Posted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 8:34 am Post subject: Welcome to Purgatory - Ch. 8: The Enemy of My Enemy's Enemy
Welcome to Purgatory Chasing revenge beyond death, Martin pursues his target into Purgatory, home to souls in limbo awaiting Judgement.
It glows like a metaphysical Las Vegas with its own neon lights, smoky shadows, and cutthroat rules.
Here, Time is currency and the stakes couldn’t be higher as he refuses to let anything stop him.
*Notice: This chapter may include violence and vulgarity
Chapter 1: Destination Unknown
We begin on a private jet owned by Gabriel Eldon, a billionaire who tried and failed to buy his life back from a terminal disease. Only a thousand feet off the ground and streaking past near the speed of sound, it has exactly 3 passengers: Mr. Eldon himself, a stowaway with murderous intentions, and an entity known variously as Death.
Rushing turbulence ~ Light-headed hyperreality ~ Heavy breathing. Martin looked through the cockpit over the bald head of his sickly target and through the windshield looking out at the mountain that was growing in view. He finally cornered the man who killed his brother and he was ready for revenge up until this moment. Mr. Eldon had a different fate in mind.
The sickly pilot, with dark sunken eyes, looked away from the imminent doom and spoke, “I’m glad you’re here, Martin. I didn’t want to die alone.” With no time left for words or actions, they crashed with the force of a hurricane.
Panic ~ Disorientation ~ Soul stripping fear. Martin’s mind grasped for any anchor. Every thought and memory flew around him in a frenzy and they were viciously ripped away. Vulnerability beyond comprehension ~ Absolute desperation ~ Screaming without voice.
Martin lost all sense of self and being, he existed as nothing but primal impulses, everything that he was, held together by loose threads, now cast like a net into an acidic ocean. The burns subsided when nothing remained but an abstract intelligence struggling to understand anything. It remembered something from the time before birth, from gaps between dreams, from those little moments in life when nothing seemed real. Then it understood one thing at least… it was dead. Also, it wasn’t alone.
Muffled whispers ~ Gray shadows ~ Timelessness. The other entity came and went as what was Martin Douglas Wymont put itself back together piece by piece. Painstaking spiritual rehabilitation that gained momentum as his awareness improved.
Sickly Pilot ~ Brother ~ Angel ~ Skeleton in a Black Cloak. The accompanying entity was no longer a shadow, but its form kept changing.
The form changing figure said, “Will you make up your mind? This is really annoying.”
Martin found his voice somewhere as he uttered, “What are you?” The form changing had stopped, he remained the classic skeletal representation of Death.
He said, “I’m a psychopomp.” The only part that stood out to Martin was ‘psycho’. The figure went on, “You might have noticed you don’t have a body anymore. I’m here to guide you.”
“Where will you take me?”
“To be judged. To be honest, it doesn’t look like you’ll be heading to the short line either. Your last moments were filled with hate. The only reason you didn’t commit murder is you didn’t get the chance.”
Martin interrupted, “Where is he?!”
“Oh, you’re remembering really good now! That’s great! Maybe you got what it takes to be a ghost. Should I leave you here for a while? Halloween is just around the corner and…”
“I asked you a question.”
“I already took him. He had a big head start on you, after all. He was ready to die.”
“Purgatory…. Shall I take you?”
“That was easier than expected,” Death said, his teeth and jaws warping into a grin as he reached for Martin with his bony hand. An orb of light became a ray that illuminated Martin’s scattered spiritual body, restoring it to the shape it was in on the morning of the day he died. He felt violated, like getting a sponge bath against his will, but after it was done he felt clear minded and in control. Then Death ripped the rug out from under him again as he carried him off.
Blurring speed ~ inside-out ~ upside down. Slower than a blink and faster than a long sigh, they arrived before the outskirts of a city larger than anything on Earth, a large Neon sign read:
Death said, “Wait here,” and took to the sky like a kite in the wind. Martin laid on the spongy gray ground and took account of himself, making sure all of his pieces were there and in the right places (yes, even down there). Figures in white or black streamed across the gray sky, carrying people like luggage behind them. Some of the people were put down gently, a few were dropped like screaming bombs that splattered on the ground. Many others continued on, farther and farther until they were too small to see. Finally Martin was able to stand up.
The city before him was stratified, from the smoky lower layer of cramped urban labyrinths and then a large glowing band in the middle of garishly sensational lights of every shape and color, finally crowned with verdant garden balconies and majestic domes of the upper level. Pearl towers speared a small patch of blue sky, so tall it seemed impossible. A hundred delights, a thousand depravities, and a million torments stacked on top of each other in the kind of hierarchy Martin understood very well.
