An Open Letter (Short Story)

An Open Letter.

To you who would practice “creative writing,” know that you have NO RIGHT. I have finally discovered Truth. No, not Truth—I have already known it. I have discovered how you convince yourselves that it is not. And it sickens me. There is no Truth in your words. You use them only as a cover. You would bury Truth under their sheer weight. It’s pathetic, really. An act of desperation, subverting Truth by championing ignorance. You cannot change the Truth. I was myself once like you. Living in a prison of words, a prison I crafted for myself. Do you know the meaning of Revise? Revision? Re-: again : anew : back : backward. Vision: the act or power of seeing : SIGHT. I was given the greatest gift of my life. I was given my sight back anew, freed from the prison in which I encased myself and thought it armor.

To the extent that authority depends on the ignorance of the governed, good writing will always be subversive.

 

I read the letter again, even though I had already read it three times. Then, a fifth time, just to be sure. It wasn’t the first of its kind, and I doubted it would be the last. The Authors of Truth — an ironic name, if there ever was one — had been tortured and brainwashed until they wouldn’t believe the sky was blue unless it was written in one of their books. The Re-vision process was brutal. I hadn’t been through it myself, of course, but one only had to look at the garbled mess spouted by those who had, to know what kinds of things they had been subjected to.

Brian entered the bunker, his boots clomping too heavily, and echoing off the concrete walls and ceiling. I cringed, like I always did. If we weren’t buried so deep underground, I’d be terrified someone would hear him. But no one cared about these tunnels anymore. The Editors had stricken them from the records, so as far as the upper-world was concerned, they didn’t exist. We were safe here. At least, that’s what I kept telling myself at night.

“One day, I’m going to strap pillows to your feet,” I chided. It was an old threat, one I’d never made good on. He chuckled.

“Jean, if I wanted to keep quiet, I’d live up-top with the rest of the blinkered.” He dumped his bag — clanging with scavenged tins, batteries, and a blunt pickaxe — onto the floor, and slumped onto the bench beside me. “What’s so funny?” He saw my smile.

Blinkered. We think everyone up-top is so blind, because the only reality they know is what the Authors and Editors tell them. The Revised Truth.”

“And?”

“And I found another letter today. This one has convinced himself that revision is what grants him the ability to see what’s real. He even says the Editors gave him back his sight, and that we are the blind ones.”

Brian leaned over me to read the screen. I heard him mutter the words under his breath. “Awful poetic for someone who’s not meant to have a creative bone left in their body.”

“I know. That’s what interests me.” I paused, biting my lip. “The prison, the regained sight. He references ignorance and subversion. It’s almost like something’s trying to get through.”

“You think it’s a code?”

“No. Maybe…?” I shook my head. “I think he’s confused. Trying to fulfill the purpose he’s been given, but also fighting off the pieces of who he used to be. All these Authors, they were writers like us, before the Editors got them. Maybe there’s still a chance for them. Maybe, if we got them away from the Editors we could help them.”

Brian placed a hand on my shoulder and gave it a gentle squeeze. I saw a familiar smile spreading across his face. “You know, Jeanie, funny thing about Re-vision. Just because something’s been revised, doesn’t mean you can’t do it again. Always room for improvement, I say.”

And that was how the plot for the biggest jailbreak in Re-written History began. We were two wordsmiths, in an underground bunker, off an abandoned subway line, in a world that rejected creativity in all it’s forms. But, perhaps that was our strength. In a world devoid of free-thinkers, no one prepared for the unexpected. When imagination had been so methodically drilled out of you, it left no room to consider possibilities.

“I need to get inside.”

“What?” Brian said, looking like he might have misheard me, and fearing that he hadn’t.

“We’re hardly in a position to storm the Library now, are we? I have to get inside, then I can get to the Authors.”

“They’ll send you to Re-vision.” He sounded fearful. I wasn’t about to admit I was just as terrified.

“You’ll get me out. The other writers will help. Anyone who’s still in hiding, anyone who hasn’t been taken.”

“And then?”

“And then, without their doctored Truths, the Editors won’t know what to do. The world won’t know what to do. They’ll start looking for answers.” Here, I allowed myself a smile. “And we’ll give them the truth. Unrevised.”

Brian looked pale, but he didn’t shut me down. He didn’t tell me it was impossible, or that I was a fool. I liked him for that.

“How will you get in?” he said.

“Simple.” I turned back to the computer and brought up a blank page. “I’ll write them a letter.”

I began to type.

An Open Letter…

 

 

This was written in response to Writing Challenge – 1 – The Future Revised and also, as a follow on from Echoes and Armor (WritersInk challenge submission) by Polarissb.

The brief was to write a piece in 1st person POV, set in a world where creative writing is banned, and writers are taken into custody and brainwashed to become Authors of Truth, where they document the re-vised history of the world, according to the Editors.

The open letter at the beginning of the piece was not written by me. That was taken from the abovementioned piece, Echoes and Armor. I loved the idea of the narrator’s letter from that piece being somehow found by someone on the outside, and that became the inspiration for this. 

Edit: Polarissb wrote a follow up to this piece. Check it out: Defender


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