Ghosts of the Heart
Stories are funny things. Everyone, everything, has one. The stories that a person tells and the ones they are told are fundamental to their universe, more so than the particles that lie at the atomic level. Our life is a story. Not one that we live out, walking through pages and over words penned by an almighty author, but one that we write ourselves in real time. Even what we plan for the future cannot be set to stone or paper until we reach it.
Perhaps just as important than the story of our lives that we have to tell are the stories we choose to create. Unlike the relentless pen strokes of our lives, the stories of characters that we imagine and are imagined for us can be left to the wayside, discarded and forgotten until we decide to pick them up once again. Books lying on shelves or films held on indefinite pause hold the passage for those characters. And the characters we create are part of us, parts of us that we can leave behind until we want them again. Or until we need them again.
'Please stop being philosophical,' said Ransom with a smile, 'It doesn't suit you.'
'Don't you think he's right, though?' asked Murdock.
'He's not trying to be right,' Ransom insisted, 'He's just speaking his mind. Speaking his garbled messed-up mind.'
'Well,' said Plisken, 'You're not wrong.'
They sat in the Gardens of the Blue Dwarf. A Blue Dwarf, at least. Three chairs were facing out onto the overgrown and unkempt vista from a vantage point, a discarded shed behind them. Huzzards and other creatures once hunted through the jungles and forests, chasing down prey.
Blues and yellows and reds and all fantastic colours in all manner of shapes were spotted across a canvas of shades of green. And it all glistened in the light from the raindrops that coated every surface and left puddles in the dips and corners and cracks of the Gardens. From towering trees to the smallest potted plant, all of them were cast in a wash of orange light from the setting sun. Not a real sun, obviously but a collection of lights that moved across the ceiling. But it was the thought that counted. Dwarfers might have come from all across the ship to see the closing moments of the 'sun'.
Dwarfers. Who were the Dwarfers? Who were they? Those three men on the hill. One a mess, the other a replacement, and one simply dropped and forgotten. Life is hard to write, and writing another's can be even harder. Or, so was the excuse.
'Do you think much has changed?' Plisken asked.
'I really don't think it has,' Ransom answered.
'The question is have you?' asked Murdock.
'Do I need to change?' asked Plisken.
A little silence fell over the three. The little retreat they were calling home felt... isolated. Alone. It was if a thick bubble kept the world out, or kept them out of the world. The world was moving on but they were left behind.
Preserved like waxworks, Ransom, Murdock and Plisken all on those chairs just as they appeared the last time eyes passed over the words of their lives. Nothing had changed, and yet it also felt that everything had.
Plisken still clamped his mouth around a long pipe nestled into his beard, but it seemed different. The metal arm that grew from his shoulder was still the same deep red metal, an old metal but to be around it felt... wrong.
Ransom still toyed with his multi-tool, a device that should never exist and yet it did. Playing with it, reminding himself of its existence, seemed the only way to anchor it to his mind. Otherwise it just seemed to slip away to nothingness.
Jeb was still perched on Murdock's shoulder, the ever faithful companion. But he was like a shadow, an imitation of life but was decidedly wrong.
Three ghosts on the hill.
'We don't fit in this world,' said Ransom, 'I don't think we ever did.'
'We're mad and loud, fantastical but to the point of it being... boring,' said Murdock.
'But you can't let go of the past, can you?' asked Ransom.
'But the past is all I have,' said Plisken.
'Sometimes having nothing is better than having something.'
'Should we try to live again?' Murdock asked.
'Living is a lot effort,' Plisken said slowly. As the words left his mouth he felt his throat tighten, an invisible pressure pulling around his neck. There was a cold object clenched in his metal fist and a warm red trickling down his shoulder, coursing across the contours of his arm and wrist.
'Don't,' said a voice. Plisken didn't know who it was. But soon again he was sitting on the chair with pipe in hand. But everything around his seemed like a dream.
'What is the point of this?' asked Ransom.
'Of life?' asked Murdock.
'Of this. Of this story. Not our story, but this specific story within our story. These chairs, these words.'
'Because sometimes we need a break from the nothingness of loneliness,' said Plisken simply.
There was a quiet.
And then sharp laughter.
'Shut up and stop being melodramatic,' said Ransom with a wide smile, and he got up from his chair and stretched before the final embers of the artificial sun. His movements splashed in a puddle, causing small ripples outwards but they never reached the edge of their small pool of water. 'If you want to come back, I'm sure you could.'
'Or maybe staying dead is best,' said Murdock who joined Ransom at the edge of the overlook. 'Or are you staying forgotten?'
'Maybe I should be different?' Plisken asked no-one because there was no-one to ask. There was no-one with him on that overlook except two empty chairs. Ransom and Murdock, ghosts of characters that had faded from memory, were no where to be seen.
And then, neither was Plisken.
<OOC - Pointless dumb post I felt like writing because it has been a year short of two days since I last posted anything. Doesn't mean jack for the plot, or for the characters, but I wanted to write it. Mods could delete it if they want, and everyone could ignore it if they want, but, ta-da>