P has an hour to live.
P has an hour to live.
A sixty-minute countdown to annihilation.
P is posted every Friday night GMT.
Holding no awareness of location, presence or time, P must assemble fragments of the past, present perception and possible purpose to ensure survival. An inability to collect, collate and create from the surrounding environment will result in total oblivion. There can be no in between. Without an identity, P has a one hour countdown to annihilation.
There was a car accident.
There was sickness.
There was vomiting.
There was a loss of consciousness, but no concussion.
There was blackness as the car left the road and swayed across several lanes of fast-moving traffic from the middle lane across the overtaking lane to scrape the central barrier and back across all four lanes to wind up smashed against the barrier on the verge.
There was a tapping on the window.
There was a show of concern.
There was an explanation.
There was yellow vomit all over the dashboard and over his trousers.
There was a little Buddha.
A stone Buddha.
A stone Buddha on a window sill surrounded with flowers.
Yet it was winter.
Maybe late winter and approaching spring.
So maybe daffodils.
Or imported flowers from abroad. From somewhere in the south, maybe. Most likely.
There was a winter holiday in the Alps.
Yellow sunshine up on the mountains.
Hot grog and flaming braziers in a kiosk-lined market place.
The mobile was still blinking its little red light – its last red death throes – when it pinged and a little band lit up along the top, saying WhatsApp Message and in a line of glowing tiny green-white letters:
…on my way…
But who was on their way and where to? Without the power cable or PIN he was unlikely to ever find out.
He looked around the room: square, about five metres from wall to wall, painted perfect white, with four exits: one with a permanent-looking heavy wooden door leading to an ante-room and steps down to another imposing-looking door; an internal closure of two narrow wooden doors (from where he had emerged less than four minutes ago?); two similar-looking internal doors, but glazed, off two steps up into what was probably a kitchen; and two big sliding doors out onto a vertigo-inducing veranda.
It didn’t look like a room in a sanatorium, which was some kind of relief – wasn’t it?
It meant he was probably here under his free will – originally, at least. He wasn’t a patient of any kind. (That was a definite relief!)
He examined the low wooden table, and saw it unexpectedly contained a drawer. Inside the drawer was a sleek, silver-coloured laptop with a lead coiled beside it.
Yes! He was saved.
He took out the equipment and plugged it in to a socket on the wall and waited for it to come alive.
Boing! There it was…
And then, an error message and warning:
Repeated failed attempts to access this device. Power on and wait for two hours before attempting again.
Two hours! But he only had one hour to live. Less than one hour. In fact, fifty-six minutes was all that remained to save himself.
Follow the new instalment posted every Friday night GMT.
Recently, this blog has been receiving an unusually high number of hits from countries not normally associated with its main readership. So, I would like to say a special and warm ‘Welcome’ to those reading my posts in places from far and wide, such as China, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Hong Kong SAR China, India, and any other countries not included in this list.
I would like to think this interest from around the world is inspired by a desire to be part of a global community made up of self-reflective individuals who take pride in their own identity and locality, yet seek inclusivity within a broader spiritual recognition of humanity as a whole.
This desire can only be based upon a hope for peaceful co-existence among communities around the planet.
World harmony is a wish placed within the heart of most individuals – only the callous, self-serving destructive nature of some influential people and the institutions they represent prevent peaceful relations from becoming the norm.
Much more needs to be said about this, and the nature of this situation is graphically explored within the pages of my ten novels (published in English but available worldwide).
As a matter of fact, the publication of these works may be seen as the culmination of a personal destiny.
As for the blog, I suddenly began taking it much more seriously following the previously mentioned increased interest in recent posts and, in particular, as a result of activity after the posting of P is for Revolutsiia.
I want to make it absolutely clear that not for a second would I welcome a re-run of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. I have a university degree in Russian, have lived and worked in Russia, and was in fact present at the very moment of the collapse of the Soviet Union (as I have written about elsewhere). In other words, I am too knowledgeable to ever want anything like the Soviet system ever instituted anywhere or at any time in the world.
