Wavering (second draft)

For those who are interested in how the first draft became the final draft. This might be my least favourite of the three, but so it goes.

She felt a numb pain in her forearm. She looked to her right. A branch jut out from the space between the two bones in her arm. Janna looked around. She was in a pit, a lush bright brown hole of moss, grass, and dirt. Dirt from where the roots of a tree had torn out the earth. It was long covered over now. Long enough that there was this younger tree. This tree whose branch had intruded on her arm’s wellbeing.

She couldn’t take hold of her senses. She was in an uncanny world. In the distance, it seemed, a hazy figure moved with purpose. Then, it stopped.

“Ah, the King is awake.”

The voice touched her ears, but seemed to skip all the formalities that her nerves had put in place. It was a strange feeling. This person, who was notl her sister, was very easy to listen to.

The person looked away, a blue glowing blur, “twelve percent of your blood is here, shared with Mother Earth.”

It was definitely a man, but her voice was deep, deeper even than Natasha’s, who spoke low due to the immense height of her trachea. Janna blinked and tried to focus, but nothing worked.

“You have fluid in your eyes, focusing won’t help you.”

Janna was becoming irritated with this glowing man.

“You’ll be fine in this one,” he said. “In certain distant timelines you lose a lot more.”

He stood over her, outlined in blue. Through her wavering eyes, she could see wisps, lines of light coming from him.

“You can leave now,” she said.

“I came to ask for your help.”

“And you thought now would be the best time? Isn’t this some sort of deathbed-type manipulation?”

“Umm, no, I don’t think so. I mean, as far as I can tell, you aren’t going to die. Otherwise, actually, I wouldn’t have bothered showing up.”

Janna tried to focus on the figure, but her vision kept waving. She said, “I don’t know what you want. You’d better spit it out so I can disagree with it.”

“I’m the Servant of Tendrils, I can see future timelines. From what I can tell, we can benefit the next few centuries if we work together. You have influence, and an open mind.”

Janna sneered, “Not that open.”

She looked at her arm. It was mostly red.

“Why don’t you help me first, and then I’ll talk to your dumbass after, when I’m not attached to a plant.”

Tendrils frowned, “I thought that you would agree, but… maybe my reading was wrong.”

“And,” Janna continued a thread that had been dropped, “not that open, and I don’t have influence. I am only a prince.”

Tendrils saw his opening, his teeth glowed irritatingly, “Ah, you are young now, but you will yet have influence. I can see it.”

“As well as you can see how much I’m interested in helping you I suppose.”

“If you don’t want to help me, I’d rather die without your presence.”

The Servant of Tendrils shrugged, and ceased.

Janna closed her eyes. What a stupid death vision to have. You’d expect to at least see the Servant of Death.

 

“She’s gone catatonic. Oh good, the bleeding has slowed. Although, it’s probably from being catatonic.”

Janna opened her eyes. Her younger sister was kneeling over her. Behind, her older sister loomed. Janna saw that she was also bleeding in the forearm.

“Oh, look Natasha, she’s awake! Actually, ah, maybe that’s not so good. Hey, you can take a little pain, I guess?”

Janna felt a pinch as Chloe’s arms moved over her wound. She said nothing.

“Actually, it’s better to be awake when you’re hurt like this. I think. Hey Natasha, do you have a, ah, do you have a knife? Of course you do, we just used it, haha… Can you hold the top, I don’t want it to move until I’m done.”

Janna closed her eyes.

“Is she dead now?”

“Hey, wake up!”

Janna gave a shallow nod.

“I wish you would open your eyes. Ah, fine. Look Natasha, just hold that, and I’ll cut it, and then we can pull it out of her arm. Ah, I’ll tighten the tendon first though. Blood flow, right?”

Janna felt the pinch get a lot tighter. Then she felt the branch move as they hacked away at it. She almost vomited when they pulled it out. The sensation oppressed her head, and she again lost consciousness.

