Nothing Inside

A SOUR LONELINESS wriggles out of her soul like a butterfly finally breaking free of her cocoon. It quietly nestles in her breast against her heart.

Time keeps trickling past, like an endless hourglass. Each golden particle of sand leaves behind a yellow stain, slowly turning blue like a bruise. Soon her soul will be covered and she won’t care.

Resting her chin on her knees, she wonders how she lost the pure innocence of deep sleeping. It felt as if all her energy has faded away, as if to feed some deep part of her that was gently gathering its resources. It lay surrounded in ice, lying on a bed of snow. A frosty breathless stillness coated an inner spark inside her like a blanket.

Feeling lost all day, she tried to find herself. But hours spent trying to cure her soul have only left her more sour than before. She cannot seem to heal her own soul and everyone who might or should don’t seem to understand.

Her splendid husband has hardly said a word to her, knowing she wants to be alone. He fears her tiredness because he tried to help her in the morning, which only left her more exhausted then before.

Her moonlit wolf has taken a step or two, but he only knows how to support her. And even he, as much as shares those memories of moonlight with her, he can’t clean out the sourness in her soul.

The crashing song of rain is partially soothing. There are stories, half-formed sentiments that have clung to her for almost as long as she has been seriously writing these last nine years. Demons, deserts, and a royal lineage linked to the moon. A kingdom in the moon, a lost paradise, but if truth be told, she does not think these things matter anymore. Why should they?

After all, they are only stories. Because of course, if she has purpose to do anything, what will she do? What will she do, because she must do something? But then, she may do anything she likes. There’s no need to continue carrying these stories around.

For the most part they are only fragmentary shards, like glimmers of moonlight drifting through mist. Partial shapes, partial plots, and partial meaning all strung together with bone-thin threads. Stitched together like a dilapidated rug, they hold no consensus; they hold nothing worthwhile.

Stories and myths and other people’s words on old legends make shadows ripple in her mind, but that is all they are – shadows. With the dawn, they will flee away, and then she will need to have something else to fill her life.

Sighing, she squeezes her arms around her knees. Today was to be the busy and free day. It was her day off, but if anything it has left her more broken then before.

She tried to do as her husband told her. She tried to come when her brother-in-law arrived. She tried to love her babies – well, she did that all right for the few seconds she saw them. But now she finds she really needs them, because if she cannot nurture them, she will have nothing to care for. Her stories have dried up in place of her babies, her duties to her husband, and her academic career.

She suspects some people might say it’s bad, especially since when the question first came to her, as to why she felt stories held such power, there was a sense of openness to what answer she would come to. But now…she is beginning to think that her writing isn’t important.

The characters aren’t as alive as she suspected, and the tales aren’t as powerful as she thought. And even more than that, she has a sneaking suspicion that her fantastic tales are worse than history – they tell of nothing that matters. They are only dreams woven of clouds and golden mist. They do not matter in a world where nothingness is at the heart of everything.

And that is what she discovered, as much as one can call it when she spent time trying to heal her soul – there was nothing inside her. Every moment brought a new her; there was nothing stable or solid inside her. There is no form, no self inside her. There is only emptiness. And how can emptiness and nothingness create a story?

People tell how a woman, to save her life and the lives of the thousands of women who would die if she failed, wove tales of enchantment, entertainment, romance, and everyday wiles for a mad king for uncountable nights. In the end, her memory of tales saved her.

But she has no tales in her memory. She is only an empty vessel and no one wants to hear those stories. But now she has babies, just like her husband wanted.

A sever tiredness crowds out the sourness; she wants nothing else than to take another nap. Perhaps after a little snack and then…

Word Count: 833

Written: 5 Sept 2011

Inspired: feelings, Voices on the Wind by Katharine Luomala, and this card and related tale

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