Monday, May 25, 2009

Destination Unknown: "The Mysterious Name"

There are plenty of paths to choose as you begin your Midnight Walk. Sometimes you'll walk alone. But now and then you'll realize that someone else, sunk in shadow, is matching your stride. As you go on, a few more strangers join in on the journey. Nobody speaks, but all of you sense you're traveling to the same place. At first the mood is one of great anticipation. Yet the dread increases as each step brings you all closer to your destination. The time comes when you would give anything to turn back. You want nothing more than to scream at the others to run away while they are still able. But you can no longer speak.

And then, finally, you understand. You thought this trip would decide your destiny. But it isn't just about you anymore. You look around and suddenly recognize the faces of those walking with you. And you know that, without meaning to, you've dragged along your family, your dearest friends, and passing acquaintances. Even the bystanders whom you wished no harm are with you and must share to some extent in your doom. Examining your companions more closely, you now see the reason why.

You are all connected with a link stronger than any chain. It is a fetter forged with words spoken, glances given, deceits encouraged and love withheld. All of your actions, minor and major, have rippled outward and ensnared the guilty and the innocent alike.

Sometimes, a Midnight Walk begins with one person, with just a single step down. But sometimes, the step that begins with one can send an entire society into an abyss.

That's the concept I explore in my story, "The Mysterious Name."

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