Writing For Reddit #4 – Pillow Talk

Hi all,

This small piece was a response I wrote on the r/writingprompts subreddit, which you can view here.

The prompt was: “[WP] No matter how hard you hug a pillow, it wont hug you back. You know this for a fact.”

I decided for this piece to sit down in one sitting, and just write to see what comes out. And, to be fair to the piece itself, what came out was unsettling to say the least. Any editing was purely for spelling reasons, and the post before you is what came out. I hope you enjoy reading it, and I shall see you again soon!

That’s all for now,

Dan.


I shall begin at the beginning.

We first met during what I thought would be a routine trip to a small furniture store near my home. I recall I was somewhat lost and thoroughly overwhelmed, slipping this way and that between tables and units whose names I could scarcely pronounce, a claustrophobic’s nightmare as the brightly coloured shelving and tasteful rugs appeared to creep closer and closer, revealing snarling fangs and scratching claws until –

There she was. Beautiful in her whiteness. I strode over to her, my fingers playing against my favourite biro, flicking the lid on and off. I stood by her a moment, then her blue biro eyes were staring out at the world, aghast at its wonder. Her smile, playful and crooked, a thin scrawl against her wonderful features. Sat, quietly, upon a brilliant magenta bed, the duvet pulled up over her hips. We spoke for some time, sitting perched upon the corner of the bed, allowing the shoppers to buzz and flit about us. We spoke together about everything and nothing. Well, rather, I spoke to her, she was a shy quiet creature, and she listened so intently to my every word. She always was such a superb listener, attentive, and never interrupting anyone, not for as long as we both knew one another. After what could have been seconds, could have been eternities, we arose together, her clutched in my arms, and we eloped through the tills. It was love at first sight.

We were happy, for a time.

After a few months, I found myself getting hung up over the littlest things, how none of my romantic gestures were ever reciprocated, how every encounter had to be instigated by me, how I give, and I give, and I give and nothing. Ever. Fucking. Happens. No recognition, no thanks. Nothing.

We were happy once, before the smog of the world crept in and we found ourselves trapped in this unending silence. I remember a time when I would stay up all night, expounding myself of my darkest troubles and cares, and she would listen, looking lovingly at me with those blue, drawn-on eyes, her Sharpie mascara standing starkly against the soft orange glow of the bedside lamp. I would kiss her, and hold her close, but she never once hugged back. Not once. I thought at first it was merely nerves, that we just needed a little more time, but now I firmly believe that this distance can never be bridged and that silence is our fate. To fall out of love, once we have stuffed ourselves with the down of insecurity, our lives and loves falling apart at the seams, our everyday turned inside out by this never-ending silence.

Another night of silence. It was a Sunday so, naturally, I had cooked a Roast, all the trimmings, potatoes, gravy. I had prepared the table, a candle, some roses. I carried her to her place, set her down, poured her drink, served her food. Nothing. Just silence. I brought the food to my lips, tasting the sweetness of the meat, the fire of the wine. I could feel her staring. Not at me, just beyond into the out of focus spaces that we ignore. I asked her how the meal was.

Nothing.

Ah. The Silent Treatment. Fine by me.

I chewed on my food. I can hear the soft, wet sound of it in my ears, the only sound. Pause. I looked across at my upholstered bride. She had touched none of it, instead she sat still, ignoring me. I could feel rage welling up inside me. I had spent hours –

I sat there, the silence ringing about my ears, my white-knuckled fists clenched. Fingernails bit my skin. I rose to her, my arm reaching across the table.

“Come on now, Fluffy, you’ve barely eaten all day. Open Wide!”

She barely shifted an inch, her eyes staring into space beyond me. My hand arced through the air, mashed potato and gravy dripping softly onto the tablecloth, dark stains permeating the whiteness. I thrust the spoon towards her, the contents blearing and smudging against her fabric face, her pen-line eyes widening as I bade her eat. The gravy lipstick stained, running slowly down her soft face, and she still would not eat. Then, I tried to have her drink instead. The crystal goblet, a birthday gift from long ago, raised to her pillowy lips, the scarlet liquid burning through her, spreading down across her chest, blossoming, diffusing along her very skin. I screamed. I dropped the glass. It shattered against the floor, sending tears rippling outwards. For a moment, I did not breathe. She lay there a moment, gravy and wine stained, her eyes staring out at the blistering whiteness of the ceiling, the silence thrumming against my chest. In my rage, I threw my arms against her, her square, soft form flying across the room, until softly coming to rest against the wall.