But the only thing that was important, somewhere in that enormous place was the man who killed his brother. That man was Gabriel Eldon; a man who considered himself above retribution, paying his way through every accusation, tossing lives away like tissues he blew his nose on. Most were satisfied that cancer was killing him. Not Martin. Martin had already put everything on the line to prove the man wasn’t untouchable, racing death itself. He lost that race, but now there was something deeply satisfying knowing the chase was not over.
Martin asked himself how long he should wait for Death to return… should he wait at all? He frowned as he considered what judgement awaited him. The terrible things he did for the people he cared about wouldn’t be looked upon kindly. God knows… does he? Well, Martin knows how others would see it. He wasn’t one to have regrets. He wasn’t going to apologize, even now. So what kind of God would let a guy like him into Heaven?
Martin chuckled thinking about how this could all be true. Maybe Saint Peter waited for him with a shiny halo over his head and a big list of Martin’s sins in his hands. Maybe a red devil sharpened the tips of his pitchfork while he waited. Exactly how silly was this all going to get? Martin didn’t like playing by other people’s rules anyway. This might be his chance, right now, to just slip away. Eldon was here somewhere, and somehow there must be a way to make him pay, if for nothing but the memory of his brother… Brian was the last person who deserved to die, especially the way he did. Heaven probably rolled out a red carpet for him when he showed up at the gates. Martin wasn’t ready to think about the faintest possibility he would ever see his brother again. The pain was too deep.
Of course, there could be some serious consequences for defying Death. Pissing off a psycho-whatever probably wasn’t the best way to start your afterlife. Could he expect to escape? What the hell did Death intend to do with him anyway?
DP: Does Martin make a break for the city or wait for Death?
Last edited by Lebrenth on Fri Jul 12, 2019 10:28 am; edited 6 times in total
Make a break for it! What is the psycho going to do, kill him? 😂😂😂
A little feedback though, the first part of the chapter was a little hard to follow for me, but I'm guessing the disorientation and the confusion was intended, given what was actually happening? Either way, I can see the foundations of a really fun sg here! Nice _________________
A little feedback though, the first part of the chapter was a little hard to follow for me, but I'm guessing the disorientation and the confusion was intended, given what was actually happening?
Yes, it's intended to be a bit disorienting and confusing, like someone waking up after an accident, but I don't want to go overboard. I'd be tempted to have a Rod Serling-like narrator show up and lay down the foundation in his classic style, like "What you see before you is a private jet owned by one Gabriel Eldon, a billionaire who tried and failed to buy his life back from a terminal disease. Only a thousand feet off the ground and streaking past near the speed of sound, it has exactly 3 passengers: Mr. Eldon himself, a stowaway with murderous intentions, and an entity known variously as Death".
... A little context would be nice, yeah? I'll add it in. Thanks for the feedback!
Last edited by Lebrenth on Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
I particularly like the way this line was written, very visceral and simple
He felt violated, like getting a sponge bath against his will
I enjoyed the imagery in this next line, it conveyed well the state and the general sense of how things are now
Figures in white or black streamed across the gray sky, carrying people like luggage behind them
I'm with Vishal, let's get out of here. But for the sake of suggesting another option, maybe he could try to hitch a ride if one comes close enough and he could drop down on it. _________________ A synonym is a word you use when you can't spell the other one. - Baltasar Gracian
So not my usual style of story, I'll be honest about that, but it still managed to draw me in. There's a bit of a detachment from Martin, like he's the narrator at times but not quite, but I actually liked that. It would be neat if, as the story progressed, he became a clearer and more reliable narrator, showing character development not just through his actions, but through how he speaks of them. Right now he's being vague (to build suspense for us, the audience) but in-universe it reads as a mixture of not being willing to think of those things in detail, even just to himself. Or perhaps bits of him still haven't come back to himself.
For the DP, for the sake of being completely left field, I say Martin waits. Maybe he can get more information off of Death, considering how amused they seemed at his agreement to go to purgatory. It has me wondering if Martin is even supposed to be here, if maybe death is TRYING to goad Martin into running off. _________________ My latest SG! (Image courtesy of the lovely Lebrenth)
Posted: Sat Jul 13, 2019 7:14 pm Post subject: Poll is open
The Poll is open! Thank you all for your feedback and suggestions. I'll work hard to bring you all an interesting story. This poll will run until Thursday morning, with a chapter following the same day.
I'm dying to see where the votes land! Let's see them! Also, if you haven't already, please consider adding the SG to your favorites with the link at the top... or by clicking here to Add to Favorites. Thanks!
Last edited by Lebrenth on Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:14 pm; edited 1 time in total
Posted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:14 pm Post subject: Chapter 1 DP result
To Wait or Not To Wait?
