Author Topic: Something Every Day  (Read 31 times)

Description: Chapter One up now!

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Offline Saint

Something Every Day
« on: November 04, 2019, 06:05:03 PM »
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  • [Placeholder for when I can be bothered to blurb.]

    As promised, here's the full uninterrupted chapter format of my NaNo challenge.


    :owlfly1:

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    Offline Saint

    Chapter One
    « Reply #1 on: November 04, 2019, 06:06:06 PM »
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  • Chapter One

    This world is shit, and there’s nothing you can say that will convince me otherwise.  Sure, flowers and rainbows and unicorns exist, but so does crime.  Theft, rape, murder; all things I see on a daily basis.  I’m not speaking metaphorically, I quite literally see something every day.  I used to think I had the power to change all of that.

    Maybe I did.  Maybe I still do.  Maybe this is a mistake, I thought, as I climbed up the stairs.  I could feel each cold stone step under my shoes.  The whispers of the dead brushed themselves against my mind.  Some said move up, some said turn around, some stayed silent.  One spoke through the rabble.

    “You can still help them.”

    It’s warm.  Mothering.  I call this one Theela.

    I ignored Theela, instead focusing on climbing.

    “You have a duty.”

    I continued to ignore.

    “Justin.”

    I came to the roof door.

    “Darklight!”

    That name made me pause.  Strange, I remember thinking, that the identity I’d assumed resonated more with me than the one I was born into.

    The wind was strong that day.  That was my first thought, as my hood knocked back and blasted my hair into my face.  I looked around at the unfinished roof around me.  This wasn’t the first time I’d come up here.  I would come up, stand too close to the edge, and contemplate.  Eventually I’d chicken out.  I think my problem was the reflections – I’d give myself an out by thinking about my life.  This time was the one, though – the time I’d finally be done with it all.  No waiting, no thinking, no soul-searching.  Just jump.

    What stuck in my head the most was the endless cycle of it all.  I had spent most of my life wishing I could throw myself off, and then when I was up and ready, it only took a single thought to turn me around.  That thought was always the same, and it’s the one that Theela was repeating in my head over and over, despite my best efforts to ignore her.

    “They will always need you.”

    “And so what?”  I spat back, out loud even though I knew she could hear my thoughts.  All of the voices could.  “What do they ever do for me when I need them?”

    “They pull you back from the edge.”

    “No, I pull myself back.”

    “Darklight does.  His duty to them does.  If you didn’t have your gifts; if they didn’t need your gifts, you’d have nothing to keep going for.”

    “Remind me of that next time they shriek away from me in fear,” I challenged.  “Remind me of how much they need me when parents pull their children from me in the streets.  Maybe the conversation will turn a different way.”  I walked to the edge.  I knew the longer Theela argued the more chance she had of talking me down.  This was the perfect spot.  An old construction site, set for demolition years ago but for some reason never brought down.  There was no-one around to watch, no-one around to stop me, no-one around to help if I somehow survived.

    I stepped up, onto the small unfinished brick wall where there was a break in the fence around the lip.

    “Then be selfish,” Theela offered, “If you don’t care about them, do it for you.  It will get better, it always gets better.”

    There was no way I was going to let myself think about that.  ‘It gets better.’  That had brought me down so many times.  It moved me, it gave me hope.  It never got better.  I closed my eyes.  I fell.

    It only took me two second to hit the floor.  I had expected, like in the movies, a flash of my life before my eyes, or for the earth’s rotation to slow and let me savour my final moments.  No, I just fell, and pain like I’d never felt started sinking through my entire being.  I closed my eyes and embraced death, finally.

    Or so I thought.

    My wrists burned.  My shoulders were limp and painful.  My leg was caught on something.  Something that wrapped tendrils up my calf.  I felt the same tendrils on my forearms.

    I opened my eyes.  The world was blurry at first, but shifted back into focus in short time.  I was suspended about an inch above the ground by the same shadowy powers that made the world run from me.  They lowered me the last stretch gently, but the pain in my shoulders magnified tenfold.  I think my joints had burst from the sockets.  I couldn’t help but let out a cry of pain as tears rushed down my face, partly from pain but mostly from failure.  Even making the leap wasn’t enough to kill me.

    “Now now,” came a voice from my right, somewhere inside the building site.  It wasn’t one of mine, it was new.  “They say that a man willing to kill himself is a man with the world in front of him, because he no longer has death to fear.”

    I suddenly felt warm.

    The burning on my wrists where the tendrils wrapped around me began to subside.  My shoulders popped uncomfortably but painlessly back into place.  I commanded the tendrils to let me go, and massaged my shoulders.  In a few short moments, all the pain had faded, and it was as if I’d never jumped.  From inside the building, I could see a man in the shadows, holding out his arms toward me with glowing green palms.  This was all way too much to take in.  It would seem the world wasn’t done with me quite yet.

