The Gift

  • Plotist Team: Community Storyteller

    Not too long ago, I read something that inspired me to produce this short piece. It's different than most of the stuff I normally write, and I'm not sure whether or not I want to keep it short, or tell the full story of this character. :) Anyway... here's my draft.

    Knowledge changes a person.

    My first memory is of the colour green. In a city full of greys and silvers, the green of the trash receptacle in the alley where my mother and I lived seemed stark and supernatural. Anytime I saw that green, I knew I was home. Green was my favourite colour, though over my life I’ve learned not to discriminate. I’ve come to appreciate every colour in the human, and nonhuman spectrum.

    Did you know that that with the appropriately applied amount of force, a neck is just as supple, just a soft, as room temperature butter? I learned this at six when I watched the perfect amount of force remove mother’s head. The woman responsible for my separation from my only parent winked at me, wiggling blood covered claws at me before walking away. I already understood death, but I did not fully understand what had transpired until I was much older and the winking lady became a client of mine.

    I was led away from my green and mother by a man wearing a tie that changed colours between red and blue. I had little interested in speaking him or with the children I found myself surrounded by. I did find myself fascinated by the adults wearing black and white around me who spoke of peace, while worshipping a man being sacrificed on wood. This fascination, however, did not inspire me enough to speak to them. I choose to read books, listening intently to others around me, and being a witness to the influx and decline of kids present in the sleeping quarters.

    A man and woman brought me to their home. It was there that I started learning about the soil, and the growth that can be found within. The man did not seem bothered by my desire to not speak. He patiently taught me about plants and food. When the woman lost her job, I could not stay with them anymore. The man held tightly to the woman when I was escorted to a new place. His wet face was beautiful in it’s expression. It was the woman who suggested I take everything they gave me with them.

    The grey walls I found myself surrounded by reminded me of the alley, but they lacked the pictures and words of my alley even though the bars on the windows and locked doors felt similar. These adults did not like silence. Blues, greens, whites, pinks, red with white stripes, yellows with animal faces, were introduced to me at nine. The woman in white who brought me into a dark wood room taught me of humiliation, and pain. Her fingers, her pens, the needles, her assistant and his fist. I packed a pillow with few items and walked away.

    When I returned to my alley, the green was gone, and I learned of change and time. I found it easy to move past where my childhood ended and kept walking. I discovered a beautiful garden, made it my task to keep it colourful. It helped to balance the amount of black that everyone who visited wore. I cleaned my clothes in the still water of the lake. I ate when the wooden boxes arrived along with more plants and flowers and the people in black.

    I watched as the people in red, white, and black visited as the leaves change colours adding a new vibrancy to the vast land of rocks. They arrived every time the moon was full. I made sure the stones they frequented were clean.

    When he showed up, I learned that knowledge is a choice.

    My fingers were deep in the soil, the worms waking up, sliding along my fingers as I placed them next to the roots of the green I was placing into the earth.

    “A gift.” His voice was deep and reminded me of the bronze music makers I heard when the people in black visited. I did not respond, nor look up. The roots slid into the rich brown, and I appreciated his decision to say nothing more. Once the plant was comfortable, I looked up into eyes, the very green of my alley and I felt the desire to speak.

    “There is death in your eyes.”

    He did not reply as he stayed crouched down beside me. Standing up, I looked down into his eyes, brushing my hands along the jeans I found on one who was in a wooden box. We looked at each other as the shadows grew longer. The silence comfortable.

    When the it became dark, he spoke again. “Do you have a name?”

    “Is one required?”

    “That is up to you.”

    I nodded and continued to watch him as his eyes started to glow, a vibrant green light illuminating where I stood. It was something I had seen before and felt no need to comment upon.

    “Well, she of violet and silver eyes, I come with an opportunity.”

    I have seen many things in my life, but the sincerity of his words gave a weight to his offering that I felt drawn to.

