Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Microstory 1402: Alone Here

There were a lot of things that Savitri was unable to learn, because she was ripped from her life, and her family, at such a young age. Fortunately, she wasn’t completely feral, as she did retain memories of living in civilization. She didn’t have a very large vocabulary, but she did have a concept for spoken language, which was enough for her to learn the words she needed when she finally stopped being alone. She reverted to her lizard brain for most of the first decade, though, and her instincts told her to be safe, and to stay alive. But what exactly did that mean? What would it mean if she stopped being alive, and how exactly would she go about doing such a thing? Her body knew it didn’t want to jump off of a cliff that was too high, but intellectually, she wouldn’t have been able to explain it. Fate didn’t care about that, though. She didn’t have to jump off the cliff to fall from it. Ten years into her life on Durus, as she was climbing up the cliffside, in an attempt to reach a new plant that looked appetizing, a rock gave way, and dropped her down. Death wasn’t something she understood until then. She had never seen it before. No one had taught her about it, and even if they had, they couldn’t have explained what it truly meant. She could feel it coming over her now, though, and she did not like it. To be honest, it was a miracle nothing like this had ever happened to her before. Sure, she had scratched her skin on burrs, and tripped often, but this was the first time she experienced a fatal injury. Her instincts took over again. She pulled off her shirt, and wrapped it around the gash in her leg. Then she dragged herself to a secondary shelter she had found that she only used if a storm came in, and she was too far from home. There she remained until it was safe enough to hobble across the lands to the small and only source of water in the world to clean her wound. Again, that was just out of instinct.

After it was over, she started to heal, and tried to get back to a normal life. But all the while, she contemplated what had happened. Had there been any animal life on this world, she probably would have thought to kill some of it to eat. But as it stood, she was totally vegetarian, and when she pulled these edible plants apart, it never occurred to her that she was stopping something from growing and persisting. She saw plants as food, or clothing material, and as far as she knew, this was just something the land provided. The more she thought about it, though, the more she started to put things together. She was smaller before, and had grown older. When she pulled a plant from the ground, she couldn’t go back to that place right away, because a new plant had not grown in its place. And it probably was indeed a new plant, rather than the same one magically going back to how it was, just for her. She didn’t have a word for it, but she was figuring out death on her own, and she was assuming it was an end. Had she fallen from higher up on the cliff, it would have caused more pain, and eventually ended her. Right now, she existed, but it was possible to not exist. And maybe that was preferable. Maybe that was easier. It certainly couldn’t be harder than all this that she was going through. Right? So she resolved to do just that. Once she was well enough to walk, she went back to that cliff, climbed all the way up to the top, and prepared to jump on purpose. As she was waiting for her bravery to show up, she started going over her memories, hoping they would bring her comfort. It was from this that she remembered more about her life before the hell world. A relative or friend had died, and the family attended their funeral. They were not happy that this had happened, and they wished it hadn’t. That was all it took for Savitri to decide that death was a bad thing. It wasn’t easier; it was just nothing. So she climbed back down, and never considered committing suicide ever again.

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