I knelt there a while, unmoving. Her hand-drawn face stared upwards at the world, her features smeared. Slowly, I rose to my feet. My hands were shaking, my palms clammy. I said nothing, instead letting the silence crash against me in waves. Without hesitation, I walked out of the front door, and strode calmly to hand myself in at the nearest police station, where I await my judgement.

The officers did not take kindly to me, their reactions varying from furtive sideways glances and hushed whispers to laughter and raucous disbelief. “Wait… just let me make sure I’ve got this correctly… So your wife is a… A erm-”

Pillow? Cushion?

I felt their every ridicule pierce through me, crackling against my skin. I was too tired for angry, so instead I sat against the wall of my holding cell, my head a few mere inches from the wall. I stared for hours, let its snowstorm swirl, separate, and come together again as it shifted. Its stark whiteness seemed to mock me. Torment me. I could almost hear it in my ears, cackling at me. I put my finger in my mouth and bit. Hard. I raised it to the wall, and slowly, I began to draw first an eye, then a crooked smile, and a nice square outline around it, encasing it, giving it form.

Well hello there, beautiful.

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Writing for Reddit #3 – On Whales

Hi all,

This small piece was a response I wrote on the r/writingprompts subreddit, which you can view here.

The prompt was: “[WP] Without doing any research, write something on a subject you’re clueless about.”

I decided for this piece to sit down for ten or fifteen minutes, and just write to see what comes out. Any editing was purely for spelling reasons, and the post before you is what came out. I hope you enjoy reading it, and I shall see you again soon!

That’s all for now,

Dan.


It is a little known fact that whales, well known for their ability to speak to one another over large distances, also have their own religious creeds and cultural differences that are passed from one to the other through booming songs. One of the Ocean’s most majestic and regal creatures, the name of the whale I’ve been studying eludes me, so I shall refer to it as the Big Whale throughout the course of this paper.

As a prominent (and, indeed, the only) researcher at North Woolthorpe Oceanic Institute for the Studying of the Oceans and Other Such-Like (Or NWOISOOSL), I have isolated certain speech patterns, which we have roughly translated as either ‘Hail Ocean-King, Prince of the Waves’ or ‘Stop dumping plastic in our oceans.’ (The dialect makes it difficult to discern exactly, especially given the semantic differences in Atlantic and Pacific Big Whales). The speech patterns have been put through a computer for analysis, in the hopes that this would help us decipher the language of the Big Whale, but I spilt coffee all over it on my first day and we are currently awaiting a replacement.

Having scoured the Atlantic during the past five years, I firmly believe that I have isolated a place of religious significance to vast groups of Big Whales. We came across it tracking a juvenile Big Whale called Chip, one that had come through our centre some few years before. The area we encountered is a deep trench, some few hundred kilometres wide, that Big Whales will circle, singing loud songs that seem like a peculiar mix between a plane engine and a particularly unskilled opera singer, which have long been believed by observers to be a cultural celebration of what our translator (me) has discerned to be ‘Whalehood’. The Big Whales swim in a circular motion for a number of days, until they become fatigued and begin to drop away from the group, heading back towards their home. Once the Whale song reaches its crescendo, a giant, monstrous beast, a thousand storeys by a thousand storeys tall will burst from the depths, plunge one of the whales into its gaping maw of the abyss, and then return to the deepest blackness of the bottom of the ocean. And then the Whales shall be safe in the sea for another year. But, this has never been photographed, and may have been the result of a bad biscuit I ate whilst watching them.

This is a huge leap in the field of oceanographic science, as it proves an intelligence and awareness of selfhood that we deemed exclusive to humankind. What else is out there, on this great blue planet of ours, if Whales and this Gaping-Beast-From-The-Oceany-Depths-of-Watery-Hell are to be perceived as aware of their own subjectivity, and of passing cultural ideas and stories down through generations? The field has opened a plethora of different avenues of investigations, and has posed a thousand questions over our own place in this world of ours.

As an oceanic-researcher and part-time fingernail collector, I look forward to the next few decades in our wonderful field, and how this shall change our perception of the natural world forever.

