2

Aug

by The Four Part Land

My first new piece of writing in two months. Hopefully, I haven’t completely lost the touch.

I fell from a cloud. It was a long way down, and I had some time to think, to reflect. Life had been pretty good to me on that cloud, full of joy and happiness and friendship. But then the cloud soured, and turned grey, and I knew that it would soon be time to leave. And when the cloud turned black and begat a thunderstorm, well, then I walked to the edge, looked over, and walked off.

I’d been on a high cloud, way up in the sky, riding near the sun, and so I’d thought to hit another cloud on the way down, find a new place of friendship. Of course, the damn rain had cleared the sky out, and the only thing beneath me was the ground. I tried steering for the clouds I could see, but they shifted and moved and dodged away, and so I was left falling towards the earth, wondering what would happen when I got there.

The ground hurt when I hit it. I’m not sure if the ground hurt more or I did. The impact made a crater, and left me at the bottom of it. Then I had to deal with the horrible realities of the earth. Crushing pain, fear, anguish, pestilence, hate. They swarmed over me, dragging me further down into the ground, digging a pit from which there was no escape. I became a hollowed out shell of my former self, a ruin hidden away in the ground.

Eventually the earth-bound creatures became bored of me. They had had their torture and their fun. The foul beings filled the pit in over my head, and left me there to rot in the dank earth. And so I stayed there for some time, biding, recovering, until I was strong enough to climb out of the dirt. When they came for me again, I ran, and such was my recovery that I out-distanced pestilence and hate and anguish. Only fear could keep pace with me, but my endurance outlived its, and so it fell behind in the end.

Now I was left looking upwards, wondering how I might once more climb onto a cloud. They had strange movements, and might dip to the earth, but it was easier to go climb to their heights, and so I headed for the mountains, seeking a way to the peaks. The realities had gone there before me, hoping to catch me, and once more I had to run. This time I ran at them, and their moment of amazement let me burst through their filthy hands and climb high into the mountains.

There, I climbed onto a cloud and let it drift away. I made mocking faces at the realities of the earth as they hooted and howled and called out from their lowly location. I smiled and relaxed as the cloud drifted onwards, knowing I would soon be back in the lap of friendship and joy and happiness. Many a blissful day passed on that cloud, and I made friends and lovers under the night sky, as the stars twinkled above. It was a heavenly time, full of dancing and song.

No good time may last, and the cloud began to turn grey and ill, and thence to black, and the revelling stopped, and the friends became enemies and the lovers quarrelled. Seeing this, I fell from the cloud.

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Comments

  1. ganymeder on 11.04.2010

    Oh, this was such an enchanting story. It reminds me of the Buddhist story, ‘The Stone Cutter.’ Nicely done!

    [Reply]

    The Four Part Land Reply:

    It was aimed at being one of my many stories about how the good times just never seem to last. I’m rather fond of how it came out.

    I have to say I’ve never heard of that story. I think it’s time for me to go do a little digging.

    [Reply]

  2. Jodi Cleghorn on 11.26.2010

    The cyclic nature of life is so adeptly caught in an earth-sky diachotomy… being a cloud lover I could just imagine a life atop them. The dreamy nature of the narrative reflects this also.

    My only suggestion… to activate the verbs… and make them work hard for their place in your work.

    My editor’s red pen would change this:
    “Now I was left looking upwards, wondering how I might once more climb onto a cloud.”

    Simply to this:
    “I looked upwards, wondering how I might once more climb onto a cloud.”

    Or this:
    “Eventually the earth-bound creatures became bored of me. They had had their torture and their fun. The foul beings filled the pit in over my head, and left me there to rot in the dank earth. And so I stayed there for some time, biding, recovering, until I was strong enough to climb out of the dirt. When they came for me again, I ran, and such was my recovery that I out-distanced pestilence and hate and anguish. Only fear could keep pace with me, but my endurance outlived its, and so it fell behind in the end.”

    Becoming this:
    “Eventually the earth-bound creatures tired of me, done with their torture and fun. The foul beings filled the pit and left me there to rot in the dank earth. And so I stayed biding my timing, recovering, until I was strong enough to climb out. When they came for me again, I ran, my recovery such that I out-distanced pestilence and hate and anguish. Only fear kept pace, but my endurance outlived its, and it too eventually fell behind.”

    A small taste of the beautiful razorblade – that I hope you won’t be offended by!

    [Reply]

  3. Maria Kelly on 11.26.2010

    I love the writing in this and the flow reading it!

    [Reply]

  4. Deanna Schrayer on 11.26.2010

    James, once again you have relaxed me with your words. As Catherine alluded, there is a wonerfully enchanting dreamy quality to this piece. This is a favorite.

    [Reply]

  5. Seleste deLaney on 11.26.2010

    This was such a beautifully tragic commentary on life. The good times never look so good without the bad.

    [Reply]

  6. The Four Part Land on 11.27.2010

    @Jodi of course I’m not offended. I don’t mention it all that much, but most things on this website have had but the barest touch of a editing. I’m too lazy to do it to anything I don’t intend to publish, mostly because I dislike editing, and would rather write more material if I can.

    I seem to like writing about cycles of life, I’ve got a few stories out there about it. Writing has made me more interested in dreams and myths and so on, there is so much to explore there.

    @Maria I wrote this particular piece just after a break-up, hence the narrative material. The style though… that just happens. I don’t pick them.

    @Deanna Glad I manage to be a relaxing influence. :)
    Reading this again makes me want to start writing more flash. It’s something I haven’t really done since NaNo started.

    @Seleste There is no good without evil, and there is no life without death. They are halves, complements that form a whole. As is joy and sadness.

    [Reply]

  7. Lara Dunning on 11.27.2010

    Oh, if only clouds were sturdy enough to hold a creature of weight. We could bounce and float in the sky. That would be so great. When the creature fell from the sky it made me think of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Glaxay where they unprobability button changes a missie into a whale and it falls down to the ground. On the way down it comes to terms with what is is and what is happening to it. Very hilarious scene. I liked how you continued the creatures journey and its understanding of the heavens vs. the earth. I was wondering what form was this creature, or was it an inanimate object with thought?

    [Reply]

  8. The Four Part Land on 11.27.2010

    I always thought of the creature in this as human, or at least humanoid, but it was never well defined. He/she just was.

    [Reply]

  9. Adam Byatt on 11.28.2010

    Such a lovely cyclical nature to this piece. Great metaphor and well sustained.
    Adam B @revhappiness

    [Reply]

  10. The Four Part Land on 11.29.2010

    The ending was not planned ahead of time, but was just something that occurred to me as I wrote. Seemed the best way to finish off the story. Life is never only good or only bad.

    [Reply]

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