Literary Tendencies

I'm here to write.

Dans la Cimetière Cérébrale

Dans la Cimetière Cérébrale

Bodies, bodies, everywhere and not a thought to think;

I have gone and drowned them ‘neath the salty, murky drink.

Ideas I’ve killed in sequence, their faces look like mine;

Murder on a massive scale for that single perfect line.

Bodies, bodies, everywhere; their flesh has turned all white –

I used words to slit their throats in the forest of the night.

You can’t let them live too long or else they’ll start to pine,

Distracting you from coming to that single perfect line.

Bodies, bodies, everywhere; they’re coming back to life –

It is time to go to war with my noon-forged poet’s knife.

The battle will be bloody and the carnage just divine;

These ideas won’t lead me to that single perfect line.

Bodies, bodies, everywhere; I’ll find new words to write –

The poetry inside my mind will come at last to light.

I’ll emerge victorious and build at last my shrine:

They will never take from me that single perfect line.

Suburbia

I did some really funky stuff with line breaks and spacing, but of course, tumblr gets rid of it all. So enjoy this chunky, blocky poem that looked SO cool in the original word document.

Edit: wait, what? Did the spacing actually come through?? Woooo!!
Edit 2: Okay, so not all of it came through. But more than I thought.

SUBURBIA

There’s a ship, you see—

A ship that sails on land.

The earth  p  a  r  t  s  before its prow,

   smoothly,

              gracefully,

                        rippling

                            outwards

                      like

           waves.

It takes a few minutes

for the ground to settle:

Aftershocks

of the ship’s passage

mounding up

the dirt into new hills,

carving out

new

valleys.

You can see the ship’s

wake in the morning,

a strangely verdant

scar

on the landscape.

 

People have gotten used to it,

             muttering to themselves

as they climb up fresh slopes,

rolling their eyes as their cars

bump and  rattle

over  cr  ac ke  d  tarmac.

They’ve gotten used to their houses

                                      t

                                         i

                                           l

                                             t

                                               i

                                                 n

                                                    g

                                                     as they sleep,

furniture s c r a p i n g gently

across the wooden floors,

the occasional plate claimed

from a  counter as sacrifice.

                    They wake up in the morning,

sigh,

        push the bed

   back

into

    place,

sweep up the shards in the kitchen,

all the while swearing

that this is the weekend,

this is when they’ll finally nail

their chairs to the floor.

The ship becomes an annoyance,

       something inevitable,

   like rain.

 

People forget what the ship really means.

 

 

They retreat into banality,

choosing to believe their own lies

instead of facing the c u c k o o in their nests.

They prefer to pretend they have power,

that the ship can be controlled

by their refusal to acknowledge it.

But all of them,

every        single       one,

knows somebody

or knows somebody who knows somebody,

      who woke up in

 the dead of night,     

peered out

 

the window,

       moonlight

staining their skin silver,

 

    and saw the ship moored across the street.

 

Chills

    scrape

         down

spines

and hairs on arms p r i c k l e.

Shadows from the ship

slide into the house

                                    across the street.

 

The desire to stop them

wars with the desire to run

wars with the desire to scream.

 

 

 

Frozen,

incapable,

watching as the ship takes

its pound of flesh.

 

The next morning,

the street will be silent.

While getting the paper,

no one looks at the ripples

spreading out from the neighbor’s house.

No one speaks to anyone

but they all wordlessly clear their schedule,

preparing to attend the funeral,

closed casket because there is no body.

They’ll sit in the cheap plastic folding chairs,

wearing black and shedding

requisite tears.

      But with every shuddering

      breath,

every half-hearted anecdote,

every “I’m so sorry for your loss,”

they’ll be thinking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m so glad it wasn’t me.

 

 

 

 

Mamihlapinatapai

Am I just really, really dumb, but is there any way to put a line of extra space between stanzas? It drives me nuts when my posts come out these giant, chunky blocks of text.

