This is it, folks. It’s messy. It’s not fleshed out. It’s a piece of my heart splayed on the writing table. Anyone else feel as though writing can be a dissection sometimes? No? Just me? This is a very rough draft of a magical realism story about a doll-come-to-life. She’s stranded on a semi-abandoned island where the strangest of strange things take place, and is desperate to find her creator before she turns into a real girl.
And that’s about all I’ve got figured out. This first draft is 494 words, and (oddly) written in second person POV. I’m not sure why, as I almost always write in third and I wanted to try out first, but this is how the main character, Atlas, spoke to me. So….I’m rolling with it.
Before I begin, this story was already a brain baby, but the prompt posted for WEEK TWO of Writer In Motion really just kicked off the creativity for me. So I don’t *think* it’s cheating 😀
Between the stars, the shipwreck, and the fading glow of the sunset (and my obsession with the ocean right now)…it all just sort of clicked.
For those of you unfamiliar with #WriterInMotion, you can find more details about it here.
THE INITIAL ROUGH DRAFT
Where Heaven Spills Its Easel
The first breath I take fills me with the blackest of water, and fireflies. Sunset bleeds at the edge of the world, a marigold wound slowly eaten by the stars and smoke and unforgiving chill of the ocean. Currents chew me up and spit me out, roaring in my ears, clawing at my hair, mimicking the way you once called my name.
Atlas, Atlas! Where re you hiding? Come out and play.
But I know once the sea takes me, it’d never let me go. It haunts and tricks and steals. Like a child, it plays pretend and takes on whatever shape it must to draw us to its watery tomb. It’s alive, I think. It’s a greedy creature that has no voice of its own. Lyra, Lyra, Lyra. The words are carved into the back of my throat. Even now, as I desperately search the waters for a sign of you, I can’t bring myself to say your name.
I’m terrified the sea might answer back.
I’m even more terrified that you won’t.
I cling to a shredded piece of debris, the white letters of the WIND DANCER stark in the dying light. I listen to the echo of your voice as it becomes splinters in the night, to the last remains of you escaping toward the stars as embers and ash and wind. I watch, trembling, as tentacles slither around the final mast of our ship. Our home. It cracks the way bones do, gasps for breath as water rushes in. It hovers between the sea and stars, imbued with gold and nightfall and scattered memories.
All dying things cry out in vain, the puppeteer had told us. They shine brightest at the door of death. It was before we sailed for Vallumoira. Before the letters came and went like paper birds in the summer. Before I learned to breathe and paint and sing. It was before you cut my strings with clumsy, nervous fingers, and carved peonies into the wood of my body. A promise, you called it. A kind of magic that could only exist between maker and doll.
A cry breaks my lips as the mast snaps, and the powder blue sail is swallowed by swelling waves and turquoise tendrils. It’s a strange and strangled sound that leaves me, a blind and bleary exhale that takes the strength out of my fingers. I slip from the debris as beady red eyes flash out of the blackness with triumph. The sea stirs, churning like the hands of a clock, humming an unnatural lullaby of sea foam and the final chords of daylight.
Atlas, Atlas! Come and play.
At the world’s edge, color bleeds from Aether to Oceana. The brightest reds and golds and yellows of heaven spill into the blackest waters I breathe. I thrash and cry out; I sink below the sky’s reflection staining my existence. But I cannot tell who is dying; Is it me?
Is it you?