Just a drop- 1st draft short story

This is an example of one of my 1st drafts, which basically means needs lots of work still, though I think I am getting better at having rather readable 1st drafts now, probably because I do a lot of early editing in my mind, and typing makes spelling and little changes easy to make. I mostly made this one as part of a homework assignment. It was an experiment in writing for me, going outside of a more sentient being and into the existence of a drop of water. It lacks characterization and conflict for the most part, but I believe it paints a nice scene, and so might be a comfortable break for someone looking to just relax.

Just a Drop

By: Charles S. Gilmore

 

Rising, and rising, up into the atmospheric expanse above. Unshackled from the grounds constraints, molecular bonds too loose, spreading mass so thin that gravity could not drag it down. Such was the life of a water droplet in vaporous form.

All around, others of its kind rose together with it. Higher and higher.  Where would they go next? It hoped for someplace new. A frontier beyond what it had seen of late.

For several decades it had been stuck in the amazon, tossed about on rich green leaves, before becoming part of some indigenous plant or creature, or else joining with others in a mighty rush down the amazon river itself, a gurgling thoroughfare of activity. Laboring to carry sediment from one point to another, maintaining the rich soil of the land and shaping the world into something different.

Once it had been caught in the fold of a leaf with some others, until a speckled frog of red and blue coloration had laid its eggs in the waters grasp. It still remembered the tickle of the tadpoles as they sped around and around in their little contained world, watching as they grew legs and eventually were transported away to some larger water gathering by one of their parents.

Another time it had struck rock, rough and porous with age. Oddly shaped into even size with its neighbors, stone upon stone until they formed a mountain of sorts. The rock tasted of age old blood, nearly lost to time and the grasp of other droplets over the many years. Other drops had found the pyramid of rocks and pushed it off the side. It had nearly made it to the ground too, before a thirst patch of lichen had sipped it up in passing.

Dietary tracks, blood and urine, all were familiar sights to the drop of water. Always it had strived to leave what it found better than before, washed clean of contaminants, and supplied with the fresh strength that the water carried in its very being, always giving of itself and yet never running out, for it always gathered too, and what was contaminant for one, was food for another.

The drop continued to rise higher into the sky, the wind steering it away to some as of yet unknown location, for it did not know when it would reform from a cloud into liquid, and begin the cycle again.

Hopefully not too far north or south, were billions of its kind stood sentinel in solid form, held there by the cold, guarding untold secrets from the world. Bored out of mind and waiting for the time when they could once again rush forward and see what had become of the world in less frozen climes. The last ice age had been so dull; even worse than the time it had been trapped in a plastic flask for untold years, stored away for later use and then forgotten in a human’s basement. There it had learned that while spiders were masterful artists, they were not conversational, and plastic made speech difficult even with those drops of condensation that formed in the dank corners of the moldy structure.

Looking down, revealed nothing to the drop regarding its destination, there were too many of its kind in the air to see through, though some whispered of an approaching landmass in the distance. The air got cooler. Slowly the droplets body congealed, first into a liquid and then into a solid. Others stuck to it as they rose and fell on the winds currents, gathering into a ball of ice the size of a gumball. They fell, faster and faster. Would they be doomed to eons at the poles, or perhaps a single season of winter? Perhaps neither.

The air grew steadily warmer as they dropped towards the earth, the others thawed and drifted apart. Descent slowed as the drop shifted into a flake of snow, limbs outstretched to catch the wind. It landed on a mountain, striking out of the earth like the spine of a hedgehog.

All around it others settled to the ground, piling together until a sheet of white flakes had formed. The land as far as could be seen was grey and brown, with yellows, reds, and oranges visible in the trees far, far below, nearly lost from sight due to a wall of evergreens and grey rock that jutted out from the mountains limestone side. A landscape like those the drop had seen many a time, and God only knew how long it would be stuck here, where the temperatures rarely changed due to the altitude alone.

Time passed, below, the trees lost their leaves and became skeletons of themselves for their winter sleep, except for the evergreens of course, soon weighted down by the massed bodies of the drops frozen kin. Sometimes the drop couldn’t even see that much, as others piled upon it, blocking all view save a white sheen. Things got interesting once, when a moose nearly swallowed it, but otherwise all was dull perpetuation.

