BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - DRAMA

ANOTHERSKY

ALBATROSS 2
Sunday, January 17, 2010

River Tam was once a student at The Academy. Now she has disappeared into the black, and all official records of the years she spent in captivity there have been erased or smoothed over. They no longer exist. But the girl does. Her diary is the only remaining commentary on the horrors of a future deceived. This is her story, told in her own words. ___ For those who want an intro, Part 1 is here: http://www.fireflyfans.net/sunroomitem.asp?i=22568


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1304    RATING: 10    SERIES: FIREFLY

ENTRY #????

I learned a very important thing today. An impin is useless for writing without its component. I carelessly threw it away when it was almost used up. It took three days of answering in gibberish for them to give me another one, finally convinced I wasn't hiding it somewhere. How could I hide when all they have to do is tap into my brain?

--- ENTRY #????

The labyrinth wouldn't be such a scary place if you had the time. It's the monster that lives in it (the maze) that eats up the seconds, the days, hunting you. But the king, who summoned them—called for the most impeccable youths and maidens—said different, to our shining faces, the finest in Thebes. Thebes is cursed with monsters.

But sometimes I think the monster is just as lost, trotting through sinuous furrows of sterile and unforgiving stone. To meet at last would break the tension and you'd almost be familiar with each other (you, the monster; the monster, you). Then the horror of eyes and teeth and hooves. The ancient heroes, in their vanity, went searching for the beast. They came to know the same grey corridors, but did not understand the paths, their fear overwhelming when their narrow view opened out to show miles of malicious maze. The beast devoured them.

Except, a string. A theory. Watching that pale coiled mist spooling out behind you like a memory, twisted and condensed, of voices, places that only belonged to you, there in pale replicate in your head.

Knowing that every inch of string spun out followed you, wherever you went, an umbilical cord that tied you to a proud history.

Wondering who is holding it at the other end, if they still keep it in their warm hands or if they've long given you up as sacrifice—all these things that you can learn from the tension of a string, a connection to the outside world.

How easily they snap, and the beast finds you. Can't run, can't walk. You're lost, and it is not.

Now it's all tangled---too many strings leading down corridors like the insides of another closet, someone else's folded clothes and foot-shaped shoes. But no one's there, and you can't fathom who they really were. Not without the string.

Three women, one young, one old, and one in-between, weaving and meddling in the lives of mere mortals. Making everything perfect. Scissors and scalpels snapping threads in the intricate loom, intertwining others, deciding who lived and who had their thread cut.

The youngest and most beautiful, and the most merciless. Mercenary comes not from the world mercy, but merceny, money—compensation in the ancient ways.

My brother is a doctor.

[I could never do what he does.]

--- ENTRY #????

The ancients, when a brave warrior died on the table, had a proper celebration. Steady hands were required, for pouring libations into funerary urns, blood-red aqua vitae on the floor, staining marble feet. Dowsing the spirit so thoroughly it would stumble triumphantly on into the afterlife.

It is all over my head.

The ghost of her dances, where there is room, over the parquet floor.

Were I to return, smiling and proud, the crowd would part and allow me my proper place, glossed in niceties. After all, I am a Tam. Same height, same face, same expression. But there is nothing familiar in the tangle behind the eyes, the other side of a tapestry that has been humbled. So perhaps the semantics of expression are justified in the eclipse of stitching. And this tangle tires of resembling a cupcake, coiffed in flounces of sugar and whipped cream. Going stale. I am a commodity with a short shelf life. But I am the one who has to wait.

--- ENTRY #????

“Conditioned Stimulus Response Sequences”

You’re the doctors, but I know the function of mirror neurons. They give you muscle memory. Ride a zìxíngchē, and you never forget. Can’t forget this certainly, can’t get it out of your mind. Writing in pen where they told you to use pencil, that this level was experimental, that you would push her too far. You didn’t listen, because that’s how you do your crosswords, in ink, without getting a single letter wrong. You cheated on their test, something I never did—I’m here by right, because I deserve it. I do, and I tell myself this over and over because I have no other option anymore. I have only myself to blame, if there is anything to blame myself for.

When I hesitated, you said that it was just like dance. Just like a practice hall. That’s why all the walls are mirrored, so she flies across the room, fluttering in the air like a trapped bird and it’s indistinguishable from the sixteen other girls shot from sixteen different angles. Me. I don’t care what I’m wearing, couldn’t care less about the mirrors already bought, sold, paid for. By myself. Alone. But I have sixteen friends in here and we’re all taking the same class. But for the first time, I’m failing, because I can’t figure out what they want. None of my reflections can tell me.

