Bad Guy Or Good Guy

“I would say I’m a good person but that’s a lie. I’ve hurt a lot of people and only some of them were guilty while a majority were innocent. I did it because I believed in my cause, in what my superiors told me to do. I believed in what they told me was right and wrong. I was a good little soldier, a weapon for the cause, until the day the cause died. In the seconds after it happened I didn’t believe it, couldn’t believe it really, but I wasn’t given a lot of choice. My reality was forever changed in the span of moments in which the real heros showed me I was wrong, that I had been on the wrong side all along.

Since then I’ve been trying to rebuild, to find something I can cling to in order to prove I’m not the monster I ended up being. But it’s hard to convince a world that has seen you murder in cold blood that you aren’t that person any more… maybe it’s time for a new world then, where I can make an entirely new start.”

 

This actually came to me as a dream which made it really weird. In the dream I was at once this person and yet also a distant observer watching things unfolding as they went along. It all centered around this one person who had such good intentions and truly believed that those around them shared their views and wanted to make the world a better place. They were so devoted and dedicated to their cause that they allowed that to cloud their judgment and wound up doing things that were not what the “good guys” would do.

It all came to an end when the “true heroes” came in and killed the leader of this persons group and exposed their evil plans to rule the world and bring ruin to it. And then it shifted and it became all about how those people who worked under the “evil ruler” had to figure out how to pick up the pieces and make some sort of life for themselves. There were always too many to really all be brought to justice not to mention many never did bad things or did bad things because they were forced to and if the “heroes” killed them all then they’d be no better then the “evil ruler”, right?

So this was a little start at my attempt to figure out what would happen then and I’m not sure where it’s going. It could easily go into something of this person becoming the next “evil ruler” but could also go into them finding a way to leave their world for someplace else to do good there or something else entirely. I think I’ll keep mulling this over and work further on it as its still an idea I really like.

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Story Start To Story Snippet

(A while ago I posted a story start about Fay and people not remembering if they existed or not. Well I finally got a sort of interesting idea in my head for a start to something and it fit best with this idea. So I wound up writing it down at a Starbucks this weekend over an iced chai tea latte with soy milk – I’m lactose intolerant. Either way I wanted to share the progress of this and give you all a chance to see and critique what I came up with!)

 

Foreword

It is said that long ago the Fay and other such creatures retreated from this world. But the problem with long agos is that no human is alive who remembers them.

 

Chapter One

The stars winked in and out of view behind wisps of cloud that floated aimlessly across the sky. The only indication of their existence was the blacking out of the stars that they, themselves, caused. There was no moonlight to give a silver lining to the edges of those wisps and, in fact, there was no moon at all. It was one of those rare nights when it was a new moon that had drifted over the horizon early in the evening, brushed along the treetops, and dipped back out of view. And this far out into the uninhabited mountains there wasn’t any residual light from the settlements that lay on the plains below.

It was on nights like this when the shadows run the deepest that it was easy to trick the brain into believing that something was out in the woods moving among that near absolute blackness. It was always said that nights like this were the times when dreams were closest to our world, so close in fact that many said whatever one dreamed on a night like this would come to being in the darkness only to fade away with the morning light. Perhaps it truly was the dreams of those slumbering through this dark night that were causing the flickering movement in the shadows or perhaps it was something else entirely.

Vanja was inclined to believe that it was neither. Instead she preferred to believe that her tired eyes that were ill suited to seeing in the dark were simply mistaking the swaying of a branch or two for movement of something she could not name or properly see. Still, her eyes tracked those swaying motions deep in the shadows as she listened to the muttering taking place behind her.

Ideally the fire would have been lit way before this but heavy rains all evening had prevented them from getting that task done. Now Somerled was struggling with that while Mieke and Noelia were trying to cobble together some sort of dry patch for them all to sleep on for the night. It was Vanja’s job to keep an eye out for anything that might want to harm them, of which there was plenty that actually existed in the world. This forest was deep and old, made mostly of pines this far up into the mountains. The only good thing was that it was the height of summer and not the dead of winter. This was a two fold gift in that the weather, while rainy, was not below freezing even tonight and most of the predators around here had plenty of game far easier to hunt and catch then the four humans.

