One Week In...
So! It's been a little more than a week since I started blogging on Steemit. I am even more on fire now than in the beginning. 99% of this is due to the community here. All the responses I have received in this short time continue to motivate me. Having the opportunity to share some of the stories within me in such a convenient way feels like a dream.
I grew up reading (and still do) the super novels of the fantasy and sci-fi genre. You may know the ones I mean, the 800+ page bricks that weighed more than some school text books. They were the ones that I hauled around in my pack in school instead of the textbooks. I wonder how many classes I've been late for, how many people I've made wait for me, how many projects I've procrastinated just in order to read a few more pages. I absolutely love really long fantasy novels.
Thus, I have endeared to make my writing the same. That being said, I realize how important it is to keep the reader engaged, truly important in long novels. Which is why working with the MSP Fiction Workshop has been so enjoyable. The community there has provided superb peer editing and and feedback to the few pieces I've managed to post. If anyone is interested in learning more and joining our Discord chat channel, please check out @rhondak 's post here. You can usually find me in the fiction-workshop channel.
So, I would like to share the edited version of my first chapter. I will break it up into two posts, this one and the continuation in Chapter 1.2. I I hope you will agree that, although a bit shorter, provides a great deal more punch. If anyone has the patience to read the original as well as the edited version, I would absolutely love to hear your opinion in the comments section.
On a side note. I'm a huge fan of good techno (I guess its called EDM now...), not the really repetitive kind, but if anyone wants to hear what I think would be an awesome soundtrack to the first chapter, check it out here.
A World Long Sundered -- Chapter 1 PART 1 Edited Version
Long ago, he had asked them to take his mind.
Not everything of course, that would be foolish. Just enough to make things bearable. They’d left enough, though, to know he was better this way.
And just how would you know that? Just take them at their word? He chuckled.
His mind often returned here, when it was awake anyway. Of course, there weren’t many places left for his mind to return to anymore.
Awake. Why was he awake? Normally, they would have told him by now. He was rarely afforded leisure time. He chuckled again, leisure time, that was funny.
The bowels of the earth were the last place he thought he’d spend eternity. Nothing leisurely about it. Although he knew better, he opened his eyes. A liquid, golden blur forced his eyes shut again in punishment. How long had it been this time? Months, years? Probably the latter—it felt right. Not that it mattered anymore. He doubted the world had changed much.
Thoughts of the world brought a familiar bitterness, making him tired. Such thinking was pointless. Even without his memories, he felt, he knew, that worrying for the world was useless. He was tired and it had been too long, and too late.
He knew not why, but within him resided some form of powerlessness, a stain. Failure? Yes, that was an apt description. As soon as the word had surfaced in his mind, he felt the truth of it. Somehow, somewhere in his past he had failed. He didn’t need his memories to know that it had been utter and complete; any further action on his part was useless. Thus, he had had them strip his mind away.
“Damn bugs…” he croaked.
What was taking them so long? Consciousness only brought pain. Even with only half a mind, waking was too painful. The failure had branded agony on his soul, surpassing both memory and history. It was a part of him now. Thus, there was no point in staying awake. Nothing would come from it, nothing good anyway—especially if he was part of it.
It was better this way, better to drift off into eternity. Since eternity asked nothing of him, he could not fail it.
They had woken him for something, though. Perhaps they were just testing him again, seeing if his body was even capable of consciousness anymore. He wouldn’t put it past them. Enjoying such inane tortures, they had taken much from his life. His childhood, his dreams, his family, his purpose, his…
But the bugs kept him alive.
That was the final torture, and never-ending.
“Riggs…Your…Riggs, your opinion…is…needed…Riggs…” The familiar voice scratched through his mind.
Hackles rose on the back of his neck. No mistaking the abrasive method with which the bugs communicated. He’d grown used to it over the centuries. Centuries? Yes, he knew it to be true, that much he now remembered. This watery, glass tomb had held him for centuries, separated from whatever world he had chosen to forget, as punishment he suspected, and quite possibly self-inflicted.
It wasn’t their voice that set him on edge though, it was the lack of it. His captors had never sounded so weak. Something was wrong. What had happened while the bugs had forced him to sleep the world away? Perhaps he had slept for much longer than he realized…
Another thought rippled through his consciousness.
Could they be dying?
The ramifications of such a thought did not escape him. Riggs had long ago given up the thought of escaping the bugs. Something almost akin to hope budded within him for the briefest of moments, but soon vanished as he realized that their death would mean his as well.
“Riggs…” the voice crackled in his head one last time, fading as it had started. A sudden rumble lurched through his glass prison. Against his own wishes, he opened his eyes. What little light that illuminated the underground chamber flickered and died. The whirring of the apparatus around him quieted and the mask that forced the stale air down his throat ceased doing so.
So, it’s finally happened.
Before panic could set in, a faint blue light found its way through the viscous liquid that surrounded his body. Years of no use and the golden liquid of his tank made his vision blurry, but Riggs pressed his face up against the glass anyway.
Then the world changed.
Slowly, the dull azure light penetrated the stone chamber’s ceiling above. As if testing the surroundings, the light hesitated, hovering just out of sight momentarily before releasing a blinding arc of azure energy directly into Riggs’ tank.
It was in the tank with him now. Enthralled, Riggs felt the gentle and pulsating light sweep his fatigue away. A tendril of cerulean light ever so gently caressed his breathing apparatus and it hummed to life again. Gratefully, he sucked in stale, filtered air. The source of the light quivered, as if laughing. Amid the source of the throbbing light floated a single, perfect gem. A sapphire.
How was this possible? How could such a creature bypass his captor’s defenses? Even more intriguing was simply its very existence. Could such creatures still exist despite the world’s current condition?
Each wave of pulsing light washed the questions from his mind, lifting them as easily as the ocean tide bears the sands. The beating became more rhythmic, magnified by the golden fluid that held it.
The light demanded his complete attention; he felt naked before it. Years of carefully sculpted callousness were stripped away as the light of the gem embraced him. He could not look away, nor did he want to.
The light carried with it an undefinable emotion, and Riggs grasped at its meaning. Perhaps the promise of morning sunlight from a thousand different worlds. Close, but not quite right. A rebirth, a beginning? The first step on a journey long waited for, no, perhaps the journey itself? And finally, he came as close as he would to an understanding.
It was purpose. True purpose. Not merely purpose born of duty or obligation, but a purpose beyond all needs and desires. His own defenses melted as the sapphire called to him, beckoned for him to reach out and grasp it—to take it and make it his own. It felt so familiar, so mutual. The sapphire’s own desire to be held, to unite and impart such purpose inundated his being.
Long ago, Riggs had abandoned such notions as purpose. However, as purpose, in its purest form, blazed in front of him, he knew with all certainty that he wanted it. All he had to do was act, reach out and grasp the gleaming orb. The gem needed him to seal the bond, to accept what it had to offer!
Yet, he remained paralyzed.
Copyright © 2017 by David Kottas. All rights reserved
- A World Long Sundered -- A Description of My Novel In Progress
- A World Long Sundered -- Chapter 1 PART 2 Edited Version
- A World Long Sundered -- Chapter 1 Original Version (for those of you who would like to compare)
- A World Long Sundered -- Chapter 2 Original Version
- My Other Works