Friday, December 19, 2008

Prompt: He who pursues fame at the risk of losing his self is not a scholar. (12/18/08)

I know, a prompt! It has been so long-I've been so busy. Basically, I tried to continue writing on the story that I mentioned in my last post but I just couldn't get over the self-doubt. So I decided to do a prompt. I tried to get some from NaNo but I could not find a relatively clean one so I ended up searching for a quote's website, and found-
"He who pursues fame at the risk of losing his self is not a scholar." Which was said by some guy who by the name looks Chinese. Anyway! As I wrote the story unraveled and I remembered the sheer joy of writing. I knew what the next sentence was, but in the beginning I had no idea what they were talking about. As I wrote, it came to me, bit by bit. It's one of the only stories that I don't have a good ending sentence, I wrote one, but since I had a minute or so left, I decided to continue.
What's interesting about this prompt is that it is not really relatable to the actually prompt. The prompt gave me a setting, and a vague idea, but my characters sort of took over and took it in a different direction.
EDIT: Haha! You know what? I actually misread the quote completely! In my mind, for some reason 'fame' was replaced with knowledge...I'm glad I did misread it; reading over, I would not have chosen it (and thus would not have written what I did) if I had correctly read the quote.
(December 18, 2008)
Prompt: He who pursues fame at the risk of losing his self is not a scholar.
Time: 15 min.
Words: 774

He doesn’t see me, not yet at least. His head is bent downwards and for a second my heart skips a beat, fearing that my dream had been realized. My breath came back when I was close enough to realize that the angle it was bent at was natural.

“Zack? Zack?” I called out, threading my way through the books. The room was covered with shelves upon shelves of books. Briefly, my eye was caught on the bookshelf that lined the wall to my right.

“Ancient Greek Literature,” I read out loud, one finger running through the dust that had accumulated upon the surface.

“Zack, where are you?” I called out, stretching up, trying to catch a glimpse of his brown hair.

“Over here,” he responded, his soft voice nearly lost in the dusty tomes.

I slowly made my way through the books, following the sound of his voice.

“Listen to this, Erin. ‘For all things were given to me, but not all things shall be given unto you. He who asks receives, he who wants gets.’”

“Sounds like the Bible,” I muttered, turning a corner and seeing him once again. He was sitting, his back up against the wall, his knees drawn up to his chest. His eyes flickered from me back to the book.

“No,” he said suddenly. “No, not the Bible. It’s by a writer who liked to think he was holy enough to be in the Bible.”

Slowly, I crouched down, waiting for him to finally meet my eyes. His silver eyes darted all over the room, refusing to settle down on me.

“Zack, look at me,” I said softly. His eyes reluctantly look at me, their silver lakes reflecting back my emotions at me.

“There isn’t any reason to be afraid,” I told him, but my eyes were worse liars than me, and I found myself unable to keep eye contact.

“I know,” he whispered, but we both heard the ill concealed lie within those two words. We were both afraid, more afraid then I could remember ever having been.

I struggled to find the right words. “You, you never know…he may come back unharmed.”

Zack’s eyes shone at me with more force. “We both know that that is wishful thinking.”

I hesitated, letting my quick reply die on my lips. “Zack, he was-“

“I know what he was, Erin, there is no need to beat it over my head once more. Gods know I’ve heard enough times to recite. ‘He’s my brother, my brother’”, he mimicked my voice, raising it about two octaves too high.

I stayed silent. Zack was scared, and in his fear he was lashing out- and I very easily could be doing to same.

“Zack, I know that it isn’t easy, and that, that it…” my voice faltered and then faded out. I had no words to comfort him, no thoughts that I could comfort even myself.

“Just say it,” he commanded suddenly, his voice tough.

“Say what?” I asked, viewing him confused.

“Just go out and say it; you wish I was the one gone, not John,” his voice was deadly, the sharp edge cutting.

“Zack!” I gasped, shocked. “I could never say that!”

He ignored my protests. “Just say it! You wish that I was gone- and may never return. You would rather John take my place.

“Zack, we talked this out! We all have our parts. John was to go first, you know that! I wish it was safer for him, that’s true, but I….I don’t want you gone as well.” My voice dwindled until it was nothing more than a whisper.

The angry wall behind his eyes started to crumble away under my words. I saw underneath them a fear, a chilling, choking fear that I felt rising up in my own chest.

“Something went wrong,” I whispered, my eyes catching his. His eyes were on mine, and I saw the same conviction written deep in there swirling deeps.

“Something happened to John.”

We tore down the halls, sliding to a stop as we tried to remember which way to go. Was it left or right? Which old wooden hallway housed out answer? The very answer that was the more important thing in the world right now. Where was he?

“Didn’t the professor say that it was…it was in the left wing?” Zack panted, his eyes wild.

“I, I don’t remember!” I cried out, frustrated and scared.

“Left!” He cried out, upon sudden inspiration.

I didn’t pause to argue; instead I tore down the hall after him. The portraits, the flowers-everything was a blur as I raced after my brother.

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