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Short stories for all to enjoy

Unread postby Aderis » Jun 23rd, '14, 20:01

Greetings, everyone. Hope you are all doing well. In an attempt to spur a little more activity and add some content for all of you to enjoy, I'll be sharing some of my stories that I've written at some point. Feel free to comment on them, I'll try to keep everything in this thread as to not clutter up the board. Regards.
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Re: Short stories for all to enjoy

Unread postby Aderis » Jun 23rd, '14, 20:04

Written in an hour, unedited, following a sudden burst of inspiration.

Rebirth

The bitter cold of the winter days became one of the usual, tolerable things that happened in the dungeon's cells at the slaver's camp. His wounds and scars, softly bitter by the chilly air stopped hurting everytime the night embraced the forest. He could finally go back to his only source of solace, where he didn't have to think about the torturous work, the fierce attacks by the mercenaries, or the death of his cell mates.

He laid down exhausted on the bunch of dry foliage that served as his bed, covering his malnourished body with a raggy, old curtain; as he started crossing over to the realm of unconsciousness, the harsh sound of a metal gate being forced open snapped him back to reality. He expected one of the mercenaries who would come to discharge their frustrations on the slaves, and quietly huddled down in a corner, losing all hope. Two shadows were cast by the moonlight towards him; it was the camp's overseer and an unknown lady.

She wore a discreet, yet refined dress that reflected her high status as, at least, a wealthy merchant's relative. Quietly, she handed over a bag that rattled with the sound of big coins and pointed at the thin, soiled slave. Grabbing a collar and chain, the overseer entered the confinement and clamped the binds on the man. He stood up and followed with a cringe, expecting a rude beating from the lady to "test" him out, but not even a word came from her sealed lips.

She gently guided him outside, and using an old blanket, she covered the man in it, then guided him to the back of her carriage. Under the angry glare of the camp's leader, she tied her purchase down, leaving him space to move freely, and with a slight air of innocence, hopped onto the cart next to her driver, and rode away. 'Remember the law!', the overseer screamed. 'Should you set him free like that, we will hunt you down!' - Yet she didn't react to their threats. 'Mistress, are you sure you're doing the right thing?' - The driver uttered, with a timid tone. The woman kept her stare planted on the road ahead, nodding only.

After a tranquil day of driving the horse carriage, they arrived to her manor. The exquisite Baroque architecture and furnishing were unlike the slave had ever seen. At first, he felt relieved at the possibility of a life as a plantation worker, or perhaps even a butler. But then, the trauma of the psychological torture given by the mercenaries' madman jailer made him think of how most rich people treated their slaves even worse than middle class families.

She led her chained companion to a small, dark room and gently nudged him to go inside; he obliged, the space seeming far wider than his old cell. 'It's dinner and sleep, then tomorrow, all work for me' - He thought to himself, as her new mistress walked away.

Never would the slave expect her to come back with candles, for it would be much commodity for human property. Still eerily quiet, the damsel lit a candle, and with it, another two, then she headed back to the small dark room and distributed the lighting around. It was a bathroom he was in, complete with a luxurious bathtub, shower and sink.

Now the slave stood there, as someone sentenced to death; he had no clue what his destiny would be, much less when she, of her dress got rid. Turning to him with a key, she removed his bindings and dressings, then silently led him to the bathtub full of warm water and aromatic oils. Trying not to stare at her undergarments, he allowed himself to be lead. Despite the dark tone of dirt smeared in his face, a slight rosy tint could be seen across his cheeks: 'Am I a bathroom servant?' muttered he.

She shook her head in disagreement, and gently pushed him down to sit. The silent mistress grabbed a sponge and dipped it into the water, then she began to gently wash his worn skin; the slave couldn't believe that it could be real. He opened his mouth, trying to converse, but refrained at the last moment, afraid of a consequence. She kept scrubbing his back, and arms, and hands, with a faint smile in her lips drawn.

As she finished his bath, the lady took one of the finest towels, and beckoned for him to step out; he quickly grabbed at the cloth to hide himself. A maid would be called for clothing to be brought, and while waiting for what she asked, she also took a bath. The slave looked away, still not believing his fate; regardless, he wouldn't ruin this chance.