Don't wait, run into Purgatory. 25% [ 1 ]
Don't wait, try to hitch a ride on a different psychopomp into Purgatory. 50% [ 2 ]
Wait. 25% [ 1 ]
Total Votes : 4
Who Voted: Chinaren, Emperor, Novelest_Ninjagirl, Vishal Muralidharan
Posted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 1:05 am Post subject: Chapter 2: Smoky Streets
Warning: this story has violence, swearing, and sexual themes.
Chapter 2: Lost in the Smoke
Martin was done waiting and started looking for a ride into the city. The wraiths and angels flew all around him, he just want to get one of them to take him in. Most of them ignored him as he yelled to get their attention but there was one that was distracted after dropping off their passenger. He approached it from behind and wasn’t prepared when it turned to face him.
Dripping flesh ~ moldy bones ~ hooked claws and fangs. The horrific vision made him regret calling out. It pounced him and pinned him, then demanded,
“What? What do you want, fleshbag!?” Its breath was foul and poisonous drool dripped on Martin’s face.
“Chill out! I just want a ride into the city!” He struggled to free himself but its grip yielded nothing. It considered for a moment before letting him up, then it looked at its bony clawed hand.
“I will… if you do something for me.”
“Like what?” Martin said with a grimace.
“Make me beautiful.”
“Give me another form. Use your mind, if you can, and imagine what you see as beauty.”
“Oooookay….” Martin stood back. He hesitated but he had to close his eyes to clear his head. His ideal woman (it had to be a woman, right?) appeared in his imagination. An ebony queen, with smooth skin, full lips, a tempting hourglass figure… all of that. When he opened his eyes, the nightmare was gone and his vision was realized, with glossy raven wings that had a stripe of iridescence. His eyes widened. “Daayum!” he said to himself. She smiled.
“Much better,” she said, her voice like silk. She walked up to him and he did not withdraw as she took hold of him. She lifted him off his feet like a professional wrestler doing a suplex and they flew swiftly toward the city. Soon after she began to talk to him, he looked back admiringly.
She asked, “You gotta name?”
“Listen Martin, anyone finds out I helped you, I’ll fuck you up, you understand? You just got here, you don’t know the shit we can do to you.”
“There better not be, Martin.”
“So what’s your name, baby?”
“Baby, huh? Yeah, ok. You can call me Ophelia.”
“I’ll call you whatever you want.”
“You’re a real sucker for a pretty face, aren’t you?” Ophelia said with a smirk.
“Always have been, always will be,” Martin replied. The idea that the monster he saw before and this loveliness was the same entity was not believable. “So where are we going?”
“You’re not going to like it, but I have to put you someplace lowkey.”
They streaked past a few other psychopomps and over the souls marching with uncertainty to the bright lights. They’re accosted by marketers and advertisers for strange services. Martin gets a glimpse of what they’re offering: odd trinkets, tours of ‘Second Heaven’, fortune tellers divining whether you’re headed to Hell, ‘pleasures beyond your wildest fantasies’, sending messages to the dead or living…. Some of them seemed desperate, begging the passersby as though for their lives. Even just in passing, Martin saw several of them swept up by other psychopomps A panic started and they trampled each other.
Martin asks, “What the hell is going on down there?”
“Hell is exactly what’s going down for most of them. They don’t want to go to Judgement. Like you.”
“I have business to take care of first.”
“Really?” she asks, now diving into the smoky lower level of the city. “Tell me about it.” Now they swooped around corners and through tight corridors. Martin could barely catch his breath from fear, but she was totally at ease. She slowed to let him speak.
“The motherfucker killed my brother,” he was finally able to say. “I have to make him pay for it.”
“You expect to find him here?”
“Yeah, he’s here. It’s his style to avoid the consequences of his actions. If there’s a way to cheat the devil, he’ll do it.”
“Watch how you talk about devils around here. You might meet some. Matter of fact, they like to prowl around down here, looking for something to eat. They’ll beat on you first, till you’re nice and tender. You sure you don’t want me to take you back to the outskirts?”
“I can handle myself.”
“I bet you can,” she said, then she descended again. “This oughta work.” They landed in an intersection amidst a large demolished fountain. Snakes made of smoke slithered away from the broken statues at their approach. The smoke in the air was thick enough they could only see a handful of yards away. Martin was relieved to be back on his feet, though he was enjoying her touch. Looking at her again, she was an eye-full. “Take it in, baby, you’re not gonna see me ever again,” she said.
“In my dreams, I will. Anyway, where are you going? Aren’t you going to keep me company for a little bit?”
“I got a little time.”
“Maybe we can get a little more comfortable?”
“You think you can stay focused long enough?”
“I can’t take my eyes off of you.”
“You’re not going to suddenly think of your mother or something in the middle of this, are you?”
