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If you must know, it isn’t May 1st.
This may sound crazy, but it’s May 28th, technically. I still consider it the 27th, because I haven’t gone to bed yet, and it’s only an hour into the day.
This hasn’t been a good day. This week hasn’t been nice to me, and while I desperately want to sleep and get into the lovely unreality of my dreams, I’m not quite ready to let go yet.
I have too much in my heart, and I’m thinking this help. A few hours writing a several hundred words…
I can do this.
A bit of an introduction for May’s 100 Words:
In the past, I’ve made them strictly fictional. A sort of “teaser,” as it were, to a larger story, each day representing a miniature work. I liked it that way. Fiction is an awesome way to say what I want without completely condemning myself.
This time, I don’t know why, but thoughts and wanderings will be mixed in with fiction. I probably won’t announce it – can anyone even tell the difference?
Why am I doing this? I feel transparent today. Tomorrow may be different, but today, I think I need this.
It is dark in the house, as houses are prone to be at two in the morning. She’s waiting, still, as she’s done for the past hundred years. Waiting for him to come back.
Others come and go, staying with her for a while before realizing her single-mindedness. Souls with bodies have come and gone as well, though the house stands empty now. In times like these, she wishes she hadn’t scared them all off. The sound of children laughing was so beautiful.
But she needs the quiet. How else can she hear him return?
So she waits for him.
The story starts with a birth. Doesn’t everything, so vaguely connected through life and death and the in-between?
Born August 18th, in an unknown year, he entered a world given to strife and suffering. Love was a foreign concept to him; his faithful companions were Hunger, Pain, and Hatred.
At 20, with nothing to his name, he despaired enough to try to kill himself.
A girl was kneeling by him when he woke.
“This isn’t hell!” he rasped.
She smiled sweetly. “We saved you from it. Drink this.”
He moaned. “I don’t want to live.”
“Sh,” she ordered, sternly. “Drink.”
She didn’t notice it at first.
First, it was common courtesy. Next came hesitant openness – surely he would soon tire of her conversation! When he persisted, it turned to willing friendship: a comfortable, quiet state of things. No doubts or worries.
When she did notice – finally – she took it in stride. Past experiences told her of pain that could be accumulated, awkwardness that might ensue…
None of that came. Only a few doubts presented themselves, but the world didn’t explode. The internet did not collapse.
But inside insecurity, she practiced various methods that would prepare her for almost certain disappointment.
go through the motions.
and everyone is so tense it is
possible I might say I am –
making my heart ache,
soaking up these floating thoughts, so
much of what I’m calling for –
pretty much what I’m
calming down from –
hold her down.
it was possible.
and it’s plausible that I’m
picking up these floating thoughts
out of the sky like little lost sheep.
I mean clouds.
go through the motions.
I stayed, for it’s
making my heart
soak up these emotions,
and I go through.
After the boy left, taking his bag of paints behind him, the city turned to another: a girl only slightly younger, and gifted in speech. Some claimed she was a seer, with the ability to read minds, but though she was often asked and secretly tested, no one could prove the rumors.
Lia was her name, and her voice spoke wisdom and truth. Free of pride and malice, the blind girl began a system of buildings with architecture so fantastic, many recognized them from their own dreams.
Thirty years later, it was complete.
“We will call it,” Lia announced, “Avalon.”
“What do you want?” he asked her, adoration in his eyes.
She looked up at him haughtily. “My own, personal moon.”
“I'd get it for you, if I could. You know I'd travel the world for anything you desired if that’s what it takes.”
“Then do it.”
When he returned, a small moon tied to a silver cord, she only smiled pityingly at him.
“Silly man,” she said.
“I brought it for you, darling! I spent years – “
“I don’t want that
,” she replied, cutting off his speech of glory.
“I want a star,” she said, smug.
It’s cold outside.
Inside, is turmoil. It’s quieting down now, slowly. The fear lies mostly in the knowledge that while there is rest now, it will only return again tomorrow. And the next day. Maybe by avoiding sleep, the morning will take longer to come.
There is difficulty in finding balance, in finding calm while trapped in a storm of unspoken hatred and bitter words.
What’s left to kill when the heart has gone numb?
There is difficulty in sorting between the thoughts from within and those from without, and difficulty in trying for peace.
There is no saving face.
It’s the third night now. Finally, we’ll see what it is we were born to do. It’s time to claim our birthright.
“You know the words, right?” Will asks me. I nod an assent; the air is too thick with anticipation for me to answer him.
“But how will we know? We didn’t get specifics…”
“Just like Fly to start doubting at the last minute,” Will taunts. “Wanna go back?”
Fly jerks around to face Will, and they glare. Their moods change once, then again; I notice them become individualized, distinct thoughts.
“Guys,” I say, urgent, “I think it’s happening!”
Light blinded him, informing him that he had arrived.
He felt for his sword. The reassuring feel of the cold metal on his fingers boosted his courage. Inside his messenger bag, a walnut-sized glass ball began to vibrate gently, as if reacting to some invisible force.
