Page 1 of 2

shit nobody cares about: the game

Posted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 5:56 am
by Henry Spencer
Here's my first full piece of fiction. Enjoy. Details about its conception can be found further down the page.


The hospital was dark and still, the quiet punctuated by soft snores emanating from my neighbor's side of the room. I couldn't sleep; I hadn't slept nearly at all in 4 days. After my latest heart attack, I was constantly in and out of surgery, being poked, prodded, and observed nearly 24 hours a day. When the doctors weren't busy using me as a lab rat, the side effects of my medication combined with the pain of recovery from surgery made it nigh impossible to get comfortable enough to sleep.

So there I was. It was just past four AM; I laid alone in my bed, listening to that same slow, rhythmic snoring I had endured for the previous 3 nights. As much as I despised the sound, I let him be; he had just come out of a major procedure, and needed all the rest he could get. I stared at the ceiling and prayed the drowsiness I felt would finally overtake me. Before long, my mind started to drift, and I felt myself slowly sliding into a restful state. "Finally," I whispered to myself, "A chance to-"

I didn't finish the statement. The doctors were hovering around my bed, staring down at me appraisingly, as if I was a particularly interesting art display. They whispered conspiratorially amongst themselves, occasionally gesturing at the various instruments surrounding my bed. I blinked and opened my mouth to speak, to ask them what was going on, but the darkened room and my roommate's snoring came back into focus instead.

What in the world had just happened? I shook my head and pinched myself; checking the clock, barely two minutes had passed. Slightly unnerved, I settled back into the bed with a loud sigh. Pushing what I had seen out of mind, I once again closed my eyes. I felt myself drifting away; a serene feeling of calm flowed through my body.

The hill, set under a vast, starry sky, was dotted with fields of red flowers. The concert would be starting soon; a crowd of people was gathering near the bandshell at the very top of the hill. There was a girl; I turned to look at her. It was Hanako. Smiling, I took her hand in mine and slowly lead her through the fields. We found what seemed to be the perfect spot; far enough back to be out of the crowds, but still close enough to have a good view of the stage.

After a short wait, the performance started. Hanako was clearly enjoying herself, swaying in time to the music with her eyes closed. It reminded me of why I had fallen in love with her. But something wasn't quite right, was it? An uneasy feeling brewed in my gut; the starry sky I had enjoyed so much just minutes ago was now cloudy and tinted red, as though concealing a raging fire. It couldn't already be morning; it was late in the evening, I was quite sure, and not much time had passed since our arrival, as far as I could tell.

The music suddenly swelled to a sicking level; I clapped my hands over my ears, trying to drown out the roar emanating from the bandshell, but Hanako apparently took no heed; she was still serenely rocking back and forth, as if the volume of the music had increased tenfold for nobody but me. I placed a hand on Hanako's shoulder to get her attention; I desperately wanted to move before I added a hearing problem on top of my heart condition. A burst of pain shot through my arm; my hand felt as I had been burned!

Suddenly, everything fell apart. The field was on fire, and the red flowers were burning to a cinder before my very eyes. Hanako was on fire as well. As I watched, mouth open in horror, she turned and looked at me mournfully. "Join me Hisao," she mouthed wordlessly, flesh burning and falling from her face, "We can be together forever this way." A singed hand slowly crept to where I lay on the grass, and before I could react, had spread the fire to me. It quickly engulfed me; I was burning, dying. I could hear Hanako's dry, airy laugh as the flesh melted from my bones…

I bolted awake, covered in a cold sweat. Was that a dream? It had to have been; I wasn't in a field, and I wasn't on fire. My heart thumped painfully in my chest. Breathing slowly, I closed my eyes and focused on calming my racing pulse. The bed was being wheeled somewhere; I could faintly make out voices around me. I tried to turn my head to look at the nurses pushing my bed, but I could not move. Though they had to be no more than a foot behind me, their voices were no more than a whisper, as if coming from far away. As we approached the end of the hall, panic set in; above a large set of double doors, a sign clearly labeled "MORGUE" hung on the wall.

