I know it’s been a while. I wrote a shorty and entered it into a national writer’s contest. I chose the sub-genre of “Paranormal” and entered a what I thought was a great little short story on that matter. I am happy to say that it did really well. How well? How about out of over 1,000 entries within that particular sub-genre I placed 23rd ! 😃 Woohoo! Well, now that it’s done, I can now post it here for you all to enjoy. Here it is…
From the Corner of Sanity
You know how when you’re all alone in the dark and you think you’ve seen something from the corner of your eye only to find out it was nothing at all but a trick of the light, a twinkle of a star, the reflection of a headlight on a window, or simply just nothing at all? Well, I get that all the time. My whole life, something slips by me just out of direct view. No matter how hard I try, I can’t see, whatever it is, directly. I swear it’s a figure of a man, or a woman, someone not wanting to be noticed or seen, but I’ve noticed. Tonight, I’m going to see it. I’m going to discover who or what is driving me insane with their little hiding-behind-the-scenes game. I’ve made it my life’s work to put whatever or whomever in my own personal spotlight. My name is Dr. Frederick Carrier. You should remember it well because tonight I will have answers.
I’ve spent my life dedicating myself to the sciences of the physics behind the supernatural and the unknown. I’ve have studied just about every aspect of ghosts, spirits, poltergeists, alternate realities, and shadow people. I’ve even gone to the edge of the possibility of aliens who have some sort ability to manipulate themselves between our reality and their own. I know. I sound like I’ve slipped into my own demented reality, but I tell you, there is something there that is only visible for that one, brief moment just out of the corner of your eye playing tricks and briefly disturbing your sanity.
I’ve experimented with all kinds of optics using all kinds of light. Every spectrum from the visible to the invisible. I’ve tried the use of reflective and refractive lightsources. I’ve even gone as far as placing tiny mirrors on a pair of glasses that reflects images from the corner of my eyes just out of optical viewing into view. I’ve used cameras placed all around me, on me, above me, and even below me. I’ve even employed them in hiding areas around the room, whether the room was a well-lit, barely lit, or completely dark and absent of all light, everything has hindered any results. Sadly afterwards, when I’m not working within my room, I can still catch that insanity-driven glimpse just out of the corner of my eye. So, now, just when I thought I had exhausted every method of catching sight of them, I came upon a method that I’ve never thought would actually come into view, sort of speak.
I was watching a movie about a comic book hero that was blind but could still see using the manipulation of sound. All he had to do was use the sound from his enemies, the sound generated from banging on something such as a metal pipe, musical sound, and even the sound of the rain falling all around him. It had suddenly hit me, sound! Sound can create sight! And with that sight, I can use it to see everything around me! But how? I can generate sound, but how can I have sight with it? I know we can use soundwaves like a sonar using a computer to generate fuzzy outlines of objects onto a screen, but I don’t want fuzzy outlines. I don’t want a computer pinpointing the location of objects. I want a clear visual of all things using sound as if I am looking at it all through my very own eyes. Through study, my brainpower, and a great deal of hard work, I can now see with sound.
I have created a machine that can generate sound too low for the human ears to hear, but my computer could detect. It can pick up anything that disturbs those wave, get a fix on it, and focus on it enough to generate a full image into a pair of eye pieces I happen to be wearing. I won’t be going home tonight, and I’ve already asked the security guards to pass the word along that I wish not to be disturbed unless called upon. Of course, they were reluctant to allow me to stay without any checking because it was their duty to ensure my safety, but they soon agreed. They even had let the head of my wing know of my request. They too were hesitant, but after explaining the nature and the importance of my work, they approved. So, tonight, I will be completely engrossed in my hopes for a discovery without disturbances.
