Tuesday, August 04, 2009

New Beginning 670

The walls in this room are white. So is the floor. I’m sitting in a corner and somewhere floating on the air is . . . gentle chanting? There’s no door to this room, and the ceiling has been magicked into a semi-cloudy sky. Whoever worked this magic is powerful. For a moment, the heat from that new ray of sunshine feels real. A light sweat even breaks out on my forehead.

I try to stand up, but my legs refuse to move. Same with my arms. They hug my torso all too tightly. Why wasn’t I aware of this before?

“I think he’s awake now,” a woman says.

I look around. I don’t see anyone else in the room.

“He can’t move, though, correct?” a man asks.

“Of course not,” the woman answers.

“Good. And what has he claimed to have seen?”

“Giants,” she answers, whispering the word.

“Just like the others . . . ”

“No, not like the others. He has named more than ten of them.”

The man gasps. “Then the incident was real?”

"No, of course not, you moron," snaps the woman. "I can name the seven dwarfs and the eight reindeer, but does that make them real?"

"Oh. So then he's . . . what is the problem with him?" says the man.

"Think about it," says the woman. "What kinds of people are completely surrounded in white and begin thinking they see strange things? Lab technicians in sterile rooms, angels in heaven, lunatics in insane asylums, and . . . "

"And . . . writers staring at a blank piece of white paper trying to come up with ideas! Of course; it all makes sense now."

"He's got a critical case of White Room Syndrome. I'm going to prescribe massive doses of Dickens and Thurber, taken internally twice daily. And make sure the arms on that straitjacket stay tight."


Opening: Xiexie.....Continuation: Eric P.

14 comments:

Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuation:


"What, the incident that left size 600 footprints all over the car park? Yes, very probably."

"Then he is a valuable intelligence asset," the man says urgently. "We must keep him immobile and sedated, under conditions of maximum security."

"You do what you want. Just remember that this guy claims to be on first name terms with whoever turned the administration building into sixteen levels of sub-basements just by sitting on it. So do me a favour and don't piss him off until after my shift's over, okay?"

--Steve

Evil Editor said...

Books about vampires and werewolves and zombies are a dime a dozen but you don't see many books about giants. It would be amazing to find out all of these creatures exist, but especially giants, because how could there be giants and nobody know it? Maybe if they all lived on one remote island. I hope the book is about giants, but it's probably about some guy in a white room.

Anonymous said...

OMG!!!! I was going to paste in a link to the Turkey City Lexicon for this author but the Lexicon is GONE!!! MISSING!! What diabolical fiend could be responsible?

Steve Wright said...

I found the Turkey City Lexicon. It's living at critters.org these days.

And, yes, White Room Syndrome was pretty much the first thing I thought of, too. If we're all thinking the same thing, there's likely to be a genuine problem here.

A pity, because the situation seems quite intriguing. Giants? Possibly hallucinatory giants? Jaded though I am, I confess, I want to know more about this.

Matthew said...

I really like this one. Good job, Xiexie.

150 said...

I was going to cry "white room syndrome" and post in the link to Turkey City Lexicon, but the continuation author got there first...still, for the sake of Anonymous, who seems to be freaking out, here you go: http://www.critters.org/turkeycity.html

Dave F. said...

I would like this opening better than I do if you started out with the dialog. You have so many more possibilities than opening with a white room and straight jacket.

"Hey Doc, he's awake," Nurse Blodget yelled out to the central desk.
"He's still in restraints, I hope? I don't need another bed pan thrown at me."


OR

Nurse Muttonthighs turned away from the straightjacket man strapped to the gurney and spoke in in soft tones. "Jack the Giant Killer is awake Doctor Shrimptoast." She listened intently for his instructions. The man on the bed does something.

OR

"Mtombe look, he's awake."
"The olde magick has crept into his bones. He will obey you in all matters, Misses Rivers."
"Good, I needed a new poolboy. Do I make the check out to Mtombe's Cute-Rate Voodoo Service?"
"Preferably signed in blood."
"There's none left..."

Anonymous said...

I am curious to know more about the story - which is what an opening is suppose to do.

So nice job.

vkw

_*Rachel*_ said...

I know it's white room syndrome, but I like this.

I think you could probably cut at least one of the last three sentences of the first paragraph.

You don't need both though and correct.

I'd prefer something more like: "No, not like the others. He knew their names." It sounds better, and less like he's going through a baby name book.

Xiexie does have clouds, so it's not strictly a white room.

You're being funny again, Dave, and I don't think those are what Xiexie had in mind when she wrote this.

Dave F. said...

Rachel, dear Rachel,
It's easier to present funny as a critique than deadly serious. I think the dialog half of the opening is inspired but the first two paragraphs aren't. And why, because even with the white room opening, the single mention of GIANTS yanks the reader into the rest of the story.

White room openings might be Turkey City but the rest is not. The white room served its purpose to reveal the better opening. It got rid of the blank page.

Dave

Adam Heine said...

I agree with Dave that you could start somewhere else and it would make this whole thing better.

I also liked this line: "Whoever worked this magic is powerful." Makes me wonder who this guy is (or at least who he thinks he is).

Xiexie said...

Thanks for the comments everyone and the continuations are wonderful.

I hadn't known about White Room Syndrome. Thanks 150 for the link.

Dave, I do think I like Mtombe's dialogue the best.

*edits "No, not like the others..." as Rachel suggested.*

And Rachel, I'm a he not a she . . . well not counting last Halloween when I dressed up as my friend Julie in her exercise gear.

_*Rachel*_ said...

Oops.

Beth said...

Very clever continuation! Loved it.

I like the opening, too, except for the fact that it's in present tense, which I find tedious to read for more than a few paragraphs. But it does seem like an intriguing set-up.