Tale #54: The Search For Lost Things

A couple lived together for many years, and many things went unspoken of between them. Eventually what was left unsaid was left forgotten.

At first this loss seemed inconsequential to them both and they carried on together as if nothing was any different. In this way even more years passed, and although something between them had changed they could not say what.

One day the thought of it returned, as if a fish had risen out of the murk and broken the serene surface for a much needed gulp of air. It did not surface for long enough to allow them to see its true shape, yet the ripples spread out across the lake of their minds and could not be denied.

The desire to reclaim what had been long forgotten, and longer lost, eventually consumed them. In their frenzied search they tore the house apart. They tore their friends apart, and their family too. They tore apart their past and their future, their happiness, their hope.

And there it was at last, in amongst the rubble and the blood of their shredded hearts. A crystal barb glinting in the firelight. Tiny and fragile. Huge, all encompassing.

One of them looked at it and turned away. He said, “Is that all it was? That tiny sliver of a thing? No wonder we let it go and left it where it lay.

“And now we’ve found it, what good will it do us? What benefit will it bring? We should have left it where it was. And we should bury it now, as deep as we can, and carry on again as if it had never been found.”

But the other kept her eyes upon it and did not look away. Could not look away.

Would not look away.

He saw the tears in her eyes Trying not to see what those tears reflected back at him, he said, “Was it worth it, all this destruction, all this fury and despair? Was it worth it, for something so small, from so long ago?”

“The truth is worth whatever it costs,” she said, and reached down and picked the bones out of the ruins of her old heart.

“But we were happy,” he said.

“Yet all of it was a lie,” she said.

And she put the forgotten things back where they belonged and made herself whole again.

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Notes:

1. Written in June 2016

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Tale #35: The Lonely Man’s Tale

I was, O Lord, deep in thought in the garden of my house one afternoon when I was awakened from my slumber by a calling from above.

A cat sat in the cherry tree and it said down to me, “You look all alone. Would you give me some dinner in exchange for an afternoon of my company?”

And of course I said yes and the cat leapt down from the tree and settled on my lap. And she purred as I stroked her and the afternoon passed in contentment for the both of us.

As the sun began to set the cat leapt from my lap and went through the back door and into my house. Inside, I found in my kitchen not the cat but an anteater. It was a huge beast, and with its long snout it snuffled through my cupboards and opened up my jars of sugars and sweets, and with its long tongue it licked out the food within until the jars were spotless and clean.

Once it had finished eating the anteater turned to me and said, “You look all alone. Would you give me somewhere to sleep for the night in exchange for an evening of my company?”

And of course I said yes and the anteater sat at the kitchen table and together we played cards for the rest of the evening. And time passed pleasantly for the both of us.

As the clock chimed midnight, the anteater played her last hand and said goodnight and got down off the chair and went into my bedroom.

Inside my room, I found not an anteater but a woman lying in my bed. And she looked up at me and said, “You look all alone. What would you give for a night of my company?”

I said, “All that I own,” and she pulled back the covers and invited me in.

The next day, O Lord, I was alone again. And I was deep in thought in the park of our town when I was awakened from my slumber by a calling from above.

A crow sat in the peach tree and said to me, “I watched you all day, and I watched you all night. If you would give up everything you have for a dream of a woman, what would you give to truly end your loneliness once and for all?”

And I said to the bird, “I may have given her all that I own, but not all that I have, for I still have my heart. And to truly end my loneliness, it would not be enough to give it away. It would have to be taken.”

The crow listened to what I said. She hopped down from her perch and opened my shirt with a swish of her wings and with her beak she cut open my chest and tore away a tiny sliver of flesh from the corner of my heart. Then she took wing and flew high up into the sky.

And, O My Lord, I followed.

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Notes:

1. Written May 27th, 2016

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“We would set our own hearts on fire for a mere moment of warmth”

This is a script/storyboard (plus some other bits) for a cartoon that I pitched unsuccessfully to the BFi for their Animation 2018 project (the winners of which are being shown on BBC Four this Sunday, and which should be brilliant).

If it had actually been made, it would have had sets built by Dan Rawlings and sound design by Chriddof, with slightly inept claymation (with wooden heads) animation by me (which was presumably the reason it wasn’t commissioned).

Also the other reason it probably wasn’t commissioned is because it is absolutely the most depressing thing I’ve ever written.

[Some of the models for this were later re-used in They Locked Me In This Room And Told Me To Confess, which was another unsuccessful submission for a thing (the Observer Short Comic Competition thing they run each year). Maybe these poor plasticine abominations are cursed in some way.]

[If you can’t read the words you can click on the image to enlarge it. If you still can’t read the writing, it is because it is illegible to all but me. I am sorry.]

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Notes:

1. Written in February and March, 2018

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