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literature

The Child

Konnono's avatar
By Konnono   |   Watch
6 13 593 (1 Today)
Published: December 23, 2013
I used to be a child once, he thinks. He stands in that forest which used to be his playground, where he would play among the trees dappled by the sunlight that filtered through their leaves. The sunlight in his memories, although pale and admittedly not very strong, was warm and comforting - a far cry from how he is feeling now. He is a man drenched in sorrow; grief and regret like droplets of rain that fall on him from the heavens. He wonders if it is a game for them, for the ones who reside in the skies and look down upon lives like his and so many others in this world as if they were nothing but mere entertainment. He wears a mask of indifference on his face as always, but as he stands in that forest he begins to feel his sorrow overwhelming him, and suddenly he becomes a child again.

He is a child, covered with dirt from the top of his dirty blonde head to the soles of his boots. He is a child shrouded in darkness, his face pale and marred with a tinge of longing and sadness. He is a lost child; a child who has no one left in his world. A child left all alone. There is a dim light in his eyes, and he is staring at a crimson street. The street is empty; all the shops lined along the street is closed, and only the streetlights that give the street its crimson hue give off any feeling of warmth in the otherwise cold and lonely street, for it is a dark night and the moon and the stars have gone. At the end of the crimson street is a family; a father dressed in a suit who has just finished work as a businessman, and a mother who holds her young daughter's hand. They stand in front of a display beside a restaurant, their silhouettes bathed in the light from the display. He stares at the family for a while, a hint of envy creeping into his heart, and he remembers: I once had a family like this too.

He remembers the house with the red door. He remembers the white walls and the little light that hung by the door and the number plate that was hammered beneath the light. He remembers the number on the plate: 655, and he remembers how he used to think that it needed only eleven more to become 666, and eleven was always his favourite number. He remembers the flowers that were planted all around the house; flowers that were as red as the door and fell on the ground every time the wind blew. He remembers their soft, gentle scent that had enveloped him whenever he stood by the door as a little boy, and how he would always associate the scent of those flowers with home.

The house was home. The house was a good place; it was filled with light and warmth and it made him feel safe. No matter how scary the forest was or how daunting the outside world seemed, the house was there to make him feel better. It was somewhere he could return to. It was his own little place; his own refuge from the cold world outside. He remembers the comforting scent of thick, black coffee that always emanated from the kitchen, and how even though he didn't start drinking coffee until he reached his late teens, it still brought about a sense of warmth and security. He remembers the wooden cup on the counter that was always full of the steamy black liquid warmth, and the coffee beans that had spilled and was scattered all over the counter top. He remembers the little study adjacent to the kitchen, where the scent of coffee would inevitably waft into. He remembers the armchair that sat near the round rug. He remembers sinking in the armchair and breathing in the scent of coffee while perusing a book he had taken from the bookcase in the room. He remembers the bookcase and its glass doors, and the spinning wheel that sat atop it. He remembers the myriad of books that he and she had both collected, and how all those books curiously smelled like coffee, and most of all he remembers the time they would both just sit together in the warmly lit study and laugh and talk, enveloped by that familiar, comforting scent.

He wonders if he can still remember her now. He tries, and in his mind he sees her; she of skin lightly bronzed by the sun, swathed in golden cloth. It was a favourite of hers, that golden dress; it was one he had bought for her a long time ago, and she had cherished it the moment she laid her eyes upon it. The dress, with its laced shoulder and neckline and a corsage on the right breast, looked as if it was made of molten gold. He thought it suited her skin, and she loved it. He remembers how she would wear the dress whenever they went out, and how she would put her hair up in a bun and accessorise with a pearl headdress. She used to joke that the dress was already too beautiful and needed no accessories; he remembers thinking that she was the beautiful one, for her skin glowed in sunlight and, coupled with the dress of molten gold, gave off a radiance that was one of a kind.