Guards watched him closely as he neared the great doors.
“Ausher!” So the sorcerer had seen him already. “Come in.”
The commanding voice echoed around the room as Ausher obeyed, bowing.
“The message, sir,” he said, giving the sorcerer the glass ball.
A cloud formed around the sphere; the sorcerer smiled.
“He is coming.”
It’s 3 am now.
I’m really hoping that all of these stories make sense – okay, well, most of them at least – and that I’m not doing any repeats or similar endings/beginnings/etc. I’m getting a little delirious at the moment, so I never know! I totally wouldn’t be surprised if I was writing almost the exact same stories as I had the other months.
But really, I think I’m okay.
I’m thinking I can do this. I’m even thinking this might get me back into the swing of writing again.
But right now I’m thinking I am going to BED!
Character Sketch: Pitzi
I don’t remember ever calling her Aunt. I remember having conversations about it:
“It’s pronounced ‘ont,’” she would tell me.
“No! It’s ‘ant!” I would always insist.
She had paint in her blood, and magic in her fingertips. Midas made gold; Pitzi made art and love. How she loved beauty. She surrounded herself with it – statues, portraits, flowers, books.
Oh, books were utmost beauty.
She wasn’t a girl, either, not the kind that screamed at stupid things. She killed bugs. She got her hands dirty.
She loved the beach.
And her ashes float somewhere in the Gulf.
It’s Day Two, 12:30 pm on a Thursday night/Friday morning.
I’m cold – very cold, in fact – but totally ready to do another couple week’s worth of 100 Words. I know these aren’t especially creative or profound, but think about it: In the past months I’ve presented about 60 separate story lines, truncated yet still substantial, and only slight repetition. Do you have any idea how HARD that is?
Now do that, except instead of 30 days for 30 stories, only take two.
Then call me in the morning.
But I’m determined to do this, so here I go again.
With the night came paranoia, as tangible as the ghosts that flitted around in her peripheral vision. Lights became sources of thought, or maybe the flashlight of a potential kidnapper. Every creak of the wood floor or whisper of the walls set her on edge, heart pounding. Her husband laughed at her “idiosyncrasy,” as he called it, but she only smiled for lack of a better response. How could she explain what she felt? What she knew?
One night, she disappeared, an open window the only tell-tale sign, curtain blowing as if it were straight out of a horror film.
The yellow bus pulled into Zane’s street at exactly 7:05 that morning. The doors opened, and the ten year-old trudged past the dozens of rambunctious grade-schoolers to his seat. A red-headed boy twisted to look at him.
“What did Charlie say today?” he taunted.
“Shut up, Jim; he’ll get you.”
Jim laughed. “I’m so scared of your imaginary friend!”
“You should be,” Zane whispered under his breath, looking into his backpack. “It’s today.”
“What’s today? What do you have?”
“Charlie said this will make you all go away.” He holds up a remote. “Today.”
The bus explodes, and Charlie laughs.
It’s dark, and the transparency of the walls does nothing to alleviate the penetrating blackness. The door stands open; moths give their bodies to be burned as they cling to the solitary light. Cold seeps through the floorboards, fighting against the blanket I have wrapped around my legs and feet.
I glance over as I reach for my phone and see my own reflection: I start in alarm. It isn’t supposed to be there.
A firefly hits the glass, and wildcats scream at each other from across the creek. It’s dark, and knowledge does nothing to alleviate the penetrating blackness.
The White Whisperers, they call them, the girls who come with their lanterns in their hands and Death in their pockets. They whisper his name, even now, as he lies asleep next to his wife. The light, as pure and as beautiful as their own faces, help to draw him into their arms, where they can carry him away.
Another voice speaks: “It is not his time.” Her voice, clear and firm, cause the Whisperers to draw back.
“Leave him,” she says, “to his wife; she loves him more than you do.”
Their lights flicker and dim, and they vanish.
My plan was to get to the 20th today, but alas, that cannot be. I struggle to even find eighty more words to complete this entry. Tomorrow, which is actually today, which is the 28th, I will begin the journey back home with my family. I’m told we’ll take it in two days instead of the previous one, which gives us time to stop in Dallas to see an uncle about a dog.
Except for the dog part, cut that out.
I’m hearing nightingales and scissor-tails (why aren’t they sleeping?!) and cows, and also my bed, calling me to come.
The bird outside my window told me I am in love. I laughed at her, calling her a foolish, flighty little thing, but she insisted.
That was two weeks ago. Every day since then she has come to preen on my sill, always reminding me slyly of my alleged love.
Who better to know than a bird?
she would ask me.
Your own heart,
she would give as reply.
Listen to it,
I don’t know what love is,
I tell her now, ashamed.
Love is that thirst in his absence, the serenity in his presence, and selflessness always.
Words flew between them, things that both wished had stayed unsaid. The ride home was mostly silent, broken only by a necessary question or unnecessary retort.
