Silicon County: An Interactive Story (Ongoing)

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  • By the way, did you see the pm I sent you that answered the question you asked me?

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    Clive Carson, 02-03 - Thursday, Nov. 24th, ??:?? AM: Clive’s vision was limited by the hazy gleam of mercury and density of chrome

  • Hm, I must say I kind of doubt that the Pittman is dead. However, I could see him, completely unrelated to the PoV thing, as becoming an agent for one of these god-thingies Thomas just encountered. Probably one of those that can be considered bad from our human morality. If the King of Lions is a bad guy, like the Prince of Wolves implied, then maybe Pittman is serving him now and if I have to make a guess, I'd say that's where we're going to see more of him. And well, I am kind of glad it's not Rachel. Sure I'd love a Rachel PoV but not really as the hateable antagonist =) And hm, now I really don't know who it could be. Not Pittman, not Owen, as the bad guys from the original story, so I really have no clue. Since this character hasn't been in the original story, I can't even revive the Evil Lana theory :D I'll be looking forward for that character. Many of the novels I have read have somehow benefitted from having an occasional villain PoV, so I'm sure it'll be a good thing.

    I think it will benefit from the additional point of view. And if this character is one of the agents the Prince of Wolves spoke of, we will gain some valuable insight into their employer. But this character's defining factor won't be their ability to twirl their mustache. I'm going to do my best to portray them, if not sympathetically, then understandably. It's possible for things to change, but going off of what I've written for their one-shot that I'll be revitalizing, they're not straight up evil. Funny thing, after doing some preliminary stuff, act 2 may feature as many as six points of view, though some of the new ones may debut later in the later chapters of act 2 and some of them be rather short but not necessarily small.

    Ah, I see. Right now, I could see Clive's visions being the result of one of these beings trying to contact him, that would be my guess. Though you seem to imply that the reasons behind his visions are far more complex than that, so I remain curious. And I have reread Tyler's parts for any hints, but have found none so far. Maybe that's because I have looked for something very specific. I was looking for any hints that Tyler hasn't dreamt during his sleep, which would make him the one the Prince of Wolves spoke about. In that case, maybe Clifford's markings prevent him from having dreams. That would be my current theory, though I am sort of sure that you're going to prove me wrong sooner or later.

    The hint in chapter 1 is at the very end of his piece that chapter, which says he laid down to sleep, but states that "He waited and he became increasingly impatient."

    Yeah, I think that's something I consider to be confirmed. Clifford is definitely not a pet, I am sure of it. And if Clifford is a supernatural or maybe outright mythological being, perhaps at worst even on the same levels of power as the Prince of Wolves seems to be, then I highly doubt that any mundane thing can harm him at all. It's just, I doubt the people of Silicon know that or would even just suspect that and when they see a possibly dangerous animal, the first thing they could try to do would be to shoot it. In that case, there's no saying what Clifford, the divine tattoo artist, will be able to do.

    Tyler's first segment in chapter 2 will discuss a few of these points. The nature of Clifford will be revealed in the near future. I'm looking forward to your reaction when it's revealed Clifford is literally just the same old dog from the kids' show.

    Ah, good, good. I think this should work very well. As far as I know, the first real overlap between the Guards series and others happen in The Fifth Elephant (coincidentally the fifth Guards novel), where one particular supporting character appears who requires a bit of knowledge from the novel Moving Pictures, where he is introduced, to fully understand. I guess by then however, you should already have a good idea of the series in general. Other than that, there shouldn't be much confusion, the series as a whole is pretty lenient when it comes to these things. So, should be a good plan! I really hope you like them :) And a Game of Thrones month, that's quite a plan. It's an interesting challenge for sure, a highly enjoyable one at that, as I can only imagine. The ASOIAF series as a whole can only be recommended of course, I have no doubt that you'll have plenty of fun with it.

    Okay! I was able to snag Guards! Guards! from the used book store earlier today! I've got a few books left I'm intending to read this month, so I'll put it on my reading list for next month, but I can't wait! And it seems, like, all six copies of the first book of ASOIAF aren't available anymore in my county's library system. Slight bummer. But every subsequent book is available, so I'll hunt down a copy of it one of these days before I get started. Before that, I'm probably gonna try to read the Dark Tower series. With that, I've taken on an expanded reading list that includes books that tie-in significantly to the series, because it gets very meta, especially later on. The Stand is the first book on the list, and the longest one in it, so it should be smooth sailing with that checked off. I'll be able to begin the series proper after I read the Eyes of the Dragon. The expanded reading list is 14 books and 2 short stories, so I'm probably going to skip a few nonessentials to make it manageable.

    I'll confirm it won't be Wade Pittman (but that doesn't imply he's dead). The character I have in mind to helm this new POV actual

  • Voting is closed!

    (!) Clive will attempt to invite Thomas for this evening's dinner

    The next part will be up momentarily.

  • Thomas Callahan, 02-04 - Thursday, Nov. 24th, 08:30 AM: Thomas had started his morning by staring at the ceiling for a good hour after waking, his mind working fruitlessly to untangle a mess of strange imagery, cryptic explanations, and veiled warnings while also trying to discern why he believed almost every word and element of it. Eventually, the feelings of disturbance faded and he was left perplexed but strangely acceptant of the night’s occurrence.

    Thomas picked at his breakfast in the Wooded Inn’s dining room while his mind soared in turbulent thought. He was the sole occupant among twelve empty chairs and half as many tables. The inn’s owner only wandered in occasionally to wipe down a table or straighten something deemed out of place, but with her gone now, Thomas was alone to think. He’d woken up hungry, all things considered, but had lost his appetite halfway through a waffle. He stirred syrup with a preoccupied countenance.

    The nightmare was thoroughly unsettling, but he found his father’s depiction as the classical Wolf Man the most discomforting of its content. He found it an inappropriate comparison to make consciously—his father was a mentally unstable man, but a man nonetheless, and never an animal. The comparison was made unconsciously, but it made Thomas wonder and worry that if he reduced his feelings on his father to their base nature and removed his rationales, if he’d think of his father as a rabid dog.

    Thomas had a dog once, a border collie named Hooper; his father had Hooper euthanized at the vet not long after Hopper went blind. His father had given Thomas the pup as a present for his fourth birthday and, after a short period of trepidation on Thomas’s part, they became best friends. When not at school, Sunday school, or Sunday service, Thomas was in the dog’s company—playing outdoors, working with his father, reading quietly when the weather was bad, the dog was there.

    Hooper went deaf first. When the dog got arthritis it hurt Thomas to see him try to follow to the bus stop to see him off. When the twelve-year-old collie went blind, his father sat with Thomas at the window sill overlooking the lake and explained what had to be done and why. His father held him as he cried and soothed him even though he was in the eleventh grade and sixteen, and the next day he and his father played with Hooper at the old dog’s pace all day. Thomas cried a long time the following morning when his father returned from the vet. They skipped church that day to bury Hooper on the island at the lake’s center and to grieve.

    It was one of his most bitter-sweet memories. His father, Thomas decided, was a complicated human with feelings and there was nothing else to say or think, and that his father was never rabid...

    ...at least not until the end.

    It was time to move on, Thomas decided. To do that, he had to stop delaying his visit to the lake house. Without a car, it would be a day-long ordeal, and it would be a good idea to rent a bike—but today was Thanksgiving and he knew the bike shop was closed. Besides, Russell had invited him over for dinner, and he wasn’t one to abandon obligations.

    Thomas gave up on the waffle and returned to his room upstairs. Folded neatly on the dresser was a set of clothes—with the exception of the boxers, which he’d thrown out and would try to pay for if the Carsons allowed it. Next to the stack was the bulky jacket he’d also borrowed. All were washed and dried in the inn’s laundry room a day ago.

    He thought about returning the clothes—it was only a few blocks to Summer Street, where the Carsons’ lived—but decided he shouldn’t drop in on them during the holiday.

    Thomas brushed his teeth, donned his own jacket, and grabbed his room key before hurrying downstairs, wanting to dissect the dream more thoroughly but determined to not do so lying down. He thanked the inn’s owner as he stepped into thirty-degree weather, taking the sidewalk east for a few blocks then north some more. His muscles ached and his bruises, shrunken as they were, were still quite sore, but he became less aware of them as the cold set in and his walk went on.

    It had hardly been two days since he was taken to the Sheriff’s Office. He didn’t think about his instructions not to leave the county before an investigation on Wade Pittman’s disappearance could be completed. There was also the matter of the blood and tissue samples gathered from the crash, but neither was that on his mind. Nor, surprisingly, the impossible state of the crash. All that had taken a back seat.

    He thought about the plaster of paris cast that was sitting on Mitch’s desk in a cardboard box. While he was warming up in his boxers with a blanket around his shoulders, Mitch had presented it with the same enthusiasm the old man had shown while discussing it in the car.

    It was a nasty thing. According to the measurements Mitch took, the forepaw was eleven and a half inches wide and a little less than twelve inches long (“Bigger than a tiger’s,” Mitch had said earnestly, but with an excited gleam in his eyes). It had been pressed almost three inches into the ground. The claws, which weren’t retractable, were wicked four inch long knives that had all broken off while Daniel Gavins was removing the cast from the ground. They had since been glued back on.

    “Ain’t it something?” Mitch had asked.

    “Uh-huh,” Thomas had replied, shivering. Upon being asked, he had declined to touch it.

    Shivering again but less desperately than that day in the Sheriff’s Office, Thomas approached the empty park and sat in one of the old swings. He pushed back, lifted his legs, and started swinging like he was in high school again, the possibility of breaking it under his adult weight not occurring to him as his thoughts returned to the dream.

    All he knew was that he believe what he’d been told, and knew for certain it was no mere dream. The Prince of Wolves had told him his purpose in a conflict with someone or -thing else called the King of Lions—to gather his allies as they draw closer together but before they could enter the Lion’s palace. Thomas didn’t know how was he was meant to accomplish this, nor why he was exempt from the palace’s apparent magnetism besides the Prince of Wolves’s vague explanation: thanks to me. Added to that, he didn’t trust this prince’s word. Something dark pervaded it, and he wasn’t so far removed from his old faith as not to seriously consider the possibility of demons. He didn’t trust it. Though, he couldn’t dispute anything it said as false. He would go along for now.

    There are eight … one’s not going to dream … one’s dead … two are somewhere else … none are out of reach.

    There were five in the real world then, including the one who wouldn’t be dreaming. Were they here in Silicon County? Thomas wondered. Could he find them? And if he could, could he warn them of the danger without coming across as insane?

    And would the Lion’s agents be a threat?

    It was a lot to consider with so little context. Perhaps the Prince would visit him again this night and he would have the chance to ask some questions. Which meant had to wait.

    It seemed all he could do was wait. He would kill the time by meandering around town. He knew of a few nearby places which stayed open on holidays until the afternoon—he’d wander between those places then return to the inn before Russell would pick him up.

    As Thomas considered walking down to the diner half a block away, one of the swing chains snapped and he ate mulch. Standing and spluttering, he dusted himself off. He felt a pang of guilt looking at the damage he’d done, but discovered nothing had been broken—his weight had merely fully unscrewed a quick link that had already been coming unscrewed. A kid probably loosened it in a prank. It didn’t matter. He pocketed the quick link, tossed the severed chain over the bar ten feet in the air, shimmied up the side of the swing set, and inched toward the offending swing upside down with his legs wrapped around the bar, wishing he’d worn gloves as the cold metal froze his hands.

