29th February 2004, 06:55 AM #1
The Puzzle Maker [short story]
Might as well post something now that I registered, lol. So this forum is gonna turn into the Writer's Cafe? Sounds familiar (!). No anime involved in this story. just... a story i guess.
“The Puzzle Maker”
A drop of perspiration falls from a brow deep in thought. The pond is slowly piecing together with the guidance of his shaking hands. It was hard work, re-creating something once destroyed, but the puzzle maker felt a feeling like responsibility about it.
It was a ten piece, children’s puzzle, and his wavering fingers searched for those pieces, then searched the color patterns, felt their edges. Blue with… blue. A match? Yes, the first one. His fist clenched in hard-fought victory, then messily wiped the two hour-old sweat into his eyes. The sting was not there, but in his heart - the recurring sting of guilt, which had poked at his fragile mind in recurring nightmares. He knocked over sister’s masterpiece a couple of hours ago and had immediately begun to rebuild, the guilty thorn within him.
The dampened hand waved without rhythm over the pile of solutions, as if evaluating each of them to find the right one. Another drop of perspiration struck, this time on the first two pieces of his project. With a sudden and restrained whine he furiously took his shirt in hand and wiped his project dry. Bringing his right eyeball no further than a centimeter in front of the two pieces, he identified a few minute beads of moisture and frantically wiped them away. This time, he was satisfied. The search for the next match continued.
A dripping statue of amends, Farley stood poised over the puzzle for another one hundred twenty minutes, without any more progress than a few, misled flinches of the wrist. Like the darkening of a storm cloud, his pitiful expression slowly twisted into a bitter frown under tightly clenched eyelids. Farley’s lips parted with saliva strands, his throat not making a sound besides the scratch of grieving oxygen squeezing through the windpipes. He sniffled as quietly as possible, careful not to wake Mama, Papa, or most importantly, Jillian, and he wiped his tears as soon as they escaped. Jillian did it so fast, and she’s not even half of Farley’s height! Why couldn’t he help his little sister? He didn’t mean to knock over the puzzle with his spasm; he promised he didn’t. The puzzle shapes seemed so irregular, too irregular to even have a name like square or triangle. Farley can’t see the connection.
“I ga seer,” he whispered.
As quietly as a boy with a limp could, Farley inched open his little sister’s bedroom doorway and gazed upon the one whom he had wronged. “Ji’in…” He let the soothing syllable drag from his lips, while his heart slowly stopped convulsing and started pulsing to the gentle rise and fall of the somnolent figure. Farley stood motionless while Jillian’s presence poured new hope into him. Slowly, he slid the door to a close.
After returning to the kitchen floor, Farley sat still and pictured Jillian’s curled figure under the bed linen. His mouth hung open and eyelids half drawn, Farley recalled the straw-colored curls in rest upon her pillow. How perfectly identical each curl was to the other in Farley’s eyes. He could have been furious, but then catch his little sister’s pleading eye contact, and humbly smile. She was his out-of-reach goal, his role model, his goddess, and Jillian would have her puzzle.
1st March 2004, 01:00 AM #2
Goronda Type Vice-Webmaster
Welcome here DH13. It's good to see more familiar (and talented!) faces here.
Hehe. Cute ending, but there's something about the writing, especially toward the middle - the beginning has an almost "magical" feel to it - you don't know all the details of what's going on, and it builds up the scene nicely.
Once you start giving out the details in the middle - I think I would have the whole part about his knocking over sister's masterpiece a bit further down in the story, toward the end. More build up of his slowly recreating the puzzle and thinking about his sister at the same time (without letting us know the sister-puzzle relation, perhaps not even letting us know that Jillian is his sister until relatively late) would probably led up to that better.
Still a charmingly cute little piece, however .
"It is said that the federal government, if it was in charge of the Sahara, would run out of sand in five years. Private enterprise, being more efficient, would do it in half the time - and they'd make money off the bridges." - me.
Originally Posted by Mintaka and Hurristat
"My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world." - Jack Layton's last letter. Rest in peace, Jack.