| Short Story
When the scholar began reading between the lines, he was at first shocked by the plaintive simplicity of the hidden messages, then frustrated, then eventually bored as he inscribed them by hand.
A scholar is seated in a library and in front of him is a stack of books comprising the breadth of his favorite author’s work. An unnamed source had told the scholar that if the pages of the author’s work were rubbed with a certain kind of chemical compound, it would reveal a secret message in the text. The author had a reputation of being frustratingly obfuscating on purpose. If the text could somehow be made clearer, the scholar would make some headway into the insular world of historical research.
When the scholar began reading between the lines, he was at first shocked by the plaintive simplicity of the hidden messages, then frustrated, then eventually bored as he inscribed them by hand. The scholar concluded that the hidden messages could probably be considered the motivating factor behind the author’s written works, a realization that made the scholar sad, if only because he had always seen the author’s work as a holy thing, as a vaulted thing indicative of the very best of what humanity could offer, when in actuality it was something made by the very same ugly, stupid things that so commonly mired us so.
A small sample is as follows: please help me, why is no one helping me, I am so alone, I will die alone, everyone relates to this feeling of aloneness and yet we still persist in feeling this peculiar way, the human condition is strange and sad and aggrandizing, I am tired, I am tired, I want to feel whole, I want to be held, at times if I sit and move too abruptly there is a sharp pain I feel between my ribcages like the twisting of a knife and it is just painful enough to keep me from doing anything but not painful enough to distract me from the constant, terrible din of my thoughts, my thoughts remind me of my ever-mounting uselessness, my thoughts keep me from sleeping, sometimes in the corner of my eye I see a movement that cannot be explained because I am alone in the house and what is that flickering, what could that flickering even be?
So on and so forth. The scholar felt a sadomasochistic streak in the author’s writings; the scholar cradled his head in his hands.