Monday, February 27, 2006


Matthew entered the shadow studio, as it was called. He stood in the silent chamber, taking in the apparatus and the convex projection screen. The lights dimmed and he counted the seconds of silence while the hum of transistors and electrified circuits cut in as a steady, subliminal vibration. All the preparations had paid off. Soon he would be able to carry out his plan. His mind drifted through bits and pieces of the interview with the psychologist who'd certified his suitability for the procedure. Not everyone was allowed into the room...

"Tell me again about these voices you've been hearing," the psychologist’s voice stated unemotionally, eyes staring through the wire-rimmed glasses at Matthew.

"---It's when no one else is around. They call to me --- beaconing me --- as if they were around the corner, or in the next room. But when I go in, they've moved on --- and when I hear them again their condescension only builds." Matthew spoke like a man hounded, and the sensors on his fingers and pasted to his head confirmed the emotion.

"And these voices, do they ever tell you to do anything?"

"Yes. Yes, at night. It begins as insinuations, 'That girl next door would like someone to...' Then the demands become more direct, first as questions, 'Why don't you visit her and---' Then commands, 'Go to her now and---' And loud, very loud, sexual things, you understand --- I press my hands to my ears and fall to the floor, but they scream at me, many voices at once, an entire crowd, and won't let up." At this point he buried his face in his hands and began to cry, his frame shaking with emotion. It was a passionate performance and sustained throughout a film may even have sufficed for an Oscar nomination. The psychologist, though no connoisseur of acting, liked what he saw.

"I think I can certify your insanity," he told Matthew. "We shall begin the procedure in half an hour."

Matthew smiled inwardly. Those weeks of intense meditation and practice with his homemade lie-detector had put him in a position to claim anything he wanted, and have it officially approved as truth. Suddenly, light appeared behind the now rippling membrane. It was a weak, colorless glow at first, strengthening finally into a thick hue of green like one might expect in the illuminated brine of a fathomless ocean. It was his soul, his soul that formed out of the green ether as a dense, dark shadow. He reached out to it, to touch it, to embrace it, the ultimate embrace of oneself, which had been his intention all along. Had he been insane, the procedure would have extracted the pathological segments of his being and left them to dissolve into dust, to be vacuumed away and sealed in a specimen tube for scientific reference. But now the complete soul presented itself intact, stood before him in his reach. His hand felt drawn towards the real reflection but as his fingertips grasped, the soul turned away. His soul, too, had had intentions. It wanted out, out of dull, normal Matthew. A moment later it vanished entirely, and Matthew stood alone, a mere shell of his former self.

Story #340

Important announcement: The new blog discussed in the comments of the previous post has been launched with a premier story by Viruswitch: anothergalaxy.blogspot.com.

All story contributions have been reposted at indeterminacies.blogspot.com.

18 comments:

viruswitch said...

Trinity had been dreaming of that bright green light every day for the past month. It started as a weak green point of light and expanded into a great green liquid curtain. In the dream she held her hand out, touched it and it endevoured it into the green dimension. It was a beautiful sight. Green and blue shadows glew all over, with hues of purple that met with a sight-penetrating white, stubborn enough never to abandon a world poor of color. There was a green fountain that threw out drops of a crystal-like shiny water. The sound of the flowing water was very quiet but as her gaze was fixed on the fountain, she started to perceive it incredibly loudly. Unable to resist she aproached the water, closed her eyes and felt, how it felt. Trinity was now a glowing green mass of refreshing liquid, her body had vanished and only the outline of her form reminded of a past human existence. As if a green current of electricity hit her, she reached the peak of this peculiar green nirvana. Thats when she always woke up.

The Mushroom said...

It was old science, or pseudoscience, but it's the one that her grandfather swore by: he had this "ozone machine" that looked like a shoeshine box with eight neon-like tubes on top that would glow blue-white with electric plasma. He claimed that the static discharge it produced improved the circulation in his feet, and he'd sit in the La-Z-Boy with his feet gently placed upon the tubes. She had the ways and the means to replicate her grandfather's wonder-machine, but it wasn't her feet that she was having trouble with. She wanted to improve the circulation of her entire body and built an entire wall of tubing that she could stand near, or go about her work next to. It looked really great, like something you'd see at a home improvement show, and people commented they'd love to have a shower stall or external entryway to their homes that looked like this. But after a week or two, she concluded that the science had failed her. Partially this was because she didn't feel a change because she used argon (ergo the green color) rather than oxygen in her tubing, but mostly the problem was that the tubing and the power step-up used to make it glow were causing trouble on the laptop computer she would sit in front of with the tubing wall behind her and it was interfering with her ability to blog about how great this health improvement system was.


[This is partially autobiographical; my grandfather did swear by his ozone-tube footbox.]

Jamie Dawn said...

She was dead; she knew that much, but where was she? Karen was never one to believe in an afterlife. She felt weightless. She wondered what was behind that weird, green, glowing wall. When she peeked behind it, she saw God, and all the mysteries of the universe were answered just by one look in God's eyes.
You may be wondering what God looks like. Karen knows.

viruswitch said...

Wow Jamie, I wondered if your story is also autobiographical like mushrooms but then again, it cant be.

The Mushroom said...

