Saturday, 21 April 2012

Horror Fiction - Abyss

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Abyss

By Casey Douglass


..When you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you. - Friedrich Nietzsche

8th February 2011 : 6:21pm

I’ve started this blog/diary as Mick suggested it might help with my insomnia. He said getting your thoughts and fears down can really help relax your mind, and after googling it to see if he was pulling my leg, here I am. The How-To pages say to start with a description of myself, which seems a little odd, although might come in handy one day. You never know, civilization could end, and thousands of years later some new race might emerge, find my diary and think “This Eugene guy was clearly a king among men, we’d better bring him back to life!” Oh, I suppose I’ve started my introduction without meaning to. Maybe there is something I need to get down if this is so easy. As you probably guessed, my name is Eu

9th February 2011 : 01:16am

Fucking computer! Bloody thing blue screened on me then wouldn’t boot. Three attempts to reinstall Windows and its still buggy, think the hard drive is on the way out, S.M.A.R.T was giving some failure codes, but not each time. Will have to “acquire” one from work.

10th February 2011 : 7:02pm

Finally got my computer sorted, and had some luck, found a nice quick 10,000rpm drive at work that had been “forgotten” about.
So as I was saying, my name is Eugene, I’m 36, male, and live just outside London in a crummy flat with tossers living all around me. I added that last bit as without it, this just sounds like a sad dating profile waiting to be spammed to dating websites in the hope some pretty girl might see it and think “ooh he sounds nice, he’d get it!”
Hmm. Is it too late to delete that tossers bit now? The guides say not to censor yourself so I’ll leave it in I think. If you couldn’t already guess, I work in the I.T department of a fairly large company. It might sound glamorous but it really isn’t. It’s the sort of company that has a budget for I.T about the same size as the tea and biscuit kitty, so I often find myself working alone against the odds.
They treat me like a troll. I’m overworked, under valued and still expected to perform tech miracles, even if the problem is pebkac (problem exists between keyboard and chair). My social life is nil, my interests are playing games, tinkering with gadgets and going to the cinema. I haven’t slept for six days now, oh and I fucking hate my life!

11th February 2011 : 8:12am

Took a day off writing yesterday as I was getting annoyed as I wrote, seemed a big waste of time. I saw Mick at lunch though and he said it was a good sign, I was making progress if I was getting worked up. Mick is the typical janitor stereotype that Hollywood loves. Outwardly he mops floors and smells like urinal cakes, but anyone who knows him finds he is probably the smartest guy in the building, a big reader, philosopher and all-round nice guy who just likes a menial job. I think he had some kind of breakdown a few years ago and just decided life wasn’t worth living if you made yourself ill with stress. Oh, and he's a bit of a porno freak, if you tell him what you like, he emails you a list of about fifty links by the end of the working day. He's like the Columbo of porn, if it’s out there, he’ll find it. Sometimes he enjoys telling you how he found it and what tricks he used along the way. Interesting but usually long winded. But as I said, an all round good guy.

Mick is probably my only friend, which is both sad and probably telling about the kind of person I am. I guess I gravitate to loners and other down trodden individuals. Saying that, there is a lovely girl on the executive floor, Suzy, a secretary to Mr. Jones, but she doesn’t know I exist. What would I say to her if I saw her? “Hi, fancy going out with me?” “Who are you?” “I fixed your computer once” “Oh...” Nightmare. I look into my mirror and see an ugly nerdy looking bloke with fat cheeks, pale skin and a permanently pained expression which I cant seem to shift (really, I found a book about building up your face muscles and getting them to settle into a new expression, but all it did was make me look like I'd sat on a drawing pin for a few days. Mick called me Pob, after the 80's kids TV character. He found it hilarious.) That’s enough for today. Actually, fuck this in general.

14th February 2011 : 4:15pm

Still not sleeping so I’m back again. What else can I do? I spent most of last night watching the horror channel. I know that sounds weird but it used to send me to sleep easily, if I had the volume turned low enough. I’ve always liked horror, and films I’ve seen a few times in a row just become relaxation to me. Left work early, nothing needed doing, so thought Id slip out. No one would have noticed anyway.

15th February 2011 : 9:01am

They fucking noticed! Whole network went down at 4:30pm. Got a written warning this time. I’m starting to not care any more. I briefly envisaged roaming the hallways dual wielding two Uzi’s, striking a blow for all geeks everywhere (has an I.T guy ever gone postal?) but thought better of it, two Uzi’s would be a total arsehole to find...and I’m no killer.

