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The Knife Falls

There is a park somewhere, with swings and a slide. It is much the same as every other park. It is only differentiated by the children who play there, the toddlers that are pushed there in prams, the teenagers who try their first cigarettes there. Night descends, and from one point of view something is lost in the park. From another point of view, something in the park takes its place where it has always belonged.

A boy of about twelve is playing in the park. He is shuffling through the long grass at the borders, looking for interesting things. Recently, he has found several golf balls, magazines that his parents would not approve of and a dead hedgehog. The hedgehog had been used as a football, or possibly a golf ball to replace the ones lost in the long grass. The sky is the colour of peach-and-barley, and the boy is thinking of going home when he finds something Special in the long grass. He is too scared to pick it up, despite the way it glitters at him and makes him crouch down to see it better. He goes home instead, and that night he cannot sleep because his dreams are so huge and weird-angled.

The next day the boy does not go to school, even though he enjoys it and today he has History, which is his favourite lesson. Instead he walks to the park on feet that don’t seem to be his own. He can remember exactly which patch of grass in the huge field he has to visit. The Special Thing is still there. It is a knife, lying amongst the blades. The boy knows that it is infinitely different from the penknife he stole from his father’s toolbox. It is not driven, point-down into the earth, nor does it protrude from a sacred stone; nothing nearly so glamorous. It simply lies there, in the grass. Its handle is plain black and made of something like wood or warm bone. The blade is straight. It looks like stainless steel, but it glitters as though it has been dipped into a star. It fits the boy’s hand perfectly. The boy has small hands for his age.

The boy marvels at the knife he has found, absorbed by the pure, disinterested sharpness of it. It barely weighs anything, and once he has it in his hand, the boy does not hesitate in testing its edge. It seems the blade can cut through anything. He tries grass, twigs, an old iron bolt, a ladybird: they are all ruined with equal disdain. He carves his name into a brick wall more easily than writing it with a pencil. He spends all day in the park wielding the knife. The knife ceases to be lost and becomes the boy’s possession, as quietly as the sky turning from blue to peach-and-barley.

The boy realises that the only thing he has yet to run that raw, glistening edge against is skin, his own skin. The boy smiles a smile to break the hearts of angels.

The knife could be considered a door, and therefore blood is the key.  Of course, all elements of the universe can be considered doors, and each door is unlocked (the ones that can be unlocked by humans, anyway) by one of the four sacramental fluids: blood, sweat, tears, and the other.

Seven drops of blood stain the grass beneath the peach-and-barley sky. The boy has gone, although gone may not be precisely correct. His parents believe he never existed.

The boy is still a boy, but something else too. His youth protects him. The boy-part’s lack of experience means that there are too few cracks of psyche and bulges of ego in his mind for certain suggestions to find a firm hold. Things cannot crawl through. The knife never once leaves the boy’s hand. He is in a new place, one which he once saw in dreams that were huge and weird-angled. He explores: he is, after all, a boy of about twelve.

The boy comes across a huge black cube, a thousand cubits across, but it is not correct. The boy sees that one edge is too long, fractionally, and that another edge curves almost imperceptibly downwards. He brandishes the knife and carves the cube into proportion, until it is perfect. The boy smiles, having realised his function. The boy continues to explore. He encounters many edifices. There are many that are plain, almost-geometric shapes. There are several houses where there stairs lead to somewhere that is not the upstairs of the same house. There is a hospital with only one room, which is named MORGUE. There are places that should never be, and whose angles and faintly warping edges would strike an observer blind, or worse. There are places that will be happy, and there are places that will be sad, and there are places that cannot be saved. He comes across a house which is a labyrinth, a house which is entirely symmetrical. He is inside the house so long that when he finally finds his way out, he has forgotten that an outside even existed. His knife never grows dull. He finds more places, more buildings and follies and aberrations. The boy does his best to make them right, and he proves exceptional at this task.

Time passes in some places, although not where the boy is. He comes across a park, with swings and a slide. It is very familiar to him. In this park, however, the shadows of the swings lay on the dry earth in such a way that they spell out a certain forbidden word of great power. It is a word that, if read, would release a particular entity with catastrophic results. The boy alters the ground with his knife to prevent such a thing.

The park becomes his park. The boy can see that the brick wall still has his name carved into it. He walks around the park and stops at the spot where he drew blood. The boy’s blood has long since washed away.

The boy looks down at his knife. He knows. He is being offered release. His circle is finished, his existence is now, finally, a closed loop. With no hesitation, he runs the blade across his throat. A door is unlocked. The boy steps through and the world closes around him.

The knife falls. The blade severs every tenuous layer in its path. It lands in the grass.

