View Full Version : The Five paths of the Founder - Chapter 2 (Mild sexual themes and gore; 4200 words)

August 17th, 2014, 05:51 PM
** PG13+ Mild sexual themes, Mild Gore **

Hey, so this one is a long one. I can imagine long chapters or a long read can get quite boring, which is the aim I am looking for here.

General feedback and opinions here would be nice.

If you felt it was too long tell me perhaps what I could shorten or if it would be better just to split it into two chapters.

I don't expect many people to reply to such a long piece of text but any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

The Five paths of the Founder

Chapter 2 - The Canvas

I feel dizzy, I’m falling, spinning round and round in the darkness.
“Will he make it?” I hear a voice, but there’s something wierd, it’s like they’re talking from the other side of a long tunnel, hollow and muffled, conjoined by a multitude of other voices.
Some of them I’ve never heard before, a woman? A man? I’m not sure. “I love you.”
There it is again, calling out to me. From where? That time it was a familiar voice, but I can’t quite make out who it is. Everything is gone from me, the warmth inside me, is nothing but a remote space of emptiness. A piercing dispair oozing into my soul, smearing the life within my body into a mixture of fear and death. Is this my fate? Am I going to die here? Clinging onto that familiar voice is my salvation, my hope.
“Well, why won’t you just get another job, Darien!” It’s that voice again, she knows my name too, but the voice is distant, a whisper, I feel as if breaking concentration from that voice will lose it forever.
The voice is spinning round in my head, until it becomes clearer, I whisper the only name I know it can be, “Claire?”
“What’s one kiss...” There it is again, but the whisper fades out into blankness.
The darkness is getting lighter, the whiff of cinnamon and banana drifts by as I hear Mr. Berriman, “Late- One more time..” I’m stranded underwater, the cold tendrils of death reach in around me, the familiar voices getting fainter. Perhaps this is it, the end of the line, everything I have in my life. Gone.

A wave of clarity washes over my dull, blank thoughts, I’m elevating, rushing upwards, emerging from the muffled water. The clear sound returns to my ears and I can feel something. I’m lying on my back, a slow breeze drifts past me and I’m looking up at the sky. There isn’t a cloud in sight as the sun beats down on me, blinding, warm and full of life.
I lift my hand above my face, blocking out the vibrant light, squinting my eyes as I try to focus on the world around me.
I turn my head to the side and let out a sudden gasp, from here to the horizon, as far as I can see, is nothing but dry, cracked earth. Sitting up, I can see the shimmering of heat, refracting the light into the distance, the parched ground completely flat all around me.
As if my life couldn’t be anymore of a joke, in death I’m surrounded by literally nothing but myself. Perhaps I’m wrong, maybe this is all just a bad dream, can I really have been hit by a truck? Is this life after death?
I get up and begin to walk as the thoughts of what just occured swirl around in my head, any direction will do, it’s not like there’s much difference in which direction I take, I just need to be anywhere but here. I pinch my skin to see if this is just a dream, I’m still here, left with a dull pain through my cheek. I clamp my nose and try to breath through it, a trick I learnt when I was learning about dreams; being able to breath through your nose when clamped shut, means you’re dreaming.
I don’t seem to be in a dream, it feels pretty real too, the sun scorching on my head, the same clothes I’ve been wearing all day becoming increasingly uncomfortable with sweat. Surely life after death would be a great place to be, full of nice features like cool running water, huge platters of food which never end and all the beautiful women in the world giving me their full attention, but this is something completely uncharacteristic; a barren wasteland, complete dead silence, there isn’t even a shrub or plant for miles around, it’s just me, the sun and the wind.
After what feels like hours my mouth is becoming dry, looking up at the sun it’s still directly above me. “That can’t be right.” I tell myself, I know I’ve certainly been walking for a while, but the position of the sun hasn’t budged an inch. The sweat is pouring out of my body like a dripping sponge, my lips begin to dry and I’m starting to get dizzy, a knot of anxiety is crawling up through my stomach and into my chest as the same barren wasteland and shimmering mirage in the distance, plagues my vision. I drop to my knees, panting for air. Everytime I try to swallow, the inside of my arid throat rubs together and I can barely keeo my eyes open from the draining heat. I could just close my eyes and go to sleep, that would be much easier, but then the thought occurs to me. If I’m dead, what happens if I die here? My world was full of life and people, but there is nothing here. So what awaits in the world after this?
But what if I’m not dead, what if this is inbetween life and death, the deciding factor for where I will go depending on what happens here. Not wanting to find out, I take another look around, but my head is pounding, the weight of the heat closing in around me. This land is completely symmetrical, in every direction, everything is the same. “Hey!” I shout up to the sky, “I could really do with some water, you know!” I wonder if anyone will hear me.
I sit there, deciding on what I should do next, perhaps find a plant, just one, plants grow where there is water. I’m drifting away, when another smell whiffs through the air, It’s the smell you get after a really hot day and it begins to rain, the earthy, chemical smell which is wierd, but great at the same time. Then it occurs to me! Water! Jumping up I spin around looking in all directions, then right in front me, there is a deep pool of water. Falling to my knees I bury my head beneath the surface, gulping the water down my yearning throat, almost vomiting from the speed at which I drink. I come up for air, laughing hysterically, then I strip off my clothes and jump naked into the deep puddle. It’s colder than it should be in a place like this, goosepimples rise on every inch of my body and the wet dirt beneath me seeps between my toes, I submerge my head under the water, to make sure my entire body bathes. This is incredible, I’m holding in laughter underwater when I hear my name.

