Horror Vacui

in finishthestory •  last year  (edited)

This is my entry into Finish The Story Contest - WEEK #26

abstract-architecture-art-206935.jpg pexels

=== By @f3nix ===

The moonlight descended on the east side of the Wagner Tower like an ancestral bone dust. The ectoplasm of a vague awareness crossed a tenant’s mind seeking for oblivion: finally, the dull blows coming from God knows what remote corner of the old building had decided to quit and he would have slept. However, between the seventy-fifth and seventy-fourth floor, a particularly fine ear could have still seized an intermittent, stifled counterpoint of voices.

"I feel that this unusual condition is helping us bring out some interesting perspectives, Mendo." In breaking the silence, the psychotherapist's voice had soon lost its initial momentum.


"I want you to know that this time won’t be billed, go ahead if you feel like it." She tried to assume a playful expression. Hidden underneath her short suit jacket, Dr. Wallace's fingers were nervously playing with a fluorescent orange rubber bracelet.

"No-one is ever suspended, not even now with seventy-four floors of nothing underfoot..."

"Well, this is certainly a positive observation..."

"Shut up, you don’t know a shit." An almost calm remark, pronounced with a firmness that hit Dr. Wallace like a bucket of frozen water.

"Have you ever thought, doctor," Mendo continued, sharply spelling out his last word, "that the fear of emptiness, the horror vacui as they defined it in the Middle Ages, is nothing but the unconscious and desperate attempt to look away from the ultimate truth?"

Since the elevator had blocked its descent, the patient had confined himself to a corner on the opposite side of the entrance. His left leg was now dancing grotesquely, animated like it had a life of its own and in contrast with the cadaveric stiffness of his other body parts.

"I never thought of that." Dr. Wallace wisely responded in brief, observing for the umpteenth time the assistance number carved on the elevator control panel.

"Mmmm...” A growing moan on the other side of the narrow cabin.

The doctor instinctively thought of her daughter that night, when the wind had hit the fixtures of the old house in the mountains so intensely that it produced an endless banshee howl. The little girl had made a sound of compressed horror, just like that.

If only she had known, she would have never asked Mr. Anatoliy “Mendoza” Volkov, an extraordinarily subtle personality, to follow her downstairs after that emergency therapy session in her office. On the other hand, he was one of her first and most challenging patients. Furthermore, he used to pay awesomely.

"Because the void swarms." Now his eyes were on the doctor, sunken out and bugging out at the same time.

"Soon they'll free us, do you think you'll keep writing that song you were talking about?" Dr. Wallace ventured. She realized that the silk shirt was soaking with her acrid sweat.

"It's the Yellow King's dominion, he comes from the void, it's him who made me do those things. I did not want to." His whine ripped open in a sinister vocal of terror.

"Mendo .." She did not know what to add. Now the doctor's hand, behind her sweating back, was pressing the assistance button convulsively.

His wide open eyes. They had stopped staring at her and now they were pointing up, right behind her shoulders.

"Mendo, what's up?"

"The Yellow King. He's here."

=== MY PART ===

Mendo stands to his feet. He erects his back and pushes his chest forwards as if tightening up will deflect an oncoming blow. He clenches his fist. "Men would rather will nothingness than not will!" he howls out.

Dr. Wallace squeezes herself against the elevator door, hoping the door would open this very second. She frantically pounds at the assistance button with her finger.

"You need to stop doing that," Mendo says to her in dead earnest.

His voice cuts through to her like a hot knife slicing butter. She takes a deep breath and lets out a sigh. She sees his fist clenched, dilated eye-pupils, and tense facial muscles.

"Would you like to hear the rest of song The Yellow King would like me to share with you?"

She can only nod her head in fear that if she spoke it would send him into a flying rage of which she could not stop on the account of him being twice her size.

"If I could go back and change my past actions,
I would have told them my deepest passions.
If I could go back and change the woman,
They could have lived with a strong, faithful man."