After returning from the cafeteria where I ate my supper and taken my vitamins one the cafeteria ladies were kind enough to keep up with for me, I prepared myself. I walked over to the wall that secretly housed the enormous sound emitter and turned it on. I went to my desk and put on my visor. I flipped a switch and, voila! I can see the room clearly. It was as if I wasn’t even wearing the visor. The room looked perfectly natural. I nearly cackled with pride. I was proud of myself for such a genius idea. That is why I am a professor, after all. I take pride in physics as well as my cognitive abilities to understand it. I’m also amazed how well I had set up the sound system to produce the necessary sound waves. I was expecting to have readjust it for the thrumming I would have felt from such a low bass noise, but there was none. No low hum either. I tried my best to keep calm. I very nearly burst with excitement. I quickly covered my mouth to calm myself down. I decided to play it cool. Nothing glanced by the corner of my eye, so I knew I had to be alone, but I knew that at any moment that would not be the case. They always come to check up on me. Well, more like “spy” on me.
I quickly went to my cot I kept in the corner of my lab. Here lately, I’ve been so preoccupied with my work that I had grown too tired to go home so I had one of the janitors place a cot in here for just such needs. Besides, I think they were more than pleased to accommodate just so they could have someone to speak with during their dark and dreary rounds of cleaning out trash cans, sweeping, mopping, and checking the rooms to ensure they were locked up for the night. Sometimes I would pass out on the cot just so exhausted from working so hard that they would be kind enough to quietly darken the room and allow me to rest.
Now, I lay their quietly. I slowed my breathing down so that I would appear to sleep, but I found it difficult in the beginning due to my overwhelming excitement. I soon bit my lip and forced calmness. A sort of peace began to enter my mind, so I relaxed and waited.
I didn’t need to wait long. I saw a figure flash by the corner of my eye. I slowly turned and saw a female figure standing with her back towards me as she looked around the room. She had her hands planted firmly on her hips. She looked like she could be a remarkable woman. Her long, auburn hair was in a pony tail that swung around as she turned her head side to side. I wondered what she was looking for as she seemed to be desperate to find something. For a moment I thought she was hearing the sound from the machine and was looking for the source. Instead, I heard her say, “I have no idea what he’s been up to lately.” Her voice! My invention has done it! Not only am I able to see her, but I can hear her voice too. She continued, “He told the others that his work would be a success tonight, but there’s nothing here.” Wait. I know that voice. That’s Dr. Carol Brandi.
She’s a colleague of mine. I consult her whenever I need to have some blanks to fill in. She works down the hall. She’s a counselor of sorts. She enjoys her work so much that she had a curved desk built into the hall at the other end of this wing so that anyone can freely speak with her. I told her that she was too brilliant for that sort of thing and that she should have her very own office on the corner of the wing with a view. Normally, her response was to just smile and say, “Thank you,” and then she would carry on with her paperwork and wait for the next person to inquire her for her expertise.
Another figure entered my field of view. A man. A rather pudgy man. Short and balding. He turned and faced me. I immediately recognized him as Dr. Andrew Fielding, a man whom I grew to despise because of his pompous attitude towards everyone who works this wing. He thought himself to be superior over others and has constantly refused to refer to me by my title of “Doctor” of which I had earned through many years of study. Possibly more years than what he was willing to put in to earn his own. I could hardly imagine how he had genuinely earned his degree in medicine.
He searched around the room. As he was about to come face to face with me, I closed my eyes and pretended to sleep. I heard him sigh and respond to Dr. Brandi, “I highly doubt we’ll find anything of real science in here. You know how fixated he is about his imaginary people that could only be seen from the corner of his eye. I bet he’ll be telling everyone tomorrow morning about how he had actually found us to be those people and how we really do exist as those souls.”
She scoffed at him, “Oh, Dr. Fielding, now don’t start. I am only here in secret to find out what Dr. Carrier has been up to.”
He shot back at her, “Now, stop calling him doctor. You know his name is Frederick. Mr. Frederick Carrier. That is all. He is no doctor of any sort.”
She said to him, “He is too a doctor. He’s earned that title, and I shall respect his earnings, Dr. Fielding. So, you best start doing the same.”
He began heckling, “If they only knew how he had wasted his life with his degree. Anyway…” He paused. I barely opened my eyes and saw him pointing at the wall where my sound device was hidden. He walked towards that direction and quickly closed my eyes as Dr. Brandi turned to look at me. I heard him say, “Dr. Brandi, would you look at this.”
She said to him, “What is it, Dr. Fielding?”
I almost opened my eyes until I felt her warm breath on my cheek. Was she trying to get a look at my visor? I didn’t know if she was able to peer through the darkened glass, so I kept my eyes shut.
I heard him say, “I think Frederick has been up to his old tricks again for sure. I found this device hidden behind this table.”
Dr. Brandi responded, “I wonder what those goggles are meant to be for.”
Dr. Fielding responded, “No doubt a part of this so-called device.”
I watched her sigh as she said, “Oh, dear. Just when I thought he was done with all this madness. We better go before he sees us in here.”
He agreed, “Yes, I don’t want him discovering that we were actually here. No telling how he’d react to our method of intrusion. Later, we’ll just have to rid him of all this… junk.”
She responded in kind, “Yes, you’re right. We must. I would rather him not find out about us for now. Let’s go, Dr. Fielding.”
I heard him say as they were leaving, “Indeed, Dr. Brandi.”
I watched them leave. When the door quietly closed behind them I jumped up in excitement. I saw them! I truly saw them! My machine worked! My machine… I saw… Dr. Carol Brandi? She’s one of them? No. She can’t be. Dr. Fielding strikes me to be a little bit of the kind, but not Carol. I began to sweat as the realization began to set in. I couldn’t let them get away with this. I had to expose them. But how?
I ran to the door and turned on the… The lights. They were off. I know I left them off before I began, but the entire time they were in here I never once saw them turn on the lights. I don’t recall seeing them turning them back off as they left. Of course! They hid in the shadows. They were accustomed to the darkness. My machine allowed me to see as if the room was well lit. That, again, proves my machine works.
I remembered what I was trying to do. I needed to catch them. I needed to bring them into the light. I needed to expose them for who they really are. They are those that drive men insane hiding in the dark and stepping into the corner of the eye to spy on us. But what was their purpose? Why? Why drive a man to the brink of insanity with their tricks? I swung open the door. I saw a janitor. Samuel, or Sam as he goes by, was mopping the floor and making his way towards me. I stopped him, “Uh, Sam. Which way did Dr. Brandi and Dr. Fielding go?”
He stopped and looked up at me. He scratched his head and replied with a loud whisper, “Dr. Carrier, please go back into your lab and go to sleep. You know you ain’t supposed to be out after light’s out.”
He was right. They didn’t want anyone out here after dark. I had promised to remain in my lab if I had been in here after dark, but that wasn’t important now. I nodded at him frantically, “Yes, sorry, Sam, but Dr. Brandi and Dr. Fielding. Which way did they go?”
He looked at me funny and said, “They were never here. I mean I never saw them after they had their meeting earlier this evening.”
I laughed with enjoyment of my discovery. I saw them leave. I saw them just as clear as day. I said to him, “But they were! They just left! You never saw them leave? Have you been out here for a while?”
He nodded, “Yes. I’ve been mopping this floor for a while. I started from down the hall and made my way to here where you see me just now. Are you okay, Dr. Carrier? Do I need to go get somebody for you?”
I laughed, “Yes! Hurry! Get whomever you can. I need them to bring me the security footage of this hall. Then, I shall prove to them that I had visitors here tonight. Dr. Brandi and Dr. Fielding were here! Just now! They were here! I’m going home to change into something a little more… presentable. Bring them there.” I guess I had decided that going home to celebrate would be best. He nodded at me and left. I went to my studio, campus apartment.
After what seemed like an eternity, there was a knock at my door. I opened it up to find Sam with Dr. Brandi and Dr. Fielding with him. Dr. Brandi stepped in and began rambling, “Dr. Carrier, honestly. What kind of trouble are you causing tonight?”
Dr. Fielding walked in behind her and stepped around her to confront me, “Allow me, Dr. Brandi. Frederick, what are you up to tonight?”