    He had just hooked both ends and screwed it back together—holding on with just his legs, letting his torso and arms hang as he tried to figure out how he was going to get down—when he saw a familiar jacket and bicycle cruise down the adjacent street toward the Joneses’ diner. He watched, hanging upside down like a fool, as the speck of white jacket and blue jeans dismounted her bicycle and entered the dinner.

    “Lana,” he whispered. He rose up, aggravating his bruises, and grabbed the bar with his hands. He let lowered his legs, prepared for the drop, then let go. When his jacket sleeve snagged on a protruding bolt, fabric torn and his arm jerked painful, causing him to curse. When it set in he was hanging from his sleeve, he cursed again, tugged at his sleeve, then tried kicking.

    One leg became entangled in the swing he’d just repaired. He struggled against both the chain and jacket sleeve, then stopped, realizing he’d be in a worse predicament if his sleeve came loose and his leg didn’t. He needed help.

    “You’re an idiot,” he told himself out loud.

    He looked up the road toward the Joneses’ diner and suddenly feared Lana would see him strung up. After seven minutes of being suspended by his sleeve and leg and waiting for help (afraid of drawing Lana’s attention by calling for help), Thomas was considering foregoing the consequences and freeing his sleeve or trying to spring for the bar when the diner door opened in the distance and Lana returned to bicycle. She rode down the same road and was once again about to pass within shouting range of the park.

    [Call for Lana’s help.]

    [No. Don’t embarrass yourself in front of your crush.]

  • edited January 2017

    [Call for Lana's help.]

    Potentially embarrassing himself in front of her would be better than the possible alternative. Hurt pride is better than a broken body. :)

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    Thomas Callahan, 02-04 - Thursday, Nov. 24th, 08:30 AM: Thomas had started his morning by staring at the ceiling for a good hour a

  • Also, I responded to the latest pm you sent me.

    [Call for Lana's help.] Potentially embarrassing himself in front of her would be better than the possible alternative. Hurt pride is better than a broken body.

  • [Call for Lanas help]

    Great part.

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    Thomas Callahan, 02-04 - Thursday, Nov. 24th, 08:30 AM: Thomas had started his morning by staring at the ceiling for a good hour a

  • edited January 2017

    Aw man, that Hooper story really got me. I don't know what it is, but dogs dying always gets me, even when the dog is long dead by the time we learn about this part of the backstory. God damn those onion-cutting ninjas in my room! On another note, I am curious about Thomas' father. If I got it correctly, he killed himself and Thomas' mother, right? Though was there anything revealed about his reasons for doing so? Was he depressed, or had other problems with his mental health?

    [Call for Lana’s help.]

    God damn it Thomas, you dork :D That was hilarious! And honestly, he already embarrassed himself enough here, especially in front of himself. The least he could do is to let someone else get a good laugh out of it. Lana should find that stuff more funny than anything else. I got the impression that she's the sort of person who is always running into such problems herself. So, well, she should find it amusing, which is good. Also, on a practical note, his situation in general requires some help, or else he risks more than just the loss of a little dignity.

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    Thomas Callahan, 02-04 - Thursday, Nov. 24th, 08:30 AM: Thomas had started his morning by staring at the ceiling for a good hour a

  • I think it will benefit from the additional point of view. And if this character is one of the agents the Prince of Wolves spoke of, we will gain some valuable insight into their employer. But this character's defining factor won't be their ability to twirl their mustache. I'm going to do my best to portray them, if not sympathetically, then understandably. It's possible for things to change, but going off of what I've written for their one-shot that I'll be revitalizing, they're not straight up evil. Funny thing, after doing some preliminary stuff, act 2 may feature as many as six points of view, though some of the new ones may debut later in the later chapters of act 2 and some of them be rather short but not necessarily small.

    Hm, a sympathetic villain PoV then? Perhaps someone who has no real choice in their actions, someone who is forced by these hypothetical god things. Maybe he is either blackmailed (if these beings even need to do that, which I doubt) or mind-controlled. Or he has genuinely sympathetic reasons. Ah, with the talk about the King of Lion and his agents in Thomas' part, I would guess that this villain PoV might be one of the King of Lion's agents. In that case, he might literally be without a choice, since it seems neither has Thomas, considering that even the Prince of Wolves, who so far seems like the less bad alternative, left him with no choice but to serve.

    The hint in chapter 1 is at the very end of his piece that chapter, which says he laid down to sleep, but states that "He waited and he became increasingly impatient."

    Ooooh I see! I was right then =) I was thinking that he might simply doesn't dream, but it appears he doesn't even sleep. In that case, he clearly is the guy who does not dream and I am sure there is a direct connection between the markings and his inability to sleep. That means we have the four the Prince of Wolves spoke about confirmed already. Tyler the one that does not dream, Thomas the dead one and Rachel and Alex, the two that are somewhere else. Although I had this idea, what if Thomas is a red herring and not actually the dead one. After all, none other than Melissa would fit into this category as well, being someone who is alive even though they are supposed to be dead. I still see Thomas as more likely, but there has to be a reason for her still being alive.

    Tyler's first segment in chapter 2 will discuss a few of these points. The nature of Clifford will be revealed in the near future. I'm looking forward to your reaction when it's revealed Clifford is literally just the same old dog from the kids' show.

    Hah, jokes on you, I never watched that kids show, as it was never aired here in germany. Though well, if he really is just a big red and friendly dog, then I'm going to... well, I don't know how I'm going to react. Let's just say, I would never expect that.

    Okay! I was able to snag Guards! Guards! from the used book store earlier today! I've got a few books left I'm intending to read this month, so I'll put it on my reading list for next month, but I can't wait! And it seems, like, all six copies of the first book of ASOIAF aren't available anymore in my county's library system. Slight bummer. But every subsequent book is available, so I'll hunt down a copy of it one of these days before I get started. Before that, I'm probably gonna try to read the Dark Tower series. With that, I've taken on an expanded reading list that includes books that tie-in significantly to the series, because it gets very meta, especially later on. The Stand is the first book on the list, and the longest one in it, so it should be smooth sailing with that checked off. I'll be able to begin the series proper after I read the Eyes of the Dragon. The expanded reading list is 14 books and 2 short stories, so I'm probably going to skip a few nonessentials to make it manageable.

    Ah, nice to hear. I have never read Guards! Guards! in english, but if anything, as the original version it should be the one to show Terry Pratchett's literary genius the best. Hope you enjoy it! And well, that is odd with the first ASOIAF book, as I would imagine it is the one that is most sought after out of the entire series. Well, if nothing helps, there's always Amazon, your friend and helper. I must say though, to my great shame, that I have never read a King book. I have heard so many good things about it, but never had the time, so I consider my lack of Stephen King novels in my life a mortal sin. But well, let me know if they are truly worth reading and I'll put them on my own list.

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    Hm, I must say I kind of doubt that the Pittman is dead. However, I could see him, completely unrelated to the PoV thing, as becom

  • [Call for Lana’s help.]

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    Thomas Callahan, 02-04 - Thursday, Nov. 24th, 08:30 AM: Thomas had started his morning by staring at the ceiling for a good hour a

  • [Call for Lana's help.] What a goose. Just call for help ya sook. :D

    So I'm a couple days late reading this. That's because I accidentally unfollowed the discussion. I only found out I unfollowed because I was checking to see if there were any new stories.

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    Thomas Callahan, 02-04 - Thursday, Nov. 24th, 08:30 AM: Thomas had started his morning by staring at the ceiling for a good hour a

  • [Call for Lana’s help.] Just do it XD

    Great part! Or parts. I havent written anything for the last parts but I have read them all and I liked them. The dream Thomas had is so cool. I am so confused but I agree with Liquids theory for now that there could be higher creatures behind this. Maybe not gods but another supernatural creature. Demons or spirits. But I dont trust the Prince of Wolves, or any other of them, because what reason do they have to intervene with Silicon now? Cant be a good reason.

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    Thomas Callahan, 02-04 - Thursday, Nov. 24th, 08:30 AM: Thomas had started his morning by staring at the ceiling for a good hour a

  • Voting is closed!

    (!) Thomas will seek help from Lana for his precarious situation in spite of the decision's potential for embarrassment

    Next time, we will be catching up with Tyler. I'll see you all again very soon.

  • Tyler Gavins, 02-04 - Thursday, Nov. 24, 08:43 AM: On the morning of Thanksgiving, Tyler rode Bernie’s decade-old bicycle toward the quarry for a more private looksee. His father had driven him there yesterday morning, so he knew the slope where he’d passed out was rainwashed and most evidence of his and Clifford’s presence had been erased, but he wanted to check it out on his own nevertheless.

    Bernie had lent Tyler his bicycle indefinitely under the one condition that Tyler not crash it into any body of water deeper than a puddle. With a thankful yet distracted smile, he had said he made no promises. Bernie had clapped him on the back and watched him ride down the street until he’d turned the corner with, Tyler thought, a peculiar look of consideration that normally didn’t cross Bernie’s expression. Coasting down the street, out of sight, Tyler had wondered if Bernie detected something off about him.

    Something was off, of course: he hadn’t slept the previous two nights.

    Now, as he approached the Joneses’ diner, he hadn’t slept for three nights in row, but he was none worse for wear. The sleepless trend had begun when he’d lain down for rest after his confrontation with his father concerning the markings and had persisted as recently as the previous night, and Tyler was positive it wouldn’t go away tonight; he knew the affliction would last as long as the markings on his back remained. The effects of sleep deprivation hadn’t set in yet, and he wasn’t certain they would set in at all. As it was, he felt a little drowsy in the late evenings and early mornings for a brief period, but his efforts to capitalize on the moments of tiredness never paid off. He wasn’t familiar with insomnia (then again, he wasn’t even sure the markings adhered to the rules of insomnia) so he guessed it was possible a few more sleepless nights were required for negative effects to show.

    Presently, there was nothing more than a dullness, a gray cloud that had expanded in his head and muddied his demeanor—more likely depression than anything else—that made him worry his sanity would deplete without a way to shut off. That, Tyler supposed as he rode, was what Bernie had faintly detected yesterday evening.

    Although he hadn’t told him, Tyler knew his father suspected something was wrong and he wasn't telling him what it was. His father could always read between the lines of his assurances and too-quick dismissals, and what had seemed to Bernie a subtle tick was as obvious as a signal flare to his father. It was only a matter of time before his father would sit him down, his father’s expression set and one good eye drilling a hole, and state softly, “You haven’t been sleeping, Ty, have you?”

    The truth, which he would have no choice but to divulge, his eyes downcast and his tone submissive and lifeless, was his last semblance of sleep had occurred when he’d fainted during his first and only encounter with Clifford.

    He hadn’t seen the monstrous mutt again. Although his one and only sighting had been a thoroughly disturbing experience, he needed to find the mutt and get its help if he ever wanted to remove the markings.

