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 Multi <-> Syn

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Multi

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PostSubject: Multi <-> Syn   Wed Apr 16, 2008 6:01 pm

Chapter 1-- Close Encounters (part 1)

Many lights raced along, briefly illuminating the darkness in a rush of wind as they passed on the 57 freeway. From down in the canyon, the moon shown over the eastern hills of Brea and along the thin strip of asphalt below. Every speck of light that raced along that freeway saw the moon as they had always seen it. The year was 2019. Much like everything else, the sky and the landscape had changed little over the past decade. Much like it had always done, the world seemed to change. It's population grew, and the war continued. A new product revolutionized the market, entertainment was stolen more easily, and the commuters on the freeway below saved more money on fuel. The freeway ahead was the same as it had been since its creation, and the many that traveled over it could not imagine the unknown world outside their continuous circuit. The world was brimming with curiosities to be discovered. National radio told stories of an unknown graffiti artist with a knack for political satire. They ranted on about how he had replaced a famous painting with a replica that showed an abandoned grocery cart partially submerged in a pond. On another station, a tour guide wove an elaborate scene of the great temple, Machu Picchu. Her lofty descriptions of the towering world wonder gave flight to imaginations of a secret culture and terrifying rituals. Also in this rich age were the great and terrible. An international comedian asked the audience if they've ever had any Ethiopian food. An aging economist read his paper on the new anti-abortion laws with 30 citations to a stony-faced audience convinced that the next decade would be characterized by rampant murder and teenage mothers. The world was indeed changing, but its inhabitants were not. The commuters below faced new problems every day at work like they always had. Some of them found in themeselves, ways of solving those problems. Some others played online games and were eventually yelled at for their laziness. In their daily circuit, they raced along, always knowing the road ahead, and still, they lived in fear that one day, the world would really change. In the deepest recesses of their minds, they all knew that they were only human. Powerless to change themselves, those specks of light racing along their circuit knew it would only be a matter of time before being human would not be enough. Little did they know that, that time was already upon them.

One such speck of light, a small but ordinary car, sped along the freeway at 75 miles per hour. Its driver ruffled his overgrown brown hair making his usual route home after work. He punched a big black power button on his radio, mildly frustrated with the constant noise that had been coming from it. For several minutes he watched the road with the trucks and cars that seemed to float all around him. This man in his twenties had traveled this road countless times before. The repetitiveness held a comfort for him. He was certain of this familiar road; in a sad sort of way, he cared for it. Back in 2010, it had carried him to college, and later to work. He had traversed this freeway for almost a decade now, and its consistency invited him--calmed him. The sight of one insignificant landmark on the horizon or a bit of graffiti on a sign reassured him that something was right in the world. Following a small pick-up truck around another bend, Tori watched the moon swing into view over the darkened hills. His gaze lingered along the thin grey sliver for a moment before returning to the road out of habit. Expecting nothing unusual in the pale white light it reflected, he didn't notice the strange pink tint along its bottom curve. The ominous reflection on both light and shadow, a sign of things to come, would only serve to confuse passersby rather than warn them. Besides the fact that the moon would soon disappear around the next bend, Tori found little time for star gazing while driving.

In Tori's peripheral vision a red flash briefly illuminated the dark, overgrown hills. Like seeing a flash out of the corner of one eye and then turning in search of the photographer, Tori in turn searched of the unseen source of the flash. In the distance, Tori saw a wisp of flame dart upwards and vanish into the cool night air. Smoke, illuminated only so high by the many headlights, rose into the air and out of sight. Then like a wave across the freeway, more red light filled Tori's vision. Brake lights lit up everywhere. Fast approaching the rising smoke and the center of the chaos, Tori began moving off the road to avoid as much traffic as possible. Like so many others, Tori took no precautions as he approached, for he suspected nothing. All at once more flashes filled the air, and several red streaks flicked by sending the pick-up truck airborne. In whirling fire the entire mass of metal hung suspended in slow motion by Tori's pure shock before skidding to a halt in a violent splash of sparks. Out of fear and instinct, Tori jerked the wheel away from this flying, flaming horror. At such high speeds, the little car veered sideways with enough force to instantly send adrenaline to every tip of Tori's already stressed body. For a second, the entire world titled sideways in the wind shield. The second passed. In another second, Tori found himself on the dirt shoulder of the road. The fire he had seen in the center of the chaos caught his eye as it passed on his left. On his right, something very tall and dark moved on the side of the road. Tori's scattered attention caught only a glimpse of the four story tall figure before yet another fright took him. His eyes on the rear view mirror looking for the giant black thing grew wide. Moving way to fast, another car pulled in behind him. In a deep breath, he waited and watched, expecting to be flung off the road and into the darkness in a second. In a loud screech of burning rubber, the car narrowly missed him as its brakes pulled it backwards and away from danger. As the chaos faded behind him it followed him on the shoulder. The tall obscure object was gone now. Only the empty road lay ahead. His heart pounding in his ears, Tori followed the few cars still on the freeway away from the danger. When Tori came to the next exit, he gladly took it. Taking the surface streets home he avoided major thoroughfares for fear of running into another giant of the darkness.

It wasn't for another half hour that Tori pulled into his garage under his apartment. As the door closed behind him he sat on the cheap cushions of his car; he did not move to undo his seat belt. Looking down at his white knuckles, he released the wheel, holding his hands before him before they fell in his lap. Now that he wasn't on the road, the magnitude of the encounter struck him. He wondered what caused all the chaos. How many people were now in hospitals? How many people are now dead? he thought and his own thoughts scared him. He remembered how easily the truck next to him had crumpled like tin foil. An unbidden image came to him. In place of the doomed man in the driver's seat of the airborne, flaming wreck screamed a white faced Tori. How close had he come to joining him in the burning wreckage? Above all, he wondered what that giant shadow had been. How exotic it had looked. Even in the split second and dim light, he could remember what little he saw with utter clarity. Outlined by the headlights and tinged a dark red, the giant loomed over the chaos. From what he could not remember of the great thing, Tori imagined. In his mind he constructed tentacles, blood red eyes, teeth, shaggy hair, slimy skin, and all other manner of monstrous features.

Roused from his fantasizing, Tori woke up to find only darkness. Apparently, the garage light had automatically turned off. Feeling around, he tiredly fumbled for the keys. Grumbling to himself at having to find his way, he managed to lock his car, and find the door knob to his dark apartment. Flicking a light switch as he entered, he sauntered over to the couch while pulling his slip-on shoes off as he went. Collapsing into a cushion he picked up a TV remote and a phone from their usual resting place. Dialing a number on the phone as he flipped through the channels, he waited for someone to answer on the other end. After a few rings he got impatient and hung up, turning his attention to the TV instead. Flipping through the guide, Tori found commercials, more commercials, and then a news host in front of some government building with a microphone on her shirt collar:
"--is now expected to pay $50,000 in fines before next quarter. Police haven't--" Sitting on the couch he watched, without seeing the TV. Letting his vision drift, the screen blurred into dull, shifting light.

After almost an hour, Tori picked up a phone again and dialed his friend Kyle, smiling as he answered.
"Say words."
"Hey, it's Tori."
"Oh hey brotha. What's happenin' fool."
Annoyed by Kyle's gangster impression, Tori continued, "It's a good thing you didn't come to work today-- I saw the weirdest stuff on the freeway."
"You mean like that time you saw that motorcycle doing 120?"
"No. I mean fire and an accident or something. Someone was shooting." Tori paused, and Kyle didn't say anything. "I don't know who it was, but it was strange. I got all freaked out."
"Dang dawg!"
"Shut up! Just shut up! You have the worst sense of humor ever! I almost got killed and all you can do is make a big joke out of it?"
"Jeez! I didn't know." Tori merely kept silent. Kyle finally dropped his 'white gangster' impression and asked "So what esackly happened?" Tori paused for a moment. He gathered his thoughts, but clearly to tell his story. The events of just hours before no doubt still burned their images into his mind. Finally, he started to explain his usual drive home and the explosion that had thrown him violently out of his routine. He told him about the shooting and how the pick-up next to him had caught fire. At that point, a bell chimed and, in mid explanation, Tori's voice fell away, "Hang on, there's someone at the door. Can I call you back?"
"Ya sure. How long do you think you'll be?"
"Oh, I don't know! Watch the news or something," he finished as he stood up, pacing his walk to arrive at the front door when he would finished talking.
"Aight, peace."
"See ya." he said simply. Kyle had been understanding enough. Putting down the phone, his gaze in turn fell on the door. Moving to open the door, Tori's hand paused, hovering over the door knob. Apparently having a change in thought, his other hand flipped a switch, and a new incandescent light from outside shown through the windows. No more dark figures tonight, please.

------------------------------------

Sarah pulled up to the curb and checked her make-up in the mirror. When she finished checking her hair, she stepped out into the cool night air. A scarf that Tori had once given her looped casually once around her neck. Its thick, fuzzy crochet was woven with large holes so that the bright blue material felt of sensuous velvet but would not keep her warm.
It's cold again, she thought as she rounded the front of her car and climbed the stairs of Tori's apartment, I hope he has a spare jacket. Her slipper-like boots muffled the sound of her footsteps. The only sounds in the night were the gentle rustling of leaves in the trees and the tiny scrapping across the asphalt of their fallen comrades. Looking over the hand railing she noticed the other apartments and their symmetry to each other. The pepper trees moved slightly in the wind. One of them had grown over a street light and was casting odd shadows all over the other side of the street. She couldn't help but think how cozy the neighborhood was and wondered briefly if the neighbors ever noticed. Stepping under the roof and into the shadows as she rang the door bell she could hear Tori scrambling as he talked.
"--the news, I got to go." She could see the top of his hair through the windows in the front door. "See ya."

She stood motionless in the dark overhang of the apartment front porch on the second story. Then, bright light flicked on overhead, startling her and illuminating the potted plants and plastic lawn chair. When she recovered, the door stood open with Tori's head poking around the edge, looking concerned. Seeing her, he promptly stepped out to greet her, still wearing the slacks, white shirt, and tie he had gone to work in.
"I'm sorry I surprised you. Actually, you surprised me. To be honest I'd forgotten today was Tuesday."
Sarah stopped rubbing her eyes and suddenly became condescending, without any of it coming out in her tone, "You forgot our walk again? Tori!" She smiled as if to say 'what am I going to do with you?' The familiar expression caught Tori off guard.
"No, no. The craziest thing happened to me on the way home from work--you won't believe it," he tried to explain before she could pass judgment on him. "There were so many cars, and--" he stopped. Sarah could feel herself shivering all over. She could almost hear her teeth chattering. Sarah knew he could see how cold she was and smiled, knowing Tori was not about to let her freeze. "I'll be out in just a second. You want a sweater, you look cold?"
Sarah nodded vigorously twice and smiled with a small sound more like bubbling water than an 'Mmm Hmm'. Returning her smile out of instinct and affection, he disappeared inside. Sarah didn't have long to wait, for she knew Tori was not one to keep her waiting long. As if to prove this, he was back at the door shortly wearing a dirty maroon jacket and handing her a big, black leather one. As Sarah put it on, she noticed how big the shoulders were and how much excess width it had. It fit well enough, and Tori even said she looked good in it. At this, Sarah scowled out of skepticism. Soon she was smiling warm-heartedly again as Tori said, "Let's go!" She had been looking forward to this all day.

The street had its usual traffic of dog-walkers, couples, and night-time joggers. Nothing seemed wrong in this place. As the pair walked along the street, moving between lights along the sidewalk, Tori told his story with a grave tone of disaster, but also in a strangely excited way. Listening intently with concern, Sarah was astonished. In his usual manner, Tori unknowingly drove out the main thing Sarah had wanted to say.
"You might not believe this but there was this explosion ahead of me, just like that, and all these people started breaking," Tori explained, forming the flames with his hands as they shot upwards in the air.
"An explosion?" Sarah paused, tilting her head as if she needed to see him from a different angle, "You're joking?" An explosion on the freeway? She prepared herself for something utterly gruesome.
"No!--and there was someone shooting!"
Sarah gasped, eyes wide. "You could have been killed!" It took a moment to picture the scene in her mind. Never having driven any great distance on the freeway, Sarah mouthed the word 'WOW'. Without any experience, she couldn't quite understand what it would have looked like, making the scene unknown and exaggerated.
After a pause, Tori added to her amazement saying, "Ya, the pick-up truck next to me caught fire!"
Hearing this, she leaned into him to put her arm around his waist underneath his jacket as she said, "Oh! You're so lucky to be alive!" In return, he put his arm around her shoulders. Closing her eyes, she rested her head on his shoulder, and immediately she relaxed. I'm so lucky he's alive.


Last edited by Multi on Sat Jun 07, 2008 2:04 pm; edited 50 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Multi <-> Syn   Thu Apr 17, 2008 8:03 am

Interesting start Daniel. I know these are the words you have been dreading, but what is the setting of your story? (i.e. when does it take place) If it takes place now, how is the telepathic bluetooth thing going to work in today's society? If its in the future, why are you only going 75 on the 57 freeway? Technology should evolve at least enough to easily go 120 on some more advanced freeway, like the ones in iRobot (the movie).

Just a thought. Wink
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PostSubject: All in Due Time   Thu Apr 17, 2008 9:32 am

Chapter 1- Close Encounters (part 2)

As the street came to an end, Sarah scanned the surrounding houses. In a gap between a long driveway and a wall, there opened a paved service road that lead off into the dark hills above. The way was blocked by simple iron gate about waste high. A faded 'No Trespassing' sign stood barely above the weeds. When they came to it, both Sarah and Tori easily hopped the gate. Unlike the street they had just left, the service road was unlit, and soon it faded into a dirt path as it rose up between fenced backyards. Sarah found her way up the hill as they had done so many times before. The higher above the houses she climbed, the more she could see of the valley below and the millions of lights in it. The valley below spread in all directions,--only hemmed in by the ocean on the horizon and the hills on which the pair stood. Tori raised a finger to the northwest, trying to point out the crash on the freeway. Two light, grey columns of smoke rose beyond the hills, out of sight far from Sarah stood. The color of the smoke suggested that it was dead, dying, or at least under control. Of all the fires she had seen, this one looked relatively calm. Sarah remembered back to the last time she had stood with Tori on this hilltop watching a fire across the valley. Helicopters had hovered over the flames continuously, and a plane had dropped some red water that snuffed out any orange glimmers underneath it. The fire she was looking at now was too far away to see any of those things.
"The nearer of the two columns is probably it." he sounded more cheerful now. Sarah could tell the fresh air was really helping him calm down.
"You didn't see anything on the news?" she asked. She sounded sincerely interested, but also a bit uninterested as if she didn't care so much about her question as much as helping Tori to get the past events out of his system. Sarah thought of herself as a healer, knowing that people usually feel better after talking about their concerns.
"No, I could've missed it though. I mean, that time I saw that high-speed chase, I didn't find it on TV afterwards."
"True. It looks like you won't be able to go to work tomorrow," she joked. Tori smiled in spite of himself.
"Still, I wish I knew what it was?" he said.
"It was probably an accident."
"No, I mean the tall dark thing." Sarah just shrugged her shoulders and smiled in response. She had no answer to give here.

