26 comments

Mystery

I can't remember anything. I don't have a clue where I am or how I got here. All I can see around me is desert, an empty wasteland. My surroundings are flat, sandy, covered in dry tiny bushes which remind me of the typical prop from a western movie – the dusty tumbleweed, rolling around as if carried by the wind. These bushes, however, are firmly rooted into the ground and there is not even the tiniest hint of a whiff. There is no one here. There is nothing! It seems as if time has stopped, and I have been here for an eternity.

I've just had a thought: what if I am dead? And this is the great beyond – one big nothing and an endless desert... Bullshit! Then why would there be an asphalt road in the middle of the desert? It is not a good road, or a special road, or a strange road, so that it can even remotely resemble something mystical. This is a simple country road, with cracks, holes, and a faded dividing line. And then it hit me! If there is a road, it should definitely lead somewhere. I just have to pick one direction and see where it takes me. I actually have no idea where should I head to. The sun is burning so brightly that I cannot even see it; I have no idea where is east or west, and there is nothing around me to point me at the right direction. Well, what the hell, I would have to test my luck before I fry out here. After all, a road is supposed to connect a minimum of 2 points, or at least this is what math problems taught us. A train leaves Point A and heads to Point B at an average speed of 90 miles/hour. If the distance between Points A and B is 435 miles, then at what time does auntie Mavis has to be at the train station to meet her nephew? But does the train have a delay or not, are there other stops along the way... no one tells you these things. Maybe it is some kind of an express... Oh, how I wished a train were passing nearby (hopefully an air-conditioned one). It would spare me so much effort. It is not something I can help – I am heading up! Devil only knows why I decided the way is “up” when here everything is flat. Maybe it is because I like to be optimistic about things.

Did I say optimistic? Ha! After an eternity and a half in the same dull wasteland, all my optimism is gone. I am thinking maybe all of this is a test; I have been drugged, abducted and sent to the end of the world, so that they can see how long does it take for a person to break and give in to DESPAIR. Well, here you have the answer – after an eternity, an eternity and a half; and auntie Mavis had probably met her nephew at the station a thousand years ago... Come on! Pretty please, come out with your hidden cameras from behind the fake cardboard sets and let's go ho-o-ome! But there is no one coming out…

I am about to cry and give up when I see IT! The SIGN! On the side of the road there is a bus stop sign. A yellow, rectangular sign, with a picture of а man getting on a bus. And it is facing backwards. Well, of course. Probably it has not been used for years, so it is normal for it to be neglected. Who would need a bus to get to the middle of the desert? It must be some sign from a time when there was life around here, maybe a small village… And suddenly – another sign! On the other side of the road, identical to the first one, even facing backwards again. Wa-a-a-it a second! A light bulb flickers in my head, a lamp gets switched on, and finally all the Christmas lights of a two-story suburban American home light up – these signs are not facing backwards, it’s just left-hand traffic! Well, ain’t this some new development? Sun, heat, endless desert, driving on the left-hand side of the road: now I know, well, I am almost certain, I must be in Australia.

Australia?! I think I am about to start panicking. This is on the opposite side of the planet! And, as far as I remember from the world atlas, quite a big part of this continent is actually covered by a desert. Who knows which god forsaken corner is this one. A new conspiracy theory starts to take shape in my mind – hmm, could it be the work of aliens? It is true that lately news of alleged UFO sightings have become more frequent, a bunch of passenger planes have disappeared as if engulfed by the skies, and a friend of mine has even posted on Facebook a video of what seemed spaceships flying out of the Moon’s surface… It is all very suspicious. What better explanation for my sudden memory loss and shocking reappearance in the land of kangaroos. Abducted, memory wiped out, teleported… But why here? And where exactly is HERE?

At this very moment, an impressive sight is revealed before my eyes – a huge wind turbine, white, metal and solid, with long aerodynamic blades. I have always wondered how it is possible for the wind to propel these thin sails. Well, looks like I am not going to find out now, because the turbine is not working. Neither is the one next to it, nor any of the other twenty wind farms which have appeared out of the blue in the field. A couple dozen steel giants are staring at me silently, but they are not helping me understand in any way what this place is. Like a modern Don Quixote, I am standing face-to-face with my windmills, sweat slowly trickling down my back, without any strength or will to fight, and feeling more lost than ever…

I think I am starting to hallucinate. No, the wind turbines are not turning into giants, but I seem to hear a distant voice calling my name: ‘Billy, for God’s sake! Will you stop playing GeoGuessr and come down already! The AC repair guy is here!’