    Wednesday's issue of the Pyramid featured a cover story on the missing gym teacher that requested people contact the city office in Hawley to learn how to assist in the ongoing search. Below it, a footnote on the front page invited to people to read about a wild animal of terrifying proportions with a picture of a single paw print. Turning to page two, one was greeted with the actual article, featuring Mitch Jenkins’ relation of Tyler’s account, and two more photographs: the plaster cast with two tape measures denoting its alarming length and width, and a second photo, a trail of paw prints bathed in the white camera flash. Attached to the lower right corner of the article was a credit thanking Daniel Gavins for contributing the photos.

    Thankfully, the confusing detail that Clifford had carried him back to the diner was omitted. It would have certainly prompted ridicule among his classmates when school resumed on Friday. His father’s opinion, that it sounded like a Disney movie, would likely have been shared by them. But because of the omission, the article failed to portray Clifford’s potential for intelligence. It was a dangerous concoction of men and women searching for a missing man, on edge due to the article, but still underestimating what they might be dealing with. Some people might even harbor thinly veiled intentions to find the mutt.

    And Tyler was afraid they’d find it and kill it. He needed Clifford’s help removing the markings, and if Clifford was dead, the markings could remain there forever. That was main avenue of worry for Tyler, branching with fears of the long term effects the markings would certainly have on him. He was thankful only the sheriffs would be armed during the searches and that the city had prohibited hunting while the search for Pittman was underway, but he was in no way put to rest; guns could be concealed. A sickening scenario kept resurfacing in his mind: someone killing Clifford and turning the mutt into a trophy, a head mounted on a wall or a rug.

    Clifford had pulled a vanishing act and he wasn’t too upset by it—just as long as he could find the mutt before insomnia became a real problem. Assuming, of course, he found a way to strike a deal with it.

    Tyler hadn’t left the paved roads on his way to the diner. Arriving in the parking, he slowed to a crawl as the trailhead neared, enclosed on either side by a wall of leafless trees. He wondered, suddenly unnerved, if Clifford had just happened upon him by chance, or if he’d been stalked before the crash. He shuddered, tossed aside his apprehension, and plunged into the woods. He paused at the fork that had almost led him off a cliff and had to admit it was easy to miss in the dark, but he knew there was no one or thing to blame but himself and the reckless speed he’d been going.

    He continued, slow and cautious, and got off Bernie’s bicycle well before he reached the clearing. His legs resisted his approach and he stopped about four feet from the cliff, all-too aware that he’d get dizzy. He looked down, finding that a thin layer of ice had frozen on the surface.

    If I didn’t noticed I had missed turn, he thought, I wouldn’t have realized my mistake fast enough. He would have seen the border of pure darkness, but it would be too late. The ground would have dropped out beneath the tires, falling through darkness, splashing into a bitter coldness that would have knocked the air from his lungs. He would have swallowed mouthfuls of freezing water before he could discern up from down. The sheer drop of the cliff was less than ten feet from where he’d jumped off his bike. I nearly died.

    Tyler backed up slowly, feeling woozy and nauseated, and didn’t stop until he was standing roughly at the spot where he’d dismounted in haste that night. He left the path, following a corridor of broken branches, some eight feet off the forest floor. Decomposing leaves that were brown and peppered with dark dots squished underfoot. The tree that stopped his tumble bore no visible marks. He sat down, propped himself against it like last time, and tried to get a bearing on where Clifford’s eyes would be. Probably a little higher than eight feet. Then the eyes had loomed closer and lower, leaving a trail of light on his retinas, its breath hot and coppery...

    Goosebumps broke out on Tyler’s skin at the vivid recollection.

    Then a twig snapped far back up the trail.

    Tyler’s head whirled and he looked back up the path, seeing nothing. Hearing, however, gravel consistently crunching under several pairs of shoes. The sound was growing louder, drawing closer. Tyler hopped to his feet, kicked up his kickstand, and twirled the bicycle to face away from the quarry. He pedaled fast and hard, the lingering soreness from his crash flaring suddenly from the exertion. He caught a glimpse of possibly three people in winter attire—who paused as they caught a glimpse of him as well—before he left the trail, rode several dozen feet through the woods, and came out onto the path he had intended to take the night of his encounter.

    Following the map of tangled paths in his brain, he made his way toward the meeting place. The fact that a literal monster was roaming these very woods just three nights ago never left his mind. The woods’ sinister unease was evident in the leaves fluttering across the path and branches cracking together overhead.

    To be continued...

  • Winter attire? That's a bit odd. This whole Clifford storyline is really intriguing. A bit scary, but it's got some mystery. Plus, it's got Tyler. :p

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    Tyler Gavins, 02-04 - Thursday, Nov. 24, 08:43 AM: On the morning of Thanksgiving, Tyler rode Bernie’s decade-old bicycle toward t

  • So it is confirmed now, Tyler is the one that won't dream. And I am absolutely convinced that Clifford and his markings had a hand in this. Maybe this means Clifford is a being on the same level as the Prince of Wolves and the King of Lions, or maybe he's something below them (like an angel to a god), simply an agent for one of these beings. This opens up the question why Tyler was marked. Maybe some of the beings can only contact others when they sleep and by preventing him from sleeping, Clifford made sure that these beings are unable to contact and influence him in any way, making him a perfect agent for some tasks. The fact that the Prince of Wolves mentioned him seems to confirm that Tyler is at least connected to these gods now, but he is probably working neither for the King, as I got the impression that neither of the eight is working for him, nor the Prince, who outright stated that he only has Thomas. I have to wonder how the other beings are named, because King of Lions and Prince of Wolves sound so damn cool.

    And these people in winter attire... can you remind me again, it's not winter, is it? If so, then this is super odd. Maybe these are just your typical small town shady people, but given how every mysterious event so far seems connected in some way (through these godlike beings), I wouldn't be surprised if there is more to these three.

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    Tyler Gavins, 02-04 - Thursday, Nov. 24, 08:43 AM: On the morning of Thanksgiving, Tyler rode Bernie’s decade-old bicycle toward t

  • Yes, it's been confirmed: Tyler is the one mentioned by the prince who will not dream. And, if you ask me, it is all but confirmed that Clifford and his pesky tattoos are what's responsible for Tyler's sleepless nights. Your speculation into the purpose of the markings is interesting, and perhaps not inaccurate. After all, it has been confirmed that the Kingdom of Divine Dreams is a dangerous place, which would make Clifford's motivates almost benevolent if the mutt intended to protect Tyler from the nameless dangers residing in the lion's kingdom. It does call into question the mutt's previous action—giving Tyler a fright before returning him safely to the diner. Whether the revelations concerning Clifford and its motives are or are not expected, I think they won't disappoint. I'm also having a blast crafting beings like the prince and the king, who will receive its first real if small appearance in chapter 4—it does concern our quote unquote antagonist; I suspect their relationship will also be quite unexpected. I do have plans for other such beings, one of which that has cemented will be based on a Japanese folktale. An agent of theirs has already appeared, though maybe not within the main story ;)

    As for the winter attire, it's currently November 24th and thirty-degrees Fahrenheit (minus one-degree celsius). While it's not technically winter for a month, winter attire is more than applicable, if you ask me. Honestly, I wasn't expecting people to jump at this, much less due to the appropriate attire they're wearing lol. If it was summer or something, it wouldn't be a stretch to assume they're drug dealers—at least in my town, drug dealers typically wear very heavy clothing to conceal their wares—but the conditions favor that these are simply tourists or people merely interested in the site of Tyler's encounter, it has become a wide known occurrence around Silicon County, after all. Who knows who's taken an interest in it?

    So it is confirmed now, Tyler is the one that won't dream. And I am absolutely convinced that Clifford and his markings had a hand

  • Your speculation into the purpose of the markings is interesting, and perhaps not inaccurate. After all, it has been confirmed that the Kingdom of Divine Dreams is a dangerous place, which would make Clifford's motivates almost benevolent if the mutt intended to protect Tyler from the nameless dangers residing in the lion's kingdom. It does call into question the mutt's previous action—giving Tyler a fright before returning him safely to the diner. Whether the revelations concerning Clifford and its motives are or are not expected, I think they won't disappoint.

    Hm, I am not sure if Clifford's movites have been outright benevolent. Right now, there is no reason to trust him, but none to distrust him either. Perhaps he genuinely is a benevolent being, if a bit of a troll for scaring Tyler first, maybe on purpose. Or maybe the potentially positive side-effect of not being able to interact with the beings inside the Kingom' of Divine Dreams were just that, a side-effect of whatever ulterior motive he has, something that is beneficial for Tyler and which Clifford simply did not mind. So far, I don't know enough about Clifford to safely see him as a benevolent being. At the same time, I have nothing in favour of seeing him as a malicious being either. All of these beings are rather ambiguous so far. We only have the word of the Prince of Wolves that the King of Lions is a bad guy, but I am not sure if the Prince can be trusted either.

    I'm also having a blast crafting beings like the prince and the king, who will receive its first real if small appearance in chapter 4—it does concern our quote unquote antagonist; I suspect their relationship will also be quite unexpected. I do have plans for other such beings, one of which that has cemented will be based on a Japanese folktale.

    A japanese folktale, that is interesting! Like, that is super interesting. I'm not the most knowledgeable about Japanese folktales. but I know a few things. There are these Kami beings, basically the Shinto gods, so maybe one of them served as inspiration for this being. Or maybe you mean one of the Yokai (I think that's their name, basically the demons from the japanese mythology). Actually, considering the shared theme between the King of Lions and the Prince of Wolves, maybe this being was inspired by the Kitsune, the fox-spirits. The Queen of Foxes maybe? I know, a total shot in the dark, but just imagine how crazy it would be if I'm right =)

    Actually, the mentioning of japanese mythology (as well as my comment about Clifford being a bit of a troll) brought up another theory about the origins of Clifford. Maybe he was inspired by another mythology (or maybe he inspired said mythology in the world of the story), namely the Norse mythology. You see, I've recently watched a playthrough of the game Through the Woods, which features elements of nordic mythology and one of the beings featured was a troll. When reading the part in which Clifford got introduced, I had to think about the scene in which the first troll appears in the game. It's even more of a long shot, but perhaps Clifford is a troll or troll-like being inspired by northern mythology.

    An agent of theirs has already appeared, though maybe not within the main story ;)

    It is the knight then! He's the only one that did not appear in the main story, if I'm not mistaken, since the prologues only featured the already introduced Tyler, Daniel, Clive and Thomas. I wonder more than ever who the knight could be then. The implication seems to be that it is one of the people the Prince of Wolves mentioned. After all, there are four people we know nothing about so far, aside from Tyler, Thomas, Rachel and Alex. The knight could be one of these unknown agents. Or maybe the monster the knight fought against is one of these agents. After all, it has never been stated that the agents have to be human or even exist in the human world.

    Honestly, I wasn't expecting people to jump at this, much less due to the appropriate attire they're wearing lol.

    I actually only brought it up because Agent noticed and mentioned it, which caused me to put more attention towards it :D I'm calling it now though, these people are more than simple tourists. Maybe in a later part of the story, we're going to learn that they actually did something important in the forest at this time.

    Who knows who's taken an interest in it?

