706pm. It’s always that time of the day that he appears. However much we try to take note of his arrival, we’ll always end up being distracted just at that moment. We’ve had a ceiling light blow, even though it was a LED bulb. A mug I was clearing from a table suddenly cracked all over but still held its shape – but I could feel it crumbling if I pressed too hard. It took us all 10 minutes of held breaths before the cup reached a garbage bin safely. And then we realised it was already past 706pm, and he was standing at the counter, waiting quietly and patiently for us.
Not even a smirk detected.
Awareness dawns for the little seed as it sits in its cocoon. It doesn’t know it’s a seed. It just knows it has life, and it stretches as far as its pod allows. I want to grow, it says and feels and thinks. I want to grow. And so it stretches, and pulls and pushes, and wriggles but nothing happens. Wait, says the cocoon, the skein that wraps tightly around the seed. Wait, and see.
The seed ignores the skein. It wriggles. It pushes. It is life, and it is full of life. Life can’t wait for a skein’s wisdom.
He was young when he finally tasted freedom. And it was bad. Really bad.
He’d been at an amusement park when it happened. An amusement park is a wonderful place, and when you’re a young boy with lots of energy, it’s a place of mystery and wonder. All those dark alleys and tents that your parents pull you past, instead of letting you in to soak in all the different joys that mystery has to offer. He wanted to taste them, and he knew, just knew, that it would be wonderful and fun. Parents are there for a reason – to take away fun. Therefore, by extension, anything that his parents denied him must be fun.
He never told them that though, for fear of being punished. Parents, you know.
So when the roving amusement park came to town again, and they were queuing for a ride, he waited for them to be distracted with his sister’s incessant questions, and then he ran. He ran.
He listened as the chocolate cake screamed.
He watched it writhe in its box, the screams bursting out every few seconds. He covered his ears, but his eyes continued to watch the cake dancing, vibrating in its agony. He wanted it to stop. He had to make it stop.
The king stood gleaming in his obsidian armour, staring down at his men-at-arms as they arrayed themselves in rows in front of him. Their black armour gleamed in the light, and they stood ready, quiet, poised to attack the enemy at his command. His other men stood to either side of him, the only sounds, the snorting of horses, or the creaking of the siege engines.
She smiled at him, and reached her hands across the table. He smiled back, reaching over to hold her hands tightly, never wanting to let go.
“There’s a dragon in the attic.” The son comes up to the father and announces it seriously one day.