A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

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A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by Thelos on Mon Jul 01, 2013 2:44 pm

Greetings and welcome to my latest writing experiment!

I stared writing "A Living Ghost" quite some time ago, at least in my head with thoughts and on paper with ink. It is only recently that I started to write it down digitally. When I started, however, I noticed that this work would be significantly larger than a short story. As such, I decided to use this tale for an experiment I have been wanting to undertake for quite a while. Coming months, I will be posting a very short chapter, consisting of roughly 600 words, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. When I am finished, I will repost the whole story in a revised edition.

I have a habit of rewriting my own prose constantly, so don't act suprised if you re-read a paragraph and it's suddenly been changed slightly. Don't be scared - you're not going insane, I am.

Without further ado, let's embark on our journey.


Index

Part I



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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by Thelos on Mon Jul 01, 2013 2:44 pm

Chapter 1: The Applethief

Thick raindrops were hammering down upon the crowded marketplace. Not every merchant was prepared to deal with a deluge of this magnitude, and as such some market-stalls were sinking in the mud. The apples in the fruit vendor's deep basket were bopping like a bundle of buoys adrift on the gentle sea. The poor merchant proved helpless to defend his wares against the flood. His neighbor the baker was better equipped, having neatly sealed off his bread behind elegant glass displays, giving his glistening croissants the appearance of art pieces put on display in a museum. No amount of battering rain would breach the bread's glass garrison. Bakers were some of the wealthiest merchants in town these days. With the huge influx of refugees from the north, food was precious and costly; hence the fruit vendor's despair upon watching his wares drift off in the rapids of the filth-crusted gutters. This would be a good day for the baker.

Nobody had noticed how a slender figure with sullen cheeks had quietly nabbed a few of these floating apples. As the figure stalked off into the distance, he could just overhear a great ruckus behind him as the fruit vendor had apparently caught a less fortunate thief red-handed. He looked at his own hands. They were white, not like marble, but bone; not the ivory of a beautiful noblewoman, but the sickening pale of the grave. He took a bite of his apple.

Jean-Baptiste de Gouille was his name. Not that it held any particular meaning in these streets. Nobody in this town knew his name, since no one ever asked for it. Throughout his life, Jean-Baptiste had always felt as if he took up less space than others. His breathing was quiet, for he did not breathe as much air as others; his footsteps were silent, for he did not weigh as heavy as others that shared his height and width; he seldom spoke, and when he did, his voice was so soft he was rarely heard. He had the sort of face that was impossible to remember, and the moment he would disappear from sight, he would have already been forgotten. He never once bumped into anyone or anything, and was never meowed at by cats or chased after by dogs: his scent was too faint for even them to notice.

The apple fell heavily in his stomach. Jean-Baptiste never had a great appetite: not for food or for anything else. Back when he still had a family to dine with, he had never once finished his plate completely. Though the maids would demand of his siblings that they eat their vegetables, they never seemed to bother with Jean. Much like the rowdy merchants on the marketplace, the maids of his family estate never seemed to notice him. Many times he would enter the kitchens, invisible, to watch the cooks prepare supper. Whenever one of his brothers or sisters would follow him, they would be chased off while Jean stayed – not because they allowed him entry, but because they saw nobody to deny it to. You could no more ban the the walls from your room than you could Jean-Baptiste.


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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by erwtenpeller on Tue Jul 02, 2013 3:04 am

Subscribe.

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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by Thelos on Wed Jul 03, 2013 2:22 am

Chapter 2: The Elven Statue

Jean was reminded of one of the first conversations he remembered eavesdropping on, between the head maid and his mother.

“Head maid,” his mother addressed the head maid by her function, as noblewomen are expected to do, “do you remember when our little Jean was brought into this world?”

“Yes, m'am -” the head maid chirped dutifully, “I shan't ever forget that, me thinks. A right little angel, that one was. Couldn't stop crying – not that anyone wanted him to stop, since his crying sounded like the singing of one the Light's very own angels, ma’am! A right precious one that is.”

His mother nodded. Her skin looked like it had been taken from an ancient elven statue
and plastered onto her own mortal body. The only ripples in perfection were caused by the cracking of her lips' corners when she spoke, and the crow-lines slashing her face when she smiled.

“And what to think of the other Jean, ma’am?” the head-maid asked innocently.

His mother looked flustered for a moment. The statue's skin burst open as a violent blood-red blush flushed her marble cheeks. “Other...Jean?”