I immediately surface. Looking around, there’s no one here, no one but me, the only sound I can hear is the wind skimming across the flat surface all around me. I’m sure I heard someone, or something, it was a man’s voice for sure, deeper than mine, rasping my name, perhaps it was just the splashing of the water. Leaning back against the soaked, muddy pool, I begin to get lost in thought, what caused this pool to be here anyway? Perhaps it was my desperation.
It’s just about time to move on I think, if I spend any longer in this pool of water it may heat up and boil me. Maybe that’s part of the sick joke, someone offering me salvation, only to cook me up and serve me in a gormet salad.
My clothes are dry from being roasted on the parched ground, putting them back on over my damp body, I relish the cool, refreshing feeling.
On the move again I feel much better, but still confused as to where I am, hoping the last pool of water will last me until civilization. That’s my next goal, I need to find a town, to find a place I might be able to survive. Keeping the town locked into my mind I continue on, the white chalk buildings, the small wooden well, that’s what I want, that’s what I’m focusing on. Looking at my feet as I walk, I watch the dust from the ground smother my shoes, they’re going to need polishing again, fantastic.
The searing heat that’s creeping up my neck is becoming a little painful, I’m beginning to cook in the sun, even the sweat from my body won’t save me. I close my eyes as I walk now, imagining this nice little town, with some shade and cold water. It’s a strange sensation to walk with your eyes closed, being aware of how much your head bobs with each step, the disorientation taking over. Out of nowhere the heat seems to dissapear, a split second later I hit something and with a quick thud, I stumble backwards and land on my backside. Opening my eyes to acknowledge what just happened, I stare at a pale, clay wall, shading me from the burning sun.
It’s almost as if the image inside my head became imprinted into the landscape, as I get to my feet and walk around the building, I can see more clay huts with a large square hole for windows and little wooden doorways. There are 4 buildings, surrounding a circular well in the middle of the small village, all strangely identical.
Now I’m really confused, did I do this? I stand there staring at the little town, “Um, alright.” I say outloud. As I walk into the little town, I keep an image in my head, a donkey, that is what I will see when I walk into this hut. I open the door to the building, the cracked wood creaks open to the sight of a little donkey, tied to a metal hoop on the wall by a small rope. I stand there, gawking like an idiot at this donkey, it stands there gawking right back at me, with its huge brown eyes almost as confused as my green eyes. I feel a surge of excitement rush through me, a feeling of pride at the crappy little clay town I have made with a population of two, just me and the donkey.
As I begin to untie the donkey from it’s hoop, I begin imagining a multitude of things that I can create in this landscape, all the forests, mountain ranges, weather patterns, people.
I walk outside to a table stacked with piles, upon piles of food, a small, tanned waitress smiling at me. The waitress, bringing my lovely new town to a grand population of three, is in a thin, white skirt which touches the ground, a white top which shows her abdomen and her pitch black hair tied back in a bun with pearl decorations in her hair.
I sit down as she serves a large platter of food to me, peking hot and sour soup and dried seaweed. “Thanks.” I express delightfully.
“No Problem, Darien.” The tanned waitress replies, she even knows my name.
Supping on the spicy chinese meal, I watch two magicians materialize in front of me, entertaining me with card tricks, hat tricks and any other trick you can think of. They pull white rabbits out of nowhere, chop each other to pieces in a wooden box and make themselves dissapear and reappear.
After my soup, the waitress places the next meal I want right in front of me. A succulent , spiced, slow-roasted pork joint, with a side of caramelised onions and corn on the cob, cooked in a luscious sweet chilli sauce. The magicians become a little boring, I hunger for something with more action, I wave my hand, as if to dismiss the magicians. The magicians smile in pride as they fade away into nothing, replaced by two knights. The knights, in full armor begin to battle to the death right before my eyes. One is using a longsword engraved with blazing rubies and a shield with a huge lion’s head on the front, it’s eyes also glowing with rubies. His armor is Dark and Gray, dull like clouds. The second isn’t wearing a shield, but a huge two-handed longsword, with a serrated edge; it’s deadly enough to make the first knight cautious. The monster of a knight is in a full suit of golden colored armor, it shimmers in the sunlight. The two-handed monster starts to rain down blows on the gray knight, his shield being chipped away by every blow.
“Yarrrgghh!” The two-handed monster of a knight begins to scream out a battle cry, the gray knight only lets out small grunts as the shield takes the full brunt of the two-handed blows. Suddenly in a quick flash, the gray knight narrowly dodges the next hit, dropping his shield and spinning his blade between his hands, reversing his grip. With his back turned toward the golden knight, he thrusts his longsword backwards, between his ribs and arm, piercing the heart of the two-handed monster.
Just as the golden knight hits the floor, the gray knight faces me and drops to one knee. The point of his sword is in the ground as both hands remain on the grip, the dark blood still dripping down the blade.
My adrenaline is pumping, the sauce dripping off my corn on the cob, stationary at my mouth which has been gaping open for a good part of two minutes, I click my fingers and the knights dissapear, like sand blown away in the wind. My hand is shaking and my muscles are seized up with tension, that was a pretty intense fight, actually seeing it right in front of me, the clash of steel, the screaming and panting of two men fighting, knowing one or the other will certainly die; it was more than I expected, brutal, sickening, exhilerating.

