by free writer
This is just a test of the first chapter of a novel I want to work on.
The bell tolls again. The sky was stuck in an eternal dark red tint. The trees in the area were dead, and the only visible life were a few skeleton-like creatures. The ground was bland, with only a few rocks to break the bleak aesthetic of the brownish-grey soil. The only patch of grass clustered around a person lying on the ground. It glowed a tint of bright green and surrounded the individual. The man had his eyes closed whilst breathing quietly and steadily. Then suddenly, the space of life around him started to shrink in size. The circle had begun closing in on itself, towards the sleeping man. It was as if the life around him was being transferred into his body. The once still figure was now filled with movement. The twitching of fingers and legs were not unlike one going through a nightmare in their sleep. Closed lids opened to reveal blue eyes, and as if the awakening of the man was a divine celebration, the bell tolls again.|
The man lay there, his mind clear of thought. He stared into the blank sky, his eyes fixed upon a blanket of darkness. Fear was the first emotion to fall upon him. He suddenly sat up, moving his head and eyes around the area, scouting for answers as to where he was. Taking in the scenery, the fear whittled down and was replaced by curiosity. Frantic movements became calm gestures.
Finally getting the energy to arise from the ground, he was able to see his surroundings clearly. The animals, or beasts, that looked starved and grotesque were anything but horrifying to the now fully awakened man. Taking the time to observe himself, he found he was already fully clothed. It seemed to be nothing special, just a dress shirt, coat, dress pants, dress shoes, and a hat. On the left of his hip, a weapon was holstered. He felt at it and instantly knew what it was. A blade with no remarkable attributes to it. It looked exceptionally dirty, however, and if one were to survive a stab wound they would surely perish by the sickness that would follow. Quite a thrilling offensive tool.
“I see you have finally awakened.” A familiar voice beckoned to him. Whether it was a distant speaker or a voice in his head he could not tell. All he knew was that the words provided would be important. “Listen carefully, you need to walk towards one of the trees. It’s quite large, sitting atop a hill. It should stand out once you look for it.” Turning around, it was exactly as the man had said. One wouldn’t notice the tree with quick glances or even long observing glares. But once you knew what to look for, it was impossible not to see it. It easily towered over all the other trees. The tree had split into many branches as if the top had been blown off by explosives. That was the extent of its uniqueness though, as it too exerted a dreadful mood as its leafless branches reached towards different directions. Without further instructions, he walked towards the tree, his shoes making little to no sound against the bare ground.
Stopping once he reached the tree, he patiently waited for further directions. The only noise he heard was the heavy breathing of the monsters around him. After what felt like 30 minutes, he decided to just touch the tree. Slowly closing the distance between his hand and the tower of wood ahead of him, he hesitantly felt the coarse bark. That seemed to have been the catalyst, as at that very moment, his vision had started to fail him. The man fell to his knees, and once again went to sleep.
This time when he awoke from his slumber, he did not do so peacefully. He jarringly shot up, quickly getting up while trying not to stumble back to the ground. Once he caught his footing, he had calmed into the state he was once in moments before. Or was it moments? He pondered. How long had he been there, or was it perhaps a dream? His new bed seemed to be in an alleyway. The brick buildings around him were close together, making a strip of a walkway that either led to further darkness or the light of the city area. It didn’t take long for the man to start walking toward the light, although he had a small temptation to approach the darkness on the other side.
Once out of the cleavage between the buildings, he was on a street. The street seemed lively with people hurrying and talking at once. Glancing around, he saw children, elderlies, and everyone in between. Then, he was caught in the crowd. He could not move against the current flowing downstream, and the loud sounds of the people around him were starting to irritate his ears. It felt as if it had been forever since he heard this much noise. What seemed to bother him more was the constant useless chatter of the people around him. They each talked constantly and indefinitely, barely changing the pace to stop and listen to another. Counterfeit grins were on many of the faces around him, almost as if they were each trying to keep themselves in a constant lie of happiness. He quickly tried to step out of the cluster of people through the side. After constant attempts of politely scooting someone over, he finally found his way into a little shop.
“Greetings! What may you be looking for today? Is it food, or protection from the wave of citizens running upon the streets?” Her comment was delivered with a playful tone, but it still seemed to exert a feeling of dread behind each word. She held an unnaturally large smile as she said it, and never broke eye contact. The man returned the gesture and locked his eyes with hers. Then, he realized something. Did he know how to speak? He opened his mouth, fumbling through his head for something to say. Surely if he could understand something, he could talk. After a seemingly long pause of silence, he was able to form a sentence.
“Both would be nice.” His voice was soothing and soft. However, he did not recognize it. It seemed foreign, leading him to question whether or not the voice was even his own. The girl excreted a stale chuckle.
“My name is Anne, what might yours be?” Another comment of hers struck him. Had he ever had a name? How could one forget something so important? The constant thoughts poked at his mind and were starting to drive him mad. In a panic to not make a scene, he quickly came up with a lie.
“Artisine.” It was the first thing to pop into his head. It was not a new name to him, but he knew it belonged to another.
“What an interesting name! I assume you aren’t from ‘round here.” Her joyful sentences came off condescending.
“I guess you could say that.” He looked at the food around him. Bread, meat, and an assortment of fruit occupied the shelves around him.