Awkward Small Talk – First Draft

Eulalia had purposefully picked a table in the corner that allowed her to face the rest of the room while having two walls behind her. No one could come up behind her and startle her and she could easily see anyone heading her way and attempt to avoid conversation by ducking behind her computer and pretending she was busy. It was a good coping mechanism with not wanting to talk to most people or at least that was Eulalia’s opinion on the matter.

She’d finally gotten herself engrossed with the show she was catching up on when she reached out to pick up her chai tea and realized it was empty. That was enough to bring her attention out of the show and back to reality. She let out a little annoyed sigh and stood, jerking her headphones out of her ears with a wince as she did so. She looked around, her cheeks already flushing with embarrassment, to see if anyone had noticed. A few people were looking at her and she quickly averted her gaze, hastily trying to get her headphones coiled on top of her laptop. After a few moments of struggle she just left them where they were and made her way back into line at the counter. The little cafe was busy but mostly with people just grabbing their order and going so she didn’t feel too worried about leaving her stuff. Not to mention it was within her line of sight the entire time anyway.

She was focusing on the board trying to memorize her order so she wouldn’t stutter over it and get it wrong again when she heard her name called from behind her. The sound practically caused her to jump out of her skin as she turned with wide eyes to look behind her. She could already feel her heart both sinking and galloping a mile a minute, neither of which was an enjoyable feeling. The voice was masculine and slightly familiar but the face, when she saw it, brought a blank to her mind.

“Ah yes?” The words came out more as a question then she meant it to, which made her cringe. She was still groping for a name and bringing up nothing. She knew this guy was a friend of her brother’s that she’d been introduced to one or maybe two times before but that was all she was getting.

“It’s good to see you again!” Mister Nameless came up towards her with arms outstretched. If Eulalia could have she’d have stepped back up she was frozen to the spot and wound up giving the guy an awkward one armed hugged.

“Oh, um, you too?” Oh god there she went again speaking in questions instead of sentences, she really needed to stop doing that. At least she hadn’t stuttered just yet! That was a blessing from whatever god was watching over her right then.

“How have you been?” Mister Nameless was beaming at her as if nothing was wrong and somehow that made it worse. Could he tell she didn’t recognize him and was gloating about it? Was he going to tell her brother about how awkward she was later? Her brain was certainly working perfectly if in a negative spiral of anxiety even if her mouth seemed almost glued shut.

“Oh, you know good.” Ah, that time she managed to make it a statement and not a question. She paused and god was she pausing too long? Before she realized it was probably polite to ask in return even though she wanted to turn away instead. “So, how about you?” And wasn’t that just the worst having to come up with a way to ask the same question that wasn’t just a parroted repeat of the way the other had asked it first? If it wasn’t then she didn’t know what possibly could be.

“Well I’ve been out of the state for the last few weeks visiting with family, you know how it goes.” Mister Nameless started prattling on and Eulalia could feel her palms growing sweaty. He was still talking but Eulalia had accidentally tuned him out and, with a guilty start, dragged her brain back to focusing just in time for the next dreaded question. “How has school been going?”

She gulped and for a moment forgot what her major even was much less how class had been going. “Oh, school?” Why had she said that? She sounded like an idiot. “It’s, uh, been good. I’m almost done. You?” Why did she just ask you with no context? That had to be confusing and she dropped her gaze quickly to avoid the strange look she knew Mister Nameless had to be giving her.

And now he was laughing and she had to physically stop herself from cringing because that couldn’t be good, right? He had to be laughing at her and what she’d said. She barely managed to peek up at his face before her eyes riveted themselves to the floor again. “If you mean how school is going for me,” Mister Nameless said, and was that a mocking tone in his voice or just condescending? “Well I graduated a year ago so I’ve been out of that loop for a while. Finals getting to your brain Eulalia?”

