"The sun, the moon and the stars would have disappeared long ago... had they happened to be within the reach of predatory human hands."
Sky Interface (working name), is the story I've had on my mind for an awful long time. Sky Interface is the interactions between Joseph, a boy who can touch the sky like it's a touch screen device and Lea, a boy who can see ghosts on occasion. It's a coming of age story with twists of paranormal fantasy. If you had the ability to change something that big, would you? And how would you deal with the repercussions?
A lot of the illustrations I create are within this universe because there is so much of it I want to show. I have a lot of it written out, 120,000 words of it so far, but the illustrations are important to really get a feel of what this kid can really do. Vibrant sunsets with colors not usually seen during sunsets. Dazzling night skies where it seems the atmosphere is a laser show. Dream-like visions of galaxies that look like a road of color through the stars.
While part of this story is the visual aspect. I really want to get into the complex issues of the character's psyche. They each have their own problems that completely differ from the other's but in the same sense, they are alike in many ways. Joseph is quiet and withdrawn while Lea is loud and brash. Joseph can solve his problems but not others while Lea can solve other's problems but not his own. Joseph struggles with neglect while Lea suffers from a step-father who won't leave him alone. Opposites attract.
“So, what does it feel like…?” Lea wondered, watching as Joseph shifted the moon and surrounded it with the clouds.
Joseph paused, and lowered his hand from the sky. He thought deeply before answering, "Some nights it feels like you’re in a speeding convertible, and the roof is down and you've thrown your hands in the air to feel it as it rushes by. Some nights it feels like you’ve just drunk about half a dozen espresso shots and the world is on fire. Sometime nights it’s a bit chiller, and it feels like a rainy day, curled up next to a window with an exciting book. Some nights, it is the book and you’re sucked away.”
Lea looked at Joseph, confused by the analogy. He was only touching the sky, how could it feel all like that? Lea didn’t understand, wouldn’t it just feel like it would scrolling on a tablet.
“Come here for a moment.” Joseph motioned Lea to come closer when he saw the confusion on the red-head’s face. “I think I can show you.
Once in range, Joseph took Lea’s hand and pulled it up against Lea’s will. Lea allowed Joseph to do whatever he was doing, but snickered in the progress, "Mister. I-hate-all-attention-and-contact-don't-come-within-three-feet-of-me-god-don't-touch-me-with-those-hands."
“Oh grow up, would you? Trust me.” Joseph rolled his eyes, and raised both their hands towards the sky.
All of a sudden, a freezing chill ran down Lea’s arm from the tip of his extended fingertips. The chill was followed by a shot of pure adrenaline that rushed down the red-head’s arm. It raced and leapt through his veins, filling his entire body with a racing, tingling feelings. And Lea suddenly realized what Joseph had meant by saying it was like driving in a convertible with the roof down or drinking six espresso shots.
The red-head could feel the sky. Literally feel the sky. It was silky and cool to the touch. He could feel how the moon and the stars felt and how they could be shifted. He could feel the clouds and how they could flow. He could feel the sun in all its warmth even within the night. The red-head could see all the colors combinations possible to be manipulated. The constellations decorating the heavens. Lunar phases waiting to happen. A storm waiting to brew. A super nova awaiting to explode. Lea could feel it. Everything.
“This is—this is—this…Holy crap.” Lea breathed, speechless at the experience. The sky seemed a whole more powerful then it did just a second before, and a little more frightening. Lea sensed that even though he could feel the sky, only Joseph could shift it. If Lea tried to do anything, it would be useless.
“I can’t entirely show you how it feels I don’t think, but I assume you get the gist of it.”
“You mean…This is only partially how it feels?!” Lea sputtered in disbelief.
“Yeah, it’s stoking right?” Joseph grinned cheekily. “Betcha wish you could do that!”
“Entirely! Dude, you are so freaking awesome!” Lea exclaimed, hyped by the thrill of it all. He couldn’t believe that this is what Joseph got to feel every time he touched the sky. Now he understood why the kid was so spacey when playing with the sky.
