It's been a while since I've shared any short fiction I've written, partially due to the end of the weekly Flash! Friday contests. So how about a story? This piece was included in Scripting Change's anthology Beyond the Words. (If you haven't yet grabbed a copy, you should—all proceeds are donated to support literacy!)
In any case, I hope you enjoy, and I'm looking forward to your thoughts!
Immortalized in Ink
|Photo by Heather /|
When was the last time you died?
They say the pages give you lives—open the cover and step through. Escape into the words and find your solace, or adventure. Everything you never knew you needed exists within a book.
Until the story ends.
I’ve lived a thousand lives, and none at all. Each time the cover opens, the path begins anew, an invitation to the reader to walk, hop, duck, devour, run—or linger. Meander through new minds.
How do you read?
Infuse the lines with life. You trade yourself for moments, thoughts that aren’t yours yet wait for you—your heartbeats, gasps, and sighs the only way to matter. The pages flip at fingertips then flutter shut, marked, altered. Characters still, frozen and impatient.
Under your eager eyes they breathe again, huddled in armchairs or splayed out on the floor, cradled in your hands once more until that final page, your fingers’ parting touch a bittersweet caress.
My story stops but doesn’t end.
Shut on the shelf, I wait for you, your children, friends. I’ve memorized the words, the whole of my existence, unchanging. Emotions laid out in snapshots, catalogued yet incomplete, mold to their reader’s temperament, rely on your vicissitudes.
Trapped in my life, I live it over with you.
You laugh, learn, ache, love, grieve, then shed my story like old skin, discard it on a growing pile. Husks wither, dry, decay, but pages stay, a fresh supply.
Immortalized in ink, I wait, and never die.