Saturday, February 26, 2005


It began the first night of the new month. The head appeared and followed him everywhere he went, eyes trained firmly upon him. His attempts to turn away from it saw it intrude again swiftly into his line of vision. The head caught the light and shadows such that he could never tell with certainty whether it was disembodied or not. And those unblinking eyes continued to stare. That was the worst of it, that the eyes never blinked. It made the head seem unnatural and threatening. Try watching TV under those circumstances! At each new eruption of disquiet inside him the head seemed to increase the mad boldness of its demeanor. It was always just out of reach, intensely focused eyes staring into him with a resolve that could smash stone to rubble. Even in his sleep he could not escape the ghastliness of it. It watched near his bed - the eerie illumination forced its way through his eyelids and entered his dreams at will - and looked at him. By the third day he cracked. He went directly to the collection agency and payed his overdue installment on his new state-of-the-art high definition widescreen television, upon which they called off their patented Neversleep Reminder Head™.

Story #172

Thanks for all the brilliant stories you posted in the comments section! More are welcome!

Original post: It's your turn again! I hope this photo will inspire everyone to pen their own story. Please post them to the comments section. Sunday evening I hope to post my own version.

Also, I'd like to say once in this central location: Thanks to everyone for the encouragement, the lovely comments, the links, and more basically, for reading my stories. I feel as if I've done something right, but I'm not sure what, and my only fear is that I might begin to disappoint your high expectations. I read your blogs and you're all so brilliant.

Another announcement: I will only be able to post stories until March 11th. After that I'll be on a two and a half week vacation stateside, my first time back since 1999. Regular posts will resume in April.

17 comments:

The Mushroom said...

Astrid was a heavenly body. Wherever she went, the poets would bask in her light and become inspired, young lovers would sit together near her and spoon, and animals you normally do not see during the day would come forth and be seen on the periphery. She was never quite sure how she got to be such a luminary, but she always realized that it was a gift from the heavens.

She hoped some day that a man in a suit would come to visit her, to touch her face. This would be a small step for a man but a giant leap for her. She was so... alone, far away but not so distant she couldn't be found, and spent her nights watching the world in silence. What sort of craft would it take for someone to reach her? She waited patiently, always facing the world with a new face, for the eagle to land and splash down in her life, hoping this dream wasn't all just lunacy. Her loneliness was visibly beginning to eclipse her.

Cori said...

ARRRGGGGGG!!!

Indeterminacy said...

Hi Cori: That comment will go beautifully with my story which I'll post tomorrow.

Mushroom: Brilliant! Thanks for going to all that trouble.

michael said...

I never take a single breath without her, the light falling cooly across just one side of her face in the twilight. Somehow, either just before the sun rose or maybe just after the moon fell behind the ridge, my eyelids were caught open while dreaming. It was just as I was hiding from the tractor-trailers on the freeway, who still looked like hungry tanks meaning to devour me. She visited me briefly but just for a moment, and I knew it was her when her hand touched my shoulder.

The bitter taste of our endless flight, the sound of one helicopter much too close above the trees, the stab of a flashlight's beam against my wide-open eyes, and the sound of frightened voices all rushed up inside my ears, and with them came the warm irrepressible surge of fainting.

With her left palm she made a whirling movement before my face, touching first my forehead, and then my throat, and then she was gone--along with the cold, the numbness, the broken glass, all of it was missing-- even the cuts on my hands were gone. I still cannot remember who they were or why we were running, and instead of those unbearable memories, she left me with the talisman of her form, etched across my exhausted, blinking eyes. If I close my eyes she appears to me now like a half-moon in the darkness, telling me to say her name if ever they come again for us. Her words are strong, fearless, and warm.

They cannot call her now, only those who have walked upside-down in the darkness have the voice to be heard, if you are one of them remember her name always in case you might need aid, whisper to her fearlessly and directly into the wind: "Aradia"

The Mushroom said...

Indie: No trouble at all, I just wrote the first thing that came to mind and then had to think of 'loony' things to follow the theme. :) Enjoy your visit to the motherland and departure from the writing schedule; too bad you'll be somewhere other than the Pacific Northwest or I'd buy you a pint of cheap American pisswater we mistakenly call Beer. :-D The March Laughter is the Spackle of the Soul update has been posted.

Robyn said...

Sylvia loved the old classic films. She often spent time in an old run down theater in the "bad end" of town watching film festivals. She had seen them all; the Hitchcock Festival, The Spies and Lies festival, and of course the Private Eye movies.

This week end was a little different though. The new owners of the place were a little different. They were introducing The Classics of Horror this weekend. She had gone only because they had promised the whole weekend would be comprised solely of black and white films.