Unfortunately, too many state systems even today are implementing repressive measures and using propaganda in an attempt to control the behaviour of their citizens.
This is where the internet can still be used to break down the frontiers of ignorance which are used to distance peace-loving peoples from one another.
Regarding the P series, this is a serious attempt to reveal the true nature of human identity and in so doing make it clear that every person is fundamentally the same, and that it is these shared qualities which enable us to seek and share peace with one another.
We each have our own personal identities, but together we are stronger.
(NB I modified the concluding paragraph of P is for Revolutsiia immediately I recognised how easy it was to misread symbolically that which was originally posted. All comments welcome.)
P2: Different Ps (59 minutes)
The first thing that became obvious was that there were three of him. Three Ps, at least.
The first one was able to make his body parts move; so that he was able to move his eyes and look at the clock, for instance, or pick up the black oblong object from the table and push the side buttons.
(Ah, yes – a mobile – telephone – device.)
Then there was the second P who knew stuff – who remembered stuff, like just now: had access, as it were, to a store of knowledge.
Finally, there was a third one – a third P – which kind of overlooked everything that he was doing [just like he was doing now], which might be considered the super-P: the Overseer.
But it was access to the second P he most needed right now, he realised: the one which stored memories and, hopefully, provided him with enough information to make decisions based on that knowledge.
His life might depend on it.
So, a mobile telephone device. How did that help him?
He switched it on again.
The small white dot of light in the upper left corner turned red. That probably wasn’t a good sign. A square made up of numerals ranging from 0 to 9 lit up in the centre. A prompt required a PIN.
The good thing was that he could recognise numbers and letters of the alphabet and could understand what was required from him.
That part of his memory remained.
The bad thing was he couldn’t recall this particular anagram: P.I.N. PIN. Pin. What did that mean?
He remembered ‘pin’. To pin something. Or a sharp pointed object. A safety-pin. A drawing pin.
A safety pin.
A drawing pin.
A safety pin.
A safety pin!
A safety pin.
A safety pin. Something to keep your pin safe.
A PIN number.
A P – I – N.
A Personal Identity Number.
What was it, his PIN? He had no idea.
The mobile’s screen had gone blank.
Without the number he could not access the data it contained.
Was that a bad thing?
What could the phone tell him about himself?
Contact numbers, of course. He could contact somebody and ask them if they knew what was happening, who he was.
He would say, ‘Hi there, this is me, P. Do you know me?’ And they’d say, ‘Hey, I thought this was X, or maybe they’d say, ‘Hi, X’, when they picked up.
And maybe there’d be his own contact details stored on the phone already. Maybe he’d recognise his own name if he saw it. Remember who he was and where he lived.
And then there was other information available, he remembered, like Google and Google maps so that he could at least find out where on the planet he was located.
Then again, his intuition and capacity for lateral thought seemed to be kicking in pretty well now and maybe that would be the best way of recalling just who he was.
Maybe a more authentic ‘him’.
Actually, anyone would do right now: a Google him or a real him, it really didn’t matter.
The main thing was that he saved his life.
And this was probably the fourth P, he realised. The unthinking P. The P that wanted just to exist in some form at all costs.
The primeval P, if you like. The sub-P.
He was wasting time. A look at the clock told him another minute was almost up. Only another fifty-eight minutes remained before he was extinguished entirely.
If only he could remember that damn PIN…
Audio: the previous instalment (click below)
P – a Viral Story, is the original tale of someone who wakes up to discover that they can remember nothing at all about who they are or where they live: not even their name.
All they seem to know is that they have one hour to recount all this information or they will be completely obliterated as a human being.
The full story is broken into each remaining minute of the narrator’s life while they try desperately to figure out their unknown identity in the time available.