    “The family who watches this land has discovered your presence and seeks to remove you from it. I offer a place to stay, to learn, to do more than just exist. I offer you a chance to live.”

    I was aware that my time in this garden was running out. I appreciated his candor about the ones in blue who drove the wooden boxes, and planted them into the soil.

    “At what cost?” Nothing is ever without checks and balances. While I felt comfortable around him, I could simply find a new garden to protect.

    “The promise that you keep drawing in breath after breath.“ I liked that he did not patronise me.

    “Will there be touching involved? I do not like to be touched.” It was best he knew. He could make his own informed decision about his offer then.

    “No one will ever touch you without your permission while under my protection.” Something flashed behind the illumination of his eyes, but I did not know what it was.

    “Okay.” I turned and walked to the stone shed I had my items in, put them into a pillowcase and walked with him to a large, black mundane car.

    Once I was buckled in he asked, “How old are you?”

    “I think I am around twelve”. He nodded and got behind the wheel.

    I turned to view his profile, “Do you have a name?”

    His green turned to me, “I do.”

    The car started.

  • This is so interesting. Why isn't there more? o.O

    I can't say I understood everything that was happening all the time. First person stories like this, where things are just described and not actually named tend to confuse me because I often have trouble visualizing things this way. If you start slowly describing a room to me, by the end of the description I won't have formed an image, whereas if you say 'it's a classroom' or 'it's a doctor's office' I'll be able to know what it is.

    Even so, I was invested in the story and wanting to know more about this character and where she goes from here.

  • Plotist Team: Community Storyteller

    It's interesting that you couldn't quite follow. That's very much how this character works. She's not had a formal education. She also doesn't have the same cares or concerns that people do. She also doesn't quite understand emotions or their connections. The fact it was confusing actually works for her as her mindset is quite alien. :)

    That's also a call for more...which may happen. I am still not sure.

  • AHHH I love it.

    Honestly, I agree with @Blackbird, I have an easier time identifying a place if "it's a classroom" is put in first (and then the person can proceed to give all the little details), but I loved the horror at realizing, Yes, that garden is a graveyard.

    The one thing I will say, is that I could see clearly that she was uneducated (both because she ran away at a young age and the way she raised herself), but she didn't talk like she was uneducated. She used words I wouldn't expect her to use in the context, both for her age (I'm guessing she's preteen or early teen?), lack of much past/recent socialization, and general lack of education/reading/etc (which is where you tend to pick up vocabulary).

    For example,

    When the it became dark, he spoke again. “Do you have a name?”

    “Is one required?”

    I felt like it was too formal, like for her character, "Do I have to have one?" (or something along those lines) fit better.

    TL;DR Her speech was more formal than I thought fit the character, but then it's your character and you know more details, so that's just my 2 cents with what's presented XD

    Do I want more? Yes. Do I think it needs more? Not necessarily. I wouldn't be upset if you didn't write anything more about this character and left the piece like this.

  • Plotist Team: Keepers of Code

    This is a great piece! There are bits I'm not sure if it's misspelling or just that the character thinks that way, but generally it's cool.

    I think it deserves to be developed a bit more, maybe not a full novel (that's up to you) but at least develop further why this character is important, or what is she getting into.

  • Plotist Team: Community Storyteller

    @typical_demigod Fantastic feedback! Thank you! :) And I love that you had a horror moment when you realised she actually lived in a graveyard. To her, death is natural. It's nothing to be scared of, or even venerated. Her speech is because despite not being formally educated, she's a savant. And her mind is very much so alien as she's not even human. :D She has consumed vast quantities of books. She's people watched. She's witness funerals and the speeches given there.

    And I think you're right @jaycano. The concept and the piece just doesn't feel fully formed. I think I need to really build her out. I mean I know her story, but this is just from when she was younger. :D

    This piece was me stepping out of my writing comfort zone to see if I can do something that is informative, first-person, without emotion, but still be entertaining. :D

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