Teasers and Appeasers

As of today, I’ve managed to write a little over five-thousand words for Stroka Rezak.  One can imagine that it leaves me rather elated.  I took a break today, but I fully intend to write another five thousand before the week is up — maybe more.  This project is driving me quite bonkers, because I’m constantly fighting the urge to brag about everything I’ve designed for it.  Close to a year or two’s worth of world-building has gone into it, and I’m sure far more will follow.

What I can say, is it follows numerous characters’ stories rather than just one.  I can almost assure you it will be one hell of a wild ride.

To those interested, I recently finished work on what I believe and hope will serve as the prelude.  This will be utilized as the submitted excerpt to be shared with any who would like to see it.  Without further ado, I give you: chapter zero, “In Before the Dawn.”

            It hurt.

            This is not the first time you have come here.

            The voice seemed to seep out of nowhere and everywhere; every syllable rebounded against the agony inside me.  My heart was clutched in an icy chill.  My throat ached and my maw arid.

            This will not be the last.

            I made to move, but in meekest weakness.  I felt heavy and the voice threw me into a sea of surreal sensations.  Things writhed in my nerves, twisted in my skull and wriggled within my stomach.  My mouth wouldn’t open, and I couldn’t feel my fingers.  Either I didn’t want to see, or lacked the sight; veiled.  Every breath brought an indescribable weight; like barbed wires wrapped my insides and sealed my lungs.

            I felt movement, the ground beneath me shifted.  Wait.  That seemed wrong: I was unable to tell what it was; as though I were falling in place, entirely displaced but going nowhere.  Cold iron rested against my skin, a new sensation bled into my nerves; comparable to being soaked in cold water.  It grew through my nerves, climbed my spine and washed over everything else in waves.

            Red swirled into my sight, a distant and fiery-seeming light.

            Squirm and scream, the voice remarked in mirth.  Its tone was deeper than a crevice, echoing in my chest, like it hijacked my heartbeat; warped with an unreal resonance. When you wake, it will all just be a bad dream.

            It cackled.  Why?  What did it do to me?  How had I ended up here?

            A stygian shape slithered into the crimson, a shadow in which all darkness appeared to be draped upon as robes.  My eyes immediately moved to its orbs.  Could they be defined as such?  Every fiber of my flesh sought to scream or flee; to be free of such evil scrutiny, and averting my stare was impossible.

            I felt as though I would be pulled into them.  They were like two circular holes, not spheres, split in the center by a chasm of glimmering alabaster.  Every moment, that slit of silver seemed to expand, shimmering and rotten ribbons of light flailing outward; only ultimately to be swallowed.

            The Evil, as all I decided it could be called, reached for me.  My agony amplified.  Weep and writhe, the world in your eyes is made of lies; bleeding pus at the seams; nothing is as serene as it seems.  You will survive, but when you take your final dive, you’ll return to me.  Free.  It drew away, twisting its body back.  There were other voices now, muffled murmuring made louder every moment.

            The words Evil whispered were nonsense to me.  It admired my condition with amusement, and derived from it a sick, sadistic joy.  I should have seen it coming, but when it chose to strike me; I was still taken by surprise.  Again, a new agony pooled into my midsection; the other voices exploding in volume.  Darkness abated, red withdrew; I saw white and blue – shadowy fog eating at the corners of my sight.

            I screamed; the rush of pain too much, but instead I choked out a garbled noise.  Warm fluid splashed out of my mouth.  The horrible creature remained for a few moments more, but steadily took shape.  Something much less horrific; a face of the world I knew, gazing with concern whilst it pressed a hand against the source of my suffering.

            “She’s awake!”

            “Don’t move, just stay on your back, you’re going to be alright!”

            Wherever I was, I was being carried on a stretcher; through a hallway and brought into a large room.  There were several people there, and I didn’t recognize any of them.  Pain shot through my body again, and when I tried to breathe in, I felt it once more: the “wires” from before.  My head felt numb and I understood now why I couldn’t move.  They were restraining me, but such was my weakness that I couldn’t struggle even if I wished.

            Linen mask-faced figures stepped over and I saw one with a needle.  It filled me with alarm, but I knew that to fight would be futile.  I felt the sharp stab of pain as the syringe pierced my arm, and then the room began to swim.  Shadows rapidly returned as all dimmed.  Fear again.  White grew to be red, and blue gloomed into black.

            And I heard the creature cackle, formed from all who stared down at me; until my eyesight was entirely engulfed.

I’m eager to hear all your opinions on the section above, though I won’t make any apologies for how little is going on up there.  After all, it’s just a teaser.

Soldier Sympathony

I haven’t written anything in for a while, and recently I spied a Facebook post made in support of the United States Armed-Forces.  It occurred to me that this is among those things which I feel strongly about.

When most people think of a soldier, they quickly surmise that the war-fighting warrior fights solely so their administrative superiors succeed in any imagined endeavor.  They are the sword-wielders.  In modern warfare, and many times in fantasy warfare, armies are only the brethren of the blades they’re burdened with.  Soldiers are the sword; which can do nothing but cut what it is swung into.  Leadership is always the true wielder.

There is a group working to protest at soldiers’ funerals, saying such sickening nonsense as “thank god for dead soldiers.”  This disgusts me.

When I look at a soldier, of any military and any nationality, I see such with respect.  Their cause may not be so laudable, and sometimes they themselves are less so; though I will still salute them.  Why?  It is very simple.

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Here you go, reason ONE.

In signing with the military and deploying, every soldier sacrifices the comfort of family.  Even if they don’t get along with many of their family members, they’re leaving their flesh-and-blood behind and taking the chance that they may never be seen again.  This is always the case, no matter what country’s army they serve.  It’s like driving through an ever-changing minefield each and every time you leave to go work.  There’s even a probability of that family being denied closure, if anything should happen to the respective warrior.  Hearing the word that your family member has gone MIA is probably one of the worst things you can be told — your sibling, your parent, or your child; whichever, has disappeared.  You must wake up every morning and go to sleep every night without knowing if they’re dead, alive, or injured.

Likewise, the soldier may miss out on extremely important events taking place at home.  Children’s first words, relatives dying. . . the list could go on endlessly.  In giving themselves to the cause of an old man or woman they may never meet face-to-face or even be acknowledged by, they’ve pawned their family.  We who have not joined the military, haven’t.  I salute the soldiers for the pain of separation they carry on their soldiers every waking moment.

Moving along.

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Reason TWO.  This is not your child.

A soldier signs up and goes to war, so you don’t have to; neither do you ever have to think about the possibility of your child’s only family consisting of the AK-47 on her back nor bequeath the harrowing hell that is modern warfare onto your family members.  No, it wouldn’t be cool; and no, video games can’t even begin to give you an idea.

I salute the soldiers for the burden they carry in my stead.

Now, granted, there are many more reasons than merely these — I’m merely stating those two which are the most resounding to me.  Feel fully free to give me your own reasons in the comments below, and god bless our soldiers.

~A
Heretic Fox

P.S.: Sympathony is a fictitious portmanteau of “Sympathy” and “Symphony.”  I’m going to do lots of that in the future.  😀