Here’s another from my drafts. This one is apparently from October 2019. I don’t remember it at all really. It was one of M’s prompts that I never quite finished (obviosly right). I liked the beginning but never really planned it out, and the end is a bit of a cop out. It’s hardly an original idea, I think it was just s stream of consciousness kind of thing. Oh well, it’s something I guess. Meh. *Presses ‘Publish’.
With what should have been his hands, Walter quite unsuccessfully reached for what ought to have been his head and found nothing.
After further exploration he quickly determined that neither his head, nor his hands were in the general vicinity of where one would expect to find them. In fact, without too much effort at all he was able to ascertain that he seemed to be missing rather a lot of assorted appendages and parts. And by a lot, he meant precisely everything.
His leg bone was not connected to his foot bone. And his neck bone was not connected to his back bone. In fact, none of his bones seemed to be connected to any other of his bones in any sort of way that would allow him to sing the song with the measure of confidence he was pretty certain he would have been able to earlier that morning.
In addition, and to compound his growing consternation, Walter also noted that he couldn’t see anything. Not his non existent hands, or his curiously absent feet. Nor any of his other absent body parts. Whether it was a deficiency of eyes that was causing the lack of everything else, or whether he indeed possessed eyes but there was simply nothing for them to see he could not tell, and the whole thing really left him feeling rather unwell.
“What the devil is going on?” He said mustering as best a sense of authority as he could, calling upon all he had learned during a two day seminar on ‘Meaningful Management’ in Brighton more years ago now than he could quite recall. “Is anybody there? Hello. HELLO!”
“Oh, good day,” replied a voice in the darkness. “I wasn’t expecting anybody, I am sorry.” The voice was warm and calm, not quite a man’s or a woman’s, just somewhere comfortingly in-between the two. “Did you have an appointment?”
“Appointment?” Replied Walter, confused.
“Yes, an appointment, everyone who comes here tends to have an appointment,” replied the voice. “However would we maintain order if we didn’t have appointments. It would be chaos and that really would not do. No, it would not do one jot.”
As far as he was aware, Walter didn’t have an appointment and he confirmed as much. He knew he needed to be somewhere, though doubted it was here. It was far more likely he needed to pop to the shops for milk or tea bags. That said, it was was all a little fuzzy and he couldn’t be absolutely certain.
Walter noted that he couldn’t feel his tongue or lips, and that made him wonder how he was managing to speak.
“It’s your consciousness” said the voice.
“You were wondering about where the words were coming from weren’t you.”
Walter managed little more than a mumble in response.
“I…well you see it is just that….” Walter’s voice trailed away and once more only darkness remained as he waited.
“Ahem,” Walter coughed politely.
“Oh yes yes, so sorry, now about that appointment. You say you don’t have one right? Most unusual I must say.”
“Sorry no, I don’t really know what is going on to be honest with you.”
“Best policy that” Replied the voice enthusiastically, “Can’t go wrong with a bit of honesty. Now let’s clear up this appointment business shall we.”
Walter would have shuffled on the spot had there been a spot to shuffle on. Or feet to shuffle.
“Yes, there’s definitely no appointment.” The voice said. “The book is never wrong and there is nobody due for another one point eight seconds.”
Walter mouthed a silent nothing. He would very much have liked to have something constructive to say, anything, but he had precisely nothing.
“Well,” continued the voice, “this really is a pickle isn’t it. What are we going to do with you. It’s not like we can just send you back now, is it.”
It wasn’t as much a question as a statement, Walter thought.
“Are you sure?” He mustered. “I am pretty sure there is somewhere that I need to be.”
“Oh no, no chance of that. You’re here now. We can’t just stuff you back in now can we. Whatever would those upstairs say if we just went stuffing things where they ought not to be stuffed. It would be chaos. No, no, you’re here now.”
“You can’t?” Said Walter, remembering where it was that he was supposed to be. “I was supposed to have a job interview this afternoon. In Wimbledon. Could you maybe not just drop me off there?”
Whether he was being ignored, or the voice had drifted off somewhere to do whatever it is disembodied voices do when people don’t have appointments, Walter did not know, but for what seemed an immeasurable length of time, he waited. And paced. In as much as you can pace without anywhere to pace to or anything to pace with.
“Good news,” came the voice in the darkness. “We have an opening. I had a word with the boys in lost property and we think we have something that might fit. “It’s not exactly your size but should do the trick.”
Walter did an about turn and then faced back to where he had been originally. “What do you mean by ‘fit’, he asked. “I need to be in Wimbledon. I have an interview. I really cannot be late.”
“Oh no, terribly sorry, but you won’t be going to Wimbledon,” the voice said. “That ship has sailed. Afraid you’re just going to have to settle for whatever we have. Clerical cock up I’m afraid.”
“Sailed? You mean I missed it?” Walter asked. “But it had wonderful benefits and a parking space and….”
“Just step back a little will you,” said the voice.
Without thinking, Walter shuffled backwards.
“That’s it, just there. Now hold still.”
“But I…now listen here, what do you mean by cock up,” Walter protested, “I want to speak to someone in charge. I have right s you know. This is all very…”
Walter never finished explaining what exactly it was, and he never got to speak to whoever was in charge. The quiet darkness was replaced by a roaring gush of sound and there was an ear piercing scream. All about him he felt a warm wetness, and his chest was tight as his lungs burned.
“Just a little more,” came a voice as the darkness gave way to soft warm light. It was a woman’s voice. “Her head is nearly out…”