3 Feb 2016

Workings on the Ark

Hail readers!

Though I have, alas, not written recently here on the Magical Realm—and of what I have written, much has been concerned with politics—I shall now rectify this with a piece on (drum roll please…) the Ark.

In particular, I will release a hitherto unseen chapter of the Ark. It is actually the beginning to part two; nevertheless it requires little context to understand, and a great deal may be said about it. So without further ado…

Chapter Eleven: Words and Analysis

You can read the PDF here. That is perhaps easiest, but you can also read it here on the Magical Realm—along with my commentary:

CHAPTER ELEVEN

Kaylin

Wings. Dark against the sky; whispering in a wind that brings the faint odour of death and immolation. Wings, everywhere. A terrible sound they make; a sound beyond words, a sound beyond sound. They make a terrible absence of sound, as if the very ether of being were torn into nothingness.

The world is bleak. The ruins of civilisation lie scattered: a burning
house there, or the faint ruins of a city. He lies there. Him, and his lover. They hold hands; they look around, lost and forlorn. And then, suddenly, a great laugh echoes across the world.

It seems to have no place, and yet it is everywhere. It is in the
corpses that lie strewn across their feet, the final rebellion of humanity. It is in the corpses long buried and forgotten in some timeless struggle. It is in the very dust of the Earth, the very air we breathe; and it is in that terrible emptiness. From there it originates.

Then gold-white light erupts, and the vision is over.

Now! Some context. As the first chapter in part two, chapter eleven introduces us to the raison d’être of the Ark: the cause of the Earth’s demise, and the struggle of our two protagonists to escape.

What we read here is a vision of Kaylin’s. I shan’t say too much of her, except to say that she is a prophet. By this I mean not a charlatan and purveyor of fanciful lies, but a person genuinely capable of seeing into the future. Her visions are remarkably accurate, but ultimately contingent; they can and do change.

Kaylin also knows the two protagonists by acquaintance (though the protagonists themselves know nothing of her true nature) and happens to be on a quest to save the world. I guess I should have mentioned that earlier, eh?

Anyway: the vision details the destruction of the Earth. But there is more to this chapter…

I BLINK. The boy in front—the boy from the vision—looks faintly perplexed. Casey, was his name? He looks at me with dark blue eyes, concerned. I plaster I smile; bright it is, brighter than the sun that streams in through the windows.

I’ve gotten very good at concealing my visions. I had to be: no one trusted a mad woman who saw things. Not unless they knew how my visions always came true. Not unless they knew of how I had won the lottery twice, and then a third pseudonymously. If they did, they would fear me; and rightly so.

We talked of idle things, then. The boy seemed happy enough to help, but he was taciturn, all in all. I didn’t blame him. I’d seen those dinosaurs—I didn’t want to get caught by them without my armour and weaponry. And I’ve been trained.

Eventually, he leaves. I look at him, and my mind is filled with worry.

I did not know when the vision would come true—I’d had a sense of it, but no more. It could be in ten years. It could be in one; but it would be soon, relatively speaking. Silently, I cursed.

I passed through the rest of the day, dealing with the teachers—God, they could be such fools—before walking out of New Aloysius. Being a headteacher could occasionally prove to be some work, but, well: a good cover was necessary. And being an ordinary teacher would have taken up even more of my time.

The sky above is blue and bright. I see the remnants of that darkness, and feel the faintest hint of cold fear.

I needed to plan.

This scene is concerned primarily with introductions into Kaylin and her character. It is also, of course, important in that our dear Kaylin actually meets one of the protagonists for the first time. It is one of those moments which neither consider particularly noteworthy or important, but which fundamentally alters their lives in ways neither can foresee.

MY MERCEDES responds smoothly and silently. It is a modest thing, really. It has leather seats, autopilot, climate control—hardly luxuries, in the general scheme of things. There were Ferraris that could reach a hundred miles an hour faster than an ordinary car might reach thirty. This? This was just a modestly sized, modestly priced, modest car for a modest lady.

I pull into the driveway, the gravel protesting faintly underneath. Located in a small patch of woods, my house appears unremarkable: it is built with a flat zinc roof, cedar cladding, and dark steel windows. Modernistic, yes; but not the playpad of a billionaire.

And I was a billionaire. I’d won the lottery three times, and never made a mistake in the stock market. Seeing the future is a burden I’d want few to bear, but it’s not without its perks.

Inside, the furniture was plush leather; a fireplace lay cold, surrounded by finely cut glass and stone. I’d designed it myself; and I’d been lying if I said I wasn’t proud.

Still, I had more to worry about than my décor.

I walk to my living room, remove the rug—an elegant bear is sewn across the face—and pop open a trapdoor. Down the rabbit hole I go. The stairs are sheer and vertical, the metal hard and cold. When I reach steady ground, white-blue lights spring to life.

I keep a number of things here. Firstly, there’s a suit of armour—they’re worth a small fortune, but they can stop quite a few bullets, shrapnel and ex-plosions—along with a spare. There are weapons. A few rifles, a hand-held rocket launcher, and some grenades. I even keep a few knives around; their use was more aesthetic than practical, but then I’ve always been fond of a good show.

Then there’s the cash. I keep a million here, but no more. I wasn’t stupid.

Finally, the place is home to a computer.

It is unremarkable: three monitors, a keyboard and mouse. I was very traditional. You wouldn’t find me with tablets and holograms; a good 8K monitor did the trick for me. Although, I did have one or two extra tricks.

I had a projector, and of course: my tactical table. It was a substantial table, all covered by an enormous screen. I place my iris above the scanner, and then my finger over the fingerprint scanner. The screen bursts to life.

A world map is shown; my operations are highlighted by green dots. I have quite a number, in most of the world. I was nothing if not thorough.

I make my way to the computer, enter a password (interesting fact: I could usually discern a password just by standing in front the screen) and pull up my contacts. I had access to senior diplomats, generals, programmers, and even a few politicians. I had access to some of the greatest scientific minds the world has seen; I knew engineers, chemists, physicists—you name it.

But right now, I needed some information. I needed to know when the bastards thought the damn ship would set sail.

I needed to know, because those two kids had to be on it. When the Ark left, it would take them; away from Earth, and away from Armageddon.

The thought brought a grim smile to my face.

The rest of the chapter provides fascinating details about Kaylin, and a certain dash of excitement. The world will come to an end—unless she can stop it.

If you care to read more, keep following. I’ll be releasing more posts on a similar vein. But now, I must leave you; the Ark, after all, does not write itself.

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