S-Drive by @AlexChaseWriter @CoffinHop 2013


Hello Travelers,

If you’ve been reading my work thus far, thank you! Your continued readership means more than I can say. Double thank you to all who’ve commented routinely. If this is your first time reading my work, no worries, I love you too. This marks the end of my piece of Coffin Hop 2013, so I’ve decided to go out with a bang.

Today I bring you the opening to a novella I’ve written, and though it’s on the back burner, I do want to revise and publish it, so you won’t be seeing the full story here. In this, I managed to blend all my favorite themes- horror, science fiction, and psychology. You’ll see why I say that…

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Jack Trelawney leaned against a crumbling brick wall, ignoring how the decades-old dust from the crumbling mortar stained his pea coat, and crossed his arms over his chest. Though he kept his ankles crossed and his head pointed toward the ground, pretending to fall asleep from how little he cared, his eyes darted from Zach Burns to Chuck Rawhide and back to the mouth of the alley in which they hid. He thought about their objective, his fingers gently brushing over the metal plate that covered the USB port embedded in his chest, and idly tapped it twice. Zach and Chuck caught sight of this and nudged each other, knowing their boss needed help coming to a resolution.

“Hey, boss,” Zach said, lumbering over. The man had a perpetual slouch, as if as if he had so much muscle that his skeleton could not support its weight. “Who’s this guy again?” He hoped a little Q&A might jar his boss into action.

“Marcus Smith,” Jack said, straightening up.

Zach’s companion glanced over. “But why do we want him again? For research or something? I thought we had enough test subjects.” While he was much more intelligent than Zach, Chuck had a copy of his personality. To be more accurate, they were both copies of some long forgotten person whose personality had been digitized and filed as ‘security personnel type B.’

A gust of wind shrieked to the alley, ripping at Jack’s coat. He smiled knowing that its sleeves covered the goose bumps that raced along his arms. Neither Zach nor Chuck would have questioned him if he showed weakness, but it still made him uncomfortable to know that he might react to things while they sat still, not appearing to have recognized that the wind had blown. Worse still was that the coldness, the way it seemed to penetrate right through to his heart. It was a constant reminder of the monolithic figure whose shadow he had always lived in and whose height he’d always aspired to reach.

Unbidden, his grandfather’s voice echoed in his head. I know you love him, but he will never understand this. He sold his soul long ago and is no longer capable of understanding what it means to love or have family. You need to live for yourself, not for him.

“That’s classified,” Jack said, shaking his head and levering himself off the wall. “Do you see him?”

“Uh, let me check.” Zach leaned out, then pulled back in and began to nod. Jack waved and they stepped out into the deep orange halo cast by the overhead streetlight. Jack looked at it briefly thought of how it looks like the harvest moon, something he hadn’t seen or even looked for since the night he had to say goodbye to the Melissa he loved several years earlier. He followed his escort team, listening to the clack of his dress shoes on the broken sidewalk echo down the deserted Boulevard.

“Marcus Smith?” Jack’s voice was a little sharper, a little colder than he intended for it to be. Maybe it is just nerves, or maybe he was jealous of the smiling man strolling down the street.

“Jack Trelawney? What are you doing out here?” Marcus began to shake as Jack moved behind him. The trio closing in, causing him to press his back against the front of the boarded up toy shop.

“Nothing much, I just been thinking about the Jericho group and all you’ve done to fight my father’s company over the past few months.” Jack remove something sleek and black from his pocket. It only weighed a few ounces, but it was the heaviest thing he’d ever held, as the weight of all that had ever been done with it was dragging it down into the earth. Or maybe straight into hell.

“Yeah, why? So what?” He lowered his hands, flexing them as his voice steadied.

Jack forced his face to grin despite how unnatural it felt. “It doesn’t matter. What matters is why you’ve done all this work for so many people.”

“Why I help those who you’ve destroyed? I don’t follow – do you have something against those who do what’s right because it’s the right thing to do?”

