Monday, October 19, 2009

The Nonsense Room (Part III)

SHORT STORY MONDAY

The house that Greg & Leslie Moore had found a in Stillwater was turning out not to be a home. In the spring, when they moved an old refrigerator, they found some kind of secret room which Greg had found endlessly fascinating. Leslie had an eerie unease about this fascination.

The Nonsense Room
Part III

Nightly, for more than seven weeks, Greg gave himself to the closet, an activity that left him both stimulated and disturbed. Never once in that time did he find again a phrase, symbol or inscription which he had previously encountered. This proved to be a frustration only when he allowed himself to become obsessed with seeking such a thing.

What frustrated him more was that the meanings of the texts almost seemed to make sense, perpetually holding out the promise that a measure of persistence would yield a treasure of understanding. But there was no reward. No treasures of understanding were grasped.

From time to time he stepped back to take in the whole. He looked for and sometimes found constellations or clusters of word groupings, but like the initial image which captured him in the beginning (the trilogy of pyramid, Eye and script) the relationships he recognized so clearly only moments before seemed to have receded from view and became impossible to locate or manufacture again.

There was a common mystical quality to the inscriptions he read. Phrases such as,
"There is not a more crucial notion of force"
and
"determinism, theism and some brands of physics"
and
"it is God alone who coordinates created effects"
and
"towards which the human feels at once attraction" seemed to suggest something of cosmology here.

The phrases at first appeared arbitrary and unrelated, other than the common thread of metaphysical suggestiveness. This last phrase invigorated him because he saw that the word "attraction" must be followed by the words "and repulsion." The sudden insight made him dizzy. It was as if he had come into close proximity with something so extraordinary he was incapable of apprehending it.

Upon reflection later he might have said it was as if his consciousness, his inner ability to comprehend meanings, were somehow like a series of out of focus lenses which, if brought into harmony, would provide a clarity of inner vision like nothing he could have ever imagined. It seemed as if the shifting of these lenses into synchronicity was accompanied by a tingling sensation inside his skull and - here he couldn't be sure for it was so vague and foreign an experience he didn't know what to make of it - some kind of aural musical accompaniment not unlike wind chimes and pan pipes. Something deep inside him - from his soul? from his subconscious? - was being awakened, and this awakening was accompanied by both anticipation and an uncanny foreboding.


Their last meal together began with a long silence. Leslie had determined not to speak until Greg made notice of her muteness. When she finally caved in, she was incapable of concealing her exasperation.

"Don't you remember what day this is?" Her eyes avoided his for fear of his answer.

He stopped chewing but made no reply.

"Greg, talk to me. What's happened to us? I don't even know you any more."

He looked down at the floor. "It goes both ways. There are things I'd like to talk about with you, too, but I know you don't want to hear it."

"You always twist it, don't you. Like I'm the big bad bitch and you're Mister Wonderful."

"I'm not Mister Wonderful. But I'm not the only one shutting people out. Look, I'm sorry I forgot our anniversary. Will you forgive me?"

"That's not what this is about," she said sharply, tears brimming in her eyes.

He pushed his chair away from the table, stood and walked haltingly to the sink, trying to read her with small, discreet glances.

"You're not going in there again tonight. Not tonight." It wasn't quite a question; she was pleading. She stood up, half uncertain as to what she should do, whether to rush and cling to him or to flee.

He nodded as if considering her words, noisily scraping his plate and rinsing it.

"Why don't I run to town and get a video. Is there anything in particular you've been wanting to see?"

He turned away from her and walked from the kitchen without looking back.
CONTINUED

3 comments:

Christella said...

Well, he's going into the room. You can guess what happens next but you can't turn the page. You must wait until next week. Serialized fiction used to be popular. I like the idea. That's the way King did The Green Mile.

ENNYMAN said...

I didn't know that about The Green Mile, but I know that Dickens wrote serialized fiction and they (Americans) couldn't wait for the papers to arrive from England each week to get the next installment.
e.

Christella said...

When it first came out I bought one book a week until the end. After the final chapter you could buy the entire set.