Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday Fiction

I tell a series of original stories concerning Crazy Jane, a holy fool, and her friend, Red-Haired Annie. They have all kinds of wild adventures in no-where and now-here. The stories range from light-hearted to serious but always have a core of friendship and honest madness.

In this story Red-Haired Annie tells some of the truth of life with Crazy Jane. While this story comes from the middle of the cycle it's a nice sample of their voices.

* * *
Crazy Jane's Dream

I love our little house by the edge of the wood. It’s warm and comfortable, not the like the stone house I grew up in. Living here with Crazy Jane I feel safe and content.

Ever day since she rescued me from what would, no doubt, have been a terribly ordinary existence, I wake and am grateful for all the oddities in my life. Although, to be sure, living with Crazy Jane has its challenges.

She’s a terrible cook but insists on trying anyway. A little while ago she tried to make soup from her oldest, foulest pair of socks, which wasn’t such a bad idea if you think about it. Surely there were plenty of little living things in there, but really they would have made a better accompaniment to cheese than ingredient in broth. It took us days to get the smell out of the curtains. Or the time she decided to make bread with extra yeast. She talked to it while it was rising and the yeast decided it wasn’t interested in being baked, so we had to chase the dough around the kitchen. She insisted we keep it for a pet, though it eventually escaped, went rogue as Crazy Jane likes to say. I don’t know what happened to it, but I imagine it’s out there somewhere in the woods, still rising and avoiding ovens.

Things like that happen around Crazy Jane.

You only know her public face and really, that’s enough for most people. Most people are content knowing the fool, enjoying her madness and then walking away. I see the other sides of Crazy Jane and I have to tell you, she is as rich and varied as anyone I have ever met. The things she knows about the workings of the human heart astonish me, I don’t know how she became so wise. Sometimes in her sleep she whispers words that I don’t understand, but I know for someone, somewhere, they would have such meaning.

Now most nights, Crazy Jane sleeps like the dead. She snores and sometimes talks, but I’m usually the one the night will find awake. Sometimes I even get up and have tea, watching the darkness beyond the window. And that’s fine. I like the peace and quiet of those late night hours. As much as I love living with Crazy Jane it sometimes can be awfully loud, so the quiet is nice.

One night, not so long ago, I was drifting along, not asleep, not awake, when Crazy Jane sat up suddenly. In the dark I could hear her breathing, rapid and ragged.

“Red-Haired Annie, are you awake?”

“Yes,” I said, “what’s wrong?”

“I had such a dream,” she replied, “A dream that filled me with such sorrow and horror that I had to wake up to escape it, but when I woke up it was as though I woke up into the dream again. Are you sure I’m awake?”

“I’m sure. Tell me.”

“I dreamt I was in a hall full of people. You were there, the people from the town, everyone I’ve met. The hall was full of laughter and talk and I turned to say something to you but then you were gone. And it sounded like this.”

Crazy Jane was quiet.

After a long silence she took a deep breath and continued, “The silence grew and grew until it filled me up. It filled up every corner, every hidden space inside of me. When I woke up and couldn’t hear anything, not the sound of the trees in the wind, not your breath, not the hiss of the fire, I thought the dream was real and I was made of silence. I thought I had disappeared.”

“Crazy Jane, it was just a dream. Listen, you can hear the wind outside. You can hear the sound of my voice. You can hear the sound of the stream if you listen very hard. You are not full of silence, but still full of stories and madness and light. I promise. I can hear it in you.”

She was quiet for a long moment, then said, “Alright Red-Haired Annie, if you say so. I trust you.” She rolled over and soon fell back asleep.

I lay there for a long time in the dark, listening to the quiet world, to the silence in my head, to the endless night. And I hoped it was only a dream.

(c) 2009 Laura S. Packer
Creative Commons License


  1. I think that I would become a nightowl around her! Savor the silence... Welcome to #fridayflash!

  2. Well sometimes I welcome the silence...

    But it is good to wake up and realize that some things were all a dream.


  3. Beautiful; I read this story slowly, imagining your voice telling it, at what I imagine would be your pace. I liked the space you left, when Crazy Jane described the silence, it fit right in with the pacing. Very satisfying.

  4. Your characters are well developed and their voices clear. I enjoy reading first person narrative like this. Good job.

  5. Loved the sock soup and the runaway dough!
    I can really see the characters, welcome to #fridayflash!

  6. Creative use of spacing. Welcome.

  7. I enjoyed your story very much. I love your characters and look forward to reading more about them.

    I think it's sweet how Red-Haired Annie was enjoying the silence, until it spooked her friend so. The last line is so refreshing and sweet. I am jealous of their friendship.


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