They went about their business and prepared for the next day separately, and when night came, they went to sleep in different rooms.
She cried herself to sleep, the words ringing in her ears.
Upon awakening, she washed her face and tried to hide her swollen eyes with make-up as best as she could. She walked to the kitchen, determined to say nothing that could start a fight. Determined to say nothing at all.
This is my third and most likely the last day of my 100 Word Cramming. This is how I study for my tests, you know, except it’s three hours instead of three days.
These past two weeks, if I haven’t already intimated this, have been very stressful basically because of my inability to cope with too many people in my space for long periods of time. Actually, even if I have already intimated that, it’s still been stressful.
Anyway, I thought I was better, but it seems I’m not. But I’m so unbelievably glad I’m home. I love my house.
It was midnight.
The footsteps of three men trudged over the muddy path. He lowered to a crouch, his filth-covered skin blending with the surrounding trees and earth. Slowing his breathing, he leaned towards the ground; he couldn’t be seen, not now. He needed to survive long enough to kill them.
They passed his crouching form; with a slow, precise movement, he rose, clutching the amulet. He aimed for the man closest to him, both hands forcing his energy into the powerful weapon.
A flash of lightning lit the woods briefly, revealing a dead man and fearful faces.
“The snow brings strange shapes with it,” the Indian is saying, hands outstretched. “Shapes that form in the flurries laugh – then are gone. Both stories and Lost Ones come in on the wind.”
I watch the softly floating snow land on his hair as I try to imagine his words. We’re sitting in a circle around the fire, listening to his tale. Even me, an outsider.
But the story ends to soon.
“Shut the doors tight!” He stands, suddenly animated. “Hold the covers close, little ones, not from the cold only, but from the Wanderers who follow the roving winter.”
“I’ll die the day you find me,” said the blood-red bird.
“I’ll die the day you die,” she replied, “Leave in peace now, without fear.”
He did. Only a whisper of his leaving sounded in her ears, only the faint rustle of the trees surrounding her.
She always hated these meetings – if you could call them that. So much the same, so predictably full of sorrow.
Nothing I can’t handle
, she thought, roughly wiping a tear from her cheek.
I can’t go back now.
I’ll die the day you find me,
whispered the wind,
I’ll die the day you die.
I’m running out of things to say! Woo!
I was thinking about where I was a year ago. On second thought, let’s instead think about this fluorescent light bulb that keeps flickering on-off on-off over and over again… even though I turned it off over an hour ago. It’s a spooky light bulb. I was supposed to go get another one today, but forgot. I did remember candy, though.
I’m much less stressed and depressed than I was when I first started this. It turned into a sort of therapy for me when I was lacking my paints. It worked.
Character Sketch: Jeremiah
He hesitates on the diving board, unsure of himself. Scoping out the distance between him and the water, maybe. He cannonballs.
Two minutes later, he double flips off the board and goes in feet first.
“What would happen if someone exploded a power plant?” he asks me, ten years old and full of questions.
“It would explode.”
He looks at me with a laugh in his big green eyes, and I’m pretty sure this conversation won’t end for a while. But it turns out he’s read on the subject, and I’m out-knowledged.
There he goes, impressing me.
The place to which I have been brought is in disarray and full of fear; the people here are losing hope. They say they have been waiting for me for a long time, and I am afraid I will not be able to help them
If I can – if I succeed – I will return.
The fight has already begun, the moment I entered their realm. Blood will be shed. The forest must be turned to us, or it will destroy us. “We have waited for you so long,” the winds say, “You are our only hope.”
Together, we will fight.
She closes her eyes, resigning herself to her fate. Around her, people are screaming and running; she can hear desperation in their voices. As if their screams could save them.
The ship bucks again, throwing her against the opposite wall. She had assumed that fatally wounded ships would sink much faster, but to her chagrin, this one had dragged out the ordeal. She considered jumping and getting it over with.
How would drowning be? she wondered. More pleasant than being burned to death, she’d heard. Not that anyone knows firsthand.
But finally, the water covers her head, cold as death.
It’s almost 1 am now, and after writing “tomorrow’s” 100 words, I’ve decided to use this space for a little goodbye.
Mostly because I’m tired and out of ideas.
I miss the lightning bugs I could see outside my window in Oklahoma, but am unbelievably glad to be home now. It even smells better here.
Unfortunately, I think I’m getting sick. I’ve the beginnings of a sore throat (off and on), and to make matters worse, my wisdom teeth are coming in. Ow. >.<
Tomorrow we get to return to our usual church, and usual routine. I like usual.
of open hearts and
flesh and bone –
don’t let the tide clean
the paint from your fingernails.
don’t let the blue-green on
disturb the violin
or the lines like veins
across the page.
well-designed magazines, bright red cars and fluffy animals. I like little girls all dressed up in dresses – but from a distance. I much prefer little boys who jump and climb and scream and try to explain why it’s okay that the dog is green. I like cake.
I like houses, and blue, and especially cats.
I like you.
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