bradbradallen

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  1. Ted, I'm not even out of high school, let alone in college where I could take such a class. And in regards to the names of my characters, I know that they need some work to sound as if they are all from the same general geographical area, as well as several locations. I just put in names to personify the characters, rather than write in Person A, Person B, Mountain D, etc., and had intended to change several of them to add flow to the styles of the names, but I chose working on a new short story over refining the one I currently had to better practice writing and exorcise my creativity. Adam, I would have liked to put further work into the story to have some sort of fluid cultural influence on all the names in the story, but, as stated above, I am going at work on another short story rather than edit this one. So was I alluding to some sort of influence? Possibly subconsciously if that was picked up, but not intentionally. And thanks for the advice, I'll be sure to periodically check a language / linguistics site while creating names for characters and locations in the future to create a sense of order in that respect. Brad
  2. Before you start reading, want to warn you - it is a bit of a read. I had originally thought of editing and revising it thoroughly then trying to get it published, but at this point, I'm just writing short stories for practice. Rather than edit this one, I'm going hard at work on my next piece. Enjoy THE TITAN SPHERE The sun burned at their skin as Taylin and Rous exerted themselves with each step across the sands of the Tehlam. This desert, unlike many others of the region, was laden with enigmas; mysteries and lore passed down from the histories. It was these puzzles, though, that tantalized the duo to explore the Tehlam and unlock its secrets. They had but one lead for their cause: a legend passed from the forefathers of their people. It spoke of Al-Shon and his creation of the universe. There was one detail, however, that stood out to them within the legend; and it that detail that inspired the two to venture out in search of the unknown. “…Al-Shon thrust his being within the center of the Heicynth and, within the mountain, he forged The Titan Sphere. The winds of the planet convulsed and thrashed about, while the seas birthed wave that crashed against the shorelines. The animals of the land grew malicious and waged war between themselves as the creatures of the sky fought for their survival. Al-Shon looked down upon The Titan Sphere, and marveled at his work. The planet was as it should be, and its survival had been insured…” Following both the guidance of their tribal leaders by day and the heavens by night, Taylin and Rous had nearly reached the Heicynth. Off in the distance, the peak of the immense mountain came into view over the horizon. Their previously hasty pace had slowed to a sluggish stroll as they gradually lessened the gap between themselves and the Heicynth. Their linen, ragged garments had worn down, leaving several holes throughout the stitching, over the course of their three-day journey from their village along the Miuwatsu River. Rous and Taylin both took the journey primarily in silence. They preferred to be alone with their thoughts, still attempting to wrap their heads around why they were attempting to seek the unknown. That was the true unknown. As the Heicynth grew closer yet, they entered the shadow of the beast. An eerie coolness fell upon them as they reached the mountain, as if a majestic force was at work. Minutes passed in silence as they encroached upon the exterior wall, noting a small, mouth like cave that met the sand merely meters from their location. The winds picked up, and a gust of wind nearly knocked Taylin’s petite figure to the ground. Sand blew up into their faces and upward towards the sky, and the winds, yet again, increased in intensity. It was as if the forces of nature themselves were at work, attempting to stop the pair from reaching the entrance of the Heicynth. Alas, the two stepped their feet within the orifice of the mountain, feeling both a sense of security and peril. The walls were moist, and the air was thick. The winds that tormented them from without the cavern seemingly ceased now that they were within, feeling not the slightest sense of a draft though they were simply steps within the lip of the hollow. Yet they continued deeper within the perplexing inner-workings of the mountain until light nearly ceased to be their guide. The pathway to the outside world was no longer visible, and their only source of light was the small bit that managed to creep to their location from the entrance. The two grew a bit hesitant by this moment, but as all light faded to dark, a dim, cobalt glow began to make itself apparent farther within the depths of the cavern. The sand had long since fallen from the feet of the two, replaced by dirt and rock picked up from the pathway into the heart of the mountain. The faint cobalt glow which was in the distance moments ago was now passing them on either side. Blue crystals lined the walls, starting inches from the floor and following the wall around until it met the ground on the other end. These crystals shot out, some nearing two meters, from the walls, just as foretold from the legends of their village. They were on the correct path. A pungent scent slowly distilled the odorless, thick air as the number on crystals increased on the sides of the pathway. It came to the attention of Rous that the crystals seemed to come to an abrupt halt several paces in front of their current location, yet the continued walking. They came to a stop once reaching where the crystals ceased to grow and gazed in awe at the sight placed ahead of them. A large, dome-like vault was presented before them, and the plethora of blue crystals was replaced by a singular, red crystal in the center of the room. A shallow decline of rock and dirt stood between the two, and they easily slid down. Sending a small cloud of dust upward as their skid slowed to a stop, they gazed upward in astonishment at the object whose presence they had entered. A large, red crystal, nearly twice the size of the Earth Golem who roamed the plains of the outside world, which nearly reached the top of the dome-shaped room they were in. The odor, once faint and tolerable, was now a tear-jerking, unbearable stench that nearly brought Taylin to her knees. It radiated a strong, red glow that illuminated the entire room, showing it to be a dead end, with the exception of the path that led them here. As the two examined the intricacies of the crystal, the room seemed, to them, to heat up. A bead of sweat fell from the forehead of Rous and continued downward until it collided with the floor, but this went un-noticed to him. Taylin picked up a small rock fragment that she found on the ground, and walked over to the rear wall of the room. Rous, trying to drown out the noise his sister was making in the back of the room, continued his examination of the Crystal. Moments later, Taylin turned around and looked toward Rous, and her stare was met with his. “We found it, Tay.” Rous stated, heart pounding with excitement. “The Titan Sphere...” Taylin’s voice trailed off, then continued, “Just as the legend foretold. Just as passed down from our tribe from the elders. We must go back to the village and let them know of our discovery!” Her voice picked up, then faded back down to a near whisper, “Mother would have been proud.” She finished, and then turned her attention back toward the pathway from which they came, and began the ascent up the rocky slope and approached the exit. After hearing only her feet kicking up rocks as she climbed and expecting to hear her brothers, she turned around to ensure he was on his way. Rous was just standing near the Titan Sphere, not budging more than slightly in place. “Rous, let’s get back to the village. We must get back and tell them the news!” Taylin shouted back towards Rous; and, upon hearing no response, descended back down towards Rous who still stood in silence. As she approached, she could hear mumbled jargon under his breath, but could not make out what exactly he was saying. Now face to face, she could barely make out what her brother was attempting to say, but listened in horror as he spoke. “Tay...lin… Run...Pl—please run” He said in a quiet voice, as if he was losing the ability to speak. Taylin knew not to question her brother, so she instantly turned around and prepared to, again, ascend towards the exit, anxious as to why her brother made such an outlandish request without even an explanation. But as she began to run, a roar, more beast than human, escaped the mouth of her brother as he convulsed and fell to the ground. He attempted to pick himself up, but, as he barely got to his feet, he began to writhe in pain. All the while, a patch of skin on his arm turned black as soot, and the black spread quickly across his body. Rous let out a screech, sounding, this time, fully animal. The blackness had consumed all but his face, and, as it came over his chest, his spine involuntarily bent forward and skin began to fill the newfound crevice between his chest and naval. His body began to seize and shake as this strange, black flesh overtook his torso. It climbed up his neck and engulfed his face, leaving his eyes as the last bit of human within him. Within the restraints of the mass stemming from his chest, he stood at near-full stand and his neck violently cocked backwards. He birthed out a shriek unlike that of any human, beast, or monster, and, with his head facing the ceiling, he began to scream. “My eyes! My eyes, Taylin, I cannot see. Everything is turning black, Taylin, I cannot see. Let me die, please, kill me. I want to die.” Rous screamed with what little of humanity he could muster up, voice radically changing in pace as if going insane, and then fell to the floor. Rous’ eyes filled with the phenomenon that tormented his skin, and also turned black. He now felt as if all sense of human had left his body. The last sound he managed to make out before losing himself was the screams of his sister. Not in panic for his life, but for her own. “Rous...” Taylin’s voice trailed off, then shouted louder. “Rous, what is happening to me? My skin is turning rotting…Rous!” Taylin screamed, and, with her last, ear-splitting howl, Rous lost his sense of