A little while later they reached the top of the hill overlooking the valley full of street lights, store light, stadium lights, and headlights. Sarah smiled. There seemed to be an infinite number of places to look: infinite street corners, infinite traffic lights, and infinite cars. The freeway ran out of the hills to the east and cut clear through the valley and off into the distance where it would end in the beaches. An island Sarah couldn't name loomed in the very far distance. For all these sights, only one held her gaze. Over across the valley on the hillside there was darkness except for a lonely street, lit by a string of vintage yellow lamps. A lone car traveling home, perhaps, made its way up the corridor of street lights. She watched the traffic light stop it, and then turn green again. Then it turned an unseen corner in the darkness and disappeared behind a house she could not see. As she tried to find it again, her view was obscured as Tori put his arms around her with an affectionate kiss on her forehead. Brushing her long curly hair out of her face, she looked up into his eyes with the brightest, truest smile. Reflected in his eyes she saw the familiar dark assurance she had always known. Peace lay in those eyes; a peace she trusted as she let it take her drifting off into the night.

---------------------------------- End Chapter 1----------Here are some comments:

My science fiction isn't that far out there. Maybe only ten years out there. You'll learn quickly that, even though my setting is pretty much the present, there will be a few advancements. Don't be suprised if there isn't any telepathy in this story at all.

All will become clear in due time. Please remember that this is a draft and will probably be scrapped anyway.

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PostSubject: Re: Multi <-> Syn   Thu Apr 17, 2008 10:47 pm

This sounds pretty good. I'm just confused at the end. Tori just went through some bizarre eplosion/doomsday event and then goes on a walk. They seem to be disconnected events.
?
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PostSubject: If there were more   Fri Apr 18, 2008 2:39 pm

This is probably only my first chapter of the book. So my question for you is, if there were more, would you be eager to read on?

Don't worry, all questions will be answered later in the story (my way of making the book interesting-- I hope its working). This isn't a doomsday event. Tori couldn't find anything on the news. If you see a high speed chase go by on the freeway, are you likely to see it on the news? Sure there was shooting, so of course the news will cover it, just not right away.

I'm getting a fair amount of comments (40% of the vote so far) that my story doesn't have enough character. Please feel free to comment. Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Multi <-> Syn   Sun Apr 20, 2008 4:38 pm

I think it would be helpful if, instead of editing your original message, if you added your new material to the end as a reply. That way we don't have to read it all the way through again to see if you added anything. Just a thought and matter of personal preference. Other than that, great job Daniel. Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Multi <-> Syn   Mon Apr 21, 2008 10:18 pm

This is an image I designed for my book. This is how I imagine Tori, later in the book. His face has traces of silicon carbide if anyone was wondering. Shocked

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PostSubject: Re: Multi <-> Syn   Mon Apr 21, 2008 10:58 pm

Ouch!

John Edlund
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PostSubject: Chapter 2   Tue Apr 22, 2008 12:19 am

Chapter 2- Divisions (part 1)

Near silence pervaded the air. Detached from reality, the hill top where Sarah and Tori stood in each other's arms concealed no monstrosities of the dark. Except for the ambient noise of the freeway, the crickets, and the occasional car down in the valley, nothing could penetrate this safe haven. For years the couple had come to this spot in search of peace. To Sarah, this place was the top of the world. One who could stand here could rise above the miserly troubles of everyday life. Invigorating, the fresh air, wondrous view, and pause in routine empowered the spirit to endure. Standing in his arms, Sarah drifted into dreams of the future. Looking out across the many lights that extended off to the horizon and continued as the stars in the mostly clear sky, she felt the world at rest. In a kind of panorama, the valley looked like a giant field of light. Even at this late hour, many lights still raced in a distant, slow motion along the freeway some ten miles away. Even though the smoke off in the distance showed signs of clearing up, the break in the view penetrated the peace of this place. The disasters of the evening had been far from here; all was quiet in the valley. All was peaceful in the hills, and still, a kind of disquiet ate at Sarah until her drifting in the future turned to unpleasant thoughts.

A warm breeze found its way out of the desert and over Chino Hills State Park. Up until then, Sarah could feel the cold biting at her ankles, but now the breeze warmed her as only the desert winds can in these hills. From this warmth, Sarah felt the confidence return to her to say what she had been meaning to say. She put a hand on Tori’s chest, and looked to the ground. “Tori, I came by today to tell you something.” The words that came to her came from the wrong direction. The train of thought that brought the words to her mouth also brought confusion to her. Her gaze rose from the ground and into his eyes and a smile brightened his face in the dark. It was not an unusual smile, but for a reason unknown to her, she hesitated in anticipation of the regret she was sure to feel if her words led her astray. Taking a large breath her gaze wandered elsewhere as she continued, “I’ve been offered a job up in San Francisco by this company, Bul-Kathos. It’s a foreign company and because I’m working in human resources, I’d be making lots of business trips to all kinds of places.”

Tori held up a hand, cutting her off. His explanation was short, but just the same, filled her with fear: “Listen.” The night noise of crickets and the distant rush of wind that were the cars on the freeway took on a faint rhythm. This soft, distant beat was barely audible but still just as foreboding. Tori's eyes flitted quickly over the landscape. Sarah, too, searched every dark hiding place she could see for the source of the thudding noise somewhere far behind them. Even though it was likely a ways off, each thud quickened her breath and deepened her fear. Everywhere there was only moonlight, but then, Sarah's breath froze. Tori had seen it too, and neither of them dared move. Two or three miles away, bobbing along the canyon road below, a pair of dimmed searchlights shown through the sycamore trees in the creek, and some of the beams illuminated the weeds only yards away from the frightened couple. From a distance it was hard to make out the shape of the things, for their tops waded along through the trees as they traveled. They weren't the only pair either. Faint glimmers of artificial light illuminated the hills all along the canyons back in the direction of the plumes of smoke in the distance.

There are so many of them, Sarah thought, there must be over 6 or seven pairs out there! A tap on the shoulder and Sarah flinched. Looking at Tori, she could see his furrowed brow and the uneasy way he pointed to a ridgeline about a mile away.

Only less than a mile away, another white, artificial light illuminated the tall dead weeds and bushes along a small edge of the ridge. It weaved across the ridgeline as it grew brighter, like a pendulum going back and forth. Whatever those things are, Sarah thought, we’re about to find out. Another glow joined the first farther down the ridge of the hill. Sarah almost held her breath as she waited for the thing to come over the ridge; its personal spotlight would surely catch them dumbfounded like deer in the middle of the road.

