At World’s End: Prologue

In a time of complete turmoil, when the Earth is in distress, the thought of living became menacing. 

Many died. Whether it be in poverty, in riots or by the hands of their fellow man, there was never a time to mourn. 

Those people left behind — the “lucky” few — roamed the land, looking for a way to survive. Living off scraps, alone in their sadness. To be left alive was considered luck but to live was not lucky. 

They had seen their families die before their very eyes. Watched the devolution of humankind and eventually the death of humanity. There was no solace. Surviving for the sake of simply not dying, with no hope was cruel. But some could not justify the alternative — choosing to die on their own terms when the darkness became too much. 

The battle of the land had long finished but the war never ended. In this desolate place, life is often forgotten and death is far kinder.

However, human nature dictates that a fighting instinct remains until the very end. Even in a lifeless expanse of sand as far as the eye can see with the blistering heat beating down, there was finally a sign of life. The sound of laughter from a young woman as she ran across the land with a slightly older man trailing behind. Two mismatched people seeking survival.

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The Loss of Innocence

I remember back in the day when I first started to write, my mind would wander and go to the same grotesque and predictable story line so would often just go to a random word generator and use these words to create a story. With the lack of inspiration but need to write lead me to try this once more. The words were as follows:

  1. achieve
  2. proper
  3. glimpse
  4. swarm
  5. retired
  6. temptation

The golden years that I once lived were now dead and buried. The words echoed in my youthful ears: untapped potential. Layabout. Nothing to achieve. No reason for being.

I remember being young. I remember the colours and the hope. Everything was once so vibrant, so new. With plenty of experiences to look forward to. Even the most mundane people were interesting. The teacher the kids would run up to and hug. The family friends who used to come bearing gifts. Even a simple passerby. There was no past, nor a future. It was the now. I lived in the now. I lived.

Those were the times of innocence. The times of purity. When no one could fault me. Even as I grew and learned to be proper with age, I knew that innocence had not left me. Not yet. The feelings were still wrapped in purity, in the form of stolen glimpses and passed notes.

The end of the innocence came too soon, in that moment I finally realised nothing would be the same again. It involved a car, carrying my loved ones but before they could leave it,  it began to fill with screams and fear instead. I remember the blood and the smell of a smokey metal. The men in the neon uniforms which now looked grey, they found me clutching the corpse of the people who protected my innocence for so long, who prayed that I never grow up without them. Those people were never to be seen again by a freak accident or God, or any higher force beyond any comprehension.

Therefore a child of only eleven stands with a suitcase of the few belongings and the weight of the world on their shoulders. I stood at that doorway expecting a swarm of people who used to greet me in my old life but instead an empty room with strangers filled with empty promises. Those people who once bore gifts, only offer hollow apologies. They remind me that I am alone.

Finally at the door is another chance of a place to call home. A promise for the future. A newfound innocence. A family that promised a home after so many declined.

There was the moving from the life I knew to become the new person they want. The abandonment of the past, of the possessions, of myself. Assuming a new identity as a thinly veiled attempt at a new start.

When finally I settle in. The parties start. The memories gap. Those weeks that just become a blur. And these strangers are the ones I call my family. Even though I don’t remember them without a cloud of smoke. The visits with the man with clipboard stop because they don’t seem to care. He has retired or most likely died but like many things I guess I will never know.

As the number of cigarette burns increase, the number of empty bottles scattered around the mattress on the floor. The number of places I have called home has diminished but the places I’ve slept have increased exponentially.

Finally not long after those teen years end in the fast lane, I am used up and broken from the life I now live. The amount of intoxication couldn’t blind me from the hurt or the inevitable self destruction. As I look over at the last bottle of pills on the 23rd floor of a strangers apartment complex and the temptation for the end just intensifies.

