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Untitled Short Story (1 Viewer)

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SteveW

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It’s an unusual situation. The boy is lying on battered rock – not the soft grass outside his house – staring up at a gibbous moon, not full, not quite complete. A small slice of himself is, like the moon, hidden, unseen, in a transient phase, waiting to come to light.

He’s been here before.

Before, he had been scared of the alien discovery, and gone and ran home to his parents. He hadn’t been comforted on the way either. Looking down at the cattle fields near his home the dark lumps in the grass didn’t move. Like the sky and the moon and the other boy; the cows, and the little cottage he dashed towards, were all immobile and silent. His mother and father had yet to discover him; they certainly don’t see him now. Several times he had burst in, gone up to tell them what happened. He had fallen from the tree branch, scrapping his arm badly as he fell and landed on a boy who looks just like him, a boy who’s now lying on the rock and looks hurt and asleep at the same time.

He doesn’t feel right himself; weak, as if he’s used up all his energy and is moving purely out of desperation. But his parents don’t hear him, they don’t see him. His father sits in his chair and stares at the newspaper. His mother carries on sleeping in her bed. He’s accepted this now amongst a lot of things. He doesn’t understand why. A lot of things are mysterious to him. Gradually he’s looked elsewhere, more out of curiosity than rejection. It’s how he began the journey, and how he’s ended up repeating it.

The boy is stuck in an unfortunate loophole between this world and the next.

Every time he’s taken the same path. He lies on the top of the cliff, the moon in his sight, the tree in the corner of his eye exactly as it was last time. Picking himself up quickly he only briefly glancing back now at the boy lying on the ground, and shuffles towards the edge. The sea looks even darker than the sky. Scattered moonshine draws a trail beneath him to the horizon, like a billion silver straws have fallen off a cart on the way home. But he’s not going back home, not anymore.

Curiosity has spurred him on, it’s taken long empty voids of time; waiting, thinking, trying, before eventually doing. He climbs the whole cliff face, something that took him several deaths to learn what with the slipping, and stumbles onto greasy rocks. He’s still not sure what all this is about, or how or why it’s happening. Familiarising himself step by step he waits for the encircling waters to crush out and claim him. He steps out into liquid nothing and is whisked away.

It was always frightening at first and however many times he’s done this now he’s still confused by the world around him. Why doesn’t the water feel cold? And more importantly, once the cliff and the rocks shrink so small his thumb outsizes them, why does he start to sink?

The surface laps his face as he’s pulled him in. As he descends, the gut feeling returns that something is watching, or waiting. The silky film of the sea’s canopy distorts the night sky. He says goodbye to the gentle moon he leaves behind, he knows its there. Fizzing bubbles hurriedly swim up towards it. He still doesn’t like it. The oily black around him eventually swallows the moon, then him. He doesn’t choke, he doesn’t drown, he never understands why, but he’s grown braver than the bubbles now, with time.

He’d searched himself for secret gills like the fish but could never find any. Falling for the longest time before he lands on the sea floor with a bump. He slowly picks himself up and sees nothing. He starts walking. At this stage he knows just to move, or try to. He feels so much heavier. The moon’s somewhere high aboveand he can’t swim. Instead for ages he just wanders. The floor’s hard and gritty. Tiny things bump into him sometimes; he can’t see them.

For ages he walks and waits until an invisible hand starts pushing him forward, nudging him off the floor he feels lighter and floats up faintly. Soon he’s gliding toward an endless wall of fizzy bubbles, shooting through a submerged starry space. Far up above, the surface has reappeared again but it’s different now. It’s terrifying. As he’s pushed sideways something is looming above it, enormous, pebbled and chalky. It still scares him.

Like debris the boy is flung along the seabed over shadowy coral and silt; sluggish crabs and other creatures are soon drifting and spinning along nearby, they’re all flying in the same direction, but indifferently; not together, not with him. Way overhead the surface looks angry. Something is clawing at the black water, again and again, viciously raking long vortices; everything around him has grown frantically faster as the sea becomes shallower, louder, roaring along with the great white monster above.

A small toothless mouth gapes open waiting for him up ahead. He hurtles head first into it. Shooting through what feels like a tunnel and is spat onto smooth drenched rock. He should be soaked, but he isn’t. He’s felt the water but it’s missed him somehow and splashes and slurps around the cave he stands in.

He finds the slimy path that leads him from the water. He’s aware he’s climbing now. Through the cracks and holes on the way up he can see the moon’s angry glaring brother filling half the sky; furious black waves punching rocks violently below, faster than he’s ever seen.

He’s still afraid to look for too long. The moon consumes the sky with its battered face, driving the sea into frenzy. The boy went wild with fear many times, but now he looks away. He doesn’t want to stay here. He isn’t meant to.

The world is screaming and crushing outside and he carries on climbing. The rock floor juts into drier slates, steadily reaching a plateau, further, then out. The rock walls have numbed and erased into a stark abyss, nothingness, airless nothing. No stars, no currents, no weight, no breeze. There it stands waiting for the boy. The gate swirls in illuminating fresh colour, open, glowing, warm, and he approaches.

Next to it he sees him.

The man. The man standing patiently, silently, dressed in rock, statuesque. He looks up at him as he passes; the gatekeeper watches him. The gates stay open and the boy moves through them. Only, a few steps in, the rocky floor is becoming soft, as if walking into mud he realises he is sinking, faster, through the cloudy floor until he plops out underneath and drifts like an autumn leaf towards a softer blackness below, he watches a large void coming to meet him and

POP

The boy blips out of existence.

He wakes up again, in, but not in, his dead body. The journey starts again:

The cliff, the rocks, the sea, the sinking, the darkness, the walking, the flying, the mouth, the cave, the path, the angry moon, the furious waves, the screaming, the steps, the space and the silence, the gate, the gatekeeper...

But this time the gatekeeper isn’t still. He steps out, blocking the child’s path. His face is rough like granite; his hands are made of it. Slowly approaching, he bends down in front of the boy. With a powerful hand on his shoulder he gently whispers in his ear.

“Every time you die I smile.”

Secretly, he never grants entry.

The boy smiles, he’s always known this.






***

Thoughts anyone? Would like to hear what you think.
S
 

Reese

Senior Member
There's a slight allusion to parents that don't care towards the beginning, but the rest seems to be alluding to a character that has very little control over his or her own destiny. There are a multitude of references to a person that just seems to lack a control of his or her own destiny.

Besides that, it all sounds like a bunch of gibberish. Tell me why I should should care. Tell me where all of this jibber-gabber is going.
 
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