16th February 2011: 12:15pm

Saw Suzy today. I got a phone call that her PC wasn’t working, so after thanking my lucky stars I rushed up to Jones' office. She stood near the window looking down on London, the sunlight highlighting her figure against the blinds. I said I was from the I.T department and asked her what was wrong with it. She told me it wouldn’t boot, it just kept beeping. I sat in her chair, it was still warm so she hadn’t been standing long. I enjoyed the brief contact, even if it was just a fantasy linking me and her via the chair.
The PC problem was nothing major, a failed update that had caused a booting loop, not her fault at all. I wouldn’t have been annoyed if it had been her fault, she could stamp on my heart and Id forgive her. Every other twat in the building was another story. You could give them a pristine PC, secure and running 100% smoothly, and within 20 minutes you’d have to wrestle it from them and take it outside to burn before it infected the whole building. How they find the virii and trojans they do is a mystery to me. Some I haven’t even seen for a decade, and would be hard to infect my own computer with, even trying to intentionally. Morons, the lot of them. Except her.
While I sat at her PC, my eyes went blurry, the lack of sleep started to drag me under again. I was surprised, she asked if I was OK! I looked at her open mouthed before saying I hadn’t been sleeping. She said “Aww” and I felt my heart leap. I thought fuck it and I asked her out. She was silent for 7 seconds (I counted, it kept me from passing out) before she said I wasn’t her type, she liked manly men. I just nodded like a toy you see in the rear window of a car and told her the PC was fixed. As I left her office, I texted Mick.

17th February 2011 : 8:02am

Just emailed Mick to thank him for the list, the guy is a pervy genius. Still didn’t sleep though. I’m not going in today, called the human resources lady, a nice old dear on the outside but a total bitch on the inside, and told her I had a virus. She laughed and said how ironic! These people.

2:12pm

Daytime TV...Jesus Christ! How I am still awake I can’t imagine.

4:20pm

Been surfing the net. You find some daft websites when you are sleep deprived. I spent ten minutes thinking the teletubbies had caught something nasty making their skin go funny with white blotches, but turned out I was on the jelly baby website. Id laugh if I had the energy. I’m sticking to tech forums now, it seems to be the only area I can still think properly in. Maybe it's habit or just over familiaryness I don’t know. Familiaryness? Fuck me.

8:01pm

Got something stuck in my mind now. Think it’s the fatigue but anyway, it’s there churning around now. I was on a tech site and someone was asking about dusting inside the PC. Some nerd who thought he was being funny warned him about not looking inside, lest the PC look into you. It set me thinking as it sounded familiar. A few mins later I found out what it was. He’d bastardized the classic Nietzsche quote “..when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.” Why it’s stuck in my head I don’t know. I can remember liking that quote before when I first came across it, sounded creepy. Don’t know what an abyss would see if it looked into me, it would probably need somewhere to go where it could lay on a couch and tell a psychologist about how terrible it was, and it didn’t think the saying “when you gaze long into a nerd the nerd also gazes into you” meant anything until that day, and how it suddenly had a strange craving for Chinese food and something called World of Warcraft.

18th February 2011 : 6:01am

I slept! Absolutely smashing! The dark rings around my eyes are fainter today and I don’t feel so spaced out. Maybe a day off was what I needed. Think I’ll bunk off again today and it’s the weekend tomorrow, I need to catch up on some more sleep.

19th February 2011 : 11:30am

And again! Another good sleep and it felt so good to wake up feeling relaxed for a change. That abyss thing is still on my mind. I can tell because I dreamt about it. I was on some big farm, harvested corn fields stretching every direction and a typical American style barn and farmhouse. A farmer in a straw hat stood at the door of the barn and I walked over and asked where the abyss was. I’ve no idea why, but he took me to the rear of the barn and pointed at a dark hole in the ground about the size of a dinner plate. I looked at him and he nodded. I could see the bottom of the hole, it wasn’t very deep. I remember feeling disappointed and then I woke up. Why was I looking for an abyss?

21st February 2011 : 4:37pm

Work was OK today, nothing really happened, no disasters anyway. Mick asked how the diary was going, I said I'd managed to sleep and he was happy for me. I did mention the abyss stuff and he laughed, but said maybe my mind was using it to help me heal psychologically. I asked him to heal what? He just shrugged and said who knows how the mind works and why it does what it does. He suggested that maybe I'd lost my purpose in life and my mind was showing me that I needed one to drive myself. We spoke a little about what looking into an abyss might be like and he said probably very boring, it would just be a big space with nothing in it. We both agreed that it probably wouldn’t be dangerous, even if it existed. I’m not bothered that it's on my mind so much, maybe its what’s helping me stay relaxed, who knows.

22nd February 2011 : 6:58am
Another abyss hunting dream. I was on some kind of spaceship orbiting a planet. I was sat at a computer screen and it occurred to me to search for “abyss”. It spat out a list of coordinates and finding myself the captain, I ordered a course be set in classic star trek fashion, while the sexy first mate lady sat on my lap, which wasn’t very star trek but most enjoyable. It might have been Suzy, but I cant remember. I remember the planet we arrived at had a large hole punched all the way through to the other side. Hovering near it, I could see all the way through to the stars behind it. I shook my head, it wasn’t much of an abyss, but I made them fly the ship through it for shits anyway. Freudian symbolism? Flying a big, long spaceship through a hole? Maybe I just need to get laid.

23rd February 2011 : 5:34pm

Didn’t write yesterday and then didn’t sleep a wink last night. Damn it. Maybe Mick was more right than he suspected about this diary stuff. Did have a strange thing happen at work though. I had to check some network cabling on the floor above and found that there was no slack in the cable when I knew there should be plenty. I opened a panel on the floor expecting to see a snagged cable but all I saw was a dark hole, the bits of multicoloured cable snaking into it and out of sight. I shivered as I reached my hand into the darkness, groping along the rubber cords. I had thoughts of the abyss cross my mind and quickly withdrew my hand. I sat back on the floor and caught my breath, I hadn’t realised I was holding it. An icy sweat was on my brow and I felt my limbs shaking a little. The other people walking and working around me carried on oblivious to my presence, which was nothing new. I found my left hand was placed partly over a trailing cable on the floor. I gently tugged at it. It moved easily. I leant forward on my hands and knees again and looked into the access tube. It looked lighter. I could see the cables stretching away to about an arms length before they met the tract underneath and split into different directions. I closed the hatch and Allen keyed it shut. I’m losing my mind again.

24th February 2011 : 3:16am

Still no sleep, and my mind is still consumed with thoughts of the abyss. I have no idea why. I know that the full quote from Nietzsche references monsters, and the abyss is the idea that if you fight monsters, be careful you don’t become one yourself, so why is my mind treating the abyss like some kind of literal place I can go? I am, I think, dealing with thoughts of self annihilation, that’s the only thing that seems to fit with what’s happening. Or maybe the monsters bit could mean “if you work with idiots, you’ll become one.” Maybe my mind is trying to prevent me from turning into a noob?

4:20am

Dozed off at my PC, woke up with my face pressed on the keyboard. Another abyss dream, but can only remember fragments, maybe due to the odd sleeping position? I remember smoke and the feeling of being high up with a large space around me. Nothing explicitly said “abyss” to me but I’m certain it was another dream in that vein. For even an hours sleep though, I’ll take it, even if I have the worst nightmares imaginable, I’ll take it. I can't go back to not sleeping again, I just can't!

25th February 2011 : 4:52pm

Work was shit today. I found out that Suzy had mentioned I’d asked her out to some of her friends. When I went up to sort out someone’s infected computer, they were all giggling and winking at each other. Just great. That stuff about forgiving her for anything earlier? That bird has just flown.

28th February 2011 : 1:02am

Slept reasonably until now. Something woke me up and I have no idea what it was. I am so wide awake now that I keep forgetting to blink. Hopefully I can get back to sleep after a bit of surfing the web, then back to bed to stare at the ceiling again no doubt. Maybe I should get a poster up there, a nice one of Gillian Anderson would be just the ticket.