“Ah, yes… that must be it,” she mumbled, inching forward in line. She was almost desperate now to get to give her order and scurry back to the safety of her table. “So, um, how was the weather for your trip?” That was an appropriate question to ask someone who’d just recently been on a trip, right? Or was she supposed to ask about what he’d done? She never could rightly remember.

“Good, good.” Mister Nameless waved a hand to indicate that the last person in front of them in line had already moved off. “Why don’t you let me treat you and we can chat a bit more?” He gave her a bright smile and again her brain told her that he had to be relishing in her awkwardness to be smiling at her because what other reason could there be?

“S-sure.” She managed to mumble out even though she desperately wanted to shout the word no and make a break for it. She turned to the barista and managed to mumble out her order after a few tries. She stepped back while Mister Nameless ordered and paid, dreading when he’d turn around.

Oh god, was this ever going to end?

Story Start – 2

“By the time I was born there were no more trees.”

This was a sentence that I started with a while ago and have since developed into a story. I really wrote it when I was feeling particularly upset about the way we (as in humanity) were treating rain forests and forests in general. We’ve made some great leaps and bounds recently and seem to be coming around to realizing we have to protect and preserve these areas if we want to have a bright future but we still have a lot of work to go. Still, I really just liked the idea of writing a post apocalyptic story that involved a lack of trees instead of all the ones that seem to take place in forests or cities being retaken by forests.

Anyway, here’s the first two paragraphs of the story as it stands right now:

“By the time I was born there were no more trees. How do I know there were no more trees? Because I’ve seen paintings of trees hanging in the Hall of History but I’ve never seen a single one arching beautifully into the pale blue sky. Though, for that matter, the sky is hardly ever pale blue here as it is in those paintings. Instead it tends to be varying shades of gray depending upon what the weather is that day. On what one could call a nice day the sky is a light gray with sunlight filtering through a layer of smog thick enough to choke on if you go to high and on the bad days the gray is so dark one could understandably mistake it for being black instead. On days like that I used to sneak into the Hall of History and stare up at the paintings of things I knew I would never see.

The Hall of History held more than just paintings of trees of course. It also held paintings of animals of all kinds that no longer existed as well as plants and even a couple people. There were forms of art there that we couldn’t replicate and to me they were the most precious and beautiful thing left to us. It was those paintings that showed us what the Others had taken from us. The Others were all those that had taken of the world without giving back until they’d choked it into near death and left us and it to rot away. They were the ones who, through money and power, had managed to flee to what had been classified as Earth Two.”

Story Snippet – Creation

(So this isn’t strictly a snippet of a story so much as a sort of mythos for a world idea I had a while back that I wanted to get down. Still, I feel like it fits best in that context.)

Long ago there was a most powerful wizard, some say he was so powerful that he once stopped the tides from coming back into the land. Some even say that he created the land, but of course such rumors are mostly just that, rumors. Still, he was a very powerful man, the equal of which has yet to be seen. Sadly he was unable to have children, despite having a beautiful nymph wife. And so he decided that he would create himself a son the likes of which the world had never known. The boy would be handsome, strong, brave and charming. He would be every ideal thing that would be wanted in a son and man.

And so the wizard started his work, gathering all the things he would need and then shutting himself into his workroom. He started his spell and everything seemed to be working just fine, but at the last step something went wrong and there was an explosion. It nearly killed the wizard, but when the smoke cleared he found that he had not one but two sons. The two of them were identical in every way, at least as far as he could tell.

He was so pleased that he rushed to find his wife and they celebrated, showing off their two new babies with pride. They raised their children together, trying to instill in them the values that they thought most important in the world. However, they started to notice something as the two boys grew. It seemed that one, whom the father had dubbed Angel, had gained all the charm, caring and bravery that he had intended for his son. While the other, whom he had dubbed Demon, had gained great wit but also cruelty and a lack of empathy of any kind.

