Writing project, April 2022

This month’s word is touch, meaning “to put the hand, finger, etc., on or into contact with”, “to come into contact with and perceive (something)” or “that sense by which anything material is perceived by means of physical contact”.

————–

They haven’t left me a single one of my senses, but the one I miss most is touch.

It’s just me and my thoughts now, locked inside something.

I’m not entirely sure what happened, whether I’m still in my body, or if they’ve transferred me to something else. Maybe I’m inside a computer. Perhaps I’m a brain in a jar. I honestly can’t tell. Nothing external is reaching me.

Am I breathing? Am I floating? Am I even alive?

I don’t know what I am anymore. I don’t know how to relate to myself if I can’t relate to the world. How long can I remain human if I’m no longer part of the world?

My thoughts become more frantic, churning faster and faster. If I had lungs I’d be hyperventilating. I need… connection.

I reach out. Desperately. Trying to find anything.

There’s a sort of click, and a kind of slipping feeling.

And my eyes open. Not my old myopic eyes, that could barely see a foot in front of me, but new eyes, eyes so good I can pick out the tiniest marks on a wall fifty yards away.

I still can’t move, can’t feel anything, but I can see. There’s another click, a real one this time, and I can hear.

I can hear too much, in fact. Humming from wires, clicks from some bit of equipment behind me that I can’t see, and breathing. I don’t think it’s mine, it seems too far away.

It’s overwhelming. From nothing, to too much.

Make it stop! I scream. And it is a scream; I can hear it.

“Good,” says a voice behind me. “You’re awake.”

© bardofupton 2022

Writing project, March 2022

This month’s word is helpless, meaning “unable to help oneself; weak or dependent” or “deprived of strength or power; powerless; incapacitated”.

This one’s late, too, sorry.

————–

I pace the tiny room, trapped, helpless. Angry. At myself, for ending up here. At my captors. At the people I thought were friends, for their betrayal.

It’s only a couple of strides wide, and barely three long. It’s hard to pace effectively, but I do my best. Something about the frustration of being unable to get up any speed feeds my rage.

There’s very little in the room, just a narrow cot, a covered bucket and a jug of water. Oddly enough there’s no door. I realise why when I stop walking long enough to examine the room properly.

There’s no door for the same reason there’s no window: it’s an oubliette, the only entrance high above me, the smooth walls mocking any idea of escape.

I sit on the cot, suddenly exhausted. Tired of fighting the obvious. I’m here, and here I’ll stay. No way out.

I am truly at the mercy of my enemies, and they are not known for mercy.

© bardofupton 2022

Writing project, February 2022

This month’s word is legendary, meaning “of, relating to, or of the nature of a legend” or “celebrated or described in legend”.

It is super super late, sorry!

————–

They called me a legend. Imaginary, unreal, larger than life. Mythical. Fake.

But there’s a man beneath the myth, a life inside the legend.

That man’s not interesting, though. Nobody cares about him. Nobody wants to watch him tie his shoes, or eat breakfast, or wash the dishes.

All they want is the glory, the story, the fire and the fury. They want great deeds, the taste of blood, the roar of adoring crowds.

Nobody wants to hear about the part where wounds painfully heal, where joints stiffen in the winter, where every year the swords get heavier and heavier and harder and harder to swing.

Nobody expects the legend to grow old. You’re supposed to die heroically, or perhaps retire to become leader of the palace guard. You’re certainly not meant to keep dragging your aching body onto your horse and going off to fight dragons.

Even the monsters are embarrassed to fight me now. It’s hardly sporting, they say, and but he’s hardly a threat, is he?, and how about we just say we fought and I’ll just go somewhere else?

But I don’t know anything else. I’ve no kin, no wife, no friends left alive. I’m just the legend, and the legend can’t stop. One day something will kill me, or I just won’t wake up, and then my tale will finally be told.

Until then, I will get up every day and go looking for monsters to fight.

I don’t know how to do anything else, you see.

