Friday 18 September 2015

Dark Fiction - Downward


By Casey Douglass

Image used freely from
Warren roamed the expanse of the corridor, its polished black and white checkerboard pattern almost liquid in the harsh light. His shoes squeaked with every step, giving him the unnerving impression that he must have killed hundreds of mice by now.
He stopped to rest, the corridor stretching unerringly into the distance in both directions, the white walls and ceiling tiles adding to his headache. He slumped against the wall and let himself slide down to his backside.
Night after night he went to sleep with the intention of finding his edge, some kind of backbone maybe, something that would enable him to wake with a feeling of power for a change, rather than the usual sudden flare of consciousness, shortly followed by the crippling feeling of not being the person he was meant to be. Night after night after night he found himself here, the unending checkerboard corridor.
He held his hands to his face and screamed. The sound wasn't right, it was muffled and bubbly, like shouting for help underwater. He stopped screaming.
His hands slid down his face and settled in his lap, his eyes looked at the pattern on the floor. All was stable for a few moments but then, in the general manner of dreams, things began to shift. The black squares became holes, the white ones became pillars, the walls and ceiling receded into the darkness that was now around him.
He perched on the edge of the pillar beneath him and gazed down. If he jumped, he'd wake up. He felt dizzy.
He closed his eyes and shook his head, conjuring the image of the corridor into his mind. When he opened his eyes again, he was back there, the monotonous channel of his inner self. Sure, he could travel anywhere, do anything, fuck anyone but this was important, this corridor was here in direct response to his mental imperative. He wanted to stay until he knew what the message was, if there even was one.
He rubbed the floor with a finger, the texture felt like glass. He lifted his hand and found a vicious sliver of glass was now clutched in his fist, blood dripping from the underside of his little finger. He gazed at it dispassionately, the pain felt in dreams a hollow and muted thing, more a sensation of pressure than sharpness. The blood began to pool on the tile next to him.
A hand rose through the thick liquid, piercing the air with its digits. It beckoned. Warren leaned closer. It held its palm up in a “Stop” gesture and then pointed around the narrow pool. Warren nodded. He moved the glass shard to his other arm and let it kiss the skin. He dragged the delicate tip of glass. Blood flowed. The pool widened. He dived in.

The time of death was recorded as 2:30am. The cause, after some careful examination and thought, was deemed to be self-mutilation by the sleeper, each wrist and forearm gouged and torn at with the fingers and nails of the opposite hand. The press release was delayed until the next day.