Joined: 21 Nov 2007
|Posted: Wed Nov 21, 2007 3:56 am Post subject: (Untitled), a short story.
Long time reader, first time poster here. To make a long story short, I decided to do some writing last night instead of sleeping and ended up finishing a short story I had been mulling over for a few months. I'm no English major, but I believe its worth sharing.
It's about 7 pages single space in Microsoft word as a warning to those who have a hard time putting stories down like myself, and any (constructive) criticism is highly appreciated. This is roughly a first draft, hardly any editing. I apologize for that, but unfortunately I have other work I have to do, some of which I'm putting off to put up this post.
Hope you enjoy it!
It had been decades since the Lieutenant made a trek to the old Stockades. He and his childhood friends had spent a night in the abandoned jail cells on a dare once. No ghosts of murdered guards or convicts had haunted them, but the area had seemed slightly brighter back then. Since then, the site had been renovated – somewhat – into this… psychologist’s… office. Why someone would want to hang around crazy people, much less interact with them, was beyond Lieutenant Perelli.
Nonetheless, his Commander had recently tracked the only known survivor of the Southshore tragedy to the make-shift ward, and he was assigned to get what information he could out of the man, or whatever was left of him.
“What do you want?” Perelli turned his attention to the hooded figure, slouched over the seemingly misplaced desk. He couldn’t make out a face underneath the garment, but the person seemed to fit the surroundings well enough.
“Doctor Martin Felben?”
“Yes?” The Doctor didn’t even bother to look up from the document he was authoring.
“Lieutenant Perelli of the Stormwind Army. I’ve been sent to retrieve a certain Jacob Barthalomew from your custody.”
“Impossible. I’m afraid he must stay here, his condition is critical.”
“Unfortunately, that doesn’t matter to my superiors.”
The Doctor put down his quill and sat silently for a moment. The Lieutenant tried to scan the man, searching for any sign of what he might be thinking. He still couldn’t make out any of Felben’s face, and the man seemed almost perfectly still.
Felben seemed to collect himself before opening a drawer to his right and retrieving a set of keys. He stood, revealing that the slouch was the natural arrangement of his spine. Too many years over a desk Perelli thought. The Doctor drifted down the stairs into the stockades. They passed several cells, all of which held what seemed like rather lethargic inmates to the Lieutenant. “I lack the physical means to ensure my patients don’t hurt themselves, so I am forced to rely on the pharmaceutical. Fortunately the flower lady down the street knows enough of herbalism to help maintain my stores.”
Finally, Felben turned and began to unlock one of the cells. Perelli braced himself mentally, but nothing burst out at them. They entered the cell and approached a man sitting on the crude bed. “Hello Jacob. How are you today?”
Jacob looked up, ignoring the newcomer. “Good, good,” the words came slowly, though the man seemed nervous. “Yes, we’re good.”
“This man has come to take you on a walk.”
“Where are we going?”
“To the keep.” Perelli jumped in.
“Yes, Stormwind Keep.” Perelli turned back to the Doctor. “Now…”
“No not really like Durnholde, although maybe, I don’t know.”
Perelli stood confused, wondering where the answer to an unasked question came from.
“He talks to himself.” Felben noted.
“He prefers to be called Myself,” Jacob corrected.
“Yes, my apologies.”
“Yes… I see…” The Lieutenant slowly absorbed this new information, and sorted it with the other reasons that merited the loathing of his current assignment. He turned back to the psychiatrist. “Do you have any restraints for him?”
“I do believe I already noted I do not. However, you won’t need any for Jacob; he’s never shown any violent tendencies. He’ll follow you so long as you don’t allow him to get distracted. Come along then.” The Doctor turned and headed back towards the entrance, and Jacob fell into step behind him. Perelli came up last. “Now, how long do you plan on keeping my patient?”
“No more than a week I hope. I’ll bring him back so you can… um… check up on him if it’s going to be longer.” Perelli noted was appeared to be a grimace underneath the shadow of Felben’s face.
