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InvisibleMOTH
Wild Woman
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Registered: 06/06/03
Posts: 23,364
Loc: In the jungle
Silone -- Suicide Chamber
    #2725238 - 05/25/04 12:16 AM (12 years, 8 months ago)

A minor segment from something that I wrote a while ago and now has almost no relevance to the story. (although it has sentimental value to me!) Silone is quite special to me, and her tale is one of my favorites. I may post the rest of it later, but for now this is all I am comfortable with.

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The air was stifling and oppressive in the tiny chamber, and sweltering to the bone. Silone Harizt shifted uncomfortably in the tight space she was allowed, grimacing as an ache began to pound furiously between her shoulder blades. The gown which had seemed so breezy and weightless when she had slipped it on that morning now clung sticky and snug to her damp flesh. She miserably reflected that after tonight, it would be too sweat-stained and rumbled to wear again. Her golden lengths of hair had fallen down from the intricate arrangement of braids she had woven, the tresses hanging heavily about her shoulders and only serving to suffocate her further.

The ache in her shoulders had transformed into a monstrous itch underneath the scratchy fabric of her dress. Twisting around upon her stool, she frantically tried to satisfy it to no avail. Frustrated, eventually she thrust her back up against the harsh wood of the booth she was in, not caring if the splinters tore the fabric so long as she could get at that insufferable itch. Damn the dress.

It was her turn to work in the suicide chamber again. She had initially fought against it, as servicing the chamber in the summer meant a long, wretched night of battling bugs, heat and stiffness. But her father had insisted. It was part of the family business after all, and someone must be present in the little Evaluation Closet at all times in case someone felt the urge to kill themselves.

Finally with a noisy ripping sound, Silone felt the agitation by her shoulder recede and she slumped back down to sulkily endure the rest of her evening. There was not much involved in the task. She would sit there in the darkened little cubby on her creaky stool and wait for someone to approach the seat on the other side of the notched black screen. Then she would ask them why they wished to die, and they would tell her, hopefully with little theatrics. After it was made clear that there was no turning back, the dead-to-be would enter the soundproof chamber next door, where either her father or older brother would be waiting to oblige.

The painted wooden sign hanging on the outside of the humble little shop actually read, Vitality Deliverance, one of several similar places in the city that specialized in assisted suicide. Suicide in Nafeeja was regularly tolerated, if not outright encouraged, and in same ways it was even expected of the citizens here. Silone suspected that it was the same in other cities in Taset, but she did not know, and would never know, since she would probably never leave this stupid city anyway. It wasn?t even a proper city.

The elderly, the malformed, the mutated, the criminal and the insane all dwelled inside the protective black stone walls of Nafeeja. It was the way of things. Some had come of their own volition. Either as delinquents with a penchant for crime, or pitiful souls with twisted and perverted bodies who had hoped that perhaps they could find normality by walking amongst the abnormal. Some had been tossed at the city gates by their own family members who were ashamed to have any monstrous irregularities in their bloodline. Others were rounded up and captured by the guards of other cities and sent to Nafeeja, since it was a crime in Taset to exist in open sight if you had something wrong with you.

Silone?s own father had fled to Nafeeja after he had kidnapped her from her mother long ago when she was still too young to remember. Demian Harizt was always candid with his only daughter about the abduction, and had never hesitated in telling her anything she wished to know about her mother, or even about the rest of Taset that she had never seen. Other folk in Nafeeja said that her father had a ?quirky character?, and she supposed that it must be true. He had a habit of muttering to himself and was always brewing potions and other odd smelly concoctions. She knew that those were usually intended for Vitality Deliverance.

Somewhere within the confines of the building, Silone could hear a door slamming shut and the echo of sandaled footsteps near her chamber. Her heart leapt when she realized that one of the night boys and her brother were switching places in the Freedom Room. It meant that she only had a few hours left until her task would be passed on to one of the late night boys, and she would be permitted to go home where it was cool and revitalizing. Well. At least cooler then it was here. Nobody could really ever call Nafeeja cool in the summer.

A sharp rapping noise on the other side of the partition drew her away from her wistful reveries of a refreshing bath and an icy drink at home, and made her recall her duties. She wondered who it was this time, but it was a rule that she wasn?t allowed to identify them. Her task was simply to question the person and make sure that they really wanted to kill themselves after all. Silone sat upright on the stool and cleared her throat.

?Good evening?, she said mechanically to the person on the other side of the screen. The next words were formal protocol. ?Please make yourself comfortable and welcome to Vitality Deliverance. Why would you like to kill yourself tonight??

The miniature rectangular door on the panel slid open then, and instead of seeing a distraught cripple or a frantic madman, she saw the golden and scowling visage of her older brother, Taleen. ?It?s me, dimlight?, he said tersely.

