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MJM
February 3rd, 2014, 07:00 PM
**The following is a short story inspired by the works of Philip K. Dick and many of the other wonderful Science Fiction writers I have come to admire over the years.


Who Are You?

As I sat with my cigarette between my fingers, the cup of freshly brewed tea steaming away at my side. I looked down at the pieces of white paper that adorned my desk. My evening routine, becoming all the more monotonous as each passing day occurred. As the streetlights shone through the lightly tinted window, I felt myself, as I often did on these occasions, drift in and out of reality. Realities can be crossed through the medium of sleep, or so I used to imagine in my younger days.

My evenings passed, each night the same routine, each night the same processes. Life was a cycle of routine, some were planned and others just were. I realised that my routines just were. Try as I might, my existence was now fully carved into the bark attached to the tree of life.

As I sat there, I felt a presence. Something that I hadn’t felt before and yet something that felt all too familiar. Had I been accustomed to this presence previously? I did not know. My mind told me “no” yet in the same beat it echoed “yes” contrasting answers in response to its own question. The deliverance of the question was not an interrogation, yet my mind perceived it as such. Can ones mind interrogate itself? I wondered. If that were possible then would the mind begin a cross-examination? My mind now bristled with the thought of an internal investigation carried out by the synapses of itself. The cognizance of what my mind was doing suddenly made me alert once more to the unusually strange yet familiar presence.

As I turned my head, I noticed a creature standing flush against the wall. His dark red eyes fixated on mine as his long and thin hands were cupped by his side. As I strained my focus, trying to glean a better look, I asked myself two questions. The first being ‘had I drifted off to sleep’ and the second being ‘was I really here’.

I often asked myself those questions, in my daily life. Life sometimes seemed so surreal in its idiosyncrasies that I regularly felt the need to question my existence. It’s not unusual to contemplate that life around you only exists on a sentient level. Or at least that is what I believed. Questioning my reality, day by day, awakened me to the realism of my meagre existence.

As I sat there, my eyes fixated on this creature, a creature that had materialised from the air around me, I once more questioned my reality.

“Who are you?” I asked it, my voice clear and commanding.

This felt familiar. Had this happened before? Of course I have asked that question to many people in my lifetime, but the circumstances and the atmosphere, the tone of voice and the present situation all gelled together, like a clear case of Déjà Vu. The memory of something that has not happened yet, a re-visitation to a time that never was, more proof for me that my reality was to be questioned. Can memories transcend the boundaries of temporal laws?

“Who are you?” I asked once more, the creature ignoring my request for information.

My memory started to become unclouded, almost as though a rain had descended on me washing away any cognitive blocks that I was experiencing. I remembered, this sudden case of Déjà vu had happened before.

Each night, I recalled passing through the void. A merging of two realities, similar in their finer details, any difference discernable to the human brain. Each night I sat in this very room but situated in an alternate existence, and stared at this creature. Each night I posed it the same question, the words never changing. Each night I cast my eyes upon it as my heart rate sped.

“Who are you” I asked once more, my voice becoming cracked and irate.

He didn’t answer, of course he never answered. The routine would continue, a continuous loop of a question followed by a never ending silence. Always the same, never a change.

“Who are you?” I demanded once more. My part in time living up to its customary quotidian.

As my eyes fixated on my friend whom I didn’t know, my mind wandered. Why did I always forget being here, and why did I come here every night? Nothing made sense but everything was understood. Regular as clockwork is a strange thing, for the days and minutes do not equate to a year. 365 days equates to 8760 hours and it takes one year to rotate around the sun, yet the orbit is equal to that of 8766 hours. 6 hours which are freely moved forward in time, yet found every four years. Is reality truly this manoeuvrable?

“Who are you?” I asked, this time without even realising the question had left my mouth.

“I am you” the creature responded, it answered me.

As I sat there, my mind confused I drifted once more in and out of sleep. I had an answer although not one that I understood; it was still an answer nonetheless. I felt the winds of reality brush against my ears and time courted me through the voids.

“Who are you?” I heard my voice say, somewhat distant.

“I am you.” The words left my mouth. As I opened my eyes and my gaze fell across the room, I found the image of myself sitting in my chair. My reality was thus, the creature was I.

feznizzle
February 4th, 2014, 03:05 AM
As I sat there, I realized I was hungry. So I ate myself. I drifted in and out as I gnawed, wanting to ask "Who are you?", but refrained 'cause momma always said not to talk with my mouth full.

lol

I like it! It drew me in, I could identify with the tripping out business. Very cool bit of imagery: "...fully carved into the bark attached to the tree of life."

thepancreas11
February 5th, 2014, 09:54 PM
There are some really cool sentences in here. I like the idea of time "occurring" because it makes it sound so monotonous. For the most part, I really enjoyed this little piece. It was frequently disarming, a little confusing, but nothing I couldn't handle, having read some Philip K. Dick myself.