Dr. Wallace was caught in a trance, thinking of an exit plan. The recent training she had received at the martial arts gym gave her little confidence that she could actually handle herself if he were to jump on her. Her hand crept into her bag, fumbling around for the small canister of capsicum spray that was always tucked away in her purse.

"Their illness will not allow it.
I've almost lost it all because of their petty fits.
It has become increasingly harder to avoid cops
Who snoop around in the bloody fields of the dying crops."

Her mind started to lock into what he was confessing. He knew, as she had told him a few times in the past, that if she knew he hurt someone or expected that he might hurt someone, that she was obligated to call the police and call the person(s) he was going to hurt.

"The value of truth resides in itself.
We, who worship the question mark itself,
are bound to rid the woman of the devil within,
even at the cost of committing a greater sin."

He stops and waits for her to respond. His leg twitches. "Doc?"

"Yes," she sheepishly says with her eyes down.

"Do you think that I've not noticed you digging in your purse while I have made my confession?"

"I'm feeling around to see if I can find medication for you."

"It is your fault you know. If you could only listen and not go to the extreme measures that I see you calculating, then The Yellow King would let you continue your practice. Come now. This will be quick. I promise you won't feel a thing."

The End

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  ·  last year (edited)

Wow, Nietzsche's philosophy permeating Mendo's twisted monologue! You managed to give a cryptic, occult halo to your ending and Mendo's last sentence is sweet in a scary way. Very intrigueing. Bravo Tristan, you don't have to worry or research too much but just let the creation process flow from the chest of your inner world ✌️Btw, the @bananafish will start a weekly haiku poetry contest next Friday 7th.. mark the date!

I can’t wait to see what subjects we’ll be made to haiku about 🤔

There will be a photo and people have to develop their haiku.. it's going to be super cool.

Nietzsche, in my horror stories? That makes for a good character, you’d personally had to make an effort to screw that one up. Resteem’d. (The Yellow King as an Übermensch, hmm...)

😃 fabulous.

”... the fear of emptiness, the horror vacui as they defined it in the Middle Ages, is nothing but the unconscious and desperate attempt to look away from the ultimate truth?"

This line got me thinking about our shadows. As I was looking around the concept of horror vacui, I found Nietzsche.

Nietzsche had good talk about horror, and I had a hunch feeling someone will use Nietzsche directly. Glad that feeling came into fruition here (albeit I do want to posit now that Nietzsche wasn’t as good or could’ve been better in some of his works not involving horror; yet I chalk it up to his material conditions, his sister editing his works and, ironically only in this comment section about horror, his mental stability screwing him up later down the road). We should look at and use Nietzsche more in our works of horror, it definitely would benefit the genre. Anyways, happy steemin’ and watch out for witch-in-trainings in possessing huge monsters!

@bananafish The above line sent me searching. I couldn’t help it when I was put in a freakin’ horror house!

I think I need to find a healthy balance of research and creative writing because, without the research, I’d never have learned about the different paths horror vacui was associated with. However, I find myself running into the issue you brought up in another thread about the creative process.

I'm very glad that my contest stimulates research and creativity.. that's its aim! Yes I agree with the need of a balance 😉

I'm actually building a pseudo theory on my quoted sentence.. and you will read it iny own development of this story. Thanks for your appreciation bud!

  ·  last year (edited)

I'm less impressed with Nietzsche than with your use of verse--when you think about it, in the Middle Ages there were no novels. Everything was verse. I think you use it very effectively. The menace to me is greater because he decides to deliver his threats in poetry--except for the last threat, of course.

Have to vote later--VP lean.

🤠 Awesome!

I really liked the idea of him finishing the piece he’d been working on. Nietzsche provided a way to make that work while going off of the concept of Horror Vacui.

I really liked the Nietzsche reference and the menacing poetry by Mendo, almost prophetic in style and so Nietzschian. Good job!

Thanks, mate.

Week #27 is served on a silver dish for you, brave storyteller!