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Dear Preston,

When I woke up this morning, I sat up and realized I was shaking, trembling. I felt like my entire body was trying to fit itself into another dimension, but the laws of time and space where keeping me trapped. That’s how I felt when I woke up this morning, trapped.

And when I reached for the two pills on my bedside, the ones I always set down before I go to sleep, I couldn’t help but pay close attention to the way they felt, the little capsules in my palm, and their movement as they slid down my throat and esophogus. It was almost surreal, but in a familiar sort of way. And then… the phone rang, and I was struck, not with the urgency to answer it, but with the energy and vivacity of its sound. It was almost alien, like someone was trying to contact me from another universe.

But then I tried to stand up and reality fell upon me like a cinderblock pressing me to the ground. My legs shook as I attempted to stand up and without warning, I felt a sudden coldness, like my body was being filled with ice-water. The phone continued to ring, and I knew it was you. But the more I attempted to answer it, the more I began to fear missing it, the more my fascination began to fade, the colder my body began to feel. Something was pulling me towards some mysterious shadowy country that I had never before seen, and the more I resisted, the harder I was pulled; and the harder I was pulled, the more I feared, until finally my knees locked and I stood, bracing the nightstand for support, only to fall to the floor sobbing.

When, finally, I was able to stand again and walk to the bathroom, I turned the warm water on and set my hands in the sink until control slowly crept back into my body. But as this happened, I realized that the control is only an illusion, a cheap trick our mind plays on our body, until our bodies grow weak, and no matter the strength of the mind, the strings the mind uses to waltz our bodies around like marionettes are cut one by one.

I have not grown isolated and cynical here in this small town, Ged and Maria visit me a couple times a week when they walk their dog, and I have Tom Shepherd the local sheriff stay to chat every Wednesday evening, he says the kids don’t make much of a ruckus when it isn’t the weekend. I enjoy my days here, even if I occasionally miss seeing you and your brothers.

But this morning, even after I had regained some false sense of dominance over my functions, I could no longer keep myself from knowing that every movement, every intention, every yearning, was driven by fear; fear of this incomprehensible void that has followed me my entire life.

And so I have written you this letter to tell you that, for once in my life, I have made the decision to let the final marionette string be cut, to face the void. I cannot continue to live in fear any longer, but if it be the way of the universe, I will die gladly in full embrace with the void.

But before I leave, you must know that my love for you, for everyone, is greater than I can describe, and unceasing. My body will not be here when you arrive, but my presence is, and has always been, with you. Illness, oldness, and death await me on the voyage to peak of Mount Henry, and with every emphatic step I take, from here to the end, I will meet them like old friends.

With abiding peace and love,

Charles

– – –

A letter one of my characters wrote to me today. A version of this will go into the book. The problem I’ve been dealing with is that the book is being written in first person, so I have no way to get the inners thoughts and feelings of the other characters out unless they’re telling them themselves to me, or in a letter. This letter is based off of a section of a story in which a dam is failing and the old man’s (Charles) house will be in the spill zone when they release the dam, but clearly, Charles has other issues on his mind. And the name, Charles, by the way, is a filler name. I don’t see myself sticking with it.

Posted in Stories by Preston on February 21st, 2012

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