A FutureLearn short story


Short story Loneliness
Short story Loneliness

Thane sat on his bed, staring at the shadow in the corner of the room. It had stood there, unmoving, for almost two hours.

“Who are you?” Thane finally asked, his voice unshaken despite the fear he felt.

“I am Loneliness.”

Thane paused, allowing the words to sink in, turning them over and over in his head. Up until this moment, Thane didn't realize emotions existed outside of the body. It wasn't a question he ever really pondered, but if someone would've asked him, on a school quiz perhaps, or huddled under a blanket of stars with only his closest friend; he wouldn't have thought it was possible. He certainly wouldn't have believed Nathan, if the tables were turned. The Boogieman, though, that he would've believed. The Boogieman was the reason Thane, who under ordinary circumstances was quite brave, had sat completely silent too afraid to move or speak. It was the reason children fell asleep in class instead of in bed. Now though, staring face to face with the black mass that had taken over the corner near his desk, Thane began to wonder if the Boogieman existed at all, or if it was only just Loneliness.

“I was telling the truth, you know,” Thane replied, realizing he was no longer afraid of the darkened figure lurking in his room.

The truth young Thane was referring to was more of a speculation rather than a truth or lie.

Recently he had developed a theory as to why during both sunrise and sunset, the sun chose to shed herself of such beautiful colors. While most feel that her daily displays of magnificence are meant to be a reminder that tomorrow holds the possibility of being what today could not be, Thane felt she had a more selfish reason. He believed she was instead, using the beauty she disposed of to mask the real reason for this colorful display; the method in which she chose to rid herself of her fears, insecurities, and broken dreams. Not wishing to be perceived as weak or even as vulnerable as her human counterparts, she cast them down with each extraordinary ray of light; disguising them as shadows, the necessary darkness to each piece of sunshine. Upon hearing this outrageous claim, and moreover, Thane's refusal to admit the faultiness of it, his mother withheld his evening meal and sent him to write the truth about the sunrise and sunset.

“You don't speak much do you?” Thane asked as he edged closer to Loneliness, his arm extended towards him.

He contemplated touching him, grazing him with the tips of his fingers, curious if they would slip through him like a ghost or if instead, Loneliness would be cold and solid. As his outstretched fingers neared the darkness, Thane thought of the possibility of Loneliness being neither transparent nor solid, but sticky instead. Thane, as brave as he may have felt, was not prepared to spend moments, days, weeks, months, years stuck to Loneliness. Yanking his arm back he wondered how many children let their curiosity get the better of them, touching Loneliness' sticky form only to be pulled into thin air as he quickly disappeared.

“Have you always been here?” Thane asked, still standing at arm's length as he waited for Loneliness' reply.

Taking his silence as a yes, Thane continued, “Well why haven't I seen you before?”

Still, Loneliness refused to speak, instead, he stood taller, in what Thane thought was meant to be an insult.

“Fine, don't talk to me,” Thane grumbled as he sat at his desk and frowned at the blank paper his mother had laid out for him.

He knew she would be expecting his apology soon and though supper wasn't one he was especially fond of, he was already quite hungry. It was times like this when he wondered if his mother truly respected honesty above all other virtues or if she simply enjoyed punishing Thane by such ironic means. He could think of no other reason for taking something he enjoyed so much and using it against him. He was wise enough to know he wasn't a particularly amazing writer, but he also had the good sense to know that skill means nothing without passion; something he held in excess. Sighing, Thane picked up his pen and watched out of the corner of his eye as Loneliness shifted, taking up not just the corner he'd invaded hours ago, but slowly inching against the walls as well. From floor to ceiling his darkness crept out, not quite reaching the desk but expanding far enough to where anyone other than Thane would've been struck still with terror. Hunching over the paper Thane began, oblivious to everything around him as he poured out his heart and soul. Seconds turned into minutes, and moments into pages before he finally finished.

Leaning back against his chair, Thane reviewed his latest work. Never had he written anything so beautiful. The way his words fell against the pages was nothing he had known to exist. Where this sudden stream of talent came from, he had no idea, but never had Thane been more proud. Smiling he looked over at the corner ready to share this incredible moment with Loneliness, only to find that he had disappeared. When it happened he didn't know; Thane had been so wrapped up in stringing letters together, that Loneliness could've left at any time and Thane would've been none the wiser.

Turning to a fresh piece of paper, he quickly wrote the answer his mother expected, for never would she accept what he had written in the company of Loneliness, and headed to the door; wondering if and when he'd ever see Loneliness again.

I've been trying to get better at this whole posting regularly thing, and while I feel like my Spotlight posts should be enough, my sister does not agree with me. I suppose I will defer to her wisdom this time. After going through many websites full of ideas for blog posts, I've decided to post more of my writing. This time, an old story I'd written for class.

See, years ago, I took some classes on FutureLearn. I dabbled in everything from SFX courses to forensic science & criminal justice, with one of those classes being a creative writing course. For an assignment, we each had to write a short story and have our fellow students critique it. I can't remember what the requirements were - I think there may have been a word limit... but since it is technically already published online, it seemed like a good piece of work to start with. Reading it now, I can see where some improvements would do well, but I'll fight the urge to correct them and leave this as a piece that shows how far I've come.

Here is my short story, "Loneliness"