Nameless

I have always hated my name. I can’t remember the last time it was said without spite or malice. It held no meaning, nor had a definition that could be found. At most it was a mess of letters. My father seldom said my name but on those rare occasions where he did indeed utter it, it would only be to scold me or worse. I haven’t heard my name in for a significant period of time either, not from my mouth or anybody else’s. The prominent memories, or only remaining memories, being me laying face down on the bloody ground with sharp pains shooting across my entire body while chocking back tears, a scene which became all too familiar. Over time I learnt the tricks that would not annoy my father, therefore he had no reason to mention my name, whilst everyone else in my presence is too hung up on pleasantries, resulting in them calling me sir or prince.

But now I sit here, in front of a woman I admire and quite possibly love, as I hear as my name rolled of her tongue so beautifully. She said it so nonchalantly in the middle of a conversation, such an innocent setting. Yet I am rendered speechless. As I pause not knowing how to reply, she repeated my name again. Not knowing the effect it had on me. Completely unknowing that I could have cried from the mere sound of it. I haven’t heard it in years and I had completely disassociated from that name.

Then I remembered, the person gave me my name, not my contemptuous father. No, the first lady who loved me and who I had lost too young, had gifted that name with love. I once felt that love from that name. She had picked it out, so carefully, especially for me. “Your name means bravery, bravery to love and to fight. You’re so brave and so strong, my son.”

As my name was repeated in the present day with such care, said with love and it will again from this moment onward. My new beginning had started from that minuscule moment.

I love how she says my name. I love my name.

An Excerpt From Something I’ll Never Finish 

What has been written is what I found today in one of my notebooks for a character I created, who you will clearly see is very cynical and kind of mean. This must be at least 4 years old. 

It’s simple really. There is no real reason as to why I am who I am. No one has done me any real wrong. There aren’t any traumatic experiences on system for me either.

The real experiences occur everyday, the traumatic experience I talk of is life itself. How people are conquered, humans are fragile and stupid. I guess this is what makes me cynical because there is no reason to be happy. Happiness is just an illusion. Any person, any character in a book or any being in a movie will without fail wish for happiness and wish they could see a beauty in the world. They would gladly revoke everything they believe in and betray themselves for this illusion. Then, this is called a happily ever after.

Mindy

There are those shows you watch, that you wait weekly for. The characters that you root for. The shows which you can’t explain why you love it so much. The ones that make you laugh. Make you cry. Then by the end when you have spent all that time with these fictional characters and just as you bid them that final farewell, the writers fuck it up.

The Mindy Project is rom-com kind of show starring Mindy Lahiri as a colourful hilarious OB/GYN. Mindy is awesome, she is confident, she pulls guys and has a good time, along with all that she is also accomplished. In the beginning shes a hot mess, actually shes a little bit of a mess the whole way through but who isn’t? Also I know I said that it was a romantic comedy-esque kind of show but I’m using that lightly. She has had her fair share of romantic encounters but they don’t feel forced. No super cheesy grand romantic gestures, not all the guys were the princes they once seemed to be and that is what makes it different to any other show.

Throughout the first few seasons she has had extremely hot guys fall for her, I love the eye candy and they were easily shippable. Some guys were real slimeballs, some didn’t last long and others came with an important message, however behind all these escapades there was Daniel Castellano, a colleague to Mindy and one half of the couple who had the “will they/won’t they” relationship. They had chemistry with the witty banter, they had friendship sprinkled with some healthy rivalry. After a few season of that sexual tension, everyone was pleased when they finally got together.

But no, that wasn’t when the curtains closed and read happily ever after, that is the beauty of The Mindy Project. They had problems, a lot, a lot of problems. In about 1 season the whole build up of the romantic connection was destroyed. Danny became the character we loved to hate, he refused to marry Mindy after he knocked her up, left her alone for ages (he was caring for his dad so we can accept it but he dealt with the situation horribly) and he wanted her to give up her career. Eventually I was rooting for her to leave his sorry ass.

