The Second Apocalypse

Miscellaneous Chatter => Writing => Topic started by: What Came Before on June 02, 2013, 02:31:55 pm

Title: Story a Day (II)
Post by: What Came Before on June 02, 2013, 02:31:55 pm
Quote from: Callan S.
Francis, that's why I think to consider a web of respects for those who don't hit the first places. Some of them might actually be more deserving. I remember a story someone said that a publisher had their nine year old read a book to evaluate whether it got published. Kid said it's probably more for eight years olds, but still pretty good. So Tolkien got published.

Respects to the other places.

Good luck with it, Francis! Better a bumpy ride than no ride!


A child suddenly realising it's been given a death sentence.

A terror rises to crescendo - then collapses like a house of cards into a pool of black ink.

The notion arises again, latter, the terror too, but it collapses. Willowing each time. Like a door wallpapered over.

I suspect there is something in my head that prohibits being swollowed by this fear.

Scientists say we were down to two thousand individuals at one point in our ancient history. Edge of extinction.

What if it was at a turning point in psychology - suddenly people realised. And they wailed. And the wailing would not stop. And it spread, making others awaken to it, wake up screaming.

And only two thousand remained. The stupid, the suppressed.


EDIT [Madness]: Changed thread title.
Title: Re: Story a Day II
Post by: What Came Before on June 02, 2013, 02:32:05 pm
Quote from: sciborg2
@Callan: Not sure if I understand that last one. The kid is sentenced to die and then starts philosophizing?

Story 169 Dec 6

My friend, she tells me of her latest hook up and I try not to wince. It's not that I haven't done the same, hell at least she sorta knew the guy.

All the strangers I've fucked, but then I met Alice and suddenly I get these flashbacks to a past life. We thought about sex differently then.

God, it's so fucking stupid, to be injected with this ideal for a saintly virgin, something my commie-hippie atheist parents made sure I never fell for.

It's stupid anyway, I'm not in love with Alice. It's not even me, not really, just my soul in love with a woman a thousand years dead.


Story 170 Dec 7

"When the time stream changes...will we ever meet?"

The way she looks at me, we both know the answer is no.

Our love was born of humanity scattering, our hearts found each other after the slaughter.

The Hell Breach made us better people, no doubt about it. And now we've won, and it will never happen, and we'll live and die as the assholes we were always meant to be.

Title: Re: Story a Day II
Post by: What Came Before on June 02, 2013, 02:32:12 pm
Quote from: Callan S.
Saajan, it kind of skips around in time, though the point of realisation is timeless, orginating at the childs realisation. The execution is not for quite some time. Decades, even. There's supposed to be that 'dump' point when you realise. It's probably a bit of a self indulgent writing, given the indulgence it asks for to get to that.

But essentially a kid starts philosophizing, yeah.
Title: Re: Story a Day II
Post by: What Came Before on June 02, 2013, 02:32:18 pm
Quote from: Callan S.
What is it I see - the hurt, or perhaps more the beseiged bastion remaining behind so many nettle stings?

The weight of having bought a job, to run a business, yet still shell out your earnings to a faceless?

I presume it's you who owns this place - I see you early enough, often enough.

You've come to recognise me to some degree, I think, that half human relationship of customer and service. Sadly I am stuck, like someone peeping over to see the contents of a diary, to seeing more though. Maybe it's another reason why the dollar divide which can't be closed, can't be closed - it just burns. To see too much, like staring into a sun.

Or maybe I just make up that perception of seeing? One time I wondered how I hadn't noticed you were so tall - but then it turned out behind the counter you were just standing on box, as you checked inventory?

But what is it that I see? You're like iron somewhere in there, yet like softness - in fact do you hide that iron behind the genuine softness of you? A castle protected by a wall of it's people?

- Ode to a Subway worker.
Title: Re: Story a Day II
Post by: What Came Before on June 02, 2013, 02:32:27 pm
Quote from: Callan S.
Why did you step on my tree?

It was several meters into the property - granted, the driveway has no fence, so your inward stagger would not be abated by someone elses efforts, only your own discipline.

Why did you step on my tree?

It's a sapling, was bent over, now trussed up on the last of it's good bark, with some spiked wire around it and a couple of wheelie bins ahead. To avert your gaze, because thats as much as it takes to distract what little of you operates within your skull. Not to say you are stuck there, but then again you are as much and as much not as a computer loaded with the minimum software for it's heart to beat.

And my own minimum reaches: - why did you step on my tree?

I bet I could trace a litany of bent in your life, inflicted on you, skewing your life to the twist of here. This is just collatteral damage in the killing of you.

Or maybe you're just trash.


Nihilist gets bandied around - but often it's with people who describe nihilism. That takes effort. Is that really for real? Or is the true expression here - the empty destructiveness you find between the effort it'd take you to kill yourself and the fact you're heart keeps beating and hungering, animating you like some kind of rediculous puppet corpse? The a'tween. Undead. Zombie.

I know you've been here. I know your stink. I aught to. You've no idea the lawn I've to mow in you, the lazy knife of words. Or maybe that wouldn't work. But that's okay, I can kick that head all day. The emptyness beneath your empty. A void that swollows voids. Find out.

Or would could have been nice.
Title: Re: Story a Day II
Post by: What Came Before on June 02, 2013, 02:32:35 pm
Quote from: Madness
Feb 18/

"By the hatred that drives my hand..."

The message fell from her fingertips, the sweaty scrawl smudged across crumbled sheaf. Words that scarred.

"By the lie of bliss in your presence..."

Her heart pounded, beat against her chest in violent reminder.

"I swear..."

Rushing ears while the mundane fogged at the periphery.

"vengeance for your love."

She knows.

Her hand found the reins and the cold leather in hand reminded her of the resolving world. The fire bloomed before her, flames licking the warming air, savouring the fuel of her lover's last words.

Running had been the hardest decision she'd ever made. The decision she wrestled with in the depths of night's terror and the peaks of day's joy.

The decision she made still...
Title: Re: Story a Day II
Post by: What Came Before on June 02, 2013, 02:32:43 pm
Quote from: Callan S.
"You saw the accused on the night of the murder", the defence asked.

"As far as I can tell I did, from my attempts to recall", the witness spoke.

There was a pause in the courtroom.

"As far as you can tell? From your attempts to recall? Did you or did you not see the accused?", the defence pushed.

"I've already told you, from what I can tell...", the witness continued

Beginings of unrest from the judge, an indignancy rising up in him from an also rising awareness of there being an obstinant person in his court. When only he gets to be obstinant - not that he thought that. But a pace or two away from his current understanding and the snake of his indignancy simply becomes the trunk of an obstinant elephant. As much as one is obliged to describe bullets that just barely miss, surely this is an obligation as well?

"From what you can tell of your own experience?", the defence fairly gasped, all but turning to the jury in exasperation as local law did not allow such. But still managing to turn without turning "You hardly strike me as a reliable witness, when you barely seem to know yourself!"

Something like iron dipped into the witnesses eyes. Something like a judge itself.