The head maid fumbled her apron awkwardly. Not much was ever said about the other Jean, but could his own mother have forgotten about him? Forgotten about her own flesh? Surely such a thing was unthinkable?

“Yes, ma'am – Jean, Jean-Baptiste?”

“Ah...Yes! Yes, of course. Little Jean-Baptiste.” his mother said, not very convincingly, after which silence fell. The statue crumbled further as his mother struggled to find something to say about the other Jean. Thankfully, the head maid came to her rescue.

“Remember, m'am, that we thought little Jean was a stillborn first? It wasn't much of a labor at all, m'am, little sucker popped right round out without a single squeal or scream! I'm telling you, ma'am, I've delivered a-great many babes in me life, but never was a a over this quickly, I don't think! I don't remember you even having contractions.”

“Oh...I don't know...” his mother said quietly as the blood withdrew and the elven statue retook her face. “Contractions...?”

“Nevermind, ma'am” the head maid said, “I suppose it's not important.”

That was the first time Jean remembered listening to a conversation had by people about him as if he weren't in the room with them. Theser conversations didn't occur that often, since he was rarely spoken about, but Jean had the eerie feeling they only happened when he was there to hear it. Did people often speak about other people when they were not there to hear it? People sometimes confided their secret and dark thoughts about others to him, perhaps precisely because they did not expect him to hear. They never talked to him, but rather to some absence in him, a void; a hole that was not there with anyone else. They talked not to him, but trough him.

He had never been teased by the girls or bullied by the boys: little Jean just lived his early youth gliding by unnoticed. He was never scolded or praised, for he never did anything remarkable whatsoever. Perhaps his ivory skin and raven-black hair could have been considered handsome, if it weren't for his deathly sullen cheeks and hollow eyes. His head looked very much like a skull, Ebowith the skin pulled over it, rather than a face with a skull behind it.

Jean finished his apple and threw the meatless skeleton in the gutters for the rats to feast on. He was walking trough the Old Town with no particular direction in mind. Whenever the body was in want of a direction and required little attention, the mind provided and began wandering in its stead. What was to become of him? Where was he going?


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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by Skarain on Wed Jul 03, 2013 2:26 am

erwtenpeller wrote:Subscribe.
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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by Grim on Wed Jul 03, 2013 2:37 am

Me likey

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[H] Guk Swordshatter - Orc - Illusionist, murderer and psychopathic bitch

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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by Aweng on Thu Jul 04, 2013 3:15 am

So fun to read. Enjoyed every moment. Definite subscribe!!!

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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by Thelos on Fri Jul 05, 2013 2:42 am

"What do you want to be when you grow up, little Jean?"

“What do you want to be when you grow up, little Jean?”

Little Jean-Baptiste looked up from his drawing and stared straigh trough the head maid. Jean never made eye contact with any one – he just seemed to look at something beyond or behind, his vacant eyes unfocused and a-fixed on nothing in particular. He didn't understand the question the head maid asked him.

“What I meantersay young master,” she tried again, “is what do you want to become when you grow up? Do you want to be a courageous knight? A powerful wizard? Or perhaps you'll join the Monastery and become a wise priest of the Holy Light?”

“I don't understand.” Jean-Baptiste said slowly, “am I ever going to have to be someone else? Someone I'm not?”

The head maid was baffled and looked at Jean with a subtle fright behind her eyes. “No...That's not – young master, of course you are going to -”

“Is there something... wrong with me?” Jean-Baptiste said with a slight tremble in his voice. “I don't want to be someone else. I want to be me.”

“Young master -”

“How do I become me?”

“Y-you don't become you, young master. You already are you, and you can't not be you – Light save my soul! What are you talking about? What a strange boy!” the head maid said, panic-stricken.

Thankfully, trough some miracle, Jean's father made one of his rare appearances in the damp and dark cellar in which Jean-Baptiste most often dwelled in between dinners. Father's giant and imposing figure crept up to the head maid, lingering behind her a little like a very fat shadow.

“Jean-Baptiste, fifth of my sons, shall study magic in Dalaran,” Jean's father decreed with a booming voice. Jean could feel the waves of sound pushing him into the earth, making him heavier. “As is tradition.”

His father pinched the head maid's behind, which caused her to squeal in over-acted delight. “And if he doesn't like that, he can always join the Monastery. They do say that the Light loves all of Its children equally.” Father grinned lecherously as his eyes wandered off to the head maid's bounteous cleavage.

