24th July 2017

3.4: Task #2: Chapter One


No light. No dark. No shapes. No forms. No dimensions. No states of matter. No touch. No smell. No sound. No time. No space.


Question: What is the color of nothing? The way I see it, there are two possible answers. Two plainest colors, two opposing ends of a vast and infinite spectrum teeming with hybrid after hybrid of tones, hues and complexions from few, mild and simple primary to intricate, vibrant and many tertiary. The only two colours in the universe to be so barren and void of charisma and complexity that humanity does not chose to categorize them as colors at all. Infrastructural colors, the bare-bones of existence, two possible canvases of which some mighty deity plucked his thousands of brushes on by one and began creating his ambitious masterpiece, starting with fat brushes and foundational colors, then the brushes becoming thinner and thinner, the details and colors becoming more and more convoluted and sophisticated.

Those two possible colors, of course are black or white. Which begs another question. If I am truly dead, with nothing to greet me, then have I found the true empty abyss that is nothing? If so, then dear reader, I can confirm, at least from what I see, the true answer out of the two unknowns. The color of nothing is black.

What evidence is there to suggest I have fallen into this formidable and unimaginable dimension? I try to move my limbs. I can feel no response whatsoever. First impressions say it feels as if an anesthetic has fried my nerves, but at further observation I find that this is something more. It genuinely feels as if each and all of my four limbs, both legs and arms have disappeared, flesh and bone severed from joints. I feel nothing of my face. I try to activate my eyelids but feel no feedback, my sockets feeling empty and vacant. As I stated earlier, there is also no sound and no other kind of reaction from trying to order my ears to initiate any kind of motion. Any attempt to speak is futile, as my jaw feels as if it has vanished entirely and I cannot feel my tongue which should be hanging wretchedly from my face, an infant hanging by its fingertips in fear of plummeting to the ground after trying to flee from the cradle.

As far as I am aware, I may have no physical shape or form at all. I may be a lost, disembodied soul, drifting through the abyss of nothingness. Or maybe, this is what hell really is. No eternal flames and brimstone, no demons tormenting me in sadistic ways, no drowning whilst burning in a lake of fire. Just everlasting anticipation, an infinite sea of non-existence, doomed to wander through an eternity of nothingness. Maybe this is why our most primal irrational fear is of the dark. Infinite anticipation, free for your imagination to conjure it’s most horrific delusions. Give me the fire and brimstone cliché any day.

As of now, only one thing is certain. If I am by some inconceivable twist of fate still alive, with tangible form, a beating heart, breathing lungs and a functioning brain, I will not have long to wait to see an afterlife or complete nonexistence. Fools would call my situation a miracle, but I would take any other conceivable scenario in place of what I am experiencing now, for this is an ultimate curse. There should be more to a miracle than simply existing. It is as if I have been temporarily denied access to heaven and am stuck in an impossible condition, with no visual, sonic nor tactile evidence to explain where I am. If I am indeed still on the face of the earth, I would have to be in a fixed military hospital. No other accessible place from where I was mutilated could possibly have the means to keep me alive in such a damaged state. Brilliant fools: enough genius to preserve my cognizance, yet enough stupidity to see any worth in doing so.

So, I have thought of possible explanations of where I could be and my body’s current physical status. Now the next vital question of course is what has my body been through to end up in such a graphic circumstance? I try with all my will to focus and clear my mind. I recall green, so much green, a deep, lush shade of forest green. A forest! That is where I was. My memory suddenly grants me legs and feet, sprinting through the soft marshy wilderness, down the slippery steep valley, weary of smacking into pine trees or slipping and falling hard on my weapon or into a fellow comrade. Sonically, all that I can hear is deafening pops, cracks and booms at various levels of loudness, tone and attack depending on the calibre of the weapon and soldiers from either side barking their commands and warnings. A friend, of whom’s name I cannot yet recall is yelling something that I cannot quite make out. All I can hear of his voice is “Ja-s, gid -own! James!”, I was only able to make out my name. My name! All this time remembering my name has seemed to be the least of my concerns, especially in comparison to trying to accept the fact that I may be in hell. I realise now that it is a vital, as it is a component of the little information I am able to recall of my identity. Remembering one’s identity is vital in a battle against impending insanity. My name, so common, but direct and masculine is James. James Wilson. I had forgotten how much I had cherished my name during my time of ability. There are so many pompous and queer names that titles have been afflicted with, but thank god I was given my name.

Recollection of my name gives me a miniscule sense of relaxation. My family. My close family. Oh god, of anything I could ever recall while being able on this planet I must remember them. My mother and father. The ones who brought me into this world, raised me, defined me, made me the man I am today – whatever may be left of me, physically or emotionally. My mind pauses. For an instant I feel nothing, like my mind has been unplugged. The darkness caves in. Everything stops.

