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Thread: Delphinus's Bookshelf

  1. #1
    Super Senior Member Delphinus's Avatar
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    Delphinus's Bookshelf

    Someone asked me to post my writings in the Ubermensch thread, so here's the writing for today. Note that I probably won't post every day, since the 500 words I write aren't necessarily this cohesive all the time; sometimes they comprise of ten fifty-word sections.

    SPOILER! :
    "Welcome to Thursday.” said the weathered sign. There were two problems with this, from George's perspective: firstly, it was Monday today, and secondly, he was in the middle of the desert. That there was a sign there at all was extraordinary; that it was in English was, frankly, insulting. He struggled towards it. Effort conservation be damned, he had to know more about the cryptic message. As he neared the sign he noticed something; where there had formerly been an infinite, unbroken plain of sand, there was now an irregular dark crack running across it. He looked to his right; the crack seemed to go on forever. He turned and looked the other way; again, there seemed to be no end to it. Curious, he moved closer. The crack yawned ever wider as he approached it. From the tiny crack in the earth he had first noticed, it now gaped five or ten feet wide – the sign that had drawn him in that direction was on the opposite side of the crack to him. Timorously, George peered over the cusp, then jerked back in shock and vomited profusely on the sand. What George had seen was this: the crack, though at most only ten feet wide, led to a drop immeasurably deep. At the bottom of the crack he could see a series of lights extending far beyond the edges of his vision.

    For George, who had been afflicted with vertigo since the age of seven, this was not a good scenario.

    _______________________________________________

    I am lost. Lost in darkness, in utter, total, all-consuming darkness. I cannot see; I'm blind. I don't know where this darkness came from or whether it will ever recede but oh god I'm blind. The night is closing in fast and I'm blind. The groans of wild beasts surround me and I'm blind. What do I do? My mind is a blank, as blind as my eyes, I am slipping, slipping into the void, and nobody can save me now.
    Or can they?

    _______________________________________________

    The tendency, when a brutal murder occurs, is to immediately blame someone – the right-wing press pin all the blame on the assailant, and the left-wing press place all onus on the conditions surrounding the assailant: that is, on capitalism. Both approaches are equally flawed and equally a product of the journalist's political convictions. Sometimes the only thing to blame is chance. If he hadn't become drunk that night... if he hadn't had a knife to hand... if the victim hadn't been exhibiting their wealth, making him jealous... if he hadn't been sexually abused by his parents... there are, in most circumstances, far too many factors in play to pinpoint one or another as the cause of the crime.

    Certain humans will always be born mentally ill. There is substantial proof that some forms of mental 'illness' are promoted by evolution. For example, the psychopath and the narcissist are more sexually promiscuous than the average human being; thus, the likelihood of them impregnating someone, or being themselves impregnated, is higher than the likelihood of a neurotypical person. Assuming psychopathy and narcissism have genetic factors behind them, some forms of mental 'illness' actually increase an individual's evolutionary fitness.

    In Oedipus the King, the fated Jocasta declares “It's all chance! Chance rules our lives!” and is summarily punished. But in more modern modes of literature, such as absurdism, the influence of chance on our lives is increasingly being recognised as not only significant, but crucial. In the sciences, too, we observe seeming order emerging from chaos (in the case of evolution), and seeming chaos emerging from order (in chaos theory).

    Why not apply this to the phenomenon of murder? The breeding of at least a few serial killers and many more who are predisposed to violence in each generation is inevitable: neither the right-wing calls for harsher policing nor the left-wing calls for greater opportunity in deprived areas will reduce the murder count to nothing, though they may efficacious to a certain extent.

    From here, from the doctrine of the inevitability of murder, we can begin to see from the view of Thomas de Quincy and other aesthetes: “What's done is done, the only thing left is to appreciate it aesthetically.” I am neither sick nor insane; I merely reject your tediously simple causes.
    Last edited by Delphinus; 07-18-2011 at 03:20 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fenn
    You forgot your F in Modesty.

