R1 of RR Debate Tourney: USM vs MiG
This is a story debate. Both sides, PRO and CON, are to build a story together. The debater who's rounds are more interesting, better written, and overall more superior wins the debate. S/G and conduct are to be given out as usual; sources will not be given out. Arguments go to the person who wrote the better story. Plot, prose and characterization are all going to be important. If there are any questions, please leave them in the comments.
This a part of the Round-Robin Debate Tournament hosted by MiG and I. This will follow all the rules and regulations enforced by the tourney.
Here is how the voters will weigh which side won, as written by MiG:
"1. Conduct is only reserved for members who choose not to either adhere to the rules imposed by the debater, forfeits, trolls and harangues his opponent, and so forth. Note that this story tournament may include twists or not, depending on the whims of the debaters.
2. Spelling and grammar should only be rewarded to another opponent if one side displays noticeably poor spelling and grammar (in other words a conspicuous difference).
3. Arguments-There is a subjective nature as to who made the better arguments, but both debaters AND voters should beware that this is essentially where one decides on who did the better job in crafting the story--in creating a literary world, imbuing his characters with basic or complicated humanity, geared the story forward, and even entertained the audience. (Note that the latter is contingent on the type of the debate; voters should list whatever factors that colored their perceptions of the debate sides of the stories).
4. Sources-This is where one actually decides on who exhibited the better craftsmanship and writing skills--in other words--the best prose, wording, command of the language and flourish. This skill is not all to be confused with storytelling; surely a member can tell good stories but that does not at all correlate with his writing skills or the maturity of such a skill."
Four rounds to debate
First round is for acceptance ONLY.
2 week voting period
72 hours to argue
8,000 character limit
Vote comments enabled
I thank my opponent for the opportunity to debate, and I'm looking forward to the following rounds.
I accept Un Stupendous Man's debate challenge and would like to welcome sort of relaxation in writing and creating another world for readers.
I would also like to note that there is no true set theme yet, as neither indicated in the beginning of the debate; hopefully, the wake of the debate itself will witness an evolution of the theme as it widens. While I am certainly not necessarily a professional writer who has welcomed the important notions of writing or have held onto it as some sort of art, I will do my best to invest some sort of life in my work with the flourish of a writer.
I should also thank USM for intiating this debate and will expect a good experience with him...and his stories.
Nathaniel was dead.
Technically, he was still very much alive. He was breathing, although it was raspy; he had a heartbeat, although it was too fast, as indicated by the heart monitor beside the hospital cot which he was laying on. Nate DuBois was still among us, but everyone, from his family to the doctors, knew that he was going to take his final bows on the stage of life soon. And it wasn't going to be pretty.
The novel disease had already done a fair amount of damage to the infected. It was a disease of the nervous system, and terrorized accordingly. Already, Nate's vision had been compromised to the point of blindness. Nate could see dark swaths of color: white one above and below him, a yellow one and a small white one in front of him, and a navy-blue one off to the right.
This was his world, not the calm and peaceful hospital room that he actually resided in. Instead of vague yellow smears, there should have been bright, pleasant canary walls. In front of the cloud-white bed was a veritable garden of bouquets of various flowers, all bearing cards that bore some variant on the phrase, "get well soon," although all the senders of the flowers knew that their wishes are in vain. A TV blissfully shows a local game of baseball. Moonlight pours in from the window, making the room that much less like a cynical, sterile hospital room and more like a well-meaning but generic substitute for home. This is the room where nobody exits, and Nate knows it.
To make matters all that much worse, a protectively-clad doctor strolled in. Her quick pace was peppered with false happiness. Her eyes were a merry Christmas green. Her stature reminded people of the quirky and spunky girl that they all hated in high school. Her blond hair was reminiscent of more innocent times, and thereby unlikeable. Her too-scarlet lips smiled a far less than satisfactory smile. Dr Sorenson was bravely putting up a facade that looked worse than the feeling that she was trying to cover up. She walked up to Nate's bedside.
"Hello, Nathaniel." Nobody called Nathaniel, Nathaniel. "How are you doing today?" Dr. Sorenson's voice reeked of acting, along with it's usual sharp tones of super-sweetness.
Her patient looked up at her general direction and dawned a face that told her, "I'm going to die a terrible death soon. What do you expect?" In her mental notebook, Dr. Sorenson wrote down, "Good."
"Do you have anything that you need to tell us?" Dr. Sorenson kindly asked of Nate.
"Ssst-t-top b-baawhtherrring mmmeee!"
