RACHEL'S BEEN SITED

Archive for the category “Fiction”

The Cynic on Sacrifice

It’s so easy to say that you’d die for someone.  People say it all the time, like it’s expected.  Like it’s obvious.

“Oh yeah, of course.  I love them; I’d die for them.”

Like the two things intrinsically go together.

But think about it; seriously think about it.  How many people would you actually die for?  How many people would you actually be willing to end your existence for?

When you’re not staring at it, when you’re not looking at it right in the face and imagining the cold, black horror of eternity, maybe your answer is your loved ones.  Your family, best friends.  Maybe, if you’re one of those more altruistic souls, you’ll say anyone.

“As long as it helps another survive, my sacrifice will be worth it.”

And that’s all well and good, sure.  Go out in a blaze of glory, get your name etched on some plaque, live forever in the hearts and minds of those you’ve left behind.  It sounds awesome; who wouldn’t go for that kind of a send-off?

Except that it’s still a send off.  Hell, it’s still the end of everything, whether you like it or not.  No enjoying that glorious aftermath, is there, ‘cause there’s no. More. You.

So how many people, then?  How many people are you really willing to end for?

If someone you love dies, it sucks.  It hurts, hell, worse than anything else you can imagine.  It’s like a part of you being cut off, but not just something lame and insignificant like a limb.  This is something being ripped out from inside your soul.  But you know what?  You’re still there to feel it.  You’re there to hurt, to ache, to hobble along and heal and learn to get along without that shattered piece of you.  You can comfort yourself with thoughts like “they’d want me to move on” and “they’re in a better place” and one day, before you know it, you’ve stopped thinking about them so much.  And the hurting’s gotten smaller.

There’s life after suffering, but there’s no suffering after life’s over.

A/N: Taken from the middle of a novel, where a character reminisces on her life choices, but I think it works as a standalone.

When the Giants Dined Out…

When the giants dined out (as giants often do – it’s remarkable how quickly they run through even the food stored in their twenty-foot stone refrigerators) they preferred to go to the beach.

“Baked, seasoned meals,” they would chortle as they crouched at the edges of the sand like mossy boulders, awaiting their food.

In front of them, the blissfully ignorant vacationers lay tanning their skins golden brown, or swam and splashed in the salty water.

“And best of all, no work.  The meals prepare themselves.”


Thanks to the Cayman beaches, the salty ocean, and the very brown tanners for inspiration.

sunset

Where Birds Go

There’s a place on campus where the birds go to die. I can’t say why they choose the spot, or how it fits into the strange web of their avian philosophy.  But I can say, truly and simply, that they go there. I’ve seen them littered amongst the stones between buildings like fallen leaves, on their sides, as if in sleep. But a bird has never slept so, and their small black eyes are open and empty.

Read more…

Pieces

The wilderness had never felt less like freedom.  It had been their escape in the ages before; whenever the concrete world started to crumble, when the bruises had felt more like home than punishment.  When there’d been nothing left except a stale acceptance that this is what life was now, this is what they were meant for.

When that look had started to creep into one of their eyes, the other one had unfailingly jumped up, grabbed an arm, and wrenched him away to this speck of tree-lined sanctuary.  The pool of dirty water that they’d named a pond; the shrubs that had risen up like forested walls to protect them.  And, for a little while, they had breathed the free air and thought maybe they stood a chance of escaping it all.

But today he came out alone.  His pressed white shirt felt too starched under the black blazer.  The tie constricting his throat, making it impossible to breathe.

And there was nothing in this that felt like freedom.  The water was rainwater.  The shrubs were shrubs. The magic was gone.

The cold earth, the pine box, had swallowed more than his brother that morning.

A drabble created as part of a simple writing exercise: put your music playlist on shuffle, start writing a scene inspired by the music, and stop as soon as the song is done.  This piece is named after the song, by Red, that was playing while I wrote it.

Echoes

Something a little bit longer for your weekend read.  The beginning to a story I never finished writing, but I enjoy the concepts behind it so much that I have to share it anyway.  Maybe I’ll continue some day.

Echoes

            The world was howling around her as she stumbled into the shadowed room, the echo of the blast still washing over her in wild, dizzying surges like the sound of a behemoth’s heartbeat.  The screams, the panic, from the foyer downstairs were the cries of ants in comparison — wailing ants waiting helplessly under the shadow of an oncoming foot.

            Her hand hit the bookshelf before her eyes realized she was in range, and she jammed her elbow with the force of her unsteady momentum.  This wasn’t the time for dizziness, wasn’t the time for weakness or aching limbs, but her subsequent headshake to try and snap herself out of it only left her gagging back a new fit of nausea.  The thrumming amped up to eleven in her ear, and she felt herself flinch in anticipation of a surging ocean wave or possibly a thirty-foot butterfly wing sweeping into her from the left.

            The conservatory had been on her left.  In the conservatory had been her—

            No time, no time to think about it.  No time to dwell.  She only had… who knew how long.  Seconds, if that.

            The screaming ants were slowly going quiet. Read more…

A Sound Theory

An old drabble, but a fun one. Read and enjoy.

A Sound Theory

“Sound is one of the most insidious naturally occurring dangers in the world, you know.” This, like all of his theories, sprang up seemingly out of the blue, with no preamble, and made the rest of us stop speaking and stare.

“People think about how it can damage our hearing, of course, and it’s well documented that after a lifetime of being exposed to sound people begin to lose their hearing altogether. Right? Dangerous. But what people don’t seem to think about is that sound makes vibrations. You can feel it in a drumbeat or a buzz, and high-pitched noises can shatter glass. It’s all there if you bother to think about it. And then imagine your body constantly being bombarded by dozens… hundreds, of vibrations every minute of every day for your entire life. Even dripping water will eventually wear down stone. What do you think the hum of a fan, the buzz of a bee, or even the sound of my voice right now is doing to our bones?

“Constant agitation. And then on top of that, we test our luck with extra layers of ‘background noise:’ TV, music… played, I’ll remind you, on what used to be referred to as ‘boom’ boxes. I’d be willing to bet that if we gave all that up, shut out unnecessary noises and exchanged talking for sign language, we’d be living for an extra fifty years.” He fell silent, shaking his head.  We watched him, wide eyed and wordless.

“No,” he added finally. “I will not be attending the concert.”

Eternity – A Drabble

The thing about eternity no one seems to realize is that it lasts an incredibly long time.  Things with no definable beginning or end are funny that way.  But at the same time, there are only so many things that can come into existence.  Only so many variations of particles and matter and concepts and ideas.

Only so many destinies.

And, at some point in the unending history of the universe, it will run out of new things and will have to go back.

Wash.  Rinse.  Repeat.

Witness

A short stream of thought from after the End.

Witness

The world ended yesterday.

I’m still here.  That’s how it goes sometimes.  Things don’t work out exactly the way you expected them to. Read more…

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