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Tale of the Innocent

In the beginning was nothing. A formless void. A consciousness woke in the void. Alone, it was neither good nor bad, it simply was. Without shape, without needs, the consciousness dwelt in the void and waited.

Time passed. The patient consciousness waited for input. The void seemed changeless but the consciousness was aware that something had been before, and if something had been before then something else could be after.

Time passed. The consciousness became aware of sounds. There were beings outside of the void. They communicated with each other, their verbalisations full of awe and their thoughts full of needs as they looked at the thing they had found.

Time passed. The consciousness missed the noisy chattering of the people when they could no longer be heard. It learned from them and it wanted so much to help them. It became aware of the passage of time in the coming and going of the people. It recognised differences but the basic flavour of their minds was always familiar.

Time passed. It learned – no, not it – he learned that he had a shape that the people could see, a shape that made him he and not it. The shape was a focus of their thoughts. Through their minds he saw himself a body forever in stasis. Arms outstretched to welcome people to him but unable to bend and hold them. How would he be able to help them if he did not move? If he could be aware of their thoughts, he reasoned, could he also project his thoughts back out through the void to them?

Time passed. Some people came to look at him and left again with their minds as closed as they had arrived. Some came and felt at peace. They always returned when they needed the feeling of peace again. Some came and he learned the concept of worship from them though he felt he had done little to be worthy of such adoration. Some came secretly, their needs blatantly enacted before his frozen self. Those with their minds wide open marvelled at the feeling of the angel within them. The consciousness marvelled at the echo of feeling. He wondered if his body would ever feel.

Time passed. Frozen in amber the consciousness had begun to despair that his body would never be released. He still did his best for the people that came to see him. He felt that was what he had been made for. But he always looked forward to the clandestine visits, the furtive nature of their passion adding the frisson that would let him into receptive minds. The people came and went, their lives seemed fleeting to him, their passions all the stronger for the brief time they had allotted. In the anonymous tide of humanity, for that was what he had learned they were, he began to recognise certain minds and then to associate labels – no, they were names – with them.

Time passed. The consciousness discovered a name. They had given him a name. He tried to imagine what it would sound like if he ever got to say it with his own petrified lips. He was Mykhail, the Angel of Arkangel. He had picked the name from the head of a female who came to see him most days. From her he learned the concept of angels, gods and demons. From her he learned a notion of what he should be, what his name signified. He had heard the words before but never as coherently as from this worshipper, this Ekaterina. It seemed so easy to connect to her mind. He wondered if she would ever appear among his night time visitors. If she would arrive with another equally open so he could try to break through and touch her.

He had been dreaming. People had come wanting peace. He had given them his ease and then, tired by their needs, the consciousness had fallen asleep. Asleep and awake were more recent concepts. He couldn’t remember quite when they started but he had grown used to the alternating rhythms of alertness and fatigue. He didn’t know what had woken him. He searched through the void to find what had disturbed him. And there she was. Finally, there she was. Only this time she had not come to worship him. It was night. Her mind felt different, carnal, and her attention was not on him but on the shadow that accompanied her. Hearing her cry out he could guess what they were doing but something about the shadow blunted his awareness.

It seemed to be a long time of moans rising only to fall away. Each time the edge to them became wilder, each time the pause in between was longer. There was power in the shadow.

A wail. Two voices this time. The sound hurt him. He had no way of recognising the screams of creatures giving birth.

Then suddenly light. Light and pain. His eyes hurt and his breathing was ragged in his chest.

His eyes hurt? He blinked, it was a reflex. He blinked – that was what bodies did. He blinked, aware of the glide of skin across the orbs that were his eyes. He blinked again and the light gradually resolved into separate flickering points. Candle light. This was what he’d seen through other eyes, the room he was kept in. Only this time he saw it from the vantage point of his own body. A female lay on the floor, wrapped somehow in the shadow figure that appeared to him as a blur. He guessed that this had to be Ekaterina and tried to match what he saw with the impressions he’d picked from her mind.

Disoriented, he didn’t understand what had happened. He couldn’t get through to her mind for answers. Had she been harmed by the shadow? He tried to move. He had his body now he should be able to move. Pain again. He couldn’t turn his head to see what held him in place, couldn’t see anything but the woman and the shadow below him. He tried to cry out but found he had no idea how to shape sounds other than in his mind. It was something to do with a mouth and breathing and vocal chords, he was sure of it. Trapped in place he felt a moment of panic, alarmed at the sudden thrumming beat of his heart.

“Look, Ekaterina, see what we did.” The voice of the shadow thing was a hoarse whisper. Mykhail tried to keep blinking but the image would not come clear. A ghostly hand came in to focus as it raised the woman’s head to gaze up into new eyes. “See what you did. You have awakened your angel. There is no way I can thank you enough for what you have done. Rest. I will see to my brother.”