August 05, 2020 17:47

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26 comments

Rayhan Hidayat
10:52 Nov 16, 2020

I was curious about your first submission and I'm very delighted with this. You've certainly improved a LOT since but this story will now occupy a special place in my heart just for that top-shelf ending. Kudos ;)

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Bianka Nova
11:25 Nov 16, 2020

Thanks for reading :) I actually felt I was going downhill after this one for a while XD

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Rayhan Hidayat
11:33 Nov 16, 2020

No way! I actually re-read your elevator story recently, that one's very solid and has amazing character interaction.

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Bianka Nova
11:43 Nov 16, 2020

Thanks! That means a lot, especially considering that you're not a romance fan. ;)

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Rayhan Hidayat
12:17 Nov 16, 2020

I’m honestly developing more respect for the genre, so my story for this week might have romantic elements 😉

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Amany Sayed
13:33 Nov 16, 2020

ooooooooooOOOOOoooooooooo I'm so reading this one ;)

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Bianka Nova
12:33 Nov 16, 2020

Oooh! 😮 Looking forward to reading it 😊

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Deborah Angevin
10:10 Aug 14, 2020

Great opening paragraphs and a nice twist at the end! P.S: would you mind checking my recent story out, "Grey Clouds"? Thank you :D

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Bianka Nova
12:43 Aug 14, 2020

Thank you :) Sure, I will read your story.

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Lonnie Larson
02:48 Aug 13, 2020

Good story and nice turn at the end. Keep writing.

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Bianka Nova
10:40 Aug 13, 2020

Thank you!

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Conan Helsley
02:15 Aug 13, 2020

The ending made this. I couldn't figure it out, and was starting to get discouraged, but that was pretty cool. Nice job.

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Bianka Nova
10:40 Aug 13, 2020

Haha, so cool I managed to transfer the protagonist's sentiments onto you. JK, Thanks! :)

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Charles Stucker
16:01 Aug 12, 2020

"so that they can see how long does it take for a person to break and give in to DESPAIR" change to "so they can see how long it takes to break a person so they give in to despair." "It is true that lately news of alleged UFO..." change to "Lately, news of UFO..." This is literary style, with a focus on internal thoughts rather than plot. Not my metier so I might be a bit off. The title, beginning and ending all tie together nicely. You might change the tiniest bit to "Lost!" but that's a quibble. The main structure is good, leafing ...

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Bianka Nova
16:40 Aug 12, 2020

Thank you very much for the comment (and for the insider information on tumbleweeds; as an European I have never seen one) :D No need to apologize. I would love to be able to write more poetically, but sadly it doesn't come naturally - I am more into simple, to the point and easy to read writing (I guess you could call it commercial). Still, with constructive feedback like yours, I will definitely improve some bits here and there. ;)

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Charles Stucker
16:53 Aug 12, 2020

For commercial fiction plot is the driving focus, followed by character development. If you want to have it focus on one person, try first person POV with present tense. Avoid flashback unless absolutely necessary to reveal backstory. Have the story go scene A to B to C until you reach the finale. This tale, in first person past tense feels like it drags because the character does very little. Let him be in the desert, then "One foot before the other, I drag along the road, seeking a sign of life. Even the wind is dead, not a breath of bree...

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Bianka Nova
16:58 Aug 12, 2020

Much obliged, Charles :)

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This was awesome! I wasn't expecting that ending you did a good job with that. Super funny. Well done!

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Bianka Nova
10:51 Aug 12, 2020

Thank you! :)

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Jonathan Blaauw
14:41 Aug 10, 2020

Really cool story! I always get a bit worried when I’m nearing the end of a story and it feels like there’s still so much explaining required. I was starting to feel the same here, and then you wrapped it up brilliantly in the last two lines. I also enjoyed the silly math problem you bring up (throwback to school days, that), and then when you bring it up again further on, you create familiarity with the reader which makes the story so much more immersive. I did notice you don’t always use contractions. I’m often looking for these things t...

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Bianka Nova
15:21 Aug 10, 2020

Thank you tons for the detailed review! I know I have a problem with contractions; it's one of the things my editor made me change in my book, but I am still forgetting about it when editing myself (see the automatic "I am" and not "I'm"). I work in corporate translations and my whole life I've been trained to make texts sound as formal and professional as can be XD

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Jonathan Blaauw
15:35 Aug 10, 2020

I wouldn't even call it a problem, and it's something you're aware of, at least. If nothing else, contractions help when word count becomes an issue, I find. But otherwise, your writing is exceptional.

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Tina G
21:07 Aug 09, 2020

Very good, Thanks for this story, I really enjoyed!

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Bianka Nova
16:10 Aug 10, 2020

Thank you, Tina!

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