36 comments

Dec 27, 2020

Fiction Sad

““Dreams are sweet until they’re not, men are kind until they aren’t. Flowers bloom until they rot and fall apart. Is anybody listening? I open my mouth and nothing comes out, nothing. Nothing gonna wake me now.”

Camellia reached towards the black marker by her bedside table and slowly drew another line next to her pillow on the wall. This was the first in the next group of five, meaning that another week had passed, not that she had been counting. She sighed, staring at the many markings. Some were in red, others in black, depending on what markers she could find. Her surroundings were dull, as usual, with a beige undercoat of paint on the walls, peeling off to reveal the bare white of plaster. It was cheap material, but still strong. She couldn’t break out if she wanted. 

On the right side of the room, there was a small window. Camellia had put the curtain over it the night before so as not to let the light in while she slept, but in the mornings she typically would open it up to let the bright atmosphere back into the room. Longingly, she stared out the window, with its broken plaster framing. The sky was bright, and the clouds were all in different shapes. Each and every thing through the window was always different each day. Someone changed it for her, though she didn’t know if it was to taunt her with the outside world, or a gift out of pity. 

Camellia didn’t really know much about her surroundings at all. She knew she was somewhere in the sky due to the window’s outlook, and she knew that if she were to count the tally marks again she’d find that she’d been there for at least two years, but she didn’t know how she got there, or what her purpose was. All she knew were the flowers and herbs growing through the plaster foundations, and the small window that showed her glimpses of the world. 

She knew that before then, she was someone. Now, she was just another rotting flower, only one that appeared human. 

The tally marks had been there since the beginning - not on the wall, but in her mind. Something came to Camellia the day that she was brought to her little castle in the sky, something that told her she’d be there for a while, if not forever. So, she picked up a marker from the tiny dresser next to the strange bed she had woken up in and drew a shaky line on the wall, a line still visible to this day, symbolizing something she didn’t yet know.

If Camellia knew who she was, maybe the line would mean something. Maybe the ticking of the clocks in the outside world would register with her, and maybe she would know something other than plants on the ground. But alas, Camellia didn’t know who she was or what she was meant for, and so the complete absence of time surrounded her, coveting her, all except for the little tick marks on the wall, holding tight to each day. Something possessed her to draw the marks, and so she did. 

Maybe it would help her later. 

Once, she even counted them. Two years. Two years since she had drawn the first mark. But that had to be months ago, right? There were so many marks, and no time to count them all again. 

Despite that, two years. Two years lost in time itself, with only marks on the wall and budding flowers to keep her company. 

But still, flowers bloom until they rot. 

Camellia knew she was somewhere in the sky, because the windows always showed her at equal level as the clouds. Why she was in the sky, she didn’t know. How the flowers grew up there, or what she did to get herself trapped in the clouds were all mysteries. Sometimes, she remembered glimpses of what could have been recollections from her past - not quite memories, just knowledge. She remembered a thought she had once about old stories, stories just as lost in time as she was. 

Stories about gods and goddesses, but people, too. Specifically, the ones who were trapped. Circe, Calypso, Prometheus, Sisyphus. How she knew them all, she didn’t know. But she did know them, and they were there in her head. Especially Circe and Calypso. 

Young woman trapped on islands only found by the great explorers. The only difference was the last part. No one was there to find Camellia. 

Sometimes she wondered - was this why she was trapped? Was it some sort of curse, like the old stories? Had she truly done something so wrong that this would be her punishment? Or was it that there was something wrong with the society she was from that kept her from breaking free? 

Or maybe it was neither, and she was just going crazy over time. Perhaps this was some sort of hospital, and her mind imagined the clouds and the sky in the windows to keep her busy. But hospitals have nurses and doctors and other patients. Perhaps it was a prison of some sort, but prisons have inmates and guards. And prisons didn’t have camellias growing through the rotting plaster. 

Camellia had no idea why the flowers blooming through the ground were the same species as her name, but they were. Somehow, she knew that they were camellias, just like she somehow knew that they shared a name with herself. Both realizations came to her on that first day, when she drew that first shaky line. 

The flowers that grew were pink, but Camellia didn't know if it mattered. She did know, however, that the petals and stem of the flower died together when the flowers wilted, unlike most flowers which died separately. But these flowers never decomposed, they just sat there unhinged as they wilted, while others continued to sprout.

She sighed, as she glanced through the window. Today’s image was hot air balloons drifting through the sky. Camellia thought of them as bouncing on air, though they passed smoothly past the pure white clouds. She wondered what those clouds felt like sometimes, with their bouncy nature and soft colors. Of course, they were different from the grey clouds that she imagined as rough and choppy based on the way they drifted through the sky. 

One of Camellia’s favorite scenes to see was the dark clouds, because despite not being able to touch them, she could still feel them. She could feel the darkness and cold wrapping her tightly through the plaster walls, and the loud noises they must give off when the sky cracks like broken glass. She could feel it all throughout her body, and it made her feel alive, if she even knew what that was like. 

The balloons continued to drift through the broken sky with it’s pillows of clouds, as Camellia turned back towards the ground. Confused, Camellia frowned. The flowers peeking through the cracks in the floor were all dying, stem and all. Slowly, she looked up, glancing at the walls, surprised to see that they were all completely bare, no scratches or tally marks in sight except for the first tiny, shaky mark from day one, two years ago. 

Realization dawned on Camellia as she stared down at the flowers. She didn’t know if the color mattered, but she did know that the petals and stem of the flower died together when the flowers wilted. 

And she was a Camellia, after all. 

As the last tally mark started to fade away, so did Camellia, as she wilted with the flowers. 