    Perhaps they could be government people who try not to gain any attention? I mean, the typical shady government agent attire is not exactly inconscpicuous, so maybe these people have taken a more intelligent approach. I wouldn't be surprised if they are from some organization that has something to do with Clifford.

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    Yes, it's been confirmed: Tyler is the one mentioned by the prince who will not dream. And, if you ask me, it is all but confirmed

  • Hm, I am not sure if Clifford's movites have been outright benevolent. Right now, there is no reason to trust him, but none to distrust him either. Perhaps he genuinely is a benevolent being, if a bit of a troll for scaring Tyler first, maybe on purpose. Or maybe the potentially positive side-effect of not being able to interact with the beings inside the Kingom' of Divine Dreams were just that, a side-effect of whatever ulterior motive he has, something that is beneficial for Tyler and which Clifford simply did not mind. So far, I don't know enough about Clifford to safely see him as a benevolent being. At the same time, I have nothing in favour of seeing him as a malicious being either. All of these beings are rather ambiguous so far. We only have the word of the Prince of Wolves that the King of Lions is a bad guy, but I am not sure if the Prince can be trusted either.

    All true enough. You may or may not (considering it complicates choice making an f ton) be happy to hear that this conflict is decidedly more morally gray. In contrast, while the message of the original Silicon was gearing toward environmental (which I don't believe I've mentioned), Silicon County is decidedly existential in its ultimate dilemmas. Alas, we can only hope Clifford is a good boy. That begs the question... who's a good boy? This is just one among several existential questions this story will be asking.

    A japanese folktale, that is interesting! Like, that is super interesting. I'm not the most knowledgeable about Japanese folktales. but I know a few things. There are these Kami beings, basically the Shinto gods, so maybe one of them served as inspiration for this being. Or maybe you mean one of the Yokai (I think that's their name, basically the demons from the japanese mythology). Actually, considering the shared theme between the King of Lions and the Prince of Wolves, maybe this being was inspired by the Kitsune, the fox-spirits. The Queen of Foxes maybe? I know, a total shot in the dark, but just imagine how crazy it would be if I'm right =)

    You're right about the Kami—they're Shinto and they're pretty much nature gods, and there were a ton of them because pretty much every community had their own for each river, spring, and mountain. Studying Japanese mythology inspired a lot of the creations in Silicon County as well as reading a certain novel called American Gods (which I would recommend if you don't mind a long, meandering novel; it also looks like it's setting up an epic, but it very much isn't—that's a misconception that has affected some people's enjoyment of it). That in mind, I see no reason in denying that I'm pretty much fashioning my own beings from multiple sources and inspirations. The folktale I'm taking the character from doesn't concern gods, and I'll be creating my own character around its concept. I will say, in early stages of planning, I was thinking about having the Shinto sun goddess Amaterasu fill this role, but I realized Amaterasu was just too high-profile, considering she's the main Shinto goddess. I also discovered I'd rather have more creative freedoms with the beings—basing them off specific gods and goddesses severely limits what I'm able to do with them. Besides that, the King of Lions was created without a mythological source, and I feel adding one now would only be superficial and limiting.

    Actually, the mentioning of japanese mythology (as well as my comment about Clifford being a bit of a troll) brought up another theory about the origins of Clifford. Maybe he was inspired by another mythology (or maybe he inspired said mythology in the world of the story), namely the Norse mythology. You see, I've recently watched a playthrough of the game Through the Woods, which features elements of nordic mythology and one of the beings featured was a troll. When reading the part in which Clifford got introduced, I had to think about the scene in which the first troll appears in the game. It's even more of a long shot, but perhaps Clifford is a troll or troll-like being inspired by northern mythology.

    Bingo with the knight. As for the morally ambiguous mutt, Clifford is inspired by a particular mythology thingy not pertaining to gods. Unfortunately, revealing what exactly Clifford is based on and inspired by will pretty much confirm what it is, as pretty much everyone is familiar with it. But I wouldn't dispense with troll theories just yet ;) I'm not saying Clifford is a black dog, but I'm totally going to delve into British Isle folklore/mythology for our "antagonist's" plotline.

    Perhaps they could be government people who try not to gain any attention? I mean, the typical shady government agent attire is not exactly inconscpicuous, so maybe these people have taken a more intelligent approach. I wouldn't be surprised if they are from some organization that has something to do with Clifford.

    Suits, sunglasses, and earpieces would be a little conspicuous. We will have to wait and see (if someone even has their sights on Tyle) who has their sights on Tyler and hope their goals and intentions are just.

    By the way...
    I think you're going to face palm in the near future...
    Do with that what you will...

    Your speculation into the purpose of the markings is interesting, and perhaps not inaccurate. After all, it has been confirmed tha

  • edited January 2017

    All true enough. You may or may not (considering it complicates choice making an f ton) be happy to hear that this conflict is decidedly more morally gray. In contrast, while the message of the original Silicon was gearing toward environmental (which I don't believe I've mentioned), Silicon County is decidedly existential in its ultimate dilemmas. Alas, we can only hope Clifford is a good boy. That begs the question... who's a good boy? This is just one among several existential questions this story will be asking.

    Environmental is indeed new, I haven't heard that before. That is pretty interesting to hear about the original story. As for the good boy... Well, Tyler is a good boy, right? And Clive and Thomas. Rachel's not a boy, but she's good regardless. Alex... eh, debatable, but possible. There are many good boys and girls in the story, right? Right? Ah, this all sounds so epic and I can't wait to read more.

    You're right about the Kami—they're Shinto and they're pretty much nature gods, and there were a ton of them because pretty much every community had their own for each river, spring, and mountain. Studying Japanese mythology inspired a lot of the creations in Silicon County as well as reading a certain novel called American Gods (which I would recommend if you don't mind a long, meandering novel; it also looks like it's setting up an epic, but it very much isn't—that's a misconception that has affected some people's enjoyment of it). That in mind, I see no reason in denying that I'm pretty much fashioning my own beings from multiple sources and inspirations. The folktale I'm taking the character from doesn't concern gods, and I'll be creating my own character around its concept. I will say, in early stages of planning, I was thinking about having the Shinto sun goddess Amaterasu fill this role, but I realized Amaterasu was just too high-profile, considering she's the main Shinto goddess. I also discovered I'd rather have more creative freedoms with the beings—basing them off specific gods and goddesses severely limits what I'm able to do with them. Besides that, the King of Lions was created without a mythological source, and I feel adding one now would only be superficial and limiting.

    You know, when I heard about your inspiration being japanese folktales with this being, Amaterasu was literally the first that came to mind, since she's the only one I am familiar with, from a pretty great graphic novel I have read some time ago. But I already thought that this might be a bit too much for the story. Though considering that you mentioned now that it does not include gods, I still consider something related to foxes to be a good guess. After all, it would fit with the theme of the King and the Prince, who are both based on quadrupedal predators. Considering how large the field of Japanese mythology is though, I guess I am more likely wrong than right. And ah, you made me really interested in the King of Lions. It would be great to get a second opinion on him, since the Prince of Wolves is definitely not objective in this case.

    Bingo with the knight. As for the morally ambiguous mutt, Clifford is inspired by a particular mythology thingy not pertaining to gods. Unfortunately, revealing what exactly Clifford is based on and inspired by will pretty much confirm what it is, as pretty much everyone is familiar with it. But I wouldn't dispense with troll theories just yet ;) I'm not saying Clifford is a black dog, but I'm totally going to delve into British Isle folklore/mythology for our "antagonist's" plotline.

    Hm... hmmmm.... I am not sure if everyone is familiar with trolls, though I think so? And they are not related to gods. I'll keep that theory for now, while I think of other mytholigical beings unrelated to gods that would fit the description. The british mythology though... that's a topic I should really educate myself about. Most of it is about ghosts and spirits though, which I doubt is the origin of Clifford. I'm having a book about it lying at home, so maybe I should give it a look soon. But if one of these beings, not necessarily Clifford, is based on these stories about black dogs in some parts of the british isles, then that would fit once more with the possible theme set by the King and the Prince.

    Suits, sunglasses, and earpieces would be a little conspicuous. We will have to wait and see (if someone even has their sights on Tyle) who has their sights on Tyler and hope their goals and intentions are just.

    Well, if someone already has their sights on Tyler, then they have to be connected to the gods as well. There is no way someone unconnected to these events can already be at the stage where they'd put their sights on him. Maybe there are others who know the truth (or at least more than we do) behind the King of Lions and the others. It's just very much the question if these people would have good intentions, for Tyler and for the others.

    By the way...
    I think you're going to face palm in the near future...
    Do with that what you will...

    I will? Oh, I can't wait for it! I wonder what that means though... Maybe I am seriously wrong with some of the things I see as more likely? Maybe Clifford genuinely is Clifford the Big Red Dog? Or maybe I am right with something? One of my earlier theories maybe, which I have either given up on or developed into a different direction? I am so curious about this now, it's great!

    EDIT: How have I forgotten to answer to this part here?

    as well as reading a certain novel called American Gods (which I would recommend if you don't mind a long, meandering novel; it also looks like it's setting up an epic, but it very much isn't—that's a misconception that has affected some people's enjoyment of it).

    There's no recommendation needed here, as I know American Gods already and I absolutely love it! Neil Gaiman is a genius and among my favourite authors. In particular, this novel is among the best I have read from him (though I can't claim to have read everything Gaiman has ever written), so it is interesting to hear that you got some inspiration from it. I will surely remember this and will look out for it. While we're at the point of recommendations, if you enjoyed Gaiman's work, he has also written a novel together with my personal favourite Terry Pratchett about thirty years ago. Good Omens is the name and it features both authors at their absolute best. Being co-written by Pratchett, it is more light-hearted in tone than American Gods, but you can clearly see Gaiman's influence in it as well. I know you got quite a number of stuff to read, but keep an eye on that one, it's worth the read :)

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    Hm, I am not sure if Clifford's movites have been outright benevolent. Right now, there is no reason to trust him, but none to dis

  • Thomas Callahan, 02-05 - Thursday, Nov. 24th, 08:55: Thomas swallowed his pride and called Lana’s name. The woman on the bike looked toward him, coasted off the street, onto the path accessing the park, and dismounted without a word. She lowered her hood twenty feet off and Thomas saw she was smirking. She stopped ten feet off.

    “I’ve gotten myself into a predicament,” Thomas managed, gritting his teeth with embarrassment.

    “You certainly have,” she said. “You didn’t do this to yourself on my account, did you?”

    Thomas briefly debated which was more embarrassing—having done this purposefully or accidentally—and decided to simply tell the truth.

    Lana nodded, her visage teeming with amused disbelief at his expense. “I didn’t take you for such a goofball.”

    “Well, there’s a lot you don’t know about me,” he said with difficulty. “Could you untangle my leg? I’d like to get off this ride.”

    She took her sweet time doing so. Jerking his sleeve free, he escaped the bolt’s clutches to the sound of tearing fabric. He landed ungracefully on his feet, thanked Lana sincerely, then checked the damage done to his jacket.

    “Well, if that’s all, I guess I’ll be seeing you,” Lana said at last, turning to where she left her bike.

