Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “march.” Use it any way you’d like. Enjoy!
The obvious direction for this (it seems) would be to go with March. Instead though, I’ve been thinking a lot about another stream of consciousness writing I did years ago, a short sketch of something of an idea for a short story (or more) and something of a life metaphor and something of… I have no idea. I’ve been thinking about it, is all. I haven’t read it since I wrote it, until today, when I just unlocked it and made it for public viewing again. I’m guessing that in order to make sense of today’s SoC writing, it might be necessary to reference the original. I don’t know, I haven’t written today’s yet! I’m not sure where it’s going! The other sketch, A Ghost of One’s Self, was written almost exactly two years ago. Must be something to do with…March.
Is it too meta to write a SoC post about a SoC post?
Days blurred, the grayness of them flowed like a drop of ink in a cup of water. She couldn’t pick out the individual bits, and if she thought too hard, everything became muddled together, like stirring the ink. At first she didn’t stray too far from the little cabin. Although it was as foreign to her as the rest of the environment, it held a safety and a comfort of being recognizable. It was shelter. It was her shelter. When she left for the day, usually to peer through the wall, she always kept the cabin if not in exact line of sight, not too terribly far from it.
Without fail, when she returned, there would be supplies.
If she didn’t leave the cabin, then the day’s supplies would appear nearby, usually by the door. She never saw who—or what—left them.
The weather on her side of the wall never varied. If she had to assign a season, she would have said it was late March, in a northern clime. The sky was gray. The earth’s vegetation was gray and matted, or nearly black and stark, such as the trees. There were pockets of frost that never thawed. There was always wind, from barely noticeable to gusts that whipped and screamed. It was the only thing that seemed alive. She couldn’t tell if things changed on the other side of the wall. The glass was too thick and the distortion too great.
At times she would forget she had known anything other than this. Of course there was a cabin, and she was supplied with necessities. It was always cold and gray, and there was always a wall. This was her reality. At other times, she actively tried to wake herself up from this horrendously long dream. There was no way this could be real. She had a real normal life, with an apartment, a crappy job, bills, and trips to the grocery store and laundromat. People didn’t just suddenly go from that to this. People didn’t even get to this taking their time. This was the stuff of dreams, of too much alcohol, of TV scripts.
But she couldn’t wake up. Or she was awake and this was it.
At some point, without any clear intent, she decided she needed to explore further. She just woke up one day knowing this needed to be done. She didn’t want to just strike out and abandon the cabin, and the supplies. She didn’t know if she was being watched every minute. She hoped not, if just for modesty reasons. If she were to go on an exploratory march, she was going to go about it as logically as she could. First, if food and supplies were not going to be readily available, and there was no way to tell what she’d have or encounter, then she’d need to bring things with her.
She started by not eating everything she was given each day. She took the small towel she was provided with and wrapped up some extra food. It wasn’t hard to work a floorboard loose enough to put the bundle under, and then replace the board to conceal the cache. She wondered if she’d get another towel. She’d never left anything “missing” before, just used up the consumables of the food and toilet paper. Those had always been replenished.
The next day’s supplies included a towel. No questions asked, she thought, and the hint of a wry smile flitted across her face. Each day she stashed more food into the original bundle and kept it in its hiding place.
Water was going to be more of a problem. How long was this march of hers going to be? A day or two? More? The only source of water she was sure of was the sink in the cabin. She had no containers. Maybe that should be her priority, fashioning something to hold water. To do that, she’d need some tools and raw materials. But what? This was getting complicated.
Back in the other world, in the real world, she had played a sandbox game where her character spawned in the middle of a world with no supplies and the idea was to explore and build and try not to die from the monsters that came out at night. In that game, you broke apart trees to make wood and from that you fashioned your first tools. That seemed the place to start here, too. She scoured the area around the cabin for branches that would be suitable for tool handles.
She tried her hand at striking small rocks with bigger rocks to make shapes and something sharp, but her long-ago ancestors were clearly smarter than she was, because all she managed was rock dust, if she were lucky, and a few smashed fingers when she wasn’t.
The mysterious supplies continued to arrive and no one appeared to take any notice or exception to her little projects. She kept the food stores hidden, but the sticks and rocks she kept outside in neat little piles. Some days she stayed indoors and tried weaving dried vegetation into various shapes. These, too, she left out and visible, and they were also never moved by anyone. She wondered if they knew, and if this were part of some experiment. Were they monitoring her reactions to this situation? To what end? Thinking too much about it was too upsetting, so she decided just to ignore those logical possibilities. She’d just do what she did until she got more information that taught her otherwise.
The problem solving for the exploratory march was both frustrating and challenging. It kept her mind focused, and she thought less and less about how strange it was that she was here, and more about what she was going to do about it. She certainly wanted to know how she got here, and where here even was; but that information wasn’t appearing, and maybe it never would. Hell, maybe she’d just wake up finally.
:::And my allotted time for writing has elapsed, and so it may be another two years before I revisit this strange place:::