My eyes once again flew open, and the dimly-lit room materialized before my eyes. The same stillness, punctuated only by my bedmate's heavy breathing, permeated the room. What was happening to me? I clearly remembered being in a field, and then Hanako, and the fire; then suddenly, I went from being ok to being wheeled toward a morgue. An involuntary shudder went down my spine as I remembered the approaching double doors, with that ominous sign hanging over it. It hadn't happened, it couldn't have; I was perfectly fine, laying in my own bed. The only thing wrong was the mild discomfort coming from the fresh surgery scar on my chest.

My eyes were drawn to the clock; 4:47 AM. I had lost maybe forty minutes to these strange… things; what were they, even? Dreams, nightmares, visions perhaps? The memory of the hill shook me especially hard; I couldn't imagine losing Hanako, especially in that way. I spent the next few minutes slowly breathing, listening to my neighbor's rhythmic snoring in an attempt to calm down. Finally, I felt my eyelids become heavy again, and I drifted off once more.

The back room of the banquet hall was packed with friends and family. It seemed everyone had turned out for my graduation party, something that felt immensely satisfying. Hanako and Lilly sat at the table closest to the front, drinking tea and chatting with my mother and father; as my gaze fell upon Hanako, she let her eyes meet mine and gave me a shy smile. I felt my heart soar. Blushing, I continued looking around the room; I heard Misha's distinctive laugh before I saw her; she was busy translating what everyone was saying for Shizune while carrying on a conversation of her own. Emi and Rin were near the buffet, Emi still in her track clothes and carrying plates for both of them. I saw her make a beeline for the cake and smiled to myself.

Was it just me, or did the room suddenly get a bit darker? Suzu, Miki, and Rika, who had been sitting in the back row chatting, suddenly got up and moved forward into the next row of seats. Suzu looked tired, but also scared. Was something wrong? A familiar feeling rose up inside me, though I couldn't quite figure out why, or where I had felt it before. Emi and Rin positively bolted for the front of the room; they, too, looked frightened. I noticed many people were exchanging glances and whispering things among themselves. I finally realized why; a casket laid on the table the buffet had occupied not moments before.

The room was now only dimly lit by the low lights in the ceiling plus lamps along the wall. Everyone was dressed in black. I realized what this was now; a funeral. We we in a funeral home; someone had died, and everyone was here to pay their last respects. The identity of the deceased, however, remained a mystery to me. People continued to press farther and farther towards the front of the room. Frightened, conspiratorial whispering filled the room; people cast nervous glances towards the casket. Suddenly, the lid was flung open by some invisible force. My curiosity drew me toward it; I couldn't stop, didn't want to stop. A feeling of dread knotted my stomach as I approached. Could it be… ?

The first thing I noticed was the hair; it was brown and unkempt, much like mine. As I approached, what I had silently feared turned out to be true; the person lying inside the coffin was me. Hisao Nakai, apparently dead of a massive heart attack. But how could it be me? I was standing right here, quite clearly alive. Slowly, the corpse's eyes slid open. Horrified, I stepped back from the coffin; this had to be a dream, it had to be. It's eyes were bulging and red; slowly, they turned to look into mine. A grin appeared on its face as it sat up; blood had dried on its teeth. My mind screamed at me to run, but I felt rooted to the spot. The corpse reached forward and grabbed me by the shoulders, pulling me closer and closer; I could hear a dry whisper escaping it's mouth, speaking insanities…

Slowly, I opened my eyes. They were wet; I had been crying in my sleep. My heart thudded dully in my chest as adrenaline coursed through my veins. It was another dream; it had started off on such a positive note, but then slowly things had gone wrong. Worst part was, it all felt incredibly real; I felt a faint ache in my shoulders where I… it… whatever it was, had grabbed me. Every time I blinked, I could see those horrible images; Hanako's burning face, grinning as he skin blackened and sloughed away. My own face, eyes bulging and red, grinning mouth filled with blood. What little nerve I had after the last dream was pretty much shot; I decided to call my nurse and ask for something that would hopefully help me sleep peacefully. I reached over and pressed the call button next to my bed, then waited.

