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Joined: 04 Jan 2007
Posts: 92
Location: Innistrad

Posted: Fri Sep 25, 2015 1:06 am    Post subject: An Outbound Swell - Chapter 1 now playing!  

Prologue - Charles I - The Fruit of Knowledge

There was a time, not so very long ago, that Professor Charles Harbruck held a preeminent position among his archaeological colleagues from which he had lead the neverending chase to understand the world before written history. These days, his name was little more than an aging eponym emblazoned upon an era of study whose contents had been absorbed into high school textbooks to be skipped over in favor of the rumblings of some modern political upheaval that included such frivolous aims as the common equity of the human race. Charles knew, though, how meaningless all those worries and woes were, though he kept that knowledge squarely with the company of the other thoughts within his mind, to be left unmolested by the community that would deny him.

It was eight years ago this day, as he recalled, and the man could still recount every minuscule detail so long as he spoke aloud, a feat he performed nightly if he was allowed. It began the same, he would lock the door of his lonesome shack, a beaten down fixture of sheet metal and plywood laced with the wiring of a makeshift patch into the electrical grid he had bribed a local official to perform, and block away what few ways sound or some image might find the ears or eyes of an unwelcome audience before he began. Eight years ago, he'd breathe, as he did this very night, and he would rattle away a set of coordinates under his breath, lost to anyone save himself, the location at which he had made the discovery that would drive him into hermitage. This night though, was different, the professor frantically pattered his thumbs against a touchscreen as he spoke, and his eyes ever drifted to the side of the shack that perched upon a rocky precipice that dropped sheerly into the crashing waves below.

"A relic of a precursor civilization", he began, "one with a system of writing, but entirely foreign to myself." Charles flung his words in a haphazard stream, the endings and beginnings of well-reasoned thought butting in between ravings and opinion. "A stone, perhaps the size or myself, hazarding a foot in length either direction. It bore this writing and I had to study it, I knew that I must know, as I always have. If nothing further, believe that it was a benign notion that brought me upon this course." The scholar drew ragged breathes as his pattering grew less focused on grammar and sensibility and more on hastily scrawling out his notes. It was an unsure notion, but Charles had a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach. He swore that he could hear a hellish, slurping squelch in the distance, like the sound of a bog giving way underfoot, but growing ever closer, and rumbling as if with hunger. "It thrummed to my vision; pulsed with an energy all it's own. Though I could not directly reach it where it stood perhaps a hundred feet away, I could make out pictograms here or there in the shape of familiar sea creatures with an uncanny wrongness about them. I can not imagine what it was about the way that they were inscribed that vexed me so, but I knew I looked now upon something man had never known. I know not still whether or not it was meant for me, but I can never forget the feeling of terror I experienced as I walked towards it, forgetting myself and my footing on the outcropping of stone from the smooth tumble of the cave." Charles felt his fingers lock up, and only then did he realize the savage grip he had exerted on the piece of technology in his hands.

It was then that Professor Harbruck brought himself back to the present and listened, the gutwrenching sound from before now gone, or else replaced by the shuddering din of a rainstorm battering the scholar's beleaguered dwelling for all it was worth. He felt ill despite the rain's replacement of the sound he so despised, and without any further writing he tossed himself to one side of the domicile to lose the contents of his stomach upon the floor. Charles felt better for only a moment to have rid himself of the nausea as he spied the dark color and viscosity of his sickness, and rattled back to his phone with shaking hands. "I fell hard on the stones, and rolled unprepared into the dark and unforgiving depths for a time down smooth stone before I reached what I guessed to be a pool, though I could confirm nothing by sight. It struck me with fear that I had less than the first clue of how to pry myself from the grips of the situation around me. In fact, to this day, I know not how it was I came to live outside that chamber. I walked through the water for what seemed to me an eternity until I heard it. If you take nothing else to heart, take this, please, I heard things in that cave, and I can not bear the thought of the alien tongue in which they spoke." Charles looked then to the wall once more, the place he knew he could tear away the sheet metal, and tried to count to the rhythm of waves of rain spatter, only to find the usually calming exercise to be utterly useless, even the rain fell in chaotic and haphazard sheets. "I have done much to try and research all of this since then, but no one believes me, they think my claims the work of pulp fantasy but I assure you, you must consort with the scholars I was too fearful to search for. I don't know how I can be sure, but I am, I haven't the slightest doubt that I know things man wasn't meant to know, and I can't -" he was interrupted by the rattling of the shack, a rogue wind rocking the whole of the structure from side to side before Charles agin heard that rippling pull of viscosity breaking apart.

