I’m relatively content with this story. It has a lot of everyday life in it, and from what I observe from the people around me, it will be easy for people to identify with someone cynical and hating of his job. Although, Raj in particular might be a tougher case, as he’s also lazy and kind of a douche.
I’m not sure if the story works as it should, because I haven’t actually tested it on anyone yet. The way I tried to make it, was visual for the beginning. The first section was supposed to paint a cosmic image in the minds of people, a sort of firework on a grander scale.
The second part, the introduction of the setting, is a slice of life monotonous journey, bespeckled here and there with a tad of colour. It’s a day at an office job, something regular, but with those small events that make every single day stand out. No two days are the same, and it’s usually not because of the general tone of the day, but because of the details. It was also the part that was supposed to ground the story in reality.
The next part, after the bar night, was where contrast showed. It starts as a seemingly inescapable conflict situation, with the main character kidnapped and apparently being given as an offering to some gods, by an unknown cult. It is something improbable happening, but still grounded enough to be believable. But then they start their ritual, and mystical occurrences happen, showing that the cult is more dangerous than previously thought. Tensions rise.
Lastly, the penultimate part was supposed to show the absurdity of it all, but also, somewhat inspired by my lately readings of Lovecraft, the smallness of man, the faintness of his beliefs. The cult has power, but the god they summon is not what they believed, or wanted. Some kind of ritual is performed, but the cultists become the offerings. And the sacrifice is the only one not to be killed.
The ending was a link to the beginning, furthering the notion, that nothing makes sense in this world. It is but a product of the tears of a scared lost man, who had no intention for it. Although, another way one could think of the message of the story, is, that there live beings beyond our power, that try to scare us, for the continuation of their amusement. Or that the sacrifice of the many, can empower one, to be able to sacrifice much for the betterment of the even more.
There are many ways to interpret the stories given to us, and what I’m trying to say, is that if you have any idea, that you think sounds cool, about what the story means, then by all means keep it. I, as the author, see more than one possible message in this story alone, and with time could likely find even more. After all, art does not need a producer, all it needs is someone to interpret it.
“Tear” by amnesicApathete
An endless void, yet no longer completely empty. Dots of barley visible light, next to streams of light dancing among
Up close the strands seem to be moving at random, but endlessly away, looking at the void as a whole, one could see a pattern: A spiral. Either the dancing around one certain point, and the darkness following, or the darkness leading the way, with light close behind.
Through a point in space, a droplet of water was falling infinitely. The light swirling around it never quite manages to hit it, but neither does the dark, and a streak of twilight spreads through the void.
But Twilight never lasts.
As soon as the tear moves out of the way, both light and dark try taking control of the trail.
It is such a point, raw space of endless possibilities, that Raj woke up. It was a monday, but this one in particular seemed OK to him. He woke up early, but somehow he felt refreshed, and got to the bus stop on time. It was a stuffy day, so after leaving the bus he felt particularly sticky, but found that some sucker had made lemonade, and left it in the fridge of the floor’s common kitchen.
He sat down at a table, poured himself a glass, and sipping, while waiting for the clock to slowly tick over to 8 oçlock. He slightly regretted the minutes he wasted now, as they could have been used for sleep of through which he could have gotten a complimentary sandwich at the shop by the bus stop.
He wandered around, in his mind, for some more time, until one of his compeers stuck their head through the kitchen door. Finally caught, Raj had no choice but to get to his desk, and start filing and organizing, making sure not to overexert himself.
The day closed to an end, Raj left his desk behind, in preparation for his return home. Unfortunately , on the way to the elevator, he met Jill. And it so happened that the lemonade in the office fridge was his. Moreover, Bob, who saw him in the kitchen, the pesky rat, snitched on him to Jill. Through the entire ride down Raj had to listen to Jill’s sermon, the barrage of words seemingly never stopping. After a few moments Raj even wondered whether Jill remembered to breath. However, he successfully tuned out the whole monologue.
After parting ways Raj could finally let out a sigh of relief. This monotone curmudgeon somehow held a lot of sway over the bosses, and Raj had to watch out when interacting with Jill.The “conversation” exhausted him, and so he decided he needed to somehow relax.
He took a the bus in the direction opposite to his home, towards the ‘Worn-out Vibes’. He sat himself down on a stool by the bar, and loosened his shoulders, listening in to the music in the background. Old, but gold. The rest of the evening was blurrier.
