I have too much stuff. It pushes on my thoughts and clutters up my thinking.
I'm not a minimalist by any stretch of the imagination, I like having things, but something being a thing means it has purpose and requirement. Stuff, on the other hand, seems to creep in and settle around all the things with no discernible reason. What I'm calling 'stuff' when I say I have too much of it is all the stuff that gets picked up and used and never put away and just sits there with no further purpose or use.
Seriously, we had a garage sale two weeks ago and I'm still feeling cluttered by corners and pressured by piles and I have no idea where all the stuff is coming from! Papers creep onto my desk – they're drawings from my kids and mail I haven't put away and printouts I needed for whatever I was doing that day – but they come and settle and never seem to go. I clean them off and put them away and they creep back, or new ones slip into the mix.
Over in the spare bedroom / sewing room / craft supply room / good grief why is so much in there room, there's a path between all the things and stuff to get to the one clear spot on the sewing table with work area and... I hate it. I hate going in there to get things. It's not even a storage issue, things are stored pretty good, there's just stuff on and around all the things. It feels like the more things I'd tried to have organized, the more stuff gets in the way or put on top when I'm done.
Living room and kitchen and dining room things can all be put away, that's clutter and kid detritus and the mess of people who like living and playing in their space. It doesn't bother me. It was a total surprise, but I'm that mom who doesn't mind my kids being walking Crayola-war-painted bombs of crumbs and glitter as long as it comes with smiles and laughter. (I was not a single person who thought crumbs and glitter were fine lol.)
The stuff that weighs on me are the unfinished projects my hands don't work for knitting on right now, and the things that have storage places but aren't put away because my hands aren't working right now, and the stories and plots in my thoughts I can't type up because my hands aren't working right now. Anxiety, depression, and chronic pain look and feel like the mess around me has gravity that just pushes down until things and stuff all start looking like they have the same level of useless and standing up is too hard to even attempt to do let alone trying to clean a corner or tidy a table after actually getting to my feet...
This week has been a struggle. I'm glad it's Saturday. My pain cycles are based on activity levels and intensities, so I knew when planning this week it was going to be bad based on what I had to get done. I didn't expect to be this angry about it, though.
I hope you're staying safe and healthy this weekend!
4. The Wrote
Gabby straightened her posture and, as she didn’t have her sword, internally fought to decide if she should fight bare-fisted, bow, kneel, or flee. Her heart pounded against her ribs and her breath raced. If she fled, could she even outrun a sorcerer with the power to port her from anywhere? And kneeling… did Lieges kneel? Did the small sparks and lightning he was causing mean he could call fire and control lightning? Legends said so much and she suddenly couldn’t remember any of it… but was the son of the legend still the legend? Could she fight him?
There was only one viable course to take. She tilted forward from the hip and –
“Yikes! No! You don’t have to bow or –”
He interrupted himself by springing to his feet and holding out both hands in a stopping gesture. Gabby straightened slowly and wondered how many steps toward the nearest window she could run before she was cut down by fire or lightning, how far the fall was if she broke through the glass, and if the clouds supporting this structure would also bear her weight or if the fall would continue.
“I brought you here as my” –he shrugged– “guest? I need your help.” His hands fell to dangle at his sides. “My dad died three months ago. He’d been sick for the past few years. Last night, the premonition was written to us… me… that this whole corner of the world would be, um, unraveling…” Lydo’s voice drifted to a stop, the final word lilting up to form the sentence into sounding like a question. His fingers tapped on his leg like he was nervous. “I think this would all be easier for you to understand if you read it for yourself.”
The decision made, he snapped his fingers. Gabby winced and slammed her eyes shut. She expected to open them to see new surroundings, or never open them again, but was still standing in the sky-built ballroom when she cracked one eye open again. Lydo was watching her, his expression one of utter and hopeless defeat. It made him look like a child.
“You’re not mad. You’re just really, really terrified of me, aren’t you?” he asked, voice small, then sighed and toed at the floor again. “The prophecy, the Wrote was that only ‘the untied ending’ was capable of ‘correcting balance’ and, well, you’re the only untied end my father ever told me about. Please, would you at least come and read it?”
“Your father murdered my mother,” Gabby said. The words came out strongly, and she staggered back from the sound of the echo.
