Forever now unsaid, the words that might've warmed December...

December Showers

Lost in the Sky

Forgetting why we're here, is what rips us apart.

This wasn’t the way it was suppose to turn out.

Two years have passed since I agreed to go on a date with an extremely meek fellow named Keir. We had been friends prior for quite a while, but talking to him was always a unique and refreshing experience. He dreamed and spoke of a brilliant future, where his works and way of thinking would move the hearts and minds of his readers. It was a far cry from the worries and movings of all my other friends, who were all very in-the-moment with all its frivoulousness. These dreams and stories struck a chord within me too: it helped me remember the promises I made to the young girl of yesterday I used to be.

What makes a good story? For me, it’s always been three things: world-building, character relationships, and story in descending order of importance. A brilliantly written world is one that feels alive: I can step into a brand new reality based on the details that create its framework. The next element is characters: these are what gives the world action. The more human the characters are, the more I feel as though they could the very friends and not-so-friendly characters I interact with daily. The last element of importance for me is actually the story: I have a theory that every story that can be told, has already been told. Every story can only end one of maybe three ways, so what matters more is the glue and the journey that holds everything together from beginning to end of a story.

Fantasy is also another element of great importance in Keir’s works. He believes that reality is broken, and that the adults of today are the broken children of yesterday. A child dreams of what the world can be, an adult laments about what the world that already is. Fantasy is the bridge between the inner child of then and the adults of now: it is the spark of imagination and the wonder that keeps us dreaming. Escapism is one of the grand elements that intertwines deeply with fantasy: we dream of a world that isn’t, so we can, if only temporarily, flee from the world that is. But the clock must always strike twelve, summer always comes to an end, and the reality we dreamed of escaping from always comes back to anchor us into the present moment. And if we must fall back into true reality… what are the choices we will inevitably make?

The most powerful stories of are the ones that well up feelings of can-do. Surprisingly enough, these stories of can-do are not inspired by the mainstream superhero movies of today. These people are are demigods, blessed with immese powers and extraodinary responsibilies. I like the stories that Keir writes more: it’s normal people overcoming their personal shortcomings, and creating magic with all their once-dormant talents and newfound confidence. The awakening of their personal magic is only the beginning: what happens after is where the real stories begin.

Through all these elements, Keir writes about real-world isekai. Isekai is a genre where the main character gets forcibly transported to a fantasy world, and in typical trope fashion, the main character is a nobody on their original world and becomes a hero in the fantasy world. Keir negates that, because in his stories, the fantasy world is virtual reality, and like all good playing sessions, it must all come to an end. And when you must be transported back to the real world from the fantasy world, what choices do you make? How does your time in somwhere new affects your actions in the world of old? Through Keir’s works, he empowers normal people to see a new version of themselves they always had, but never had the opportunity to explore. He creates worlds of intricate detail filled to the brim with loving characters with relatable imperfections, and the most intricate twist of all, is that the player themselves become the main character. Keir writes in virtual reality, and this genre has its own advantages. Unlike a book where you imagine a story in your head or a movie where you have the story projected to you, Keir puts you IN the story. When your choices affect the actual outcome of a fictional story, who will you choose to be?

