Short Stories On The Odyssey: Carmen Alone

A Mystery Story


Carmen opened her eyes to a dusty room. She squinted against the harsh sunlight reflected around her yellow room, and slowly pulled the heavy comforter away. Her eyes quickly adjusted, but her eyes remained in a squint. This—this wasn't her house. She thought back to the night before but couldn't remember anything. It felt like ages since she had last been conscious, but she was still groggy. She thought back as far as she could, but nothing came up. The most recent memory was from when she was little. A flash of herself standing at the back door, looking out at a rainstorm. She knew that it wasn't a recent memory. She felt much older. She furrowed her eyebrows and sat back on the bed, rubbing her forehead. It felt like someone or something was blocking her memories. She knew who she was, but how old, where, or what her personality was...She couldn't even remember what she looked like.

She would have run, but there was nobody there. The room, at least, was deserted and what she could hear of the house, silent. She glanced around. The room was painted baby yellow and was a rectangle. It was narrower than it was long. At the front of the room was a window, directly across from that the bed. The bed was made of silver metal, the headboard nothing more than some silver poles. The bedspread was an old-fashioned farm-themed blanket. It was covered in light pink, blue, and yellow flowers, and was tied together with a frilly yellow border. Matching pillows rested at the top. Carmen felt nauseous just looking at it. She panned her eyes down the room, to the other side. She squinted again, unable to see anything clearly. She saw a mound of…something in one corner and a black…something else in the other pile.

Glasses. She thought as it suddenly clicked. I must need glasses. I wonder if whoever brought me here left them with me, or took them. Maybe they just fell off in a struggle, if I was captured.

She rose from the bed and walked to the windowsill, closely inspecting its white paint. She soon found a round pair of glasses. She wasn't sure if they were hers. They certainly didn't feel like her style, but she slipped them on anyway. The prescription was perfect, and she could see across the room. She glanced back on the bed to see if she was missing anything. On top of the comforter, she suddenly noticed an outfit. A short but stretchy skirt colored a muted steel blue, and a white button-up shirt covered in a tiny flowered print. There was also a pair of flats on the floor, the solid-colored shoes only a shade darker blue than the skirt. She groaned as she looked at it, then glanced down at what she was wearing. She wore a set of similarly patterned pajamas, the only major difference being that her shirt and shorts were covered in a black powdery substance. She glanced at the clean outfit, then rolled her eyes and put it on. Directly above it on the wall hung a brown knapsack. She took it off the wall and found just a disposable bottle of water, and a piece of paper with directions on it.

She slung the knapsack over her shoulder and crossed to the other side of the room. The air was thick with dust, and the other side of the room was covered in furniture. A couch, table set, and chairs were all piled in a corner, visible through the clear tarp that covered them. Carmen noticed the door and stepped towards it. She reached for its handle but dropped her arm. All around the door were scorch marks. The yellow paint was marred with black ash that licked up the wall. She shuddered, then pulled the door. She frowned when she found that it didn't open for her. She tugged again, more firmly, but still, it didn't budge.

Carmen pushed the glasses up the bridge of her nose, then went to the window. It was locked from the inside and slid easily up when she pushed it. She climbed out into the fresh air and dropped a few feet down onto a dirt road. Still needing answers and now, a bathroom, she made herself lower than the window and crouched around to the front of the house. Unsure if anyone was inside, she didn't want to take any chances.

Popular Right Now

The Truth About Young Marriage

Different doesn't mean wrong.

When I was a kid, I had an exact picture in my mind of what my life was going to look like. I was definitely not the kind of girl who would get married young, before the age of 25, at least.

And let me tell you, I was just as judgmental as that sentence sounds.

I could not wrap my head around people making life-long commitments before they even had an established life. It’s not my fault that I thought this way, because the majority opinion about young marriage in today’s society is not a supportive one. Over the years, it has become the norm to put off marriage until you have an education and an established career. Basically, this means you put off marriage until you learn how to be an adult, instead of using marriage as a foundation to launch into adulthood.

