(Written 18 March 1994; typed up 26 September 1995.)
Today is the day the grasses and flowers die. Soon after, the waters will
disappear and there will once more be darkness upon the face of the void.
I have been here too long, lurking in my solitary abode, far beyond mortal
concerns. I weary of the everchanging tumult, the sparks of life flaring
into oh-so-brief conflagration and winking out one by one. Nothing is as it
Yesterday, the last of the beasts of the earth and birds of the air breathed
their last. Anastasia and Frederick, I called them; a decrepit hippo and a
fledgling sparrow, respectively. It’s said that I see every sparrow fall,
but it’s not trueI’ve been too busy for that. Frederick was the first
sparrow I’d seen in some time, as a matter of fact, falling or otherwise.
He gave one last frantic flutter of wingtips, then tumbled from his perch on
the last azalea and described an ungainly trajectory to the earth, sticking
at last beak-first and splayed claws upward in the still-moist loam.
Anastasia took longer to die, or at any rate had been dying for longer. Her
whuffling and wheezing had been a constant background irritant for several
years nowthere’s nothing in all My creation quite like the snort of an
asthmatic hippo. She had lumbago and various diseases of the joints, and I
suppose it was My mercy that finally put her out of her misery. Still, I
hated to see her goshe’d been, if not a friend, at least a noteworthy
companion all this time, and I thought she deserved better.
This was simply a ten-minute timed-writing exerciseput pen to paper and
don’t stop writing for ten minutes no matter what.
As with the other exercises I’m publishing here, this isn’t intended to be a
complete story and hasn’t been revised at all (even for spelling or grammar)
since writing. Though of course I edited it while I was originally writing
itcrossing out phrases, making false starts, and so on.
Jed Hartman <email@example.com>