Post-Jordanism: noun- The artistic (cultural?) movement which began in late 2011. Works within this deal with themes of existential crisis, identity crisis, posttraumatic stress disorder, the state of being broken, intrusive thoughts of (non)existent(?) memory, the morbid preoccupation with suicide, grief, uncontrollable emotion, and darkness as a simple abstract concept. ex. 1: "Kill me."

Friday, June 29, 2012

Another Rapture Ramble!

So next up in OH GOD THE RAPTURE IS BURNING will be the exciting finale to the third act. I've been writing in excess lately, and I.. well, it'd be inaccurate to say "I've burned out." Because I'm around that point in my life where I can write pretty damn easily. The only problem there was that I got burned out for that one day, which itself was because I've had to write two filler logs in a row. Filler isn't fun to write.

But it was necessary filler, it really was. The protagonists had to go from Iceland (to Finland, and then) to Australia, and they had to meet up with the Knights of Xanadu on the way and decide to focus their efforts on attacking The Neonate. But on the way, I had to throw in creative rabbit holes, and that really.. gets repetitive. But really, the logs were necessary; there needed to be a break between the epic logs before and the epic finale after.

But hey! Now we're at the finale, which was planned to be the climax/turning point for the whole story! Of course, I've eased a lot of the burden by sorta spreading the climactic revelations out among the logs preceding it. Plus Jordan's been naturally progressing as a human being to become a better person, whereas he originally was planned to just have a mindblowing "THIS IS WHAT YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO DO" speech in the climax. But now that'll be much more logical, more like a final nail in the coffin instead of putting all the nails in at the same time.

As for what the finale will entail, you can probably predict some stuff at this point. The setting will be the Topography Genera Center South (originally planned to be West), or rather it'll be half that and half Xanadu. ..a very specific place in Xanadu. The chess pieces will be the protagonists, Phil Collins and Beavis Superbear, The Neonate, The Anathema, some more people I'll figure out, The Ruin, Salmacis, Tiresias, The Musicians, and Cockroach Jesus.

I gotta say, this is probably one of the most plot-heavy serials I've written since DCA. And it's not just plot-heavy, it's heavily specular in its reflection! Yes, there will be many parallels here with Topography Genera and-- if I can play my cards right-- DCA. Rapture's crossing paths with all kinds, and it's gonna do it in such a way that you won't even notice if you're not specifically looking. ..if I can play my cards right.

Honestly, I'm nervous as fuck about this.

On a much more mundane note, I'm thinking of naming the serial "Topography Genera." Simply because that's a really nice name. But I might think of a better name.

Friday, June 22, 2012

"The Facebook Theater Show: Murder, Plain and Simple"

In late March of 2011, I made a Facebook note that was basically a murder mystery involving whatever friends I could think of. I figured I'd post it here. May as well migrate all my works into one place! Do note that this was the first part of a planned trilogy. I did have about half of the second done, and I might go back and finish this.

YOU is a stickman. His name is seriously "You." He is the protagonist of pretty much every story ever.

You enters the Facebook Theater from left. He steps in front of the closed curtain, looks in the front row and sees a lot of curious faces. No doubt they're all here because of the news... You thinks to himself.

He steps up to the mic and clears his throat. "Hello, ladies and gentlemen. Those of you who have not yet taken a seat, please do so now." Seconds pass. "I assume you've all read the flyer, or the e-mail, or whatever news you got that told you to go to the Facebook Theater. I know you must all be wondering what the big news is that I shall be telling you. Well, I'm getting to that.

"I see some high and important faces in our audience tonight. Jane's here. Of course. Explains why our bouncer is dead. What's that? ...oh, of course. He called you 'miss.' Where's Jordan? ....in the bathroom? Alright. Who's that I see further back? Paul Botsford, the man who demolishes cul-de-sacs in his spare time? What a surprise to have you here! *gasp* Why, if I didn't know better, I'd swear that's.. Catie 'Fentzy' DeBiaso, the 'badass of science.' Can't be. At a Facebook show? What are the odds? ..oh hello! Eric 'Bones' Taylor! I'd recognize that moustache anywhere. Oh, some people just coming in. Daniel Finnegan, I see there. Yes, you. I know for a fact you're a miner. I also see Simon Phillips, Australian guy. Still out of a job, Simon? Ah, you rascal. I keep expecting to see.... and I do! Melody LaRochelle, who famously brought The Beatles back from the dead and managed them for seven years! Oh, it is such an honour.