Nobody ever came. I glanced at the clock; it was now past 5 AM. Why hadn't my nurse responded to the call? I knew the nurse's station was right outside my door, so it was impossible for her to miss the light flashing over the doorway. Something felt very, very wrong about this. Suddenly, I realized that my neighbor's snoring had ceased; in fact, I heard no noise at all coming from his side of the room. Perhaps he was finally awake? Out of anything, I just wanted someone to talk to, someone to prove to me that I was finally awake.

With the utmost care, I pulled myself out of bed. My heart gave a faint flutter upon standing; had I really become this weak in only four days? Perhaps it was just nerves; my neighbor, Mr. Takagi, didn't seem to be the most personable fellow. Still, I just wanted someone to talk to. I slowly walked around my bed to the curtain dividing our living space and said, "Mr. Takagi, are you awake? I'm sorry to disturb you, but I've been having some very bad dreams and just want someone to ta-"

As I looked around the curtain, my train of thought stopped mid-sentence. My neighbor's eyes were open, but they bulged out of their sockets; his face was a deep purple color, and his tongue hung out of his mouth slightly. "Mr. Takagi, are you ok?!" I whispered frantically, drawer closer to inspect him out of morbid curiosity. His chest didn't rise or fall; he was dead, I was sure of it. But how had he died? If it had been violent, surely I would've heard it and woken up. Something about his neck drew my interest; it appeared very red and deformed, almost as if his trachea had been crushed.

The door clicked behind me, but it didn't register in my mind; I was still focused on Mr. Takagi's neck. Leaning in closer, I realized the red marks on his neck looked suspiciously like hand prints. My heart started beating wildly in my chest; had he been murdered? Panic began to set in; if it was true, if someone had come in and quietly choked my neighbor to death, I wasn't safe. I needed to contact someone, a nurse, the police, whoever. Suddenly, I froze. The click I had heard finally registered in my brain; I had the feeling I wasn't alone. Before I could turn to look, I felt a pair of hands slowly slide around my neck. My heart leapt into my throat, and as the hands tightened, my eyes came to rest on Mr. Takagi's face; his eyes had rolled forward to look into mine, and a smile was slowly spreading on his face…

I snapped awake for what felt like the hundredth time that night. Shaking my head violently, I looked at the clock; 4:52 AM. Only a few minutes had passed, but it felt like so much had happened in that short time frame. Remembering what I had just dreamed, I stopped for a moment and listened. Though he had stopped snoring, I could hear Mr. Takagi's deep, heavy breathing from behind the curtain. Sighing in relief, I sunk back into bed. Even though I had been "sleeping", if that's how you could've described it, I felt completely and utterly exhausted, both mentally and physically. I blinked a few times, trying to clear my head of what I have seen.

It was very cold in the room; I was laying on some sort of metal table. A bright light shone down from above my head, effectively blinding me. I tried to turn my head and look away, but for some strange reason, I couldn't move at all. A door creaked open behind me, and out of the corner of my eye, I could see a man dressed in protective clothing approaching. What was happening here? As he approached the table, he picked up something. It looked sharp. Hovering over me, he spoke aloud, "Subject is Hisao Nakai, died of a heart attack in his sleep. This autopsy is being performed to determine if his heart gave out due to arrhythmia, or if there was an error in the surgery we performed 4 days ago." Slowly, the knife descended towards my chest; I tried to scream, but I couldn't move, couldn't blink, couldn't breathe...

The jazz club was dimly lit and hazy with smoke; the mood was calm and serene. Though I wasn't old enough to drink, it was nice to step away from Yamaku once and a while to visit the city. I felt at home here; as a boy, I had spent most of my nights hanging around arcades with my friends, or sitting outside clubs like this one, enjoying the music. A waitress patrolling the floor noticed my new face in the crowd and came to take my order. As I ordered a coffee, I silently wished I was old enough to buy a drink; some whiskey would go excellent with the atmosphere. Confirming my order, the waitress gave a short, polite bow and headed toward the bar. I watched her as she walked away; something about her was extremely familiar, but I couldn't put my finger on what it was.

