Johannes Punkt’s Flaskpost

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Tag: reasonable demands

2013 NaNoWriMo Excerpt #13

She left, barefoot, but left the door open, which seemed to suggest that he follow. He followed, leaving his own shoes, but closing the door behind him. They walked through the fog a for a while until they came to the bridge. It still looked new, and he smiled involuntarily at the sight of it. Rakel turned sharply right and started walking along the shore. They found a boat, and Rakel got in it. Mos hesitated, then followed after her. She started rowing.

“I love everyone,” she said, when they were out at sea. “But especially you. It hurts. It hurts so much.”

“Loving me?”

“Yes, loving you.”

“We didn’t really meet via online dating, did we?”

Rakel shook her head. “It hurts.”

2013 NaNoWriMo Excerpt #12

Ambulances with their mouths open roam the streets of London, looking for their next victim. They like to see the little ones get hurt, because the little ones are tastiest, full of opportunity and light. They have heard of the one that they did not get to eat, and they are upset about this fact. The ambulances, with their mouths open, roam the streets and try to find an angle. It has been all over the news — there is always fallout, like a nuclear explosion. The closer they can get to the scene the better, but whenever they’re in line of the cameras, they have to close their maws and line up all their teeth nicely so the little ones don’t get suspicious. They like the little little ones, the tiniest ones.

2013 NaNoWriMo Excerpt #11

That day, three people took their own lives. The first one threw herself off a bridge. She had bungee-jumped before, and this was just one step removed from that. She died before hitting the water. The second one threw himself in front of a train. He looked the train driver in the eye before the train slammed into him, and there was a moment of understanding that almost made him regret it. The third one simply ceased existing, as if someone had turned off an ontological switch. Several cameras caught the event, but no humans. After she disappeared, so did every envelope currently addressed to her, and after that every piece of clothing she had had in her closet. The food in her fridge faded gradually, and her number disappeared from people’s mobile phones just moments before they were going to call her, and then they stood there blinking, wondering what they had just brought out their phones for. Then they stuck their hands back in their pockets because it was the middle of winter, and it was madness to have your hands out without a really important reason.

2013 NaNoWriMo Excerpt #10

That was how they all came together – the gunman’s own blogpost. Not content with having parts of his mind blocked off from him, Mos had started recording himself being traumatised by breaking eggs. He had become somewhat of a viral internet sensation, even though 95% of the people visiting his blog did not even read the notes for every session. He would describe in paragraphs full of spelling errors and crossed-out notes, with footnotes and cross-references, a scene out of some ghastly nightmare. He described the mountain of phones as an actual mountain, one of several symbols that kept reoccurring to him: the ringing mountain, the jingling worms, the bookshelves that moved around.

2013 NaNoWriMo Excerpt #9

This was how they remembered it: The hospital was big and merciless. The sliding glass doors did not open with a vertical gap in the middle like most doors, but rather irised open like a mouth. The place was more sterile than an airport, and the people sitting in the waiting room were more like cut-outs than anything else; if you looked at them directly you would see them for their lack of depth, but Janelle had made sure to not look at them. A well-meaning doctor had said hello to them, opened another mouth in the building to get to the lift, and held it open with a strange and oversized speculum. “Come in. We will see your dead son now.”

2013 NaNoWriMo Excerpt #8

The doctor pulled out the slab of metal on which their son lay with a black sheet over his body. “This is your last chance to back out,” he said. His voice was sonorous and instilled confidence, like he knew what he was saying, but Janelle and Eric did not back down.

They saw their dead son, with a giant hole in his head, and they smelled the sulfur and gunpowder, potent and stark.

“It’s called the gunshot virus,” said the doctor, pulling the sheet back over the dead child. “We don’t know how it works, but these are the results. I’m so sorry for your loss.”

2013 NaNoWriMo Excerpt #7

“So how did you two meet anyway?” someone asked.

“Oh, it’s a funny story actually,” Mos said. He had drunk three eggnogs as a kind of protest, but now he spent much time trying to find his nose, which he had cut off to spite his face. He steadied himself against a pole. “We were both very single, and we were hired by a dating website to accept dates with people so they could boost their statistics, and somehow their system placed us …” He waved his hand vaguely, “in incorrect boxes, and we ended up having a great time.”

“Oh, funny,” said the someone. “That’s not what Rakel told me.”

2013 NaNoWriMo Excerpt #4

“Do you know the reason we greet people with open hands, Mr. Singh?” asked the man.

They were still shaking hands; Mos deftly turned enough that continuing the shake would be too awkward, and it broke. “I confess I do not. I didn’t catch your name?”

“No, you did not. It is Karl Beagle, of the Independent. The reason we greet people with open hands, Mr. Singh, is to signal that we are not holding weapons. That’s where left-handed people have an advantage and a disadvantage at once. You can’t trust them.”

“Why are you telling me all this?”

2013 NaNoWriMo Excerpt #3

“Stop it,” he said. “You don’t think I have thought of what you’re going to suggest? You’re gonna say that you find certain exercises helpful, that knowing that you have a physical body alleviates the mental pain. That focusing on repeating something helps. That you’ve found some god. Well, let me tell you, I haven’t had a hot meal in five days. And I don’t know why I would continue trying. So someone, anyone, give me a reason to go on living.”

Maybe he thought he was holding the gun to his own head. Maybe that was what he thought.

He pulled the trigger.

2013 NaNoWriMo Excerpt #2

Mos sighed. “Alright.” He turned to the wall of hostages, all pressed up against children’s books. “I’m going to release one of you as a show of good will.”

They were silent, all looked at one another without talking.

“Any volunteers?”

Dead silence still. There were eighteen of them, plus the little child whose life he was continually threatening.

“It might help,” said Rakel, “if you released someone who needs medical attention. I mean, release anyone who needs medical attention.”

“Does anyone,” Mos said carefully, “require medical attention?”

They all seemed fine. No-one stirred.

“Anyone with asthma?”

A man – the parent of the child, perhaps – held up his own inhaler and murmured, “I’m alright.”