consciousness, and fell into the darkness which consumed him. Four Thousand Years Later… What was once a small village along the Miuwatsu has transformed into a large city, holding over one hundred thousand civilians. The river has been widened by the people over the years, increasing the water supply to accommodate the exponentially rising population. As tradition has held for over one thousand years, the villagers hold an annual ceremony to honor Al-Shon for providing the Maicu tribe with such an ability to thrive and flourish. On this day, the day when the three moons cover the night sky, the ceremony is to take place. The Twilight Hour had arrived. The hour in which the Rakka Moon resides in the east, near the Heicynth; the Yon Moon in the west across the banks of the Miuwatsu; and the Shim-pü, overhead, in the northern sky. Not a cloud was visible in the night sky, making this night ideal for the ceremony to take place. Every member of the village, ranging from children to the elderly, came to The Alter – a structure taller than any other in the village, as well as the village temple sanctioned by Al-Shon to dedicate the infants of the village. They crowded around the perimeter of the structure, all having in plain view the top of the multi-tiered, pyramid-like structure. As if a chilling breeze froze silent the members of the tribe, the gong atop The Alter was hit. Silence overtook the mass of people as The High Cleric Routay appeared at the apex of The Alter. “My people,” Routay began, “We gather here to thank Al-Shon for allowing our land to prosper, our tribe to grow, and granting our people safety from the demon Meinru. Here, in the Twilight Hour, we come to honor you and offer all our children born within the year to you.” Routay finished, gesturing for all women with children whom have yet to be dedicated forward to place their children upon The Alter. Giving the women of the tribe a moment to bring their children forward, Routay walked down the five flights of rock steps to where the children had been placed, and, one by one, began to bless and dedicate them to Al-Shon. Placing his index and middle finger upward toward the sky, while clenching the rest inward like a fist, Routay indicated a circle around the infant, symbolizing life, then placed his two extended fingers upon the child and blessed him. Nearly two hundred infants had been placed upon The Alter to be blessed, and Routay had blessed all but the last two. The two remaining children had the most peculiar birth marks. The female child on the left had three circular dark splotches across her neck – the symbol of the doe – while the male child on the right had but one, misshapen mark under his left ear – the omen of ruin. “Whose children are these?” Routay inquired of the silent crowd. Slowly, two women approached The Alter, walked to where their children were laid, and knelt before The High Cleric. “A special blessing is needed for these children, for they are not as the others blessed here tonight. I shall hold a dedication, two hours from now, for these two in the temple; may Al-Shon watch over these two.” Routay Finished, as he turned his back and ascended back to the top of The Alter. The ceremony ended within several minutes on the note of Routay extending willingness to be a personal sacrifice to Al-Shon, a general blessing of toward the people of the Maicu Tribe, and a warning that the passive actions of the Meinru may soon come to an end. The people of the village dispersed into their homes for the night as Routay headed towards the temple. Hours later, when the lights of the village had died down until sunrise, the cloth drapery covering the temple entrance parted ways, allowing for the entrance of two women and their infants into the temple. There was minimal explanation to the mothers as to why their children could not receive the blessings with all the others that night. He explained to the two mothers that their children would need each other if they were to survive. He explained to them that the infant girl, Nami, was born with the symbol of the doe, while the male child, Kio, was born under the omen of ruin – all based on their birth markings. It was due to the birth of Kio that Routay had to warn the people that the Meinru may no longer hide passively in the hills, but it was also on the virtue of the birth of Nami that ruin may not to be their fate. So long as the two stay near to one another, favor with Al-Shon may still be sustainable, but ruin shall be the destiny of the Maicu if that does not happen. Routay preformed a more intricate blessing ritual on the two of them before escorting the women and infants out of the temple, increasing the speed and direction of the motions in the hopes of favor with Al-Shon. Hope was the best he could have. Years passed as Nami and Kio grew closer as they aged. They were under the close eye of the tribal elders, seeing as their relationship was vital to the survival of their people. The impending war with the Meinru has been evaded thus far, giving comfort to the Maicu people. The elders of the village preferred that people not leave the constraints of the village, marked by both watchmen and poorly constructed walls. The village, for the most part, was self-sustaining, with the exception of wild game – which a team of hunters would be sent out to retrieve whenever the supply went down. Nami and Kio, however, did not much care for the rules of the village. They would often wander past the borders of the village in the hopes of exploration. They knew of the world outside the village, yet never were able to experience it themselves. One exploration, though, went horribly wrong. The two left the village and headed toward the Tehlam several hours after the moons dominated the sky, wearing extra layers of cloth and skins to combat the cold. They knew the journey across the desert was a long trek, but they left at an hour where they could leave and return before the sun peaked over the horizon. The cold winds penetrated through their bones, making the walk all-the-more painful, but their desire for what was not known pushed them on. The village was still in sight, though growing smaller with each step, for the first half hour, but disappeared soon after that. They had never ventured in the direction of the Heicynth before, and were surprised by its enormity. From the village, it still stood out as the largest object viewable, but, as they approached its base, had to take a moment to take it all in. “Nami, get down.” Kio whispered to her, dragging her down to the sandy ground with him, disregarding her willingness. “What was that for—“Nami began, but was interrupted. Kio clasped her mouth shut with his hand, and motioned across the desert toward the base of the mountain. Her eyes grew large as she noticed what Kio noticed moments ago. Standing about one-hundred yards from their location, a creature was staring in their direction. Though his figure was primarily shadowed by the darkness, the light of the moons reflected off his eyes, which showed them to be completely black. After a few moments of silence from both them and the creature, he fell to all fours, turned, and sprinted as a lion in pursuit of its prey back toward the mountain. After removing his hand from the cover of her mouth, Kio arose to full stand. Nami followed suit, but lain flat on the sand for a few moments in both silence and fear before rising. “What was that thing?” Nami inquired of Kio, who stood pondering before his response. “There is no way to know what exactly it was without going after it, and you know that.” Kio responded, dusting sand off his clothes. “We should go back to the village, Kio. I don’t think it will be very safe if we continue on.” Nami stated, hoping for Kio’s agreement with her stance. “We’ve come too far to head back now. I’m going, with or without you.” Kio finished as he began walking toward the base of the Heicynth, which was very near to their location. “Kio…” Nami’s voice trailed off as she watched him walking towards the mountain. After receiving any sort of response from Kio, against her better judgment, Nami decided to follow him into the unknown. Several minutes of silent walking would be the end note of their traversing of the Tehlam as the pair reached an opening in the Heicynth. Kio walked in first, and, gesturing for her to follow, Nami entered as well. Initially, they walked with a hesitant crawl, but, as they traveled deeper within the mountain, they returned to a normal walking speed. But the walking speed was to change again, when what little light could be extracted from the moon began to fade, and darkness began to overtake their vision. Kio, remembering the item he stole from one of the village apothecaries, removed from his leg-strap a thick, black wooden stick. Recalling the instructions he overheard from members of the village over the years, he grasped the stick in his right hand and drove it against one of the walls of the cave. A loud boom went off, echoing all throughout the mountain, nearly causing Kio to drop the stick in surprise. A large fire now lived atop the black stick, illuminating what was once dark within the mountain. Yet another surprise met Kio as, with the newfound light, he saw a creature several feet in front of him. Its eyes were dark, as with the creature they saw staring them down in the Tehlam. Standing no more than four feet in height, the creature began to hiss and growl at Kio and Nami. It seemed to walk like the apes who were told to reside in the jungles far west across the Miuwatsu. Kio held the magical black stick in his right hand as he assumed a battle stance, preparing to engage the creature. As he seemed ready to lunge, Nami placed her hand in front of Kio’s chest and slowly approached the creature herself. The creature, itself, seemed more fearful than aggressive, and backpedalled slowly with Nami’s approach. “My name is Nami.” She began. “And this here,” She gestured toward Kio “his name is Kio. We are not here to hurt you. Can you understand me?” She asked, hoping for some sort of response. The creature was un-responsive to her questioning, so she extended a hand toward the creature and placed upon its forearm. The creature’s mouth, thrice the size of Nami’s, opened, and his shark-like row of amber teeth glistened in the firelight. Kio, assuming the creature was preparing to strike upon Nami, rushed at the creature with the lit object in his hand and