“That’s just it, Mr. Smith. You work for those who can’t defend themselves — for those who you claim have been destroyed by Personex technologies. For those people who willingly and knowingly abused an otherwise safe process, isn’t that right?” Zach looked at Chuck and began guffawing, but was cut off by a sharp look from Jack, who then closed in on Marcus.  His right hand began to shake so he dug the nails of his left hand into his palm.

“That isn’t quite how I’d phrase him it, but yeah, that’s my goal: to seek restitution for everyone damaged by Personex industries him. What of it? What do you want from me?”

“What do I want?” It was the first time anyone had ever asked him that before, and for an instant, he’d almost forgotten what he was doing there in the first place. He heard his grandfather’s voice in his head again. I know you can be a good person. Promise me you’ll be one someday.

Jack shook his head and bit back a sudden sting of tears. Marcus opened his mouth to question him again but Jack stepped forward and, with the soft snick of a blade, sliced away the fabric of Marcus shirt, leaving a thin red line across his chest. Marcus was too surprised to feel the pain and realized too late that his assailant had plunged a Drive into the USB port in his chest. It began to hum as Jack pressed the download button, leeching out Marcus’s personality. The thin black strip was soon filled with glowing bluish white light while Marcus his left with a cold desolation that seemed to radiate further with every pulse of his shuddering heart. Unable to fight the process, he sank to his knees as he gradually stopped noticing the cold air around him, the screaming gale that rushed between the buildings, and the fact that he was being attacked. Soon he was no more afraid of the men in front of him as a fish is afraid of water. There was nothing left of him but memory, a name, and organs. A human in theory but not an application.

Jack remove the Drive from Marcus his chest. “Thank you for your donation to Personex Industries. I’ll be sure to put your personality to good use.” The trio walked away, but Jack stole one last glance at the man they were leaving behind, the scraps of his torn shirt blowing in the wind.

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Walk with me from October 24-31 as I post some of my work in honor of Coffin Hop 2013. Some of this is quite old, some of it not–guess which is which, Traveler. Perhaps a right answer will earn a stroke of fortune for you…

For this tour, I’ll be giving away one signed anthology in which a story of mine has been featured. Which anthology is up to the winner. Keep in mind, I reserve the right to award additional gifts as per Coffin Hop rules. Who knows–if I get a lot of hits, you might see a lot of rewards in the future. Be sure to click the badge at the side of my page and visit the other Hoppers!

The Coming Soon Blog Tour


Hello Travelers,

This is coming a bit later than it should’ve, but here I am with my entry for the coming soon blog tour. I could go on about how my wandering ways led me down some paths that were far longer than I expected, but that would only delay this post further. You have my apologies, and more importantly, you have my answers to these questions.

What are you working on right now?

That’s a tricky question, because I do so much at once that it’s hard to say… I’ll list everything, then.

I’m currently in the process of writing my second, currently unnamed, novel.

I’m also dabbling in a semi-autobiographical poetry collection.

And in my spare time, I’m crafting a book of stand-alone short stories that also serve to tell one overarching tale. I’m not sure if this is a unique novel or unique in general, but hey, that’s the way it is.

How does it differ from other works in its genre?

My novel will have an equal balance between a male and female lead character. It will also blend science and fantasy (note: this is NOT a science fiction story).

And I think I covered the difference in my previous answer, but my poetry will be wildly experimental and my stories will be equal parts fantasy and realism.

What experiences have influenced you?

Modern psychology and quantum physics are heavy influences in my novel (as they are in my life).

Why do you write what you do?

Because what is life without that carnal drive? The real world isn’t nice and neat. People all over the world are suffering, fucking and dying, with some doing all three at once. If reality isn’t picture perfect, why should literature be? I just take my readers to the darker edges of the world they already live in. Remember: it’s only fiction if you don’t believe.

How does your writing process work?
I sit down, check my emails, tie up my loose ends, then type. Or talk, if I’m using my voice-to-text program.

However, poetry always goes down by hand first.

Overall, everything starts out as a stream of consciousness, which in some instances becomes a series of white-water rapids, culminating in the waterfall that I call ‘editing’ where any debris and unnecessary details are cast into oblivion by the delete button.

What is the hardest part about writing?
Having the time to do it! That and wrist strain.

What would you like to try as a writer that you haven’t yet?
But I already do so much! Ideally, I’d like to write a movie or video game just so see my work on screen, but given the unlikeliness of that happening in the near future, I’d like to try my hand at horror that is more literary fiction in nature. I’m also entering a few contests, so let’s see how that turns out, shall we?

Who are the authors you most admire?
Aside from myself? Just kidding, folks, I’m not that kind of guy. Barker, King and Koontz (not in any particular order) as far as mainstream are concerned. In my little indie-corner of the world, Daemonwulf, Nina D’arcangela, and Blaze McRob (again, in no particular order). There are also a few friends of mine back in the real world whom I believe to be very talented (looking at you, Bill).

Who are new authors to watch out for?
That’s a tough one for me to answer because I’m not certain what qualifies as ‘new’. I could certainly direct you to the aforementioned indie authors, but they’d be ‘new’ in the sense that I haven’t known them for very long. They’ve all been writing for some time now. Even I’m not ‘new’ if you count the fact that I first started writing online and entering contests at writing.com seven years ago. As such, I think I’ll skip this. Sorry, Travelers.

What scares you?

Failure, definitely, is at the top of my list. Thinking that I could give it my all and not get anywhere… that’s one of the most terrifying prospects I could ever face. Spiders, snakes, and serial killers have no such hold on my heart.

The Tagged Authors

I’m calling on the people below to repost this to their own sites one week from today.

Joseph A. Pinto

Nina D’arcangela

 

Check around the internet soon for their participation. Until then, walk on, my long-roaming friends.

Bad Company by @daemonwulf @penofthedamned #horror #story #writing


Good afternoon, Travelers,

It is my distinct pleasure to bring this morsel to your attention. Go head, enjoy- I’m certain the beast who created it would like nothing more. I, for one, distinctly enjoyed taking a bite out of this piece…  and the aftertaste is incredible.

Go ahead, Wanderers. Please, enjoy Daemonwulf’s latest offering.

Bad Company.

For the Love of the Craft


Hello Travelers,

 

I mentioned a few minutes ago that I’d be re-posting some game-related blog content from my Game Informer blog to here. Well, here’s a good transitional post- my commentary on H. P. Lovecraft’s influence on the Silent Hill series. Enjoy!

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The craft: Creative writing, regardless of its forms. Whether we’re writing books or video games, it’s important to look at ALL of the work that permeates one’s preferred medium. Scientists don’t just do experiments- they read papers and studies conducted by their peers and build off of what others have to say. As Sir Isaac Newton said, “If I have been able to see further than others, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants.”

The inspiration: Lovecraft. For those of you who did not know of this author before now, Howard Phillips Lovecraft was an American horror writer who specialized in ‘weird fiction’ and essentially created the notion of ‘cosmic indifference’.

Cosmic indifference is the notion that existing creatures, especially those of incredible or unearthly power, do not pay us much attention or even seek to destroy us. He is most renowned for The Call of Cthulhu, in which he writes of the Ancient One, Cthulhu, a “dead god” locked beneath the ocean- this being is of such monstrous power and so terrifying that simply looking at him causes some to lose their minds. This creature was locked beneath the ocean once more, but not before several score of grown men wet their pants. Or were devoured.

 

(The violent, alien demi-god of the hour!)

 

So how does this tie into Silent Hill?

Foremost, the god of Silent Hill is said to be born in Alyssa’s womb and spent years trying to claw its way through her body. If that’s not indifference, I don’t care enough to listen to you tell me otherwise.

More generally speaking, though, no supreme being of Silent Hill cares about what happens to its inhabitants, whether human or otherwise. Pyramid Head tries to eat several random enemies, usually mannequins, before trying to kill James Sunderland. Samael/Incubus of Silent Hill pays no attention to the disciple who gets shot on its behalf, or to the little girl it apparently absorbs in order to come into being. God in Silent Hill 3 tries to eat Heather from the inside out, then essentially does the same to Claudia (though she had it coming, because seriously, who eats a blood-and-vomit-covered baby? And how the hell did she swallow it without chewing?) before trying, once again, to kill Heather. The bosses in Origins all try to kill Travis, though they are supposedly, in most cases, family- and that’s not to mention the god that appears in the last battle to kill him.

