It was maddening.
They hurled him upon the floor. He landed prostrate in the filth as the door slammed shut behind him. Like blood from a wound, light poured through a latticed window into the room, stinging the man's wounds with its heat. The light illuminated his gaunt, emaciated form. From head to toe his body was tattooed with bruises and scars. When he looked up he revealed eyes as pale as his wizened skin had become.
With a moan he rose. For all his apparent frailty he was not a weak man. Beneath his deformed flesh powerful muscles rippled with his every movement. He looked like a starved tiger prowling within the confines of its cage. There was an anger in his muscular mien that outside those bars would have inspired awe and fear. In his cell he looked only weary and pathetic; and beyond that, he looked hungry. It was maddening.
He sat down at last at a small, lonely table well-lighted by the sun during the day and by the lanterns at night. It was bare save the single sheet of unsullied white paper that rested upon it. He stared fixedly at its blank surface.
He wanted to tear it up, but he knew it would only be replaced, and that he would be punished. But what punishment could be worse than the maddening wasteland spread before his eyes in white emptiness?
Absently, instinctively, he groped beside the paper for a quill or pen. But there was nothing. Just a pitiless white void, thoughts agitating idly in his mind, and no escape from either.
It was maddening.
With a cry he hurled his forehead down upon the surface of the desk. A sob grew in his chest, dying in his throat before it could entirely escape. Something had paused him. He raised his head and lifted a hand to it. Something warm and wet oozed from a gash between his eyebrows; it felt . . . like ink.
Tentatively he dabbed his finger upon a corner of the paper. Joy broke across his features, delight flew from his lips in a wild cry. It left a mark--like red ink! Dabbing at his forehead again, he put his bloodied finger to the paper. He began writing.
When his forehead dried he began clawing at his bare chest. When the paper was filled he began writing on the desk, the floor, the walls. And when he ran out of blood he tore the flesh off his arms with his bare teeth or struck at his face until he could hardly see for the red ink gushing about his eyes. After hours of laughing, dancing, and singing as he smeared words across the walls, he had found the last corner within his reach. Finally he wrote:
I felt the guard's windpipe collapsing in my grip. There was a loud crack and I threw the body aside. The sounds of reinforcements echoed down the stairwell.
Like a beast I sprang upward, plowing into the midst of a dozen guards. In their confusion I tore through them, ramming skulls against the walls, twisting arms until they went limp, throwing fists that dislocated jaws. One of them tried to butt me with his rifle. Laughing, I pulled it from his hands and bashed in his face with the muzzle.
Upstairs no resistance crossed my path that did not fall beneath bullets or sheer force of muscle. Behind me lay dozens of unconscious or dead soldiers; ahead lay a dozen more. Before long there were but six; soon one; and then there were none.
Relentlessly I forged ahead. Now guards began to flee at my approach, though few escaped. Finally I found the door. I ran the length of the hall and burst out the door, too impatient to open it first.
I stepped out into fresh, open air. The bright, uninterrupted sun in all its naked might beamed from above, filling me to the core with light. I breathed in the fresh scents of verdure blowing from the forest and of the sea beyond. My chest heaved. I felt power beating within me. The sunshine tasted of escape. The wind smelled of freedom. The world lay at my feet. At last . . .
He collapsed. The eyes grew wider, brighter for a moment; the mad, blithe grin became still, an eternal carving etched into his face. His last breath escaped from his lungs. At last he was free.
~ * ~
I was mildly inspired by "Movement" from the recent Ambage Anthology.
Now, I have to say, I hate this story. Not "Movement"; this story here. I hate it. I hated the concept from the beginning, I hate the execution, and I hate the result. It's not at all my style, and it's not a style I like. But I suppose every writer, at one point in his or her life, writes something in this vein. I came in and put my own spin on it, but I hated it and I won't be doing it again. XD
The one attribute this story had that I did like was the premise. Metaphorically speaking, a blank sheet of paper with no writing utensil handy is an infuriating thing. I might have to find a better way to implement that in another story.
I'm not really looking for an formal or in-depth reviews; whether you think it's perfect or terrible, whether you think it could be improved or not, I'll as soon leave it to rot regardless. The only reason I'm posting this is because I know there are probably those who might be amused by it, and better for it to serve some little purpose than none at all.
I hope you enjoyed this more than I did. If not, if you're with me, here's a little soap; go wash your brain and get on with your life, as I'm about to.
Sincerely, Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith