Laura Wakes Up: Third Batch

I know that this is both short and overdue, but I really do hope to have some more out tomorrow. I’ve been rushed off my feet with a combination of break-up and job interviews:

Picking leafy mulch from her ear, Laura sat up. Arthur lay face down, and wasn’t moving, so quickly she went about untying them. She rolled the boy onto his back. He was far lighter than his strong frame suggested. He had been dressed a lot like a Disney Peter Pan, though all in black, but now he was barefoot and his defined torso was revealed by a shirt that hung in threads. Laura stood up. Her shorts fell down. She didn’t have time to blush; instead she gave Arthur a gentle kick with a dainty foot, toe pointed. He didn’t move and she dug her heal hard into his ribs. He spluttered and then she blushed.

Laura pulled her shorts up with one hand and tried to rethread the ribbon with the other. As Arthur continued to cough up pieces of leaf, she tried and tried and then gave up and used the ribbon to tie her hair out of her eyes instead. As she ran her fingers over her head her feet were sprinkled with detritus.

“It’s pretty, the ribbon,” said Arthur, as he sat up himself.

Laura stepped out of the shorts that had fallen when she tied the bow in her hair. “Thank you,” she replied. And mischievously kicked the shorts at Arthur’s face. “Eyes front, sir!” She declared, hoping that she still hadn’t blushed.

Arthur chuckled inwardly and without a moment’s hesitation, caught the shorts with his left hand. “I’ll fix them for you later. Sorry, but it did save our lives.”

“Can I die here? For real?” Laura asked.

“Well, I suppose I don’t really know.” Arthur replied, “But I don’t suppose it would be a good idea to try. I know that you could get stuck here, but we should avoid that if we manage to do our jobs.”

“Stuck here?”

“Well, if we weren’t to…”

“Weren’t to what, exactly?” Laura felt a stab of indignation surge up towards her mouth as she spoke.

“I don’t suppose I could explain later?” Arthur was on his feet now, dusting the sand off with Laura’s shorts. He tossed them back at her.

“Do we have somewhere to be?”

“Well, yes, but you have to show us where.”

“In which case,” Laura smiled, dropping the shorts, “we can walk and talk.”

The two set off up the beach. Now that sky was sky and sea was sea once more, the sun was beating down hard and both glistened with sweat by the time they reached the top of the beach. Here there stood an imposing granite cliff, the black walls of which stood vivid against the white sand and burning sun. Dead centre of the cliff was a wide gap, within which a monumental dune stretched up to meet the sun so that the gap looked like a tunnel of pure white.

At the corner of dune and cliff Laura said, “We have to choose. We can climb the cliff there,” and she pointed to a series of evenly spaced cracks that disappeared up into the black above, “or we cross the dunes. I know where I think we should go, but I think that perhaps it’s time to start talking too.”

“But the walk’s hard! We need our breath,” protested Arthur, flicking sweat from the tips of his black, black, black fringe.

Inwardly glad of the ribbon keeping the sweat from her eyes, Laura replied, “It hardly looks like it’s going to get easier.”

“Okay, well, let’s sit for a second before we climb.”

“Who said we were climbing?”

“Well, dunes or cliff, both are up.”

“Dunes?” Laura asked, “Dunes as in lots of dunes?”

“You can’t see them, but yes, lots of dunes.”

“Hardly a surprise, I suppose,” Laura sighed, “Things here do seem to go on ever so long.”

“They’re what you make them,” came the cryptic reply. “Anyway; I say you could get stuck here because, if we don’t do this right, you could.”

Laura opened her mouth to interrupt, but Arthur continued before she could, “I’m sure you gathered that the palace is crucial. It really is of the utmost importance, to all of us. It’s not so much that it sustains the world, but that it upholds the consciousness of the place.”

“The consciousness?”

“Well, you remember going to sleep tonight, right?”

“I suppose so, but I remember waking up as well.” Laura replied, hesitantly.

“Do you?”

He didn’t give Laura time to answer, but brushed his hair out of his eyes once again, sweat causing little clumps in the sand beneath him. “You remember getting up, I imagine, but not waking, per se. Strictly, this place belongs to your unconscious. Were this place to lose its consciousness… well, you can imagine what that might entail.”