I looked at him with hostility and corrected him immediately, “Dr. Fielding, how many times must I tell you that I am Dr. Carrier. And now, I ask you, what are you doing here tonight?” I peered around them and looked at Sam asking, “Why did you bring the subjects of my discovery here with you to show me that security footage?”
He looked at me quizzically, “Dr. Carrier, as I have stated before, Dr. Fielding and Dr. Brandi left the institution earlier this evening. They couldn’t have been in your room tonight.”
I looked at him with anger. I yelled at him, “You were to bring that security footage here, so I could prove to you that someone was in my lab and that my machine had worked! I thought you had the common sense not to bring them with you. You’re a damned fool!”
Dr. Brandi shouted, “Now, there is no need for name calling, Dr. Carrier! I assure you, we were not here tonight.”
I looked at her with accusation in my eyes, “That’s right! You were never here. You were in my lab spying on me, and I saw you. As a matter of fact, I heard you. You and Dr. Fielding didn’t know that I was testing my machine out tonight, and I was. My machine worked better than I expected. I saw and heard the both of you!”
Dr. Fielding yelled at me, “You call that monstrosity a machine? My grandchildren make better artwork than what you created in that room. And they are four and two years old!”
Dr. Brandi reached out for me. She grabbed my hand and gently pulled me with her as she said sweetly, “Dr. Carrier, come with us.”
I followed her. She took me from my home. I entered the corridor of the institution. This isn’t right. I turned around and saw my home become a room within the hall. My furniture and everything was still in place, but my home was a room. How can this be? What kind of powers do they possess to create such an illusion? She took my arm into hers and said, “Come. This way.”
We walked down the hall to my lab. I asked her, “What are you doing to me, Carol?”
She whispered, “Don’t be afraid, Frederick. I want to show you something.” As soon as we got to my lab she opened the door. I walked in slowly. This was a trick. Her kind has supernatural powers. I lived in a small studio apartment. Not in a room of the institution. The two of them transported us back here through some type of science or magic. She turned the lights on, and my machine was gone.
My machine! What happened to it? It’s gone! I looked at her and nearly came to tears as I said, “What did you do with it?”
Dr. Fielding responded, “You mean this?”
He pulled a sheet from the wall. There was a crude drawing done with a crayon of a speaker with a drawing of an oversized switch beside it. He laughed snidely, “As I said, a child’s rendering.”
I turned to Dr. Brandi in fear. They’ve done this! They discovered my machine, and just like my home, they reduced it to a drawing of a child from kindergarten. They destroyed everything I worked my whole life to prove. This was not fair! I said to her, “Why?” She simply shook her head. I yelled at the top of my lungs, “Sam! Mrs. Heckler! Help me!”
Dr. Fielding walked up to me and pulled a syringe from his breast pocket. Dr. Brandi tried to calm me down, “Quiet, Dr. Carrier. You’ll awaken the other residents. Just relax. Dr. Fielding is going to give you something to calm you down.”
I panicked. I tried to run, but Sam caught me and held me down. I tried to scream as Dr. Heckler walked in. Dr. Fielding caught me and stuck me as Dr. Brandi kept saying, “Please, Dr. Carrier. Please calm down.”
My mouth became numb and dry. I tried to scream, but I couldn’t. My eyes were becoming heavy. Darkness swirled around me. I watched the lights become enclosed into a tunnel. I felt as if I had been lifted off my feet and placed onto my cot. Tired. I was very tired. Confused. I was very confused.
What was happening? My machine. It had worked. It was Dr. Brandi and Dr. Fielding. They were the ones after all. What was going on?
Before I succumbed to the dark recesses of sleep I heard Sam say, “What did you do with it all?”
Dr. Fielding commented, “I took it before the council. They will decide what to do with it.”
Sam asked, “How are we going to fix this?”
Dr. Brandi responded, “I will convince him that this has never happened.”
Never happened? What never happened? Tired. I’m very tired. I will sleep now. Yes, sleep.