along the lines of a few celebrities who end up with 'perfect' faces. It's set in current times.

      Delete
    2. And you did a great job on it!

      Delete
  13. It must be really hard to 'accept' a new face as part of your identity! This story explored what is for me a very deep connection between external appearance (voice included) and identity. Enjoyed the Paris photos as always.

    My week's been a bit weird, sorry I am late. And I will be back again later to read the previous parts, which I couldn't this time. I really prefer reading chronologically for max enjoyment :)

    Hope you're having a great weekend.
    Nila.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You perceived exactly what I wanted to show, that we can change the outside, but not always the inside, at least not yet. Our minds and emotions are tied to our brain. Hope your week improves over the weekend.

      It's not been a great week for me either. I find it draining dealing with arrogant nurses who have forgotten what 'care' means. I'm gathering data for a story about it sometime in the future.

      Delete
    2. Hi D.G.
      It's just me coming back for the back story readings, like to hang all available pictures inside the brain. Sorry to hear your week's been rough, hope things improve and you can take it easy for a bit. I know exactly what you mean about arrogant nurses!
      Peace to you and yours.

      Delete
    3. I appreciate that and hope I can call you Nila. Peace to you as well. Wish the world had more of it.

      Delete
  14. Deluxe identity package? Very cool. If I was a spy or secret agent or in witness protection, this would definitely come in handy. My wife likes my face, so who am I to argue? Nice work yet again, DG.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lise was in a type of witness protection, as she had possession of papers that would incriminate many high officials. A sort of female Bourne. . .and she knew what her dead sister knew. Pleased you like it, Milo!

      I have just finished reading Girl of Great Price! My review will be ready later in the coming week.

      Delete
  15. I'd rather know myself in the mirror. Great addition to your ongoing WEP story. I like how you weave them into a continued story instead of doing them stand alone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Shannon, I'm trying to do the serial type of writing, since short fiction seems to be more readable for many. Gives me time to think on what follows, too.

      Delete
  16. I really liked this. Great description, and it really drew me in. I couldn't imagine looking in the mirror and seeing anything else than I do now. Also... a sip of wine and a perfectly seasoned curried chicken on rice really does help any bad situation...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you liked it. Food is important to the French and to anyone eating there. We actually did have that selection when we went there. I think a person might experience cognitive dissonance if face and mind don't meld.

      Delete
  17. Hi DG - fascinating tale and yes it could be true, probably is so ... I love these sorts of mysteries ... but I'm not at all sure I could live with being different - my stomach would be turning with stress ... it needn't be so - but how to turn that off ... as your storyteller says - how long before you're settled.

    Interesting to mull over - but perhaps I'll carry on living in the real world .. fascinating how everyone's interpreted changing faces differently ...

    Cheers and I thoroughly enjoyed this ... Hilary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The different interpretations by the WEP group is what makes it fun and I like trying to come up with the challenge theme. Glad you enjoyed it!

      Delete
  18. I love the way you've quilted your story for the different challenges into one. I will have to try that sometime in the future!
    It can't be easy, changing, leaving or forgetting. Revenge doesn't sound as sweet - here!
    Thanks for such a lovely, thoughtful story!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Yolanda, I'm glad you like it. I'm making it a continuous thread, but inspired by the different challenges. I have two others on the go, as well. One is scifi, and one is romantic. It's fun for me.

      Delete
  19. Hi, D. G.

    This was RIVETING... I LOVE the voice, the tone, chilling. yet very passionate. This has the marking of a wonderful novella novel. I hope that's where it's heading... One I'd like to read/crit whenever you're ready.....

    WELL DONE!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you like it, and the chilling part was the cold way she killed the two in the old apartment building. Maybe she'll look up that old flame now, who knows? I do appreciate the kind words, they cheer me on a busy day. I'll remember that about the crit, too. It's reciprocal.

      Delete
    2. I do! Very much so. Please do. And thanks, As soon as I finish my Noir novella you'll be the first I send it to....

      Delete
  20. I would call this riveting as well. WOW!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Inger! You helped make my day a better one.

      Delete

Comments will be reviewed before they appear.