Aah, he remembers her now. He remembers her warm eyes, and how they often sparkled with inquisitive delight. She found wonder in everything she touched, and her eyes sparkled with light whenever she found something worth her curiosity. She was entranced by fairy lights which he had hung on the walls for decoration; he said it reminded him of her eyes. He remembers her just staring at a string of fairy lights in her hands, mesmerised by their glow, wondering if her eyes really did glow as beautifully as the lights did.

He remembers her whimsical sense of humour, and how she once dreamt of colourful umbrellas raining down from a sunny, blue sky. She loved that dream and would so often tell him about it again and again, and he remembers just sitting there in the armchair and listening, smiling at her exuberance. He remembers how much she loved the stars, and how she had been amazed by a parade of lanterns rising into the inky darkness of the night. She had seen it on TV during the times when she was unable to go out, and she had sighed and wished that she too could be part of that rising, glowing procession to the heavens.

Now she is trapped inside her own shell, covered in layers of silence. He does not need to try and remember; the image of her shrouded in the shadows, no longer beautiful, is imprinted in his mind. She is no longer the colour of bronze and molten gold; she is monochrome. Dull and no longer iridescent. In her silence she admires beauty, but her admiration is always short and painful for that which is beautiful reminds her that she is beautiful no longer, and so she suffers in that silent cocoon.

She suffers alone in that house which has lost all its warmth, and it is now a mere husk of what it used to be. There is no longer the comforting scent of coffee; all that remains is the scent of decrepit desolation. The paint has peeled from its walls, and the red door has lost its radiant colour. Emptiness echoes through the mirrors, making the cold, empty space seem so much emptier and lonelier. Little remained of that which used to be his refuge. That house which had been so safe is gone. She has gone.

He has never returned to that house since.

He stands in that forest which used to be his playground, his face a mask of indifference. But deep within him, that child is still there, and he silently weeps for what has been, and what never will be.
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© 2013 - 2019 Konnono
Viva procrastination!

NOT.

This is for :iconliterarypublications:'s wonderful Winter Event! I had a great time writing it despite the shitty time restraint I placed on myself because procrastination yeehaaww! and it was fun to work with. The idea was to write a story based on a series of pictures; I'd actually picked out a lot more, but I thought 1500 words was too little to work with too many pictures, so I narrowed it down. Here's a list of the pictures I'd used for imagery in the story, in order:

fav.me/d59dnkr - vat triptych 18 by ~ezorenier
fav.me/d5nlwy5Dirty by ~Mishkina
fav.me/d4aag3zRed street by ~Csipesz
fav.me/d5mxgqdF A M I L Y by =burningmonk
fav.me/d6m064smy own little place by =Nilanja
fav.me/d5dworfyou make my morning. by ~ilmari-nen
fav.me/d4rhmo2Reading Room by *Nichofsky
fav.me/d1d97pyHanabi part ii by ~glennprasetya
fav.me/d5vq4jpThose lovely lights by ~Marion-Volant
fav.me/d6hbyerRain of Paradox by ~Pyr0sky
fav.me/d5ohs52Wish Lantern - Loy Kratong Thailand by `foureyes
fav.me/d5sltu9Machine Gun by *NateKaranlit
fav.me/d5xs96e- Aegidium stairs by ~CyrnicUrbex

These are all very beautiful pictures; it was quite a pleasure to write with them in mind! If I get permission from the photographers I might upload this story again, but this time with the pictures so you can see which part overlaps with which picture. That might be fun. Go ahead and check out these amazing photographers - who knows, you might just end up with a new favourite!


Writing soundtrack: Promise (Reprise) by Akira Yamaoka [Silent Hill 2 OST]

Try reading this story to that song. Or maybe Síðasta kveðjan by Árstíðir, if soundtracks aren't your thing.
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Comments13
anonymous's avatar
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ErothBlackDragon's avatar
ErothBlackDragonHobbyist Digital Artist
I'm going to have to agree with everyone else and say that your imagery is wonderful! You really grabbed my attention with this short story, and I'm sorry there isn't more, I would have really liked to keep going after you finished. I suppose I need to look through the rest of your gallery for more goodies like this one! :D
RoboticZamat's avatar
RoboticZamatHobbyist General Artist
Hi there!

