RACHEL'S BEEN SITED

Archive for the tag “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.

A Meditation on God – Prose

            I sometimes wonder if there was a time before.  Before that great, damning pen swept over us, dictating our shape, our words, our lives.  Our world.

            Did we exist before?  Was there a childhood, an ancestry?  Did I have a grandmother, that kind eyed, flutter-winged woman whose dying words left me, and not my cruel stepfather, in control of this struggling country?  Or is that all she ever was, a memory?  Does it even matter, now that she’s gone?

            All we have, all we know, all that is… is what is.  To think too hard otherwise would only lead us into madness.  Especially in this world we must adapt to living in.

            Imagine for a moment what it must be like to be us.  You went and created us — or, perhaps, took control.  You play with our lives, pull heartstrings, on a whim.  Maybe that’s life.  But most lives, I hope, are better formed.

            My name is Aria.  Sometimes Aerya.  I think, once, I was Song.  I change with your mood, but don’t think I don’t remember.  We all remember.  And we play your script like puppets, in the moment believing, I’m sure, every word you put in our mouths.  But we remember.  I remember, for instance, Christophe.  My love.  My future husband, object of my undying passion, who existed but a day before he faded out, forgotten.  You’ve forgotten, that is.  Not I.  Sometimes I wish I could forget him, that you’ll go back one day and notice, scratch him out, keep him from existing at all.

            To live for a day must be crueler than to have never existed at all.

An excerpt of a dramacomedic fiction about a set of characters becoming self-aware of their less than consistent creator.  The poem inspiring the story (or was it the story that inspired the poem?) can be read HERE.

A Meditation On God By Her Ink-Spattered Works

A Meditation on God
By Her Ink-Spattered Works

She carved me with ink, with pressure of pen.
Shaped me in smooth strokes, careful arches.
Streaks of sentience and decisive jabs of
completed thought.
Cut me into this world of white,
lines of blue.
I exist on her whim. Every step is hers
to shape.
How can I not love her?

Hate her.

Her clumsy words
clumsy and cruel,
shaped stumbling feet. This malformed nose on a
malformed face.

Was it ignorance that wrote me so?
Ineptitude?
I think I halfway hope so. It makes her
kinder, somehow.
More worthy of my love.

A bumbling queen, well-meaning but inevitably unable to
form me, to
shapemecarveme

create me
into the flawless creature first born in her mind.
That she couldn’t help but try and capture in ink.
And failed.

This weakness I could understand.
Forgive.

But no. No, I think…
she does know.

I remember, once, a time when my nose was straight.

No one else does, of course.
That day is long past.
Scratched from existence, buried under
black lines and angry swirls, replaced with this
Bent
Battered
Broken
Thing.         
The result of an accident, vague and undetermined,
some time in my unexplored past.

And I know it, I know
(though I can’t name how
or why)
that being broken is what broke me.

There was a time when I wasn’t broken.
When she had it right.

So why?

A wordless cry
(of course wordless. No words can be formed without her consent.)
Silent plea, silent request
silent demand:
Explain.
Explain.

I know that you’re watching.
Know that you shaped me.
Malformed face in a
malformed life.

Do you know what you created?
Read through the lines.
Off-key dialogue, stumbling words
(stumbling feet, stumbling world.)
Do you know what you created?
Past smooth, curving U’s,
Bent B’s
The occasional, ugly,
angry X.

Do you know what you created?
Did you shape my bitter soul, too?

An excerpt from the story inspired by this poem can be found HERE.

Echoes in Solitude

If you’ve followed me long enough to wonder about the title (“Hey, didn’t she already post a piece called ‘Echoes’? Man, how uncreative.”) — this piece, had the story been completed, would have taken place in the same universe as my original “Echoes” post HERE.  As things stand, nothing directly connects the two scenes, and each can be enjoyed independently of the other.

Echoes

            The house had been silent for nearly three weeks, now.  To Rea Hayes, its only occupant, it had felt like much longer.

            Only occupant… She allowed the words to settle over her, and shuddered.

            Unwashed laundry had begun to pile up in the corner behind the kitchen – work things, mostly.  Somehow, when she came home she always ended up in the same old oversized t-shirt and sweatpants, staring at the blank TV screen, her tray table a line of phones. Read more…

Destiny – A Drabble

            The idea of destiny is such a feeble one in modern society.  Most see it as a set of startling and remarkable circumstances foretold by a ranting madwoman, based on visions she’d glimpsed in a bowl or a piece of clear stone.

            I’d like to say that the truth is nothing quite so mundane, but it is, strangely, just the opposite.  Destiny is in the details: the most inconsequential of moments, the offhand notions, the half-formed ideas that make up the very core of who you are as a person.  You will fight, run, help or harm in a given situation; you have no choice.  But your call to arms, your fated path, is defined by nothing less than your own identity.  There is a reason why you can never fight destiny: because, in the end, you have no reason to want to.

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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