Saturday, December 15, 2007

Chapter the 17th

In art there is beauty, to be assured. But there is beauty in things beyond humanity's primitive senses. Man's sense of athletics is based on what, evolutionarily, they found helpful to their survival and procreation. But I have superseded such trifling concerns. Once death has been out-striped, you realize anything may be beautiful, given the right perspective. Even death itself. The macabre holds so much potential.--Caravaggio

Sheri slumped against the wall. Her hand clutched the handbag in which the gun was hidden.
"Well, now. How did it go?" said her man of mysteries. He was sitting, stripped to the waist and back to her, in front of a bust of white clay that he had been working on. As he asked the question, he didn't bother to turn around.
"It's done," replied Sheri wearily.
"Excellent." He took a wooden tool and adjusted the indentation above the eyelid of the form. "No problems, my pet?"
"He... wouldn't shut up."
"That's David for you. A consummate man of words. Beautiful words, such sorrow poetically expressed towards the end of his career. A waste in the end."
Sheri was quite for a long time. After a while, her master said, "What troubles you? If you are to cry, do draw near."
Sheri tensed, hesitated a for bit then ran to her master, who turned with a preternatural quickness and spread his arms wide so that he was ready to embrace her in a cold yet tight embrace. Sheri began to sob. Michael said nothing, but after instead quietly and slowly licked her face. First the right cheek, then, tilting her neck with a large hand, the left. It felt natural. It felt profane. "Why? Why? Why?" Sheri sobbed.
"Why what, my dear?" he replied, eyes closed as if savoring her.
"Why did you make me do that?"
"Because I can. Because what can do, what one is capable of, one must do. You did what you had to because I required it."
"This... is... so..."
Michael put a finger to her lips, quieting her. His power over her was palpable. Sheri felt her will subsiding into his. "Yes. You feel it. Forget your morals. For that matter forget what it is to be human. You are becoming something quite different. You are becoming... something beautiful. You have to trust me." His hand, still about her collar bone, tensed a little. A hand that could crush her.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

New novel taste

I'm not abandoning the current project; the lines for this one came to me as I tried to sleep and I decided to type them before they faded. Maybe you will see more of this story on some later date. As of now, it took a lovecraftian direction I didn't quite expect.
“I’m Stevie Wonder. Who the hell are you?”
These words, uttered by someone who was obviously not Stevie Wonder may be a good place to start this story. They may not. But they always struck me as indicative of the tone of the villain of this piece of fiction. The critics will probably have a field day with it. Not to mention that I shouldn’t be addressing the reader personally, as I will be playing your stereo-typical 3rd person omniscient narrator, as is so common in thriller novels these days. Hi, how are ya? But even the great Steven King broke the forth wall upon occasion. The critics didn’t like him either. But the general populace didn’t put stock in critics, and neither do I. So if I get a bad review in the New York Times, well, I’ll take it as a badge of honor. And they’ll probably quote a line from this paragraph when they do it.
But back to the line in question. Now “Stevie Wonder” became known, despite his sardonic line, as “the stranger” in Beckford Basin. I was not there at the time he uttered this smart-ass answer to the sheriff on that fateful morning. I was out at the watchtower, heroically keeping a look out for signs of forest fires. As is not unusual, there was a heavy drought going on in Montana, and a strict ban on outdoor fires was in place. From my watchtower I watched, or slept, or maybe even thought of my next best-seller, the one that would sell a million copies and make me rich. In case you haven’t noticed by evidence of the tome you now hold in your hands, I fancy myself a man of words, so being a ranger is the perfect occupation. Lots of downtime. The truth is I don’t remember what I was doing that evening. I should remember ever detail from around that time, but I don’t.
So I want to get it out first off. This is a work of fiction. Well, I’m saying that to be safe, but let me explain why. Firstly, as I just said, I don’t remember the details too well in some spots. I am in the school of philosophy that believes that reality is dictated by what we think we perceive anyway, so if I remember facts a certain way, well why not put them down in that fashion. Don’t think I’m an unreliable narrator though; I did my research, and asked my fellow survivors and what you read now is what I have been able to collect from the group. So yes, some facts are guessed at, half-remembered, and conjectured.
Second off, I think this story would have been a little… well, not boring, but difficult to plod through if not for some literary embellishments. So I paraphrased a few times, or did some creative writing in my quest to play a halfway-decent omniscient narrator. Sometimes I recreate events I was never a part of, even taking the liberty of stepping into people’s heads. Plus, I gotta stay true to my narrative roots. I am a novelist, though you may not have heard of my work. But if you’ve got a few bucks, why not pop into a hobby or used bookstore and spend them on Elrilion and the Caves of the Vanadu? It’s a good read about the adventures of a swashbuckling elf that I might as well admit was heavily based off of myself, but it never got much airplay if you know what I mean. Anyways, yes, some paraphrasing and turns of phrase to make the story sound better and satisfy my inner artist.
Finally, due to the exclusiveness of our group (the survivors), the lack of evidence, and the mysterious nature of the incident, our stories have come into question. The CDC has sequestered Beckford ever since the incident, and I and the others have been in quarantine for longer than I care to imagine. We’re out now, but still quite isolated in a way. We’ve been poked, prodded, and interrogated. I don’t know what the other’s said, but the story I gave has them convinced (at least that was the story I was told) that I was suffering from some sort of post-traumatic stress. In fact I write these words from a nice, quiet place they found for me. It’s along the lines of a hospital, but they won’t let the residents check out if you catch my drift.
But the public consciousness is a fickle thing. People have lost interest in what happened in Beckford. The official story is a neural pathogen that was spread like rabies. My holders have forgotten why exactly it is I am here. I think I could even get out, if I played in, gave up my story as the fiction that I am presenting it as to you, the reader. But I’ll be honest. The world is a lot safer behind these walls. The things we survived were horrible, and sometimes I wake up at night in a cold sweat and cry and moan until the sun comes up. Maybe I belong here. It’s safe, and quiet, and a man can write. Maybe a man can even publish again. I certainly hope this story doesn’t fail to reach press or fall into obscurity. Because the world needs to know the truth. About what happened in Beckford. About what is out there. And why I seek the sanctuary of my pills and starched white uniforms. Why I would rather be inside that back out there in the wilderness. This place is asylum in both senses of the word to me.
My name is Wyatt. This is the story of the survivors of Beckford Basin, and how all the residents of the town were massacred. And events got rolling the day the stranger came into town.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Chapter 16

