Wednesday February 17th, 2010

The exercise:

Not only have I just completed the first draft of a story I've been working on for over a year, my last drumming class was last night too. I'm feeling kind of... adrift, at the moment. Like something's missing.

So today's prompt is: the void.


They had told the child to stay away. Filled his precious, fragile skull with dire warnings and terrible stories of those who had not listened to their parents. Promised that disobedience would result in grounding for life – should he survive the experience.

But it was not enough.

The boy sat on the edge of his father’s land, his tanned legs dangling in the impenetrable darkness like wooden stir sticks in black coffee. He stared, wide-eyed and completely captivated, into the Void while distant shouts went unheard. They were looking for him, desperately, a small part of his consciousness knew. He would return in another few minutes, that part of him decided.

It was just so black, he marvelled to himself. He’d never seen anything quite so solidly, unquestioningly black before. He had thought that his bedroom, in the middle of the night with the lights out and the curtains pulled shut, was the darkest thing that had ever existed. But now he knew better.

He scooped up a handful of dirt and released it into the Void. He had to lean all the way over, his chest resting against his knees, to watch its scattered tumble. It seemed to fall for a lifetime.

But it must land somewhere, he thought, his brow crinkled with concentration. Surely there was an end to the Void. There must be. But what lay on the other side?

There was, he decided suddenly, only one way to find out.


Greg said...

Heh, the lack of something always there that needs doing can do that to you! It's a shame that your drumming class has concluded already -- will you be carrying on your drumming at all? But I guess the frisbee season must be getting ready to start up again soon, surely?
Still, I'd remind yourself now and again that this is a holiday, before you set to work on revisions :)

I like your story and its (literal) cliffhanger ending! Nicely told.

The void

The ancient Babylonian mathematicians
Had a name for it
That tamed it,
Held it firmly in the mind's eye
And subjected it to their analytical
The void gained form and ceased to be
Such a mystery;
It gained power and significance
Until today when modern man
Wouldn't understood how it couldn't be known.
Asking him to give it up would be
Like asking him to forget how to breathe.
They called it zero.

g2 (la pianista irlandesa) said...

Very interesting cliffhanging tale... one which merits a continuation, yes?
- - - - -
Cautiously he tested a foothold in the rock. Surely no harm in going down a little ways, just so long as he stayed close to the lip...

He shifted his weight to the rock. Good, fairly solid. He searched for another a little bit lower down. It was tough to focus just on the wall, with the solid, velvety darkness immediately below.

There it was. It was a stretch, but his youthful confidence assured him he could reach it. Clinging to the upper lip of the Void he reached with his foot to the next little outcropping...
...which was much more fragile than it looked.

As soon as he shifted his weight the rock snapped dryly. His center of gravity had already left the previous ledge, and the thin grass at the lip would never support his weight. His fingers slipped and he began to fall into the Void.

He had fallen several times before. The feeling had always frightened him: the pit of his stomach dropping out, his heart gasping, his breatch catching in his throat. But this was different; air toyed with his hair, and even as the light at the lip receded to a sliver, it was almost as if the darkness cradled him in his descent. A sense of wonder and adventure quickly replaced his fear.

There must be something down here, he decided resolutely. But what is it?
- - - - -
Man, now I want to know what happens next!

Marc said...

Greg - most likely, in some form or another. Drumming is good for me, I've decided :)

I have to admit I was rather excited to see a math poem out of you :P Nicely done, I liked it muchly.

g2 - I suspected a continuation would be required but I didn't expect to not have to do it myself!

Very nicely done. And now I want to see where the young lad ends up too.