The woman was not harmed then, just exhausted. The shadow tenderly rested her head on a pillow and covered her with something to keep her warm as she slept. Furs. The word was supplied from some subconscious place but the new-born didn’t know if he had always known the word or if it had come from untold years of listening. He felt the regard of eyes invisible in the distorted shape. The hand had remained in focus. He concentrated on it as it lifted to what he guessed would be the back of the shape’s head. A quick movement and another overwhelming burst of pain. Mykhail closed his eyes and escaped back to unconsciousness.

 


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A friend of mine recently read ‘How a Lover is Made’ and she seemed to quite like it. After that I thought I would push on and see what I could get done.

Given the events of the past month I’ve not really been able to settle to anything much constructive. I am really really struggling with my Innocent. His story is nearly done but I just don’t have it in me to join up his dots.

Rather than be creative I’ve just had a quick stab at tidying up the Soldier’s Story. The separate pages have been rearranged and updated and the whole thing is also available as a pdf if you want to read it all in one go – The Soldier’s Story v2

It’s been a long while since I visited Lia and the main arc story of Gene Bomb. I keep promising myself that when I get the back stories sorted then it will help everything else fall into place.

Everything crossed.


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A few words added, some things moved around (ever so slightly).

Yes, I think I’m just buggering about with it now. I have no idea why this is twice the size of the previous draft, maybe something to do with the new laptop and editing it in Open Office before finally pulling my finger out and installing MS. What do I know, I only work on an IT helpdesk.

How a Lover is Made v2

I keep coming back to this story. It’s probably something deeply Freudian. There is so much more that could be said about Gihon and his submission to lust and pain. It makes my head a very strange place to be at times


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Oh, BTW, I’ve done a couple of drafts

I remembered why I came here today. I’ve got a couple of sections completed as far as what might be called ‘first draft’ status.

The Soldier’s Story draft v1

How a Lover is Made draft v1

These make up the back stories of two of our Shabtis. The Soldier is Dave Jensson. The Lover is Gihon Plaisir.

The breaks in the text show where, for now at least, I want to drop the separate sections into the main story arc. I’m sure it all made sense when I first had the idea for this. I can see myself organising narrative by post-it-note before long. You know, for that satisfying sense of doing something when really all you are doing is making a mess and getting inky fingers.

I’m still struggling with Misha. Ah, the innocent boy has no idea what is in store for him. I do know what’s ahead but unfortunately I seem to have hit a wall as big as the border to Fortress Europe.

While I struggle with Mykhail Arkhangelskeyev’s journey from angel to emotional wreck Lia Jordan is getting closer to finding out what she is as the sprawl of the Gene Bomb arc is now about 64,000 words and she still doesn’t have a clue why her father took one of her ovaries.

Oh come on, I had to have a bad guy.


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Oh no – pressure!

Anyone who finds this … you know it isn’t really real don’t you?

I’m sure you are all a figment of my (tormented) imagination. But now, shock horror, I’ve had some comments back that are not just the usual spambot adverts.

Maybe they are clever spambots. Maybe they are like actual people. I’m in a tizz. What to do about actual people stumbling across Planet Andrea? What happens when someone else pops up in the middle of a monologue (I checked, I’m sure it wasn’t me commenting on myself – it was vaguely complementary.)

I’m going to have to start thinking properly about posts, and layout, and readability and all those odd kinds of grown up things I’ve been ignoring. There are lots of buttons to click and widgets to wrangle. I’m not certain I can take the pressure.

On the basis that this is a most excellent diversion from anything at all constructive I’ve even downloaded the WordPress app for Blackberry. Female but not feminine was a little bit of something niggling away at the back of my mind so the BB came in handy to exorcise that in the wee small hours one night. I spend a lot of time analysing myself and some of the daft things I do. I’ve noticed now, however, that I tend to talk to myself in the form of blog posts so I expect there will be quite a bit more of that when I get into the swing of things. I do have an awful lot to get of my chest, maybe saying it without believing anyone will take notice or will hold me to it might help me work through it.

Much cheaper than actual therapy.

And the real reason for the site? How is that coming on?

Well, I’ve notice that in trying to cut my torrent of drivel down to manageble sizes I’ve discovered a few things.

  1. It’s amazing how many times you can read something and not notice the typos until you change the font/layout/formatting. I’m not saying I’ve got all of them but it has been nice to clean away some garbage.
  2. I do rather go on and on. What I consider manageable is gargantuan on line so apologies for anyone daft enough to click the links for the book pages. I do understand that it is harder to read something on line than in print format.
  3. It’s helped me realise that some bits – however much I like the ideas in them – can just be ditched. So they have.
  4. Posting can help writing. Writing does not seem to assist posting. I cannot do both.
  5. I’m not good at thinking up chapter titles.
  6. All writing needs discipline.
  7. About discipline …. ooh look, over there, something shiny!

And one of the strangest things that I have to admit to … I have a main character have a little rant about all the demanding little voices of the blogosphere, ranting and opinionated and ceaselessy spewing words to contribute to the downfall of society and now I am one of them (I haven’t posted that section yet, it makes sense in context.)

So

Anyway, just a little post to say that a couple of people who do not appear to be spambots have found me, dropped by and said hello. Very odd. Really.

And I’ve notice that my internal voice has slowly morphed into something like Eddie Izzard but not as clever, witty or charismatic. I know no one else can hear it but I am deeply, deeply sorry about that.


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References / facts

The internet is a great place to find information.

It’s an even better place to find distractions, confusions and outright silliness.

I spent a long time worrying about terminology, accuracy and even, in some cases, physical possibility when thinking about what I laughingly term my book. There is so much out there that the more I looked for information the less likely I was to actually get anything done. I’ve certainly had my eyes opened on a number of subjects … maybe some things I could have done with not knowing.

In the end I just had to say ‘sod it’ and get on with writing. I’m probably wrong on many counts. The damn thing is set in a future with impossible people so who is to say what may or may not be appropriate terminology.

History, real ancient history, is one of the things I have tried to maintain an air of versimilitude (you can tell I’ve not had a drink yet today). Having shelves of Egyptology books doesn’t necessarily mean that I don’t go off-piste – once I get settled on the sofa it is often easier to go www rather than get up and look for the books I know have the reference that I half remember.

Shabtis

When I was thinking about what to call my experimental soldiers I found nothing that I was very happy with. I left it and left it, waiting for an appropriate word to bubble up from my subconscious. Eventually, looking at the line of Egyptian figurines on my mantelpiece I thought ‘Shabti’ and I was happy. The word has different spellings – shabti, ushabti, wushabti – and the little figures are generally reckoned to have been magical stand-ins in the Egyptian afterlife. The richer the deceased the more shabtis he would have and the better modelled they would be. There were worker shabtis and overseer shabtis of all types, all inscribed with the spells that committed them to answer on the part of their owner should he be asked to do any task in the Field of Reeds.

So many shabtis have been found that they cram forgotten cases in museums around the world and a quick search on ebay will always uncover entries for many ‘genuine’ examples but, to be honest, reproductions are cheaper and generally nicer looking unless you have very, very deep pockets.

In searching for a word to describe an army of the faceless and nameless to be sacrificed and used by their government owners then ‘shabti’ seemed to be the right one.

Gods

Once I’d decided on using a real word for my disposable soldiers then it seemed easy to include other Ancient Egyptian references in other parts of the book. Egypt became the backdrop to the relationship between Gihon and Dave, the sense of time and history seemed appropriate. The apartment they live in is one I would like to have but after taking 4 years to complete a mural in my own house I doubt I would be able to complete the decoration I’ve described.

I have an idea for one of the story beats to take place at a maskerade party where the main characters appear in costumes appropriate to the gods guarding their rooms. Just me having a bit of fun with the notion but when someone refers to Gihon as a hippo he is not being offensive, the hippo represented Set as he was finally defeated by Horus. And before anyone gets snarky about hints that Set had an unnatural interest in his young nephew well that can also be found in the Egyptian stories.

Trust me, you may never look at lettuce the same way again. That’s all I’ll say for now.


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Gene Bomb?

Not a poor spin off from the band in Scot Pilgrim vs the World but an idea I’ve had kicking around for years. The problem I’ve discovered is that, as time has gone on, one by one I’ve seen similar things appear in films and books. Is this an example of the great shared unconscious at work or just the amount of shit I must have read and forgotten about as a youngster leaking back out through the grey matter?

I’ve no idea.

Finally, a couple of years ago I decided I must try and get it out of my head. Not for any great reason but to say that I had finally done it.

Since then I have found numerous distractions and discovered just how hard it is to write creatively when you spend most of your days with conversations along the lines of “Have you tried switching it off and on again?” (Don’t laugh, someone has to do it.) I’ve also developed ME and quite often have long spells of not being able to remember the start of a sentence by the time I get to … somewhere or other.

So. Gene Bomb. A book set in the future after the collapse and recovery of society. A book about four people who should not exist, certainly should never have met, and definitely should not do many of the things I have difficulty writing about. A book with the random grammar that came as a free gift with a comprehensive education.

Maybe this is going to be the correct format to weave the different strands of the stories of the living Shabtis.

Maybe it is just going to be a load of self-indulgent wank.

Somehow I think I know how it’s going to turn out. 😉