Friday, July 23, 2010

Forties Club Finalist #32

Locked Away
by Peter Davidson


I watch the shadow-drama of a life passing me by, flickering over my cell walls like some silent movie. With only insects for company, lethargy and energy take their remorseless turns in commanding my life. I stare at the notes I've posted on my window to the world outside. Will I be answered? More likely just read mechanically, filed, and noted by the spiders.

Spent, I slump back. What do they make of me, this human morsel locked away within their web? My crime? That of awareness. That time is finite. That I am alone. That I'm the only sane person in the asylum. But as a madman, I would say that.

Yes, I hear voices. All talking, few listening. I’m lucky to be here, I know. Some sit in the rain begging for handouts and crumbs while mumbling their wisdom. Others – the real madmen – shout from boxes on street corners to the amusement of bored teenagers and irritated business men. Only the pigeons really listen.

I’m not mad, not like them.

At least in here, I’m warm. I have everything and nothing at all, here, alone in my cell. Yet I understand things they need to know, outside, through that window.

My voice is out there. Talking, cajoling, persuading, seducing, annoying, whining and … faltering. Insects for company and just the spiders listening. Insane. Lost in this spiders web, glinting unseen in the darkness, waiting for discovery.

24 comments:

Peter Dudley said...

This is a most excellent description of what it's like to be an unpublished writer querying a manuscript.

In fact, it's perfect.

Aerin said...

Right, Pete, 'cause the published writers are oh-so-sane....

Sorry, is my sarcasm showing?

Oddyoddyo13 said...

Sounds like somebody's losing it...LoL Loved the emotion in this one.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Strong emotion, well portrayed insanity. Or is it sanity? Loved this one.

word ver: efron - really? poor Zac

Jade L Blackwater said...

An aptly tangled web. Great internal dialog.

JR's Thumbprints said...

I enjoyed this story (for obvious reasons). I read it twice. Both times I unintentionally used question marks here: "That of awareness? That time is finite? That I am alone? That I'm the only sane person in the asylum?" Now why would I do that?

Michael Morse said...

Nice stream of consciousness...unfortunately for me, all too familiar!

September said...

Excellent....and, um, I think I know that person.
Very good.

JR's Thumbprints said...

I've returned. This story had a lasting impression on me. Well done.

Aniket said...

@Pete & Aerin: :D

For me, this has the best last line of the contest so far. The strong writing and good voice make this a very good. But its the ending that uplifts it from a very good piece to a great piece for me. Its everything flash fiction is about. Thank you for giving such a good read (for free! :P).

Katherine Tomlinson said...

very good stream of consciousness and emotion.

Lee said...

Not sure how you went there from the picture, but a great tale nonetheless.

Hilary said...

A poignant and disturbing read and brilliantly written. makes you think doesn't it? H

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Oh, nice tie-in of "glinting" at the end there! I sense such loss here. Good emotion.

Dottie (Tink's Place) said...

Hi Peter

Great piece! Is it the voice of sanity or insanity? At least he realizes his insanity/sanity and questions, reassures himself. One question.... Why he is jail?

Dottie :)

Deb Smythe said...

Am I crazy or is this this is a very well written piece? Nicely done.

Joni said...

I love the quiet tension of this piece and the unique take on the prompt.

Kimberly B. said...

Very thought-provoking and elegantly written. I love this one!

Laurel said...

So plaintive and disturbing. If the guy is actually sane, he's the only one who knows it and is driven to question his sanity. If not, well, he isn't any better off.

And the sense of having something to say and never being heard is so isolating.

JaneyV said...

An extremely well-crafted examination of what it is to be insane and whether or not those defined in such a way are saner than the rest of us.

Meghan said...

Will I be answered? More likely just read mechanically, filed, and noted by the spiders.

I really like this line!

I admit I'm not sure how the story relates to the picture either, but I REALLY enjoyed this piece. Great job!

peter davidson said...

Thank's to all who read this and especially to those who took the time to comment!

It's interesting the varied interpretations taken from this piece. I'm not actually mad, at least not according to these two large and white-coated gentlemen on either side of me.

Some can't see the link to the picture in this tale, but it's all about uncovered gems. We are all unique with precious insights to share, but so very few actually get heard. And, despite access to the world via the internet, we are no more than mere pebbles on a very crowded shore.

My protagonist isn't actually in a cell, maybe an office, a bedroom or apartment, and perhaps sometimes feels cut off as if he were. Is his struggle to leave some creative mark an insane quest? Or merely the only sane response to an unfathomable world.

Maybe he, or I, should just go fishing. But that's not really fair on the fish ...

Anyway, the nice gentlemen in white coats tell me it's time for my pills.

Vincent Kale said...

So Peter, are we your spiders, noting and filing your messages? If so, welcome to the web!

Since you've already provided the interpretation of your own piece, I won't go into that. Though I do like how we all focus on the writing/querying/publishing aspects. It really does apply to anyone and everyone that just wants some recognition.

peter davidson said...

Hi Vincent. Well, I suppose I've offered 'an' interpretation. (I'm not actually the protagonist, madman that I am ...)

I originally was thinking more along the lines of how we can remain alone yet be connected to millions via the net. The lonely person in the city theme. But I see how the connection can be readily made with aspiring authors. (I'm not an author so not really aspiring)

The spiders refer to the internet search spiders as well as the real ones that gather around when we procrastinate.