A boy of about twelve is playing in the park. He is shuffling through the long grass at the borders, looking for interesting things. Recently, he has found a Zippo with a Playboy Bunny on the side, a love-note on which the ink has half-fled and a plastic bracelet. The sky is the colour of peach-and-barley, and the boy is thinking of going home when he finds something Special in the long grass.
An exercise in restrained writing that turned into possibly my favourite thing I've ever written (although Eleionomae runs it close).
Also, it owes a substantial debt to both Jorge Luis Borges and H. P. Lovecraft.
Yeah, I'm really happy with it. And that never happens.
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Daily Deviation

Given 2007-11-05
The Knife Falls by ~dto-collective - A boy finds a knife that unlocks a doorway to an otherworldly, yet essential, experience. ( Suggested by alienhead and Featured by GunShyMartyr )
:iconhappyshorty:
happyshorty Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
great to see in the mind. I love Lovecraft. great short.
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:iconplaguejester:
PlagueJester Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012
Gave me chills. This is AMAZING!

I just did a search in the literature department here for "Lovecraft." I am SO glad you used that keyboard. So very very glad.

It was an immense pleasure to read this, and this DD was certainly well deserved.
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:iconsergeantchrishayward:
SergeantChrisHayward Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2008
Absolutely fantastic piece of literature!
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:icondto-collective:
dto-collective Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2008
Thank you very much, I'm glad you enjoyed it.
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:iconsergeantchrishayward:
SergeantChrisHayward Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2008
Keep up the good work!
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:iconpaininmybrain:
paininmybrain Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2008   Writer
This is so cool! I wouldn't be able to write like this if I had an eternity to do so, yet you've seemed to have done it so simply! This is amazing!
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:icondto-collective:
dto-collective Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2008
Haha, thank you very much! That's very sweet.
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:iconpaininmybrain:
paininmybrain Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2008   Writer
your welcome!where do you get your insperation?
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:icondto-collective:
dto-collective Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2008
I worte a little essay about where I get my ideas, which is here, but the real answer is that I don't get ideas: they get me.
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:iconjeaneai:
Jeaneai Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2007  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I did notice that it was a bit Lovecraftian. XD It confused me...but I liked it. :eyes: Well written. I'll have to read it again sometime...just to make sure I understand. XD
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:icondto-collective:
dto-collective Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2007
I'm glad you liked it. Thanks very much!
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:iconangelofplottwists:
angelofplottwists Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2007   Writer
What I loved best about this story was your ability to take a potentially dark story and keep it from becoming a piece of horror. The knife, which could cut anything, does not become an instrument of destruction, and when used as an instrument of perfection, does not perfect that which is better left imperfect. You don't leave a moral so much as an impression.
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:icondto-collective:
dto-collective Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2007
Well, you managed to say what I like about the story far more eloquently than ever could have. Thank you!
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:iconangelofplottwists:
angelofplottwists Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2007   Writer
Seems I'm good for something, then. XD You're quite welcome.
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:iconemerune:
Emerune Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2007
Wow. That was such a great story. You have every right to be extremely proud of yourself for it. It was brilliant! =D

I found the story to be somewhat strange, thrilling, and unique, all at the same time. My boyfriend thought my description of the story was disturbing even though I was really excited about it, which was kind of ironic. He usually likes things like this more than I do.

I was hooked from beginning to end. Your style is very, very cool, and I look forward to reading more of your work in the future. ^^
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:icondto-collective:
dto-collective Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2007
Thank you very much! I hope I can live up to this story, though...
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:iconemerune:
Emerune Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2007
Ah, don't worry about it. You never have to live up to anything; just be yourself. I enjoy reading what people write on here regardless of whether it lives up to any previous expectations or not. ^^
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:icontabby-katt:
Tabby-Katt Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2007
I just glimpsed this out of the corner of my eye the day it was featured but there was something about it where I just had to read it. And, I gotta say, I actually enjoyed it, which is a bit suprising cause I haven't found a good piece of writing in a while, on here or published.

I guess one reason I liked this so much is because it's deep but not too deep, so that if you don't understand it the first time around, you don't feel bored or anything when reading it over again.

I also really like your sort of loop ending there. That added nice 'oomph!' to the story. Or whatever the heck I meant by that.