“Come on, toots. Let's leave Jean-Baptiste to his drawings.” The old pervert reached over the head maid's shoulders and fondled her breasts, wheezing his whiskey-tainted breath into her sensitive nose.

“M-master -” the head maid said in between breathless giggles, her previous anxiety over Jean-Baptiste's eerie answers having all but disappeared completely. Jean's father, wobbling like a walrus with legs, lead the petite head maid off, no doubt to one of the many unused bedchambers, leaving Jean-Baptiste to his drawings.

Even though he had a whole box of many-colored crayons, little Jean-Baptiste only seemed to care about the black one, which had by now been reduced to a little stump he had to clench between the tips of his boney thumb and index finger,. These fingers had become almost as black as the crayon they clutched. Jean drew lines upon lines of black tract on top of one another, almost tearing trough the paper. Next to him was a whole stack of blank pages, ready to replace the current one, should he poke trough it completely.


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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by erwtenpeller on Fri Jul 05, 2013 4:20 am

So creepy.

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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by Amaryl on Fri Jul 05, 2013 7:37 am

I am slightly dissapointed this ended up being set in azeroth :'(

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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by Thelos on Fri Jul 05, 2013 7:48 am

Amaryl wrote:I am slightly dissapointed this ended up being set in azeroth :'(

Why?

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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by Amaryl on Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:50 am

Mostly because i'm not a fan of fan-fiction. (especially when its a "project") as it could have been something more.

I don't want to turn this into a debate though Razz and clog up your thread, as I said, only sightly dissapointed Razz

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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by Thelos on Mon Jul 08, 2013 1:37 am

Welcome to the Violet City

Inevitably the day came that Jean-Baptiste had to choose his destiny. Most of his brothers were send off to squire under renowned knights of the kingdom in the hopes of proving their worth to the ladies they were destined to woo. The ladies themselves – his sisters – waited patiently in their idyllic top tower-chambers for their knight to come, slowly turning into the same elven statues their mother seemed to have been modeled after. When, after all his brothers had been appointed knights and his sisters had been appointed towers, he remained, he was given the choice between Dalaran and the Monastery, out of which he chose the former, only because it was mentioned before the latter – in that sense, it wasn't much of a choice, or even an appointment. Jean wasn't particularly bright, but he wasn't particularly dumb, either; one might say he was cleverer than most, though still dumber than many. He wasn't even allowed to be exceptional in how unexceptional he was.

When Jean left the family estate behind for Dalaran, he was never heard of again – he did not write home, he was never written and he never returned even once not even for Winter's Veil.  Jean-Baptiste's haunt lifted and, as it is with any haunted house, the inhabitants only felt an eerie presence lifting and the place brightening up, without knowing what had changed, believing everything to have stayed very much the same.

The Violet City was overflowing with marvels unimaginable to the unmagical mind. The entire university city was buzzing with life and magic. The nightlife was unlike anywhere on Azeroth: the wizard-ran taverns allowed for many arcane misadventures, followed by severe magical hangovers. The students in particular build their empire of youthful optimism, exploring the limits of their own capabilities, both social, magical and sensual. There were more wonders to see then could be seen even in the immortal lifetime of a High Elf of which there were more in this city-kingdom than in any other human kingdom in Azeroth.

Jean-Baptiste however did not take part in any of this. His ghostly appearance turned up for class; followed the lectures, never sitting in the same place twice; took the tests and then returned to his too-roomy-for-one-person apartment next to the graveyard. He had not chosen this apartment for any particular reason, other than that the rent matched the amount of gold his family had put aside for it perfectly. Jean barely talked to any of his classmates and was never seen outside of the university. He haunted Dalaran much like he had haunted his family estate: gliding by unnoticed, invisible to all but those who were forced into contact with him, such as the shop-owners he purchased his food from, or his classmates, who promptly forgot his face and name after their shared business was concluded. Not even the grocer whom he purchased his food from every day would come to recognize his face.

Jean-Baptiste de Gouille turned out to be the most average student in the history of academia, always attaining the average score or a nominal variation thereof. But not even his mediocrity was allowed any traces of exceptionality; perhaps if he had the uncanny ability to always attain the exact average score, this would have bene worth remarking – but his averageness was just that: average. His particular interests was never drawn to any specific school, and he treated each subject with the same disinterested distance and decided to specialize in none.