 Mamihlapinatapai

Language: Yagan (indigenous language of Tierra del Fuego, an archipelago off the coast of South America)

“The wordless, yet meaningful look shared by two people who both desire to initiate something but are both reluctant to start.”

an evening like any other

the two of us wandering into the world

wobbly-legged as fresh calves

and blinded by the intensity of the night

moments melt into my eyes

sink into my skin

changing neural pathways to connect dots

that i’d never thought to connect

i see you now with all of me

aware that my frail bat-heart

has never flown far from its cave

it is soft and untested

but forays forth in search of a companion

lips touch

we stand in the palm of a driveway

in the heart of a nation

ordinary like others before us

but new

new and clean and afraid of each other

wondering whose courage will fail first

and who will be first to say “no”

I’m back.

This is a rewrite of something I’ve already posted on my deviantart.

CYBORG INSIDE ME

The glint of your steel skeleton whispers to me;

the touch of your artifice excites me.

You want to analyze me, quantify me;

you do not understand mortal flesh.

I already know what makes you function—

your skull cradles copper circuits;

your organs cannot bleed.

My muscles are made of fibers,

my nerves sheathed with myelin.

The heart in my breast can falter and fail,

while the one inside you stays certain.

I know you are not real—

I was grown from sperm and ovum inside my mother.

You were grown from test-tubes and god complexes.

I am drawn into your embrace, but

the skin of your shell is cold.

The heat of my pliant body is lost on you.

Your perfect fingers bend me to your will,

could bend me until I break and shatter.

My bones, in your hands, are delicate like glass;

my humanity, crushed against you, slips away.

Who could resist such a pretty toy?

Who could resist your electronic eyes, your soldered frame?

These are constructions of needs and wants,

(of whom do I speak?)

these are creatures of binary and/or carbon.

Your fingers press my spine, count my vertebrae.

A simulacrum of emotion escapes your (my) lips –

A gasp of a soul, a gasp from the meat:

The muscle and hide that make you;

The muscle and hide that make me.

Day 6: Start your story with: “He glanced at his watch impatiently…”

This is a bloody awful title, but whatever.

THE DANGERS OF BEING SOLELY BOOK-SMART

He glanced at his watch impatiently and saw that it was already 11:43 a.m. His bus was running late and it was pouring rain. The weather was just the icing on a decidedly shitty cake of a day, and he really didn’t need this right now. He had just flubbed his way through a terrible interview—he could still feel trickles of sweat running down his ribs—and all he really wanted was to get back to his tiny apartment and sleep for a year. But instead, the bus had decided to play coy with him, and he couldn’t walk the sixty block home in dress shoes without risking massive blisters.

He huddled in the bus shelter, wallowing in his own misery, when a car pulled up to the curb. Before he could react, the door opened and a small boy was shoved out. The door slammed shut once again, and the car was gone in a squeal of tires.

This wasn’t happening. He had thought that the day could get no worse, but now he had to deal with some abandoned child? The universe was too cruel.

“Hey kid.” The boy turned. “The police station’s that way,” he said, jerking a thumb over his shoulder. “Might as well go turn yourself in. Make everything a little easier.”

The small child stared at him for a few seconds. Then, much to his surprise, the boy cleared his throat, squared his shoulders, and folded his hands primly in front of him. “You sir,” he said in a grave tone, “are in need of a good ass-kicking.”

“The hell did you just say to me?” He rose to his feet, forgetting for an instant that he was addressing a child that could be no older than five.

“You heard what I said,” the boy replied. “You seem to have two functional ears, so I’ll just assume that it’s your intelligence that’s impaired, not your hearing.”

His mouth fell open. Who was this punk? He struggled to form a clever response, but his brain stuttered at the improbability of an eloquent five year old.

“And thus you prove my hypothesis,” said the child. He folded his hands behind his diminutive back and began pacing back and forth along the curb. “You see sir, I come from a highly selective program. A school, if you will. Several hundred other youths such as myself have been gathered, or bred, if you would like to be so crude, in order to streamline the human race.”

The rain dripped down his collar, cold but pleasant on his clammy neck. The boy came to a stop in front of him with an expectant look on his face. The child seemed to be waiting for an answer, but nothing came to mind. “What?” he said finally.

