Monday, January 6, 2014

"The Outside World" (Part 1)

       In 1997, a man by the name of Friedrich Schull developed an idea to rid the world of conflict. His idea: raise a new Adam and Eve. He hypothesized that if two individuals, a man and a woman, were to grow up with minimal interpersonal contact--seeing no one but Schull himself, they would be able to fully develop into their own, unique characters without the impediments and infringements that society would put on them. After Schull judged the time to be right, however, they would meet one another and develop a pure, unadulterated, fully-innocent relationship. Hence, a new generation, a sinless legacy, would be born.
       All went well, until war was imminent in 2017. Schull had good reason to believe that where he had housed his subjects, who were named Sam and July (pronounced Julie), would be in danger of the repercussions and collateral effects of war. In addition, his status in the government required his departure from Sam and July and the housing complex that held them. Knowing his priorities would be split, he decided it was time to release his twochildren,” albeit earlier than previously intended.
       This is the story of Sam and July.   

       Another loud noise startled Sam as it sent tremors through the room. This one sounded much closer than the previous dozen. Amidst the quakes, he was struggling to identify this new emotion that he felt. In twenty-one years, Sam had never experienced this strong of a feeling before and the emotion seemed to be getting stronger as the noises grew louder. His main problem with the feeling was how foreign it was. Along with the strangeness came an enormous amount of discomfort--but it was more then simply “discomfort.” This feeling felt deeper and more basal.
       The previous day, Mr. Schull had told Sam that there might be some unusual noises in the imminent future. Currently, however, Sam began to wonder why Mr. Schull didn’t warn him that they would be so loud and discomforting. Sam always trusted the word of Mr. Schull; for the past 21 years, Sam had been taught by him and he never once doubted him. So when he came to Sam to tell him that he was going to be away for a few days, Sam trusted his word and eagerly expected his return. He knew that when Mr. Schull returned, he would explain the loud noises and the mysterious new feelings that plagued him. 
       Sam continued thinking of words to describe what he was feeling inside, but no words could describe the foreign feeling in his heart. The closest feeling he could equate it to was when Mr. Schull failed to feed him one time. He remembered that Mr. Schull called the feeling, “hunger,” and that the feeling came about because Sam’s body was in need of the essential sustenance to function properly. Sam knew that the current feeling was stronger and different than hunger; his stomach was full after eating all the food that had been provided for him before Mr. Schull had gone away. This was something else--something new.
       Another loud noise rattled the walls in Sam’s room--this time much closer than before. He backed as far away as he could from the wall from which the noises were originating until his back rested against the knob-less doorway of his room. He stared at the wall opposite which was covered in his paintings and wondered what those noises could be. He could feel his heart beating inside of him and he noticed that he was breathing like he did when he went running on the treadmill. The longer Sam felt and thought about this strange feeling, the more it grew. He grew increasingly frustrated that he could not put words to it and he wished that Mr. Schull was there to explain everything to him. 
       His instincts replaced his pondering as the loudest noise yet thundered outside the wall opposite from him. In unison with the noise, the wall burst inward, hurtling its fragments toward Sam. He crouched, put his hands up and shut his eyes. Sam’s room was covered in soot before he could grasp what had happened. His eyes struggled to comprehend the image before him: one of the four walls he had lived behind for 21 years was now shattered before him on the floor. 
       A large amount of light streamed through the gaping hole. He had never seen such a light before, but he was more concerned with discovering how and why the wall had broken. His room was a mass of gray matter filled with dust, plaster and his scattered belongings. Sam had no idea what to do; Mr. Schull had never prepared him for anything like this. The plaguing feeling returned, this time, though, it seemed to make his whole body shake. He sometimes felt this way after an exceptionally long run on the treadmill, but this feeling was much stronger and came from no physical exertion, so he considered it to be a different feeling altogether.
       After the dust had cleared, Sam remained against the wall, staring out of the large opening. His pulse was still racing and body was still shaking. He continued to hear the loud noises in the distance, but they were softer than before and seemed to now originate from behind him. 
       Did something pass by?  
       The plaguing feeling was still there, but it was not as strong as when the wall had come down. Despite this, it did not make it any less confusing for him, and the mystery of the foreign noises and feelings continued to frustrate him. After a moment to let his heart and nerves calm down, he decided that it was safe to take a step away from the wall and towards the opening. 
