Through The Steam. Short Story.

I hope everyone’s weekend progressed well! Mine was fun, went out for a friends birthday which was a hilarious night, then went out for my mums birthday which was really pleasant. We went to a nice restaurant, then came home and just relaxed for the evening.

I don’t think anything too exciting happened but it was a very enjoyable weekend overall. So far today I’ve only eaten Salsa and Tortilla chips, mainly because they were easy food and I was hungry, so I’m going to go find actual food to eat!

On with the show!


He was showering as usual when he saw it.

He was still tired but the warm water was slowly waking him up, he had gotten up only a few moments before and he had managed to drag himself from bed, despite its alluring warmth and comfort. The bathroom light was bright and slightly jarring, replacing the gloom with brightness. He turned the shower on and waited for it to heat up, while he waited he hung a towel over the side of the stall. He was in no real rush with his morning routine, he always got up a little early so he could take his time. Sure, if he needed he could get up and rush through it all, but those days never felt as relaxed as when he could take his time. Puffs of steam started to cloud up the glass door and opening it, he reached in and tested the water. The shower was electric and it only took a few seconds for the water to come to a comfortable temperature, but out of habit he let it run for a minute or two. He stripped down and stepped into the stall, then began adjusting the temperature slightly. The water was at a good base temperature so it wouldn’t take him too long to find something perfect.

He stepped into the water enjoying the warmth as it spread over him, showers had always been part of his morning routine and he didn’t understand how others could forgo them. It was such a pleasant, relaxing way to wake up. Steam swirled around the small cubicle, drifting and dancing on the air currents. Once he was done washing, he stood under the water, his head tilted back, eyes slightly closed to protect them from water. He took a breath, then released it slowly, this was bliss. He was warm and completely relaxed. His eyes followed the lazily drifting steam as it took on new and fantastic shapes. He blinked, then rubbed his eyes. That wasn’t right. He looked again, astounded. The steam was drifting in such a way that it almost looked like the face of a woman, hair floating in the gentle air around her face. He looked on in awe for a few seconds, then realised the steam around her was still moving. He pursed his lips and blew in the direction of her, the steam moved, he could see it moving, but she stayed where she was. His mouth hung open as his mind raced to find some way to make this plausible. It just wasn’t possible. Maybe he was having a stroke or a brain haemorrhage. He reached out slowly, trying to see if he could touch her, but as his hand came closer to her, she drifted back slightly. He put his hand back down and she moved nearer. She blinked, then smiled, “Are you real?” she nodded. He shook his head,d now he was talking to his hallucinations. A hand reached down slowly and caressed his cheek, warm, soft and slightly moist. She withdrew her hand, leaving a slight trail of steam behind her. It almost looked as though she was completely underwater. “What are you?” she shook her head slightly and smiled, “You can’t speak?” she nodded. “Do you know how you got here?” she shook her head, then shrugged, smiling again. Despite being almost completely transparent, she was truly beautiful. “Have you been here before?” she shook her head again. “Do you know how to get back to where you’re from?” she frowned, and shook her head. “Will you die if the steam stops?” a look of fear crossed her face as she shrugged miserably and shook her head again. “So you know just as much as me really.” they looked at each other in silence, the only noise the steady hum of the shower and the drum beat of the water hitting the floor. “I have an idea.” he stepped out of the spray of water and turned the shower up as hot as it went, as the water grew hotter, he stepped from the stall and now cold he wrapped a towel around himself. He looked around for a few seconds, trying to see her again, she had shifted position slightly. “The room will fill with more steam. That might help.” The room filled up with steam faster than he excepted, as it did she began to become more solid, though he didn’t know if it was doing any good. “Are you sure you can’t talk?” she mouthed a few words, the shook her head again. He stood, looking at her, trying to figure out what to do. He would need to call someone, but who? Who would believe him? What if he left and she was gone when he got back? He didn’t want to leave her here alone. He had decided that he wasn’t mad, or at least, if he was, he didn’t care. Inexplicable stuff happened all the time, is it really so outlandish that it would happen to him? He lived alone since his last roommate moved out, he hadn’t found a new one yet so there was no one to prank him.

What could he do? He couldn’t leave the shower running all the time, but if he turned it off she could die, just fade into the ether with no trace left behind, her family and friends forever wondering what had happened to her. He knew nothing about her, but felt he knew everything. Of course she had family and friends, a creature this stunning couldn’t be alone, it wouldn’t be right. The bathroom was steadily filling with steam now, the extraction fan seemed to have a difficult time clearing it. Though he had wanted the bathroom to be steamier, it was getting very thick. He could still see her, but it was getting harder, in fact, it was getting hard to see much of anything through the steam. Beads of water began to form on his skin, gently pulling into one another and rolling down him. He looked at his body, it felt weird, like something was tugging at him, a general off feeling, he looked at her through the steam, she was still smiling at him, never taking her eyes from his. Suddenly there was a gut wrenching sensation, his entire body felt riddled with pins and needles, pricking at his skin, almost as suddenly as it started it stopped, the steam had gotten much, much thicker, blocking out the light. Everything was dull and grey. He shivered, noticing the steam was no longer warm, he looked around, confused. He couldn’t see any walls, he couldn’t see anything. This wasn’t his bathroom. He looked around for the woman, trying to see her in the gloom, but he was alone. Something brushed against his back, he spun wildly, somewhere something laughed. He couldn’t pinpoint the noise, it bounced wildly around, as though it was carried by the steam. Pain, piercing and hot down his back, warm wetness. He spun wildly again, droplets of blood flying from his wound, he could make out shapes now, creatures, in the steam, moving closer. He saw her, looking down on him sadly as something crashed into his back and drove him to the ground. His scream echoing wildly in the strange land.


About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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