When he more or less came to, he was outside, not far from the pub, sitting against a cold, moist wall. He tried to stand up, but the wall escaped his grasp and he fell without the much needed support. The elusive balance notwithstanding, he finally managed to righten himself, and slowly, step by step, started walking down the alley. On the opposite side someone did likewise, but with the success and confidence of a sober person. Raj looked up to see, who dared to mock him by being so competent, but to his surprise his sight was met with a robed figure, indescribable in the night light. The figure noticed him too, and hastened towards him. Before he could react, it retrieved a blackjack from somewhere, and darkness befell Raj again.
A splitting headache woke Raj up. He tried to hold his hand up to his temple, to get the pain to flee, but found he could not. He could not move his arm. Now that he tried, all of his appendages seemed stuck in place. He dared not open his eyes before, in fright of the possible light unearthing new depths of pain, but the situation seemed dire.
Fortunately, it was dark. Unfortunately, there were chains binding him to a stone slab, and around him were dozens of dark robed figures, murmuring among themselves. While the dusk made it difficult to identify more of them, they all seemed to be looking at something behind, and a little to the left, of Raj.
The pain, the stress, the weirdness, they were too much for him. He tried to scream. It came out muffled, and he finally noticed the cloth in his mouth. However the screams seemed to attract attention, as the murmuring stopped, and only the glaring stares continued.
Seconds turned into aeons as the silence continued, and nothing could escape the drilling glare of tens of invisible eyes.
When someone spoke again, it resounded as an explosion, in the domed room they were in, startling Raj even closer to the brink of death. It came from behind him, and a little bit from the left.
“Brothers and Sisters,” the voice boomed.
“The day we have long awaited has finally come! Our beloved lord, The Steed of Ice, Duke of the Afterrealm, Mincatel, will take a mortal coil, and take his rightful place as the ruler of this realm. Long live the Horse-headed, Neigh!”
And all around replied: “Neigh!”
Then began they began reciting verses in tongues unknown to Raj. They sounded middle-eastern, and indian, and a bit of what Raj imagined czech to sound like. They chanted, and chanted, and Raj, through the nausea of the ever growing headache, saw the room slowly light up. First a faint blue light surrounded the cultists, for that was what they had to be. Then, abruptly, it disappeared, and from torches in the corners of the room, purple mist began seeping. Passing through the robed figures, it gave of a green glow, that distorted the dimensions of the figures to absurd appearances.
When the first strand of mist entered the inner circle around Raj they started spiraling towards the stone slab in the middle, with increasing velocity. Soon a whole circle around him was spinning purple mist. Green arches of energy sprung from the circle to the slab, and the closest cultists, and a faint buzzing noise could be heard, while the last of the mist still gathered from around the room.
Then the cultists stopped their chanting. The buzzing faded as the last strand of mist found its way into what now was a seemingly solid disc of purple. There was a crack, and the stone slab, where it was touching the disc, broke of, and the upper part, along with Raj, started floating. As the slab rotated in the air Raj got one glance of the whole room in the eerie, green glow. Tens, if not hundreds of cultists have gathered around the purple circle.
Something hissed, then a few green bolts of energy flew between the slab and the disc. Then something started emerging from the purple. At first, it might have been a tail. A bit slimy, maybe, but then a second emerged, and another. The appendages emerged continuously, getting longer and longer. A robed figure gasped as one of the tentacles grabbed them, and screamed, as it pulled them into the portal. Panic broke out.
Tentacles rose, and submerged having claimed a figure wriggling helplessly in its grasp. Hoods fell of, revealing faces of different shapes and colours, but with one common trait. All had an expression of utter horror, a grimace of terror on their face, fright of a degree, just looking at it caused the need to flee.
It was over. The room stood empty, not including the slab and Raj. They both slowly sank, and started submerging it the disc. Raj though about his day, and the happenings now seemed too absurd to be true. Only when half of him was already gone, and he could not feel it anymore, did he start to panic. He screamed and fought the restraints, but nothing helped. The stone sunk. With a hiss, the disc expanded, and drifted apart.
Raj could see nothing. No, that wasn’t right. Raj saw blackness. An endless void, yet no longer empty. He was there now, as were dots and strands of light. He wanted to get back.
Thus, Raj shed a tear.