“Ah!”

 

It was dark for a long time, and then she saw blue.

“Oh no.”

 

“Do you think she will be all right?”

Janna recognised her brother’s voice.

“I think so. I’m not really, ah, I don’t actually… I’m not a doctor so…”

“And also, what did you do to Natasha?” He asked.

“The Condor have a vestigial tendon, I used it as a tourniquet… everything else kept snapping.”

“I guess hers would be strong,” He laughed, “ey captain?”

“I am not a captain, Kain.”

“You’re getting there. Hey look, I think she’s awake. Can we move her yet?”

“You know,” Janna grumbled, “for a Servant, Tendrils is a dumbass.”

Chloe gave her a perplexed look, “Not Death?”

Janna laughed weakly, “I almost would have preferred Death.”

Again, this is the second draft of “Wavering.” I don’t really like it, but luckily there’s a third draft that I do like.

Daniel Triumph.

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Grey Area

You stand on a cliff’s edge. It is dark and grey and hazy. You don’t understand your surroundings, and therefore cannot see them. (It is not the other way around.) You look down to the bottom of the precipice, and you that see someone else is there, waving.

“Come down! Being up there is unrealistic! Have some humility!”

You might have thought that being on the cliff made you a little better than everyone. Such a belief may no longer seem so humble. You consider the jump. But, for now you’re unsure. You decide to look around first; an attempt to confirm that where you are truly isn’t where you should be. Through the haze behind you, you see yet another person.

This person is silent. They have a face that is all at once sublime, parental and judging. Perhaps their silence makes you nervous. This person does not speak, but instead points upward. And then you realize where you are. You are at the bottom of another cliff.

Daniel Triumph.

This, I think, is sort of in the vein of The Book of Sand by Jorge Borges, although unlike Borges, I am not one of the greatest short story writers of the twentieth century.

Also not sure why it turned out in second person. That wasn’t initially intended, but I decided to roll with it.

Sunchaser

We live on a boat that sails across the sea. The ship is called the Sunchaser. I consider this to be a lazy name, because it’s simply a description of what the ship does. We follow the sun around the world. I used to wonder how we could follow the sun all the time, so I asked one of the captains.

He told me, “the ship is powered by wind blowing in the sails.” When I asked where the wind came from, he said, ” the air moves from cold places to warm places. So, when we see the sun, the ship moves slower, and our ship starts falling behind. Then, when it’s dark, we get caught in the winds that blow from behind us, where it’s cold, back towards the sun. This gives us a burst of speed, and we eventually catch back up to the sun and to the slower moving wind. This is how night and day work on the ship.”

We have been following the sun for many years. There are families, plants, and animals here too. In fact, I was born on this ship. Occasionally, we encounter other boats who sail alongside us. We meet new people. Sometimes, I wonder about the islands and lands that we pass. I decided to ask the other captain what’s on the land.

She told me, “on the land are other people. Many years ago, the other captain and I decided that we wanted to ride on a ship that would chase the sun. We wanted to take control of our abilities and use them in a productive way. So we learned how to sail, and found others who had the abilities and wanted to come along. Living on the sea is a lot more work than living on the land, but the reward is the sun.”

I asked her why we don’t ever stop on the land.

She told me, “we have stopped, when you were much younger than you are now. Some of the eldest of our group were unable to keep up with the tasks of sailing. We had to wait a very long time for the sun to return and bring us wind again. When you stay at harbour for too long, people get out of practice, and lose the important routines needed at sea. Some of our people gave up during the wait and decided to stay on the land instead. It’s easier to live on the land than here at sea. The ground isn’t made of ever-shifting waters. There were people living on the land, however, who were interested in taking the place of those who left. We were grateful that they would come help us follow the sun.”

I asked the captain why the sun was so important if we could never truly reach it.

She replied, “keeping up with the sun is a very difficult task, but the reward is that we have more frequent exposure to its light than those who don’t. We are able to see it by applying our own efforts. Instead of waiting on the land for the sun to come to us, we go to the sun.”