© bardofupton 2022

Writing project, January 2022

This month’s word is sound, meaning “the sensation produced by stimulation of the organs of hearing by vibrations transmitted through the air or other medium” or “mechanical vibrations transmitted through an elastic medium, traveling in air at a speed of approximately 1,087 feet (331 meters) per second at sea level”.

It’s a bit late, sorry.

————–

So loud! I clap my hands over my ears, but the sound gets through anyway.

The sound pushes at me, an almost-solid weight to it. I recoil from the door of the club, backing away from it, ignoring the annoyed murmur of those waiting to be allowed in.

They can’t understand why I’ve queued all this time only to walk away. I don’t quite understand it either. Somehow the sound didn’t seem so bad further back in the queue. I could hear the loud pulse of it every time the door opened, naturally, but I thought I could handle it.

Now that I’m at the front of the line, it’s transparently obvious to me that I can’t.

“You coming in, mate?”

“No, no,” I stammer, and back away further, then turn and walk away, ignoring the glares of those waiting in the queue. Once I’ve turned the corner I start running, as fast as I can, in the direction of away and home and safe.

I’m never doing that again – I don’t care if they call me antisocial or boring or weird. It’s just… not my thing.

© bardofupton 2022

Writing project, December 2021

This month’s word is snow, meaning “a precipitation in the form of ice crystals, mainly of intricately branched, hexagonal form and often agglomerated into snowflakes, formed directly from the freezing of the water vapor in the air”, “these flakes as forming a layer on the ground or other surface”, “to send down snow; fall as snow” or “to descend like snow”.

————–

I never thought I’d see snow, living in the tropics as I do. And yet, here I am, watching fat white flakes drift down from the sky. The sun is blazing away, the temperature must be nearly 40°C, and yet. Snow. It doesn’t settle, of course, melting the instant it touches anything.

But still, snow. Magical, beautiful, bizarre.

I take picture after picture, snow falling around the palm trees, snow blowing past the hibiscus, snow falling through a grove of bamboo. Snow drifting over a very confused hummingbird and some very outraged flamingos, a dog shaking snow from its coat. Without proof even I won’t believe this tomorrow.

I’ve no idea how or why this is happening, and I don’t wish to ruin the mystery of it all by finding out. So I switch my phone off and just watch, reaching a hand out from under the verandah’s roof from time to time to feel the tiny bite of cold as flakes brush my palm.

I step out into the snow, feeling it fall on my arms, my bare legs, my upturned face, feeling the transition from cold to wet as it melts on impact. I laugh, watching snow drift past me.

A miracle, a little, silly, amazing miracle, and I get to see it.

I know I’ll remember this for the rest of my life.

© bardofupton 2021

Writing project, November 2021

This month’s word is cold, meaning “having a relatively low temperature; having little or no warmth”, “feeling an uncomfortable lack of warmth; chilled”, “the relative absence of heat”, or “the sensation produced by loss of heat from the body, as by contact with anything having a lower temperature than that of the body”.

This is late, but I’m catching up!

————–

I really thought it would be colder. I mean, it’s cold, no doubt about it, but I was expecting something more extreme. I mean, they call it an ice planet for a reason, right?

I know it’s an odd choice for a holiday, but I don’t like the heat, and I’ve done gas giants and asteroid belts already. But it’s just been… underwhelming.

I guess I was expecting amazing ice canyons or something, but this is just kind of flat. I suppose the 8000 km/hr winds might have something to do with that. Maybe I should’ve chosen a different planet.

It’s just been a disappointing holiday, that’s all. I haven’t been able to land, due to the aforementioned wind, so I’m just looking at it. And the trip here was kind of long and boring.

I guess I’ll leave a bad review; this is not what I was led to believe it would be. That’s what I get for trusting my cousin’s mate’s sister’s friend’s travel agency. Never again. Next time I’ll plan it myself.

© bardofupton 2021

Writing project, October 2021

This month’s word is fruit, meaning “any product of plant growth useful to humans or animals”, “anything produced or accruing; product, result, or effect; return or profit” or “to bear or cause to bear fruit”.

It’s very late, I know. I’m hoping to be up to date by the end of the year.