“Hrmph.” The Doctor walked back to his desk, appeared to unlock one of the drawers behind it, and produced a dirty flask of golden liquid. He scrounged for another flask before siphoning a portion out of the former into the latter and putting a spare cork on it. Grabbing a ladle from another drawer, he returned to the Lieutenant. “Give him one ladle full of this daily, and please return what you don’t use. I don’t have much in stock.”
Perelli nodded as he took the items. “Anything else?” Felben hesitated, thinking, turning around to look back at his desk. The lieutenant took advantage of the moment to examine the flask, uncorking it to get a direct view. He only had a moment before the vapors from the flask overpowered his senses, making him cough and causing a tingling sensation throughout his head. He quickly re-corked the flask while letting out a few more coughs.
“No, that should be all. Just please return him as soon as possible.”
“Yes, of course.”
He had expected it, but had deluded himself that he wasn’t going to have to deal with Jacob after escorting him to the castle. In actuality, he had spent the last three days almost exclusively talking with “Me” and ”Myself”, though they seemed to collectively understand that they were Jacob. Directly questioning him about the Slaughter of Southshore had proved fruitless, but they – he – was more than happy to talk about his childhood in the area. And thus, he had listened, hoping that Jacob would eventually get to the information they needed.
“… caught in the rain, and we just ran to this old man’s house. He was nice, gave us shelter, kept talking about his family’s cloaks. But he gave us hot chocolate… what? Oh yes, Yeti hide cloaks were his specialty… “ – Yes, yes, I know, you’ve said the man blathered on about them constantly – “and the next day we started training ourselves to fight yetis for the man! We made some toy swords out of scrap wood and practiced with them on one of the old target dummies the army had.”
“Did you fight anyone that attacked Southshore?” Perelli tried to interject.
“This man came up to us though and asked what we were doing. When we said we were training, he laughed at us! He told us he was a rogue, and he could get us a few yeti hides… what? Oh yes, he preferred the term, ‘treasure hunter’. Me don’t see the difference really. But the rogue returned a few days later with a huge backpack full of yeti furs! We took them to ol’ Bartolo and he made us a few cloak. Yes, he did ask us if we had… Millman’s cloaks? No, Hillmans… but we didn’t, but apparently the fur was plenty enough to let him purchase the rest and make us our own little cloaks.”
Perelli had roughly had it with Me and Myself and the townsfolk of Southshore… was he really thinking of this man as two people now? Maybe he was going crazy…
“You’ve been to Menethil Harbor, haven’t you lieutenant?”
“Yes, of course…”
“Grand old place, I remember the first time we went there…
“Hold on, what happened to Southshore?”
“What about Southshore?”
“What happened after you got the cloaks from Bartolo?”
Jacob sat there puzzled, as if the change of setting hadn’t even been noticed. “Well I…um… hrm… I suppose I don’t know… he doesn’t know either… maybe…”
“Well maybe I would know but… we don’t talk to I.”
“I tells us to go away, I tells us he’s busy, so we don’t talk to I…”
Perelli sat there, contemplating this. A third person within this Jacob… “Can I talk to him?”
“I…” Jacob paused, fidgeting. “He says no, he says go away, he says don’t talk about…”
“Yes, I remember, Hercule’s Grave! She dared us to touch it once…”
Sigh. Perelli stood up, wondering what to do with this new information. He moved to leave the room, to think…
“Sir!” A man in a private’s tabard stepped in, saluting.
“A message for you sir.” The private produced a sealed envelope and handed it to the Lieutenant. Perelli opened the document and read…
Our alchemists have examined the sample you sent us. It appears to be a form of sedative that effects the mind. No known side effects yet.
The paper was signed with the same incomprehensible signature that he somehow recognized has his Commander’s. He pondered the note, and went back to Jacob.
“Jacob…” Perelli interrupted.
“Do you talk to Doctor Felben much?”
Jacob smiled. “Almost every day.”
“What do you talk about?”
“Well, he asks us how we are doing, and if we slept, and then Me and Myself go off to play while he talks with I for a while.”
“Thank you.” Perelli again stood and turned to leave.
“Please inform Mr. Barthalomew’s caretakers that he will not be receiving his normal dosage of medicine this evening.”
“G-good morning, L-lieutenant.” Jacob’s voice was more than noticeably shaky. Perhaps withholding the medication had been a bad idea… but the questioning would decide that.
“Good morning, Jacob. Sleep well?”
“Well, no… not really… they didn’t give us my medicine… b-but I think we’ll be alright. J-just tell them not to forget tonight, p-please?”
“Of course Jacob, I’m sorry, I’ll make sure they don’t forget. Can you tell me about those yeti fur cloaks again?”
Jacob seemed happy to return to the subject of the cloaks. “Oh yes, they were very nice cloaks! Bartolo even made them just our size. We caught our rogue friend as he was leaving the town and showed them to him! He gave us a short chuckle, and we said goodbye to him. We spent the rest of the day training – oh yes, we still wanted to be adventurers! My m-m-mother kissed me and said she was proud of me that night…”
Jacob stopped. Just stopped. Jacob had been more than happy to go on and on as long as Perelli didn’t interrupt before…
“What happened the next day?”
“Well, we made a murloc dummy to train on that morning… I even knocked it’s head off a couple times!” Jacob smiled faintly. “But then M-mrs. Alliestar called me over to her hut. She said I looked a little pale, and she gave me a potion to drink. She always made the best potions, and they usually tasted like candy or ice cream. This one tasted funny though, and it made me sleepy, so she let me lie down in one of her beds – she was k-kind of like the town’s doctor you know – and I drifted off looking into her smiling face and radiant, golden eyes…”
“It was all smoky when I woke up. I could hear Mrs. Alliestar yelling at someone about someone… Leonid? I don’t remember, something wasn’t right though… I wanted to hide… I got in one of the corners of the room and just curled up until Mrs. Alliestar came back for me. She said I was going on an adventure, and had me stand up and walk outside.
“I almost thought it was a bonfire, we had one once, I t-told you that… but this time it was in the middle of town, and all the b-buildings were burning… my house, the inn, everything but Alliestar’s house. And as we left I heard it light on fire behind us, and I turned around to see our rogue f-f-friend burning the house… but he didn’t have his hood on, and his face was funny, and he g-growled something about c-covering his face and then they p-put something over my eyes and…”
Jacob burst into tears. Perelli tried to comfort him, calm him down, continue the story, but nothing worked. Finally he asked the guards to escort Jacob back to his room.
“No medicine again tonight.” It had proved far too successful, the first breakthrough in information. Jacob saw the attacker’s and at least one of their faces. And Mrs. Alliestar… did she live? Jacob had said she was yelling at the attackers, not pleading with them. Maybe he could have that cleared up tomorrow if Jacob’s recall was again improved without the “medication” the good doctor had prescribed.
In the meantime, he sent out a request to the Stormwind Library – any information on persons with the first name of Leonid or the last name of Alliestar. Perhaps the librarians would be able to dig up some insight for him.
The most pronounced reference to an individual of the name “Leonid” we found was a member of the Argent Dawn, a group that set aside all racial conflicts for the united cause of defeating the Scourge. Apparently quite the hero, and the way he’s described, seems as though he was as undead as the scourge themselves.
And pray, Perelli, what business have you looking up information on our local flower lady, Katrina Alliestar? That’s no way to get a date! In any case, apparently she lived with her mother in Menethil for a while before moving here to Stormwind. Rather skilled botanist, perhaps you should try chocolates since she won’t need flowers?
And come see me next time instead of sending one of those privates as messengers! I don’t get to see you very often these days.