    “How?  How could you force my powers like that?” I demanded of him.  There were more questions, more prominent ones, like ‘why?’ and ‘who the hell do you think you are?’ but this was the one I led with.  I didn’t get a response.

    “Tell me, why end it now?” was his retort.

    “I’m not telling you shit until you explain to me how you can control my powers.”

    He chuckled a little in response to this.

    “I didn’t stop you,” he said calmly.  “I simply waited here in case you stopped yourself.”

    “This is all very confusing.  Who the hell are you?” I demanded.

    “My name is Thunderhand.”

    “Okay,” I sighed.  I decided to go along with it.  It seemed the best way to get answers out of this guy.

    “I’m Justin.  Justin R-”

    “No.  You’re Darklight,” he spat.  “People like us get to choose our names.  Embrace the one you picked.”

    He stepped forward into the light.  He was tall, old, and bald.  He wore a suit that was expensive looking, pristinely laundered, and straight as a ruler.  On his face was a flickering scar in the shape of lightning.  Not like Harry Potter’s bullshit stylised zigzag lines, but horrible crackling branches covering almost half of his face.  They pulsed almost imperceptibly with green light, once every five or six seconds to my count.

    “I didn’t pick Darklight,” I spat back at him.  “What the hell’s your game?  Start explaining.”

    “In this world, there are three kinds of people.  There are civilians.  There are heroes.  There are villains.  I’m a man tired of being the hero, unable to simply be a civilian, but unwilling to become a villain.  It seems to me you also fit that category nicely.”

    “I don’t care how many kinds of people are in the world, I just want to be done with it.”

    Thunderhand stepped forward again, to within a few feet of me.

    “Clearly not, or you’d be dead already.”

    “Are you going to explain how you triggered my powers or not?” I spat.

    “I keep telling you,” he chuckled, “I triggered nothing.  You saved yourself.  I just healed your injuries.”

    He’d said it enough times already, but it was only now that it began to sink in.  I saved… myself?  Had I done that subconsciously?  I searched the voices.  ‘Couldn’t finish the job...’ ‘Glad we’re okay...’ ‘Death is outside of our grasp...’ ‘I had to, I’m sorry.’  Theela.  That last one was definitely Theela.  So she stopped me?  Until now I had no idea she even could.  ‘I reached out,’ she told me.  ‘I begged for a miracle.  Your tendrils obeyed.’

    I began to walk back towards the entrance of the building.  No, I thought.  Not if this guy’s waiting at the bottom to heal me every time.  I stopped myself.

    “So what’s the big idea then?  You want me to join up with some league of supervillains?  I spend way too much of my life fighting them to become them.”

    He looked shocked and stepped back just an inch.

    “Oh no, no, you misunderstand.  I’m not looking to hurt anyone.  I’m just creating a refuge where people like us can be free of our obligations.  For too long it’s been the way of thinking that just because we can help that we automatically should.  I worked at a hospital, you see, as you might expect with a power to heal like mine.  It started out great.  All the people that the surgeons and doctors couldn’t help, there I was, a last-ditch saviour.  I could grant life to the dying, a second chance to the hopeless.  The problem, of course, as I’m sure you’ve experienced with all the people you’ve saved in the place of the police and the military – the people whose job you’re doing, is that humanity likes to take the easy option.  Eventually the doctors stopped trying.  Anything difficult was sent my way, and then anything they couldn’t be bothered with was sent my way.  I was healing small fractures, sore throats, embarrassing boils.  It was not my purpose, but just because I could, everyone expected that I would.”

    He reached into his coat and handed me a card.  It was blue, with gold inset writing.  “The Thunder Institute.”  On the bottom was an address.

    “This is a place where we’re no longer expected to save the day.  I won’t heal you again, not unless you ask for it.  Travel to America, throw yourself off the empire state building for all I care.  But let me ask you one thing before I leave,” he said as he began to walk off.  “Don’t you want to know what life is like with no expectations of you?”

    I watched him until he left my view completely.  I turned back to the building’s entrance.  And then… I thought about his last remark.

    No expectations.
    :owlfly1:

    Want to play DnD?  Check out: The Lost Treasure: A TC DnD Campaign
    Don't want to play DnD? That's fine too, here's a short set in the world instead: A Tale of The Darkest Tome
    How about helping me build a world From the Ground Up?
     

    Offline newchinaren

    Re: Something Every Day
    « Reply #2 on: November 05, 2019, 03:35:37 PM »
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  • Heh, well written Saint.  Very clean.  You've improved.

    Though...

    The Thunder institute.

    Mmm, sounds like a place everyone just sits around farting.
    Stories on Tome:

    Apocolypto
    The Other One

    My Books: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/chinaren

    Coming Eventually: The next level:  The Opus Path