Friday, May 20, 2011

10DOM: Breach of Trust

The room is sterile, white, corner to corner, floor and ceiling, except black drapes covering one window. The only furniture are two chairs by the window, turned at forty-five degree angles toward each other. In contrast to the stark room, they are plush and inviting. No life stirs the room and no sound escapes.

A crack pierces the previously seamless wall opposite the window, folding inward allowing a man to enter the room. His hair is cropped short, perhaps for ease of maintenance, particularly when viewed against his well manicured beard that draws to a slight point at his chin. He is wearing a grey sport coat over a black t-shirt, complementing the small threads of black that run through his gray pants.

The man sits in the chair on the right and removes a small recording device from the inner pocket of the jacket, placing it on the arm of the chair. He does not look at a watch, but at the blank wall where he entered, where there was a door, but now again an unbroken sea of white. Bringing a finger to his lips he strokes the hairs below the lower, as if in contemplation.

The wall breaks again, the first man leaping to his feet in fluid movement, crossing the room quickly to greet a man whose skin tone and facial structure identify him of Asian heredity. The new man is slight of stature, a foot shorter than the first man. The bearded man bows crisply until his head is lower than the other, then follows as the Asian makes his way to the chair, where he sits with little flourish.

Crossing the room beyond the chairs, the bearded man begins a mime routine as if he is taking things out of a cupboard or cabinet, setting a few things on an invisible counter. He makes motions as if pouring, while the Asian's lips move without sound. Head nodding the bearded man replies silently, then turns carrying what one can only assume are cups, though empty air fills his clasped hands, offering one to the seated man. Taking what is offered, the Asian brings it to his lips, then offers a faint smile, before placing it in the empty air between the chairs.

The bearded man stands a few feet in front of the seated Asian unmoving as their eyes lock. Neither of them move for thirty two seconds, when the bearded man's head explodes, wet crimson spatter covers spreads outward finding ceiling, walls and floor, while the body remains standing briefly, then sinks rapidly to the floor, a marionette whose strings have been cut.

Removing a handkerchief from his pocket the Asian dabs at his face, calmly and meticulously removing any trace of the bearded man from his flesh, though his suit is beyond repair. He stands, looking down at the body as he removes his coat, fingers working the buttons of his shirt. He drops these in the chair behind him. Slipping his feet from the shoes, he next drops his pants and they join the pile. Standing in nothing but his underwear and socks he carefully steps around the body on the floor, but is unable to navigate the pooling blood, leaving footprints in measured stops until he stands before the opposing wall.

The wall peels back once more and the Asian leaves the room and it closes behind him. The only movement the ever expanding pool of crimson, flowing from the crumpled body.

The screen flickers black, signaling the end of the video clip, then bursts into vivid color and sound. A woman in a suit, well manicured and make-upped sits behind a desk, in the background screens fill with the words Breaking News, then the face of the bearded man.

"The body of Senator Hal MacRae of Ohio was found among the rubble where earlier this week Muslim extremists, believed to be part of an infiltration cell from Afghanistan, blew up the Washington Monument. Senator MacRae had been there speaking with a group of middle school children, when the deadly blast occurred. Senator MacRae is most well known for his stance against our growing debt to China. The President will be giving a national address shortly, updating the country on our military response."

Once more the screen goes black, bodies shift uncomfortably in chairs.

"What do you plan on doing with this?" the voice is cool, even tempered.

"We are not here to threaten you. This went live on the internet this morning at 3:14 AM, eastern standard time. At 3:17, our scrubbers crashed the site and a team was dispatched to handle the insurrectionist that created the site."

The Asian man sits in his tall backed chair behind an imposing desk. His eyes bore into the suited men before him. He may have been twenty years younger in the video, but everyone would recognize him, everyone that saw the video.

"We can address this Mr. President, if you can help us understand," one of the suited men starts, but is dismissed with a raised hand of the first Asian President of the United States.

The President stands slowly, turning to face a suit of armor that stands in the corner. Crossing to it, he admires the craftsmanship achieved by such a primitive people. It was once worn by an ancestor of his wife that fought as a Samurai. A gruesome mask tops the helmet, sneering. Two swords hang from a gold trimmed red ribbon at the side, he fingers their handles and contemplates his next moves.

Seppuku. Seppuku. Seppuku, whispers the wind on the window, in time with the thudding of his heart.

Eyes open, slowly adjusting to the shadow of night, the ceiling's texture is waves on a stucco ocean. Sweat bursts from the pores of Sam Nyugen's

Rising, Sam moves quietly through the room, entering the adjoining bathroom, closing the door behind him. Flipping the wall switch, the room explodes into light and Sam pinches his eyes tight, gently opening them to allow time to adjust. Locking eyes with himself in the mirror, he runs his hands over his face massaging his hollow cheeks.

This is the third night this week he has been awakened in the middle of the night. It must be stress, he consoles himself.