The slur was getting worse. That wasn't good. "We don't have a chance to get you better if you don't cooperate. We are doing the best that we can, we really are, but if you don't help us, then we can't help." She had a sincere expression played across her face. For once.
"Llllleeeevvvve meee aahllloone!" He had a sincerely angry expression on his face. Like always.
Dr. Sorenson sighed. "Please understand that we are trying to help. There's no way you can stay alive if you prevent us aiding you in your struggle." But she honored her patient's wishes. Nate turned his attention back to the baseball game that he couldn't see. Outside, Dr. Sorenson discussed Nate's condition. It doesn't look bleak, it's worse than that. All the doctors involved in the case are depressed, because there is nothing they can do to stop the disease from progressing. All they can do is try to make it as easy on Nate as comfortable as possible, which wasn't going to be a big difference.
In his own room, Nate was bored. The baseball game wasn't a particularly exciting one, but Nate's routine with fumbling with the remote revealed to him that there was nothing better on. Frustrated, Nate turned off the TV and his bedside lamp, and promptly went to sleep. He quickly started to dream a dream that had haunted him for a while, and had quickly gotten old.
Out of the blackness of unconsciousness, promenaded dark shades of color. At first, Nate could not tell what colors they were, but soon they brightened to the point or recognizability. Blue. Brown. White. The waltzed and foxtrotted until before Nate's soul before finally weaving together a picture of the outside world. When they were done, Nate found himself on a rocky outcropping above a snarling sea. He was sitting on a boulder that was for the most part dry, but occasionally was sprayed by mist from the ocean below. The water below him was a demin-blue maelstrom of waves that rabidly attacked Nate's rocky outcropping. Overhead was a stark blue-white sky that wasn't burdened by any cloud. A quaint lighthouse was in the distance. A fiercely and ravenously cold and damp wind tore into Nathaniel's warm and cozy jacket and made Nate shiver.
This was the place. He had to wait here for something. He didn't know for whom, why, or how he could recognize what he was waiting for. But he knew that he was supposed to be here. Whatever it was he was waiting for, it was coming. He just had to patient. Very patient. Nate was filled with a longing that was more of an animal urge than anything else, for him to stay and wait for thing he was desiring to arrive. Tonight, like every other night, that thing didn't come. The next morning, Nate was filled with a cocktail mix of disappointment and quizzicallity.
The next day, Nate was visited by several people. His parents visited, asked him about any progress. Everyone knew that they weren't referring about getting better, but how deep their son had gone. A few of his friends came by, and they talked. Nate's friends treated him like a radioactive object, which was something Nate couldn't fault them for. But mostly he was visited by doctors, and most of all Dr. Sorenson, who frequently checked up on him to see how well he was doing. He was given breakfast, lunch, and dinner, along with speech tests to see how badly he was slurring his words. Nate didn't particularly like Dr. Sorenson, but could stand her earnest diligence to get him better. It was a typical, monotonous day in the hospital. He wasn't allowed to go anywhere, so all he could do was watch TV, listen to the radio, and walk around. He had started to obtain a slight case of cabin fever. That night, he expected the same boring dream that he had for the last night and for the last couple of weeks. But it was somewhat different.
That night, after he had flown off into dream-world, he found himself on the same outcropping as many a night before, with the unwelcoming sky above and the writhing sea below him and the wind blasting him. But, after a few minutes quietly expecting something to arrive, a proposition that his sane self would find ludicrous, he finally saw something. Nate's face lifted with excitement. This was it. Finally.
"It" was a halcyon bird of the purest white. It was majestic, regal, godlike, awesome. It was as if it had been lifted out of a Greek myth or a Biblical passage. As it flew over the sea, it calmed the water below it and brightened the sky above it. It was absolutely magnificent, perfectly glorious. It came, which took a few seconds, and rested on Nate's shoulder. It whispered to Nate, gave him something. Commands. Instructions. It was now Nate's duty to carry them out. When Nate woke, he instantly knew that he needed to do. And if he needed reassure himself, all he had to do was look over his left shoulder. The bird would be there.
I await my opponent's response.
I thank my opponent for displaying his talent. Without further ado, I will make my story. :-)
The evening remained in procession and was calm, as silent with a few rushes of wind under a generally unobstructed sky, and the darkness provided a somewhat solitary prospective here—for a Nathaniel who, awoke at the very hour, appeared to be in the moment of contemplation. It was unusual that, in an unprofitable world long dispossessed of meaning, a thought would come where a vacuous contentment would suffice; the waking man finds himself aspiring, having felt so deeply the grains of time in his bare hands,--lightly and with the buoyancy of a bird to some dimension posited by his thought. He would, as if dogged by the resonance of such words, simply recall those words-- “Seize the day, but remember the time. ..Seize the day, but remember the time”.
