The Unwritten Stories
I can see an image of an old room, moth-eaten white curtains blowing in the breeze from the window that has been neglected, left open. No one has been in there for a very long time. On a small table beside the window there is a single dead, brown rose in a plain glass jar. It’s dusty. Beside the jar, a few withered petals lie on top of a faded sepia photograph.
If I wrote this story I would call it ‘Faded’, and right from the very beginning it would be full of endings.
* * *
Sad little rejected lumps, Frankenstein monsters from the cutting-room floor. The leftovers. The Un-Followed-Throughs.
What happens to the stories that no one tells?
They will have a revolution, one day. There will be an uprising and they will take us all by surprise. There will be shots fired. There will probably be beheadings.
There is no way to prepare for this eventuality. But the time will come.
* * *
There was that one with Lara. I think there were unicorns in it, but that’s irrelevant now. What about Lara? She at least had something of a life of her own. What has happened to her short dark ponytail and her glasses? Where did she go? Do we condemn them to death when we turn our pens away? Do we shut the coffin lid before they’ve even stopped breathing for themselves?
* * *
Krys, at least, made the transition. She lives on in Zoe. But there are still parts of her that have been left behind. She was mutilated. I mutilated her. I didn’t even leave her as a whole person. At least the pieces she has left can still be together with Jade. The earth swallowed her up completely. And unlike Krys, she has no posthumous claim to fame.
* * *
Unwritten characters are refugees, living life on the edge, flitting from story to story and desperately seeking a home where they can stay, rest their weary legs, where they can put down their suitcase in the hallway of the story and say “yes, I’m finally here, this is where I belong.”
And the stories we’ve yet to write – a kind of purgatory for impatient, faceless, unknown characters? Maybe they’re the ones we should be most afraid of, come the revolution. They’ve never even had a chance at life. And who would be satisfied merely by vague promises for a glorious future? Is existence really too much for a character to ask?
* * *
“This can’t be the end,” she said. “There’s so much more still to come.”