Letters and Sun

He was looking out the kitchen window. The dirty glass separating him from the garden. Outside it was sunny, the warm rays spread themselves across the glass. Light and warmth from outside seeped in. A small smile pulled at the left side of his lip. It was early spring, the perfect time to plant out the seeds he’d spent the winter growing on the window still.

He heard the letter box swing open and be stuffed with something, probably bills. There’s always bills. He turned and walked forward. Waddling like the old man he was. His hips aching and his knees battered by age. He constantly asked himself, when did he let himself become an old man? He wasn’t there yet, but his body was slipping ahead of him.

He bent down to pick up the letters that had scattered on the mat. Muttering to himself as he did. His rough fingers traced their way across the letters. It’s always bills. Until he looked at the last letter. It had a hand written address. It was addressed to him. He looked at the scrawl trying to see if he recognised it. The curled letters brought nothing to the front of his mind. He ripped open the letter, curiosity locking it’s jaw around his mind.

As he read the letter, his insides were slowly hollowed out like his guts were hacked with broad sweeping steps. The other letters and the torn envelope fluttered to the grown like a dying butterfly. His old hands shaking with small tremors.

I’m taking your lack of reply as a hint and this shall be my last letter.

He hadn’t seen any other letters. He didn’t know the full image, the letter only providing snippets of the story. It told him enough.

Footsteps ran down the stairs heavily. The slowed as they reached the bottom and approached him.

“What’s wrong?” She asked concerned. He turned to look at her. His eyes clouded with confusion and tight tears. Her eyes fluttered down to the letter. Her eyes flew wide with panic, followed by a wave of shame. She turned and walked towards the kitchen, flying like a bird from a cat. He looked at her for a second before following. The bills left littered on the floor.

“Do you know about this?” He asked putting the letter on the table in front of her. She turned to face the window as though the letter offended her. Her silence spoke loud.

“Is it true?” He asked.

“I don’t know everything-”

“What do you know?” He cut her off. She didn’t look at him. Instead her eyes jumped around the room, never looking at anything for more than a second.

Outside a blackbird jumped around the borders, pecking at weeds. It’s beady eyes scanning for food. It pecked at the bright green, spring growth. It could barely hear the rising voices inside the house.

“You knew about all of it?!” He spat in anger and shock. Her eyes darted away.

“I -”

“You knew!” He stated the confirmation. His tone left no argument.

“Why would you keep this from me?” His voice broke as the anger couldn’t carry it to the end of the sentence and sadness and hollowness took over.

“Why?”

“We thought it would be better for -”

“Don’t fucking lie!” He said his hand slamming into the wooden table. It shook on it’s old legs a little. The letter jumped away from his hand with the movement.

“You just wanted to fucking lie to me.” He said.

“I wanted to keep you -”

“Bloody lies!” He shouted. He wanted to hear the reasons, the cover-ups, the lies. He also couldn’t stand a single word she said. Every sound from her lips hurt and bruised deeper.

A thick silence settled and smothered them. A fog that swirled in and out of their lungs. Choking her with soot from the guilt fire that blazed in her heart. Drying his throat like a desert wind. Neither spoke. He let his head drop forward. His accusing gaze falling with it too. He was too old and tired to maintain it, but it was still there. They both knew it.

He left the room, marching out with curses muttered under his breath. He strolled into the garden. The grass gently stroking his shoes. The garden around him bathing in the sun, drinking in the light like honey. He sat down on the old garden chair. It sunk and sagged under his weight.

He looked around the garden. Looking at what he had built and nurtured into reality. Potential appearing and making more potential. What is potential other than something lost. Something he always lost. The seeds wouldn’t survive in the ground, the plants would die, the flowers would stop blooming. As though his eyes gave them damnation as he looked at them.

The grass was very green, the sky was extremely blue. And it disgusted him, because he knew the truth.

Mrs Corville

Mrs Corville lived at number 15 Denworth Street. She’d lived there for 15 years. It was the house she and her husband Michael had brought for their retirement. Leaving the big family house where they’d raised their four daughters behind for something smaller. She was now alone, having out lived her husband.

There was a primary school further up the road. Every day the children would come bumbling out and giggling as the raced around on the energy of youth. The noise was fine, the teachers were fine, the children were fine. It was the parents.

She didn’t know if all parents with small children forget how to park and basic road safety, but enough of them did. They double parked, went too fast, went when they didn’t have right of way. It was just dangerous.

They parked across her drive, whilst double parking. It was annoying, and dangerous, so she complained.

For years she complained, hoping to have some white lines or something to stop the reckless of the parents. Over the years their parking had gotten worse so she had complained more.

No white lines appeared.

Everyone on the road knew of her complaints and they agreed with her.

Still no white lines.

Mrs Corville had had a long life and that had caught up to her. She’d passed youth, and tragic death. She’d reached a die-able age, one where people have the comfort of a long and happy life to get through the mourning. All death is tragic, but some is fair and some are cruel. Old age is one of the nicer ways to die. Her heart was weak, which was ironic because her metaphorical heart was so strong.