It,s better to be alone than to be with someone who holds you back, that’s the message. It’s a message that isn’t often addressed especially with the growing pressure to be in a relationship, being single doesn’t seem like an option. This show did that, Mindy had her own business, thrived in her career and was a single mother. Sure, she wasn’t perfect but she was doing it.

Then came dependable Ben, I’m not going to bullshit you- I loved him. He was exactly what Mindy wanted, he was committed, he liked her and they both were divorced parents. But she fucked this one up. Constantly thinking she was better than him because he was a nurse and just in general, she didn’t treat him right. Just like how I applauded Mindy when dumped Danny, I was practically cheering when Ben found his self worth and declared “I’m too good for you”.

However the creators really had to make sure that bridge was burnt with this couple as they got together, got hitched and got divorced. Ben said “we should get divorced” atfer a series of events proved Mindy liked being apart from her husband constantly. Mindy simply agreed. He desperately hoped she would fight a little for their marriage but was heartbroken when she didn’t and that was the end for them. I liked this story line, I would have preferred it to be a bit longer but it showed how there was no spark in it for Mindy. It mirrored her relationship to Danny but in this case, she was Danny, oh sweet irony.

The whole way through we get a strong Mindy, who has grown up and wants passion but at the same time understands being single. Then again its fucked up, conveniently Danny is getting a divorce, after being portrayed as a dick for the past few seasons, and still doesn’t become remotely likeable, he is reintroduced as the love interest. While watching I couldn’t believe they were going to get back together and thought of it as a plot device to show why they would never work. However after watching the season finale not long ago, I was disappointed. All those lessons she learnt, all the reasons a relationship won’t work, all the battles won and lost, only to revert back to your old ways.

This was a step back in both plot and character development, to simply get back together with Danny just because she thought he changed by one gesture. Give me at least a half decent reason they should be together, not this bullshit.

The main thing was it didn’t fit into the tone of the show. I wanted an ending that was full of possibilities for Mindy not a not-so-grand empty gesture. Why make us spend so much time despising Danny for him to come back and try to make him seem like a half decent guy who deserves the lead character?

I always loved this show. An accomplished strong minority woman as the lead, it kind if reminded me of Ugly Betty, which i absolutely love. Mindy was super relatable, the episode which showed her rewatching the princess bride over and over, that is basically me. She was witty and likeable, loved to eat, was overall unapologetic about who she was which all felt so honest. It brought many characters and plot lines which were entertaining and Kahling did a great job as Mindy.

The other characters were disregarded by the end of it, a quick fix for a few of them which again were completely out of character. Then ignoring the rest (I really wanted on last hurrah for Peter). The running theme in The Mindy Project is that the guys are meh and the women settle, some character development or any context would have been great.

The ending honestly just killed it a bit, there were moments along the way which were great to watch. The end was cheap and clearly forced, a desperate attempt to end on a high. HOWEVER, saying that, as much as the quality decreased,  I will happily rewatch the show and I look forward to see what Kahling has up her sleeve next.

 

The 30-Day Writing Challenge: Day 16

Day 16: The last thing you touched (other than the keyboard, mouse, screen, etc.) is trying to kill your protagonist. Explain why.

Working from home is a luxury few can afford. This was something that jasper could do. He set up a small photography business from his home at the age of 22. Initially, there was only low cost work for him such as pictures of pets and new-born babies, but with time it grew. His creativity lead him to photograph interesting people who could afford his creativity. Companies, individuals, he would accept anyone who would take his art. Now. he resides in a home where his studio is downstairs, the outside is beautiful and green and he can live upstairs.

From a young man living alone, you would expect empty takeout boxes on the counter, things scattered on the floor; just in general, for it to be a mess. However, this was not the case, it was immaculate. No takeout for him, the fridge was fully stocked with a diet based on his requirements and was healthy. He had lavish black couches which encapsulated the room. In the centre a short table which appeared to be based on a kotatsu. They matched the grey silver walls which was chosen specially to correspond with the grey marble fireplace. One wall was simply just windows as the lighting prevented him from getting headaches.

