by Andrew J. West
Fated II: Even You is the second of five short stories inspired by existentialism collectively entitled, “Fated”. Each piece can be read as stand-alone or as part of the connected series. Catch the next issue of Eastlit for the third installment of the “Fated” series, Fated III: Fictional Abyss.
Fated II: Even You
The hood over my head is the first thing I’m aware of, then the straps securing my limbs and torso to a chair, then realise that, with the exception of the hood blinding me and straps restraining me, I’m completely naked and ask myself—what am I doing here? how did I get here? what’s happening to me?—then when trying to call out for help I suddenly become aware of a gag choking me, leaving me grunting and snorting in terror at the oblivion beyond the burlap weave of the sack tied around my neck… the last thing I remember was sitting at home surfing the internet: I’d come home from work as usual, had dinner while on the internet the same as I did almost every night, then put the dishes in the dishwasher and went back to surfing, downloading the latest movie and staying up watching it until around 11 or 11.30 p.m. then, as usual, I went to bed, believing that I’d wake up the next morning, go to work, and in the evening I’d come back home and continue the mundane routine of surfing, sleeping and working—but then I ask myself again how I got here and what’s happening to me, struggling in futility against the bonds restraining me—but I don’t have any answers, hyperventilating in fear for I don’t know how long, maybe hours, maybe days… holding onto my bladder and bowels until I have no choice but to relieve myself and defecate where I sit… becoming dehydrated and famished and sleepless to the point where my isolated mind ceases to function normally and starts playing tricks on me, until, through the dim greyness of the burlap, I start to see bright visions of an absurd theatrical dramatisation of my life performed by thespians acting, singing and dancing the roles of those close to me in an incoherent version of the commonplace events that have happened to me but in which I’m not the central character and am merely a spectator, an audience member crying at the everyday tragedy and laughing at the workaday farce, a production cut off after only two acts, before the third and final act could begin, leaving the plotless story without a conclusion and leaving me robbed of any build up towards a climax and lost in a state of semi-conscious delirium, unable to tell the difference between what’s real and what’s not, between the voices of the phantoms speaking to me from the other side of the burlap and the voices of the phantoms in my head, phantoms threatening to rape and kill me and mocking the size of my genitals as they pathologically perpetrate every kind of unspeakable crime against me: beating the soles of my feet, bashing my ears, pulling out my finger and toenails, burning me with cigarettes, taking off my gag and tearing the teeth out of my mouth with pliers, forcing me to eat my excrement and vomit and drink my urine, electrocuting me with electrodes on my nipples and genitalia, hanging me upside-down from my wrists and ankles while keeping me tied to the chair in such an intricate way that my own weight stretches my bloodied body, lowering me into a tub of piss and shit and spinning me in circles, all the while issuing injunctions over and over: “You’re a subversive: you’ll pay for it… You’re an informer: you’ll suffer for your crimes… You’re an infiltrator: you’ll never be forgiven… You’re a terrorist: you’ll never be set free… You’re nothing: you’re already forgotten…” and when I try to plead with my torturers for mercy or beg them to tell me what they want, they only punish me more mercilessly: and the thought that the unbearable perversions being inflicted upon me have no rational reason is even more traumatic to my mind than the horrendous war being incessantly waged against my body, confusing me and gouging incurable psychological scars far deeper than the physical injuries that one day—if my sadistic captors ever release me from this evil chamber—may heel… and as the aggressors continue inflicting their repertoire of inhuman persecution and, while I still have a kernel of sanity left to me, I consider my sheer powerlessness in this outrageous and inexplicable situation: asking myself why I’m being punished, maybe for the last time before I completely lose my sanity—I hadn’t done anything except live an ordinary life—and can come up with no answers… but, maybe, even worse than not knowing why this is happening, is my inability to respond to the deliberate aggression being wrought so savagely against me, leaving me nothing but a victim with no chance to respond reflexively with equal anger and hostility as the anger and hostility the beasts mete out to me… the humiliating helplessness of my situation demeans me and debases me above all else… whoever has me in this inescapable Orwellian or Kafkaesque snare, whether they be secret police or agents in a covert government operation or soldiers in a shadow army, they have destroyed me, erased my humanity, my individuality, broken me and reduced me to an animal for no discernable logic, perhaps just as part of some sort of malevolent experiment or just to demonstrate the absolute power of the state over the general population by perpetrating unrestrained violence upon random members of the populace, leaving me with a final thought before I wholly surrender to the oblivion of this hellish fate… I can’t believe this could have happened to me, and if this can happen to me, then it can happen to anybody, even you.
Part 3 will be in Eastlit October 2016.
Editor’s Note on Fated II: Even You:
Fated II: Even You is not Andrew J. West’s first work to appear in Eastlit. His previous published pieces are:
- The Mansion was published in the June 2013 issue of Eastlit,
- Art of Evil appeared in the August 2013 issue
- The Puppet Tree was published in the October 2013 issue.
- The Student featured in the December 2103 issue.
- Self Portrait appeared in Eastlit February 2014.
- Three Worlds, the online photo-poetry exhibition was in Eastlit April 2014.
- Perfect Present was in Eastlit June 2014.
- City of Clay featured in Eastlit September 2014.
- Great Goddess was published in Eastlit December 2014.
You can also read the Eastlit Andrew J West interview.