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Short Stories

The Scream [Inspired by Edvard Munch’s painting of the same name, Sentinel Short Story winner]

The inspiration for my piece

The inspiration for my piece

The Scream

I’ve been given my yellow ticket of leave. Freedom tastes like burnt coffee and soggy toast; I just can’t make breakfast the way the NHS and 10years in psychiatric medicine at Oxford teaches you to.
Everyone in the neighbourhood knows The Housing. Even if they didn’t, the residents that arrive every few months and are gone after nights of screaming and wolf-howls give it away. These sounds will sing around suburbia until something stronger than insanity stops them. The pavements aren’t quite at peace and the buildings seem to sag in the satirical sun in shame. Even the streets just don’t seem quite sane. There are always the telltale signs. The closed curtains in the blazing heat on all the houses on only one side of the road. Or the grinning garden gnomes arranged in a straight line, crushing golden petals beneath their terracotta wellingtons (their smiles glisten like bear traps). Or the flash of a white coat in the sun, dissolving into crevices in the façade of identical houses, row after row.
I don’t think I was destined for dissolution row. But the same old story rears it’s ugly dead; been there, done that, found someone better. Her, not me. I always had an overactive imagination anyway. Like Tourette’s, but in my head. It’s all irrelevant now anyway, because I’ve been chosen.
On visiting The National Gallery of Google, I stumble upon Edvard Munch and absorb. Anxiety, love, death. The flowing figures restricted in brush strokes and paint, but free in immortality and fame, beguile me with their drooping, hooded eyes, until I can hear their delineated tongues like a choir.
Time to stop procrastinating, start prognosticating.

There is absolutely no doubt about it. The signs are clearer than a pool of melted diamonds. But no-one believes a person without a PHD in theology and a 2 foot beard.
The world is ending.
I tried to warn them again today, but they can’t see past insanity when they look at me; I seem to scream it in wild eyes, or perhaps the scent of crazy is leaking from my pores. Dark shadows around my eyes no extortionate amount of sleep or light could chase away. Once – before I’d gotten used to the insomnia – I took the razor to my head and freed the languid hairs; cleansing my own microcosmical globe of all irrelevant past discretions and pollutants. The human body usually purges the blood of most chemicals within 78 hours, but hair retains traces forever that will find you; bite you in the back. However, I still can’t sleep even though I should now be pure as a newborn baby and the chaos theory is thus disproved, and my ingenious-at-4am idea does nothing but further isolate me from any kind of credibility.
The world is still ending.
I can feel it in my bones, and taste it in my sweat. I may appear to be crazy, but under the surface I am still and so, so sane. The galactic metamorphism begins. A new seventh sense stirs within me. It takes a while to adjust but now I can see into the souls of anyone and everyone; I see their sins and their destinations. I can leave the house now, self–assured with a new burst of determination, laughing at all the five-sensed damned without a clue. I will be the only one making the most of my final days. I walk along the pier, buy a six dollar ice-cream, and fill my hours with watching others. No-one stares anymore as if I am slowly fading into translucency. Those with evil deep-rooted are black, like coals waiting for a spark, any excuse to catalyse destruction and pain. Hitler, Stalin. Even without my monotone-rainbow sense it can be identified in the coldness of their pupils; their glassy exteriors. They will turn to the coal they are inside, literally, fuel hell and wish they’d listened to my warnings. The heroes of the world are white, pure white, but there aren’t very many of them. Most people are a dirty shade of grey. In between and undecided; neither here nor there. Purgatory. I am green, because I am sick. No-one cares where I’m going. I don’t care.
There isn’t long left now.
With life in black and white the sky becomes awash with colour. Shepherd’s delight tonight, and what a perfect night to die. The clouds are pink, painted coarsely over a glowing red azure sky. It makes sense to me. Finally, I am not alien, I am not in the dark, confused, alone. Instead, it is everyone else without foresight. They are isolated together, and I am solitarily integrated. I am told to go back to the pier, say goodbye, and watch the world literally, actually, flash by my eyes. It’s my gift, my reward for my broken brain; I am at the theatre and the only one with dramatic empathy for the characters led by convention. I float down the pier, and now I know I’m not mad. The sky pulsates, angry, vengeful. Particles expand, shrink, and re-inflate.  I can’t help but laugh at the beautiful hopelessness, and the ultimate despair. A song of delight, true, genuine, hilarity explodes out of me and spills into the thickening atmosphere. Two blacks, glare with their telescopic eyes, old me would’ve ran, hidden, driven by fear, but for the first time ever, all humankind is equal. Money and power, the drivers of society are null. Soon I know the men will turn to ash and blow away.
Mid-laugh, the sea swells, becomes beast, and swallows us whole.

This I wrote after my first week of college as a response to a task of interpretting Munch’s famous painting.

I love him as an artist already and enjoyed trying to put an original spin on a widely debated work of art.
I was also awarded first prize by Sentinel in their quarterly Short Story competition, which is my only one as of yet, but I look forward to more in the future *fingers crossed * and the £150 to a seventeen year old was pretty awesome too.


About samshortstories

Posting largely unpolished creative writing as and when it comes to me to get feedback and hopefully improve as a writer through this. Hobbies include bouldering, scuba-diving and eating.


One thought on “The Scream [Inspired by Edvard Munch’s painting of the same name, Sentinel Short Story winner]

  1. Thank you for following my blog.

    It looks like your just getting started with you blog. Good luck with your writing.

    Don’t get discourage. There are so many talented people that the competition is tough. Just set yourself goals and when you meet them go on to others.

    I’m sure that you can do it.

    Posted by pstpierre | January 18, 2013, 11:38 pm

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