First Chapter Sunday: Of Dark and Bright

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So, only three Sundays in and already cheating. This is not Flash Fiction. This is the first chapter of a project that has sucked away years of my life. It’s a story that needs telling, but that somehow I can’t get right. It’s drain on my creativity really. A clogged drain. Puns are fun confusing.

Its title “Of Dark and Bright” is a Byron quote from the beautiful poem The Dream. Colour me pretentious.

 

PROLOGUE

I have to write them down. All of them.

My thoughts.

My work.

My life.

I have to see the pattern. There must be a pattern, right? A mirror image of the charts and graphs I’ve surrounded myself with. If I can work out the pattern I can see where I went wrong. Because I know I went wrong. People who get it right don’t look like this. Don’t feel like this.

They sure as hell don’t write like this.

The lists of names I’ve wallpapered my little cell with whisper thoughts at me. Try to prevent my thinking about myself. Maybe my disease makes them. Maybe it knows the only cure for me now is in self examination.

It’s supposed to be about cycles, highs and lows. But the peaks and troughs have plateaued into a gentle downhill slope, and the tides have ebbed and stranded me here. Alone. With nothing but my work for company.

“Write what you know.” That’s what they say. What he said, Robert, if he was real. Write what you know. But what DO I know? Nothing. I can’t trust myself to know anything, or rather I can’t trust what I know. Certitudes are a luxury people like me can’t afford.

All I know is inside my head. I know how things feel, deep down, but not why or how. You can run that down, and people do, feelings aren’t really…real after all. They can be misplaced, or out of proportion or misguided. Or crazy. But you can’t unfeel them. They simply are. Really the only totally true thing we’ll ever know. You can be taught to think something else. But not feel it. Not without pills, and pills don’t always work. Trust me.

The notebook is ragged. The corners are torn and the less-than-opaque pages sit, slightly ill-fitting, in their binding. I don’t remember buying it – it’s possible it was here when I moved in. I don’t like it, it doesn’t look pretty or interesting or anything. It’s just a notebook, and not a very good one. 200 pages marked 1-100, there’s two of every number you see, I guess that means it was a carbon copy book for invoices or something. It also means every-other page has neat perforations down the margin. Pages fall out, I shove them back in. It’s not like it’s in any order at the moment anyway. Fractured paragraphs of prose, skipping about in time. When I’m finished I’ll have to put it together properly. Sort through my thoughts and try and piece together something that will stop Robert stroking out before fifty.

If he’s even real.

He tells me to write what I know. But all I know is inside my head, and now it pours out on paper.

 

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