It was only when he stumbled upon the forbidden school of Necromancy that the sole things that gave Jean's being any semblance of meaning would enter into his life.

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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by erwtenpeller on Mon Jul 08, 2013 4:25 am

Best description of Dalaran I've ever read. That's a Dalaran I want to live in What a Face.

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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by Amaryl on Tue Jul 09, 2013 4:22 am

Critical thoughts incoming :O, do with it as you please Thelos.

'Feedback':


First, i'm enjoying it so far, so when I say problem its not an earthshattering experience, its just that, something that doesn't seem to quite work.

Right let me start of with the apple-thief, my biggest problem here is the first paragraph; I feel you're going overboard. Mostly there's too much alliteration, and it seems that every noun has to be accompanied by an adjective, and over-all it tends to distract a bit.

His neighbor the baker was better equipped, having neatly sealed off his bread behind elegant glass displays, giving his glistening croissants the appearance of art pieces put on display in a museum.
Here the "Display in a museum, kinda breaks up the sentence, mostly because its preceded by "the elegant glass display"


The Elven statue; Here the numerous Head-maid mentions in such a short span of words, started to feel monotonous. Also, It seems like you missed an opportunity to add some characterization to the head-maid, by giving her a Name, right after mommy says that she always that she mentions the helps by their function.

Overall, the entire section feels a little strange though; I guess that's the point, not seeing the instigation of the conversation between the two women, but the moving from: do you remember the birth of little jean, to what about the otherone to the maid saving face of the mother somehow... seems devoid of purpose, making the characters more like a plot-vehicle than people. I guess that's an issue in having only so few words to convey a certain point; "even his mother seems to forget, forgettable Jean" but still, Some-how, somewhere, I think there's some improvements to made here.

on a minor note: I'm slightly confused about the constant notification of having ebony, skin, but not having ebony skin, or having both an ebony skin and an elven facade,(making me infer that elves are black? but that's not the case, since we're talking about wow) Anyway, this is problably more my own reading comprehension than something else Razz.

Why do you want to grow up?
Here i'm having more of the same problem I had with the statue, the side-characters don't feel like people. For me, the head-maid here that gets groped and smexes the boss, feels different from the person that tried to save the dignity of the mother by recounting a tale of little jean-baptiste. It looks more again like a plot device to depict slease-ball dad. Which in the few lines that he has, seems all the man is, but not even that, all the man is actually there to do is to show up to tell jean has to go to dalaran. That is his purpose in the scene, and sadly, that's all I felt. It didn't feel like an absente father telling his son his future, more that we needed to know Jean's future, so why not have the dad come in and give it away?

Welcome to the violet city:

I really enjoyed this one, I think it was the best of the bunch. It sets up the things to come, but I particulairly liked your descriptions about the averageness of the averageness of Jean Baptiste. That was really well done. But then there weren't any other characters that needed screen-time; I hope you keep up the quality of this last piece.





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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by Thelos on Tue Jul 09, 2013 4:54 am

Spoiler:
Woops, that "Ebony" was actually supposed to be "Ivory" - for some reason, I tend to mix those two up.

Thanks for noticing!

I always appreciate feedback Smile

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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by Thelos on Wed Jul 10, 2013 5:46 am

A Lost Ghoul

The rain was still steadily falling down in thick drops. The brown-tiled roofs of cramped Old Town tenements weren't exactly water-proof, and some unlucky families were already dealing with leakage. Kitchens were being raided for pots and pans to catch the water with. It must have been a reassuring sound – the steady trickle of raindrops slowly filling a bucket. Water on water, drips upon drops, homely like the ticking of a clock.

Jean-Baptiste's skull was better isolated, having both a patch of skin and a dark hood to protect om from the deluge. He had been following a corridor-shaped halfway on route to the cemetery when he hit a dead end. There, amongst several trashcans and flooded storm-drains, a vagrant was creeping around to sift trough the garbage. The vagrant, who had his back turned to Jean, uttered a strange, guttural moaning unnatural even for the foulest of hobo’s. When the vagrant turned to look at Jean who was steadily approaching him, it was not trough human eyes that he looked at the trespasser on his turf. The moan turned into a growl as the ghoulish figure wearing the skin and rags of a vagrant steadied itself to lunge at Jean. Jean-Baptiste stretched his arm, fanned out his fingers and spoke in a soft, yet commanding tone:

“Stay.”

