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Hello! This is the first part of a serial story I'm writing. I'm hoping to get parts out monthly, but do not rely on this. I was originally hoping to get this first part out on New Year's Day, but editing took longer than I hoped. Word count for this first part is ~8300 for anyone interested Contractual Woes Part 1 Enjoy! Criticism is highly appreciated.
Welcome to the thread! If you're just here for the stories, just skip on down to the spoiler tags; they're compressing things so that I can fit updates into the first post as well as posting them below, without interrupting potential discussion. I'm trying NaNoWriMo this year; while I played with it previously I never made a serious attempt, and the one novel I have finished took me upwards of five years for a measly 60,000 words - not because I can't write quickly, but because (among other reasons) I was learning. So here begins my first real attempt at writing a novel in 30 days, begun at the stroke of midnight on November 1st. Myth Taken, aka The Story So Far (does not count towards NaNoWriMo): And the first writing for NaNoWriMo is an aside story in the same setting. The Primals are likely to get very little direct exposure and this struck me tonight during my shift, so I had to get on with it: Interlude: A Fable November 1st. Words: 1000 on the dot. Remaining for Day: 667. There will be another update after work tomorrow, but pretty good start for the first hour of NaNoWriMo. Chapter 1 - November 2nd Chapter 2: November 3rd. Possibly not the only update today - I hope not, as it's only 1048 words and I'm falling a bit behind, but my arms are bothering me. November 4th, morning: 725 more words. I have to head off to work now, but I'm feeling much better than I have over the last few days. I'm falling behind but I still think I can pull this off. Updates up to the afternoon of November 5th: November 5th, evening. November 6th and on, sadly, will have to go in future posts, as we've hit the size limit. If you see any mistakes, please let me know - I may not have time for much editing on the fly, but I'll do what I can. Also, I'm more than a little prone to depression, so if you like my work, let me know; it can make a world of difference to know that people actually care about what I'm doing.
I could start this story anywhere, but things only got really weird when the knife sank into my shadow and I found that I was pinned to the spot. It was at that point that I really knew that I was more screwed than I had ever been. But that's too far forward. Consider that bit a promise that things get weird in a little while, okay? I had been having fun but nothing really exceptional was happening. I had a free weekend. I was twenty-three and single, and my friends weren't, so it was a perfect recipe for me doing something stupid. Since I prefer not to endanger myself or others – normally, at least – and I live in a small town in the American Midwest, that meant a little jaunt into my old hobby. I like to explore. As a kid I'd gone spelunking a few times and found it neat, but not quite to my taste. I prefer abandoned structures; old farmhouses, boarded-up factories, anything I can get into unnoticed without damaging anything. I get in, I sketch things – with a few embellishments, sometimes – I explore, and I leave. If I don't intend to go back, I'll find an out-of-the-way corner and leave a little souvenir – a coin from my Grandfather's collection. He was amused by the idea of making the collection hard to reassemble, and left it to me as a private joke between us. I know there's a larger internet community about that, somewhere, but I've never really looked into it. I'm not into it for glory, I just enjoy making stories about the places I'm intruding on. I suspect I'd have a lot more choice of target if I lived in Europe. Nothing here that I'd sneak into is really that old. Most buildings like this one will get a local reputation. You know, the neighborhood haunted shack. Not this time. It was exactly as I'd heard from Todd – a building out in the forest. Old timbers. Sturdy-looking door. Now, there are no old-growth forests in my home state – everything got clear cut before environmental concerns were a thing – so I know that this house (well, I assumed it was a house) once sat in a clearing. It had to – one of my criteria for figuring out something was really old (by local standards) is if the timbers used to build it are too large to bring through the woods surrounding it. Definitely the case here. This building was in a ravine, a three-mile hike from the nearest road according to satellite maps. Since Todd told me about the house's existence I'd poked about to find an owner (so at least my apologies could be personalized if I got caught sneaking about) and had found nothing. It wasn't public land – as far as I could tell the paperwork for it had been forgotten, and it didn't officially exist. I was ready to about-face immediately if I came across any kind of squatter or survivalist; my suspicion was someone with connections in local government had built themselves a secret getaway cabin in the woods. Then everyone who knew what was going on had died or forgotten about it and it wound up a ripe-to-be-explored ruin. I'm not really good with architecture. It looked like some kind of extra-large log cabin, with a shingled wooden roof. No windows that I could see. The shingles made me suspect it couldn't have been neglected for that long, but there were no trails. In fact, there was quite a thicket outside. A place this far out wouldn't be plumbed; anyone inside would have to leave to use an outhouse or privy or something. No, it was clearly abandoned. I had to squeeze through the thicket, taking rather a lot longer to clear than I'd like. That's one of the reasons I like to limit my explorations to man-made structures; they are by definition made for humans to pass through. The door was actual a set of iron-bound double doors straight out of a video game. The lock was easy. Well-maintained, which was unusual to me. I eased the door open – I kinda like squeaky hinges – and for a moment I saw the dark-but-mundane interior that I had expected. Then everything lurched. I was no longer standing at the threshold of an old house in Wisconsin. Something hit me in the back – my backpack took the hit but I was still flung prone in a brightly-lit room. I skidded – briefly and painfully – across a hardwood floor, like polished mahogany floorboards. I heard the door shut behind me as a huge-but-unseen bell rang. This had not been in the cards for today. I regained my feet, slowly turning around to take in my surroundings, still not quite understanding what I was seeing yet. The room I was in now was bigger than the entire building that I had been about to enter. There was a grand staircase ahead of me, like a palace staircase or one of those wannabe-palace Southern mansions. Trophies hung from the walls, and for a moment my eyes just skipped over them – I have relatives who are very into hunting but it could never really hold my interest. I did a proper double-take a moment later. Deer don't have spiral horns; also, they have two of them. That was when I saw the knife drop at me from the upper level, hitting the ground in front of me, point-down. I reacted with remarkable aplomb, screaming only once and avoiding soiling myself, but my belated attempt to dodge drew me up short. As I said earlier, the knife had struck my shadow, buried itself in it, in fact, and when I jumped away, I felt a fierce tug back towards the knife. My shadow was unnaturally stretched out, as if pinned in place. Not yet having thought enough to realize how much I should be panicking, I looked up to see if another knife was coming. The man looking down from above was short and heavily muscled. He was naked (at least his shoulders were – he was on the upper level) but that didn't disturb me as much as the fact that he was apparently made of stone. Granite, I think. He nodded, then spoke. “You will wait there for the master. Then you will serve.” ****************** BREAK: Out of character time. Thanks for reading, and I hope you liked it. I've been in a long writing slump and am trying to get back to my roots. My first short stories were serial posts written on a message board; those were so easy to write compared to what came later. I'll try to spend an hour a night on this, if I can. Don't be afraid to critique me on anything I'm messing up, continuity errors, spelling mistakes, or general critiques of tone, relevance or the like. Updates will be put at the last post in the thread, but if discussion overwhelms I'll start attaching the latest version to the first post (if I can).