The Neglected

I’ll write a more traditional journal post about my current life happenings later because I’m swamped with work at the moment. When I’m writing papers all the time for my classes, the last thing I want to do is type moar things, even things irrelevant to academics.

First, a filler post!

I found an archive of many of the small things I’d written in the past, including my finished short stories and lots of bad poetry written for high school English classes.

And then there are the Neglected, the drafts I had started and then left to collect spiderwebs in the deep archives of my flash drive. I suck at finishing anything. I don’t know if I’ll ever finish them, so I might as well publish them here, along with the writing prompt that went along with them if they had one. Even if these weren’t dated, the writing styles make it pretty clear to me which ones are old old old and which ones I wrote closer to the start of my college years.


1. No prompt listed

“Kent.” Madeline dares not speak above a whisper. “Kent, we shouldn’t be in here.”

Kent shows no sign that he heard his sister’s warning. He takes a giant leap off the last five stone steps, landing noisily on the ground. Madeline’s slippers muffle her footsteps down.

“We’ll get in trouble if the guards catch us,” she tries again.

A pause. Then: “Don’t get us caught.”

His easy reply floats to her from somewhere ahead. Madeline sees the top of his head peeking out behind a bush, and she hurriedly pursues him.

“Should be around here,” she hears him mutter. She catches up to him in time to see him impatiently brush aside some of the palace’s sunflowers blocking his way — and rip the head off one of them.

Madeline’s hand flies to her mouth in horror. “Kent!”

Kent stares at the fallen flower for a second, and then not only treads on it but grinds his heel into the soil, inducing a dismayed gasp from the young princess.

“Just help me look for that vial.”

-later-

“Kent, what are you doing? We have the water, so can we go now? Please?” Her fingers wrap around his wrist and pull him in the direction of the exit. Almost absentmindedly, he pries her off so he can slide the fingers of both hands over the vial. He stares at the transparent liquid with glazed eyes.

“The last of the water from the Fountain of Vitality before it was destroyed in the war,” he murmured, more to himself than to his sister. “And it’s still here, more than sixteen years later.” He runs his index finger down the side of the cool glass vial. “Just enough left to heal the sick…”

Madeline tries to get him to move. “I know that. That’s why we’re here — to help Mama get better. And that’s why we really need to get back to the palace before she gets worse.”

“Enough left to heal the sick,” Kent only repeats. As she watches him, his faraway eyes suddenly regain focus. He looks at the corked vial in his hands in a different way now. He pulls on the cork. Madeline hears the small pop it makes when he tugs it free.

“There’s just enough left to heal someone who’s ill. Or make the healthy invincible,” he says. The resolve is evident in his hazel eyes. And now, Madeline sees his intention as well.

“Kent, please, it’s Mama’s last chance. Without this, she’s sure to…” The words die on her lips, because she knows they are trying to reach ears that can’t hear, a mind already made up.

His lips slowly part as he raises his right hand. Madeline can only watch, wide-eyed, as he tilts the remaining contents of the vial into his mouth.



2. Picture book quote

“They called them spirituals, or jubilee songs, because the word jubilee means a time of hope and freedom.”
—Deborah Hopkinson, A Band of Angels

The classroom was supposed to be empty. For a moment Alaine had thought it was, because the boy in the corner had hardly stirred when she stormed in, dragging along with her a heavy cloud of thunder. A good thing for him, she supposes, noting how he is perched precariously on the sill of an open window.

He lifts a hand in a casual wave. “Hi there.”

Not in the mood for pleasantries, Alaine responds with a glare and slams the door behind her as she marches out. Five seconds later she finds herself reentering the classroom, her cheeks painted a deep scarlet. Whether it’s from embarrassment or anger, she can’t tell. She just feels it there, burning red, bright, and very noticeable, and it makes her seethe even more.

“Talk to me and I will bite,” she snaps at the boy.

She senses his eyes on her as she sinks down into the teacher’s chair, pulling her knees to her chest. He doesn’t speak, but Alaine never feels his eyes leave her person. Sure enough, when she raises her head from her fetal position, his eyes burn back into hers. It’s not a glare, but his eyes, they’re so intense, ablaze with all the stars and suns and every other possible light source in the universe.

They don’t seem human.

“Do you mind,” she snarls, irritated that he had startled her by doing absolutely nothing.

-later-

“If you didn’t get in, then you’re not meant to go there.”

