At the Pool

I saw the devil once, in a dream.

I stood in a strange compound, in a pool of clear water that rose to my ankles, glittering with the whiteness of a moon that had horns like a ram’s. The water was icy, and I shivered, my teeth chattering. The structure surrounding me was like a public bath, the edge of the pool was coated with algae. Interlocking bricks held the ground in places were time and feet had not eroded, defiant, determined to be a relic of a past once strong, noble and proud.

I stood directly before a tree–a tree that wasn’t quite a tree. The ‘tree’ had embedded itself into the wall behind it (the wall that ran the length of the pool) in such a way as to become one with the wall, like a hideous scar on the skin of an angel. That was the first strange thing about the ‘tree’. The next strange thing about the tree was its colour: it was entirely green and smooth, like a snake of sorts, only without scales. It was striped in just two shades of green: light and deep, the marks running from the ‘roots’ up. It was green in several places with algae. The final and strangest thing about the ‘tree’ was that it was in the shape of a nude man: a giant, handsomely muscled, his back turned to me: a statue that was a real tree. He was not stooped with the weight of the world as Atlas was by Zeus condemned, but he bore his own destined weight: green, smooth branches without leaves. And especially without fruit. Except perhaps the fruits of eternal melancholy, fruits which only the human soul could taste and digest, a fruit tangible only to the mind. His left leg stretched out in front of him, long and firm, his right leg was bowed beneath firm buttocks. His hands were raised high above his head, supporting a huge canopy of branches which sprouted from his fingers. His face was turned west. His nose was pointed, his jaw, even from that angle, firm. His hair was cut short. His demeanour was calm. He looked like an angel would.

While I contemplated this apparition, a figure walked in from my peripheral vision, and I turned, startled. He was as tall as a normal man, was dark-skinned, had hair cut low, and wore dark clothes. The water rippled with music in the wake of his and my disturbance. Somehow I knew he was the devil. Refrain from asking me how I come by my knowledge, for I cannot tell you different but that I just knew it.

I do not remember what it was he said, but he seemed to want to prove a point by pointing to the tree-statue: suddenly the statue rippled and moved, changing posture, stretching his muscles, it seemed, as though tired out by the monotony of bearing his burden. The branches moved in a dance all their own, to a song all their own, eerie and frightening and surreal.

Behind us was an abandoned building. It must have been six or eight stories high; I do not remember. Of a sudden its facade was puckered with irregular holes, yawning open a swirling, sensate darkness that no creature with any modicum of intelligence would ever want to be hurled in, for it was the face of eternal doom, the abyss of the ultimate misery that a creature–any creature–can be doomed to suffer. That building was a door to perdition, and the devil unlocked it…



31 thoughts on “At the Pool” by george (@george)

  1. A nice start…the descriptions were okay but didn’t draw out goosepimples, the way a horror read should…Does one see the devil unlock the gates of hell and live to tell the tale? Even if twas a dream…your MC is lucky..hehehe..

    Check: ‘how I come by the knowledge’ should be came, since you are writing in the past tense.

    This would make a wonderful prologue to a horror book though…
    Well done George….$ß.

    P.S: look through @raymond‘s works, he does horror quite well…

    1. Okay. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  2. “I stood in a strange compound, in a pool of clear water that rose to my ankles, glittering with the whiteness of a moon that had horns like a ram’s. The water was icy, and I shivered, my teeth chattering. The structure surrounding me was like a public bath, the edge of the pool was coated with algae. Interlocking bricks held the ground in places were time and feet had not eroded, defiant, determined to be a relic of a past once strong, noble and proud.”

    Your descriptions are too unorganized; i.e you’re saying a lot without saying much. At the end of the day, I couldn’t get a clear picture of the whole thing because some new detail kept showing up. For example, you mentioned that the tree-shaped-like-a-man had his back turned to you; therefore implying that his ‘front’ was embedded in the wall. He was facing the west. And then..his demeanor was calm. I don’t think half a face is enough for you to capture the demeanor of someone – especially from an angle such as the one your protagonist was seeing the dude from.
    And then…his left leg stretched out in front of him – into where?

    Asides all that – you write well. You know how to create tension – I just think you can be clearer with your descriptions.

    More.

    1. Your observations are noted. I appreciated your taking the time to read and comment.

    2. @Seun, i disagree with you on with the issue about his face being calm. in dreams, you know stuff without really seeing or smelling or feeling. U see a form but don’t really see the person and know immediately that its a friend.
      @george i think u shd emphasize this aspect of just knowing without being really informed in dreams. it will help the reader understand. apart from that i loved it immensely and what it symbolizes. the devil has really unleashed terror on earth. i don’t get who the tree is? pls tell me. Christ? humanity? nature? life? pls tell me. i love the story lots

      1. You don’t have to agree madam @moskeda (this never ceases to amaze/amuse me; is this a debate?), you should just state your point and move on.