“Yep, I am.” Joseph nodded, not exactly knowing what to say next. He released Lea’s hand and went back to his own agenda with the sky.
“If that’s not even the tip of it, how do you not get overwhelmed by it all?” Lea asked, even from that little taste, Lea felt like he had started getting overwhelmed.
“That’s the point dude. You do get overwhelmed by it all, and that’s when you really feel it.” Joseph explained. The best part, of his gift, besides the fact he could touch the sky, was the fact when he surrendered to the power he could forget it all and be lost in the sky. It was only he and infinite abyss beyond their world. Just as he liked it. “You haven’t felt anything. You’ve felt the brim of an ocean.”
“Holy crap, man.”
Joseph smiled, it was nice finally being able to show someone how it felt.
Shadow of the Sun
Ambros is a hyperthymesiac, who can remember everyday of his life in vivid detail. He works two jobs in Monterey, one as waiter at a Restaurant on a cliff and the other as a late night bartender on Cannery Row. His only real goal is to keep his cat and apartment by the sea, while trying to keep his mind from plunging him back into his past all over again.
Whiskey is an amnesiac, who ends up in Monterey with no recollection or sense of who he is. After staying a few nights in a cheap motel and living off the wad of cash he had found in his pocket after waking up, he ends up at the bar Ambros works at and starts visiting regularly. After admitting that he can't remember his name to Ambros, the bartender accidentally names him Whiskey because of the amnesiac's favorite drink, Jameson Irish Whiskey.
Eventually, they end up living together on account Ambros feels somewhat responsible for the fact he named Whiskey and at one point was in a similar situation. The pair end up having to deal with not only Ambros's slowly crumbling grip on the present but Whiskey's not so great past that ties him to a drug trafficking organization.
It doesn't have a sense of fantasy or sci-fi, and it's not necessarily a romance. It's a very realistic story that deals and focuses with psychological issues and concepts of relationships between two very different characters. It's a study of how two people with complete opposite mental states perceive themselves and the world.
“I don’t know your name.” Ambros said, the guy had never truly introduced himself. Ambros would have remembered if he did. (Ambros could remember names really well which was a gift and a curse) He couldn’t keep almost calling him by the nickname the other bartenders came up for the guy.
“That makes two of us…” The guy sighed, his mood falling.
“Huh?” Ambros looked up, that certainly took him by surprise. He wondered if the brunet was pulling his leg, but there was too much exhaustion in the voice for it to be a joke. “What?”
“I don’t know my name, or how old I am, or who I am for that matter. Or why I’m here.” The guy said sullenly, sipping his whiskey. He looked distraught. “Or, how I even got here.”
“You have amnesia?” Ambros put two and two together. It was so cliché. Meeting an amnesiac in a bar. What were the chances honestly? And of course it would happen to him. Out of everyone in the universe, it had to be him.
The guy nodded, “I woke up a few days ago, with no memory. Just a wad of dollars in my pocket.”
Ambros looked at him, jealousy flaring in his mind. Why did this guy get to have amnesia?
“What?” The guy seemed to notice the flare of anger in Ambros’s blue eyes. Ambros bit back the words of scorn that were about to tumble out. It would be impolite to go off on a customer. He needed this job. He also didn’t want to let his own condition slip out.
“If you don’t know your name, why not just make up a new name?” Ambros shrugged, unsure of what else to suggest. ‘Whiskey’ should have thought of that before.
“Well I could…but…”
“You could pick anything you wanted, any name you wanted.” Ambros said, feeling really envious of ‘Whiskey’. “Any thing you liked. So what about it?”
“I guess I need to think about that…” ‘Whiskey’ nodded pensively, looking down at the nearly empty glass of water on the bar table.
“Yeah, you should.” Ambros nodded before being called over by another customer who needed a few drinks made. “Be right back.”
The drinks took a few minutes to make; it was only a few beers and a cocktail or two. The other customer was watching him expectantly and it was irritating. He had a look of impatience that made Ambros really tempted to make the drinks slower than it would actually take. He spared a glance over in ‘Whiskey’ direction to find the brunet in deep thought, staring off into the depths of his empty glass.