Everything was clean. Everything was in its place. Everything was beautiful. This room paralleled him so well. He was clean freak and it had to look picture ready. Even he constantly looked presentable, despite his long days, he would never look unpresentable. His clothes ironed and pressed, clean from any unsightliness. His hair was neat. This in no way meant he spent ages getting ready, he would simply know how to use his time. Efficiency is something he valued, due to his attention span being very short he spent almost all his life trying to do tasks in the most efficient manner.

He fell onto his black velvet couch, with a glass of wine in his hand and in his pyjamas. After hours of filtering through photos and editing, this was a very well deserves break. He even had his easily listening tracks playing. It was peaceful.

Suddenly, there was a banging which resonated across the room. Jasper jumped and saw the vacuum rush towards him. It was something out of a cheesy movie. It knocked over everything in its path until it reached him. He moved away from it, and tried to lean over to switch it off. The moment his hand met the demon vacuum, electricity ran through his body. The vacuum electrocuted him.

It edged closer again. He could feel and see sparks leaving the vacuum. It was one of those cordless fancy ones so he couldn’t even turn it off at the source.

He wrapped material over his hands and tried to turn it off again. It dulled out the sensation of being electrocuted but it was still a very prominent feeling. He pressed the button which should have turned it off. Nonetheless, nothing happened, it was still on and still hell bent on coming toward him.

It was ridiculous, he was spending a Saturday night fighting a vacuum. All he could think about was whether it was cleaning the room simultaneously to the ongoing destruction. He got a pillow and knocked it over. Used rubber gloves and dumped it outside.

Even though it was a possessed vacuum it was still just a vacuum.

On the outside of his door he saw a note which read “hope you enjoyed the surprise. There’s more to come.”

Japer was completely unfazed.

Instead he thought, “I need a new vacuum. And this time no fancy shit”.

The 30-Day Writing Challenge: Day 15

Day 15: Characterise the second-last app on your phone or the last website you’ve visited (before this one). Send this new character to the supermarket.

The confused young man ran from the top to bottom of the supermarket. He intended to go in simply for some milk but completely forgot what he came in for. He reckoned it must have been important if he actually made the trip, so he persevered. He thought that when he saw it then he would remember but up until that happens there was nothing else to do but run around like a headless chicken.

The whole supermarket was a mess, but only to him. To the typical human eye, it was normal. The items were stacked, dome in a manner to comply with regulations and all fit in. However, he could see the shabby workmanship, therefore he would often stop fix things up. His philosophy was if it wasn’t worth taking a picture then it simply wasn’t worth it. That was what he did, he made it look as if he was doing a shoot. Ridiculous as it may seem that a supermarket could seem anything other than how we see it but his world is different to ours, better in a way.

Quickly his tremendously short attention span would catch up and he would move on. There truly was an issue for him for paying attention for more than five minutes. From a young age his parents wanted to take his pills and he did for a short time but the main thing it provided was massive headaches and stifling his creativity.

Eventually he gave up and left the supermarket, along with several items he didn’t he need. But thought he did. Just a bag of snacks, various fruits and a bottle of coke that was half finished already. He entered his house and wanted to wind down with a cup of tea. He boiled the kettle and went to the fridge for some milk.

Then he realised, he needed to go to the store.

The 30-Day Writing Challenge: Day 14

Day 14: Your character meets somebody new on the bus. His or her opinion about the person is changed by the end of the bus trip. How did this change occur?

Personally not a huge fan of this piece but oh well its posted. 

Jeering echoed the bus. I initially enjoyed the peace when on the bus, especially when I had nothing to preoccupy myself with. I was not accustomed to long journeys, consequently would usually come prepared with a book or maybe something to watch. However, my phone didn’t have long left, with the battery being on 5%. In addition to my oversleeping and lack of planning which made me forget to pack a book, thus it was simply me and my thoughts.

