House of illusions (short story)

During my study at University Utrecht I followed the course Creative Writing at the faculty of English Literature.
I wrote a couple of short stories. This one is about “imitation.” The assignment was to imitate a part of a book or a text.
I got Paul Auster’s “City of Glass”, a story that uses (meta)identity changes, which confuses the reader.
You never know if the story is being told by the real author (Auster), or the fictional author or even someone else.


I tried to use that kind of “confusion” in my story.
Can you see it?


 

House of illusion

It all began with the letter she got on a moment she least expected it. The letter engaged a chain of events she could not have foreseen, or even have stopped, they were just bound to happen. Someday. Someday, she knew, it was going to happen and it would all come down to this moment – the moment of truth if you will. Afterwards she recognized the signals that were there at the moment, but she would not or could not see at the time.

Miranda always believed she was never meant to do any great deeds or make a difference to the world. She would just be Miranda, who lived and died at a certain time and had done insignificant stuff to fill up the time between being born and dying. Stuff like sitting in the park, looking at people and creating make-believe life’s for them. Giving them an exciting life, more glamorous, more fantastic, more great. And she would write about them, giving them new names like Joshua or Emily. Emily was her favorite character, a 25 year old blogger for a fashion magazine, full of life and absolutely beautiful. The girl was wearing a red dress the day Miranda spotted her in the park, but Emily always wears a red suit, more sophisticated and more powerful. She called the stylist of the show she was writing for to tell him that she wanted Emily to wear a red suit. When she watched the first episode of the soap opera, the actress who was playing Emily wore a perfectly fitting, bright red suit.

 

It was early in the morning when Miranda walked out of the shower, with nothing but a robe wrapped around her body, to get the mail and placing it on the kitchen table. The coffee she made before taking a shower was ready and she poured herself a mug of dark, strong coffee. She looked out of her window and had to squeeze her eyes to protect them from the morning sun. Two floors down people were rushing in the streets, getting cabs and running to catch buses, metros and what not. She sighed, nothing like working at home in your own comfort. In one of the cupboards she found some old croissants in a paperbag, she took them out and started nibbling on one of the two-day-old croissants while sitting down at the table and scanning through the mail. She recognized the handwriting immediately when she pulled out the small, white envelope from the stash of mail. After opening it she glanced at the pink piece of paper with handwritten text, she started to breath heavily and feel light-headed.

 

Dear Miranda,
I expect you to be surprised to find yourself reading this letter and wondering how it got into your mail. I simply want to use this opportunity to thank you for your work. Without you I would not exist or do the things I have done. I am planning to do great things with my life and be an example for others, especially young girls who see no future in their lives. I could mean a lot to them and I am planning to. I want to ask you to continue your work and give my life more meaning. You have done a great job so fare.

Yours sincerely,

Emily

 

Miranda read the letter several times and calmed down after the fifth time and put the piece of paper down. A pigeon set itself outside her window and she wandered if it was the same pigeon that delivered the letter to her. How did she find her? How did she get her address? She took a sip of her coffee and noticed that it was cold. ‘I am finally losing my mind,’ she said to herself.

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