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July 7, 2012
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This is a cliche. I'm running, I'm bounding, I can't look back. The lumbering thing that chases me through a forest of gnarled black trees, around an indoor track the tone of Lovecraft's unnameable color out of space, between towering skyscrapers that twist unnaturally and gleam both in the harsh burn of the sun and the gentle glow of the moon--it grows closer, ever closer, and I can feel its icy breath at my back like a violent gust of wind, tearing at me, pushing me forwards. But none of this is odd. The strangeness lies in the fact that I am self-aware. I have not once in my life had a lucid dream. Why now? Why--

Awake. Thank god. But I can remember it, goddammit. I can remember it. I never remember my dreams. This place is getting to me. I never should've come. I never should've agreed to take that risk, to allow the expedition--and what could've inspired me to follow, to tag along where I had no business being?!

It doesn't matter now. I'm going to die here, die alone. I haven't been forgotten back home, not yet. But that doesn't mean anything to me here and now. Everyone else is gone. Lost to the depths of the stormy grey-green abyss, lost to the creatures that roam this rocky patch of land... lost to the macabre appetite of someone I thought I knew, someone who proved more abominable than I ever could have imagined, someone who grew so abhorrent that death had to be brought to the shell of what she once was. The knife, half-buried in the fine gravel near the shore, still has traces of the dark brown stain that the briny seawater will never wash away.

What is left? I have the knife. I have my sanity, at least for now. The rest of my possessions lie splayed in front of me--splayed in front of me, or at the bottom of the ocean.

A strip of cloth, used to bandage an ailing friend. Of no use to me now, but in the future... the thought makes me shudder. If I wound myself in my present state, there will be no recovery. But the bandage is reassuring, somehow.

A notebook--I don't know how it survived. The pages populated by what I think was once a spidery scrawl have been largely destroyed by water damage, but the blank ones, after being laid out to dry, were salvageable, as was the pencil attached to them. I know nobody will find it, that the pages will inevitably be reduced to pulp, but it has given me some peace of mind. I write out my woes, my hopes, my thoughts, my nightmares; I sketch the fascinating and sometimes otherworldly vistas to be found along the island's rocky shores.

And a bowl. I can't help but smile at the irony of its presence here. A shallow bowl of fine china, a souvenir, a gift for a mother--or was it for a wife? Whatever meaning it had before has been replaced, subsumed into its current state, its utilitarian purpose. The intricate azure filigree, the lines of glaze that traverse its surface--they are refracted and reflected in the bit of clear water pooled in the gentle ceramic curve.

It's the only potable water left. After yesterday's sudden deluge, a rivulet formed among the rocky grooves of the island's heart, a rivulet that rapidly grew into a raging river. The crystal-clear stream saved my life--but disappeared as quickly as it had come. And it hasn't rained a drop since.

I really don't have long. I'm coming to accept that. But it's just so hard to let go. It's so hard to close my eyes, to let myself drift through the stream of my consciousness, a stream as clear as the one that was here on the island--just as clear, and just as fleeting.

It's almost time. My eyelids are heavy. The bowl has been drained to the very last drop. The notebook bobs violently in the surf. The bandage hangs from a high crag, pulled there by a harsh wind. The knife is now buried up to the handle. My eyelids are heavy. So heavy. So heavy...

Darkness. A forest of black trees. An indoor track. A monolithic city. But I do not run. I do not run. I do not run.
Inspired by #tWR's prompt--the four objects chosen (if it wasn't already pretty obvious) were a knife, a strip of cloth, a notebook, and a decorative bowl of fine china. And that's that. A bit depressing. But what good is a story of isolation with a happy ending?

So, first off... I mean for the background of the story to be pretty ambiguous. Does the story suffer for it? Should I include some of how the narrator got to where he is? Most of the horror of isolation is alluded to, not directly addressed, and little actual action takes place--is that good or bad? Is the overall theme too obvious? Is the piece generally too obvious? Or is it too subtle? Are the dream parts pointless, or do they add to the overall effect of strangeness?

Link to a critique: [link]
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Daily Deviation

Given 2013-04-30
~bmansky1 uses repetition and clipped sentences to build tension in Stream. ( Featured by neurotype )
:iconbmansky1:
bmansky1 Featured By Owner May 1, 2013  Student General Artist
Wow. I logged on today just hoping to check if anything happened in the past week, and I found this. I never thought my writing would get this exposure! Thank you all so much for you comments, favorites, and support. I really appreciate all your feedback. And, of course, thank you neurotype for choosing to feature this!
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:iconscorpianakio:
ScorpianAkio Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
sounds like hetaoni
=D
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:iconthegalleryofeve:
TheGalleryOfEve Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Congratulations on your well-deserved DD!!! :iconflyingheartsplz::iconlainloveplz: :iconflyingheartsplz: :clap::clap::clap:
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:iconsimplysilent:
SimplySilent Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2013
:heart: Congrats on the DD! :clap:
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:iconxlntwtch:
xlntwtch Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2013   Writer
:iconcongratsddplz: I enjoyed this thoroughly, from dream to reality, and what a great trip it is! Thank you. :+fav:
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:iconfirelightprincess:
firelightprincess Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2013  Hobbyist
This is beautifully written! To answer some of your questions: The ambiguity works really well. I think you could expand on how he ended up where he is (though I mostly say this because I'm curious now!) I liked how the events are alluded to, addressing them directly would take away from the flow of the story. And I love how you brought the dream back at the end, it was very eerie and fitting way to show his death.
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:iconpaulwe:
Paulwe Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
This is a work of genius, and I do not just as say that to anybody.
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:iconjade-pandora:
jade-pandora Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2013
:faint: Holy crap!
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:iconlintu47:
lintu47 Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
    Congrats on the DD! :dalove:
    Have a nice day! :heart:
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:iconvanmall:
vanmall Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Congrats on the Daily Deviation! :happybounce:
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