Chapter 13:

Round 1, Match 5: BlipXP vs Nellien. BlipXP:

Community Sudden Fiction Tournament Arc

Round 1, Match 5: BlipXP vs Nellien.

Prompt: Listening to that heartbeat

Participant: BlipXP (

I woke up.

I was in the middle of nowhere, in a white void that reached as far as my eyes could see.

I tried to look at myself. I saw nothing.

So white was the world around me that not even my own body could I appreciate.

I tried to walk, but I soon noticed that there was nowhere to go, nor a reference point to guide myself with.

I sat back down, relying purely on muscle memory, as if I was doing it blindfolded.

Some time passed, time which I had no way to measure. It could have been seconds, hours, years. Or even no time at all.

And then I saw it.

In front of my eyes, who had long grown numb because of the blinding whiteness, an object appeared, its light brown color contrasting with the nothingness that had been there just an instant before.

It was an egg.

An egg that, entirely by itself, got closer and closer to me by the second.

Then, it spoke.

An egg spoke to me.

I could not believe my ears, or my eyes, for that matter.

This was surely closer to a dream than whatever I had been dreaming before waking up- oh.

Then I realized.

As the egg spoke to me the exact question that I had found the answer for.

“Who are you, and why are you here?”

I couldn’t reply. I didn’t know.

The egg seemed to read my mind as I though that, for it spoke again.

“I see. Then, do you think you could tell me who I am?”

You? I’m the one who should be asking questions, not you.

It also perceived that last thought.

“I see, I see. I have something that I think could make you remember. Please follow me.”

Curious, I instinctively nodded.

The egg started moving again. Or maybe it was the floor, the void itself, that led it to its destination. Who knew.

I went behind it and, after a long walk, another set of objects appeared out of nowhere.

An armchair and a cinema screen.

Both pretty old-fashioned.

The egg jumped (got pushed?) to the arm of the armchair. All seemed to indicate that I was supposed to sit down and watch some kind of movie.

As soon as I felt the armchair below my rear, before I had even fully accommodated, the screen lit up. It showed a pure black image.

And after a second, it came. The movie.

A rather unconventional movie recorded from a first person viewpoint.

The movie was about the life of a kid, whom I never got to see, because it was in first person.

From the moment the kid was born, every experience they remembered, it was all there.

It was definitely the best movie ever made, even if I remembered no other.

I could feel the pain as the kid tripped and fell on their face, bleeding, as their mother took them to a hospital.

I could feel the stress as their teenage self waited for their university entrance exam results to be shown.

The heartbreak from the first confession – and rejection.

The happiness when they got married, and when their first kid was born.

All the emotions that came from each interaction with other people, be them friends, family or complete strangers.

And all those heartbeats.

They were all so alive. Especially the protagonist’s.

They were the most alive of all. Their heartbeat could be heard at every moment in the movie, making their emotions crystal clear to me, the viewer.

That heartbeat, made me laugh. It made me cry. It made me angry, and happy, and sad. And envious. And relieved.

And every other emotion which nobody ever invented a word for, I’m sure nobody else ever felt them equally.

By the end of the movie, they were already old. Their spouse had passed away, and they didn’t have the energy to enjoy their life as they had been used to.

The heartbeat… was fading.

After what felt like a long, agonizing period of pain, the protagonist closed their eyes one last time. And the whole screen went black. A few images flashed, in so short a time span that I might have imagined it.

But that couldn’t be.

For those images I saw, were scenes from the movie, now in third person.

And then I knew everything. I stood up, as the screen and the armchair completely disappeared, and the egg magically positioned itself it eye level with me.

“Do you now know who you are?”

I told it my name, that I now remembered.

“Perfect, perfect. Then, can you answer my second question? Who am I?”

I spoke out loud this time.

And my voice came crystal clear, exactly how I remembered it.

“You are me.”

“Who was the protagonist in the movie?”


“And where are you now?”

I stopped for a second.

I started crying.

“I… am dead.”

But they weren’t tears of sadness. They were tears of relief.

“Why are you not sad? You were just a normal human who lived without leaving anything behind them. Most people would dread that their existence amounted to nothing.”

“You are me. The one who’s saying those words is me. So I know how to answer to them. Life is so beautiful, it was worth it just for that.”

“But it had no purpose.”

“But nothing needs purpose to be beautiful. If anything, not having purpose makes it even more so.”

“I see. I shall take my leave, then. This white dream will end, and you will never again wake up. Goodbye.”

The egg disappeared.

The white void turned completely back.

And I prepared to cease to exist-

But at that moment.

I heard it.

“Thank you.”

I don’t know who said it. It could have been the egg. Or me. Or someone I loved, crying in front of my grave.

But with that sound came one more.

One last heartbeat.

And then, nothing.


Judge's Feedback

znf: A bit long-winded. I think there's a lot of unnecessary repetition in a short like this, so if it was condensed it'd read a lot smoother. Takes too long to get to a point we kind of already assume given the transparent symbolism. Also random aside, but I feel like it might have been interesting if the guy listened to a radio or a soundtrack of his life instead of a movie.

OscarHM: Uninteresting interpretation of the prompt, the way you worked the word ‘heartbeat’ into the story felt quite forced. Everything is way too direct, it barely feels like a story to me. There’s not enough character, just a blank slate of a narrator recounting a vague sob story. It makes the bit at the end about beauty fall really flat.

otkrlj: felt it was ok, but missing some key peaces. part of it felt somewhat disjointed, still though decent premise and good execution.

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