Even the door has a mirror on the other side, and there’s only one door, an arbitrary distinction. These could all be windows, though. Can’t see the eyes, the windows to the soul; just my own face. Like a blindfold they’ve cut slits through and you can no longer see your own eyes in the morning. They’re not yours anymore anyway. Why do you care? Why do you always have to care about things, River?

I know it’s raining outside, but here it’s warm and bright. How can that be? I signed the contract making it so, that’s why. I even control the weather.

--- ENTRY #????

I am so cold. It’s freezing here and I can’t stop it. Slowly the layers are turning to stone and they’re burning me, sealing each layer with a blast from the furnace. Will I pass through unscathed? They had to add so much fuel to this fire, all the red tape couldn’t keep them back. Throw me in. Lock the door. I come out like smoke through the chimney. No. I will melt, the essence of me, not be dispersed like a pestilential cloud in all four directions. They’re ignoring the galloping horses. It’s louder than thunder.

When they leave me cold and dark, I will coalesce. The maid will find a tiny tin heart, after I see what I cannot be—a paper dancer, a doll. Steadfast, I do not make a sound, sinking down into the ashes— hard, like lead into the sea.

Who are you to help me?

I can’t, I can’t…I don’t remember. I don’t remember why I’m trying to write this, except that it was important. As important as every other adolescent girl every other adolescent girl on every other planet sitting …school, the rules are that I’m just like them inside—can’t escape my own emotions, mèi mèi , no matter how far ahead you run in your mind, you’re an adolescent, immature, it pulls you back down to reality, to every other adolescent girl, to where they are. Only they’ve evaporated, gone like candlesmoke. Jump the candle before the clock, up the stairs and go to sleep, simple, like a nursery…I can’t dream because my eyes aren’t even closed yet, but I’m already gone away from them. Daydreaming in class again, drifting between flash points, talking points. Question points out. I can see one thing clearly: the impin flicks, flickers like a blade, poised over planets, systems, languages, rephrasing them all.

--- ENTRY #????

“It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.” So the wise ones say. Ha.

They keep our rooms cold. I feel like I never relax—even when I lie on my bed at night my spine is coiled like a spring and my ribs feel taut and flayed bare, caging my beating heart. I feel naked in this shift, and of course it’s under those pale med lights, turned down low like great lidless eyes. I should feel violated, but I agreed to this. Days and days of it. I don’t know how long. I don’t care, though the complexities of my own decisions are unclear—am I just whining? My father always said I was sensitive, as if he was studying a curious creature. Mother often complained so. The spanner, spinning in my ears, ringing. Can’t—oh God.

I don’t want to write this any more. I want to sleep.

Probes, probes everywhere—everywhere. The taste of metal in the back of my mouth and –uh! No, no. I feel so isolated, like I’m in a land of mist and snow, where the walls are clean and blank, like a painting of water. You asked me when we could begin. I let you.

I don’t know how to ask them when this ends. I thought they would tell me but it’s slipping and I’ve never been the best at remembering the instructions, they always were self-explanatory and they’ve burned the tags, all the labels. I can’t find where I put anything, but otherwise I feel fine. None of the pain returns.

It’s my own fault—

Like sleep, but with no remembering.

I fell off. Fell right off, like lead into the sea.

--- ENTRY #????

Dr. Mathias informed me that I have come very far in the program. The program that no one has yet seen fit to explain to me, as if I were stupid. He’s very proud of me. Very proud. Make them proud, River. You always have, you and that important brother. You bragged about him when you came here. They brag about you, back home, and never write. Always their little trophy when company arrives, a trained show dog. I wonder, whatever will they do now that I am not around to show to visitors? Dr. Mathias is their lapdog and we’re all fed treats by the end of the show. Feds. Like a baby over the sledge to the dogs. And it’s snowing so bitterly in drifts through the dark trees—I can’t find the breadcrumbs, they’re blending in with the snow and the whites of their eyes—the wide staring . Oh angels, please cover me with leaves, down, down, until I no longer look like an opportunity. Keep me warm, and hide me from them. I can no longer go home when I close my eyes—cannot pretend that this is what I wanted. Cannot pretend that I am priceless furniture in a cultured house to be used by a nameless girl that is here sometimes, who remembers the dinosaurs, the little green diplodocus stashed underneath the Mahler staircase after it was renovated. But of course I don’t remember where it got to, that autumn, just before dinner. I’ll never tell him, silly boob, and he’ll never know, and it’s all funny because I have a ghost family. I’m laughing about ghosts, which are serious business, and it shows that I’m a very foolish girl indeed. That’s what it shows. The truth.