J. M. Skreepley, PhD
Chief Oceanographic Co-ordinator of NWOISOOSL

Writing For Reddit #2 – A Conversation in the Cosmos

Hi all,

This small piece was a response I wrote on the r/writingprompts subreddit, which you can view here.

The prompt was: “[WP] An alien visiting earth and a fallen angel debates about being human.”

I hope you enjoy reading it, and I shall see you again soon!

That’s all for now,

Dan.


In the blackest reaches of furthest night, plunging through the darkness of infinity in the event horizon of the black hole in the centre of everything, two unlikely dinner guests were perched against the obsidian nothingness, exchanging pleasantries, and sipping from what looked quite like fine bone china teacups.

“It’s funny, we’ve both spent so many years watching them, learning about them, but never caught glimpse of one another” Cassiel took a sip from his china cup, his pale hands toying with the handle as he did so.

“They’re a strange bunch it’s true.” The mouth of The Beast spoke, or what Cassiel took to be a mouth, it was difficult to quite discern, a deep voice thundering across the cosmos. “But yes, we were not aware of your kind before first contact. We scanned the cosmos extensively but your star cluster is a mystery to us.”

“Well, I should expect it would be, seeing as it’s not necessarily a where exactly, it’s a little more complex than that.”

“A multiverse? But we would have seen–” A tentacle scratched what could have been a forehead.

“Let’s just say it’s a little complicated.” Cassiel, the Watcher Beyond the World, smiled a moment, taking a sip once more from his cup.

The Beast shuffled in his seat, confused and irked by his companion’s wry grin.

“Have you been watching them long?”

“Watching whom? I’m afraid I don’t quite follow?”

“The humans.” The Beast was fast losing his patience, his voice reverberating across the reaches of the scene.

“I’ve been watching them since the first glass star of time fell, its tiny pieces scattering across the cosmos. I danced there, with a man from long ago, a man who disappeared once time was born anew.”

The Beast snorted.

“Fool. We were born out of the very furnace of creation. After the first light burnt in the sky, we emerged. And we shall be there when all of light is gone.”

“Well then…” Cassiel smiled and shook his head. “We shall have to agree to disagree.”

The Beast made a noise, something between a grunt and a snort, and returned to the gelatinous glue that was in his cup. He brought it to a valve in his swirling mass, emptied it, and place the cup down in front of him.

“Can’t say we’ll miss them,” The Beast muttered, wryly. “They have already done a good enough job of wiping themselves out. Shouldn’t need much of a push from us.”

“I’m afraid my employer can’t allow that, you see. Seeing as they are Steward of Everything, you see?”

“They are no Stewards of us.” The Beast was angered at this, insulted even, should an extraterrestrial possess such capabilities. “They are a parasite.”

“I wouldn’t put it quite like that. They’re a lovely bunch really, once you sit down and get to know them…” Another sip, bringing the cup to his angel’s lips.

“They are a parasite. They are an organism which lives in or on another organism and benefits by deriving nutrients at the other’s expense. Their words, not mine.” The mass swirled once more, its shape shifting with every pulse of the dark star.

“And yet you are using their Internet of Information to fuel your own hivemind. Funny how that works, isn’t it?”

“I do not see the humour,” the Beast replied, his voice dry. “There is no humour here. They will be removed in preparation for the new stars of our kind.”

“Is that really necessary though? The humans have already come so far in a time we both have witnessed, think what they could do in another few billion years…”

“They are not necessary for the sustaining of the universe. And, as such, they are a liability to my people. They are hunks of flesh, burning through their planet, nothing more.”

“But the human brain is capable of amazing things. Wonderful, beautiful, incredible things, if you just give it the right conditions.” Cassiel was worried now, as he struggled to keep his composure, jovial yet concerned.

“Our hivemind is capable of a million more connections than what the humans call their brains. We can predict to the smallest degree the events in the quantum universe, we can collect all that there is to know and store it for the betterment of our kind. We have no need for humans.” Another shift, this time a glowing mass of slime and scale.

“I don’t think you’ve quite grasped it. Being human isn’t about the tiny micropathways that fire across the surface of the brain, it’s what’s in the heart?”

“The pump? Why so? There’s nothing remarkable about that. Just muscle contracting and contracting until it contracts no more. They are meat, decaying on a framework of crumbling bones.”