"Hm, it seems Wilson Dworschak is attending tonight. Work not keeping you too busy, I see. Nor is it keeping Mister Alex Toor busy, either, since he's also attending. That's right, I saw you, Alex. ..how did I not see youTyler Murray? Everyone, you may know him better as Lil Hungry. The rapper. Oh, the guys are coming in from the bathroom. There, I see Owen Norris, creator of the mythos we all know and love. That.. one mythos. With the twelve monsters. Then coming in is Dovid Steinberg, not creating any kind of wave. How appropriate. Oh, the duo of dudes are here! That is, Thomas Wagstaff and Matty Wright! We have quite the audience tonight. Hm, sorry, I skipped over Michelle Landers! You know, the famous wedding coordinator. She's here, too.

"But still. Where is.. oh! There he is. You folks may know this fellow as the creator of various novels and series; he's also a bit of a regular here at the Theater. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present Jordan Dooling? ..well, okay, I will. There he is, returning to his seat in the front row. ..the.. the guy in the slendercoat and trilby. Go ahead, Jordan, go take a seat. I'll tell you the news now.

"You see, some of you may be wondering what happened to the man known as Sean. Remember him? Star of the Sean series? ..by Jordan? He was a real person, you know. Well, I'll tell you what's happened to him.

"He's dead.


Every single member of the audience stands up. The ladies realize they're standing and then promptly sit. The coupled ladies pull their partners down with them.

"I understand this may be a little hard to swallow. You're most likely wondering how and when it happened. Well.. that's why I called you folks here. You all have your own skills; I was hoping some of you could help figure this out."

Bones raises his hand.

"Ah. Mister Taylor. Yes?"
"You want us to help figure it out? Where, exactly, is the deceased?"
"Excellent question."

You steps to the side of the stage and pulls the curtains up. The audience gasps.

On the stage of the Facebook Theater is a dead male, somewhere in his twenties (at the time this story takes place), with dirty-blonde hair. His face is frozen in anguish. His skin is pale. This is Sean. He is lying on his stomach; there is a knife wound on his back.

You urges the forming crowd to return to their seats. They do.

"As you can see, these are dark days. Sean was the catalyst for a many great adventures. Without him, future stories may be shaky. But we will mourn on a later date. For now, we need the audience's help.

"First of all, I request that, if there are any doctors or scientist-type people in this theater, they come up to the stage to offer a cause of death."

A woman further back steps up and heads down the aisle. She is the woman You had earlier thought was Catie, then dismissed her. Turns out? It was.
A voice in the front row shouts "WHOO, GO FENTZY! :D" ..yes, even the smiley face.
Fentzy waves back before stepping onto the stage.

You asks for the lady's name.
"Catie DeBiaso, Badass of Science, sir."
"...oh. Well, shit. So I was wrong."
"Yeah, looks like you were."
"I, um.. I need your help with--"
"Maybe I don't want to help you anymore."
"I'm terribly, terribly sorry for the mix-up, ma'am! It's hard to tell people apart from up on stage!"
"Yeah, you spotted all the other guys just fine."
"Sorry! So sorry!"
"Fine. What do you want, again? Cause of death?"
"Y-yes, please."

Fentzy takes one glance at the corpse.

"Knife wound in the back."
"You sure?"
"There is a blatant knife sticking out of his back. Blood is coming out."
"Okay. What about the time of death?"

Fentzy crouches and feels the corpse's neck.

"Two hours."
"That's what I said, bitch."
"Right! Uh.. hohoh."

You steps back up to the microphone and clears his throat.

"According to the expert in the theater, Sean died two hours ago by a knife w--"

You turns around to find Fentzy had flipped Sean over.
In his chest is a gunshot wound.
Fentzy looks at You; he says, "Well.. this might change some things."

"Well, folks! Things get more complicated by the second. Tell me, does anyone here have a gun?"

Moments pass. One person hesitantly stands up, holding a pistol. The person is Paul Botsford.