Have the operation with a 20% survival rate or die? It’s not much of a choice. So she agreed to the operation. Whilst under she suffered a stroke, so they stopped the procedure. Mrs Corville didn’t have the 20% chance anymore. It’s funny how blunt death is.

Each daughter spent a day by her hospital bed saying their unprepared goodbyes. Full of the strong love of her weak heart. She passed away at the end of the week. It was a Friday, just after the children had been let out of school.

The house now stands empty, it will sell by the end of the month. Outside, just past the kerb on the old concrete road, they painted white lines on the road.

She’s not dead and gone yet.

Colour of Nothingness

Staring out into the blackness, they couldn’t help notice how black it looked. Nothingness is black.

All visible light is absorbed, tucked away or drifting without any surface to reflect off. Leaving the gaps just black.

A deep, consuming, thick and sticky black. There was nothing there. Nothing among the stars. Just gaps. Terrifying gaps that seemed to make the animal inside curl up and hiss through bared fangs that had both form and colour. They weren’t nothingness. Out there was.

There was science that could explain it all but in the obliviousness of their thoughts they couldnt help think of ideas that weren’t possible.

Could other creatures see nothingness? Humans can only see a small span of the light that fills the universe, and they can see an even smaller span with it. It’s a little torch in the big woods and its night.

Could something else look into the night sky and see something they couldn’t? Was there a creature like that on Earth? Would it be out there in the nothingness? Would it ever exist?

Nothingness was black to them. What if it was a different colour to the creature that could see it? Would they see two different skies, so far apart that the sky they saw now would be more similar to Van Gogh’s than the real thing?

Did nothingness have a different colour? And was it still as terrifying or was is warm and welcoming? Was the creature scared too?

The Performer

He sat back stage, looking at it. It looked so human. It looked like him. It was designed too. Except it wouldn’t age like him, it wouldn’t break like him. The perfect replica of him. It was a robot. It was his creation. All of it.

6 minutes to show time. It would go out there and host, smile, laugh and talk. It was controlled by buttons his shoes, but after a stroke took out his fine motor work on the left side of his body it was only controlled by his right foot and a glove on his right hand. His left clutched a walking stick. The robot could perform the creation of himself. The person he wanted in the lime light. This performer who was designed and fed up the attention. He wasn’t his creator and his creator wasn’t him.

Most people didn’t know the difference between him and the machine. Those he surrounded himself with knew how different they were. He wasn’t confident, it was. He wasn’t loud, it was. He wasn’t well loved, it was.

He ran a hand over his face as the time approached closer. He was old, he was tired, but he was still creating.

He’d created his work, he’d created a version of himself. He could keep it alive. It was now immortal. He wasn’t.

He was held under the hand of his god and time. It wasn’t. He envied it and pitied it. It got to live forever be loved and adored more than any real human, but it couldn’t feel love because it wasn’t real. It was an image, a symbol, a mask. It wasn’t real. It wasn’t human. That was it’s curse and blessing.

Standing up on creaking weak joints. Wiggling his toes and fingers it came to life. It turned and looked at him with a big smile. One that reached it’s inhuman eyes. It almost looked real, but it never did to him. It was always designed to be more than a simple human.

He began to shuffle slowly leaving it behind. It followed him taking confident steps. It over took him and taking strides ahead. It was always going to. It could exist longer than him and would.

As the show began, he sat in the audience. Controlling it as it brought smiles to the audience’s lips and milked them for laughs. They only saw it. No body saw him. That’s how it like it. They always see the image of the performer never the real thing.

An Idea Beyond Reach

She looked at the ceiling. It was a popcorn ceiling, decoration from a time past. Circles and swirls across the flat plain. It’s bumps created shadows. Formed images in the back of her mind, as her brain raced to make sense of what she was seeing. Trying to see meaning. The animal inside for her looked for threats, predators, tools and food. The basic mind was humming in the background like an old computers fan. The mechanic purr of survival instincts.

She’d emptied her mind as much as possible. Background noise still remained, filling the silence to make it comfortable and fathomable.

The idea was forming. In her mind just beyond the delicate touch of her finger tips. It danced away from her like dust in the sunlight. Swirling, spinning, bouncing away. Controlled by unseen forces that lived behind her eyes.

Gliding down only to fly up riding the currents of the electricity running through her brain. Playing a game with the universe around it as it drifted in and out of existence. Never taking physical form, never becoming nothing. A shadow that refused to stay still for a chalk line to be drawn around it. It couldn’t be mapped or shaped.

Her hands reached out trying to grab it but it just slipped. It was trying to grab water and stars. It was gritty and rubbed against her hands promising it’s existence. But did not allow itself to lower itself to take physical and mortal thought.

She wanted to pull on a string and unravel it. There were no loose ends to clutch to create a path to run down. No needle or thread to weave the idea. She’d have to wait for it, or watch it fade from the background.