Unable to take her eyes away from the weaving lights, Sarah felt a hand grasp hers to pull her aside. Stumbling, she followed Tori behind a large shrub. He made a shushing sound putting a finger to his lips. Her curiosity could not be contained, however, and she made to look around the bush, ignoring Tori as he squeezed her hand. The light on the ridgeline, bright as it was, was shining away from her hiding spot. Choking on a sigh of relief, Sarah watched as the body of the giant appeared. Even at a mile away, the giant lumbered in clear view, illuminated by its companion. The alien machine, for it was definitely metal, lumbering along on two long legs like that of a bird with a few extra joints. It twisted its upper body left and right to search the surrounding hills. Yet, unlike any bird, it over exaggerated each step, using its legs like great shock absorbers in its long strides. It looked so unearthly with its torso facing sideways and then swiveling around to look behind it as it made its way forward up the steep hill. Along its torso protruded long twin barrels on either side. Another four, skinny barrels angled upward on top of the beast like flak cannons, or an artillery gun. Behind it, its fellow crested the ridgeline, a smaller walker that carried two; boxy-looking racks like great folded dog ears trailing above and behind its torso. It followed the first until they reached level ground.

“That’s got to be alien,” Tori whispered, and out of fear, Sarah gripped his arm as if to say ‘quiet or they’ll hear you!’ even though the machines were about a mile away. the taller of the two swung its torso in their direction, but, much to Sarah's relief, it continued to twist until it faced its companion. The two searchlights turned every which way, more than once illuminating the bush behind which Sarah knelt with her hands over her mouth. With each pass of the white light, she shivered uncontrollably. Breathing hard, she felt an arm around her shoulders, and looked up to see Tori's stern, reassuring expression as he tried to calm her by rubbing her shoulders.

After a minute or two and feeling calm, Sarah put a hand over Tori's hand on her should, and then turned to crawl out from behind the bush. Barely able to see over the dead weeds, she watched as the walkers climbed the hill and started their descent into the valley below, navigating trees and steep slopes. Then she felt someone next to her and looked to see Tori also watching the brims of the machines fade under the ridgeline. With every step, the aliens disappeared from view, and Sarah felt her breathing returned to normal.
“We should get out of here before more show up,” Tori pointed out. He was always the one who broke the silence. As she made to get up, she felt his hand over hers. Standing up, she brushed away the dirt on her jeans before turning to leave towards the service road. As Tori joined her, she turned to him. Her eyes sweeped his expressions. Seeing her attention he continued, “Those have got to be the same things I saw on the freeway.”
“The same thing? It was that tall?”
“Ya, I didn’t get a good look at it, and I’m glad I didn’t.”
Sarah chuckled in spite of the situation. “How could you not see something 60-ft tall thing on the side of the road?” Tori only shrugged absent mindedly, thinking about what he had just witnessed. He didn’t answer her right away, but when he did there was a hop to his words that brought a smile to her lips again. Sarah, usually self-conscious about her smile, felt no second thoughts around Tori.

They hurried home, for fear of running into more of the alien walkers. If there weren’t walkers in the neighborhood already, they were certainly headed this way. Sneaking back to the apartment was nerve racking, but uneventful. The shadows played tricks on them the whole way through. More than once Sarah caught sight of a large tree in the distance that might have been a walker, but her fright always disappeared the next second as she realized it was only her imagination. Walking up the steps again to the apartment, Sarah looked up at Tori as he opened his door for her. He looked pale and scared. He probably felt more fear of those walkers than she did, having seen what one could do. She did not go inside.

"We've got to get out of here. They could show up at any moment." Tori said simply, his face lit by the pale moonlight from a high window. When she gave no response, he asked, "Where will you go?"
"I'll have to go back to my parents up north. I took the job. I was planning to tell you." Saying this, she looked into his face and he looked away. When he turned to face her she could see the sadness begin. The loneliness that was sure to come shown prematurely in his eyes and the safety of his gaze seemed weak. Timidly he stepped forward in the darkness and held her. Sarah felt his lips brush her own. They kissed in each others’ arms, letting the entirety of their fear flow out into each other as reassurance that they would not have to face their fears alone. When they could avoid the danger they were in no longer, they stopped, looking into each others’ eyes. Quietly, he whispered in her ear, "I love you," and held her tight. Sarah didn’t say anything. Sensing something was wrong, Tori released her.
"I can't go with you," she said.
"I wasn't asking you to come with me. We’ll still see each other. I’m not worried about that. I’m worried about getting out of here." She could see how he didn't understand her silence and waited for her as he could see the importance of what he was missing.
"Tori..." she trailed off. "Well, what about me? I've always wanted to travel. I've been to Europe, Thailand, and Laos and I want to go to Africa. Remember years ago I wanted to join the Peace Corps?" She looked up at him smiling. He looked back solemnly, and Sarah’s smile fell. She continued, shrugging her shoulders, trying to find the right words, "You see, we've always had our separate paths, and now I’ve found mine."
"You don't think we'll still be able to be together?" He could see how important the thing was she was trying to explain because she knew the danger they were in.
"No. Hey, you've always talked about your inventions. You and your hobbies. You’re always creating something; whether it’s a painting, a book, or a game, or whatever.” She could hear her frustration coming out in her voice. “Ya, you're working to start a business. You don't want to go travel. We just don't have that common interest."
"I know you've said we have trouble finding things to do together, but I don't think so--"
"Tori! Think about yourself. What do you want? I'm trying to tell you something."
"Those aren't the reasons why you want to go, and you know it." Sarah knew he was right and paused, looking away. “We never fight. We’re always doing something together. I don’t see why we won’t still be together in a few years.”
"I just can’t see myself tied to anyone. I don't see how anyone can follow me where I want to go."
"For all these years I've known you, I've told you who I am and where I need to go. You've known from the start what I wanted to do. Yet, that hasn't stopped you until now. I've always known you wanted different things than me, but I haven't ever said that we can't still be together. You just can’t predict how the future will turn out."
"I'm sorry, Tori! I don't want to get any more stuck than I already am. Please don't make this any harder on me!" she almost screamed. She paused for a moment seeing the pleading look he gave her. I love you, too, she thought. It was unimaginable to her that she could feel so much pain. Everything that had been so clear to her now turned against her as if to say 'you heartless creature'.

Hesitantly she turned to leave. Calling out in pain and utter loneliness, she walked slowly down the steps to her car. Nothing in the world could lift her out of this powerful void. She heard him call out to her as she stumbled down the steps, and she paused. The moment passed. He did not follow her. Instead he stood there watching her fumble with her keys as she reached her car. When she finally did get inside, she looked up at him through the window, and did not wipe away the tears that came to her eyes.


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PostSubject: New Chapters   Tue Apr 22, 2008 9:13 am

Chapter 2- Divisions (part 2)
----------------------------------------------------------

From the balcony outside his front door he watched her car lights until they rounded the corner and disappeared into the darkness, and still he stayed there. It was only with a loud boom off in the distance did he move. Going inside, he saw the TV had been left on, but there was no sound coming from it. As he made to turn it off, he saw the emergency evacuation notice for all of Los Angeles, Orange, and San Bernardino County. It shone ominously in the dim light living room. Tori stared blankly at it as it added stress to an already stressed-out situation. Willing himself to move, he turned it off and ran to the darkness of his bedroom. He started grabbing his notes, his drawings, anything of value. Rifling through a stack of papers he suddenly stopped at a portrait he had done of Sarah. By the moonlight from the window, Tori saw his other drawings of her taped to the wall, and next to them, were taped all of her pictures over the years. He stared at each one in turn, seeing how happy the smiles on their faces were. From one picture, Sarah stood at the end of Moro Rock in Sequoia, looking down over the cliff face. From the next picture she smiled as she shivered in her big jacket. He smiled as he could remember her saying, “You could throw a paper airplane off this and it would probably go a few miles!”