The boy shook his head sadly and resumed pacing. “It’s a hard concept to grasp, especially for individuals such as yourself, but all scientific advances are expected to meet some resistance. Why, should you ever break down that mental wall of yours, you might even say that my existence is unethical, illegal even. But humans are sheep sir, and like all herd beasts, they need clever shepherds to guide them to safety. We are just that. We have been made to steer humanity towards its true potential.”

“Wait, are you telling me that you’re some kind of test tube baby?”

The boy sighed. “Yes, I’ve been over that already. I’m here to experience the world on my own for the first time. I have to find my way back to the facility by 8:00 p.m. It’s a childishly simple test of my intellect, but it’s merely a hurdle on the way to encountering more difficult and more interesting challenges.”

This kid was nuts, he realized. Stark raving crazy. Clearly sharp as a bucket of tacks, but half the stuff he was saying sounded like it came right out of a science fiction movie script. Someone had probably brainwashed him or something. “Look, little dude, you should probably go to the cops or something,” he said, not unkindly. “They can probably help you home and arrest the people who kidnapped you.”

 “No, no, that won’t be necessary,” the child replied, waving aside the suggestion. “And I’d thank you kindly not to contact the authorities. All I need from you now is an indication of which direction is east.”

 “It’s that way,” he pointed across the street. “But seriously, you need to get some help.”

 “Thank you for your concern, but I assure you, it is not needed. And now, east I shall go. Farewell, sir. I bid you good tidings.”

The boy turned and started out across the road.



“Hey, little man,” he shouted. “You should always look both ways before you cross – ”

With a screech of tires, the car hit the kid full-on, sending him flying. The driver burst out the vehicle, screaming just as loudly as the wheels had. Frozen at the bus stop, all he could do was blink and finish dumbly, “– before you cross the street.”

Day 5: A story revolving around an object in your room

I decided to be a smartass and take this prompt literally. Better stuff tomorrow, I promise.

THE BATTLE

Sam stared down her opponent, circling slowly. Her every nerve was ready.  She felt like a cat, poised and precise, yet deadly and accurate. One by one, the others had been eliminated. Sam had fought tooth and nail to get this far, so she wasn’t about to give up now. A growing bruise throbbed on the side of her leg and she could feel the scratches on her face starting to seep blood.

Her opponent was tall, but slim, something Sam thought she could use to her advantage.  Perhaps the girl would easily lose her balance. After all, there was a reason that gangly and clumsy were a clichéd pair. And Sam knew that this girl had nearly been knocked out of the running last round; she was not quick on her feet.

This should be easy, Sam told herself. She is the only one standing between you and victory! She could hear music, soaring and falling like a bird of prey. It was the perfect soundtrack to this moment, an accompaniment so seamless that Sam just knew her time had come.

Suddenly, silence fell.

Sam dove forward, her arm thrust out to block her opponent. The girl pushed back, but Sam had planted her feet too firmly to be moved. With a deft twist of her hips, Sam outmaneuvered the other girl and found herself sitting safely in the chair.

“Congratulations, Sam!”

Out of breath and still buzzing with adrenalin, Sam looked up to see Mrs. Malone standing next to her.

“You’ve won the game! You get the grand prize!”

Her opponent turned away with a groan, and Sam found her hands full as Mrs. Malone placed a bundle into her lap. Amidst the crackling of cellophane and tissue paper, it took Sam a second to remember where she was. Not in the arena, but at Hannah’s birthday party. She blinked down at the gift basket in her lap, her eyes quickly finding the DVD she had been so eagerly awaiting. The Hunger Games, her most recent favorite book and movie.

“Thank you!” Sam said, looking up at Mrs. Malone with a wide grin. She slumped back as the party picked up again, content. Here at last, she had indisputable proof: she was the queen of musical chairs.

Author’s note: Get it? The object was a chair, and they were “revolving” around it because it was musical chairs. Ha. Ha. Ha…….I’m such a smartass….

Day 4: A poem using the words: blue, mistrust, half, twang

In case the title got cut off, the words I had to use were:

blue, mistrust, half, and twang

I used ‘em, but not in that order. So, here y’all go! This is longer than I usually do for poems, just for the record.

