So he comes up to me while I was sitting down at a table and having lunch, whatever I could find, and he wants me to hear a story he made. But the thing is, he doesn't have a hard copy of it. He pointed at his head and said "It's in here."
I suck at oral stories, but I did my best to listen in.
So there's this girl. Her name's Marlene, I think. Living somewhere outside of London during this sickness he was talking about. Something about the Bitchun Society, maybe. This sickness, he says, that messes with people's heads. Something about a medium, between sending and receiving, and what could happen in there. He was talking for a while about this sickness. It's embedded in everything, not just people. It's, like, for example, the effects you get on your eyes from looking in the sun for too long. You start seeing spots. Except these spots stay with you for the whole time you're sick, right? And then your brain doesn't work right at all. Words get smashed together when they're trying to be read, and something about the rules being broken. Kind of like chess, I think, how everyone just forgot how to play.
Funny enough, though, he mentioned chess in his story all over the place. I wonder what he's getting at. But no one even knows what day it is, and the music is all off-key and flat and stuff.
He starts talking about the plot. There's this girl, and her name's Marlene. Walking into... what was it? Theater. Yeah. Theater. Now, she comes into this theater, right? And she's looking for this piece of mirror. Now, this piece of mirror had a funny bit of magic about it. Something, he said that he wasn't quite sure of yet.
So Marlene gets out of her car, and walks up to this theater, and gets a ticket for the show. There was this camera, a security camera, I think. It was looking at Marlene. The lady says that it's up the stairs, and just... what did he say? Follow your eyes. Yeah. That's it. Marlene goes up these stairs and she looks to her left. This would be the only source of light in the theater, I think. Wait, no. Um, this was the only light viewable from outside. There's these two people watching television, and this chair between them, with a lamp in the corner, lighting up the window. Or was it a candle? I forget. Lots has happened since he told me this. Oh, and there was this plate of sandwiches, though I don't think anyone was hungry.
This room, right? This room also had this most interesting picture. I'll never forget his words: She looked up at the viewer's face with, um, despair, casting a look of stark hopelessness in her eyes for someone so young, as she clutches the remains of her doll, echoing a broken-sounding "Maaa-ma!" in her head. I think that's about right. That was the picture. Now, between the two chairs was this chessboard. No one was really watching the television, the lousy disjointed image coming from it. The old man sitting on the left was looking very hard at the board, and only one pawn was moved. The rest of the board was in the starting position, and he was describing the old man's concentration quite a fair bit. But I lost interest a little, until the story started moving again.
Marlene walks to the next room, careful to avoid any mirrors. He said that if people were to see their own image, that it would be, um, big word, starts with a T. Transmogrified. Transmogrified into something so horrible it would drive people crazy. She reached the end row. Wait, no. Marlene wasn't in the theater yet. Okay, so she opened the door, and walked inside. The chairs were arranged in a pattern, I think. A pattern that confused Marlene very much. He said that there wasn't even a spot where a chair stood still, even. So she sits next to this guy, called him Jaime, right? Frail little boy, maybe 16, perhaps, threadbare shirt and dress pants with holes in them, I think. And he had this necklace, a necklace that gave off a violet glow. There were beads there. I'm not sure, he didn't tell me, but I think the mirror Marlene was looking for was remade on this necklace. Sorry if I just ruined the story. I'm no good at this.
But Marlene starts a conversation with Jaime, about the play. She doesn't even know the title. I don't think Jaime knew the title. Come to think of it, I'm not sure there is one. Okay, so the curtain opens up, and then there's the couple, watching TV and playing chess. But now the image is crystal clear. And, um, they were talking, about... something. I'm sorry, I forgot. But then it stopped. The talking stopped. Jaime was frozen in place too, I think. And then nothing happened.
She walked around to the front row and got on stage. Then it all came back, it all snapped back. So the old guy was saying something about the fact that it's nice she's back here in the house, and he lifts the chess board and puts it on top of the TV, so Marlene could sit down. She looked at the picture on screen, and it wasn't broken, it was crystal clear.
There was this white car on the TV, and this girl got out of it. She was quite damaged looking, I think. Is damaged the right word? It fits. But anyway, her hair was all matted, her face hadn't been washed in weeks, her dress was torn, and she wore one shoe and one sock, on opposite feet.
Okay, this is going to get trippy, so bear with me.
She walks up and reads the sign: it says theater on it. And she looks to the left, and there's a lady. She asks this girl if she needs a ticket, but she already had one. The ticket lady said something like whatever, and let her go up the stairs, with the simple instructions of following your eyes. It dawns upon Marlene as to what she's watching, all of a sudden. It was quite a shock for me even, to see Marlene watching herself on the screen. Marlene watching Marlene. Oops. Very sorry.
Um, where was I? Oh yeah. So Marlene watches herself go up these stairs, and she turns to her left. There's a couple in here, watching TV. There is a chessboard between them, with the game well underway. But no one was playing anymore. Someone wanted some food, right, because this time there was already a bite out of a sandwich. And there was this most interesting picture. I'm not so sure I remember, but he said something about this girl and her doll, the girl holding on to the doll with this intense look of hopelessness, and the doll, broken beyond all the girl's belief. It was crooked, I think.
She turns around and keeps walking down the hallway, and into the theater at the end. Some of the chairs were broken, and the ones that weren't were still covered with a fair bit of dust. So she sits next to this guy, right? His name was Jaime, I think. No shirt, just underwear, and this necklace, with these purple wooden beads on it. And Marlene asked about the play, but Jaime said that there was no play.
The curtain opened anyway. There was an old couple there, watching television in silence. Everything seemed to stop, even Jaime. Marlene watched herself walk around to the front and climb onto the stage. The old couple yelled at her and told her to just sit down and, um, be quiet. Just watch TV, you know. The image was hard to see through all the dust. But Marlene watched Marlene watching TV.
There was this white car on the TV. It was crashed into a telephone pole. And he said that Marlene walked right into the theater. There were tickets all over the ground, right, so what was the point? Marlene watched Marlene watched Marlene climb the stairs, her stocking foot stepping in a puddle of whatever it was. She reaches the top floor, and it's almost completely dark, the floor covered in mirror shards. There were two chairs, covered in dust and webs, facing a television stand. The television was face down on the floor, covered in dust, with the screen smashed in. There was a chessboard too, and it had only a few pieces left on it. The ones that were gone, right, they were scattered all over the room. There was a foul odor, and there were flies buzzing over a plate of mold and fungus. And this picture, too, this picture lying on the ground. I once knew the words to talk about it, but all I remember now were that the girl and the doll shared the same face.
Marlene watched Marlene watched Marlene stepping to the side of the chairs and over the tattered remains of a curtain, into a room with a pile of chairs and a degrading corpse with a string around its' neck. She was about to look for the beads when...
I'm so sorry. I forgot. Remind me and I'll ask him tomorrow, okay? Jamie, I mean. He knows what happened to me.