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Fiction

Time has changed me. Time has been my friend. Time has aged me. Time has rejuvenated me. Time will never end, and neither will I.


I start off fluffy and stout, hardly visible as an individual amongst the mass of fuzz that sticks out at odd angles from the rest of our nesting place. Our nesting place, a little yellowish bird, does little except wobble around consuming most things in its path. After time, the yellow starts to fade, and I’m one of the first of us to turn brown. Our nesting place grows bigger and plumper and starts to become increasingly more independent, and I grow longer and softer with it. Eventually I’m a mix of a few colors, and I start to feel the first bursts of wind when our nesting place takes off the ground in a frantic flapping of its wings. The wind tugs at me, threatening to pull me away into the unknown, but our nesting place falls from the air before it can loosen my grip. It lands with a thud and squeaky honk, and then rustles us all indignantly. The wind must have affected some of the others, as they fall daintily to the ground and are whisked away by the gust. They are some of the first of us to leave. That will be me soon.


Nesting place goes on with life, the fall not affecting their daily routine. It eventually masters flight and seemingly manipulates the wind. Every time I feel the same coaxing pulling sensation, and I try to ignore it, for our nesting place has been my home my whole life; however, ultimately a storm attacks the area and I’m sucked away into the darkness, the rain soaking me through. The storm subsides after a while and a figure venture towards me and stoops low to pick me up. A messy canopy of brown sits atop their face. They have a beak like our nesting place, but it’s incredibly flat and a soft pink. It’s drawn up into a semi-circle, glossy white stones poking out from flesh the same color of their beak. The figure glances behind them and beckons with a sound much smoother yet more complex than my nesting place’s honk, and another figure approaches: the same flat beak and white stones bared in a semi-circle, but its canopy is a dirty yellow like the color I started off as. They examine me swiftly, and then stuff me into a tightly woven little space in some sort of wrap that cases their legs, then keep bending down, filling my space up with more of things like me, things from the nesting place.


A long time is how long I spend in that space. I learnt the figure’s names – Lewis and Christian – yet I don’t know which is which, because the space’s walls are opaque. I assign Lewis to the yellow-canopied figure and Christian to the brown-canopied figure, but when I’m scooped out from my space, I’m not in the same woods as before, and someone completely different faces me. Soon enough, an outlandish end is added to me, and another figure (also brown-canopied, and I learn that their name is ‘Mr Shakespeare’) picks me up and seems to exchange coins for me. They take me to their home and use me to scratch ink onto paper. Mr Shakespeare scratches the paper regularly, like some sort of deranged hobby. I’m used to write long scrawls of things Mr Shakespeare likes to call "plays". I pride myself when Mr Shakespeare seems to become quite popular, and I realise it's due to what he does with me. The plays he creates earn him a huge following and lots of coins. He uses me so much I become damaged – I snap in two. Mr Shakespeare groans angrily, and throws me aside. He marches off to buy a new one of me, and once again, I have lost my purpose. I can’t write Mr Shakespeare’s plays for him now; my replacement will have to. I try not to feel too hurt, and settle comfortably at the base of the bin he tossed me into. Junk builds up on top of my two halves, compressing them. I know I’m useless now, so I just listen to the consistent scratching of my replacement on paper. I don’t know how long after I broke, but one day it ceases, and Mr Shakespeare is no more. Silence follows, a long, deep silence. I wonder if he moved out to get away from me. Whatever happened to him, he doesn’t come back, and the silence is all that I hear until the heat breaks out.


I hear the roaring first. And the spitting. It’s raging through the room, destroying everything in its wake. It catches the top of the pile of junk first, and almost instantly spreads through to the rest. There’s screaming, but no sign of Mr Shakespeare. The fire reduces everything to a pile of ashes, including me. Black dust everywhere, not even a sign that Mr Shakespeare’s home once stood tall and proud where my scattered remnants are. The familiar wind takes me on a journey again. Not as a whole, however, like the last time. I’m pulled apart, all my atoms taken away to different spots. And so now I reside in many places, as many things. In one place, I’m being lathered onto a broken figure’s damaged parts so to speed up their recovery. Another, I’m in the famous Natural History Museum, preserving some exotic seeds from decay and sudden death. Somewhere else, I’m pressed down into the earth, fertilizing a common gardener’s soil so his potatoes will grow healthily for his Christmas roast. I watch new life grow from a little blob where some of my particles lay. This blob will grow and have its own adventure, it will carry on my story for me. Wherever I am, I never go away: my particles always live somewhere, even if not in the same place. Sometimes they even cross paths. I can never cease to exist.

July 11, 2022 18:39

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8 comments

Michał Przywara
20:52 Jul 20, 2022

A thought-provoking story. This is a topic I occasionally ponder myself, the whole "we're all made of stardust" thing, so I appreciated the ending here. I liked seeing the POV of a feather, and I found it curious that it considered itself a separate entity from the bird. Does hair feel the same way? Perhaps. It makes sense for the prompt though, and it was neat seeing it change over time, becoming Shakespeare's pen, and then ash. And then it became other things too, a distributed entity. If this cycle repeats enough times, its matter wil...

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Zoë Page
21:29 Jul 20, 2022

Thanks for the feedback! It was definitely an interesting point of view to take, and I'm glad you feel the same way.

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Katy Borobia
20:03 Jul 19, 2022

This is a super cool take on the phrase "sands of time" - what if it was really "winds"? The descriptions near the beginning were lovely. It's a very mysterious and haunting kind of story. Well done!

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Zoë Page
21:33 Jul 19, 2022

Thank you! :)

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Ba Eubank
23:13 Jul 18, 2022

Love how you gave a voice to an inanimate object with its own life. Very intriguing.

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Zoë Page
15:42 Jul 19, 2022

Glad you enjoyed!

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Ryanna Ezq
21:11 Jul 12, 2022

Another wonderful story Zoë! I adored how you put this story in the perspective of an object with a mind if it's own.

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Zoë Page
15:01 Jul 13, 2022

Thanks! :)

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