The sunflower seed picture is back. Using flickr's note feature I made sort of an interactive storytelling version of this image. Make sure to click the image and hover your courser over each note to find out a little about each character in the image.
Monday, June 8, 2009
1. Marffey (Antfolk) is the one narrating the story. He is a young child approx. age 5 or 6. Children his age need an adult worker to mentor them. They seem to call such mentors/guides "caregivers". Children without an adult guide/mentor don't survive very well. There are too many predators out and it's just a rough world for them...
2. Humpuly (BeetleFolk) is Marffey's best friend. He is an older child, but highly intelligent for his age. He takes Marffey off on trips to places like the Human City. Benly and Humpuly don't really get along with each other (to put it nicely), at least not early in the series... He tries to avoid Benly most of the time unless a confrontation occurs. If a confrontation between Benly and Humpuly occurs, you can be sure Humpuly will most often get the upper hand. Humpuly is not really in this particular story.
3. Benly (Antfolk) is an older adult (approx. early 50's). He served several years in the colony's army and held a lot of responsibility. Benly has fought several battles against the enemy Fire Ants. In this small story he recently re-enlisted in the army after being discharged for medical reasons (suffered a near fatal injury which they didn't know if he would survive.) He's trying to get back on his feet (claws), find himself, and see what he is to do now. If I were to take a guess, I believe he sufferers emotional scars along with his physical ones.
After Humpuly dropped me off, he escaped quickly into the grass. Meanwhile I went off to find Benly. When I found him he was at the gravesite holding some flowers in his lower hands. The flowers had only a few petals left. The rest of the petals spiraled into the air as Benly opened his upper hands to release the broken flower petals. I stood beside Benly, but he seemed to be too absorbed with what he was doing to notice me. He babbled softly in a weak whisper with words I could not understand. Benly’s face showed deep sadness. He spoke softly to himself while looking up at the sky, “Why am I here? Why did I survive when—?”
“Whatcha doing?” I asked interrupting Benly from whatever he was about to say. Meanwhile I picked up a clump of fallen flower petals and threw them up in the air for the wind to carry away. Benly raised his antennae and looked at me. He still looked sad, but I could see he was cheering up a little. He sat down on the ground and held a bare flower stem in his hands. He fiddled with it until I crawled into his lap.
“I’m just remembering my dear friends,” spoke Benly in a soft voice.
“What do you mean?” I asked while looking around, “I don’t see them.” Benly lowered his antennae. He whispered into my antennae, “That’s why I’m remembering them. They are somewhere else now and hopefully happier.” “If you’re friends are happier, then why are you so sad?” I asked. Benly shook his head and chuckled dryly.
“You are something Marffey,” Benly chuckled while reaching out to stroke my antennae, “I admire your innocence.” As I sat in Benly’s lap, I couldn’t help but notice the huge scar on his chest, the upper part of his thorax. It looked like a deep pit on his thorax where the chitin had cracked.
“What happened to your thorax?” I asked. “That is where I got stabbed,” answered Benly. He took a deep breath and corrected himself, “Actually it was the back of my thorax where the enemy stabbed me with a spear. The blade went through my heart tube and punctured my thorax. If the blade had severed my nerve cord, then I wouldn’t be here either.” Curiosity struck me. I wanted to see how deep Benly’s wounds went into his body.
“Can I touch it?” I asked.
“Go ahead,” spoke Benly while bobbing his antennae, “Most of it has healed over. There’s a new layer of chitin that’s formed where there was a hole.” I reached out and poked my fingers into Benly’s wound on the front of his thorax. It wasn’t as deep as I thought. The tip of my littlest finger fit into it but nothing more. “The back is where it gets deeper,” spoke Benly.
As I moved to reach Benly’s back, he bent down low to the ground. After boosting me onto his thorax, Benly spoke, “Be very careful. I doubt it will hurt any more, but it used to be very painful.” I poked ever so softly at the crack in Benly’s thorax. Benly didn’t flinch or anything so it must not have hurt like he said.
“Does this hurt?” I asked. Benly shook his head and smiled.
“Nope, it’s healed over quite well. Just looks bad, but I can live with that.” Benly looked more serious as he spoke to himself, “Only thing I can think is the Creator wanted me to live. Other than that, I can’t think how I managed to avoid being stuck in the ground feeding plants.”
“What do you mean?” I asked. Benly let me down, stood up, took a deep breath and spoke, “That’s what happens to every one of us eventually, but if we’ve been deserving, then the Creator lets us live on in the Afterlife.” Benly bobbed his antennae slowly and turned to me with a smile, “In the mean time let’s enjoy every moment we have together.”
I climbed up Benly’s leg, thorax, and head. Benly looked up and asked, “You’re not going to try to sit on my snout again are you?”
“Why not?” I asked. Benly made a snort and hissed through the spiracles on his abdomen. He rolled his eyes and raised an antenna. Though he tried to look stern, Benly could not hide the grin on his face.
“Because it does not make a good chair,” answered Benly. I crawled over and sat squarely on the middle of Benly’s snout.
“Yes it does,” I answered.
“No it doesn’t,” protested Benly, “Get off I can’t see.”
“Can you fling me in the air and catch me in your arms like you did last time?” I asked.
“Very well,” answered Benly with a sigh, “But don’t make a habit of it.” Benly lowered his head and thrust it upward. “Up and away you go,” spoke Benly in a cheerful voice.
“Wheeee!” I exclaimed as I flew into the air. Benly caught me in his arms.
“Do it again!” I said. Benly chuckled and shook his head.
“No we only sit on Benly’s snout one time,” said Benly with a smile. Benly’s deep blue-gray eyes fixated on me. He seemed to be absorbed in deep thought. Benly looked up at the sky and whispered, “Thank you, I think I know why I am here now.”
“To let me sit on your snout,” I teased. Benly turned to me, thumped me with his antennae and chuckled, “No. That’s not what I am talking about.” Benly set me down on a leaf so he could face me at eye level. He bobbed his antennae and finished, “I am responsible for you, Marffey until you grow up.”
“I thought you said you don’t want to be my caregiver,” I said. Benly took a deep breath and spoke, “Yes I said that, but I see no better choice. It would be a terrible mistake for me to not be your guide. I love you Marffey, and I will to do whatever it takes to make sure you have a good life.”
“You promise?” I asked. Benly nodded.
“Yes with all my heart tube, I promise,” answered Benly.
© 2009 MJI (All Rights Reserved) Edit: Fixed a few minor things, most important being the background info on Benly. It's been a while since I last looked at my drafts . I forgot he was in the army in the story, but he's serving as a guard. Where this leads into Benly is missing his old position, but he is not sure if he is fit enough to do it, both physically and emotionally.I gave Marffey and Humpuly a bit more info. I also tried to fix the format. I can’t seem to get the paragraphs to transfer from MS word.I'm aware this particular short story needs revision, but I still am satisfied with many of the things with it.
I had some of my artwork and writing samples featured here, but it seems like "temporally" down is taking a bit longer than expected. I wish I would have thought to gather contact info to have asked them what the deal is. But I guess not. It's not the only place I keep my artwork, but it was my favorite place. I had quite a few samples of my writing uploaded there. I;m looking for a place I can feature some of my writing. For now it will be here.