The attendant brought a rich suit, embroidered with silver thread, and a dress made of silk, highlighted with golden lace. After drying her hair, the owner of the house grabbed her clothes and quickly slipped into them, then she proceeded to dress her slave. He did as she directed, with a word not spoken; shortly after, he looked like a man of good. 'What is she planning to do?' he wondered, for her plans were not going to be revealed.

She led him outside, to the carriage again. The driver just looked up, and reading her gestures, into town he took them both, to the office of civil registration. The man was soon yanked out of the carriage by his companion, and she still quiet, called him into the building. An old man greeted them both: "What is your business here?" - As an answer, she showed a broken collar. "Ah, you're here to free this slave..." - The elderly attendant almost screeched, as he took out a form and extended his hand. Five hundred thousand silver coins she paid, and the clerk greedily smiled. He handed the signed form to them for filling, and she scribbled down without hesitation.

The man was handed the document, and readign it, soon his expression mustered amazement. "With this form, I, Durandal Roderick of Loyerdale, declare that the slave, Alaric Nicholai, was presented to me with his broken collar..." His hands started shaking, at the rhythm of his lips' trembling... 'How did you know my name? Who are you...?' She pointed at the rest of the document, and he kept on reading, with a faint voice: "... now registered as a free man, by his mistress, Caroline Nicholai de Cetrekath."

No longer holding her tears, she opened her dress' neckpiece, revealing an old, beat-up locket hiding a horrid scar behind it. The truth rained down on Alaric as a raging thunderstorm at the sea, as images of his capture raced through his mind; His wife was whisked away to a different camp, and he would be left alone to suffer her absence for three whole years, while she had been sold to the rich merchant, Martin de Cetrekath, not before her voice box had been horribly mutilated; Caroline had been screaming endlessly for Alaric until her violent silencing.

He timidly reached to open the locket, and as clear as the merciful ocean, their marriage painting was there, enclosed in his engagement gift. Breaking down in tears, the two of them embraced each other, happily reunited once again; no longer all the pain and blood mattered any to them, as they had each other to face adversity together again. She would bear him three children, he'd success in a political career and abolishing of slavery. Not long after, their enslaver wound up dead, by none other than Alaric himself.

Only then could he finally calm his mind, and live out his days, with his family at his side.
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Re: Short stories for all to enjoy

Unread postby Aderis » Oct 29th, '14, 03:09

A transcription of a dream I once had. Narrated in first-person.

The Ghost Train

It is the year 2200, where everyone has forgotten their ghosts of the past... Literally. Nobody remembers old technology, or the old houses of the twentieth and twenty first centuries. People live in an artificially made world, assisted to do everything and teleporting everywhere. But a few brave souls dare to check the still inhabited OLD WORLD...

I had been visiting my mother for the weekend. She was living at my grandaunt's house with many of her cousins. Of course, my mother was probably working at the time, so I just took my sweet time to snoop around, take a peek here and there. Eventually I was caught, and formally invited to have dinner with the family. Those three days passed in a pretty normal way, and I thought I'd be just going back to my old, boring life. I dialed into my PDAWW (Personal Digital Assistant Wrist Watch) the address to check the traveling options I had to go back home. First, was teleportation, which I instantly pointed out would be horribly boring and normal. Then, my watch offered me the supersonic jet helicopter. I pressed the holographic button to check the next option, which was the space-distorter bus, but then I noticed something different. There was an extra option I had never seen before..."Train, eh... Sounds like something out of the past, and very much worth trying." And I bravely pressed the button.

The skies immediately darkened as I heard a maniacal laughter. A strange portal opened beneath my feet, and I was dragged in by a skeletal hand! Strangely enough, I did not feel threatened as I flew beneath many buildings and structures, until I found myself in a strange place. Recalling the teachings from my earlier years, I immediately recognized it as the Old World. I saw myself surrounded by a few other brave men and women, but only a few of them looked sure of themselves. Slowly, a rickety skeletal train drove on the rusty tracks of its station, and upon opening its doors, something that looked like a skeleton without legs or pelvis, and just a few patches of putrid meat still clinging to its bones floated towards us. I was completely puzzled by its ability to float, speak and see, despite having no eyes or throat, only eerie green lights in its eye sockets and back of its mouth...

