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The Dividing Mind (Not Sanderson Related)


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Just looking for some feedback on a short story I wrote for a writing contest my college puts on every semester. The theme is 'Unity within Diversity.' Let me know if I nailed it or not and whether there's any editing errors I need to fix. Thanks! 


The Dividing Mind


“It is time to make the decision, Jason.”


Jason sat alone in a cleared room. The only furniture was the white walls and the stained carpet. He had long since learned that anything else would eventually be destroyed, whether they be objects or relationships.

“I don’t want to choose.” He said to the air. “You’re each so horrible in your own rights.”


“Never the less, it is time. It won’t be long now before those you used to call friends decide to turn you in. They will claim you are insane and have you locked away. They will say it is for your own good. Then, the doctors will take all of us away from you, unless you choose.”


Jason knew the voice to be right. The voice was that of Logic, one of the many voices that only he could hear. Each of them pounded against his skull every day, every hour, every minute of his life. He was a husk without them, but he was broken with them and now, it came down to this. To deciding which of these aspects he would continue to listen to while silencing, effectively killing, the others. It needed to be done, but still Jason rebelled.


“And what happens if I choose none of you?”


“Just try to banish me, you pathetic loser!” Passion’s voice seemed to reverberate within his skull. “I am life itself! Without me, you wouldn’t be able to feel, wouldn’t be able to weep or laugh! Is that the kind of life you want? Would you give up never being able to desire something? To never yearn for something more? Ha! You couldn’t banish me if you wanted to, because I fuel that want! Leave the rest of these constrictions behind. You and I will become free spirits. We’ll do what we want, when we want and damnation the consequences! The rest of them are holding you back! Together, we’ll be free!”


Passion had said that very thing many times over and yet Jason was reluctant. To be free was what he wanted and yet he fought against it. What kind of person would he become if he gave into Passion’s pleas? One without cares; yes, but also one without lasting attachments and likely surrounded by dangers.


“Careful, ever so careful,” Caution whispered. “Every step could bring disaster and this is more than just a step. Slowly, carefully, we need to make our way. What was that? Was it just the wind? We should move away from the windows. What would happen if something were to fall through them? We would be crushed. Yes, we must hide. We must be safe. For only then will we be able to keep breathing. That is how we stay alive. We are needed or else Passion would lead us to an early grave, yes?”


Jason edged closer to the side of the room. His eyes darted towards the darkened corners, looking for danger, but he found none. He had already removed any and all dangers from this room. That was what made Caution so appealing; it was safe. No one and nothing could hurt him when Caution was at the forefront; mostly because they weren’t there. That was the safety Caution brought, isolation. To choose Caution would mean that Jason would forever be alone.


“As you can see Jason, each of us is adamant about continuing our own relative existences, but I think you will see reason and realize that there is only one clear choice. I will expound on why you need me, Logic, if you wish to continue existing.


“Without me, you will be at the whims of the moment and/or anyone who wishes to manipulate you. Without me, what life you would have would be shallow. You can’t plan or prepare for a plausible future without me. And finally, by choosing me, you free yourself from emotional distress. No more heartache, which was the origin of our situation in the first place, correct? That alone is why you will eventually choose me.”


“Don’t let Logic fool you,” Morality said. “There is a right and a wrong answer here, but Logic’s path will only lead you to ruin. He would have you believe that you are free from harm, but what about the harm you would do to others? You would be nothing more than an emotionless robot. You would make decisions based on their probability of success without caring if the outcome hurt those around you. That is not life. Life is about judgments and about whether your actions are morally right or wrong. You can’t have that without me.”


“I provide wonderment,” Innocence whispered in a childlike voice. “Please don’t kill me. I don’t want to die.”


Jason threw up his hands to cover his ears at the cacophony of voices. There were hundreds of them; each wanting to make their own cases for why Jason needed them above all others. His efforts were in vain. The voices were already inside him.


“Please,” Jason whimpered. “I don’t want to choose. I just want to live. I just want to be free.”


His pleas fell on deaf ears. The voices were growing louder and louder, trying to drown each other out. If they had been audible, they would be shaking the walls. Jason curled up into a ball and rocked himself back and forth, trying to find an answer.


“Logic dictates-“


“Your logic is crap! Passion drives us forwa-“


“What was that? Is someone there?”


“You’re all wrong. I am the right answer.”




Jason felt like his mind should snap, but that had already happened when she died. Instead, as the chorus built to a crescendo, a moment of clarity hit him. Suddenly, it was as if he could hear each voice individually. He could feel the drive and the need of each one. He could see where they fit together, seamlessly to make a whole person. They were all so different, but together they created something more.


