PodCastle Miniature 005: Directions

By Caleb Wilson
Read by Chris Furst
First appeared in Diagram (full text at link).

Some things you will need are a full tank of gas, a flashlight, an axe, a bicycle.

Heading north on Route 110, turn left onto Entwhistle. The street will be paved in dark, fresh asphalt and tree-lined. The web of shadows, light dark light, will fall through the teeth of the leaves onto the windshield. Drive through four lights and beneath an iron railroad bridge.

Rated G. Contains a journey into rampant surrealism.

Why PodCastle miniatures? According to wikipedia, the word miniature is derived from the Latin minium, red lead, and is a picture in an ancient or medieval illuminated manuscript. We thought it was a good way to describe very short stories with a fantasy theme: a word that indicates brievity, manuscripts, and a medieval atmosphere.

Please visit the thread on this story in our forums.

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16 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    thomasowenm said,

    June 21, 2008 @ 11:24 pm

    ????????WTF?????? An interesting piece… I don’t even know what to say, but I did not hate it. I kept waiting for the narrator to direct me the left to see the strange and wonderful neverland ranch, or gaze to the right the see Tom Crueses’ alien spaceship landing pad.

    As a expeiment in imagery it certainly did succeed. I do wish that the narrator had given the pauses more emphasis so I could digest the visuals easier though.

  2. 2

    Ryan B said,

    June 22, 2008 @ 12:15 am

    Interesting format and vivid visuals. I was a little disappointed by the ending. It doesn’t make sense that I should have reacted that way, because intellectually I can see it was a good choice – what else do you put at the end of that rainbow? Perhaps it was the buildup – sights not fit for human eyes, darkness, and all that, and what do we get? “I” will be there, waiting.

    Who are you? Why should I want to go to so much trouble to find you? You don’t sound very nice, and considering your choice of abode, I have to question what you’re going to do to me when I get there.

    Ah, but it’s a miniature, and there’s no room for such elaboration. I suppose we’re meant to fill it in ourselves. I tried…but I always feel like I’m stealing from the author when I do that. It’s not my story story to tell, even to myself.

  3. 3

    Bruorton said,

    June 23, 2008 @ 8:21 am

    Oh, it’s really good of you to wait up for me, I’ll be so tired after a long day on the road/possible blood loss.

    When I get there, can we have nachos and kool-aid? And play cribbage?

  4. 4

    Martin R said,

    June 23, 2008 @ 1:20 pm

    Good stuff, very lyrical, with the ending as much a veiled threat as a promise of delights.

  5. 5

    Storman_Norman said,

    June 24, 2008 @ 2:46 pm

    Odd story and taking into account this is Podcastle, that is saying something. It almost sounded like a Fantasy GPS. I was waiting for: “In .2 miles take a right to winemen camp well they suck gas from your car. Please follow the highlighted route.” Given the dark nature of this piece: finger nail roads, blood-suckers, and things so nasty we have to estinguish our flashlights, this maybe shoulda been on Pseduopod (sorry is I spelled wrong). In the end it’s entertaining, but I think everyone’s in the dark as to the point of the story.

  6. 6

    scatterbrain said,

    June 24, 2008 @ 4:37 pm

    Like walking into a painting…

  7. 7

    Vance M. said,

    June 25, 2008 @ 11:41 pm

    Great short story. Loved the visuals. Good pick.

  8. 8

    Bookman 12pt said,

    June 27, 2008 @ 12:37 am

    I followed the directions. It was an interesting path. But As a choose your own adventure story without being provided a choice, I was a little let down, when I got there. He wasn’t waiting. I just want my guantlett back.

  9. 9

    Bookman 12pt said,

    June 27, 2008 @ 12:38 am

    Next time I will use map quest.

  10. 10

    Abbie said,

    July 5, 2008 @ 1:31 am

    I LOVED this piece. It was evocative and creepy and reminded me of myth and legend and adventure. It had taste and texture and sound and feeling. For some reason, it reminded me of Key West. Really, I can’t say enough good things about this story.

  11. 11

    Erin said,

    July 7, 2008 @ 10:07 pm

    Innovative idea! Very compelling, and the end gave me chills. I’d love to know more, but I love not knowing, too!

  12. 12

    Living the Fictional Dream » Link Me Up said,

    July 12, 2008 @ 9:10 am

    […] “Directions,” by Caleb Wilson — a quirky flash piece with great atmosphere. Talk about visuals! In retrospect, perhaps the twist at the end should have been obvious, but I was so caught up in the scenery that I didn’t see it coming. […]

  13. 13

    Directions « Writing Every Day said,

    July 15, 2008 @ 11:03 pm

    […] you who are interested in second person fiction, there’s a curious little story available on PodCastle called “Directions,” by Caleb Wilson. It’s a flash piece that lives and dies by […]

  14. 14

    The Fix | From the Podosphere: June 2008 said,

    July 16, 2008 @ 7:37 am

    […] delivered one “Miniature” this month: “Directions” by Caleb Wilson, read by Chris Furst. It’s an immaculately read list of directions […]

  15. 15

    Spork said,

    July 21, 2008 @ 8:31 am

    I hate second-person stories, and I hate stories without endings even more.

  16. 16

    will Harris said,

    August 11, 2008 @ 10:16 pm

    I think you have a fan in the comic community over at xkcd.com
    there comic “google-maps” bears a very striking resemblance to this story. check it out at-
    http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/google_maps.png

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