Reading project, week ending 14 Jun 2020

What have I read this week? Just one, but at least I finally finished something!

The Stars Now Unclaimed by Drew Williams

This is a science fiction novel about a woman called Jane Kamali who lives in the far future when technology in the galaxy has been partially and unevenly rolled back by a phenomenon called the pulse. I quite enjoyed this; it’s a fun read and I enjoyed the characters and the world.

© bardofupton 2020

Writing project, May 2020

This month’s word is misery, meaning “wretchedness of condition or circumstances”, “distress or suffering caused by need, privation, or poverty”, “great mental or emotional distress; extreme unhappiness” or “a cause or source of distress”.

CW: mental health

It’s a little late, sorry.

————–

My life’s okay, I think. Nothing amazing, nothing terrible. And yet I feel a crushing weight upon me.

I eat, breathe, sleep, with a constant darkness within me. I don’t know why; it came upon me slowly, subtly, sneaking up on me. One day I just started to cry, for no particular reason, and I realised something was wrong.

But maybe it’s always been like that, and I just never realised. Maybe I’ve always been in pain, but I just didn’t know it.

It doesn’t really matter how I got here; the fact is that I am here, and I have to deal with that. If I can.

I’ll start with one thing. Just one thing. One, tiny, little, insignificant thing. All I need to do is pick up the phone. Pick up the phone and dial. Pick up the phone and dial a friend.

That’s it. That’s all. Just one thing. Just reach out, just say hello, just say “help me”.

Just one thing. One little thing.

The hardest thing in the world.

© bardofupton 2020

Inkwarriors, part 6 (Fiction)

The wizard hurried up the steps towards their mentor’s rooms. They needed to resolve the situation with the inkwarrior as soon as they could, because it was making it hard to focus on the spell they were trying to create. They simply couldn’t cope with the constant barrage of attention. It was distracting, and annoying, and a complete waste of time. They would never have thought of her again, had she not constantly forced her way into their head.

They were relieved to see that the door was open, meaning that their mentor was available. They entered and nodded politely to their mentor, who was sitting by the window looking through a small telescope.

“What do you think of these devices? Easier than magic, to be sure.”

The wizard sighed. Technological advances were their mentor’s bugbear. They were both fascinated and horrified by new inventions that, as they saw it, encroached into what should be the exclusive preserve of wizards.

“I haven’t really thought about it,” the wizard admitted.

“Too busy doing magic, I suppose?”

“Trying to, but…” the wizard began.

“Ha! Mark my words, young one, they’ll replace us with things like this!” The mentor leapt up and began to pace, brandishing the telescope angrily. “First it’ll be the army using these instead of hiring wizards…”

“But no wizards want to go out with the army,” the wizard pointed out.

“Irrelevant! We need to preserve our position!”

The wizard sighed quietly, and resigned themself to waiting until their mentor had said all they had to say on this topic. They sat down on a stool in the corner, well out of the way of the wild gesticulations their mentor was making as they became more and more worked up by their own rhetoric.

***********

Meril was confused. She’d taken all her exams, and she was pretty sure she’d failed them all. Everyone else in her cohort had received their results, but she was still waiting.

Maybe they’re trying to figure out what to do with me, she thought. Maybe there’s never been an inkwarrior as terrible as me.

She tried to distract herself by thinking about her wizard, but for once the thought of them couldn’t keep her attention. Despite all her talk about not wanting to be an inkwarrior, she didn’t actually have any other real skills. Certainly not any that would support her if they threw her out.

She swallowed. Or maybe they would kill her. She’d never heard of an inkwarrior as bad as she was, perhaps that was why.

She began pacing her room, which she’d been confined to since everyone else had been given their results. Surely they would come and explain everything to her soon. Wouldn’t they?

© bardofupton 2020