And he knew why they had fallen out of synch in the first place. When she died, he had tried to remove the part of himself that hurt; the pain was just that strong. When he did so, he had thrown the rest of them out of harmony. Like cogs in a clock, the removal of that one piece of himself had caused the entire system to collapse and break into individual pieces.


The voices seemed to fade into the background as he mentally pulled out that portion of himself that he had closed off and focused on it. A single word crossed his lips as he opened it back up. It was both a prayer and a dirge wrapped in three syllables. He allowed the memories to overwhelm him.





He spent 2 days huddled in his room as the anguish and grief washed over him. He kicked and he screamed. He threw himself against the walls. If there had been anything left to break, it would’ve been broken. At one point, he vaguely remembered hearing a concerned knock on his door, but it was ignored in the ocean of loss he had been submerged in. He cried so much that he felt he should be literally drowning in his own tears.


In the early morning hours of the third day, he felt drained… of everything. His body felt weak from malnourishment and dehydration; his emotions had been strained to their very last.


There was a rapid and urgent knock on the door.


“Police! Open up!”


Exhausted, Jason found his way to his feet and made his way to the door. He undid the latches and locks. The very first thing that Jason noticed was the sun. It had barely crested the horizon, but already its light shown upon him. The next thing he noticed was that the voices were gone. The cogs were all back in place. Somehow, the diversity of human emotion and thought had been again unified into a whole.


The cop eyed him suspiciously.


“Is everything alright here, son?”


Jason smiled for the first time in months and let the warmth of the sun’s rays bask him.


“Finally, yes. I think so, officer.”

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Jason sat alone in a cleared room.



Not sure if I'd use this term- an empty room might be better. Cleared doesn't really carry the right meaning, it could mean a lot of things.


“You’re each so horrible in your own rights.”


Slightly weird phrasing. The normal term is in your own right.


Maybe "You are each inherently so horrible."


when we want and damnation the consequences!



The normal phrasing would be "and damnation the consequences."


Somehow, the diversity of human emotion



It would be clearer if he said "his diversity of human emotion."


Jason smiled for the first time in months and let the warmth of the sun’s rays bask him.



The sun's rays don't bask things. A person basks in the sun's rays. Bask means lying in the sun.


"and basked in the warmth of the sun's rays."

Edited by Nepene
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Hm. I'm crap at editing and proper grammar and all that jazz, so I probably won't be of much help in that regard.

But I liked it. Was definitely an interesting little read. I'm obviously way more suited towards Huge, epic long series of novels, so short stories and things like this are definitely not my forte to judge as accurately.

Because I want to know the big answers. Who's Angela? What happened? How did he split himself like that, exactly? And what did he use to replace the missing part and reforge himself back together? But I feel like the point of the short format is to keep things like that purposely vague, so I'm cool with that. Let us make our own decisions as to why/how. ;)

Also, I think I just enjoyed it mostly because of Twitch Plays Pokemon. All those thousands of different voices, telling you to do completely different things. Must be maddening. :P

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Thanks. I could tell when I read through it that there were some incongruities, but I couldn't place them. 


You're welcome.


I have a slightly weird issue. I can't say the four letter variant of damnation in that post for some reason. Probably a swear filter. But yes, it is "And four letter the consequences." Damnation is a place, like hell, so if you wanted to say that you'd say something like "And to damnation with the consequences."

Edited by Nepene
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That's how I had it within the original text as well. The forum does have a filter now. I noticed it when I typed something in a PM and rather than the word I used, it replaced it with 'Chull." I kind of want to explore the filter now and see what forms of hilarity we can come up with because of it! :)

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  • 3 weeks later...

I forgot to tell you guys, but the competition finished up exactly a week ago and I won! I've got one more semester at this college before moving on to get my BA and if I win the next one, I'll have won every year I've entered! :D


Thanks to everyone that looked it over and helped me fix the mistakes. Me and my new Galaxy Tab salute you! ;)

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You're welcome.


I have a slightly weird issue. I can't say the four letter variant of damnation in that post for some reason. Probably a swear filter. But yes, it is "And four letter the consequences." Damnation is a place, like hell, so if you wanted to say that you'd say something like "And to damnation with the consequences."


Damnation is definitely a filter. I've had to go back and edit three posts because of it. I do use dam.n a lot, I admit, and so do my characters. :)


There, tricked it. :P

Edited by Gabriele
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