How long did I fall?

How long did I fall? Illustration by Penina S. Finger

How far?

This was not an abyss, which has sides and which, however deep or wide apart, still would have seemed to hold me inside itself. Here, there were no sides, nothing to suggest I may ever, ever be pressed against by anything.

The stars were icy splinters. Their cold, pointed beams seemed to heave me farther, faster. Billowing desolation screamed and wailed, unfolded itself again and again, and tore away everything I ever thought I was. The farther I fell, the more it tore away, and the pain drove me mad.

I was sick with vertigo, and so alone, I could feel nothing else—not fear, not love, not rage.

Twice, I sensed vague eddies, gravitational tugs suggesting there was something else aside from me, but these quickly fell away. As they faded, I guessed they were nothing more than awkward echoes of my own yearn, now long past.

I tumbled through the agonizing nothingness. I tore through time.

And then, as if the universe had hurled a rock directly at my face, I slammed into a world. Had I been any less withered and frozen, the impact would have destroyed me. Instead, I bounced. I flew right back up into the thinnest, weakest reaches of its pull and fell again, bounced up again, not quite so high, and fell again.

This time, I struck an angled stone and arced, my leaps lower and lower until at last I came to rest. I was held now, and slowly, this hold relaxed itself around me. I sank gently into a little muddy shore by a pool. The Little Stone Arrives, illustration by Penina S. FingerSunshine, warm rains and ever-shifting shadows both calmed and confused me.

Still empty of all feelings but one, I lay in the soft mud, pulled time close to me like a pillow, and began to dream.

I dreamt about the sea. I dreamt about a butterfly.


About penina

Thanks for reading. I hope you're enjoying this expanding story. Please explore by clicking a link or two within the story text. Because the project grows in fits and starts, consider signing up to receive notifications when new installments are added. You can do this by entering your email address in the "Find out what happens next…" form. If you're logged in to Wordpress, you'll see just the Follow button.
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2 Responses to How long did I fall?

  1. sean says:

    I am loving this story. The words are perfect and I can’t help but see animated trails such as Norman McLaren may have etched into frames of film in his more avant-garde works.

    • penina says:

      Thanks, Sean! It would be fun to do some animation projects for this. I’ve been eyeing motion comic software, and if I get to a point where this project feels complete, would love to take it to print (I thought it would be 24 installments long, but we’re at 27 and it’s not done!)

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