Every day seemed all more of a confirmation that he was held captive in a world promenaded, a remotely living figure in a structure of color and absolute tonalities; there was no moderation, no simple undulation to provide a sharp contrast, nor any true texture in his world. There were reds and blues, matted together to form geometric shapes, ragged edges of the knolls; the color had assumed a meaning. Nate could only articulate—at the very beginning of his debilitation, that he was—perhaps jokingly, a man with only color and structure as his periphery—the savior of the color field, and a living incarnate. The color was all-pervasive—a smoke that consumed everything else to make life a drama of stocks and absolutes.
Indeed, time had deprived him of whatever life that would, in emancipation, unleash him—like a bird freed of the little pebbles and stones on his back, and whatever eyes to gaze into the periphery of the world. There was no life in him now, nor in the periphery; he could not suddenly liberate him self—cast off the stones and little pebbles off his back as if he were a stork, nor muster strength to newer heights, and was—inert, incapable of agency. He was loose from the earth—struck from his roots that had pinned him to the very ground, but without any momentum to propel. It thus seemed fitting for him; there was no other venture to exploit, but time and he deigned to simply rest and pass the dream on.
It did not help him as his degeneration proceeded without further ado, and he soon weakened further, becoming closer to death's door. A memory would indeed only dog him in his recollections...It was, as a custom for the merchant community, a celebration for a departing vessel; the sea, which parted into a set of tributaries and was locked by a set of rifts in the promontory it, was a vestige of romantic fury in all its form. There was a romantic fervor in the air, one that Nate did not participate, but one that he regularly attended for the sheer festivity—the open pub, little flags and ships, picnics near the ledges under the foot of the great oak adorning the upper shaft of the land, and so forth. Fascinated by it, he had scrambled to approach the promontory that juts out into the open sea, when he came upon a curious sight:
One little, petite girl was playing near a certain quarter, strewn with plankton and tall timbers thrown astride, with the little flowers she had pruned from the adjacent stretch of grassland on the higher pier. The water rushed, incessantly, with a few medleys in the air—the calls of sea-gulls, a few breaths from the impatient sea, and it seemed to produce a coalition—a marriage for her. There was a certain mildness to the scene: nature did not commend her with absolutes, for it did not complement her. One can only think how to stare into the gossamer-like sea would be to confront an inner mirror of ourselves, risk the lifting of a veil or the dissolution of some dream.
He would begin to recall her more vividly, rambling about her and other children he had met in his life. “As his condition has deteriorated, he has nevertheless displayed some curious traits that I was not aware of”, Dr. Sorenson, with her usual pedestrian manner, wrote in a letter to the DuBois family. “He had requested, at one of our conferences, to be able to retain a set of writing scrolls and even a few easels, and had, since then, continued to paint and write. And although, by no means, he has not relented his introverted character—indeed, he continues to uphold the same inner world with which he defends so stalwartly--, it appears he has opened himself. I have sometimes myself asked to see these paintings and although he outright refused to consent, some incessant prodding—and a few tricks of my own—won the deed.
He gave me a set of stenciled drawings and paintings, as well as a few of his writings in his journal. A few of these writings were dedicated to children: the child was to him as a symbol of innocence; he had been consigned, by some higher power, to a life now involuntarily ending, and thus could not help but to envy the child, who possesses such raw power—to free himself, to surge like some tide, and to suddenly calm. My adjutants have told me that he is fond of telling stories of them, with which they regard with a mild enthusiasm to listen; the vigor that is embedded within him is a profound light that illumines the very foundation and spirit here, though it is punctuated by a rather irregular, daily routine.
One such story that I heard, and was accompanied by a drawing on a rough palette, fully epitomized what he valued the most from the child: it was an illusory dream, one that may be said to ascend to the level of high art, and it most certainly fit that of a child's imagination. In the wide berth of a sky, and sea, he said that he saw a great bird, once fully animate but now, due to some unknown cause, was flat and in the shape of a kite. It was of a lucent, snowy whiteness, the whiteness that which only a certain lily was said to entertain in its resurgence--and was shaped like a hawk, and it fluttered in the hurly-burly of a petulant sky. He told me that he 'saw' a child playing with it--running around and frolicking across the wooded plain, with a face as white as the kite itself.
