Thursday, 7 October 2010

Lunar Tic - FridayFlash

I'd waged a hunger strike in order to secure a clock for my room. I claimed it as a basic human rite to know what time it is. The cunning bastards ensured it wasn't a twenty-four hour one, so I'm still none the wiser.

Lacking for any windows and with the electric light on all the time, eternally I have no idea whether it is day or night beyond my four walls.

Meal times are no help in apportioning the day, since I am provided with just two servings instead of the customary three. Unlike the old days, there is no porridge or toast to delineate breaking of the night-time fast. So now I don't even know when I'm supposed to be asleep. How's that supposed to help my prognosis?

Room temperature is maintained at a constant, so there's no call for soups to warm up cold days and salads in the height of summer. Now, an unremitting diet of charred meat on the bone twice a day. No accompanying vegetables. No cutlery even to eat it with. "We don't want you to stab yourself do we?"

When they installed the clock, they asked me if I wanted a calendar for my wall. "No bare flesh though" they smirked. I replied I had no need of one. For each day bleeds one into the other. I simply need to know when day is and when night is.

My body is simply bereft of cues for its own inner rhythms. As was intended.

Though they give me pills to take, these fail to provide me with any inkling as to my place within the cycle. I forced myself to stay up through seven double revolutions of my clock without sleep. Scratching each completed period on to the wall. In that time I'd received ten doses. I flushed them down my toilet.

My mother had a phobia of snakes. Not the creatures themselves, but of how they moved. My Shrink frottaged himself almost to orgasm when I threw him that titbit. But I remember that it meant as a child we could only visit the reptile house in the zoo, on the day when they turned the temperature down to ensure there was no snakes in their sinuous motion.

And now the doctors are doing the same to me.

They don't want me to know when the moon is out, let alone what phase it's in.

They mock me with their cooked meats.

They want to deprive me of all my senses, but I will recover them and go hunting once again.

While mother confronted her fears in the artificially stilled reptile house, I was off peering through the bars of the wolf enclosure. Longingly.

36 comments:

Deanna Schrayer said...

Fantastic reveal Marc. Even the title didn't clue me in. Love it!

Rebecca Emin said...

Very clever, I so enjoyed this and I did have a proper laugh at the sentence about how the shrink reacted to the tidbit about his mother...

You lulled me into feeling sympathy for your narrator. Not so sure I should have felt like that by the time I got to the end.

Tony Noland said...

It's like a sensory deprivation tank. Creepy on a bone-deep level.

afullnessinbrevity said...

Great reveal in this one. Slow tidbits of information fed piece by piece. Awesome characterisation.
Adam B @revhappiness

Laura Eno said...

I learned a new word - frottage. :)
This was wonderful, luring me into a sympathetic mood before the reveal.

Virginia Moffatt said...

Ooh, I liked this...Lovely build up to a great reveal.

ganymeder said...

Clever. The ending sort of snuck up on me!

Mike Robertson said...

Skillfully drawn story. About halfway in I realized who must be talking. Nicely done!

G.P. Ching said...

"They mock me with their cooked meats." Classic. Loved the hook and the pace. Creepy atmosphere. Well done.

L'Aussie said...

This is so clever, easy to follow, yet definitely nicely creepy. I caught on pretty early in the piece and loved the way the story moved on. New word! Frottage???

My Flash Blog

~Tim said...

Hah. Frottage was a new word for me too. Nicely paced and I like the way you sprinkled in the clues.

Carrie said...

I loved this subtle reveal. So perfect and exquisite. I am left stunned and satisfied.

pegjet said...

The reveal surprised me, but I haven't had my tea yet.

I learned once that when we don't have the cues, our bodies react more along the lines of a thirty-ish hour day and we sleep less than six. Course, for your character, it wasn't the sleep.

I enjoyed this.

shannon said...

Wow, this was so good, I'm smiling! So, what happens now that he's been flushing his medication?

jim bronyaur said...

This one works for me. Great writing - kept me reading.

Jim

Mandy K James said...

I want to echo all the other comments here. The drip feed of information about the prisoner built to a stunning waterfall of an ending.

Unlike some comments made I continued to be sympathetic afterwards - after all a guy's gotta eat.

Lee said...

Great story. Kept me guessing until the end.

CathrynLouis said...

Didn't see it coming. Loved the story.

Linda said...

Oh yes. Most awesome story. But frottaged to orgasm? You have a very cerebral werewolf on your hands. Peace...

Icy Sedgwick said...

I guessed where you were going with this before the last line but that's just because you grabbed me from the word go. Definitely one of your best!

dijeratic said...

This was fun - and just in time for Halloween. You do the whole 'beast in a cage' one better by giving us the beast's point of view and isn't he a wily one?

Quick question though, your wordplay is always paramount - did you mean 'rite' as in ritual in the first paragraph or is that a misspelling? I can see how it would work either way.

Melissa said...

"My mother had a phobia of snakes. Not the creatures themselves, but of how they moved." I just loved this distinction. Like the play in the title and the slow feed of information on the way to revelation was very, very effective.

Sulci Collective said...

That one was deliberate DJ! They aren't always I have to admit.

M x

Eric J. Krause said...

Loved how they mocked him with cooked meat. Great build of information until the final reveal. Good story!

David G Shrock said...

Nice. Perspective done well. Descriptions, spot on. A nice little morsel.

Mari said...

What a cruel way of controlling his "disease". Love the descriptions and his longing for hunting, and the story flows very nicely. Excellent one!

John Wiswell said...

Are you aware of the Czeisler and Weitzman experiments where they deprived patients of time awareness like this to figure out our biological clock? Might be neat to compare the cases, not that they saw anything like your fella.

Michelle said...

hey wow!
Great flash - well done :)

Sulci Collective said...

No John, wasn't aware of them. Thanks for the heads up.

Bests

Marc

itallmeansomething said...

Wow. That was a great read all the way through. Loved the BAM at the end.

A. S. Boudreau said...

Great story that sucked me right in and I couldn't figure it out until the very last! and then I was like OHHHH!

Crystal said...

So I'm sympathetic with the mom.

Actually, wait.

This one stumped me, I could not figure it out. I thought for sure he was a psychopath. Not what he was. The meat should probably have clued me in.

The writing, I loved it, so very much. It was beautiful, and I could have kept reading it for hours, had the story been that long.

mazzz in leeds said...

"basic human rite" - indeed!!

I saw it coming a little before the end, but its beauty was not in a twist - fabulous idea of the werewolf not knowing whether it's night or not, and this interrupting (or not!) his bio rythms...

Bukowski's Basement said...

Sorry I'm so late to this but ... man, what can else be said? Great reveal, Marc!!

Laurita said...

I love how you gradually let this thread out, and the ending is superb.

Liras said...

Oh Marc! You've done it again. Concise and brilliant. ( But you always do it, so I shan't be surprised!Just pleased.)