       This would be the first time Sam had ever looked outside of his room. He was not curious about what lay beyond since Mr. Schull explained to Sam that he was perfectly able to create his own world within the confines of his room and that everything, and everyone (except Mr. Schull), outside of his room was a distraction to his “personal perfection,” as Mr. Schull had called it. For Sam’s entire life, Mr. Schull provided him with books, writing utensils, paper, paint, canvases, exercise equipment, food, water and just about anything that Mr. Schull believed to be beneficial for Sam. Sam had painted pictures of the animals and landscapes that he had seen in some of the books that Mr. Schull had given him. Some of them were of monkeys riding on the backs of lions as they climbed trees together, while others were of magnificent winged bears jumping off waterfalls. Mr. Schull told Sam that his imagination was limitless and that his paintings were where his imagination could be captured, so Sam thought that he could combine images and ideas to make his own, unique world. Painting was what he enjoyed doing the most, although he did enjoy reading and playing his guitar too.  
       Now, all those paintings were destroyed by the loud noise and broken wall. Sam could see the shattered remnants of some of his favorites beneath the debris. He knelt down and picked up the fragment of the painting he had done of Mr. Schull. All that was left of the painting was part of his left eye and the top of his head. Sam tossed the painting down because he did not see any reason to keep it. He stood there for a moment and looked at the mess. This was his world and his life, and it was now covered in chunks of sheet rock, wood fragments and shattered paintings. One again, the plaguing feeling sent those uncomfortable feelings throughout his body.
       Trying to ignore the emotion, he glanced out the large hole in the wall to see the outside world for the first time. He had seen pictures of places in books before, but this was different. The outside did not look anything like Sam would have guessed. It was not flawless or beautiful. It was covered in grey dust, and there were many large holes in the ground including one right outside his room. 
       Sam took notice of the large light outside. He knew that it was called “the sun” and that it provided energy for all the plants, animals and people, but he also remembered Mr. Schull’s warnings against being exposed to it.  
       The grey matter outside, however, made him confused; he had never seen any pictures of anything like it before. What he saw through the large hole only confirmed what Mr. Schull had said: everything outside is a distraction from personal perfection. Sam knew that all his paintings were far more beautiful than the grey and lifeless matter he was beholding. 
       Something, however, made him want to venture out of his room, despite the danger of being exposed to the sun. He knew that this feeling was called, “curiosity,” and that it should be handled with great care, as Mr. Schull had told him. Sam considered that leaving the room for a short while would be a safe decision. The only thing that made him hesitate, though, was what Mr. Schull would think. Would he be disappointed with Sam for venturing out of his room by being curious? Was this a legitimate way to express curiosity? Sam thought back to the only time Mr. Schull was disappointed in him: when Sam had been unconfident about his abilities. Sam assumed that since he was confident in his decision to leave the room and explore, Mr. Schull would not be disappointed. Sam made his decision.
       He continued to hear the distant sounds of those noises, but they were far too distant to cause any more of those plaguing feelings from earlier to return. He meandered around the pile of debris, past his sink, and towards his toilet and shower stall. He reached the edge of the large hole in the wall before he slowly crept towards the gaping hole in the wall. 
       Once he reached the edge of it, he felt his heart beat again, but this time with the positive emotion of excitement. He plucked up the courage to poke his head farther out into the opening to get a better look at the outside world.
       The air was what first took Sam by surprise; he had never felt such a thing before. It seemed to brush his face in a far more graceful way than the fan in his room ever could. It seemed so natural and easy that it made him smile. The next thing he noticed was how large the outside world really was. He had known about the size of the Earth from books, but he never fathomed what such a large area actually looked like. The air made him smile, but the magnitude of the world made him laugh. 
       He closed his eyes, taking in the experience. The distant rumbling of the noises no longer bothered him, and he could enjoy the sensation of the outside world with no uncomfortable feeling. He reopened his eyes to see that he was in what he knew to be called a “farm.” The barn was off to his right, and a few smaller, unknown buildings were scattered around the property. 
       It then occurred to him to look behind him and see what the outside of his room looked like. He stepped out into the gray hole outside his room before he turned to look back towards his room. Sam now realized that the room was a part of a house, and it was all taller than Sam would have guessed. There seemed to be another room on top of his own since there was a window in the wall above his head. The building was white and made of wood. It was medium-sized house (at least compared to the pictures that Sam had seen in books), with a covered porch to the right and a deck to the left, behind the house. Sam looked down to see that he was standing on rocks and sand. 
