's 2014 Horror Write-off:

" Falling Action "

Submitted by Arale

“Did you hear? There is talk of a mysterious new organization taking the form of a school club. They are hidden away in a previously unused room somewhere within the hallways of this very school. If you find them, they are yours to join.”

My intention of finding such a group as described in the rumors circulating among the student body was not to disprove their existence nor to prove it. I did not know what to think about this concept, but I was not adverse to it nor was I particularly attracted to it either. My sole goal was to simply find out for myself out of curiosity about the group. It was unrelated to any beliefs I personally held regarding it, other than a general interest in urban legends in general and how they spread throughout a population, but that is fairly irrelevant a subject that has no (immediate) place in this writing.

Because a large number of rooms at any given school are being used by the staff primarily, and the maps passed out to students only marked the rooms that students would need to use, what lay in some of the obscure hallways located here was practically unknown to almost all of us. I chose to start my excursion at the first non-locked mysterious passageway I ran into which, to be honest, was not really mysterious but I did not know what lay in it.

As it turns out, this hallway was no minor unused passage. I had never heard of any of the rooms contained within, but evidentially they were used by some of the more oddly specific classes and groups. Arcane and useless courses such as the history of airports and how to become popular but not famous. Still, though, they were all fairly dry and not at all mysterious so I correctly assumed they were not the mysterious group spoken in quiet whispers in the corners of this populace.

Eventually, the hallway began to split into multiple hallways, none of which I had ever seen before either. And those hallways split into more hallways, all of which contained their own decor, rooms and connections to other halls. The amount of classrooms began to decrease the further I went until the halls began to feel less like halls of a school and instead like some terrible cheap approximation.

After what seemed like a good deal longer than I had intended to partake in this search, I noticed that I had actually been looping in circles for a bit. Apparently I had stopped paying attention to the individual characteristics of each hallway and had instead gotten distracted by the personal thoughts in my head. This repetition also carried with it the implication that I was lost, and I also noticed then that the loud and ever-persistent sounds of students conversing had ceased a while back, so I had no possible way to discern my position and direction auditorily.

The only logical thing, I decided, would be to head back the way I came, in hopes that I may notice a previously-traversed passageway that would be more visible from this direction than the one I had been going up until now. I did not ignore the fact that these halls and rooms far exceeded the amount of area that I had previously thought the school to contain, but there wasn’t really anything I could do about that.

However, when I did attempt to return the way I came, I ran into - for the very first time - a dead end. By that I mean there were no hallways connecting to this one, but there was a room.

On the window of the door to this room was an insignia. It was a depiction of a base-up equilateral equiangular purple triangle within a golden circle, the circle touching with each of the triangle’s points. Contained within the triangle, stretching from the top to the bottom was a brown rectangle with a black X connecting the two sides around the middle. I was confused about this, because I was absolutely sure I had come from this direction and there was a hallway here, not a door. But I had no choice other than to enter the room, so I did.

It was dim. There were lights but they did not illuminate the room in any meaningful manner, providing enough light to move around and observe but not nearly as much as in the halls or any other room contained within this building. It was also a rather large chamber, at least compared to your average room. In the center was a long table, but around the perimeter were several shelves seemingly built into the walls. There were books everywhere, most of them thick. A large amount were on the shelves, but there were also several open on the table. The books consisted of a wide variety of subjects, such as the ramblings of mad philosophers and obscure publications of Internet-based horror fiction. There were also art books and slim reprints of mysterious texts uncovered in caves, and I soon noticed that books were not the only media in this room.

There were posters on the walls of strange inkblots and the artwork of people suffering from mental illness. There were DVDs on the shelves, some in fancy boxes put out by large corporations and others in makeshift cases marked with pen. There were even small discs and USBs apparently containing rare video games posted for download long ago on archaic and defunct web hosts from decades past. I did not know how large the room was on account of the low light - there could have been far more than I initially saw, but I could not tell.

I soon became aware that I was not alone in this room and there were other individuals who were aware of my presence. One such person approached me stealthily in the darkness. “Excuse me,” I inquired quickly before they could begin speaking, “but what is the function of this location?”

“This is our circle.”

“Your circle? Of what sort?”

“Of a round sort, as circles are want to be.”

“Well, I should expect so, but what is the purpose of this circle?”

“We are working towards the fictionalization of the world.”

This surprised me, as it was a powerful proclamation that carried with it several dangerous and confusing implications.

It was at this point that I began to notice I was feeling a bit dizzy and I didn’t feel exactly the same as I had a few seconds before. Concerned that the individual in front of me was responsible for my current state, I felt a bit of paranoia.

“And how do you hope to accomplish such a task?” I asked.

The person who I have neglected to describe the physical characteristics of in front of me got a funny look on his face as if I had said something of hilarious stupidity. However, he shortly regained his composure and began explaining eagerly.

“What is the key difference between fiction and our reality?”

