One day, I had a clear image of a young man pouring change into a sewer grating outside of the small suburban house in which he lived. I had nothing else, but the image was so clear – and so disturbingly odd – that I had to write a story about it. It came out smoothly and without a single hesitation, supporting my idea that stories are artifacts: not really made things which we create (and can take credit for), but preexisting objects which we dig up.
– Stephen King, Everything’s Eventual, introduction.
That is more or less exactly how I have always viewed writing, and stories in general. And that sort of thing has certainly happened to me on more than one occasion, as well.
I consider myself far more a storyteller than a writer proper. I don’t create stories; I just pen what comes to me, what I see. It’s as simple as that.
And as complicated, really, I suppose.
That said, I was digging through some Assorted Old Old Things a bit ago, and I ended up stumbling across a storybit I had written back in 2009.
I don’t know what its larger story was, what it was supposed to be a part of. I don’t know who the main character was, or much of anything about her at all.
I didn’t know then, either.
This bit just came to me, and so I wrote it down, and that was that.
Nothing more ever came of it, apparently, and now I almost don’t even remember writing this snippet at all, but…
But I confess I’m kind of curious.
Maybe I’ll get her to come back to me, someday. Maybe I’ll finally start to figure out who in hell she is, where she’s going, what she wants. What she has to do.
And in the meantime…I think I’ll stick what I have of her so far here, to keep her safe, so I hopefully don’t forget about her again. ♥
There is blood pooling at the corners of her lips, and she claps her hands in a pantomime of childish glee.
Pyre, she thinks, almost smiling before those lips suddenly curl downwards in a discontented pout. No. That isn’t right. Almost right, almost the truth of things, like an unfulfilled wish or the best of good intentions that still fall short, but still somehow fundamentally wrong.
A lot of things are like that, these days.
She tries again, because that is what she has always done best and she cannot learn better, by now.
Pyre. Liar. Lyre? Musicians are all liars, him with his pretty voice and pretty words–
She tosses her head, violently, as if to clear it, and feels some of the blood begin to fly, to splatter.
It doesn’t matter now, it doesn’t matter, don’t pay it any mind. Move on. Move. Move. Move.
She does, a quick pacing trot that almost exposes the pale curve of her breasts as they swell, that sends the dirtied ringlets of her hair flying out behind her, like a swirl of fallen leaves caught in an autumn storm.
The word, the word, the key, if I only had the key then maybe I–
She thinks of street-corners and long-legged girls, the promise of both revelry and revulsion reflected in their shining spandex clothes and high pointed heels.
Whores? No, no, that isn’t the word, that wasn’t my world, but–
And then suddenly there it is, the click, the connection, the singular moment of clarity that reminds her what it is to be sane.
Vamps. Yes, of course. Vamp and pyre, those are the words; put them together and you get vampire, and that is what I sought.
The word is not what she is; if there is a word to describe what she has now become, then she does not know it, does not think she wants to know it. But it is the word that had tried to come to mind when she felt the bitter-metal tang of blood burst on her tongue, when she had pressed her own fingernails so sharply against her mouth as if to try and stifle a scream.
It was the word, and she has managed to prise it up from amidst all the debris, and she is proud.