Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Nightmare Fuel, Days 4 and 5

A pair of short pieces from over the weekend. With this we're all caught up!

Seven pieces in seven days.

First one is a little mini-experiment. I love non-traditional forms: in this case, exploring an idea through a FAQ. It removes context and character, leaving one with just a concept.

FAQ for The Treatment

Source Unknown

Q: What is The Treatment?
A: It is a simple set of neurohypnoticbioadjustments to alter your subjective reactions to better match cultural norms.

Q: Is this brainwashing? 
A: Not at all! We accept corrective lenses, hearing aids, laser surgery, and cochlear implants to adjust objective reactions to stimuli. Think of The Treatment the same way; it adjusts subjective perceptions the way that glasses adjust objective perception. 

Q: Why should I accept The Treatment? What good will it do me?
A: The single most important difference between happy and unhappy people is that happy people fit in. Seeing things the way other people do will help you to become more connected by shared enjoyment of our common culture. This is literally the best thing you can do for yourself if you want a better life.

Q: Won't this change my personality? Make me a different person?
A: Of course not.  It's simply changing your perceptions, the way you see something as beautiful or ugly, entertaining or banal. Is your favorite musician or TV show part of how you define yourself as a person?

Q: Won't this make culture boring, as everything becomes the same?
A: Not at all. In fact, people completing The Treatment express great creativity within the accepted bands of taste. This creates more culture which is acceptable ad lovable to more people.

Q: You suggest The Treatment for children as young as six. Is it fair to decide for them?
A: Is it fair not to? To sentence them to live as outsiders? To not give them the gift of common experience with their peers as they grow? This is the time to do something for them.


The next one I took a different tack; this is a non-literal reading in which the image doesn't quite appear in the final piece. I rather enjoyed this one. It's meant to be read with the first and second NMF submissions for this year, but thematically more than literally.

by L Czhorat Suskin

Dying wasn't so bad. Light, only light. Like in the stories, but before her. The light was behind, and she felt herself drifting away from it.

from Fat_tony http://www.flickr.com/photos/fat_tony/
Attribution Sharealike Creative Commons License
Not knowing what happens next out in the world bothered Sandra more than she'd think, but truth be told she'd never expected to be able to wonder anything afterwards. She kinda just expected to be ... gone. 

The feel of her body lingered for some moments, like an all-over ghost pain from the amputation of every limb, the removal of every organ. 

Then things started vanishing. The memory of the first time she played the violin or drove a car or had sex flicked across whatever was her memory, and then slipped away. Sandra couldn't remember the feel of running or eating or being touched .. even by him.

She didn't remember what happened next, couldn't remember before the light. 

She forgot remembering, what she was trying to remember. 

Didn't remember what remembering was. Just was. 

What was left of the dead person's soul felt a trickle of unease, but it didn't know why. A sensation of bright light, a place that looked a bit like a cage and a bit like a store. 

The passage of time.

Others came, stripped like it was. It could sense in them cracks, imperfections. A ghost-memory of dolls discarded for creepy eyes, missing hair, cracked faces. They were like that. It wanted to fix them. It wanted to fix everything.

Everything could be so beautiful.

Another drew near or was thrust near or placed near. Familiarity and  a wash of revulsion, what would be a turn in a stomach if it had a stomach. 

And another, broken differently. 

And a light filled the room.The light was one of them, bright burn of a bare bulb, harsh glare on all the chipped and broken edges.



Something new. A voice. Not unkind.

"You made a bit of a mess of that last time around, but I think you're ready to try again. When you have those moments you feel deja-vu, the fluttering in your stomach, love-at-first-site, inexplicable fear and loathing... Pay attention. That's your memory of the last time around. Or the time before that.

Of course, you'll not remember my telling you this. Good luck."

He slowly felt the sensation of sensation. Was he put back together? Grown anew? Were some parts the discarded scraps of the others? 

 limbs and lungs, hair and heart, ears and eyes. 
Soon light, only light,

he pushed towards it.

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