I've been busy. Flying. Moving. Sleeping. Doing those things that people do when they aren't, you know, on the internet. I've also been revising, lots of revising, staring at the page and deleting words, adding words, shuffling words for hours and hours and hours. So I could be lazy and block out the days I've missed because I've been, you know, revising.
Instead I cracked open The Ocean at the End of the Lane and read a few pages and now I can't sleep, even though I should sleep, have to sleep, because sometimes things you read grab hold of you and wake a little fluttering itch inside of your chest and make you want to write and write and write.
So I'm going to try this thing. I haven't been posting any large excerpts from my WIPs here, and I will continue not posting excerpts. But I put up some drabbles of poetry a few days ago, and now I'm going to attempt something that could probably be best described as flash fiction. Confession: I don't write flash fiction. Second confession: I have no idea what's going to come out onto the screen. I have no plans. And that's part of what this is about--letting words sprawl onto the page and grabbing hold of the most interesting of them and polishing out the rough edges until you have something akin to something real.
This is the first draft. The start-and-don't-stop draft. The no-holds-barred, everything-hanging-out draft. It would probably be better termed the rough draft, the discovery draft, or the zero draft. This is what it looks like when I leave everything in.
(ETA: URGH I am itching to revise RIGHT NOW, as I figured out what the story was about halfway through the piece... But, as this is a series on what revision looks like, I cannot. Alas. Treat yourselves to my haphazard words. Take comfort in the fact that this will be better next time around. I'm going to sleep.)
I don't know why I'm awake right now.
Only that it's cold, and the air nips at my nose in such a way that it takes a moment to realize that I am, in fact, feeling sensation. That the clinical knowledge of "cold" doesn't cover what I'm feeling right now--that I'm feeling right now, at all. I'm cold. My nose is frost-bitten. And suddenly, in sharp contrast, I realize that the rest of my body is warm.
Cold. Warm. Is this what it's supposed to be like, when I wake up? I open my eyes. Nothing. Have I forgotten how to see? Close. Open. Close. Open. Maybe I've forgotten how to work the muscles in my face, after such a long hibernation. But no--it is simply that my eyes need time to remember what it means to process the world. Black gives way to gray gives way to color, muted brown, a graying blanket. I am in a room.
They said that when I was summoned I would be as one with the Lonely Ones, the Night Seekers. That I would wake in their arms and we would delight in each other's company, in our triumph over the end of days. That we were alive while the rest of the world crumpled into ash. But I am alone in this room, and there is dust caught in the creases of my eyelids. I do not recognize where I am. I cannot lift my arms to raise myself up.
There is a sound in the room, a slight whistling, a sudden hush. Out of the corner of my eye I see an open window, a curtain that shifts as the whistling starts again--the wind.
Why won't they close the window? I was told this place would withstand any force of destruction thrown at it--but anything can get in through an open window.
I could be poisoned already. Dying of radiation and I wouldn't even know it.
I could be dead and I wouldn't even know it.
I've been lied to, it seems. Betrayed. Promised eternal life and left to die.
But there is something there, at the window. An arm thrown up to cover a face. A body petrified in the morning light.
I shift my gaze across the room, what little of it I can see while lying on my side. A smile spreads across my face, mocking me for my stupidity. The dead do not betray. But neither do they keep promises.
The others lie scattered around me, their bodies telling stories of a mass extermination. They did not leave me. They died...and only I remain.