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Excerpts - The Gates of Horn and Ivory.

Trippiness sans context )

It's worth noting that this scene was inspired by a recurring series of nightmares I've had since I was tiny.
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Excerpt - The Gates of Horn and Ivory

[Note this is a somewhat old, very rough draft. I'm not even sure I want to keep the first-person tense. It's also unfinished, though I'll probably round it out for the posting.]


When I woke up, it was the middle of the night. I could barely make out the tree branches scraping at the window. I was cold, and pulling up the blankets didn’t help.

You know those times when you wake up disoriented, not quite knowing who you are or what happened the night before? Well, this wasn’t one of them. Every memory was there, clear at first; muzzy later, though that might have been due to the drugs.

By this point, they must surely have found my body. Maybe a maid had tripped over it on her way to make the bed and bundle out the trash, but considering the motel squalor I’d gotten an abbreviated glimpse at, the room’s next occupant would be that much more likely to make the grisly discovery. Whoever they were, I hoped I wouldn’t give them too much of a heart attack.

Back up. Rewind the tape and pretend it’s yesterday instead of now.

It started with a lecture, at least as far as my part in it is concerned. I was a Parapsychology professor, at Walden University. Seventy percent of my job consisted of uncovering the wonders of the human mind. The remaining thirty percent were devoted to making the Classics majors look less nutty by comparison. My classes were generally full and my lectures well-attended, but I could never quite tell how many people only showed up because there was nothing good on TV.

The microphone hummed lightly as I stepped up to the podium. “Can any of you guess what I’m thinking right now?”

“You’re wondering how long you’ve got till lunch,” posed some wiseass in the back.

“Impressive deduction, but not entirely correct. I was actually thinking of dinner.” That got some scattered laughs. God save us from windbags who took themselves too seriously, no matter their subject, that’s what I’ve always thought.

“Imagine it, though. Human beings; people just like you and me, who can hear your thoughts as loud as a radio broadcast. Who-“ I fished a pen out of my pocket. “Who can lift an object such as this without ever using their hands. Or their teeth; or a rope pulley,” I intercepted, before someone could make the obvious crack. “Imagine someone with an affinity for the elements, who can call water molecules to them, or ignite the oxygen in the room.”

“Like magic?” asked a shy voice from the front row.

My jaw clenched, forcing me to undergo severe facial contortions to keep it from showing. The girl had hit on a sore point. “Not exactly,” I said. “The results would appear magical, no doubt, but the methods themselves would have to conform to the laws of science. Gravity. Conservation of matter. They will all remain constant. All that will change is the scope of our knowledge.

“Think of it this way. When humankind first evolved in its earlier forms, none of them had the capacity for speech as we would define it. Communication, language, all of that would come later, as the human brain evolved and expanded, becoming not only larger but far, far more complex.

“Now, think of language as you know it. Listen – there’s a candle burning by the tub in my bathroom. The candle is red. The flame on it flickers, blue at the center and orange around the edges. No white appears anywhere in it; the fire is nowhere near that hot. The scent of cinnamon and berries feels the room, though there’s something cheap about it, something artificial...” I broke off.

“How many of you saw that candle when I spoke?” Hands went up. “But you didn’t just see it, did you? You may have smelled it, felt the heat against your hand. Some of you may even have heard the splash of water, though I described nothing of the sort. Stop and think about that. Some words and a common framework, and I’ve given you my experience, nearly as real as living it firsthand. The same thing can happen when you read a book. A good writer can transport you into their world, so that you feel the earth under your feet, and hear precisely the way the character rolls her ‘Rs.’ And isn’t that something like telepathy? Words are merely symbols. It’s the raw transmitted experience which matters."
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Character Portrait - Daniela Alvarez - The Gates of Horn and Ivory

Dani is a small, wiry thing, with curly black hair that ends up bunching up around her ears no matter how long it is. Right now, it should be down to her shoulders - should being the key word. She's a military brat (still thinks of herself this way, despite having been Air Force herself) and she dresses like one. Camo pants with way too many pockets. Button-up shirt with its sleeves rolled up. Standard-issue boots.

It takes a while for you to notice the wheelchair. It's the way she sits in it (very deliberately so), like it's any old chair or couch. But once you see it, you can't unsee it anymore and it changes everything you think of her.

She knows this, and she doesn't bother to smile and say it's all good anymore. She never was good at lying.
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The last of the "What is Lily writing?" entries.

Title: The Gates of Horn and Ivory

The day Claudia MacLean died was far from the worst in her life. Or her afterlife, for that matter.

(Yes, I know that's a short-ass blurb. You try to summarize stories that are unfinished, without spoilers or making it sound godawful boring. I think I've erred on the boring side so far, which is likely a mistake. I don't think I'll ever make a lucrative living in the blurb-writing industry.)

Intended Readership: Adult. Very adult. Consider that there's unlikely to be sex and do the math.

Thought process: This one started as a Yami no Matsuei-based roleplay with OCs, when I was, what, 18? At the time, Claudia was called Andrea - which is a lovely name, but not her. More pressingly, she was a self-absorbed bitch, as I discovered on re-read. My co-writer's input wasn't much better. But something about the story we were telling around tugged at me even years down the line, making me dig up the awful old logs and start rewriting the thing from near-scratch.


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October 2016



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