#8 Flight

by Jessica Alden

Consciousness occurred all at once, a cacophony coiling and constricting around him. Blindness consumed him.

He wrestled against bondage, but the wrappings held firm no matter how he twisted or shook or pressed. Someone had trapped him here. To what end, he could not imagine.

He swung from an unseen hard-point, memory and awareness reconstructing the form of his body. Head, torso, antennae, proboscis—old and new reorganized as one. He remembered the sweetness of leaves and the day the cravings had ceased. A thousand legs had brought him here and, driven by a different craving, he’d bound himself up. Instinct had enslaved him and instinct could free him. It was a truth he did not doubt.

The chrysalis thinned as he struggled to break through. He peered desperately toward the waiting world, but what little light penetrated was cracked and dyed by his wings.

Life erupted through the shattered lens of a synesthete. Every chirp and cry swirled orange or furious red and the wind broke against trees, black and blue, green and brown. The more he fought, the more insistently the sounds and colors crashed against him.

He had to escape or the chrysalis would crush him.

He kicked a crack in the encasement and spilled into sunlight. The stained glass melted, the color dripping away, and he scrabbled onto his shell. He was free. His life was his own.

As his wings unfurled and dried, the scent of hibiscus nectar beckoned him to flight.

12 comments:

eayc said...

Really lovely visuals here!

Gregory S. Lamb PDX Author said...

Very clever. Beautifully written and tells a complete story.

Anjali said...

This is gorgeous writing with fluid and tight plot. Love it!

Jessica Alden said...

Wow. Thank you for all your kind comments! There are so many great pieces here already. I'm excited to see what the next two weeks bring.

Nancy said...

That was truly awesome - I loved it!

Jade said...

I like your creative approach to the photo prompt; you must have had fun imagining this perspective!

Sam Knight said...

What a unique insight to an unusual point of view. I was surprised you revealed the protagonist so soon, but it was a beautiful piece.

Rachel Green said...

What a super take on the prompt.

Gita Smith said...

Wonderful. I don't know where you live, but if you ever get to Callaway Gardens in Georgia, you can see hatchings as they occur in the butterfly house. In reality, the butterflies do not fly for quite a while as they must let heir wings dry.

Jessica Alden said...

I held one in my hand once as it emerged from its chrysalis. It was frightening and beautiful and so fragile. You're right, Gita. It does take a surprisingly long time before the butterfly can actually fly. Given more words, I would have spent them in those long moments before flight. I'd imagine it's a trying time for a butterfly, wondering if it'll be destroyed before it can try out its new wings.

Cheryl Manning said...

Brilliant! Fabulous take on the prompt. Excellent execution.

Sarah Laurenson said...

I loved how the story unfolded in pace with the emergence. Awesome job.