Perhaps I need to calm things down a bit, maybe a change of scenery. Standing up I lift my palms into the air and feel a surge of energy pulsate through my body, the entire world around me explodes up toward the sky, gravity becomes non-existant as the huge chunks of earth are carried upwards. They crumble into rocks, then stones, then sand and eventually dissapear, evapourating into nothing. Trees and shrubs and lush, green grasses sprout up around me in all directions. A deep, rumble reverberates through the entire world, vibrating beneath me, travelling through every inch of my body. A formation of clouds spiral above me, meeting at the center point; followed by a few drips, then a torrent of rain from the sky, penetrating my clothes and soothing the hot burn on the back of my neck. A bolt of lightning slither’s across the sky, reaching out to every corner of the land, followed by a deafening clap of thunder.
The lightning Isn’t something I want here, however the uprising heat, blazing up to the cold surface of the clouds is probably what’s causing the storm. Perhaps there are things that I cannot control here, perhaps there are things which are a result of an event I created.
Lowering down my arms I close my eyes and immerse the rest of my senses into the world around me, the droplets of water streaming down my face, weaving through my hair. The sound of leaves lashing around in the vapourized wind, crackling branches clashing against each other. I’m beginning to shiver a little, so with a click of my fingers I transform my entire outfit. A thin, flexible jumpsuit appears on my body, which creates a tempurature of my liking into the fabric, the water sliding right off it as if it doesn’t exist. I leave my head and hands completely bare, I want to experience the world around me to it’s fullest, whilst still remaining warm of course. Walking through the terrain I have created, I listen to the harmonious tunes of the birds, the pattering of rain on the canopy above me, the trickling of a stream running over the boots of my jumpsuit, completely flowing off as I lift my foot out of the water.
I climb the tree next to me, even though the bark is slippery, my hands cling to it like an insect, effortlessly pulling myself up, I stand weightless on a thin branch, gazing around at the white mists clinging to the canopy. I begin to hop from branch to branch, perfectly balanced as I glide across the treetops, glancing down at an ape in the trees below me, looking at me in confusion before quickly dissapearing. My gliding becomes longer, covering more distance with each jump, then I release myself into a flight and climb high up into the sky.
I soar up until I pierce through the cloud tops, floating there motionless, caught between the infinite sky and the blanket of clouds. Then I flip over and dive down, back through the clouds and into the cascade of rain, it looks to stand still as I fall at equal velocity, before falling behind me as I push myself further toward the ground, the trees come up to meet me at a blinding speed. I land on the ground on one knee, the epi-center of my fall carves a crater into the soil, a shockwave of soaked dirt and twigs ripple around me. Most of the trees for atleast one-hundred meters fall to the ground or become lopsided, splintered and destroyed, shaking off their excess water.
As I stand, heart pumping out of my chest, I notice a small flutter beneath a fallen branch. Walking over, I push aside the whole log as if it were made of foam, underneath a small black bird struggles around, then stops as the life escapes from it. I pick it up into my hands, I can feel the warmth leaving its body. I close my eyes and imagine a surge of life flowing through my arm and into my hand, I imagine the bird being alive, tweeting it’s melodic songs.
The warmth touches through my fingertips as the small bird jumps up, then takes flight, looking for shelter.
A stone of guilt falls deep into the pit of my stomach, if that bird was dead right there, have I killed everything around me? The birds, the ape, all the other creatures I imagined would be in this forest around me. Dead. “I think I’d rather be somewhere else.” I say to myself.
I close my eyes and fall backwards, vertigo rushes up around me as I fall, landing onto a soft pillow and cushions. The rain has stopped, replaced by the long, relaxing sound of the seashore, crashing onto the beach. Opening my eyes, the sight of a sunset beach is right in front of me, with a soft draft continuously running across me. I ease myself into the embracing, padded bench I am on and sit listening to the soothing noise of the ocean.
I decide to close my eyes again, taking everything in, relaxing my muscles and letting the sea and the wind carry me off into a mesmerizing state of serenity. A larger gust of wind blows around me, it whips through my ears with a whistling noise.
“Darien.” It whispers. My head snaps up, I look around me but see nothing. The singular sound of the sea, reminding me how in this incomplete dimension, I am the only person here. Am i going mad?