"Is this court aware of cognitive bias studies...?", the witness speaks, heavy lidded, trailing, as if an executioner speaking warrant.

The impertinence rises on the Judges back like hackles, as indeed it does so literally as well.

"In this courtroom you are to answer questions to the best of your ability or I will have to reprimand you with contempt of court. Witness, please ", the word please hissing with its lie of gun-to-your-head-aren't-I-reasonableness "answer the questions as best you can"

The laughter is non sequitur - low, full...inviting, even. None can indeed enact reprimands for something that is so out of place...worse, for something that tickles and pricks, a whisper like something overhead from the back row of a class, something that seems so in place. Like midnight coming at a masquerade ball.

It ebbs, before it can meet the requirements of the norm for that which offends.

The iron in the eyes of the witness eyes glitters, as if at foundry. The dishonesty, the misstruth they ask - they demand at gun point. The witness is just a man, he has no care for causes at random occasions - to lay down part of his life in a concrete box, or even risk all of it. Yet the other way lies another death of another kind, and he has no wish to be undead either.

Inwardly he laughs again, tastes the moment of release that is the insanity of being an animal backed into a corner. The simple release of choosing snarling, snapping, biting - no more complex world, just simple direction. He muses, chooses his next words like a butcher chooses his knives.
Title: Re: Story a Day II
Post by: What Came Before on June 02, 2013, 02:32:52 pm
Quote from: sciborg2
Ah, more to catch up on...
Title: Re: Story a Day II
Post by: What Came Before on June 02, 2013, 02:32:58 pm
Quote from: Madness
Lol, drop in the bucket compared to your portfolio here, sci ;).

Callan, I know everyone seems to hate on Card but this reminded me so much of this short story he has. I'll try and find it.
Title: Re: Story a Day II
Post by: What Came Before on June 02, 2013, 02:33:05 pm
Quote from: Callan S.
Mike, if this Card guy has the character suddenly realise he has a weasel word get out by simply claiming it's his religion to doubt his memory and perception, I'll freak!! I was thinking of editing that in.
Title: Re: Story a Day II
Post by: What Came Before on June 02, 2013, 02:33:12 pm
Quote from: Madness
Orson Scott Card? Not in that story, anyways.

No, without spoilers, its about about an American dissenter, in Russia-Occupied America (circa. 1980's), who is forced to give a "convincing" guilty-plea.
Title: Re: Story a Day II
Post by: The Great Scald on October 25, 2013, 07:00:49 pm
Great thread, the little one-shot stories here are really interesting.

Francis Buck, could you re-post yours? I'm having a hard time finding it in this thread.
Title: Re: Story a Day II
Post by: Francis Buck on October 25, 2013, 07:23:48 pm
Which one do you mean, the short story I submitted to the contest?
Title: Re: Story a Day II
Post by: The Great Scald on October 25, 2013, 07:34:20 pm
Which one do you mean, the short story I submitted to the contest?

Yep. I'd be interested in reading it.
Title: Re: Story a Day II
Post by: Francis Buck on October 25, 2013, 07:50:36 pm
Alrighty, here's the link to the PDF: (

Thanks for reading.
Title: Re: Story a Day II
Post by: Francis Buck on October 26, 2013, 06:26:20 pm
Haven't done much posting here in a long while, as I've been very committed to my next novel, The Emperor Must Die, and I'm also toying with the possibility of a short Earwa fanfic. Nonetheless, I'd like to get some impressions on the first little bit of my novel. This is not the most recent edit, but it's close enough. I kinda cut it off at a random point (what's shown here is a little under a quarter of what I've got done so far), but I'd still like some early impressions. I know it's long but I figured, what the hell?

The formatting will probably be all jacked-up, but it should be readable enough at least. Any feedback/critiques are welcome.

EDIT: I took it out because the formatting was so messed up, and eventually I'll post a proper sample because I definitely want some critiques for you guys.
Title: Re: Story a Day II
Post by: Madness on October 27, 2013, 07:49:08 pm
I'll have to give this a more rigorous read later. I'm interested though :).
Title: Re: Story a Day II
Post by: sciborg2 on October 29, 2013, 05:20:50 am
You may want to post that in a separate thread Francis - might get more eyes that way?

In any case, started reading and will try to provide some commentary!
Title: Re: Story a Day II
Post by: Madness on October 29, 2013, 02:00:50 pm
More than welcome to begin your own thread, FB, that is what the writing forum is for (I realize Auriga requested it here).

I encourage it (I would just do it now, if I knew you were cool with it).
Title: Re: Story a Day II
Post by: Francis Buck on October 29, 2013, 04:44:47 pm
Yeah I probably will do that in the near future, but I want to put a slightly newer version and also add the next two chapters which would give a more rounded-out view of where the story is actually headed (I'll also probably do it in PDF because of formatting -- for example the use of italics is lost when pasting, which kinda messes stuff up, both in the stressing of certain words, and because character's internal thoughts are in italics).
Title: Re: Story a Day II
Post by: Madness on October 29, 2013, 04:55:04 pm
Cool - and I was mistaken, obviously, Auriga only asked specifically for the Red Riding Hood reimagining.
Title: Re: Story a Day II
Post by: Francis Buck on November 16, 2013, 02:32:27 am
Which one do you mean, the short story I submitted to the contest?

Yep. I'd be interested in reading it.

Meant to ask this before, but if you do read my story I'd love some feedback if it's not too much trouble. I like to get any and all critiques that I can, so your thoughts would be much appreciated. :)

And thanks for taking an interest in the first place!
Title: Re: Story a Day II
Post by: Royce on November 16, 2013, 07:38:23 am
Meant to ask this before, but if you do read my story I'd love some feedback if it's not too much trouble. I like to get any and all critiques that I can, so your thoughts would be much appreciated.

Where can I read this? Would love too, if I may ;)
Title: Re: Story a Day II
Post by: Madness on November 16, 2013, 06:15:55 pm
Meant to ask this before, but if you do read my story I'd love some feedback if it's not too much trouble. I like to get any and all critiques that I can, so your thoughts would be much appreciated.

Where can I read this? Would love too, if I may ;)

Alrighty, here's the link to the PDF: (

Thanks for reading.
Title: Re: Story a Day II
Post by: Royce on November 17, 2013, 05:16:04 pm
I am trying to translate some of my stuff, but it might take a while for me to be happy with the result. I have to get the concepts spot on, which is hard.
Title: Re: Story a Day II
Post by: Madness on November 17, 2013, 06:12:36 pm
I wish you good fortune and perseverance, Royce.
Title: Re: Story a Day II
Post by: Madness on November 21, 2013, 01:48:24 pm
Mina walked from the office doors with the bundle of tethers gripped tightly in hand. She looked across the sea of cars to the Drop, identified in the paved lot only by a small post, blinking a blinding dayglo-spectrum bulb. She did her best to keep it in her periphery as she navigated through the mirrored sheen of cleanly polished metal and glass.

She did her best too, as always, to willfully ignore the guards who kept pace as she made her morning transfers.