“It’s all fresh! See anything you like?”
“What usually helps you calm down and relax.”
“Hmm, I usually like to eat a nice warm soup if I’m feeling stressed.”
“Do you sell that?”
“Only the ingredients for it.” He put on a disappointed face. He made sure not to show it to her, but it seemed to flow throughout his whole body, even making an aura around him. “Is it perhaps a common item sold where you come from?” He had failed at hiding it. Her pity turned his disappointment into embarrassment.
“I don’t do much shopping, so I wouldn’t know.”
“I see. Well, I hope you are able to find something else.” It finally came to him the true nature of the situation he was in. This girl wasn’t unlike many others out there. They all talked excitedly about things without listening to each other. Each trying to force their opinions upon each other. It wasn’t clear and apparent, for it was masked by smiles and laughter. But if they had taken the time to listen, they would have been able to figure it out.
“I must be on my way now, good day.” Now the disappointment moved to her. She nodded and waved goodbye. The kindness she so freely expressed was gone. No energy was put into the farewell.
He knew now there was no other option than to become part of the herd. Though he knew nothing of their destination, traveling against them would lead him there anyways. After squeezing into another spot in the crowd, he followed the person in front of him and smiled as if to blend into the group of broken radios chatting to themselves.
After what seemed like an hour of walking, the crowd came to a stop. The once loud and obnoxious voices around him were quiet. There were a lot of hushes amongst the crowd, mainly directed towards their children. Looking ahead, a large door stood in front of the cluster. It remained shut, and there was no way mere men could open it. The people seemed to be waiting for the opening of this door. Looking a bit above the door was a castle. It was overlooking the city atop a large hill. The architecture for the structure was much more new and refined than anything one could find around here.
After a while of waiting, the door opened. The people watched as sheep and barely took their eyes off the door. The door was opening slowly, the loud creaking taking the place of the now silent chatter. The door had reached the final stage of its unlocking. A loud slamming sound quickly passed as the gates locked into position, revealing a path towards the palace. The stampede started again, this time more violent than usual. The nameless man had joined the charge, preparing himself for what was next to come.
The journey took much shorter than the last. The chain of people had dropped the friendly facade for the moment and went in with contempt and competitive anger. Anger surged throughout the masses. One foot after the other, in quick succession. It had continued for about 20 minutes, and they had finally started to part into two lanes. A circular stadium awaited him. He was near the right of the group, so naturally, he followed suit into the side of the stadium facing the sun.
Many people carried weapons. Some were simple knives or guns, and some held large swords or even axes. They started drawing their weapons and thrusting them into the air. Gunshots were fired, creating a song along with the screaming and shouting of the people. They shouted derogatory words, swears, and curses, and cheered for some important figure.
In the middle of the stadium, there was an arena-like setting. A large gate held something horrifying, and the smaller gates held soldiers, no, maybe prisoners. He sat there knowing full well what was going to happen. They were going to fight. The creature roared in the gates, scratching at the metal bars. The men were pumped for battle rather than scared for their lives.
Not long after, both were opened. The two parties charged toward each other. A truly unsightly beast came out of the large door. It seemed 3 times the size of a normal human. Almost like an enlarged bear, but instead of muscle, it had bare bones. The skin was thin, resembling more a bird’s foot than the arm of a monster. The fur on the creature was stained with blood. Its head held teeth similar to that of a wolf. Its eyes an empty pocket of space. It ran towards the 6 men, who were all well built. They each had very little armor, a shield, and spears. Alone, they wouldn’t be able to do anything to the target. Even as a group of six little faith was put into them. Just before they met with the monster, they quickly dispersed around it. They all cried and shouted while thrusting spears into the opponent. The sound of flesh being pierced and blood being splattered over the cries of the monster sounded shockingly pleasant. The beast clawed at one of the men, making three gashes across his chest. The warrior screamed at the top of his lungs, and the pain caused him to freeze. Without hesitation, the monster crushed him with its hand clenched to a fist.
The shouting continued louder, more aggressive. He had been watching with curiosity and had even been tempted to join the rally. As he was about to stand up to cheer, the combatants were sprayed with a sort of brownish fluid. The cheers intensified further. The smell was most familiar. What was it? Lost completely in his own thoughts, he almost missed the main event. The torches people carried were thrown into the pit. It reminded him of the feeling of sitting around the furnace with family. The screams of the men were able to be drowned out by the audience, but not the beast’s cries. It screeched in agony, almost begging for mercy like a terrified child. You could see the outline of the bear, but it wasn’t disgusting or brutal. It was almost poetic, angelic, or even beautiful. Soon it became hard to see the silhouette of anything but the fire.
Walking out along with the now quiet group of people, he ran through the events he had just witnessed. Starting to reminisce about what happened, he could see the beauty of the burning corpse. The ugly bear was burned, purged from this world. He had felt fulfilled from just remembering the sight of it. But he had remembered its piercing screech. The image of delight suddenly took the form of a nightmare. The burning of the men came soon after, their screams following quickly after. Resentment, resentment was the only emotion to describe him. Resentment towards himself, the people, the burning beast. Resentment towards the people in the castle, even the castle itself. He felt nothing but the will to burn it all, but he hadn’t a clue as to why.