Holding a particular piece of paper up to the dim light, Tori slowly sat down, contemplating the meanings behind the lines of graphite. From the floor where he leaned against a bed post, Tori heard crickets, and faintly in the background, the constant croaking of a frog. Together, the sounds of the night seemed almost silent, and he sat listening as he picked up another drawing. Off in the distance, a lonely call of a train drifted over his ears. Wafting through the open window, the far off sound carried Tori away. Each passing whine of the train flung him hundreds of miles at a time to the many memories that it crossed.

All in one second, Tori was late leaving a cheap restaurant. Dinner's talk still floated through cool night air. Warmth in his hands holding hers repelled the cool night air. A smile flickered in his face, but in reality, the opposite blackened the scene as the faint whistle permeated the air.

In the next second, Tori stared from the darkness of his grandparents' house at the flare of the sunset. Shutting the wood-stained blinds, he flipped open his cell phone so that her picture's glow sparkled in his eyes. The train's call floated on the breeze through the open window and her number in the pale electric light blurred into nothing.

When the chirp of the crickets found Tori again, his thoughts wandered still, lingering in his driveway. As he watched out of his window, he saw Sarah as she had stumbled down each step...

Outside an abandoned dog barked at a passing shadow. Lights went out on the hill above and other lights took their places. Yet, even after a half hour Tori could not bring himself to leave his house, or his bedroom. Trapped in the wave of his own memories that he built for himself over years of creation, sleep struck him unawares as he lay on his bedroom floor.

---------------------End Chapter 2----------------------------

I don't want to post new chapters until I get feedback on the last one. If possible, I'd like to find the flaws in my story before I compound them with more material. So, please help me write this. Chapter 3, which I've already begun to write, introduces a lot of new characters, elements, and ideas so I want to be sure I have the story down so far.

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PostSubject: Re: Multi <-> Syn   Tue Apr 22, 2008 11:34 pm

First of all, I just want to say that I like the idea. Now for a few comments: Well, the robot attackers came entirely out of the blue. I'm sure this was probably what you wanted, but it seemed a bit disjointed I guess. Would you seriously go home and go for a walk after a catastrophic event just occurred on the freeway? I don't know, I don't think I would... The part about them hiding is a little weak, they just hear a thudding and hide. Wouldn't they try to figure out what it was before they hid? Thudding is unusual, but not immediately scary.

Hope that helps ya.
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PostSubject: Okay   Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:38 am

I've been getting comments that my story doesn't have enough detail, and sometimes characters act unrealistically or know things they shouldn't know (ya, Stephen, like the going on a walk right after the first incident). I have added details now that show more of the shock and suprise Tori should have felt. It has been an hour or so since the incident when Sarah, a person he really likes to spend time with and would really like tell his story to, comes to go on their Tuesday night walk. I think that's believable. bounce

I also agree that the thudding isn't wierd enough to make them hide, but the white searchlights are. What's really wierd is why they wouldn't stay and let the walkers pass before leaving, for fear that they might be seen trying to get away. Also, their curiousity would have kept them rooted to the spot as these things go by. Remember they're giants standing twice as tall as a house (probably 60ft or so). I'll try to fix it.

I really want to add the length to these chapters using the detail I'm missing. I've already re-edited Chapter 1 (Nishel is going to hate me for it). pale

Thanks sooooooo much for the input Stephen!! Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Multi <-> Syn   Wed Apr 23, 2008 11:31 am

I'd say that more detail is not always good. What you need is the right detail, the detail that implies the rest of the iceberg that is unstated.

The thing is that if people are so casual about 60-foot walking military machines stomping around their neighborhoods, it implies a world in which such things are relatively common and well-understood. Is that the world you want?

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PostSubject: You're right   Wed Apr 23, 2008 4:10 pm

No, unlike Nishel's story, I don't want the public to seem desensitized to violence. I've now edited the first chapter so that you can see how the get to the top of the hill and as they go you can see that these incidents are very far off. Tori doesn't think he's in danger because he lives so far away. He is tramatized by the crashes, having never seen one before, and he spends time sitting in his car and in his house. That's why he feels comfortable enough to go on the walk with Sarah. He knows talking to her will make him feel better, and he really looks forward to these walks.

It was also brought up by a friend that Tori wouldn't want to leave after just seeing an accident and that he would've rather invited Sarah inside and talked. I disagree because Tori's character is too polite. He feels he needs to be a gentleman and can't invite her in when there is no one else around. Ignoring my friend's comments of how this would apply only if they were 16 and not in their 20s, it's in Tori's nature to be very sensitive towards akwardness, plus it is a sign of the relationship between them that Sarah feels akward alone in his house. Tori is absolutely not a sheltered little kid who never grew up! Evil or Very Mad *slap* got carried away Laughing

Maybe I should elaborate that point more.

In the first chapter, they don't know that these things are 60-ft tall war machines. Tori doesn't know what the "dark giant" was. It looks so unreal he could probably tell himself he was just seeing things. It's not like there was any clear evidence of alien weaponry that he saw.

If this isn't evident in the book, I've still got quite a bit of work ahead of me in chapter 1. The other chapters.... pale Isn't writing great?!

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PostSubject: Re: Multi <-> Syn   Thu Apr 24, 2008 1:21 am

It's good that you described Tori's character better in your post above. Perhaps you could do character outlines and plot synopses for us. I don't know if you have a plot figured out, or if that's how your creative process works, but I think it would be helpful for us to see some of this before we read the story in detail so we know where you are headed.

I really like how you have visually shown us how you imagine the characters. I assume that the small animated robot next to Tori's picture are the supposed giant walkers...how ironic hehehe. Also, props on your drawing skills! Very Happy I like drawing out characters and settings as well because I am a visual person. And, I know exactly where that location you described is at the start of Ch 1 because I live in a city that borders Brea.

Good writing style, nice descriptive language, and pretty easy to follow. I'm guessing that you want this to be more of a book than a short story then, as you plan to expand the chapters? If you do want it to be a short story though, I would skip the multiple paragraph-long details unless it is something very important.

In Chapter 1...
Quote :
"Dang dawg!"
"Shut up! Just shut up! You have the worst sense of humor ever! I almost got killed and you can do is make a big joke out of it?"
"Jeez! I didn't know." Tori merely kept silent. Kyle finally dropped his 'white gangster' impression and asked "So what exactly happened?" Tori started to explain about his usual drive home and the explosion with the major traffic it caused. He told him about the shooting and how the pick-up next to him had caught fire. Just then the door bell rang and he stopped, "Hang on, there's someone at the door. Can I call you back?"
Kyle's gansta talk kind of bothered me but it was also funny. Razz The way you placed it, Tori seems to overreact to it because "Dang dawg!" could actually mean that Kyle's concerned...like "Dang, that's bad." And because it wasn't explained before he began talking that it was an impression and not the way he usually speaks, the reader could take it that way. I did when I first read it, and I was taken aback when Tori yelled "Shut up!"
Quote :
"See ya." he said simply as __ went to the front door. As he turned on the porch light he thought, No more dark figures tonight, please.
Kind of random but I just found a teeny word left out error lol. It should be...he said simply as he went to the front door...

