Saturday, November 12, 2011

Perceptions and Denial

I was going through my documents folder, and I found this short (very short) story I wrote in my first or second year of college. I’ve always liked it – I don’t think it’s crazy good or anything, but as far as things I’ve written go, it’s towards the top of the list. Let me know what you think!


“I think I have a plan,” said the Blue Shadow to the Grey.

“Indeed?” came the reply. “I do hope it is an improvement upon your last one.”

The two blurry smears on the perception of reality were the only things distinguishable in the room. In fact, a careful observer might say that there was no room, only an endless field which pulsed with nothing, on which nothing moved, and which indeed seemed to stretch on and on forever into the horizon which wasn’t really there. But as long as one cannot possibly fathom what one’s eyes are seeing, it is much more reassuring to believe that a seemingly endless plain of nothing is no more than a room so full of shadows that it is in fact pitch-black, in which nothing can be seen clearly.

“So where do you suppose we’ve ended up?” Asked the Blue Shadow as he picked up what he imagined to be a crate and moved it over to where he thought the wall might be. “France?”

The way in which a mind conceives a plain of foggy nothingness may very well reflect the way in which the owner of the mind functions. For example, a very imaginative, yet fearful person might envision the nothing as friendly, familiar shapes such as walls, crates, windows, and even other people. A more realistic person might see an endless moor, the darkness only alleviated by the moonlight drifting through the fog like underwater lanterns. A complete madman, who hasn’t a mind for fear, might see only nothing, and might not even be surprised.

The peculiarity of the mind is that when faced with the impossible, it simply blocks out contradictions until what is left is manageable. Take the case in point of these two different figures faced with this nothing. No matter what their minds perceive, they are in fact seeing the exact same thing – their perceptions may be different, but their surroundings are not. So it may not come as much of a surprise that although they may be telling two entirely different stories, they take no notice of it.

“I’m sure I don’t know,” said the Grey figure, who was, and had always been, a careful observer. “But I can almost assure you that it is not France. He gazed off into the distance. “Do you believe this? I don’t think I can recall ever seeing anything this empty. It reminds me of the sea, though I have never seen it.”

“Hm? Yes. I wonder if this window is locked.” Another crate was stacked into place.

“I think it’s very beautiful.”

“Aha! There’s no latch. Well, let us see what we shall see.” The Blue figure climbed up the pile and out of the window he fancied was there. The Grey sighed softly and walked straight through the wall (which he didn’t fancy to be there) and sat down next to the Blue. “Well, that got us nowhere,” Blue was saying. “Just another room.”

“Why do you suppose we’re here?”

“I’m not sure. There’s another window.”

“I think the sun’s coming out.”

The surrounding gloom was getting slowly brighter, but not clearer. If anything, it made the nothing more difficult to see.

“I think I should want to close the drapes until evening.”

“The clouds are moving! Do you see?”

It soon became too bright to see anything.

“Oh!” cried the Blue. “It’s blinding me!”

“Yes,” breathed Grey. “Quite wonderful, isn’t it?”

The light was everywhere. It took over everything. Every sense, every nerve, every thought was bright. Too bright to see. Too bright to feel. Too bright to be.

And then…

Then there was nothing. Endless nothing.