The vagrant-ghoul obeyed like a trained dog and sat down with a thud. Jean-Baptiste walked up close to him and grabbed it by the lower jaw. His teeth had already mutated to resemble jagged arrowheads and his breath clearly smelled of rot. This creature was more monster than man now.

The ghoul seemed to have lost all its aggression and had turned docile the moment Jean had given him his simple command. Jean knew that these lower-class undead were nothing but warrior bees, helpless away from their hive. Without a friendly hive to defend or an enemy to attack, these brainless creatures would shamble along aimlessly, attacking passerby’s for no reason besides the instinct to kill. Sadly, Jean had no purpose of his own - let alone a purpose to give to this poor wayward soul. So he did the humane thing to do.

“Sleep.”

The ghoul collapsed instantly. At the simple whim of a necromancer, the creature had been stripped of its undeath and was returned to its natural state of being a corpse. It was te merciful thing to do – a ghoul without purpose was as sad as a dog who sat on the grave of his master, waiting for the next command that would never come. But was this ghoul truly here without a purpose? It had not been the first of its kind Jean had encountered in the past few weeks. What could this mean? And what was he to do about it?

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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by Thelos on Fri Jul 12, 2013 6:02 am

A Fateful Graveyard Stroll, Part I


It turned out Jean-Baptiste had to spent a whole year studying in solitude before his destiny would find him. As is often the case with life-changing ordeals, this particular event happened on an otherwise completely uneventful and unremarkable day. It was a sunny Sunday afternoon,and Jean was just strolling trough the cemetery behind his gravedigger's shack like he liked to do when it was the weather was pleasant for walking.

Jean never cared much for the sublime splendor of the great Cathedrals of the Light, but there was something about the serene stillness of a graveyard pleasantly resting underneath a blue sky calmed his nerves. It was not a natural stillness, of course – nature did not care much about the fact that there happened to be dead bodies buried in her. She carried plenty of animals corpses in her and did think nothing of it. Nature was just the same at a graveyard as it was anywhere else – the birds chirped cheerfully during the day and the bats glided gracefully across the moon during the night.

No, the pleasant stillness wasn't caused by some special thing, an extra that busier places lacked –  it was caused by an absence. The youthful energy that hummed and seemed to lit up the very air of the Violet City the youngsters breathed and breathed in to did not reach the graveyard. The only visitors here were solemn mourners who rarely spoke and were quick to leave. It was this absence of cheer that made the place so precious to Jean.

On the Fateful Day however, this cheerless stillness was rudely disturbed. Some hushed mutterings and prayers were of course within the expected parameters and fit the solemn atmosphere quite nicely – but on this particular mild afternoon, there were a bunch of voices talkin in the excited, hushed tone of young boys whispering secrets to one another in the playground. Though initially annoyed, Jean-Baptiste's agitation quickly made way for curiosity as some force unknown to him drove his body to follow the mutterings to their source. As he expected, there was a group of young people standing close to one another speaking in a hushed whisper. What Jean did not and could not have expected, however, that these figures were all clad in long, flowing dark robes that covered any and all recognizable features. The cloaks were so long that Jean could not even tell girls from boys.

Having grown accustomed to his invisibility due to having been ignored for many years, Jean quietly stalked up to the group until he was within hearing distance – for which he had to get quite close, indeed. The three cloaked figures were huddled around a tombstone, and now that Jean got a little closer, he saw that they were in fact digging up whatever lay buried under it. Or, at least – one of them was, since they only had one shovel. This gave the others plenty of time to chat.

“Can't you dig any faster, Otis?” a melodious voice chirped.

“You're welcome to try for yourself, Woman,” the digger grunted in a deep baritone, “unless you are afraid to roughen your frail elven palms.”

“Courtesy would implore me to agree with that sentiment, dear – but I believe the time for courtesy has long since passed, considering the circumstances.” The little bird in the dark robe took the shovel from the big grunting man and gently pushed him aside.

“How delightfully unorthodox of you, Utha.” a third voice added, “I didn't know you had it in you, though these circumstances of yours might have tipped me off.”

“I thought we agreed not to use our real names?” the little bird hissed.

“You called Otis Otis.”

“Never mind that.” said Otis. “Keep digging.”


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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by erwtenpeller on Fri Jul 12, 2013 6:10 am

Ooohh... CULTISTS!

