Agatha unravelled - part 2 of 2

What if the current multi-million venture to break out of the Matrix succeeded? What if we got our answers during a world upending event named The Fissure? But they turned out to be not the ones we wished for.

“Agatha Unravelled” is a short story which revolves around one man’s need to come to terms with his grief, while he attempts to unravel the secret behind his wife’s death and how it connects with the Fissure.

For the first part of this short story, please go to Agatha unravelled part 1 of 2

If you are interested in the current technological events that inspired this micro-narrative, please read my article “Venture me out of the Matrix”

The cancer of the soul

I counted the days, something I did with alarming frequency lately, and noticed we had passed the three years mark. Three years since the Fissure.

The Fissure ignited a cancer, and it spread deep and wide, ravaged everything in its path. No one was spared. Presented with an undeniable fact, we were all living in some kind of blasted simulation, that our cold and stinky feet, our wrinkled fingers, our distorted mirror images, they were simply not real. This very fact got to everyone, sooner or later, and slowly eroded our souls. Till there was nothing left.

The suicides wouldn’t be contained. How could they be? However stigmatised they were in the media, most people considered them appropriate.  After the Fissure, people preferred to call them the Choice. Logically the least sane thing to do, however emotionally, the only logical thing to do. The choice to check out. The final protest against the nonsense of it all.

But the Fissure itself wasn’t the nail in the coffin. After all, some religions, some spritual movements and the most reverent of people, they still fought a valiant battle. Attempts were made to explain this away. Efforts to undermine the undeniable facts.  Make sense of the nonsense. And people clang onto that.  Yeah, it sure kept those poor souls going. For a while at least.

Maybe everything would have normalised, if left alone. But it wasn’t supposed to go that way.

The Think tanks, the Research facilities, the Silicon Valley hot-heads, they all had to push on, get to the bottom of this. If we were not real, then the Real Real had to exist sowmewhere. Surely.

Because somewhere deep inside, everyone still had hope this research would lead to uncovering what started it all. The question itself. If we were living in a simulated reality, where was this other place? What was its quality like? The promised Base Reality – the real reality. The supposed Nirvana.

And the break-through came alright. Only it came crushing down on our heads.  It presented a clinical and undeniable fact. Something no one had even dared to consider.

There was nowhere to escape to.

In afterthought, how could you blame the scientists? It was genuine curiosity and wonder for the mysteries of the universe which spurred them on.  Yet what we got was a blasted Pandora Box. And this time, the damned lid of disillusionment would never shut.

The final check out

I glanced at all the guests. Most of them were my friends, some even very close. They were all supportive, nurturing and sensitive to what I was going through. But the moment I let my guards down, and began to speak my mind, everyone scrambled for some other place. As far away from me as possible.

I couldn’t really blame them. My questions, my search for answers, I knew what it meant for them. It was a constant reminder of the Fissure. And no one had the strength to indulge in these kind of mindfucks.

Not any longer.

Nobody desired to be reminded their cars and houses strung out on credit were some kind of freaking illusions. Their families and the warmth they provided were just their neurons firing off figments in their heads. Everyone’s life goals, loving emotions and fulfilling moments, were yet another phony bout of the psychotropic drug called our World.

When Agatha vanished from our lives, it was met with a crushing silence – from everybody. Yes. There were some attempts at condolences, some more successful than others. But everyone fumbled. And with every fumble, it became more obvious, the epicentre of hope she represented, was torn away from us. Nobody could grasp this simple fact. She was gone. Checked out.

But it got worse. Evidence she left behind which no one was supposed to talk about. If nothing else then out of respect for the dead.

And so it spread like wildfire.

Agatha’s choice wasn’t a rash act. It was rather a delibarate and calculated preparation on her part. Done meticously and with the greatest of attention, many months before the actual event.

Her Choice was mysterious, her death was irreconcilable, but the delibarate preparation, concealed behind her compassionate smiles, that was inexplicable.

Was she unable to sustain us all? Did she feel responsible for all of us?Were we simply asking too much of her?

The questions of the past and the worries of the future

I got up. I knew my feet were supposed to carry me onto the podium. I was supposed to do my duty – deliver the Eulogy in memory of her.

I had prepared the speech many weeks prior to the event itself. I had gone by the book, even looked up how to write one. How did we meet? Check. What special moments did Agatha and I share together? Check. And that one special, funny moment that would make everyone laugh and cry, in tandem. Check.

Except, when I got up, and finally stepped into the limelight, my body froze, my mouth dried up, and the nervous system collapsed

I realised, I would never deliver that speech. No matter how pitch perfect and polished it was. It was a sham.

