Teacup story – a story short enough to fit into a teacup.
Lost for words (Rating: PG, Genre: General, Genre: Fantasy) – Penny used words to try and express herself. It didn’t help she couldn’t find the right words.
Penny scratched out the word hate with her pen with thick strokes. The ink pen nib split slightly with the amount of pressure she used, spurting ink across the page.
Hate was too strong. It wasn’t the right word for it, it didn’t have the right flavour. She wouldn’t hate her situation, that would be ridiculous. It would be pointless to hate herself, it would certainly be pointless to hate her life.
No, if she wanted to write her feelings down in her diary, she needed to fight the right word.
Frustration, she wrote, the letters tall and thin. Some called her handwriting cramped, others spikey and unreadable. Penny liked her writing, it was one of the few things she felt she could control right now, when she was at this turning point in life.
Frustration was a good word. It wasn’t as strong as hate, but it still contained the sense of anger that made Penny hold her pen so tight that her knuckles went white. It represented a block, it described the inability to succeed, it fitted her situation almost perfectly.
But Penny didn’t want a word that fitted almost perfectly. She needed a word that was perfect.
Another sharp stroke took out the word frustration as cleanly as a knife would cut through butter.
Penny let her pen rest on the page, the ink spreading out slowly where she refused to lift the nib. Her page was already ruined, any hope of her work being ‘neat’ and ‘tidy’ as her teachers always demanded was futile. She was her own creature, a person of the land who was not constrained by the rules of humanity. They expected her, a Faquie, to fit into their perfect little society just because she was one of the few chosen to cross space into the dimension humans called ‘reality’.
Wrong, Penny wrote on the page. Half of the ‘g’ was swallowed up by the ink blot, the letter barely distinguishable on the page. Wrong was a good word, it captured the feeling of ‘not right’ that sat inside Penny, the feeling she couldn’t shift however hard she tried. But it was too weak, too passive, to describe the reason why Penny couldn’t sleep at night.
A breeze rattled Penny’s window, making her jump with fright. The wind in this dimension was nothing like the one at home; here it had teeth that would bite into her neck as she walked along the street. It would tug at her clothes as if it wanted to rip them free, exposing her to the rest of the humans that she was not like them. Whilst her large eyes and sharp forehead would be assumed by humans to be ugly, it was the tinge of green over her skin which scared them the most.
It made sense, Penny considered. After all, humans could barely consider differences between their own species, a new species that had intelligence? That was an abomination.
Lonely, Penny wrote. That word was closer; it caught the coldness that sat in Penny’s chest. The empty silence of her room was only filled by the constant beat of her heart and the movement of her lungs. Windows creaked, glass rattled, rain lashed against the window but there was no other noise that was alive.
No other noise that said she wasn’t alone.
Penny shook her head. Loneliness wasn’t the feeling; it wasn’t the root of her problem. It captured the feeling like a sieve could hold water; there were too many holes in it for it to be the right word.
The clock on Penny’s bedside table ticked past another hour. That was another thing she hated in this dimension, the constraints of time. Here, life aged along with the passing of time, growing and dying in cycles that had once fascinated Penny when she had first arrived.
Now, however, she could feel the cold arms of time dragging her along with it. She could feel her skin sagging against her bones as time pulled the muscles and bone in ways that she had never felt before. Every heartbeat was weaker than the last, every breath was more of a struggle.
Lost, Penny wrote.
Lost time, Lost direction, Lost hope.
Yes, Penny thought, that is the word I’m looking for.
Penny paused, her pen floating inches above the page as another word slipped into her mind.
She wrote the word down below lost. It was a word of progression, a word of the future. It asked to look forward, it posed a challenge to the word lost.
Find what I have to do, Penny thought to herself, find my purpose.
Yes, I think I can do that.