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NaNo 2017 -- Unwanted Ghosts

A Joe in the Bush

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So yesterday I impulsively decided to participate in NaNoWriMo. I spent yesterday dusting off one of my story ideas that hadn't gotten a lot of love from me, and spent today writing chapter 1 (Or possibly 2). I'm going to follow Talanic's example and post each day's work here as I finish them. I would definitely appreciate feedback and comments.

Without further ado, I present


Noveber 2nd. 1417 words

The cell was a perfect cube, and that pleased him. The cube was airtight though, which displeased him. It had 6 television monitors, each muted with subtitles, and set to different live feeds, and that also pleased him. The screens were each centered on a different side of the cube, and, sense he had no sense of down, that did not please him. His feet were meant to face downward. Just because death had freed him from gravity’s control did not mean he wanted to defy the natural order of life.

Being a ghost was no excuse for running rampant after all.

Unable to properly determine ‘down’, Denzel Slyfield sat cross legged in the exact center of his cell. He hummed softly, eyes closed, and wondered at who had thought meditation was good for people? It had not served him the few times he had tried it in life, and it’s usefulness had not been changed by his death. But it was something that he could actually fail at, and that alone was extremely beneficial.

He had spent the last 3 years succeeding against his will, and the 1000 before that succeeding at things thought impossible by the scientific community. He had failed many times in his life, or, his death, semantics really, but all of his past failures had been catastrophic. They had sent ripples of death across the world, or, at least, whatever town he had been studying in. So this failure to meditate was gratifying to say the least. No consequences, no deaths, no infamy.

It was still annoying that such a praised method of clearing one’s thoughts didn’t work for him.

He sighed, mostly out of habit. He couldn’t breath, even if the room had air in it. “Alright then. I cannot meditate. Is this problem unique to me, or does it affect all ghosts? Adding that to curiosities for now. What time is it?” He spun in the air, rotating his frame of reference until the status TV was right side up. The clock, deliberately false, read 0715. They hadn’t randomly changed it to throw him off, or, if they had, it had only been by a few minutes.

“Right. Only 5 more minutes until the next checkup, unless they randomly come early or late again. Step one, camouflage.” He wasn’t going to escape this way, but he would try. Most likely they would just shunt all the contents of the cell into a neighboring storage box, then burn the Ghoster sent to fetch him. Which was a victory all on its own.

Of the six screens in the room, the WCN station most fit his own greenish blue aura. He pressed himself up against the screen, then forced himself truly flat against it, flattening enough to blur his features and hopefully go unnoticed. It was profoundly uncomfortable to alter how he thought of himself, even after 1000 years of doing so, but he had grown used to it.

He settled in and waited, watching the other 5 screens as they played news of the world, names and dates removed, and random programs that the Lab Techs had decided would interest him. They didn’t, but he watched anyway.

The clock on the status screen slowly ticked away, changing every minute or so until 15 minute had passed. His ideal of himself in his head was starting to get uncomfortable to hold when finally, one of the screens began to recede into the wall. The outline of a doorway appeared, then the screen moved up, no, Denzel took a moment to reorient himself to the rest of the world’s down, and watched as the screen slid to the right. A young woman in a labcoat stood nervously in the hall. Her purple aura, the universal sign of a Ghoster, was faint still. She couldn’t be more than 21.

The Ghoster scanned the room, passing over his form, and her smile began to fade. “Mr. Slyfield? Where are you?”

The screen opposite the woman flashed black, switching feeds to a panel of folks in labcoats. The screen unmuted, and one of the figures spoke. “Miss Howard, context please?”

“Denzel isn’t in here Ma’am.”

Denzel managed to contain his instinctive sigh of relief. A new girl, not as observant as the others. His plan now had a 1 in a million chance of success, instead of being performed sheerly to spite them.

The observers, unable to see or hear Denzel via camera, were quick to come to a decision. “Retreat the clean room Miss Howard. Assume Shell Plan is in effect until told otherwise.”

“Right, of course.” Howard turned and fled. Denzel immediately relaxed his mind, ballooning back to full width, and sped after her. He needed to close the gap and hide under her aura before any other Ghosters arrived and spotted him. He growled and forced himself to believe that he could move quicker. It was easier to do now that he was in a high stress situation. The mind, despite being without a body for a millennium, still remembered what adrenaline could do. He managed to catch up, and snagged the tail of her coat, pulling himself up against her covered back. As long as he didn’t touch skin, he wouldn’t be sucked into her.

She skidded into a sterile white room, and slammed a button next to the door. There was a poof of steam, and the door back towards his cell slammed shut behind him. That door could have easily smashed him in 2 if he had been following her instead of riding her. As she panted, he snuck a peek over her shoulder. A 6 by 6 by 6 cubic room, pure white, with nothing but 2 doors and a chair built into the wall. The theme pleased a small part of him, but the implications did not. There would be no where to hide as soon as she sat down.

She leaned against the wall still panting, forcing him to drop to the floor to avoid touching her. She pushed off the wall and moved toward the chair. Denzel scowled, but moved away from her, settling himself against the wall opposite her so that he would be seen instantly. As she sat down, he plastered a winning smile onto his face. “Nice run.”

She shrieked and jumped up, staring straight at him. “What? How are you in here?”

He shrugged, “Not my fault you don’t know. I see no reason to tell you.”

“Wait,” her eyes narrowed at him, “ why are you revealing yourself to me?”

“That would also be telling. Besides, if you can’t figure it out, you don’t deserve to work for Fantasm.”

“Wellllllll,” she drew the word out as she examined her surroundings, “the obvious conclusion is that you need me to see you here as part of your escape plan, but I don’t see why.”

“Consider that hypothesis one. Until you see more evidence to back that up, assume it’s wrong and make hypothesis two.”

