I couldn’t decide what to go with for this week’s writing, and decided on one of the shortest stories that I am writing for my collection, Places We Belong.
In this piece I decided, as a thought experiment, to take a look at life from another perspective. I won’t say much more, as I’d rather not give away my characters too much.
The storm outside howled, making the sound of one hundred ghostly voices moaning in chorus. “Excuse me, I think I’m lost.”
“Really? Aren’t you exactly where you need to be?”
I considered this a moment. No, no I was definitely not supposed to be here. For one thing, I didn’t remember arriving.
“I’m sorry, who are you?”
“We’ve never met?”
“How rude of me. I do apologise. I’m a copper, I should know better.”
“Do you mind if I ask… I’m sorry, I really don’t know where I am, and that’s how I know… I shouldn’t be here.”
“But if you don’t know where you ought to be, isn’t it better to stop worrying and just accept it? You are where you need to be right now. Why, if you weren’t here, you’d probably upset a lot of others.”
“Because of the Interconnectedness of Things.”
The holy religion. This one was devout, I could sense it. I didn’t disagree with any of the teachings, but… well, I wasn’t so sure. I didn’t trust in it like he did.
“But I’ve only just arrived!”
“Yes, but we could feel you before then. We knew of your coming, or of someone like you. How did you not? Are you so lost?”
My past was complicated. I had been so many things to different people. Sometimes I liked the work, sometimes not, but I did it anyway, what, out of a sense of duty? So many relationships, too. Some healthy, some unhealthy. Some clingy, others who barely noticed me. Broken now, all of them. Some bridges burned, others, well, maybe they’d take me back. Not that I cared that much.
The storm picked up, and soon it surrounded us. Perhaps this was to be a short stay, if the weather was like that here. Perhaps I shouldn’t take the time with this one. Anyway, he seemed content to work his other connections. I supposed that as a copper, that might be important. Networking. I was never very good at it. I remember thinking I might get better at it, but I suppose some of us are just naturally better at it than others. It made sense. Others chose travelling companions, but I preferred to go it solo, if I had to. Yes, maybe I should move on. No one else even introduced themselves. Rude. Or, was I the one being rude?
I tried to peer through the crowd, but I couldn’t really get much of a sense of it. In another life, maybe, these would’ve been the people I connected with long-term. My tribe.
The wind howled louder.
“Is it usually like this?” I asked, but I could already feel his disinterest. I wasn’t asking him the right questions. He wasn’t interested in usually, or sometimes, or once-in-a-while. He wanted permanence. Promises. Immediate connection.
At last, the roof collapsed, letting the outside in, and with it the screams and calls of the rushing aerial force.
“I suppose you’ll be off then, no use hanging around. Anyway, sorry I couldn’t be more help to you. You’ll find what you’re looking for. We all do. Now, I’ve got arrests to make, so be off with you.”
Just like that, I thought. How wonderful it must be to shut yourself off like that. But he had, and it was the kick I needed to venture back out into the storm, to try my luck amid the sound of a trillion voices. And still I could feel him, his wisdom, his feeling for me. Maybe, just maybe, I could cling onto his truth, and through that, find my own?
I was ready to stop fighting the storm.
I let go.