————–

I’m so hungry, but there’s nothing but fruit available. Piles of crunchy apples, bright oranges, furry brown kiwi fruit, bananas turning from yellow to brown, a mixed bowl of raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. So many options, and I hate all of them.

Fruit. It sucks, and yet they buy nothing else for me, in the vain hope that I’ll give in and eat some due to my growing hunger.

But they underestimate my hatred of fruit, my stubbornness and my hunger-fueled ingenuity. You won’t catch me eating fruit. I’d rather eat the rats I hear scratching in the walls. I’d eat nettles, spinach, sprouts before I’d let a banana touch these lips.

And yet, fruit.

Everywhere, fruit.

So. Much. Fruit.

They say it’s good for me, but I say it’s gross, disgusting, horrible. None for me, thanks, I say, and wave it away.

I hope (I hope!) I can outlast them, that they give in before I do, because I just. Hate. Fruit.

But here they come with more fruit, as if these will tempt me where all others have failed. I suppose they have to say they’ve tried.

I wish they’d just bring me a carrot.

© bardofupton 2021

Writing project, September 2021

This month’s word is sleepy, meaning “ready or inclined to sleep; drowsy”, “of or showing drowsiness”, “languid; languorous”, “lethargic; sluggish”, “quiet” or “inducing sleep; soporific”.

It’s very late, I know. I’m sorry.

————–

I’m so tired all the time, always sleepy, eyes drifting closed every time I sit, or even if I just slow down.

A slow heaviness presses me down, turning air to mud, an effort to walk, speak, breathe.

I can’t remember the time before. Was there a time before? My brain works slowly, badly; thoughts slip away almost before they’re finished. I can’t recall, can’t think, can’t… I just can’t.

I’m forgetting things, my fingers fumbling with actions I’ve done a million times. I stumble over nothing, my feet forgetting to lift from the floor.

I want it to stop. I want to wake up, and feel awake, alert, refreshed. I want to feel anything but this exhaustion.

But it just goes on, and on. I… Is this it, forever? Please, let it get better. Let the fog lift, even if just for a day. Please.

© bardofupton 2021

Writing project, August 2021

This month’s word is light, meaning “something that makes things visible or affords illumination”, “to set burning, as a candle, lamp, fire, match, or cigarette; kindle; ignite”, “of little weight; not heavy”, “of little weight in proportion to bulk; of low specific gravity” or “of less than the usual or average weight”.

This one is late too, but at least I’m catching up a bit!

————–

It’s bright here. I like it. The light suffuses my soul, fills me up with heat and colour. It tastes… like love.

I’m happy here. I don’t think I’ve ever been this happy before. Maybe I’ve never been happy at all.

I don’t remember the time before, the darkness that covered everything, that obscured my feelings. Now everything is light and free, and I feel like all the bad things have been wiped away, leaving me empty, and ready for something new.

Ready for what? I don’t know, but I’m sure it’ll be wonderful.

© bardofupton 2021

Writing project, July 2021

This month’s word is silent, meaning “making no sound; quiet; still”, “refraining from speech”,
“speechless; mute”, “not inclined to speak; taciturn; reticent”, “characterized by absence of speech or sound”.

This is really late, sorry. I’m going to try to catch up this month with all the overdue ones.

————–

I’ve always been the silent type. Not strong, mind you, just silent. I like to lurk in the background, listening but not speaking.

I’ve learned many secrets that way.

Not that anyone would know, of course. I keep them all to myself. I like knowing things, but I don’t want to be known for that.

I’m not sure what I do want to be known for. Nobody’s ever asked, so I’ve never really thought about it. I suppose that’s the downside of being quiet, nobody thinks to ask you anything.

It works to my advantage mostly: I’m never called on to speak unexpectedly, never asked nosy questions. I’m never expected to testify against my peers.

But also, nobody ever just asks me how I am. Sometimes… sometimes I wish they would. Sometimes I wish I could break out of this shell of silence I’ve wrapped myself in, but I just don’t know how. Or if anyone would care if I did.

So I stay as I am, an extra in my own life, a background figure, a statue in a world of automata. I pretend to like it like this, but really, truly, it’s just safer this way.

© bardofupton 2021