Chapter the sixteenth: Forgotten friends

“Trent is a cool dude. But sometimes I worry, you know? I mean, it seems like sometimes he feels like he has to save the world. I think he got that from his mom, or maybe from his dad not being around… I don’t know, some kind of Freudian thing where he has to prove himself and take of everything-- psychology class was at eight in the morning so I didn’t really ever go. Anyways, yeah, Trent is a stand up guy, but I worry about him.”--Jared Bodaker

“I’m sorry, the crazy that came out of your mouth just then was so inane a trigger--no doubt developed somewhere along the line of man’s evolution for just this situation-- seems to have gone off in my brain, thus rendering comprehension of said crazy asunder, and I of course have to say, ‘come again?’” Jared folded his arms as he finished saying this.

“Look, all I’m sayin’ is you may have to come terms with the fact that we may have to put your friend down,” Will said in as un-aggravating a tone as he could manage. “The bloke you knew may well be long gone.”

Marcus jumped into the conversation, “I hate to be realistic, but these things are called spook hunts for a reason. I still remain unconvinced that anything supernatural has occurred to our friend, let alone the whole world.” Mark turned back around and faced out the windshield.

Will leaned forward. “This is the thing about normals that gets me--”

“Normals?” said Jared with a half grin.

“You all try so desperately to believe that the world isn’t falling to shambles around you. It is. We live in chaotic times, war-filled times, and dare I say it? Why yes Will, you do--we live in strange times. The fortune cookie has been split.” He made a breaking action.

“I totally don’t get that reference.” Mark took a sip of coffee.

“It’s a saying attributed to the Chinese. ‘May you live in… ’ Look what I’m trying to get at is we don’t know what has happened to your friend. We are vastly aware of our ignorance. But I think you should prepare for the worst, cause what little strangeness you’ve seen, you may think it’s nothing, and I can even see you two rationalizing it, but the fact is, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. There is a world out there, a shadow world, and it is very jealous of this world. The shadow world would love to eclipse our own. And some day, I fear it will. So… just… ya know, be prepared.”

Jared sighed. “Look, Will, we appreciate that you are… special. But maybe we shouldn’t have invited you along. If it’s so dangerous, why are you here?”

Will looked Jared squarely in the eyes. “I’m here because I’ve been given a gift. I see the shadows creeping, biding their time. I help because no one else can. When you’ve wrestled a Sumatran rat-monkey to the ground, or swapped blood with an ectoplasmic entity to seal a peace pact, or sung a baby to sleep that was never really born… well, maybe you’ll understand.”

Jared and Marcus both utter an exacerbated “Whaaaaaat?”

Before Will could elaborate further on his perspective, the passenger door opened, and Sheila plopped down on the seat. She seemed a bit out of breath as she said, “Go. Start. Now.”

Marcus started the engine. Jared leaned forward from the back seat. “What’s wrong?”

“I… it’s hard to explain…” Sheila mumbled.

“Oh, man, I sense them.” Will said, looking around excitedly. “Bloody hell, they’re close.”

Marcus pulled the car into traffic and the group was in motion.

“Right…” Jared deadpanned, “I sense that I am going to ask you for an explanation.”

“Were there suspicious people about?” Will asked Sheila.

“I don’t know. It was fine in the beginning. I got what we needed. But as I was waiting, there were… looks. I don’t know. The atmosphere of the place changed and everyone seemed… predatory. It was the same feeling from when I saw that thing at the hospital.”

“Relax,” assured Marcus. “We are far from the blood bank now. So you got the blood records? All three people?”

Sheila flipped through the manila envelopes in her hands. “Yes. I’ve got names. I guess we can try the phone book…”

“Guys,” interjected Will. “We have caught something’s attention.” In response to the other passenger’s questioning glances, he said simply, “We are being followed.”

Jared leaned forward. “Deploy the oil, Marcus.”

“What are you talking about?” Marcus scoffed.

“Oh right, we don’t have a spy car because we are not in a fictional universe, but in fact on Earth. My mistake.”

“Speak for yourself,” laughed Will. “Okay, well, I think we are being followed by the Impala two cars back. Those are low men. Mark my words, I can sense it! Now, I suggest you make like Hollywood and lose them.”

Marcus stepped up the speed. “I’d prefer to skip this part all together and get to the next scene, if it’s all the same to you! Hold on.”

Much to their chagrin, the four found that reality, as reality often does, ignored their desire for a clean transition or unseen resolution. The Impala was not easy to shake. Marcus weaved in between cars with measured abandon. Each time he cut in front of a car swiftly yet closely, Sheila sucked in a breath loudly and sibilantly.

Jared, with an uncharacteristic expression of sincerity on his face, gently put a hand on Sheila’s shoulder. “It will be alright. We can take who ever these guys are. Right, Marcus? Right Will.”

Will seemed to be chanting inaudibly. Marcus paused and curtly said, “Right.”

Shelia put her hand over Jared’s. “What have you gotten me into, you idiot,” she said with a wan smile.

“Sorry. Our friend was in trouble an--”

With a lurch they all were shoved forward. The Impala’s driver was not content to wait it seemed.

Marcus uttered a loud profanity. “They. Hit. My. CAR!” Within a short span of time, they were rammed again, from the direction of the back left tire.

Perhaps influenced by their drifting orientation, Marcus chose to turn the car abruptly into an alley. It turned out to be a bad stroke of luck, as it soon became evident that their progress was blocked by a dumpster sitting in front of a fence. Marcus stopped harshly. The wheels let out a cry.

“Maybe I can ram my way through!” Marcus propositioned.

“No,” Will responded calmly. They’ve won this round. Best now to cooperate. If we piss them off… we’ll be dead.” The others looked at Will with fear and trepidation, expectation something more of an assurance. Will, with a weary tone, said simply, “Cut the engine, Marcus. We’re not going anywhere.”


Low men, Will thought to himself. He had encountered the like before. The type of people the supernatural types used. The low men were flickering shadows, human offshoots of darker entities. Their very souls corrupted by service their benefactors. And the worst part was Will pitied them sometimes, they always got the raw end of the deal. Evil is not a generous master, and always eager to pull on the choke-chain. This time, the low men seemed to be a pair. One big, obviously the muscle of the two, and one smaller.

The small one, slightly emaciated with huge cheekbones, slicked back widow’s peaked hair, and sunken, sharp eyes, spoke. “What you think you know. It’s not what you know.” His thin mustache twitched under his nose in what looked like a tick. Or a rat sniffing. You’re messing with a world that you are never gonna understand. In fact, elaboration on the subject may well cause you to vacate your bowels with the force and violence of a car wreck. Right, Abe?”