Surely Li, his wife, must know of his affair with Barbara from work. So many times she had nearly caught him in the web of stories he had created to protect his illicit love. Even his dreams were turning on him. This one was move vivid. The layers upon layers of meaning. The betrayal, stripping of honor from his family, the exposure.

His hand trembles, he feels the divot on his finger that longs to hold a cigarette. His wife would never allow that in the home. Li never allowed much, robbing him of his masculine place. Barbara on the other hand, a smile turns at the corner of his lips, she knew just how to make him feel like a man.

A nervous chuckle escapes his lips at the thought of him as President of the United States. Stuck in mid-level management for Fukizawa Technologies, he has hunger for more power, but the President, he is not so sure. If he was, he would not have to worry about his lies unraveling.

Filling a small glass with water, he leans against the bathroom counter allowing the thoughts of Barbara to steal away the fears generated by the dream. He will make plans tomorrow for an afternoon rendezvous to work off the remaining tension in an altogether more pleasurable way.

Returning the bathroom to darkness, Sam exits, crossing the room to his side of the bed. Pausing before climbing in, he surveys his wife's back, covered by her night clothes. Perhaps she does not know, he muses, what could she do any way? He smiles as he lifts the covers.

Feeling the weight of Sam's body settle once more in the bed, Li slowly withdraws a hand from beneath her pillow. She turns the Wugu doll in her fingers feeling its appendages until finding the stubby head. Bringing it to her mouth begins again to chew on it, her husband once more tossing and turning at the abyss of sleep.

This was written for 10DOM.

It has been a while since I posted a story this long at the waystation, I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it. I won't post anything new until Sunday, so have a good weekend and I will see you out on the trail. ~Brian

55 comments:

Mama Zen said...

Very cool, Brian!

Baino said...

Not bad, not bad at all . . sort of bothered me not knowing whether he was of Chinese or Japanese descent (the names Nguyen and Li are clearly Chinese but he has Samurai ancestry) but that's just me. I like it when you have a sinister twist in there somewhere.

Belinda said...

What a fun read, Brian!

JeffScape said...

Hah. Like the turn you gave it.

Watch the "stereotypical Asian" stuff. You combine Japanese, Chinese, and Vietnamese names and cultural references. Not a bad thing, in and of itself, but picky readers will write that off as bad research at best, subliminal racism at worst. If it's intentional, make it clear within the narrative of the individual characters.

All that said, it's very different for you, and it's nice seeing you brave some stylistic changes again.

tracy said...

This was delightfully twisted!

Brian Miller said...

thanks for the crit jeff....def not on the racism and knew i had japanese and chinese mixed in...thus made the armor from the wifes side...will be more careful here...

Daniel said...

Vivid and layered. An interesting story that played out here. Loved the "Twilight Zone"-ish ending.

KB said...

Enjoyed it Brian. Have a great weekend.

Pat Hatt said...

Nice change of pace
As you know not picky about the overall details you choose to or not to grace
Was an enjoyable read
Twisted a bit which of course I can follow that lead
The ending really worked too
A great write from you

ayala said...

Cool, Brian. Have a good weekend :)

kaykuala said...

A chilling piece laced with political intrigues,assassins, mystery,illicit love and the high office of the US President - of a Vietnamese ancestry to boot( in a recent report days ago, a Vietnamese boy adopted as a child by a German couple made it as a Minister in the German cabinet)
The US President here must be a son of the boat people who were brought in from 'Nam ( A US born and Nguyen is unnmistakenly a Vietnamese name) But married to a HK Chinese sounding 'Li' and had a stint in a Japanese company (Fukizawa Tech) added on to the mystery.
A brilliant short skit that can only be expected from Brian. Enjoy the weekend too, Brian!

Betsy said...

My favorite part was Li chewing on the doll's head! ACK! That SO got me...having a voodoo doll made in my likeness once and all. Shivers up my spine. lol....

Brian Miller said...

thank you kay for the logical explanation...ugh...ok, back to the drawing board...to beat my head against it...

Ed Pilolla said...

good yarn. i enjoyed it. you do dark side well.

lori said...

Ew, creepy ending. You must have a vivid picture in your head as you write because you give so many details. Is this a small part of a bigger work? I haven't read a lot of screenplays, but that's what this put me in mind of. Very interesting, Brian. Very interesting. I think I need to go back and read it again.

Margie said...

You are a very gifted writer!
Gosh, what an ending!

Who Is Afraid Of Miss Lovett? No, Mrs.Lovett... said...

Hi! Brian...
What a very well-written, "nightmarish" tale from the dark side this evening.
Thanks, for sharing.
DeeDee ;-D

[Postscript:"It has been a while since I posted a story this long at the waystation, I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it..."
I did enjoy reading your piece very much...I hope you, and your readers, have a good week-end too!]

She Writes said...

