The Dust Blows Forward ‘n The Dust Blows Back

November 24, 2009 at 6:30 pm (Rooms) (, , , )

There is dust on my desk.

A greasy white powder that reappears again and again, taking over in the place my elbows like to rest. It gathers faster than the dry, grey stasis that covers unmoved objects in a thin sheen of time. I have never seen a single spec of this dust fall to the desk, but between glances and fluttering eyelids, it builds grain by grain. If I abandon my watch for more than a minute or so, the left side of the desk will be covered in that odd, powdery dust.

Feeling it deserves closer observation; I take the orange tank from behind my mirror, lay back and turn the valve. Before taking the mouthpiece between my lips, I let my eyes first prick, then numb. Though I can no longer see it, the clock on my wall continues to mark each second with a tick, both a prologue and an epilogue for every passing moment. If I listen very carefully, I can make out the Space Between. It is dim, and brief, but I see it now. With my eyes still eggy and blank, the Space can only widen through the tiny manipulations of my ears. My arms are lost, most of my limbs have become heavy and immobile. I can feel them as dead weights upon my shoulders and hips.  I fear for a moment that my bloated tongue may fall back in my throat, but I can taste the everpresense of an empty mouth and this comforts me.

The mouthpiece lies beside me, but my arms cannot bear the inches to reach it. No matter.

Each second is now a palatable sensation. The tick of the second hand reverberates as if it were voiced by a stranger to the sound, just a little slow and ponderous. Between Tick and Tock, the Space is now an audible hum. I lay back for a minute more, my ears becoming still lighter and sharper. Soon, satisfied that I am able to use the time I have; I force myself to exhale all the air I can in a single staccato breath, and bring the mouthpiece to my lips. Thirsty. I gulp the air. Sitting up, straight as the laced, I can feel the meat of my legs again, and the burn from the recent effort of my arms fades. Turn.

Both the clock and my heartbeat have become a single drone.


1 Comment

  1. flotsamyoni said,

    This is the longest short story of 400 words I have ever read.

    Splendidly cohesive considering it starts with dust. What links with dust? Well, you found it. Dust, time, life in stasis. This story is alive with death; dust does not fall observed by the dead, time is not told by the dead, therefore the speaker is unmistakably alive. And yet the life is more a mere existence, a stationary analysis of painful and monotonous synchronicity which you have made beautiful through the very observation of these details.

    I have to speak my usual moan about your capitalisation; I really don’t like it, in almost all cases. If I felt it added anything to my appreciation of the story then I might abide its perplexing distraction, but I can’t see enough to redeem it I’m afraid.

    A note also on the final line: it isn’t quite syntactically correct; the ‘Both’ at the beginning is redundant due to your mentioning each item singularly afterwards.

    I hate to like this story. Its a non-event drained of colour and injected with stale oxygen. But it is incredibly pretty and inspective. Like Pyramid Song.

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