White Noise
ABOUT THIS STORY: This story was written in 1988. I think it was a dark time for me because the story is very depressing. But it's different and I thought it was worth a read.

L'aube


Alive or dead? And once one of the two was confirmed the next question would inadvertently arise: Awake or dreaming?
       Time would slip by as if it were never existed. He could wander around the small, stifling confines of the space for what seemed hours before something would identify itself as being a inanimate object or a subconscious remnant. It would trick him for as long as it could. It wanted to keep him in the Unconsciousness, show him there was nothing to fear. But It always lost the bribe. His brain didnít like the place where the inanimate came to life and danced their subconscious ballet. The dying plants that he felt guilty for not watering often would begin singing their haunting melody, tempting him. The furniture was always on the move. The carpet underfoot was a sea of motion. He never waited long enough to see or hear what happened long after that. He never heard the end of the plantsí beautiful songs. He fought the temptation.
       It was extreme anxiety when he was ready to come back. If he brought himself out too fast he knew he would pay for it. The nausea and cramping would turn him on his side. The pain in his skull would make him howl.
      

This time he brought himself out slow. When he was back he had to smile because there was a ease to the transformation he had acquired. The months of the trickery and return had made him a pro. When he was back into the conscious stream of this reality he made sure to turn away from the White Noise. There was a time in the beginning when he forgot how to remember. The White Noise could pull the memories from your head and slip their soothing unconscious ideas in their place. Some of the memories taken by the Noise he was glad to be unburdened of. He didnít want his senses clogged with the depressing images once he had learned to forget them.
       If he forgot to turn away from the White Noise It could easily manipulate him back into Its realm. It seemed to have more control of him than he could control himself.
       He slowed his breathing and closed his eyes so the White Noise was longer staring back at him. He collected the thought in his head he wanted to save and discarded the rest. He got up from the chair. It was the only piece of furniture in the large room besides the television and its stand. He learned from the beginning it was better to not have the obstacles in the way because once they started moving around he would have to get out of their way. He kept the plants because their lonely songs reminded him of something from his past. It was one of those things he had let the White Noise devour. But a shadow of its image was impressed in his brain enough to make him wonder from time to time what it was that he had lost.
       He walked into the bathroom and closed the door. It was better to be in the quiet then to hear the call of the White Noise. There he found himself standing in front of the Timeless mirror. The mirror had been arranged so it was directly across from another on the other side of the bathroom. Both were full length and he could stand in the center of the two and no see himself and only see the infinity of mirrors beyond. The two mirrors reflecting on each other showed the path to eternity. That was why he thought of it as the Timeless mirror. He could stare into its depths and love being lost in the abyss. The further back he saw the more he realized the darker the reflections got. He realized that light didnít go on forever.
       He reached out and touched the mirror surface. The sight of his fingers in the reflection, coming out of nowhere, startled him. Then he found a smiled and moved to the side so he would be in full view. He didnít like looking at his reflection. There had once been a name to go with the wreck of the face he saw but he had long since forgotten it. He didnít see anything to be proud of. There was a slow deterioration to his body. He knew he would soon be a living waste. There was a mop of brown hair and a monthís growth on his face. His looks had gotten him as far as losing his virginity when he was fifteen. He hadnít had sex since. The White Noise was better than any orgasm he had given himself or taken from another person.
       He remembered the reason he had went to the bathroom was to drain his bladder. He used the toilet.
       He opened the door and walked back into the living room. When he reached the doorway his heart went to his mouth. The chair he had been was dancing to the songs of plants. The walls and floor was rippling to the tempo. They were further into the song than he had heard before.
       ďNo admit!Ē he screamed. ďYou tricked me!Ē
       The object paid no attention to him though he was sure they heard him. He pulled himself out of the Unconsciousness quickly. The pain would soon follow.
       Quickly he got out of the chair and looked back at it. He could feel it laughing at him subconsciously. He kicked the chair lightly.
       ďDonít think you can do that to me again,Ē he told the chair. He turned to the huddled bunch of ferns and ivy. ďIím on to you. I wonít fall for that again.Ē
       They too, he knew, were laughing.
       The ache in his limbs and cramping was more intense. There was a burning hunger in the pit of his stomach. He needed to get something to fill the space, if he could keep it down.
       He found it harder to consume food since he found his way into the White Noise. It seemed that his body didnít need the nourishment he had been accustomed to. Inside the refrigerator what little food was left had rotted.
       Reluctantly he went back to the bathroom and opened the medicine cabinet. He picked out the orange bottle and opened it. There were a few pills left. He let four of them drop into his palm. He put the pills in his mouth and washed them down with water from the sink.
       When he returned to the living room he stood watching the chair. Nothing happened and he knew he was definitely awake. Outside the apartment he could hear birds singing beyond the drawn curtains. He knew there was daylight out there but he had no idea what day of the week it was. He couldnít recall the month and vaguely knew the year. It was better this way, less to interrupt the White Noise.
       He went into the dark of his bedroom and lay across the bed. Something like sleep came over his body but he couldnít call it unconsciousness. He felt he knew everything that happened while he lay down. He knew the world went on around him. He knew the sun was passing through the sky. He knew his life wasnít worth anything.
       When he woke he felt the need to return to the White Noise. He went back to the living room and looked at the television. The volume was low but the TV was never turned off any longer. He saw the White Noise begin to take a shape that was familiar to him. He dropped into the chair and watch as it beaconed him. The White Noise moved across the television screen and opened to him. It let him enter its womb.
       He didnít call it dreaming. To dream meant you had to be asleep. He couldnít remember what sleep was anymore. Pulling himself from the White Noise was like waking from a dream. Bit and pieces were always lost in the process and he knew he needed to go back. He needed to go back because the world didnít hold anything for him anymore. He wanted to be in a place that he felt he mattered. He knew one day, when his courage was better, he would let the White Noise hold him long enough to let the plants finish their songs. He might join them in the dance.
      