I love the way you re capable of channeling you obvious visual and tactile mind into your work. I especially appreciate this as I'm also similar and an egotist as well. XD

The atmosphere of the piece is very well defined and draws the reader straight into its very core by using very effective language. 

I also adore the way you brought it to a round conclusion, prefect for the short story genre, with the main motive and meaning clear cut and supported by the entirety of the work before it. 

Super well done!
Keep up the super-massive cool work!
Cheers!
R
Solynara's avatar
SolynaraStudent Writer
Your imagery... *Sigh of awe* How am i supposed to describe something so beautiful. You made me reach that stage where i can see, touch and smell every single detail. The images are so vivid and beautiful. I also adore your contrast technique between the world of childhood and adulthood, where you drew warmth and brightness for one and darkness and coldness for the other. My problem is i wish i could tell what happened to his mother. Is she dead? sick? or just left

That i will need to figure out on my own

Even though there were not much events, but i was captivated by your writing. Great Great job :)
shadowsmokeandfire's avatar
shadowsmokeandfireHobbyist Writer
This is a really beautiful piece with lovely imagery and an interesting theme. I like your use of paragraphs breaks to tell the story without words, and I think this is a really well-written piece. 
Konnono's avatar
KonnonoHobbyist Writer
Thank you very much!
C-A-Harland's avatar
C-A-HarlandStudent Writer
There's some lovely imagery in here to work in the photographs, although I felt that the transitions between time periods were a little hurried. He starts off remembering the house as a child, but then seems to become an adult halfway through the paragraph. At first I thought "she" must be his sister if they are both children, but then it seemed more like she was his wife.
In the second paragraph the word "street" is used a little excessively, perhaps you could swap it out for road, avenue, etc. a few times.
There's a darker tone to this story which works really well and you've incorporated his sense of longing and nostalgia beautifully. Nice work.
Konnono's avatar
KonnonoHobbyist Writer
Thank you very much for your feedback! I do have to admit, having not written in a while severely depletes the amount of working vocabulary that I actually use. I'm actually pretty conscious about using the same word over and over again; it's like a bad habit I just can't get rid of. I initially intended for the child to be nothing more than a physical representation of his emotional state - a child that is envious of the family is how he truly feels like, even as an adult. I guess I didn't really make that clear, huh? I'll have to work on that and on my transitions too.

I'm glad I managed to set the tone properly, though! It's nice to see that at least that worked. 
KayleeRydder's avatar
KayleeRydderHobbyist Writer
You do use wonderful imagry here, i love how you started and ended the story. It seems to be a slightly darker piece--or at least certainly very sad. I love sad, therefor i love this! VERY well written.
Konnono's avatar
KonnonoHobbyist Writer
Thank you very much! 
belleheart's avatar
I love the imagery, especially the smell of the coffee, which I don't even drink! :D Also, I loved the feelings in the atmosphere that you provided from the cold, empty forest to the safe, welcoming house. In my mind, I wanted to get out of the woods and into the house. As for that part with the lanterns, I could not read that without thinking of Tangled! :happybounce: 
Konnono's avatar
KonnonoHobbyist Writer
Haha, well imagery was part of the whole thing in the first place ;D

I've always thought coffee was a particularly comforting smell. I prefer tea to coffee myself, but the image that I got reinforced the comfort part so much I couldn't help but write about it. And it's true - you can't help but think of Tangled when you see the words lanterns! :D
RoboticZamat's avatar
RoboticZamatHobbyist General Artist
I really like the way you have nailed the nostalgia about thinking back, into those wispy clouds of memory and pulling up the dregs that have lain, long forgotten. 

Also the way you pull upon the idea of things that are important to you, the things that had imprinted upon your memory; whether those are important to others as well. It's wonderful to see that natural idea called to question about if everyone sees the world the same way. 

This is going into my favs, hun :) <3 

Awesome work!

Cheers!
R-chan out!
<3 <3 <3 
foureyes's avatar
Heart Heart Heart Your words took my head far away :floating:
anonymous's avatar
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