PART ONE: A Work of Fate:
Shelane Trefarrgha was a scientist, an engineer. She was the best in her field save for one man, Bradford Callormen. And she had studied every shred of his work she could get her hands on. She had determined that, one day, she would even outshine him. But there was one piece of his work she had never gotten a look at, had not even known existed. And it was that work which would change her life forever.
Greyden Forrdha was a true Scientist, studying the things which made the universe tick. He studied Quantum Physics and how it applied to and affected the bodies of many different life forms. He was the top in his field save for one, Ehleihn Korrvann. But he had studied her work, gone over every paper she had ever written with a fine-toothed comb and picked it apart until there was nothing left to pick. And yet, there was one piece of her work he had never examined, had not known existed. And it was this work that would change him forever.
Bradford Callormen and Ehleihn Korrvann were the premier scientists in their fields. And while the fields of Quantum Physics and Mechanical Engineering seemed insanely far removed from one another, they were not when it came to the greatest of either scientist’s work. In this one Project, they were united. And in this one endeavor they would be both venerated and condemned. This was the Project that would forever alter the courses of their Destinies…
PART TWO: Return to Destiny:
Destiny is a strange Mistress. Some she smiles upon while others she tramples beneath her foot. And what separates the lucky ones from the unlucky?
This is the story of Salvation and Devastation, of Gentle Destiny and Cruel Fate. Shelane Trefargha and Greyden Forrdha are returned to their lives and given a second chance for happiness while Bradford Callormen and Ehleihn Korrvann are cast from their places of power and forced to forge a new place for themselves in this sequel to “A Work of Fate”.
Targeted Age Group:: Teen and up
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
When I was in high school, I had gotten on my father's old Underwood, manual typewriter to play with it and had written a two-page short story. He read it and said it was good but I needed to "put some meat on it." That story went through two more incarnations (a hand-written rewrite that extended it and that my brother was taking out and letting other students at our school read and then a computer-printed version that was 39 pages) before this version which was, again, a complete rewrite in which I added a subplot that the original versions didn't have. How's that for "adding meat"? ::grins::
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Honestly? I really don't remember since it was in 1989. The whole idea just popped into my head and I typed it. I suppose I have added depth to them since, but I really don't remember what sparked them in the beginning.
CHAPTER THREE: The Present
The dream was always the same. Relentless. Intensely clear. It came less frequently now; but it still came, reminding her of the pain and loss. Reminding her that he was gone and she was alone.
Shelane Trefarrgha rolled over in the large bed and slid her left hand across the empty side of the bed where her husband used to lay. Hot tears borne of the revisited pain and loss burned their way across her face to fall silently onto her pillow. Jaethan was gone, and she could not bring him back. But the worst of it was that he had died senselessly, without reason, in an accident that should never have happened. An accident that never would have happened if the bastard of a lab assistant Jaethan'd had would have done his job properly, she reflected bitterly.
Ten years, and she still had not managed to shake either the dreams or the anger. She tried; for the sake of his memory, she tried. But her efforts were rewarded with only the lessening of the frequency of the dreams.
She closed her eyes against the pain and pulled his pillow into her arms tightly, letting the sobs wrack her slender frame. Soon, she would have to rise and prepare for the day. Soon, she would have to leave the shelter of the house and bury all of this, pretend for everyone else that it did not tear her apart each time she remembered it, pretend that she did not hate the young man who had caused her husband's death. But it was all a lie. All of it. A lie she lived every day of her life.
But for now, she did not care. For now, she merely let the pain and loss take her where it needed to. Let it wash over and through her until it flowed on like a great river, leaving her exhausted and weak… and numb. The numb was the desired outcome, the place from which she could be anything she had to, because she did not feel. Because she could be a blank slate onto which would be written the equations of what society demanded she be. Only then could she lie to them, and to herself, and believe, if only for a moment, that her life was complete. Only in the Numb.
But first, the river had to pass, wash the canyon of her mind clean. And, as always, eventually it did. The sobs ceased, slowly falling away to be replaced by panting breaths and a single whimper. And then those, too, fell silent. The Numb descended, and she took a shaky, deep breath. It was time to move, time to write those equations of normalcy onto the slate of her mind and don the costume of the happy citizen of a happy world.
Time to lie to the universe…
The silence was deafening. Only the sound of the ancient clock ticking away to itself dared to intrude upon the silence and challenge it for supremacy over this domain. Even the sole occupant of the apartment was not encroaching upon that beast called silence.
Greyden Forrdha sat perfectly still in the middle of the living room floor, legs folded beneath him and eyes closed. His mind was not on the events of the coming day. Nor was it occupied with the sounds, or lack thereof, in his apartment. Rather, it occupied a small corner of surreal space that he tread only on occasions when the stresses of the world outside of his body became too much and he felt the need to escape them for a bit of sanity.
In this tiny corner of his Mindscape, Greyden was king. All that existed here, he had created. It was his safe haven from the world and its cares. It was that place deep within his core wherein he could find himself and analyze the feelings that dominated him at that moment. A place where each of those feelings were given shape for that analysis. And right now, the feeling had taken the shape of a rodent sitting on a log watching him curiously.
Why a rodent?