"Very well. Mister Botsford, you are the prime suspect for this murder, and I request that you stay in the theater until we are done questioning you. In the meantime, everyone else can leave; we will call another meeting when we are ready."

The crowd slowly and reluctantly begins leaving.

Jordan heads onto the stage as people shuffle out. The stage is oddly deserted-- only Fentzy, You, and Bones remain up there. You is standing to the side, a worried look on his face. He approaches Jordan.

"Mister Dooling, I'm not cut out for hosting. Why weren't you the speaker, like you always are?"
"I've had to give up a lot of my time ever since.. well.. settling down."
"..oh. Quite right. Of course." You looks at Jordan's outfit and remarks, "Where's your hat?"
"Huh? Oh. I dunno. Jane grabbed it again, I suppose."
"Speaking of, where is she?"
"Teabagging the dead bouncer? I have no idea. So what were you saying? You're not cut out for this gig?"
"Yes, exactly that. I tried my best, but.. this is a serious crime we've got here. Our safety may be at stake."
Jordan raises an eyebrow. "Our safety?"
"Well, yes. Sean was murdered on-stage while the curtains were down. It's absurdly dark when the curtains are down."
"Are you suggesting--"

You is needed elsewhere. He cuts Jordan off, excuses himself, and takes his leave. The trilby-less man is left pondering.

Fentzy, who was examining the body, quietly says, "You sure likes to jump to conclusions." She then gets up and leaves.

A Mister Owen Norris enters the stage and goes to talk to Bones. Jordan examines the corpse.

The gunshot wound is in the chest... but there's also the knife in the back. Both seem like fatal attacks, Jordan thinks to himself, though the gunshot wound actually doesn't seem quite as fatal. It seems to be at an angle. An upwards angle. Jordan looks upwards in all directions. Owen looks at him, then back to Bones.

Nothing up there but catwalks. I think. What about this knife? He takes a close look at the knife. It has an engraving, scratched out considerably. Jordan can just about make out "M..ec...t" on the handle.

"Yo, Rael."

Jordan looks up. Bones is walking up to him; Owen is leaving the stage.

Bones adjusts his fedora and says, "Looks like the stage is empty 'cept for the slenderbrothers."
"Yes. Looks that way. What'd Owen want?"
"He was actually asking about Marble Hornets. The Operator. Whether or not I believe in that kinda thing."
"That's an odd question to be asking at a murder scene."
"You're telling me."
"What'd you say?"
"'Nah.' I mean, The Operator's just a glorified version of the slender man, and he's an internet myth, right?"
"Of course."
"So then he told me how he's starting to believe he might be being stalked. Then he hugged me."
Jordan takes off his sunglasses. "He hugged you?"
"Yeah. Then he left. ..put your shades back on; you look weird."
'Rael' complies. "I dunno, man. This night. This night keeps getting weirder."
"It sure does."

The two stand for a bit, looking down at Sean. Bones swears he sees a red dot on the floor. Jordan ignores this.

Jordan mentions the knife. "It had an engraving. 'M.. something.'"
"Maybe it was Marble Hornets? Heh."
"Nah, it was one word. I really don't think those films have anything to do with this."
"I'm sure there are plenty of Ms in the audience."


Abruptly, Jordan is hugged from behind by Jane.
Eric spies the red dot from before moving towards Jordan.
He follows it and tries stomping on it. A small, red object falls out of his coat.
It's a bomb.
"Bones, what were you doing with that?" Asks Rael, shocked.
Bones gets up, looks at the fallen object, and says "Oh, shit!"

Other people start to return. You spies the bomb and screams. He runs up to it and checks it.
It's about to blow.
Bravely, Jane grabs the ticking explosive and runs as fast as she can to the backdoor to the theater, whereupon she throws it into the nearest dumpster.


You stares at Eric.
"Mister Taylor, you.. you were attempting to murder Jordan, weren't you?"
Bones is speechless.

Everyone is gathered back to their seats; another meeting is called.

You, despite his anxiety, resumes his role as speaker.