The fire came the following year, orange heat jumping up the mountainside and through the valley below, devouring everything it touched. The drop shivered with excitement, perhaps here was its salvation, the warmth that would set it free to roam once more. The evergreens caught finally, fine needles lighting like thousands of matchsticks, and then they were gone. The fire never reached the snowline, the plant growth died away too soon, and the wind blew the warmth away instead of drawing it in. The drop continued as a flake for another two years, watching as piece by inching piece, life returned to the mountain valley, fresh saplings climbing up from the ashes, and the occasional deer, come to feast on the new grass.

Another summer, the sun stretching down its arms of warmth from the sky above. The drop felt itself loosen, crystalline limbs folding back into a liquid core. It was free!

Down the mountainside it sped with the others, ready to join some trembling stream and seek a new adventure, tearing streaks in the ash sediment that had ground itself into the dirt, carrying its rich soil to a new place, where it would feed some hungry plant.

Everything went black then, and the drop thrilled with the echo of its voice off of confining walls. It had dropped into a cave. Down, down, down, it went, deeper into the earth beneath the mountain, speed diminishing as the cave floor evened out gradually.

Subterranean bacteria hungrily tore the ash from it as the drop joined itself to a pool. The bacteria soon becoming food for some eyeless insect, and that in turn for a white salamander, gills frilling in and out as it inhaled its quarry. The cave was cool and damp, but not so cold as to freeze the water, a fate the drop dreaded to receive all so soon after only just escaping such a fate, even if the depth of the earth, provided a new experience apart from that offered by packed topsoil alone.

How long it remained in the cave it did not know. It was pulled up to the ceiling by the occasional vent of heat from the earth below, it rode down the walls and added to the point of a stalactite that had been forming for ages unseen from the ceiling, dropping down until it nearly formed a pillar with a stalagmite below.

Eventually the drop grew tired of the dark and asked the others about moving on, surely there must be an escape, for more water would come from time to time, yet the cave pool did not grow. Down it is told, further down, into the stone itself, porous and easily worked through, after that the others did not know.

The drop continued in the cave, lingering longer and longer. It did not dare take the risk of endlessly descending, moving from one prison to another. It grew more and more bored with the cave existence though. There was only so many times it could find joy in turning stalactites into pillars, and watching the salamanders feed. It missed the growth of tree’s and animals.

It had enough, so long as it remained in the cave, it is as stuck as if it were frozen as ice.

The next time it arrived at the pool, it dove. Down. Down to the deepest point. Into the fine grained silt that slithered through its being. Down into the rock itself, slow going, but going nonetheless. Something hard all of a sudden, blocking passage. A crystal in the stone. The drop worked around it. Deeper. The expected cold and freezing did not come. It grew warmer instead. Warmer, hotter. Movement became easier, the rock itself was moving. Glowing hot magma, deep in the earth’s mantle. Had the drop gone so far? It didn’t matter now, it was being carried away, turned to steam with no means of escape.

The feeling was not entirely pleasant, expanding, falling apart, but unable to actually spread out comfortably. Where was the magma taking it? Up again? Days passed. The rock changed. The pressure continued to grow, more and more as rock continued to pour in around it, denser than before, crushing it and any other drops together despite the heat.

Then something broke. A crack like thunder, only with a roar that continued for minutes on end. The rock was moving faster now, forcing the drop along at incredible speeds. The earth gave way to sky in a slew of red and black, ash and dirt, vapor and slag.

The drop had no idea where it was, an island, a continent? It was above ground once again, that was what mattered. The wind caught it and carried it away on a burning breeze.

Through the smoke and ash, the drop saw an island, rising out of the sea, displacing waves lake a cannonball dropped from a ship. A city burned on a neighboring island, touched by the molten fragments falling from the sky. The drop wanted to go and help, to cool the fires, but the wind said otherwise and bore it away.

Then came a continent, and the desert. Hills and dales of burning sand, interspersed only rarely by a small oasis.

The wind dropped it.

