I’m part of a writer’s group on Slack and someone had a great idea to share “writing challenges.” Each challenge has a theme with a specific word count and the genre of writing can be whatever you want. The first challenge was the theme “whistling in the dark” and the word count was 400. Here was my entry.
He always knew there was something out there. He could see it just by looking around him. After all it wasn’t his eyes that were veiled, but his heart. He thought that if he could see it, then maybe he could feel it. So he asked around and they told him he could only see it by doing a million different things one at a time and then just see which one of them worked. He had countless encounters with numerous partners in many places every kind of way you could think of. And for a moment he thought he could feel what he saw, but the feeling went away as soon as it came.
So then he concluded that if he couldn’t feel it, then maybe he could taste it. Besides, splitting himself into so many pieces to give to so many people made him want a drink anyway, so that’s what he did. Every weekend became every night which became every chance he could get. And though it tasted good, he never could taste exactly what he saw. The craving lingered.
But he could still see…something.
Tasting didn’t work, and nothing felt right. But after he got that new job he got a whiff of something and thought perhaps that could be it. He realized the more hours he worked, the larger the number grew. In fact, all the numbers grew, not just the one hidden behind a password, but also the numbers everyone else could see just by typing in his name. The larger the numbers grew, the more they told him he was doing it all right. The smell of this success was sweet at first, but it turned putrid fast. Before he knew it, he found himself thrown from atop the shiny tower he built into the darkness. And he had lost his voice. And it wasn’t until then that he realized that everything everyone was telling him didn’t make any sense.
If not feeling, taste, or smell, then maybe what he was seeing could be heard, he thought. But he didn’t know what to listen for. Everything everyone had told him had been a lie. And besides, his voice was gone.
So there in the dark, staring at It, in desperation to coax it out, he whistled to get Its attention.
Then he heard the Word he’d been looking at all this time.