There isn’t much to preface this with (thank God) other than with the fact that I decided to start a narrative writing series because I enjoy it profusely.
Here’s the part of the puzzle that needs to be explained though. I’m calling it Start With Our Sentences (SWOS) for a reason. The Discover page put out something similar to this a while back and I fell so in love with the idea that it needed to be recreated. In the post, it was written that they gave three writers a sentence, and they told them to write to their hearts’ content. It was brilliant! They were left with three completely different stories from three diversely incredible minds and it was all triggered from the one prompted sentence. That’s what I want to do. And I want all of you to join me. Like please, please, please.
Because I’m starting this series on my blog, I’ll be giving out the first sentence for this narrative run, but after we’re through with this, I want the rest of the community to come up with a sentence on someone else’s blog, and we the writers, begin our next creative narrative journey from there. It can be as long or as short as you’d like it to be. Share your creations by commenting on this post a link to your own blog post, and you can rest assured I will bombard it with comments and likes.
What I think is more wonderful about this is how we can all improve as a writing community — we can provide each other with constructive criticism that would help separate our strengths from our weaknesses, thus ameliorating our communication through the written word. If you can’t tell already how excited I am for this, then I will tell you I AM SO INCREDIBLY EXCITED.
Here’s the sentence I came up with for this first round. I split up this short story into two parts, but you do whatever floats your boat. ENJOY:
“I remember noises that went beep, beep, beep.”
I remember noises that went beep, beep, beep. Sometimes the beeps were in rhythmic sync, and other times they fluctuated in frequency – but they seem to have always been there, just in the background.
There were also faint voices that I never used to pay attention to, but recently they had resonated louder.
“How much longer, do you reckon?” One voice says.
“Not much longer.” Another voice sighs.
“Should we tell the family? Yeah, we’ll tell the family,” the first voice hesitates, “let’s just tell the family.”
The second voice sighs again then says, “Just give her a few days. Just a few days.” The voice breaks, “Maybe she’ll pull through.”
And then there was darkness. Darkness that dissolved with solitude to create a melancholic concoction that slowly ate away at me. If I ask myself when it had started, I don’t remember. And if I wonder about where it was I get lost in all the swirls of thought and ‘confused location’ is all that emanates. All I remember is that I had my eyes shut, and when I had opened them I was there – alone.
At first, I had thought myself in a lacustrine setting, with a potent nebulous fog of dawn hiding some symbolic truth of a dream behind it. But as the uncanny world around me cleared up I saw no lake and no dream. I was standing in a crowd of hubbub, with people clad in immaculate button-downs and trousers and others in squalid rags and filth, all running around in mad bedlam. Each had their own face but all their voices were the same. Everyone was yelling, almost like animals making their way through the world. The alpha lions and tigers pounced upon their prey in arrogant promulgation – the slyer snakes slithered into their desired status without a single sound, although their slithers left behind a rancid poison – and then the frailer fowls trudged with eyes that showed defeated acquiesce but souls that told of burning fires. Before wondering about my own being, I searched for the cineaste – then for a bellwether and then I sighed. I was not gazing into a scene from a play; I was watching human nature in its prosaic hebetude, slowly filling itself with more languid languor with the repeated perceived actions. I turned my head slowly as I peered into each human’s soul and narrowed my brooding eyes. There was a curious part of me that desired to watch them for a little while longer, hoping that maybe a single action would change, and I suppose that perhaps another quiet portion didn’t wish for self-recognition. But then I sighed and inhaled – and it was with the exhale that I began to recognize the scene of gray scale. There was no color surging through them and no life radiating out of them – they were all just black and white. My eyebrows stiffened in confounded thought because I realized that despite being amongst all of that ostensible life, I wasn’t actually there.
A cold shiver had run over me all of a sudden, although it was not a winter wind sort of cold, it was that feeling one would get when they realize the weight of a solitude so enduring, so much so that the blanket of warm security would be snatched off of them. And then all that would remain in its place would be the cold that was always there in the first place. But there would also be fear. And that’s what I had felt – cold and afraid.
I tried yelling like the people outside of me did but nothing was escaping my mouth. And when I tried moving towards the people outside of me my bones cracked in excruciating agony.
‘Hello?’ I said inside my head trying to gesture at any of them, but the animals continued pouncing or slithering or shuffling along as it always seemed like they had.
They were ignoramuses! Only focused on where they were going and departing from what they had left behind them unheeded. It was no way to live, I remember thinking. But it was everyone’s way of living, and it was in the actions of stolid commonplace that the content of an action would pass unquestioned. That’s when I had searched for a bellwether once again, but these people seemed to follow each other’s tails without watching out for their heads first. Everyone wanted what they wanted, and so they all led and they all followed, and the only outcome was chaos. All I wanted was for just one person to look at me, to tell me where I was or where I was going, but to them I was an invisible spectator watching from another place.
I couldn’t understand why any of this was happening, and the anxiety built on the confusion only fueled more of it. No firm memory holds if I had the ability to cry, but I’m sure that I had tears streaming inside my head for over a century. And then as those years, that I am certain only passed in minutes, began to progressively increase, every presupposed feature of my youthful, promising future gradually contorted itself into a monster of little avail. I had acquired a new pale face that would not age but distant weary eyes that would. A thinned physique that had become my body would not grow weaker, but my misplaced and severed soul would. And then there was my enigmatic mind that remained fed, and my forlorn heart that lingered in emaciation. I was old. I was an old twenty-year-old girl whom had lived for three consecutive centuries, and no more wisdom or strength or power was added to my résumé. There was simply, the inexplicable solitary confinement to where I was ordered to remain for a crime I could not remember committing, and when all attempts at understanding my own existence there had failed, I had decided to revert my gaze to the walking, shrieking, monochrome dead.
They were people of unrecognized faces and undesired acquaintances. I could only sigh and glare at the same scene I had been glaring at for a lifetime. Every now and then my vacant eyes would sparkle at the sight of something new, but soon enough, the natural lifeless routines relapsed. I watched a young boy outside my world run to his mother weeping into her shoulders once. He ran with such ferocity and she held him with such security that I almost thought there was no possible way for harm to emerge like the thief it was. But the mother that was protecting the piece of her was not to save him. I knew that because I watched how eventually the little boy grew up and abandoned her, forgot about her protection and ignored her aging, then decided that he was better off making his own way in the world as everyone else around him did. They grew apart and the little boy who wasn’t so little anymore died alone without the arms of the old woman around him, holding him till he fell asleep. His blanket of warm security was snatched off of him too like it had mine.
to be continued…
endnote: this feature photo is my own photography