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View Full Version : Inspired by "There is a certain slant of light"



alja123
07-13-2006, 08:42 PM
I once wrote a short story inspired by "There is a certain slant of light". Tell me what you think of it. I still can't tell how serious I was when I wrote this. If I was trying to make a relevant point, its how Emily's poems seem to gain fairly modern interpretations which could not have existed for her. I split it into 2 bits, the end is the 1st comment. Here it is:

It was a winter afternoon.
"Wake up Jake, time to go" said the voice in my dream. 5 pm. I hate sleeping in the day waking up to a time when the sun still shines but knowing, that soon it will not. I hate it and yet can never stop myself. A certain strip of light came from a narrow gap between the curtain and the wall. I opened the curtain letting it fill the room, filling me with certain peace and satisfaction. Shadows and objects grew distinct - I like it when there is no doubt between what is shadow and what is not. The sun was low, but still shining (battling against dark) purposefully. I knew that there was at most an hour of daylight left, but at least that promised to be bright. Which was good since I had to go out in ten minutes, but bad since I wound not return within the hour.
I got dressed - I wear blue jeans, and a white shirt today, so the remaining suns rays would shine off my clothes declaring light. I wasnít hungry; I drank a glass of milk and took an iron tablet. Into my pockets I put a torch, and a gun containing silver bullets. Then i went outside: It was a winter afternoon.

* * *

"Get up Jessica, time to go" said the voice in my dream. 5 pm. I hate waking up in the day when the sun still shines. I hate it, and yet can never stop myself. A slant of light came from a narrow gap between the curtain and the wall. I closed the curtain thoroughly, extinguishing the light, filling me with certain peace and satisfaction. Shadow filled the room and my heart. The sun was low, but still shining (fighting a losing battle against the dark). I knew that there was at most an hour of daylight left, but it promised to be bright. Which was bad since I had to go out in ten minutes, but good since I wound stay there throughout the night.
I got dressed - I wear blue jeans, and a black blouse today, so the remaining suns rays would be extinguished by my clothes. I wasnít hungry; I drank a glass of milk and took an iron tablet. I put on my sunglasses. Then I went outside: It was a winter afternoon. Immediately I got the urge to vomit, which I was able to quench. I also got the urge to squeeze my eyes shut, which I was unable to fight. Looking out at total darkness through my eyelids, I could still feel the heat on my skin and the numbness under my skin. Finally with a mental push, I pushed my eyelids open and proceeded with the task at hand.

* * *

With every step, the shadows grew longer. With every step, I thought I could see the sun's movement, creeping under the earth - casting its shadow onto the sky. This made me inexplicably sad. I longed for summer just like I did yesterday, as I will tomorrow. Why I am like this, I do not know. When normal people look at a sunset, they see the beauty of its colours. I see only the setting sun and rising dark - no beauty, just sadness. And because of this simple misconception of refraction and dispersion, I am cursed. Cursed to spend my life fighting vampires(?!). It is strange, but whenever I kill a vampire, I always have the faint hope that the sun will not go down the next morning. When it does I feel betrayed. So really I barely care about the slaying of evil. All I want is to kill off those winter afternoons when the sun sets and numbness creeps under my skin and into my mind, and I feel fear, inexplicable fear, all I want is to feint - to sleep through it, but all I can do is go outside, where it hurts even more, and find a vampire to kill. I would gladly let every vampire I've ever killed rise up, If only I could get rid of these winter afternoons.

