FROM THE DIARY OF WORKER #6289

Submitted into Contest #167 in response to: Start your story with a daydream sequence, before snapping back to reality. ... view prompt

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Fantasy Fiction

I have decided to write down here in my diary everything I can remember about what happened to me and how I came to live elsewhere.

Today I found myself waking along a trail through a redwood forest that had somehow survived human mishandling of Mother Earth’s gifts. I stopped and stood before it in awe. I looked down to where the base of the tree united with the ground. I spied a door complete with a doorknob that had materialized and become visible. I stood before that massive redwood tree, and I knew it was a Patriarch tree. I remembered the stories of the Before Time about Patriarch trees and wished for a way through that door. I trembled with excitement.

I blinked and the forest and tree were gone. The only door was the door in my assigned cubicle where I now sat on my bed one sock on and one sock still in hand. I shook my head in wonderment. I slowly put on the sock I held in my hand and picked up my sketchbook. I began drawing the redwood tree, the Patriarch, I had seen.

When I got to the door in my drawing, my cubicle disappeared, and I once again stood before the door at the base of the Patriarch redwood tree. Remembering my wish, I thought to myself, it would be rude to balk at a wish granted. So, I turned the knob and walked through the door.

I heard strumming of a sweet guitar and the space I was in seemed to be expanding. It was filled with light.

Suddenly, it was all gone and I was sitting on the edge of my bed, sketchbook in my lap, and charcoal pencil poised above the doorknob in the Patriarch.

How deliciously mysterious, I thought. I wasn’t afraid, only intrigued by these shifts of realities at play in the theatre of my mind. I wanted to explore that world of the redwood forest more. Drawing seemed to be a vehicle to take me there.

I walked sock-footed to my drawing table and opened wide my sketchbook so two pages lay flat before me. I started drawing the trail and other trees in the forest. Slowly, my cubicle faded out and I was there once again, standing in front of the Patriarch’s door. I turned the knob and walked through.

This time I walked out into a clearing of the forest and stars filled the sky peeping and winking at me from above. The redwood trees encircled the glade where I stood. The only sounds were occasional hoots from owls who I could not see, but only hear. I missed the strumming of the sweet guitar.

Starlight was assisted by a great white moon that was emitting beams of light that made the clearing ever so bright. I took a deep breath and sighed at the delicious, wild, and clean air I inhaled. Ahhh, I thought, this is real air. This is the way air is supposed to be.

Then, it all faded to black, and I was back in my cubicle sitting at my drawing table holding my charcoal pencil poised above the doorknob of the Patriarch, which now had more trees surrounding it revealing an open glade in their midst. I knew that was the place where I had just been standing.

Could it be, I pondered. Could it be that there is a link connecting my mind, my drawing, and the place I found behind the Patriarch’s door? If so, will I be able to come and go from my cubicle to that place? Is my time for such mind travel limited? How much time has passed in this cubicle reality where I was sitting at my drawing table? Minutes, hours, days, more? I looked out my one small window and saw the familiar gray world of my everyday life. I checked the timekeeper on the wall and realized it was still ticking in today. I hadn’t finished dressing. My daily cubicle routine kicked in.

I felt a pressing need to get dressed and report for work duty. My shift would start soon and if I were late, I would suffer. Punctuality was one of the Supreme Rules that all had to obey. I closed my sketchbook leaving my charcoal pencil inside like a place holder, and left it on my drawing table.

I slogged my way to my work site through the gray, interminably befogged streets and buildings, shadows of a once vibrant world. All the while, I held pictures of what I had been shown in the theatre of my mind, hoping with all my might that I would pass from this gray reality to that Patriarch’s reality again.

Work was work. Repetitive and mind numbing. The challenge throughout my shift was to hold some piece of the Patriarch’s reality in my mind while my hands did the necessary work in front of me.

Without realizing it, I began humming the tune the sweet guitar had played. Vocalizing was strictly forbidden at work. I knew that, but the liquidity of the hummed music came out anyway of its own volition. I couldn’t stop humming. I was saved by the end-of-shift bell. I shuffled into the shift-exit-line to get my work card stamped until my next shift. I left.

I controlled myself as I slogged along the streets to my assigned cubicle, while inside being delighted by the images of the Patriarch I had managed to hold in my mind at work. I shuffled along at a slightly faster pace. I knew my assigned cubicle was the only space where I could draw in peace. Everything was just as I had left it. I stuffed my work gloves into my jacket pocket and hung up my jacket in its accustomed place.

My sketchbook, charcoal pencil, and memories of the Patriarch and the redwood forest drew me like a whole regiment of magnets. If drawing was the transport key to return to the realm of the Patriarch, then I would draw until my fingers blistered to get there. I sat down at my drawing table and opened my sketchbook. I took a deep breath and picked up my charcoal pencil and began to draw detailing the trees elaborately and adding tall, full headed sunflowers forming a circle in the bright glade. My cubicle faded out and was replaced by the bright light of the glade where I now stood amidst the sunflowers.

I reached out and gently caressed one of the sunflower’s stalks. It was solid, real. I was free. I was home. I found companions. I stayed, and I lived happily ever after.

Post Script: Report from the Archives of the Missing

The work-police found the body-shell of worker #6289 bent over a drawing table in the worker’s assigned cubicle after being reported missing from work. The body was empty of life spirit. There was a drawing in the sketchbook on the table that looked to the work-police like it was some sort of arrangement of lines and shapes, shadows and light, completely incomprehensible to them. Worker #6289’s file was stamped “Gone,” and placed in the Archives of the Missing.

Worker #6289 was never heard from again.

October 15, 2022 00:06

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