Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Writing a Letter (handwritten correspondence) (10/21/10)
TITLE: The Heroine of Arcy-An
By Sara Harricharan
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I can’t see them behind this mirrored glass, but I can feel their eyes on me. Their gazes feel like my own, the black empty hollows of my reflection staring back. It is like an echo. A visual echo.
What a beautiful descriptive phrase. Perhaps I could include it in this letter. This stupid, pointless, bothersome letter. But I cannot leave this room until I write this letter.
Oh, how I loathe the very thought of putting into words what I must say.
I must say it.
The pen is cold and smooth in hands that are big and rough. The plain sheet of paper before me is a perfect block of whiteness. How could I ever dare to stain it with my pettiness?
But this letter must be written.
This stupid, pointless, bothersome letter.
To the Heroine of Arcy-An,
I have a great many things I wish to discuss with you today. The point of this letter still eludes me, because I don’t see your behavior changing at all.
In spite of all that I have written to you, to the best of my efforts and knowledge, you continue to do nothing.
I fear this may destroy our friendship because of—
I hate writing letters. I’d rather make my point with my sword. There is no reading between the lines there.
My hand is already tired and my brain aches. It is taxing to write a letter. I have to use a separate instrument and move it across a physical document as if I were back in the twentieth century!
No, how humiliating!
The pen continues its solitary journey across the paper.
—and that is why I am writing to you. I fear your ego has begun to show in places you weren’t expecting and as a respected warrior of our people, I request that you take a closer look at yourself.
Lately, your superior behavior and outright cowardice has struck a blow to the morale of our people and soldiers. There are many who have admired and respected you, this recent display has left you labeled as a swordswoman of a lesser caliber. I recommend that you—
I don’t want to recommend anything! She should solve her own problems. I should not be the one sitting here in this empty room, letting them watch me as I watch them.
And as my mind trickles away.
Why am I writing this letter?
I don’t want to be in this room. Everywhere is white, there is one mirrored window. The lights do not flicker, but I can see the shadows jumping on the page as the pen is drummed along the edge of the table.
This stupid, pointless, bothersome letter.
—For your consideration and the good of the people, I would suggest you follow the recommendations above. I would also recommend a vacation. A very long vacation where you could rest perhaps, without any interruptions in a solitary location.
I highly recommend this for the sake of your sanity. I am worried, heroine, that your mind is slipping away—
There’s more than just a mind at stake! I can’t bear to look myself in the eye. This letter-writing is torturous and the reading of it worse. I hate sitting here, forced to do both.
—the recent attack on the North barricade was the result of a painful decision you were forced to make. If fate had left it another, perhaps more of our people would have been lost.
I am sorry for the burden you must carry with you for the lives that were lost in protecting others. But perhaps it is proof that you are still useful. Please continue to do your best.
I signed the letter beautifully and folded it into a tiny square to wave at the mirrored window.
The sound of keys in the door alerts me to the fact that my freedom is near. I can almost taste the sunlight. It reminds me of happier days.
From the ancient solitary cell, I stepped into the fresh sunlight. The golden rays were vicious. I hand over the square of paper to a waiting messenger. The council is eagerly waiting its arrival.
The runner took off, the letter in hand.
I closed my eyes against the sun.
My signature is a visual echo in my mind.
Respectfully yours always, the heroine of Arcy-An.
Another letter to myself, another day of sanity.
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