I like that ending Brian!

(Nguyan is a Vietnamese name. Lots of them in my area of the country :).)

The Empress said...

As I read this, I kept thinking, "he really likes to write this way."

Do you purposelly avoid longer pieces on your blog? I mean, is there not a place here for more regular longer reads?

I truly was lost in t his tale.

I, of course, didn't notice the blurring of the asian names.

The story had me immersed.

Don't think I even heard the phone ringing in the background here...

Cloudia said...

scary...



Warm Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral

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ladyfi said...

Oh, very well-written with lots of tension!

Valerie said...

Chilling and gripping, Brian ... I love your longer stories.

MorningAJ said...

'Hell hath no fury...' as the saying goes!

Lorraine said...

Brian I'm struck by Srping Fever, and can not stay still enough to read it...maybe tomorrow , one thing I know is it's sensational

TechnoBabe said...

If Sam isn't bright enough to know his wife would know he was having an affair, he deserves the nightmares.

This was a fun short story.

slommler said...

Gnawing on his head!!! Fabulous! This was fantastic Brian...loved it!
Hugs
SueAnn

Rek said...

Interesting, intriguing, and a brilliant twist in the end or is it really the end??....maybe you mixed up oriental ancestry and culture but mixed parentage and marriage can cover that up...will visit sometime soon.

tony said...

Wooooo Voodoo!!!! MeThinks He Has Some More Dreams To Come!

the walking man said...

ah but if the wife was chewing the head of the wugu doll who was she harming herself or her husband?

annell said...

Well written story. Thanks Brian.

David Allen Waters said...

Hey Friend, Something awaits you at my blog :)

Pat said...

Wow. You had me from the opening paragraph. I wasn't sure if I was reading sci-fi or what! This was an entertaining and scary story!

Pastor Sharon said...

Never knew where I was going in this story, caught up in his nightmareish dreams. . . as was he.

Nice work, Brian.

Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

That was definitely deep Brian. Hope you have a great weekend as well.

Claudia said...

oh my - she had better left him instead of chewing on a voodoo doll - both of them losers - as i say - there are no winners left...agh

Kate Hanley said...

Neat story, you haven't posted one in a while. I really like the twists in it.

Josh Hoyt said...

Very interesting twists indeed. It was very vivid and full of great imagery. Good job on the present tense. I liked how it read. It is interesting how it worked out and the deeper meaning behind the dream. Especially with the head and all. The mind game was fun :) Great job!

Raven said...

Very nice, Brian. I enjoyed this one a lot. Thanks!

Myrna R. said...

I like the mystery/intrigue. Nice. I did enjoy reading it and liked the ending. Love your imagination.

Sue said...

A real departure from what I'm used to reading here, and I liked it.

=)

joanny said...

Brian

I love when you venture out and get into your story writing mode-- this was lavish, vivid and nothing short of thoroughly engaging the reader. A great write,,,
but I did have a small hiccup though with the "make-upped" maybe it should read as "an attractive heavily made-up woman. or just heavily made -up? anyway that phrase stopped the flow of the read for me. Just musing,

love it over-all,
joanny

Syd said...

You got me on this. Unexpected twists. Good and scary.

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

Good story (always love a twist) and was glad to see you post one...Sam...he's gonna need some help.

Wugu doll...like that.

ds said...

Very twisted, and in more ways than one ;) Love the precision of "thirty-two seconds", the suit of armor, and that wugu doll. Chewed, eh? Interesting...
Great job!

PattiKen said...

I was a bit distracted by the mix of Japanese, Chinese, and Vietnamese names and cultural references. But the story was riveting. Your descriptions of the opening scene were amazing.

And sentence caps. Who knew?

Magpie said...

You are wicked...well at least your imagination is. Where can I get one of those dolls? :)

haikulovesongs said...

i think this was the first time i've read anything of yours this length ~ loved it! nice transitions between layer upon layer of story.
dani

Joybird said...

my favorite grocer, Trader Joe's, just discontinued the Thousand Layer Crackers...that's a great description for this, the Thousand Layer Story, I loved unwrapping each disturbing layer.

Tom said...

wow - you confused me mightily for a bit, but very good wrapping it all up, and terrific imagery for an ending.

LceeL said...

I, too, wish to point out the mix of Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese in the story. Other than that -- nice job.

Not For Jellyfish said...

It's amazing how much Li's character is developed through Sam's state of mind. Great piece.

alivealways said...

pretty cool Brain, genuine layering, its kind of a burdened plague that hinders an affair, cascading lies to suppress the known truth.

Tara R. said...

A surreal beginning, but the twist at the end pulled the story all together nicely.

Harnett-Hargrove said...

The visuals were so very well described. Appreciated this.
Seems like a story post for your other self. (?) -J

hvninhell said...

Ok, the doll's head thing has me grossed out! And to top it off, my dog brought one home!