Wow, this is quite the long critique, isn't it? Well, yo sum up, congrats on getting that feature because you most definitley deserve it.
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:icondto-collective:
dto-collective Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2007
That's okay, long critiques are nice. I'm especially flattered that you think I got the balance of depth right, that's something I usually struggle with.
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:iconhiroshiyuki2705:
Hiroshiyuki2705 Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2007
its absolutely amazing. i wish i could write so...abstractly. dark, yet written with inocence.
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:icondto-collective:
dto-collective Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2007
Thank you - I'm glad you think it had that innocent feel about it.
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:iconhiroshiyuki2705:
Hiroshiyuki2705 Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2007
its was sadisticaly evil.
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:iconsamara-make-a-scene:
Samara-make-a-scene Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2007
Oh my!
i read all of that and it was so beautiful and poetic.
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:icondto-collective:
dto-collective Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2007
Thank you very much! It's always nice to make someone go "oh my!" =)
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:iconsamara-make-a-scene:
Samara-make-a-scene Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2007
Yes;
of course. u_u

And i read it all~ D:
i read very slowly.. ^^;
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:iconbetter-off-dad:
better-off-dad Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2007
love it add me and check out mi page
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:icondto-collective:
dto-collective Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2007
Haha, maybe I will, Millhouse, maybe I will...
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:iconbetter-off-dad:
better-off-dad Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2007
Millhouse?
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:iconwhitedestiny:
WhiteDestiny Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2007
Clever. So, so clever.
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:icondto-collective:
dto-collective Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2007
See, this kind of comment will go straight to my ego. ;-) Thank you!
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:iconpheona:
pheona Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2007
Stunning- your knife is language. Beautiful immagry and flow. I've never faved a piece of writing until today. I loved it
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:icondto-collective:
dto-collective Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2007
I'm proud to be your first lit fave. Thanks!
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:iconwtfa54:
WTFA54 Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2007  Student Writer
amazing. just, simply amazing. you, my friend, have boundless reserves of talent
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:icondto-collective:
dto-collective Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2007
Haha, I don't know about that. :blushes: But thank you very much none the less!
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:iconblaice:
Blaice Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2007
wow I like it
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:icondto-collective:
dto-collective Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2007
Thank you, I'm glad you did.
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:iconblaice:
Blaice Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2007
your welcome
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:iconlittleshireling:
littleshireling Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2007
"his dreams are so huge and weird-angled."
"It is a knife, lying amongst the blades."
"glitters as though it has been dipped into a star."
"The boy smiles a smile to break the hearts of angels."
"A boy of about twelve is playing in the park. He is shuffling through the long grass at the borders, looking for interesting things. Recently, he has found a Zippo with a Playboy Bunny on the side, a love-note on which the ink has half-fled and a plastic bracelet. The sky is the colour of peach-and-barley, and the boy is thinking of going home when he finds something Special in the long grass."

WOW!!!!!!!!! I mean, wow!
So much sensory imagery and symbolism.
So many clever phrases.
This blew me away! :nod: You've got talent.
Next time I see skies the colour of peach-and-barley, I'll think of this. Peace and pain. Love and sadness. Life and death.
Wonderful!
Reply
:iconczarewich:
Czarewich Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2007
The first few paragraphs didn't have me very interested yet still somehow compelled me to continue reading. I'm glad I did.

It seems as though the knife, or any special object for that matter, is a manifestation of imagination. The knife was not merely a knife but rather a tool, or a means to shape things around him including his own path. This almost personifies the knife.

I had a similar feeling when watching 2001: A Space Odyssey. The plain black wall was so ominous and evil, mysterious yet simple, and clearly intelligent. The knife was extremely similar to this. Chilling.

Also it hit home. I recently wrote a poem about a similar occurrance involving a boy trying to drown himself.
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:icondto-collective:
dto-collective Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2007
Any comparison to 2001 is certainly one I can live with. Thank you very much!
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:iconjupiter-lightning:
Jupiter-Lightning Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2007  Hobbyist Writer
Amazing! This has been a joy to read. Great work. :)
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:icondto-collective:
dto-collective Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2007
Thank you very much!
Reply
:iconxbloodycuntx:
xbloodycuntx Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2007
Wow...simply wow...that's so packed with meaning you almost lose sight of any meaning which becomes meaning in itself...did you follow that? ^-^ Either way, it made me think...brilliant job medear =]
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:icondto-collective:
dto-collective Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2007
Haha, I think I follow what you mean. I love making people think.
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:iconxbloodycuntx:
xbloodycuntx Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2007
Who doesn't? With the exception of Paris Hilton and her clones that is... =]
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:icondto-collective:
dto-collective Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2007
Paris Hilton makes me think. She makes me think "Where did I leave my big stick with a nail in it? I may have a use for it."
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:iconxbloodycuntx:
xbloodycuntx Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2007
o0o0o0o Do me an enormous favor and youtube that one willya? I'll be forever in your debt... =]
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:iconspanishrubi:
spanishrubi Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2007
Imaginative, marvelous. I :+favlove: !

-Mai
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:icondto-collective:
dto-collective Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2007
Thanks very much. I love your sig, btw.
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:iconspanishrubi:
spanishrubi Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2007
Pablo Neruda is my favorite poet. :)

-Mai
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