I close my eyes and begin to envision the life of the world around me, I can feel the life of plants, birds, fish and other creatures. The seagulls in the air which I can’t see, but I know exactly where they are, the secluded mice burrowed in their nests and other strange hidden creatures. I am connected to every creature around me, their aura attached to mine as I feel them. I know where they are, what they are doing and what they are feeling, but I don’t sense a human being anywhere, only me. Perhaps it was that startled jump you get when you’re half asleep and a noise, or the feeling of something falling towards you causes you to jump out of your skin, looking like an idiot. I’ve had that at work a few times, head down on the desk when I know Kenn will be in the toilet for atleast half an hour, from a bad kebab he had the night before. Jumping up with a snort, a small puddle of dribble on my arm and Michelle giggling at me.
Leaning back into the soft bench I realise I no longer like being alone, clicking my fingers a lovely tanned waitress, in a very revealing bikini, lowers a platter next to me, lined up are a selection of various cocktails, wines, champagnes and shots.
I take the random green and blue looking drink in a martini glass, with a purple cherry on a tooth pick resting inside the drink. I stir the liquid round and the green and blue mix together, a temporary teal color emerges before quickly seperating into a half mixed, half seperated drink. Taking a small sip of the blue half, the extremely sweet taste of coconut, raspberry and apple flow over my tongue at seperate intervals. The green tastes of apple, cherry and chocolate. A strange drink conducted by my strange consciousness. That seems to be the way this works, I think of something and put my will into it happening, then my subconscious seems to do the rest.
I populate my little strip of sand with different people, all sitting around candle lit tables talking to each other; some men wearing swim shorts, with toned bodies and dark skin, others are pale and scrawney, you can see their ribs protrouding out from their chest. One man is quite fat, with a large round beer belly that’s hanging over the front of his small swimming trunks. He’s probably not seen his toes for a good few years, his bald head showing the ripples of fat on his neck connecting to his back, his double chin and saggy breasts jiggling as he waddles into the sea, to sit down and float like a turtle.
Some of the women are sat in a group chattering to each other about the next best selling clothing brand, probably in their late 30‘s with wrinkles around their face beginning to show when they smile. Another woman is younger, in her 20s, gazing into the eyes of her lover across the table, rubbing her fingers up and down the champagne glass and her leg crossed over the other brushing up against his thigh.
Perhaps these aren’t my kind of people, but it beats being alone, perhaps there is something I’m missing. I stand up and press my feet together, sinking into the ground, slipping through the sand as if it were just a thin layer of skin. My ears are filled with a wet sensation, the deep underwater blue is all around me. Looking up, the island is gone and it’s just the rippling surface of the sea above me, the bright sun rays folding and diversing as the light is distorted by the waves. As I submerge deeper within the ocean I wonder what it is I am missing, perhaps It’s what I have gained since being here that’s left me wondering what I am becoming.
Floating deep under the water, many abnormal things seem to occur to me, I can breath perfectly well, I can see crystal clear and no matter how deep I go, I am unaffected by the water pressure. It’s like my entire being is completely invincible, unreal and unaffected by the pressures of natural boundaries. Wondering how far I can take myself I rise up from the water until I am stood completely on the surface, bobbing up and down to the waves. Surrounded by seawater as far as I can see, I raise my arms like I did when creating the forest, the water begins to rise up in synergy. The higher I lift my arms, the more water follows and the higher it goes. Before long there are hundreds of water spouts connecting to the sky, in between the water spouts, explosions of water spray up into the air. I float through between the spouts laughing as the eruptions of water engulf me, cold and salty, streaming through my hair and onto my skin.
With a snap of my fingers the remaining water violently propels off my body and I stand on solid ground, in a land of tranquillity.
The house is the only one on the road, which travels into the distance. The sunset behind the house a deep orange, with clouds dotted around, the colors of purple, blue and yellow.
I walk up the grey pebble stones, the perfect green grass being watered by the sprinkler system, wetting the stones on the water feature in the middle of the grass.
Ringing the buzzer on the door frame, I take another look around; the perfection of this sacred place I have envisioned in my mind gives me a rush of butterflies. As the door opens the inhuman, unbreakable perception of myself is annihilated, as Claire smiles right at me.

