“Once upon a time, there was a being tainted in red. Trapped in eternity alone, she sought a life that would never be hers. For eternity, she walked, to no end, to no means, and crumbled and fell, alone. The dash of hope within her heart dwindled into nothing, into ashes like the world under her feet.”
The world was dark. With the light of her laptop beaming against her otherwise darknened face, she tapped to no end. Cushions surrounded her, ripped and molded out of their original shapes. Several tissues littered underneath her hands, matted in blood from her ever-dripping nose. She gave a weary blink through tangled fronds of ashy hair. Switching her typing to one hand, she brushed the mess away, never satisfied with her untamed fringe.
It wouldn’t matter. She hadn’t left her spot in hours.
A sigh remained contained behind her lips. She’d only just awoken from her eternal nap. It was dark. It was darker than she wanted. Why had they not come to awaken her?
She craned her neck and reached out in the dark. From the side of her eye, she could clearly make out its bright shine, but it vanished upon direct contact. Still, she could feel it. She stroked dull, oily fur, feeling the beating patter against her fingertips, then rose to trace the curve of ears. It, at least, was always there for her, through the eternal night. She returned to her keyboard, smearing a patch of balm over her parched lips.
Water. When had she last had it? Surely before she submitted herself to the dark.
Barely more than a minute passed. Another sigh. This time, it escaped her lips, taking with it all the air in her lungs. It wasn’t just the thirst. Stings battled their way up her legs, down her spine, in the depths of her brain, weaving and connecting the ripple of old injuries. Eternal injuries.
Her hands retracted again. She lay on her side, legs swinging over wheezing cushions. They had no colour, was what she noted. Nothing did, not in the eternal night. An illusion and a distraction, it was now, and forever. The ticking of the past made its way into her ears. She flinched, pressing her ear into the beating warmth that lay beside her.
It was inevitable, she reminded herself. All she had to do was return, for an eternity, for normality to return, to drink and to eat, and to sleep once more.
Begrudging with each dragging motion, she pushed herself to sit up. Her neck craned at the blaring white, the tiny text that ran all the way down the empty page. There was nothing but that, and the sneezes of a little nose afar.
She called out to it, not recognising the voice that escaped. It returned with another sneeze. She abandoned the screen. It sneezed a dozen more times before breaking into a purr at the sight of her. It was sick, came her worrisome thoughts, and so she opened space on her lap, and the little one purred all the while making itself at home. A smaller life beat within. She didn’t dare linger. It was not her place.
Delegating half her attention to the screen, the other half to stroking the silky fur, she managed more words – hundreds, perhaps, but not quite a thousand yet. It wasn’t an impossible task. She had done so countless times, of her own will. Buttons squeaked and growled and resisted, but she powered on. Through the eternal night, she gave meaning to nothing, created life from lines, from swirls before her drooping eyes.
Sleep. She needed more of it. How long had passed? She was near desperate to know.
The bar barely inched. She reached a slow spot. The purring distracted her. She wanted it to continue. It was the only proof of life other than her – that, and the grating bark from a bloodthirsty hound lurking out her window. The purrs rearranged, its little face rubbing her palm as it hooted like an owl and wrestled its tail and almost slipped.
She forced herself away. She had to focus. To finish. To eat, to drink, to learn the truth that evaded her, that she despaired over. There was no other way. She only had to force her hands upon the keyboard, brace herself through the squeaks and grunt, block out the purring, the growls, the howls and every other meaningless sense, to push herself on, forming meaningless words through lines and swirls, through sparkles that danced over her eyes, to cast out memories that haunted her, dreams that still rung in her ears, visions that ensnared the darkness that loomed over her, promises yet to fulfill and promises that had never been fulfilled, corrections and incorrect scents as she pushed her nose into a tissue, as she swore the faint, sweet tinge of honeysuckle – or just honey.
Progress. That was all she needed, even if it was a page of mere gibberish, of meaninglessness. Her hands had been inactive for so long, it didn’t matter even if she wrote a wall of lies, of fabrications.
However, she did not; she wrote only truth, the twists and turns within, ripping free of the shackles that bound her, and as the bar inched its way to completion, her yearning of the truth grew. A few more, and it was over.
She pushed herself back, her third sigh escaping her. This was one of relief. Alterations were inevitable, she knew, but finally, she would learn of the time, she would lap springs of fresh delight, consume dull flakes and tangy spices, stroke the dewy fur of her companions, and finally, finally be free from the eternal night.
And that was how I woke up in the middle of the night, realising I had set a block on my computer to not function until I wrote a thousand words. Thank you, me. F*** you.
(It’s 1:20 AM)