“You mustn’t let my employer hear you speak about his creation like that, he takes this kind of thing quite personally you know.” Cassiel took another sip, careful to maintain eye contact with The Beast, or what Cassiel believed to be an eye at the very least.

“We care neither for you, nor for your employer. We care only for the health and the sustenance of the stars. Nothing more.”

Cassiel sighed. He did not take kindly to his employer being referred to in such a way, let alone himself. “But, take a poem for example. To you and I they are just mere scratchings on paper, little nondescript markings in ink. But to the right reader, a human reader it can move them to tears, elate them to the heavens. They take the languages that my employer has wrought and they turn it into something beautiful. You do follow, no?”

The Beast puzzled a moment, then spoke. “We do not know of such things. We have only what was and what is.”

“They project their songs into the furthest reaches of space in the hope of making the smallest contact with a lifeform such as yourself. They dream as they sleep of the stars, of travel, of exploration. They crave companionship, someone to teach them, to guide them.”

“A task which you are supposed to do?” The Beast laughed, a laugh that rang throughout space. “They crave to colonise, to burn, to spread like a virus, until the stars themselves go sick and rot.”

“You’re missing the point, you’re –“ Cassiel stuttered.

“We do not miss the point. We do not know how. We are the vessels of knowledge, we collect and we review and we protect the stars.” Another shift, this time as a swirling mass of letters Cassiel could not read, as though words were plummeting through the air.

“Well then, I suppose we shall have to disagree there, I am afraid.” Cassiel shook his head.

“I suppose we shall.”

“There’s nothing left for it then. My employer has instructed me that, should you turn down his offer, we are to battle for the future of the human race, the armies from Heaven against the Hive, until their fate is decided. We are to lock horns, to clash across the sprawling starscapes, until only one is left standing. The humans have a word for that, a word long fallen into the annals of history – Armageddon. I was tasked to watch, as eternity dripped against my body, as the humans brought life to the planet they call home, but I cannot interfere within their affairs. And I must warn you, my employer does not take kindly to those who meddle with his creation, and he is very keen to protect it.”

“We fear nothing, Cassiel, Seer of Stars, Prince of the Celestial Wastes. It is for the good of our universe, and all other universes that exist at its peripheries. We shall meet you, and we shall protect the Starborn.”

“So be it.”

“So be it.”

In the furthest reaches of the horizon, two distant figures appeared to reach over to one another, to shake hands, and to part their separate ways, the light that emanated from then being swallowed by the infinitude of space.

It had begun.

Writing on Reddit #1 – Of Gods and Men

Hi all,

This small piece was a response I wrote on the r/writingprompts subreddit, which you can view here. I was wanting to write something a little bit sillier than normal, and the prompt seemed perfect for me to do something I wouldn’t usually do. I might make this into a semi-regular thing, to keep my hand in on the writing side of this blog, and to start branching out to different styles and genres of writing.

The prompt was: [WP] “I just feel bad kicking you continuously in the nuts, but mankind depends on it …”

I hope you enjoy this post as much as I did writing it, and I shall see you on here again soon!

That’s all for now,

Dan.


There are gods who slip through the cracks of posterity, doomed to be forgotten by the annals of history and to baffle archaeologists the world over when a suspicious looking pot with a drawing of them should turn up at a dig site or other. The god who was currently knocking on my door was just one such god.

“I’m coming, I’m coming!” I scampered down the stairs, coffee flying in all directions from a mug clutched in my left hand, my feet barely touching the ground as I descended. The battering on the door could have woken the dead and, given my visitors celestial origin, I wasn’t going to rule it out.

I was greeted by a towering, hulking beast of a man. He stood some seven feet tall, his fists curled. We stood and stared at one another, the moment hanging before us like a sickening pendulum. Eventually it swung back around, and the god at my door spoke.

“Took yer time.”

“And a good morning to you too sir. Would you come in?”

He grunted, stooped to avoid hitting his head on the doorframe, and he was inside. He was a rough looking gentleman, his long red hair braided into a ponytail, his eyes wild and unnerving. We stood together in the hallway of my modest house in Derbyshire.

“What’s it been Ylnir, a year? Five years?”

“It’s been a month, Angus. You make that joke every time and it’s always been a month.” There was no humour in his face, not even a flicker in the corner of his mahogany eyes. I could feel myself sweating.

“Quite right… Tea?”

“I don’t drink.”

“A sandwich then?”