Laura looked a little taken aback. “So,” she began, “you’re telling me that the Palace is like the mind of this place?”

“After a fashion. It’s difficult to explain. I wouldn’t like to suggest that the rest of us don’t have minds, but the Palace is a kind of regulator. It governs what is and isn’t conscious for us”

“And so if we don’t recover the heart of the Palace…”

“You may not be able to leave here, as there would be no way for you to know that this wasn’t your conscious… ‘sphere’ if you will.”

Laura was confused. Eleven year olds, after all, are not often confronted with difficult questions of consciousness.

“Be clear with me then,” she demanded.

“If you’re here and we don’t save the Palace, you may be stuck. And even if you’re not stuck, the rest of us that live here, we’ll become like ghosts. We won’t be the conscious, the real, beings here any longer. The nightmares will become the only real thing. I don’t know if that will affect anyone in your world. We should get a move on.”

Laura had thousands of questions to ask. Nevertheless, accepting that some battles are fought incrementally and secretly glad of the opportunity to once again do something mindless, she pointed to the dune.

“The cliffs won’t take us anywhere, I don’t think. We’ll just climb like the other night.”

Walking up sand dunes is both an exhausting and unrewarding proposition. Sand slips with every step and offers no resistance to those who wish to push forward. It was as weary foot crested the dune that Laura became very dizzy and hot in the head and slumped forward. Arthur didn’t catch her in time and Laura fell headlong into a rapidly opening nothing.

And then sat, bolt upright, in her bed. She jumped to her feet, her heart pounding, but reality slowly came back to her. Laura wandered towards her bathroom, calm again, convinced she had been dreaming, when she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror. She wore no shorts, but a pretty red ribbon held her blonde hair out of her eyes.

Re: Laura Wakes Up: Third Batch

Not to be a brat, but I should add that I do love comments, whether kind or otherwise.

Re: Laura Wakes Up: Third Batch

Sorry to anyone who was reading this: I have more hopefully this weekend, but the new job’s been spanking me pretty hard. I’ve worked 77.5 hours this week plus spent 10 hours commuting.

Re: Laura Wakes Up: Third Batch

You have an awesome story here, please keep up the good work as always, and you are becoming a better writer as time passes.

Re: Laura Wakes Up: Third Batch

Hi Nemo. I’m something of a late comer to this forum but have enjoyed many of the stories I’ve found here, including your own submissions. While this story is going well, and this may be the wrong place to do so, I’m actually going to ask you about another of your stories - ‘A Story About a Girl on Holiday with her Family’. It was the first story I read on this forum and I’ve enjoyed it very much; it seems to have been abandoned after chapter 3, however, when you said:

'I do keep meaning to, but I actually did and then my power cut out and I keep my battery out of my laptop when at my desk to avoid wearing down its life. Mission to write it all up again. It was, for the most part, more of the same.

I know what you mean about the plot here. The trouble is, the central business of the story is intended to be Poppy’s learning curve through the somewhat strangled romance, as well as a mildly amusing observation of generally stifled family interaction (where I think, at the moment, I’m not really hitting the mark - I fear mostly out of laziness). That said, I’m increasingly beginning to understand the importance of at least some kind of pseudo-events.

With the play by play, I actually wanted that to speed things up. To have the reader anticipate what was coming and so to use the delay as a way of making them rush through. I suppose from the comments what I can learn is that that isn’t really working, so I need a bit of a rethink.’

I don’t mean to sound pushy if that’s how I’m coming across here - it’s certainly up to you what you write and when you write it - but I was just wondering if there were any plans to continue with this excellent story and, if so, when we might see it, since it’s been over two years of the ‘rethink’ now. :stuck_out_tongue:

Once again I don’t mean to sound pushy and I thank you for all your contributions to this forum, whether you continue with my favourite or not. :slight_smile:

Re: Laura Wakes Up: Third Batch

Both are still continued, but not typed. I’m currently working somewhere in the region of 110 hours a week, so I’m fairly short on time. Should calm down around July though.

Re: Laura Wakes Up: Third Batch

Very trippy man, i like it XD

And how the christ do you have time to write when your working so much? i used to have a 60-84 hour week and i never had the time to do anything other than sleep

Re: Laura Wakes Up: Third Batch

I’m a machine :wink: