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yarn
December 4th, 2010, 06:30 PM
The silhouette of the domes stood black against the darkened skies. Rishan could not remember a day in his life when the sky hadn’t been dark. Day and night were barely distinguishable. The night was black but the day was cloaked in a sullen blue-grey light that cast muted shadows over the landscape. Empty winds blew cold and unrelenting across the tortured plains. Empty because there were no people’s voices to carry or bird songs or even trees rustling; so little had survived in this sun-depraved world.

Rishan had never seen the sun. At least, not in its full glory, yellowy-orange in the midday sky, shining its life-giving rays upon the Earth. The sun he knew was just the pale light that filtered through the soot blanket high up in the atmosphere, the remnants of a super-volcano that erupted long before Rishan was born.

The dark world he lived in was all that he knew but stories passed down through the generations told of a time when the world was abundant in natural resources and people lived in huge cities. Now, all that remained of those cities was their empty shells. Buildings towered high into the air, slowly succumbing to erosion and decay. The cities cast even darker shadows on an already darkened world. They were also great places to hide and it was for this reason that Rishan and his family chose to live there – and they had good reason to hide.

The city that Rishan lived in was on the edge of a huge desert and somewhere out there in the midst of it stood the domes, solid and impenetrable. They were so big it was possible to see them from the city and they spanned an area so great it would take days to walk from one dome to the next. Rishan and his father had established, whilst out on one expedition, that there were nine domes – eight surrounding the central dome in a circular fashion with long tunnels connecting each one.

The domes were inhabited by another group of human survivors that lived very different lives from Rishan and the other people in the Outlands. According to the stories, they were the descendants of rich and influential people from pre-eruption times who had secured themselves a place in the domes with large sums of money. They had sealed themselves off from the outside world and had escaped the terrifying fate that became so many of the world’s people.

Those that lived in the domes called themselves Geman, which was an abbreviation of Genetically Enhanced Humans. They had all been endowed with superior genes as part of their integration into the domes and could live for up to 150 years. There were also numerous animal-human hybrids within the domes, some capable of integrating into Geman society but others no more than wild beasts.

The Gormen were an aggressive species of animal-human hybrids that were engineered for the sole purpose of kidnapping the Outlanders. The Outlanders would then be taken into the domes and never return. There were many stories about what happened to people after they had been taken into the domes but they all shared one central theme: death. The Outlanders were terrified of the Gormen and that was why they chose to live in the derelict cities where they could easily disappear into the labyrinth of buildings.
Life in the Outlands was difficult enough without the added danger of the Gormen. Every corner opened the potential of walking straight into their arms. Every trip outside of the cities was filled with risk and yet, they had no choice – most of their food was found away from the cities.

Rishan had a deep hatred of the Gormen and the Geman. His own mother and sister had been captured by the Gormen when he was just 16. They had been foraging for food on the outskirts of the desert where a few edible shrubs grew. The Gormen had ambushed them and five others. Two had gotten away and related the story back to Rishan and his father, Navid. That had been four years ago. Rishan and his father had put brave faces on and continued to go out hunting every day, not entirely sure what their reason for living was in their bleak world.

Rishan was now a man and one of the stronger and more able bodied among the poorly fed males. He had been lucky. Many of the children were born malformed because of the lack of nutrition, poor drinking water and general lack of fertility. He secretly vowed to take revenge on the Gormen if he ever got the chance though his father warned him against it saying that, strong as he was, he was no match for the mighty Gormen who stood at least a foot taller than most men and had unrivaled strength.

He and his father went out to find food every day on the outskirts of the city though it hardly required the same kind of bravado that hunting a stag or a boar would have demanded when those kinds of animals roamed the Earth; Rishan and Navid went hunting for rats.
Rats were one of the few species of mammals to have survived after the supervolcano erupted and dramatically affected the Earth’s climate. The lack of sun light and heat killed-off most of the plants and vegetation which in turn killed-off all those animals that depended on them for survival. The starvation moved through the food chain until all that remained were a few burrowing rodents, insects and the ubiquitous cockroach. Even sea life was affected. Phytoplankton – which also depended on photosynthesis – suffered greatly and much of the sea’s fragile eco-system was destroyed.

Rats were the only meat on the Outlander’s menus, except for a small desert gopher which could be found deeper in the desert but was hard to locate and even harder to trap. Other than the rats they had a few edible plants and insects to subsist on; nobody had taken to eating cockroaches yet, though they could be found in abundance.

munsungun
December 6th, 2010, 02:30 PM
This is a decent outline of a story. I'm assuming that is what it is and not an actually opening. The story sounds a lot like The Time Machine set in a uglier world.

If you are going for an actual opening then I suggest feeding us a lot less back story.

yarn
December 6th, 2010, 02:39 PM
That's a very good point. I will tackle it from a less "back story" point of view. I did do a lot of planning regarding this part and it may have leaked through into the actual story.

Thanks

garza
December 6th, 2010, 04:03 PM
Also consider using the edit button to change to a much smaller, more readable, typeface and to add paragraph breaks. For me to read this as it is I would have to download it to Notepad, change the typeface, and add the breaks myself.

yarn
December 6th, 2010, 04:18 PM
Thanks. I'll try and edit it

garza
December 6th, 2010, 05:36 PM
Much better. Still larger than need be and not in the normal font, but better.

Razzazzika
December 6th, 2010, 06:42 PM
sounds like you have a nice post apoc world set up, the only gripes i can say I had with it storywise were that you outright said that the ash was from an erupted supervolcano. Half the mystery in post-apocalyptic stories to me is HOW the world ended up the way it did, and you outright said it at the beginning, causing me to lose interest, even though your descriptions prior to that point captivated me.

The other one is: "The Gormen were an aggressive species of animal-human hybrids that were engineered for the sole purpose of kidnapping the Outlanders." Why were they bred to kidnap people? that seems... strange and somewhat pointless. I'm sure you have a reason for it, but I didn't quite grasp it. I got the whole Geman thing. But the Gormen flew over my head.

yarn
December 8th, 2010, 11:26 AM
Much better. Still larger than need be and not in the normal font, but better.

don't want to sound sarcastic but what is the normal font?

thanks

yarn
December 8th, 2010, 11:29 AM
Thanks for taking the time to read it and I appreciate your comments. The one about HOW the world ended up as is it did, didn't occur to but i think it's a good point and I will take it in to consideration.

I remember when I wrote the line about the Gormen being created to kidnap the Outlanders that I thought it was weak but I couldn't think of a better way of saying what I wanted to express at the time. Thanks again