#WriteTip Dream Writing: Divisional Spirituals; A Short Story
Posted by oneofthedragons
I know a lot of writers who use writing exercises to help them practice. While I believe it is a great way to keep up word counts and a useful exercise all round, I never could get into it. Someone gives you a prompt then you go away and write about that prompt. The problem for me is that I either find the prompts boring or unimaginative. The writing exercises I enjoy are based on my dreams and nightmares. I have such crazy dreams that I have a lifetime supply of prompts to write about. Dream writing doesn’t have to be perfect or long winded, it’s simply an exploration of the wildest part of my imagination. This is my latest, written yesterday after an unusual dream the night before. It was very vivid and I remember most of it. The feelings I experienced during the dream stayed with me all day. It all seemed really important, very special and urgent.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy my exploration of my crazy dream!
December 15th, 2151.
In the mid 2050’s scientists finally proved the existence of the soul. They don’t exist in some vague place in your heart or chest as once believed. The soul actually exists in the head, within the brain itself. When the proof was first published it sparked outrage throughout the world and was met with great cynicism. For many years science has been used to negate such fanciful imaginings, disproving God and the bible while destroying archaic beliefs and notions. Yet there they were, telling the world that the soul exists.
People began to wonder that if the soul exists, surely God must do also? In time a new religion was created; Soulism. The greatest teaching of the Soulist Churches was that God existed, and in order to get your soul into his loving embrace, you had to find Him. In a way, it was their way of forcing more pliable scientists to prove God existed once and for all. Not that they did. But what these scientists did prove, was that not every soul is equal. They discovered that some souls were fifty percent smaller than others. They went further and discovered that each of these half-souls, were actually part of another, and so Divisional Spirituals were discovered.
Divisional Spirituals, or Divuals for short, are created when one soul is split between two bodies. These half-souls can never be complete until the death of the bodies each inhabit. Only then can the two halves become one again. Divuals are not soul-mates, that is something completely different. They are not two souls which were always meant to be together, they are souls torn apart during the universal recycling of spirit and matter–another thing discovered by the scientists. Souls are recycled and reused endlessly. This discovery led some to believe this proved the past-life phenomenon; when a person believes they have lived before. Anyway, no one knows the reason for soul destruction, or even why both halves end up inhabiting two separate corporeal bodies–often hundreds of miles apart. Some have hypothesised that Divuals are created when part of the soul leaves the dead body while the other half tries to remain behind. Perhaps this half has some sentimental notion attached to the old vessel, or perhaps it just can’t shake itself free and so the soul gets torn in two. It is further hypothesized that the fact matched Divuals can differ in age means that the two halves of the soul are recycled differently. Perhaps one half reaches the stage of rebirth many years before the other due to damage caused by the initial tearing. Perhaps the half which gets out first is simply recycled quicker, no one actually knows. The one thing the world does know, is that compatible Divuals die at the same time, presumably so the two halves of the one soul can combine again.
I was eight when I first found out about Divisional Spirituals and what it meant to be and live as one. My mother told me she was one. I remember at the time I didn’t understand what she meant. I thought she was telling me she had a twin sister somewhere. She often spoke about how death would make her soul whole, something else I never understood until I was older. I used to worry that she would die just so she could find her twin sister and leave me behind. But she didn’t. Well, she did die, but not until I was an adult of many years.
I remember thinking she was crazy. Especially when I started to read about the phenomenon myself. I didn’t look into Divuals and the proof of souls discovery until I was in my early teens. I thought it was a load of bullshit. I thought that some group of scientists had either been smoking something strong at the time of the discovery, or else they were playing a very big joke on humanity. But I changed my mind when I learned that I myself am a Divual.
When I was seventeen, my mum took me to the local Soulist church. The leaders of the Soulist church main goal was to reunite Divuals. When I was told I was a Divual, I thought of my mum and wondered if it meant I also had a sister out there who I would one day meet. The leader told me that if I ever did meet my other Divual half, they would trigger the Combination ceremony and join us. I have to admit this made me kinda scared. I mean, sure, it would be nice to meet my other half, but to join with them? What exactly did that mean? Marry them? Be physically joined somehow? It wasn’t until a few years later I discovered exactly what the Combination ceremony actually entailed. I stopped looking for my other half after that.
It is said that around a third of the human population are Divuals. One thing a Divual knows is just how lonely life is. This isn’t something which I can explain to any normal person with a full intact soul. There is no real way to explain it. But it’s as if there is a huge gaping hole deep inside me, filled with cold and lonesomeness. It’s like a pit of despair trapped inside you which continually sucks away your essence until you are nothing but a pathetic depressed individual. There’s just something missing, and without this thing you can barely function. But, you learn to live with it. So yeah, there are a lot of really sad people in the world.
Once a year, on the anniversary of the discovery of the soul, there is a worldwide celebration. Soulist Day is on the first weekend of August every year and Soulism conventions are held around the world. It is a day in which Divuals come together to acknowledge their partial soul and perhaps heal it if they meet their other half. Combination ceremonies are held during these conventions, which is one reason why I rarely go to them. But, I went to this year’s Soulism convention a few months ago, and I was unlucky enough to meet my other half.
