Stories presented without context: Learning to Live series- Lani Reflects

By rckmtl | Random is Random | 7 Apr 2021

(In these short stories no context will be provided in part because they were inspired by a storytelling system far too complex to summarize and in part to provide a thought challenge to readers and motivation to writers. I encourage you to read these stories with a sense of curiosity and let your daydreams fill in the missing pieces and make the story come to life in a new way. You are most welcome to use these stories as prompts and craft continuations or longer versions to practice your own writing as long as you link back to the original and state clearly that the chars and framework are being borrowed.)


"We never know how high we are
Till we are called to rise;
And then, if we are true to plan,
Our statures touch the skies.

The heroism we recite
Would be a daily thing,
Did not ourselves the cubits warp
For fear to be a king."     
-Emily Dickinson

Lani finished her sweeping up of the last bits of broken glass and paused. There was still much to clean, but nothing more that could be done now. Yet, in the moment she quit her work thoughts began to race again; questions, fragments of old poems and songs, memories, and words spoken such a short time ago. Not all the memories were hers, and those that weren't... were very hard to bear.

She'd had the strength to to keep them tight in place while the others had been here, and the music played had helped. Alone now, she knew control was slipping and sought a means to focus.

Seeing the empty, cleared space of her loft brought the means... a brief flash of happy memory... of other open spaces with wooden floors... there was no mirror here, but it was enough.

Lani laid the broom aside, slipped off her shoes and moved towards the center of the room, stopping on the way only long enough to start the stereo in playing a soft and sweet collection of classical melodies. The moment she held the first pose of the dance she knew best, all the troubling thoughts faded away.

Her dance was simple. While talented in ballet, her professional training had ended at age art traded for another. No regrets, for it had lead her to her true passion in life, and she had not a single unhappy memory of the time she had spent dancing. Yet she had never stopped refining what she had been taught, for the simple joy that dance provided, and while her repertoire of moves was limited, they were natural and graceful in the manner that only comes with time.  It was good, to be in that place now.

As she went from turn to turn in the dance, she felt a stirring inside. This could be used to hunt. This could be done faster. Still, Lani did not move faster, didn't try to call on the talents of her blood. She kept each move slow and controlled, just aware enough of her surroundings to step between the new divots and cracks in the floor.

The dance reached its end, and thought returned. The music played on, providing a link to the focus she'd just held. Fragmented still, but now manageable, Lani's mind flickered from thought to thought...

all have the ability? all could learn?/ so foolish, thought it asleep, never thought.../ dangerous.../ will he be able to teach it.../ will he try.../ worth it to risk it all?/ devotion can go too far, love can be corrupt.../ there was control, even...submission.../ I think I see.../ heart of.../ I know so little.../ should I go?

A long time was spent in reflection and in the end, memory, one of hers, gave answer to the only question she had truly desired resolved. She'd already said it herself; "You need not fight this alone". True, the 'this' wasn't what she thought it was but there would still be a fight and a different memory, one not hers, gave knowledge that to abandon those who were so desperately seeking to not be alone was something she could not stand to do.

"Wait for truth until the end and then it's too late".

She wouldn't have all the answers she wanted for a long time, but for now, this one was enough.

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