Solitudinous — (original fiction + generative art)


by @d-pend


_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

I awoke in my room. Visions of swords and flight faded rapidly.

It was dark — yet faint illumination creeping around the edges of curtains indicated a day already partially underway. The air was cool, though I sensed the presence of sweat upon myself.

I did not want to throw the covers off of me. I did not want to move. My languid mind dully impelled me to waken and be about the necessary daily tasks. I disobeyed it and continued to lie still.

There was a delicious sensation of total bliss — at least, there was the hint or reminder of that impeccable sensation. For surely, as I continued to remain motionless, the cogs within the mind creakily began to thread their way through unending revolutions.

Finally, after a few uneasy moments of this, I sighed, yawned and stretched. I arose, donning jeans, and left my bedroom. Wooden floorboards whined as I traversed them and a feline snaked about my feet. In the living room, I put on socks and shoes and sleepily opened the back door to the deck.

From the position of the sun, I estimated that it was around ten in the morning. It was far too late to be getting started, although... part of my mind argued, on the contrary, that it was still far too early to be here, in the physical world — where everything is drudgery and pain.

I grinned then, and drank filtered water from the outdoor spigot. I always had a dark sense of humor.

After my necessary hydration, I put on work gloves and began to carry bales of multicolored hay from the side of my shed down to where the illyisks grazed. What can one say about this work — the selectiveness of the illyisk is legendary and certainly well-known to all who inhabit Tern. I had ordered these rounds containing hundreds of different herbs and flowers, as most illyisk farmers do. The shipment had come late at night; thus, my oversleeping.


Forgive me for taking so much space to describe the utterly ordinary. You see, I am no writer — at least no longer — but a man of industry. In truth, I do not entirely understand the purpose of this diary, though when my eldest daughter recently implored me to document something of my life when she last visited my distant homestead, perhaps the fear and desperation I saw in those eyes convinced me to begin it.

I live alone. I have lived alone since my wife died some twenty years before. I see little of other human beings, and interact with them even less. My illyisks, my crops, and my felynxes keep me company — along with the suns, the moons, and the stars. I neither particularly crave nor recoil from human company. I am entirely neutral on the matter.

Once I believed that I would find fulfillment in society. I was a man of distinction, well-read and well-educated — young, charismatic and called handsome by many. I was intellectually courageous, socially bombastic, and would publicly discourse upon any subject under the suns with any who would dare to challenge me. What a braggart and a fool I was!

Yet nearly all loved me and my family. My wife and I were popular in Cynjunx and regularly attended events at the capitol library and the theatre. As my four children were born and grew, so grew the family's presence in local culture, until there was scarce a living soul in Cynjunx who had not met or at least heard of the burgeoning Byriven dynasty. Oh, how quickly those golden days flew, evaporating as quickly as diamond dewdrops ascend in the morning sun. Then came war, and genocide.

No. I cannot bear to revisit those memories. Not even now, so many moons later. Who may speak of such horrors as were inflicted upon my heart and my soul across those four excruciating years — indeed, upon the heart and soul of all our people.

No! If this was my last remaining child's purpose in requesting that I record my life, I may as well hurl this half-scratched scroll into the savage forest. Dara and I alone survived of all we knew, and that singular fact shall have to suffice to satisfy the curious. After I moved here, to the once dilapidated farm of my great-grandfather, I swore that I would never speak of those nightmarish times again.

The only way for me to survive with any shreds of my sanity intact has been to begin a new life that bears little resemblance to the old.


I have had what feels like an eternity to be alone with myself. When Dara makes the long journey to visit me, I sometimes catch her looking at me pleadingly, as if she expects great wisdom to have resulted from my years of contemplation and simple living. Perhaps it is the unkempt beard and the sunbrowned face, just as my neatly groomed appearance in my past life summoned expectations of refinement and culture. Despite this wizened exterior, I am utterly unable to offer her any consolation besides my simple presence.

The truth is that I feel I know less than I ever have with each passing day — a sort of inverse education in which one's distinct qualities gradually retract from outer manifestation. I do not think I have anything of value to say beyond strict necessity. Even this diary feels like an indulgence in unnecessary rumination... and yes, metaphorically... perhaps even the brash setting of flame upon my own lawn, near to my crops and livestock — dangerously close to the flimsy edifice of relative contentment I have painstakingly erected over these years of sweat, toil, and the sweet forgetfulness of heavy slumber.

I know that I am a broken man. I have heard people speak of healing, of transformation, of transmutation, and the like over my years. Perhaps, when I was young and idealistic, I was even a proponent of such rot. It is easy for a gentle and cultured soul to speak such platitudes, to put a mirror to their soft and dreamy life and see what shallow scratches they may receive disappear as if by magic. I do not hate them; I do not envy them. The simple truth is that as long as their privileged live persists, they will remain platitudinous.

I am happy to leave them to their grand illusions. I am glad that someone may feel, still, as I did during those wonderful times of old with my wife by my side and my future gleaming as a great gem before us. I do not wish to be a burden to anyone. So please, the least you may do is allow me to be solitudinous.

I must complete my daily work. Beginning this diary was probably a mistake — one of many in my long life.

thus concludes Entry #1 from the diary of Neb Byriven,
translated to English by the scribe Uther Unkor in year 6251


Writing and images synthesized and compiled
by Daniel Pendergraft for Proof-of-Brain
Community on the HIVE Blockchain
published on August 20, 2021.
Writing is fully original
and can be considered a free-written
blueprint towards eventual completion of a piece
shared and preserved immutably on blockchain.

Images created by processing photos
with Deep Dream Generator.
images 1, 3, and 4 — original smartphone photography
image 2 — public domain photo from pixabay.



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