Friday, April 19, 2013

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Extraordinary Life of Stephen Pottersworth: Part I

The life of Stephen Pottersworth started in as ordinary a way in which one's life could begin. There was no great hoopla in the streets. No visitation of celestial beings. His birth was not so easy as to incite comment and yet not too difficult as to begin his story. In fact no one would begin the story of Stephen Potterworth with his birth except for a feature of it which no one at the time took notice and no one in the future would remember. In the corner of the room there was a small pad of paper. On the topmost leaf of paper was a dot, a red dot.

The story of Stephen Pottersworth continued in much a similar vein as it began. He made friends, some were closer than others. He was not often lonely nor did he often need to escape from their presence. His grades were adequate, yet unremarkable as were his talents. His heart was broken yet not shattered and through his adolescence he excelled at little but failed at less. No one thought to investigate whether he had been born under an auspicious star as his life was ordinary in every way.

All of that began to change on his 18th birthday. Stephen Pottersworth finished in the 51st percentile of a class of average size, in a town much like most the others. He had exactly the same combination of fear and excitement as did the rest of his peers on attending a solid state school far enough from his home as to not receive inconveniently frequent family visits but close enough where the homesick could return to the familiar hearth.

As young Stephen Pottersworth was preparing to go to his stereotypical place of college employ he saw upon his desk a pad of paper. On the topmost leaf of paper was a dot, a red dot. Stephen Potterworth had no memory of drawing such a dot upon the piece of paper and no one had been in the room, to his knowledge, since he had last used the selfsame tablet. The effect of this dot on the mind of the remarkably stable and unremarkable Stephen Pottersworth was noteworthy, if only for the fact that it was in no way ordinary. As Stephen Pottersworth looked closer at the vermilion illustration he saw the pattern of lines that he knew would be there. This was no simple dot on closer inspection but was, in fact, a complex series of lines so intricate and delicate in nature that it would be easy to assume, with the flash curiosity of the age, that this was ONLY a dot. The mark was made with a brilliant shade of red very similar to the stamps seen on Chinese artwork but with such remarkable detail that Stephen Pottersworth could not imagine a woodcut or rubber stamp being able to produce such an image. What had such a powerful effect on Stephen Pottersworth completely ordinary mind was not the intricacy of the symbol in any aesthetic sense. What struck Stephen Pottersworth was that the intricacy of the symbol was completely memorized in his mind's eye. The pattern was woven on his very unremarkable soul. The explanation for this burning of his psyche was a completely commonplace one. The reason was that he had seen this dot everyday of his life and that, Stephen Pottersworth realized on his 18th birthday, was not ordinary in the least.

The light in the 2nd bathroom flickered on in absolute unity with the doorbell that rang at this exact moment and awoke Stephen Pottersworth from his flash of almost hysterical realization. He wandered to the door as someone in shell shock. Not of the pop-psych understanding of the term but in the Verdun battlefield veteran variety, with staggering steps and incoherent utterances. Stephen Pottersworth was for once truly and completely shaken. Stephen Pottersworth felt the growing feeling of singularity, rising and burning like the bile which was generously lavishing the inside of his throat.

Outside the All Hallows Eve of '98 Stephen Pottersworth has never had occasion to not answer the door. In fact Stephen Pottersworth usually approaches the rung door with a very normal speed and with a similar level of vigilance. The fact that this ring had been able to rise the sweat from his palms and the hairs on his neck was something altogether particular. Stephen Pottersworth had been exposed to a smattering of the horror genera through his life, and this felt similar, if not exactly the same, as the moments of highest suspense in said articles of entertainment. Each pulse of his average sized ventricle seemed to create a drumbeat of most unusual proportions in his perfectly normal shaped eardrum. Every breath was more labored than the last and every step of the foot more wooden his partner afore him. What could cause such abnormality? Such singular emotion and passion in our erstwhile unshakable hero? A dot and a realization concerning the aforementioned dot. There is nothing more startling to the human condition than discovering something ordinary. Nothing turns that startle to a scare faster than realizing that this ordinary thing, once discovered is seen to be in no way ordinary or even passing strange. Stephen Potterworth's discovery of the red dot, his realization of its filial relationship with the daily existence of his life; this was unheard of. Stephen Pottersworth had literally never heard of anyone discovering a symbol, archaic or otherwise, which littered their day to day affairs. To have such a spot in ones life quickly created a McBethian abhorrence towards the thing and it was this feeling of detestation that drove Mr. Pottersworth away from the dot and towards the horrible door.

With steadfast determination, which goes much beyond the expectation of such a man in such a case, Stephen Pottersworth plodded in inkblot fashion towards the vestibule at the fore of his abode. To confront, come what may, the fate of his immortal soul.