Cory’s Story: Silent pleas and what Ani sees

Lamp illuminating a dim room
Photo by Dorran on

Some extra background info about this story:)


Cory’s stomach growled. He took that as a cue to lower his left leg and prop up his right one. He untied Ripple’s boots. Tied them up again. They were dusty boots. Where had they been before this to get dusty boots?

His glowing shield–acting as a dim light source–flickered, and he poured more energy into it. Perhaps, before the dark room, before the other dark room, they were in a dust storm. Or walking on a dusty road. He scratched his head, again startled by the length of his hair there. Their hair there. He grew slightly uncomfortable, an itch sliding between his shoulder blades, at the reminder of the long hair, the reminder of this smaller body, how Cory was trapped there.

It was doubly uncomfortable to be trapped in a smaller body in a small, dark box.

Where had they been before the possible dust storm? Last he remembered they were in Mexico City–by a fire, inside a bare concrete room. How long ago had that been? What series of events had led from a bare concrete room to a dark box with dusty boots?

Time crawled. Cory sat, one leg propped against the opposite wall. He switched legs, forth and back, back and forth. And Cory laid, both feet pressed to the ceiling, blood slowly draining from his legs to leave fuzzy pinpricks through his toes, ankles. And Cory sprawled, forehead on his hands, knees bent up, boots tapping the wall. And Cory curled, on his side with the metal floor cold against his cheek. Time crawled, and Cory’s stomach growled, and his dim light shielding against the darkness flickered, reminding him to focus.

“Where’s someone who can break us out?” he whispered more than once. But his thoughts remained silent. “Anyone?” he whispered, too. But his thoughts remained silent.


Hi there.

Hush up, I don’t want to hear it.

But I haven’t said anything.

You said hello. Was good enough for me.

But I didn’t ask any questions.

You didn’t need to.

You’re right, I didn’t need to. I wanted to.

Don’t cross words with me.

Okay, I won’t. I just wanted to know if you still wanted those lamps we talked about. Or maybe windows.

Not from you, I don’t. If I want lamps I’ll get them myself. Isn’t that how it works? Here, in this messed up brain?

What’s that supposed to mean?

I mean, that everything here is a figment of our imagination, a construct our subconscious created so we could all “interact with each other.” Well, what if I don’t want to interact with anyone? I’m perfectly content to just lay here. And if I did want new stuff, I would fall asleep, and then wake up, and if our subconscious agreed with me, it’d show up. Why do I know this and you don’t?

I did know that, actually. I just prefer the construct. I like living in a house, with other people, with a kitchen, with hallways and doors.

Because you’re the normal one, right? Our subconscious works to create what it wants, and when whoever woke up wanting something normal you were the thing that showed up. Right Cory?

Don’t call me a thing.

Sure thing, Cory.

And I didn’t show up. I was here the whole time. I’ve been here a whole lot longer than you, anyway.

Congratulations. Do you want a reward? I can have it for you tomorrow. Unless our subconscious doesn’t want you to have a reward, in which case, that sure stinks for you. No rewards for the hardworking, am I right?

Okay. Now you’re just being rude.

I am? Oh, I’m so sorry. I was just following the job description the subconscious created me with. You know, how your role is “that regular guy.” I’m the “points out the obvious to the regular guys who miss the obvious” one.

Actually, I’m the advisor of the system.

I wasn’t aware there was a difference.


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