August 18th, 2014, 12:23 PM
A couple of small mistakes:

"conjoined with", " then sand and eventually dissapear, evaporating into nothing" , "the bright sun rays folding and diverging"

Some more distracting ones:

"...from here to the horizon, as far as I can see,..." Well yes, you can't see beyond the horizon so the one means the other.
"...the vaporized wind..." You can't vaporise something that is already a gas.
"...sound of the seashore, crashing onto the beach..." So a beach crashing on to a beach?

You are also still struggling with comma placement and where to end your sentences, but that is a matter of practice.

From "Floating deep under the water" to the end it's a bit confused. I had to re-read the bit about water spouts and being on dry land several times and I still don't really get it. I also don't think you've established Darien's "inhuman, unbreakable perception" of himself well enough, it seems just thrown in right before you need it to go away in a significant moment. I think you can probably expand on why or how his perception of being unbreakable is a being annihilated without losing the punch of the cliff hanger, too - just add a short sentence on it after he sees Claire.

Anyway, enough of the criticism: this was another wonderfully crafted and detailed piece of work that enabled me to picture, almost perfectly, the progression of scenes. I could practically feel my own lips drying out while reading the dessert passage and I'm just glad I wasn't eating when I got to the fat man on the beach. You convey your ideas, for the most part, lucidly and vividly - all it needs is a little polish and perhaps a bit more proofing.

August 18th, 2014, 02:36 PM
Thankyou again Digiphant, you always give very solid feedback which still inspires me to write, while still being able to learn a significant amount about my mistakes. I really appreciate the very constructive feedback.