The Four – Short Story
By: Susanna Arizona
The sky is black; no clouds, no stars, nothing at all creates a mark or flaw in its vastness. This black sky’s horizon is bordered by the sharp rectangular figures of brick buildings, with light coral colored brick streets in between them. Four characters are placed on the main brick street. Their shadowy figures are still from a distance. There is no one else around – not a single breath, not a single breeze of wind, not a single footstep. They begin to roam down this brick street, wondering who they are, where they are, and how they got there.
Peering down one of the darkened alleyways, a new scene comes into view – black silhouettes of many people bustling down the street, all kinds of cars inching along with their headlights blazing, flashing neon bulbs on the buildings. The people were mostly men in hats and carrying briefcases. The scene is mute, the four heard only silence.
Suddenly sounds marched down the alleyway and filed into their ears, swelling until they were overflowing with the noise of loud footsteps, talking, and all harmonies of a busy street. Freezing fear seized the four yet they were solidly drawn to the sight. They sauntered painfully slowly down the alleyway towards the city street. With each step closer the dazzling lights ahead become three steps farther distant.
The four abruptly halted. A yellow arrow on the brick ground is flashing wildly; it points to the right down a cutoff alleyway. This alleyway is lit softly with the pleasant colors of rouge and sky blue. The four turn, and pace quickly down the new alleyway. They begin to run madly until the end…
…a very dark booth with cushioned walls waits and the four step inside. The air is light, smells like rich vanilla and makes the four feel lightheaded and dreamlike. There are four posters on the far wall bordered with flashing, white bulbs. They all sit down; the floor is black like midnight and soft like a cloud.
A large white screen suddenly drapes the wall that they face. They hear a click followed by the buzzing of rolling film. Lights and colors begin to flash across the screen in pictures of funny cartoon animals. There is a pig wearing a blue birthday hat and trying to frost a layered cake, but a parade of other animals races through and continues to ruin the cake. The pig just smiles and begins again. There is no sound, only the buzzing of the film.
The four notice a big silver bowl in front of them – full of colorful chocolates. There are four smaller bowls stacked beside it and they begin to dish out the chocolates. They each take a glass of milk also. They eat their chocolates and drink their milk and watch the funny cartoon.
Click. The buzzing stops and the screen goes blank. The four stand up and shuffle out of the booth; they have forgotten entirely about the alluring city lights. Their minds are blank – just like the screen. The four wander down the alleyway and out onto a main brick street. They sky is black, and everything is silent.
They begin to roam down this brick street, wondering who they are, where they are, and how they got there.