Because of my last post titled “On Writing,” I decided to post some more original writing. This is an exercise in not using dialogue, and the concept is rather dystopian. Probably not something I’d do again, but it was interesting to do once. Also, don’t question the physics.
I was born in darkness. While she was pregnant, my mother had been thrown into a pit so deep the top could not be seen from inside. We were isolated in darkness, imprisoned in the black pitch of it. Bitter water trickled down from the sky, and we drank from it to stay alive. Food was thrown down occasionally, and my mother had me eat my fill before she touched it. She told me my father would come for me, but she would not tell me who my father was, or what he was like.
Eventually the day came when a rope was thrown down. A voice called down from above that the younger one was to climb up to the surface. My mother patted my cheek and handed me the rope. She told me to climb. And I did.
I did not know how long it would take for me to get to the surface, but I climbed anyway. I nearly fell five separate times and slipped ten. My hands chafed against the rough rope and the darkness threatened to choke me.
Eventually I saw a burning brightness that scalded my eyes. I looked down into the darkness I had ascended from and suddenly felt comforted. The light was more frightening than the darkness and I wanted to return to its cold embrace.
However I heard voices calling to me. They told me to keep climbing. They were here for my rescue, they said. I shut my eyes, welcoming the darkness behind my lids and obeyed.
I was pulled onto a flat surface and poked and prodded in various places around my body. Some people were asking if I was alive, and more were asking if I was worth the wait. I had taken longer than the other girls, they said.
I opened my eyes for a moment and saw people staring at me. The brightness of the world threatened to burn my eyes, but I kept them open. I told them I wasn’t dead. I told them to throw the rope down for my mother.
Suddenly the crowd parted to admit a man. He smiled at me in a way that said I should have known him, but I did not know what he wanted or who he was. He took me by the shoulders and lifted me up. He kissed me on each cheek and on the forehead. He told the crowd he claimed me as his child and that he would care for me as a proper father. He was pleased with me, he told them. He said I was a child worth waiting for.
The crowd applauded happily until another man stepped forward. He looked me up and down with a lingering stare and approached the man who held my shoulders. He told the man he wanted me for the pits. He said I had good genes and should be used accordingly.
The crowd booed. They begged that I be able to live in the light. The darkness was too scary for a young one like me. I had already gone through my torture, they told him. They argued that I had lived in the pits eighteen years, and that I should not have to go through it again.
The first man brought me closer to him. The ceremony had been performed, he said. I was his child. He told the second man that he had waited patiently eighteen years for a daughter like me and he wanted to keep me.
This displeased the second man. He grabbed me by the hair, causing a scream to escape my lips. He handed me a pistol and told me to shoot. I asked him how and why. He roughly grabbed my hands and helped me hold the gun still, pointed at the first man. Shoot, he said, kill the traitor.
The man looked at me pitifully. All he wanted was a daughter he said. He told me not to kill him. Patricide was a crime he said. I’d be thrown in the darkness for good.
The second man growled. He shook my hands. He told me to pull the trigger. Tears filled my eyes, blurring my vision. I did not care about either man. I was confused and didn’t know what was going on. I just wanted to return to the darkness. The light was too scary. I could see what happened in the light; in the darkness all you did was hear and feel. No need for seeing.
The man holding my hands shook me, telling me to shoot. I opened my eyes and looked at the first man. He smiled at me again, a knowing smile telling me he knew what I was thinking. I closed my eyes, rejoicing in darkness, and raised my hands to the sky.
I heard the crowd shouting for me not to shoot, the second man telling me to let him adjust my hands to the target, and the first man laughing. I pulled the trigger and a loud bang made me fall to my knees. I covered my ears and kept my eyes closed.
Something fell over my head and onto my shoulders. I opened my eyes and saw a piece of cloth draped over my body. There was a hole in it that let my head poke through and I began to lift it over my head when a voice told me to stop.
I looked up and saw the first man. He smiled at me and told me I had passed the test. I was his daughter Erena and it was time to go home. He said to keep the shawl on. He would give me proper clothing when we got to his house.
I shook my head. I told him I wanted my mother. I could throw the rope down to her and have her climb I said. The man looked at me sadly. He told me I could not do that. It was against the rules. He said I should forget her.
If you have a better title for this short prose, let me know in the comments! While you’re commenting, tell me what you think of it and what I should try next! I love suggestions!