I’ll be off for about two weeks visiting family, and will not have internet access. I’ll be writing in my travel time – likely editing TLOS as my keyboard needs to be repaired – and when I return and my keyboard is fixed, shall update again! Ta-ta for now!
Monthly Archives: July 2010
Parallax, TLOC, Facebook, and Call of Cthulhu
Lots of things this time! Firstly, check out my shiny brand new Facebook page! Nothing interesting or amazing, but it’s something. Secondly, tomorrow is another day of Call of Cthulhu! I’ll be running, as I mentioned before, two scenarios: “The Curse of Chaugnar Faugn” and “Thoth’s Dagger.” The first involves an ex-girlfriend of one of the investigators summoning them for help because her father has become the target of a strange man who hopes to murder him, and the second involves the curse of a dagger that the investigators will come into contact with, leading them all the way to distant Egypt. I will inform you all of the results of the investigator’s (mis)adventures!
And moving back on topic, I have made progress! Not so much in TLOC, only having written two more pages, but I have begun serious work on what I hope will end up being a horror novelette/novella, “Parallax” (to be included in Dark Aeons). As for what exactly I got done, here is the entire first chapter I finished (unedited, so excuse any typos):
“Spontaneous human combustion. Ghost sightings. Sudden death syndrome. Random nausea. Unexplainable terror. Vivid hallucinations. Sudden madness. Unidentified flying objects. Monster sightings. Stigmata. Undefinable substances. Bursting blood vessels. Deadly chills. Sudden disappearances. All of these things, gentlemen, have an explanation, if we so choose to accept it.”
The speaker was an older man, complete with large horn-rimmed spectacles, tweed coat, wild white hair and unkempt beard. He spoke with his hands, gesticulating wildly as he talked, his manic motions helping to illustrate what his articulate words already conveyed rather clearly.
His audience was none too distant from the speaker himself; the youngest of them easily in their fifties. All save one, of course: a young man standing near the back who scarcely could have been more than thirty, neatly dressed in a navy blue suit with a crimson tie. His thin spectacles sat below his eyes, balanced on the tip of his nose, and he peered over them directly at the speaker.
“It is not an easy explanation to accept, I will be the first to admit – it took me many years before I could accept it myself.” The speaker was now pacing slowly back and forth across the speaker’s platform, hands no longer wildly gesticulating, but clasped behind his back. “Professor Sebastian Korig, as I am sure you all know, passed away tomorrow, last year, of one of the phenomena of which I speak.” A few quiet murmurs rippled through the crowd, but they quickly silenced. “It was he who initially proposed the theory to me, but it was only in our last year or so together that I finally came into full acceptance of the theory.
“But on account of his death, I am sure you that you all can see that it is of the utmost importance that we learn to understand these phenomena, discover what causes them, and most importantly – learn how to can prevent them.” The speaker cleared his throat. “And I believe that there are ways to do this, if you will hear my piece.” He paused for a moment and took a deep breath.
“But before I can explain to you how I propose to stop these… occurrences, it must first be explained to you how – or more accurately, why – these things occur.” The man in blue raised an eyebrow at the speaker’s last sentence.
“The explanation is, in fact, far more simple than most of us would imagine – which is why we do not imagine it, and why it does not even present itself as a possibility. Gentlemen, esteemed faculty of the honorable Malacky University, I propose to you today a theory – nay, it is more than a theory – I bring to you an explanation, a light with which to shed illumination on some of the unexplained mysteries of this world.”
There was a dramatic pause here, and the speaker eyed the crowd, taking in their responses. No man there seemed particularly moved, or expressed more than a passing interest in the contents of the old man’s speech. Save, of course, for the man in the back dressed in blue.
“This explanation, which has eluded humanity for so very long, has been before our eyes the entire time – only we have failed to see it. We have caught glimpses at it, sometimes with our eyes, and sometimes with our myriad other senses. More often than not, it is the results that we see, not the cause, and those who do see the cause are not for much longer in this dimension.” The speaker smiled, but it had an unsettling effect rather than a reassuring one.
“Yes, gentlemen, what I am saying is that there are, indeed, multiple dimensions – and I am not speaking here of the dimensions we know – length, width, depth, time, and so on. No, what I am referencing is an older concept of a dimension – a different, separate reality that coexists with our own, yet is for the most part invisible to us, just as our dimension is invisible to those who dwell in our sister, parallel dimension.”
To the speaker’s credit, he had the attention of his audience now – even if it was the amused attention one gave to a rambling madman. “And yes, I am also saying here that there are inhabitants of this parallel dimension, living beings that move and walk and talk and breathe as we do.” He lowered his voice conspiratorially. “I have seen them.”
The speaker unclasped his hands and began again to gesture. “But what, you ask, does this have to do with the unexplained phenomena I listed earlier? Spontaneous human combustion? Sudden death syndrome? Bursting blood vessels? Why, the answer is one word: everything.
