SOMEWHERE IN SPACE AT SOME POINT IN TIME Conrad felt an overwhelming emptiness as he stared into the abyss around him. For a brief, rare moment, he stood motionless as … Continue reading Apocryphal Son Prologue: “Sense of Doubt”
Work on the eBook is coming along well. What started as a long short-story is starting to feel like it’s truly expanded into a novel. Previously, the story was going to start in the middle of the action, with the characters embarking on a suicide mission. Now that I’ve decided to start the story much farther back, I have the opportunity to explore the characters further and widen their arc as their motivations and desires become clearer. The story now starts in a slightly more subdued fashion, building up as the protagonist and his friends find themselves involved with a galactic conspiracy. This will hopefully make the later action more satisfying.
In addition, I’ve been working on being as descriptive as possible. Not just of the scenery though, but the setting. I want to bring the universe to life with a variety of locales each with their own unique culture and flair. It’s still primarily “military sci-fi” as far as genre classification goes, but now it’s more of an adventure as well. Here’s a short excerpt from one of the chapters. I wrote since I started expanding the scope of the novel.
Sorry about the lack of updates as of late. I’ve been trying my best to put my nose against the grindstone, but it’s sadly still something I can only really do on the side. As the title of this update denotes, I’ve changed the title. Since the length and scope of the story has changed from the original intent, I felt the old title didn’t really work anymore. The novel shall be henceforth referred to as its final name, Apocryphal Son.
Author’s note: This story is based on the following writing prompt from A Jumble of Words: executive, amoeba, running, quietly, swift.
The amoeba assassin oozed through the door and crept past the security detail stationed at the first door, as it had done on countless missions past. But this mission was different from the others. It would be the most important job of its career, and regardless of the outcome, it would certainly be its last.
When you’re an Amoeboid, oozing is what you do. Walls are not the deterrent they are to humans and other solid organisms; they are pretty decorations easily circumvented through the tiniest crack. This ease of passage through otherwise impassable crevices is one of many reasons many of their kind turn to this kind of work. Many in the galaxies would – in a manner almost considered racist – attribute this to a corrupt, debased culture. But the Amoeboids do not see it this way. Pragmatically speaking, it would be foolish to squander such natural talents on anything but stealth infiltration and assassination.
The following is taken from my novella in progress, The Jump. I’ve recently been able to begin working on it once more, so here’s what I have so far, from what is currently the end of chapter two and the entirety of chapter three (actually three and four if you count the recently-written prologue, but the fate of that chapter is still ambiguous). If you have any criticisms of any kind, please share them, I’d love to hear them so I can improve my work. I’m hoping to self-publish it as an eBook later this year if all goes well.
When the Queen returned, she did so golden and triumphant. From beyond the horizon, he could see it: the billowy and majestic force of nature known as the Nimbus. It announced its arrival to the land with a commanding thunderclap and a powerful flash of lightning from the heavens. The young man known as the Ribbon Boy looked upon it with a selfish gaze. He was the only one daring and foolhardy enough to climb the smooth pillars of Highrock Mountain, the peak of which gave put him level with the incoming ethereal skyship.
In appearance, it was an ordinary vessel no different in shape as the ones sailed at sea, save for the fact that it was made entirely of clouds and was soaring in the sky. Onboard, the Queen of his country had the helm and acted as captain to the country’s finest men. Two weeks ago, they departed as the citizens of the capital watched them disappear beyond the horizon in awe. There was a war on, and to quell the uprising in the east, she selected the strongest soldiers of the army and personally saw to it that peace would be returned to the region. The army itself hadn’t been mobilised in years; there was no need, not so long as the queen herself and her mighty ship made from clouds could sail the skies so effortlessly.
The man stared out at the mysterious, majestic ocean before him with a cigarette in one hand and a steel-grey flask of whisky in the other. Entering his cone of vision and scattered across the sea to the horizon, terrible ash-creatures of unfathomable horror marched towards him. They were long, slender, sloppy, simplistic things. Their form defied reason or biological categorisation, almost like something out of a bored artist’s sketchbook.
Robert took another swig of the half-empty flask and shoved it back into his trenchcoat pocket. He took another long drag from his half-burnt cigarette.
They won’t get me. They can’t get me. They aren’t real.
Their flesh appeared to move and their mouths were ill-shaped maws with jagged, chaotic sets of teeth surrounding them. Their arrival was announced by the sudden halting of the rain storm and their screeching siren-like roar reverberating throughout the shore and presumably into the city as well.
But Robert couldn’t be bothered, or at least he was trying awfully hard not to be. He casually adjusted his hat so as to hide what few grey hairs he had left, as though it would make a difference when he was all alone on an empty beach on a rainy Saturday morning.
The gargantuan creatures that crawled from the ocean floor ceased to shamble and started to sprint. But Robert could not be bothered, because he knew this was his mind testing him, trying to trick him as it had his whole life.
“You aren’t real!” he shouted. “None of this shit is real!”
He immediately imbibed the last of the whisky and tossed the fragile flask to the floor, causing it to shatter into two big pieces and many little pieces. He had dealt with these hallucinatory creatures all his life, and though his family and many doctors sought to treat him, he never could be rid of them, not when reality and unreality are so similar.
But never before were the monsters and visions and creatures and hallucinations or delusions ever so fearsome. By now they were closer to the sand and he could see they had grown in scale since he first saw them. They were one hundred times Robert’s size or maybe bigger. But he couldn’t give them the time of day. He couldn’t give in to the delusion, because that would mean they win.
He opened his fingers and let the last cigarette drop. When it did, he stomped it with total indignation. Then, when the first of the monsters reached him, it scooped him up in its unfeeling hands and tore his body in half with its dull teeth all in the span of a second, not even giving Robert time enough to scream.
This time, the monsters were real.