The drop fell towards the sandy earth, but rising heat threw it back into the sky, only a few other drops touched the ground. Small creatures clawed out of the sand to drink what water they could. The drop fell again and again, and was thrown back, again and again. It hit the ground once, but evaporated at the sands burning touch, then again, falling with several others. They cooled the ground and sank into the grit.

Fear seized the drop, was it going to be buried again? There was something nearby, something solid. The drop pushed towards it, an anchor in a sifting sea of barren earth. It touched the solid object, and the object touched back. Fibrous fingers licked at the drop, drawing it in. The object was a seed. More drops were pulled inside the plant child, as cells fired and spurted to life, fed by the waters nourishment.

The seed grew.

The plant poked its head above the sand, out into the sun. days passed, but the plant endured, refusing to wilt, strengthened by the water it had gathered, its skin growing thick to hold onto what it had. For months the drop circulated through strange bulbous leaves, watching as the plant grew less and less, becoming another fixture in the desert. A new prison.

Months passed, creatures occasionally nibbled at the plant, never where the drop was though. More drops joined it at one point, during a fluke storm that brought more rain with it, and in turn more plants, awakened from their dormant sleep in the sand.

The plant began to change again too, flowers grew on the leaves, great flowers of yellow and orange hue. So delicate. Bugs came next, swarms of them from seemingly out of nowhere, pollinating the flowers, where bulging fruits began to grow.

The drop was pulled into one of these fruits, used to spread nutrients from the parent plant to the new seed. Used to make it appetizing and strong.

A kangaroo rat took the bait once the fruit fell to the ground, nibbling away at the fruits flesh. The drop went with it into the digestive tract with a sigh of relief. A moving animal, however small, was less of a prison than a plant that offered only the same view every day, especially when that view was nothing more than sand and death, and the occasional spout of life under the moonlight, when the heat died down and the animals dug their way out of their burrows to hunt and feed.

The rat soon became food for a snake, who in turn became prey for some keen eyed bird. Then the drop was freed with the passing of the remains, evaporating back into the sky.

It was dropped into a river next, and thought its adventures from the ordinary may be over for a time, but an outside force said otherwise.

Hydraulic pumps, snatched the drop from the river with many of its kin, rushing them through confining pipes and into a vat. Waste, toxic and otherwise was dumped into the drops grasp, chemical mixtures strange to the touch, slimy, acidic. Then the drop was shot out through more piping and back into the river, unsure what had just happened to it, but bearing its new contaminant along. What creature would benefit from such things though? After spending so long in mostly barren conditions, the drop desired the life of a forest.

A young sapling stood on the riverbank and sank its roots into the waters, the drop made for it. The roots grabbed at it and others, pulling it into the plant. Something went wrong though, instead of the plant drawing from the drop and growing stronger, everything that the drop fed grew sick. The drop checked on the other drops for an answer, was it simply the plant, or was something more going on?

Other drops were witnessing similar horror, but not all. Then it understood. All those that made the plant sick were those who had been pulled out of the river, those who had not been taken had not taken in the same contaminants. What had that place done?

The drop tried to separate itself from the toxic materials, to prevent the tree from feeding from it, but it was all in vain, the tree drank, and died.

The drop gathered more contaminants from the trees remains before returning to the river, but the evil sediment remained in great quantity. Another tree root lay ahead, the drop pushed to avoid it, to spare a life. It failed, and another tree died.

A raccoon drank it and grew ill. The drop feared it could never help another again.

Then came the marshland.

The river slowed and spread, and plants became so populous that the drop could not avoid them no matter how it tried. More plants died. New bacteria arrived shortly after that, as the drop languished in the muck of rotting vegetation at the marshes bottom. The bacteria were different from those the drop had seen before, and they came for the drop. It tried to move away, not wanting to kill more. The bacteria were persistent though, and they fed, taking in the chemical residue and everything else. The bacteria did not die though; they broke the chemicals down, releasing gasses that smelled of decay and rot.

The drop was clean again, and new plant life began to grow where the old had died.

The drop laughed at its own foolishness, how had it forgotten the greater picture, the great cycle. There was always something that would feed on what it carried, and the world would go on.

The drop moved on.

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