You are on page 1of 7

Page 1 of 7

Daniela Lao

The Myth of Words

Daniela Lao

Daniela Lao

Page 2 of 7

Once there were no words. Nothing existed except a barren planet called the Void.
The Void had no origin and no inhabitants except Annot, whose name means light and Ratri,
whose name means dark. Together they lived in peace because there were no words or things in
existence to fight over. Every day they walked their empty rocky planet thinking nothing, wanting
nothing and finding nothing. Then one day as Annot and Ratri walked, Annot saw a glittering
rock buried in the ground. The glitter of the rock bothered Ratri’s eyes and he wanted to destroy
this thing that disturbed the darkness around them. For the first time, Annot wanted something.
She wanted to protect this rock and learn its secrets.
One day Ratri and Annot fought for the rock and it slipped out of their hands,
falling to the ground and cracking. A sliver of light broke through a small crack on the rock and
they both watched as words spilled out of the rock and floated all around them. Suddenly
everything around them and inside of them started to change. Beyond all darkness Annot
watched as something happened and for the first time, she imagined. Annot imagined things and
Ratri imagined things and they came into being. Annot created more worlds like The Void but
with color. Ratri created the dark things on each world like fear, shadows, and sadness; all
things he thought were good. Annot created a sheet of shinning balls of light that she called
stars. She pinned the sheet above and around everything and the sheet was able to fold into itself
to create more stars. The light from the stars angered Ratri.
“But mommy, why is Rat Tree angry at the stars?”
“Honey, it’s ‘Ratri’ and you have to let mommy finish the story. He wants the light
hidden away and the rock and all its words to himself.”

Daniela Lao

Page 3 of 7

Then Annot created a great ball of fire and light which shed light on all her worlds, destroying
many of Ratri’s shadows. Ratri decided to steal the rock and break it open so only he could use
all the words to create his dark things. Before breaking the rock, he created the moon to bring
night and force the sun to share its place. Annot saw this and stole back the rock from him as he
rested in his shadows. Then she decided to run away and protect the rock of words forever. Ratri
realized the rock and Annot were gone and beyond all time and all the places they have created,
he began to chase her…
“Mommy, mommy, MOMMY! Are you done now? Can I ask a question?”
Alana stared into the oak doors of the courthouse and for a moment lost herself in thought.
Lucy’s voice pulled her back.
“Yes, Lucy, ask a question. The story isn’t done though.”
Lucy’s face could not hide her excitement and her eyes asked her question before her voice
could.
“I’ll finish the rest when we’re done here.”
“Mommy, is Rat Tree gonna catch her?”
“I don’t know yet, baby, Mommy is still thinking about that.”
“Mommy, this chair makes my butt hurt.”
They were sitting on marble benches outside the courthouse waiting for it to open. Alana always
hated the ostentatious gestures courthouses made to look greater than they were. To get a
passport or paternity papers she had to pass through a rotunda with a high domed ceiling circled

Daniela Lao

Page 4 of 7

by art. Museums were places she wanted to be, she did not want to be here and the beauty of the
courthouse would not change that. At least the DMV never pretends to be more than it is she
thought. The cold marble bench sat under a tree which made it freezing. It began to numb her
entire body as well. Alana stood up, stretched and swept Lucy up into her arms and onto her hip
as she moved to the courthouse steps warmed by the sun.
They were the first there but others began to arrive. A father held the back of his
daughter’s arm as if he didn’t want to touch her, but feared she would escape. The girl had sad
searching eyes like a wild animal. In her hands, the edge of a paper folded over and Alana could
read the words ‘Juvenile Court’. The girl rubbed a necklace around her neck. It was half of a
heart that read Sister #1. They sat on a marble bench as he leaned into her ear and said, “What
were your mother and sister think if they were still alive?” Thinking Alana could not hear him on
the steps, he did not whisper. Alana pretended not to listen, but she was watching them with
great curiosity and once again began to lose herself into a story. Lucy lightly pinched her mother
with her tiny fingers.
“Mommy, you said it’s not polite to stare and listen to others conversations!”
“Yes, dear, but it’s different for Mommy. I have to do that to get ideas for my
stories. It’s my job.”
“So, it’s ok if I listen to Auntie Helen whenever she’s yelling at Uncle Ben….if I
make a story about it?”
Alana realized she had let herself get in a corner and her daughter was technically right. She was
a writer taking artistic license on decorum. She turned away from the father and his daughter and

