Becomes One Hundred Stories #3: Wakes Later than Usual

This is a piece of short fiction in the style and universe of three of my novels: Becomes the Happy Man, Becomes God’s Silent Prophet, and Becomes the Meaning Blossom.

Wakes Later than Usual

The young man woke up later than usual.

The young man lay in his sleeping place in the loft of the place where he stored food for the many beasts in the enclosure outside, and he felt the sun shine through the small window. He seldom woke up after sunrise. The young man did not understand why he had woken up so late.

The young man knew he would have to rise and feed the many beasts in the enclosure outside, but he decided to stay in his sleeping place a little longer.

The sleeping place was warm. The sleeping place was warm, but the place where he lived in the place where he stored food for the many beasts in the enclosure outside was warm too. In winter he was often tempted to stay in his sleeping place at least until sunrise because his sleeping place was so much warmer than the cold place where he lived, but even in winter he always roused himself before sunrise to feed the many beasts in the enclosure outside and then get on with his other daily chores. But on this day, the place where he lived was not cold because it was summer, and yet there he was, lying in his warm sleeping place long after the sun had risen.

The young man listened for the many beasts. They always grew restless near feeding time, anticipating the young man’s arrival with their feed. But the many beasts did not make any noise. The young man listened harder, and the many beasts remained silent.

The young man tried to think about what he had done the night before that might have put him in this unusual frame of mind. But the young man could not remember anything about the night before. He had probably spent the evening reading and preparing his food for the next day of work. He had probably done that because that was what he did most evenings. What specifically he had read and what specifically he had prepared to eat the next day, the young man could not remember.

The young man looked out the window at the deep, blue sky. The young man liked to look into the sky. But he seldom looked into a deep, blue sky from his sleeping place. The sky was always dark when he was in his sleeping place.

The young man also saw out the window the top of the place where the girls lived and worked. The place where the girls lived and worked was on the other side of the enclosure where the young man kept the many beasts for the owner of the place. The owner of the place where the girls lived and worked, and the owner of the many beasts, and the owner of the place where the young man stored food for the many beasts and where the young man slept. The young man looked at the top of the place where the girls lived and worked, and he thought about the girls. He thought about how they were probably all asleep at the end of a long night of work by the time the sun had risen this far in the sky. The young man wondered if one of the girls had perhaps done something to him in the night, but when he looked at the door of the place where he stored food for the many beasts in the enclosure outside, the small piece of cloth he always wedged in the door was still in place. No one had entered the place while the young man slept.

The young man lay back in his sleeping place and he felt the warmth of his sleeping place and he stared at the inside of the roof of the place where he stored food for the many beasts in the enclosure outside. The young man’s mind was blank.

The young man tried to sleep again. If he could not rouse himself from his sleeping place, then he would try to thwart his condition by going to the opposite extreme. He would try to return to sleep.

The young man tried to sleep, but he could not sleep. He just lay in his sleeping place with an empty mind, staring at the inside of the roof and wondering why he could not get himself up to feed the many beasts who did not seem too interested in being fed that morning.

The young man tried to remember if he had any dreams in the night. Any strong and restless and ominous dreams that might have cast this paralyzing spell over him. He had often found himself suffering from weariness after a night of particularly vivid dreams, but he had never before succumbed so completely. And yet the young man could not remember any dream he had had that night. Not a vivid, arresting dream, and not even a vague, benign dream.

The young man tried to think of what other work he had to do that fine summer day. What other work he was neglecting by lying in his sleeping place long after the sun had risen. What other work he would have to catch up on after he had fed the many beasts too late and then arrived at the place where he would do his work too late. But the young man could not think about what other work he had to do that day. He could remember nothing. He thought perhaps he would know what he was supposed to do that day after he had fed the many beasts, but he still could not rouse himself even to feed the many beasts, and the many beasts still were silent, so the young man still lay in his sleeping place looking at the inside of the roof, then at the small piece of cloth on the door, then at the deep, blue sky outside the window, then at the top of the place where the girls lived and worked in the place where the old woman lived before she died on the other side of the enclosure where the many beasts did not wait for the young man to bring their food.

Then a door slammed. Not the door to the place where the young man stored the food for the many beasts in the enclosure outside, but the door to the place where the girls lived and worked. The young man could not see that door from his sleeping place, so he rose on an elbow and looked down past the enclosure where the many beasts calmly milled about. He looked past the enclosure to the place where the girls lived and worked. The girl in the pink dress stood at the door and looked off into the distance.

The young man wondered why the girl in the pink dress was awake so late. The young man wondered if the many beasts who visited the girls for their feedings had all been satisfied just as it appeared that the many beasts that the young man had to feed were satisfied. The young man was about to ponder the vagaries of metaphor when the girl in the pink dress called his name.

The young man looked at the girl in the pink dress, but the girl in the pink dress did not look at him. The girl in the pink dress still looked off into the distance. Another young man approached the place where the girls lived and worked, the place where the girl in the pink dress stood calling his name. The young man realized that the young man approaching the place where the girls lived and worked had the same name as him. The girl in the pink dress had called his name, but she had not called him. She had called the other young man who shared his name.

The young man wondered why the girl in the pink dress was working so late. Then the young man no longer wondered why everything had been so strange since he had woken up. He no longer wondered because the sun fell lower in the sky. The deep, blue sky darkened, and the young man realized that the shadows had been wrong all along for morning. The morning sun never appeared in the window where the evening sun now appeared before it set.

Then the young man knew what he had been doing before he fell asleep. He had finished the last of his summer work. He had finished the last of his work earlier than he usually finished his daily work, and he had returned to the place where he lived in the place where he stored food for the many beasts in the enclosure outside, and he had lain down to rest after his long summer of hard work.

The young man had taken a nap. The young man had not taken a nap for many years, and he had been disoriented upon waking in the evening instead of the morning.

And the girl in the pink dress shut the door behind her. And the many beasts milled about their enclosure. The sun set, and the young man thought about his long summer of hard work until he fell into a long, deep sleep full of vivid dreams. Vivid dreams that he would forget when he woke up before the sunrise to feed the many beasts in the enclosure outside.

To read more stories in the series, see the Becomes One Hundred Stories page.