But Keir has lost his edge. He’s losing the will to create his stories like he used to. The stories he once created riveting hope for the future keep falling flat. In a world squeezed note-to-note in noise, Keir’s works don’t stand out. They get lost in the senselessness and pervasivness of today. The stories we consumers of today tell ourselves of the stories of what we think we want: the fame and adoration of strangers of the internet, the wealth and endless luxury of the elite, and none of the tales of the hardworking and silent true heroes of our generation. Working hard is hard work, what most care about is the end goal, and never the journey. And this began Keir’s descent into insecurity. Keir started to doubt the validity of his works, the very same that moved me into giving him a chance. To compesenate, he kept writing more, but never took the advice of anyone else. His stories become stale, his then-small audience shrugged their shoulders and left, and all that remained was me at his side. I tried my best to help allieviate him of his stress and rekindle his style of old, but the more I tried to help, the more he pushed me away. What was left for someone like me to ? A moment of brilliance occured to me in thinking of ways to soothe an aching soul: culinary delight. I wasn’t the best chef, but I tried my best to make his favorite dish to the best of my ability. Love and effort count as ingredients, right? I researched online for the recipe, cross-referenced 5 of them for the commonalities of ingredients and technique, and set my sights for the grocery store to find the ingredients for my quest. It took quite a bit of time and money, but for Keir, the morale boost would be worth more than the price. Upon completion, I carefully packaged up the food, took along my favorite plates that Keir had gifted me at a previous Christmas, and headed for his apartment. I crept up on Keir while working on his latest tale. Keir lived in a modest single-room apartment, and used to keep the lights on whenever he entertained vistiors. The living room grew dusty with disuse, and the only sign of life was the light leaking our from under his bedroom door. Keir also no longer greeted vistors upon their arrival: the only reason I was able to visit him was that I knew where he kept his spare key outside of his apartment whenever he locked himself out. With my gifts in tow, I slowly opened his bedroom door. Keir usually had a neat bedroom, with an always-made bed and a clear computer desk, but now was different. On his best days, Keir had a notebook scribbled with notes on one side and a screen brimming with and endless stream of words on the other. This time, the room was in disarray. The bed looked like it hadn’t been made in quite a while: the covers themselves had a human-shaped indent as if someone had been sleeping on top of them. The room was littered with scrapped-up pieces of paper, and the monitor next to Keir was empty except for the ominious blinking cursor signaling the beginning of a new text document. Keir himself was no except to this shift of room tone: usually very clean-kempt and refined, I instead found a man who’s facial and head hair grew longer than I could think possible. Slowly creeping up on him, I noticed a nearly-empy notebook with almost all of the pages ripped out. Keir himself look down at the notebook in empty disbelief, and rested his head on his hands with his with his elbows planted into the desk. I couldn’t see his face clearly, but it looked as though he was exhausted. It was impossible to tell how often or how little Keir slept anymore.

My work was cut out for me. Without trying to disturb Keir’s thought process, I slowly brought out the gift plates I had taken from my apartment, and delicately placed my homecooked meal in the most regal way possible (presenation is half the battle in serving food!). Once I had my food ready, I placed it on the far end of his desk, and slowly pushed it towards Keir. The food plates eventually collided with with notebook, and slowly moved out of Keir’s eyesight as the meal become the focus point of his vision. Once done, I gingerly extended my index finger to poke Keir in the forehead. Back when we first met and I was stressing about graduate school assignments, Keir would sometimes come over and notice me fretting at my desk in a similar head-holding fashion. Lost in my train of thoughts, I would feel a gentle finger pressing against my head, and a soft voice saying, “Remember that you are here, and that you are strong. Unbelievably strong, moreso than I could ever hope to imagine. Forgetting why we’re here, is what rips ups apart.” When I began to lose myself in the sky, Keir was the one that grounded me. It was here in this moment where I would begin to return the favor.

A second later, I feel a hand aggressively slap away my finger.

“What are you doing here???” an angry voice bellowed.

In another flash, the plates of food I had painstakingly reseached, bought ingredients for, cooked, packaged, develiver over to Keir’s apartment, and placed on my favorite dishes found themselves flying off the desk and into the nearby wall. The food was splattered across the room, and the plates themselves fractured into tens of pieces.

“Get out!!!”

It took me a moment to fully realize the full effect of what had just transpired. My body began to quake, and before I knew it, I felt tears running down my face. The angry man who I tried so hard to reach stood before me fuming, but after realizing the gravity of the situation, his face sank. He slowly began reacing out one and and it looked as though he was about to say something, but before I gave him a chance, my feet found themselves turning around and running out of the apartment. Just after I turned the corner out of his bedroom, I hear the faintest of noises coming out from somewhere behind me.