"I know that a good portion of the audience has left already," coincidentally, the only people left were all the people mentioned in the beginning, "but we have an increasingly worrying situation on our hands. Earlier, as you all know, Sean was murdered by gunshot. Well, a mere ten minutes ago, the regular host here at the Facebook Theater, Jordan Dooling, was.. well, not 'murdered.' It was an attempted murder and act of terrorism. Mister Eric 'Bones' Taylor tried to destroy himself as well as Jordan with a bomb."

The crowd is turned into a worried murmur.

One man attempts to stand up; he has trouble but is noticed, nontheless. This is Danny Finnegan. He asks, "Can.. can I go home? I'm sorry; I was shot in the foot, and I fear it doesn't help to be here longer."

You, a curious look on his face, asks how he got shot.

"I don't even know! It just happened, up by the stage."

The worried murmur increases into a disturbed discussion.
You tries his best to calm everyone down. Eventually, Jane screams "CAN IT, GUYS."
The room goes quiet. You thanks her.

"I can see that there is definitely some kind of.. of.. conspiracy of sorts going on. I suppose we're going to need to do some actual investigating. Jane, since people seem to do as you say, I'm putting you in charge of that."
"Can Jordan help?"
"Why? He's technically a victim; that's a little unorthodox."
"Well fuck your orthodoxy, man. He's my friend, and I want him to help."
"Ah, very well. If you really want that. The rest of you, stay put unless called upon for questioning."

The investigating team sets up a table and some chairs in the lobby.
The first person Jane calls for questioning is Paul Botsford.
He comes in and has a seat.

Jane begins the interview with a simple question.
"Did you do it?"
"Wait, do what?"
"Bitch, did you shoot Sean in the chest a couple hours ago, or did you not?"
"No!""Then what about.. this?" She pulls out Paul's pistol.
"I know what it looks like. But I was just given that gun from Jalani just this morning. I don't even know how to use it."Jordan asks for the gun. Jane keeps it and tinkers with it.
"You're right, man. It's pretty confusing. I've used less confusing weapons used to kill theoretical physicists."
"Yeah, I mean.. I didn't even ask for it or anything. He just gave it to me."
Jordan raises his hand. Jane pats him on the head. "Speak."
"Thank you, ma'am. Paul."
"Yeah, dude?"
"Was Jalani here tonight?"
"Uh.. yeah, I think so."
Jordan looks at Jane. She nods her head, then says to Paul, "Alright, perp. Back to your seat. Tell Jalani he's next."
"Kay, thanks!"
With that, Paul gets up and leaves.

Jordan tells Jane she did a really nice job.
"Thanks, bitch. Nice call on the Jalani thing. You think this could be our guy?"
"I dunno. I mean, the reason I asked Paul if Jalani was here... I mean, I haven't seen Jalani in a good while."
"What? Then who'd Paul see?"
"I guess we're gonna find out."
"Nope! I'm gonna find out."
"What'll I do, then, ma'am?"
"Go investigate. Quietly. This is our chance to find shit out."
"Oh! Great idea!"

Jordan quietly leaves and begins looking for anything of relevance.
Danny comes into the lobby and sits down.
Jane asks where Jalani is.
"Jalani's not here. I was then told to talk to you, since I'm gonna be going early."
"Bah. It's always something. So tell me, Finny. How'd you get shot, again?"
"I was up on the stage, thinkin'.."
"What were you thinking about? Tell me!"
"Nothing! Just.. Minecraft. I made the Facebook Theater in it last night. Every detail. I love this place. Jordan's lucky; he gets to host here all the time."
"Then you suddenly realized you were shot? In the foot?"
"Yeah. I screamed rather loudly, too. Not sure why people didn't hear me."
"Ah, you're useless, kid. Get outta here. Tell Bones to come see me."

Meanwhile, Jordan had found the passage to the upper catwalks overlooking the stage. He's exploring them.