GROWING UP

When I brought you into this world, child,

I knew you were made just for me.

Your father smiled back at me from half your features,

and I could see my flaws filling in the rest.

You grew up like me, reaching out to grab life in fistfuls:

dragonfly bites speckling your neck

and mud-crusts on your knees,

touching everything –

caressing the twang of a broken guitar,

coiling up lost moonbeams to keep as pets.

The world burst blue against your skin,

staining your pores with wondrous knowledge.

You wiped your face and licked your fingers,

hungry for the taste of music and grace,

too young to mistrust the outstretched hands of strangers.

My concerns on my sleeve,

I tried to teach you that life is a broken-lipped cup:

you can drink deep and fill your stomach

but a slip of the tongue can make your blood flow.

Willful, like me, you planted your feet and shook,

scattering my worries like water drops.

The skies were your own

and you gathered them up in an eggshell,

handed them to me with glimmering confidence.

Look Mother, you said,

look and see that the oceans cannot drown me,

for I am the water and wind and the tiny shrimp in the waves;

see that the earth cannot take me,

for I whisper to worms and warren with rabbits;

see that fire cannot burn me,

for I am already a light.

I looked and I saw the sparks dancing over your skin,

I saw flames wrapping around you as a cloak,

and I opened  my arms at last

to let you

become

the air.

Day 3: A story that takes place pre-1950

Whew! I’m cutting it close to the deadline with this day 3 post! But it’s before midnight, so I made it!

Without further ado, here’s a tale set in the Golden Age of Piracy. This is fairly poorly researched—just a quick read over Wikipedia—but I think since this is highly romanticized, we all should be okay!

CALICO JACK MEETS HIS MATCH

The year is 1720.

Calico Jack Rackham lies back on the sand of an island beach, a small fire crackling nearby. He listens to the sounds of his crew, arguing, drinking, laughing. They are a coarse lot, but he could ask for no better from a bunch of thieving oathbreakers. They have just stolen a ship from its berth in port and he has just stolen Ann Bonny from her husband.

His gaze finds her moving through the shadows on the other side of the fire. The orange light catches on the copper in her hair, and for an instant it looks as though her head is wreathed in flames. My lass, he thinks. Mine before she even knew it herself. Ann catches him staring and frowns, though her eyes betray her. A corner of his mouth lifts and he chuckles, knowing full well she likes to be looked upon. Calico Jack likes his women like he takes his liquor: strong and fiery, with one hell of a kick.

As she moves closer to him, some of the crew catch sight of her. She had dressed herself in a linen shirt and britches when she came aboard. Despite her manly garb, Ann made no pretense about her sex when she came aboard, save for the concession of binding up her long red hair. Her small breasts had been unbound, and she had not tried to disguise her voice. Now the slender man they had taken her to be has dissolved, and in the low light of the night she is unmistakably female.

“Eh, what’s this?” one of them calls, rising to his feet. He is not alone. Several others have also risen, some with their hands resting on the butts of their guns, the hilts of their swords.

“A woman,” someone says. Mutters spread around the campfire. Women at sea were thought to bring the storms down from the sky, calling the ocean waters in rebel. Calico Jack is well aware of this. He also puts little stock in superstition, regarding it as folly for the weak-minded. He is a man who makes his own fate.

“We’ll not be sailin’ with a wench aboard.” This time the speaker steps forward, his fist tight on the pommel of his scimitar. He is not an attractive man, even to Jack’s decidedly uninterested eyes. The man’s face seems to be more beard than anything else, and he stoops to one side. But his arms are thickly muscled, as any sailor’s should be, and the scowl crinkling what little can be seen of his brow looks fearsome. “Captain,” he continues, “we should get rid o’ her now.”

“I’d like to see ye try.” Ann herself responds, as Jack half-suspected she would. He feels a smile creep across his face as she yanks her sword from its scabbard with a ringing scrape of metal on metal. “C’mon, man,” she says. “Let’s see how this wench can fence.”