5:01am

I found the abyss! My hands are shaking but I can just about type. It was a dream in which I knew I was dreaming. I was in a wooden shack in some kind of forest. It was getting dark outside and the wind was starting to pick up debris and throw it against the wooden walls. I tried to open the door but it was locked somehow. The wind became even stronger and started to rock the feeble structure, the roof groaning under the strain. I struggled with the door latch again but it wouldn’t even wobble.
I felt myself becoming angry. Days of no sleep and strange dreams had taken its toll on my humour. I would like to say my arms crackled with power and that I glowed like some kind of superhero but I didn’t. I just clenched my teeth and fists and yelled a silent shout that seemed to release some kind of pressure inside me.
With a loud crack, the roof was torn away far above, the walls blossoming outwards like some strange wooden flower unfurling its petals. They teetered at floor height a moment before being wrenched away and vanishing into the darkness around me. The wind blew to hurricane levels, seeming to swirl the darkness around me like some inky mass that was almost solid. I shouted something, I can't remember what, I couldn’t even hear my own voice.
The noise and commotion went on and on, the only thing left about a square metre of dirt under my feet. The forest, the hut, the sky, everything was gone, and around me was just a fluid blackness and immense space. As suddenly as it had started, the noise stopped, the wind lessened, and the silence that followed was even harder to deal with. Everything was so quiet. It almost seemed to leech at my ears. My head was filled with the sensation that my very thoughts were trying to rush out, to move into the space and fill it with something, anything that might mean there was something out there. That was scary enough, but when the sensations reversed, I thought I would die of fright! The feeling of internal pressure pushing outwards flipped around and now something felt like it was pushing in. My ears pulsed as the drums felt like they were being pushed towards each other through my head. My eyes, which I had quickly closed, seemed to sink back into my head as if someone was pushing on them with their fingertips. I felt the skin around my clamped shut mouth pulled in opposite directions, the muscles in my jaw straining to keep everything closed. My nose was where it went wrong. Something long and thin felt like it squirmed its way up, wriggling and slippery like a worm. I did briefly open my eyes and run my trembling hands over the area below my nose but they found nothing, no slippery worm tail hanging there.
A buzzing feeling began to resonate around the inside of my skull, causing me to close my eyes again, as my whole head vibrated. I cried out but the buzzing simply got worse. I collapsed to my knees, the sensation spreading to the rest of my body. I think I lost consciousness, because when I next opened my eyes, I was laying on my bed, looking up at the ceiling.
I sat up slowly and checked my body for signs of...anything odd. I couldn’t see or feel anything amiss. In fact I felt great! My normal morning anxieties were absent, my heart beat felt solid and relaxed, my muscles strong and firm. I laid back again, retracing the events of the dream over and over. What about my mind? I brought the things to mind that I’d seen done on countless TV shows, where a concerned medic leans over someone who has been knocked on the head and asks “Do you remember your name? Who is the prime minister? What year is it?” I passed with flying colours. It all seemed to be there.
Better get ready for work now, times getting on.

5:17pm

A very good day! All hell broke loose with the email servers. It would normally have had me reaching for my paracetamol and swearing under my breath all day. Today, I just went about my business. Every angry secretary, analyst and department head that came my way seemed to lose all of their bluster before they even opened their mouths. I even got offers of help and rewards from some of them when I had sorted out their respective issues.
I left Suzy til last. I was still annoyed with her gossiping and it making me feel like such a fool. When I walked into her office she sprang out of her chair so that I could sit. I didn’t say anything to her, just tapped at the keyboard and sorted out some incorrect settings. As I stood to leave, she put her hand on my arm and asked me if it was too late to go out for that date. I asked her what had changed, and pointed out she made me a laughing stock last time. Tears shone in her eyes and she said she was sorry, she was stupid. I said I didn’t know, and she sank to her knees, the tears flowing freely now. She actually grovelled.
When I got home, I looked at myself in the mirror for a long time. It was certainly still me, but something had changed. It was subtle, but I thought some of the softer lines in my face had firmed up, my expression looked quietly amused with something, and my eyes had a shine that made my head swim. I thought back to my dream and how things had felt since waking. I was me, but better, more assured and more...alpha male? Was that it? I gazed at my reflection awhile longer, pondering until my mind began to lock up. I went to the fridge and got a beer, sipping it thoughtfully from the can. An experiment occurred to me which might settle things a little. It would be fun either way.

1st March 2011 : 7:06pm

It worked! The experiment just confirmed my feelings. I made two dating profiles on a couple of similar demographic dating sites, one with an old photo, one with a new one taken last night. Both shared the same words underneath. The old photo got no interest and no replies. The new one got 14 messages and three nude photos.
I should be happy, and I am to a degree, but I can’t shake the feeling that it could be better, could be more...worthwhile. I feel a different kind of loneliness now, one of separation from a loved one not seen for months, although I have no one like that in my life so am just baffled at where this feeling is coming from. I feel the best that I’ve felt for years and yet here I am still not happy, which is classic Eugene I guess. Either way, I’m having an early night tonight, maybe it’s all just been a bit too much of a change too suddenly.
If I dream, maybe I will find the abyss again. I hope so.

3rd March 2012 : 03:12am

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The End

3 comments:

  1. I really liked this, very different from your other stories. Definitely more of you in this I think. The Pob reference made me laugh. :)

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  2. Cheers Paul, it was quite easy to write and the people who know me might see a few mannerisms of thier own in there too lol.

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  3. different than your usual Casey but still quite good! Linda

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