The television screen was blank. He never noticed it being blank before. He got up from the chair feeling listless and anxious. He went to the plants.
       Bending close to them he whispered, ďGo ahead, sing. I promise I wonít leave this time.Ē He turned back to the chair. It hadnít moved.
       ďYou canít do this,Ē he complained. Did I do something wrong?Ē
       He moved closer to the chair. ďIím sorry I kicked you,Ē he apologized.
       From behind him something hissed. He turned to see the White Noise on the television screen. Whatís happening? He asked himself. Did I cross over? Do I have to try again?
       He seated himself in the chair. The White Noise covered the room. Everything beyond his tunneled vision was darkening. The screen with its living energy swirling was the only entity visible.
       Nothing happened. The White Noise wouldnít open to him. Irritated by the delay he got up. He made his way into the bathroom. There was one last glance into the living room. They had fooled him once; they could have possibly do it again. Everything was as it had been left. The Noise was on the screen.
       He walked into the bathroom and closed the door. He made sure he could see himself completely in the large mirror before he started to peel off the clothing he had been wearing. He couldnít remember when he had first put on the black sweat pants and T-shirt. They had always been part of him. He considered the freedom of the clothing would allow him better access into the White Noise.
       There he stood naked before the image of himself. He scanned the remains of his body. There were signs of malnourishment. He could see he had wasted away. He could count his ribs under the pale shell of skin. His hips jutted under the tight flesh. The meager contents of his groin were a shriveled mass of undistinguishable sad flesh and matted pubic hair. He was going to touch the area, but reconsidered, suddenly repulsed at the thought.
       He allowed himself to sway to the left out of the frame so nothing of him remained in the endless mirror. He gazed into the multitudes of the Timeless mirrors.
       He reached out to touch the reflection. When his fingers reached the glass there was nothing. No sensation at his fingertips when they reached the supposed smooth surface. The nerves at the end of his fingers registered no sensation. In place of the supposed pressure his brain gave a different impression, goose bumps covered his hand and climbed up his arm as fast as he could catch his breath. The flesh pricked through his arm and into the rest of his body, spreading like a virus in a lightning storm. His body pulsed with the sensation and his flesh was entirely consumed by the goose flesh. He jerked his hand back when he felt the hair on the top of head rise off his scalp.
       Quickly he calmed himself. There was a realization that took hold of his senses. He knew he might actually be granted the wish he had desperately wanted. He had been unprepared for the journey and thought the shock of the sensation and the fact he had broken contact was enough to let Time harden and not allow him to return.
       He moved back to the right so he could look at his reflection while he composed himself for another try. What he saw startled him and he felt betrayed by his bodyís reactions. Quickly he prepared himself. His reflection was no longer there. Only the room behind him remained in its altered, reversed state.
       With a wavering sigh he lifted his hand up and extended it out to the mirror. The hand passed through the surface of what was supposed to be the mirror. At the same moment something caught the corner of his eye: a second hand was extending through the mirror. It was in direct opposite corner of the mirror from where his hand went through. He was startled again but didnít flinch. He considered that it made some sense. He knew there was another of himself on the other side of that mirror. The other was waiting to find his way into his universe. He thought there were probably a multitude of persons like himself that were all wanting something other than where they were. At that moment he didnít want to consider that where they were was less inviting than where he had been. He wanted out and it didnít matter where it lead to.
