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Untitled - Short short story


Lateralus
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First draft of a (very) short story. I woke up at about 6am with this idea and wrote it straight away. This is all done very quickly in one sitting, and I am still a little groggy so I hope you can forgive discrepancies or mistakes. It needs an edit of course, but I'm quite happy with the concept. Anyway...

 

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I am placed in a curious circumstance. You might call it a pickle. Don't be fooled by that light hearted comment, for I take this very seriously The thought merely came to me and seemed appropriate. I suppose my tone is irrelevant, because it does not matter how I come across, or if I come across at all. Struggling against indifference is so difficult sometimes, but allow me to try.

 

I have been brought here against my wishes or will. If this is a punishment, then I am unsure of what my crime is, though I believe I have committed many. Where is 'here'? Ha! Were it that simple. That question occupied me for a long while, as it did the others before me (and I will get to them).

 

Ultimately, I cannot say where 'here' is. At best I can tell you that there are four walls (one with a door), a ceiling and floor, a writing desk, and a chair. It is not as bad as you might imagine. All the necessities are taken care of. Food is provided through a sliding panel in the door, and, though there is no bed, it is not so hard to get comfortable and sleep. Surviving is no great difficulty.

 

Perhaps I am too hasty though, and I have neglected to mention one other item in the room. Hanging by a nail on the wall opposite the door: black, sleek, highlighted by the bare light bulb hanging from the ceiling; a handgun. I have positioned the chair at the writing desk so I am facing it at all times.

 

Colt. Patent date. Hartford Connecticut.

 

Yes, I've studied it. How could I not? This undesirable but singular means of escape surely fascinates everyone from time to time. Placed in my situation you would do the same. Still, I've done so little to explain...

 

But there is so little information!

 

Once, I awoke, and I was here. I think I was somewhere else before. I'm almost sure of it. Vague images, sounds, smells swirl around in my mind, but whether they are history or invention I cannot say. They are becoming clearer as the days go by and as I continue to write them down (for this is one scrap of paper among many). Again, I suppose it does not matter.

 

There was a note on the table when I first came to my senses.

 

Sit. Write. Or use the gun. One bullet.

 

Next to the note was a stack of paper and a pen. This was the extent of my instructions.

 

One wall of the room is covered with pictures of those who were here before me. Some are old and grey, looking as if they have died of old age. Of these, two different kinds of death mask can be seen: Peaceful, and horrified. I can't be sure of what causes this distinction, but perhaps I will find out.

 

The others have used the gun.

 

Of course, you can imagine the effect these documents of suicide had upon me. Time is sweet anaesthetic however, and now I can look without recoiling. Though, there are a few which I still cannot stomach. Shots fired into bellies, arms and legs. I can't be sure, but I imagine them as schemes designed to summon help. Slow deaths, crying for aid in a long and hopeless rattle. These plans must surely seem ill advised to you (as they do to me), but there seems very little room for rationality in a place such as this. I might crack at any moment.

 

On the other side of the room are neatly bound bundles of paper. These papers are the combined efforts of the ones who came before, with each writer's work bound and separated from the others. I once counted all of the pictures on the wall and then counted all of the booklets of paper. I hope it won't surprise you to learn that the booklets were very few by comparison.

 

What is contained in the booklets? Many pages such as these. Some are unremarkable and I quickly put them aside. Others contain such depth of feeling and clarity of thought that they cause me to bloody my fists on the door or push the gun hard into my temple. I don't know if it's cowardice or quiet acceptance that has saved me so far.

 

You might be surprised at my calm language. Believe me when I say that it was a long time before I could put pen to paper, and I began by colouring entire pages black. After this I wrote down a series of questions and slipped them under the door, but there was no response. For hours I would push notes under the door containing nothing but the phrase Why?. I have come to accept that I will receive no answer.

 

So, why indeed? Have you put yourself in my shoes? The gun, isn't it tempting? Please, put it down. Read a while longer.

 

I'm sorry to say that even though my stay has been lengthy, I still have no answer for you. Why? Why not? I say!

 

Sitting at my table, I look up and I see my gun. I look left and see the pictures of those who came before me. I look right and see the bundles of paper, and I know they belong to the faces that smile peacefully at me from their pictures.

 

So I will sit and I will write, if only to bridge the gap between the number of pictures and the number of booklets. If you are reading this then I am sad to hear that you are facing the same situation I once did. Look to your left, and look carefully. If I am right in my thinking, then my face will be among the smiling.

 

Perhaps I will struggle a little wink, just for you.

La lune ne garde aucune rancune.

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This is a really interesting idea.

 

I was captivated throughout the text, however I was expecting something greater at the end, perhaps a grand revelation, such as the reason behind the protagonist's plight.

 

Another thing, the beginning did not provide wnough detail to "read" into the text and instead felt as if the character was trying too much

to gain some kind of relationship with the reader, but this did not carry accross. It would be better to have the protagonist

completely detached and unaware of the presence of a "reader" or "audience" or "viewer". I do recognize that he is writing on the paper for us, but

the questions in his mind, his thoughts and his frame of reference are more than enough for the reader to be sustained.