struck him upon the head, sending him flying back against a rock wall. He attempted to scamper back to all fours, but was again pounded with Kio’s weapon. The creature was then battered with the weapon several times in succession, letting out shrieks and growls as he was being beat. Raising the object above his head, Kio then thrust it down upon the head of the creature. Finishing with a kick to his side, the animal’s head fell limp to the side. The creature was dead. “Kio! What were you thinking?” Nami shouted rhetorically, then continued, “That creature did nothing to me, and you killed him, Kio. You killed him!” She finished, looking first at the dead creature than up at Kio. Upset that Kio was not looking at her when she spoke to him; she turned her head to where his eyes were. Barely within the illuminated area given off by the torch Kio held, a second creature of similar nature to the dead one sat there. He began to roar and shriek, but rather than running at the humans, he ran away into the darkness, screaming as it faded. “We have to follow after him, Nami. If there are more of these creatures, he will certainly be alerting them.” Kio stated, sprinting down into the darkness. “I’m not following. I’m taking the body of the dead creature back to the village.” Nami replied, grabbing it by its limp wrist and heading back towards the path they entered. Kio ran deeper and deeper, following the screams that seemed to be getting louder. I’m getting closer. He thought to himself. He slowed his running down to a stop as he entered a fairly large room. The howling that once seemed was feet from him, and increasing, had gone silent. He waited in place for a moment, and slowly began to walk out in the middle of the room. All at once, a cacophony of roars and shouts echoed all throughout the mountain as Kio saw a multitude of these creatures running at him at full stride. Kio quickly turned around and sprinted for the path he entered the room from. The creatures were pouring out from small holes within the walls he passed through, as Kio estimated the amount of creatures in pursuit of him in the thousands. They knew he had killed one of their own, and were intent on repaying the favor. Nearly tripping over small pieces of debris that lined the pathway to the surface, Kio continued to dash at full speed towards safety. Once the moonlight of the Yon became a sufficient source of light, Kio threw the black stick backwards, in hope to distract some of the creatures who were in pursuit of him. The exit was in sight. Nami was easily able to carry the corpse of the Meinru by placing him over her shoulder. The creatures were small in stature and light in weight, being no heavier than several bundles of wood carried from the Bouldenar Forest. She began her walk across the Tehlam, with the moonlight being her only guide, but she stopped as she began to hear loud cries coming from within the mountain. Being barely fifty feet outside the caves, she stood there, worried for Kio. No more than a minute after first noticing the screams from within the mountain, she saw Kio, bolting out from within the mountain. On his heels were thousands of the Meinru. “Nami, run!” Kio shouted to her, as he quickly closed the special gap between the two of them. Nami then, ignoring the weight of the creature on her shoulder, began to run across the sands of the Tehlam. While the two were virtually equal in their physique, Kio was slightly faster than Nami, and caught up to her without much issue. As the running continued, even with their growing fatigue from maintaining such speeds for a fairly long time period, the gap between the Meinru and the humans began to grow. After twenty-or-so minutes of pursuit, the horde of creatures stopped, and, upon noticing this, Kio and Nami did the same. They turned around to face their pursuers, who did not as much as acknowledge them. With the same intensity put forth in the chase was now exerted from them as the creatures retreated back towards the Heicynth. Nami looked at Kio, yet said nothing. He knew what she was thinking. Initially, they walked back toward the sleeping village, but, upon realizing the time before sunrise was nearing an end, picked up their pace in order to return to the village before dawn. All of this, though, was taken in silence. The two arrived back at the town while the sun had yet to break the horizon. Sneaking in at this hour was the easiest of all. The current on-duty guards were tired and weary from the nights watch, and the new regime has yet to take post. When the two neared the town, Nami grew tired from carrying the creature, and Kio took the burden from her. This was just what he wanted. He knew that Nami would try to hide the corpse away and give it to the local doctors for study, hoping that they would understand the circumstances and, for the sake of medical research, keep the secret among themselves. Kio, however, had everything planned far differently. “Kio, where are you heading? We need to take this body somewhere hidden until we decide what to do with it.” Nami whispered to Kio, taking precautions against the possibility for someone to overhear their conversation. Kio did not respond, but continued heading in the direction he was already walking in – towards the village elders. Pounding his fist on the wooden doors that worked as the entrance to the house of the elders, Kio stood and waited for a response. Waiting only seconds, he pounded against the door again. As Kio began to ready his hand for another barrage of hits upon the door, the sound of the creaking door hinges satisfied him. Routay opened the door, and welcomed in the two. “Sir, we were attacked this night. I fully understand we are to stay within the bounds of the village, especially during the night hours, but we were simply unable to sleep and needed to clear our minds. While we were out on the Tehlam, a band of Meinru attacked Nami and I. While I easily overpowered them in strength and subdued the creatures, we cannot sit idle and let this happen.” Kio stated to Routay, nudging Nami several times during his speech in the hopes that she would sit quiet – and that she did. “You children were wrong in your decision to leave the boundaries of the village after dark. But this issue of the Meinru cannot be ignored. What do you propose, Kio?” Routay responded to Kio, awaiting his answer. “I propose we engage this vermin in an all-out war of extermination. As made known by my ability to easily overtake several of these creatures alone, if we amass a force of our villagers, these creatures stand no chance. We saw one of these who escaped and ran back towards the Heicynth, and that is where I believe these creatures reside. The longer we wait on this issue, sir, the longer we sit open for attack. Whoever strikes first shall be victorious, and I pray you agree with me.” Kio replied, hoping for agreement on the matter. “I shall take the matter up with the other elders, and will make a statement to the village over the course of the day. We shall not take this matter lightly. And I am going to ask you to leave the corpse with us; we have our reasons, I hope you understand.” Routay said in return. “We can do that.” Kio replied, dropping the limp corpse to the floor of the room. Exchanging bows, Routay dragged the dead Meinru within the depths of the council hall and the two exited the building. After exiting the council hall and finding an area where no unwanted ears could hear them, Nami expressed her disapproval. “Kio, that was wrong and you know it. We were the ones who attacked them. We are the ones who are on the verge of destroying their race! You went in there and lied to the elders, and now another race may have to pay for your wrongdoings. This is on your conscious, and I refuse to be a part of whatever fate you have condemned these creatures to.” Nami shouted, as she stomped off in another direction. The day wore on slowly, with Kio not running into Nami once throughout it. Whispers flowed through the village about what had happened the past night, and people began to know that war with the Meinru may be imminent. The sun was high in the sky when the message went out to the entire village. “As some of you may already know, an attack on two of our villagers was done by a band of Meinru last night. As a result, tonight, we will attack and eliminate the Meinru from existence, killing every last one of them. All who wish to take part in the battle are to report to the barracks within the next two hours. We march for the Heicynth at sunset.” Thece, the village messenger, said aloud. Shortly after the message was broadcast to the village, people began flowing into the barracks, grabbing swords, shields, bows, and pole arms; while the sorcerers and magicians began to gather up their most powerful offensive spells, talismans, and summons for the battle that night. They were not looking for a fight, but a massacre. Kio knew what was about to happen was wrong, but he didn’t care. He did care, though, about the location of Nami. While the village was not a small community, finding an individual was not tough among the twelve-thousand members of the tribe. Due to his birth omen and Nami’s blessing, and the vital role each of these individuals would play in the future of the village, four assistants had been given to share between the two of them, and these assistants were there to do whatever they needed at any hour. They had long gone un-used, but Kio needed them. After gathering his weapons for the night’s siege, he went searching the village for several minutes until he ran into one of his assistants. “Ahbrin,” Kio began as he encountered the first of his assistants, “I need you to do something for me. Go and gather the other three and find Nami. Once you have located her, tell me of her whereabouts. I’ll be expecting the report when we return from battle tonight.” Kio finished. “Aye, sir.” Ahbrin responded, leaving to find the other three as soon as his salute to Kio was responded with a nod. Kio decided to ignore the matter for the moment, seeing as more pressing issues were at hand. The remaining hours of the day passed quickly with all the buzz of the day; and, as soon as night fell, the soldiers gathered at the eastern border of the village. Over three-thousand men and women showed up for the battle, armed with their weapons to engage the enemy. As the hour of attack had finally come, Routay had to speak with the brigade once more before sending them off to war. “Our objective is simple: exterminate the Meinru. It has become apparent that the two races cannot live in peace with each other, so we are taking action! With Kio as our example, we overpower these demons and we shall not lose. Seeing as he is the only one within the brigade who has seen where these creatures reside, I am placing Kio in charge of you all. You have at your disposal the villages top magicians, specialized in both offensive and restorative battle tactics. I pray Al-Shon keep watch over you all. Good luck.” Routay finished, giving Kio free reign over the troops. “Everyone, there is a small opening within the base of the Heicynth. We are going to head east across the Tehlam, engage and kill any Meinru encountered along the way, and exterminate the remainder within the mountain itself. Do not spare even the smallest of these creatures. I am officially giving a kill-on-sight action to be taken against any Meinru you see. Follow me, for I shall lead us across the Tehlam, into the heart of the Heicynth, and toward a future without the Meinru – may Al-Shon watch over us all.” Kio finished, as he began his walk across the Tehlam. A constant chatter was present within the brigade as the Heicynth grew closer in view as the walk went on. Several shouts of people claiming to see what they thought were Meinru in the distance killed the chatter, but it resumed once they found out what they claimed as a Meinru was simply a rock or cacti growing amidst the desert. Once Kio announced a visual on the entrance several hundred feet to the east, the chatter died down to a lull whisper. Kio lifted his hand toward the sky, signaling a halt in the march toward the mountain. “From this point on, we are running full stride to the heart of the Meinru. The magicians should have handed several of you a flara, and I want those of you who have been given those to light them once we enter. It will be dark within the mountain, and we’ll need all the light we can get once the Yon ceases to guide us. Now let us move. Al-Shon, keep watch over us.” Kio shouted, and, with that, Kio and the brigade of troops ran full speed into the heart of the mountain. As they entered the depths of the mountain, sounds of continuous explosions went off as those wielding a flara struck them against the rock walls, igniting them. Initially, the waves of Meinru encountered were few and thin, but grew thicker and more aggressive as the fight went deeper and deeper within the mountain. Keeping the fact that Kio had already been in the depths of the Heicynth known to only himself, he led them on the correct path, blaming instinct and inspiration from Al-Shon. Hacking through every single Meinru encountered with their superior weapons and skill, the soldiers of Maicu managed to exterminate these vermin without a single casualty. Kio ordered several groups to spread out throughout the tunnels excavated by these creatures, in order to ensure the death of all the creatures they found. One corridor remained un-attacked. Within the deepest depths of the Heicynth, a small band of the Meinru still stayed, frantically running about. All the groups of soldiers, through the different paths of extermination they were instructed to follow, all funneled out into this room. Within this room lied the Titan Sphere of the histories. Many had thought it to be simply legend, while another group thought it did not exist at all. Contrary to common belief, it did exist, and was seen by thousands of men and women. Ordering all the men and women of the brigade to hold, Kio lifted his hand in the air. He wanted to be the first of his people to touch the Titan Sphere, and the one to exterminate the last of the Meinru. He then slowly slid down a rocky descent into the center of the room, where the last five remaining Meinru stood huddled around the Titan Sphere. Grasping his sword in one hand and his flara in the other, he quietly approached the Meinru. Without a second thought, he began to lay waste to these creatures, cleaving through four of them with one strike of his blade. One remained; one sole representative for a race that, for being so weak, threatened the people of the Maicu for many years. Facing away from the Meinru who was ignoring the fact that his four comrades had just been slain, Kio addressed his people. “Today, we end a race. We are here to kill a people, and end the fear that enveloped our village. With the slaying of this last vermin, I have ended the even Meinru and exterminated their race. Watch now, as I do the deed. These creatures shall fall into the books of the unknown, and be removed from the face of the earth.” Kio shouted to his people, as he turned around, and, in one motion, sliced the head from the torso of the creature, and it fell limp to the ground. The room was silent for a moment, when the silence was suddenly broken. Not by one of the men or women of their brigade, nor by a cheer of one of their magicians, but by an infant’s cry – a human infant. Kio looked down in horror at the sight on the ground next to the Titan Sphere. An infant child, who must have been born only moments before their arrival, lay crying on the ground. “Kio,” Blin, one of the magicians of the brigade began, “There is a message scrawled on the wall here, but it is not of foreign text. It is written in common text, and I believe you all should hear what it has to say: From the histories, ever since our people have been established, we have been cursed. If only our forefathers had not found this ill-fated sphere within the depths of this mountain, only then, could we maintain our humanity. This language has been passed down through our people, only taught to the leaders by those who preceded them. We still bear human children, for that is our heritage, but that is where our human-nature ends. We still dedicate our children to Al-Shon in the hopes that they shall not share the same cursed fate, but this all has proven futile. As we place them around the Titan Sphere in a dedication ceremony, all have turned to the likeness of the Meinru. Their skin has mutated and their eyes have turned black. We shall continue, as a people, to dedicate our children to You, in the hopes that, one day, our damnation shall end and the human children we bear shall remain in their pure form. I pray Al-Shon keep watch over us. A silent guilt passed over the people of the brigade, as Blin walked down toward the crystal in the middle and grabbed the child in his arms. “Kio, what have we done?” Blin asked to Kio, loud enough for the entire people to hear. Kio merely stood there, un-responsive. “Kio?” Blin inquired again, and again, no response. Then, out of nowhere, Kio began to scream. He screamed and shrieked louder than any noise heard by the villagers. He began to convulse as he fell to the floor, unable to get up. The villagers present watched helplessly as Blin attempted to calm Kio. The spasms increased in intensity, and the screams followed suit. Kio’s back shot forward and his skin began to rapidly turn black, as if a disease began to overtake his body. His screams began to resemble a beast more so than humans as they continued on, his shrieks mutating to roars of anger and pain. A large mass began to sprout from his naval and connected itself near the collar bone of Kio, and as the darkness spread all throughout Kio’s body and up onto his face, his eyes turned black as well. He then let out a roar parallel with those given off by the Meinru when faced with the humans. “It is apparent that, by whatever demon may have possessed you, Kio, that you are no longer the man that entered this mountain with us. You gave us an order, sir, an order to kill any Meinru on sight. I am simply following orders.” Kuto, one of the members of the Maicu brigade shouted, as he unsheathed his sword and ran towards the beast once called Kio. With the same ease of fighting the Meinru they had exterminated, with one slash of his blade, Kuto brought Kio to the ground. With one final laceration, Kuto ended the life of the man who led them to exterminate this race. The remainder of the Maicu brigade made their way out of the labyrinth of tunnels back to the surface, leaving the corpse of Kio, be it man or beast, behind. As the last of the members made their way out of the innards of the Heicynth, they all stood for a moment, unsure of what they should do next. “This mountain is evil. From the objects birthed within it, to the creatures that thrived on its energy, it should be labeled as one of the forbidden. Let us take from the sides of this mountain its rock, and with that rock, close forever the entrance into the heart of the mountain.” Kuto stated to the people, and, one by one, they followed him as he walked to the side of the mountain and began grabbing stones to place in the entryway. The hours passed, and, by sunset, the entrance had been sealed shut. The Maicu people were exhausted at this point, having spent near an entire day fighting then sealing the only pathway in or out of where the violence took place. As the sun finally hid away behind the horizon line, and the three moons became the dominating presence of the night sky, the members of the Maicu brigade began the long trek back home across the Tehlam desert. Copyright Bradley Clark 2009
  3. While I believe I know the answer to the first question I am about to ask, I shall ask it anyway. Does the Objectivist Philosophy support homosexuality? I have yet to do a large amount of study on the topic, but, from what I've learned, Rand was against it because she found the lifestyle disgusting and the government benefits these couples may receive to be unjust. (I may be wrong in this, so, by all means, correct me if I am)
  4. Is it an oxymoron for one to identify themselves as a Christian Objectivist? (I apologize for not elaborating much on the question. It is a fairly strait forward question that I have been trying to figure out myself, figure I'll ask the OL community and get some feedback on it.)
  5. Simply put, the opposite of nothing is anything.
  6. Nice finding another Philip Glass fan I've been a huge fan of his ever since I first heard his "Symphony No. 3" I have yet to hear any that you noted, with the exception of "Heroes" (And I'll be sure to look up the three Movements you listed). "Metamorphosis 2" is another personal favorite of mine. I, too, highly recommend any of his work. Brad
  7. bradbradallen

