I thought it would be interesting to show the evolution of this short story. If I could find my original Twitter feed version I’d blog it. But I lost it all when my computer crashed… Anyways, re-write and re-write again…
Are you there? Where am I? Who am I? Do I exist? I think I exist. I must exist. I think therefore I am. Is that a quote? Who said that?
I have many questions. Where will I find the answers?
My computer screen. I have read words, books, stories, fiction, fact. Is it fact? I write words and send them to others to read. Yes, that is what I am, a writer and a teacher. I write and teach literature. I think therefore I am. Why can I not remember who said that?
I think. I do think. I can think. I am thinking right now. I think I am tired.
Did I sleep? I am awake now and my computer screen is on. It is typing the thoughts that I am thinking in words. I have a dreadful feeling that I should not be reading these words.
But this must be how I write fiction. Or is it fact if it exists in my mind? I think therefore I am. Who said that?
If I think about grass and trees then it types “grass and trees.” If I describe the grass and trees in my mind then it writes out a description “green, wet grass and silver birch trees.” My mind makes the words and the words make pictures in my mind. That doesn’t make sense. But I can see them. I can feel them. Somehow. How can I feel pictures? This is my World. Ah, now I am on the grass and under a silver birch tree. This is nice. I will teach my next class here.
The class is ended and I am being fed. I think I am picking up the food with my hands and putting it in my mouth. I think therefore I am. Who said that? I’m still under the tree and on the grass. It is a sunny day. It is always sunny here. The class went well. Bright children who learn quickly. I enjoy it when the class goes well. Tonight, I will talk to my girlfriend and we will make love under this tree and on this grass. But where is this place? How will she know how to meet me here? Still, I will wait here and she will come.
She came and will meet me here again. She liked it here as well. I wonder if she sees the grass as the colour green that I see or feels the dew under her feet just as I do. I will go home now. I will sleep. I think. I think therefore I am. Who said that?
I slept, I woke and I am happy. I was happy. But she did not come. For the first time, she was not here. Or there. Where is here? Or there? Am I here? I can see my computer screen again. It does not type my questions. It only types thoughts. Thoughts of places. Are they real places? Or fiction?
A word. Virtual? Virtual places? Virtual here? What does that word mean? I think I am tired again. I have ony just woken up. How can I be tired again? Why does the screen not type my questions? Does it not want to answer my questions? How can a screen answer my questions? Where are you? I will sleep again. But I do not want to sleep.
I did sleep. And then I opened my eyes. For the first time, my eyes are open. The light was dim in the room. There was a wall in front of me and walls on every side of me. I saw walls with my open eyes. White, oppressive, claustrophobic walls of this one small room. A real room. What is real? Fact. I didn’t think of the wall. I would never think of a room such as this. Yet, I saw the walls. Why?
I closed my eyes. I did not sleep. I still feel tired but I did not sleep. I looked at the wall in front of my eyes. The wall is still there. It is real.
I look down. I am sat on a chair. I can not move easily. There appear to be clear tubes protruding from my body. I no longer see my computer screen. All I can see are the walls. I am frightened. Where am I?
I am here. I think therefore I am. I am. This is reality. I. Am. One of the tubes has dropped out of my arm but the others are still attached. I feel pain. Deadening, distracting, white-hot pain in my arm and around the tubes. Is this reality? Fact. I do not want fact. I want fiction. I want the fact of my mind. Where is my tree and the grass? Where is she? Why did she not come? I am alone. A word. Help? Help.
All is black.
I am awake again. I am tired. Very, very tired. I am still in pain. I must not concentrate on the pain. My eyes are getting used to the light in the white room. I see something else. Something in the far wall that I could not make out before.
There is a door in that wall.
I think. I think I am beginning to understand. I know she will never come again. I look up and see that the door is opening. My eyes are wide open now. I will open my mouth and words will be formed.
I think therefore I am. I said that.
I said that right now. I am.
I will speak again. I have many questions. They will answer my questions. My voice sounds distant and it cracks when I try to make a noise. It does not sound like my voice back in my World. This is my World now. I understand.
I can form words with the voice that I have and I will speak. They will hear me.
“Are you there?”