Writing Short Story Submission - Literary Sample
Dalton revived by degrees of fogged memory. The lights in the hospital room intruded on a prolonged period of comatose rest, He was visited soon by some of his colleagues at Positron Institute.
Dalton’s laboratory director, Dr Hopkins was very pleased to greet him and congratulated him on his recovery from a traumatic experience. Dalton worked as an expert in the latest mind ware development. He specialized in using special molecular facing on computer screens to enhance a direct mind reception linking to access information on line. A unique property of the technology enhanced the ability to perceive emotional messages from the medium surface. All senses were transmitted including odor and touch.
He was working in the lab on a light pulsation problem when a power surge electrocuted him into unconsciousness. The result was a long term coma. His colleagues discovered him supine on the floor late three days later.
Dalton spent two months in rehabilitation recovering some functions of memory. It appeared, however, that some things would take a longer time to be recalled. He remembered where he lived and was given release to go to his home. Dalton lived in a four story manor house with an open roof.
Dalton arrived at his residence late and made his way unsteadily up a curved staircase to his bedroom on the third level. He opened the closet door outside his bedroom and placed his coat inside. There was a full length mirror inside the door which directly faced a similar sized mirror across the hall.
As he glanced at himself, the reflection in the closet mirror stretched away to infinity showing the mirrors framing each image. Even the nearer images were indistinct and grainy owing to the age spots and faded silver nitrate on the century old mirrors. In the sixth image, however, a shadowy presence was evident. It appeared to be a figure partly shrouded in darkness and moving slightly.
Dalton stood mesmerized for some moments and felt a disorienting aversion to the sight. He was aware of the effects of concussion trauma from which he recently emerged and reasoned that this was a form of post traumatic illusion. Dalton eventually reacted to the offending reflection and retreated to a chair in his bedroom to pull his thoughts together with no success. He finally dismissed it as an illusion and retired for the night.
The next day he drove slowly back to his laboratory building several miles away. His colleagues thoughtfully gave him adequate space to facilitate the healing process. Dalton had living quarters at his laboratory and spent the next two days there. On Friday, his third day back on site, he decided late to return to his manor. Upon arriving he approached his coat closet and opened the door, he had a jolting surprise as he perceived the same shadowy image appearing in the third mirror reflection there
There appeared to be some vague familiarity to the specter which was unsettling. As before, he shut the door dismissing it as an illusion. Somewhat troubled, he settled back into the routine of resting on his roof top retreat.
The next day he awaited midnight with trepidation. As before, he beheld the specter, but this time it appeared in the second facing reflection. It was now clear to Dalton the appearances and changes were occurring at 24 hour intervals at the start of each new day. This time, the image had more resolution and he felt a strong tug of remembrance surfacing scantily through the age spotted mirrors.
The next day, Monday, he returned to his laboratory in the city and spent the time frenetically engaged in his work as much to purge the image from his mind as to keep up his research. That evening he returned home and bolstered his anticipation of what he knew to be a regular recurrence. He focused on household maintenance and research as before but with a lack of focus. At midnight, he received a soul searing revelation. The specter which he now recognized and which now turned in direct reflection coalesced crashing through a flood of memory .
TEN YEARS EARLIER
Rosa was radiant in the evening light. Dalton met her at an outing while attending technical training. She was a gifted student researching in a related area of optics and specializing in collimation, the casting of light beams in perfect array between two reflecting surfaces. They often met at her apartment house which was three miles from the manor house he inherited from his father. Their relationship was full of excitement and passion. There were darker times, however, when she drank liberally and flared into sudden angry moods. She had a fatalistic view that they were soul mates bound together forever by a common bond. This was enhanced by a knack for mysticism which allowed her to foresee certain circumstances. As her temper flared more often, there came a week when Dalton could stand it no longer. Dalton decided that he could not live with her outbursts and broke off their relationship.
Rosa’s mood deepened as she realized that Dalton could care less about her and focus only on perfecting his technical expertise. One evening, in a particularly disheartened mood, she rigged some wiring from her display apparatus and with a cord around her neck stepped out of life.
Facing Dalton was none other than the specter of his paramour Rosa. She gazed at him with an Intensity that summed up the epitome of deepest affection mixed with deepest malevolence.
In an instant full remembrance smashed into his mind and was made more potent by the realization that he now felt a fateful attraction and she would inevitably appear directly in one more day!
Dalton realized that she had visited his residence once and must have noticed the spacing of the mirrors. It didn’t take his imagination long to realize that with her knowledge of light pulsation and wave length transmission she had calibrated the distance between her apartment house and his residence with foreknowledge of possibly travelling the distance in spirit. She had then configured the soul transmitting energy at pulses that covered the intervening distance. The pulses were set to travel the few feet between the mirrors at an arrival time of midnight for each succeeding day. He knew that the intervening distance approximately matched the years that had passed since her demise and her prescience allowed her to be certain he would receive her arrival.
The next day, after a restless night, he fled to his city laboratory in reckless haste, barely avoiding accidents. He worked frenetically through the day and it was at 5pm that he drove home with a fatalistic sense of inevitability for whatever climactic confrontation awaited him at the stroke of midnight. He was immediately ensnared in a monumental traffic jam which did little to alleviate his mind and which heightened a burning anxiety. Evening wore on and the stress of traffic was now magnified by a strong storm front which appeared, slashing down rain in torrents. The fierce lancing of lightning and crash of thunder announced his water soaked presence as he reached his bedroom and crashed in exhaustion. In his mind, he felt the ticking metronome, which foretold the approach of midnight. Restless, he moved to his roof top retreat and paced in a driving rainstorm. The silvery sheets of rain illuminated by lightning gave the appearance of glassine portals to other dimensions of space and time..
He wasn’t aware of the approach of midnight until his watch alarm alerted him to the approach of that looming hour. Half mesmerized by the rinsing effect of the rain, he staggered to his bedroom and took his fateful look in the mirror. As he opened the closet door, Dalton sensed the mirror rippling as if watery. The presence of Rosa streamed swiftly forward and enmeshed him. He was entwined so much in body and spirit that he felt a monumental surge of white hot electricity by which his previous laboratory mishap paled in comparison. Then the entire universe came crashing down
FOUR DAYS LATER
Dalton’s colleagues were very concerned. He had not appeared at the lab for four days.
Investigation resulted in the locating of his home address and two members of his team visited his manor to investigate. Upon arrival they searched the premises for him noting the fastidiousness which he had put into the restoration of his environment. As they arrived at the bedroom area, they came upon the mirrored open door facing the hall mirror. The area was burned with scorch marks and an odor of scorched electrification and ozone permeated the air.. There was no sign of Dalton. As they were leaving, one team member noted that in the fourth hall mirror reflection Dalton and a lady smiling back at them. In a way that edified all of them came the realization that two fated and passionate souls had found rest at last.