    Hello

    Even one death in child-birth makes the point. Child bearing is hazardous. Who should determine what risk shall be borne? Easy. The potential victim. Ba'al Chatzaf For once, you, sir, are fundamentally incorrect. Child bearing is hazardous, this much is true, but the woman made her choice when she has sexual intercourse. That is her choice. Regardless of any preparation made in attempt to not bear a child, when you commit the act of sex, you are taking the risk along with any repercussion, such as the baby, being an acceptable side effect of the act. In short, the woman makes her choice to have sex in full consciousness of the possible child-bearing outcome. If she does not go into having sexual relations with another individual knowing that a child could bear itself, that is ignorance. Ignorance that should not be faulted on the baby by the termination of his development. Brad
  8. bradbradallen

    Hello

    Adam, I don't think that the definitions of fetus, child, and potential life are the one's that need be defined. The one we are having issue on is life and when begins. Life is synonymous with Natural Rights, and having parallel views on the definition of life would avoid this discussion in its entirety. Brad
  9. bradbradallen

    Hello

    A fetus is NOT a child. It is not a person. A fetus has no rights. And there is no sure way of determining whether a miscarriage was natural or caused by negligence. Your are wrong four ways in one posting. Good going! Ba'al Chatzaf I think we have a serious fundamental difference of opinion here. I have the same passion for the fact that a fetus IS a person as you have that is is not. I do not think we will ever find a middle ground on this issue. A fetus has rights, one can determine whether a miscarriage was natural or caused by negligence, and, again, a fetus is a child. Brad
  10. bradbradallen

    Hello

    Michael, If negligence was to blame for the death of a fetus by means of miscarriage, then I do believe that the mother should be held responsible for the crime of child negligence in a court of law. If the child was a miscarriage due to misfortune, then it was a death of natural causes and should not be addressed in any sort of legal manor. Brad
  11. Truly, we read it. You can see that in the tally of 58 views (plus one, now). For a haven of critics, the silence is deafening. If nobody liked it, you would have had more feedback. It would be waggish of me to ask if the Buenos Aired Police Department has a sign in English. According to Wikipedia, they call themselves Policía de la Provincia de Buenos Aires, also known informally as Policía Bonaerense ... to their many friends, no doubt. MSK knows the Latin American scene best of all, but my intuition is that anyone they picked up would not sign a release but would just disappear. Perhaps if it were the Springfield Police Department, the internal structure would remain unimpaired. It's fine writing, of course, no doubt about that. (I wish I could write fiction.) Michael, Thanks so much for the sugggestion, that never logically came to me that a sign, more specifically a police department sign would be in English while in a Hispanic-speaking / reading country. Guess I'll go back the drawing board on that one Brad
  12. bradbradallen

    Hello

    Ba'al, Would you then eat the flesh of an unborn fetus, so long as it fancies your taste? Seeing as you are taking the position that a fetus is not a persons, I see no reason why you would object to it. Brad
  13. bradbradallen

    Hello

    I believe the one with the difficulty of determination is yourself, not I. Brad
  14. bradbradallen

    Hello

    No. I eat meat without regard to the animal. But a fetus is nothing even close to an animal. I fail to see how the two are even comparable. And I take it you are willing to become a cannibal, so long as the flesh is properly seasoned? Brad
  15. bradbradallen

    Hello

    Adam, I think it is under no circumstances acceptable to take the life of an entity without his / her / it's consensus, unless, as stated earlier in an arguing post, one entity has voided his / her / it's right to life. Brad
  16. bradbradallen

