The old god sat in a corner of his workshop and regarded his creation. It was nearly done. He’d laid the foundations of fire and clay, he’d shaped the mountains and the seas, he’d planted the seeds that would grow into grasses and trees. He had spent the last several hours painting each grain of sand just the right shade of gold, each wave in the ocean the right shade of blue, and each cloud just the right shade of silver-grey. This world was his masterpiece. It was lighter than the ones he’d made before, but heavier than the airy worlds his brothers and sisters made. It needed only a few finishing touches: balancing the poles, stoking the fires within to just the right heat, giving the mountaintops one final polish. Once he was done, this world would outshine all the others.
Category: Short Stories
Okay. This is an exercise in imagination. A thought exercise. Just go with me for a minute, and imagine this is all true.
In fact, I want you to imagine that everything is true. Everything you ever thought of, every story you ever read, every lie you ever told. All true, all real. Not here, of course. This world is a very strict, rules based world where not everything is possible. But out there, somewhere, in some other dimension that we can’t quite reach, it all exists. And here’s the thing: it all exists because we believe in it. In fact, we don’t even have to believe in it! Just imagine it. That daydream you had about the perfect life, the perfect job, your dream house, your dream man or woman? All there, somewhere. Just out of reach.
This is was partly inspired by the Matrix and every Matrix-like story, but mostly it was inspired by Steve Reich’s first experiment with phasing, It’s Gonna Rain. I actually like phasing as a technique and enjoy later works like Piano Phase and Violin Phase. On the other hand, the first part of It’s Gonna Rain (The phrase ‘It’s gonna rain’, on repeat, slightly out of sync, for about eight minutes) is akin to being punched in the head repeatedly for eight minutes. I started out trying to replicate this in prose form but fortunately, I don’t think I succeeded.
Truth time: This is mostly an excuse to link to a story I wrote that was published as part of the Short Fiction Break 2018 Summer Writing Contest, which you can find here. It’s called Trial by Fire and involves a prisoner being offered a chance at freedom … as long as she can pass the trial.
On the other hand, I also have something to say about how I wrote this story, and maybe learnt a lesson from it, although I’m not sure what that lesson was.
Harrin and Alys stared up at the gates. They were made of black stone, and intricately carved with designs of flowers and faces and cities and many things they could not quite make out. They were tall gates, heavy gates that towered over them.
They were also closed. Very closed. There was no gap between them, no handle, no opening.
Oh, it’s you. Hello.
I’m ok. But I can still hear the voices on the other side of the wall.
Not in the wall, the other side. They are on the other side of the wall.
I don’t mean the corridor. I know there’s a corridor if you walk around the wall. The corridor is around the wall. This place is on the other side.