    “Wait,” Thomas said. He didn’t have anything prepared to follow it. Lana waited patiently as he decided what to say and then as he worked up the courage to say it. “You’re invited to, uh, by my friend, I should say, to Thanksgiving at his house. You met Russell at his bar… that night… um…”

    Lana stopped his stammering, her dyed-white hair blown askew by the cold wind. “I don’t have any plans tonight,” she said. Her expression set somberly, peacefully. “Do you wanna talk about Monday?”

    “Kinda,” he said. “But… I didn’t know if you wouldn’t see me again.”

    She laughed. “Why wouldn’t I want to see you again?”

    He shrugged, then began to iron out his sore shoulder. “I don’t know.”

    “It’s cold. We can talk over coffee,” she suggested.

    He nodded. Instead of walking her bike alongside him, like one would expect, she round circles around him as they walked up the hill, engaging in small talk during the intervals when she was beside or in front of him. She dismounted when they reached the diner and chained her bike to a gutter’s downspout. They entered together, found a booth away from what few customers there were. A girl, possibly in her teens, approached them with a notepad and a friendly smile.

    “Back so soon?” she said to Lana, then smiled at Thomas. “What can I get you two?”

    “Coffee for me,” Thomas said.

    “Make it two,” Lana added. “Thank you, Sam.”

    “I’ll have your coffees in a half a minute.” She left in a hurry and returned with a pot and two mugs, poured the coffee at the table, told them to call her mother if they needed anything. She smiled at them again then left to help her mother with something behind the counter. A minute later she hurried through the back door and didn’t return.

    “So,” Lana said at last, breaking the silence which had settled over them, “where to begin?”

    “I should definitely be dead,” he said vaguely, stirring sugar into his black coffee. He saw the confusion and perhaps pain on Lana’s face and realized what how shitty it was to say it like that. “No, I mean, the car crash didn’t kill when it by all means should have. I’m happy to be alive. Just confused and disturbed as well.”

    “Did they leave something out of the paper?” she asked.

    “I guess you don’t know about it at all,” he said softly. “They focused on Pittman’s disappearance almost entirely. My crash was mentioned in passing. The fact Pittman may have drugged me was omitted entirely. I can’t blame the Sheriff’s Office for being cautious about that detail. They left out some stranger things, though.” He told her about his physical condition contradicting the scene of the crash. He sipped from his mug, found the young waitress had given him lukewarm coffee, and smiled despite the unpleasant direction of the conversation.

    “That’s insane,” Lana managed, touching his free hand with sympathy. “I guess it’s a miracle we’re talking.”

    He sipped his lukewarm coffee and shrugged. “Yeah.” His thoughts descended toward the prince, and he wondered how it might have intervened.

    There are eight…

    “Say,” he whispered quietly but quite suddenly, “I had a really weird dream last night. It’s a little personal but…” He trailed off, not knowing where he was taking the sentence, feeling ridiculous for bringing it up in the first place.

    “Did you dream about me?”

    Thomas blushed.

    Lana kicked his shin lightly from under the table. “Don’t tell me you’re a prude.”

    His blush deepened, but he managed an awkward laugh at his own expense and nodded his head. “Well, I was a pastor before becoming a chaplain. It comes with the job, didn’t you know?” He shook his head, sighing. “But seriously. I’m curious, have you’ve had any especially vivid dreams recently?”

    She looked off out the window, toward the playground equipment and swingsets in the distance, rubbing her hands. “Yeah,” she admitted at last. “I’ve had the same dream recur twice now. I’m here, in Hawley, in the aftermath of a city-wide fire or something. It’s just me by my lonesome. I wander around the ruins. That’s really it.”

    “Was it lucid?”

    “I guess,” she said absently. The fog quickly left her face and her eyes centered in on him. “What about you? Care to share?”

    “I feel like it wouldn’t be appropriate. Like I said, it’s personal and kind of heavy.”

    “You don’t have to share it,” she said seriously, “especially if it makes you uncomfortable.”

    “I would be more worry about making your uncomfortable.” He realized then just how much he wanted to get it off his chest.

    “Don’t worry about me,” she told him sincerely.

    “Okay.” He took a deep breath and tried his best to maintain a casual tone. “It started out like a nightmare. I dreamt I was in the chapel where my father’s funeral was being held, but only animals were in attendance. When I reached the open casket, my father also wasn’t human. Then I give my eulogy but I’m a stuttering and rambling mess—not entirely unlike how the actual was service. I guess I’ve mauling it for a while now. Anyway, the subject of the dream shifted when I discovered a figure in attendance. It got stranger from there. The figure—it called itself the Prince of Wolves—told me I and eight other people were dreaming of a different place, called it the Kingdom of Divine Dreams. It described it as a place of many places and said it was dangerous, and I was supposed to bide my time in the chapel until it was time to seek out and gather those eight other people before they can be harmed by our enemy, something called the King of Lions.”

    Lana smiled but it was neither mocking nor patronizing. “You believe it?”

    Thomas said nothing for a few seconds, then:, “It was very vivid.”

    “Well, find me if you can, then. It’s awfully lonely.”

    He shrugged and chuckled. “I’ll give it my best shot.”

    They carried conversation with another half hour. Lana had to leave due to an appointment with a friend. Before she left, she gave him her address, and he told what time he and Russell would be stopping by to pick her up. Halfway out the door, she said, “I’ve worse second dates. Stay away from swings set until tonight.” The door fell shut before she could see his entire face redden.

    The blush fading from his face, he paid at the woman behind the counter for the coffees. “Marsha Jones, isn’t it?” he asked.

    “Yes, honey,” the woman said, smiling. “How can I help you?”

    “Didn’t Tyler Gavins’s encounter happen in the woods outback?”

    She laughed, then sighed. “Yeah, honey. That’s what the paper’s saying. It’s brought a lot of people out of the woodwork, coming to check it out. They think there’s a real monster out there, think that I’m the one to talk to. They eat and drink, though, so I don’t mind the business. Can’t say I like the association much.”

    “I can understand,” Thomas replied, sitting on a stool at the counter and leaning forward. “Do you think it’s real, though?” All he could think about was the larger-than-life cast he had been shown at the Sheriff’s Office.

    “I’d imagine you’ve seen the paper,” she said. She shook her head. “It’s still unbelievable. Casts like that are faked all the time for bigfoot and the like, and so can the prints. But Tyler’s a good boy. He isn’t a liar. If he says he saw it, he believes he saw it. And I don’t think his father would further a lie. But what’s your interest, hon? I didn’t catch your name.”

    “Thomas,” he said truthfully despite the faint flicker of recognition it prompted. He wasn’t about to explain his real interest: a monster seemed to fit the MO of an agent of a king that prescribes fates worse than death. Instead, with a dismissive gesture, he answered, “I’m just curious. How would one get there?”

    “The trailhead is behind the diner, Thomas-honey. You’ll get to the quarry if you just hug the right side.” Her displeasure for giving the directions was evident in her frown. “Thinking about checking it out?”

    “I’m thinking against it, actually.”

    “Scared?”

    “Honestly, yes.”

    To be continued...

    Post-part Notes:

    • I apologize for the delay between this and the last part. Admittedly, I've been sitting on it for a while now—it just needed some finalizing. Tyler's point of view will continue later today and will likely sport a choice. I should mention part of this delay was caused by a good thing: planning and first drafts. In the last few days, I've committed a lot of my current plans to a planning document. A point of view taking place in chapter 4 has been fully planned out (there are few if any choices in this one). As for the drafts, I've written several future scenes (one of which is quite monumental) for the purpose of clarifying my plans. When chapter 4 rolls around, and when it's time to finally incorporate these scenes, they will probably have to be fully rewritten, but besides that, I found making early drafts very helpful in the planning process. Alas, I'll see you later today! :^D
  • Lana is so cool. She's very quickly growing on me.

    Looking forward to that Tyler part :)

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    Thomas Callahan, 02-05 - Thursday, Nov. 24th, 08:55: Thomas swallowed his pride and called Lana’s name. The woman on the bike look

  • Environmental is indeed new, I haven't heard that before. That is pretty interesting to hear about the original story. As for the good boy... Well, Tyler is a good boy, right? And Clive and Thomas. Rachel's not a boy, but she's good regardless. Alex... eh, debatable, but possible. There are many good boys and girls in the story, right? Right? Ah, this all sounds so epic and I can't wait to read more.

    The idea was very vague and convoluted at the time and, like most of ideas in the original story, not fully conceived. Essentially, among my ideas for the purpose of the superpowers, was they were given by Unnamed Villain to cause fear among the human race, ignite sort of a war against the humans and those with superpowers to cause the end of the world, with the long-term goal of bringing about sort of a new Eden. Eh, I don't think I ever wrote this one down. But holy hell, does it not line up with the first act.

    You know, when I heard about your inspiration being japanese folktales with this being, Amaterasu was literally the first that came to mind, since she's the only one I am familiar with, from a pretty great graphic novel I have read some time ago. But I already thought that this might be a bit too much for the story. Though considering that you mentioned now that it does not include gods, I still consider something related to foxes to be a good guess. After all, it would fit with the theme of the King and the Prince, who are both based on quadrupedal predators. Considering how large the field of Japanese mythology is though, I guess I am more likely wrong than right. And ah, you made me really interested in the King of Lions. It would be great to get a second opinion on him, since the Prince of Wolves is definitely not objective in this case.

    I really loved learning about Japanese mythology the most (and, since we're speaking about American Gods below, I'm disappointed that a Coming to America story based in a Japanese internment camp was apparently cut from the original novel—I could only imagine it would have featured Shinto or Buddist mythology. Though, I think it might see the light of day in the TV show coming out this year. You know about the American Gods TV show, right? There's a trailer, check it out if you haven't! It looks sweet!). I'm not sure I've mentioned this, but Interlude to Fire will expand greatly on the Prince of Wolves's character and Prelude to Fire will pretty much drop the veil on everything there is to know about the King of Lions. I've done some initial planning for both of these mini-plotlines. Needless to say, I'm excited to delve into them!

    By the way, I would really like to hear the name of that graphic novel!

    I will? Oh, I can't wait for it! I wonder what that means though... Maybe I am seriously wrong with some of the things I see as more likely? Maybe Clifford genuinely is Clifford the Big Red Dog? Or maybe I am right with something? One of my earlier theories maybe, which I have either given up on or developed into a different direction? I am so curious about this now, it's great!

    It might be a little late for me to celebrate because I seriously can't tell if you've realized it or not lol. I guess we'll know by Chapter 4: Teeth in the Grass, huh? :P

    There's no recommendation needed here, as I know American Gods already and I absolutely love it! Neil Gaiman is a genius and among my favourite authors. In particular, this novel is among the best I have read from him (though I can't claim to have read everything Gaiman has ever written), so it is interesting to hear that you got some inspiration from it. I will surely remember this and will look out for it. While we're at the point of recommendations, if you enjoyed Gaiman's work, he has also written a novel together with my personal favourite Terry Pratchett about thirty years ago. Good Omens is the name and it features both authors at their absolute best. Being co-written by Pratchett, it is more light-hearted in tone than American Gods, but you can clearly see Gaiman's influence in it as well. I know you got quite a number of stuff to read, but keep an eye on that one, it's worth the read :)

    I've had my eyes on Good Omens for a while now! Currently, I'm reading Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (this is the second novel of his I'm reading after American Gods) and I'm honestly loving it. After that, I'm going to tackle Guards! Guards!. I want to read up on both Gaiman and Pratchett, so Good Omens is pretty much at the top of my list! I really can't wait—Gaiman has quickly become one of my favorite authors and just the blurb on the back cover of Guards! Guards! got me to smile like an idiot.