"I can't let the knowledge die with me, Riley" he finished as he attached a zipped file containing his findings and an address book, and hit send all as he pulled away the wall and threw himself from the cliff face, hopeful to be dashed against the rocks below. It seemed to him as if he fell forever before everything left him in a crashing wet thud. It was odd, though, he had imagined death to be final. The afterlife had never occurred to him, now, though, he could still see the dark blue of the sky, albeit in a watery blur, and even heard an indistinguishable sound in the distance, but could not feel his body. It also never occurred to him that something may have broken his fall and his body despite that the mind was still there. Not one of these thoughts crossed his mind until the professor saw the visage looking down into his eyes with bulging silvery orbs of it's own before the squelching from earlier filled his ears and his sight warped away into an infinite and unforgiving blackness, and the sound of the creature was intermixed with his own bloodcurdling screams.

Personally, I blame Lily for this, and when the eldritch abominations come get us all, I take no credit. But, yeah, outside of that, have a pleasant "Hey, I'm back", and a prologue, which lacks any decisiony bits primarily because our only character thus far is rather less than capable of performing any decision making by my reckoning. Outside of that, I feel like I'm rather bullocks about cutting my paragraphs properly, so if anyone has critique focusing on that, I think it might do the most for this bit, outside of that, hope to have you all up a proper chapter in the near future.
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Joined: 01 May 2008
Posts: 309
Location: Deep within the music of the night

Posted: Sun Sep 27, 2015 6:26 pm    Post subject:  

Awesome start, Sasuke. Bring on the Spoopy.

I really like your word choices, and your paragraphs don't seem to be weird. Though I do think you could play with the length of some of your sentences more. There's nothing wrong with having a few super long ones, but when there's 2 or more in a row it can get very hard to follow. I think you could break a lot of them up by just replacing some commas with periods, or saving some small phrases for the next sentence. That could help the flow of the paragraphs and make spacing even easier.

Looking forward to following this one. And welcome back!
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Joined: 04 Jan 2007
Posts: 92
Location: Innistrad

Posted: Sun Sep 27, 2015 11:16 pm    Post subject:  

Chapter 1 - Riley I - Revelation

The sound of a heavy knock on the door announced the beginning of a new day for Riley. A cursory glance around the room revealed little outside her horrible unfamiliarity with her surroundings. That realization coupled with the steady throb of her skull left Riley with a decent notion of how she had spent last night.

A grumble sounded from the girl as she got up with the blanket she’d been sleeping under drawn haphazardly around her. The early autumn chill had already begun to roll in with a disagreeably low temperature, and damned if she was going to explain her continued presence to whoever’s house she was in while she was cold. Another knock, more urgent this time, followed when Riley had only just found her feet, with an inhospitable, “Open the damn door, bum,” ringing muffled from the other side. Riley was unconvinced of the necessity, but she found a groggy teeter across the room easy enough to manage. Wrapping her fingers around the knob proved difficult while covered in oppressive, warming fabric leading to an eventual concession of throwing one pale arm out of her makeshift robe to pull back the fixture of hinges and cheap plywood. Riley could only wish she’d pretended to still be sleeping when she saw who was standing on the other side.

Jason Gallows was known around town for his ties with a local warehouse that was known for its low storage costs and tendency to be loose handed with alcohol. That tendency was Jason’s fault, as were any number of other problems the human race regularly dealt with in Riley’s opinion. Nonetheless, a chance to cut loose without cost was enough for her to attend his parties pretty regularly.

He still smelled of liquor when he stepped into her personal space, “Well, shee-it! I didn’t know you crashed here, blondie. Here I was ‘bout to throw you to the curb,” he slurred his words and smiled his dumb smile. Riley responded by rolling her eyes and stepping back.

“Yeah, about that, got an essay due tomorrow mornin’ I haven’t started yet. Doubt I can stay.” It was a lie, and not a very good one, but Riley felt like not spending a lot of time here would be for the best. If she was honest, Jace really wasn’t such a bad person, really, he was a good friend to her, but he had this insufferable thing for her that made her uncomfortable. He wasn’t even pushy about it, the guy just did not have a sense of hiding anything, ever. It was really a wonder he had ever managed to make himself a social fixture when his ability to keep a secret was not unlike the ability of a pig to fly.

“Aww, here I was hoping you’d pity my lack of sleep and keep drinking with me” he laughed out loud, and she just nodded with the straightest face she could manage. She tried to edge her way out of the room and then his eyes lit up with the sort of malicious glee a playground bully might have on finding out their favorite target reads for fun. “Pffft, stuffin’, blondie, really?” Riley’s face grew as red as she imagined it had ever been when the words rolled out of Jason’s mouth.

Her attempts to leave were swapped for a dash to grab her bra and stuff it, and the pieces of rubber in it, into her pockets before she pushed past him. “You’re an asshole, Jace,” she grunted as she stormed from the guest bedroom and out of the house, dropping his blanket as she went.