She frowned back at him. ?What do you want? You?re not supposed to open that when I?m in here.?

?I can do anything I want.? He peered in at her, as though he were expecting to find her doing something she shouldn?t be. ?Just making sure you aren?t asleep.?

?How can I be?? she complained, squirming in her dress and feeling sticky again, despite the fresh air coming in through the slot. ?I don?t think anyone could go to sleep in here. It?s too blasting uncomfortable!?

?Watch your tongue. And Father made it that way on purpose so that silly girls like you wouldn?t shirk at their duties.?

?I haven?t been!? she flashed back at him just as a rich cinnamon scent wafted in and caught her attention. Her stomach growled painfully and she almost moaned. ?What?s that smell??

Taleen took a moment to straighten his tunic, which was made of the same sheer green cloth as her gown. She saw through the miniature door that he was wearing breezy leggings and that his feet were sandaled, to help with the intense heat of late. It was typical garb for a Tasetian male, and she saw enviously that Taleen had not even deigned to sully his clothing by sweat as she had her own. She wondered if he ever bothered sweating at all. A heavy mass of blonde hair hung over his right shoulder and when he turned back to her, his grassy eyes were scornful.

?That?s the smell of my dinner?, he informed her, fingering and stroking the shiny tresses of his hair. Her brother was vainer then a peacock and Silone secretly thought he was just as stupid, as all birds tended to be. ?Cinnamon slabs straight from the bakery.?

?Let me have one?, she begged him, pressing her hands against her rumbling stomach. Sitting in the Evaluation Closet wouldn?t be so terrible if her tummy was full.

Taleen looked down his nose at her, which had a rounded bump in the middle. Silone thought it was a very haughty bump. ?You?ll get yours after you?re done in here?, he told her. ?You?re supposed to be working.?

?Then leave me alone so that I can work!? she snapped, thoroughly infuriated as she crossed her arms and leaned back against the rough wood of the closet.

?Alright, I think I will. Ungrateful brat. I was just trying to keep you company.? He immediately slid shut the opening and Silone was left once more in total darkness.

?See you at home!? she called out as his footsteps carried him back into the Freedom Room and heard him shut the door to the soundproof chamber, where his delicious, gooey cinnamon slabs would be waiting for him. Silone felt spiteful. She imagined him savoring each delectable bite in that irritating way he had when he ate, and thought that if she was there she might stuff them all down his throat at once.

He thinks he?s so big, she fumed as the air in the tiny room was already growing hot and repressive again.

In a few moments though, her anger tapered off and gave way to the same excruciating boredom and restlessness that she had earlier. She kicked her bare feet up against the wood on the other side of her stool and sighed, her sweating thighs receiving much appreciated ventilation underneath her gown in doing so. In truth, she didn?t mind her brother so bad. He was really only her half brother, by some other woman in one of the Great Cities far away. Taleen tended to bring up that he was only her half brother whenever they were in an argument. Silone supposed that she did too sometimes.

Time crept along with all the enthusiasm of a snail with a handicap. Silone tried to keep her mind occupied with thoughts of what she would do tomorrow after her studies were over. She figured that she would go frog racing with Sandy and Kalian on the banks of the Sutra before it got too hot. Her frog, Cameel, was small and ugly compared to their bulbous, glossy specimens, but he could sure leap fast when it came down to it. She had even trained him to respond to the sound of her voice so that it just took a few shouts before he would start hopping to her direction. Neither Sandy?s or Kalian?s frogs can do that, she thought with a twinge of pride. They were too dumb.

She was just thinking about taking a short nap (nobody would notice anyway), when she thought she heard the door slam at the front of the shop. Brushing the clammy strands of hair out of her face and sitting up rigidly on her creaky stool, she waited. For a moment there was no further sound as if the person had hesitated, but then she heard the slightest brush of sandals on the floor outside of her closet. When she heard the individual sit down on the other side of the petition, she took a deep breath, and began.

?Good evening. Please make yourself comfortable and welcome to Vitality Deliverance. Why would you like to kill yourself tonight??

Only silence followed, except for the barest hint of sniffling. The person was crying. Silone nodded to herself. Nothing unusual there. People often sat in the chair of the Evaluation Closet while they were in tears. It came with the territory.

She decided to repeat herself until she got an answer, or ask the person to leave if they weren?t serious. Taleen had taught her that you sometimes had to be stern with the suicidal. She put an impersonal note of steel into her tone this time. ?Welcome to Vitality Deliverance. Why would you like to kill yourself tonight??