“I don’t eat.”

My forehead was positively swimming in sweat by this point, and the stains on my shirt were beginning to show. My entire body was screaming for me to run, to save myself from the ordeal I was about to receive.

“Quite right then, forgot for a moment about the whole god thing.”

Again, no smile.

“Are you ready?”

Hell no.

“Of course. Always keen for a good nut-kicking…” I smiled, weakly. I could feel my lip tremble. Tears welled in the corners of my eyes, but I refused to cry in front of a God.

“No joke. Important.” Another gruff grunt from that gruff grunt of a man.

“Right, let’s get this over and done with, shall we?”

For those of you who are lost, allow me to briefly explain.

It was a ghastly business really, as everything began in an eruption of fury and fire, but nowhere near as ghastly as what was to happen to me every month hence. Immortal life has its costs, and throughout the years you learn to take the good with the bad. It was a contract of sorts, back when Odin was a young man himself, perhaps a means to settle drunken bet or an attempt to alleviate the boredom of being faced with eternity just waiting for things to happen. Nevertheless, the decision was made and from that fateful decision, I was born. I am the sustainer, the Star-born, doomed to suffer each full moon for the continuation of the human race. Every second that falls upon the surface of Planet Earth is because of me… and my perpetually damaged down-unders.

Anyway, back to the unfolding situation at hand.

I ushered him out of the house, as the hallway too small to allow for the run-up he needed. Outside was better, I told myself, everything is always better outside. The neighbours shot us some concerned glances. Mrs Jenkins from Number 23 was peeping through the cracks in her curtains, as I strode through my front garden, nervous as anything, flanked on my left hand side by a god. To the unsuspecting witness, you might have assumed it was a bizarre kidnapping of sorts. I was a matter of some contention at the Neighbourhood Watch meetings, having come up at least twice in the past month.

Eventually we reached a spot of ample space, and Ylnir continued, flexing and stretching his leg in preparation.

He took two steps back.

I pulled a pair of safety glasses out from my back pocket and over my face.

“Why you wear them for?”

“Safety, you know… Just in case”

“They will do nothing.”

“I know, they just make me feel better really.”

“They are silly.” Trust a god tasked for all eternity with kicking the same guy in the nuts to tell people what’s silly.

The run up began faster than I expected. One moment he was stationary, the next he was a blur of motion, a red smear against the backdrop of my front garden. Before my brain had time to compute exactly what was happening, his foot met my testicles with a force of omnipotent, worldmaking proportions.

I could see stars. Everything faded to swirling red and gold streaks, brilliant pinpricks of light convulsing across the fabric of my body. I swayed where I stood, my stomach rapt in an aching, burning pain unlike any I can aptly describe. I pitched forwards, my body going limp. My life flashed before my eyes, I watched as the skies boiled as I was born out of the furnace of creation, and every single kick to the testicles I have ever endured revisited themselves upon my body, as pain compounded upon pain. It was like a slideshow designed by a testicle-obsessed sadist. And it did not make for pretty viewing.

“Until next month, Angus.” And with that, he disappeared down the street, and out of my life once more.

And so there I lay, crying in the middle of the street. I could see people crossing the road to avoid having to acknowledge my sobbing form, and all completely unaware of the sacrifice I made for them. The things we do for the perpetuation of the human race. I picked myself up, regained my composure and hobbled back to to my house.

Until next month then, I thought to myself. What a life I lead.

What Dreams May Come

Hello all!

Apologies for the somewhat sporadic nature of posts these days, life has been incredibly hectic for a few weeks now, and I have barely had any moments to spare. That said, thing have begun to quieten down once more and I have found the space to sit and write. This piece came about as I have just finished the wonderful, jaw-dropping juggernaut of the modern graphic novel genre, and am attempting to fill the void that it left in its wake – that of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman. If you have not immersed yourself in the huge, extravagant world that this series constructs about it, I cannot recommend you do so enough. It is, without a hint of doubt, my favourite graphic novel series of all time, and I am having a hard time accepting its closure. Coupled with a lovely Neil Gaiman quote I also read recently, I thought I would write a tribute to (in my humble opinion) the greatest author that ever lived. As always, I hope you enjoy the following short story as much as I enjoyed reading it, and I hope to see you back on here soon!

That’s all for now,

Dan.


 

I am trapped within a dream from which there is no waking.