As far as feedback for Ch 2 goes, I think it's odd how Sarah suddenly asks "what about her" and goes on about wanting different things...because this isn't really hinted at previously. Or I just don't like how she picks this moment to bring it up I guess...because earlier on she was worried about his life, yet now in a dire situation she doesn't even stop to make sure he has a place to go.

I think you might have fixed it already, but I don't see any trouble with the introduction of the robots. It doesn't seem that random because Tori connects it to earlier on the freeway.

Sorry for the long post, but I hope this helps a bit.

-Tiffany
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PostSubject: Re: Multi <-> Syn   Thu Apr 24, 2008 9:22 am

First off, THANK YOU!!! Very Happy bounce I really appreciate comments. The longer they come, the more I like them!! About my drawing, thanks!

This is a full length book. I've been meaning to write this for some time now (in one form or another). I don't think I'll be cutting it down at all. For the final, I think I'll be submitting my first chapter only, depending on the length requirements (since it is a short story in itself with a happy ending).

I've fixed the typo and I've revised the 2nd chapter. I added a ton of details to the main conversation to shed more light on why Sarah brings it up then of all times and why it's so important to her. I don't know how well I did on it, but it should help considerably. Also, I improved the scene with the walkers coming over the hills. Tori and Sarah are standing ontop of this hill. They can see for a ways and so should the readers.

Kyle's gansta talk bothers everyone. That's why I put it there. I like adding comic elements to the story to keep it from being tragic, tense, or fast-paced all the time.

As for character outlining and plot outlining... Well, I don't have a fixed plot: I'm piecing chapter 3 together right now. I know what my characters are like because I've already outlined them many times and written a few drafts using them. I don't want to tell you guys what my characters are like in an outline. I'd rather you see them develope in the story and tell me if it makes sense with their previous actions. That way I can allow for deviations and additions to their personalities. Same goes for the plot. If something doesn't make sense, please let me know like you've all being doing so well. Smile

Thanks again for the comments!!

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PostSubject: Chapter 3   Thu Apr 24, 2008 10:28 am

Chapter 3-- Hunting

As the first rays of light brightened the dark sky, a pair of alien walkers lumbered down a residential street near Chino Hills. The first, built for close range ballistics carried a weapon similar to a dual auto-cannon and a very oversized, overpowered kind of shotgun. Its partner behind it was equipped for long-range sniping and hence carried several particle projectile cannons and some extended range pulse lasers. They weren’t particularly heavy-set, but they did ride a good story or two above all the houses.

The window of time available for this mission was about to close, and Distance, the pilot of the second walker, said to her lead, “We’ve got to head back to base. We won’t be very stealthy in broad daylight.”
“It’s still dark out; we can still bag one of these twigs and come back with something,” came the reply.
“It’s still dark out; so we have enough time to get back to base.” All of a sudden Distance's walker stumbled sideways painfully as if it had been hurt somehow. The lead walker twisted its torso and turned to face Distance as it walked.
“Shut up! Good for nothing whiner. I gotta explain every second of my whole life to you? Now, check this one and we’ll be outta here.” He marked the house his walker faced with a single gunshot, blowing the chimney off.
Through the pain, Distance, in her long range combat walker equipped with a heightened detection field and long range sensors, checked the building for heat and movement. “Nothing on the lower levels… Another empty house, sir.”
“Maybe I won’t get chewed out for this mission ‘cause all the twigs ran off.”
“So back to base?”
Punch, the lead walker, fired something that lodged in the wall before exploding in a great blast that rent the house apart. The explosion sent a shockwave through the buildings, making all the windows shatter. Punch almost squealed in delight as he watched the shingles fall off the roof.

Distance was crestfallen. This would be another mission failure on her record they way Punch kept wrecking things. He would most likely disown her to someone with less rank so that he could blame it all on her. It was a nasty thought, but Punch didn’t seem to mind for Distance felt no pain. Or, maybe he just wasn’t listening to her thoughts as he watched the parts of the house he was destroying fly every which way. She hated the little implant on the back of her brain that let him cause her pain whenever he wanted, but then, what Tyran didn't?

She remembered the myth of long ago when Tyrans could only communicate by short distance transmission and knew the world through only the smell of heat. There were no implants that could connect to the brain to read its thoughts and cause pain whenever the controller wanted. Before the implants, there was no order, no controller. The Tyrans had been just like all the other animals on their planet. They could hunt and gather food. They could talk to each other, but no one worked together. That simple fact was all the difference between the tough, star fairing species they were now, and the divided, hunted-hunters they had been. There would have been no hierarchy, and all the no great clans would exist. Each Tyran would have been a clan of one. Distance may have hated the implants, but she knew without hers, she was sure that once the other Tyrans tracked her down, her death would be made an example for those who had any hope of freedom.

Something moved on the sensors.
“Sir, contact! It’s in the second story.”
“I see the little twig. Hold your position darn it! Stand ready to capture him if he comes out the front. I got the backside,” Punch ordered, turning around as he stepped on the porch cover, completely demolishing the trellis of woodwork.

“I’m gonna get that promotion fur sure, and I’ll get my implant on Capstone yet. There’s a world of hurt coming to that son of a—errrraaahhhhhh!!” Distance could almost feel his pain. His superior Capstone must be listening from all the way back at HQ. Surely Punch would take it out on her later.

------------------------------------

Tori suddenly woke up on the floor, sending drawings everywhere as he sat up. The last echoes of the loud gunshot reverberated in the hills. His hunger hit him like a heat wave as he tried to stand. The blood rushed to his head and his vision clouded with sparks of white flashes. He walked over to a window to try to see what was out there. Before he reached the window, a deafening explosion shook the house and sent concrete, glass, and stucco flying past where his head would have been. Flying backwards against his bed he smashed into the wood framework as he was pelted with little bits of concrete and glass. Fighting to stay conscious, Tori shook himself awake. He was bleeding all over from all the little scratches covering him from the waist up. A loud thudding sound outside went right past his broken window. Scared out of his wits, Tori ran for his life. Bolting for the door, he ran from the ominous thudding that seemed to be everywhere all at once. He took two running strides before the hallway gave way underneath him, and he came crashing down in a free fall of splintering wood and wall. The last thing he saw before he blacked-out was the giant silhouette of the mechanical horror casting its shadow over him.

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PostSubject: Re: Multi <-> Syn   Thu Apr 24, 2008 11:53 am

Daniel, I deleted your poll. Now you should be able to go into your original post and add a new poll with new choices. Smile

-Tiffany
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PostSubject: Re: Multi <-> Syn   Thu Apr 24, 2008 12:08 pm

Tiffany,

Please tell me (in a personal message) what spell you used to do that! The spells I attempted were ineffective. Obviously I do not know the true name of the object in the old speech.

Thanks,

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PostSubject: Re: Multi <-> Syn   Thu Apr 24, 2008 1:02 pm

Here is the closest I'll come to giving a character outline. Distance is a new character I've never used before, so I'm trying hard to give her depth and desire. I'd be particularly grateful if anyone can tell me how I'm doing.

This is the theme I'm using for Distance's character (which also includes ideas of what these walkers look like):


I'm also looking for a better name for the alien race than Tyran. I'm looking for something that would have come up as a nickname for the aliens after having a war with them on Earth. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.

