This is the first part of a hopeful series. Hopeful in that I actually hope to have time to complete it. It is subtitled:
"A Collection of True Stores."
I think this could be better if you could see the broken-typewriter font this was drafted in.
- 1 -
He stopped before opening the door to glance up and down the cobblestone street. The sunlight reflected off of puddles, refracted through imperfect windows, and cast an oblique shadow across one half of the alleyway. The wind was blowing gently through through his hair; he could feel it vibrate around the edges of his knit cap. He squinted in the sunlight, watching a bit of newspaper drift past. The sun, and the wind, and the newspaper, and himself were all. Besides these, he was alone.
He pushed the warehouse door. It resisted, red paint peeling from its rusted hinges, but nevertheless budged.
Inside the building now, He peered through the gloom of another world. The cobwebs and thick gray dust were only interrupted by shafts of weary light. The dust itself seemed intent on forcing the light away, swirling up in drafts of wind, as if in armed rebellion against it. The dust appeared to be winning the battle. Through this gloom, the boy can see the vague outlines of walls and lofts and pillars of wood. He’s looking for something, but entirely unsure of what it is; just as he is unsure who or what is chasing him.
Advancing into the room he left a sort of pathway with his already dirty feet, as if it were through snow. The light seemed to cautiously take advantage of the still partly open door to make a brisk charge into this enemy territory, but is turned back again, repulsed by growing number of combatants kicked up into the action by brave bare heels.
Just ahead lay a curious device, rather like a dumbwaiter. It must be used, thought the boy, to take tools and materials to the loft high above. It consisted of nothing more than a square metal platform, spidery railing, and a single slack chain which clung to something near the ceiling. I climbed aboard, hardly knowing why. Looking up, I could see the ceiling, the joists barely outlined in the shadows. Looking down, I grew queasy. I heard the chain rattle over some drum, and creak for want of lubricant.
Image again. I knew time had passed, but not how much. The boy didn’t seem to notice. I’m now standing under the spot where the makeshift elevator once operated. The time has not alleviated our confusion in the slightest. The dust still lies on the floor, only thicker if that is possible. The light still shines through the partly opened door, but perhaps brighter. I go to it - the light and the door - and looking back, I can see an empty chain swinging and creaking gently in the draft.
Outside, the wind is still blowing, now bits of newspaper are joined by aluminum cans, each of which would have been priceless not very long ago. The boy doesn’t know what they are, or even what they’re made of, but I do. The street is paved.
I’m running down the street, frantically searching for meaning, and.. life. I pass unseeing people, turn the corner, feel the wind in the nameless boy’s hair, stumbling over my feet and bits of garbage and priceless aluminum. A dog is barking. I run and turn and run and turn, and am standing next to the warehouse door again. We stop, the boy is breathless.
Facing the dirty gloom once again, we enter the building. Still searching, searching for something, and still uncertain what it could be, and still with the feeling that someone is right behind us, coming closer.
A hand on our shoulder.
The boy can’t turn around. But I force him. I must know.
Slowly, tenuously, we turn to look. The hand does nothing to hinder or encourage us. At once, our breath is gone. There is a woman there, as beautiful as we have ever seen. Strangely outlined in a subtle glow. Strangely causing the dust that is floating in the air to sparkle like mysterious microscopic diamonds. Strangely out of place, but we have the feeling that she is perfectly in place wherever she may appear. Everything about her is strange.. and magnificent.. and perfect. I don’t know what she’s wearing, if anything. She leaves more of an impression, than an image. I’m certain her clothing must be light, and airy, and float in the light breeze that seems focused around her, conflicting with the draft in little turbid whirlpools of shimmer.
Her hand moves from our shoulder to my own hand. Our own hand. The hand of the nameless boy. The functional end of the arm-appendage of the useless physical body that seems to follow me around. Perhaps i follow it.
She takes my hand and leads me to a door in the wall I had not seen before. It’s closed, and locked, but at her touch it opens without a sound from its rust laden hinges. Inside the small room, growing smaller, I look down and see my body.
It would seem that it should be a troubling experience, to see one’s own body. To see the feet that had hurried down the cobblestone street and the hair that had been displaced by the wind ever so long, and not so long, ago. And I did feel that trouble, nagging somewhere at the corner of my heart, but mostly what i felt while hovering above that body, circling the tiny room while the wonderful lady looked on is this:
“I’ve found it.”
And then I awoke.