“Each and every one of these ‘unexplained’ phenomena can, I argue, be explained in terms of interactions between our two dimensions. When one of these things happens to a member of our dimension, it is the direct result of something from our sister reality making a brief appearance in our world, completely unintentionally, and accidentally inflicting harm.
“The exact circumstances surrounding each of these types of ‘paranormal’ phenomena vary wildly, and these circumstances within each type of phenomena vary just as wildly, which makes it nearly impossible to typify or determine what event, exactly, will trigger one of the listed phenomena. Let us take possibly the most well-known of these pheneomena, for instance: spontaneous human combustion. Someone in this other dimension may be carrying a torch, and if they walk too close to a region where the boundaries between our two planes of existence wears thin, for an instant the torch may exist in two planes at once, or perhaps temporarily – or permanently – become a part of our dimension.
“Most of the time, these intrusions upon our reality are completely – or mostly – harmless. In some rare cases, however, they can become fatal. Let us return to the torchbearer. Say there is a human standing at that point in our dimension where the torchbearer’s torch is as well. As our dimensions share the same space, when that torch shifts dimensions, it will appear in the same place in our dimension. Does anyone here know what happens when a torch suddenly manifests itself in one’s head? Or below one’s arm? Or neck?”
The speaker was rewarded here with a few chuckles. The blue suited man was one of those who did not chuckle, or even smile. He was focused intently on the speaker.
“That’s right – they tend to catch on fire. And that, I say, is one probably cause of spontaneous human combustion. It doesn’t have to be just fire, though. Explosions at certain key weak points in their dimension could have the same effect. Heat as well, or melting metal. Lava flows, magma, molten substances. Stars. Plasma. Lightning. If at the right time, these perfectly natural phenomena could become unnatural and unexplained phenomena in another dimension. Of course, assuming that this is the case, then the phenomena are, in fact, perfectly natural.”
He took a deep breath before continuing. “Other phenomena can be explained in much the same way. Burst blood vessels could be caused by a small surgical device slipping into our realm. Badly placed knives could cause random cuts – stigmata – in innocent passerby. Vehicles in this other dimension could be unidentified flying objects. Or maybe it’s just a volleyball we’re seeing. And unidentified substances – rocks that appear not of this universe, or metals that cannot be destroyed – may be no more than objects that passed through the dimensions and failed to return.” The speaker smiled.
“Ghosts can be just momentary glimpses of these otherworldly beings, or perhaps beings only partially entered into our dimension. Or your brother playing a prank on you.” More chuckles greeted this, and even the blue suited man smiled ever so slightly.
“I am sure by this time that you all understand – you all get the picture. Many – not all, but I believe most – paranormal or unexplained phenomena can be explained by objects from a sister dimension passing through to our own.
“But how do you know this? What evidence, what proof do you have to back up these outrageous claims? Quite a bit, I am pleased to say, thanks to the work of the esteemed professor Korig. You see, he had been working on a device that would allow one to peel back the thin curtain separating our two planes of existence and allowing us to glimpse our sister dimension!” The speaker’s arms were thrown out wide, but the audience made no visible reaction.
The speaker lowered his arms and continued talking. “And I finished the device for him, two months after he passed away. It resembles, to the uneducated eye, a pair of goggles hooked up to a mechanical apparatus. I suppose, at its most basic, that is what it is. But once you slip those glasses over your field of vision, you will be able to see the contours and beings of our sister dimension superimposed over our own!
“Of course, the device itself duplicates a previously known condition, naturally occurring among a few select humans – extra-sensory perception. Those human beings born near weak spots in the dimensional fabric are often ‘touched,’ for lack of a better world, by this alternate reality, and are sensitive to it. That is why these people can see ghosts and phantasms, as they are merely spectral images of those living beside us, but in a separate realm of reality.
“And these people can be used, just like me device can. Armed with the ability to sense the transgressions of alternate dimensions into our own, they can be a warning signal. We can employ them as guardians, to prevent many of these things from happening, and getting others out of harm’s way – sort of an extra-sensory police force, if you will.
“If you, honorable faculty of Malacky University, choose to grant me this… well, grant – then I can streamline the device so that it can be carried by one person, and make it ten times more effective. In addition to helping to prevent these terrible, previously unexplained accidents, these devices will open up a whole new avenue of research and exploration, and perhaps lead to even more innovative technologies!
“Are there any questions?”
Two or three hands went up. The speaker called upon the closest man.
“Yes, doctor Fortworth?”
“Did you bring the device with you?”
The speaker wrung his hands. “Ah… no. It is too bulky at the moment to transport. That is why I need the grant – so that the thing can be transported.”
“So we are supposed to take, completely on faith, this… frankly, utterly ridiculous theory you have of alternate dimensions and weak points that cause strange accidents that, in all honesty, no one particularly cares about?”
“The theory is not ridiculous, professor. It is backed up by evidence!” The speaker walked over to his desk and pulled off a sheaf of papers. Waving them in the air, he continued. “I have written reports here! Lab records, illustrations, everything!”
