WuToWu Summer Edition #7: Practicing Theft

Hi Jessica,

May I just say that I so enjoyed reading your rambling and strangely phrased text messages. I will keep them safe. I have photo evidence. I’m also glad you’ve gotten to watch some classics of contemporary cinema. Another area in which I am playing catch-up!

On my side of things, I’ve been able to squeeze some recreational reading in between my Shakespeare class readings, ad have stumbled upon an interesting genre of fiction. I have a hard time describing it; the closest thing I can relate it to would be magical realism. I started with The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton, which is subtitled “A Nightmare,” and as a metaphysical thriller. I continued with The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov, a novel published in secret in staunchly atheist Soviet Russia. I’ve enjoyed these books for their ability to combine the details of realism with the strangeness and enormity of the supernatural. Therefore, I decided I should try to mimic that style. I’m not a great author, so the best thing I can do right now is to copy those that are great, in the hopes of learning something about my own writing style. Here goes:

As Milton walked through the sticky summer air, his head began to have strange thoughts. The air was condensing on his skin, or rather the air was drawing out water from his body. Milton was still sleepy; he was always sleepy on Tuesday, when his 7 AM meeting consistently came earlier than he expected.

Doing his best to ignore the heat and his strange thoughts, he continued on, feeling the uneven bricks through the thin soles of his shoes, and looking around at the passing houses. They were consistently dignified, each secure in the knowledge that they possessed a certain indefinable character. One house was missing its front half, such that Milton could see the raw concrete, soggy insulation, and rotten timber of it’s non-load bearing walls.

As he passed the mossy stepping stones leading to the absent front door, a flash of light from one of the upper rooms caught his eye. The sun streamed through a dirty pane of glass, illuminating the second story room on the right. The light revealed the specks and blotches that had accumulated on the window. Milton realized that the reflection had come from a bit of metal that was swinging through the scattered sunlight, temporarily blocking the light from the floor, then sending a flash towards Milton as it rotated on its string.

Following the line of the string up towards its source, Milton was taken aback as he realized that there was something pushing the string ever so slightly, encouraging the piece of metal to maintain its slashing arc. He struggled to establish the outlines of the shape, which the size of a small child. It was definitely living; the motion on the edges of the blackness was recognizable as having the same shape and joints as that of limbs. Milton continued to stare into the black center. It was impossible to figure out how far or close it was from the edge of the crumbling second-story floor. Milton’s curiosity drew him a few inches closer to the house, and the tips of his shoes brushed the tall, uncut grass that delineated the lawn and the sidewalk.

Suddenly, the full weight of the emptiness of that barrier, the torn, broken edge of the house, the infinitely thin barrier that separated the rest of the normal world from the unknowable black within the house was horrifyingly apparent. Milton saw the blackness and it was no longer merely a more curious part of a curious house, it was a void. The metal crescent (it was a crescent) was now forgotten as it continued to swing through the light. The blackness drew Milton’s gaze and his thoughts towards itself, made itself present in every sensation and inkling and movement; but it was black and void, and so in consuming Milton it also emptied him.

And then it was gone, and the crumbling house returned to being another part of Milton’s daily walk. With a shake of his head, Milton reoriented himself. Somehow, he was now facing back towards the way from which he had come. He glanced at his watch. Late! Milton hurried off on his way, continually contending with the uncomfortable humidity.


Obviously, this needs a bit more work, but given that I’m operating under a deadline, this is as good as you’ll get! Until next time,



2 thoughts on “WuToWu Summer Edition #7: Practicing Theft

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