Then they come for you, these ghosts, and they eat your heart. Slice it thinly, everyone knows that, makes it a ghost heart, transparent, so the candle light goes through.

COMMENTS

Sunday, January 17, 2010 7:21 PM

BYTEMITE


First paragraph, is it her answering in gibberish... Or them? BAH, bureaucrats!

So let's see, I decided to open this one up by trying to track down any themes in the previous entry that I can see carried over to here.

Layers is one. Which doubles as a hint to us, we must look and see multiple layers here at the same time to understand all the aspects.

Here's another one. Mist in the first chapter referred to the writing on he page/wall, what River was writing, and possibly fate. Here it also represents the past that makes up a person.

I see also a reference to frozen ground, where a young River, just starting at the Academy was expecting daffodils and spring to break through. It never did. It just got colder, even if she's kept warm and sheltered from the rain.

Window is another. In the first chapter, the window was something a light used to shine through. In this chapter, windows open to the soul, and are also mirrors.

She mentions conditioning again. Conditioning is associated with becoming a machine, which previously River described as a gun with a silencer. Assassin and weapon, no longer a girl.

Monday, January 18, 2010 9:00 PM

ANOTHERSKY


Think about windows and reflections, Byte. Keep going--follow the string theme.

Questions and comments welcome, everybody!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 7:43 AM

BYTEMITE


Well, okay, I'll go further. Just wanted to see if anyone else would work on the puzzle. Good brain exercise.

So River no longer really sees her reflection, it doesn't have eyes, or her eyes aren't hers (she doesn't recognize herself). Because her eyes aren't hers, her soul isn't hers (window to the soul). The light in the window has been extinguished (light in the soul gone).

This connects to the string theme through the concept of memory. The string here represents memories of her past life, getting lost and tangled in a labyrinth.

At the same time, the Academy is creating muscle memories to replace the lost life memories. Mirror neurons. This is why she metaphorically doesn't recognize herself in the mirror.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 12:38 PM

ALIASSE


Okay! Just re-read Part 1 and I'm ready!

Got the minotaur - YES! (It is the minotaur, right?...)

I got distracted, though, by the awfulness of River blaming herself...that's what a teenaged girl would do, in all this complexity of trying to make sense of something - just blame herself. You've created a beautifully, poetically-written tangle here, but it wouldn't work for me without that humanity underneath and through it all. Bravo.

I'll have to do what I did last time, read again and come back to comment some more.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 5:19 PM

BYTEMITE


Yep, it's a minotaur. Labyrinth. Thingie. It's also an allegory, like most of the easily identifiable things in this story. As I've beta'd, often the familiar myths and ideas are mutable as to the form they will take, sometimes subverted or inverted with meeaning. Sometimes they jump whole gaps to a different myth or form but if you look close you can still find the relationship.

That's why I've found it useful to keep notes on what themes I can identify and what they mean as they're introduced, used, and evolve.


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ALBATROSS 3a
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I've split Part 3 into two parts because of the length, 3a and 3b.

For those who want to start at the beginning, Part 1: http://www.fireflyfans.net/bluesun.aspx?bid=22568


ALBATROSS 2
River Tam was once a student at The Academy. Now she has disappeared into the black, and all official records of the years she spent in captivity there have been erased or smoothed over. They no longer exist. But the girl does. Her diary is the only remaining commentary on the horrors of a future deceived. This is her story, told in her own words.
___

For those who want an intro, Part 1 is here: http://www.fireflyfans.net/bluesun.aspx?bid=22568




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ALBATROSS 1
River Tam was once a student at The Academy. Now she has disappeared into the black, and all official records of the years she spent in captivity there have been erased or smoothed over. They no longer exist. But the girl does. Her diary is the only remaining commentary on the horrors of a future deceived.

This is her story, told in her own words.
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Thanks and big props to patient betas gilove2dance, Steamer, and most especially Bytemite, who has so far stuck through this moonbrain narrative all the way through with true browncoat tenacity. Bravo. Thanks also to ncbrowncoat and a few others who encouraged the concept.

[River copyright Joss & Co., text copyright me, Joss is boss, etc. et al, ad nauseum...]



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