       He retracted his hand and watched the other hand on the opposite side of the mirror do the same. He pushed it back through the surface of the mirror and the hand came back in his direction. Curiosity made him reach out with his left hand. He creased his index finger and thumb in a pinch and put it around the index finger of the hand. Pressing the finger he found his counterpart did the same to his own hand beyond the mirror. The sensation was frightening and exciting. He knew his other self probably felt the same.
       The idea that he would never get to see his other self face to face struck him as a little sad. He knew if he had the opportunity to speak with his reflection and it could respond they would have a lot in common. Then he stopped thinking about anything excepting being on the other side of the mirror. He didnít know how long the portal would stay open and delaying was a potential danger.
       The time had come. He took one last look around his world and held his breath as he leaned into the surface of the mirror. The sensation he experienced was like a cold that didnít feel like it came from a temperature drop. He felt like his innards were being pulled through a mesh and his body was effected sinew by sinew.
       The last he saw of his other self was the foot, as he pulled his own through the looking glass. He knew his other self was probably saying good-bye the same way. He had a slight disorientation because everything on that side was opposite and though he knew it would be he still was overwhelmed. Right away he noticed subtle differences. The bathroom looked to be in better upkeep than the old paint flaked and stained toilet own.
       He turned to the left and was ready to reach of the door and caught himself laughing. The door was in the other direction. The reflection in the mirror of him was a better, stronger looking image than he knew from before. He turned around and opened the door.
       Again he had to orient himself and find his way down the backward little hall and into the reversed living room. The plants were healthy here. The chair was newer. The television was off and there was the sound of singing birds from outside the light curtains. With the furniture and plants on the opposite side of the room it made the area light and lively. He took as long as he could to search through the apartment. He had humored himself at all the out of place doorknobs and cupboard handles. There was a sensation in his stomach that he forgot he could get. Excitement was bubbling inside him and he trembled with its warming.
       He was suddenly aware of his nakedness. He was feeling pleasure throughout his body that hadnít felt anything since he left the old world and entered this new, wonderful place. The awakening of this strong body he had inherited from the previous tenant.
       Unconsciously he reached down and touched himself. There was a sensation between his legs that he hadnít experienced in years.
       ďOh,Ē he moaned. The sound of his voice was startling. It was stronger and richer.
       He needed to see more. He wanted the whole world here to explore and embrace. He wanted the world to see his nakedness that he had become proud of.
       He went to the front door. He unlocked the dead bolt and jerked the door open without modest care. He needed to feel the sun beat against his naked form.
       When the door came open and he opened his eyes to the world outside the domain he had dwelled in on the other side of the mirror, the White Noise consumed him.
      

END

Soul Takers available at 1stbooks.com

Short Stories are available for publication on request. Not to be reprinted without permission.

COPYRIGHT 2000/2001 Robert Rootes

E-mail Robert
Return to Robert Rootes Main Page

http://robertrootes.tripod.com/