With each trembling step, the winds howl and swirl about my numb ears, my eyes flicker from horizon to horizon as the very perspective shifts and warps before me. Time and distance stretch in all directions around me, yawning out into the blankness, and there is no sound save for the short, sharp sound of my breath, and the rustle of my clothes as I move. I continue on, unsure of neither direction nor the passage of time, each step bringing me stumbling through the whirling darkness.

After an eternity of broken moments, falling like glass about me, a silhouette emerges from the diffusing gloom. His head is lowered, his pace steady as he strides towards me. About his ancient form, a pitch-dark cloak, one that drinks in the surrounding night, and upon his face a sharp nose flanked by sunken eyes, friendly yet fierce.

“Hello, old friend.” He is a man shrouded in shadows, the gleam behind his eyes glittering through his obsidian veil. Every step appears effortless, as though he glides through the darkness like a breeze across silk. He offers his hand to me. It is pale, cold, yet comforting. I take the moment in, greeting him both as one would a stranger and an old friend, and we stand there a moment, motionless, my eyes scanning him up and down. He is familiar, but from where exactly I cannot say.

“My lord.” I do not recall why I respond in such a way. Perhaps it was the way he held himself or the cool softness of his voice, but somehow I know, deep in the depths of my heart, that this is the proper way to address a man of his stature, his regal composure obvious to even the most oblivious observer.

“Walk with me a moment.” He does not wait for me to follow, turning about his heels and disappearing through the gloom. I wait a moment, hesitant, but faced with the prospect of stumbling through the infinitude of nothingness, I oblige. After a moment I have matched his pace, as though he were only a few steps ahead of me, rather than a few moments.

“We shall not be long. Our walk is brief, as so many things are.” He raises a hand, gesturing towards a large mound in the distance. I cannot make out the features, but I follow his steps, careful not to lose pace, his cloak leaving behind a trail of fine bright points of brilliant light like fallen stars.

After what must have been three or four steps, we arrive at a mountain that scrapes the heavens themselves with its peak, towering into the sky as far as the eye can see. It reminds me of the drawings of perspective we made when we were children, in some art class from long ago, lines disappearing into infinity in the centre of the page. Set into the edge of the mountain, looming over our tiny forms, is a door, wrought with iron hinges and heavy oaken panels. Soundlessly, it swings open, and my midnight guide ushers me inside. I oblige. The door swings shut behind me. Darkness.

Inside, we turn and are greeted by a dark corridor, littered with dimly lit rooms. Upon each door, a small glass window, light escaping through its small, rectangular opening. We pause at the entrance to this eerie corridor, and my guide’s eyes are suddenly serious, worried.

“Come.”

I peer into the window of the first room. There are my parents, young, smiling, as they hold me for the first time in their arms. I lie, kicking and screaming, burbling about this and that in my incomprehensible baby’s tongue as my mother plays with the fine wisps of my hair, my father clutching at the tiny pink hand that explored the new world about me. They are happy, as everyone fusses about the newborn, and I wander on.

The second door, same small window as the first. I recognise the face behind it instantly, a shadow from the past rearing its beautiful head. Cecilia. A woman whose love was taken from me too soon, our brief encounter fading with the dying heat of a summer well-lived. Through the small window of the heavy stone door, triple-bolted, I watch as she cries, packs her things into a small suitcase, and slams the door behind her as she leaves.

Another door, this once containing my mother, her arms placed upon the heavy mahogany of an ornate coffin, tears falling softly upon the stone floor. At the end of the church, a photograph of my father stands beside a modest vase of orchids. In the photo he is dressed in full military uniform, medals pinned against his chest, his beard short and trimmed, his chest strong and proud. And there I am, a hand upon my sister’s shoulder, providing her with that smallest pinprick of warmth in the coldest winter of my memory. We walk on.

Another room behind another door. I am walking my daughter down the aisle, her arm linked with mine. She is crying, soft tears streaming down the rose in her cheeks. She is the happiest I have ever seen her, and I am proud, in that moment, walking her through a congregation of our closest friends and family. I linger a while, taking in the joyful singing of the scene, and after a few moments, I move on.

The final room. I watch as I stumble through darkness, my eyes shrouded in dense mist. I watch as a dark figure reaches out his hand, takes me through the nothingness to the mountain. We arrive at a mountain, speak a while, then shuffle through its looming doors. The scene is silent, and I turn away to face my guide once more.