 “I’ll not be crossin’ blades with a woman,” the man scoffs. “It wouldn’t be fair, seein’ as I have twice as many swords as ye!” He grabs his crotch, laughing loudly at his own joke. Some of the crew join in, and Calico Jack makes note of who they are. He wants to know how many fools he’s brought along to sail his ship.

Ann looks the man up and down. “Sword? More like a table knife, if ye ask me!”

His laughter stops abruptly and he draws his own blade. Jack shifts, moving to one knee should he need to intervene. He is the captain, and he will not have mutiny on his vessel, especially if Ann is not up to handle the trouble she seems to be creating. Saucy wench, he thinks to himself. I should have known ye’d be a firecracker.

“Well?” Ann asks. “Are ye afraid, wee lad? Afraid to lose to a girl?”

With a bellow of rage, the man charges forward, but Ann steps neatly to one side. The drink has made him unsteady on his feet, Jack sees. There is nothing but pleasure on Ann’s face as she raises her blade to engage her opponent. She handles the weapon clumsily, but her speed is what saves her. Ann is everywhere at once, slashing and smacking at the man’s sword. It is not long before she lands a solid blow and he loses his grip, the scimitar spinning away into the darkness.

Ann rests the tip of her sword in the hollow of his throat. The man is angry and panting, but he does not move. He knows he is beaten. Calico Jack smiles and settles back on his haunches. Ann was wasted on her husband, James Bonny.

“Do ye yield, sir?” she asks, breathless. Her hair is half over her face, making her look like a wild thing. Jack has never wanted a woman more.

“I yield,” he mumbles, and Ann lowers her blade but does not sheath it.

“Well?” She turns, addressing the rest of the crew. “Anyone else want a go? Any man here think I’m not as good as any o’ ye?” When no one moves, Calico Jack knows that Ann has earned her place. He will have no more trouble from this crew.

 After another moment, Ann slips her weapon back into its scabbard. The quiet murmur of talk picks up again as she approaches him. The fire is at her back, outlining the silhouette of her body through the thin linen of her shirt. Jack takes her hand and pulls her down on the sand beside him, wrapping one arm securely around her waist. He tries to slip his hand up to cup her breast, but she slaps him away.


“That was well done, lass.”


“I know. Would ye have done it better yourself?”


“Nay,” he replies, and kisses the side of her neck. “Barely out of port and it looks like we’ve already made a pirate out o’ ye.”

 Ann smiles, and with a wicked gleam in her eye, covers his mouth with her own.

Day 2: Write a fanfiction

THE DOCTOR DANCES…AGAIN

(Ten/Rose)

“Doctor,” you say, “will you dance with me?”

He looks up, his glasses askew. “What now?”

“Dance with me,” you say again.

He runs a hand over his head, making his spikey hair even messier than usual. “Dancing? Why would you wanna do that? There’s so much to see! We could sit in orbit over a supernova, watch the first man crawl up out of the mud, visit Queen Victoria again! We could – ”

 “All that can wait,” you reply, walking around the console, your hand tracing over the buttons and levers. “Right now, it’s just us. Here. In the Tardis.”

 He flops back into the chair, his lanky legs sprawling before him. “Couldn’t we save that for later? Add it to my to-do list, although to be quite frank, my to-do list could use with a bit of shortening. Pop in on Shakespeare, become a ginger – ”

 “In all of time and space, in all the universes, I want to be here. With you. Dancing.” He stares back at you and a fleeting expression crosses his face, so brief that you can’t tell if it’s pain or sorrow or a bittersweet mixture of something else. “Besides,” you continue, “you’ve danced with me before.”

 “Ah, that wasn’t me,” he waves a hand, looks away, almost awkwardly. “I don’t know if this body’s got two left feet. Or two right feet, for that matter. Always seemed unfair to me that nobody’s ever got two right feet; probably make for a fantastic footballer – ”

 “There’s only one way to find out.” You reach out and grab his hand, pull him to his feet. He’s standing too close to you, but neither of you move away. His hand is warm and a little bony and holding onto you just as hard as you’re holding onto him. You can see a loose thread on the shoulder of his pinstripe suit, see the stubble starting to grow along his jaw. You look up into his face, his lovely face with the slightly crooked nose and the laugh lines around his eyes. He swallows, his Adam’s apple bobbing with the movement. You stare into in each other’s eyes, waiting for one of you to break the silence.

