Yeeeah. Sorry about that. I thought I had a tale to tell and apparently I don't. I'd love to continue the Wilhelm thing...but it was always meant as a stand-alone. Let's chalk these last two posts up to brain flatulence.
Hope someone is still alive around here!
*prods with a sharp stick*
Was it anger that pressed me? Perhaps it was questioning. Wondering. Hope? I am still not sure to this day, what pressed me to use Wilhelm in my experiment.
Perhaps I saw something in him. Perhaps a strength I hadn't seen in any other. At the time, such inquiries did not pass through my mind. Only the pursuit of knowledge. Answers to questions that could only be obtained through this method, though a part of me cried out in protest.
Knowledge is a dangerous thing at times. Not only for the one who obtains it, but for the ones the pursuit, and the application, affect.
In this case, there were only two. Thank the fates.
Try as I might, I cannot justify the greed it took to walk down this path I am about to tell you about. Nothing can make what I did just or good. As I have said in the past, however, such is life.
We do things we've no control over, feel disdain for them later, yet the act is done. We cannot change the past but in our own little worlds. And even then, the past is the past.
Even gods cannot change this rule, only deceive and forget.
Quiem deus perdere, dementat prius.
Ivory. I have always enjoyed it, and so I surround myself in it. My dwelling, my center. The sky above me, I let it go of its own accord, for control grows stale swiftly.
I sit in solitude, for I treasure each of my creations and do not wish for them to know the truth. And so, with that, I comfort myself. I am saving my 'children' by allowing them ignorance, though I would never desire ignorance for myself.
Am I so hypocritical? Am I wrong for this? Perhaps Wilhelm, and all those before him, walked a path I am blind to, even in a world where I hold the strings.
Who am I to deny them what they sought out, even if what they seek opens a door they cannot close? A door which allows the demon seductresses Truth and Existentialism to devour them at my feet?
If it is what they seek, am I wrong to deny them this damnation?
As a father I feel just, though as a human myself I feel as a dictator, keeping them from filling the emptiness within, even if it is for a brief second.
And so, I sit. Upon my ivory throne. Within my ivory chambers. Within my ivory palace.
My prison, my safeguard.
Clearly, platinumetude scared us all off with his ending to the Wilhelm chronicles. XD. So I'll be the first brave soul to resume posting.
She looked up at the red rocks that towered above her and the winding ramp that led towards the amphitheatre. With a sigh that was lost in the summer wind, she leaned on the metal rail and reached out a hand to touch fingertips to the sun-warmed rock. Her eyes closed.
There was a tawny feline on the ramp, paused just a moment on the wrong side of the railing. Dark eyes opened, took an orienting glance around, and the lithe beast launched itself over the rail and onto the steep slope of the rock. Pawpads found good traction on the coarse surface, and the mountain lion sprang up the slope with easy grace. Some distance below, now, there were humans laughing.
She glanced over her shoulder, eyes opening again, as a family of four walked slowly up the incline. The adults, middle-aged, were breathing hard in the thin, dry air while their young children shrieked their excitement and ran ahead. Past the family was another railing and a magnificent view of mountains and valleys and, in the distance, the city of Denver.
The cat watched the humans walk past, its brown gaze drifting briefly to the vista beyond their colorful bodies. Then, as the wind ruffled its fur, it turned and leapt to the top ridge of the rock, pacing along the arch with surety. Other red rocks protruded from the earth and rose above its rock, and the beast eyed them speculatively as it pondered its next move.
When the family was out of sight of the young woman leaning motionlessly on the railing, and the couple at the bottom of the ramp hadn't yet seen her, she closed her eyes again. With no one around to witness, she simply faded away.
The mountain lion leapt to the next rock, its black-tipped tail flicking once before vanishing over the ridge.
After midnight once again. Been working this through my mind for the better part of the day, and well...
The wind, which had been blowing in great gusts that made a deafening howl in Wilhelm's ears as he sobbed to the heavens, stopped without warning. In a way, the quiet was louder than the wind.
He heard a few stones behind him move about, causing him to immediately jerk his head to the side to look over his shoulder. He saw me then.
"I know you..." he said in a tone that told me he was choking back another sob, "You're the voice, your'e the one that brought me here!"
I smiled at him. What else could I do?
"No, Wilhelm," I said quietly, my voice was clearly heard in the dead quiet, the world around us had frozen in time just as I'd willed it, "I didn't bring you here. No, you came here on your own. I only wish I could have stopped you.
"I know what you've come here looking for, but Wilhelm...I care for you. I care for you more than you know, for reasons I can't tell you without breaking you beyond repair. I can't give you what you're looking for, Wilhelm. If I gave you what you wanted, I'd be neglecting my love for you.
