Peter Denno: ‘Dystopia’

Peter Denno: ‘Dystopia’


My eyes snapped open and closed instantly. I opened them, again catching only a glimpse of an incandescent white expanse before being forced to close my eyes again. I was exhausted and hungry, though I had no memory of doing anything. The ground was not hard, but not comfortable.

I slowly gathered my strength, then rolled over and stood unsteadily, trying again to open my eyes. The light had lessened, or I had grown accustomed to it, and I could see most of my surroundings.

I was standing in a disconcerting white space that extended outwards on every side, a great expanse of nothing. There was no horizon; no way to tell where the sky ended and the ground began; no boundaries. I was unable to tell the difference between what was above me and what was below me, let alone which direction I was facing, or even if there were directions if there was nothing to be in them.

There was a complete and utter silence, which, as I began to walk, my footsteps intruded upon. There was a faint echo, but it did not give away any more of my surroundings’ size than I knew already. I walked for around a minute, but gave up when I realised I had got nowhere, and that even if I had moved, I would not be able to tell. My stomach ached, and I knew I would have to find food soon, or I would faint- the air was hot and dry, though whether it had been that way when I arrived, I could not remember. Someone was watching me.

My frustration mounted, edged with fear. Though dimmer than before, the light was still uncomfortable and I had to squint to see properly. Hunger ate at me. I looked around again. The same blank vista smiled back at me, enjoying my distinct discomfort. I felt my stomach sinking. The total silence remained, smug and unbroken, amused with me.

A noise began to creep into my hearing- a grating whine, screaming an unnatural discord, slowly building in volume, like something in pain. I couldn’t escape the notion that something was watching me. The noise grew louder, gradually sliding up in pitch. It was painstakingly slow, enjoying its sadistic glissando.

I spun round. A face hung before me, but it was gone as soon as I had seen it. I began to run, my legs heavy, my head pounding, a stitch stabbing my side, my ears aching and hunger dragging behind me. A terrible senseless fear gripped me, pushing against reason. A pulse began to throb on my temple. The light started to build again, until I closed my eyes and ran blind.

The noise was now unbearably loud, and my ears felt like something was being forced down them as another set of discordant pitches spat at me. I forced myself faster, feeling like my side would split open, but the noise grew only louder. I prised open my eyes, only to have them forced shut by the glaring light.

I tripped, my face hitting the floor with a sickening crunch. The pain stabbed at me, sharp and malevolent, as the noise leapt up in volume. I opened my eyes, forcing myself to look for the cause of my fall.

At first I could not make it out, surrounded by the glare of white light, but as my eyes began to sting I realised it was a dead body. I scrambled away from it, leaping to my feet. I was exhausted, my legs ached, along with my side, and my ears were in agony. Standing was an effort. I knew if I did not eat soon, I would collapse and probably never get up again.

Suddenly I noticed that, gripped in the body’s outstretched hand was a pen, and beside a single piece of paper with a single line of writing and several splashes of ink.

It read, ’Make Your Choice’.


2018-01-29T14:42:22+00:00 February 1st, 2010|Alumni, Class of 2010|