  2. #2
    One Thousand Member Matt's Avatar
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    These stories are actually quite compelling. You provide interesting hooks in all of them and at least my interest was held throughout. The first one was especially good, presenting an abnormality on top of an abnormality and then giving the protagonist a condition contrasting one of them. All in a short time, too.

    Do you want critiques, or are these just literary doodles?

  3. #3
    Super Senior Member Delphinus's Avatar
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    Literary doodles. I'll only want criticism on more complete things, this is just my daily practice. Sort of the equivalent of life sketches for an artist.

    And the third one is an essay, not a story.
    Last edited by Delphinus; 07-17-2011 at 07:39 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fenn
    You forgot your F in Modesty.

  4. #4
    One Thousand Member Matt's Avatar
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    Yeah, I got that. Essays actually help me a bit more in technical writing (i.e. eliminating all useless words) than fiction does. I might start doing the same thing myself, as opposed to forcing out stories in a series every week.

  5. #5
    Super Senior Member Delphinus's Avatar
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    Today's entry.

    EDIT: Changed to spoiler tags to preserve the formatting.

    SPOILER! :
    The walls are stained with blood and madness and ha! Cassandra still thinks that it's all red paint. Red on white, red on white, I have repainted the walls with the evidence of my insanity. I have created new art: is it art? I believe it's art. They will never suspect me, they'll never imagine that I did what I did to her, they think I'm not broken, they'll never see past my eyes because they're mad, it's they who are mad, not me.

    ___________________________________________

    Did you see the sunrise, baby? And did you see the sunset, darling? Were you even paying attention? I don't know how many rises and falls you've seen in your time; talking to you is like talking to the hills or the rivers. You've seen the sun rise over the Roman Senate even as it sets on the Greek Assembly; tyrant and benevolent leader have felt your touch equally. And who are you, my darling, that you see nations rise and fall with indifference, and see the world become populated in the blink of an eye, the progress from slings to jet fighters in a split second? You are, my love, the only thing that is a certainty in life.
    And are you indifferent, too, to my sufferings and my pleas, as you have been to so many others? Are you determined to maintain an icy façade, and have men desperately try to send you away? No, you are merely deaf and blind, the natural justice of the universe, and cannot love or hate. Yet nonetheless I love you for the fire you place in men's hearts. Without you, there is only sheer decadence. Only the fear of you, beloved, motivates men to try and live forever through their achievements.
    I declare my love of you, of your existence, and of your deeds, and of your form, oh Death.

    ___________________________________________

    She is breathing heavily, her breasts heaving with panic. She is helpless, a mouse before a cat or a wounded gazelle as a lion approaches. She is crying, tiny rivers flowing down onto her well-formed lips and dripping onto the concrete floor. The blood streaming from her split upper lip mingles with the tears to form a puddle of murky reddish liquid.
    I met her for the first time two or three days ago, in a bar. The lights were low and the atmosphere, relaxed. I'd come to perform my usual Friday-night ritual of drinking to excess with a couple of co-workers (and accomplices) while surreptitiously hunting for appropriate women. There was me, that is to say Nicolas Hill, Jimbo, and Polo, and we sat at our table making up our minds what to do with the evening. And then – coincidentally – I came across her at the bar when we were on the fifth or sixth round of drinks. Feeling more daring than usual, for I'd drunk mostly straight spirits for the last hour, I invited her to our table. She brought a friend, an over-excitable and corpulent mound of flesh, too, but fortunately that Orca shortly had to swim to new waters. There must have been an offer on cakes at the supermarket.
    Anyway, beached whale dismissed, we had the opportunity to talk to Clarise – for that's her name, Clarise, although we don't call her that any more. Bitch and whore suffice.
    Last edited by Delphinus; 07-18-2011 at 03:19 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fenn
    You forgot your F in Modesty.

  6. #6
    Fenn
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    Reading your works is like lying in a canoe through a river of lava: Although dangerous truths and intrusive realities surround you, you can't help but enjoy the smooth flow of your path. Well done.

