Dark Disneyland By Patrick Sagaram

Dark DisneylandIT WAS ONE OF THOSE EXTRAORDINARY AND INFREQUENT MOMENTS when their dreams however hazy and misshapen did attain perfection. Most of the time, they were a series of narratives of pure imagery, flowing like quicksilver, defining their experiences with such lucidity that when they awoke, it often amazed them what the eye of their minds can achieve.

          They are creatures of imagination and artistry during nocturnal hours, leaving them hollow and empty during the day.

They usually rise from their concrete panopticons from uneasy dreams and begin their daily transformation; individuals bent on consumption who unbeknownst to them are the means of production, mere vassals that power this dreamlike world, this dark disneyland.

Like a cracked open egg yielding its mysterious yoke, they spill onto covered walkways and concrete pavements that snake around these concrete prisons as they retrace familiar steps in the warm sunshine; the men in their pressed shirts and ties, the women in pencil skirts.

They are taken to be locked away in towering castles that punctuate the city skyline.

In their brief imprisonment in these castles, the men and women are isolated and trapped in their dungeons. I see their sallow eyes staring at dreary computers. Some of them gaze into nothingness while others look intently into the neon screens, insulting the silence with the crunch of their keyboards. Their minds swarm with cold calculations and frenzied bursts of analytical thought. They seem completely absorbed in their dreamlike state, their continued hallucination.

But dour expressions mask unspoken desires.

In the evening, I pass by dimly lit clubs and I hear the faint echoes of laughter. Laughter brought upon by drink, drunk by the women in pencil skirts bought by the men in pressed shirts and ties. These men are the uber-predators and they prowl, escaping into the night with the women in the only way that they know, because a fleeting moment of awkwardness is better than a night of loneliness.

I pass through the city, like Dante in this urban inferno. The city is their playground, where they are briefly released from their captivity. It reels them in slowly, its poison like a sweet elixir that drives them delirious with desire.

And as they grow intoxicated, they wrap their lips around the mighty breasts of excess and ecstasy, the kind only this city can offer and suckle until they can suckle no more. And once fattened, contented and compromised, they find themselves wandering like lost souls in this soulless city.

Their struggle against the city is a struggle of memory against fantasy. A struggle of truth against hope. A struggle that will lead to the city destroying its people while eventually destroying itself.

And soon the men in their pressed white shirts and ties, women in pencil skirts sleepwalk into their concrete panopticons. Some drift into the imagined virtual communities where they are reunited with others in the city. This simulacrum is their parallel universe, and they roam freely, cloaked in non-linear identities where they rant and rave, lust and love and eventually fade away.

And every night as they close their eyes and dream of their flight from the concrete panopticons and towering castles, they awaken, only to find themselves hopelessly trapped in yet another sunny day in hell.


Note: Short Story Sunday has reproduced the text formatting of this story in the style set by the author.

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9 thoughts on “Dark Disneyland By Patrick Sagaram

  1. Clever imagery and the repetition synched with the theme. Some contradictions and I tripped over the syntax a bit and some of the word choices. I think this is Patrick’s world, well drawn for us by the narrator who ‘passes through’. Does he play no part?
    It made me think of the style of American Novelist, Brett Easton Ellis.
    I don’t like being reminded of Brett Easton Ellis – but that’s just me – he’s very successful!
    Good luck Patrick – I hope you go more JG Ballard but, – you do this well.


  2. I have just reread this story. I can now identify the reflections many of us would give into if we had time during the working day. That is, is there a real meaning or higher purpose to our work life? Also, I can see the emotional control exercised at work and the enforced separation from other emotional areas of our lives.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I read this as a dystopian and recognisable interpretation of modern life – the rat race, the 9-5 and the sense of directionlessness that many of us can feel, and how we can throw ourselves into arguably hedonistic pleasures for instant gratification. I like the Gothic atmosphere and the unflinching comment on society. For me, the concrete images – the pressed shirt and ties, and pencil skirts for instance (and the way that image is repeated to show the eternal cycle), worked better than some of the more ornate/arcane language – perhaps that is what is causing some readers difficulty? Enjoyed it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you to Mollie, the other commenters below and the tweeters for taking the time to read this week’s story.

      This story did cause some debate internally as we are aware it’s not an ‘instant’ story. We read it and found ourselves immediately re-reading it again to try and make sense of it as we hadn’t read anything quite like it before.

      It could be said that the beauty of this story and Patrick’s writing is that it is not instantly accessible but does create distinctive imagery which sticks and grows on you over time.

      We had to have a mull over this one before we went ahead, it’s likely that some other readers are too!


  4. It’s the kind of story you need to read twice I think. Very complex, a lot going on. I thought the language was very descriptive and found the imagery powerful.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I find there’s some great imagery in this piece. It’s distant, mysterious and think the reader is able to draw their own conclusion on what kind of landscape it is. I found myself thinking of a mystical city.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Very original – I would be interested to know if this story is set in a fictional city or based on a real one i.e. is the author describing their own experiences?


    1. Dear Matt,

      The inspiration for this is based on a real city. But these are collective experiences that I’ve tried to frame here – the idea was to get the reader to develop snapshots in their minds of what I have described.


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