       Gravel, he thought to himself. 
       He knew that he was standing on what was called a “driveway.” The driveway had a few large holes, like the one just outside his room, and they each had a large black mark within them. 
       These must be what those noises were, or at least the result of those noises, he thought.
       The sun above had grown brighter and the surrounding premises became more visible as the grey dust from the holes had dissipated. The farmyard was now more fully lit and Sam could feel the heat from the sun beat down on him. This made him smile again. With the dust gone and the sun shining brightly, he began to second guess his original belief that the outside world was grey and unattractive. Even with the grey and black holes in the ground, Sam could see how the world around him would normally have looked. 
       He began to ponder to himself. Why did Mr. Schull keep me in that room all these years? What is so bad about all this? He looked at the holed in the ground again. I wonder if he knew about those noises and these holes and how they would have distracted me from my paintings. And if the sun is so bad, why does it feel so good and shine so beautifully? He still trusted Mr. Schull, but he was definitely going to keep him busy with questions upon his return. 
       Sam continued to explore the farmyard, often gazing across the field to the trees in the distance. 
       Forest. I wonder... Sam resisted thinking about exploring anything beyond the farmyard, and he reassured himself with a supposition, Mr. Schull must have not wanted me to experience anything beyond the farmyard, and he took great care in protecting me from all the distractions that lie beyond by keeping me safe in my room. 
       This guess was good enough for Sam as he continued to walk around the yard, taking note of everything that he recognized from books and reminding himself to ask Mr. Schull about everything else that was foreign to him.
       The sky towered above him, and he stood for a long time trying to fathom it. The clouds moved slowly and Sam could only stare. No amount of books or pictures could have prepared him for the enormity of the world. He began to wonder how insignificant his own world in his little room would have been if it was compared to the glory he currently beheld.
       After exploring the yard for an hour, Sam came back to the house and sat on a chair on the front porch. Next to the chair was a table with a small piece of wood on it. The piece of wood was round and thick on one end and curved sharply before it tapered off to a significantly skinnier end. The large, round end had a large hole in it and the skinny end had a smaller hole in it. This was another thing that Sam could not identify. He picked it up and smelt it. A strong smell of something like sweet herbs came from the large hole. 
       This is what Mr. Schull smells like! I wonder what it is. 
       Before he could examine the object further, he heard a new noise. It was soft and muffled, but distinct. It came from around the house to the left; it sounded like it originated on the opposite side of the house from where his room was. The sound was like his own voice, but softer and higher. Sam knew it wasn’t Mr. Schull’s voice, either, because it wasn’t deep enough. He thought that maybe the noise was spoken words like Mr. Schull and himself use, but if the originator was speaking with words, he could not understand what the voice was saying. 
       Is it an animal? 
       He got out of his chair and walked around the side of the house to get a clearer sound of it. When he came to a stop, he could now tell that the noise was indeed a voice and it was speaking words like he and Mr. Shull use. 
       “Mrs. Schull! What are those noises?” it was yelling.  
       Sam was unsure what to do. Another person is here! 
       “Mrs. Schull! Where are you?!” The voice continued to holler.
       Why is he saying Mrs. Schull? It’s Mr. Schull. 
       He had that plaguing feeling again, but this time it was because of the realization that there was another person that he had never met before. Growing up, Sam had always wanted to meet other people, but Mr. Schull always told him that everyone except for Mr. Schull himself was a hindrance to Sam growing up into the perfect man that he was meant to be. He was always taught that the more people he would meet and get to know, the more he will lose himself and never be the same.
       Sam thought that maybe he should leave the voice alone and ignore it until Mr. Schull returned. 
       I cannot risk this. Not without Mr. Schull. 
       But the voice kept hollering through the wall, and for the first time in his life, Sam felt a deep feeling of desire that was hard to disregard. He desired to see this person. In a single moment by a single desire, everything that Mr. Schull had taught him growing up was brushed aside. 
       Who is this person? I want to meet him! Sam thought. 
       The plaguing feeling returned shortly after this desire came, and Sam found himself with a difficult decision: ignore the noise and continue to desire, or discover the source of the noise and never be the same?

------------> Read Part 2 Here! <----------------

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