The man comforts me, his left hand upon my shoulder, his right gesturing towards the doors that lined the corridor before me.

“We are the sum of our stories, dear friend. They make up all that we are, our dreams, our fears, even our realities.”

“I see…” I pause a moment, trying to make sense of what is being relayed to me. “And is this your hall, my lord?”

“I have brought you here to read your own story, as it were. These rooms are not my own.”

I hesitated, wondering a moment. “I’m dead, aren’t I?” It all made sense, the wasteland, the shepherd. There is both a cruelty and a kindness behind his eyes now, the two forces waging war in the starlight behind them. He nodded.

“My time with you must come to an end here, I am afraid. I must pass you over to my sister now, she will take good care of you.” Turning from me, he vanishes into the darkness from which he was made.

A woman, dark hair, pale makeup, her heavy boots making no sound as she moved. She smelled sweet with a strange hint of something else, something peculiar, perhaps of expensive perfume left open too long in an adulterer’s bedroom or of a meal eaten in a moment stolen beside a loved one’s grave. The resemblance between my two guides was striking, the same smile that had radiated from the Dream King’s face lay plastered across her own beautiful features. Here was a woman with such grace and such beauty, that you would either fall instantly infatuated with her very words or would die trying. She was beautifully dangerous, I knew, and yet it felt as though we had known each other all our lives.

She took my hand, caressing it softly as we departed, and for what could have been a moment, could have been an eternity, no-one spoke. We walk, through the swirling nothingness that had engulfed me, until we reach what looks like an apple, except it was glowing, brilliantly white, and hovers a few inches before my face. We pause.

She turns to me, a look of compassionate pity upon her face.

“Are you ready?” she asks, her eyes stern.

“I think so.”

And so we step out into the darkness together.

The Joys and the Tragedies of Unknown Male #726

Hello all,

Welcome to yet another piece of creative fiction on my blog! This week, I’ve decided to write it in the style of an unusual dystopian monologue piece as a young-ish male recounts his experiences through small snapshots of memory as his life story is recounted in a fragmented and fractured narrative style. Unusual, I know, but interesting to see how it all works out in the end. I hope you enjoy this, and I wish everyone the best for reading this post.

That’s all for now,

Dan.


Report: Unknown Male, #726

<waiting for server response>

<response received, initiating memory protocols>

>memory Access initiated, memory fragments are as follows:

*

First thing I remember is waking up. I must have been five or six years of age, just out of the nursery stages of my education. I remember wearing the standard issue sleeping clothing at the time, those scratchy, fibrous overalls whose only purpose must have been to toughen a child’s skin into a work-hardened hide, to show them how to tolerate discomfort in preparation for the harsh, cold lives that they would inevitably live. The time of my waking eludes me, but I remember there had been a noise outside, a crashing, cacophonous noise, then heavy footsteps on concrete, and then a woman’s scream. I remember I awoke with a start, shaking, listening as the events outside unfolded and trying to make as little noise as possible myself. These were the years of terror, where every action, every word, every sideways glance in a neighbour’s eye was scrutinised by everyone and no-one as the days only seemed to get much darker and much colder than the last.

I tasted salt.

I’d been so focussed on events outside that I hadn’t noticed that I’d begun weeping, softly and under my breath. I remember the sound of my father’s body hitting the floor to this very day. I remember the sounds of the gunshot, my mother’s terrified scream and the horrific pause between the noise and the silence. For what felt like hours, days even, time seemed suspended, a sickening, joking pause before the crack of a human skull against brick and the thump of a body shortly following it. My mother, sick with panic and fear, burst through the doors, a frenzy of noise and fury. Just before the doors slammed closed behind her, I remember glimpsing my father’s distorted face. Until my final breath, I don’t think any amount of time, nor medication, nor time in the isolation chambers in the depths of the medical hub could ever rid me of the sight of my father’s eyes, looking outwards but not seeing.

