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Ray Valen

"Who Knows..." by Ray Valen

SciFi/Fantasy text 4 out of 5 by Ray Valen.      ←Previous - Next→
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Old story

A very short story based on a dream I had. It's surreal and not intended to make much sense.

(One and a Half pages)

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←- Shadow Master 1 - Prologue | Worlds Collide -→

I donít know when it started. I donít know, I canít remember. I think I was in a shopping mall, or some place public. Iím sure there were people around, I think. Maybe a street, I think. Iím not sure. I donít know; I donít remember.


Either way, it doesnít matter. It was over pretty quick. And now we were in this cave; me and Bob. I think his name is Bob. I named him Bob. He doesnít say much. He has a beard; a nice full curly black beard. He hasnít shaven in a while. He has similar hair on his head; a nice full curly black head. He looks like a bear almost. He is mute I think. But maybe thereís just not much to talk about. Weíre in a cave, and we canít get out. Well, we can get out, but we donít want to. We came in here and blocked the entrance. It was the only way, thereís not much choice.


Those things are out there. I donít know what they do, where they came from or why they are here. I think maybe they were aliens once. Was a decent enough conclusion I suppose. Not much way for me to tell, but it doesnít matter. Iím alive, and I donít think anybody else is.


Those things werenít evil or bad or anything. But they caused people to change. They caused animals to change. They caused anything to change, really. I donít know how. Or maybe I do. It was eye contact. If you looked at it, and it looked at you, you would change. And it would change. And youíd both be different. And then, if you looked at someone else, and they looked at you, youíd both be different again. And after everybody had looked at everybody a couple of times and everybody had looked back a couple of times, then there was quite a lot of different things walking around. But if you hadnít looked at anything yet, then you couldnít cause anybody else to change who hadnít changed yet. It was weird.


I donít know. I donít understand it. I donít really think about it anymore. Itís been a long time. All I know now is that we were getting low on supplies, old Bob and I.


We had been out a few times. The trick was to watch the ground. Donít look around. If things looked at you, and you didnít look back at things then you wouldnít change. It was a good plan. It kept us alive, old Bob and me. I think there was someone else with us, but he changed I think. I donít know what happened to him. It was a long time ago.


Sometimes you could sneak a peak at things that hadnít seen you yet. It was getting pretty weird. Each change would only be small. But after a million changes things were starting to get weird. I once saw a walking toadstool. The world looked like somebody had put childrenís colouring books and some strange sci-fi together. There were trees with wings that would plant themselves in different places every now and then. If you found something without eyes you could look at it for a while. I once found a little round ball with butterfly wings. It didnít have eyes so I tried taking it with me to the cave as a pet but it died after a few minutes in there. I donít know why.


- - -


We just went for supplies. Thereís an old supermarket nearby where we can sometimes find stuff. We found a woman. She doesnít say much either. But we can look at her, and she can look at us. So weíve brought her back to the cave. Some things followed us. We managed to lure them into a side cavern of the cave and seal it off. We have less space now. Not that we do much anyway. And we have a new person. Thatís good.


Iíve named her Claire.


- - -


Bob looked at Claire. Claire looked at Bob. Bob and Claire changed. They speak now, but I canít understand them. I managed to get them into the side cavern with all the other things.


- - -


Iím lonely. Iím alone. I want Bob and Claire back. Iím tired of feeling alone. Iíve gone to fetch supplies three times on my own already. Maybe...


- - -


Iíve opened up the side cavern. Bob and Claire are still there. They havenít changed. I found out it was because the things in the caves donít have eyes. Itís too dark in there for them to see so they donít have eyes.


I looked at Claire and I think she said something to me. I think she said Iím dead. She said Iíve been dead a very long time. She said Iím a ghost and that everything changing so much is because itís my mind trying to explain evolution to me. I think I said ďOh.Ē



←- Shadow Master 1 - Prologue | Worlds Collide -→

10 May 200745 Peder Magnus Palmstierna
So did you understand your mind's explanation about evolution, then? 2 Thanks for a nice read!

14 Ray Valen replies: "No, it's never meant to understand anything
Thanks for reading, it always helps to know the things I write don't go to waste."
26 Jun 2007:-) Jon Midget
I absolutely love the ending. "I think I said, 'Oh.' " For whatever reason, when you combine that with the fragmented surrealism of the rest of the story, it really cracked me up. Thank you for resisting any possible urge to have the protagonist learn a lesson or, even worse, have a dramatic revelation in which all the world, and the self, suddenly came into sharp focus and made sense.

I so much prefer the "Oh."

I also like how the protagonist was initially in a public place (like a mall or street) and then the next thing you know she's in this cave with a guy who might be named Bob. That's both funny and freaky. Nice effect.

My only suggestion is to take a bit of uncertainty out of the narrator's voice. Here's one example:

"I donít know how. Or maybe I do. It was eye contact."

I'd suggest changing it to something like this:

"I don't know how. I know it was the eye contact. I knew it immediately."

Does that make sense? The way you've written it the narrator comes across as confused. I think it would be more interesting the second way, so the narrator comes across as kind of freaked out/delusional (absolutely certain of contradictory things, even though they're just a sentence apart).

Anyway, a fun story.

2 Ray Valen replies: "My explanation of the 'public place' is that it's where he died. The cave is just, I dunno, a place to haunt?
Also, She" In my mind it was a he, but there's no real indication either way, and it doesn't matter either.And about the confusion of the narrator - that's because the narrator and the character are the same person, and the character is very much surreally confused. So I don't really have any intention of changing it. I'm quite happy with this the way it is, as an abstract piece.But thank you very much for reading, and I'm very much glad you liked it "
14 Jan 2010:-) Chris King
Wow, that’s quite a dream. That was well-told--even though it sounded like you were reciting the events of a dream, you wrapped it in the framework of a story that kept me interested throughout. Not an easy thing to do here on Elfwood! I also liked how you handled the first-person story-telling. Sometimes that can be tricky, and except for the very first paragraph you did a good job avoiding too much "I" repetition at the beginning of sentences. No slips in POV, yay.

I know you explained at the ending that the main character was seeing evolution, but as I read your story I got an idea for another story: what if there was a disease that could be spread/contracted just by looking someone else in the eye? Kinda scary, kinda cool.

Thanks for sharing this. Nicely done.

:-) Ray Valen replies: "Yeah, that first paragraph is lethal. Definitely not very pro reader-capture, is it? Haha, well I’m glad you don’t get diseases like that or everybody would walk around staring at their feet. The number of pole collisions would sky rocket!

Thank you for reading this, and NOT any of my other stories. Others are all horrendous... 12"
18 Jan 2010:-) Frances Monro
Right View is to see things as they really are.

:-) Ray Valen replies: "Ah, Frances! A year and a half later and I see your comment for the first time! So sorry for the delay in reply, but it only came to my attention recently that I have unanswered comments! My magic comment harvester must have spazzed out for a while somewhere!

Exclamation mark!"
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'Who Knows...':
 • Created by: :-) Ray Valen
 • Copyright: ©Ray Valen. All rights reserved!

 • Keywords: Dream, Evolution, Ghost, Wierd
 • Categories: Ghosts, Ghouls, Aparitions, Afterlife
 • Views: 881

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More by 'Ray Valen':
Shadow Master 1 - Prologue
Dragon Knight
Society Set
Worlds Collide

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