Friday, June 08, 2012

Flash Fiction Friday: Something Like Midnight (5)

This is Part 5 of a still undecided 6 or 7 part story.  Maybe it'll be considered a 6 part story with the 7th being the epilogue.  I'm not sure yet.  Anyway, see Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 if you'd like to catch up or re-read.  Thank you!

--Part 5--

     The darkness enveloped him, choking him as it pushed down his throat and into his nostrils. Cold tendrils wriggled inside his stomach and the man retched a silent spew. The darkness was infinite. It was longing. Light did not exist here; it never would. The man knew this with certainty, but he could not explain how or why.
     In addition to the palpable darkness there was absolute quiet. The man called out but he could not make himself heard, and when he opened his mouth the darkness rushed in, an open hand down his throat. Sound did not exist and its absence was maddening. Voices screamed within his mind in languages he did not understand. The man did not need a translation to know what anguish sounded like.
     The man began to walk, pushing his way through the black as if he were walking in neck-deep water. Each step sent tremendous pain down his back, but he could not cry out. He stumbled and fell, plunging forward blindly. He did not hit ground, but continued to fall, moving deeper and deeper into the abyss. As he descended the darkness grew thicker. Pressure built up around him, swallowing, crushing him.
     Eternity passed and still he fell. He sank into despair, recalling names of people and faces of the living and the dead. Countless faces passed before him, each one bringing with it a piece of some grand story. He saw the kindly schoolmaster reading mythologies to a classful of pupils, instilling a lifelong desire for storytelling. There he sat, cross-legged and eyes wide, while his brother sat a few feet behind him staring longingly at the teacher. He saw the poxed faces of his mother and father frowning their displeasure, never satisfied with their children, never praising them. He saw his brother crying beneath a bed and knew that he was the reason for it. The face of the first woman he’d ever loved appeared, pure and porcelain, and she gave him the gift of heartache as she left him for another. He saw a gaunt, hollow-eyed child reaching to him for food, and he winced as he brushed by her, sparing not even a backwards glance. His brother trailed behind, a silent witness to the act. Another woman appeared--Valeste, he thought--her eyes dark and stained.
     It was his story he was seeing, his life he was watching unfold. He had thought himself the hero, out for justice and possibly a little vengeance, but he had been blinded. He was no hero, but the villain. It was his apathy and his absence from his home that had led to the suffering in his wife’s heart. It was his stubbornness sewing seeds of malice. Each of his actions had led to her transformation and ultimately to her eternal punishment. -the boon of the grave is knowledge-, a voice whispered in his head, silencing all others. The face of his brother darkened with age and filled with tattoos, mutating from a soft-faced boy to an unrecognizable stranger, changed by years of neglect and scorn. There was a smug look of satisfaction about him. The mental picture focused sharp and the man remembered everything.
     Corgan was suddenly on his feet. The weight of the darkness evaporated. Washed out whites and spectral greys blossomed into view. The light blinded him, and as his vision cleared he noticed one color among the grayscale. Red, in the form of two burning eyes. The Gyarmr had arrived. The monster exhaled, a sonorous breath reeking of death and rot. The creature seemed to smile, slightly opening its mouth as if in ridicule.
     Corgan stepped backwards, dread now filling him. His plan had failed. Wenton had betrayed him and ensured that. The grave was insurmountable and he had been a fool to trust the Draughter. The Gyarmr cocked its head appraisingly. It sniffed, no doubt smelling Corgan’s fear. Running was futile. He supposed he’d known that for five years now, but he had tried nonetheless. Time had finally stopped. Corgan resigned himself to his second death, unable to comprehend the infinite pain that the Gyarmr would momentarily inflict upon him.
     A loud, tinny sound reverberated all around them. It echoed within his head, louder than anything he had ever heard before. Like a child, Corgan put his hands up to his ears, but it made no difference. The Gyarmr growled and shook its head. The greys around them swirled, color spilling in. The Gyarmr lunged at Corgan, barking as it did, mouth wide and fangs bared. It was the sound of pure and fury. Corgan winced and closed his eyes as the teeth snapped shut around him.

Word Count: 777

Question: Is this just a giant info dump?  Should it be heavily trimmed?


Anonymous said...

Nah, not a giant info dump, but there should be a trimming as well as an expanding. I'd go back through and ask yourself of your description, "Am I telling something here or am I implying something here?" Like the line of "dread filling him" -- what's it look like for dread to fill Corgan? For me, it looks like running. I don't care if I know better, I'm running fast and hard and gonna try to outsmart that thing. Why did Corgan stay? How did dread root him there?

Also (and this is more of a style thing, so it's complete personal preference) but "The man did not need a translation to know what anguish sounded like." might be better rendered, "The man did not need a translation to know the sound of anguish." since the last word of that sentence would be the last word of that paragraph as well. "Anguish" leaves a harder punch than "like." But, again, just preference.

All in all, great stuff. Curious to see how this turns out. You certainly could expand it a bit by increasing conflict and end up with a novelette.

Good work.

Anonymous said...

i agree with lance on the "not a giant info dump" and the suggestion on the sentence. However, to create a sense of movement to create that continual sense of dread, that thudding pulse, you could disperse his visions and it's translation amidst movements further into the pressing dark ever sinking toward the waiting gyarmr. It is tricky trying to judge how much the reader will be able to interpret, and what you do not want to be left to chance. you chose the visions for a reason, the progression, but of course, the internal dialog, his ascribing meaning has been consistent.

I have a want to suggest instead of "palpable darkness" maybe "palpable black"

you have me on my toes, Logan. I have no idea where you are going with this. at. all.


logankstewart said...

@Lance: Show don't tell, eh? Gotcha. And thanks for the sentence suggestion. This is a great idea. I want to revisit this piece and perhaps make many of these types of changes. Thanks for reading, and glad I have you curious.

@L: Glad this didn't seem too obtrusive, then. And I like this suggestion, too, to stretch it and add suspense. Good idea. Hope the final installments are satisfactory! Thanks for reading.

Kristopher A. Denby said...

I have to agree with Lance. You could easily expand this thing. I have more to say, but I'm going to save it for part 6 as I've already read it.

The Sound and Fury of Kristopher Denby