Sylvia had drifted off during The Curse of the Mummy. She was so looking forward to the Dracula films though. She loved the sexual symbolism in the films about vampires. They had always been her little secret pleasure.

When she woke she was no longer in the theater, but in a large velvet and satin arrayed bed. Her mind reeled. She heard her voice spoken an a soft male voice with a distinctly Romany accent. She sat bolt upright and looked around the half dark room. She wondered who the new owners of the theater were anyway. She heard her name again, "Lucy, come to me", and though but my name is .... Lucy was the only name that rang through her mind.

Indeterminacy said...

Robyn! Thanks so much. You know I love vampire stories, being a big Dark Shadows fan. This story was right on target.

M.P. said...

HI.. Here you have my version for this pic:
"She was there all alone in the dark, looking at her half reflection on the mirror right in front of her. How could it show such a devilish half of her??
She was terrorized as she could not believe in what the mirror showed to her.She had always tried to act like an angel, doing what she was expected to, without rebelling against any rule or imposition set on her.
Her anxiety was such that she stood stuck in front of that half image of her self! All she could do was utter a scream-like pray which made the mirror blaster into little shatters, thus destroying the hideous image.
But what to do now? She could not go on existing with one only self half! Human beings have good and bad features after all.
She got out of that room and looked for another mirror. She had several spread all over her place.
Standing in front of the first one she managed to find, she screamed once more and the mirror got all broken into little pieces again .
She picked them all up, put them into the bag where she already had the other ones, went to the lounge to try out the solution for that jig-saw puzzle that would give her a brand new self."

It is a real shame you've decided to finish the blog... Honestly! **

Indeterminacy said...

Thank you MP. This is such a beautiful story. I wish I had written it.

P.S. Finishing? I'm not finishing. I don't know when I'll finish. Soon there will 180 stories, half of the degrees of a circle. After that I have to at least have 360. After that I can start on a new circle. But if I feel like I'm starting to repeat and the stories aren't adding anything new, then I will stop, for everyone's sake.

Cori said...

"A triple scotch please," she said to the bartender. "That’s the heavy stuff, right?"

She saw her own reflection in the mirror and stopped to stare at the seamless golden lines of her rebirth. She had led a life of chastity and blessed reverence up until now, and look what it got her.

At the other end of the bar, beyond the smoke and filtered glow, Joseph downed his whiskey and sighed a breath of relief. He never felt quite right until that second beer and that second shot. Cheers to the big numb, and the loss of the past, cheers to forgetting- he lifted the empty shot glass, motioning to the awestruck bartender for another. He contemplated his index finger, thumb and the transparent emptiness of his life- lifting the shot glass up to his eye, peering through it toward the only source of light in the room- that is when he saw Mary for the first time.

Indeterminacy said...

I feel like this is my birthday, with all these wonderful presents coming in. I don't know what to say. My story will be on in a couple of hours. I want to wait, just in case there are more coming. Yes, I am greedy. ;-)

Abby Taylor said...

The relationship was over. She stared at her half-face.

Ann wasn't so sad about the ending as about having to cut her ex-boyfriend out of her favorite picture of herself. In fact, this was one of the reasons it was over. Sam just always stood in front of her, either literally or figuratively.

So now as she thought about her future, Ann focused on how she'd have to get a picture of her next boyfriend positioned in exactly the same way in front of her so she could cut him out of the new photo and paste him into this photo.

As she planned her future in this way, she never once had the thought, "Freud was right."

The Mushroom said...

Abby: Ahahahah!! Very good! Instead of scissors, maybe she should use a projector to put the man in -- a series of slides in the tray, just push the button every so often to advance to the next Mr. Right-Now.

Abby Taylor said...

Indeterminacy... ahhh, good one!

the mushroom: I don't think Ann was too high-tech. But thanks for the good idea... I'm headed out to buy a slide projector.

Indeterminacy said...

Wow Abby! Your story is really deep. I think mine is the most shallow. Once you've read the punch line, that's about all there is too it. Great work, everybody!

Anonymous said...

They called her Moon. Nobody could explain her condition. As a child, she was photographed, filmed, analyzed. Ph.D. theses were written about her. Her picture was on the cover of magazines like Nature, Scientific American and People. Later in school, she was a loner. The kids didn’t even laugh at her, because she frightened them. So they left her alone, and she didn’t mind that at all. Her parents tried to give her a life as close to normality as possible, but sometimes, when they thought she was asleep, she could hear them talk. There was only one day every month when she could go out on the street like a normal person, when nobody stopped and stared at her. On those days, her face was complete; it had two eyes and a full mouth and round cheeks like everybody else’s. She was happy for a few precious hours on those days, when a full moon shone in the night.

tom said...

Thank you, very interesting!