By Andrew Maust
I had become soup. Or at least a sludge, it was hard to tell.
I had dissolved a few days ago, in complete darkness, inside this cell. Before it happened, I wondered how much of my consciousness would be maintained. It didn’t make sense that liquid could have neurons or lobes. They’d all mix together, right? Or maybe some parts of me were still separate. I tried to wiggle an arm, but nothing happened.
This was a mistake, I thought. Or maybe I wasn’t thinking. Maybe these “thoughts” were just chemical or electric signals, the last fragments of a fading consciousness. I didn’t have any feelings. Emotions, sure. But no actual sensations, like pain or cold. I couldn’t feel hungry, I didn’t have a mouth. I couldn’t bite or chew or speak. Wait, I could feel the outer shell rocking as gravity shifted and I sloshed to one side of my prison’s wall. Maybe this is what life is like before it begins, just an awareness at the source of consciousness.
But time was passing. The walls would shift from time to time, and I felt a leg twist. A different leg, not soft and fleshy, but hard, like a twig. I felt my skin form flags on my back, and I could feel the resistance as they moved through my fluid. I felt constrained, as if this small cell was struggling to contain me. Was I growing? That didn’t seem possible, a liquid fills its container. I pushed, and this time I didn’t slosh. The walls moved, tearing like parchment and exposed me to the glaring sun and the smell of damp soil. I staggered out and felt my crumpled wings shudder before they began to unfold. I clung weakly to my perch. I was solid again, and for the first time, complete.
* * *
Andrew Maust is a writer living in Mesa, Arizona. His work can be found in MockingHeart Review, The Raven’s Perch, Prompt, and Defenestration Magazine. In 2020 he won a second-place prize in the Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest for his poem “The Challenge.”
This went in a delightfully different direction than I was expecting! Great job Andrew!
When you get your book(s) published, please promise me you will let me know so I can purchase a copy.
< Mrs.Ashley 📖