Daniela Lao

Page 5 of 7

took a notebook out of her purse. She looked down at the red flesh of her arm where her daughter
pinched her and she furiously wrote the title of a story calling it “The Weight of My Flesh”.
“You’re right Lucy, you shouldn’t stare at people or listen to their conversations,”
she said as she jotted down a quick outline of a future story.
The courthouse doors finally opened and they walked ahead of the father and his daughter with
the sad eyes. For a moment, Alana was overwhelmed and stopped to regain herself. The court,
like a church, echoed the sacrosanct whispers of all those that came before her; their words and
voices leaped out of windows and official documents, travelled through jail houses and through
phone lines.
Lucy noticed other people coming in and looking at the floor directory and then promptly
moving to their destination. Lucy walked over to the floor directory, searching for whatever
would make her mother move.
“Mommy, are you lost? What about this?”
Alana motioned to her daughter, who came and took her hand.
“Thank you, baby, Mommy isn’t completely lost yet, I know where to go.”
As they entered the elevator Alana noticed the woman standing beside them. She hit the button
for the 4th floor which Alana and Lucy were also going. In her hand she looked at a paper which
Alana quickly glanced at after making sure Lucy was not watching. Her short glance only came
up with the word ‘Divorce’. The woman was in good shape and tan all over as if she had spent
time on a beach, however she had no tan lines. Her ring finger held the vague shadow of a ring.
On the third floor a gentleman in knee length jean shorts, a t-shirt reading ‘Buck n Duck’ and a

Page 6 of 7

Daniela Lao

cowboy hat. Alana quickly took her notebook out of her purse and once again scribbled some
words down, the furious sounds of the pen causing Lucy to suspiciously look up at her mother.
Leaving the elevator they walk over to a large room dedicated to family court
issues. Alana filled out custody papers, turned them in and waited to be called. In the waiting
room she notices a bronze statue in the corner of a man holding a round globe surrounded by
stars. On top of the globe is a figure of a woman holding her hands up to the stars. Alana takes
out her notebook as he is called, prompting her to quickly jot down ‘stars, man, woman’, so she
won’t forget.
“Mrs. Blake, I’m sorry it appears your husband has already filed custody papers.
We can only process a custody case from one parent at a time.”
Alana suddenly felt ill and stupid as if all the air in her body and been used to fill a zeppelin
without her permission. The woman promptly moved to the next person gently dismissing Alana
as if she hoped she would get the message that nothing could be done.
As they walked back to the car, the last few years flashed through her mind of being
trapped and beaten. The last time, Adrian had almost killed her. He promised to take Lucy far
away where Alana could never see her. Alana didn’t doubt he had the connections to legally pull
that off. He was a high ranking cop in a small town. Everyone loved him; she thought they loved
him so much they didn’t notice the bruises on her face and arms or the great welts from cigarette
burns. That last time, in the darkness of their bedroom closet she hid in, she realized she would
not live for another year if she did try to get help. Anyone she spoke to would not listen, they told
her things like this worked out in the end and regardless she didn’t have the money to fight him.

Daniela Lao

Page 7 of 7

Alana quickly did a u-turn and headed away from home. The thoughts in Alana
head left her ear and quickly entered Lucy like an electric current.
“Mommy, are we not going home?”
“No, honey, we’re going someplace different for a little bit.”
“Is Daddy coming? He said he would have a present for both of us when he came
back from work.”
“No, Lucy, Daddy can’t come this time. I’ll finish the story on the way there, how
about that?”
Lucy smiled and nodded her head.
Annot took the rock across many worlds and through the blanket of stars. Her hair
and dress had so many stars on it she shined all over. Finally she was so tired from carrying the
heavy rock that she decided to crack it open and let the words go free. She kneeled down and on
the ground she cracked the rock and words spilled out all over. Annot suddenly felt alone, now
that she did not have the rock, so she thought of someone like her, but smaller, someone she
could teach these words to and walk with. She named the small one Aonani, which means
‘beautiful light’. Together they helped create the world around them.
“Mommy, what about Rat Tree? Is he still chasing them?”
“Well, little girl, you’ll just have to wait until I finish the story, won’t you?