Tell A Tale — Gothic Fiction

A Fish Asunder By Colin Heaney

The phone spoke to Harold - it spoke to him in a way no person ever could. There was beauty in this symbiotic relationship, in his ability to upload a better version of himself into another plane. So that’s what he did.



His room was dusty, with grimy walls and torn curtains. But his online home was a grand mansion. Harold was really Matthew Waters to the digital masses; a rich business man who made his fortune in the stock market. He looked different too - his hair no longer receding and his muscles bulging. A dark, tall, handsome man. That was Matthew Waters.



The dark corners of his room lurked like some cruel revelation. Look. It would say. Look at the lonely, pathetic, weak Harold Smith. But Matthew wouldn’t bow to the will of such ruminations.



The night was a quiet beast; sleeping among its gold. The world was gold among its fiery chaos, and Matthew knew what to do with gold. The curtains, torn asunder, dangled from the sill, touching the filthy floorboards. The light from a nearby lamppost became a cosmic glow, illuminating Matthew’s face and highlighting his deranged countenance. The device was his sanctuary, and his sanctuary was his heart. When he strayed too far from his heart he found himself growing cold and inhuman - or maybe it was the world around him? Such a question crossed his mind. Conformity to the masses or pariah to the few. That was how Harold viewed such worldly issues.



Matthew conformed to the masses. He waved at passers-by, gathered a substantial friends list online, sent messages to women with confidence and bravado. Heck, he even set dates to meet a few unfortunate souls. Of course, it would be Harold who greeted them. Harold came about when the nervous bug bit him. That bug sunk its teeth in under the gaze of his horrified dates - for they came face to face with the truth. Harold was not six foot two; he was five-five. He did not have slick black hair; he was bald. He was not twenty five years old; he was fifty. These women couldn’t comprehend such a dastardly revelation. They couldn’t accept the true man - the other half. He begged them to listen; told them that Matthew was there in spirit and soul, lurking deep within. At any moment he could arise, Harold explained. But the women never listened, They tried to attack Harold, or more often, they tried to leave. Harold couldn’t have that, so he did what was necessary.



For a short time after Matthew would rest. But there came a time when Harold turned back to the device, unable to ignore its whispers. I could make you better. It would say. You could be a god here. So the pariah became the man for the masses; he became Matthew Waters again. The other world beckoned.

 


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