“The Stars of Mr. Ryland Getty” FULL STORY for FANS

For anyone that was interested in how the story ended – as the audio version (which is available to listen to HERE) I believe cut off the last few lines.  Here it is in it’s entirety.  Enjoy!

– Neil

“The Stars of Mr. Ryland Getty” by Neil Kloster

“And let all that lay within thy world now be covered in black,” Oppenheimer preached just before slamming the large iron door shut in front of him.

The room a small six by six cell, now transformed into a vast tourniquet, clamping off any life from the outside.  There was no sight, nor sound, there was only the damp floor that lay beneath Ryland’s legs as he sat, leaning on the two walls that formed and made a corner in the pitch.  He sat there, thrown to the void of darkness that his small universe now held within it.  A voyager, isolated from the world, sent now to drift among the vast darkness of what man’s psyche could reveal and to what nightmares it could conjure in extreme solitude.

After the echo from the door had silenced and withered dead like a wilting flower, the only sound Ryland could hear was his heart firmly beating.  He found this fitting, as he was now determined to defy the guards and the world that had shunned him years ago by beating their little test.  No, by conquering it.

He began to think of colorful things, things that lay beyond the bleak, dark, morbid walls of Tandem Penitentiary.  He began to think of fields.  Long, green fields that stretched like endless oceans.  Brightly lit by the sun and filled with life.  He thought about how nice it would be to live with no limits and no boundaries.  No bars on the windows and no guards watching his every muscle quiver as he shit.

Absolute freedom, he thought.

He then felt a smile forming from one corner of his lips as they stretched with some tension and a cold ache.

Just as quickly as the smile on Ryland’s face had come, the thought came with it.  It was hazy though at first; distorted, but slowly it began to take form.  It withered and moved like a new-born baby is his head.  Growing, transforming itself and then, rising to its feet, it presented itself naked, developed and honest to him.

“This is now your freedom, this is now your sanctuary; this is now your home.”

Ryland sat in his corner.  Questioning, lost to the meaning of this new idea.

“This is now your home,” The voice in his head repeated again.

Ryland now understood.  There were no more walls to him.  For in the pitch, if he could not see them, then they were simply not there.  He was now an explorer, an astronaut, lost to a sea of freedoms and infinite space.  He could visit other worlds; he could travel wherever he wished.  No walls or prisons, nor even Oppenheimer himself could deny him of his true power.  The power of the mind to be free.

…And with this, Ryland now saw stars.

The tourniquet had been untied and now Ryland watched in awe as his cell now held within it the beauty and glow of the universe.  Space and stars surrounding him now like a blanket.

Ryland stood up from his corner in awe and walked toward one of the walls that had originally confined him.  He walked up close to it, no more than inches away and stared deep into the massive void of space.

He would visit other planets.  He would touch a shooting star and even possibly discover new life within the black and teach them, warn them of a world with limits, with bars on the windows and with guards watching your every move.

…And with that, he stepped through the wall with excitement and anticipation for whatever journey now lay ahead of him.

***

It had been nearly a week since Oppenheimer had condemned Ryland Getty to isolated darkness.  Oppenheimer almost forgot about him down there in the basement, all alone with nothing more than his thoughts and the roaches to keep him company.  Giving himself a sudden twinge of satisfaction, he decided to go down to see the poor bastard.

Twirling his keys around his large index finger, he whistled as he slowly walked down the dimly lit stairwell that descended deep into the basement.  This part of the prison resembled more medieval dungeons and ancient chambers of horror and torture than anything further.  It was not a haven for happiness and blessed thoughts, yet Oppenheimer still certainly kept a keen skip in his jaunt and a smirk only an asshole like him could don in a place so bleak.

He walked down towards Ryland Getty’s cell and inserted his large key into the lock and pulled open the door with such force that specks of dust fell from the cement walls.

Oppenheimer slithered his head around the door and peered into the cell with tiny eyes, searching for the smallest movement in the dark.

The scent hit him first, a very strong odor – like pickled eggs – being un-canned after years of fermentation.  It was strong and quite over-powering.  In fact, it almost brought up Oppenheimer’s breakfast to the point of vomiting, but not quite.

…What he saw in the cell was what managed to do that.

“Oh my lord Jesus!” he cried, dropping his keys from his hand and running back up the steps, covering his mouth with his left hand, trails of vomit squeezing out between his fingers as he ran crawling up each step with his right.

Inside the cell lay the body of Ryland Getty.  He’d been shunned by the world for years and now forgotten for nearly a week.  No food and no water as Oppenheimer had forgotten to declare that the cell was now occupied.  Within that time, Ryland Getty apparently never made a sound.  It had been a week since the last words spoken to him were those preached by Mr. Gerald Oppenheimer, condemning him to darkness before he slammed the door of his apparent tomb.

However, Ryland had not left this world unspoken.  He had bitten through his own wrists and managed – and quite well in fact, considering the absence of light in his cell – to scribble the words, “I win” in blood on one of the cell walls before leaving this world now, for good.

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