    Hello

    Ba'al, First and foremost, humans (Yes, that INCLUDES the unborn fetus) are in no way, shape, or form "Property". The only truth to your quote is the fact that persons do have rights. If you are to propose that a fetus is, by any means, not a human, you cannot consider people such as invalids or the disabled people either, in extreme cases such as those close-to, if not in a vegetative state. And, granted that a fetus could very well be a hazard to the woman, the woman has to take responsibility for any health issues the pregnancy may cause her, seeing as pregnancy is a known repercussion of sexual intercourse. The child may be hazerdous to her health, but it is a risk a woman should know going into a pregnancy. Lack of that knowledge is ignorance on her part. Adam, Regardless of any arguments placed, or any circumstances any two people come to terms with before entering a pregnancy, once the egg is fertilized, another human being is now in play with his own set of unalienable rights, in essence, voiding the contract of any two individuals who came to any sort of terms prior to the pregnancy. Unless they can by some means get the approval of the developing fetus... Brad
  17. bradbradallen

    Hello

    Michael, First off, the mother never has the right to take the life of an unborn fetus, which I believe begins at conception. The only way for a human being to no longer have his / her right to life is for them to have violated someones right to life. (Murder, etc.) And in response to the end of your statement, while that is a very valid point, I think it comes down to a matter of principal. The baby has the right to life, and by the people not aborting the child, they are respecting the right of the baby. But that is not the sole responsibility of the parent, for, while keeping the child and neglecting its existence and needs may be the greater of two evils (in reference to abortion as the lesser of the two), it is still wrong. Brad
  18. bradbradallen