Ambros finished the drinks and took the money from the customer. The guy didn’t even tip him, what a jerk. After making sure there wasn’t any other customers needing his service, he returned to the counter in front of the brunet.
“So, thought of a name? John, Joseph? Oliver?” Ambros asked, casually listing off names.
“No…Um, I actually think I really like Whiskey.” ‘Whiskey’ decided slowly, confusing the red-head.
“I knew you like Whiskey, that’s what you always order. Name, namewise here.” Ambros clarified.
“Name wise. I mean… Whiskey is what you and the other bartenders nicknamed me, isn’t it?” ‘Whiskey’ cheekily smiled, raising his gaze to meet Ambros’s.
“Oh… You knew about that.” Ambros mumbled as his face reddened, embarrassed by the fact. “Sorry about that…”
“No, it’s fine. It’s sort of why I kept coming back…” Whiskey chuckled softly, pushing his empty cup away. “I liked the idea that I sort of had an identity here.”
“Ahh…” Ambros had no idea how to respond to that. He’d always been in a position where he’s had too much of an identity for his own liking. Yet, here Whiskey was hanging on to a stupid nickname that simply came out of the boredom of bartenders during a lull in business. "That's kind of a stupid name but ok, your choice."
“Yeah so, Diolch yn fawr, Ambros.” Whiskey smiled, a twinkle in his eyes before he realized what he said wasn’t english. “I mean, thank you.”
Aporia means at the greek root of the word, impassible. Todays meaning of Aporia is a state of puzzlement or an expression of doubt.
September, literally named after the month, is slowly downward spirally into his own being as he struggles for a sense of self between the other alters invading his mind. Not only does he have to deal with the crippling sense of insanity, but all the stress that comes from being a college student and the increase of crime in the immediate area that he's not certain he didn't cause.
September couldn’t stop it. There were too many voices whispering in his head. Or were there only two? He didn’t know. Maybe there was only him. Maybe he was alone or maybe he wasn’t.
Alone. Alone. God you are so pathetic. You should just die. Why bother. You’re nothing. I’m better. I’m so much better than you.
Kill them all. They are all ants. It would be fun. Kill them. I’m going to kill them all.
It was his own voice whispering in his head. But it wasn’t his. One was saying he was better, who was better? One was telling him to kill them all, kill who?
September bit back a scream. His head felt as if it was about to split open. There were to many voices. He felt like he was being pulled in every direction. He couldn’t stop it. They weren’t there but he could feel them. He was fighting for control and he was barely hanging on.
The music was too loud. It hurt, the music blasting from his headphones become too loud when only seconds earlier it was the quietest thing. It bleeded into the voices. The voices were loud, they yelled in his head.
Stop it! Let go! What the hell are you even doing?!
Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill. It’s fun. Kill. Kill.
The red-head clutched his head in agony. What was happening to him? What was going on? Why was October doing this? Was it even October doing this or was this something else.
He couldn’t breathe. There was too much. He felt like he was drowning. He sank through the murky depths of his mind, struggling for an escape.
Was he insane?
The thought burned in his head. Was this what it felt like to be insane? On the edge of losing control. Everything was spiraling out of control.
September gasped for air, he didn’t have the energy to scream at this point. He couldn’t. Then people would know he was there, they would check on him, they would send him to the hospital then to a mental asylum. He refused to be admitted. He couldn’t scream. But he needed help. He couldn’t breathe. It was all too much.
“Stop it. Stop it. Stop it.” September muttered over and over, begging the voices to go away. But they only become louder. His music was deafening. His control was slipping. “I can’t breathe.”
He couldn’t escape. Was this insanity?
He stumbled into the bathroom and ran into the counter, the red-head could barely keep his balance. The voices were too loud. Or maybe there wasn’t any voices at all. He couldn’t tell. His vision was a blur.
September couldn’t look in the mirror. He was so afraid of what he’d see. What if he didn’t see himself? What if he saw someone he didn’t know? The voices mocked him. His eyes blurred. He's lost all control.
