Background: I wrote this for English Lit. class and liked it enough and got good enough feedback to feel confident posting it online. The prompt was basically to make up a scene and a character and to make sure there was ample usage of stream of consciouness. Yay creative writing!
"Wake up," Maddie said softly. She started beeping. Robert groggily looked up at his alarm clock and sighed as he tried to move his numb arms to turn it off, turn off his dreams.
It takes a bit for the wheels to start turning. The problem is they don't stop. Just a feather's breath will set them rolling, but they won't stop. They accelerate, like some kind of perversion of the laws of thermodynamics.
The hot water cascaded around him. Time won't stop either and I'm swimming in the stuff. Even if I put my hand over the nozzle it just spurts out the sides. I can cup it in my hand, but it just drizzles out eventually, just keeps flowing out.
Robert stepped out of the shower. He toweled off while he looked at himself in the mirror and—like that dream. Maddie and I, lying on the fuzzy black snow. It was warm. The inverse of snow, but Maddie and I and the kite outlined against the sky, gently bobbing. Maddie scooched—how can you scooch gracefully—and it is warm and black and she is there beside me. Am I in lo—
Cereal. Cereal in the dining hall across the quad. And class, always class. Finals soon, but what does that matter. Robert ate slowly. Why even breakfast? Why class? Why now? Because you have to eat to live and live to learn, dolt. But it's like swimming in a pond trying to observe the ripples you make and the higher you swim up, the harder it is. And that's only if you can find up.
A kite, tethered to a tree on the way to class. What a tragedy. No one to enjoy it. It can only stay in one place, exploring its limited boundaries, and the sky is so close. It's just dipping its toes in the pond. But where would it go if allowed to roam? It would probably just crash into someone's backyard, but if it didn't. To the moon or moored in the foggy clouds. To the sun or to Pluto or to...
Biology. The flowers are blooming and I don't even have a scythe. Now how does that work again? Transpiration? Oh right, they needed to be pollinated first by those bees buzzing around in the spring, but the black snow isn't even gone yet and the flowers are decaying still. The new generations are sprouting up from the their ancestors' remains and we wait and wait and then chop them down and compress them so we can scribble little words on them about how plants work. Where do we go from there? Get a job and work and work and work and...what? Maddie?
There is still Maddie, curled up next to me. Does she really even like me or do the bees just pollinate the idea and make it grow so I can write little words on it about how it all works and then crumple it up and throw it in the trash can on the way out—does she?
Robert emerged into the splotchy sunlight. It's like walking underwater. Everything is in slow motion and you're swimming into the shipwreck trying to find where that kite got off to. Who was holding it when it got loose? Was I holding it or was Maddie? The black snow is still here, but it's been replaced by a deep blue, warm and heavy. Too heavy. Why am I underwater, I'm going to be crushed. It's too heavy. Can't move. Can't breathe
A knock at the door and the footsteps across the floor, each reverberating through the building, down into the earth, making its way out to sea. When did I fall asleep? What time is it now?
"Hey man, want to go get some lunch? Let's go."
More fuel to drive around in little circles, burning old dinosaurs so you can do what? Go the supermarket or the library or the movies—"movie Friday? Your place? See you then." That's tonight. I wonder if the black snow will be gone by then. It's distorting everything, like gravity. If thoughts had mass I'd be a black hole. And with acceleration time slows and eventually stops, like lunch. With lunch, the air becomes syrup and the mind wades through it. It is a pause, sometimes lasting an eternity until night swallows the day. Like a shark or a blanket or a watch hand dipping below the horizon. Then over again. The kite doesn't care; it has the best vantage point at any time of the day, bobbing slowly.
More learning about things I won't even remember, can't even remember now. All the while, accelerating, becoming a blur, a lightning bolt lighting up the sky and the tense silence after, waiting...
Then Maddie at the door in my arms. The black snow on the TV flickers and lingers even as the movie starts and Maddie is warm, curled up beside me. Here with me, now.
"Wake up," she says softly. When did I fall asleep? She is still there at my side. Warm. She's looking up at me with those eyes. I'm crumbling like an avalanche and she just nestles closer and says, almost offhand,
"I love you."
Stillness. Robert thought about this.