Dog's Advisory Board: Fiction, 'The Contemplator'
This is some writing I've been excited to share with you all for ages. DAB members Zhana and Nyla recently used this image as a starting point for a collaborative piece of fiction. The photo was taken by Fiona Wood when she was visiting New York City, and Zhana and Nyla conceived of writing between them the first and last moment the narrator saw the person pictured. I am eagerly awaiting all the middle moments of this story... (*hint* Zhana, Nyla). - Inky
I first saw the - what I could only presume as - young girl sitting by the window on my way to work. It wasn’t the nicest of days, yet it was what I would call my kind of day; sunny with clouds, the sky not a clear blue but a hazy grey. Camera in hand, I was dreading the day ahead, with its seemingly endless possibilities of how I could mess up. Looking up at the buildings - old but not short of beauty - I found my mind wandering, dreaming up stories for the lives of those who live in them; how they would live, what their families were like. I passed the middle of the street, which in itself was not particularly spontaneous, and I saw her.
She wasn’t the kind of girl that I would pick out as extraordinary, and that she wasn’t. Her strawberry-blonde hair was tinted more towards a brown, and her eye colour was unrecognisable, hinting more towards a grey-blue, like the colour of the sky that day. But that wasn’t what had me captivated. I was captivated by her positioning; her arms were crossed, her chin placed accordingly on top of her wrists. Her face was dream-like - no - contemplating. She seemed, though she was a mere child at the time, to carry the weight of a thousand worlds on her shoulders, she seemed to be trying to find a reason for the vacancy of life that was placed upon her.
That was the first time I saw her, though I knew it wouldn’t be the last.
I last saw her on the grey day of Thursday eve. Everything was still, everything was dark, except for the jarring orange light from the window below. I stopped. The bricks of the building blended into the sky, the sky blended into the grey of her eyes. Soft thoughts drifted in and out of her mind. The contrast of the orange light in the empty room, shifting my focus. Vacancy was subtle and eerie in the dead evening. Pins and needles stung my arms, it made my heart squirm. Something was odd. Something was wrong. Where was the family. My feet shuffle along the ground, autumn leaves now scarce from the change of season. My heart stutters, my life stills with the vacancy, with the grey. She was alone, quiet and thinking. The contemplator shifted her position, it made me jolt with the sudden movement. She stood up, grey eyes to the skies, red hair cascading down her back. A mature gaze hint to her face. A gentle look over her shoulder to the darkness of the room. She turned. And left. It was vacant. It was still.