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Nothing But Sawdust by Deng Xiang | Word Riot
Flash Fiction

July 29, 2017      

Nothing But Sawdust by Deng Xiang

The boy was carved out of wood. He had wooden arms, legs, and joints that kept him together.
     He could walk just fine, just like the other students, but a little more stiffly. He could also motion with his hands and even talk using his wooden voice box and tongue.
     However, there was one thing that he had not been carved with: personality.
     He would walk around the school compound, slow and emotionless, like a walking dead. He would watch as all the people he passed acted in different ways from each other; their behaviour, their speech — they were all uniquely different.
     So the wooden boy carved himself a personality of sorts — dressed in a tuxedo suit and carved wooden piercings on his ears. He made his legs skinnier and his face chiselled. To top if off, he practised walking like the richest person in the world.
     But no one noticed.
     The wooden boy sanded down everything he had previously carved and started afresh. He carved himself the most toned muscles he could carve. His lifeless body became sleek and athletic. He could sprint 100 metres per second and win any number of sports competitions.
     But no one looked twice.
     He sanded himself down again, again and again, trying out several kinds of shapes and sizes. Until, suddenly, his wooden figure snapped, and his arms, legs and joints fell apart.
     He eventually rotted away into a pile of fine sawdust. Then a light breeze blew and scattered him, leaving nothing, not even a memory.

About the author:

Deng Xiang graduated from Singapore Polytechnic with a Diploma in Creative Writing for TV and New Media. He was involved in media-related assignments such as television and online journalism, creative story writing, and film-making. Naturally, he likes writing poetry, short stories and news commentaries.

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