And with that, the vision melted into that very suggestion. His mother stood before him, just for a moment before he closed his eyes again and tried to bring back the woman he desired, but it wouldn’t last. He couldn’t unsee it.
“God dammit!” he yelled.
“Listen: I am Death. You don’t want to fuck with me.” It’s just the sort of thing his mother would say. Martin folded his arms and sighed.
“So now what?” he said.
“Now I leave, but I’m gonna give you some advice. You haven’t been given your Time yet, so you’re something special, like an idiot with a gun. Everything here runs on Time. You know how they say Time is Money? Well here that's taken very literally. People start rich here and everyone else preys on them like wolves, taking all the Time they can get. Next thing you know, you’re whoring yourself out just to buy yourself another week. But your Time doesn’t start till your psychopomp gives it to you. It’s around 10 years right now and it will probably be 10 years tomorrow and next week and next month. The longer you stay away, the later your time starts. But you’re going to have a hard time doing anything without Time to spend. You just remember I didn’t do nothing for you when you decide you want your Time or if you get caught.”
“So you sound like you know how to make someone suffer. How about some tips on that?”
“You want your revenge, right? Well, for starters, you might be dead, but you have a spiritual body and it feels pain and injury like your old body did. You just want to make him hurt? You can make that happen pretty easy. You could even kill him, in a way. He’ll put himself back together eventually, so it’s more like a painful inconvenience than a final solution. Something tells me that won’t be enough for you either. You want to make him pay? Get him to use up his Time and face Judgement, assuming he deserves to go to Hell.”
“You have no fucking idea.”
“OK, then. There are also those who dabble in the dark arts, including fugitive demons and greater devils, but also people like you who just been around long enough to learn some things. They’re dangerous. The price you pay might be greater than you have the imagination to comprehend, as nice a job as your imagination did on me. Don’t make a deal hot-headed.
“But you know…” she continued as she started to fly again. “If you really want to take my advice, you’ll just put it all behind you. This kind of shit is like seawater: the more you drink, the thirstier you get. I don’t know you, Martin, but maybe you still have a chance to get into Heaven. Must be someone up there worth seeing again, if nothing else.”
“Yeah, thanks for the advice, ‘Mom’” Martin said.
“Don’t make me beat your ass,” she said with a smile. And then she was gone.
Martin looked around. No one and nothing but smoke and broken statue faces. It was deathly quiet too.
“Hey!” he screamed out. “How do I get out of this place?” But no response.
Panic inducing isolation ~ Depressive worthlessness ~ Powerless desolation. He began searching in darkness. Others he met were spiritual lepers, unintelligible messes desperate for help Martin couldn’t give them. He ran away from them. The bombed out buildings had no indications of civilization. The elevators had no power, the doors were blocked, and the stairs were collapsed.
“Fucking bitch,” Martin said to himself. Trying once again to open a door marked ‘STAIRS’ and finding it locked. Martin threw his shoulder into the door until it splintered and broke away. The damn stairs went down into absolute black. “Shit.”
After hours of frustration, he found fire escape stairs on the outside of a building. He excitedly climbed up 8 flights of stairs to reach the roof, just peeking out of the smoke. “Thank god,” he said aloud, even though he could climb no more, at least there was light here… lots of it! A casino where even the back entrance had to be lit up like the Fourth of July. A floating taxi waited nearby, a limousine dropped off a few people and a doorman held the door for them.
“Hey! Taxi!” Martin called out. He had no ‘Time’, but he was not going back down in the smoke.
A driver with his head hanging out the window as he slept woke up with a start. He located Martin and pulled up. Martin eagerly opened the door and took a seat.
“Where to?” the driver said, looking in the mirror. Then turned suddenly to look at Martin directly, fear in his eyes. “Listen, I don’t want any trouble.”
“What the fuck are you talking about?”
“Nothing, sir, it’s just, look, I don’t want any trouble!”
“Fine, just take me somewhere and there won’t be any trouble.”
Everything here runs on Time. You know how they say Time is Money?
This has me very interested, I love the concept. Any story like this always perks me up a little, probably because of one of my all time fav books has me biased.
This kind of shit is like seawater: the more you drink, the thirstier you get.
This line has a lot of punch to it and emphasizes the danger without spelling it out.
Anyhooo.... where to go?
Seeing how "thirsty" he is for revenge and seeing how this place is greased by Time, maybe his first stop should be to look for somewhere where he can do some odd jobs. Because we all know revenge won't be cheap _________________ A synonym is a word you use when you can't spell the other one. - Baltasar Gracian
Before he can go about his revenge, he'll need to know more about where he actually is and how this city works. Don't suppose there's some kind of helpful information place?
Or he could just grill the driver while they travel somewhere else I guess.
Anyhoo, first place you need, from long experience of this kind of thing, is a place to use as a base, even if, initially, it's only a temporary one, you can look for something more permanent if and when.
Second priority, as already mentioned, is income. As this chap needs big and fast, we're looking at illegal (if there is such a thing here) or, more likely, dangerous stuff. There's bound to be some dodgy deal that will pay big, if he survives, or isn't cut to pieces by a mob boss and his parts kept in separate jars, what with the whole no-(re)-death thing going on.
Whilst this had some good lines in it, it felt a little rushed to me Lebs. Still, keep moving forward! _________________ Chinaren returns to Sgaming with...
Wow, the concept is sure intriguing. Really like it so far.
As for where to go, I'd say we ask the driver to give a tour around the place. He's obviously scared, and we can use this to learn as much about the place as we can.
There's a question I have though.The Time he earns is added to what he already has, but he doesn't have his Time yet. It's technically not "zero" Time though, right? It's more like infinite Time till it's assigned to him. That's what I understood.
But what if he starts earning Time before it's assigned to him? if he earns 5 minutes, does it mean his time ends in 5 minutes or is 5 minutes added to how much ever Time he's supposed to have. Or does it just not matter because he hasn't been assigned Time yet, so he can't earn any? We need to find this out, because we can exploit the heck out of it if it's in our favor.
Overall well written chapter. It did seem a little rushed, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. Well done _________________
Posted: Mon Jul 22, 2019 10:59 pm Post subject: Pacing
Right! So I combined options a bit so we don't spread votes around too much. More or less, we're either touring the place and trying to get more info about it, or we're looking for opportunities to make more Time, either innocently or any way possible. I'll keep in mind we want to ask more of the taxi driver, getting info from him and possibly extra help in the way of Time. Also we're looking for a base of operations, which will be influenced by what direction we're going next. I think Vishal in particular will be interested to see the elaboration of a few things in the next chapter which will happen with any of the three options.
I love how you point out particular lines, Emperor! I have really missed crafting written stories and I'm particularly pleased to see interpretations. I hope you'll find more to point out in future chapters.
It occurs to me today that Chinny has read more of my writing than another person on the planet. He's been here in IF since before I started and followed several of my stories, possibly all of them, to the end. So I expect he can tell when I'm rushing through a chapter a little more than usual.
You're right. I'm still deciding what to do with the feedback though, because I feel like good meaningful DP's are still on the other side of swarms of exposition. I'm not sure what everyone's tolerance for long chapters are yet... I'm inclined to get to a DP between 1000 and 2000 words. Chapter 1 was 1252 words and Chapter 2 was 1750 words. Would anyone prefer longer chapters? Or perhaps the feedback is about the quality of the writing, that within the same length it could have been better?
Keep in mind I'm always interested in improvement but I'm also kind of sensitive to criticism Just sugar coat it a little, thanks!
I think Vishal in particular will be interested to see the elaboration of a few things in the next chapter which will happen with any of the three options.
Yep! Definitely excited for the next chapter
Keep in mind I'm always interested in improvement but I'm also kind of sensitive to criticism Smile Just sugar coat it a little, thanks!
I apologise if I offended in anyway To answer the question that you'd asked, I personally don't think the quality of writing is the issue. I like what's happening, I think there are really clever lines (like the ones Emperor pointed out), and I'm invested throughout the chapter, and I want to see what happens next. There really isn't any "criticism" in the strictest sense of the word. The only reason I say that it's rushed is I felt like a lot of concepts were introduced, and I personally don't fully understand all of them. I have a clearer image of the place we're in. But there are some things I'm confused about. I only have a vague idea of the concept of Time, and a vague idea of the character and his motivation. I know Gabriel killed his brother, but that's about all I know. I don't know who Martin is as a person, and I know almost nothing about the brother. This backstory seems central to the plot, so I'd like more information on that. So my opinion is that I'd prefer longer chapters, at least until some of these things are explained.
I'm highly aware that ALL of this could be very intentional, and it's possible that this is what you wanted to hold these back to prevent an information dump, or even for a plot reason. In which case I'm more than willing to wait till the information flows naturally. I'm enjoying this story a lot, and since you've already said that there will be more elaboration of some of these in the next chapter, I'm even more excited for it _________________
Posted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 6:33 am Post subject: Brass tact
Vishal Muralidharan wrote:
I apologise if I offended in anyway
Oh no! Definitely not, by any means. Everyone has been very civil, no need to change, I just add that little note because welcoming criticism can embolden people to drop their tact and set their unfiltered opinions free. I'm not going to cry or anything, but I may end up losing sleep thinking about it because I obsess over my creative projects, a lot! In fact Chapter 2 was written in the middle of the night because I was thinking about it too much to sleep. Nothing anyone can do to avoid it, just as long as we're still friends it will be fine.
