The Architect's Plan - Short Story (opening)
#1  Moejoe 02-25-2009, 11:36 PM
Opening to a short story I'm working on:

The Architect’s Plan

by PJ Lyon
‘Toys, mere toys,’ the man in the grey uniform said as he waved a black stick across the miniature world built upon the table. ‘What I am interested in is you, Mr.Phelps, not this...this fairytale you build.’

Alex Phelps looked from the dream he’d built to the men who would destroy it.

A wall of grey men, brick-and-mortar men, all right angles and no smiles. They wore a uniform dark like the worst day, upon their lapels they proudly displayed death moulded into the shape of skulls.

He wanted no part of their world.

‘I’m not sure what it is you think I can do?’ he said, walking out in front of the model as a mother might protect a child.

Their leader, the man called Stipe, smiled and it was the smile of a man who watched death and enjoyed the show.

‘Build, Mr.Phelps, we want you to build something for us.’

‘I don’t--’

‘What was that? Did I hear you saying ‘no’?‘ Stipe’s grey hands turned white around the stick in his fist. ‘Nobody refuses us, and if they do...’

Fear, its icy hands pushing, forced Alex backward, stumbling, only inches from falling upon his life’s work.

He righted himself, but in the trail of silence that hung in the air Alex recalled the blowing of a train whistle, an early January morning and the emptiness of neighbourhoods once filled with laughter. All that was left of those people were black footprints in the snow and a plume of acrid smoke that hung over the town for weeks, shrouding everything in silence.

The silence was catching.

Since that January morning the town had grown mute. A whole populace with their eyes on the ground, no longer daring to look up to the skies for fear of seeing what they most wanted to ignore.

‘I no longer work as an architect, not for hire,’ he said. ‘I’m retired.’

Stipe brought up his stick and pushed Alex aside.

‘And this? This is not work I suppose?’

‘No, it’s...’

The future, he wanted to say. There would come a day when the darkness lifted from the town, from the world, and then they could build again. Houses and schools, churches, synagogues, parks, libraries would sprout from the ruined earth. He would be there, a gardener in the new land, tending to the restoration.

‘It’s folly, and worse still, you do all...this without permission.’

‘I didn’t know I needed--’

The black stick, lightning bolt in quickness, crashed down upon the table where Alex had built his dream. Soon the thunder followed.

‘Know! Know! Are you not a good citizen, Mr. Phelps, do you not follow the rules as every other citizen? Are you...special?’

‘No, no I just meant that I wasn’t aware of--’

‘That is no excuse, as you well know. Every citizen must follow the rules. Ignorance is tantamount to breaking the law. I could have you deported to a work camp for that admission alone. Of course...’

Silence again, and in this silence all the lies of the days and months before were contained.

On posters he’d seen the promises made by the grey men. If only a patch of yellow was stitched to the arm, then everything would be as it was. Sign the register and you’ll be sent to a better place, a place where you can live and we do not have to think of you anymore. Life will be good if only....

Too many lies.

Too many dark days ignoring the sky for the ground.

Too many nights listening to the death knell whistle of trains faraway but too close.

Now it was his turn. How could he fight against this darkness so thick and cloying? How could anybody in this land?

He couldn’t.

‘What kind of building do you want?’ Alex said.

‘That’s better,’ Stipe said, snaking an arm around Alex’s shoulder, ‘you see, when you co-operate with us, life can be so much better.’

Alex nodded, and felt the world’s weight upon his neck.

‘Now, let us begin, shall we?’

‘I will, if you let me know what I’m going to build?’ Alex said.

Smiling, Stipe pulled Alex around so that they both towered above the table and the future built upon the surface.

‘First, some overdue business,’ the leader said.

Black lightning struck again.

The leader of the grey men struck the model again and again until there was nothing but a splintered wasteland.

Alex stared at the dream now nothing more than a nightmare that he could not wake from, no matter how much he pinched. A single word fell from his numb lips.

‘Why?’ he said.

A grey arm pulled Alex in close.

‘Why?’ Stipe said. ‘That...toy you built has no place in our glorious future, that’s why. And you’d better learn that lesson quickly, Mr.Phelps, if you want to see that future for yourself.’

#2  jaxx6166 02-26-2009, 12:54 PM
Reminds me of the darkness of WW II. . .

Is there more?

#3  Moejoe 02-26-2009, 12:58 PM
Yep, it's finished (draft 1) and will probably be included as a Mobileread extra along with a few other short stories when I release The Song of Insects - the other two shorts are (tentatively) Toward the Latitudes, and Not So Much a Season.

#4  pshrynk 02-27-2009, 10:44 AM
Way cool!

#5  dreams 03-04-2009, 03:21 AM
Quote Moejoe
Yep, it's finished (draft 1) and will probably be included as a Mobileread extra along with a few other short stories when I release The Song of Insects - the other two shorts are (tentatively) Toward the Latitudes, and Not So Much a Season.

The Architect's Plan.. wow! Really waiting to see more of this..

#6  GeoffC 03-04-2009, 09:50 AM
i can 'see' a bit of 1984 in that ...

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