Human Echoes Podcast
UnmeaningBy Rebecca L. Brown
They crawled before his eyes, those centipedes of syllables. He’d gathered them up one sentence at a time and tried to tame them. Tried to teach them how to dance. To punctuate the bareness of a blank page with elaborate linguistic ballet.
Too many parts. Too many nuances of meaning. In each syllable, a palimpsest. All the dirty little sounds - they shared them. Swapped them. Meaning and unmeaning like an ugly Summer morning. Like a mind so full of meanings that they blur. They shifted. Slipped out from the edges of the pages when he wasn't looking. Slipped into his dreams - a linguist’s dreams - and burned their meanings in the darkened corners of his mind ‘til morning.
A word can cut you if you let it. Let them cut or cut them first. Engrave them with new meaning or allow them to define - and you the definition of a fool.
No. He would not be made a fool of.
He’d pinned them to their pages, then, all broken-backed - loose-lettered and unlovely. His pen a scalpel blade, he cut away the silent letters first. Double letters next. A lexicographic massacre - cut deep enough and all that’s left is meaning and the truth inside.
Confetti pages fell like fresh, unwritten snow.
He laughed - is laughter just a sound and not a word? Just sound without a meaning? He laughed until his cheek bones ached and words were nothing but the shadow of forgotten meanings.
Rebecca L. Brown is a British writer based in Cardiff, South Wales where she lives with her partner and assorted menagerie. She wanders through various genres (including horror, sci-fi, romance, humour and fantasy), forgets where she was supposed to be going and gets horribly lost on a regular basis.
Rebecca has a first class BA in Archaeology and a keen interest in languages, mythology and science. Her friends regularly discourage her from talking about fractals because things are better that way. Rebecca’s hobbies include martial arts, drawing, baking, weightlifting, leatherworking and music. She has also been known to knit an occasional fish.