  7. #7
    Super Senior Member Delphinus's Avatar
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    And again. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to write tonight, but when I finally started I was really pleased with the end result. I might expand on it, even, although right now the pacing is a bit dodgy. Guess that's what I get for writing high on caffeine late at night.
    Love the concept, though. And also, Fenn, it's a bit less grimdark than the other stuff, and closer to reflecting how I actually think about reality...

    SPOILER! :
    In the distance the faint sound of a piano can be heard, and the meticulously clean streets seem more organic and less clinical just by having the notes of that melancholy melody drift through them. A hunched figure scuttles through the streets, as though afraid of the light, and ducks away from the small dents in the wall, which to the untrained eye would mean nothing remarkable, but to the figure denote the locations of hidden cameras. Years ago, they called this heaven, and for a little while, it was. Not any more. Now the streets are only clean because blood is used as bleach. The selfsame streets are clear of crime because petty theft is punishable by firing squad.
    The figure is clad in rags: enough to see it dragged before a court and punished for vagrancy. But the advantage of rags is that they make you invisible. Nobody notices a single vagabond in a city of thousands of them. Most are too scared to show their vagabondage, but it remains nonetheless; a hundred million people are clad in figurative rags for the benefit of a hundred others. The rags are a way of hiding yourself at the cost of your dignity. The figure moves onwards with caution, avoiding cameras, and narrowly avoiding a woman carrying a baby as it rounds the corner onto the main road. It's deserted; nobody uses the roads any more. Everything is contained within the home. The state knows how to keep you safe at home.
    And the sound of the piano just grows louder and louder as the rag-clad figure approaches a door that's barely distinguishable from the flat, smooth, whitewashed concrete that surrounds it. The door slides open with a faint hiss, and the pile of rags steps into it. It's a lift.
    In the apartment of the pianist, the tune is still more vibrant and lively, bouncing around almost in the spirit of big-band jazz. But it nonetheless retains a slight air of melancholy, as though the old world of vivacious expression, the old world of emotion, is crying at the injustice and perversion that's been wrecked on it by the desire for security. Nature has died and been replaced with still concrete slabs, and the piano is singing out, at once joyfully and mournfully, for the nostalgia of bygone days, when freedom still lived as an ideal and not just as a word, and when humanity was the beginning and the end of all the joy and all the pain in the world. All that has now died and been replaced with machinery; and not the machinery of bygone days, machinery that aids people, but machinery as king, and the system as a fact of life. Chaos is dead; order lives.
    But the apartment is in stark defiance of this: where the world outside was minimalist, this is extravagant. There are furs adorning the floor, and plant pots everywhere, from the glass-and-mahogany coffee-table to the top of a cabinet. From behind many of these plant pots glint the steely lenses of cameras, but their vision is inhibited. Only by forty-five percent, of course – otherwise the police force would be down on the place like a shot.
    And the piano-playing stops as the pianist approaches the door where the bundle of rags stands. He is a young man, not handsome but not ugly either, and he wears his dark hair tucked neatly behind his ears. His clothing matches the attire of the apartment; broadly decadent but nonetheless comprised of the same elements that minimalistic apparel would be. He leans over to the bundle of rags, and sensually takes the end of the face-covering mask in hand, twirls it around his hand, and kisses the pair of lips so revealed deeply. The kiss lasts a brief moment, then the ragged figure pulls away and takes off the rest of the rags.
    Revealed stand a woman, of the same age as the man, but with more typically minimalist clothing, perhaps, than the male. The two kiss again, and as they pull away a brief conversation takes place:
    “You should play more quietly.”
    “They'll never catch me, not for disturbing the order.”
    “Mmm, I heard them talking about banning the piano as decadent for your sake.”
    “And then their fine dinners would be compromised.”
    “Yeah, but all it takes is one person saying you're disturbing them with your playing and-”
    “Nobody will ever say that.”
    Last edited by Delphinus; 07-20-2011 at 08:29 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fenn
    You forgot your F in Modesty.

  8. #8
    Fenn
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    Very nice...

  9. #9
    Super Senior Member Delphinus's Avatar
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    Fenn apparently likes bolstering my already-sizable ego.

