late bloomer: a simple fable

It was always there in the corner of her mind, and every room she’d ever been in: the power of words.

Some days she chose to ignore the sounds that rattled and clanged like locks and chains, and other days, the only thing she could do was listen. Every minute was a story, every hour a poem. And the nights, the nights were cacophony, which is why her dreams were always silent, like old movies.

Once she’d tried writing them down, every word she heard, every sigh that whispered, every sentence sailing past her extremely near-sighted eyes. But her hands were never fast enough, letters flew through them like birds and scattered across the ceiling in a murmuration of mockery.

Sometimes she caught an M on a finger or grabbed a Q by the tail, but they were never letters she could use, and she dropped them in a bowl that by now was overflowing with impatience, red and gold seeping out from a crack down the side. She wished she could hold them in somehow, or wait until she had enough for a story, but every time she tried with her glue and clumsy fingers, a question mark escaped, and she spent days looking for the answer.

When she got hungry, she tore pages from the books lining the walls of her house. It was never enough to fill her, and the only one left that hadn’t been tasted was the atlas.

One day she filled a bucket and started scrubbing. Her knees grew dark with ink and tiny commas kept catching in her fingernails. She didn’t stop until the floor ran black and the only thing she heard was her own breath.

She sat down then, and began to write.





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