Her heels clicked across the concrete surface, echoing off the parked vehicles. The air smelt of ozone clean and the sun pierced yellow on sky blue.

The tethers in her hand jerked and she looked up to the swaying electrospheres. They weren't really swaying. But she liked to think of them as swaying because their predetermined height gave them the illusion of a will to rise. They seemed like balloons fighting back and forth to pass through a ceiling.

As they reached the Drop, she paused before stepping over the small line of chipped paint, which marked the Drop's boundary under the concrete parking lot.

The guards fanned out around the Drop.

A collection of cigarette butts littered the ground around her and she thought she caught their smell. She waited a short moment, long enough to imagine taking her last drag and exhaling a draft of shimmering blue. She even flicked her finger and laughed at the memory of pitching her butt among the detritus others, at the joy of absence.

She stepped across the boundary of paint and wondered at the sudden sounds of misfiring cars.

But these were errant thoughts as the ground was rushing up to meet her. The tethers slipped from her hand as she caught herself on staggered limbs, feeling the sharp pinch of sudden impact. She rolled onto her back and watched as the electrospheres rose towards Anchorage Point.

And then she heard the voices and the gunfire. The world was a glare and she noticed a sharpness in drawing breath.

Men and women cursing. Gunfire sounding in patterned discipline over staggered courage.

The tether was flying. Sirens rang out closer than gunfire. And as the world faded slowly black, she thought to warn Bill in Europe. For burglars often robbed in paired teams at both ends of the tether transfers.

Maybe she would be awake in time, she thought.

After all, it would be hours before he could wake and fish for the tether in the sky.
Title: Re: Story a Day II
Post by: Madness on November 22, 2013, 04:02:09 am
I went to a poetry-esque type open mic tonight and, though I've never really written poetry before (as is evident), I wrote this while others were performing for my own reading. I can't refuse an opportunity to extend my grasp of the craft.

Words are weighty, so they say,
They are as thick as thieves,
They come to town, they mess around,
They cause mischief for me.

I'd heard a word, so long ago,
That claimed the greatest deed,
It exclaimed, so proud you see,
By me all will be freed.

It then did ask me, follow please,
And though I was afraid,
I thought I'd chase this word awhile,
To see where it may stray.

Long and darkened paths I walked,
And deep breaths did I take,
I followed it so far I felt,
I prayed I wouldn't break.

And still I search from day to day,
Whole lives have I spent,
To find that word, alluring spur,
To this task, I am bent.
Title: Re: Story a Day II
Post by: Cüréthañ on November 23, 2013, 04:17:09 am
A bit wordy though.  :-[
*Shuffles off stage left*
Title: Re: Story a Day II
Post by: Madness on November 23, 2013, 02:41:04 pm
Lol. A gods-damned comedian ;D.
Title: Re: Story a Day (II)
Post by: Camlost on March 09, 2015, 09:13:08 pm
The evening's breeze carried up from the field and caused Allowyn to shiver. Blood and steel. He had always thought it funny that that which was spilt might smell so similar to that which had spilt it. Well maybe more perverse than funny; either way, the crows certainly cackled over it. He pulled his cloak tight about him and shuddered to think that all his efforts might have been a carrion's joke.

Across the field, staggered along the foothills edge, fires fought back the cold, the dark, and the encroaching whispers of defeat—or at least that was what they were meant to do. From where Allowyn stood opposite, the sun had still not settled behind the trees and the breeze was truly little more than an early autumn's breath. The flames had been stoked more to ease the men's minds than their bodies, a distraction from the days events and those parties that still trundled back and forth from the field carrying ever more casualties and ill news.

Allowyn couldn't help but admire their hope, despite all the frailties of the body, and he had heaped many upon them, their spirit remained indomitable. He sighed, at least until the light of dawn. For he led an army that had broken the bounds of spirit, for which the cold of night was a welcome surcease from the chill of the grave, and whose ranks grew with every battle—victory or defeat.

Unwilling to consider them anymore, he turned his back on the unsought enemy and descended from his vantage point. If they would not flee then at least his ever-present feathered friends would not go hungry.
Title: Re: Story a Day (II)
Post by: Camlost on March 13, 2015, 12:14:40 am
Ugh, just noticed how many times I used at least..
Title: Re: Story a Day (II)
Post by: Camlost on March 28, 2015, 04:18:40 am
Rain pebbled the surface of the grey waters, its chaotic drumming filling the space between oar sweeps. Molk stared absently at his passenger as he rowed, not concentrating on him, but reluctant to look away.

The steady downpour had turned the man's faded cloak the colour of twilight, and resting across the dark figure's lap, his hand tight about the pommel, was an elson's sword. To Molk's eyes, the preternatural blade seemed to capture the lightning's glow, so that it faintly lit the small skiff between them. His face downcast under his hood, the figure had a revenant appearance, and so Molk began to regard him as such. The thought unnerved him, so much so that before he had made it halfway to the island's rocky shore he was certain that he delivered death.

With each sweep of the oars the skiff pulled closer to the black stone keep in the center of the lake, and with each heave at the oars Molk felt in his pocket the exorbitant fare his passenger had paid. Molk had fished this lake for decades and knew well the safer and more luxuriant ferries that traveled to the island, and so, more than most, he understood that his passenger had exacted a fee from him: all the silence of a storm-driven night.
Title: Re: Story a Day (II)
Post by: Francis Buck on April 25, 2015, 05:38:18 am
A slice of my off-the-cuff, reinterpreted intro for The Emperor Must Die:

