More Writers Group writing exercise stuff... both written 30.08.2010
There Was a Grue
I went to bed early that night. The noise from the bars outside was still loud and the light from the bars was still bright. That seldom bothers me; I slept just fine. But I woke up in the middle of the night, with some noise inside the apartment.
I reached out for my mobile, to see what time it was, but it wasn't there. I remembered I had forgotten it in the kitchen earlier. I considered getting up to retrieve it, but it was very dark, much darker than I remember this apartment ever being, even at night.
There was no response from the bedside lamp when I flicked its switch. I added that information to the pitch-darkness outside and concluded, probably a blackout.
The choices were, then, going back to sleep, or getting up for the phone, flashlight, possibly candles. The reasonable choice would be sleep, but I wasn't feeling sleepy at all, and to be fair, I'm not always a reasonable person, even in more reasonable circumstances.
I sat in a corner of the bed, unable to see even my own knees, and wondering how I was going to find either flashlight or, well, kitchen, let alone phone.
“It is pitch black”, I joked to myself. “You are likely to be eaten by a grue.”
“Not tonight, no”, said the grue. “I'm not hungry.”
“You're not?”, I asked, feebly.
“Just ate. Blackout, you know.”
The voice seemed to come from my desk chair, just a couple of paces away. It was deep and bassy, with a hind of growling, and resonated in my every bone. I wondered if I was dreaming.
“So”, I asked, “to what do I owe the honour, in that case?”
A shuffling noise suggested the grue had shrugged.
“It's dark”, it said. “I wander around. It's what grues do.”
I pondered that for a moment.
“Pray”, I finally summoned the courage to ask, “may I put to you a question I'm really curious about?”
“Sure”, the grue said. “You can ask anything. That doesn't mean I have to answer.”
“I wonder”, I asked, “what do you really look like?”
The grue laughed. “Like a grue, of course.”
And somehow, I knew exactly what it meant.
by Caitlin Arnould
“I'm not your shadow and you're not imaging me,” said the grue with a somber head shake.
“I didn't say you were or that I was...” said Dale, beginning to protest sleepily.
“But you wanted to. Don't think I didn't see those thoughts flash in your puny brain. I would never stoop to wanting to see them of course, but-”
“But they just grew!” said Dale.
“Ugh! No interrupting a grue! Woe is simply me and I see far too much of you trite beings. Every night it's the same. What I would give not to see so much!” lamented the grue with another heavy head shake.
Dale blinked, as if closing his lids would, like a curtain, mean the stage shall be cleared and a fresh scene prepared. It was in vain: the dodgy, pudgy grue had not budged from his perch at the end of the bed as his lids popped open.
“You're a grue. I see it, I know it, somehow, but...what is a grue? What in the world is a grue?” said Dale growing now slightly perplexed. The grue just shook its lumpy head and made an exasperated grimace, animating its uneven eyes and lips.
“Oh,” he began wearily. “The gruesome life of a grue! The gruesome life of a poor grue...oh what is the life of a grue!”
“That's what I'm trying to ask you,” said Dale in annoyance. “It seems to be a rather...melodramatic one.” He sighed. The two-foot urchin before him didn't appear to have any purpose to its 3a.m.visit, nor did it appear to have any intention of ending it soon.
“Oh oh oh! Oh oh oh! You can't imagine the gruesome life of a grue! I can't explain something so complicated and...and..lofty (yes woe is me! We reach beyond measure) to a...human. No, the life of a grue is a terrible, gruesome, sacred thing. Oh if I tell you what we are, it would break your heart!”
“Well it already broke my sleep, can't be that much worse,” said Dale sighing again.
“That's just the thing, just the thing,” said the grue shaking his hairless head. “Gruen cannot sleep. The world cannot bear to not have us witness everything. We lofty creatures, we were born to give existence meaning by being the witness to it all. Oh it's gruesome to be a grue!” At this point the grue's eyes filled with pinks tears and sobs began coming out of their pupils.
Dale sighed. How was one to sleep with an imp crying in the bedroom?
“I heard that thought!” cried the grue in admonishment. “Oh the life, the gruesome life...the gruesome life of a grue! Ohh! Oh oh oh! Confused with an imp! Oh it's gruesome! Oh!”