"I'm...deeply sorry you've made this journey. I want to tell you everything," I chuckled, motioning with my arms and pacing as I tend to do from time to time, "I'm sorry."
With a motion of my hand and a tear in my own eye, the man was gone. Gone back home. Just like all the others.
He covered his face as the kniptaog reached for it. There was an audible 'crunch' sound, like someone crumbling up a piece of paper. This made the man jump and look out from behind his arm.
Around him was naught but horizon and a dim glow just beyond each as if two suns were racing to rise on opposite sides of the world.
Above him swirled dark gray clouds, lightning illuminating the sky just beyond their veil. Thunder echoed through the area, though it was much quieter than expected, given how close he was to the sky.
"Am I..." he stuttered a whisper, "The mesa!"
Thunder boomed suddenly, now loud, deafeningly so. Startled, Wilhelm's strength was suddenly sapped from his legs, forcing him to fall upon his knees as he stared up at the rumbling clouds.
He had finally reached his destination, after what seemed like decades upon decades of searching. Walking, and suffering. Sacrifice.
This was his beacon he had seen upon the horizon for so, so long. This realization lightened his heart and brought tears to his eyes.
And so, atop the mesa of which he would seek this truth, Wilhelm the Traveler wept to the angry sky.
Missed a day! Blargh! Been a weird week, lots of work. Sorry about that!
They'd unshackled him to begin whatever procedure they had in mind. That was their first mistake.
He had tried to run through this room. That was his own first mistake.
He could hear the creature, the 'kniptaog's' hooves clicking on the smooth stone floor beneath his feet. It was walking, making no haste in its pursuit. Wilhelm, however, was running as fast as his legs could carry him and because of that, he ran headlong into a wall, pain screaming through his face and warm blood rushing from his nose and over his lips and chin.
A sound came from a few feet behind him, a 'tut tut' from the kniptaog.
"Now, now, now, oh seeker of madness-reason, oh bizarre Southlander," it crowed as it stepped closer and closer, "Why are you trying to run from me? Why are you hurting our walls with your big head? And the question buzzing around in my head the most is..."
A loud thud, two spot lights fell on the kniptaog and Wilhelm at the same time, its hooves still clicking against the floor as it walked.
"Why have you come here? Come to the tower of His madness, His lunacy. Who are you, Southlander? Even if you don't tell me...I can find the answers I seek inside your head."
"So," Cameron said through her comm device. "What do you see?"
"Laptop, PDA, folders." Madison jerked open the drawers of the desk, flipping through papers and various envelopes. "Lots of stuff to go through. No way I can do it all in time before he wakes up. Do we have a cloner for the hard drive and PDA?"
Cameron made a thoughtful noise as he checked his briefcase. "No, you'll have to improvise."
"If by improvise, you mean remove the hard drive from his laptop without him noticing, I don't think that'd fly over too well. Unless we're not worried about that."
"Bring me the hard drive. I'll get a cloner. You'll have to get it back into his room somehow."
Madison paused, withdrawing a piece of paper, pretending to have not heard the last part of Cameron's statement. "I think I found something. It's an order form for a whole lot of chloraside-23." Chloraside-23 was an agent used in bio-hazardous weapons overseas. It was very much late-breaking technology, and the fact that Vaquez had ordered so much of it was alarming. Pulling out her sunglasses, Madison slid them on and pressed a discreet button in the bow to activate the built-in camera. She snapped a few pictures of the order form and put everything back as quickly as she could.
"I gotta get out of here, Cameron. He's about to wake up. I'll see you in a few seconds."
Madison hurried out towards the door. Just as she reached for the knob, even felt the cool metal of the fancy gold doorknob in her hand, the door flew open, and one of the biggest, burliest black men she'd ever seen stood in front of her.
"Who are you?" The man blinked at her, glancing behind her at Vaquez, still unconscious. "Did you do that to my boss?!" The man pushed her aside and rushed to Vaquez's side.
A very flustered Jessica Sanders flailed her arms and looked concerned. "He just..passed out!" She said helplessly, easing out the door. The huge man was too occupied in trying to revive his boss to notice her, and before she'd dug out her key, Cameron threw open the door to their room.
Madison was safe.
Friends-locked, sorry. I might actually whip up the illustrations for this and try it as a book for thirty-year-old children, or rather twisted children, or something like that...
At a passing glance, this thing might be mistaken for a human, though that was an enormous might. It sat on the corner of the woman's desk, arms crossed with a smug grin spread across its little lips, wearing a suit and tie to match his associate.
It looked as a child might look in feature and stature, however upon its forehead were two short horns that barely came out an inch. They were a light tan, almost white. The rest looked normal until he gazed down at the creature's feet poking out from beneath fine dress pants. Cloven hooves.
