Going for a Walk, Going for a Walk, Going for a Walk

Going for a Walk, Going for a Walk, Going for a Walk

Pictonaut challenge story for March 2013.

Leon walked on over the bridge, Georg at his side and Sissy and Eva trailing behind.

Up above arched the skylight of the arcade, expansive and grandiose. Steel skeleton squaring off the glass panels, barring off the great beyond. The roof reached right over the possibly bottomless hole that was the arcade, its metal structure tracing a connection between the grandiose decor of one wall to its symmetrical opposite.

The other connection was the bridge. Wrought iron swirls graced the sides of the raised pathway over the chasm. It had a certain understated elegance to it. A genteel limb in midair, unapologetically hopeful as it hung over the vast empty abyss. Something simple and beautiful centred in bleaker, elaborate trappings. Straddled despair connecting Leon to a continuing tragedy.

Leon strolled on, the clear cold monochrome all around cutting at his consciousness. He grimaced. He hated walking this line. He hated this moment. This moment, however, was all he had and all he’d ever have. It was all he’d ever have for the rest of eternity.

Then the echoed refrain he’d expected to hear. Sissy piped up “We’re going for a walk!” in a singy-songy voice. It echoed over the silence and ricocheted around the arcade. “We’re going for a walk!” taunting him. “We’re going for a walk!” stabbing his ears, accompanied by the regular stomp of boots marching over the iron flooring.

He could see it all happening but he couldn’t stop it happening. He felt stuck in space and time, utterly hopeless. He didn’t want to be here. He’d rather but anywhere but here but here – in the arcade on that iron-wrought bridge with Georg at his side and Sissy and Eva beneath the steel skeletoned grandiose glass ceiling – was where he was and where he’d stay. He had no idea what it was like to not be here anymore. Leon couldn’t remember what it was like before. All he could remember and knew was this. Overfamiliar. Over and over and over again.

He was going for a walk. He was going for a walk. Yes Sissy, they were all going for a walk. All they did was go for a walk. All they did was go for this walk on this bridge in this arcade. Ad infinitum.

Leon flinched and scrunched his eyes, on the verge of tears that he never managed to finish forming. Despair welled within as he braced himself at the point of downward incline. The bow of the bridge began to lower three-quarters of the way across. Strolling onwards, his body all tension ahead of a moment of hurt, Leon allowed himself just the glimmer of hope that this time it might be different. Maybe on this walk things would change. Purgatory could end. It had to end at some point. Leon walked on, waiting for that end to come. He could do nothing else.

The monochrome world around fizzed and twitched as he put his foot down on that exact spot – always that exact spot – only five-and-a-half feet away from the opposite wall. The elusive black aperture lay open and inviting before him but it would elude him. Its dark mysteries were unknown and what lay beyond the bridge would stay unknown this time around, just like every other time around. Leon wanted to know what lay beyond the bridge. He wanted answers. He wanted to know why but he kept on walking without making any progress.

He looked into the black hole. Another glitch and the black hole leaped back. Shrinking in size, even further away from reach. Slip back in time. Time and time again, slipping back to start again and then slipping back to start again and then slipping back to start again. The inevitable glitch had hit. Inevitable repetition, forever repeated.

Leon was back at the other side of the bridge walking forward once again with Georg at his side and Sissy and Eva trailing behind. All was the same in his black-and-white world which extended no further than the bridge and the void volume of the arcade with its brittle skeleton ceiling and echoing ornate walls.

We’re going for a walk!” said Sissy and she said it again and she said it again. Leon walked on, George and his side and Sissy and Eva trailing behind. He walked on over the crest of the bridge as he had countless times before. He kept on walking and would keep on walking because he had no choice but to keep on walking over a specific stretch of the bridge. The walk never ended, slipping back to repeat then slipping back to repeat then slipping back to repeat.

As he started to drop down towards the dark doorway that he’d never passed through – and never would pass through – he braced himself. He had to allow himself the slightest glimmer of hope but he knew that, really, it was futile. Unwept tears again. Tension as the tainted and drained fabric of reality fizzed and glitched to return him to the start of the bridge again. That accursed spot again. Sissy singing “We’re going for a walk!” again and again and again.

As the glitch hit again Leon wondered what he’d done to deserve this fate. Silent appeals to unseen, omnipotent forces that forced him through this purgatory went unanswered. The torture went on. Leon went on a walk. Leon went on the walk. Leon went on the same walk across the bridge over the abyss of the arcade with Georg at his side and Sissy and Eva trailing behind. Moving along a bridge but never being able to move on, Leon despaired as he was compelled along the constant walk.

Leon walked on over the bridge. This walk would never finish. This walk went on forever.

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  1. Pictonaut Short Story Challenge for March: ‘Going for a Walk, Going for a Walk, Going for a Walk’… | ENTER... JAMES CLAYTON
  2. Going For a Walk | The Rogue Verbumancer


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