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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by Thelos on Sun Jul 14, 2013 5:35 pm

A Fateful Graveyard Stroll, Part II

The group fell silent for a while. Though Jean usually preferred it if people were quiet, he somehow felt uncomfortable listening to these three stop speaking. These were voices accustomed to talking, and lots of it. He recognized two of them – they were classmates of his, and during lectures they would chatter on endlessly in the same hushed volume hey had spoken in just now Something about their tone was different now, however. There was an edge of thrill and excitement he had never heard in their voices before. He could not help but share in this excitement a little, as if it was him holding that very shovel.

A loud bonk interrupted his reflections. Jean noticed his heart starting beating faster – were these classmates of his really doing what he thought they were doing? Robbing a grave? What ever for? What could they possibly hope to find – why risk doing something illegal when they were still in school? What if they were found out? In spite of himself, Jean edged a little closer. It was useless to resist it – even if it were possible, Jean would not know how, since he never had reason to resist anything before. He had never been attracted to girls, nor was he particularly excitable when it came to his studies – but this, right here, this illegal excitement, was new. Different. Magnetic.

“Well I'll be,” the nameless voice said, “she actually went and did it. You must be feeling pretty stupid by now, Otis – you've been digging for nearly an hour without finding anything and here comes Utha and strikes gold within five minutes. It's true what they say – fortune favors the elves. Eh, Utha?”

“Be quiet, you.” Utha said solemnly, “Help me open it. Do you have the crowbar?”

Otis reached down and easily cracked open the coffin like a professional burglar. The entire group, including Jean, held their breaths.

There was nothing inside. The nameless figure swore loudly and Utha sighed serenely, sounding almost relieved. Otis said nothing.

“Well this was a right fucking waste of  my time” the nameless figure blurted out loudly, “how long have we been standing here digging? An hour? Two hours?”

“Barely half an hour, Lenny.” Otis said calmly.

“Half an hour!” roared Lenny, “Half an hour! My time is precious, unlike yours, apparently – do you know what I could have done in a whooping thirty minutes?! I have a test tomorrow, you know!”

“Hush now, Lenny.” Utha said serenely, “There is no reason to get excited. We all have the same test tomorrow, remember? Transfiguration.” Jean had the impression she was smiling, even though he could see nothing of her face.

“Fan-fucking-tastic!” Lenny said, “So we'll all fail together, is that it?”

“Lenny,” Otis growled menacingly, “Shut up. Help me cover this up.”

Lenny obeyed instantly and started frantically shoving dirt over the coffin, even before Otis could close the lid.

“I still don't see why we couldn't have just dug a hole with magic.” whined Lenny. “You could at least have allowed me to conjure another shovel. You know, a sentient one, that does the digging for you. What kind of wizards are we, anyway? Digging a hole by hand? It's preposterous!”

“You know very well why we can't do that, Lenny.” said Otis.

Lenny continued complaining under his breath while he and Otis covered up the disturbed grave. Having nothing to do, Utha turned to look at her surroundings – and suddenly looked straight into the dark, dark-brown eyes of Jean-Baptiste de Gouille. As the two locked gazes, Jean, for the very first time, looked a person square in the eyes. Utha's calm opals were filled with a serene fright; not the fright of a man running out of a burning building, but rather the fright of a graceful doe, ready to dart off, should the pack leader command it.

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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by erwtenpeller on Mon Jul 15, 2013 3:46 am

Finally someone notices the poor guy.

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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by Amaryl on Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:28 am

I feel the writing in the fateful stroll, is less tight. More grammar/spelling issues. Are you reviewing less, or writing faster? Razz

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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by Thelos on Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:33 am

A Fateful Graveyard Stroll, Part III

“There, that should do it,” Lenny said, “it's not like anyone's really going to be looking at this dirt closely enough to notice it's been tilled recently; no crops being grown here!” Lenny turned around and noticed that both Otis and Utha were now staring at Jean-Baptiste.

“Light all mighty! What are you looking at?! Scram, bozo! This ain't no street performance act!” Lenny bited at Jean venomously, “Do you see any of us going around with a hat collecting coins, Huh?! Can't you see we're trying to mourn here? Were these black gowns, in the color of mourning and death not enough to tip you off?”

“Lenny?” Otis said.

“Yeah?”

“Shut up.”