Bones comes into the lobby and has a seat. He can't look Jane in the eyes.
"Bones. I have one question for you, okay?"
"Did you attempt to kill Jordan?"
"No. I swear, I didn't know I had anything on me. I didn't come in here with anything on me besides my clothes."
"Then.. what happened?"
"I had just finished talking to Owen about Marble Hornets, so I went to talk to Jordan. We shot the breeze. Then you showed up and I chased a little weird red dot, and next thing I know, there's a bomb that apparently fell out of my damn coat."
"I.. I mean, I believe you, Eric. You're Jordan's best friend. You have every motive not to kill him. But still, I'm worried about him. He nearly died."
"Hey, so did I."
"Yeah, but you're not m--"
Jordan comes running in, shouting "JANE! Jane! You won't believe what I found, holy shit."
Eric and Jane look at him.
"I found a sniper rifle in the catwalks, pointing at the stage."
Jane's eyes widen. "That'd.. that'd explain how Sean got shot since the gun doesn't work, right?"
Eric's eyes also widen. "Dude, and the red dot I saw on the stage. That might have been the sniper's sight!"
Jordan's eyes then widen more. "We were being aimed at?!"
Eric asks to see the sniper rifle.

The catwalks above the stage are in good condition, since the Facebook Theater wasn't made that long ago. They overlook the stage from behind the curtain while remaining adequately hidden.
Resting just out of sight of anyone who might look on from below, peering down into the stage, is a sniper rifle.

Eric grabs and examines the rifle, looking for anything that might give any clues.
He finds one.
"Jordan. Look. On the grip. See that?"
"Yeah, that's... holy shit. No way."
Jane asks what they found. Eric shows her.
It is a circle with an X through it.
".....oh. I know that symbol. What's it mean?"
Jordan turns and begins walking away. "It means we've caught our perp."
Down on the stage, someone had taken the knife out of Sean's body, little to the protagonists' knowledge.

You had gone out to the lobby to see what progress Jane and Jordan had made. Bones has been out there for a while; that girl must really be getting some answers, he thought as he stepped out into the room.
As he approaches the empty table, he hears the door slam shut behind him.
"Hello? Who's there?"

Coming back from the catwalk passageway, just entering the lobby, are Jane, Jordan, and Bones. They hear You and prepare to give him answers.
Then the lights go out. The three stop in their tracks, unsure of what's going on.

You asks once more for a name, who might be turning the lights off. A figure appears behind him, holding a sharp object.
Jane's ready to charge forward.. when they hear a loud "TAKE THAT!" followed by a groan.

Bones goes and finds a light switch, switching it on.
Danny Finnegan, wielding the knife covered in Sean's blood, is lying on the floor, groaning. Fentzy is standing over him; she swiftly takes the knife off of him. "Just who I suspected."

You is startled, to say the least. He asks what's going on.
Everyone else (sans Danny) begins talking. Jane tells them all to "can it and tell it to the audience."

The audience spreads confused murmurs as they see You, Jordan, Jane, Bones walking to the stage. They spread even more as they see Danny being dragged to the stage by Fentzy.

You steps up to the microphone once more.
"I'm sorry for all the delays, ladies and gentlemen. I understand you must be wondering what's going on, who attempted to murder whom, who actually did murder whom. Well, it is my understanding that these folk know the answers. Go right ahead."

Fentzy steps up first and clears her throat.
"Sean was both shot and stabbed, yes, but You made the mistake of assuming it was thegunshot that did him in. I've taken a close look at his body, and with the way the gunshot wound is angled, it looks like it went straight through him at a downwards angle, not passing through anything vital. Therefore, it was the knife that killed him. Someone stabbed Sean in the back on the stage with the curtains down, two hours before the show. Well, that person was none other than Danny Finnegan, who I've got right here.

"See, the knife that was stuck in Sean has an engraving. It's a nine-letter word starting with M, with an e and a c halfway through, and a t at the end. That word? Minecraft. Who's addicted to Minecraft? Danny. Danny was also found just now in the lobby, attempting to murder You. So you ladies and gentlemen in the audience may be wondering why he killed Sean, why he attempted to kill You. Well.... I don't know that just yet. But I bet these three guys here can help us piece the puzzle together."

Jane steps up this time.
"Lemme tell ya what I found out in my investigations, kay? I found out that, first of all, Paul's gun is completely downright impossible to figure out how to work. Second of all, he was given it by Jalani. No idea why."
You interrupts, "Jalani? But he left shortly before the actual meeting began."
"You mean he was actually here?"
"Well, yes. I saw him."
"Damn! This shit's awfully complicated. Anyway, lemme stick to the facts. Third of-- that's what I was on, right? Third of all, and this one's important, I found out how Finny got shot. He says he was up on the stage at the time, thinking about Minecraft, how he made this theater on it."
Fentzy speaks up, "Of course! The bullet that hit Sean! It passed right through him and must have struck Danny in the foot! Talk about a sucky coincidence."
"Right. But we'll get to the gunshot in a bit. First, I want Finny to tell me why he stabbed Sean." She turns to look at Danny.
Danny shakes his head. He's pleading the fifth on this one.
"Fine. Prolong your suffering, bitch. We'll figure this out."

Jordan gets a sudden idea.
"What if we're looking at this all wrong? What if we're not supposed to ask why he killed Sean, but rather.. who he was trying to kill?"
You catches on. "By jove! Of course!"
"It's as You said, it's dark as hell when the curtains are down. I doubt Danny knew who he was actually approaching. He just assumed it was who he wanted to kill."
"But who would he think would theoretically most likely be on the stage, ready for if ever the curtains go up?"
Jane turns pale. She then hugs Jordan.
Jordan gets goosebumps. "Oh. Me. I am a regular here, after all..."
Jane then kicks Danny. "Why the hell do you want to kill Jordan?"
Danny finally opens up. "He's so fucking lucky. He gets to host all kinds of shit on the Facebook Theater. This is one of the most beautiful stages in all of human history, and yet he sticks to only hosting the occasional mediocre comedy act? If I were the regular host, I'd throw awards shows, skits, get several comedians, throw film viewings, every single night! I figured killing him'd be the easiest way to replace him. Since I failed at killing him twice, I settled for You. Which also didn't work."
Jane kicks Danny several times. "That is the stupidest motive I have ever heard for trying to kill someone, seriously!"
The crowd begins to jeer.

Eric looks at Jordan, who looks back. Jordan steps up to the mic.
"We're not done yet, people. Sean was stabbed, yes, but then who shot him? And who framed Bones, trying to kill us both? Well, we also looked into that. You see, up in the catwalks above the stage, there is a sniper rifle, concealed very well. At two separate points tonight, it was under the operation of someone with not entirely the nicest intent. The first was when Sean and Danny were shot. The second was just before the discovery of the bomb. Bones claims to have seen a sniper sight-- a little red dot-- moving towards me.

"Now, that second one can be figured out easily. Someone trying to kill me, most likely after failing the first time. Danny. But then, what of the first shot? What of the bomb? Clearly, we've got a second perpetrator, and I have reason to believe this is no mere accomplice, otherwise Danny wouldn't have been shot. This is a fully independent operation.

"When Bones examined the sniper rifle earlier tonight, he discovered a marking on its grip. It is, simply put, a circle with an X through it. A very common symbol, yes, but bare with me. Before Bones came to talk to me onstage, a man spoke with him about a film series known as Marble Hornets. Throughout that series is something called the Operator symbol. The Operator symbol is, simply put, a circle.. with an X through it!"

Bones steps up. "I'd just like to say that, when this man was finished speaking with me, he hugged me. He put his arm very close to my coat collar. The bomb fell out of my coat, almost as if it wasn't planted very well. You know where I'm going with this, I imagine. Rael, please continue."

"Thank you, Bones. Now, as for the issue of motives, I can't really give one. To any of the crimes this man allegedly commited."

"You don't have to. I'm coming clean."

"Ah, there he is. Ladies and gentlemen, the man we are accusing of attempted murder of, what, three different people? Plus attempted acts of terrorism, what with that bomb. Here he is, Owen Norris!"

Mister Norris steps up onto the stage. He takes the microphone.
"Hi. I'm Owen Norris. I, uh.. while giving as few details as possile, I'm a member of a very, very secret society. We deal in a specialized kind of security. There is a thing out there that stalks and murders people, but it only does so to the people who know about it. See, we go around and find out who knows about this secret thing, and.. we kill them. Why? 'Cause if we don't, it will, and it won't do it as nicely as we do. So we just go around and put people out of their misery. I didn't mean to shoot Sean; I meant to shoot Jalani. I knew from my intelligence reports that Jalani was meeting up with Sean tonight here to discuss some rather.. confidential matters. This was the best opportunity to take down a man who has had Army training.

"What more, Mister Dooling here, as much as I love the guy, he kinda knows about the thing, too. And so does Bones. So I gave Eric that bomb and sent him off to do the duty. What more, Jane also knows about the thing, and she was in the originally-intended vicinity, so.. that would have solved a problem I hadn't considered at the time. So uh, Mister Finnegan murdering Sean was entirely coincidental, as was his attempt to kill Jordan."

Jane speaks up. "Wait, 'thing.' You're talking about the fucking slender man, the internet-made urban legend, aren't you?"
"That is correct, in a way."
"God, why can't people ever kill others for good reasons anymore? The slender man is FAKE, man! He doesn't actually kill people!"
By this point, the crowd is done being patient. They charge onto the stage and pick up Owen and Danny, carrying them out of the theater. The criminals are taken to the police and shit lives happily ever after.

Now we are left with the five people, standing on the stage, relieved that everything is done.
You thanks the four for their help and takes his leave. "I'm never speaking here ever again."
Bones thanks the three for clearing his name and walks off. "That was one hell of a night."
Fentzy thanks the other two for helping out with catching the culprits and leaves. "At least we figured out the truth."
Jane thanks Jordan for whatever it is he did. "Let's get out of this place. Murder scenes are depressing."
Jordan thanks Jane for saving his life with that bomb. "I dunno; I think I might host more stuff here."
They leave.
..and run into You, Bones, and Fentzy at the front door.
You is listening to an urgent-sounding phone call on Bones' phone. The other two are watching, curious.
Jordan and Jane join the group.
You eventually thanks the voice and hangs up. He gives Eric his phone back.
Jordan asks what that was all about.
You has a funny look on his face.

"Jalani was just found dead in the local park. One witness."

-written by Jordan Dooling, characters not exactly used with people's permission.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Fun Ramble Time!

It's funny. I've been writing a lot lately, but very little of it will have been all that apparent. Topography Genera's been slowly developing the character of Duchess with audio logs I've been writing and Squeek and Shayde have been so generously voicing (and alliterator's been posting them on the blog), and I intend on introducing some more interesting aspects of Duchess soon. But that's still only a portion of my writing as yet!

So where's all my writing going? OH GOD THE RAPTURE IS BURNING, where else? We've got five goddamn Rapture logs all waiting in the queue to be posted. Five! Each log takes about six hours to write on average, so that's over a day's worth of writing right there. And lemme tell ya, I am hella proud of what we've got in store for you.

See, Act III (The Duels of the Knights of Xanadu) so far has just been expanding on Rapture's comedy focus while introducing the seven Neonate as well as trudging through the seven Knights of Xanadu. There's been almost a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment with the introduction of The Beast, eldritch king of kings, and there's been a bunch of Wham Episodes with revelations of Cockroach Jesus' place in the story and a whole lot of heart-fucking with Jordan's romantic interests fluctuating more than The Beast's. But overall, it's just been comedy and setting up a lot of character development. So far.

But then we had that five-part serial titled "Obfuscation." That was supposed to mark the part where this act officially shifts in focus from light to dark. Rapture's done being hilarious, my friends; it's leaving its lighthearted silliness at the Door now. The upcoming five logs are considerably darker in tone. You're gonna be seeing a lot more cynicism, a lot more stress, a lot more tension, a lot more conflict, a lot more racing the clock, a lot more chessplay, a lot more backstabbings, a lot less romance, and a lot more rabbit holes. 'Cause yeah, Act III has had a distinct lack of rabbit holes so far.

See, this shift is something I had been planning for a very long time. I admit I've forgotten exactly why I'd been planning it for so long, but I know I wanted to have half of this act focus on comedy and the other half focus on horror. ..now, there hasn't exactly been much focus on horror in these logs I've written, but then again, I've lately developed a philosophy that horror isn't something you can just force. Though I haven't even been trying. <_< I've just been trying for tension and desperation, and I've succeeded at those.

The thing is, Rapture isn't exactly a horror story. It's cosmic horror, sure, but the logs themselves are more of a thriller-comedy-mystery thing. If I had to come up with one name for this genre, I'd call it "apocalyptic." Apocalyptic horror fiction. Apocalyptic cosmic horror fiction. Yeah, that sounds about right.

