• Ian

New Short Story Added – Tranquility

After a brief attempt at getting this story published (it was rejected) I have decided to include it here. I had read a blog post by writer Caleb Stephens in which he describes his trials and tribulations of getting his short stories published. Of the 141 short stories he had submitted for publication, only three were accepted. For those keeping track at home, those are not great odds.


I decided that instead of worrying about publication, I would just submit it to an online writing community for critique. Feedback was mixed; some liked it, others didn’t understand it. I re-worked it a bit, but generally wanted to keep it as faithful to my original as possible.

I introduce to you now…


Tranquility


The following will be a brief discussion of the piece. I suggest reading the story first, then popping back over here. It’s short, trust me just do it!


TL;DR: SPOILER ALERT!


I am a big fan of space adventures that include the psychological elements of being alone in space. Being raised as a terrestrial being, what would it be like to live life in an enclosed capsule with others you may not get along with. You cannot just walk outside for some fresh air. You can’t enjoy a savory grilled steak or a fresh picked apple. You are literally millions of miles away from civilization, i.e. friends, family, and cherished memories. As I am an even bigger fan of space-horror movies, I wanted to take a small crack at it.


So here is the idea, what if someone couldn’t handle that anymore? What if someone broke under the immense psychological strain of space travel?


What if that person didn’t know they lost all sense of reality?


My main character, Jack, enjoys a wonderful day with his wife, only as the reader continues, they learn that this is not real, but a false reality being manufactured by Jack. I left some of the details pretty vague; how did the crew get into the airlock, or at what point of the mission are they? Since Jack may or may not know himself, so too the reader must deal with the confusion.


Now as for the ending. I wanted to play with Jack flopping back and forth with reality in his mind. So, for his death, it could be argued that he knew what he was doing and wanted to end his insanity. Or Lyssa, the embodiment of his psychosis, tricked him into killing himself. Maybe it is lazy, but I like the open-ended question that it leaves with the reader. It allows them to add in their own details.


Also, just so this isn’t lost on anyone, I included a few little fun details into this story. Lyssa, Jack’s wife, is also the name of the Greek Goddess of mad rage and frenzy. She is also closely related to the spirits of madness and insanity; the Maniae.


Well, I thought it was terribly clever.


I hope you enjoy the story and stay tuned for more!

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