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Prompt 3C: Kaleidoscope  
22:14:00, August 20th, 2006
John Henry Holliday, DDS
What is my most powerful memory? How can I select one? I cannot. The faces of those I loved as they or I took my leave or passed from this world, and I tried to burn their images into my mind's eye forever? But there were so many.
Perhaps when I am in throes of fever, as I often am, especially of an evening, mental effects are a little like a kaleidoscope, and I watch just those faces.
They shift and swirl in panoply. When I am alone and ill my mind turns to them, its rigours of concentration weakened. Some seem to strive for contact, through the aether, and I do believe. And I reach for clarity of their voices or thoughts through the confusing waves of heat and cold, but nothing comes of it.
I do not cry 'Avaunt' but 'Welcome.'
And I watch in some kind of delirium.

  • My mama, not going peacefully into the other world, but full of worry and concern and love for me - fear for to what my character and beliefs would turn my life. Perhaps presentiment, if such a thing exists, and in fever it surely seems to do so. She left me with God. She did her very best - all her will to that end, ill as she was, and I know now what that was like.

  • My dear Mattie. Mattie, Mattie. I still smile at the thought of her, despite the loss. And I have her letters arrive to comfort me - real contact, clarity of voice and thought yet.

  • My Uncle John, his eyes clear and sharp, looking into mine, knowing and full of sympathy. He knew what consumption meant, the diagnosis a death sentence. And his face was not deceptive, nor full of sorrow at his loss, but of company and support through whatever was to come, whatever must be. He brought me into this world, in a way gave me life, and it was he who, in another way, gave me passage from it into the purgatory that was the West.

  • My cousin Robert, on that same platform, was less concerned, full of faith at my safe and healthy return. Of course we knew one another well and I shared everything with him, so he was aware of the shadow of other things. I remembered his face too though. I carefully remembered everything.

  • Morgan, brave in blood and pain, passing on words to Wyatt. Oh yes, I was there. I was with Morgan earlier that night. Why would I leave him to his own devices, when we were always armed and together? Would I have walked home alone? Fred Dodge was a child among men at that time, and hated me, was so full of jealousy for my friendship he erased me from the scene. But it was a time for brothers, not friends, however close. A look of blue eyes in pain met mine for a second and I reached for the brave squeeze of his hand, and stepped back. Morgan, gone. But I remember, and he comes back in fever, offering... something. I cannot ever quite grasp it. Morgan.

  • Virgil was not dying, but he was injured, going west, out of my life. Another man this time, leaving a train station, and his eyes when he looked at me held trust and faith and gratitude. And seriousness, for we all knew that from then on it would be loyalty fulfilled and death. He left me with the charge of doing all for Wyatt's safety, with the confidence I would do my best, whatever befell us.

  • And last of all Wyatt. I think I will not talk of that now.

Do you know how a kaleidoscope turns in your hand, the chips inside ever changing the stain glass window. It is like that, in my delirium. The picture changes, the faces seem to come to me of their own will. They are not always the same. I remember, but they do not always look the same. Their expressions and intensity are their own. They do not always seem to want to communicate the same things. It is not words, but emotions they wish to impart, and thoughts in entirety. Comfort maybe, company? There is no laughter. Every soul is so serious. I reach for them with my mind but the contact is elusive, so thin it is untouchable even in thought. But still, each face and essence seems so surely that of one of those who have been close to me. It surely is like that stained glass widow, spinning, turning, through the faces, their expressions, their brief touches of connection to me. I watch and feel reverence at each new permutation. And yes, longing, so long-held, and the hope that it be fulfilled by act of will. When I am alone, in my fever, I let my mind wander so, allow it to spin and turn. I indulge myself in those moments, unable to work or sleep, in my personal kaleidoscope.

Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 816
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Nulli Virtute Secundus
affect: restlessrestless
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