That was until the herd of rowdy boys entered the bus. They must have been in their early to mid-twenties yet are screaming like kids.  I looked down at my watch, not even thirty minutes had passed with me on this bus. I still had over an hour left of my journey. All I could hope was that it quietened down soon.

I sat somewhere in the middle to avoid any attention, not close to the front where kids want to sit with their parents and not at the back where groups of teens and young adults crowd to. I was certain that no one would sit around me, there was plenty of space but just my luck that these loud boys would come sit near me.

This would have been the time to put my headphones in, despite me not playing any music due to the critically low battery, I did so anyway. It was a great way to block out sound and just give me the ambience of being of a world of my own. It was not long before one of the boys in the group who was sat immediately next to me waved to get my attention.

It was all a lot of small talk I didn’t pay attention to. Some mean statements. Comments made at the expense of others while he made what he thought were compliments to me. Then the badgering for my name and number. Decline. Decline. The amount of times I had to say no before he stopped. This man was rude and did not take no for an answer. Being with his friends gave him a false sense of security. I hope he felt as awkward as I did.

I just inserted my silent headphones in before he could talk again and looked out the window. My eyes were firmly set on the outside for the remainder of the time he was next to me. By the time he left I could see many of his groupies also did. I exhaled with a relief.

I didn’t like being put into a position like that by a pushy man who cannot take no for an answer. My anxiety disintegrated. Again, I was left to relish the silence once again until a voice behind me said-

“I apologise for my friends.”

“Excuse me,” I said as I removed an earbud. I turned to face him, he was one of the boys in the group.

“The guy who was sitting next to you. He’s a-,” there was a pause, “an acquaintance. He acts like that but he isn’t too bad. When you overlook some things.”

“Overlook a lot, I’m assuming.”

“I saw that you were uncomfortable and I want to apologise.”

“Okay bud. Listen up. I can see that you’re not as pushy or annoying as your previous friend. But in the future if a girl feels uncomfortable then tell your friend to stop. Don’t think that you are nice because you apologise after.”

“Wow sorry I tried.”

“That was a little rude on my part. But I just felt weird then.”

“Don’t worry about it. I will make sure he’s not that pushy. Even though I’m not doing it, I stand to the side when he pesters others.”

I smiled. “I accept your previous apology.”

“So you don’t think I’m so bad anymore?”

“Meh.” I turned back around.

He said under his breath, “by the way, I know you aren’t listening to anything.”

I didn’t even bother playing around. I simply looked at him and asked “how could you possibly know that?”

“You were too stiff. Like not moving, you were trying too hard. It’s a knack, I am just good at reading people, most of the time at least.”

“I am accustomed to wearing them. I always listen to music but my battery is dying so I’m left to my own devices.”

“Would you like some company for the rest of the time? You can say no. I saw previously that you had no problem saying that.”

I laughed, “okay.”

He sat next to me and for the rest of the bus journey we spoke. Spoke about trivial things. I found out about his job, his likes and dislikes. Despite my initial opinions he was a good person. It was a lovely conversation.

Until I got to my destination. We said goodbye and that was all. I left with something else though. Perspective.

The 30-Day Writing Challenge: Day 11

Day 11: You are now a dragon. Describe your hoard.

 

Somewhere millions of years ago

A new day calls for a new adventure. The world is so small when you can fly, it used to be lonely but I found a new home. A home which consists of an ensemble of misfits. But we aren’t misfits anymore because we found a place we belong.

First there’s me, Titania. I’m a very average dragon; not the smallest or largest. Nor am I particularly strong but by no means weak. Just average. I tell a lot of bad jokes and try to lighten the mood when others get heated but I also find it difficult to read the atmosphere, especially when people are emotional which gets me into trouble more than I care to admit. Despite this I tend to get along with the others quite easily due to my lazy attitude.

