My work on the second novel has been largely stagnant for the last few months. I am hoping that by posting some of it here I will somehow refresh my own initiative with regards to the project.
So, the first ever published section of “The Things I Couldn’t Teach Him” (working title):
I let go of the universe beyond for the time being and dove headfirst into the study of life. Dissection, a process that disgusted my classmates, was to me a journey into the inner workings of the world. Every living thing possessed certain characteristics that made it the same as all others, and certain characteristics that made it different from all others. I began with worms, making tiny and imprecise incisions down the segmented bodies and opening them up to reveal the guts that were inside. And I wasn’t just looking for the physical guts. Inside every living thing I opened, I was looking for evidence of souls.
The church told me everyone had one and that I should fear for mine, so naturally I went looking for them inside the previously animate beings that I sacrificed to the world of study. In specimen after specimen, I found nothing other than the confusing jumble of organs that made up the various systems. Worms were simple and it took only a few seconds for me to deduce that there was no room for a soul in that thin, small body. Frogs took a little longer. Moving aside the lungs to see if the soul was nestled underneath, I accidentally pierced one and a puff of air released as if the frog had been holding its breath the whole time and waiting for someone to bring it back to life. At first, I thought the puff of air had been the soul, that I had released it from its hiding place under the lungs but, no, my teacher confirmed that I had created a small puncture wound. Continuing my search, I failed to determine a locus for the soul in frogs. Fetal pigs came next, but not until high school. You would think by that age I might have given up the search, but as my lab partner turned away to take notes in his lab book, I secretly poked about in the pig’s chest cavity.
All to no avail. I never found a soul and it was a short trip from not locating a physical soul to deciding that there was no such thing as a soul.