If this was not a storygame that exists in the present, I would re-write the chapter, probably going into more detail about the panic at the outskirts, explore some of Martin's regrets in the smoke, and hint at some enigma stalking him in the dark. But we're already here with Chapter 3 eager to be written. If I ever decide to try to publish it, I'll revisit it then. It will be easier to emphasize the right themes when they're done being guided by the choices of the players.
I really appreciate your involvement, Vishal! To stay on schedule I'm going to have to close the poll tomorrow morning so yours may be the only vote. Touring the place is a sensible choice, though, seeing what there is to see before making other decisions, so I doubt anyone will be put out that much if their favorite option is deferred.
Last edited by Lebrenth on Thu Jul 25, 2019 5:18 am; edited 1 time in total
I arrived just in time to vote! and inadvertently made a tie with said vote. My bad!
I'm definitely with Vishal though, intrigued by the concept of how time is money actually works. It was nice having a moment of levity with the entity turning into his mother, though I found myself wondering what his mother actually looked like, since the 'attractive' woman was so thoroughly described and she wasn't.
Speaking of curious about appearances, I find myself wondering what Martin looks like that got such a reaction. It's too late for the poll suggestions and doesn't apply to the DP, but if he can find a way to look in that rear view mirror, might be to his benefit.
_________________ My latest SG! (Image courtesy of the lovely Lebrenth)
Posted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 5:35 pm Post subject: What would Freud say?
OK, I can add in a little discussion about his own appearance in the next chapter. I've been avoiding it since I'm happy to let people imagine him however they like, but if it helps you visualize the scenes, I can at least give you a few details.
I don't expect I'll revisit how the mother looks in the story, but just to satisfy your curiosity, she looked actually pretty similar. A few more blemishes and care-worn wrinkles, less makeup, and her breasts weren't as perky... but he was a little astonished and creeped out at how close a match it was... apparently he's attracted to women that look like his mom.
Last edited by Lebrenth on Thu Jul 25, 2019 5:19 am; edited 1 time in total
Poll results: Where does he tell the taxi to go?
* Show me around this city. [ 2 ]
* I need to get some time, don't care how, take me where I can make a lot of it. [ 0 ]
* I need a job. Take me where I can find one. [ 1 ]
Total Votes : 3
Who Voted: Novelest_Ninjagirl, ten11, Vishal Muralidharan
But what if he starts earning Time before it's assigned to him? if he earns 5 minutes, does it mean his time ends in 5 minutes
All I can say to that is YIKES! If it were me I would implement something like this if he isn't given his own time. It would put a lot of pressure on the character.
I just add that little note because welcoming criticism can embolden people to drop their tact and set their unfiltered opinions free. I'm not going to cry or anything, but I may end up losing sleep thinking about it because I obsess over my creative projects, a lot!
Your not alone in this at all. I know for myself I am very similar.
I know the poll is closed but should it matter at all I would vote for number 1. Lets get to know what we can _________________ A synonym is a word you use when you can't spell the other one. - Baltasar Gracian
Warning: this story has violence, swearing, gore, and sexual themes. This chapter in particular is going to be very graphic.
Chapter 3: Unregistered Soul
“Show me around,” Martin said, “Show me what this city’s got.”
The taxi driver was eager to please, saying “Yeah, sure! First time or has it been a while?” Martin had no response as he wasn’t sure if he should tip his hand. “We’ll just drive around a bit. You can hop out any time you like, just say the word.”
Why was this guy so nervous, Martin asked himself. There was even plexiglass between them. He looked down at himself, checked his face in the rear view mirror. He looked normal. Just some handsome late twenty-something black guy. He was clean-cut and well dressed, thanks to some big changes he had to make in his life. Would his younger self even recognize him? Maybe he was a little soiled from the grime and smoke of the lower streets; he probably smelled like smoke though he couldn’t tell. Is that so much?
As they glided off, Martin looked back, glad to get away. He gasped when he saw something breach the smoke. A centipede the size of a train with 5 foot long mandibles. Martin could see down its throat. Writhing bloody hands ~ fiery furnace ~ bottomless red abyss.
The driver looked back at Martin skeptically, but averted his eyes when Martin looked back. He coughed and said, “So over here is the Promenade. Just a big platform connecting the casinos. A lot of entertainment you can take in for free… I’ll drive low.”
The Promenade held thousands of people, the complexity was overwhelming. Here and there, Martin could focus on something. Go-go cages ~ slave auctions ~ buffets with animals eaten alive. The lights were intense and hot, the bodies around them glistening in varying amounts of sweaty nakedness. A pinned pit fighter’s ear ripped off by teeth ~ charred runners racing through fire ~ a merciless eating competition where a force-fed competitor’s belly finally split open. Everywhere, Time being gambled, stakes as low as an hour and as high as a decade. Psychopomps loomed over individuals and waited for results. If they won, Death moved on. Otherwise, the loser was yanked away screaming, leaving cheering crowds in their place.