Once she was outside, she ran a hand through her short crop of bleached hair and sighed. “Smooth move, Riley, now you get to walk home. In the cold.” Her voice was sharp before she started to trudge away, eyes cast down for the most part. It was a good thing, she told herself, she had worn a pair of jeans with deep pockets that day. It would have been even more embarrassing a start to the day were it not.

A familiar buzz in her pocket made her groan a bit. Nonetheless, she pulled her phone from where it waited to read it. It came as little surprise to see Jason’s name on her screen, but the contents were a bit unusual. The message read, “Sry, didn’t know it was a sensitive topic, didn’t want to make fun of you or anything.” Riley grimaced, it was easier to be mad when her friends refused to apologize, and she knew damn well Jace was wholly unaware of the reason for her insecurity. He deserved to, she figured, but it ranked low on her list of things that were easy to tell people.

She pinged back after a moment, “No, it’s my bad, just hard when you get used to fighting against ‘Those things don’t make you a girl, dude’ in high school.” Riley hoped that he didn’t need any further explanation while her gut tied itself in a thousand knots. She thanked her lucky stars when the response came back quickly, until she looked down at a ghost sending her an email.

Riley was confused first, and then upset. Her uncle had been dead for years. Someone had to be playing a horrible trick on her, and she refused to let them get the better of her. She opened it anyway, and read it anyway. The contents did nothing to help her confusion, it read just the same way that Charlie had always told her about his digs, and his research. It was the same stream of consciousness recollection she was so used to, and the one she knew he’d never shared with other people. The notion that the message was genuine chilled her, and yet it still seemed out of place. She knew her uncle as a man of science, aliens and monsters were the least likely things he would ever talk about. Yet, for some reason deep in her, she believed it enough to open the attached archive. She skimmed the list of people she was supposedly meant to find in Charlie’s stead, the books to read, and images to study, all the while biting into her bottom lip. It couldn’t be true, could it? If it was true, what did it mean, what was she supposed to do?

Riley reached the last section with a frown. It read with a charge. “You, who I have trusted with this, my life’s final work, let not this knowledge go to waste. With whatever you have in you, you now know of things man was not meant to know. You will notice things that you had always missed before, and the world will show it’s secret things to you. I was weak, and this knowledge drove me to the edge of madness, you must be strong. I don’t know if humanity can be safeguarded from what comes from beyond, but it must be our work to try.” Riley felt almost ready to cry, and a million different paths crossed in her mind. Her parents had to have known, they arranged Charlie’s funeral. It hurt to think she was left in the dark, and she wanted to know what they knew. All the while, the first name on the list sported an adress here in Seattle, in an apartment complex called “The Tidehome” nestled next to the Sound.

Not quite as spooked as our prologue, but this one's a proper introduction, rather than in media res, so sue me. In any case, this time we have a decision point proper. We need to know what Riley's immediate plan is, in particular where she is headed. As a point of course, I've numbered chapters with the character whose shoulder were perched on thus far to keep things tidy in case we do more perspective swaps like the one between the prologue and chapter one here. Do remind me if it starts getting rather silly and we're on like "Riley VII" with no intentions of jumping away. That said, enjoy yourselves, and don't get eaten by a shoggoth on your way to the beach.
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Joined: 25 Oct 2012
Posts: 503
Location: Penna, having a hot cup of tea

Posted: Thu Oct 01, 2015 5:51 am    Post subject:  

Heya, Sasuke! Really enjoying this story. The prologue pulled me in and the first chapter definitely didn't let go ( and I know I'm going to be trapped until the very end).

For the DP...I have a feeling her parents might be a tad shady on the subject considering they haven't divulged any information to her over any of the years since her uncle's death, so I say onwards to "The Tidehome" and this mysterious first person. If he/she is on the list then I'm sure they have a great deal of knowledge, and might even be able to lend her some of the books she needs to read up on.
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Joined: 10 Jan 2010
Posts: 461
Location: a chair in a cold dark living room

Posted: Wed Oct 07, 2015 10:37 pm    Post subject:  

I' digging this. Definitely Lovecrafty. I love it. Really liking Riley as well.

I concur with Seraphi. On to the Tidehome.
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Joined: 29 Dec 2005
Posts: 1484
Location: Utah

Posted: Thu Oct 08, 2015 6:37 pm    Post subject: Tidehome  

Sorry, not in the mood for playing devil's advocate this evening. I say check out Tidehome, like the others. I doubt the parents know much, or else they would have been sent the discoveries instead.

I really enjoy the flow of the narrative, though I do occasionally feel a little lost. In a way I feel like I'm reading poetry, where the sound of the words and the mood it creates are more important than the details. That works well with the intentionally (I think) disorienting beginning, where we are on the brink of madness, but I'm hoping to get a clearer picture as we're trying to navigate through the mysteries.... But I don't suggest putting too much stock in my critiques. Your story has carried me this far and I want to see where it's going, so we're on a good course.
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