The bigger one, a man that could easily double as a bouncer, yet looked to have some sharp cunning underneath his flat face, replied. “That’s right, Cain.” He eyed the group with a fierceness that necessitated they avoid his gaze. You ain’t nothing’. He is insanity. It makes my head hurt to think of him. Humans--”

“So we’ll spare you troglodytes the details.” Cain interjected. “What were you checking on?”

“What are you talking about?” Stammered Marcus.

Cain simply glanced at Abe as if to say, “Well?”

Abe took it as a cue to punch Marcus suddenly and squarely in the face. The impact was a swift and somewhat wet sounding one. With a mutter of surprise, Marcus brought his hands to his face and dropped to one knee. Blood issued at an alarming speed and alacrity from his nose soon after.

“Hey…” said Jared in astonishment. Shelia quickly glided down to check his condition. Will tightened his jaw.

Cain continued, “You see, our employer has bestowed on us, certain… endowments which facilitate and expedite our ability to not only keep tabs on when people are snooping where they shouldn’t, but also discern truth from excrement. So don’t lie to us. Now let’s see…” Cain put his hands to his temples, as if in thought. “Ah, there is information. You took information. Of course it doesn’t take a Da Vinci-sized intellect to figure out that much. But yes, I sense it. You have received information… you don’t comprehend it yet… But!” He spun towards Will. “There is something about you. The sort of smugness that can only come from knowing… That can’t be. What are you…?”

Abe stepped forward, as if incensed. Cain held him back absentmindedly. “I don’t know what you are. You don’t smell human, and yet you don’t smell dangerous either…”

“Oh, I beg to differ mate.” Will could not help himself. Some quips are just too central to one’s character to ignore.

The one called Cain arched his eyebrows for a second. He turned to the one called Abe and made a sweeping, palm up gesture as if directing a couple to their seats in a restaurant. He looks like a concierge with that hair and mustache-- Will started to think. Abe was on him, and he didn’t have the usual cool for his inner witty banner.

After a very long interval that may have in fact been relatively short, Will slumped against his aggressor; not having the strength to do much else. Cain idled up to Will, and spoke low and quietly, “You may think you know what we are. Maybe you have a glimpse. But I promise you, you have no idea what he is. Go back to you’re junior Ghostbusters’ headquarters, spooky kid. We prefer not to kill, because it makes so much hassle… but you try our patience.”

With that said, he briskly walked to the group’s car and opened the back seat. He pulled out the manila envelope and dramatically held it aloft in his left hand to show it’s importance to the members of the group that were still in shape to pay attention. “You kids are playing with fire. I bet you know what happens when you do that. Your mother’s must have told you.” Somehow, the file caught fire. Cain’s view stayed intently on the group. “Don’t let us catch you again.” He dropped the file, burned beyond all recognition, in a trashcan.

Without a word, Abe threw Will down. The throw knocked Will’s head against a brick wall behind him. He went fuzzy, barely noticing the two shadowy figures getting into the car and speeding off.

Sheila, ever the nurse, was soon applying first aid to Marcus and Will.

“All that, and we lost the file.” Said Jared in a dismayed tone.

“No, we didn’t,” said Sheila as she helped Will up. “The papers that were in that file are underneath the floor cover. I took them out and replaced them with something else. He burned the wrong thing.” She couldn’t help but smile triumphantly. Jared laughed in shock.

“Ach. Now we’re doubly dead,” Moaned Will. “They’ll probably figure it out somehow. In any case, I think we’re marked.”

“What do you mean,” asked Jared wearily.

“I mean the dark world has noticed us. We’re tainted. More tainted I should say; you lot reek of your vampy friend and me… Like big blips on their radars. Mark the words of this keen Englishman: If not those two goons, something else will come after us soon.

Friday, April 14, 2006

The change announcement

Chapter 15 is updated. I'm going to change my strategy, and will no longer be posting incompleted chapters that get finished later. Instead, I will try to write a little each day, and publish each chapter as it concludes. Less updates from here, so you might want to get the RSS feed if you are one of my two readers.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Ch15 update

Trent's first (concious) feeding.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The adventures of David have been updated in Ch 15

Monday, February 06, 2006

Seriously, world

you can't expect me to write on mondays. je suit le mort
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