Sunday, November 20, 2011

The beauty of loneliness.

For a reason I'm unable to explain, I'm drawn toward media (books, video games, films) that deal with the concept of loneliness. Some great examples are the games Fragile Dreams and Shadow of the Colossus, and the film Wrecked. There is something inherently beautiful in the characters' singular completion of tasks.

I think I love video games the most, because they have so much mystery to them. Certainly, you play the game to figure out what's happening, and you unravel the past. A lot of the time, however, you never really get to get inside the main character's head. If you do, the character frequently voices their loneliness, drawing the player in with them. This is seen best in Shadow of the Colossus, which is an experience in itself. I didn't even play the game: I watched my husband play it well over a year ago. Regardless, the game stuck with me.

Wander, the main character, is exploring an expansive landscape with no companion but his horse, Agro. Because no other people are around him, he doesn't speak, except to say his horse's name. What is he thinking, as he completes this journey alone? That always seemed interesting to me. The character that isn't given a voice has to be thinking of something at this point in the story.

I tried to emulate that feeling of emptiness and loneliness last year with my, as yet untitled, NaNoWriMo project. That is the one I am currently editing. I posted an excerpt last year, along with a Shadow of the Colossus remix which was some of my background music as I wrote. If you'll notice, I wrote a similar summary of Shadow of the Colossus in that entry.

Today, I'm going to leave you with a CreepyPasta I wrote a little while back. Urban Dictionary defines CreepyPasta as "creepy stories that float around on the Interwebs". They are usually short stories but can be longer as well. Two of my personal favourites are Killswitch and the first arc of the BEN Drowned/Haunted Majora's Mask Cartidge ARG.

In the following CreepyPasta, which I have titled Your Neighbors, I tried to capture that same feeling of emptiness while adding an unnerving ending. I hope you enjoy.


Your neighbors are loud.

You've been living in this apartment complex for three years by yourself and they've always been loud.

You have to work in the morning? They have friends over, and they're having a party. You wanted to sleep in? They're playing their guitars as loudly as they can. Even if you're enjoying the weather outside, they're tearing through the parking lot, kicking up dirt. It pisses you off, but you don't have the nerve to go to the landlord and complain, so you bottle it up and deal with it most of the time.

One night, you're going to bed early because you have to work the next morning. You set your alarm for six and settle into your cozy, warm bed. Just as sleep is about to take you, you hear some loud music and hollering from above. It seems your upstairs neighbors have decided to throw a party.

You surprise yourself with the rage you feel. Too many times have you gone to work in a stupor, having lost sleep the night before because of these imbeciles. Too many times have you held your tongue and suffered. Your rage builds up and you feel you've built up the nerve to get up and say something...

When suddenly you wake up, feeling more rested than you ever have. You stretch and rub your eyes and get ready for your day. You forget about the night before; it was probably better that you fell asleep before saying something, anyway. You go to work as normal and come home in the evening.

That night, things were quieter, and you slept very well. It is a good thing I didn't say anything, you think. There was clearly no need.

Over the following days, you notice things becoming progressively quieter. Indeed, the entire complex is far quieter than it has ever been.

And then you notice the stench.

At first, it's a mild smell--foul, but you only notice it sometimes. So you take out the trash, and go about your day. But it lingers, and worsens as time goes by.

And then you notice that all activity has ceased. What was once a bustling apartment complex no longer yields the activity and noise of before. Things are peaceful. You spend a few days reveling in it. You even call in sick a day to appreciate it. Just when you're starting to get used to the blissful quiet, you hear a knock on your door. You answer it, and it's a girl who lives in the complex. You always liked her; she was quiet and wouldn't invite friends over or play music at all hours. She looks exhausted, like she hasn't slept in days.

"Um... excuse me," she says meekly, brushing a lock of wavy red hair behind an ear. "I couldn't help but notice that we're the only ones left in the complex, and there seems to be something awful going on... can I come in? Please?" She gives you a nervous smile, and she looks to be on the verge of tears. So, you take pity on her. You let her in.

This works out very well for the first little while, but you begin to notice that she's crying. At first it's a soft cry, but then she becomes increasingly miserable, crying louder and longer. It starts to unnerve you after awhile. At first you felt bad for her, but now she won't shut up. She's being too loud.

Too loud.


You don't remember what happened after that, but now there's blood on your hands and a trickle of blood coming from the closed bedroom door.

But it's blissfully quiet.

1 comment:

  1. I so empathize,especially this statement" You surprise yourself with the rage you feel"---most of the time I consider myself to be a level headed,normal person,but my own Jekyll is unleashed when my privacy is violated.I have considered sabotaging equipment at the neighbouring freight yard when they upset the requisite pastoral atmosphere of a long week-end with yet another irksome endeavour,such as setting up an auto-mobile crusher and running it all Easter Weekend.Yes there are trade-offs to living in a society,we have to put up with the foibles and quirks of other people.It's either that or find our private version of Walden's Pond.