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36 comments

Zilla Babbitt
16:50 Dec 28, 2020

Ah, I love the names you choose so much. They're all so unique and character-driven. My only suggestion for this one would be to add dialogue, because right now it's a little clunky -- or maybe the better term is dry -- without it. Beautiful story as is. Great job!

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Maya W.
18:57 Dec 28, 2020

Thanks, Zilla! Yeah, I know it's sorta dry. But there isn't anyone else for her to talk to, so idk how to included dialogue.

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Maya W.
12:57 Dec 29, 2020

Hey, I published a new story last night if you could read it! It has lots of dialogue, lol.

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As a token of my appreciation, I decided to upvote you. I hope that's fine with you! :)

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Maya W.
02:32 Dec 28, 2020

Aww, thanks! I appreciate it!

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Of course! :)

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I think you did such a beautiful job writing and crafting this wondrous story. I just loved it! :)

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Maya W.
02:11 Dec 28, 2020

Thank you so much! I was really, really nervous about it, so your positive response means a lot!

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There was absolutely no reason to be nervous! All your stories are remarkable, but this one was a unique one. Also, I am so glad I made you smile, because that's my aim! :)

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Maya W.
02:32 Dec 28, 2020

Thank you :)

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Your welcome!

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Maya W.
04:56 Dec 27, 2020

Not my best work, but an attempt at stream of consciousness writing. I hope you all like it!

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Laura Clark
11:45 Jan 01, 2021

Hi Maya, here to see what you’ve done for this prompt! A very poignant snapshot in time for this character - well done. I like the differences in tallies and I like the vague backstory that lets us focus on the here and now. I enjoyed this.

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Maya W.
12:09 Jan 01, 2021

Thanks, Laura! While I do like this one, I also wrote another three for these prompts (I was on my winter break, don't judge) that I actually think were better written. If you have the time, do you think you could read them, as well? Of course, if not, don't worry about it.

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Scout Tahoe
22:38 Dec 28, 2020

Mm. It's like Camellia was the flowers and she was not... Amazing, though. And I'm so sorry for forgetting to read. I have vacation time now so I'm trying to be better. A few critiques: -As Zilla mentioned, I think dialog would smooth it out a little more. -You mention that she's counted it and that she's been there for two years, twice. It felt repetitive in a not so nice way. Maybe take out the first mention? Anyways, those are small things. It's like I could see her in her little prison. Lovely.

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Maya W.
23:20 Dec 28, 2020

Thanks, Scout! I'm trying to figure out where to put dialogue, because it's really just her. But I'll tell you if I end up changing it. Also, no need to apologize! It's totally fine. Though, if you have time, could you check out The Storms We Cannot Weather and Her Emerald Eyes? I feel like I could use some advice on those, along with one I literally just finished writing and am waiting for Rhonda to edit for me. If you can't, it's fine!

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Scout Tahoe
00:19 Dec 29, 2020

Of course, I can certainly try! ;)

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Nainika Gupta
22:18 Dec 27, 2020

As your first attempt of a stream of consciousness writing, I thought you did a very lovely job :) I really enjoy streams of consciousness and feel they can be very powerful and moving when you want them to be. And I think you did a very nice job keeping the prompt within the story's sights. It made for a very interesting read, and can't wait for more!! Happy writing!

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Maya W.
22:27 Dec 27, 2020

Thank you! I'm trying to figure out a good idea for the ten second prompt, but my mind is blank.

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Nainika Gupta
22:36 Dec 27, 2020

Hmmm....maybe like a toy shop where the character has to pick a story, or they have to pick a movie - it can be serious or funny!!!

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Maya W.
22:47 Dec 27, 2020

Hmm...I'll think about it!

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Nainika Gupta
22:49 Dec 27, 2020

Have fun!!

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14:52 Dec 28, 2020

That's a good story. Could you read m take on the prompt when it comes out? It's not done yet, but it will be called "obsidian". :)

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Maya W.
14:56 Dec 28, 2020

Thank you for liking and commenting! I would be happy to read your story. Would you mind checking out some more of mine in the meantime, if you aren't busy?

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15:05 Dec 28, 2020

Ok! I sure will!

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16:23 Dec 28, 2020

Hold on, I changed it to "Willow". I submitted it just now! Could you read it?

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The Girl
05:31 Dec 28, 2020

This was beautiful. The last few lines were heart touching. I liked that we do not know much about her just like she is mystery to herself.👍

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Maya W.
14:39 Dec 28, 2020

Thanks!

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Yolanda Wu
23:39 Dec 27, 2020

I loved the vagueness of this story. We don't really know what happened to her, but we're intrigued nonetheless. You created a really interesting character in Camellia, and following her stream of consciousness brings about an empty kind of sadness. As the quote in the beginning suggests the inevitability of life and death, I thought you communicated that really well in the story. The way you described the ending, where the tally mark faded was beautiful, and god, that last line. Simply amazing. Wonderful work, Maya!

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Maya W.
23:59 Dec 27, 2020

Thanks! I know I just said I was nervous about the last one, but this one I was even more nervous about because it's just so vague, I'm not sure who'll get what. I'm actually working on one for the ten second prompt now - I'm planning on doing a little bit of a play on a Japanese legend again, but not as direct. We'll see how it goes.

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Yolanda Wu
00:13 Dec 28, 2020

Oooh, I'll be excited to read it. :)

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Maya W.
00:16 Dec 28, 2020

Yay!

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Yolanda Wu
00:23 Dec 29, 2020

Hi Maya! I posted a new story, would love it if you checked it out and told me your thoughts on it. :)

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Maya W.
00:31 Dec 29, 2020

Sure! I'm gonna post one tonight, too! But I can't read it immediately, I have a virtual violin lesson in the next few minutes.

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