    All true enough. You may or may not (considering it complicates choice making an f ton) be happy to hear that this conflict is dec

  • Awesome Part. Glad to see Lana again. Hopefully the dinner goes well. But knowing this story I have a feeling something crazy might happen.....But I might be completely wrong so take my predictions for what you will. Story is great anyway.

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    Thomas Callahan, 02-05 - Thursday, Nov. 24th, 08:55: Thomas swallowed his pride and called Lana’s name. The woman on the bike look

  • Tyler Gavins, 02-06 - Thursday, Nov. 24th, 09:02 AM: Thick, oppressive clouds churned past the canopy of branches clicking above Tyler’s head. The pleasant smell of decay rose from the soggy carpet of leaves that he crouched over while absentmindedly picking apart a pulpy log with a stick. He was humming a colorless tune, patient despite Sam’s lateness.

    A small streak of red flew in the dreariness of Tyler’s peripheral vision . He turned as the cardinal came to perch on a limb not high off the ground. The red little bird eyed him with suspicion then set about scratching the underside of its wing. Sam approached from that direction, and as she passed near it on her bike, the cardinal jumped to a further off branch with a frenzied flutter of its wings where it resumed its activity after shooting Sam a dismayed glare.

    Sam dismounted and parked her bike beside the other. Her smile—first directed at the disgruntled bird then Tyler—was small and a tad guilt-ridden. “I’m sorry for making you wait so long,” she said softly, stopping next to him. “Mom had me working and I didn’t want to make myself suspicious.”

    “I don’t think this offense can ever be forgiven.”

    “Heh. You’re difficult to pity, you know.”

    “Oh, I know.”

    They were silence for a while, but Tyler’s mood had already brightened in his friend’s presence. They watched the cardinal flutter between branches and go about its own affairs until it was a fair distance away but still the only speck of color in the drab woods.

    “I’ve kept something from you,” Tyler said at last. “But it requires I show you my back.”

    “What?”

    “I just want you to understand the consequences if someone catches us out here... me with my shirt up and you looking... they’ll think you’re a pervert, Sam.”

    “Either shut up and take it off or just shut up.” A second later, she added, “Dickweed.”

    Tyler smiled, turned his back to her, and pulled up his shirt. Silence enveloped their surroundings. He lowered his shirt and turned to be sure revealing the markings hadn’t cause her mind to implode in on itself or something. Her mouth was merely agape. He shrugged nonchalantly. “Jeez,” he said sarcastically, “I know: awestrucking—but what do you think about the markings?”

    She clearly didn’t appreciate his sarcasm. “You had that on the car ride to the hospital and didn’t tell me?! You are an ass!”

    “In fairness, I didn’t know about them at that time.”

    “Tyler!”

    “I wasn’t contending the ass part.”

    “Be serious, dammit!”

    “Fine,” he said, a little cooler than he’d intended. At first, his eyes were downcast—like during his father’s interrogations—but then he remembered he could comfortably meet Sam’s eyes and did so. He breezed through the topic of when he had discovered the markings, deemphasizing the measures he took to wash them off (that might have concerned her). Now came the trickier part. His tone betrayed his anxiousness. “So... I haven’t slept at all since I fainted Monday night.”

    The anger—that sort of anger a family member gets when another member of the family does something incredibly stupid; loud but with your best intentions at heart—drained from her face, and Tyler suspected what replaced it really was pity, sympathy for a friend. “I... didn’t realize it was that traumatic. Are you okay?”

    Tyler blushed, feeling the pity was misplaced, feeling like he was making Sam jump through unnecessary hoops with his sarcasm—it had become a habit that followed him occasionally at inappropriate times, especially around friends, whom he would become too comfortable around and forget there were times to be serious. He dropped the sarcastic pretense and nodded. “I’m okay. The painkillers have handled the headaches and the concussion is better. And I don’t think I’ve been traumatized by my encounter or anything, but I’m not really qualified for a self-diagnosis. I’m… okay, above all.”

    “That’s good,” Sam said, soft and genuinely. “You think it’s the marks causing it?”

    “Yeah. There’s little doubt in my mind about that.”

    “What are we gonna do?”

    “I’m going to find Clifford before I start to experience any bad effects from lack of sleep,” Tyler said, watching the cardinal flutter closer, recede, then flutter closer again. “Clifford did this to me, so it’s probably the only thing who can undo it.”

    “Well, count me in.”

    “Thank you, Sam.”

    “No problem. Any leads?”

    “None to speak of.”

    “We’re off to a flying start, then.”

    “I’d say,” Tyler said.

    “We should bring Kayla in on this,” Sam suggested. “After all, she’s the only one between us with a brain.”

    [Inform Kayla]

    [Exclude Kayla.]

  • All the banter between Tyler and Sam is so awesome!

    [Inform Kayla] I could go either way with this choice to be honest. Though I'm assuming they can't actually show her the markings.

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    Tyler Gavins, 02-06 - Thursday, Nov. 24th, 09:02 AM: Thick, oppressive clouds churned past the canopy of branches clicking above T

  • [Inform Kayla]

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    Tyler Gavins, 02-06 - Thursday, Nov. 24th, 09:02 AM: Thick, oppressive clouds churned past the canopy of branches clicking above T

  • The idea was very vague and convoluted at the time and, like most of ideas in the original story, not fully conceived. Essentially, among my ideas for the purpose of the superpowers, was they were given by Unnamed Villain to cause fear among the human race, ignite sort of a war against the humans and those with superpowers to cause the end of the world, with the long-term goal of bringing about sort of a new Eden. Eh, I don't think I ever wrote this one down. But holy hell, does it not line up with the first act.

    That is a pretty interesting idea, though you are right that I haven't really seen anything of it in the original story, save for the hint that Owen has done all of his actions under the influence of a higher power (this unnamed villain, I suppose). I suppose Act 2 would have been closer to this original plan then? That said, I guess things really went into the wrong direction with Alex' death then and I'm not saying this because of my subjective feelings. That way, a major part of Act 1 has been spent with the investigation, which I guess wouldn't have ultimately played much of a role in the grand scale of things. In my opinion, a better way could have been not to reveal Alex' death at the end of Chapter 1, but a lot later, if at all, to keep him unknown together with Luke and to focus on finding them, therefore giving Samantha, Rachel, Henry, Clive and arguably even Owen the same goal to work towards, which would have given you more of an opportunity to set up these grander plans. I guess the more I hear about it, the more I can see that there have been numerous reasons for the reboot. And so far, it's been an absolutely stunning work!

    I really loved learning about Japanese mythology the most (and, since we're speaking about American Gods below, I'm disappointed that a Coming to America story based in a Japanese internment camp was apparently cut from the original novel—I could only imagine it would have featured Shinto or Buddist mythology. Though, I think it might see the light of day in the TV show coming out this year. You know about the American Gods TV show, right? There's a trailer, check it out if you haven't! It looks sweet!). I'm not sure I've mentioned this, but Interlude to Fire will expand greatly on the Prince of Wolves's character and Prelude to Fire will pretty much drop the veil on everything there is to know about the King of Lions. I've done some initial planning for both of these mini-plotlines. Needless to say, I'm excited to delve into them!

    Oh yes, I have heard about the show and I definitely planned on watching it, especially since it features Ricky Whittle from The 100, Ian McShane and Crispin Glover. I haven't heard about the trailer being out though, but I just watched it an hell yes, this is going to be one of my 2017 TV highlights. This just has to be awesome =) I also wasn't aware about the cut stuff from the novel, but it would be interesting to see it incorporated into the show in some way. I suppose there will be more than one season, so maybe there'll eventually be room for it. And remind me again, Prelude is going to be the last of the mini-plotlines to be written, right? I am really excited to learn more about the gods in general and I wonder if we'll learn more about one of them in Postlude.

    By the way, I would really like to hear the name of that graphic novel!

    Ah, I am talking about The Wicked + The Divine. It has a really crazy storyline (though not that crazy, if you consider the vast world of graphic novels) that heavily features various gods. Basically, in the world of the story, every 90 years seemingly a group of about a dozen ordinary people are chosen as the host of a god or goddess chosen seemingly at random from basically every mythology imaginable. They go on to become influential figures in the world at their time (Politicians, Philosophers, Writers or Musicians and the like) and two years later, they are all dead, though the gods can get another reincarnation in a later of these cycles. Amaterasu is one of the goddesses mainly featured in the story, alongside relatively well-known beings such as Odin, Minerva and Lucifer, or really unknown ones such as the Babylonian god Nergal or the Irish goddess Morrigan. If you're into graphic novels, this one should be worth a look!

    It might be a little late for me to celebrate because I seriously can't tell if you've realized it or not lol. I guess we'll know by Chapter 4: Teeth in the Grass, huh? :P

    Hm, now I myself am not sure if I have already realized what you're talking about, or if I'm even going to realize it at all once I see it. I think I have realized at least some of the stuff you've been hinting at, but I am absolutely sure that a lot of the things you've said Say, if I don't react as expected once you show this detail you mean, can you tell me? Just so that I know when I am supposed to realize this thing you're hinting at. Safe to say, I am super excited though. Teeth in the Grass it is then... not a title I can do particularly much with for now, but I'll be sure to speculate more about it once I have more to work with.

    I've had my eyes on Good Omens for a while now! Currently, I'm reading Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (this is the second novel of his I'm reading after American Gods) and I'm honestly loving it. After that, I'm going to tackle Guards! Guards!. I want to read up on both Gaiman and Pratchett, so Good Omens is pretty much at the top of my list! I really can't wait—Gaiman has quickly become one of my favorite authors and just the blurb on the back cover of Guards! Guards! got me to smile like an idiot.

    Ah, if you liked the back cover of Guards! Guards! already, I can promise you're going to love the novel itself. And Pratchett and Gaiman together are basically the best thing ever, as these two really complete each other's writing style, so I am convinced you're going to love Good Omens as well. I haven't read Neverwhere though. Once you're done with it, let me know if you recommend it!

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    Environmental is indeed new, I haven't heard that before. That is pretty interesting to hear about the original story. As for the

  • So, Lana has dreams as well... I wonder if this means she's one of the eight as well, or perhaps another agent of one of these beings. It would be quite the twist if she's supposed to work for the King of Lions. And I noticed the fire theme there, which would somewhat fit into the Postlude, Interlude and Prelude to Fire parts. Perhaps Lana is the knight? In any way, it does seem like she is one of the eight, which I have guessed a while ago, but I wouldn't put it too far out there to think that she could be another agent of these beings. At least that she is involved in this sounds like a good theory. This makes me wonder just what her role will be. We know Tyler likely can't be influenced by the other gods, due to him not sleeping, while Thomas' job is to gather all of them. Rachel and Alex are somewhere else, but just what exactly they have to do wherever they are is quite the mystery to me. And these other four, which might include Lana, have roles which I can only guess. Ah, this part set up some things quite nicely, especially with the role of Lana in the grand scale of things. It also made me wonder, if Pittman works for the gods, if his attempt to drug Lana was more than just him being some creepy pervert, but the attempt to do something much more sinister on the will of whomever he works for.

