Wyatt Rogers: Fiction Contest

Wyatt Rogers won first place in the Kathleen Downey Short Fiction Contest!

A Fragment of a Writer

By Richard Mayne

As a writer there is scarcely a time where I read something and instantly think, “I’m not good at what I do.” After reading Wyatt R. Rogers’ winning submission into the Kathleen Downey Short Fiction Contest at WSU, “Fragments of the End of Our Dream,” it’s safe to say I’m not very good at what I do.

Such is life I suppose.

The story takes place in a hospital, and is inspired by the loss of a loved one to drug addiction. Rogers describes his story as dark, with some of its inspirations coming from horror. He added that the story has aspects of prose poetry. Which makes sense, seeing as he’d reveal he’s “more of a poet,” as our interview went on. Should I mention Rogers also won the Barbara Pilon Poetry Contest at WSU now, or later? I’m asking for a friend.

“I like to juxtapose beauty and darkness,” said Rogers, adding, “I’d say the story’s theme would be love and longevity.”

The senior English major, and current student teacher, wants to “really be remembered as a pioneer of American education, and one of the most influential writers of the twenty-first century.” Rogers enjoys writing “anything postmodern,” along with pieces that would be considered experimental. An enthusiast of hardcore music, and independent film, Rogers mentions some of his influences being H.P. Lovecraft, Franz Kafka, William Faulkner, and Mark Z. Danielewski.

One future story Rogers shared with me was described as “a piece of metafiction. On a winter’s night, a traveller is providing literary criticism on his friends suicide note.” We also spoke at length about his concept and idea for a sci-fi novel, but I refuse to let a single bean spill under my watch.

Until such a time where we can enjoy more of Wyatt’s work, here is “Fragments of the End of Our Dream” which The New Worcester Spy is proud to publish.

Note: The best way to contact Wyatt is through email, wrogers@worcester.edu

“Fragments of the End of Our Dream”

By Wyatt R. Rogers

Her edges were soft, her face was smooth with an approachable air of gentleness, and her body glowed with radiant allure. In her presence, I was cupped by sunbeams, enveloped in a weightless atmosphere. Standing, immersed in the still blades of grass, breathing in the healing drawn from satin kisses planted on her lips, I was entirely cemented in the prospect of us and where we could go together in this land beyond the pale, unfettered by the restrictions of reality and the unreliability of the body. From her every footstep, flowers trailed in her wake. Honorably, trees bowed their arboreal heads—boughs softly swaying; a cadence in the curtain close of the days we shared in sleep. We were limitless and happy, sheltered and immune from hurt. She was as I remembered her to be. Perhaps even more.

She was bound by tubes and wires in her deathbed, surrounded by a miscellany of wilting and fresh cut flowers in crystal vases. A gradient of aromatic, saturated color to brown and grey. Ephemeral petals falling to the linoleum floor. Every day, hands of her loved ones would interlock with her own; tenuous fingers would run through the wild waves of her hair—lips planted on her cheeks and forehead—sensations she would never feel in her deep slumber. Once untamed, she lay shackled by machinery which would tube feed and hydrate her through an IV; a pale and unmoving husk on display, lulled by the sharp beep of her heart monitor. Only through this clinical prison would she have the means to stay alive. Was this even considered living?

Around me the world began to disintegrate. Beneath the canvas soaked in vivid color and surreal depth was something twisted and fragmented. Something that peered through the split between reality and dream; a mortal wound. Landscapes crumbled and mountains were blown away; particles and grains of life carried by the wind’s covetous hands, thrust into the turbulent sea. Tree tops set ablaze while trunks blistered and bled; scorched with searing open sores. The bark split and screamed the suffering she felt. Flowers hung lifeless, eclipsed by the overgrowth of flame.

Rungs of analog static continually intercepted my conscious thought, stinging like a needle striking a nerve. The picture surrounding me grew off-center, objects bleeding into one another up and down, up and down. I couldn’t focus. I could only feel a loss of control and coordination as my vision lost a vertical or horizontal hold. The alignment worn down into an unintelligible tape feed of psychosis.

My extremities shook and shook. Spastic twinges in my ligaments. Everything erupted into muffled echoes which transitioned into sharp, visceral, electrical hums which pierced through my skull like a bullet reverberating and ricocheting off of the walls of my skull, aggressively tunneling through my brain matter until I lay there with a reddened face accentuated by cheeks carved by tears. I laid paralyzed, forced to embrace great tremors beneath my limp frame. The once-still grass blades swayed off-kilter and contorted. My mouth was dry—my tongue twitched while my lips cracked and split. I couldn’t articulate myself. I was left to sink into perpetual tar-like blackness, fading alongside the accompaniment of her death lament. A sliver of her soft-spoken voice remained in the desperation and release which thrust me from the solace I had found far removed from the waking world.

The world we had resided in, the dream we had both been living in, was coming to an end.

Her ligaments bent in an uncanny fashion, like a marionette’s strings pulled in conflicting directions. Her head hung, bouncing lightly up and down in a rhythmic fashion while her breathing seeped discordant twinges of desperation and wincing. She was in pain. I was staring at the embodiment of pain—her frail, comatose body, struggling to cling to life.

Convulsing and hemorrhaging, she spoke intelligibly in fragments.

Her voice met the stark white walls for the first time.

It was just as beautiful as I remembered.

Perhaps even more.

I’m dying.”

“What does it feel like?”

A dream.”

“A dream?”

I’ve always wanted to dream.”

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