alja123
07-13-2006, 08:43 PM
At this point I was on a hill overlooking the city. There is a bench there, on which I sit every day watching the sun die, embracing the full pain and melancholy this creates in me. And then, after the sun falls, this sadness turns to anger - anger at vampires. And this cycle repeats itself every day. Today I believe there was about half an hour left when I sat down. And so the sun began(continued) its spirit crushing journey, which I am sure, could somehow be seen as a metaphor for my life in general.
About ten minutes were left. Shadows were infinitely long (When the sun is suitably low it shines horizontally. Thus on level, or down-sloping ground shadows have no ends). The sun was a bleeding disc. A girl came and sat on the opposite side of my bench. She was about my age - dark, black hair, pretty for her type (I prefer blondes), wearing dark jeans and a black shirt (Again, I prefer girls who dress brightly). Itís not particularly uncommon for girls to sit next to me at times like this. I guess Iím a fairly attractive guy, and they probably would grow to like me if not for the mood I'm in every afternoon. I never start the conversation; I figure that if someone wants to get to know me they might as well do it themselves. As a result usually we (me and random girl) sit silently for a few minutes before she initiates a conversation with something
like: "Isnít it beautiful?..."
"You know, you'll probably think me crazy, but it hurts." Said the dark girl instead.
"What the silence?" I replied. She smiled.
"No, the sun. When the sun is like this, an inexplicable pain comes over me. All I want to do is hide from it and wait it out, but all I can do is go outside and watch, while my mind and body is being drained by some unknown force leaving no visible scars but inside me something changes - fear and worthlessness come into me." This caught me completely off-guard. While gathering my thoughts and trying to string together a reply, I did what I would usually do in a situation like this: stare into the distance, looking as if I was carefully considering her words. Finally I spoke:
"What is your name girl?"
"Jessica."
"Well Jessica, I congratulate you on being the only person in the world to share my view of sunsets. I hope for both our sakes that one day the suns motion will stop and this imperial affliction will disappear"
"Yea, I once read a book about a world which was in Parking Orbit around its sun. That means that itís like always day on one side and night on the other. Well I think they had a machine in the center of the planet that made it rotate at exactly the right speed. It would be pretty cool if someone did that right?"
"Heh, yea but, when they turn it on, you damn well better hope that youíre on the right side of the Earth! Imagine being caught in an endless sunset. At least now although we cant stop ourselves from watching it we are certain that soon it will end. Imagine knowing that it could never end?"
As we talked, the sun made its final breaths. Curiously as the distance between the sun and the ground diminished, so did the distance between Jessica and me on the bench.
"Well maybe then we could learn to appreciate its beauty like everyone else does?"
"You know, maybe we already appreciate its beauty, why else would we come out here at this time?"
"Although I ask myself that question every evening, I havenít yet come up with an answer. These last rays of the sun obviously hurt us but I cannot stop myself from watching them, from embracing the pain they give me from being filled with their purpose. I suppose there is some beauty in that but I doubt that's the beauty normal people see in it."
"Jessica, to be honest I think that anyone who sees beauty in sunsets is simple missing the fact that it is the big horrible transformation from day to night."
"Or that it is in fact the big terrible remainder of day!" (I was too engaged in her to notice the difference of our views) The sun had just disappeared.
"You know, I sit here every evening and usually at this point the heft of the whole thing becomes overwhelming. I would curse myself for ever coming here to watch this, and would promise to myself never to come here again to see the sun die like this again, subconsciously knowing that I definitely will. I would go through stages of panic, agony and insanity. But sitting and talking here with you this afternoon has taken my mind from this pain and sad reality. Today for perhaps the first time in my life I will not go running around the streets maniacally after sunset, but instead I will go to bed. I cant remember what its like to sleep at night. Thank you, Jessica for giving this to me." She seemed stricken by what I said. Slowly with a shaking voice she replied:
"Jake, I have Never slept at night."
"But surely as a kid your mom would..." I began, and then noticed the tears in her eyes. I realized: She too would now have been maniacally been running around the streets tonight had she not met me - still will perhaps. Subconsciously my hand felt the steel of my gun in my pocket. If she sensed this she did not run, instead she drew closer to me. Her face was distinctly pale, her teeth were distinctly glowing. Like so many times before, I took my hand holding the gun out of my pocket. Her body quivered and still she did not back off. I knew exactly what I had to do, I knew where to shoot her so that she would die instantly - I knew because I had done it so many times before. But this time something was different. This time the cold logic and control she had previously filled me with was still present. This time I knew that the sun will rise and fall tomorrow, and the day after, and that nothing I could do to her would stop that. So this time I just gently pushed her away from me, and because she was still filled with the cold logic and control I had given her, she did not resist and fell back onto the bench. Time seemed to stop. Staring at each other, we both knew exactly what we were meant to do and we both knew that we both didnít want to do it. Breaking the silence I discharged my gun into the air. She didnít seem to notice. I stood up and walked off looking at her until she was out of sight. Walking home I had the image of her before me always. I could picture her, sitting on that bench on that hill looking but not seeing, locked in the same endless thought that I would be locked in tonight.

This was the first night in my life on which I didnít sleep by my own choosing. The first morning when I wanted to sleep but not out of tiredness. It was the first winter afternoon I have ever looked forward to.

* * *

This was the first night of my life on which I didnít feed. The first morning when I enjoyed the suns pains. It was the first winter afternoon I have ever looked forward to.

Mary Sue
09-11-2006, 06:52 PM
Wow, what a story! You have a great gift. And ya know, Emily would have appreciated what you did with that quote of hers; I suspect that she would have been intrigued. She was, after all, a dreamer herself and a metaphysical thinker. If Emily were around today, she'd probably be wearing black & reading Anne Rice...