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Thread: Traveller in the Dark

  1. #1
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    Nov 2009

    Traveller in the Dark

    Happiness, friendship, curiosity, innocence, adventure and naive.... these are the words that should describe everyone's childhood. That's what I'm told anyway. I was told the last 16 years of my life were supposed to be filled with that of laughter, and of going to a place called School. There It was said that i was supposed to make friends, enjoy learning, and overall enjoy being a Child, for it is our memories of that period of our lives which are supposed to define the way a person is later on in life. Heh, I suppose that's why I'm told i jump at every little thing and dont like loud noises. Heck, isn't everyone around here?

    My name is Zero, I have no idea what School is... or what a 'car' looks like, what exactly a 'T.V' is meant to do for us, nothing like that. All i know is, that something terrible happened back when I was too young to remember anything... something so terrible, that society as we know it, no longer exists... only fear... and the small little communities that still fight for survival. a never ending fight for our future, against... them. The Shadows. not the kind that you emit when you stand in candle light, I mean dark siloutted... men? creatures? demons? I don't know, they take many forms. some recognisable, like humans, others like creatures of legend, and... some are just bizarre. These shadows took mankind by surprise, and have wiped out more or less everyone. Very few of us remain now, struggling to survive in our small community outposts, defended by handfuls of skilled warriors. Some from our village, the rest, from a group known as the Legion. This Legion does everything it can to support survivors and the outposts of people that still remain across the land. It is a group created in response to these creatures, and about the only group that hasnt given in to 'damnation', as the so called 'Governments' and political parties that used to run our world worded it.
    Whether we can pull through this crisis or not, and whether or not 'The Legion' despite its efforts can save us, I don't know. But I know one thing for certain, nothing is gonna harm my sister: Aiasha. Aiasha is about a year older than me, but... that's never really mattered. I would die for her in an instant, and she said she'd do the same for me, as much as i'd rather that she lived no matter what the context. If I can join the village guard, i can ensure that harm never gets anywhere near, of this: I am sure.

    Right now though, I can't do much besides allow Aiasha's singing soothe my thoughts along with everyone elses in this small little townhall that we've built from junk and other things we've been able to find. Though many gadgets and tools of entertainment perished during the rise of the Shadows, it would seem that music and most of its instruments survived the ordeal. This was what some of our older folk called an 'Acoustic' gathering, I'm not sure what that means but all know is that there's a guitarist, a drummer and a pianoist accompanying my sisters singing. I was stood at the back of the hall watching everyone forget for awhile about the horrors that lay just outside of this town hall. People were singing along to a high spirited song that was being played, some dancing, and others just sat around watching. Celastine, the Village elder was sat down to the side smiling and clapping in tune to the beat. She was a kind, middle aged woman with a strong sense of duty to the people of the village.
    Aiasha definately has a good singing voice. People like her are needed to keep the morale of the village high, I only wish that I could do even half of what she does for the village... That's why I recently volunteered to become part of the village guard alongside the Legion members. Though I'm not trained yet, I hope that I can do my bit for the village too.
    Aiasha finished her song, and bowed along with the other members of the small little band to the sound of cheers and woops. I whistled from the back and waved at her. She saw me and waved back beaming.
    "Well done all of you as always, for putting on such a lovely show and keeping the spirits running high." Celastine congratulated, getting up from her chair and stepping on to the small stage.
    "ENCORRRRRE!!!" Someone shouted from the crowd and everyone cheered again as Aiasha laughed and the guitarist scratched his head as his cheeks went red in embarrassment, it was his first performance I think.
    "Now Now everyone.... Aiasha has already sung us most of the classics and we've all just heard her latest song. I think it's about time we all got some sleep. I'm sure Aiasha's voice is in need of a rest as well." Celastine said in a tone reminiscent of the one my Mum used to use whenever i was naughty back when our parents were still alive, its about the only thing i remember about them. Everyone muttered tones of discontented agreement in response.

    Our parents died trying to escape from the 'city' we apparently lived in before the shadows escaped... again I was too young to remember this, but Aiasha says she remembers snippits of it, and we heard the rest of the story from Celastine, who has raised us in our parents place.O ur parents dying of unnatural causes shortly after finding this small band of survivors, who then went on to build this little village. We are extremely lucky that we found Celastine and her band of brave survivors. We owe her our lives.
    Celastine gave two sharp claps to regain everyone's attention. "You all have your usual chores to do in the morning as usual. Irvine! Make sure that hole in the village wall is fixed by noon tomorrow. We cannot spare Legion members to watch over that hole forever you know."
    "It shall be so Elder." The man named Irvine replied from somewhere in the crowd, and I saw him emerge from the group and exit quickly through a door to the right.
    "Giran, is Kiros' replacement shield ready yet?" Celastine enquir
    ed to a huge man just in front of the stage.
    "Justa few finishin' touch's and she'll be ready to ward off anythin' them Shadow things can throw at him." Giran responded in a gruff voice.
    "Good. I think that officially concludes this evening's gathering. Good night everyone!" Celastine smiled one last time, turned to go, but stopped again. "Oh and one more round of applause for Aiasha and the band?" Cheers arrupted again in response and i swear if that guitarist went any redder, he'd turn into a strawberry. Aiasha was bowing and mouthing her thanks to everyone over the noise before eventually the cheers died down and everyone began to shuffle towards the exit, which I was stood by. I left the hall first to avoid getting squashed by the crowd.