“Dance with me, Doctor,” you say softly.

He blinks once, twice. Without taking his eyes from yours, he reaches into his jacket with his free hand. He takes out the sonic screwdriver and holds it aloft. You hear its familiar sound as he pushes the button. Moments later, music fills the Tardis control room. It’s not a piece you recognize, but then again, your knowledge of classical music comes from back in 6th form’s Music Appreciation class (which you skived off half the time). You think you can hear a cello and a piano, but there layers of sound that you cannot identify.



The Doctor slides the sonic back into his pocket. He gently takes your other hand and sets it on his shoulder. This time it’s you who swallows when he places his palm in the small of your back. You can feel the heat of his hand even through your jumper, and you bite the inside of your cheek to distract yourself from the flush you know is creeping up your neck.

“Ready?” he asks.

All you can do is nod.


Guided by the pressure of his hands, you find yourself moving across the room. For half a second, you worry you will step all over his feet, but somehow, you don’t trip. This is different from the last time you danced with him. It feels less like a lighthearted spin around the floor and more like a moment between two people falling for each other. He’s holding you closer this time, and he’s only half-smiling, an expression that somehow combines happiness and pain.

“This is a Gallifreyan lullaby,” he says softly. “My mother played this for me when I couldn’t sleep at night.”

You don’t know what to say. He barely speaks of his past, of the homeworld that he lost. You settle instead for resting your head against him. The dance slows, but you can hear the beat of his hearts. You hear their rhythm speed up slightly, and you smile. At least it’s not just you with a fluttering in your chest.

The song comes to an end, but neither of you lets go. You look up into his face, knowing that you’re smiling like an idiot, but you don’t care.


“Well, Rose Tyler,” he says, “it would seem that I can dance.”


“I knew you could,” you reply. Then before you chicken out, you raise yourself up on your toes and press your lips against his cheek. “Thank you.”



A grin quirks his lips upward. “You’re welcome.” You drop your arms and he does the same. You can still remember the warmth of him, and you wish that you had the courage to say what you know you feel.


He returns the console, flipping a few switches here and there. His expression is thoughtful, his brow furrowed. You worry that you were too forward, but as he looks up to meet your eyes, his face lights up in a brilliant smile.


“Now, where to?” he asks. “Raxicorocofallipatorius? Poosh? We could go to the planet Midnight or go visit the face of Boe! We could –”


You laugh. “Anywhere, Doctor! Just take us anywhere!”



He pulls a lever and the Tardis lurches into motion. He beams his little-boy grin and shouts, “Allons-y!”

Day 1: Re-write a classic fairy tale

WARNING: This is a fairly loose interpretation of a classic fairy tale. Before you even guess, no it’s not Rapunzel.
Apologies for being so damn long winded. Days 9 and 16 are gonna kill me…

THE TINKER IN THE TOWER

Alone in his tower, the Tinker surrounded himself with the pieces of a broken world. Cogs and gears; half-melted metal and greasy machinery. Outside, the sky was overcast, storms mixing with smog mixing with smoke. It was grey, cut through with flashes of yellowish chemical lightning. The air was thick. To inhale was to drown on land, choking as your throat blistered and closed up tight.

The Tinker knew this. The Tinker did not care. He had built himself the finest air purifiers, the longest lasting filtration systems. Nothing could get in. He was safe, cradled against the warm steel bosom of his machines. His hours passed marked only by the throb of the fans, the tang of crackling sparks from the welder, and the smooth feel of metal under his fingertips. He did not remember the last time he had lain with a woman, nor did he wish to seek one out. In his tower, the world could crumble but he would remain.

One morning, the Tinker awoke from where he had fallen asleep at his workbench. He straightened, stretched, yawned, feeling a familiar ache in his lower back. A dull shaft of what passed for sunlight was leaking through the chink he used for a window. He blinked once, twice, and rose to investigate the change in weather. Putting an eye to the slit, he could just barely see through the thick glass pane.