 

Please write more !

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I'd have to disagree with Adrenal, if he is detached/unaware of a reader, the whole story would be invalid as the protagonist wouldn't be addressing anyone in particular, it'd just be a random compilation of thoughts and the quirky ending wouldn't be as effective.

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8,180

WONGTONG IS THE BEST AND IS MORE SUPERIOR THAN ME

#1 Wongtong stalker.

Im looking for some No Limit soldiers!

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I'd have to disagree with Adrenal, if he is detached/unaware of a reader, the whole story would be invalid as the protagonist wouldn't be addressing anyone in particular, it'd just be a random compilation of thoughts and the quirky ending wouldn't be as effective.

 

That was just the beginning part.

 

And stop following me. It's creepy.

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This is a really interesting idea.

 

I was captivated throughout the text, however I was expecting something greater at the end, perhaps a grand revelation, such as the reason behind the protagonist's plight.

 

Another thing, the beginning did not provide wnough detail to "read" into the text and instead felt as if the character was trying too much

to gain some kind of relationship with the reader, but this did not carry accross. It would be better to have the protagonist

completely detached and unaware of the presence of a "reader" or "audience" or "viewer". I do recognize that he is writing on the paper for us, but

the questions in his mind, his thoughts and his frame of reference are more than enough for the reader to be sustained.

 

Please write more !

 

The ending does fizzle, I agree, but it has to if you understand me. I think I can flesh it out to explain it better and make it a bit more grandiose and give it a kick.

 

I like the character addressing the reader. I think that kind of indirect speech helps with the characterization which makes the narrative flow a little better. I do agree that the beginning doesn't have as much substance as the second half (ish) does, but I think that's quite often the case if you just spill your guts in one sitting. It just took me a while to get the ball rolling. Like I said, I'll try to flesh the whole thing out.

 

Thanks (both of you) for reading.

La lune ne garde aucune rancune.

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This is very imaginative and creative, and the rhythm and flow of the story was very good. The details seem well thought out, natural and realistic (Like "Believe me when I say that it was a long time before I could put pen to paper, and I began by colouring entire pages black") and really add to the story. To me, addressing the reader seems right. Although the ending isn't some great revelation, I personally did not expect that in such a short time. It would be interesting if you wrote more of these, revealing the personality of each successive inhabitant of The Room and their decisions.

 

Best short story I've read in a long while.

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Thanks for the kind words.

 

If I do develop this it's more likely to be in a novella form than a series of short stories. I had originally planned to include extracts from some of the booklets in the room in the story, but I didn't have any characters or scenes in mind, so I left them out. If I turn this into a novella it will probably be a confessional and a self discovery - More of the narrators own back story and his reactions to what he's read in the booklets.

La lune ne garde aucune rancune.

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I really enjoyed reading this. It struck me very much more as a description, though, a laying out of a scenario, rather than a story with plot and characters. That's certainly not a bad thing; it's very thought-provoking; it read to me like a psychological case-study - or not so much a case-study as a scenario/method/experiment for exploring the human mind and the differences between people - what drives us mad, how do we handle purposelessness and absolute ignorance...

 

As others have said I think it would be a wonderful story if it was fleshed out a little more, and of course it's your story so I don't want to be dictatorial, but I don't think it would work if the inhabitant comes to discover anything about whoever it is holding him captive; I would have the focus of it more internal, concerned with the current inhabitant's state of mind and the stories of those gone before - because (personally speaking - maybe I'm wrong for others?) the real interest lies in the psychology of it, rather than the imaginings of who has brought him here, and perhaps his struggle to escape. I think the reasonably calm, sage tone of the narrator would contrast well with the potential insanity of some of the booklet-writers.

 

Anyway, nice one, loved reading it : )

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As others have said I think it would be a wonderful story if it was fleshed out a little more, and of course it's your story so I don't want to be dictatorial, but I don't think it would work if the inhabitant comes to discover anything about whoever it is holding him captive; I would have the focus of it more internal, concerned with the current inhabitant's state of mind and the stories of those gone before - because (personally speaking - maybe I'm wrong for others?) the real interest lies in the psychology of it, rather than the imaginings of who has brought him here, and perhaps his struggle to escape. I think the reasonably calm, sage tone of the narrator would contrast well with the potential insanity of some of the booklet-writers.

 

Anyway, nice one, loved reading it : )

 

You're right, of course. The entire point of the story is that not only will the narrator not learn anything about why he's held captive, but that he can't. Still, he tries. I don't know if I accidentally suggested I was going to explore the circumstances of his captivity, but if I did it was a slip of the tongue.

 

Thanks for reading and commenting.

La lune ne garde aucune rancune.

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I really enjoyed this one, it was really well-written.

 

Reminds me somewhat of a creepypasta, though it's much better than most of the ones I've read, you're good at building up an atmosphere or like suspense and stuff.

 

I thought your other one was great, too, and I can't wait to read anymore you write. ;O

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sleep like dead men

wake up like dead men

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