I inquired him as to why he had drawn the bird with a red hue, as opposed to this distilled and crystal-like whiteness. He responded, plainly, and simply, 'I saw a red slayer in that bird, but confined, in action, to no more than itself'...."
I now await my opponent's response. I should note that I have set the story on a darker course...and ask my opponent to continue it there. :-)
So Nathaniel painted. He was pretty sloppy at first, juvinile even, but at least he was doing something. He created what seemed like a thousand different paintings. It was amazing because he had lost most of his vision and had begun to loose his fine motor control. His hand trembled as he gripped the paintbursh; he had to look so closely to the canvas as to sometimes get his nose wet with paint. But he painted. Over time, he got to point where he was fairly good at it, even if he wasn't encased by a contageous brain-eating disease. For a while, I thought that his work reflected if a maker of Japanese prints took up impressionist painting. The figures were diliberately placed and were detail-less, as if they were seen from afar or by a nearsighted person. Colors were used only when absolutely necessary, and sparcely at that. Each painting expressed it's own deep and powerful emotion ranging from content joy to willess boredom to the savage highs of anger. Throughout his paintings there were a few themes: the sea, a beautiful girl, the color red, a bird.
But the disease was unrelenting, as ever. It marched on his neurons, making them missfire, or killing them outright. Each axiom brought silent or changed into a grotesque shade of its formal self brought Nate's condition further downward, and slowly marched him at a slow but furious pace to his grave. While his end brought him inspiration, it also brought with it the prerequisite suite of other symptoms, maladies, and other evils that accompanied a Pandora's box, opened intentionally or not. One of the first things that became obvious over time, but were new to his particular condition, was actually fairly subtile. Nate had started to become more and more introverted. He discussed his intrests, his paintings, his philosophy less and less. He, at the beginning of his painting experience, was fairly open about this. But he eventually stopped talking altogether. While his declining speech faculties could have been a co-conspirator in this, it was by far not the sole reason for his dislike of talking. He eventually stopped communicating entirely, never letting us in on his insigts, his thought process, what he was going through.
But the limited time where he did let us into his mind let another thing clear: he had begun hallucinating. He believed that the white bird of his paintings visited him, not only in his dreams, but in real life, too. It reasted on his left shoulder, telling him things and giving him instruction. He believed that it would light his path, make his metaphorical waters calmer. At the end of his span that he would actually communicate with us, I saw him in bed, holding his hand with nothing. I assumed that it was the vision of the girl that he always painted. I looked on in sadness. In addition, not all of his hallucinations were pleasant. I once saw him shriek and tear apart a beautiful and nearly finished paintings and hide across the room from it, saying that something horrible had possesed it. We took away the painting, not as a service to his misgivings about it, but as trash. I was sorry to see that particular piece go; it was one of the most gorgeous that he had created.
His antics didn't discourage certain members of the hospital form trying to get past the wall of silence that he had erected around himelf. Dr Sorenson earnestly tried to get to her ill patient, but he didn't repsond to any of her advances. She tried various methods to communicate with Nate, but he refused her every single time. She tried writing to him, with no success. She tried being around him more often, and therefore get him comfterable with her, with no success. She even tired to paint along with and in response to him, with no success. I think that Nate took the last step as a kind of insult; her work had no artistic intent, why should he even consider it? Dr. Sorneson's paintings were bland and shallow, letting me believe that whatever she would not understand what Nate would have to say even if he did talk.
During this time, I guess that I became a sort of friend of his. While his friends and family were there and were tolerated by Nathaniel, and Dr. Sorenson was flat-out rejected, he seemed to build up a sort of comrederie with me. He showed me most of his paintings, and by his expression I could tell, almost, that he was interested in what I had to say. Mostly I talked about what was going on at home and at work, here at the hospital. I also dabbled in other things like literature, which had been a life-long hobby of mine, and the deepest complexities of science, which were another personal pet interest of mine. I tried to explain to him how black holes worked, how stars could shine for millions of years, and how planets were formed. At least he didn't go up and paint whenever I started talking, as his want with Dr. Sorenson.