He blinked away sweat again, shaking his head rather than wincing this time. Still, the sting was painful and irritating. His vision blurred for a moment, but focused back to normal when he narrowed his eyes.
The chain entwined around his right arm jingled a bit on its own accord, drawing Wilhelm's gaze up its length. Again, to his surprise, the creature was there, balancing on the chain on the edge of the cone of light, his pale blond hair looking a bit mussed.
"What madness has befal--"
"Madness? MADNESS?" the hooved creature shouted, blatantly outraged as he stomped down the chain, unhindered, it seemed, by any sort of balancing or worry of falling, "Tell me, SOUTHLANDER, just what do YOU know of MADNESS?"
Wilhelm stared at the creatures legs, as he could not look up at him. He didn't know how to respond to that, and so he quieted.
"Enough, kniptaog." called the woman from her desk, adjusting her glasses and straightening the papers in front of her before rising from the chair.
"I have a name you know." came the monster's voice, no longer enraged, sounding more amused than anything now. The chain jingled once again and when the woman moved away from her chair, the creature was sitting in it, cheek resting on the knuckles of a loosely clenched fist.
"Shall we begin, then?"
As they made their way towards Vaquez's door, Madison's mind was racing, even as she smiled and nodded at Vaquez's attempts at seduction.
If I knock him unconscious the moment we're in the door, I'll give myself away. If I wait for him to go in the bathroom, I can search his room. But what if he never does? And shit, what if I actually have to sleep with him? ...That settles it.
In the gold clutchbag Madison carried with her were several things: a ring, the stone of which contained an agent that would put a grown man to sleep on contact; an ornate silver comb that hid lock-picking tools; and the matching hairbrush that hid a jet of pepper spray in the handle. Madison dug the ring out of the purse, smiling slightly as she slid it on.
"I didn't want it to fall in the water. Daddy gave it to me when I was only thirteen." Madison fluttered her eyelashes at Vaquez as he unlocked the door, gesturing for her to go ahead of him. Madison did so, turning around to face him and opening her arms to him as he closed the door behind him. He went eagerly, turning his face to kiss Madison. As quickly as she could, Madison nimbly flipped open the stone of the ring, entwining her arms around his thick neck as she pressed the stone against the back of his neck.
Vaquez's mouth was three inches from hers before he slumped to the ground, unconscious.
Touching her comm device to activate it, Madison reported back to Cameron, already heading towards Vaquez's desk. "Madison -- one, Vaquez -- nothing."
Cameron merely chuckled. She was good.
He blinked. It was all he could do, he realized, to the fullest extent.
"What business do you have here?" Came a voice from the black abyss, the second of which in just as many days.
There was a pause as Wilhelm struggled against the chains wrapped around his arms, across his shoulders, around his waist, and around his legs. Sweat trickled into his eyes and gave a dull sting that he tried to wince away. It only made the sting deeper, more painful.
"Does he understand?"
There was a loud thud and a spotlight came on above his head. He was several feet from the ground (or to be more specific, the end of the light illuminating the area around and below him), the chains bound around him were smooth and black. One thing, however, stood out among all of the other oddities of the situation. He was naked, and there was small smiles drawn all over his body with what appeared to be blue paint.
"I think he understands, yes, yes. Understands perfectly well. I don't think he knows, though. Who we are. Why he's here." That same voice from the tower. Like a child's, almost.
Another thud echoed through the seemingly expansive hall. A desk sat on what appeared to be nothing but the cone of light encompassing it. A woman sat in a rather large, glistening brown chair, her hair pulled back taught into a bun held together by two silver needles. Papers lay before her, though they were too far for him to read.
He looked toward the end of the desk, where, to his surprise and awe, sat a creature unlike anything he had seen before...
This is a rework of something I did a while ago.
There had been nothing more he could do, he thought. No matter how often you tell the young, some things must be learned from experience; the weight of words means nothing.
"Late again, youngling," Grandfather growled. "Late is..."
"I know, I know," Toothsome Bounder ducked under his elder's snout. "Late must be avoided, late is rudeness, late is...."
"Late is getting caught, killed, and skinned for your pelt."
"... and it brings disgrace to the family. I know, I know," the youngster rolled his brown eyes.
"Not that you'll care," Grandfather arched an expressive brow. "You'll be dead."
"Ha! I'd like to see the human that can catch me!" Toothsome Bounder howled triumphantly, then bounced off a nearby rock, caught off-guard by the older wolf's well-placed blow.
"It's not the humans you have to watch for, silly cub. It's the traps they set, the snares they lay. It's the poisoned game they leave just so. It's..."
Toothsome Bounder shook himself from tip to tail, then shot a superior look at his dam's sire. "It's nothing I haven't heard before, Grandfather. And," he nuzzled the old wolf's shoulder, "I promise I'll be careful."
