What follows is an experimental piece I was working on in mid-August and intended as a part of a larger collaborative piece, but that effort fell apart and never went beyond some initial bits and pieces. At this stage, I don’t see how it can be rescued as a collaborative effort, so I figure, what the heck — I’ll share this small fragment just for fun.
I wasn’t entirely happy with the first section of the planned short story (a section that was mostly my responsibility). The original version had felt too… I don’t know… formulaic and stilted. And I was lacking in inspiration for the next section I was responsible for as a result of this dissatisfaction I was having about the introductory paragraphs I had written.
More on a whim that for any other reason, I reworked the first section from a third-person perspective to that of the first person perspective because I really wanted to get across the idea that the primary character was possibly a little traumatized by what she had experienced and probably not the most reliable of the characters in the story. That would have fit in with the hanging ending we had planned: having an unreliable witness to the events. I didn’t want Vanessa/Nessa (the main character’s name) to be entirely unbelievable, but I wanted the reader to question her representation facts of the tale she told.
Additionally, I was somewhat influenced by my now-aborted (but a book I should return to) attempt at reading House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. I had liked some of the footnoted-fiction style he uses and, while I employed some of that technique in this piece, I hadn’t planned on taking it very far in the full story. After the initial stages, I had planned to let the footnotes fade away as things got more emotional in the story. However, I liked his more direct storytelling over my first unsatisfactory attempt at writing the section, which I felt to be too passive and filled with outdated writing mechanisms (circa 1930s; e.g. Lovecraft and Ashton-Smith).
It was to be a contemporary horror story, of sorts. Other influences meant to inform the story had included the song by The Cure, from which I cribbed the title name, the lyrics from The Empty World, also by The Cure, and the novella The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.
However, I’ve almost written as much of an introduction as the piece itself. I posted pages as images mostly to retain the intended footnoted style of the planned final version. Yes, I actually prefer monospaced Courier typeset when I write.
Final note: This is first draft, and there may be some unsatisfactory elements that I had planned to research better before the whole was considered final. Please forgive any errors as a result — they are wholly my responsibility.
TRIGGER WARNING: Plenty of swearing and disturbing imagery