Unreliable Third

These exercises in The 3am Epiphany are getting more difficult as they progress. My first thought when I read the prompt was of a soldier preparing for battle.

Unreliable Third: Write a fragment of a story from the POV of an unreliable narrator – third person limited (or attached) narration. This is a deliberate misuse of the more objective third-person narration.

The enemy waited for her mere blocks away, as they did on all days like today. They were relentless they saw everything, and their ammunition supply somehow never seemed to run out. That’s why she had to play it smart. She had been training for three years now to be part of this special-ops unit, and she had learned many hard lessons in the field along the way.

She performed the rituals daily because she attributed all of her recent successes to them. Maybe part of it was superstition on her part, but she never left the bunker without doing them. It didn’t matter to her that she had to get up earlier than the others and they required hours of her day to complete. They were necessary for her survival.

The others waited outside her bunker, often making a lot of noise and interrupting her rituals. They were her allies, but they had their own separate enemies to face. She didn’t know very much about their rituals; she had never thought to ask. She just assumed they also did what they had to do to survive. There wasn’t time for explanations or long suffering or friendship. As long as they stayed out of her way, she was able to stay focused.

She stared at herself solemnly in the mirror. She was about halfway complete, and she liked what she saw. Today was going to be a successful day. She began her affirmation chants as she lined her face with war paint. She had the technique down pat, and with it she was able to blend in completely to her surroundings. Able to trap the enemies unannounced when necessary. Able to keep to herself when she needed important time to formulate her next move. Able, most importantly, to sneak by the enemy in plain sight and avoid notice and capture. As long as she played her cards right.

She always played her cards right.

She finished the face paint she deftly typed the day’s codes into her handheld electronic communicator that sat next to the mirror. She had to make sure that the others in her unit were at their stations and had their orders for the day. She always demanded confirmation response codes from her unit. Her missions easily derailed without the confirmations. She had learned this the hard way.

She had already donned the fatigues that were unique to her unit and she completed the rituals by applying her bracelet bearing her unit’s insignia. She took one final long look at herself in full armor and did a couple jumps to solidify her fighting spirit. She grabbed her handheld electronic communicator and turned to leave the bunker and join the others from her unit. She could hear them outside the bunker.

Just then the door opened. “Katherine, your father has been waiting for you in the car for twenty minutes, you’re going to be late for school! Oh my god. You are not wearing that, you look like a hooker. Go to your room and put some pants on.”

“MOM! It’s 2014 not 1870! Everyone wears miniskirts to school!” Katherine hated that she had to have this conversation with her mother every morning before school. She’d like to see her mom make her way to the popular table in less than a month.

“Well, you don’t. And hand over your cell phone. You know you’re still grounded.” Her mom’s voice grated on her soul.

“UGH! FINE. You are the worst!” Katherine spun on her heel and stomped into her room to change. She put the miniskirt in her backpack so she could change back into it when she got to school. She could not show up in jeans on mini skirt day. Jackie and Quinn would be furious and Jack wouldn’t ever speak to her again.

She left her room and ran downstairs to the car when she crashed into Clayton, who said, “Nice clown makeup. And what’s up with your hair? You’ve gotten so weird since you started high school…”

“Clayton, enough. Katherine, go. Thank you for changing, I love you,” mom said.

Katherine paused at the door. “I love you too.”

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About Allison Anarchy

I write because I have to
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