An audio version of this story can now be found here.
White light from the screen. A blinking prompt. The desk and the computer an island in the darkness of the room and of the world. Ice outside. On the ground, on the cars, on the dancing leaves still clinging to the sleeping trees. Darkness shining down from the saturated canvas of the sky. With it silence, emptiness, nothingness. The window a fragile shield against the cold and the loneliness radiating from the endless above. The world sleeping as island thoughts travel.
Putting thoughts to paper like a knife to a heart, making it bleed words. Easier in dark and silence and night. Burial in the headphones, all those noises and ideas. Here we are, up here at night. All that beautiful madness. Then suddenly a voice cutting through.
”What are you writing?”
Stopping, breathing, staring. Nobody on the line and still that voice in the headphones. ”Who are you?” The mic picking up words that should not be heard, but are.
”Someone who is wondering what you are writing.” Faint, distorted, almost part of the music.
”I am not writing. I am thinking.”
”Thinking about what?”
Nothing. Everything. Time. Space. Life. ”The world. I’m thinking about the world.”
A heartbeat of faint static. ”So am I. All the time.”
The music filling the gaps. Don’t be afraid to step into the unknown. The window is a shield.
”Where are you? Can you see me?”
You are not alone. ”I’m too far away to see you, but I can see your light. It’s like a star. And I can hear you through the night.”
”Can you write about this?”
Fear stays out of this. Other rules in the night than during daylight hours. The window is a shield, the sky is a canvas. A blinking prompt. ”What should I write?”
I began to believe voices in my head. ”Write about someone lost, who went away into the unknown and can never return. Write about someone drifting through the blackness above, thoughts going mad and becoming one with the stars. Write about the loneliness between words and worlds.”
That this world that we imagine in this room might be used… ”Is that you?” …to gain access to other rooms…
”Yes, write about me.” …to other worlds… ”Write about the moment I had to tell you this.”
…previously unimaginable. ”But where are you? How can we even speak?”
”I can see the world from where I am, but it is far away. I haven’t seen it in a long time and I don’t know if I ever will again. Your light is on my radar, guiding my voice to you. I’ve been calling into the night for ages and you heard me.”
”But why me? Why now?”
”I think space is thinner in the dark and the silence of the night. And you’re awake, and listening.”
Static, white noise. The night sky strewn with distant lights. ”Are you up there? What have you seen?”
”I’m outside of everything, and what I’ve seen… there are no words for it.” The music increasingly out-voicing the words. ”I’m drifting again. Write about this. Promise me. Write.”
”But who are you? At least tell me your name.”
The voice almost swallowed by the void. Almost. ”Tom. My name is Tom.”
Only the music again. All those noises and ideas. All that beautiful madness. The prompt still blinking in the silence, the light of the screen like an island, like a star. Stabbing thoughts through paper, making it bleed. Words. Words. Words.
Strange things and thoughts and times in the dark and silence and night. Reality an illusive companion to dream and imagination. Other rules, other fears. Looking through the shield, thoughts traveling across the canvas of the sky, through it. Obeying the blinking prompt, keeping a promise. Listening to Burial and writing about Tom.
By Christina Smedbakken 2015-10-30