Still and Moving

A piece of fiction, to a degree

Shain Slepian


“Her clothes spread wide, And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up; Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes, As one incapable of her own distress, Or like a creature native and indued Unto that element; but long it could not be Till that her garments, heavy with their drink, Pull’d the poor wretch from her melodious lay To muddy death.” — Photo by Cynthia Smith on Unsplash

When you’re alone in the dark for a long time, many thoughts will flood your mind and vie tirelessly for your attention. Your schedule is packed.

That’s how it was for me anyway.

I never knew how how long I’d been [illegible]. Long enough for the floor holding me to begin to feel incorporeal.

I didn’t know if I was missed and after a time, I no longer cared. But I did wonder if the impressions I left on others faded as time went on.

At a time, I resolved to not eat anything anymore. I stuck to my resolution, though I could not remember why I made it.

I was treated neutrally to well. I was just a hostage — they saw no need to hurt me. I could appreciate the utility of that. They brought me a shabby little instrument that is common with the children in the nearby village, like a tiny lute. I learned its frets in my down time, but tried not to play it often lest its novelty wears off.

But when the darkness became complete and my mind ran out of mundane thoughts, I found it irresistible. I may not speak to anyone anymore, but I still have a language I know fluently. And it’s one my captor does not understand.

It was cold [illegible], in a clear and invigorating way. Across the cell, an elegant my sheet of spring water spilled over the wall and pooled into the cracks in the floor before running into the drain. When the moon was out, but not directly coming through my window, I could make out my face. I didn’t seem much older.

— [sigil]

— [redacted: date of copy]

My friends like my lack of social skills and my apparent disinterest in them. In fact, since I returned, my friend-circle has become more robust.

I think that’s why I am standing here in the darkness now, starlight barely littering the ground through the canopy of trees. Though I cannot be sure.

The barrier between the manicured lawn and the forest is an arbitrary one, and my mind imagines the line wavering, uncertain whether or not it should allow me to enter.

It’s difficult to say that I am ( illegible ) about my many new friends: “happiness” isn’t the sort of…



Shain Slepian

Shain is a screenwriter and screenplay editor. For more content, follow their blog and check out their YouTube channel, TimeCapsule.