Another man in the audience stood. “I am sorry, doctor Reinhouer, but we shall need more than that.” He cleared his throat. “And if you will excuse us, it is getting rather late, and many of us have classes to teach tomorrow – not excluding yourself. The board shall review all of the applicants for the grant, and will announce its decision within the week. Good night to you all.”
As the speaker stood dejected upon his platform, the faculty all stood and walked out one of the four exits, talking cheerfully among themselves. As the audience trickled out, professor Siegfried Reinhouer slowly collected his things and walked out the left front door, looking down at the ground. Following closely behind him was the man in blue.
And you thought Psy wouldn’t reappear in The Light of Civilization? Think again, because he’s back and more immature and creepy than ever! Psy makes his re-debut in Chapter 16, page 138, in a dream of Jak’s:
“I have found you, Jak. Your thoughts have become so much more appetizing of late – perhaps it is a good thing that we was prevented from taking you previously – you will now make a much more interesting friend for me.”
I was walking in a very familiar location. I was surrounded by stars on all sides; above me, below me, in front of me, behind me, and to both my sides. They all shone with an inner brilliance that I knew masked a cold loneliness, and their light shimmered eerily off of the dense fog that swirled at my feet, only occasionally letting my glimpse the stars far below me.
My movement did not affect the fog at all, as it twisted and writhed in accordance to its own rules. I walked forward, against my better judgment, in the direction of the voice. I no longer found it soothing or inviting; in it I heard only trickery and deceit.
“Psy, I know you are there – show yourself!” Perhaps this was what the green-cloaked man had been warning me about – the return of the psychotic psychic flying slug who wanted me as his playmate.
Far on the horizon of stars, I saw movement. As I watched and continued my slow advance towards it, I made out the silently floating form of Psy; a gigantic, gently flowing, translucent purple slug. I felt smugness emanating from the figure.
“Perhaps even now we shall wait to take you – though it would be so easy. The Tracking Units have lost me, and no one knows where we are. I doubt anyone would even notice you’re gone.”
“That isn’t true!” I shouted back. “People do care about me, you know!”
Something that sounded suspiciously like laughter began to emanate from the slug. “I’m sure they do. But will they care enough?”
I began to form a reply, but the distant slug turned around and floated away before I could speak.
“But we shall wait – such interesting things are coming your way.”
In other news (or rather, very similar news), TLOC is now at 144 pages! Granted, most of the progress was not made on Saturday, but the important thing is that progress was made! Additionally, another three TLOS chapters were edited, and I’m ready to start Chapter 10 next!
Now, in for real other news, I have discovered an awesome and amazingly distracting TV show – Dead Like Me. Watch it if you have the chance – it’s a cynical look at society, life, and death, through the eyes of a tragically killed college dropout who finds herself, after death, now stuck with the job of a “Reaper,” helping others’ souls after they’ve died.
In even more other news, the Wold Guardian was finished and I still remain undefeated in the Hordesmachine league – was in third place at the start of next week. I’m sure tomorrow will be my losing day. I’ll be playing either Primal or Epic Krueger – not sure which yet.
And in final news, the next Call of Cthulhu scenarios will be “The Curse of Chaugnar Faugn” and “Thoth’s Dagger.” Two different paced adventures; I can’t wait to see the outcome.
And in post final news, Twilight: Eclipse was a huge disappointment, as it was actually better-made than the other two, which pushed it from the category of “it’s so awful it’s good” into the “it’s just awful category.” Nevertheless, Jane and the Volturi are still awesome (I actually think her world is kind of neat – it’s just the sickening romance and plot parts I can’t stand).
Ta-ta for now!
It’s a Bat! Of Progress!
Progress is finally being made, despite some rather serious hurtles. Yesterday, after bravely reading through and editing two more chapters of the The Loneliness of Stars (Yes, I know I’m behind!), I settled down to work on The Light of Civilization some more, and then was forced to suddenly write the Underdark Campaign update – which sucked away the rest of my day. Then today, I was forced to do other things for the majority of the day, and when I finally settled down to write… a bat flew into the back of my head.
That’s right. A bat. Flew into my head. While I was inside.
It was rather traumatizing, and may have scarred me for life. After the cat batted it down and it hid in the pantry (all of this after me spending a rather long time trying to shoo and lure it outside), I called Animal Control who then removed it with a racket, a trash bin, and an apron (don’t worry, the bat lived and I think is fine).
After that stressful ordeal, I spent a while calming down and getting my heart rate back to normal, and then finally began writing. And then I wrote ten pages, and had a slew of new ideas (which are now written down), and all is well! Tomorrow I will not likely be making much progress, as I will have (hopefully) have a Wold Guardian (rar!) to paint for the Warmachine/Hordes League tomorrow, and Friday I shall be out and about with my girlfriend, but Saturday I anticipate as being a time of great writing alongside the Moulder Pitfighters update! Stay tuned!