The older they grew the more evident these differences became, to the horror and sadness of the parents. Finally, on the wizard’s deathbed, he decided to gift his children with a few last things before he passed from the world. To Angel he gave wings of the purest white feathers and a power over the light of the world, he also gave him a blade that could never be broken, immortality and the command to keep his brothers darkness from spreading. To Demon he gave wings of the darkest black, leathery and bat like, along with a pair of horns and a tail ending in a spade. To Demon he also gave immortality, power to command the shadows, an ebony shield that could not be shattered, and the ability to spread his darkness through the acts of the world’s inhabitants.

The wizard new that his two sons could never live in the same world together without coming to kill each other and so, without telling either of them, he did one last thing with the last of his powers. He banished each brother to his own dimension, a world that fit to his personality, and cursed him each to stay there. However, he did not curse their descendants. And so, each brother populated this new world with their own children and sent them forth into their father’s world to battle against each other in an effort to thwart the other.

Thus, the races of angel and demon were born, taking the names of their leaders as their race and taking on the gifts that had been given to the brothers. It is said that each brother still lives, somewhere in each dimension but unknown to anyone any more.

Story Snippet

(So this is a piece of a story that I started writing a long time ago. I probably wrote this around middle school years or something in that area. It was mostly something I’d just started on a whim and recently found so I was going back over it and figured I would share.)

The colors are always so vivid here, it’s like someone bleached out the shadows. Or maybe it’s just that even the shadows here are more intense in color.

Not really sure why I’m thinking about the way the colors around me look right now, after all they have little to do with my current situation. I should be thinking of a way to get out of here without drawing more attention to myself. Maybe if this city wasn’t laid out like a maze than I wouldn’t have such a hard time getting around in it. Of course it would help if I spent more time studying the maps and less time goofing off but that’s something to think about later.

“Stop! Under the King’s law you must come with us!”

Oh, like I haven’t heard that line before. Could these guys maybe be a little more stereotypical on looks and nature?

“Sorry boys but you’ll have to catch me.”

Okay, next left then take the second right and you’re golden girl. Check back to make sure they’re far enough behind, good. Around the corner and shit! When did these guys split up and how did they get in front of me?

“We’ve got you know.”

“Just give up little girl and come quietly.”

“I’m sure the King will be lenient on you, after all you’re just a kid.”

Seriously guys, I was just being sarcastic before. Oh well, guess you guys can’t help yourselves.

“For once I was hoping this would be easy. Silly of me really but we can all hope. Now I have no intention of giving myself up and we all know that so let’s get on with it.”

Think fast, need to get out of this without getting caught. I can’t let them have it back, and I know I’ll get killed if I go with them. Come on, there has to be a way out… well there’s the cliff to my left and a wall to my right. Can’t scale the wall, it’s smoothed from the wind constantly hitting it. Guess it’s the cliff and waters bellow for me. Least there’s a good chance of living through that kind of a fall.

“Well boys I hate to go so soon but I’m out of here.”

Three running steps and jump, push off hard so I might not end up on the rocks below.

The Start

I don’t know why but starting a story is either the easiest bit of or the hardest. In fact I have a lot of stories that have no real concrete starting point because I just don’t really know how to start them. I think part of the problem for me is that I usually base my desire to read a book off the first sentence or two (or sometimes more) and I feel like that’s a fairly common thing. That first sentence needs to have something to it for you to want to keep reading. That something could be a lot of things of course. It could be that it sparks some mystery or that its really gripping or even that its really funny. Whatever it is that first impression is pretty important!

I guess I just keep thinking that my starts are never quite good enough to be that attention grabber that I want. Maybe its just because I wrote them and I know where its going or maybe it really is an issue. I suppose its something I need to work on and something that I will continue to develop. I might do a little mini series here and post one to three sentence story starts and see what people think.

I might as well start now since I do have one story start that I love but that I have never managed to write the story for. So here it is guys, the one story start that I’m sorta proud of:

“It is said that long ago the Fay and other such creatures retreated from this world. But the problem with long ago’s is that no human is alive who remembers them.”

Let me know what you all think!