Hollow World

Summer’s heat lies on the land, stifling it. No breeze stirs the weedy growth that covers the fields, no birds make sound. My boots scuff lazy puffs of dust from the road, sluggish and reluctant. I am tired of this dead world, but I have come too far to abandon the trail.

A mark scratched faintly into a tree. Dry prints left by an impossible animal. A blade of grass, bent into a secret sigil. I am the only one who reads these signs, who detects the impossibility of this world, the deception of reality insinuated by unlikely molecules. Around me, trees bend in mockery, pointing towards a dilapidated farmhouse. They promise answers, but all I want is a resolution.

The air shimmers in the noon heat, solidifying like glue around a captured insect. This is how it keeps people away, twisting emotions into physics, perverting the pretence of order to disguise itself from me. I know its tricks: fake atom pressed to fake atom, molecule to mock molecule, a hollow world build from lies. It’s there if you know how to look for it: the jellied currents of the air, the slackness of fur, the stiffness of a smile. The whole world, an imperfect deception coalescing around me like old oil. Within it, tiny, sharp impurities – words spelt in rust, a hairless rat – point towards my final destination.

The farmhouse pulsates within the landscape like an exposed sore. Within it, something waits. I enter.

All I want is a resolution.

6 thoughts on “Hollow World”

  1. oh, my. Wow. This is an amazing piece of writing – unbelievably effective given how much it simply refuses to tell you. The atmosphere is very powerful, but mostly this is made for me by the writing, particularly the imagery – dense, evocative, off-beat. It swims in and out of poetic diction – “My boots scuff lazy puffs of dust from the road, sluggish and reluctant” is a lovely exercise in assonance and metre. I also loved the paragraph with “the jellied currents of the air, the slackness of fur, the stiffness of a smile”, “”coalescing around me like old oil”, “words spelt in rust, a hairless rat’.

    The story colonises your mind because the details suggest so much while giving you so little that’s actually about connected meaning, logic or plot. I have no bloody clue what’s in the farmhouse, but I know exactly what it signifies and how to feel about it.

    IMNSHO, probably the best thing you’ve written so far. Am very impressed and more than somewhat jealous.

    1. *melts*

      Thank you, docinatrix, coming from you that is astronomic praise, and that on a piece that I had absolutely no idea if it had worked at all or not, written late at night after that weird russian movie, with this *idea* and this *feelinhg* but no actual, you know, plot. Thank you, I am glad it worked, and that the words glued themselves together in such good ways after all.

      *beams*

  2. I though this was really good in a Ballard kind of way. Very difficult and strange and with strong overtones of extreme depression for me. I love the trippy; melt-y feel of the world – a sense of horrid thickness to the air.

    Also enjoyed the explicit rejection of objectivity and lack of rational justification.

    The phrase ‘coalescing around me like old oil’ felt a bit wrong to me – had trouble with the visual image. But this is a small niggle among such beauties as ‘words in rust’.

    Really cool to see your brilliant fey/surrealness working so well in a much heavier context.

  3. Our Hero is in a stifled, dead world, a world that seems to be the construct of something that Our Hero is hunting. The hunted thing, even though this is its world, has left clues that Our Hero tracks the through the landscape, ultimately to reach a farmhouse for some form of confrontation.

    This is a good bit of writing. It reminds me of bits you’ve written in the past: odd secret things with private meanings scattered across a landscape, to be interpreted only by those with the correct knowledge or skill. Also, this again shows your control of point of view and handing out knowledge to the reader, which I greatly enjoy.

    Small typo:
    > a hollow world buil[t] from lies

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. I love your ideas! You are filled with the most beautiful, fey concepts which are a joy to read. Although, joy is perhaps not the best word to use while describing this piece. It was a joy to read technically, but is powerfully claustrophobic and cloyingly negative. Which is a good thing, but quite an intense read :-)

    Some best bits: “a hollow world built from lies”; “twisting emotions into physics”; and “The farmhouse pulsates within the landscape like an exposed sore.”

  5. I loved ‘a hollow world built from lies’ – it tells so much with so little.

    For some reason your last two stories remind me of manga or games. Strange but I like it, it give me more from the story.

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