Utha let out a rich, mirthful laugh. The resuming of the usual routine between the boys seemed to have an instantly soothing effect on her, though she was still wary of Jean. Otis stepped forward and took control of the situation.

“Listen -” Otis hesitated for a moment, thinking, before asking: “What's your name?”

“It's Jean. Jean-Baptiste.” Utha said immediately. Jean felt thunderstruck – she knew his name! That was the first time he could remember being introduced - by name - by anyone other than himself. For whatever reason he could not explain or understand, he felt himself becoming heavier. It was is if he was being pushed deep into the graveyard dirt by a divine hand from above. Why did he suddenly feel so...solid?

“You know this bozo's name?” Lenny asked, agitated. Immediately Jean felt himself taking a dislike to this 'Lenny' for disturbing the sanctity of this moment. Did he not understand what was going on? Did anyone? Did he?

“We took a few classes together.” Utha said in a matter-of-fact manner. Of course. They had done a few classes together. Uthalevar, the High Elf, very potent duelist, with a preference for the Evocation school... He had never seen those opal eyes before, however. At least not looking into his own.

“Right, Jean. Can I call you Jean?” said Otis.

“You can.” said Jean truthfully.

“All right, Jean. Listen up.” Otis spoke commandingly, “I'm not sure what you saw or what you think you saw, and I don't particularly care - but we'll need you to keep quiet about this.” Otis spoke calmly, and forcefully, yet somehow without sounding immediately threatening; at least not unreasonably soon. This was a negotiator, not one to dish out idle threats. Jean knew he would like him much better than Lenny already.

“You were digging up the casket, but you did not find anything inside.” Jean said mechanically. “That is because you are digging in one of the older graves. Whatever corporal remains were inside, have already deteriorates to nothingness – and whatever material possessions of worth – if there had been any in the first place - that might have been buried along with it, have already been taken by other grave-robbers.”

Otis looked positively baffled. Now that he had stepped forward, Jean could see a little of the face the long hood was failing to hide fully. Jean could only see the bottom of his head. Otis had a strong, iron jawline that reminded Jean of the lower half of a bear trap. His skin was of a darker hue than the dirt he had just dug trough. The bear trap shut tightly – Jean could almost hear the gnashing of what must, but could not possible have been, giant and pointy shark's teeth.

“I could show you where the fresher graves are, if you'd like.” Jean-Baptiste said, “Sometimes, during my walks, people get buried. I can show you where; I can show you which graves are fresh.”

“Is this bozo for real?!” Lenny blurted out suddenly. “Are you mocking us, huh, jean-boy? Hm? Because We don't take kindly to being mocked.”

“Pay no heed to him.” said Otis with noticeable iron in his voice, “He can't stop chatting when he gets excited.” Lenny shrank back slightly.

Uthalevar had not spoken since Otis took command of the situation. Unlike Lenny, she did not have to be told who was in charge.

“I am called Plaguebloom.” Otis said, introducing himself. “We call the blabbermouth 'Gargoyle'.” he said, pointing at Lenny.  “And this here is Deathwhisper. But it seems you have already met?”

“In a sense.” Uthalevar said dreamily.

“Yeah, yeah, real nice to meet you and all,” Lenny said irately, “but I don't think it's a good idea if we stand here yappin' all night. Can't we hit a bar or something? All this digging has made me thirsty.”

“You're always thirsty.” said Otis.

“And you didn't do any digging, either.” added Uthalevar. Otis and Uthalevar burst out in laughter, united in a joined mocking of Lenny, who seemed to accept this martyrdom of humor with the dignity of an accomplished clown. From the fact that they felt comfortable enough around him to crack jokes, even in the middle of a cemetery with the dirt of grave-robbers on their boots, Jean-Baptiste knew he was already accepted as a part of the group. It was as if he was being possessed by a daemon not from the outside, but from within; perhaps it was that daemon that Uthalevar saw with her opal eyes, rather than himself. de Gouille the Ghoul... Why was he already christening himself with a name to fit in? Was this the daemon again?

“So, what do we call you?” Otis asked Jean.


Last edited by Thelos on Wed Jul 17, 2013 5:56 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by erwtenpeller on Wed Jul 17, 2013 3:27 am

Eeeeeeeeviiiiillll

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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

Post by Skarain on Wed Jul 17, 2013 4:48 am

Very enjoyable to read and i can barely wait for the next episode.

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Re: A Living Ghost (14-08-2013) Two Locusts in the Park

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