A Strange Man - The Circus Room

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A chance encounter with a strange man leads you on a remarkable journey through dreams and awakenings with the introduction to a sound unlike any other. Sit back and watch the deafened world pass by, "for until now, you have been deaf all your life."

This story accompanies my paintings and music available from my website.

Submitted: July 08, 2008

A A A | A A A

Submitted: July 08, 2008



----- Spectators

Suddenly there was a stranger sitting at the end of my park bench, one leg crossed atop the other, left arm outstretched along the top of the wood and iron bench towards where I sat. He was well-dressed for times past, black suit and tie, polished shoes and top hat perched upon his short, well-groomed greying hair. I couldn't quite work out where he'd come from, if he'd just "appeared", or if perhaps he'd always been there, and caught up in my thoughts I'd just skimmed past him. He said nothing. To anyone, we must have looked like a pair of lonely fools with far too much time. Like spectators at a game, we sat in silent bliss and watched the world go by. An audience to the tumultuous play of the world, myself and this strange man. In fact, I think I even heard him laughing.
I don't know how much time went by, or which of us was first to leave. I'm not even sure what happened next, between then and now.
What happens now though, is all a dream - quite literally.


----- Leaves

Dawn was just beginning to break and strands of sunlight shone through the luxuriously soft blanket of early morning fog that caught it, held it and reflected it, bathing the world in a pale white light. We were sat again on our park bench of wood and iron, myself and this strange man, beneath the boughs of a gnarled old tree, it's golden leaves falling gently, one by one in an almost clockwork fashion, to the lush green grass carpeting the rich earth.
The view that stretched out before us flashed by like a time-lapse film, even grainy in parts, with the scene constantly changing. All that remained constant was the two of us and our bench. It seemed like there was nothing we couldn't see from here, and no where we couldn't go. At times I saw my own life flash by in pieces. The past, the present, the future, and even what might have been had things panned out different, alternative pathways you might say. At times I saw glances of other people's lives, some I knew, some I didn't. I saw the streets of cities I'd always wanted to visit, monuments, buildings, statues and sculptures, fountains and... with a flicker it was gone, replaced by something else. At times I wanted to reach out and touch things, to pull them out of the scene and hold them, and at times I wanted to get up and step into the scene, but I didn't, perhaps for no reason other than the fear of missing the next. The light would fail, replaced by darkness, broken by the glow of moonlight amid a twinkling of stars.
All the while, the leaves fell.


----- Time Stood Still

The scenes played on, then all of a sudden, like with any other film, it was over. The screen grew dark. Time stood still.


----- Imagine A Window

He spoke, yet after everything else, as much as you might think it would, it did not seem out of place at all.

"Have you ever wondered what a dream sounds like?" he asked me.

And no, to be honest I'd never even thought of dreams having sound. It was a dream, simply my imagination and there was no need. I didn't have to answer, he knew my thoughts.

"Ah but you wouldn't have noticed it. Trapped in a dream, you don't hear it at all- you hear what the dream tells you you hear. Imagine a window to appear right now, but not to somewhere else, but so that it has been put there to cover the rip in the fabric of your imagination. Now, open that window wide and free your ears of this realm and let the mechanism of your creation fill you with sound. A fresh, magical sound like the first pitter-patter of fresh rain after years of drought, like the song of the first birds of spring. Let it flood your mind and threaten to drown your spirit in its ecstasy, for you have not heard sound like this, for until now you have been deaf all your life."
And with that, I saw my window, and took hold of the glass pane, and opened it wide.


----- At The Brink Of Madness

It had only lasted a minute or so, but time was up. I had come too far into my own mind where I wasn't meant to go, where I wasn't wanted, and for good reason I thought. It had been a wondrous feeling. It was pure darkness that I had frolicked through, blinded, but I did not miss my sight for a moment. The sound took over and I could feel it pulsing through my veins, waking me up inside like no other fix. The threat of madness was ominous, hovering over me with the delight of staying there forever, trapped in the back of my own mind.
But whether it was by some intuitive safety mechanism, or something else, I was sucked back through the window and into my dream. I watched it all play in reverse, taking me back to the start where it all seemed somewhat dull and lifeless compared to the feeling I had just felt.
The man turned to me and spoke once more.

"That is all."
The tree was bare. The last leaf had fallen behind us. The bench flickered, and then all of a sudden I was alone in my dream. Just sitting, watching the world go by, deaf, all of them.

This short story is part of an art project available from my website www.thecircusroom.com comprising of the story, a painting for each segment, and an audio track soundtracking each segment.

© Copyright 2020 Lee Duffy. All rights reserved.

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