One of the goals of SPFBO is to give a chance to self-published authors to get more exposure. This year I’m taking part in the competition with my own team. You can keep updated on our progress and all of our content on my SPFBO 5 page!
Tales from the Asylum is a new feature I came up with for SPFBO. I wanted to create a unique opportunity for the authors to show off their story telling skills by taking their characters and putting them in an asylum room to see how they would deal with the situation. A lot can happen in a closed space…
Born in the year of Star Wars, in the birth town of Charles Darwin, he caught the fantasy bug as a child at the top of a faraway tree, in a hole in the ground and through a snowy wardrobe. He left Shropshire to study literature, travel the lands and seek his fortune. He settled in Madrid, where he teaches English and art, whilst scratching his imagination onto parchment.
Balagir sank. Or rose. It amounted to the same sensation. What was this place? It was as if he floated beneath a lake, except instead of water lay firmament, studded with stars that streamed downwards, weeping. How had he arrived here? He grasped at threads connected to his existence. He’d been chased. Yes, that was it. By the largatyn, the lizard folk of the mountains. Yes. He’d done them a wrong, or so they believed. He and his companions. But where were they now? He could feel them close by, but could not behold them. In different rooms, perhaps. Or different versions of the same room, each struggling to comprehend what was befalling.
“Welcome Balagir.” He froze. The voice was omnipresent, coming not only from all directions, but indeed from all times. This had already happened. Was happening now. And he had a feeling he was witnessing something yet to transpire.
“Who’s there?” he called out, his voice faint and flimsy in such an expanse.
“You’re asking the wrong question.”
“Then what question would you have me ask? Where am I? What is this place?”
He kicked in frustration, propelling himself towards lights wavering like long underwater reeds. Up was down here, down was up.
“How do I escape?”
“Yes. That is the question. But the answer is rather more complicated.” He tried to locate the voice, but once more it was impossible. It seemed to come from outside the ethereal room, for he was quite alone here.
“Yes. Quite alone.” the voice echoed, mirroring his thoughts.
“You can read my mind?” he asked, uneasy at the notion.
“In a sense.”
“Wait!” he exclaimed, “You are my mind. And these stars, these shimmering walls?”
“Your thoughts. Your dreams. Your machinations.”
“You mean, our thoughts. Our dreams.”
“Then this is all imaginary?”
He detected a distant, grim laughter.
“Who are we to say what is imaginary, and what is not. Life is imaginary. Should this asylum be any less or more so?”
Balagir growled. He hated arguing with himself. He was always one step ahead. His ideas as readable as a cheap set of Ciga bones.
“You never answered my question.” he said, indignantly. “How do I escape?”
“The answer is simple. So simple it becomes difficult to grasp.”
He cursed. How could one escape one’s own imagination? But then it came to him.
“Very good.” the voice said. “I was almost disappointed in you. And through association, myself.” Balagir ignored the voice now and used the asylum itself to aid him. For the walls were built of imagination, and he was their creator. So he imagined a window, and through it spilled sunlight. Then he imagined a door, and a key in his hand. He opened it, and saw a world beyond. A real world, solid and substantial. He thought he heard the distant voices of his companions calling, looking for him. He was about to leave when he paused on the threshold. He imagined he had a thousand keplas in his purse, and felt suddenly, their satisfying weight. The door stood open, the world awaited him beyond. But he imagined himself a chair and sat. There were many things he needed. Before he began, he imagined time stood still so there would be no rush.
Note of the Author
If you’d like to get in touch, you can find C.F. Welburn on social media:
C.F. Welburn entered The Ashen Levels into SPFBO, which you can check out by clicking on the cover which will lead you to its Amazon page:
You can keep updated on our progress and all of our content on my SPFBO 5 page!