She throws her hands up in frustration. “Everyone keeps saying that. How do you know that school isn’t meant for me? Maybe there I would have discovered a cure for cancer, or AIDS, or some other horrible condition. How do you know?”

“Think about it. Who are they to tell you that you’re not good enough for them?”

-later-

“What you need,” he says, voice solemn, “is a jubilee song.”

“What I ­need is for Harvard to revoke its rejection.”



3. Why won’t your pet let you go to school, and what happens

It’s not fair. Today is supposed to be Taco Tuesday in the cafeteria, and Gerald sure loves his tacos.

Gerald scratches at the area below his nape, where the collar, not designed for human necks, cuts into his skin.

(wtf this prompt is so weird and I have no idea where I was going with this story)


4. First line of a favorite song

“I’ve got a secret I’m dying to tell you.”
—Marit Larsen, “Ten Steps”

“I’ve got a secret I’m dying to tell you,” he gushes in my face.

I don’t waste a beat maneuvering around him. I hitch my backpack further up my shoulders and clutch my European History textbook closer to my chest.

“Come on.” He ducks in front of me. His twiggy body effectively blocks my path. “Don’t you want to hear it?”

“I don’t talk to strangers,” I say brusquely. My grip tightens on my book, ready to smash it into this kid’s skull in case he gets creepy.

He doesn’t look like a creep, now that I’ve gotten a closer look at him. Slightly vertically challenged, exceeding my height by only a bit, which might be due to the volume of his thick blond curls. The crinkles around his eyes when he smiles make him seem older than me, maybe a university student. But he is practically speaking at my octave, indicating that he’s still awkwardly changing, like the rest of the junior boys at my school. Whoever he is, he’s in my way.

When I try to brush him away, he anticipates it and twirls—twirls—to my left. Then he proceeds to attach himself to my side by slinging his arm around my shoulders as though we’re the chummiest of pals.

“Hey, fuck off!” is what I mean to say, but it comes out as a squeak that’s too cute for my liking.


5. First line from a famous novel

“It was a wrong number that started it, the telephone ringing three times in the dead of night, and the voice on the other end asking for someone he was not.”
—Paul Auster, City of Glass

It was a wrong number that started it, the telephone ringing three times in the dead of night, and the voice on the other end asking for someone he was not.

“There’s no James here,” Calvin says to the meek voice coming through the receiver.

“Oh. Um. Sorry.” Click.

Calvin hangs up too, and the memory of the incident is promptly eaten by the midnight demands of high school homework.

The next morning, “Hello, is this Alphonso?” timidly greets him on the phone after he wakes up for school. He responds appropriately, hangs up, and prepares breakfast while he waits for his sister to clear out of the bathroom.

When the third call comes later that evening, asking for Leonardo, Calvin finally takes notice. He recognizes the airy, shy voice from the day before.


6. Write a love letter to someone you dislike

Dear my love,

I have been admiring you from afar for quite some time now. But from afar swiftly became too far, and so I recently relocated to right outside your bedroom window—every day. And most nights. (Alas, if it weren’t for my biological need for sleep, it would be EVERY night.) My dear, I’ll do anything to get closer to you. The authorities and the law, they can’t stop my feelings for you. I am the sperm cell that fights past all the vagina’s defenses to reach the pearly egg hidden away. Speaking of which, prepare your ovaries, girl.

Not a day goes by that I don’t think about you. Of your cloudy eyes of mystery, green like the stagnant swamp water you likely bathe in. Of your long golden curls that remind me of cooked ramen noodles swimming in its oily broth (chicken flavored, because it’s my favorite). Of your delightful fashion sense, so very much like my grandmother’s. I love my grandma. I love that you make me think of her.

And baby, I love you.

May I confess something? During the nights when I’m not watching you sleep, I dream of having you lying next to me: my arms encircling your waist, hands around your throat to feel the delicate and easily stoppable pulse beneath the skin, fingers stroking each beautiful, mountainous zit on your forehead. Oh God, how I wish to have you here with me.


Ahhhh I want to write again! I feel like my narrative has developed a slight formal tone to it at times due to all the academic writing I have to do. The desire to create fiction again is completely present but the motivation isn’t. I doubt I’d get the same joy I used to get out of it. That part of me died for some reason when I came to college, and these past years have done nothing to revive it. Even if I were to ease back into fiction writing now, I’d be too concerned about the things I’m not completing for my classes.

No worries, I’ll have lots of time to consider picking up writing again once Summer 2015 happens and I’ll have nothing better to do but write and despair in my parents’ basement.

Until next time,

~ Mimi

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