One night, I came into Nate's room, late at night. I was in there because he needed checking up at this particular hour. After putting on the proper attire for the room (as well as to protect myself), I quietly slid into the room. It was dark and peaceful, with Nate's paintings hanging up on the wall. He had begun to use more red in his work. The heart monitor went beep-beep-beep too quickly for comfort. The silver cast by the moon fell in like curtains blowing in the wind. I noted his heart rate, internal temprerature (he had begun to run a small-to-moderate fever) along with something else. A few of his paintings had been taken down. I instantly begun to run over with anger. I knew instantly who the theif was. I looked to Nate, who was peacefully dreaming about the sea and his halcyon bird and his girl, and I made a silent promise to him. I hurredly marched out of the room.
Outside, in the sleepy hall lit by the harsh florescent lighting, I see a walk that could only be from the legs of one person, and one person only. I tailed Dr. Sorenson, and found that she had carried of with a plethora of Nate's work. I followed her passionately until her office, where I confronted her. She was genial as ever, in that supremely irritating way.
"Why are you doing this, Roxanne,' that WAS her name, by the way, "he didn't let you have it!"
"Because he woudn't talk to either of us, I thought that the best way to examine his psychological state is through his outlets, his writings, but most importantly his paintings."
By this time Dr. Sorenson had unlocked her door and strode into her office. I had no choice but to follow.
"We, as a hospital, have a right to try to do anything possible for the benefit of the patient. Examining..."
"Oh, this is about your pie-in-the-sky idea that he'll somehow get better, isn't it?"
"He's never going to get better. I know it, he knows it..."
"I don't. We don't know what might save him unless we try to."
"All evidence has pointed to this being an incuable disease."
"We can change that."
"By what, stealing his art?"
"I told you already, this could help us examine..."
"I know! I know!"
Dr. Sorenson had placed the paintings down. On top of the stack that she had placed was a painting I had never seen before. It was perfectly white, except for the two subjects of the painting. First of all, there was his halcyon bird. It wasn't white this time, but rather a desperate state of scarlet. It was dead on the bottom of the painting, with it's last rays of hope gone from it. But more disturbingly, there was a onyx-black raven coming out from the bird of red.
Many stars go supernova when they die. It became very clear that this was going to happen to Nate. And the countdown to that moment was ticking by incessently but forever quicker and quicker and quicker.
Note: from the voice of a fellow (and former) patient
I must confess that I do not possess any finesse to recount my tale about Nate. But there is no figure like him—a man retreating to the outskirts of an inner world that he had crafted, with only the comfort of a gently-receding sea that in its open embraces, would gush and profess its caresses onto the nearby rocks. He remained fixated on it—particularly the lower breach, where the waters parted at the rim of a base barred from human presence. There was an indescribable longing invested within him, and he would be there seated at his little sessions of painting (which he dedicated, in the act of retreating from human community), staring at the caresses of the sea, undomesticated with the rawness of its impurity. He seemed to retain his attachment to art, with his painting hours resuming now and then.
I would joke that if perception was not a medium, art was—and a fine one at that for a man with only color and structures. It appeared that despite his irregular cycle—he would sleep little in the evenings, awake to watch television, and then resume sleeping, his paintings were always finished in spite of the short intervals that would preclude such a prospect. Dr. Sorenson noted this herself while she collected them for interpretation and was, indubitably, astonished to see one—a little girl under the imposing shadow of a flock of migrating birds—full of stroke and flourish from what had appeared for days—a juvenile piece of work. Here was the feel—the tresses in the waters, the ledge, the softness in draped blues, all of which human energy, not inertia, was devoted in creating a lovely marriage of scenario.
All this stark and light-hearted warmth would appear to be his only trademark. Nevertheless, I learned of a far more decadent side to him—to which I discovered when, out of curiosity, I peeked and looked through his room. In a set of painting on the easel, there was one that arrested my attention: the sea was girded, but with a small coastal land as its belt. It was morose—with hues that were darkened and made duller, and in this sea of darkness, there stood a lone personage upon the unfettered, grassy belt: a young boy flying an indistinct kite. Neither sojourning nor engaging, he was here—in the monochrome, tonalist world, an epitome of the sheer blueness, fixed within the belt of grass and corralled there; of the darkness he was the progeny—and with it, they were one.
I knew he was a philosophical man indeed and appeared somewhat baffled at both the sudden culmination of energy that had produced such a work. I could not ask Dr. Sorenson who could not account for this other than an increasing will to live his final days and thus, with uncertainty, chose to ask Nate himself; I set up a writing conference outside of the edifice and near a small uplift of the prairie that opened to the sea to permit some comfort to him. Looking at him—and his tired eyes that bore down with some ineffable burden, his face greatly strained by the duress, I found it somewhat remarkable for a man to suddenly espouse a burst of creativity for himself—to garner it suddenly.