*

My teenage years consisted primarily  of orientation sessions twice a week, physical tests three times a week and compulsory coital engagements twice every month. The loss of my parents, my earliest memory and the fear that recalling that particular memory induced within me was subdued, medicated and repressed in order for me to continue my ongoing obligation to the State that housed, educated and fed me. I never discovered the nature of my parents’ crimes, nor do I ever have any intention of knowing. What happened on that night, 10 years ago, was simply a symptom of the sickened world in which we live. I remember seeing in some old scripture somewhere, amidst the novels that were for mature student access only, that mankind’s only role on this earth was to suffer as they toiled. Perhaps I took this too far to heart, as younger members of our new society are often known to do, but somehow the aches and the toil of working within the belly of the steelwork core seemed necessary for the development of my own role within this New World. With every aching muscle and broken back I felt like I was atoning, little by little, day by day, for what happened.

*

I’m screaming. I’m screaming, and screaming, until I’m certain that my lungs will burst free from my ribcage itself. I can take it no longer, no more can I stand the incessant whirring of the machines, the grating, grinding, groaning of metal upon slate. My broken hands shake from year after year of self-medicated stupour, my eyes swim and dance about my skull. Three years since the hallucinations started, three long years of pushing, constantly pushing, trying not to nice the devils that twirled and swam through my vision. The drugs do nothing, the therapies make it worse. I have been lost between the cracks of this society, and I do not weep a single tear for it.

There is nothing more for me here, in this ever darkening world. I must put an end to their incessant pressure, squeezing and breaking us until our bones just out from out ribs like rocks on the shore. As I write this, the wheels have been set in motion, and it is I, a nameless, faceless revolutionary that shall bring the powers that be to their knees. Like a carefully placed knife in the darkness, I shall put an end to this unending misery, break this thunderous silence with a scream from the pit of my lungs. The end is nigh, and I shall dance upon the pavements amidst the raining fires.

The Swan Song of Jonathan Osterman, 1929 – Unknown

I have been drifting for too long.

Out there in the vast engulfing serenity of the time before creation, as the endless nothingness washed over me, lapping at the soles of my feet, dancing across the palms of my hands as the current of the unending absence bore me this way and that, with neither purpose nor direction.

There is a theory, back in the universe once I called home, that there is an infinite number of universes upon which every potentiality is played out like the pieces in an endless chess game that stretches from horizon to horizon to horizon. It all seems so long ago, now, a vague memory of a vague memory, yet still I can feel the teeth-marks on the surface of my conscience, the scratch-marks on the fabric of my soul, and I know that it is nearly time.

For a moment, I pause. I pause, as I drink in the terrifying beauty of the void, I watch as nothingness rang about my ears and I ready myself for the beginning. I reach out my hand, out into the abyss, palm outstretched, and wait for my heart to take one final beat in the nothingness. Then, quickly, I clench my hand, and slowly at first, the wheels of creation are set in motion.

I watched as the first microseconds fell like glass tears, tinkling and shining as they fell through the obsidian darkness of the nothingness. I watched as the very first pin-prick of light, so small it was scarcely able to have been said to exist at all, came bursting from the smallest singularity. I watched as the seconds and the minutes and the hours came tumbling from the palms of my hands, the gas clouds and the stars and the coming bursting from my veins, every atom and every fragment and every speck  of creation came plummeting, blistering, boiling through the cauldron of creation that erupted from the very tips of my fingers. And as the fiery, luminescent starscapes of creation came forth with every beat of my fragile heart into a tumultuous crescendo of light, and sound, and fury. A deep, ancient sound, a grinding, groaning, growling thrum that grated and grinded its way across the birth of creation grew louder and louder and louder still, until my ears rang and my chest throbbed with an ecstasy of wonder.

There was no pain, as the onslaught of creation consumed every inch of my body, as my bones burned and seared in the incandescent explosion of the newest of the infinite universes. My eyes gleamed and glistened as they were consumed, my heart letting out one final resounding beat that echoed, and thrummed, and sang across the stars. I can only hope that so small an act, out there in the beginning of the beginning, can even serve as an iota of penance for the things that I have done, the people that I have hurt, and the irreparable harm that I could not prevent. Back when I was him, the American superbeing, the blue colossus, I could feel my grasp upon reality waver and shudder, like viewing the world through clouding glass, but my time spent beyond time has given me the space to think, and reflect, and repent.

And so it was that I should die, so that this new universe, with all its potentialities, and its infinitudes, and its countless timelines splintering and fracturing a trillion times by a trillion times out into the vastness of the boiling starscapes, should come spiralling into existence, and the life of Jon Osterman shall serve as ample payment. I have been drifting too long, it is true, and I shall drift no more.