***500-word “One Word Prompt” Microfiction Series***

What if everything you knew about yourself was a myth. An illusion. And your existence as you know it is in fact, a hologram?

Maggie sat back in her chair. She fixated on those words in that magazine she grabbed during a rare lunch break at work.

She was tempted to get up and walk away, “What is this new age crap?”

But something within her kept her eyes glued as if at that moment her only job was to absorb those very words.

Maggie didn’t want to have it. She was too busy to explore the mysteries of life. The only reason she was in the kitchen in the first place was because she was feeling light-headed and made a warm cup of milo to get a sugar hit.

As she sat there, seemingly motionless, she heard a voice inside her head. It wasn’t her mind. It was something else, something beyond, like a wise kung-fu master offering profound insight.

“This is not real.”

A strange sense of oneness overcame Maggie.

“There’s something bigger.”

Her life flashed by in her mind’s eye, her neglectful upbringing from her emotionally absent parents, she always had this idea that she had done something wrong for them to be so distant. She remembered in Year 12 when her score was 87, she felt like a failure and spiralled into a level of crippling perfection to ensure she received top grades during her law degree.

Now 28, and on a fast-tracked path to becoming a partner, for the first time ever, she wondered if it was worth it.

Only months earlier, she broke it off with her university sweetheart because she felt pressured to marry. “I don’t want to start a family until at least 35,” she told Jack.

It didn’t help that Jack jumped straight into a new relationship which drove Maggie to enrol in an MBA.

“What if there was another way?”

She could never really open up to Jack. She carried deep wounds of rejection and didn’t know how one could possibly be loved if they were anything less than being at the top of their game. She felt intimidated by Jack’s unconditional love and wondered if she may have pushed him away.

Her heart ached, “he doesn’t seem too upset,” as she recalled the night before stalking his Facebook photos with his new partner.

She wiped her tears as she closed the magazine. She took a deep breath and exhaled, “okay, I’ve got the audit, I have to review that article John emailed, and…”


Maggie’s chair screeched momentarily as a young female had knocked her from behind, ”Agh…sorry, I’m so sorry,” she said, now rubbing her thigh.

“Are you okay?”

The young woman composed herself and chuckled, “I just quit.”


“It was so spontaneous. I’m done.”

As the young woman walked off, Maggie sat back in her chair, soaking up the freedom this woman must be feeling.

“Wow…it’s time for me to live.”