She didn?t think that the person would answer at all, but suddenly there was a ragged sob and an attempt at speech. ?I?m?I?m?,? the person tried before dissolving into tears again.

Silone frowned. She couldn?t tell whether the voice was male or female, but it sounded familiar. And very young. She wondered if it were someone she knew, and wished that she could peek but knew that would be breaking the protocol. Her father was notorious about following protocol.

?Can I help you?? she asked in a stiff tone, settling herself on her stool. ?This is a suicide assistance shop. If you aren?t sitting here with the intention to commit suicide, then I am afraid you must leave.?

?No?please?wait!? There was desperation in the voice now.

She waited patiently. ?Yes? Do you want to commit suicide??

?I - I think so??

?Very well then.? She gave an aggravated roll of her eyes. The indecisive ones were always the worst. They would keep her here for hours if they had it their way. ?Why would you like to kill yourself tonight??

?Why??

Silone resisted a sigh. ?Yes. Why.?

There was such an elongated pause that she feared she would have to ask the person to leave again, but suddenly the voice burst out with a shrill and piercing, ?Because I?m a FREAK!?, followed by another flood of wrenching sobs.

She took a few steady breaths to recover her patience and steady herself, running her fingers over the fabric of her gown. ?Well?, she said practically to the distraught person on the other side. ?You live in a city of freaks. If they?re all around you, you can assume that you might be one too. But here, there?s nothing wrong with that. Everyone is a freak here.?

?I?m a freak among freaks?, the person said miserably. ?And I?ve done horrible things!?

It was common to get a few of these types each week, Silone knew. These were the people who could never see past their own abnormalities or flaws to notice that all of Nafeeja was one big glaring aberration. It was pathetic, really. But still, she had a job to do. ?What makes you think you?re more bizarre then anyone else? What makes you so special as to deserve a way out when other people manage to live with their strangeness??

?Because I can?t take it anymore!? the voice sobbed to her. ?I?m?I?m different in a most wretched way. I can?t live with myself anymore!?

?Wretched in what way??

?In the only way that matters. I feel like an outcast, even here!? The voice wailed in distress. ??I can?t live with myself anymore?I just can?t??

Frowning, Silone began to feel suspicious. The voice was too young. ?How old are you??

??I don?t deserve to live?? the voice wept. ?I?m a mistake or something?a mistake??

"How old are you?? she demanded again with a rush of aggression. ?We have an age limit here, you know. Any younger then maturity and you have to have your parents accompany you.?

?I don?t have any parents.?

?Liar! Everyone has parents!? Furious, Silone abandoned all protocol and jerked open the rectangular sliding door, spilling light into the closet. An odd little boy that was huddled on the seat blinked back at her, his face pale and streaked with tears. ?I knew it was you?, she accused.

It was that same boy again. That Paetriell boy.

He often frequented Vitality Deliverance, despite the fact that he was still practically a child. She considered Paetriell odd because he really did not look like a boy at all; although that was the way he dressed himself. Most people said that he looked like a girl, but Silone didn?t think that fit either. He was also odd because Silone wasn?t sure that he looked quite human to begin with...


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Offlinedaba
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Registered: 12/30/02
Posts: 3,881
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Re: Silone -- Suicide Chamber [Re: MOTH]
    #2725987 - 05/25/04 03:00 AM (12 years, 8 months ago)

Nice read. Way to leave us with a cliffhanger; albeit a small one.

The setting created is most certainly sick and provocative. Definately suggestive regarding modern-day taboos. The descriptions are almost erotic. If you don't mind some "constructive criticism," the introduction of the little boy lessens all the accumulating wickedness and drama. That's my opinion, perhaps the sequel will prove me wrong.

I particularly enjoyed "Time moved along like a snail with a handicap..." (or however it was written). It creates paradoxically abstractly concrete images. (Whoa, double adverb... was that allowed?)


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InvisibleMOTH
Wild Woman
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Registered: 06/06/03
Posts: 23,364
Loc: In the jungle
Re: Silone -- Suicide Chamber [Re: daba]
    #2727388 - 05/25/04 01:21 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

Thanks!  I was looking for a good area to end the little section I was going to post on here, and for some reason ended up picking that one. 

:heart:


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Invisiblewandrnshaman
old hand
Registered: 09/21/03
Posts: 1,196
Loc: Pinellas Co, FL
Re: Silone -- Suicide Chamber [Re: MOTH]
    #2729007 - 05/25/04 07:42 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

I woke up today at about 2am(me & sleep have a somewhat rocky relationship)...& read this. I like it! Awesome metaphors & the line 'why would you like to kill yourself tonite', the use of vocabulary, imaginative...

Good job!
:thumbup:


Edited by wandrnshaman (05/25/04 11:28 PM)


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