A gentle knock makes itself heard at my apartment front door. I wasn’t expected guests anytime today, so I rush over to see who is is through is waiting through my peephole. I see no one there, so I open up the front door and see a small package awaiting next to the entrace. The box wasn’t that unusual, wrapped in white tissue paper surrounded by a red ribbon. What was unusual was the gift giver. The present had a small note attached to it: “For Ri”. No sender details. I take the present inside, wondering who this could be from, and notice the weight of the present feels like something familiar. Carefully, I unwrapped the present, and once again I feel liquid running down my cheeks. There before me were my favorite plates, painstaking glued together despite being shattered apart not even a day ago. Ontop of my plates was one more note: “I’m sorry, I messed up.”

Almost right on cue, I hear the same gentle knock on my front door as the present’s delivery. “Ri… it’s Keir. I know you’re mad and you have every right to be but… do you mind if we talk for a bit?” My body shivered, not knowing what would happen next. Every angry facet of my being wanted to ignore the plea at the front door, and just as he said, I had every right to be mad. But something inside me wanted to give the benefit of the doubt… it had to have been something I read a while ago. Deciding to at least hear him out, I wipe the tears off my face and put on my brave face and as I’m ready to give the scolding of a lifetime.

“If you’re here to break more plates, I’ve locked all my cupboards. Try again at someone else’s apartment,” I definantly annouce as I open up the front door. What I expected to see what as upright man facing me eye-to-eye. What I found instead was that same man kneeling before me with hands and head pressed into the floor.

“I’m sorry, Ri, I really am!”, the man loudly proclaimed underneath my feet.

“… I didn’t know where to start, so I’m just going to start talking…”, the man said as he lowered his tone.

“I got caught up in pretending to be perfect. When I first started writing and got a lot of nice attention, I let it get to my head. I never imagined myself to be a writer, so I wanted to keep a brave front as a way to inspite others to do the same. The others who I believe have just as much talent, if not moreso than me. But what I didn’t expect was the criticism afterwards. When I put myself out there and wasn’t the receiving the same attention I used to, I began to doubt myself. Like I had been washed up before I ever hit my prime, because I would never hit my prime, like I would never be good enough. For anyone.”

The man on the floor paused for a brief moment to take deep breath, then continued.

“But for one moment, I was good enough to someone. I was good enough for you say yes. Before I started writing, my world was gray, like I was just trudging alone with no meaning. But when my thoughts became words, I started to imagine what the world could be like, instead of what it already was. And in part of that imagination, was you. I didn’t really notice it until after I started writing, but you are an amazing person contrary to what meets the eye. You have a way of listening and enouragment that inspires others to believe in themselves, even when they don’t believe in themselves. I wanted more of that, so I chanced it and decided to ask you out, and to my surprise you agreed. I knew I made the right choice, but the longer we were together, the more I realized I didn’t appreciate you for everything you are. You do so much for me and the people you care about, fight so many battles we can’t even begin to imagine, and are still able smile throughout all of your hardships. As I began to to lose sight of myself, I began to lose sight of you too, and it wasn’t until yesterday where I realized I was about to lose everything if I didn’t make amends now. Again, I am sorry, and if you never want to see me again, I completely understand. I just didn’t want things to end like this, I wanted to at least let you know a fraction of how much you mean to me, now that I finally realize it.”

I had already made my decision when I crouched down to gingerly poke the forehead of the man who was silently sniffling below me. As his eyes rose to face my own, I repeated the words that been gifted to me so long ago.

“Remember that you are here, and that you are strong. Unbelievably strong, moreso than I could ever hope to imagine. Forgetting why we’re here, is what rips ups apart. And for the record, I’m glad you remembered, too.”

This was a crossover post between Sandbox Zero and the Altspace VR Writing Group.

Sandbox Zero’s theme this week was storytelling with some of the following questions:

  • What makes a good story?
  • How do story’s change from youth to old age? Who likes a story?
  • What is fantasy and what is its role in storytelling?
  • How important is a “moral to the story”?
  • How does storytelling differ by culture, by time, by how one makes money?
  • How does storytelling differ in different media?
  • What kind of stories could change our future?

Altspace VR Writing Group had two prompts this week ( I missed last week :P)

  • She shivered, not knowing what would happen next.
  • The box wasn’t that unusual, wrapped in white tissue paper surrounded by a red ribbon. What was unusual was the gift giver.

edge-of-eclipse one-shots

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