“A lot more people getting carried off than usual lately. Heard they’re calling it a ‘Shift’. I lost 3 months out of nowhere. I don’t suppose you’d know anything about that?” the driver asked. Martin maintained his silence. Randomly, people started targeting the taxi, throwing bottles or furniture or body parts or whatever they had on them.
The driver grumbled, “I hate it when they do that. Let’s pull up, unless you want off.”
“Keep going,” Martin said. “If there is some place less fucked up, let’s go there. This is too much.”
The driver quipped, “It’s not ‘If’, it’s ‘Where’. This city has everything. You probably already see this kind of shit all the time, right?” He looked for an answer again. He was digging.
“Let’s just go,” Martin replied.
“Fine with me,” he said and he continued down the Promenade a little higher and faster. The crowds thinned a little but there was still so much to take in. A humanoid dog stepped out of a ‘Body Tailor’ shop, followed by something that was half a woman with green skin and the other half a giant spider. Other body tailors lined the Promenade but usually brought in the ugly and produced supermodels. Then there were some customers that went in decently attractive and came out with lips or breasts or whatever so exaggerated you’d rather make-out with spider lady.
With still so much more to see, he noticed the drug lounges filled with colorful iridescent smoke. Those that partook had bizarre reactions. Butterflies flying from mouths ~ convulsing spikes shooting out of every inch of their bodies ~ flesh turning to moldable putty. Horrific as it seemed to an outsider, they laughed raucously like they were having a really good time.
The driver interrupted his engrossed focus, “Some people pay to take a look at Hell, but if you ask me you can find it right here on the Promenade. But don’t worry, we’re headed to the safer side of town. This is where I take the nerds.”
The Promenade continued, with the light getting bluer and kinder. The screens advertising services here offered experiences like piloting a starship or fighting dragons. ‘Lessons from a real ninja!’ ~ ‘Spellcasting here!’ ~ ‘Avast ye! Pirates off the starboard bow!’
Body tailors were busy here too. Many, many popular characters walked about, 100% authentic-looking, but Martin could spot plenty of duplicates. Here people could also meet ‘certified’ celebrities that still lived in Purgatory. Some of them had long lines of people eager to meet them, one fan cheerfully donated the last of his time for one hug. Other famous people waited miserably on the sidelines. They were famous so long ago now that most of the fresh blood didn’t even know their names.
A disturbance ahead caught everyone’s attention. People fighting over something, hard to say what, but it didn’t last long. A large bipedal robot that Martin had thought was just a model came to life and shredded them both with loud twin machine guns. Reduced to a clear goo, they seeped through the boards of the Promenade, presumably dripping into the smoke layer. The robot returned to its neutral position and everyone slowly and sheepishly carried on.
Martin eventually spoke up, “OK, what else you got?”
The driver sighed, adjusted a rod on his steering column and they lifted straight up. They passed by other platforms and looked in through windows at many sights. A laser battle gleefully reducing people to goo ~ a fancy masquerade ~ a concert where the music transformed everything around them to a fairy forest.
Higher and higher, until the air became light and sweet like nitrous oxide. Clouds swirled playfully in a bright blue sky. It was no longer crowded with structures, whatever reached this level looked absolutely intentional, a masterstroke of some architectural genius. Gardens and fountains and gleaming white buildings grew out from tall magnificent towers, like branches of a tree. The light diffused off every surface like a fresh spring morning. Angels gliding on cool breezes ~ silver mists glimmering like starlight ~ flowers large enough to sleep in.
Martin had to ask, “We’re still in Purgatory, right?”
“Yeah. Don’t get too comfy, we’ll be chased off pretty soon. I take a few minutes here and there to visit this place when I need a break, but a day is a year around here….” he said wistfully. “But that’s just a figure of speech. It’s more like 3 years.”
A pair of angels in gold armor approached, but the driver didn’t wait before descending precipitously. Martin clenched the door handle hard as his guts floated up during the sharp drop. They didn’t stop until they were back to the Promenade, startling a few people who thought they were about to crash. Martin breathed hard.
The driver said, “Listen, we could spend years looking around at stuff. I can take you where you like, maybe you want to go where the devils get together? Or angels? Maybe you want someplace in the smoke that ain’t too smoky? Whatever, but I really need to get back to finding fares. I can see you don’t have any Time, and I’m not going to ask any questions, but I need you to just tell me where you want to go.”
“Yeah, about that,” Martin says. “Do you think you could spare me some time to help me get started?”