Next we have Valentinus, he is a very loveable character. Typically described as the loveable idiot by others in the group. Nice but clumsy are the two words which describe him the best. There have been a few occasions where he forgets that he needs to use his wings to fly and is shocked when he starts getting closer to the ground. No matter how easily distracted he gets, no one would dare mess with him as in the hoard he is by far the largest and the strongest.

Another colourful character is Zephyros, she is constantly angry and looking for a fight. She successfully gets into fights and usually ends up victorious, however it still results in plenty of scratches and bruises. Somehow in these antics the others regularly get dragged in. She also has a habit to quietly make here leave, noted for her disappearing act which makes her hard to find.

The “leader” of the group is Nikomedes.  He is a reluctant leader and by no means thinks he is capable or even willing. He is the best leader they could have and in an odd way he sometimes admits that he is quite good at it. being smart and tactical make him a perfect fit for what he does however he is lazy and dislikes the idea of babysitting the others, making for a very unorthodox leader.

In all the strong personalities, which occur, there needs to be a buffer. This in no way means they don’t have a strong personality, but their personality is one that doesn’t clash with the others and instead calms others This is where Ashoka comes into play. He has a very tranquil aura which gets passed onto the others which can dissipate the thirst of blood for fights. He can stand his own when he needs to, therefore not someone who can be pushed over. In general, however, people do not want to annoy him as he is known for being the pure one, gaining him the younger brother role.

Similarly, to Ashoka who has a calming aura, we have Euthalia. She is very caring to the others and simply known for “loving too much”. In the past she has never fit in anywhere which is why this group of misfits mean so much to her. When everyone fights or there is a possibly she is the quickest to show emotion, only emphasising she is the one who is the most attached. It is a common occurrence that she adopts other strays so has a lot of other animals which surround her. This has fated her with being the “mum” of the group.

Finally, we had Ragna, she is the “planner”, giving the group a sense of purpose as she decides where they’ll go and what to do as firstly she is the only who can be bothered and also the fact that she is forever organised. She gets along with everyone without too much friction but gets along the best with Nikomedes due to them spending a lot of time together to decide what the group should do. Also, the tactical attributes they both possess. They are known for being quite deadpan and emotionless but feels genuine love for the rest of the group.

Sometimes I feel like my existence in this group doesn’t matter, no one would realise if I was there or not. However, I often get reminded that we are a family and that’s enough to stick around.

The 30-Day Writing Challenge: Day 2

Day 2: Think of three people in your life. Give your character the hair and laugh of person 1, the face and bedroom of person 2, and the wardrobe and mannerisms of person 3. This is your new protagonist. Feel free to give him or her any other characteristics you’d like. Give us an idea of who your character is by describing only the first 60 seconds of the character’s day.

 

My eyelids fluttered open with the sun peaking through a gap from my curtains. I reached for my phone on my desk, which is positioned conveniently next to my bed. I sat up ever so slightly, that now my head rested on the wall instead on the pillow. As my eyes adjusted to the start of the day, I could see the time on the screen read: 8:40 am. I could see my black hair in front of my eyes, obscuring my vision, and knew it was sticking up at the top of my head. I scanned the room, the other side of my bed had the door which was still tightly closed. Another corner separated by a radiator, I glimpsed at the draw where I often chuck clean clothes, on top they were unfolded and scattered across. After I spotted that my wardrobe was open revealing clothes that I could possibly wear through the day, however my day had not yet started. I threw my phone on the desk scattered with notes an a half-open book. I could get up and put some music on to try to dance awake, but instead I got the pillow and press it on my face and try to return to my slumber so I did not have to think a moment longer.

I got bored and thought I would offer a slight visual. It was done in a short time and I was trying to do people that I know so I apologise for the quality. Just drawn for fun with an idea of how the character should look in my art style.