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    Thomas Callahan, 02-05 - Thursday, Nov. 24th, 08:55: Thomas swallowed his pride and called Lana’s name. The woman on the bike look

  • Hm, remind me, how much time has passed since Tyler gained these markings? What he said there about the lack of sleep potentially affecting him, it worries me. I mean, I have thought that he simply doesn't need sleep anymore, but it would be truly wicked if these markings just prevent him from sleeping, but don't take away his need for sleep. In that case, they have to hurry before he will become unable to do most advanced tasks.

    [Inform Kayla]

    I think keeping the markings a secret is not that much of a good idea. Maybe don't reveal it to the big-name authorities, like the government, but if anyone of the people in Tyler's life know more about this, it can only be a good idea to tell them. Kayla is a smart girl, perhaps she indeed knows something. I kind of doubt it, but I still don't think they should just include her. At worst, she won't know a thing, but at best, she can be helpful. And as said above, they have to hurry, so they have to take any help they can get.

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    Tyler Gavins, 02-06 - Thursday, Nov. 24th, 09:02 AM: Thick, oppressive clouds churned past the canopy of branches clicking above T

  • [Inform Kayla]

    Why not? The more the merrier.

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    Tyler Gavins, 02-06 - Thursday, Nov. 24th, 09:02 AM: Thick, oppressive clouds churned past the canopy of branches clicking above T

  • Oh yes, I have heard about the show and I definitely planned on watching it, especially since it features Ricky Whittle from The 100, Ian McShane and Crispin Glover. I haven't heard about the trailer being out though, but I just watched it an hell yes, this is going to be one of my 2017 TV highlights. This just has to be awesome =) I also wasn't aware about the cut stuff from the novel, but it would be interesting to see it incorporated into the show in some way. I suppose there will be more than one season, so maybe there'll eventually be room for it. And remind me again, Prelude is going to be the last of the mini-plotlines to be written, right? I am really excited to learn more about the gods in general and I wonder if we'll learn more about one of them in Postlude.

    I watched a panel on YouTube featuring members of the cast and crew and Gaiman himself. My memory on it isn't the freshest, but I believe it is mentioned that they're going to delve deeper into a lot of the characters. Here's the video, if you're interested.

    Prelude will be covered over the course of act III, making it the last. Act II has Interlude, which I am really excited for, as I recently wrote an early draft of the first segment and am incredibly happy with how it has turned already. It's going to be a departure, considering it's a first-person narrative and written as a confession of sorts. I'm adding subtitles to help differentiate each of them. I haven't decided on what I will add to Postlude, or if I will add one at all. I have early titles for the other two, however. Interlude to Fire: The Wolf's Confession and Prelude to Fire: Death's Counterpoint.

    Ah, I am talking about The Wicked + The Divine. It has a really crazy storyline (though not that crazy, if you consider the vast world of graphic novels) that heavily features various gods. Basically, in the world of the story, every 90 years seemingly a group of about a dozen ordinary people are chosen as the host of a god or goddess chosen seemingly at random from basically every mythology imaginable. They go on to become influential figures in the world at their time (Politicians, Philosophers, Writers or Musicians and the like) and two years later, they are all dead, though the gods can get another reincarnation in a later of these cycles. Amaterasu is one of the goddesses mainly featured in the story, alongside relatively well-known beings such as Odin, Minerva and Lucifer, or really unknown ones such as the Babylonian god Nergal or the Irish goddess Morrigan. If you're into graphic novels, this one should be worth a look!

    It's looks interesting! I read the preview Amazon offers, and I believe I recognized Susanoo (the Shinto god of the sea and brother of Amaterasu) from the opening bit. If it's anything like Fables or American Gods, it'll probably be right up my alley!

    Hm, now I myself am not sure if I have already realized what you're talking about, or if I'm even going to realize it at all once I see it. I think I have realized at least some of the stuff you've been hinting at, but I am absolutely sure that a lot of the things you've said Say, if I don't react as expected once you show this detail you mean, can you tell me? Just so that I know when I am supposed to realize this thing you're hinting at. Safe to say, I am super excited though. Teeth in the Grass it is then... not a title I can do particularly much with for now, but I'll be sure to speculate more about it once I have more to work with.

    We seem to have found ourselves in a predicament. I don't know if you know, and you don't if you know, or you aren't letting on that you, or something or other. I digress. When it happens, you're KNOW. As for the title, it's taken from an Iron & Wine song of the same name, but there aren't really any connections to the song. I just liked the ambiguity. I like that it implies hidden dangers of the toothy variety.

    Ah, if you liked the back cover of Guards! Guards! already, I can promise you're going to love the novel itself. And Pratchett and Gaiman together are basically the best thing ever, as these two really complete each other's writing style, so I am convinced you're going to love Good Omens as well. I haven't read Neverwhere though. Once you're done with it, let me know if you recommend it!

    Neverwhere was great! It's Neil Gaiman's first solo novel and sort of the refined story of a TV show he was working on at the time. I really liked its humor and protagonist and I would totally recommend you check it! I've also started Guards! Guards! I'm already fifty pages in and I'm really liking it! I especially like all of the D&D jokes and the stuff with Carrot disrupting the city's status quo by arresting the leader of the Thieves' Guild. Needless to say, I can't wait to continue it!

    The idea was very vague and convoluted at the time and, like most of ideas in the original story, not fully conceived. Essentially

  • Voting is Closed!

    (!) Tyler and Sam will inform Kayla

    Here is the incredibly brief continuation...

    Tyler Gavins, 02-07 - Thursday, Nov. 24th, 09:13 AM: Tyler smiled, watching the cardinal fly out of sight. “Can’t argue with you there. We’ll talk to Kayla about it after dinner. See you tonight?”

    “Sure. See you later, Ty.”

    Sam left and Tyler remained until he realized the cardinal wasn’t coming back. At that point, he reluctantly rode toward his house.

    To be continued...

  • I watched a panel on YouTube featuring members of the cast and crew and Gaiman himself. My memory on it isn't the freshest, but I believe it is mentioned that they're going to delve deeper into a lot of the characters. Here's the video, if you're interested.

    That was a very interesting watch! I was already excited for the series, but hearing stuff like that makes me believe that we might have the next big thing there. A top cast, really dedicated producers, based on something written by an amazing writer, I can't see how this can possibly fail.

    Prelude will be covered over the course of act III, making it the last. Act II has Interlude, which I am really excited for, as I recently wrote an early draft of the first segment and am incredibly happy with how it has turned already. It's going to be a departure, considering it's a first-person narrative and written as a confession of sorts. I'm adding subtitles to help differentiate each of them. I haven't decided on what I will add to Postlude, or if I will add one at all. I have early titles for the other two, however. Interlude to Fire: The Wolf's Confession and Prelude to Fire: Death's Counterpoint.

    Ah, that title seems to hint at something from the perspective of the Prince of Wolves then, or one of his agents at the very least. First person is interesting, yet hard to write, so I look forward for what you're doing there. Does it mean that Interlude at the least will have segments from different Point of Views, unlike Postlude, which seems to tell a more or less continuing story?

    It's looks interesting! I read the preview Amazon offers, and I believe I recognized Susanoo (the Shinto god of the sea and brother of Amaterasu) from the opening bit. If it's anything like Fables or American Gods, it'll probably be right up my alley!

    I had to check it again as I haven't consciously noticed him during my first reading, but yes indeed, Susanoo is a part of the pantheon in that scene, together with a previous incarnation of Amaterasu. While I have never read the Fables comics, I think the American Gods comparison is not too far off, in terms of the general feel.

    We seem to have found ourselves in a predicament. I don't know if you know, and you don't if you know, or you aren't letting on that you, or something or other. I digress. When it happens, you're KNOW. As for the title, it's taken from an Iron & Wine song of the same name, but there aren't really any connections to the song. I just liked the ambiguity. I like that it implies hidden dangers of the toothy variety.

    Well, if you say so, then I assume it is something I really will notice. I mean, I pretty much try to react to everything that crosses my mind while reading the story, so it is unlikely I won't see it. It's just the question if I truly realize that this is the thing you've been hinting at here. And hidden toothy dangers... I remember there was that incident with the wolf in the original story, so maybe there will be a dangerous wild animal... you know, like a certain big red dog. I somewhat doubt it's truly hinting at Clifford, but perhaps there are other things with dangerous teeth in the County, or in the Kingdom of Divine Dreams.

    Neverwhere was great! It's Neil Gaiman's first solo novel and sort of the refined story of a TV show he was working on at the time. I really liked its humor and protagonist and I would totally recommend you check it! I've also started Guards! Guards! I'm already fifty pages in and I'm really liking it! I especially like all of the D&D jokes and the stuff with Carrot disrupting the city's status quo by arresting the leader of the Thieves' Guild. Needless to say, I can't wait to continue it!

    Ah, then I will definitely check it out! The other things I've read from Gaiman have been awesome, so once I get the time, I'll ask for it in my local library. Gotta work on my Gaiman collection now, as it seems, since I have noticed several novels I have never read from him before. With Guards! Guard!, I'm glad to hear that you enjoy it so far. It only gets better from there on. The novel in general is going to set up some pretty important themes for the city of Ankh-Morpork, which in return is going to mean though that some elements about the older novels will seem a bit strange for you if you decide to read them. But well, I hope you continue to enjoy it :)

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    Oh yes, I have heard about the show and I definitely planned on watching it, especially since it features Ricky Whittle from The 1

  • this just made me want to read the story itself XD

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    Thank you for your fish.

  • I hope you join! It restarts around page 11 and improves exponentially in quality, in case you miss the notice on the first part of the original story!

    joriandrake posted: »

    this just made me want to read the story itself XD

  • Thomas Callahan, 02-08 - Thursday, Nov. 24th, 04:56 PM: Thomas’s eyes—with a nervousness that was unbefitting of the casual evening ahead of him—briefly held on items before jumping to different things around his room, to the abstract art prints hung on the walls, the wired telephone sitting in its crib, the darkly stained furniture, which were dotted and speckled with dents initiative of age and use. He refolded the clothes on the dresser. He paced, and when that got on his own nerves, he seated himself in the loveseat set into the corner. He stood, inspected various things, refolded, checked the mini fridge under the counter, announced to himself that he wasn’t hungry, seated himself, unconsciously rose again, then slammed himself back down into the chair before he could repeat the whole damn ordeal again.

    Five came, but time’s passage seemed to be impeded by sap, as the digital clock didn’t change for the longest time, until finally it did. Thomas couldn’t remember a time when he was simultaneously this bored and anxious waiting for something so mundane—merely a dinner with an old friend, his old friend’s family, and a new friend, all of whom he was on good terms with, no less—since prom night, more than ten years back. He felt ridiculous, was probably ridiculous, was going to be blushing ridiculously throughout dinner.