Hesitating no more, I asked him—bluntly, of the significance of his recent painting—which I, struggling to overcome the injury to my left hand, held up. Somewhat startled, he quickly scampered to write upon the easel and, with a decided look of conviction, perhaps in conveying what may transcend the very barriers of speech, scribbled—crossed out out a message. It read-- “My destination”, a pithy statement that nevertheless, in his usual, opaque manner—circumventing the more obvious channels of conversation, summed up the involuntary termination of his life; in response, I voiced such an implication and he assented, pointing—squarely at the figure, immured in the world of Pacific darkness.
“I see that you have now entertained this little dichotomy of—life and death”, I responded with an air of affected derision, “but it is not customary to not complement a notion without its antithesis, my friend”--as an appeal to the philosophical tendencies that, like overreaching tides, had overwhelmed him, perhaps in the minute confinement of a minute. He, however, shook his head as if in denial of such an assertion and, with a confidence, pointed to the farther reaches, where the mouth of the sea parted into a series of rifts crafted by the sand-bars that lead, indistinctly, to the foot of a promontory; it was of such a distance that I could not perceive it as of the moment until after a few moments of mongering and searching across the reaches of water. “White”. He had tried—in spite of some sort of assumed contract of reticence—to articulate the word, though only obtusely and thus resorted to holding up another painting. There, within the frame and setting, a solitary figure stood upon the precipitous cliffs, clad entirely in snowy white, and now captured, in time, in the same poise as his counterpart—and brother, Death.
Sensing a sort of productivity arising, I quickly asked him--“Why is death near, but life far—FAR away?”After a few ponderous moments, he suddenly tabulated his thoughts in what may appear to be an exposition, compared to his early, pithier remarks: “You may think that I did so, consciously, considering the nearing end of my life. But I value myself as much as man does to dirt, and would not bother if I were to sleep—or to die within the days.” And with that, he was regaled by the announcement of lunch and quickly proceeded to shuffle off whatever mortal coil there was by divulging the underlying secret by walking away.
For the next few days, I lay in reverie, somewhat bemused by the conversation; here was a man who spoke in reverie, lived by it, and sought to convey it from the eye to eye, and was entombed within the grasps of reverie, I thought. He had—as I had discerned—in the very act of crafting this internal world—devalued himself as he proceeded in retrogression, for his body was to him as dirt to a flower, a waltzing rose, that propagated in the very sphere of representation—artistic perception. By virtue of a common association between sleep and death, he had juxtaposed the sleeping man's routine across a trek of several days with death—the submission of conscience to the threshold of the unknown. Thus the waking man is to die, and his conscious life, now enclosed in some sort of a series of vistas, is to die, metaphorically-speaking; and yet, that conscious life, now constrained by the retrogression, was stagnated, and whatever powers it conferred to the waking man is now leased.
And, I posited— perhaps, under a specific delusion, he had tried to garner these impulses in a time where his conscious being would not impede—sleep. I dismissed this as a farfetched notion, for the constraints of reality, let alone those of the individual, preclude such the manifestation of such a concept, but quickly reminded myself—that Nate—neared the end, and men whose lives involuntarily decline are most suspect to wilder and more frenzied eyes. To see one's life border the intransigence would to pit all the contributions that a single man can gather in a chassis—thrown and dispersed in the wide sea: family, life, work, ideas, and so forth. Under this hypothetical premise, which I admit to be superficial, I resolved myself to commit to a whimsical experiment—for I had none to entertain in those days--: watch the man sleep, and see if he pursues his “artistic enterprise” there. It was surely—for merriment, in one sake: one would expect a sleeping man to....sleep, and to wake in the vicinity as expected but I, with my old shenanigans, nevertheless enjoyed the prospect of witnessing an incarnate of an...unconventional idea.
There is no work like that of an experimenter, and I set out to fulfill my expectations as one.
Recommendation of story's course. The narrator will prove his "hypothesis" but albeit in a brutal confrontation. He will realize the "truth".
I do regret that my opponent is unable to continue the story, which was well in its due course--, but would like to "thank my opponent for this opportunity" as well.
Nevertheless, I will be posting the supposed end of this intriguing story to provide some closure as the debate ends. It did take a toll on me to bear, so I do consider it with a grain of pride at times. I do not, however, want readers to be simply dismayed at the absence of a conclusion to the highly unusual progression of events.