Each new – as yet unwritten – instalment of P will be posted at midnight GMT on Fridays with the text of the narrator’s painful and almost unendurable attempts to discover the information which will save their life.
Any comments will be appreciated – they could even inform the final narrative structure unless the commentator explicitly states otherwise (no worries).
An audio version of the previous instalment will be available at the end of each freshly posted text.
By pressing the FOLLOW button your own identity remains anonymous, however it ensures that you receive each instalment of P at the moment it is posted.
As a backfill to the completed story you may wish to visit other posts on this ever-evolving blogsite which add to the composition of the – as previously stated, not yet written – tale of P.
He had woken from a dream and forgotten his name or where he lived.
At the same time, a voice in his head told him that he had just an hour to recount this information or he would be dead.
One hour. To save himself from obliteration.
He looked at the round disc hanging on the wall; a white background in a wooden frame ringed with a series of black Roman numerals going from I to XII and A Newgate written in an elaborate script with LONDON designated bold and square below. An inner ring was marked with five dashes between each of the numerals. Three pointers – or arms – radiated from a black point at the very centre of the circle: one moved as a thin black line and at a rate he could see (alarmingly). Another arm about the same length was of a more elaborate design and pointed to the XII; as did the shorter arm, of the same elaborate shape.
On the low wooden table before him was a thin black rectangle, which he picked up. On the side of the contraption was a long button and a shorter one. He pressed both. Almost immediately the whole front shone with white luminescence, words shot out, and the word Android remained in green for a moment longer.
Android, android, android…
“City black, encase the time
World full of men, who all are blind
Who walk and talk and say as one
‘Androids are we, heir to no son’
Androids. A memory. That was good, wasn’t it?
The face went black then re-illumined and four white digits showed – 00:07.
A quick glance revealed they matched the fast-moving hand on the round disk which had moved past the I symbol-numeral and pointed to the second dash within the segment leading to the II symbol.
Then to the eighth dash, matching the figure 8 on the illuminated screen
Now he remembered.
Analogue and digital
Hands and numbers.
Eight seconds had been removed from his life.
That’s twelve seconds.
Sixty minutes. Minus twelve – no, thirteen seconds.
The circle. Twelve numbers. Divided by five. What did they mean?
Twelve fives equalled sixty.
360 degrees in a circle.
Sixty into three-hundred and sixty = six.
Was this meaningful?
Could he count his life by degrees?
Or would seconds be better?
From the clock face he could count in degrees or seconds; from the rectangular square digits only time, numbers, no shape.
60 seconds. One minute. Sixty minutes. One hour. He had fifty nine minutes and forty-three seconds to remember who he was and therefore to maintain his existence, to save himself.
He would call himself P to save time.
P for person – and he would designate P also as the place where he lived, P from the Land of P, since P also signified people. For he was sure there were other people around even though he wasn’t aware of any right there and then.
So, for now, he – for he was sure that he could remember his gender – was P from the Land of P.
But who was he, really – and where was he?
He rubbed the rectangular screen with his thumb and a numbered grid of numbers appeared. They looked familiar. A shape.
Then the rectangular screen glowed and a recurrent sound rang out. Two circles appeared: red and green. Arrows emanated from the green disc. He pushed the green circle in that direction. A voice spoke although he couldn’t understand what it said.
‘Yes,’ he said.
‘Your package is ready for collection. At the pharmacy.’
‘Thank you . I – ‘
The back rectangle fell silent and a red button glowed at its base. He prodded at it disconsolately.
“At the pharmacy.”
Yes, the pharmacy! He remembered it. Another green symbol, in the shape of a snake. Two snakes, on a pole.
The pharmacy. Yes, that was it. The pharmacy.
They had a package for him.
He would find out.
He looked at the clockface. The fast-moving hand – the second hand – was approaching the XII symbol; the other long hand – the minute hand – was nearly on the first dash.
A minute had passed.
Fifty-nine more remained.
Next part available every Friday midnight GMT