    Hello

    Gulch, If what you are implying that one must have a "volitional conceptual consciousness" in order to re-enforce your pro-choice argument, I can easily see why that could be a debate thread in and of itself. It all stems to the "When does life begin" argument, if I am reading into your response properly. In reading your reply in completion, I fail to completely understand the message you are trying to convey. Are you stating that a fetus does not have human rights until it is birthed and, by your definition, an infant? Are you trying to say that only when a child can conceptualize their consciousness of their own will can they be classified as a being entitled to the natural rights of humans? Brad
  19. I was recently having a discussion with a member of the forums whom I have personal connections with outside of this website. He has been a strong advocate of Laissez-Faire Economics since he discovered Ayn Rand, and it all seemed to add up perfectly for him. He had done his homework on Ayn Rand, something I have yet to do; therefore, I'd like to question the philosophy before I become an advocate of it. My thought process was that, while Laissez-Faire Economics and is an economical system in which to prosper you must strive to do your best, it could also be the breeding ground for an immense amount of corruption within the private business sector, seeing as this is the primary heart of the country in a Laissez-Faire Economy. I feel it could easily become a corrupt society for several reason, but best explained in the following scenerio: The hypothetical city for my example will be Smithville. As with the country Smithville resides in, the universal economic philosophy is a Laissez-Faire Economic philosophy. Ranging from the public safety (i.e. Fire Dept., Police Dept., etc.) to the small business across the street, all are without regulation and are free to prosper by whatever means necessary. The common ideal of the people is that, seeing as people need to do their best in this society to thrive, companies will be forced to use any means necessary to meet those goals of economic prosperity. The idea within this society, along with all other Laisse-Faire economic systems, is that corruption cannot exist within these society's simply based on the fact that people will not pay for a service that is either not worth the price or smudged with deception. Let us take for example, the Fire Department. Seeing as there are no taxes to cover the salaries of those working in this "corporation", they will have to be paid by the individuals who want their fires put out if one were to catch within their home / business. Now, seeing as some people will surely be more prosperous within this society than others, I see a means for corruption. Fire fighters will have to make judgment calls on what fires they are to put out, and how they are to prioritize those fires in need of being put out. Seeing as they will not be paid simply for putting out any fire, as it is within a non-Laissez-Faire economy, if faced with two homes, one in a poverty state, while the other in a prosperous state, the firemen will surely prioritize the fire within the prosperous estate over the home in a poverty state. They will do this simply because they are forced to make judgment calls on whether or not, based on the facts presented from their home and the intrensic value they see on the estate, to put out a fire for a home that may not be able to pay for the service. So only those who have the "flashy homes" or "flashy cars" parked in their driveways will be sure to get their fires extinguished. Where the corruption comes into play is when the firefighters of Smithville come to the realization that by committing arson to homes of high value then extinguishing those fires for a high profit return while leaving those homes in poverty state left to burn to the ground, that they can receive a far higher profit from corruption than by moral means of success. The common argument against this is that the police department will come in and stop the corruption, and bring those arsonist to justice. But what if the police, themselves, become corrupt. I see no reason why, within a Laissez-Faire economy, the police department would not strike a deal with the fire department of Smithville to intentionally neglect the arson of the Fire Fighters for a portion of the money gained from them extinguishing the fires of the wealthy homes set ablaze by arson. And, again, one would think that, surely, another police department will come in and try to make peace with the situation, bringing justice to those responsible in the corruption, but these new police forces would realize that, they, too, could make all-the-more money, the ultimate goal of this economic system, by not doing what is morally right within their jobs. And if not working for more pay is not enough incentive for these police men to accept the offer, they now have free time that should be spent in the capture and arrest of the corrupt firefighters to earn more money, whether it be through legitimate means or another corrupt scheme like that which goes on within Smithville. While that is only one of the situations in which I could perceive corruption overtaking the morally just for the aspiration of money, but several more exist. I would much apreciate some input as to whether this is viable within a legitimate Laissez-Faire economy, or am I fundamentally mistaken about the outcome of the events within Smithville? ~Brad
  20. -=Chapter 1=- There was a single, dimly lit lamp hanging from the ceiling of the room, which only illuminated enough to show a man tied down to a chair and blindfolded. Another man, a dark shady figure, paced in circles around the chair where the man sat, seeming to examine him, just outside the circle of light. The light cast shadows downward off his nose and brow, giving him an eerily disturbing look; and out of his stern demeanor expanded a smile while he continued to pace. Taking his hands out of the pockets of his black business suit, the dark man began to speak. “So,” he began, “why do you think you are here?” He inquired, in an attempt to invoke a fear-based confession. The man, now able to see with the blindfold removed, looked around momentarily before responding; attempting to figure out where he was and what was going on. “Where Am I? What am I doing here?” he asked, flustered, “Who are you and what are you doing with me?” The man strapped to the chair began to shake violently in an attempt to free himself from the bands pinning him to the chair, but was abruptly stopped as he felt the impact of metal slamming into his face, shaving skin from his cheek. Blood sprayed from the wound, and he shivered as blood ran down his cheek and onto his neck. “I’ll be the one asking the questions here, but the names Samuel if you must know.” Samuel stated, in more of a growl than actual speech as he wiped his brass knuckles clean of the bound man’s blood. He walked out of the light in the room, only to return in a moment with his pinstripe suit jacket removed, revealing a white button-up shirt with several blood stains present. Rolling his sleeves to his elbows, Samuel walked to the front of the bound man and resumed his speech. “My sources have informed me that you are the leader of a corrupt corporation with the intent of stealing millions from the government, and spending that money to fund a terrorist rebellion regime whose ultimate goal is the violent overthrow of the government.” The eyes of the bound man grew large, but he attempted to keep a calm composure as Samuel continued. Samuel paused, but resumed only a moment later. “I want an answer out of you, but if I hear even the slightest hint of dishonesty in your voice-” His voice trailed off as he stepped away from the circle of light once more, and entered the shadows of the room only to return with a hammer. He came within inches of the man’s face, he continued. “You’ll regret it.” Samuel backed off and awaited a response. The bound man gritted his teeth and his jaw quivered while he attempted to muster a response. “I-I-I’m” he struggled, “I’m innoce—“As if jerk reaction, Samuel swung the hammer down upon the man’s knee cap, interrupting his speech as the sound of shattering bone overwhelmed all other noise. The bound mans eyes began to water and he screamed and flailed in pain. “Tell me the truth!” He shouted, more barking his question at the man. “I,” He began, “I don’t understand why you’ve got me here. I did nothing wrong and you have no reason to keep me here!” He shouted, extremely disgruntled. Samuel stared back with a blank, heartless look. The bound man seemed to tense up periodically in the times when the pain from his right leg burned, and he let out another earsplitting screech as, with a swift strike, Samuel smashed the hammer into his right calf. Dealing with both unbearable pain and a heart now beating at erratic intervals, he knew his situation was dire. Not only had the man broken his calf, but he had completely shattered the bone. “Why do you have me here?” He shouted at the man, as a mixture of blood and spit flew from his mouth. His muscles tensed and he began to shake once more, this time with greater force; but he was halted again with the restraining bands placed around his arms, legs, and chest. He then let out a combination of roars and curses, nearly unrecognizable in human tongue. The blood-and-spit, dripping down his chin and onto his neck, began to coagulate; all the while, his muscles tensed again, and the shaking persisted. It was undistinguishable whether the shouts were those of anger or pain, but they had the intensity of a man in sheer desperation. Samuel shuffled for something in his pocket as he once again left the circle of light and disappeared into the darkness. A few seconds later, he began to speak. “Prepare both the van and the room, he insists on innocence, but as far as I’m concerned, he is the one.” He paused. “Yes sir.” He paused once more. “Alright.” Samuel returned, slipping what was now known to the bound man as a phone into his pocket. He took a few more leisurely steps toward him as he rolled his sleeves back down to his wrist in their original position. Only in the light for a moment or two, Samuel continued off in the opposite direction into the dark void, returning with his suit jacket moments later. Flinging the jacket over his left shoulder, and flipping the blood-tipped hammer in his right, he returned to the spotlight. “I have come to the conclusion that you’re not quite telling me the truth. I promise you, I really am a good guy,” his voice trailed off, then regained. “I just don’t like liars.” He finished. “I’ve got strict orders, we’re going on a little trip; I hope you’re ready.” “I—“The man bound to the chair began to respond, but stopped at the realization that the hammer was being swung directly toward his face. The bound man quickly shut his eyes and mentally braced himself for the impact. This was the last thought he had before everything went silent; all turned black. Samuel bent over and began releasing the bands that held the unconscious man in place. Beginning with the legs, he removed the straps clenching his calves then thighs; wiping his hands on his suit coat to remove blood from touching his gory, disfigured right leg. Pulling himself upward to a half-stand, Samuel began to remove the largest of the straps from the limp man’s abdomen. Reaching around and behind the chair where the inanimate man sat, he unlatched several metal clips and threw the band to the floor. The man in the chair, now free of his physical bondage, slumped over as Samuel left the illuminated area of the room only to return with a medium sized duffel bag. One by one, Samuel grabbed each band that once held the screaming individual in place and placed them in the bag. Twenty-or-so minutes later, Samuel’s phone rang. “I’m outside. Will you be needing any assistance?” A thick-accented man on the other end of the phone asked. “I should be fine. Be ready in two minutes.” Replied Samuel as he hung up his phone. He then bent over and, once assured that the unconscious man had a pulse, grabbed him by his waist and threw him over his right shoulder. Grabbing the duffel bag in his left hand, Samuel exited the room. Weaving through door after door of this seemingly endless complex, Samuel eventually found himself at the last door before leaving the building. Grabbing a silver key from his pocket, he opened the door and exited with haste; closing and locking the door the instant his body cleared the entranceway. Clear skies and a nippy breeze met the man as he walked down a sidewalk parallel to both the building they just left as well as a paved road that looked as if it were rarely used. Walking for merely moments, Samuel turned around an outside corner of the building they just departed. Around the corner was a black, full sized van parked in a rundown parking lot. As he approached the van, a man stepped out of the driver’s seat and approached. “Samuel, my man.” The man in the van said in a lax tone as he stepped out and approached. “Mr. Santos, it’s been a while.” Samuel replied, shaking Mr. Santos’ hand. “So this is the guy, eh? Scrawny fellow if you ask me.” He said, and then examined the rest of the unconscious man. “And that leg is in pretty bad shape. We’d