        Meanwhile – you may be right on how stuff works in dreams generally, but some dreams are more vivid than others. Also…he had been giving too detailed a description for him to now get away with your convenient ‘dreaming without seeing/feeling/smelling’ argument.

        ‘His nose was pointed, his jaw, even from that angle, firm. His hair was cut short. His demeanour was calm.’
        Detailed physical description.

        You don’t sense physical details in dreams – you sense feelings, moods, expressions and all that. For him to be that exact; he was seeing his environment and reporting what he saw; not what he ‘felt’.

        Thank you.

        1. @seun-odukoya
          My comment was not aimed at getting a rise out of you. Sorry for contradicting u oh. Meant no attack on ur professional observations. I was just having a conversation, not debating. Shey no harm in that? Anyways, correction taken. My apologies again.

          1. @moskeda

            When in doubt, ask questions.

            “My comment was not aimed at getting a rise out of you. Sorry for contradicting u oh”

            Seriously – what is that statement supposed to mean?
            That’s an insult.

            The best deduction you can make from my discourse above is that you got a rise out of me BECAUSE you contradicted me – really.

            1. You did not get a rise out of me. Very few people are accorded that privilege.
            It’s not even my post so why bother?

            2. You were not having a conversation. You came on opening your statement with ‘I disagree with you on the issue of his face being calm’…coming at me directly. Which is why I stated clearly and I say again; YOU DO NOT HAVE TO AGREE. It is NOT a debate.
            When you directly answer a comment made on a post NOT directed at you, you make things personal.

            3.I don’t need those kind of apologies my dear. That’s bull. Really. Instead of you to see where you might have been wrong, you’re apologizing in an insulting manner – apologizing for contradicting me. Heh.
            You’re entitled to your own opinion. My point is – don’t attack mine just because you don’t agree with it. State yours.

            Opinions, madame. Even assholes have one – and I just came to state mine. It’s for the writer to take what he needs and discard the rest.

            I’m done.

            PS: @Su’eddie…see what I mean? I swear to you I’m a prophet. I see shit coming from a mile off.

            1. Seun Odukoya and Sally, thanks really for your observations. I understand your arguments completely. Let me contradict Seun on his claim that you don’t sense physical details in dreams. Well, I DO SENSE PHYSICAL details in dreams; it’s the kind of person I am. I never sleep without dreaming, even if I nap for a minute. And most of that story (AT THE POOL) is true: I did dream it. If the narration sounds jerky, it’s because I wrote it impromptu and tried very hard to remember and recreate the ‘details’. I have strange dreams all the time. All the time. Like dreaming and knowing you’re dreaming and that therefore should fly from point A to point B? There’s plenty where they come from.

              1. Sorry, that was ‘… you should therefore fly….’ (second-to-the-last sentence).

              2. This whole thing is becoming an incoherent argument.

                I said ‘you do not sense physicality in dreams’ as a direct response to Sally saying ‘you know stuff without really seeing or smelling or feeling’.

                I disagree.

                I see people in dreams sometimes and I see them clearly – at least clearly enough to describe them. She said ‘you don’t see them; you sense them’. I said ‘you don’t sense physicality’…at least not enough to give vivid descriptions like the ones you did. For you to be able to describe them that way, it goes beyond ‘sensing’. You have to see them.

                Understand? You can ‘sense’ someone is huge – but to give actually dimension, you have to actually ‘see’ the person. You get?!

                I rest my case. If that’s not clear enough…

                1. Okay. I get you, man. Your opinion is yours to make.

  3. See, there is a trick to writing; just let it flow. Picture the whole scenario with your eyes. Do not try to be a wordsmith or show you have been writing from age 2.
    Sincerity of style usually works best.

    1. Okay. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts. You said we needed to talk?

  4. sambright (@sambrightomo)

    Great talent.Just yield to the afore advise and you will get along…And please, keep writing…

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  5. Nice story, and commentary

  6. Well done. You have a good grasp of prose or at least you’re working on it. Try to tighten on the grammar issues as well.

    1. I hear you. Thank you.

      1. indeed, just tighten on the grammar issues – you are doing well

  7. Nice story. You will get better with time. Just keep writing

    1. Hm. Thank you, sha.

  8. Me likey…can’t wait to read the sequel (hope there’s one).

    1. Thanks for likey! No, there’s no sequel. But then, you never know…

  9. Good start, @George. I like the unnatural scenario that you’ve conjured up here.

    Good word usage and writing, as well.

    Is there a part 2 (as @shadiat has asked)?

    1. Thank you for your encouragement. No, there’s no sequel.

  10. I like this @george.There is a poetic bent to this which makes the descriptions vivid enough for me and the subtle; not-too direct message was fine by me.

    I like that every line seems ethereal just like a dream.

  11. bros a lot of water has passed under the bridge do i need to add more? lol bros your prose is good. you have started well just take note of the points raised and continue to write and you will get there – cheers.

  12. Good prose. And I enjoy the dramas your posts ignite.hehehe

  13. @Seun-odukoya you never back down do you?

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