It had been too long since he’d gone to visit Tovald, but now was hardly the time. How could this Alliestar person that was connected to Southshore be here in Stormwind without anyone noticing?! Might have saved him these past few, agonizing days. And this Leonid character… he had heard stories of the living dead on all spectrums, even those where they heroically fought alongside alliance soldiers against the Scourge. Not that the reference made any sense, but perhaps the stories were more than that.
“Lieutenant!” Perelli awoke from his musing and acknowledged the panting Private. Maybe they were using them as messengers too much… “You are needed at Barthalomew’s quarters sir!”
“Thank you, dismissed.” Wonderful. Perelli sprinted towards the secure room Jacob had been staying in. The private tailed him, but quickly fell behind, exhausted. Maybe they do need the running.
“NO, give me my MEDICINE!”
“Hold him! Someone get some rope!”
“Stop him from – OW”
“I NEED MY MEDICINE!”
Perelli rounded the corner and went to help, but Barthalomew ceased his resistance upon sight of the Lieutenant.
“Oh… g-good m-m-morning Lieut-tenant.” Jacob gave a half-hearted smile. “They d-didn’t give me our m-medicine againt last n-night. C-could you g-get some f-f-for me? We need it. P-please?”
“Not yet. We need to talk first.”
Jacob turned pale. “N-no, y-you don’t understand, I-“
“Tell me about the people who attacked Southshore.”
“I-I-I we need my m-m-medicine…”
“After you tell me about Southshore.”
Perelli glared at the broken man. Time to try something else…
“Let me talk to I”
Jacob’s eyes filled with fear. “N-no… please…no… m-medicine…”
“Let me talk to I”
“I-I-I-I-I…” He trailed off, eyes rolling up into his head. The soldiers slowly backed away from the man.
Jacob jumped up and was immediately at Perelli’s throught, strangling him.
“WHAT HAVE YOU DONE? YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU’RE MESSING WITH!” Perelli struggled against the crazed man’s grasp, pleading with the crazed man's eyes as they turned from rage to fear. Jacob dropped the Lieutenant, who gasped for breath. “No… no no no no no… I need to see Felben… I need to see Felben now!”
Jacob turned and ran, instinctively seeking the way out. Perelli recovered and leapt up, sprinting after him, leaving the bewildered privates behind.
Jacob was fast for a man who had spent the past few years in a cell. That and the lack of guards on Jacob’s path to the Stockades were the only other thoughts that crossed his mind. He wasn’t quite sure what he would do when he caught up anyway; the man had shown himself to be considerably stronger than him.
Felben looked over at Perelli as he entered. “Fool!” He was hastily grabbing at components, mixing them to create some form of elixir. Jacob lay cowering in front of the desk. “Less than a week, and you disrupt a lifetime of research! Endanger my patient’s life! Possibly everyone’s!”
“I… we needed to get information on Southshore from him! Your medicine is suppressing his mind!”
“OF COURSE it’s suppressing his mind, those parts of his consciousness can’t handle tragedy like that!”
What? “What do you know about Southshore?”
Felben turned and glared at Perelli with penetrating, yellow eyes.
“I know Southshore was a mistake, but that’s not important right now!” He poured the mixture into a vial and rushed to Jacob, pouring the elixir down the man’s throat. Jacob immediately seemed calmer. “Are you alright?”
“I… I think so… “ Jacob stammered.
“Come, you need a bed and some rest.” Felben helped Jacob up and led him down the Stockade stairs. Perelli followed.
“Southshore happened because several of us were brutally murdered in the area, and we believed Southshore to be responsible. If Southshore had realized what we truly were, they had to be dealt with to either silence them, or as a sign of strength against the alliance who have never accepted our kind.”
“But… who are…” Perelli’s question was cut short.
“RRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!” Jacob’s scream echoed throughout the stockades. He wrenched free of Felben’s support, clawing at his head, attempting to flee, but tripping on a loose stone. Jacob tried to lift himself with his right arm while Felben rushed to assist him.