I suddenly regain awareness. All I can see is a bright white haze, a light switching on without warning, my eyes desperately trying to adjust. Then an urban scene appears, skyscrapers, lights, traffic. I can see everything. Everything is in black and white, a sort of television vision and the background is like a colorblind acid trip, an achromatic kaleidoscope. I float to the ground in an unnaturally controlled fashion feeling entirely neutral, as if this could happen to me every day. As if some kind of sedative is keeping me from asking questions. The right questions. From interrogating my surroundings like a criminal, trying to squeeze out any kind of sense. Yet somehow I remain content.

The cityscape suddenly morphs into the interior of a small suburban home. It feels familiar. And the mysterious drug that plagues my head assures me that it also looks the familiar. But if I were in any other mental condition, I would know for certain and without hesitation that something, is, wrong. Though, as far as I am aware, in this moment, I am standing in my family’s home in Charlotte, North Carolina. I can see a humanoid figure, slumped into a reclining chair, holding a faded piece of paper. Another figure, taller, more masculine is crouched next to the other figure. I am suddenly directly beside the two figures, peering over the shoulder of the one in the recliner. At closer observation, I see that the figure of whom is sitting down is female, skin beginning to morph into a paper bag and light hair beginning to show streaks of grey. My mother. My mother! Another revelation. I am beginning to recall my family, though because I have never once addressed my mother by her actual name, this still does not come to me. The other figure, I already have evidence to conclude that he is male, average teen build, same light hair as my mother’s…..Robert! My younger brother, Robert Wilson. He will still only be fifteen years of age.

I feel like cheering. I open my mouth. I feel the air pass through my lungs and throat and out through my mouth (forgive me, my anatomical knowledge is sub-par), but no sound escapes. I try desperately, yelling and screaming in frustration, but feel like I’m choking, choking on silence. Reading over my mother’s shoulder, I can see that what she is reading. I make out the large bold font of the words “Western Union” and come to the horrific realisation that what my mother and my brother are reading, together, is a telegram. The anesthetic immediately informs me that it is a telegram reporting my death in battle. It looks exactly the same as the one kept in the drawer next to my mother’s bead, the one of which reported the death of my fatherShit. This is how it ends, how I end. Exactly how my mother, brother, father would not have wished. That their son and sibling die in the same way as their beloved father and husband. Everything has changed. Nothing has changed. I fall onto my knees and let out heaving great laments of despair, my family’s indifference remaining. I cry with all of my will as the scene melts away, first into a mix of grey, white and black paints, then a tidal wave of frothy ocean water. As I sink back into a black abyss, I let out an uncontrollable “Noooo….”,somehow perfectly audible underwater, continuing with a pathetic chain of sobs, sinking, falling, drowning, until….

I am shocked awake. I would gasp if able to speak or move at all. I would scan the room if I had vision, I would listen for something familiar if I had the ability to hear. But I am motionless. My helplessness resumed, the darkness descended once more. The void has returned.

I take a moment to catch my breath, then attempt to review the situation. Ok, so it appears that I still have the ability to dream. I know for certain that I am awake now, even though if I were inside my dream I would think the same thing. But this time I know beyond a shadow of doubt that I am conscious and aware, whether it be on this earth or in some kind of hell. Yet, my sour feeling of wretchedness returns, as it dawns on me that even though I have just seen what I or any other human being would identify as a dream state, the possibility is not ruled out that I am trapped in my own personal underworld, damned to spend an eternity of perpetual suffering. An explanation for the nothingness in between could be that I am currently caught some kind of purgatory, a waiting room preceding my next retribution. The only progress I have made has been in confidently rejecting my theory of being nowhere.

Suddenly, hope and optimism greet me by surprise. If I am still alive, I cannot be for much longer. I know for a fact that my condition cannot possibly be stable. Which means I will die soon and that this, this ebon emptiness is not the stage that is subsequent to death. I can still escape this hell. Whatever happens, I cannot draw to any definitive conclusions until I allow a great deal of time to pass. For now, educated guesses are all I have.

Join the conversation! 4 Comments

  1. Morning Tyler!

    You’ve made a great start here. I just want to say – make sure you move the piece forward. Whilst it is your first chapter and you’re ‘hinting’, at the moment there is a lot of ‘dancing around the point’ – ambiguous rephrasing of the same thing. So look to get clarity and move your chapter forwards. 🙂

  2. You’ve done a lot of work, Tyler – well done.

    Are you thinking this is largely finished now? I don’t think you’ll want to add too much more. I am wondering how you can look to make it more punchy in places, add more suspense to the final paragraph (by what happens in the earlier paragraphs).

    Think on these things.

    I also feel like before James’ recollection, the writing reminds me of Edgar Allan Poe’s writing. You might like to read one of the pieces and expose yourself to his stylistic elements:

    • Morning Tyler!

      I would suggest you don’t really add too much more now.

      Look to polish this so that it is fully connected and any moments of ‘dragging’ out of the plot/narrative, become more concise.

  3. As per Monday’s feedback now, Tyler.


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About Tyler

I am 17 and attend Mount Aspiring College in Wanaka, New Zealand. I have been playing rock and metal drums since the age of eight.