 Beyond, the landscape looked much the same: brown and grey and black and harsh. The shattered buildings still looked like fangs, and the wind was still blowing. The Tinker turned his eye upward and took measure of the sky. He did not like what he saw. The tumbled clouds to which he had grown accustomed had thinned, showing patches of lighter grey in the sky’s underbelly. Weak beams of daylight had even dared to penetrate the endless storms.

The Tinker growled under his breath and started to lean away from the window. As he did so, a flash of something caught in the corner of his vision. Cautiously he craned his head around to peer at the outer wall of his tower. There was something green poking out between the exposed cement and rebar. It was a thin, spindly little thing, with a stalk barely strong enough to support its two leaves. It was a plant. The Tinker did not remember the last time he had seen a plant, but the Tinker did not like it one bit.

Growing on my tower, he muttered to himself. The nerve. Plenty of other places for it to grow. Why did it have to pick my tower?

Grumbling sourly, the Tinker returned to his work bench, resolved to put the plant firmly out of his mind. After all, it had looked very weak. No doubt come evening, it would have wasted away into nothing. He picked up his latest project—an automated tea-kettle—and lost himself in the soothing shine of metal and grease.

The next morning, the Tinker woke at his workbench, straightened, stretched, yawned—

And saw that the dim shaft of sunlight poking into his tower had not, as he had hoped, gone away. Instead, it seemed brighter than before. Hurriedly, he shuffled to the window and saw that the wind had ceased. The wind never ceased. Before he could stop himself, he turned to see if the plant was still there. It was. And now it had three leaves.

He returned to his work, but the Tinker could not focus. Nothing could dislodge the image of those three little leaves from his mind. Finally, he set down his half-finished automated tea-kettle. I’ll just get rid of it myself, he said. I’ll just climb down from the roof and rip it out at the root! …But then I’ll have to go outside. The Tinker’s heart sank. He walked to the window and looked out again. The sun had shifted, illuminating the little plant. It was green, so very green, greener than anything he could ever remember seeing. The little veins in each leaf were a darker shade and seemed so very fragile.

That night, the Tinker dreamed.

He dreamed of the forests of his childhood, great red sequoias that he had forgotten, stretched up up up into the sky, so tall that he had to squint to see the lowest branch. He dreamed of the flat plains of his adolescence, the green rolling fields of corn and soybeans. He remembered the sun beating down upon him like a weight, squeezing the sweat out of his pores and lifting the moisture from the plants around him. Summers in the corn had been thick and damp, punctuated by thunderstorms. He remembered the way the sun looked when it was filtered through the first new leaves of spring, and how the grass poking up after winter’s chill was so vibrant.

When the Tinker woke, he stared around himself with new eyes. His tower room, full of his metal friends and trinkets seemed strange and oppressive. He looked down at his hands, black with grease and speckled with scars, and did not recognize them. He rose and shoved his way through the clutter until he found the tiny and long forgotten shaving mirror he had mounted on the wall. The man he saw was not who he remembered. 

Numb, he drifted to the window and looked out again. The sun was stronger. The plant was still there, its stalk a little thicker and its leaves a little bigger. The Tinker gazed upon it, drinking in its greenness, and realized that it was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.

A smile tugging on the corner of his lips now, the Tinker went back to the mirror. He found scissors and a razor and began cutting his hair. He found water and soap and scrubbed and scrubbed until he could see the color of his skin again. Then he went to his workbench and looked down at the mess, at the shards and the gears and the springs and the grey cold lifeless things. With one sweep of his arm, he pushed it onto the floor.

The Tinker went again to the window and stared out at the plant. The place inside him that had been so long filled with metal was now filled with the memories of the green of his youth, of the green that now clung outside his tower. This plant was his. And he would protect it, make sure that it flourished.

He left the window, the image of the plant still seared into his vision. The Tinker went to the bottom of the ladder that led to the roof, looked upwards for a moment, and began to climb.

(This is a loose re-imagining of “Beauty and the Beast”, just in case you couldn’t figure it out)