“Hrrrmmm.” She seemed to be fully invested in this now, but Denzel still hadn’t figured out a way to turn that to his advantage. “You knew you couldn’t hide, so you planned to recruit me somehow?”

“That’s more of a motivation for hypothesis one than another hypothesis.”

“I guess. . .”

Further conversation was rendered moot when the far door opened and a man in grey kevlar stepped into the room. He glowed a much more noticeable purple, and scowled at both Miss Howard and Denzel both. “Abby, return to your assigned area.”

Miss Howard squeaked and scurried past the man. Denzel didn’t try to follow. Mikael Srodinson was not a Ghoster to take lightly. He was one of only 4 Ghosters who had proven able to contain Denzel inside himself against his will, and Mikael’s mind was not an orderly place. “Denzel, get back into your cell right now.”

“You seem extra grumpy today Mikael. Did you take my suggestion to—”

Mikael surged forward without warning. His ungloved fist shooting forward faster than Denzel could dodge, and easily sank into him. He screamed as he was subsumed into the man. His thoughts became jumbled as he fell into Mikael’s mindscape.

“No! No please!” His pleas fell on sadistic ears as he fell towards the center. Fell towards prison, worse than his cell. Fell towards eternity.

“This time Denzel, I will have all of your plans.” Mikael’s voice boomed all around the falling ghost, as everything began to fade.

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November 3rd; only 861 words, but I'm tired. NaNo tells me I need to write 1776 words per day to finish on time, so tomorrow, I will spend my day off writing an entire 2000 words!

Also, Mikael is being annoying in this one and ignoring the direction I wanted this to go.

The feeling of falling into Mikael’s Mindscape was all encompassing, and then it wasn’t. The fall stopped without worrying about physical things like momentum. Everything was different here. He felt alive here. He could feel things here. Specifically, he could feel the bite of cold metal shackles biting into his wrists, suspending him from an invisible ground.

Every Mindscape was different. They reflected the Owner, and yet everyone of them had the same basic concept. Control. No matter how sweet or friendly the Ghoster, when they possessed a Ghost, they imprisoned the Ghost. They were a resource to be exploited, nothing else. Most ghosts lacked the necessary talents to stop a Ghoster from using their skills and Knowledge.

Mikael’s mindscape was different. It was why the man was such a danger. The shackles binding him stretched to infinity, surrounded by a tumult of colours and images. They were the only ordered thing in sight. Chaos reigned in the foul man’s mind, leaving Denzel nothing to work with. Nothing to take control of except the shackles.

Denzel’s will was strong enough to tear apart the mind of an ordered ghoster. It was limited here, but it was still a force. “Mikael!” He screamed to the void around him. “I have said it time and time again! You will not subdue me!” He clenched his fists, ignoring the wonderful sense of touch he had here, and willed the shackles to be off his wrists.

Abruptly, his reality replaced Mikael’s. The shackles now floated in front of him, gleaming in the swirling light. Denzel smirked, and in an instant, reforged the chains into a safe, into which he dumped everything he had learned of the security of Fantasm Development. His memories were not actually removed from him, but the safe served as a focus for his will.

I think I will Denzel. Mikael’s active thoughts boomed at him in stereo, bursting his eardrums. I have been practising. Normal Ghosts aren’t nearly as much fun as an abomination like you, but with enough coaxing, they can simulate your skills.

That was an interesting tidbit. If it was true, that single mocking sentence would make this entire failed escape attempt worth it. “Keep practicing for the rest of your short life Mikael. You may eventually give me a challenge.”

As an answer, the light around him twisted and darkened. Shadows appeared and danced as Mikael’s will gathered. Denzel attempted to reach out and order the man’s mind into a more pleasing visage, but had no effect on the storm around him.

Have this for a challenge, you damnation fossil.

The light flashed, and suddenly visuals were gone. Denzel blinked in surprise, but could see nothing. All he could do was wait and feel for Mikael’s attack. It came suddenly, something unseen smashing against Denzel’s will, wracking his thoughts and scattering his defenses. He screamed, and forced his mind back together.

“Mikael! You would destroy me just to learn what I know? That would remove the entire purpose of you being here!”

Ha! My purpose is to destroy you. My purpose is to be better than you!

This was no longer about protecting his escape. Now he just had to survive or else his half finished escape plans would be useless. The vast majority of ghosts went insane precisely because of torn minds. Luckily, or rather, skillfully, Denzel could fight back in ways no other Ghost could.

He growled and began to reimagine himself. He was not a ghost. He was a force. A Natural Law. Denzel Slyfield was as big as the atmosphere, and twice as hard to hold. He forced himself to believe that, putting massive strain on both his own mind, and the mind attempting to contain him.

Cracks began to form in Mikael’s will. Denzel could suddenly access the man’s real physical sight. He had been returned to his cell already, he just had to break out of Mikael. The opposing will suddenly vanished, and Denzel floated in midair, blinking in surprise. He was back in his cell, Mikael stood in the doorway grinning at him.

“I really thought depriving you of your sight would break you, but it seems you’re used to going without.”

Denzel folded his arms, ignoring the fear taking up a large portion of his thoughts. “I have more tricks up these sleeves then you will have a chance to discover Mikael.”

“I don’t intend to let you use them, but if that helps you sleep at night Denny.” He shrugged. Anyway, do try to escape again. I always prefer live fire exercises.” He turned and sauntered away, the door snapping shut behind him.

Alone again, in a room where he could not be heard, Denzel sat down in the center of the room to order his thoughts. This escape could have gone better, but every spar with Mikael taught him more, and furthered his goals. Two gains this time more than made the escape a success. “They’re training other ghosts to replicate my abilities, and the new girl, Abby Howard, thinks that I can recruit her.”

Escape was more necessary than ever now, and more viable.

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