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PostSubject: Re: Multi <-> Syn   Thu Apr 24, 2008 1:16 pm

Cool theme. You like mecha, eh? So this character is based on mechwarriors from a game? And he/she is controlling one of the walkers?

Also, I don't know if you noticed, but I upped the poll category amount to 20.
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PostSubject: Re: Multi <-> Syn   Thu Apr 24, 2008 1:25 pm

I did notice, thanks!!! Very Happy
Yes, you hadn't noticed all the mechs before now?

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PostSubject: Re: Multi <-> Syn   Thu Apr 24, 2008 1:27 pm

Daniel Miller wrote:
You hadn't noticed all the mechs before now?

Haha, you edited you post. So, I'm editing mine too. Yeah I did. I just forgot to comment on it. Razz
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PostSubject: Re: Multi <-> Syn   Fri Apr 25, 2008 2:47 pm

Chapter 4- Withdrawal

As they rode back to base, Distance couldn't help but feel curious about the beaten up twig that rode unconscious in Punch's walker. He kept bragging to Distance about how he had blown the house open so that he had nowhere to hide, and how he had captured the little twig hiding poorly under a pile of rubble. Punch kept running into trees as he talked, getting the branches tangled in the leg joints. Once his walker tripped over one in the middle of another retelling of how he blew the whole building apart with just one shot. Getting up using just the legs of the walker, he swore several times, and Distance literally felt pain for his damaged pride.

He was almost giddy when he radioed in mission success as he was confirmed for docking. Distance saw the familiar station ahead. The solar panels on top were blinding as they all faced the same direction. She could even see the magnetic strips and the same many Tyrans that made their way through the station. Waking from her trance, she caught herself lining up for the lead position at the docking bay, a habit she would have to forget. Punch made sure she knew her place by making her wait until he was fully unloaded and off and running to Capstone like a little kid before she could dock.

When she got out she looked for the twig, trying to see where Punch had left him. Giving up and trying to get back to breakfast before Punch came back she ran to the magnetic lift only to find Punch and Capstone coming up from below. Punch called out to her, "Where do you think you're headed?" Immediately Distance fell to her knees, hoping to avoid any more pain. She was really hungry and wanted to get this over with as soon as possible. It didn't take long for a Tyran to starve to death. "That's better," Punch continued with a large grin. "Right this way Capstone, sir."

Like Distance, the old Capstone had trouble finding the twig too, but when he did he instantly flew into a rage. Punch was soon on the floor laughing at his supposed brilliance through the excruciating pain. The twig dangled half-way out of the oversized shotgun on Punch's walker, his legs jammed inside the barrel. Distance couldn't help but laugh also. These twigs are so weak, she thought. As Punch got back in the walker and swung the gun around to drop the twig on the platform, a red liquid dripped down from his hair. Revolted, Distance turned away. Punch was laughing again, even though Capstone was furious.
"You insubordinate, twisted, little punk. You're orders were to bring a twig back alive!"
He's dead!? she thought. We didn't know he was that fragile.
"He's not dead!" Punch screamed in agony as he dropped to the floor again. Capstone let him stay there for one long minute before whoever his superior was gave him a small twinge of pain. Distance could care less. She checked the twig as he lay on the platform. To her surprise, he was still giving off heat. He wasn't dead yet.

----------------------------

Distance looked on in fascination as they operated on the twig. Back before she could remember, the clan had invaded a planet in an easy slaughter, capturing a good number of aliens adept at healing. They were resilient creatures that easily healed as much as possible of their own wounds and soon learned to heal the wounds of their captors. They were not the first aliens pressed into the service. In fact, the clan boasted a good three other races of sentient life in their ranks. Hard to come by, and not likely to reproduce, these captives were always a small minority and therefore didn't threaten the Tyrans. Even now, the alien (or scalk as the Tyrans called them) operating on the twig, was a valued subordinate.

As she watched, the scalk used the cuts on the twig to insert the silicon and silicon carbide wiring necessary before assimilation. Watching the scalk worm its way through the cuts with its long feelers, Distance touched her middle, worrying about the slight budge there. No one had yet noticed, for she tried to be alone as often as possible or at least not close enough for anyone to notice.

She couldn't help but wondering what the twig would be like. He was so tall, yet so fragile. She thought about all the ways she could kill him, but tired of the easy puzzle quickly. Then it dawned on her that she didn't know who the twig would belong to. She knew she wasn't likely to get him though, or at least not at her present rank. No one under Punch would ever be trusted with any alien. Maybe she would work next to the twig. Suddenly, Punch interrupted her thoughts,
"That's right. I found him and I own him! Oh ya! He can do the ridiculous guard duty Capstone's making me do for 'bringing in damaged goods'."
"How long have you been listening?!" she said, afraid and shocked.
"Oooo, did I miss something important? Do tell me!" she felt a twinge of pain, but she forced herself to think of nothing.
"Tell! Tell!" he went on as Distance felt more and more pain.
"Alright! Fine. I like the twig, okay?" Of course, it was ridiculous and Punch knew it, even if he couldn't see she was lying by her heat increase. He laughed at her a little while before finding something else more interesting, leaving Distance to grumble to herself.

-----------------------------------------

When Sarah arrived at the hotel for the night, she could already feel herself getting tired. Last night she had driven out late and had to find a cheap motel to take her in. This night, after having been on the interstate heading up north all day, she felt grateful at having been able to make it to a more comfortable place to stay. As she checked in, she couldn't help but worry about Tori. Many questions ran through her mind. The fact that he hadn't been answering his phone could've meant he needed to be alone, or he was mad at her. Hoping that he would be able to understand and eventually move on, she was able to put him out of her mind until something else reminded her of him.

As she opened the door to her room, she flipped on a light to find the room just as she remembered it. The comfy bed in the corner, the balcony overlooking the beach, and the desk and chair were all just like she remembered. Of course, this wasn't the same room, but all of these rooms looked alike.

Tired from the trip, she threw her bags down on the floor, grabbed a remote, and fell backwards onto the down comforter of the bed. Even though it was late, she turned on the TV, anxious to hear some news as to the development of the evacuation.
"...still haven't cleared out all of the surrounding area. Local military are still not disclosing anything at this time. However, there have been several reports of missing persons..." The screen had been flashing videos of the aftermath of the incident on the 57 freeway, and Sarah changed channels.

The screen switched to pictures taken of wrecked cars and houses in residential areas in Chino. Sarah stared in fascination. In some of the pictures, the houses had been burnt to the ground. In others, the building was left standing but with a hole in the roof or a garage that had collapsed. Fascinated and worried, Sarah could only look on in apprehension.
"...the military is urging people in the cities of Chino, Placentia, Brea, Yorba Linda, Anaheim, and Corona to evacuate as soon as possible. They have set up a perimeter around Chino Hills State Park, but thankfully, there hasn't been any military action to speak of. Again, earlier when we talked with Sergeant Cho, he said they wouldn't be able to proceed until the surrounding area was clear."

