Short Story - Dark Window

This story is somewhat of an experiment, one that came out of the small writers group I'm a part of. The good part about such a group is that it challenges you to, at least now and again, try something different. I tend to write in a very strongly traditional narrative way. I take a lot of my cues from the screenwriting skills I was taught at university, and it tends to result in a familiar style when I write. Always looking to improve, and develop my writing, the group is good for trying some different things in a safe environment  This is one of those experiments.

It's both more than a little uncomfortable, and also slightly, oddly, exciting, to try something different, and see if I can make the words work in a different way. I'd love to know what people think, good or bad!

So this one was an attempt to try something a little more evocative, a glimpse at an ephemeral moment or thought, a thought from the mind of something possibly not human ...

Dark Window

Four dark squares.

The reverse of shadows cast the day that the light came.

Four dark squares.

Preserved, like me, in the stone for all these years.

Four dark squares.

One for each year of my life as flesh and blood.

Four dark squares.

One for each generation that I have witnessed pass me by.

Four dark squares.

A reminder. I was born here

Four dark squares.

I died here. I am here

There is a fifth square now. This one not of the lights creation. The strangers put it there a generation past. I had not mastered letter and symbol in my brief time, but I know it to be writing, even if I know not what it says. 

Sacred text perhaps. The strangers seem to revere the squares. The stone wall is a preserved constant in their always changing world.

They build their new curved, shiny, and morphing structures around what remains of the wall that frames my four angular companions. I do not think the strangers know I am here. Maybe I am just a by-product of some cosmic anomaly. 

I wonder how I came to learn. How I know these words, how to think these thoughts. I have come to guess that time teaches regardless. Perhaps without the flesh I am unbound. Yet I am undeniably still bound to those four dark squares. 

I have tried to leave, ached to stray, yet I cannot.

I am as bound to the wall as those four squares.

I fade with distance from the wall, those four dark squares an anchor.

I wonder if the strangers know that the squares were made by a window. An imprint of a moment. My release. Our release. The strangers do not seem to have windows, at least not like I did.

That window was my escape. 

Now it may be my Jailer, I am not sure.

I see no windows in the strangers world, yet there always seems to be one there when needed. I have long tried to observe the patterns I presume there to be in the strangers creations and architecture, but I can find none. If I had a head it would no doubt be hurt by the task. Their world simply does not seem to move at the pace at which I remember mine having, but is instead, altogether something else. I however have no frame of reference for what that something might be.

I used to dwell by the window that created the four dark squares. It made me forget the tubes from which the light freed me. In many ways the world I could glimpse from the window then was almost as alien to me as the strangers world is now. 

All I knew was that window and the four walls that encased it, and the ceiling that bathed us in that distinctive pale glow that I cannot forget. I had but one constant companion aside from the window, a tall fellow, as grey as the walls, spoke only in a series of beeps and whistles that occasionally seemed to interest those who kept us both confined within those four walls.

I was connected to my grey bleeping friend, both literally, and in the soulful silences we shared gazing out of that window.

The ones in the white coats could poke and prod all they liked. My grey friend and I had a pact of silence. In all fairness it was born out of my admiration for how he never complained when they assaulted him. I remember I had been prone to squealing and whining, but presented with his stoic silence, I felt compelled to bear the machinations of our captors in a similar fashion.

He never said as much, for I never heard him speak, but I felt it became a bond we shared. 

The window fascinated us both equally.

He did not join me after the light came. He left me to the wall and the four dark shadows. 

Now I feel that perhaps I should have longed to leave those walls, and wander the strange world beyond. Yet I cannot recall ever having that compulsion. I have that compulsion now.

I remember fear, danger. The world beyond the walls was not for us. It had a beauty that even then I recognized, but it did not beguile and lure me in the manner that I have become accustomed to now.

There lingers an uncanny sense that, in some way, that world was not safe. Threatened. A strange notion that my confinement was some form of protection from something beyond my comprehension. 

I do remember though that there was no ceiling to that world. Perhaps time has muddied my recollections, but in my minds eye the above twirled in reds, grays, and whites, before finally the black that ultimately preceded the light. It was noisy. I may still see, but I no longer hear. The cacophony that accompanied the swirling colors absent from the strangers world.

Instead the strangers world expands in every direction. There is no openness. There is always something above. The kaleidoscopic structures slide and part with an intricacy that can often mesmerize. Time can pass faster. A relief.

More of the strangers come to the sole remaining wall, to stare at the four dark squares, than ever visited my beeping companions and I within our four walls.

They often leave behind objects, it happens too often to be accidental. Too much like a ritual. I imagine them to be soft, fragile, if I had some means by which to touch again. Those sensations long forgotten ... fuzzy ... 

The objects have a beauty to them.

Those too fade, only to be replaced by those that follow.

I rarely recognize return visitors, although I admit to struggling to tell them apart. Somehow that seems to do them some disservice I cannot quite grasp. Yet they continue to come.

At least they did, less of them come now.

Maybe when the last of them have parted from whatever ritual the wall and the four dark squares inspire in them I too will fade.

I can hope.

Perhaps I do affect them in some way. I do not know. Perhaps I serve some purpose.

I can hope.

Four dark squares.

My home.

 © Craig Morrison – August 2013