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Writer's Block: The state of perception

Of the five senses (sight, sound, touch, smell and taste), which would you willing to give up, and why?


So I'm going to try this thing where I answer each Writer's Block with a short drabble. So here we go. These are completely unbeta'd - they are just writing exercises.



Kelly used to be able to see them, out of the corner of her eye. That was the only way you could see them, you know. She knew. There were others that knew too. But only a few.

She would walk to work. In those days, Kelly worked in a clothing store – she was a shop assistant. It was only part time, just enough to pay the rent. She liked it well enough. Chatting to customers, dressing them up like Barbie dolls, selling them all the pretty things and watching the money pass through her hands. So much money, sometimes.

But it was the walk to work she really liked. Out of her tiny flat, down the hill, around the corner, and then up the stairs. After that, a long stroll down the cherry blossom walk, maybe ten minutes long, and then through the rose gardens. In the spring there were birds singing, and butterflies fluttering. In the winter there was snow, and little ice crystals sparkling in the trees. She used to breathe on them, and watch them melt.

In the early days, when she first walked through the gardens, she couldn’t see them. Or she could, she supposes, but she mistook them for dust. Dust in her eyes. She would blink furiously.

There used to be someone else who walked through the gardens – a young boy, maybe fourteen. He wore a school uniform for a school Kelly knows is not far from her flat. An all boys school, a Catholic one. He used to sneeze a lot when he walked, and scratch at his nose. She remembers him mainly for the bright red peg on his nose.

She used to see him every day. He would walk just in front of her. But she hasn’t seen him in a long time. She isn’t sure how long.

It was after he disappeared that she really started to see them. Out of the corner of her eye. She tried to look at them dead on, but she could never ever catch them. She couldn’t grab them, or smell them, or hear them.

For a while there was another girl who walked that way. Kelly sometimes forgets about her, because she only saw her a few times. This was right back when she first moved to the area. This girl used to wear huge earmuffs, even in 30 degree heat. She used to walk the opposite way to Kelly, until she apparently found another route.

When Kelly was alone in the gardens she saw them more often. She’d liked the company, those other people who walked through. They distracted her. But when she was alone, they were everywhere.

They crowded the corner of her vision. Thousands of tiny sparkling lights, in every conceivable colour. So bright, they were. And every day there were more. And more and more and more.

She cried. Begged for them to stop, just please stop. On these days she was pleased not to see anyone in the gardens. They would only think her crazy, she knew.

She would try closing her eyes. Squeezing them tight. But the instinct to open them, to use sight when you have it, was pretty strong. And she knew they were there, anyway. Even through dark glasses she could see them.

She got migraines. She took medical leave from work. Her mother brought her flowers. From that walk in the gardens you like so much dear, she said. She was only trying to help.

Kelly could see them, out of the corner of her eye. They glittered in the flowers. The flowers rotted, and the lights grew stronger. Kelly lay in bed with her eyes closed. The lights were so bright she could see them through her eyelids. She pressed her hands into her face, piled pillows over her head.

It was six days later when she tossed the flowers. She got up out of bed, and made herself ready. She went to the rose garden, through the cherry blossom walk. She tore down all the cherry blossoms. Ripped them up by the roots. She stared straight ahead, but she knew they were there, in the corner of her eyes. They were glowing so bright she almost couldn’t see. Her hands were all scratched up. She could still see that.

So she took the scissors, the ones from her sewing kit, and carved out her eyes.