VW, in reference to whether Jamie's entry could be autobio: my belief is that Life is like that employment I had with the State years ago -- you don't ever see what your job description and duties are until you've been let go, though you did get some conflicting descriptions which had a kernal of accuracy while you were there.

viruswitch said...

LOL, I didnt know working for the state can provide one with such insights on life. But I get it. He have an inkling but the great secret will never be revealed...

Jamie Dawn said...

Good stories, VW & Mush.
Nothing autobiographical about mine.
I'd like to know what Karen knows, though.

Indeterminacy said...

I finished my story early for a achange so I thought I'd have a peak at the stories you guys wrote....

Viruswitch: I thought your description of the light was amazing. I could feel and taste what it looked like. (I know that description is my weak point in writing, so I admire it all the more when I see someone else do it). And it's a fantastic story, too.

Mushroom: Your description of the machine puts mine to shame, too. (Which you'll all see Monday). I think this metaphor stands out: " like something you'd see at a home improvement show." And the ever-present blogging... Guess people are all walking around with laptops nowadays, looking for something to blog about. I always enjoy the bit of family history you work into your stories. Let's hope in my story there's no family history ;-)

Jamie: Elegant, matter-of-fact description of life after death. All the details fit. It reminds me of the near-death experiences I've read about.

Mushroom: That's very Junian, what you just said. He talks about individuation and self-actualization, and it culminates in the entire achievements of the person in the moment of death.

Let's see if anyone else cares to try their hand...

Indeterminacy said...

P.S. If you've missed my postscripted comment at the end of the post, go and check out what Viruswitch has started:

anothergalaxy.blogspot.com

Synchronicity Evangelist said...

She is trying to find ‘herself’ in her shadow. Her shadow on the green light is the only absolute truth that appears relative in the physical world. She is trying to seize a truth, which cannot be captured in the frames of physical reality. It is something that needs to be flowing like current.

cooper said...

Enjoying everyone's stories. I like tha picture and will check out viruswatch directly.

Jamie Dawn said...

That was eerie, Indie. I'd say Matthew got what he deserved. His trick backfired big time!

weirsdo said...

I thought that story was pretty brilliant. I liked the eerie build-up, the unexpected ending, and especially Matthew's lies, which seemed to betray a hint of Tucholsky's influence. . .

I do not know if any cabs would have pulled up for me on this one. I was desperately busy last week. Sorry.

Indeterminacy said...

Full of love: Your interpretation is food for thought. I looked at the picture a long time. I think the reflection is of a woman behind the curtain, but the person who we can see is male. But I'm not 100% certain. There was a second picture which I'll have to look at again.

Cooper (Alice): Viruswitch selected the photo from several I sent to her.

Jamie: And what's he going to do now? Not even the devil is interested in a deal with him.

Mrs. Weirsdo: I didn't know anyone would like the story that much - it honestly surprises me - I thought it was in parts. But you're partly right about the Tucholsky - I thought the "monologue" was similar to the Mr. Wrobel in "I am a Murderer," but what I kept thinking of while writing it was Peter Lorre in M (1931), his crazed explanation at the end, of why he has to murder.

ann marie simard said...

Hi Indeterminacy and thanks for the story once again. And your visit...

I have been over here twice before today, just reading it again. You know all the good I think about your writing and this is not an exception... interesting subject. Very concise writing.

I'm into psychoanalysis, especially in writing. The subconsious connections we make.

I was pimping your blog the other day. Seems it has been appreciated... you are so productive! I just write my tiny "fiction to go" pieces and the rest on paper here at home... saving pages for the rainy day i.e the damn publishing contract I am supposed to honour...

All the best and keep the ink - no - pixels and xhtml flowing...

Indeterminacy said...

Poetic Justice: Thank you for your very kind comments about my writing. I saw you what you wrote the other day at your blog, too. THanks for all of it. I thought I'd added a link to your site, but apparently I hadn't - but I've rectified that. I hope some of my visitors stop by your place, too. It's very cool there.

Actually I never tried to write anything really psychoanalytic, though it may turn out like that in the end. I made the psychologist a psychiatrist to start with but went back and changed it. But it probably still shows. I really didn't imagine people would like this story so much.

Everyone: Sorry, but it will be a slow week again. I hope to post a story tomorrow, then maybe Friday. I'll do my best, OK? It's another one of those weeks.

Synchronicity Evangelist said...

Indie, I just read your story. Its so very beautiful. Profound.

Indeterminacy said...

Full of Love: Thank you so much.

Will Brady of Will Brady's Ruminations sent me a late story, which I think is incredibly original:

Gwen had come up the stairs to find the sea chamber blocked off with a curtain. She was concenred about the folds of the curtain [if it confused the fish] and wondered if the fish behind the curtain would be harmed by residues emanating from the synthetic material from which the curtain was composed. She also wondered how the fish would be fed, and even if the fish had been killed off, the curtain being placed in the tank to keep the viewers from seeing their stiff, lifeless bodies floating near the top of the tank.
This whole affair troubled her greatly, and it was causing her to reconsider whether or not she should pledge her annual support to the Center the next time a fund-raising drive was announced. After all, it was cotsing her well over $100 a year to support the place, and this is not what she was expecting when she came to visit.
She would rather have seen a new collection on sea anemones in the tank, as had been suggested during the last fund drive. All it all, it saddened her to see the curtain across the tank.