The Planet of Carvalho

     She had consciously detected the animal's presence several moments before any of her typical five senses did. About three meters away a young elk skulked through the dense pole-forest of gefangnis pines -- a veritable prison of tall, arrow-straight trees generally no thicker than a man's thigh. What the trees lacked in mass they made up for in quantity. Random copses sprung up everywhere from the hard, icy ground, so numerous that one's line-of-sight rarely exceeded a few meters.
     Although a pale blue sun shone high above, the forest floor was shaded, narrow tree trunks sheathed in frozen moisture from the night before, glittering now in midday gloom.
     Kulé dropped to one knee and shouldered her rifle, an Mk II Ranger. New model, a recent offworld import. It used the high-pressure gas from firing to eject a spent magazine and chamber a new round. Only a few dozen had made it through the Imperial Blockade and onto Carvalho's surface. Of course, Kulé had made sure to acquire one by any means necessary. That hadn't proved too difficult.
     Something tickled her brain. Another mind, another...
     Up the ridge, a mountain lion crouched on all fours. There was no sense of anticipation that Kulé could perceive. It was relaxed, statuesque – like a sphinx, some distant part of her whispered, though she couldn't recall exactly what a sphinx was.
     She lowered the weapon. This, Kulé knew, was what the pious called a Holy Moment: two ancient species brought here from humanity's Birthworld,  locked in a circumstance made sacred by their very origins. Observance of such an event was a matter of religious doctrine, especially since neither of the animals knew Kulé was even there. She had first started hunting at the age five, and that was fourteen Universal Years ago. Stealth, among other things, was all but second nature to her. Indeed, the simple fact of killing -- let alone consuming -- a Birthworld creature of any kind was considered blasphemous by some. To others, it could only be done under the most stringent adherence to proper ritual. Kulé suspected that such believers were generally not starving peasants, eking out a modest existence on some far-flung, barely inhabited planet in a remote corner of the galaxy.
     She wasn't exactly a spiritual individual anyway.
     The lion fled when it heard the booming crack of Kulé's rifle shot, a single round pulverizing the elk's skull and killing it instantly. In that final trice, Kulé could sense the fluttering knot of the animal's mind unraveling into oblivion. Death. The bullet had grazed precisely three different gefangnis pines before reaching its target, leaving a fine trail of frosty bark and in its wake. Even at such close range, the claustrophobic pole-forest had to be accounted for with every shot. Weaving through the tree trunks in graceful, deliberate steps, Kulé approached the elk and proceeded to field dress it with long-practiced speed and efficiency.
     Bloodstained, her breath condensing in stinging cold air, she slung the beast over a shoulder and began her journey navigating out of the woodland maze -- a task far more tedious than getting into it. Nearly an hour passed before she finally emerged, barely three meters from where her ramshackle autosleigh was parked. It may have been an old, cantankerous vehicle, long worn down by the harsh elements of Carvalho, but it was fast, cutting through ice and coasting on snow as good as any shiny new skimmer.
     Well, almost as good.
     After loading her kill onto the back, Kulé gently eased the autosleigh's engine into life, setting a course for two klicks north-east -- home. Before leaving, however, she felt a familiar twinge somewhere in her brainstem. The gibberish-whispering echo of some dumb outer consciousness. The mountain lion. It must have followed the elk's freshly-dead odor while keeping at a distance, only temporarily spooked by the gunfire. Even so, the creature was huddled deep in the pole-forest, within the comfort of its domain. Its kingdom. For a fleeting instant, Kulé experienced a bizarre sort of camaraderie with the animal, like it was an old friend she had not immediately recognized.
     Or, perhaps, a glimpse of one she would make in the future.
Title: Re: Story a Day (II)
Post by: Camlost on April 27, 2015, 02:44:31 am
Nice work Buck. It's good to see someone else keeping this lonely thread alive. My efforts have been a bit lack luster in recent weeks.

Here's something of an introduction or preface that I just thought up on my car ride home:

I have spent the better part of three decades wandering in flight to the far reaches of a flagging empire. In that time I have worn many names. Some of those names have been praised for their actions, others are openly feared, while even a few have been remembered solely for the mystery that surrounded them; but all, without fail, have come to be associated with an insatiable darkness that follows in their wake.

To whomever may come to find this document, should it survive, I must immediately disabuse them of the illusion that the revelation of my true name or my death—I have lit the last of my warding candles so as to record this confession—might signify an end to the darkness that has become synonymous with my presence. The miserable truth of the matter, one of which I have had the burden of carrying throughout the long sordid years since my flight began, is that my demise will herald the darkest of those days that have yet to come.

My name is Yel'en of Ahktunash. I am the last devotee of a false god, and the sole practitioner of daeinvoc outside of the bonds of the newly resurrected cult of Lamtun—who dare not acknowledge my existence, and when they must refer to me only as venatorem, the hunted.

The ink I've laid has barely begun to dry and the candle's flame has had its first taste of wax, and the ceremonial runes described therein, yet already I can hear the dark promises of their minions whispered from just beyond the encroaching darkness. Since my life is now surely measured by a candle's breath, I hasten to describe those events that culminated in the greatest of my crimes, not so that I might achieve anything resembling absolution—the things I have done are beyond redemption—but that perhaps I might gain even that faintest glimmer of empathy one offers a condemned man.

Would you read on? [I used some weak Latin as filler for the time being. Whether I change names and places to reflect that choice or just wing it on a made up language depends on where things go with it]
Title: Re: Story a Day (II)
Post by: Francis Buck on April 28, 2015, 05:48:06 am
FB pretends to know everything about writing:

I would read on. You do a good job of presenting a particular, driving mystery that makes one question the perspective of the POV they're reading. The fact that the POV itself exhibits self-awareness is very good; it's the first hurdle of obtaining a semi-skeptical audience. Self-awareness often means self-deprecation -- the acknowledgement of ANY weakness is also the acknowledgement of being human. Flaws are essential, lest your characters becomes a Mary/Gary Sues.

I think this is incredibly important, yet is nonetheless often ignored in fiction or otherwise. Even our greatest modern paragons of justice -- Gandhi, let's say -- displayed highly visible qualities of "moral deficiency". I don't believe we should think LESS of such figures, but instead simply realize they're just as human as the rest of us.

As for the Latin...there's nothing wrong with that, be it temporary or otherwise. Don't think about what language/culture/religion is most interesting to you at the moment, think about what is most relevant to the characters you're trying to tell the story of. That is what (most) readers care about. Unless you're intentionally writing something equivalent to The Silmarillion, it ultimately doesn't matter WHAT language/culture you choose to emulate, so long as it feels genuine to the reader. And this is coming from a legit world-building junky. Just like dreams, no one really gives a fuck about what the specifics of what your imagination has conceived. It is only after digesting and formulating this information that it becomes overtly relevant. And even then, you still have to convince others that this is so.
Title: Re: Story a Day (II)
Post by: Garet Jax on May 01, 2015, 07:00:10 pm
Nice work you guys.  It's great to log in with new material posted here so I can get a quick reading fix ;)
Title: Re: Story a Day (II)
Post by: Camlost on May 01, 2015, 10:34:59 pm
Thanks for the encouragement Jax. Now that I know we have an audience I'll try to be more productive. Although I don't think any of us can match sciborg
Title: Re: Story a Day (II)
Post by: Camlost on May 07, 2015, 01:51:43 pm
The music had ended hours ago and only the regulars and weirdos remained. Jim, the salesman, occupied his weekly spot at the end of the bar, wallowing in the dregs of his beer and premature baldness. Situated across the room in a booth chosen for its proximity to the men's room sat a fake blonde with nicotine stained skin and a dubious reputation for her nocturnal business affairs who went by the name of Pam. Tucked away in the opposite corner, a couple of college students of doubtful age were nursing their unlikely opportunity with tequila and cheap beer. And seated at a table next to the stage was a handsome performer from earlier in the evening who had introduced himself as Troy and an old man who could have been mistaken for his grandfather.

The bartender crossed the room, offering Jim all the obliviousness he did the rest of the world at this point and pretending not to notice Pam counting the profits of her solicitations, and set another pitcher down between the older man and the performer. Up close it was immediately apparent they weren't family; there was certainly a familiarity between them, but with that an undercurrent of awkwardness that only accompanied strangers. Despite that though, the resembelance between the two was uncanny. Kelly observed and came to these conclusions all in the span it took to clear their empty glasses. They were an odd pair, each in their own way, and their conversation was even stranger.

"—why I came back her isn't important right now, you'll learn that in time. Thank you, my dear."

"Oh, ho, 'in time', aren't you funny! If I'm to believe half of what you're telling me, I'll need to be at least twice as drunk as I am," Troy replied, his tone a peculiar mix of incredulous and excited. He gave Kelly a wink and refilled his glass feeling he had gotten the better of his companion. He held up a guitar pick he had been tapping on the table, "Thanks again by the way. I might not have had a set without you."

"If that's what it will take," the old man interrupted, turning to Kelly with a pained smile and a few crumpled bills, "We'll have two shots of Jack and your best ceaser."

She had been searching for something casual and flirty to say to Troy, but leaned on duty when nothing seemed forthcoming. She nodded to the two of them and made off for the protection of the bar before a blush could make its way to her cheeks. Excepting Pam, who made a lewd gesture and offered to "distract the old one", no one seemed to notice her embarrassment.

With each successive trip to their table that night Kelly had been shedding her professional indifference and after this last, she had to admit to herself she was outright curious about the two of them. So as she set to making their drinks she sought to inconspicuously listen in on their conversation, and if something came up that she might use to chat with Troy, then all the better.

“Alright then, tell me how it is girls think. Tell me what women want,” Troy spat out following a muffled burp. It was subtle, but now that she was paying closer attention, Kelly noticed that the disbelief she had heard before was slowly beginning to fade from his tone.

“That I can't do, for two reasons--" the old man began.

“Oh, come on. What good is access to all of one's wisdom before they've learned it if you won't share it?”

The old man smiled and shook his head, the kind of action that is generally reserved for children who simply can't know any better or teachers who are about to correct a misconception. He held up his finger and continued, “The first is this: all men must learn to fathom the female mind in their own time. It is a measure of growth that one comes to such an epiphany and only then through experience. The second reason being, and more importantly, I don't know. The unfortunate truth is that women are simply unfathomable, at least in all this one's experience. Every shining moment of elucidation on the subject is very often followed by another and that another too, and all of them often as false as the ones proceeding.”

“Just wonderful, so I suppose love eludes me for the rest of my life and that's why you're here, to warn me against my follies.” Kelly caught this last exchange as she arrived at the table with their drinks.

“On the contrary," the old man rummaged through his jacket before producing the contents of his pockets. As he began seperating cash and coins from all the other detritus that collects in one's pockets, Kelly could have sworn she noticed a guitar pick nearly identical to the one Troy still drummed atop the table. Before she had time to give it more attention, the old man offered her a handful of money with a wistful look in his eyes and continued, "You encounter a woman who absolutely captivates you, who stirs a passion in you like nothing else has or—and take my word on this matter—will.”

Troy's cloudy demeanor cleared immediately and he leaned in, "What does she look like? Can you tell me that much?”

“An absolute vision. She was like an autumn sunrise. Cool and calm, and radiant”

“You say was, as in something went wrong”

Having retreated to the bar, Kelly watched the old man flick a shot of Jack down his throat and wince, "Imagine how desolate my life had to have become for me to have spent the waning years of my life desperately, and nearly futilely, developing a time machine"
Title: Re: Story a Day (II)
Post by: Francis Buck on June 17, 2015, 03:13:34 am
Meant to comment earlier, but GJ reminded -- I'm really digging that piece there, Cam! Great hook and very intriguing. Have you worked on that idea/premise any more, or was it just a kind of one-off thing? Seems like it has a lot of potential!
Title: Re: Story a Day (II)
Post by: Garet Jax on June 22, 2015, 08:05:50 pm
I'm with FB on this one.  This one really caught my attention and imagination. Good work.

If there isn't any more and this is just a one-off, you should add some to appease me!

Title: Re: Story a Day (II)
Post by: Camlost on July 02, 2015, 09:30:49 pm
Hah! I appreciate it guys. It was originally just meant to be a one-off, but things began to proliferate once I started writing it. I had to keep it short or else the feeling of completion kept getting awaying from me.

As soon as the weather gets nice around here I usually fall off the grid. I'll see if I can't find my notes and resurrect something resembling what I was originally chasing.

Thanks for the feedback again
Title: Re: Story a Day (II)
Post by: Camlost on July 28, 2015, 01:26:23 am
“Every crash is always the same. You remember each one like it was the last, because each time, no matter where you managed to drop that thing, you haul yourself out, bloodied and bruised, and you get your ass movin'. It's the only way to survive in my line o' work, cause if you don't follow through on your job there's a hundred black flag crews out there that would just as soon melt your feet to the floor and leave ya then hear excuses.

'All that's the easy part though.' The scarred man leaned back and settled languidly into his chair, bloated on the self regard small men get from being the center of attention; even if it is only the admiration of a wide eyed twelve year old. He was pausing for dramatic effect, and so took a long draught from his mug before continuing, 'The real trouble that comes after any crash is getting away 'fore any one notices ya. This time though I wasn't nearly so lucky.

I managed to claw my way from the twisted metal and billowing smoke, far enough away to not have to worry about the flames. I wiped some of the blood and sweat away and pulled a battered flask from my belt, but before I could even unstopper it I heard a movement in the bushes. Never a good sign mate. I tell you this, you come down in the woods and any animal that even caught a whisper of it is going to be headed in the opposite direction. And fast.

Live a long enough, rough enough life and ya learn to slip a shooter from its sleeve as quick and easy as breathing, only this time when my hand shot to my hip it closed on nothing. Damn thing got lost at some point during my impromptu descent. Now, I'm not ashamed to admit that my nerves got the better of me at this point, normally ya'd find a worn leather handle to stop your fingers from shakin'; however, I am embarrassed to admit that I was half way through a string of curses that would make a witch blush when the unmistakeable sound of a pulse battery charging behind me silenced my profane litany.

I turned around slowly to see a tall figure stride from between the trees, blaster levelled at my chest. He was thin but muscled, some how lithe and solid at the same time. He was as graceful as a Horashi lantern dancer and from the looks of it twice as deadly. And here I was with nothing but a dented flask and trembling fists to disarm him. You can be the biggest, baddest bastard on two legs but there ain't nothin' that's gunna turn a gun barrel from ya but a faster finger or a silver tongue.

Now, whether you want to call it luck or misfortune, my whole life I've found myself in and out situations stickier than a barrel a tar and you don't get out of those without being a bit slippery, so I did what any smart man in my position would do—act the fool.

I slowly rose my hands above my head, made sure that he saw the flask before I tossed it his way, as if this were some kind of back alley robbery and not the scene of a pirate crash landing”

“----- Alright, that's enough.' a weary looking man behind the bar interrupted, 'Liam take those mugs in the back and off to bed with ya”

“But Dad---” a stony look from his father cut him off and Liam quickly vacated the barroom.

Once his son had left, the bartender turned his attention to the storyteller, “Look Tal, I don't care if you spin yarns for the crewman to hustle a drink or two. I even look the other way when you rehash the same exaggerated tales for those poor women who have the misfortune to cross your path, but save my son the theatrics.”

Tallan finished all but the last of his drink and settled it down on the bar just forcefully enough to splash its remaining contents on to the countertop.

“Ah Mick, it was all in good fun”

“For you, maybe, but I don't need my son signing on and sailing across the dark to die on some backwater planet because you filled his head full of stories about pirates and space elves.” Now that he had unclamped his tongue, Mick found that he was letting loose some pent up heat. “We both know you weren't more than a third-rate smuggler whose only payout came from a Confederation sting where you managed to slip away with the loot during all the confusion.”

Tal leaned in across the bar, his smouldering gaze framed by his infamous scar, and hissed, “The last I recall, that blundering mishap of mine funded this shit hole you call a tavern. If not for me, this place would still be a hopeless dream in your empty pocket.” Satisfied that his point had been made, Tal pushed the empty mug across the bar and turned to survey the room, “Now, how about another drink old friend.”

Mick's anger wilted when confronted by Tal's sudden ire. He took the mug, sighed, and wiped down the counter. All the heat of his resolve had cooled to a puff of helpless exasperation. He began to draw from the tap, tabulating the cost against Tal's investment and his own freedom.

Before Mick could set the full mug down, Tal spotted two women sitting down to an empty table, “Make that a pitcher Mick. I believe I see a few ladies who look as if they're longing to be regaled with the tales of my dangerous exploits”

Mick dumped the mug down the drain and began to recalculate as he drew a pitcher. He wondered if poison might be better than patience.
Title: Re: Story a Day (II)
Post by: Camlost on August 21, 2015, 05:17:55 am
Open boxes littered the room, adding more to the disarray than the organization they were meant to bestow. Sarah dragged out the last drawer of the dresser and unceremoniously poured its contents into one of the misshapen boxes she'd salvaged for moving. Old socks and ripped jeans tumbled into the tired cardboard cube with a soft thump, a lamentation for having been disturbed after long disuse. She gave the drawer one last shake and was confused to find a weathered envelope flop out on top of the pile as if it had been secreted away long ago.

Curiosity swelling, she set the drawer back in its track and retrieved the letter. She recognized the handwriting immediately, the involuntary breath of surprise leaving her chill like an old hearth left to ash. The script was long and thin and crept across the face of the envelope at a hard angle. She traced her fingers along it wistfully, turned it over in her hands, and was halted by a single dry watermark on its sealed face. A tear long forgotten. As if having found it erased all the days between, Sarah remembered that single drop of deliberation, of hardened resolve and cooled longing, before she had hidden the envelop in her bottom drawer.

She turned it over again and recited the words she had always known and dreaded may come true: Of all the things I have ever asked you in earnest or in jest, ignore them for this: Do not open this until you have forgotten what it is. She had forgotten, yet she had known as soon as she had her hands upon it. Hands that now trembled slightly at their discovery and an old wound uncovered.

The letter had been given to her by a man to which she had once been very close. Sarah had always found the notion of soulmates foolishly wishful and mathematically improbable, but for all that, he could have been one. They had shared something she had not recognized at the time and had not found since. In a way they were bound. The crumbling and dissolve of their romantic relationship had only made room for a sad friendship which neither was willing to relinquish. For years following they would find themselves falling into those familiar patterns when together and would part cursing themselves for having fallen into them and for having enjoyed it. They each made their efforts to move on, found other lovers, distanced themselves from each other, and still chance or fate would find them within each others company again.

That is, until one day Edison had arranged to meet with her and presented her the selfsame letter she now feared to open. He had seemed elsewhere and revealed that he would soon be moving elsewhere. She hadn't been able to pinpoint it then, but recalling that evening now she felt pained: not for having gone through it, but for something contained therein. She had known him better than any man before or since. She could trace the tracks of his mind and follow the paths of his heart as if they were her own, but that night she felt as if her every step had faltered. Only now, all these years later, having gone through it herself, could she recognize that pain. It was the wounded perseverance of a broken man.

Gooseflesh now prickled the back of Sarah's neck and she repressed a shudder, settling for a deep sigh of preparation as she made to open the envelope. She broke the seal and ran her thumbnail down the seam as delicately as handling a treasured artifact, for it might as well been given the history that surrounded it. She carefully removed the folded letter and placed the envelope aside, uncertain yet whether she'd want to keep it.

The letter was still as clear and crisp as it must have been the day he had written it. She found the paper strikingly white in comparison to the aged envelope and noted as she unfolded it that the creases had not been softened by time. Sarah hesitated a moment as she regarded the brief script, reminiscing of all those sweet letters he had given her before.

After an interminable moment, she shook herself from her fond memories, steadied her hands and began to read Edison's last unspoken words:
There is so much I shouldn't say, but for too long I've held my tongue, and while I will not say all, there are things I cannot let go unsaid. I learned more from you than you ever taught me. Because of you I've known heartbreak, and it's a beautiful thing. I discovered, too late, what it is, and how to feel passion. Yet still in the times of our meetings I cannot but feel that something is missing or yet happened. May those cold nights never find you Sarah.

   Tragically yours,

P.S. I hope to hear from you in like kind. If I never receive a letter I'll take your silence as a salve in itself and think of you all the more bitter-sweetly.

Sarah couldn't say at what point in the letter she had stopped breathing, but having reached its conclusion she took in a breath as if drowning. Despite it, she felt empty. All these years his profession had sat collecting dust in her drawer. She felt once more her bitter resignation at his abrupt leaving, the angry determination required to overcome her unwillingness to forget him. She had forced herself to bury anything the two of them had had in a desperate attempt to move on; and here in her hands she held the truth that he had done the same, but had left her a shovel.

A single tear dropped like a feather to blot the paper between her hands, a hopeful echo to the weary mark that marred the envelope face. She couldn't have stopped it if she had tried. She smiled at the thought of that. Smiled at the thought of it all; the longing that had appeared to be ashes, but was revealed to be quiet coals. She wiped a second tear from her cheek before it could fall and gathered up the envelope and letter.

She crossed the room, opened the window, and resolutely tossed the two into the wanton breeze. After all, if she were to disappear, it simply would not do for her fiance to find them amongst her things.
Title: Re: Story a Day (II)
Post by: Camlost on August 26, 2015, 08:27:16 pm
Scientists say as rare a phenomena as it is it has happened at least two other times in our past. That's what their projections tell them, and they tell us.

Around mid afternoon, a small, or so I'm told, object composed of rock and ice entered into an impossibly narrow corridor of space between the earth and the moon. By some miracle of astronomy or chance, this object has traced a path directly between and along the moon's orbit, obstructing all but a silver halo from the sky. They're calling it a Black Moon.

When the proximity of this celestial object was first brought to public attention, doomsday prophecies abounded, despite assurances of non-collision. I have little to say on those apocalyptic ramblings and the science is mostly above me, but one thing I can attest is that there is an empty hole where I buried my dog last year and the cemetery down the road is uncharacteristically loud.
Title: Re: Story a Day (II)
Post by: Camlost on September 09, 2015, 06:03:06 pm
When I was a child my parents used to take me to my grandparent's house on weekends. It was an old Victorian-style country home in the foothills outside Anytown, America. It had a long dirt road approaching it and an old barn behind. On two sides the property strayed off into woodlands and was bordered by a thick stream on the third. It was idyllic, the literal embodiment of the literary pastoral.