Everyone shot me concerned glances, eyed me with suspicion. Was the speech the last straw? A breakdown about to erupt into a mortifying scandal.

As the pause drew out into an uneasy silence, all of  a sudden, Agatha’s dog jumped up and began to lick my face. His eyes exploded with a familiar thirst for life – Agatha’s eyes. Agatha’s eyes.

Something chugged inside me. Something buried away a long time ago. And all of a sudden, I began to weep like an uncontrolled baby.

Everyone’s mouth choked on a gasp.

I din’t care. I kept on weeping without remorse.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, there was still noise. Questions about the past and worries about the future.  Were we a too heavy weight to carry on Agataha’s shoulders? Were we too much for her, with our fizzling joy of life. Was she unable to sustain us all? Did she feel responsible for all of us? Were we simply asking too much of her?  Would we make it without her? Were we strong enough?

But maybe these questions were the kind which were not supposed to be answered. Maybe the right answers were right in front of me, in those dog’s eyes.  Because when I stared into them, I felt happy, sad, elated. All of it at once.

So I hugged him even closer into me, he yelped, and exploded with joy. Did he sense me igniting back to life? Did he feel me letting go, resurfacing back to life? Maybe that’s what Agatha needed in her last moments. This joy, the present, the moment.

The Now.

If anything was real, maybe this was it.

God.

For someone who was supposed not to be real, I never felt so fucking real.

Piotr Ryczko

Story's author

As long as I can remember, a part of me has always been a keen, albeit very quiet, observer of the world around me. And another part has been a wide-eyed wonder boy who, from the get go, wanted to escape into another dimension, some yet undiscovered version of the land of Oz.

This combination of character has, on more than one occasion, shown itself to be a tad aggravating, and maybe even quite unfortunate to the outside world. And since my verbal skills are still locked away in some deep recess of my being, a talent still awaiting discovery, I had no other choice than to become a visual storyteller dressed up as filmmaker. During that process I also fell in love with words, quite many of them, actually.  Since then, there was no turning back, and I became a scribe of the written word.

Through this blog, and through my stories, be they written or told in moving images, I would like to share with you what I feel, think and dream of. And if anything on this blog connects with you, mail me, I would love to hear about it.

More storytelling in all of its glorious incarnations

The future of the Auter filmmaker

Where is the story/cinema auteur’s place in the next decade? Is there a future for us or will we be facing ever harder times. I believe the coming decade will bring forth new ways to tell stories, unlike anything we’ve seen before, and it will be more accessible than it has ever been before. All of this will have a major impact on the Auteur Filmmaker/Storyteller. In the most profound way.

ha(V)en

Ingrid and Silje, mother and daugther, two seemingly perfect lives, intertwined in a deep, loving bond. But their connection is about to be broken when Ingrid one day is told by her daughter she has to leave her, or her mother will die. Why does Silje have a precognition of the future, one which seems to be coming true? Why is Ingrid dying? And what is ha(V)en?

When does a mother/daughter bond become an addiction, toxic and filled with attachment? And can there be a solution in the future, a magical technology, which will ease our grief? Help us work through these seemingly impossible emotions? Or will it be just an escape hatch, an easy way out, just so we don’t have to deal with what’s truly inside us?

Clunky words, fuzzy images

There are quite a few stories around the web which explore the subject of adapting a novel into a screenplay, and ultimately film. What I would like to do is to take a look at these issues from my personal experience while writing my debut novel, “A child made to order”. I would also like to share with you some of the differences which are inherent in these mediums. And how a screenwriter/author might marry two such differing approaches in order to write a finely crafted Story.

Rene v3.2 – part 2

“Rene v3.2” – a short story about a female robot companion. A woman made only to fulfill other’s needs. Seen through Rene’s eyes, the story takes the worn cliche of the dangerous Artificial Intelligence, and turns it on its head. It asks if A.I.’s will be able to replace true human relationships? Especially the ones of the intimate kind. How might we treat them? How will the Robot Companion react emotionally? What rights will she have if abused? And what is the nature of consciousness? The very thing that defines a human.

Rene v3.2 – part 1

“Rene v3.2” – a short story about a female robot companion. A woman made only to fulfill other’s needs. Seen through Rene’s eyes, the story takes the worn cliche of the dangerous Artificial Intelligence, and turns it on its head. It asks if A.I.’s will be able to replace true human relationships? Especially the ones of the intimate kind. How might we treat them? How will the Robot Companion react emotionally? What rights will she have if abused? And is she less of a human if artificially made?