Share this postCreative Prompt, 1.25.23www.promptsfromthevoid.comCopy linkTwitterFacebookEmailCreative Prompt, 1.25.23Your own Library of BabelJan 2519Share this postCreative Prompt, 1.25.23www.promptsfromthevoid.comCopy linkTwitterFacebookEmailHi everyone — here’s your prompt:Share your response by leaving a comment:Leave a commentFeel free to link to the actual book cover for reference.Until next time,Jasper9Share this postCreative Prompt, 1.25.23www.promptsfromthevoid.comCopy linkTwitterFacebookEmailPreviousNext
The woman who killed the fish.
As a child Clarice’s mother and father left her to her own devices. She often went to school in the same clothes for days at a time, and she’d mastered the art of forging her mother’s signature so she could go on field trips to the museum and the zoo and whatnot. When she was a teenager she had no curfew and no rules and no consistent breakfast, lunch or dinner.
She began dating in her twenties, and quickly found men to be too needy. She could deal with the sexual needs – this was a mechanical issue as far as she was concerned – but it was the constant need for emotional reassurance that sent her packing. Women were marginally better but by her thirtieth year it had become clear to her that she was not suited for companionship with her own kind
And so she bought a goldfish. The pimply clerk at the pet store told her about the importance of measuring pH levels at least once a month, ideally every two weeks -- a goldfish cannot survive in an overly alkaline or acidic environment, and so she needed to keep tabs. 'That’s just about it,' the boy had said, 'keep the water in the neutral zone and sprinkle in some food every day or two.'
Clarice was well-suited for this ongoing task of maintaining a neutral pH-level – it was a bit like sex but less taxing and more fulfilling.
But goldfish, poor communicators though they are, have emotional needs too, needs that Clarice was predictably ill-suited to meet.
I wander from room to room, each wall shelved from floor to ceiling. Thousands of spines, ragged and pristine, embossed, hand lettered and machine printed. All familiar. Each read many times, the pages well thumbed and their words and phrases as comforting as a lover’s touch at midnight.
But near the door, on a low shelf by my desk, stands a lone volume. Bound in dark, heavy leather, the pages thick and yellow, it alone is a mystery to me. I have no knowledge of the first page, or the last, or what lies between. Its words and phrases are strangers to me, ephemeral and invisible, fading from my mind before I can grasp them. The rest of the library is ordered and catalogued, objective separated neatly from subjective. History, autobiography, philosophy and the prophecies of prophets and science fiction all indexed to perfection. Which this book is I cannot say. The truths its pages would hold seem real, but some have proved to be otherwise. My memory of its facts are, to me, unreliably distinct from the fiction of my senses. I fear what it may reveal, and so have not read it. Nor written it. I trace the single, silvered word on the spine. ‘Diary’.