Sarah gasped, putting a hand over her mouth. For a few seconds, Tori's ruined apartment flashed on the screen. The neighbor's half lay in a pile of rubble, and Sarah couldn't make out Tori's front door. Then, the picture was gone. No matter how many channels she flipped, she found no mention of the missing persons or the suspected time that Tori's neighborhood had been hit. She could not believe that he would have stayed at the house, but she started to see how it made sense. The tears welled up in her eyes as she shook her head in disbelief. How could he have still been there!? she thought, and looked out through the window to the balcony. She remember the night he had stood out there with her looking, out at the beach they had spent the whole day on. She remembered everything. She remembered playing in the waves with him, trying to use the wave to tag her as he went by. How funny it had been when he freaked out when the wave brought him crashing into a bunch of seeweed. She remembered the little fire they had kept alive with burning schoolwork and a bit of wood. They had tilted back their chairs so that their heads rested on the sand, watching the stars as their feet hung in the air. She remembered how in the end, they had stood there on that balcony, her head on his shoulder, and talked softly in affectionate whisperings.

With each new memory of happiness came great tears of grief instead. Unable to take in the waves of emotion, she flung herself face first into a pillow, as she tried to smother her sobs in the blanket of sleep. Even though she knew it wasn't her fault, she couldn't help but feel like it was partly to blame for leaving him.

----------------------------------------

Opening his eyes, Tori looked around the alien operating room. He didn't know how he knew it was an operating room, but then he remembered seeing a sign the last time he had woken up. Wait... that doesn't make sense, he thought through the awful ache in his brain. He reached to scratch his head and felt something metal there. Trying to wake up enough to find out what this thing was, he traced the metal down from the top of his head down past his forehead to where it went under his skin above his left eyebrow. His fingers felt the wire for a few more seconds before Tori realized what it was. Screaming and shouting, he bolted upright from the table, yanking a wire or two out of the machine at the head of the table as he did. It was all he could do not to lose his sanity as he pulled a huge intravenous needle in his left arm. Panicking as he ran around the walls trying to find a way out, scratching at the metal and the skin on his forehead, he found the magnetic lift in the corner and jammed the button. How do I know what these things are? How!?

As he rose to the upper level and out of the room, his brain started to freeze. It felt like he was eating something very cold and wouldn't stop as the ache grew to extreme heights. The lift came to a halt at the top and he crawled off of it onto the surrounding platform. His eyes rolled backwards in his head as he cried out in agony. The air was so cold his breath seemed to freeze inside him. Yet, somehow, he knew there was a female Tyran standing close by. Leave me alone! Go away!
As if he said it aloud, the Tyran answered him, "My name is Distance. You and I are the same." Tori collapsed under the whirling, freezing pain in his head and slept.

For what seemed an eternity, Tori endured nightmares in which his body was mutilated with metal or a familiar alien came to him in the night to touch or test him. Sometimes he would scream as his arm was replaced with a metal spike, only to wake and find it had not been changed. Sometimes the dreams were all too real.

One the second day he had woken up with something itchy below his left eye. When he tried to scratch it his arm wouldn't move. Suddenly he remembered where he was and tried to get up. This time there were again wires that held him down. To his utter horror, they had strapped him to the table and left him there. In short, panicking breaths, he laid his head back down with an expression of horror etched into his face. They had not only paralyzed him from the neck down, but they had strapped him down as well. To his left, Tori saw a clear container of something metallic. On its surface reflected a grotesque, mutilated person Tori did not know. He watched as the reflection watched him in return. He saw the wires, the straps, and surgeons tools as well. A lone tear glided down the curvature of the metal that had been so cruely spliced onto the man's face. Watching this stranger in the reflection, Tori tried to wipe away the tear, except that his hand would not move. Tori did not slept the second night.

The Tyran he had seen before continuously came by check on him. She and the others were scary at first, but after a day or two, they looked more exotic than frightening. They stood a mere 3 feet high and looked more like overgrown, metallic chickens than monsters. At least Tori thought of chickens because they walked like chickens with extra leg joints, which made their steps look more elaborate. Their walkers were obviously characterized by their own body structure, except there were no weapons or cockpits sticking out of a Tyrans torso. No head of any kind could be distinguished for that matter. Instead there was a small curved horn that looked serrated on the backside and strong on the front. Tori would later find out that the horn served as a crude broadcast and reciever for their communication. All he knew was that when two Tyrans stopped and faced each other, there horns would extend and contract as if to express emotion.

One day he awoke and several Tyrans stood clustered around the table he was on. Yet, he was able to sit up this time, and there were no wires that he pulled out of any machine. He could see the lift was locked. He had learned that lifts could be locked when he had tried to escape a second time. They would let him out when he was ready to go.
"Unusually stupid isn't he?" scoffed a small Tyran in the corner so that he could hear. No not hear. He received his thoughts through the alien transmitter that was the mess of metal below his left eye. Tori felt suddenly sick again. He hated knowing things he couldn't remember learning. The added feeling of the wires in his cheek made him nauseous. He noticed not only the ache in his head, but all down the left side of his body.
"It might take a lot of work to get it through his thick skull who's boss, but I can do it." Tori could tell the Tyran in the corner was carrying on an argument with one of the other three Tyrans in the room. He merely could only hear one side of it. By the tone and heat of the one talking, he seemed to be trying to convince the others of something. Tori had come to know this Tyran over the last day or so. His name was Punch, and he was Tori's controller. Learning the hard way, Tori had tried to escape the first day he met Punch only to find himself in extreme pain that came from no where. Punch had shown him who was boss. Now, Tori lay back down on the table and stared blankly at the upper levels. The only way he could not keep from losing his head again, was to just ignore it all. He didn't care how he knew what he knew. He tried not to think about all of the cut-shaped, metal protrusions down his left side.
"I can keep him cause I damaged him?! What's that supposed to mean? You think he can't beat your scrawny twig any day? You're a busted-up old geyser. He'll be outta here and bustin' stuff up real good." Tori's eyelids drooped as sleep came to him like a warm breeze on a cold autumn night. He tried not to think about what Punch would make him do. Tori had changed; he was no longer the young romantic adult he could remember. There was no going back. For now, he wanted nothing but for the pain to go away. Maybe some day I'll care about what Punch makes me do.

_________________
Shadow of the Colossus, the best form of story telling.
Phantom Dust, awesome plot twists!


Last edited by Multi on Wed May 07, 2008 11:42 pm; edited 5 times in total
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Dya Cangiano



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PostSubject: Re: Multi <-> Syn   Mon Apr 28, 2008 11:55 am

Daniel, I'm really enjoying your story and I'm interested in seeing which direction you'll take it in. I think that the opening paragraph is a bit confusing with the descriptions at time, but it certainly does work by drawing the reader into your story.

Stylistically speaking, I think that your sentences are very descriptive and paint a pretty good visual image in the mind of the reader. Might I suggest however that you vary your sentence length a bit? I understand that the longer sentences are part of your writing style, but they sometimes unintentionally become run-ons.

Also, the character of Sarah seems to be a bit uncertain. She cares about Tori, but she essentially breaks up with him in a time of chaos. If they were being told that the area was being evacuated, then instead of having that conversation at his house, wouldn't they have started trying to leave right away? It might make a little more sense if you had them discussing going their separate ways while on their walk, of before they see the walkers. It might elevate the dramatic effect and Sarah's later guilt when she sees Tori's apartment on the news. Also, why didn't Sarah immediately try calling Tori instead of just assuming that he was gone/dead?

Sorry, sometimes I just start rambling...feel free to ignore anything I've said if it doesn't work for you. Otherwise, I look forward to chapter 5! Keep up the good work Smile
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