Suddenly Jacob’s right arm exploded in a growth of muscle as Jacob screamed a note that scraped Perelli’s sanity. Jacob swung around at Felben with a fist of bony claws, his face distorted with rage, cleaving the scrawny figure in two. Perelli stood frozen in fear as this beast acknowledged this other figure. He stammered as it approached, wishing he had his sword and shield, though not sure if they would do him any good. The creature swung, too close to be shredded by the claws but still hammered down the hall by the muscular forearm.
Jacob’s lopsided figure again lumbered after the Lieutenant. Suddenly a cloud of dark magic enveloped Jacob’s head, causing the beast to recoil. Another blast disrupted the creature further. It turned away from Perelli to find the attacker, but was subdued by another, brighter flash, and Jacob fell to the floor, sleeping.
Perelli’s horror gave way to confusion, which gave way to horror again as he noticed Felben’s torso dragging itself to its legs, and then reattaching them with a healing spell. The doctor righted himself, testing the joint, then casting another healing spell on the Lieutenant, easing his pain.
“We are the undead, the Forsaken.” Confusion took over once again as Perelli tried to absorb all of what just happened. “That, I believe, is the Scourge’s next shock trooper. A hulk of muscle and bone that is not quite dead but note quite alive. Jacob came to me when he thought he had become infected with something on his travels, and agreed to allow me to study him and prolong the process.”
Perelli stood up, his head tingling and feeling like it had been turned upside-down. “Return to Stormwind Keep. Tell them I helped you learn that Jacob cannot recall more than you already learned from him. Don’t bother attempting to tell anyone about this, no one will believe you, no one will want to believe it.”
Nodding, Perelli turned to leave. Is he mad? How can I not report this?! Undead living in our own city, the potential return of the Lich King, a colossal ghoul in the Stockades! I… I… Perelli collapsed, his mind forced to unconsciousness. Felben sighed.
Esteemed comrades, I send my greatest sorrows and greatest joys with this note. Jacob Barthalomew proved his strength over and over to me while he was in my care, but alas, the strain that attacked his body could not have been held off forever. While unable to create a cure for the disease, I was about to counteract it with the patient’s help. Indeed, it was Jacob’s strong will that allowed him to survive as long as he did.
This new plague, instead of creating mindless decaying zombies, instead enhances the subject’s body. Upon entering the subject, it spreads out, attempting to multiply and attach itself to every muscle in the body. Once it is ready, it amplifies the growth of muscle and bone tissue at an astounding rate. This grotesque growth forms an assault on the victim’s senses, which is coupled with a physical attack on the brain, attempting to drive them insane. When the victim has lost all hope, the brain is destroyed, leaving a mass of bone and flesh rather equivalent to a golem. No will of any sort is allowed to remain, save for that of the Lich King.
The process is not without flaw though. Those of strong will are able to resist the transformation; a key point which led to my final experiment with Jacob Bartholomew. If the victim’s will remains strong, their brain can be destroyed before the strain finishes its work, allowing the victim’s will to remain bound to their mindless husk. The result is something that will allow Leonid Barthalomew a little pride in his offspring.
I am sending Jacob to you for further study. We may have to fight his kind in the near future, and as mighty as having one on our side may be, we need to be able to defeat them as well. He no longer has a mind to manipulate, but I can sense that he wishes to aid us in any way possible. Do not squander his sacrifice.
Doctor Martin Felben
Joined: 27 Oct 2005
|Posted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 12:48 pm Post subject:
|I'm no English major either, so I hope you don't mind if all I say is I liked the story.
Joined: 05 May 2006
Location: Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii, USA
|Posted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 4:42 pm Post subject:
|I enjoyed the story very much. Very different twist then what a lot of Fan Fic has.
I also didn't see anything that warrented fixing. There are several very good posters here that might have a suggestion or two after the holiday weekend.
Overall a very nice story and I really hope you continue to post here.
Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii
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