Thread: Small Worlds
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Old 08-11-2012, 04:08 AM
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Splat Splat is offline
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Another roaring success!

Ah well.
Here's a thing...

Looooong, long ago there was an off-topic RPG here on OWF called 'The Community' which was, not to mince words, pretty darn awesome. It died when one of the key players disappeared (possibly having been sucked into a different dimension as part of a suspiciously Stephen-Kingy plot twist) but it was, for its time, very fun, and had some great story, especially towards the end.

Shortly after its hideous death I made an attempt to make a coherent story out of it but never got anywhere - it's beginnings were very messy and I tried to be too close to the original - but I did manage to write an intro to it, which was slightly pretentious but not total rubbish.

Aaaanyway, many a year later I had an idea of a woman running though a forest, and I wrote it as a story; the result wasn't great, but it was at least good - especially the part where she was confronted by her pursuers. The last sentence of that story was incredibly good.

Finally, a year or two ago, on a whim, I tried, for some reason, to write the two things together - the introduction for 'The Community' and the story of a woman being chased through a forest. The result... really worked!

Maybe there'll be a story to go with this one day; I'd love to use this in something. But for now, and for your viewing pleasure (creative title ahead)...

TC Intro Meets Running From Wolves

Some people believe that every time the dice of probability are rolled new universes are created to accommodate every possible outcome. The first flaw in this is one of words; the word universe means, by definition, everything. There is one universe, whole and complete, that cannot be added to or taken from; only changed.

And then there’s the more practical problem of, if you’re making a trillion trillion new universes every nanosecond, what do you make them all from, and where do you put them?

Change the way you think; there are multiple worlds within the universe. Not dimensions, because a dimension is just a direction you face when looking at something, but different places, all connected in different ways, some as simply as the distance between the Earth and the moon, and others like the connections that hold elements together. All worlds interact with all others in some way, though how when all are tight and contained and wide and open at the same time is beyond imagining. As for numbers, well, imagine a world connected to ours by a simple door; are they one? But then what if a third world is connected to the second, but in no way related to ours; does that mean all three are one when this world shares nothing with the third? And then in a second’s time things shift and suddenly those worlds are torn apart and others take their places. Things are hard to quantify once you get past the realms of sight and sound.

The thing to remember is that power in any form changes the container that holds it.

The other thing to remember is that details don’t matter; bangles and bells and colours and clothes that are as solid as mountains are irrelevant, while the small, hidden things, as lasting as vapour and as mighty as hurricanes are the things that change the course of reality. Ignore the solid, real things that will never change in a thousand years and have no more impact than throwing pebbles at a castle wall, and see the truths that will change the world and are as brittle as delicate sculptures of salt.

Ignore the bells and the lights and the bangs; see the fragile things:

* * *

It is dark, and there are stars, and clouds swirl in the sky in unnatural shapes. A young woman runs through a forest, gasping for breath as her trembling legs throw her onwards. There are no branches as low as her head, but perhaps you see them swipe at her regardless, twigs catching at her clothes and hair and scratching the skin of her arms and face. She is weeping as she runs; she knows there is no hope.

Do you hear her pursuers? It does not matter that they make no sound as they chase her; they move silently around her, closing in, moving in a synchronicity beyond the power of words, spoken or not. You may hear them shout or crash or curse and it will make no difference.

Blood pours from the girl’s bare feet. Her skin is marred with fading bruises.

Somewhere far ahead, people dream. In their houses, behind their walls, they feel safe from all that lives and runs in the wild.

And then the girl stumbles; does she trip on a fallen log? Put a foot in an old rabbit hole? Turn an ankle on a raised root or stone? These things do not matter; all that matters is she is on the ground and she has time only to push herself to her hands and knees before they are all around her.

Her pursuers are not men but wolves; twice the size they should be with eyes of fire and deadly jaws. Their fur is matted and dark. They are cursed, half-decayed things and their chests heave from the exertion of the chase while their postures are firm with the triumph of the hunt.

Do you believe in the Big Bad Wolf? Do you see the innocence in predators that hunt by claw and tooth?

Here is a fragile thing, so easy to overlook: where their feet touch the grass the plants are dying and decaying.

The woman is breathing too hard to speak; she can do nothing but crouch and take gasps of air, so great that they cause her physical pain. Its jaw twisting into a snarl, one of the wolves speaks; “Stand.”

She takes a great gasp of a breath and pushes herself up onto her knees. “I’m not like you anymore,” She pants, barely believing the words herself.

“Stand,” It repeats, its eyes flashing with fire. This one will be the one to kill her.

With much difficulty and favouring one leg, she pushes herself to her feet. She is still breathing hard.

Another of the beasts speak, “Give it to us.”

“It’s gone,” She replies between breaths. “Lost.”

“Where?” Barks the leader.

She smirks at it though her heart pounds with terror, and with courage she does not believe in she replies, “Kill me.”

Words and lost treasures are beyond it; one thing it understands. Its confidence returns and its bloodlust rises. “As you wish.”

And in that moment someone incredibly far away and (remember this; this is all important) closer than the girl’s skin is to her heart writes these words:

“And then, for just a fraction of a second, the clouds parted, and moonlight shone down over the trees.”

For half a second the forest is bathed in silver. The girl’s skin changes; suddenly she is glowing with golden light – gold like precious things. The wolves howl and stumble back and scream animal screams, and then the moonlight goes and darkness returns and so do the shadows in their minds, but by now there is no sight of the girl. Howling in rage and denial they spend the rest of the night circling and searching frantically for a sight, a smell, a hint of their quarry until their dead footprints stretch for nearly a half-mile wide circle around where they surrounded her and the approach of dawn’s light forces them to flee.

Not one of them sees a tiny silver spider crawling away through the dying grass.


Ok, so even I don't know what I was talking about in there some of the time.
The girl, and her reaction to moonlight, was partly inspired by a character from 'The Community' called Kix, who was created by T-Nex.

As for the wolves, they're a very strong image I've had in my head for a long time - these enslaved creatures, transformed from real animals into fairy tale monsters - rotting fur, hoarse voices and fire dancing in their eyes.
Do you believe in the Big Bad Wolf?

Towards the end of the RPG I introduced a character called Elfair who had contracted a disease that warped the more animal, savage aspects of her body and gave her an irresistible blood-lust and an urge to spread the disease by biting more victims. She was a 16 year-old girl, trapped in the body of a monster. That's something else that will have to find its way into a story one day.
If the story hadn't died when it did, she would have attacked and bitten one of the story's villains, who, unlike her, wouldn't have tried to resist his new instincts. Man, I wish we'd gotten to that.
Oddworld novel: The Despicable. Original fiction: Small Worlds.

Last edited by Splat; 08-11-2012 at 04:11 AM..
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