A Salmagundi of Stories
By Lady E

A/N: There's no rhyme or reason to this collection of drabbles. Some are inchoate ideas for stories, some are attempted prologues, some are timed writing exercises, and some are spur-of-the-moment speculation. Salmagundi originally meant a 17th century English mixed salad dish; the modern definition has broadened to basically that of "hodgepodge." Hodgepodge, however fantastic a word, doesn't alliterate with stories. :)

Please note, all the following drabbles are fictional and not autobiographical. Most will find their origin in egoistic musings, but I think that's par for the course with all creative works, right?

Drabble #1: Bloody, But Unbowed
Summary: Thoreau and Henley on exhibit, conducted by a self-indulgent high schooler.

When the nights are quiet after a burning day, when the trickles of violin from the neighbor's window stop, when the murmur of my mother's voice reading to my younger brother stop, when the doors close and the dark falls and everything stops, I am alone.

Alone in a way I am simultaneously terrified and enamored of.

Because I can feel the entire universe when I'm the only one in my room, and I know that there is nothing in this world that can satisfy me and no one on this earth who can understand me. Because I can let go and fly apart and exist like everyone is so frightened of.

Because I am monarch of all I survey and my right there is none to dispute.

Even though I despise Thoreau and I am sure the sentiment would be mutual had he ever had the chance to know me, there is this one point that we agree upon. What we witness is ours alone. And in these private moments, the blanket of the cosmos might as well have draped itself over my soul, so deeply do I feel.

If I wrote my thoughts on paper and gave the words to my English teacher, she would tell me they were beautiful. To her, any writing that touches upon ambiguous emotions or abstract thoughts would be beautiful. I am in a placid mood tonight, so I can forgive her her perspective. What she dreamily terms beauty is in reality striking pain.

To be alone is not to be lonely or forlorn or unhappy, nor is it the isolated, abandoned desperation teenagers whine about to the annoyance of our adult contemporaries. To be alone is something even the greatest had trouble comprehending fully enough to put into words. There is only one who even comes close, and he never made any claims to be great.

"The new days," said that strident, unbowed William Ernest Henley, who did not lie passive even on his deathbed yet could not escape the helpless strangulation of dangling alone on the precipice of the universe, "pass me in endless procession: A pageant of shadows silently, leeringly wending on... and still on... still on!"

Yes. I think he knew. To be alone is to suffer and to love to suffer.

But my digital clock reads 1:54 A.M. and there is school tomorrow. School. Where my name is Mike Dennison and the freshmen hate me because I'm the delegated bully and the girls love me because I'm the star basketball player.

Where no one would ever guess that they are, to me, merely a pageant of shadows.

Thanks for reading!
April 3, 2008