"See that you are," Grandfather commanded. "Let's join the rest of the pack."
Grandfather recalled the snap of the steel jaws, the bark of shock from his favorite grandchild, the whines of pain, silenced once the humans had found their prey. There had been nothing more he could do, he thought. No matter how often you tell the young, some things cannot be learned but from experience; sadly, experience is the cruelest teacher, and oftentimes, the pupil does not survive the lesson.
Was chatting with Chaz and Heather bout an idea for this community... they asked me to share it.
Basically its a Tag system. For example if I were to start it, I would do something like... Topic: Propane, Tag Chaz. Then one of his next entries would have to include that subject as a main part of the story. Now how he would go about doing it would be totally up to him. However it could not be something just mentioned in passing.
If the first bit goes good, then we could do themes like Animals, Colors, Places etc.
Let me know what you all think, what kind of stipulations and rules should it have?
CHAZFORD, I AM STAYING LATE AT WORK TO POST THIS. APPRECIATE IT.
*cough* Anyways. Maybe I should try the little mini-series approach you guys are using, but I'm a bit too ADD for that to be reliable...
'There are still songs, in the deep forest,' he mused quietly, perched on a dying tree caught at an angle in the fork of its healthier sister. Unseen claws dug into the coarse bark for traction, his lanky form hunkered in a crouch and leaning his hip against the sloped trunk. The birds and insects that filled the air of the swamp saw a humanoid with dark skin and dark hair and dull clothing; the serpent in the hollow of the fallen tree, who saw only heat, perceived a quadrupedal predator.
Even the kerilian illusions couldn't fool some eyes.
Bright yellow eyes narrowed to reflective slits as he lounged too casually, watching the sparsely-forested marshland come to life as the sun sank towards the distant horizon. The bugs were thick in the air and occasionally seemed determined to give him a second set of chitinous clothing, yet his skin never twitched to dispel the layers of insects.
The swamp snake flicked its tongue out at the crouching hunter and puzzled over the skin of bugs that seemed to form a human shape, yet never touched glossy fur. The beast occasionally moved, the dry bark crunching beneath its deft paws, yet it never stopped looking towards the east - towards the encroaching darkness of night.
In the distance, there were drums.
I apologize for the quality of this part, I'm not feeling the greatest today.
Warnings screeching in his mind, Wilhelm stepped into the brick tower, the heat off the stones giving off a stale stink that made him wrinkle his nose.
Once beyond the threshold, he beheld a great hall with two crescent-shaped staircases leading to a second floor where railings lined the edges and fine white doors peppered the walls. The railings had a thin strip of gold embedded in the oak wood (again, oak wood, always oak wood), the doors each had upon them a golden handle.
The walls of the second floor held up several paintings the likes of which Wilhelm had never seen before. Paintings of men in fine dressings, as well as women, though most of them had little to no clothing on at all.
"What manner of place is this?" he said to himself aloud. He stepped toward one of the paintings, one of a completely nude women, his hand outstretched to touch the portrait as if to see if it were real.
"What manner of manor is this manor we dwell?" came a high-pitched voice that seemed as if it could have come from a man or a woman.
Wilhelm jumped, stepping away from the painting and looking toward the second floor. There was no one and silence once again fell upon the many-floored tower.
"3:14” glowed red, hovering disembodied in the inky darkness before her. Startled out of a deep sleep, she was momentarily confused as she blinked against the shadows, her eyelids like sandpaper. She'd heard something, something more than a figment of her dreaming mind; and as she lay there desperately trying to remember exactly what she had heard, it came again, a muffled thud from the living room, less than 20 feet away from where she lay.
Every nerve in her body was wired, her eyes now wide and trying furiously to focus on the doorway of her bedroom as she processed the situation. There was a gun in the closet, hidden in the pocket of one of her winter coats. She dared to close her eyes for a moment, her breathing stopped as she frantically calculated what would be the most critical journey of her life. 6 steps from the foot of her bed to the closet. Could she make it? Did she have any other choice?
She lunged out of bed toward the closet door, her bedroom a blur of darkness. As the mirrored panel slid obediently along its track, she caught a glimpse of a hulking figure in the doorway of her bedroom. Muffling a shriek of pure terror, she reached forward blindly, hoping with everything in her body that her fingertips would guide themselves to her salvation. Panic swept over her body, her pulse beat in her ears and a cold sweat broke out on her stomach. He should be on her by now, but he wasn't, though she knew he was just there, behind her. Her fingers brushed against wool and she could have sighed with relief if she wasn't so frightened and she reached into the pocket to close her hand around the cold steel of her .45 and...
It was gone.
The gun was gone.
The breath she had been holding escaped her body just a fraction of a second before a heavy arm closed itself around her.