My question is what question are you trying to pose? Dick was noted for coming up with these crazy concepts, the most famous being, do androids dream of electric sheep? It's this weird play on what it means to be human, and he had a very backwards and twisted answer that seemed kind of open-ended. I think you could make this piece fit in that pantheon of strange thoughts, but it needs to find a bit more purpose first. What are you examining here? Maybe you have a really stout point, and I'm just not getting it. Although, if the reader cannot divine the theme, you should be slightly more blunt with it, I think.

All in all a refreshing read. Please, post more!

MJM
February 6th, 2014, 08:09 PM
My question is what question are you trying to pose? Dick was noted for coming up with these crazy concepts, the most famous being, do androids dream of electric sheep? It's this weird play on what it means to be human, and he had a very backwards and twisted answer that seemed kind of open-ended. I think you could make this piece fit in that pantheon of strange thoughts, but it needs to find a bit more purpose first. What are you examining here? Maybe you have a really stout point, and I'm just not getting it. Although, if the reader cannot divine the theme, you should be slightly more blunt with it, I think.

Thank you for your comments most appreciated. I don't know whether to write the "question posed" here, mainly because I do hope that others get it on their own and so having it written here would possibly hinder that. I am glad however that you brought up the subject, when I write like this I'm never quite sure if I'm making the underlying theme just that bit more obscure to understand or whether I'm making it too simple. I find it a tricky situation trying to get the balance just right.
Upon showing this to a few others, many of them instantly realised the underlying question and many of them didn't. Which does sway me towards the idea that I should not make it so obscure in future as I would rather more people understood it than didn't.

I will be posting more in the coming weeks, I'm currently piecing together a novel and also working through a number of short stories to catalogue in a release.

I'm not sure how messaging works on this site (I haven't been here long) but I would be willing to send you a message to further go into the themes of this piece if that was something you were interested in.

Phoenix Raven
February 8th, 2014, 03:11 PM
I enjoyed this because I have been there. It starts out the way I start my writing, except I use my computer instead of paper and usually drink coffee over tea, oh and minus the cigarette. But drifting out of thought and time is something that probably happens to many writings especially when feeling stuck.
Only thing that I prefer be different is that numbers like "365 days" be spelled out.
"Three hundred and sixty five days"
It may be just me, but I think it looks better in a story over the numerals.
Nice work though.:D

SonneLore
March 8th, 2014, 08:03 AM
As I sat with my cigarette between my fingers, the cup of freshly brewed tea steaming away at my side. I looked down at the pieces of white paper that adorned my desk.

Replace the fullstop between the two sentences with a comma.

You use the word routine far too often in the first part, a good rule of thumb is repeating buzz words only once every two hundred words, otherwise it becones overwhelming and readers get bored.


My mind told me “no” yet in the same beat it echoed “yes” contrasting answers in response to its own question.

There should be a semi colon between yes and contrasting.

Lastly, I think you're trying to be too loquacious here, you could pare back all of your wording, make it simpler and open it up to a wider readership without losing the feel or theme of the piece.

I did enjoy it though, and I loved the movement behind the work. Well done.

glenn84
March 8th, 2014, 09:02 PM
Intriguing read. I'm a big Philip K. Dick fan, so I could definitely see the similarities in style choice. There were some spags I caught along the way. Example: manoeuvrable should be maneuverable. All in all it was an interesting short read. Thanks for sharing.

cosmictide
March 15th, 2014, 01:02 AM
Really enjoyed reading your work. I like how you have managed to go off on a tangent within the story, and made it merge well with the character you have created so that it does not seem out of place at all - for the most part people seem unable to get the balance right like you have here. My one thing is that you do not need to use the same word pattern 'case of déjà vu'. Though that is minor and doesn't particularly mess it up much. If you were going for an ironic kind oh look I'm repeating things in the narrative as well as in his mind by all means keep it, it just wasn't quite clear to me.

Plasticweld
March 16th, 2014, 11:22 PM
I enjoyed your work. I can not comment on the style or technical side of your writing I do not have those skills. You shared a portrait of a familiar place. I did not need to see all of the detail to know I had been there. While we are always expected to fill in the shadows for others; I prefer to leave them open to interpretation. Thepancreas11 suggested that you needed to be more direct with your thought or more blunt. I would have to offer that most of my thoughts never seem to have and ending. That is for story books that are a dime a dozen.