    I stepped out into the town square. It was dark but the town was well lit from the various torches that were lit around the square. A couple of huge and black armoured Legion members were talking amoungst themselves next to a torch post, and I could just about make out a few Guards sat at their posts on top of the village wall just a little bit ahead. after stepping outside, I then side stepped and leant on the wall just next to the door as everyone filtered out of the hall and split off towards their individual homes. It all went quiet as the sounds of people talking amoungst themselves phased into the background, and I was still leant on the wall, i was waiting for Aiasha to come out.
    "I wonder what's taking her so long?" I thought to myself, just as i heard heavy footsteps and the chinking of armour getting louder and louder. I looked round just as another Legion guard appeared from round the side of the building,
    "Good evening to you sir..." he said in a polite voice through his moustache.
    "Evening." I replied, as the Guard continued on, the chinking of his armour growing fainter as he disappeared down another pathway lined with huts. It's nice to see the Legion wandering around, because it gives you that extra feeling of security and safety.
    It was a quiet night tonight, all I could hear was the crackling torchlight's and the odd faint chink of armour from somewhere. I was just about to go back in and see what was keeping Aiasha, when she finally emerged from the door and spotted me waiting for her.
    "Took your time." I grunted in mock discontent.
    "Hey, I had to help clear up and say good bye to Zeke and the others." She replied, sounding unamused at my tone as she brushed her shoulder length, blonde hair back.
    "I know I know, I'm just messin' with you." she smiled in response. We started off towards our hut at a reasonable pace, though not too fast, as Aiasha was wearing a long dress this evening and couldn't move very quickly.
    "What did you think of my new song?" She asked after about 10 seconds.
    "W-whaat!?" She rounded on me.
    "Jooookes Aish! You know I love all your songs!" I laughed giving her a thumbs up. "You're the best dang singer there is! I'm sure you could make a song about someone going to the toilet and make it still sound bri-"
    "Ok ok Zero I get it." She replied chuckling softly. "Thanks for the support."
    "Not like you don't get enough of it." I grinned as she went red. "How was that new guy after the show?"
    "You know.... whatever his name is, that, that guitarist."
    "Ah yes, Oran's son: Rio his name is. He's a lovely guy... quiet though." Aiasha scratched her chin in thought.
    "Never seen him before.... I know there's a fair amount of people living here in our village but I know everyone by name... Except The Legion guys, they dont count."
    "You know Maximo though." Aiasha piped up, as we rounded a corner and started down the path towards our hut.
    "Yeah, but only recently, and only because he's my personal trainer for the guard."
    "Oh..." She answered quietly. We made it to our hut and stepped inside. I hung my coat up on the wooden coat hanger by the door, and I heard Aiasha's heels thudding along the wooden floor away from me. I stepped up on a stool and lit the wall-hanging lantern with a match from the match box we keep just on the table. After getting down, I turned round and saw Aiasha stop just by the wooden door to her room, turn to look at me, then came thudding back towards me.
    "Listen, Zero... I know how much you wanna help the village too. But, please don't do anything stupid ok? The last thing I want is to lose you too." I looked back at her.
    "You won't. I'm gonna become the greatest Shadow fighter there is. You'll see." I smiled a confident smile at her. She smiled back, then gave me a hug.
    "Hey come on.... cut that out." I pretended to groan, but I didn't push her away. After another second or two she let go of me and thudded away again towards her room.
    "Don't stay up too late Zero!" She called back as she opened the door.
    "Aiasha?" she stopped. "... As much as it pains me to say this: You look brilliant this evening." She smiled at me before closing the door behind her.

    This is my first chapter for my short, andits probably in need of some work XD so any feedback would be great cheers
    Last edited by The Shield; 11-17-2009 at 05:40 PM.

  2. #2
    Registered User glover7's Avatar
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    Nov 2009
    Athens, GA
    Your opening paragraph reads as a bit disjointed. When I read a science fiction/speculative future story, especially a post-apocalyptic one, I look for realism first and foremost. If it sounds too contrived, I'm not going to be interested.

    That being said, the opening line is weak. Instead of talking about how your character has never experienced television, pop culture paraphernalia, etc., you should focus more on telling us the story in a more temporally continuous way. If your character hasn't experienced those things in his entire life, then he probably doesn't grasp the former influence that it had on culture. So not bringing it up is perhaps stronger than saying that he doesn't understand it.

    Also, as I tell a lot of writers whose stories I proofread, eliminate any sort of extraneous dialogue tags. Your characters don't need to "reply" or "enquire." They just need to say and occasionally ask.

    As an aside, I have a deep prejudice against science fiction stories set ostensibly in the near future that have cast off any naming system like the current one. This includes fantasy stories that incorporate apostrophes in the name a la Vana'tiel. Did you lift Kiros from FFVIII?

    Hope I've helped.

  3. #3
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    Nov 2009
    yea, you have lol. i only started writing this like the other day so i suppose i expected this much to be wrong with it.
    about the names: most of my names are ones ive either made up, heard from various places and on various movies, games etc so yea lol kiros was a random name i picked out of something i knew: ff viii
    i just wantr the names to be different i suppose.
    anyhoot, il see wat i can do with it

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