When young couples get married, people will assume that you are having a baby, and they will say that you’re throwing your life away — it’s inevitable.

It’s safe to say that my perspective changed once I signed my marriage certificate at the age of 18. Although marriage is not always easy and getting married at such a young age definitely sets you up for some extra challenges, there is something to be said about entering into marriage and adulthood at the same time.

SEE ALSO: Finding A Husband In College

Getting married young does not mean giving up your dreams. It means having someone dream your dreams with you. When you get lost along the way, and your dreams and goals seem out of reach, it’s having someone there to point you in the right direction and show you the way back. Despite what people are going to tell you, it definitely doesn’t mean that you are going to miss out on all the experiences life has to offer. It simply means that you get to share all of these great adventures with the person you love most in the world.

And trust me, there is nothing better than that. It doesn’t mean that you are already grown up, it means that you have someone to grow with.

You have someone to stick with you through anything from college classes and changing bodies to negative bank account balances.

You have someone to sit on your used furniture with and talk about what you want to do and who you want to be someday.

Then, when someday comes, you get to look back on all of that and realize what a blessing it is to watch someone grow. Even after just one year of marriage, I look back and I am incredibly proud of my husband. I’m proud of the person he has become, and I’m proud of what we have accomplished together. I can’t wait to see what the rest of our lives have in store for us.

“You can drive at 16, go to war at 18, drink at 21, and retire at 65. So who can say what age you have to be to find your one true love?" — One Tree Hill
Cover Image Credit: Sara Donnelli Photography

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Why You Should Bring Your Close Friend As Your Formal Date

Before asking that cute girl to formal think about asking a friend


Every year since I was a junior in high school I have always looked forward to homecoming or prom. When I got to college I began to look forward to my fraternity formal. I was never concerned with what to wear or the expense of formal but rather who I was going to ask. It can be difficult to make a decision. If you ask anyone friends with me they will tell you how I am one of the most indecisive people out there. There are so many people I am friendly with or have a close relationship that it can feel difficult to make a decision. But let's look at that phrase again. You might think why does he want to bring someone who is his friend to his fraternity formal rather than someone he likes or is dating. To answer this question, some of the girls I have liked I have not been able to be the true me around and that also applies to the girls I have dated as well. I am different around my friends and I want someone to know the real me rather than me just having to pretend.

Maybe I am still experiencing the effects of a fun weekend but I have noticed that every formal or prom that I have brought a date with not only was a fun formal but interacted and connected well with my friends. That is the main thing I look for in a formal date, they need to be liked by my friends and many of them are still pretty friendly after the formal. You are spending the weekend with them and the drive down for you formal. There will be a lot of time spent with your date so it is important to bring someone you know you will have fun with. I am not saying that there isn't anything wrong with bringing someone else but I always found it best to bring a friend if you are not dating someone.

Think about the people you know you will always have fun with. This can be an indication of who you should bring and why but you should also think about the positives in this situation. Your fun and the time spent with the people should be prioritized before anything else. This event is about you and you should have someone with you that you know is fun to be around and someone you can enjoy yourself around along with your friends. Friends know you as well as you know yourself so there is not an idea of having to pretend to be someone else. The good thing about friends is that you do not run out of things to talk about and there is always something new to learn. Take your formal as a trip that you get to experience with the people closest to you. That is my take.

The key for me is to know that I will have fun with my date at formal. The drive to formal can be long and you are sharing a hotel room with your date along with spending time with them during the trip. I talk a lot. I want someone I know who I can carry a conversation with and will not just respond with words such as Yeah or Sounds good. I have always been able to remember not only my formals but specific parts of it as well. I think this is possible because of who I have brought and the memories I made with them.

Formals are important to everyone so think about who you want to spend that moment with. There is nothing wrong with bringing someone who you like but there also is nothing wrong with bringing a friend. Some people might bring someone they are dating but you should not have to compare yourself to other people. Do what makes you happy but remember this weekend is about you and you deserve to bring someone you will have fun with.

Related Content

Facebook Comments