    This is incomplete. It's about 800 words; I'll be adding to it over the course of tomorrow and maybe the next day.

    Inspired by an idea for an art/indie game I had a year or two ago. And I remembered it because of this song, which is amazing. I like this one too.

    SPOILER! :
    It had been an interesting day for the proprietors of the Hotel Nouveau. Every day was an interesting day for them: maintaining a sixty-year-old guest house with numerous inaccuracies in its name caused certain eccentricities to be drawn to it. It was something in the spirit of the place; it drew people in, and they never wanted to leave, entranced as they were by the building, or the location, or the service, or something. The owner, Jonas “Jon” Coulsdon, often joked that it was “like the Hotel California”. Unfortunately, his poor sense of humour often led to him explaining that joke.

    Jon and his wife slept and lived in the attic rooms, which gave them a spacious living area and, at the same time, kept their private quarters separate from the corridors below, where guests would tromp about in the early hours. The attic was made up like a small apartment; it contained a single master bedroom, a living room, a bathroom, and a kitchen. There was also a small, box-like study, where the guest house's vault, several important documents, and a single antique computer were kept.

    At present, Jon was in bed with his wife, sound asleep. He floated through serene dreams of bliss and joy, imagining himself swimming across a vast ocean, and relaxing on warm, golden beaches. Jon hadn't had a holiday in a while. The waves washed about his pudgy frame, and swept over his head – and then he was drowning, gasping for breath as shadowy hands tried to drag him down, trying to resist, trying to break the surface even as the unbearable pain of his lungs grew more and more restrictive, falling, slipping into darkness and agony, until the blackness of shadows embraced him and he fell into a watery grave, a loud scream ringing in his ears.

    The scream was still sounding in his ears as he sat up straight, sweating profusely and panting like a madman. There was something wrong here, too, back in reality; the bedside light was off, the darkness stifled everything. Normally that bedside light was on all night. He reached towards it clumsily, and with effort managed to find the switch. It didn't work. A power cut? But they never had power cuts.

    Then it came to him, like a fresh nightmare. Creaking in the study. He checked beside him. Eliza – his wife – was still lying there, less disturbed in her sleep by afar than Jon had been. So why the creaking? He listened more. More creaking. It wasn't just in his head. Then what was it? Burglars? Guests in places they shouldn't be? Or perhaps he was being paranoid. Perhaps it was just the wind. No matter what, it necessitated a check.

    He cautiously got out of bed, placing each foot in turn gently on the floor to avoid creaking of his own. Then he slid open one of the drawers beside the bed, rummaged around, and withdrew a revolver and a box of bullets. Better safe than sorry. He would've probably been more intimidating if he wasn't wearing blue pyjamas with sheep printed on them, though.
    While he was loading the revolver, there was a fresh creak. It was louder this time: closer to him. Jon finished loading the revolver and snapped it shut, then aimed the barrel at the bedroom door. The sound grew closer and closer, louder and louder. Creak. CREAK. Jon was shaking with fear.

    But there were no more creaks. Plucking up his courage, Jon moved towards the door. Nothing. He inched closer. Still nothing. He put one hand on the doorknob. Silence. He eased the door open, aiming the revolver into the blackness outside. And that was all there was – blackness. No thief. No murderer. Just – darkness. The only strange thing was that the lights were all dead. A power cut? That would make sense. Just to make sure, Jon moved into the study. There were thudding noises coming from that direction. Thud. Thud. Thud. Like the sound of footsteps, almost. The footsteps of a hoofed being. A monster. A demon. He rounded the corner between the bedroom and the study, pointing the revolver into the night and saw – the window of the study, bathing the room in faint moonlight. A strong breeze had picked up, and the branches of the large oak tree outside were whacking repeatedly against the window. All rational, all explainable. Nothing to be scared about.
    Last edited by Delphinus; 07-21-2011 at 05:06 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fenn
    You forgot your F in Modesty.

  10. #10
    Regular Member Son44's Avatar
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    That sounded really interesting. Can't wait for more, but I probably won't be able to read it for a week DX

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