The answer to that was simplicity itself. The rodent represented his perceptions of himself in relation to the responsibilities he carried. Rodents spent their entire lives scurrying aimlessly from one thing to another, never truly understanding why they were doing it. And he spent every waking hour, save for these few precious ones, scurrying through his life to accomplish all the things he needed to do and never quite understanding why he did it. Why did he push himself like that?
He honestly did not know. And that was why he was here, facing the rodent.
The rodent's glittering, gold eyes fixed on his sea blue ones. It seemed to study him for a moment, and then it rested its weight back onto its haunches. It seemed to be waiting for something. But what?
"You." It answered the unspoken question.
Greyden stared at it for a moment, uncomprehending. He was used to the things in this state addressing him. It was why they were here, so that he could talk to them and gain understanding of himself through them. Still…
"Waiting for me to do what?" He asked after a moment, tilting his head at the rodent.
"To decide what it is you seek from me." It answered as though that should have been self-evident.
Greyden contemplated that question. What did he seek from the creature? "To understand why we do it." He finally answered. "Why we run through our existence in search of things we cannot name… in search of things we cannot even clarify." He sighed.
"Perhaps because we know no better?" The rodent postulated. "Or perhaps because we feel that if we stop, we will somehow lose all that we have gained?" Its eyes remained pinned on Greyden; it did not so much as blink.
Greyden sighed again. "But what is it we have gained if we have no time to experience it?" He protested. "And is it really worth having if it takes so much out of us just to hold onto it?"
If it were possible for a rodent to smile, this one would have. "You already know the answer to that." It told him. "You do not come to me for answers. You come to me for confirmation of what you already know. You come to me so that you may feel validated in your already-constructed ideals. But you do not need me to validate them." It stated as though it were most basic fact.
Greyden shook his head. "No, I…" But the sentence died unfinished as he realized that it was true. He already knew the answer. He had indeed come here looking for validation from the wise being at his core. But he did not need it. The answer was already there, and the validation was the simple belief in its truth. He sighed and nodded.
"Yes, I did." He muttered, eyes casting down to watch the slight breeze rustle the grass.
"And why do you seek this?" The rodent asked him, its tone unchanged.
Again, the answer was plain, but he did not want to admit it. But here, he could not lie to himself. Here lay only the truth. "Because I doubt my own judgment." He whispered miserably.
Greyden shook his head, his eyes still cast down. "I… I don't know." He whispered again.
The rodent did not move. Its tone did not change. "Untrue." It intoned.
That single word slammed through Greyden like a thunderclap, and he flinched. This was the one part of all of this he never relished. When they turned him on himself and forced him to see things he did not want to see. "I…" He felt himself start to shake. "I…" The words refused to come. The admission of his guilt and regret and anguish choked off the words and allowed only one choked sob to escape. "It was my fault!" He finally screamed to the quiet around him in this Mindscape. Then he dissolved into sobs, wracking sobs that shook his entire frame and would not release him until they had finished with him.
The rodent remained still.
"It… was…. my… fault." He gasped out between sobs. "My… mistake…" His hands came up, and he buried his face in them. "I…. I… killed… him." And there was no more coherence. He was lost to the emotions. The guilt and remorse took him and had no mercy in their expression.
The rodent vanished.
It had now been replaced by a large creature of indeterminate origins but very obvious design. It was a killer. Long, sharp, blood-coated claws and fangs were its most prominent feature. Its eyes were slitted and glowing with rage and hunger… a hunger for death and blood. This was how he saw himself now.
"We are the same, Greyden." The thing growled at him, pointing to him with one blood-stained claw. "Both of us killers. Do you know what the difference is, Greyden?"
Greyden dragged his head from his hands, but he could not stop the shaking which gripped him. "N-no…" He whispered shakily.
"Lies." The Monster hissed back at him, taking a step toward him.
Greyden whimpered and shrank back. "No, I don't know… I swear!" He protested. Somewhere in his awareness, he knew this thing was merely his perception of some part of himself, but in the emotions of the moment, he had temporarily forgotten that.
It sneered. "The difference, my dear Greyden Forrdha, is that" here, it reached out and stroked one blood-drenched claw over his cheek in an almost gentle gesture "I accept what I am. I revel in it. You" it snorted derisively "you fight against what you are. Look at me, Forrdha! Look and remember. One day, you won't be able to run from me anymore. One day, you'll waken and find me staring back at you from your mirror. And then, you will have no choice but to acknowledge me." And if such a beast could laugh, this one did then.
Greyden tried to shrink away from the claw that touched him, but he had not succeeded. It had left the slick trail of blood along his cheekbone, and he wiped it away, staring at the hand it was now on with only vague comprehension, as though it were some alien thing rather than a piece of his own form.
And then the Beast's words sank in. Greyden's head came up, and he pushed to his feet, defiance in every line and curve of him. "No!" He shouted at the Beast as he stalked toward it. "I will never become you! I am not at all like you! Get out of my head!"
In his living room, his eyes snapped open. "GET OUT OF MY HEAD!" He screamed into the silent room. There was, of course, no response as the creature existed only in his Mindscape. Silence reigned once more save for his heavy breathing, now labored by the strong emotions which hung about him like a second skin.
He began to shake. Was it right? Was he indeed that creature?
No! He refused to believe that. That was just the guilt manifesting itself to accuse him. Yes, that was it.
Standing shakily, he moved to the bathroom and started the shower, leaning over the sink to look into his reflection. Half of him actually expected to see the Monster staring back.
But the face was only his…
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