The conventions are a little like sci-fi conventions of old. People of the same mindset with the same interests gather together to enjoy their uniqueness. There are huge stalls with anything from summoning charms to soul talismans said to combine half-souls without the need of a combination ceremony. Now, these things are merely trinkets, they are just curious items with no such powers, but I like them. They come in all kinds of shapes, colours and designs, and I’ve collected them for years. I find them pretty, but not at all useful.
I was standing at a talisman stall when a small boy approached me. He had blond hair and large blue eyes. He was smiling as he tugged my sleeve. I looked around to see if his parents were anywhere, but he seemed to be alone. I asked him if he was lost, and he replied; “Not anymore.” I realised then, as I looked into his unusually wise and bright eyes, that I was looking at my other half, the Divual with the other half of my soul.
His parents appeared a few minutes later. His mother eyed me suspiciously as they dragged the young boy away. I guess they didn’t realise that their son’s other half could be an old woman. I suppose I would be suspicious too, you can’t be too careful these days, especially with kids and strangers. But when that little boy disappeared into the crowd, the loneliness I had felt for years seemed to double with every reluctant footstep he took. I was sure I’d never meet him again. That the chances of our one soul ever being reunited was so slim as to be none. When that little boy’s mum pulled him away, it felt as if that cold hole inside me had grown. Almost as if my own half-soul shrank small with grief.
I didn’t go after them. I mean, how could I ever make a normal soul understand what the problem was, or how it felt to live with only half a soul? It’s inconceivable, unbelievable. Even a person with a huge imagination can’t even begin to understand what it is to live as a Divual. How could I even start to explain to a young boy’s mother that me–a seventy-eight year old woman–was her nine year old son’s perfect match? It would sound seedy, creepy, it would sound so very wrong. It would probably earn me a trip to the hospital with a broken jaw and a police escort to jail once I was treated. And how could I ever expect that mother to allow her precious son to go through a Combination ceremony, for him to die at my side just so his little half-soul could join with its other half? No, I wouldn’t and couldn’t ask nor want such a thing.
I paid for the talisman I had gripped in my hand and left the convention with the understanding that my soul would forever be a simple half, never able to reach its full potential while never fully existing in this life. He was so young, and I was much to close to death for our half-souls to be joined in this life. My half-soul would be recycled without its other half, and so it would continue to exist until such times as both halves came free at the same time, in another life.
As I walked outside the building and through the car park, I heard someone shouting. When I looked back, I saw the mother of the boy running after me. I was scared, so sure she knew what I was and that she wanted to make sure I never went near her son again. So I turned away and kept on walking. She caught up to me a few seconds later, stopped me going any further by grabbing hold of my arm. She didn’t seem angry, in fact, when I looked at her, she smiled sadly. She said it was customary for Divuals to exchange a gift with their other half. That her son wished to gift something in recognition of his half-soul.
I saw her son run up behind her, those bright eyes shining as he made his way towards us. He handed me a little stuffed brown teddy bear with a black hat on its head. There was a small piece of paper folded up and tucked inside a bow around its neck. He smiled at me then he and his mother went to walk away. I stopped them, gave the boy the talisman I just bought and thanked him. I watched them leave, wanted so very much to join them and enjoy some time with my other half. Because, when we were so close, I felt almost whole, almost complete. As if the dark pit inside of me disappeared.
When I got home, I placed the little bear on my shelf in the living room. Pride of place on the somewhat empty and dusty wood. I took the little piece of paper out and unfolded it, only to find two pieces of paper. The first one was from the boy. He had written it himself, that was clear. He’d tried to make the writing neat and tidy, large rounded letters which were joined in parts, broken in others. It said, “One day soon our soul will be one. I’m glad I met you.”
I didn’t quite know what to make of it. Then I read the second note. The mother had written this one, the handwriting was careful and clear. It said; “Terminal illness will force the day sooner than I can bear. He has some time left, but I’m not ready to let him go. We know who you are. We will come for you when it is time.”
It felt as though my heart shattered into a million pieces. Tears soaked my face as I cried piteously while rereading the two notes over and over. They knew who I was, had found me before I had even looked for them. I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been for her to see me, knowing what I ultimately represented in her young son’s life.
It’s not often a person knows the day in which they will die. It’s not even often that a person knows how they will die. But I do. And it will be at the side of my other half; the tragically young and most beautiful Divual I’ve ever known.
F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE
About oneofthedragonsSamantha K. Balk and F. R. Donaldson met on An Archive of Our Own, one of the many fanfiction sites online, when Sam asked Frankie to illustrate the fanfiction that would one day lead to Sam's first novel. They've been friends ever since! This blog was created as a way to share the oftentimes difficult journey any new author experiences on the uncomfortable quest of an introvert for attention to his or her most personal work. It is meant to remind you that authors don't just appear fully fledged like a George R. R. Martin, that all of us start out unsure and feeling inadequate. Feel free to ask us anything. Sam: firstname.lastname@example.org Frankie: email@example.com
Posted on October 28, 2016, in #WriteTip, Updates and tagged #WriteTip, author, dream, dream exploration, dream writing, dreaming, dreams, exploration, feelings, ghost, imagination, imagine, imagining, nightmare, nightmares, Short stories, short story, soul, spirit, story, story-teller, Storytelling, tale, vivid, write, Write tip, writer, writing. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.