The pseudo-ever-peppy walk raced by Dr. France, one of the two doctors that had been assigned to Nate's case. Which was perfect for Dr. Hector, because he had a bone to pick with Dr. Sorenson.
"Roxanne!" Dr. Hugo France was not to be denied.
"Yes?" Dr. Sorenson stopped in her tracks like she had somewhere else to be.
"Can we talk?" His voiced was toned so that one would know that the question was not a question, but a furiously barked order.
"In the cafeteria. I'm taking a break from cleaning Nathaniel's room."
Dr. France grumbled something like a growl and followed Dr. Sorenson to the cafeteria. She avoided conversation until they had both sat down with their lunch, and even then she tried to steer the conversation away from what Dr. France was interrogating her about. It revolved and morphed, but it came back again and again to one main topic. Nate's nasty death.
Nate was in his room. He was furiously painting, as though he had both inspiration and an axe to grind. His vision was, at this point, almost completely gone and his motor skills were shot. His artwork had gone for a nosedive technically because of those limitations. His inspiration had not suffered, but the look of his recent paintings was no where near the quality of most of his work. But he continued to paint, diligently.
Unfortunately, Dr. Sorenson strolled in. She smiled an awkward smile, forgetting that Nate couldn't see the canvas in front of him, let alone a small, sad smile several feet away from him in his periphery. She greeted herself in her usual voice, which isn't good for calling dogs or little children, let alone people with dignity and self-respect. Nate didn't budge from his painting. Dr. Sorenson tried to start a conversation, but it was in vain. Dr. Sorenson hadn't learned her lesson, and she would never learn it. She did what she needed to do for that day, and she was almost out of the room...
Nate vomited. Dr. Sorenson snapped her head toward her patient. Nate's skin was becoming white as a bleached sheet of paper, and he started to go into seizure. Utterly terrified, Dr. Sorenson ran to the telephone in the room and called for backup.
In Nate's universe, everything was going haywire. He lost control of his body, the muscles gaining a life of their own. Lights flashed across his eyes. Pain ripped across his body. The halcyon bird cried in the distance while the little girl wept. Everything became as meaningless as jibberish or a random sequence of numbers and letters generated by a computer. Everything was completely terrifying. All the things ripped across his mind... and then...
Silence. Blackness. Then little, faint circles appeared in Nate's vision. He was going to see the sea soon.
Outside Nate's mind, EMTs stared working on restarting Nate's heart.
During the night, three people visited the unconscious body of Nathaniel. One was Dr. Sorenson, ruminating about how she could have done better. The second one was Dr. France, who pondered how one could stop a disease like this. The third was a fellow patient, who shouldn't have been in Nate's room in the first place. He wondered about Nate.
I apologize for the shortness and crudeness of this round. While outside factors (School, Mafia) have made it hard to respond, I still bear the responsibility of creating a worthwhile story, which I don't think I have accomplished here. I thank MiG again for this opportunity, and I hope that the best debater/author wins.
Excerpted from the same manuscript, from a resident patient, discovered within his room.
I had burrowed myself near the chasm of the sea, where the waters, when parting, often embrace only sparingly, near the coastline, where I could slightly emerge, above the vise and breath of the sea, somewhat visible. I had chosen such a place for I knew he was entitled to the sea, and it was his elm by which experiences afford composure and remembrance—and by whim. It was an indeed an odd experiment—and one apparently unfeasible. Nevertheless, I was resolute: he was, so to speak, all the more to flee, fugitive in this world, the confines of this world, and now life would reach and mirror his state. And so, I waited, and that eerie Pacific darkness settled, grasping and ensnaring that small, but poignant coast in its throes and solemnity. And it would come incessantly, casting its nets.
I admit that I am not a man easily guided to action, nor one with the endurance to confront it, nor one to assume thought. Meditation is not what I am suited to, and indeed, the thought operates, within this little mind, only fleetingly now. It was yet piqued, moved: I could not help but refrain from understanding the magical aura around these series of events, and move into the realm of speculation. And that brush of the sea coiled at me from the behind as I cowered, near the rough ledges, as the rub, and the sweeping strike a jagged breeze, followed by the rhythmic undulation of waves. For some odd quaint reason—as the hour passed by, certainly, it appeared the sea mellowed, ceasing its surge, and with it, the man attendant, seemed to enter a sort of reverie.