I thought before speaking. “The key difference is that fiction is designed while reality may or may not be designed or in any case does not likely follow a series of carefully calculated directions. I am assuming reality to not work this way, anyway... given as it does not appear to be done as such and is in too broad a scope to properly orchestrate.”

They gave me a satisfied grin. “Yes, that’s true. On the other hand, it is not entirely inconceivable that our world may not work within the realm of fiction. How many of the people around you do you interact with in-depth? Think of the large number of characters- er, individuals that you do not learn of in any great detail. Maybe they just aren’t written to be very deep characters.”

I was skeptical. “But what... those people have to be equally legitimate, otherwise people would notice! What justifies a ‘main character’? The world does not have a protagonist!”

“You’re assuming that reality is objective.”

“Oh no, is this going to be one of those stories?” (This was an attempt by me at trying to make a clever remark on confusing stories with long philosophical conversations in them given as we were talking about reality being a story, but it was not actually that funny and nobody laughed.)

“I guess reality is not so much a story as several billion stories. In your story, you are the protagonist and henceforth the people you interact with a lot are the well-developed characters. The same applies to each other individual. If you divide it up like that, it is not so unreasonable to think that each life could work properly as its own work of fiction...”

“I suppose, but in any case that is still an extreme hypothetical. I still do not know how you hope to accomplish this task.”

Here I remembered the strange geometrical properties of my journey to this room and became eager to press this individual on what was going on there, but I had already posited a question to them prior to thinking such a thought and did not wish to interrupt because that would be rude.

“That is simple. By invoking tropes.”

This was not a word I was entirely unfamiliar with. I was vaguely aware that a trope was a recurring theme, device or convention in fiction. This person continued to explain quite lengthily their thoughts on how if one were to intentionally design their life to resemble fiction, it could potentially transform into it entirely.

“True enough,” I said, “but there are a few discrepancies I can see at present. The first is that life is not enjoyable to view like fiction is. It is not generally idealistic or engaging, nor does it have a sense of pacing or plot structure. I know you are attempting to correct that, but how could the average life still be a story?”

“Why, obviously such lives are just brutally cynical stories designed to emulate real life as an artistic statement.”

“Oh, of course.”


“My second problem with your theories,” I proceeded, “is that it doesn’t actually work. Reality can’t be changed by living it a certain way, just as you cannot turn water into wine by not allowing peoples under the age of 21 to drink it.”

“A very astute conclusion to come to, requiring much in the way of logical thinking. However, I must inform you that I have an explanation to that as well. You see, reality’s status as fiction or not is entirely unknown. Our ideals may be hypothetical, yes, but hypothetical does imply a chance of truth.”


“So, if you applied Schrödinger’s cat, you would see that reality has no fixed state or origin until somebody discovers it. Obviously. Furthermore I hope to use the general belief that life runs on fiction to subtly affect the reality of the situation in our favor.”

I thought that quantum physics probably did not work quite like that but I was no expert so I did not say anything regarding it.

I only had just noticed then that we were not standing in the same position as when we had begun speaking. In fact, we had moved down the room - maybe we had walked over here or maybe we didn’t. I could no longer see the door that I had come in through the dim light and what may have been mist, nor could I see any wall in the opposite direction either. I realized here and now that I had accomplished my goal of discovering if the rumored club was real or not and it was honestly time for me to leave.

“I have to go,” I said abruptly, rudely interrupting the shady member’s newest metaphysical and quite honestly pretentious monologue. But they didn’t stop talking. More importantly, I had no idea what they were saying. I knew they were talking, that much I could be sure of, but the words were completely unknown to me. I have a hard time recounting what this felt like, but suffice to say that I could hear sounds that were vaguely like talking in our language, but I could not make out any true words amidst the chaos.

Sensing my unfortunately visible panic at this bizarre perception error I had encountered, they tilted their head to the side and I also realized that I had no idea what their face looked like, nor their gender if any. “Is there a problem?” they asked, bringing me back to some semblance of mental normality as I heard their words forming a proper sentence with meaning again. It was at this point when everything changed.

I felt like I had suddenly fallen off a building.

The blood was there.

Suddenly my vision was entirely monochrome with the person in front of me now taking the appearance of a black silhouette on a white background but everything felt dark and condensed. I distinctly felt like I was no longer talking to the same being.

“You’re not.”

At first I thought it was reading my mind but that made little sense given as I had not actually thought the words-

“Stop that.”

Extremely annoyed that my recollection of my past events had been interrupted, I-

“Come on, think about what you’re saying. That doesn’t even make any sense.”

Unsure of what this unknown force meant by this-

“How can you be interrupted if you’re narrating this story in the past tense?”


“Or were you ever?”

At this point I stopped being able to-

“Did you think that would save you?”


“But in any case there’s nowhere to go from here. Thus ends your time and ours.”

And that was all.