A Story by Ornithic

DAY ONE| This is from a writing challenge that gives you a word a day, and I've decided to connect the words so that they make a larger narrative.


How do books begin? How does one even hope to begin to spill their darkest thoughts on to an expectant page? The budding first word quivers nervously just out of reach, dips one toe hesitantly in to the dark depths. With one hand it keeps the towel in place, as it wonders if it even wants to be associated with the rest of the story. As narrator, I suppose my job is to pull these troublesome first words in to order, to put them firmly in their place and set the story in motion. So again, where to begin? I’ll begin with whom this story is about. It isn’t about me - or, at least, it isn’t about the Me I am now. It is about an antique Me, the Me I have come to regard with a respectable level of suspicion and amusement. Such is the privilege of hindsight. 


At the time, I led a fairly miserable existence. I was seventeen, and like most seventeen year olds, I wanted to be free, without realizing the complexities of such an abstract concept. I lived in such a scenic coop, with ornate, well-disguised manacles to keep me there. I daresay I swept that forest floor with eyes alone every day of my unsatisfying life, and yet it soothed my aching, melodramatic heart. I came to know the forest like you map the distinct shape of a lover’s body - I knew the curves, the peculiarities, the quirks, the special parts only you cherished - it was my comfort, my solace and it was only in the clearings where light filtered through the leaves in a dappled green wash that I felt entirely tranquil. Unlike a lover, I never had any reason to quarrel with the forest. Even more unlike a lover, the hours I spent it with it daily never left me feeling tired or frustrated. 


My home, however, was indeed like the intrusive probing of a paranoid lover. I never had reason to feel joy or comfort there. It was four walls of constant, stifling misery. The windows never were opened enough. With every bad memory, I can distinctly recall the windows condensed - our hot, cruel words rolling like tears down the clammy panes. Almost as though I saw everything through that layer of moisture.


The day I left was like any other. I, constrained in a sticky mess of taffeta and chiffon - all laced up and bound to be sat with the appropriate posture " my mother lying lethargically in bed and my father constantly away.


“I’m sick! I’m sick!” I cried insolently, draped morosely across the chaise, “I have a malady of the mind. I’m rotten. I’m putrid. My insides have decomposed, my soul is festering.”


A chance ray of smoky sunshine padded softly across the wooden floorboards and tentatively licked the exposed skin of my clammy, pale neck. I roused at its touch, and moved so that shadow once again bathed me. I felt comfortable in the darkness. It was only where light failed to penetrate that I was able to bask indulgently in the depths of my self-pity.


Flowers with petals that had borrowed their hue from the misty dawn lay discarded and limp by my feet, the letter they had nestled between green leaves torn in to pieces. I stooped over as if to claim the flowers, but instead, in a fit of melodrama, picked them up and threw them in to the fireplace. They were from another uninspiring, frustrating suitor. I was fed up with the frivolity of my life.


“You are not sick, Sylvia. You are bored,” my brother drawled indifferently, fingering a delicate paper knife as he leant against the doorway. “And you are being insufferable.”

© 2012 Ornithic

Author's Note

It may seem incomplete, and I suppose it is... there will be more of this narrative, and it really is just a beginning.

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Added on October 14, 2012
Last Updated on October 14, 2012
Tags: Writing challenge, beginnings



Birmingham, West Midlands, United Kingdom