'It would appear that he could very well view it—the welter being obscured, the trees only blurred by the limits of perception, and the rush and crease of the sea very well only a major, homogenous face; and yet, there was such detail, of perception there, streaming: there appeared to be some murkiness settling in, wrapping it around, other times somewhat light, nature in tandem near that great berth. It was perhaps odd—and indeed, embarrassing, to realize the great discrepancy between a man deprived a man fully functional in envisioning the world. Of course, I dismissed this as simply a mark of great and vigorous imagination, but was arrested by the sheer thought of inertia: he was not moved, neither by human community, nor invigorated except by the fringes of that world—which I doubt was a sheer reflection of some formidable mind. The world was there, cast by actuality, and shaped into the jagged coast and across the great marine landscape; it took only a limpid, translucent eye to reflect it in the instrument behind it. And then there was the question as to how a perception like his could register such a scene...
'It was many a good days here that I pondered, attempting to reconstruct the entire scene in my head, racking to understand the significance of that little microcosm. For years—and between the rush, the waking and renewing, I first isolated each particular, whether in the moment of frenzy or motion, and attempted to ascribe significance to them, remembering to capture, among the unfettered belt, or the sloping promontories, the incarnates of life there, across the dimly-lit, hazy, seas, stratified, of mist, darkness, and clarity. It appeared all the more frustrating—in attempting to explore each significance one can ascribe to when there was a multitude of meaning, both upon the personal level, and on cultural norms to each—the sea in its liberating throes for the home-bound sailor, the surrounding fauna with its folklore, and so forth. With all this great wealth of symbolic meaning to subscribe to, I found it much easier to consider it in the whole: beauty here was perceived un-distilled, and I doubt that an eye like his, with a whole panorama before him, could ignore but the widest and wholesome frame.
'I myself conducted multiple walks around the area; one day, I happened to come across a small vantage point (when prowling along the lines), where I happened to overlook the same girth around the sea, with that little promontory, apparently obscured by the mist that often settle there, immuring it—and noticed, in a detail that proved somewhat interesting, a small crease in the bank which I had not noticed. It was uniform in color, though small enough to constitute a minor ripple in the waves, with a noticeable dent in the underlying bank that I had not noticed. It appeared that I had presumed that he, by some unknown means—perhaps by imagination or so forth, had covered well the trek—wrongly, and yet, when I looked at his replication, I noticed nothing except for a small, almost indiscernible white spot there; it was contorted, nonetheless, but shaped and non-pervasive, refracted across the gentle, undulating waves. It was then I remembered those words, which I neglected-- “My destination....My destination”....'
Night had snared her nets and now a sudden, milky and categorical blueness tinted the entire landscape, the tents nearby, the base of the promontory, and now, having briefly been encapsulated in thought, I arose and whispered the name “Nate”; I was responded with a slight sweep and gawk of a far-away sea-gull, and the sudden thrashing of the waters that culminated in a sudden outburst that quickly drew my attention to both the suddenly brash coastline—and the entire, jutting promontory. There was a certain whiteness, from here to there, across that serene water, which I had gazed, in both the canvas, the easel, and now in person: it was such a fleeting thought, with only the dim light, a bastion which penetrated this embryo, to wonder a man with neither absolute governing existence—life or death within him, and for a moment, I remembered him. At such a thought, nature quelled, with only a sweep and a stir, I beheld a slight rift where two ripples arose, one leading curiously to a most arable area, the other to the coastline. I again beheld a sound—a softer one at that from the sky, and nevertheless stood there.
'He said there was life and death across this road, and of course, I do not believe him...And yet, he was suspended, a fellow without any restraint now, but no ulterior motive. I do remember that I had said that he banished his faculties, for this life was nearing an involuntary end, and he wished to entitle such creative power to....perhaps the next. All those figures—the birds, the little children, were clearly metaphors of himself, of his now pathetic life, but I did not know what to make of what appeared to be representation of his creative faculties—life, freedom, and so forth, in the framework of a journey. Perhaps---'
It was then, as the waters surged forward, casting ripples across the screen, I witnessed the sea once more, in its all its majesty: the soft wind brushing against one's back, the little gawks of sea-gulls across the sky, the migrating flocks, that I suddenly thought of them as emblematic of the area—so recurring as if to become mere heralds: one for the wooded areas, the others to near the set of rocks and little pebble-belt in the sea, and one across the face of the sea. It was then I suddenly, and in remembrance of those two, beheld, in the advancing darkness, an unmistakeably white personage on the promontory—a shrouded, human figure. It stood and then faltered into the darkness and distance, borne away and soon gone by a compliant sea.
[Author/Debater's comment: Thank you for allowing the story be completed, Pro. :-)
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