I (sometimes) call myself Mr. Pondersome. I'm a rather wordy, weirdy person. I say hullo a lot. I write a lot more. While you're here, why not give some of it a read?

Sunday, 4 November 2012

"The Null" (a.k.a. A Kind-of-Sort-of Belated Halloween Short Story that isn't Really Scary Unless that's How You Interpret it)

So Halloween was four days ago. Missed that. In more ways than one.

For some reason holidays (that aren't Christmas) have been passing me by recently without even stirring a moment's enthusiasm. I dunno, I must be getting old and embittered.
If I'm honest I never really celebrated Halloween in the good old fashioned sense. I'm not mad about scary movies (unless their psychologically thrilling), I don't dress up much and I already glut myself on sweets most days of the year.
I appreciate the sentiment of Old Hallow's Eve and I love it whenever someone dares to draw it's spirit away from it's American reimagining. It's just I'm not a kid on Halloween anymore. Was I ever? I'm not too sure.

However that doesn't mean that I haven't got something relatively Halloween-y ready to post.

I first wrote "The Null" a long time ago and revisited it last month with inevitably timidity. It was excrutiating how much I tried to emulate the classic Victorian sci-fi writing style. The raw idea was solid enough though, so I rewrote it.
I changed the shape of the titular entities (on a condensation drip, no less), modernised the narrating voice and even managed to recapture some of its original wistfulness. I wouldn't call it scary or even creepy but you might. It's all in the reading, I suppose.

Anyhoo, enjoy... [insert mad scientist evil laughter here]


Once in a while, I glimpse into nowhere. I suppose we all do this at some time in our lives but, tell me, have you seen the place?

            It's not a vacuum, an empty room or even an unoccupied space. There's always something at the edge of nowhere, regardless of your angle.

            For me it is a half-tilted bowl of glitter, a semi-spherical astrological body bobbing on the colourless gulf. I see a teeming plateau of anti-life or at least that's my half-forgotten interpretation. My focus tends to slip when lost beyond my head.

            A teeming plateau of anti-life. Even I've had trouble discerning what I mean by this. What could constitute anti-life? Ghosts seem too pathetic, automatons too precise. The word I find, and keep on finding, is the Null.

            Null. Illogical. Unfounded. Worthless. Void. The parameters set by these synonyms seem unacceptable in and of themselves.

            So then I explore the sound of the word itself. Null. One syllable, hollow and hanging off at the end. It's almost as if it warrants another word but not the word anyone can think of. Then again, it is a name, only a title. The manifestation itself, the physical form of the Null is the truly distracting element of its being.

            They appear on stretches of silver sand as if driven by some impossible wind. They are quivering lines with heads and a single bump at the back where one would suppose the neck would be. These things might have arms, legs and maybe other limbs but, if they do, their movements are so faint that they never disturb the overall shape. It's as if I'm willing them to be humanoid.

            They are blue. They are grey. They are violet. They are silver. These colours indicate nothing; the Null have no discernible mood pattern. I give them a name and I give them a shape. I feel Godhood falling over me like a thick unfurling quilt. I cast it off as I suffocate.

            Nothing else appears to change in them. Then they must be concepts; fleeting and independent. One disappears every moment, a million appear in their wake. Some might return but change feels indecipherable there. Not quite impossible, more irrelevant. Nothing quite remains either.

            Then again, I am a man. I understand change and lack of change. It is my paradigm. I am selfish in this belief. I must admit, I fear for the Null. They never turn, never seem to collide with one another. There are so many of them. I must admit, I fear the Null.

            Of course, they will never invade. Of course, they will never be invaded. They are salt in the honey, a single grain. Their disturbance is ever so slight.

            Now I try to be a thinking man, occupied with the art of science and the science of art and other terrestrial matters. I have tied myself in more pleasing knots. I have forgotten my close observations, burnt the pages of notes as I finished them. I write this too by the fire, just as I wrote them.

            I think I will leave the name though. The name is the sweetest mystery of all and the last to be forgotten.

            The last to be forgotten.

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