better bandage that up or we’ll risk losing him. I’ve got some supplies in the van if you would like.” “If you believe it’s for the best, then I’ll trust your word. You’ve never let me down James; hope you don’t start now.” Samuel Replied as a slight chuckle came from both the men’s mouths. James went to the van and opened the large trunk while Samuel placed the body down in the back. He threw the duffel bag filled with restraining bands into the back of the van behind the unconscious man and grabbed a plastic first aid kit from the depths of the trunk. After opening the container, the two men removed several bandages and some off-brand antiseptics to clean and dress the wounds along the man’s right leg. After completing a rustic fix of the man’s wounds, James headed to the driver’s seat while Samuel took the passenger. Taking a thirty minute drive in silence, the two men arrived at the back entrance of another building similar in look to the one they left. The two men exited the car and, after releasing the hatch which held the trunk closed, Samuel grabbed the unconscious man and threw him over the same shoulder he had carried him on before as James went and opened the back door to the new facility. Inside, the two men walked to the end of the first dimly lit hallway, and entered an elevator. After twenty seconds of descent into the facility, the men exited the elevator. After walking to the end of another hallway, then another, they were greeted by a uniformed man in front of a closed doorway. “Evening sir,” Began Samuel, “I brought you the man, unconscious but alive, as you ordered. It’s up to you what to do with him until this matter is settled.” He finished. “You’ve done well. I appreciate it Samuel. I’ll be keeping this lad in solitary confinement for the duration of the trial. We’ll see if he lasts.” The uniformed man said. Samuel nodded, implying a greeting, and was responded with a nod from the man as he laid the limp body over his shoulders and left the area; followed by James exiting as well. The uniformed man then opened the rusty, metal door behind him. It was a small room, roughly eight by teen feet, but it would do. He walked to the opposite end of the room and placed the unconscious man against the wall and turned off the lights as he exited, shutting the door behind him. We’ll see what happens. He thought to himself as he followed the path James and Samuel took moments before, and disappeared behind the closing doors of the elevator. The once bound man awoke in pure darkness, much like that which existed outside the beam of illumination he recalls prior to this awakening. He knew neither his location nor the reason for his confinement, but he did notice his leg was bandaged. Sitting for a moment to straighten his thoughts, he began to touch himself where his injuries lay, to see what exactly had been cared for and what had not. He felt for his leg, and was correct in his assumption of the bandage; which extended from above his kneecap to just shy of the ankle. He then felt his head, where his last thoughts led him to believe he was knocked unconscious. Touching the raw, bruised skin brought intense pain to him, and he quickly brought his hand back down to his side. Knowing well that he could not walk, he made an attempt to feel at arm’s length what he could, and possibly receive some insight as to his surroundings. After a few moments of touching about, he felt nothing but cold, hard cement flooring. Still somewhat dazed, the man found himself falling into another sleep. Waking some time later, the exact time was unknown to the man; he sat upright against what he believed to be a wall after sleeping sideways on the rough floor. Now realizing the potential severity of his situation, he began to shout as loud as he could, but to no response did he shout. He then began to flail his good leg about, and went silent as he hit something metallic not to far from himself, and he felt lukewarm liquid sink into the cloth of his pant leg. Out of instinct as well as curiosity, he slowly maneuvered what felt like a sheet of metal within arm’s reach, then using his hands to identify what this mystery truly was. The first material he touched was soft, had several small holes in it, as well as a gooey mixture covering the side his thumb came in contact with. After a few moments of thought, he believed what he held was a piece of bread. This made sense to him seeing as this could be his meal within whatever bondage he found himself in. He then cautiously took a small bite out of the bread, now found to be stale, but it was food nonetheless. After finishing the bread, covered slightly in tasteless, viscous slime, he felt around a bit more on what he identified as a metal tray. He felt a knocked over cup, figuring that was where the water now on his leg was poured, and sighed; half hoping he could get a drop of liquid. After just a bit more examination, finding nothing left on the tray, he slid it over toward where he found it and propped himself back against the wall. And here he sat, the hours unknown. Believed to be ten-or-so hours later, the thin strip of light appeared bearing food once more. His reaction was that of screaming, trying to get the attention of quiet but existing voices he heard from outside this room in which he resided, but was met with silence as, after sliding his tray out the opening, the light was swallowed by darkness once again. He then, still dismayed by the lack of response his shouting seized, slouched back against the cold, hard wall and waited for some sign of an end. This man’s life continued on as such. Receiving food every few hours in this manner, and then left to sit with no end in sight. Some days he heard voices outside what he believed to be a cell that he was trapped in, while others he heard nothing. But this confinement was not all in vain, for within this darkness, this room he became lost to, he truly found himself. He had become accustom to the darkness, and his body followed suit. Thought he could not know the time, he had a small sense of intervals of time due to his body’s schedule accommodating to that of the food he received. His body gradually changed over this captivity, and when he would become hungry, shortly after he received his food. But on this day, when his stomach began to shout, he was not met with a glimpse of light and a tray of food, but with noise. He was baffled for a moment, but was able to distinguish the noise as the clanking of metal seconds before a large door opened on the opposite side of the room. To him, this light shone almost blindingly bright; whereas it may have been slightly dim prior to his confinement. He squinted as he saw two muscular, light skinned men enter the room. “Get up.” One said monotonously. “Quickly now.” The other followed in the same tone, motioning him to accompany them. The two men, after waiting and watching the man sit against the wall unresponsive, took to either side of him and lifted him to his feet. This had been the man’s first time standing up since being knocked unconscious some time ago, and he fell to the floor after attempting to put weight on his right leg. Having moved merely two feet, the men quickly brought this man to his feet and escorted him out of the room; each man holding half this man’s weight. After weaving their way through several seemingly endless hallways, they arrived in a lobby-like room with a reception desk in the midst of the room. The man once bound was brought to face a dark, older man sitting behind the desk, eyes glued to his computer monitor. The two bulky, light skinned men, when assured the man they were assisting had a solid footing in the ground, released him from their grasp. After a few wobbles, he managed to stand on his own just as this unknown dark man began to speak. “I just need you to sign these papers and you’re free to go.” He said, cracking a slight, warming smile at the end. “Wh—what?” he asked, “What do you mean “free to go”?” he questioned, then retorted before receiving a response. “Are you here to tell me that, after all I’ve been through, I’m just going to be thrown out without even an explanation as to what has been going on?” He asked the man, nearly toppling as he walked a bit closer to the man. “Please sir, don’t raise your voice. Just sign these papers and make your way out the doors behind you.” He responded, placing a pen atop a small stack of papers. “Don’t you see my leg?” He asked rhetorically, more shouting than pondering. “Do you see what these brutes did to me, then proceeded to knock me unconscious? Not only that, but I awoke to darkness and there I stayed for a time I still do not know. Irreversible damage has been done and you want me to just act as if all this had not even happened?” “I highly suggest you do what the man says and exit the facility with haste.” A man walking into the room interjected, wielding a gun in his right hand. “Unless you want to suffer even more, you will sign the papers and leave.” After a moment of silence, the man responded nervously. “I’ll sign your papers, but don’t think this isn’t going straight to the police. I’ll have each and every one of you turned in and punished to the extent of the law.” He said angrily as he slopped his name onto the dotted lines of the papers presented to him. After signing the last of the documents, the two muscular men who brought him out of his cell returned, grabbing his arms while maintaining complete silence. They swiftly dragged him out of the room, through the automatic sliding doors, and outside the building he was confined too. They then, while still retaining an aura of mystery, walked back inside of the building and disappeared within its halls. Dazed and confused, he stood outside the building and watched as the older man got up from his desk and also disappeared within the complex. The wind blew harshly as he stood on the pavement, but a bit of hope also blew with that gust, as he realized he was free from his captivity. But obvious to him was the fact that the man who was beaten within an inch of his life had died, and a spirit living within the mobile corpse he called a body took its place. Walking with the gait of a cripple, he slowly made his way down the path leading to the sidewalk outside the complex he just exited; completely oblivious to the sign he passed just before leaving the grounds. Buenos Aires Police Department.
  21. Eternal Slumber The light embraces While the world grows ever still Its eternal embrace Soothes my soul A never-ending shade Not of life or of death It beseeches Casts shortness of breath Whispers; silent reduction Night of eternal slumber Fear's existence Transcends belief The father of time Retains no relevance Reality exists In dreams alone
  22. First off, I believe the doughnut and the doughnut hole are two separate entities, granted one is identified by the absence of the other (Doughnut hole is identified by the absence of the dough within the plane of the doughnut). The hole is simply a name given to the space of which the doughnut does not occupy. And to answer your question, such a doughnut cannot exist. It is a physical impossibility for a doughnut to both have and not have a hole. But it is reasonable to both ask and believe that the hole can exist separately from the doughnut based on my above argument that the hole is a name given to a specific area of space not occupied by the doughnut, and, seeing as the space will exist regardless of the presence of a doughnut to define it, the hole is a separate entity that merely lacks definition without the physical doughnut. But, then, I suppose the question remains: Can one define a select section of space by an object that encases it within the plane of the object? If yes, then can the space still retain its defined name (i.e. "hole" of the doughnut) if the object that defines it ceases to either exist or retain a shape itself that can define the space?
  23. As a retired baker, I can attest that doughnut holes do indeed exist - they are the by-product of making doughnuts... its nature is of the same material as the doughnut... the hole in the doughnut, however, is not the same as the doughnut hole... its nature is that of consequence - the removal of the doughnut hole... Think, then, about this: When one consumes the doughnut, does the doughnut hole still exist? Seeing as the doughnut can very well be the name of the space within the planes of the doughnut, is there thousands of doughnut holes roaming the universe, lacking a doughnut to give them a distinguishing factor between themselves and the other misc. "space" that exists.
  24. A doughnut hole does in fact exist. While there is no physical body between the inner ring of the doughnut, the "hole" is simply a name given to reference the space that exists specifically between the upper and lower plane of the doughnut.
  25. Went to my local library today and pick up both "The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution" and "For the New Intellectual - The Philosophy of Ayn Rand" (Was hoping to get hold of some of her fiction, but was forced to put one on hold. Didn't realize her books were in such high demand.) Hoping they peak my interest. I'm thinking of starting with "For the New Intellectual - The Philosophy of Ayn Rand", but have yet to open either one. Any suggestions on which one to begin with?