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He pressed his ear against the cold wood of the door, the brim of his hat flattening against the top of his head. After several seconds of silence he stepped back, an expression of calculating diligence set across his features. With the rustle of his trench coat and a glint of silver his pistol rose beside his head, gripped by a gloved hand. The door flew open and he brought his foot down to step inside.
Squares of glum light illuminated sections of furniture like modern art. The purposeful pace of his shoes' tapping across the swept floor permeated the shadows through which he passed, eyes slowly scanning the neat décor. With a long, lonely creak, the bedroom door drifted open. Like the rest of the apartment, it was carefully organized. Prepared, even.
"Do you think we are the masters of our destiny?" The mournful question emanated from the silhouette of a man sitting beside the desk, his back to the intruder. An arm leaned outward with a glowing cigarette as a tired cloud of smoke rose into the darkness. "Or is choice but an illusion restricted by... consequence."
"A decision without consequence is one that achieved nothing." he said, standing in the doorway like a stone omen.
"So we choose not what we do, but what we are willing to endure... Is that really a choice?" The cherry glowed like a distant beacon in the darkness as he took another drag.
"You chose to do what brought me here."
"Am I then responsible for the consequences of their choices?" A jury of bundled locks of hair sat aligned across the desk, bearing silent witness.
"No less than I am for the consequences of yours."
"Then it's all just a never-ending chain-reaction, isn't it?" Light shone off the pistol's slide as it quietly leveled to the man's head.
"You'd like to think so, wouldn't you?"
I love classic noir, but always felt it's a heavily cinematic genre (shadows and angles combined with atmospheric audio to really set the all-important mood). Plus the themes of determinism and fruitless struggle always hit a philosophical chord with me. This was my attempt to bring it across in writing, emphasizing the environment and subtle details to bring it to life. Though it didn't capture what I was after, I think it turned out alright.
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Submitted on
June 22, 2018