Wednesday, February 19, 2014

New Order

"Don't blame the Sinner. Compel the Sinner to follow the path of Surrealism. We, the Surrealists, believe in the expression of the unconscious, the juxtaposition of realities, and the liberation of imagination."

Max listened to the Credo warbling over the loudspeakers as he got dressed in the dark, an Order practice meant to extend dream time.  His single room only held a bed and a desk, but it did have a full-length mirror on the back of the door, for Visualizing. He zipped his Order-issued jacket over his sleepwear. The black made his pale skin even more striking.

At first bell, he joined the others in the Refectory. Everyone sat at their preferred tables without regard for the Order's loose hierarchy--Fathers, Brothers, Novices, and Acolytes--and waited for the opening invocation. Father Andre stood and spread his arms as if to give a hug. A belt made out of rope held his white cassock in place; a set of keys hanging from the belt clinked together as he moved and the talking in the hall quieted. "Good Morning, everyone."

"Good Morning, Father," they answered in unison. Max's stomach growled loud enough for his table mates to side-eye him. He shrugged his shoulders and bowed his head.

"We greet the morning with open minds. We invite our dreams to coexist with reality. We welcome the day that could be." Father Andre brought his arms down and began to dismiss the tables for breakfast.

“Did you get your Sinner yet?” Marcel asked from across the table. As another un-initiated Acolyte, he was the closest thing Max had to a friend in the Order.

“No, I thought we got them after breakfast. Do you already know yours?”

Marcel started to answer, then suddenly found interest in the table.

The sound of Father Andre’s keys jangling grew closer, then stopped. Max felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned to its owner. "Hello, Father."

"I need you in my studio," Father Andre said.

Max eyed the serving line behind Father Andre.

"Now. We can worry about food later."

Father Andre’s directness unsettled Max, but he followed him into the hallway. Nothing happened quickly within the Order. There was a reason they fondly referred to themselves as the “Dis-Order of Surrealists”--experimental performances and visionary exercises took precedence over structured activity.

“Is something wrong?” Max asked as they followed the hallway around a corner, away from the common rooms.

Father Andre swept open a pair of double doors nearly hidden behind a large paint-splattered canvas. “As our newest un-initiated recruit, we have yet to see your talents as a Converter.” They entered his studio, a corner room with several floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the lake that separated their monastery from that of the New Order on the other shore. “I wanted to know your background before assigning you a Sinner, so I checked the records this morning.”

Max hovered at the entrance of the room. Father Andre stood behind his desk.

“It’s funny, I couldn’t find a file for Max Viole anywhere.”

Max walked with even steps to the windows and placed a hand on the glass. A red flag flew above the towers of the New Order’s black monastery. In the time it took Max to turn back to Father Andre, the windows shattered behind him. Father Andre dove to the floor. Max lunged towards him and grabbed for his keys.

“Let’s go, Muriel.” A woman stood at the jagged opening of the window. She wore a harness attached to a thick cable stretching out the broken window.

Max knew he was Muriel in the same way he had known the window would break: not at all, then all at once.

Father Andre clutched at his cassock from his prone position at Muriel’s feet. Muriel pulled her jacket sleeve over her hand and lifted a shard of glass from the wreckage, using it to slice Father Andre’s belt so she could slip the keys off. She dangled them above him. “There are no Sinners.”

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18 comments:

  1. "Max knew he was Muriel in the same way that he had known the window would break: not at all, then all at once." - loved this line!

    Nice take on the prompts. This was a fun piece of writing with an intriguing twist. It made me want to know more. Of the back story - especially about the Max/Muriel character.

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    1. Thanks! I wanted to keep the character change as simple as I could since it's a little strange. It was so tough to keep this story under the word limit!

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  2. I loved this! The whole idea of a monastery for surrealism is very cool! Great job!

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    1. Thank you! They are kind of contrasting ideas, so that was an interesting challenge for me!

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  3. I love how dark and different this was. Nice job.

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  4. Great imagination and intriguing story line. Nicely done.

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  5. That Max/Muriel twist was great! What an exciting ending- I hope you write more of this story.

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  6. This is so cool! I love the strange chess-like world and I love the Max/Muriel twist. And I, too, would like to see more of this! Fantastic take on the prompts! :)

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  7. Mysteriously surreal ;-)Loved the pacing and the anticipation you created as to something waiting to happen at any moment and the intriguing way you ended it-well written:-)

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    1. Yay! Glad the surrealism came through. Thanks!

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  8. Now, screw the word count and tell us the whole story :) Loved it!

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  9. This was an awesome story. It kept me riveted but like everyone else, I was left wanting to know more.

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    1. Thanks for reading! Good to know people want more.

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