I used to lay out on their verandah playing with toy cars or trying desperately to keep my crayons between the lines while they silently finished their breakfast in the shade. They would often sit for hours afterwards drinking their tea, seldom making a sound.

In my youthful naivete I had assumed it was because they had nothing more to say to each other, that they had been together so long that they no longer had any stories to share that they didn't already know. But I grew up, and so too did my notion of that silence between them.

By the time I was in my mid-teens my parents were on the verge of divorce. It was easy to avoid the constantly raised voices and angry arguing by hiding at friends' places or the library in the evenings after school, but the approaching summer posed a different problem altogether. I found refuge at my grandparent's house. It became my escape from the domestic turmoil that had begun to characterize of my family life.

My grandfather put me to work immediately and without hesitation. He taught me how to split logs for fire, how to fire a rifle, and how to track game for food. And in the evenings my grandmother would take up the mantle and show me how to mend clothing, how to knot rope, and prepare livestock. Despite the long days, my summers seemed to vanish like the autumn sunsets.

Although, looking back on them they were full of lessons and much learning. Having grown out of my childhood obliviousness, I discovered that besides their indulgence of a long breakfast, my grandparents were rarely idle, they forever had some project that needed attending and they seemed to move in perfect concert with each other despite an apparent lack of communication.

It was during this time that I had come to alter my former belief regarding the pervasive silence in which the two of them lived. Where as before I had believed they knew each other so well they had nothing left to say, I now firmly believed it was because they knew each other so well that they needn't say anything at all. I fancied they knew each other's minds so well that words were simply wasted breath. And I held that belief for many years.

Until the day I was required to take ownership of my grandparent's property. It was many decades after those summers of which I held such fond memories. Their will had specified it be passed on to their son, and had my father not hit the bottle following the divorce and fallen into the back of a cop car or had my mother not hit an airport and fallen off the grid, then the old house and the plot on which it sat might not have fallen into my hands.

I took a summer off from work and moved into the house to get affairs in order before putting the house up for sale. Even in their absence something of that silence that had come to define them in my mind still seemed to reverberate throughout the empty house. I had initially found it warmly nostalgic, but at some point as the weeks wore on it began to unsettle me, enough to sometimes raise the hairs on the back of my neck. The feeling grew and unable to shake it, I began to hasten my efforts.

My plan was to pack up anything worth keeping, sell what I could, and donate the rest. That was until one evening I accidentally discovered a loose panel within one of the closets while I was clearing it out. Puzzled, i removed the panel to reveal a low wooden stairway that crawled up and out of sight.

The fading sunlight filtered through the wooden siding of the house in places along the stairway's length, enough that I was able to make out a track of shuffling footprints in the thick blanket of dust that otherwise covered everything else in the narrow passage. The idea that my grandparents knew of, let alone used, this passage seemed entire incongruous with the lifestyle I had come to cherish about them. Imagining my grandfather hunched low and climbing the old stairs had seemed to finally confirm the absurdity of such in my mind, so I let my bafflement grow to curiosity and made my way up the stairs.

The stars were out by the time local fire control managed to quell the fire. When they had arrived already half of the house had succumbed to the flames. Before they could even install their pump in the well, a large section of the second floor collapsed into the first leaving little worth saving. The horizon had begun to take on its own orange by the time they had finished.

All the while I sat staring blankly from the back of an ambulance, paramedic blanket around my shoulders, ruminating on that which I had found at the top of those stairs. The very notion of it all might still seem impossible if not for those journals of dreadfully familiar handwriting. I had watched the flames eat those leather bound chests filled with stacks of letters and documents before calling for help.

After that, I sat silent the rest of the night through. That silence grew in me all the while smoke obscured the stars above and the sun came to rise on ashes. It grew until there was no room left; and that is when I finally came to understand the silence that hung between my grandparents. It was the silence of things that must never be said.

(It feels a bit rough to me, disjointed in some places, but I hadn't posted in a while; feedback ought to help smooth it out a bit too)
Title: Re: Story a Day (II)
Post by: Madness on September 09, 2015, 09:57:30 pm
I like readings your offerings, Cam, as always. But I didn't connect your character's revelation in this one. What was the takeaway?
Title: Re: Story a Day (II)
Post by: Garet Jax on September 09, 2015, 10:47:42 pm
I liked this one as usual, Camlost, but I have the same questions as Madness.  The only thing I could think of, which was a large leap on my part, was that they were Nazi's or murderers.

Care to turn on the lights?
Title: Re: Story a Day (II)
Post by: Camlost on September 10, 2015, 12:01:13 am
Same question came up from a friend of mine. Honestly, I felt the same way about it. There feels like too much of a gap because I left the attic out.

When I was originally writing it the idea of Nazis was in the back of my mind, but when it came down to the final reveal it almost felt to forced for me. I tried to strike some balance where the reader could just fill in what was in the attic, but it clearly didn't come across that way.  Any suggestions?

Did you guys infer that he had started the fire himself upon his discovery, or was that too stretched as well?

I'll probably take a few days away from it and come back with some fresh eyes. Thanks for the feedback
Title: Re: Story a Day (II)
Post by: Madness on September 10, 2015, 12:23:10 am
Lol, how did you guess Nazis, GJ?

Camlost, I got that he set the fire himself. But my mind went fantastic before it went historically villainous (maybe, because I'm halfway through Throne of the Crescent Moon and read a good bit of the beginning of The Black Company).
Title: Re: Story a Day (II)
Post by: Camlost on September 10, 2015, 01:55:22 am
Lol, how did you guess Nazis, GJ?

Camlost, I got that he set the fire himself. But my mind went fantastic before it went historically villainous

I had thought to go occult at one point, but I've been working on something else a little longer that deals with that area. It felt too similar when I was teasing out whether it would work or not. Lol, I realize that none of you would have known, but it felt like cheating to me
Title: Re: Story a Day (II)
Post by: Garet Jax on September 10, 2015, 01:52:59 pm
Did you guys infer that he had started the fire himself upon his discovery, or was that too stretched as well?

Definitely got that he was the one that started the fire.

"All the while I sat staring blankly from the back of an ambulance, paramedic blanket around my shoulders, ruminating on that which I had found at the top of those stairs. The very notion of it all might still seem impossible if not for those journals of dreadfully familiar handwriting. I had watched the flames eat those leather bound chests filled with stacks of letters and documents before calling for help."

"impossible if not for those journals" - made me think murderers.  Like they documented all of their atrocities.

"leather bound chests filled with stacks of letters and documents" - made me think Nazis or spies.  But, I don't think he would have burnt down the whole house over a little spy work?

