Candlelight shot from my own Z1 Compact
Alice opened her eyes.
The first thing she saw was the plain walls of her room. Then there were whispers, coming from the hall. She laid there for a little while, trying to discern what it was that had awakened her. A soft purple glow bathed her room, with the occasional car going down the road outside her house.
Alice blinked. The whispers and the light indicated it was probably dawn, so she still had some hours to go before she actually needed to be up. Then it hit her.
“I closed the curtains,” she thought, turning to her side.
The window and curtains were open. As she got up to scream, a dark figure crossed the room and put his hand over mouth, forcing her back onto the bed. Alice fought him, her screams muffled, but he pinned her harder and brought his face close to hers. She found herself freezing from pure terror.
The man’s irises were red. Bright, blood, shining red. As Alice stared wide-eyed at him, he smiled coldly, revealing bright, sharp teeth. She could smell brimstone on him. A cold feeling settled in her stomach as she realised what he was.
“Now, no screams?” he spoke in a deep, bass voice. She nodded and he removed his hand from her mouth.
“How…” the words choked in her throat as she stammered out of terror, “How… how may I serve you, Great One?”
“We have work for thee, child. You remember the bargain?”
“Yes, but my bro…”
“Did you not see the evidence for yourself?”
“Yes, but I thought…”
“Will you honour your bargain?” the way he asked the question warned Alice.
“I will honour the bargain,” she whispered.
“Good. Then come. We leave now.”
“But my brother…”
“Do not worry, child. We will honour our part of the bargain,” he smiled evilly.
With that, she got out of her bed and took his hand.
“Goodbye,” she whispered.
This was significantly much harder to write than I expected. There was of course, the usual constraints; work, life, exercise.
The truth is, I wasn’t quite sure if I could have written this.
Things falling away. Trying to break out of old patterns. Resisting the urge to write passive aggressive sentences like this one.
I am a slave to words.
Writing is a compulsion, I think I once said to someone. I can’t live without writing. Or without reading. Someone else also once said that writing was a form of escapism. A world where we become powerful instead of letting reality hold us back.
Is reality so mundane that we must seek to escape it?
I don’t know about you, but yes.
That’s not to say my reality’s bad. I’m blessed, because I have a job I like, colleagues who make me feel grateful for being employed with them, a caring if overprotective family, friends who love me more than I deserve, and I want for nothing in Maslow’s Hierachy (we’re not talking self-actualisation here, by the way).
So if reality is so great, why do I find myself retreating into my written words? Why do I find myself reading old stories, thinking up new scenarios, and building new worlds?
Because it’s where I can simply be.
Matthew 4:4 says, “Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”
There’s a simple joy and beauty in words. On one hand, some may argue they are nothing more than lines drawn together. On the other hand, these lines, when drawn together, convey meaning, ideas and experiences to the reader, opening their minds to an alternate present that can only be experienced.
When I was younger, my aunt once allowed me to lead the reading for one of the family prayer sessions. After the prayer session was over, she told me, “You are reading it like a storybook. Don’t read it like that again.”
I ignored her. In my mind, words take on a literal new sensation, a literal new experience. Each word, written, has a tone. I hear them in my mind as though they’re being spoken, as though they’re dancing, as though there’s an actual sensory pleasure attached to them.
Am I seduced by the beauty of words? Completely.
As to whether I am obsessed about them, no I don’t think so. At least not in the way most people assume. It’s one of the reasons why when I write something for someone else, I find it very hard to get offended if they ask me to write it in another way (note: this does NOT apply to grammar, those still bring out shieldmaiden in me).
Words are words. They are tools. Beautiful, wonderful tools, but tools nonetheless. I love how they feel at my fingers, in my mind, through my ears, but words are simply words. They are a means, a platform, a bridge.
Now the ideas they convey… that’s another matter entirely.
I suppose this isn’t about breaking away after all.
This entry was written for the 100 Themes Challenge. For the full list, click here.