“What, you think I’m ‘Death’? I can’t give you Time. You don’t even have a place in line. Anyway, I don’t have any to spare. What is with you, anyway? You don’t even know how Time works.”
“Look, I’ve been through hell, so cut me some slack. I’m still looking. Take me somewhere.”
The driver paused for a long moment. Then he continued down the Promenade, but he kept looking back with more stern looks. Abruptly, all of the screens around them blacked out for a moment. The taxi stopped as did everyone that had never seen them black out before. The image that came up next had a picture of Martin and this caption:
Martin Douglas Wymont
Bounty for capture:
“Jesus,” the driver said, “here I thought you were a devil or something.” Then the doors locked. The driver smiled wickedly on the other side of the acrylic glass and said, “You want to give me a good reason not to turn you in?”
DP: What does Martin do?
Last edited by Lebrenth on Thu Jul 25, 2019 2:13 pm; edited 2 times in total
This chapter seems like it was mostly devoted to setting up the, well, setting. Even though that can slow down a chapter, this was really necessary and neat to see! It's also interesting to hear that different regions cost different 'time'. Is it just that you live life 'faster' if you're enjoying yourself peacefully? Is it a rent situation that you actually have to pay? I'm intrigued to see how that goes, and if it gets mentioned in the story again sometime soon.
There were a few things that took me out of the narrative.
“Keep going,” Martin said. They had just started and it was a big city. “Is there someplace less fucked up?”
The driver quipped, “It’s not ‘If’, it’s ‘Where’.
Was Martin's line supposed to incline an 'if' in an original draft that got erased?
with the 'body taylors', you used the name Taylor, was that deliberate or a typo of tailor, the profession?
As for the DP, I heard that line about 'you want to give me a good reason not to turn you in?' and my brain went 'No.' So let's go with that. Whatever else Martin does, he refuses to answer the Taxi driver. _________________ My latest SG! (Image courtesy of the lovely Lebrenth)
As for the DP, one thing I've learnt with negotiations is that if the other side is talking to us, then we have leverage. Right now, we just don't know what it is. We need to bide time and talk to him till we get him to show his hands. The fact that he asked us this question means there's something we can offer him.
Two things that we can potentially probe is the shift where he lost three months randomly, and the fact the he "needs a break" from something. Needing a break might not seem like much, but if he's willing to voluntarily go to a place where Time runs out faster, then there's something really affecting him that we can find a way to help with (or even make fake promises about). If he agrees to help even temporarily, we can potentially use the threat of "you helped a fugitive so you'll be punished too" later if he changes his mind.
My opinion is we haven't learned enough yet to be comfortable in capture. We need to play our hands correctly right now, and we might end up with an ally. _________________
I really like the way the story is developing. The world you are crafting is very, very intriguing.
He looked normal. Just some handsome late twenty-something black guy.
Martin does strike me as the type of character who has the self esteem/ego to consider himself handsome. I just wanted to point this out in case he didn't, but you as the narrator were telling us he is handsome.
...the bodies around them glistening in varying amounts of sweaty nakedness.
The addition of this to the line was well used.
he drug lounges filled with colorful iridescent smoke. Those that partook had bizarre reactions. Butterflies flying from mouths ~ convulsing spikes shooting out of every inch of their bodies ~ flesh turning to moldable putty
The imagery here is so good. I'm a sucker for stuff like this. _________________ A synonym is a word you use when you can't spell the other one. - Baltasar Gracian
Posted: Sat Jul 27, 2019 1:19 am Post subject: Re: Lost in the wifi
The way I'm seeing it, the DP currently looks like this:
Keep his cool, and just say "No".
Offer to cooperate to help him get whatever it is he wants.
Lie about what he can offer him with fake promises.
Try to lure him into helping until it looks like he's aiding a fugitive, then blackmail him.
Violence! "You don't know where I've been, man!"
I like the blackmail one, but I want to tweak it. We probably can't lure him into helping now that he knows we're a fugitive, but we can still blackmail him. Just threaten to tell the authorities that the taxi knew all along that we were unregistered, and helped us to escape in the first place.
Posted: Sat Jul 27, 2019 4:04 pm Post subject: Re: Lost in the wifi
I like the blackmail one, but I want to tweak it. We probably can't lure him into helping now that he knows we're a fugitive, but we can still blackmail him. Just threaten to tell the authorities that the taxi knew all along that we were unregistered, and helped us to escape in the first place.
That sounds like a useful distinction. Let's put this poll up!
Voted for "Offer to Co-operate" just because it's potentially easier to have him on our side now where he thinks he can get something out of this, rather than forcing him to help us where he'd constantly think of ways to get away.
We can betray him later or even actually help him if we can too _________________
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