The other captain overheard us, and as we spoke, it came time for the two to trade duties. He told me that he could take a short break with me, and that I could ask him questions. So, I asked him if the people on the land were different.

He told me, “as you know, some people can’t sail, so they have to stay on the land. Some have decided that they would rather not take the effort to learn, so they remain on the land. Others realize that the effort needs to be maintained even after learning, while sailing, so they stay too. Others still never hear of life on the water until later in their lives, and they decide to train then, and join a ship.

“There are also those who were sailing that tire of the life following the sun, and decide that the rewards aren’t worth the effort any more. Others are pessimistic, and choose to believe that it wasn’t worth the effort in the first place. On the other end of the scale, some people were lucky enough to be born sailing, and learn the ropes as they grow up. Some people sail all the way until they die.”

The captain gave me a chance to think through what he had said.

“But, to answer your question directly, the people on the land are different, but not in the way you might think. As an example, you might find someone just like yourself living on the land. Outside of those who are simply unable, anyone can train and become a sailor. Anyone can learn, and practice the skills.”

He scratched his chin thoughtfully, then said, “as my partner said to me, the real difference between the people on the land and the people chasing the sun is the level of discipline and the kinds of habits they maintain.”

I asked if habits really was the only difference.

He told me, “yes, and the discipline to maintain those habits! Now, with that in mind, I think we both have duties we should be tending to, is that right?”

I hopped up and nodded. I headed to the area of the ship that I was responsible for. While I was working I thought back to what I had believed about the ship’s name. Was it a lazy name?

Inspired by the words, “ever receding horizon.”

I’m struggling to create narratives with underlying meaning. I know that this piece might be a little overt about the whole process, but it’s a first step, and I’m really happy about it. Once I get a solid grip on all this, then I can play with subtlety.

Daniel Triumph.

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Throne (?)

Yaska sat on her throne.

Although, she didn’t rule anything, so technically it wasn’t a throne. But it looked like a throne, so I called it a throne. I think it may have been a throne at some point. But, it looked like a throne, so I called it a throne for your benefit. Yaska herself didn’t even call it to be a throne. Perhaps you’re thinking that this seat isn’t truly a throne at all, in which case you’re right. Let’s fix that.

Yaska sat on her throne-like seat. It wasn’t really hers, she just sort of found it, and happened to be using it.

Well now wait. If it wasn’t her throne, then I don’t really have a good reason for saying it was hers in the first place. Why would I have done that? Maybe to elevate your view of Yaska? To see her king-like, sitting in her throne? But that doesn’t work, because it’s not a throne, and it isn’t hers. Maybe simply for the sake of the piece then? That could be it, and if it is, then I have to question— I’m going to stop myself there, as I’m in danger of becoming far too meta, and I don’t want to add a further indented paragraph. Instead, I’ll just go back and fix the sentence.

Yaska sat on a throne-like seat. It wasn’t really hers, she just sort of found it, and happened to be using it.

That’s better, right? Or at the very least, it’s far more accurate. Although, I’m probably here, getting in the way of the situation, so let’s try it one more time. Fourth time’s the charm, at least in Däwngale.

Yaska sat on the throne-like seat. It wasn’t really hers, she just sort of found it, and happened to be using it. In fact, being made of stone, the seat was rather uncomfortable, so she stood up and left it. The end.

I guess the part about the throne would be unnecessary if this paragraph was part of a longer piece, since it didn’t amount to much. Maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned the throne at all, since it’s so insignificant? If that’s the case, then here’s the final draft of the paragraph:

 

By Daniel Triumph.

I honestly don’t know if this counts as a poem, or as prose, or what. I don’t even think it counts as a prose poem, since it’s not very poetic. Maybe I’ll call myself avant-guard and proclaim that it’s a new form of prose! I think, I’ll just be confused and tag it as both.


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