The Mire

The Mire of Ezmeralda is about someone trying to escape the confines and comforts of a day-to-day existence. It’s difficult and painful to leave comforts behind and move into the unknown. And truthfully, it isn’t always necessarily better. But many of us decide to do just that, at least for a time. This story is for those people…


[short story excerpt]
by Rich Helzerman


       Ezmeralda stared at the red balloon in front of her. How long it had been there, she knew not, only that it was there now; something new in her life. Save for the balloon, the mire of Ezmeralda’s life surrounded her completely, fully enveloping her. Its pink-gray mass threatening to suffocate her at any moment.

       She thought back to a time before the mire. It was difficult. There was such distance between that time and now. The mire had seeped in, filled in areas when she wasn’t looking. Invaded before she had time or desire to escape. The sticky bland substance seemed to feed off of her, comforting hands protecting her fragile being from the dangers of life.

       At times she could imagine nothing else, nothing more serene than giving in to the mire completely. Breathing its sickeningly sweet odor deep into her lungs. Becoming one with the monotonous oblivion it offered her.

       There were pockets of joy, to be sure. Areas when the mire parted, allowing her to briefly see the stars. Sparkling possibilities of a life beyond her own. Cruel taunts of what might have been or might be, before it came back down, punishing her for daring to dream beyond its existence. Putting her into her place.

And Ezmeralda obeyed…

       Days, weeks, years went by, yet the balloon remained. It was her silent companion, never yelling or crying like her. Never taunting her like the rest of the surrounding mire. It just sat there, patiently waiting and watching her, without expectation. Ezmeralda resisted, oh how she resisted. She would not reach for the rubber orb. Not daring to experience whatever mysteries it held. But each day her curiosity grew, and each day the mire fought back.

“Ignore it, love. Tis’ not for you.”

“You are one of us, your duty is here. Be happy with what you have.”

“There is no future with such abomination of thought.”

And Ezmeralda obeyed…

       Yet the balloon remained. It seemed to grow larger with each day. It rocked back and forth, pushing against the surrounding mire. Making its own space against the pressure of the conforming gelatinous form. Ezmeralda watched with intensity, fearing the balloon’s departure from her life. The absence of such a bright object she could not imagine.

       One morning Ezmeralda awoke from a nightmare of drowning. She saw herself flailing against the waves. Growing old as they tossed her around, pulling and pushing her under until she disappeared. Only a brief and fading disturbance of the water offering any evidence that she had existed.

       She awoke determined. Complete clarity of mind. Filled with fear and apprehension, she moved.

       Her determination disturbed the mire greatly. It grew frothy with anger as she inched towards her goal.

“Ruinous! Cataclysmic!”

“Unholy beast of non-virtue!”

“You will die alone and unloved for your evil ways…”

But Ezmeralda could not obey…


[shit’s about to get real for Eze!!!]

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