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29 January 2024

Posted by By Tabby Hayward

Under the Sea and Spilt Water

This week, we started by sharing which sea creature we would be today - answers ranged from sea angels to crabs, starfish, dolphins and whales, and jellyfish. Jellyfish, like many underwater creatures, have no heart or brains - but for the next challenge, the writers had to write from the point of view of their underwater creature as if it one day woke up to find it did have a heart, brain and human understanding. What would they start to notice about their environment? What might strike them as weird, or funny? What would they think was the coolest about their life - and what might they not like? What might they be afraid of? What would they dream of?

Here are two powerful pieces by Aurora and Carrie:

A Moment of Sea Angel Sentience - by Aurora

I don’t know where I am.

However, I’ve never known where I am, so that shouldn’t really bother me. I’ve never known where I’m going, where I’ve been, what I’m leaving behind or what I might run into. I don’t even know if I’ve ever moved at all, but I must have, or otherwise I wouldn’t be able to catch the butterflies.

It’s dark. I’ve never thought of it as dark, however, now that I am aware of my own light, I find myself… disappointed. I think I was expecting to see someone else in the distance, to try to move towards them, but I cannot complete that goal without a beginning. In the darkness, there doesn’t seem to be a chance for beginning.

It’s been a long time, I think. I can’t really tell. ‘Time’ is an interesting concept. There is a definite progression from one moment to another, but the exact number of these moments that passes seems to be relative to perception. A universal constant would be nice.

Anything at all would be nice, I think.

To not be alone, especially. I keep imagining seeing something in the distance, like an echo of myself, projected forwards in a hall of mirrors, content with keeping me enslaved in this nothingness. And I realise then that I don’t know where that echo is, where it came from, where it’s going or where it’s been, and in the last moment of my awareness, it is gone. I don’t know where I am.

It bothers me.

The Pearlmaker - by Carrie

I can hear - no, feel - the this/that way, slosh slosh, against my what would be skin if I had skin. I'm still in here, my heart out of sync with the slosh slosh slosh outside.

In here, I can see the light, literally. I am all I, hermetic when I want to be. Until it gets in like a knife, and I go to work.

No-one can see it, of course. They didn't need to evolve the ability to see it, so they didn't. But I can see it. I can't see anything else.

The bright white light. A constant pearly gate no-one else unlatches. An economy which makes less sense to me than breathing water.

I have sent out invitations for decades. Look! Look! I have pointed into the water with invisible hands.

I pretend I am ambivalent about this, but what is the use of a pearl at the bottom of the sea? Look! Look! Look!

I do not have a tongue. I am no tongue and all larynx.

For our next challenge, we moved on to a new set-up for flash fiction - everyone put into the chat the worst place to spill a glass of water - unsurprisingly from a group of writers, there were several ideas based around destroying a manuscript (one handwritten copy yet to be typed up, or over a computer with the typescript not yet backed up), as well as Carrie's darkly comic 'over an open coffin' and Lily's wonderfully theatrical 'over the lighting deck'! Stories to follow soon....


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