Up until this point in the night, the music in the club came from large speakers hanging overhead. That all changed quickly enough; a man, presumably the owner of the club, walked out onto the small stage and announced that a live act was about to perform. A quartet of musicians walked out onto the stage to light applause from the crowd. After a minute of setup, they launched into a stunning rendition of my favorite jazz tunes. Leaning back in my chair, I closed my eyes and stretched; tonight was turning out great so far. As I opened my eyes, I realized my gaze was set upon one of the musicians in the band. Disconcertingly, he was staring back; a knowing smile playing across his face. I broke eye contact quickly, but, like the waitress, something about him and the look on his face seemed extremely familiar. Did I know him somehow?

When my waitress returned, I realized why she had seemed so familiar; it was Iwanako, I was sure of it! How in the world was she here? Not only were we both still in high school, she lived a couple hours away from here; it made no sense for her to be working in this bar. A vague sense of realization washed over me; I had felt this way before, hadn't I? I tried to remember what had caused that feeling, but my head suddenly felt fuzzy, as if someone had stuffed it full of cotton and let loose a hurricane inside my skull. All I could focus on was a single thought: something's not right.

While I tried to clear my head, someone sat down next to me at my table. As I turned to ask him why he didn't sit at his own table, my annoyance turned to shock. I knew him; we had grown up together in the city. It had been at least seven or eight years since I had seen him last, but there was no mistaking his face. Problem was, the reason I hadn't seen him was because he was dead; he had been struck by a car and killed. Yet, here he was, sitting not two feet away from me, looking perfectly healthy. He said nothing; a sickeningly knowing smile crossed his face. I hurriedly excused myself and started walking toward the stage, intent on finding another seat. There was no way he or Iwanako could be here, but I wan unnerved nevertheless.

As I moved closer to the stage, I could feel a set of eyes on me. Glancing up again, the same musician had his eyes on me, and was now positively grinning. My stomach twisted into a knot; I recognized him too. It was another old friend of mine, in the exact same sense. I hadn't seen him in four years, after he hung himself. A hurricane raged in my head; I didn't remember entering the club, I couldn't recognize the faces of anyone in the crowd. Right then, I decided I'd had enough of the club for that night. When I started toward the exit, the music suddenly stopped. A feeling of dread passed through me; they were onto me. I could feel them approaching, see their bodies breaking down and decomposing in my mind, grinning horribly. The exit was so close; I broke into a sprint, but as I reached the door, two strong hands grasped my shoulders and began shaking me, digging their bony fingers in, laughing all the while.

The nurse's shaking finally woke me up. Wearily, ignoring her protests, I stared at the clock on the wall; 5:22 AM. When I finally met her gaze, I wished I hadn't; her eyes were crazed, crying tears of blood. I reflexively squeezed my eyes shut, and when I opened them again, she was gone. My room was once again silent; I couldn't hear my neighbors snores or heavy breathing. A more pervasive silence had settled on the world; the beeping of the monitors and endless echo of footsteps up and down the hall outside had been muted. Slowly, the door creaked open, revealing an encroaching wall of blackness behind it. There was only one thing left to do. Resettling myself in the bed, I smiled, closed my eyes, and let my mind drift as the blackness enveloped me.

Re: Dark Night of the Soul

Posted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 7:21 am
by The O.H.L.
Well now, that's a great thing to read right before going to sleep.
But ignoring that, this was a pretty interesting story. A great first full piece of fan fiction writing.

Re: Dark Night of the Soul

Posted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 7:54 am
by Scissorlips
That was... well, horrifying, but very well written! Since you're so new to fanfiction, you seem like you've been writing original works, at least off and on, for a few years now. I liked it, even if it was a little too macabre for my tastes.

Re: Dark Night of the Soul

Posted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 12:01 pm
by nemz
Well that's rather nifty and ambiguous. Not sure if it actually adds up to anything but it was an interesting read.

Re: Dark Night of the Soul

Posted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 12:04 pm
by # 2
A very grim tale. I like it, it's a nice change of pace from 'sweetness and light'.