Honestly, there was such a gap that I thought Camlost had purposely made us come to our own conclusion, but would have left some type of clue upstream.
Title: Re: Story a Day (II)
Post by: Somnambulist on September 10, 2015, 03:03:29 pm
I enjoyed that, Camlost, thanks for sharing.  My takeaway from it was something akin to Lovecraft, something vile and unmentionable, horrors from the dark.  But I'm a fantasist at heart, so everything murky skews that way for me.  :)
Title: Re: Story a Day (II)
Post by: SilentRoamer on September 10, 2015, 03:13:18 pm
I am similar to GJ - initially, before the fire, I assumed that the grandparents were hiding Nazi refugees. After the fire I took it as evidence they were complicit in helping the Nazis - I never went the fantastical route. Very interesting.
Title: Re: Story a Day (II)
Post by: Camlost on September 10, 2015, 10:37:51 pm
I appreciate all the feed back guys. It's consoling to know that while I missed, I wasn't completely off the mark. As to all those with leanings towards the fantastic, like I had mentioned, I have another piece I've been slowly puzzling together that might be of interest. I'll throw a little more focus its way for your sakes.

Also, if you're ever inclined, feel free to comment on past posts if something stands out. Always looking for ways to improve
Title: Re: Story a Day (II)
Post by: Camlost on September 12, 2015, 08:30:09 am
Honestly, there was such a gap that I thought Camlost had purposely made us come to our own conclusion, but would have left some type of clue upstream.
That was kind of what I was chasing after all along. I don't know that it necessarily worked out the way that I had intended, but it got a lot of attention otherwise; and they're not all wrong.

A few days later from having written this, I can see some faults, even more so than was pointed out lol. You're a forgiving, if not quiet crowd.

There are a few things I'd like to change about the post previous to your submissions, and I'll do so in time, but lots of things distract me between most posts. Eventually I'll find time to either update or repost

My last query is, where are the rest of the poor fiction submissions?
Title: Re: Story a Day (II)
Post by: Camlost on November 10, 2015, 09:42:07 pm
I've been studying the vampire mythos for a long time. It's rather easy when you predate most of them.

I've traced its growth from fireside tales told in hushed tones for fear of the dark to the mass consumption the pop culture machine produces, and all the wild permutations in between. I'll let you in on a secret though; Dracula was less fiction than Stoker would have you believe. I slipped up that time.

I've even started a few of those myths myself, one such being the need for blood; although, there is a sliver of truth to that one. You see, we don't need blood. It is not so much a necessity as it is an obsessive desire. An addiction. We long for blood.
Title: Re: Story a Day (II)
Post by: Francis Buck on November 27, 2015, 12:43:10 am
I like it, especially the sly little authorial wink and also the "not needing blood" part. Maybe I'll post some fragment of my vampire story here, but I have to dig up the newest iteration. It was actually the first (and thus far, only) novel I completed, but I've messed around with it many times in little ways since then, I know someone here read the beginning of the most recent attempt.

Let me know if you're interested in actually developing a vampire story, I'd love a collab on that (or any other) project.
Title: Re: Story a Day (II)
Post by: Camlost on November 27, 2015, 06:43:22 am
"Did you have time on the return flight in to sift the data cores Drone?"

Whether this was the twisted humour of a man who had lived to see his second century or Hurlodin's memory was finally beginning to betray him, I don't know; nevertheless I lied, "No".

It's not that there hadn't been time, it's just that I could no longer bring myself to pry into the final fleeting moments of another man's life, however valuable they might be.

He grumbled in response, thinly veiling his annoyance, and pointed to the wall of helmets, "Bring me the one on the bottom left then". Surely there was no mistaking his memory now..

"These are the Helms of the Fallen. This database was salvaged from the wreck of the Apollo many years after the catastrophic encounter with the Callidan empire. What was initially meant to be a repository of information from mankind's exploration of the cosmos quickly became a monument to the horrors of deep space."

All of us gathered stared in awe of the Greek model helmets that were mounted upon the wall of the derelict ship--one of the two remaining that belonged to the original Akkian fleet. It was an antiquated ship even when compared to the transport jalopy that had transferred us from Mars I Training Academy to Hestia's docking bay, but it was a legend and despite having been refurbished as stronghold of administrative power in more recent decades, it still managed to invoke awe among the anxious recruits fumbling through her halls. Myself included.

The ominous helmets seemed to issue their own silent command, for the crowd of recruits pressed forward in an anxious mass as if mere proximity could bring them closer to those destinies of which they dreamed, back to a golden age when men were heroes. I was no exception. Standing among my peers, feeling the inexorable surge of bodies, the CIO's saturnine voice fading until it was lost in the ambient sounds of the ship, I felt as if I stood upon the very fulcrum of history. I wasn't staring at a sprawling wall of circuitry and armour, ripped from the hull of a ruined ship. I was gazing upon a megalith of mankind, something forged in blood and steel and the endless void.

We had all been schooled in the history of those conflicts before being shipped to the Hestia: the unexpected encounter with another sentient race, one far more sophisticated than our own, and the cataclysmic conflicts that ensued, as well as the tragedies that were born from well over a century of interstellar war; but the ignorance of our youth blinded us to what we really gazed upon, and as I looked from the wall to Hurlodin, his grey eyes seemed to say as much.

Hurlodin had been Chief Information Officer of the Akkian fleet even when I first began my initiation aboard the Hestia. He unwillingly found himself the recommended candidate for promotion in the vacuum of command that followed what only those in positions of authority referred to as the “Callidan encounter”. While Hurlodin had been old even then, the geriatric medicines administered to space travelers had kept him youthful beyond his years.

Now however, leaning over the table in his baggy unwashed uniform, he looked veritably ancient, as if the sands of time had become a desert about him, leaving him wasted. His eyes were cloudy with age and long nights working by candle--an affectation he had stolen from the Greeks--his hands were gnarled from endless writing, and his back was hunched by hours of poring over data. He had let his hair and beard grow long and they were wild and unkempt. He had become thin and sickly looking, as if the exclusivity of his focus had drained something from him, leaving him hollow.

But for all the years accumulated about him, he looked like a monk illuminating a manuscript. His fingers were stiff and slow, but they moved with an artful assurance.

Just something I've had percolating for a while. Clearly not finished or coherent at this point, but this seems a decent place to leave this for the time being. It is meant to be disjointed (an idea that will get fleshed out as it grows). Thoughts?
Title: Re: Story a Day (II)
Post by: mostly.harmless on November 27, 2015, 01:56:37 pm
I have no useful thoughts for you, but I like it a lot. I want to know more :)
Title: Re: Story a Day (II)
Post by: Camlost on November 27, 2015, 03:08:40 pm
I have no useful thoughts for you, but I like it a lot. I want to know more :)
That's plenty useful man. At least I know it's not an exercise in futility  ;)
Title: Re: Story a Day (II)
Post by: Camlost on November 28, 2015, 01:54:08 am
Let me know if you're interested in actually developing a vampire story, I'd love a collab on that (or any other) project.
Hit me up man. Even if we can't mesh and nothing comes of it, it would be really interesting and informative to see someone else's creative process and how they approach writing and narrative. Could be a lot of fun too.

Serialized short fiction to tantalize the forum?  ;D