“He wasn’t meant to, though,” Lydo quickly replied. “Your father and all of his children were the targets of that prophecy, so…” his explanation faded and he coughed quietly. “I guess you weren’t expecting being able to speak about it here. The casting they put on you for talking about it probably excludes Magiks, like me, in case you were needed for the trial. And looking at your face now I’ve said that, I can assume I’ve just made an even bigger mess of this.” He buried his face in his hands. “Please just come read the Wrote from last night?” he asked with his mouth still behind his palms.
Everything he’d said up until this moment, dumped on top of the turmoil her father’s visit had already caused, swirled around her mind and confused her into immobility. Her heart was pounding so hard it hurt the inside of her chest and she felt dizzy. The only thing making any sense was that she needed to get back to her camp and her people, and apparently solving whatever problem this sorcerer – Lydo, he’d said his name was – had with his prophecy was her best way to freedom.
Looking out at the tops of clouds, Gabby didn’t see how she had much of a choice.
“All right,” she agreed. He stared at her around his fingers and then dropped his hands to slap at his legs as if clapping for a performance
“Really? You will? I mean, great! That’s really great. Please, it’s just this way.” He gestured widely to the stair railing and nearly sprinted to it in his haste to lead the way.
Gabby studied the architecture closely on the way down, wary of traps or deception, and saw only a set of stairs wide enough for three friends to walk comfortably side by side that led to an equally wide, gently curving hallway. Everything was built of grey stone, thick and unimaginative, and lit by the same style of candle-less chandeliers as in the ballroom (except these were much smaller).
Lydo paused and turned back to flash a relieved smile at her every few steps. He also never stopped talking from the moment his boots touched the first stair until they were in a warm but sparsely furnished library, of sorts. His babble was a relay of his life, unintelligible because the story was impossible to hear through her shock, but she grasped a few points: he was a similar age to her younger brother, Dorgand was a family name and not a single person, and her mother had known his father. It was too difficult to absorb every detail, but she learned Lydo’s father had attended on her mother the day before Gabby’s parents had gotten married to request Lashiss not go through with the wedding.
The barren library had tall windows on the wall opposite the doorway they entered through, but these showed only fog and darkness so the reflections of the room were clearer to see than anything outside. The available light came from colorless spheres floating near the ceiling which lazily drifted around and bumped into walls and each other. Three floor-to-ceiling book cases were placed one to each wall without windows, each barely half full, and a thick layer of dust covered the empty shelves and most of the books. In the center of the room stood a pedestal with a stack of thick parchments and absolutely nothing to use for writing on them.
“This is where we – I, I guess now – receive the Wrote, which is what us Magiks call what you would think of as prophecies except it’s a shorter word. Anyway, this is the last one we, I, received. As I told you upstairs in the tower, it came last night.” He motioned for her to approach the lone stack of parchments he was standing beside.
Dorgand’s guarded corner unravels.
In two weeks hence a war of decimation haunts.
Balance must be corrected through the untied ending.
Gabby read the gibberish sentences a second time to see if there was something she was missing. She lifted the page on top, just in case there was more on the page below to add meaning to the three lines, but there was only a blank page underneath. Lydo made a choked whimpering sound before carefully taking the top parchment out of her hands and smoothing it back onto the top of the pile.
“So ‘Dorgand’s guarded corner’ in this usage means the part of the world that the Dorgand family protects and oversees, and the use of ‘unravel’ is just an allusion to all things being composed of the fabric of the universe. And here, saying that the war 'haunts', that means it's a looming possibility but can still be avoided,” Lydo explained. “The ‘two weeks hence’ is the deadline to get balance restored and avoid the war which will cause our corner of the universe to unravel. So, I need your help because you have to be the untied ending because you’re, well, alive, right? You were supposed to be dead and you’re not.”
Gabby read the Wrote one more time, slowly, tapping her finger on the bottom of the parchment for each syllable. Right now, she was fairly certain her life – and possibly the lives of everyone she knew and cared for – was hanging on this Dorgand not killing her. That outcome seemed to rest on figuring out the answer to whatever this confused riddle was he’d ported her here to solve. She focused her attention and shut out the clamoring confusion.
“To be clear,” she said, “you’re assuming that because your father was sent to kill my father and all his children, me still being alive makes me your needed ‘untied ending’?” she asked, carefully.
“Yes,” he said, quickly and confidently.
“Except, by that same logic, my father and younger half-brother are also untied endings, aren’t they?”
A weekly blog updating on Saturdays with quick personal blurbs about me, as in what's going on during my life as an Author and mom, and that doles out my short stories and novellas in bite-sized parts for everyone to read for free!