These are not gods that care about human life; they show up and wreak havoc.

Here’s more fun info on why Lovecraft is the key inspiration behind Silent Hill- HPL inspired Jacob’s Ladder, a unique, psychological thriller movie that Silent Hill borrowed several details from (though I consider this homage, not theft).

For example, in the movie, Jacob wakes up on a subway train. He gets off only to find the platform deserted, but the stairs are blocked by locked gates. He must cross the tracks to get to Bergen Street, and is almost hit by a different train filled with ghostly figures that stare at him in passing. Sound familiar?

The monsters in the film also writhe and spasm in a manner similar to those in SH.

Last but not least: Aliens. Lovecraft’s Elder Gods and Ancient Ones (EG were good guys, AO were bad, to oversimplify this genius’s vast multiverse of literature) were all ALIENS.

That’s right- these weren’t just random spiritual entities or malignant things from the shadowy corners of the Bible, but creatures from beyond the stars, hence COSMIC indifference.

This is likely why each and every Silent Hill, from number one to Downpour, has an alien ending, or at least features Aliens. That’s also why these aliens can show up, ruin everyone’s day and cause an entire town to vanish off the face of the earth. They simply don’t care about the humans.

While this doesn’t explain the dogs, I imagine they serve as a tribute to Dean Koontz, another horror/sci-fi writer, whom one of the streets in SH is named after. The same goes for Stephen King.

So remember: Read. Not only can doing so increase your intelligence, but it can inspire you to more creative ideas. Perhaps you, like me, may fall in love with books and write some for yourself!

At the very least, a book never told me, “Game over.”

The next time you pop in your favorite game, regardless of whether or not that game will take you down the misty lanes of Silent Hill, take a moment to say thank you to all the authors out there. Books were the video games of the previous generations, and those people- the ones who read- are the ones who developed the first games. Without the brilliant minds that came up with TRUE horror- the men and women who penned the first stories of madness, obsession and monsters- we wouldn’t have the awesome games we have today.

And one last thing:

“Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn”

Blog Convergence Alert


Hello Travelers,

 

As some of you may know, I’m a bit of a gamer. Also, I tend to overthink everything. This means that, in addition to game reviews, I like to psychoanalyze the characters and/or talk about the political/socioeconomic implications of those games.

I do have a blog on gameinformer.com, but I’ve found it is very taxing to keep up two independent blogs- as such, I’ll be posting the ‘best of’ one to the other. I’ll be doing this slowly so that your inboxes don’t explode with electronic entertainment innuendo, so if you like games (especially demonic/zombie themed games) you can find some (possibly disturbing) thoughts on your favorite horror games here soon.

…and if you know any bloggers who like games, send ’em here! It is, after all, one of my dreams to someday work on games, so exposure is always nice (exposure is nice anyway, and I return the favor!).

Thank you, my friends, for any commentary and support.

Deluge, by Nina D’Arcangela


Hello Travelers,

Today, I humbly bring you another vivid and intricate piece by the incomparable Nina D’Arcangela. Short and bittersweet, this is definitely worth your reading.

 

Deluge.

My Upcoming Novel — The Next Big Thing world blog tour, by Christofer Nigro


Hello, Travelers. In my own session of “The Next Big Thing” I picked a few extremely talented writers to post their own follow-ups. One such individual, Christofer Nigro, brought his installment to my attention. Not only is his Next Big Thing definitely going to be big, it is a prime example of how a writer can tactfully respond to probing questions without giving anything away.

I direct you now, friends, to the detailed discussion of his upcoming archetype-breaking super-hero novel, Centurion: Dark Origins. Enjoy!

 

My Upcoming Novel — The Next Big Thing world blog tour.