But horror isn't a genre. It isn't. It's an emotional reaction. The scariest of stories are the ones that don't just slap a bunch of flashing lights and jump scares and demons in; they're the ones with the stories that naturally strike a chord. Like 1984 isn't a horror story, but it terrifies me with its concepts. ..and such. I will admit that films like The Shining and Marble Hornets do manage to capture horror excellently with their use of suspense, but there: It's the suspense that scares us, not any abstract concept of "horror." And I'm experimenting with suspense and tension in Rapture now.

You wanna know the scariest thing I've ever experienced? This is an entirely personal thing, and I do not expect anyone to empathize (because horror is nothing more than an emotional reaction, highly subjective): The secretcity maps I often mention.

Valve has their famously brilliant Half-Life, and one of Half-Life's most successful features is its extensive modding community. Arguably the most popular non-commercial mod is Sven Co-op, a mod where basically people make custom maps with cooperative multiplayer capabilities. And in Sven Co-op's extensive mapping community, there was a mapper named Turrican who created a series of maps (secretcity, secretcity2, secretcity3, secretcity4beta, secretcity5beta, secretcity_keen) that were just.. oh god.

The premise: You're in a large building with many rooms to explore! The rooms range from normal (living rooms, cafeterias) to personalized (offices, bedrooms) to quirky (a giant Magic 8-ball, a long dark corridor with a single well-lit door at the end), but there were always secrets in the majority of the rooms. You'd find a secret button if you looked hard enough, or you even had to shoot one single brick out of hundreds on the walls, and it'd usually open up a secret passage to an even quirkier room often with even more secrets. If you looked hard enough in each map, you would seriously find yourself stumbling down a hidden crawlspace leading to lava pits, worlds made of pure colour, sprawling mazes of file cabinets, or even right back to rooms you thought you had just left. And as the maps went on, Turrican started to make some huge adventures with so many secrets that even after years I still don't know them all.

But what was so great about these maps was that there was no point. Most maps for Sven Co-op have a set goal, enemies to kill, a room to find where the map would end. Even most of the other "fun" maps had actual ending rooms, and the ones that didn't at least had briefings telling you what the map was. The secretcity maps had no point. A newcomer is completely lost. You're just dropped in this large empty building (unless you're with friends, but even then, your friends are the only people there). And hell, sometimes you'll think you see someone walking around the corner up ahead, but there turns out to be no trace of anyone. You're alone, isolated, and all you can do is explore. And you don't often find things that make sense. And there's no end! There's never a part where the map ends, only where a set series of puzzles and rooms might loop you back to the main building or something.

I grew up with this map series, and I'm so glad I did. I've been looking for a gaming experience similar to this ever since I found out about these maps, and the closest I've found has been the Metroid series. I find it terrifying in such a fascinating way because-- here's what I forgot to mention-- you die a lot in secretcity. Many doors lead to your death. You might be dumped in a bottomless pit, you might be trapped in a vat of rising water, you might be crushed by the very walls surrounding you, you might die mysteriously, or you might run into the eldritch abomination that hides in select secrets for all the maps: The Nomble. The Nomble is an incomprehensible giant screaming face. And it scares the shit out of me. Because you really never know where it's gonna be (I mean, I do, because I've memorized the maps), and even when you think it's nowhere near you, you shoot the wrong brick and bam, a giant screaming face too big for reality enters the hallway and kills you. Or you'd enter a vent where no light escapes only to find yourself literally engulfed in screaming face until you die of unknown causes.

So, after all this, you're dumped in an empty building and you just know that around any corner is gonna be some new twisted and demented room with no point whatsoever, and you just know that if you press one wrong button, you're going to die somehow. But you also know that if you keep looking, you're gonna find yourself on a surreal journey through impossible worlds where physics and reality do not match, walking down eldritch corridors where the walls move and doors surround you. And it's just the best fucking thing you've ever lived through.

secretcity is genius. And I have been trying to capture it (as well as many other influences) in OH GOD THE RAPTURE IS BURNING. I have been trying to find any gaming experience like it as well. I want to know the fears and thrills of exploring a surreal world. Preferably in a modern facade, modern office buildings and all that.

..what was I talking about?