"Welcome, living creatures... Us ghosts greet you and respect your courage to come ride with us... But be warned, few enter the ghost train, and fewer leave! Beware, for this is your last chance of returning to your rightful places unscathed, as you'll be facing deadly rogue ghosts, and many wind drafts..."

"Ghosts?" – I uttered – "What is a ghost?"

"We're the remains of your departed ancestors... Those of us who couldn't gather the courage to move on stay here. We use the remains of our old bodies to be able to grasp and touch solid matter, and we try to deal with the consequences of staying..."

"Why were we never taught about this, or for that matter, most of the old world?"

"Because us humans are stupid, my young man..." – The ghost's jaw clattered lightly as it closed up on me and grabbed my own jaw with its bony hand – "We forget that which bothers us, and deny what we can't explain... That's how we were forgotten. And since nowadays every dead body is cremated or sent into space to be destroyed, there isn't many sane ghosts left..."

"Wow... This is surely - I have so many questions..."

"They'll have to wait, great times-seven grandson... It is time for the train to depart!"

And by now, some of the assistants were not there anymore, as they begged in panic to be returned to their homes. Those of us that stayed entered the train, and something wondrous occurred. My body dissolved into dust, which flew into a flask in the upper shelves of the train. I was left with only some flesh on my arms, shoulders, neck, and half of my face, and I had legs no more... I was turned into a ghost! I did my best to stay calm as others screamed in fear, with the ghost that called me its great-times-seven grandson assuring them their bodies would be returned when our trip was finished. Everyone floated on their seats as best as they could, as the train started moving. A whistle blew noisily at the very moment the contraption started accelerating. I took a few moments to examine the cabin: It was full of holes and shredded curtains, with every single window having broken glass. You soon could notice that we had reached a tremendously high speed. "Beware the wind drafts!" the main ghost uttered, holding a special bar that seemed to serve no purpose...

The first draft came in. Whooshing horribly like a screaming banshee, it immediately blew away my lightweight ghost body. Reacting quickly, I grabbed one of the seats, ad I was being flapped by the wing like an old flag. Two of our passengers were blown out of the train, as I kept holding onto the seat for dear life (or death?). "They'll be fine if another train picks them up... Before the rogue ghosts get to them..." I bit my incomplete, putrid lower lip as the draft subsided and I returned to my seat. Soon after, I spent some time talking to the other passengers, some of them apparently having gone through this thing already. But we didn't spend much time doing that, as a couple of them, who looked stronger and more confident than most floated around the cabin, with the owner of the train announcing: "Incoming rogue ghosts..."

The first one entered through a hole in the floor. It looked quite wicked, half of its cranium missing and its teeth morphed into sharp fangs. It was quickly wrestled out of the train by one of the strong passengers, but soon, more and more rogues would come in, which started to be too many for them to handle. Then, I felt something grabbing my arm... One of them tried to bite into my face! I quickly reacted and grabbed it by its neck, then I snapped it and threw its head out of the train, its body obediently following. Smiling nervously (at least with the half of my face that still had flesh) I stood up and helped the other passengers. It seemed like an endless fight, and in the end, we lost one of our "guardians" to them.

Through all of the trip, things like this kept happening. We only stopped at other stations to pick up more passengers. More drafts and more ghosts kept coming, with brief times of peace left for us to make conversation... And finally, we reached my station. I stepped out of the train, and the dust that was my body slowly floated back to me, returning me to living form. The real ghost, owner of the train stepped out with me, and observed me quietly for a while as I did the same.

"That was... quite unique, mister..."

"Just call me grandfather. I am your ancestor after all. If you'd look at the tombstone over there, it has our family tree written on it."

"Well then, grandfather. I... don't know if I'll be back. It was a thrilling, yet dangerous experience."

"You will be back, I know it. You have talent for this, and that faint smile tells me you enjoyed it. Until then, I'll be waiting here for the day you return to help us with the train again."

And this said, I went back to my house, pondering my ancestor's words and remembering the tombstone. There was no doubt I'd someday go back there. And when my flesh is old and my bones fragile, I'll ask to be taken to the ghost train, where I'll become a full-fledged ghost, keeping alive a legend that few know about... And fewer survive!
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