Re: Dark Night of the Soul

Posted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 1:45 pm
by Henry Spencer
Scissorlips wrote:That was... well, horrifying, but very well written! Since you're so new to fanfiction, you seem like you've been writing original works, at least off and on, for a few years now. I liked it, even if it was a little too macabre for my tastes.
Before this most recent stuff, I hadn't written anything in probably 4+ years (unless bullshitting essays counts, heh). This was easy to write, for reasons I won't reveal just yet; I want more people to have a chance to read it before I give that bit of info away.
nemz wrote:Well that's rather nifty and ambiguous. Not sure if it actually adds up to anything but it was an interesting read.
Nah, it was just a one-shot thing, no future additions. Glad you liked it.

Re: Dark Night of the Soul

Posted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 8:05 pm
by Morph
Interesting indeed, especially the ambiguous ending.

Reminded me of nightmares in which I was waking up from one nightmare just to be in another one. Not knowing it's one until you actually wake up is probably the worst about it.

Re: Dark Night of the Soul

Posted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 6:50 am
by Mirage_GSM
I'm happy when I remember my dreams at all, much less several levels of dreams nested within each other^^
Are you saying this actually happens to people?

Re: Dark Night of the Soul

Posted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 4:50 pm
by Morph
Well, I had dreams like these not just once. And unfortunately none of them was a good dream.
Once I was choking, woke up in another dream (what I didn't knew) and after the relief of having awoken I was choking again. Woke up again, wanted to check my throat and couldn't move, choked again and finally woke up for real.
It's not that I have dreams like these often, but I dream like that from time to time.

Re: Dark Night of the Soul

Posted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 5:25 am
by Henry Spencer
I figure enough people have had a chance to read this by now, but here's my inspiration for the story:

Hisao is me, though with key details changed:

* I was in the hospital for kidney rejection, not a heart attack.
* The girl on the hill was my most recent ex-girlfriend. She burned.
* The man in the coffin was my grandfather, who was in the hospital himself at the time on the brink of death.
* The surgery scar was in my neck, not my chest.
* The waitress in the club was my first crush.
* The 2 men were my friends Matt and Cody. Matt died in a car accident, Cody hung himself.
* I couldn't truly write the end, or some of the dreams, because I've mentally blocked it out. It was quite possibly one of the worst nights of my life.

So yeah, if you were wondering where my inspiration for this came from, there you have it.

Re: Dark Night of the Soul

Posted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 10:45 pm
by CBuM
Very good writing here. There are a couple of spelling/grammatical errors throughout, but otherwise very nice. I can tell by the title and your username that you are a big David Lynch fan. The Lynchian influence is very present in the surreal settings, especially the hilltop scene (with the inexplicably loud music) and the jazz club (the feeling of unease and the familiar "strangers").
Keep up the good work, I am hoping to see more of you in the future.

Re: Dark Night of the Soul

Posted: Sun Jun 10, 2012 2:02 am
by Henry Spencer
CBuM wrote:Very good writing here. There are a couple of spelling/grammatical errors throughout, but otherwise very nice. I can tell by the title and your username that you are a big David Lynch fan. The Lynchian influence is very present in the surreal settings, especially the hilltop scene (with the inexplicably loud music) and the jazz club (the feeling of unease and the familiar "strangers").
Keep up the good work, I am hoping to see more of you in the future.
Actually, Eraserhead is the only Lynch film I've ever seen; got this weird hang-up where I get really anxious if I try to watch new movies/listen to new music. I chose this name because my life is similarly absurd (as you've read), though in a different way.

As for the spelling/grammar errors, that's because this is quite literally WYSIWYG; I have done zero editing on this piece since putting it to (digital) paper.

Re: Henry's One-Shots Compilation [updated 7-17]

Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2012 8:00 am
by Henry Spencer
lol this story sucked

Re: Henry's One-Shots Compilation [updated 7/17]

Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:08 am
by Scissorlips
Interesting little read, a few rough patches here and there but nothing too glaring. That it's unclear how the story is KS-related until the very end is both a weakness and a strength, I would say, depending on your point of view.

Re: Henry's One-Shots Compilation [updated 7/17]

Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2012 11:36 am
by Henry Spencer