    Thomas rose to his feet and steered himself away from what he’d been distracting himself with. He approached the dresser, successfully resisted the urge to straighten the laundry folded on top, and picked up the message the innkeeper had written down for him and given to him the moment he returned from his walk. The message was brief: ‘It’s Clive. Come here if you’re free late this evening. Call ahead, if you can.’ Thomas had followed its instructions. Speaking to a cheerful Clive, he had learned that he could attend both Russell’s and Clive’s separate gatherings, so he accepted Clive’s offer and told him he would be there.

    He replaced the note, then checked the clock hopefully, and his hopes were squashed: five-o-two.

    Thirteen more minutes of nervous antics grinded by, and he saw, through the second-story window, a pair of headlights come to a stop in the early winter twilight by the curb. He zipped his heavy jacket up over his only other dress shirt (he was unpleasantly reminded of its predecessor’s fate); this one was a clean white, and he hoped it would last, because he was running out of formal wear.

    Three days earlier, he left the inn, climbed into his car, and drove out to catch the soccer game; afterwards, he made the spur the moment decision of driving out to Russell’s bar. Now, he descended those same few steps, walked the same path down to the curb, and climbed into passenger’s seat of Russell’s car. They greeted each other sincerely, and Russell, having been informed of Lana’s acceptance of his invitation and her address, guided his car in the right direction. For a time, Russell followed the same streets Thomas had followed that evening three days ago, which Thomas was uncomfortably aware of. They finally deviated from the route once they’d past the school and turned off the highway, pulling up in front of an apartment complex.

    When Thomas remained seated, Russell reached over him and popped the car door, a large smile plastered on his face. “Your cue, bud,” he said merrily. “Good luck.”

    Thomas rebuked him with a grunt before stepping into the cold, followed out by a good-natured if chastising remark from Russell. Thomas’s laughter betrayed his anxiety. Huffing and puffing pale vapor into the dying light, he hoofed it partway up an outdoor staircase, paused at the landing to adjust his clothes and hair and catch the breath which had left him, and climbed the rest of the way at a more modest pace.

    Thomas passed apartments 201, 202, and 203, then came to a white door with the numbers ‘204’ attached at eye level. He stood in front of it, hand poised over the doorbell. His parents returned to the forefront of his mind and, for terrifying moment, it was a certainty that he would cry. He crouched, pressing his face with both hands while he hovered above his heels, and the moment passed. Standing, he breathed, pressed the doorbell, and straightened his clothes one last time.

    As the door cracked open, he pulled his hand from his collar and stood stiffly. Lana’s face appeared in the crack, her lips—colored a vivid red that contrasted her paleness—bore a small, glad smile. He stared at her face. Her lips moved, then stopped.

    Thomas realized she had said something and he had missed it completely. His whole face must have reddened and he hoped the dusk concealed it. “S-Sorry?”

    “You look very hand handsome,” Lana repeated patiently. Her light brown eyes flashed. Her smile told him to relax without the use of words.

    “Thanks,” Thomas said stiffly. He glanced behind himself, past the guardrail, and down to the car by the curb. When he looked back, he hadn’t quite composed himself, but his voice no longer sounded like it was emanating from a thirteen-year-old. “You’re very pretty yourself.”

    “Thank you,” she replied, adjusting her jacket. She was dressed in jeans, tennis shoes, and a green blouse. Slipped over the blouse was her jacket. She glanced him, at the car waiting for them. “Let’s not keep him waiting, handsome,” she said, and took his hand.

    The hairs on his neck stood on end, but not unpleasantly. Besides that, he smiled, nodded with unexpected ease, and allowed her to lead him toward the stairs by hand. The matter of his parents was forgotten for the time being (and would not be remembered again at all that night). Following Lana down the stairs, entering a brief sanctum of light offered by a yellow-tinged bulb located at the landing, leaving the light for unthreatening darkness as they descended the last stairs, Thomas felt happy.

    To be continued...

    • Apologies for the delay in getting this one finished. I've been putting thought into some other potential projects (both on and off the forum), and I finalized what will be the first part of chapter 4—it's mostly exposition, as I introduce a new POV character in it, but it's probably one of my favorite pieces that I've written. Also, I'm going to start posting what I've read recently here too. Here goes:

    Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman: I can't think of anything to say besides that this novel was a real treat. It's set in London, and it's about a man who ends up in a fantasy world that exists below London. All the characters were wonderful and colorful. The villains were delightfully evil. And I especially enjoyed the protagonist's personality. All around, it was pretty great!

    Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett: Welp, I think I've been assimilated by some kind of book-reading hivemind because the first four Discworld books were mysteriously added to my shopping list. I think I'm going to obey what the hive is telling me to do and start the series at the very beginning. It seems respondable enough. Whether or not this decision is of my own free will is irrelevant. As for the book itself, I can't think of anything negative to say, nor can I phsyically say or type anything negative. I had previously read the first to Hitchhiker's Guide books (which are in a similar vein, but sci-fi instead of fantasy), and those were good, but they never really connected with me. But Guards! Guards! really hit the spot! Thanks, Liquid, for your help encourging me to check out the series. Free will or no, I know I'm going to have a great time with the rest of the series.

  • Finally got the time to catch up with the reboot, loving it so far!

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    Thomas Callahan, 02-08 - Thursday, Nov. 24th, 04:56 PM: Thomas’s eyes—with a nervousness that was unbefitting of the casual evenin

  • Oh god, Thomas and Lana are adorable :D No, seriously, I love how awkward he is around her, especially given that he is relatively confident in other situations. Though I still have to wonder whom Lana is working for. I mean, she's almost certainly a good person, but I am a bit afraid she could, involuntarily, work for one of the bad guys, which would make Thomas' mission a lot harder. One thing I have to wonder is, she's going to accompany him to Russel's, but will she accompany him to Clive's invitation as well. That would be the first time three (if Clive is among them) of these chosen people would be in one spot, if I'm not mistaken. I wonder what happens if all 8 are together. And I still wonder who the others are. To keep it simple, I'm just going to assume that Lana is among the 8, which has at least been hinted at, but I am actually less sure with Clive, who might have a different role altogether. Ah, the mystery keeps fascinating me!

    Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett: Welp, I think I've been assimilated by some kind of book-reading hivemind because the first four Discworld books were mysteriously added to my shopping list. I think I'm going to obey what the hive is telling me to do and start the series at the very beginning. It seems respondable enough. Whether or not this decision is of my own free will is irrelevant. As for the book itself, I can't think of anything negative to say, nor can I phsyically say or type anything negative. I had previously read the first to Hitchhiker's Guide books (which are in a similar vein, but sci-fi instead of fantasy), and those were good, but they never really connected with me. But Guards! Guards! really hit the spot! Thanks, Liquid, for your help encourging me to check out the series. Free will or no, I know I'm going to have a great time with the rest of the series.

    Haha, I am very glad to hear this =) I consider this my good deed for the day, that I helped in making this wonderful series more popular and it is great to hear that you have enjoyed Guards! Guards! so much. And well, fortunately, the chance of getting addicted to the books is exactly a million-to-one. I hope you enjoy the other novels as well. Having recently reread Guards! Guards!, I think you have indeed chosen a perfect novel to begin the series, though there's none I wouldn't wholeheartedly recommend.

    NoHopeLeft posted: »

    Thomas Callahan, 02-08 - Thursday, Nov. 24th, 04:56 PM: Thomas’s eyes—with a nervousness that was unbefitting of the casual evenin

  • Tyler Gavins, 02-09 - Thursday, Nov. 24th, 05:20 PM: As it became time to leave for the Joneses’, Tyler dressed in a white, collared t-shirt, dark gray khakis, and a jacket, he warmed then carried the three simple dishes they were bringing out the front door, and he silently decided that what he had been feeling all evening was a complete disinterest in going to the dinner. Since his visit with Sam, his enthusiasm had faded in his father’s presence, but he hoped it would return in the accompany of his friends.

    Following behind his father as they walked to the blue pickup, he kept his eyes pointed toward rough gravel. They piled wordlessly into the truck, they buckled, and Tyler set the stack of hot dishes in his lap. His father started the truck, did a circle around the poorly defined driveway, and drove up the long road without comment.

    “You excited?” Daniel asked him. His sudden, soft voice was more unexpected than startling. Tyler shrugged, frowning out the side window, watching the dwindling light filter between decrepit trees. His right hand guiding the truck, his left arm resting on the door, Danial offered his son a concerned glance. “Are you feeling okay?” he asked.

    “I have just a lot on my mind,” Tyler replied dismissively.

    “Do you wanna talk about it?” When Tyler said nothing, his father repositioned both hands on the steering wheel. Tyler looked at his father from the corner of his eye and saw the man’s expression was set and stern. His father firmly asked, “Have the markings given you any trouble?”

    “No,” Tyler lied. There was no visible change in his father’s expression. Tyler waited for a while for his father to press the issue, confront him with the knowledge that he wasn’t sleeping, or say something at all, but nothing was said and Tyler returned his attention to the rapidly dimming scenery outside. His thoughts inevitably drifted to Clifford. Keeping with his assumption that it was nocturnal, somewhere out there, the beast would soon be prowling the night.


    After driving toward the north-western limits of Hawley, his father’s truck came to a stop in front of the apartment complex—not too far from the high school—where his sister lived. Tyler looked out at the complex while his father vacated the truck. It consisted of two large buildings. The gap between them was narrow, and within it was a staircase that lead to a walkway which jutted out from and connected the buildings as well as formed a canopy for the lower level. Tyler observed his father climb the stairs and walk the walkway. His father vanished and reappeared each time he left the domain of outdoor lights spaced at too-large intervals.

    Tyler watched his father knock at the door of Apartment 205. Amanda Gavins stepped out. She wore stockings, a skirt, and a t-shirt under an open jacket. On most days, his sister wore her signature tank top and beanie, but today she only retained the beanie. It was black, pulled over her head of short, light brown hair, and bore the image of a flaming cartoon boxing glove—though this last detail was only visible to Tyler as a white blur. Tyler watched as his father and sister greeted each other with a hug, and Tyler was dimly aware that his frown had deepened.

    Tyler looked away as the pair descended the stairs. They crossed the parking lot, reached the truck, climbed inside, and seated themselves.

    “Hey, Ty,” she said. Her smile was bright, her teeth very white in the darkness of the truck’s cabin.

    He looked into the back seat and smiled a small, absent smile at his sister. Softly, he said, “Hey, sis.” That would be the extent of their conversation for the full duration of the drive. His sister’s apartment was the last stop. Next was their destination: the Joneses’ house.

    To be continued...

    Notes:

    • I'm sorry for the lack of any recent updates to the story! I'm making it my goal to cover as much ground as possible this month, and hopefully reach the conclusion of chapter 2, because I may or may not be going on a vacation in April—nothing is set in stone yet, but there's been talk about going to South Dakota to see Mount Rushmore and briefly going up into Canada, which, driving from Texas, would make it a very long trip indeed. Regardless of whether this trip come to fruition, I really want to do good on this goal. I've gotten into the habit of waiting for the right time, when really there's no time like the present. Excluding the odd days I add a paragraph or two, as is, I sit down to seriously hash out a part less than once a week. My plan is to devote a few hours in the evening to writing and a little less time in the mornings to edit and make revision. We'll see how this goes. Right now, I'm feeling confident! :^D
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