He felt like a puppet, being dragged around by something else. And all he could do was watch.
The red-head saw the Clorox sitting on the floor beside the toilet. And the next moment, he was pouring it over his head. Maybe it would burn away the voices. Maybe it would stop them. Maybe it would save him. It wasn’t him pouring it on himself though, was it? He couldn’t tell. It was all numb. He didn’t know what was in control.
You’ll always be alone. Always. All you have is us. Only us.
Don’t listen to him, you have us and that’s a good thing. Don’t do it.
He felt the acid rush over him. It burned. It soaked through his clothes and burned. But It burned a distraction into his mind. Everything felt like it was on fire. The voices were still yelling at him. The bleach fell from his hand and to the floor, he didn’t have the strength to hold it. His eyes burned, immediately he started throwing water on them. Or the voices did. He didn’t know. It hurt. He couldn’t think. He wasn’t in control; he was fading fast. The bleach was burning through his mind. That must be it, that must be why he couldn’t think.
The voices become deafening and he couldn’t handle it anymore. He blacked out, the last thing he remembered was hitting the floor and the acid burning through his soul.
The one that might possibly be my favorite idea because not only does it feature video gamers, but it features abandoned aquariums and sea creatures that shouldn't exist. Wiley is a semi-successful video gamer in the future who runs a gaming channel. Someone sends him a video game named Mariana's Trench. It's a horror/thriller genre and semi-VR based about an abandoned aquarium called Mariana's Grotto. It was a formula game strategy, avoid the monsters and survive. No way to fight. But, then the main character becomes too self aware for Wiley's liking, responding to his witty, dry commentary and questioning his own existence. When the VR/AR glitches and the mental console fails, Wiley's consciousness gets sucked into the game and he wonders how this could be virtual reality when it feels so real.
They exited into a huge room. It was enormous and could well enough be the size of a football field. It was dark, and there was a faint light source from a tank in the back but not strong enough to light the entire room. Immediately the two started looking for an emergency kit. Neither of them wanted to face the monsters in the dark and this room seemed like the most likely place for it too happen.
“I don’t like this Amias, I don’t like this. Rooms like this are big like this for a reason. Something is going to happen. Some cutscene, some battle, something is going to happen once we find this flare.” Wiley shuddered, as he continued to look for the kit along the slimy walls.
Amias frowned, “Maybe not? You know maybe they through this room in here to mess with your head. Maybe you are over analyzing things.”
“That would be too easy.”
They quickly and quietly made their way around the entire room each taking a different side and searched for any supplies. They paid attention to exactly where the other positions was based on splashing of feet and the light from Wiley’s apparel. The pair met up in the middle right near the tank.
“Alright, found one.” Amias said, as he opened the emergency kit and pocketed all the syringes, water packets but left the flare out.
“Same, but I’ll keep mine just in case…”
Amias nodded, that was a good idea, that way they wouldn’t run out of flares for at least two hours. He carefully took off the cap from the body and struck it against the end of the flare to light it. The burning red light flickered into existence, filling the air with a bright red smoke. Surprisingly though, the room was so huge that the flare’s light didn’t light the entire thing, however they did get a good look at what was in their immediate area.
“Shit.” They both muttered at the same time as they looked up at the huge empty tank in front of them. The thick glass covered at least half the room and it was three stories high. The tank probably at one time held deep sea dwellers, ones with special pressure needs.
“Shit shit shit.” Wiley started freaking out because he knew this was a bad idea. And here it was, the reason why they shouldn’t have come back here. He’s so scared he’s frozen in place.
The tank’s glass wall was cracked. There were huge spider long cracks starting from the top and heading down towards the bottom. Water seeped out of the cracks which was why the ground was so wet but the tank was still full as far as Wiley could tell.
“It’s huge.” Amias whistled, looking around at the huge tank with algae beginning to over take it. The water was murky and unclear but it looked the most up-kept of all the tanks.
“Amias, Amias we need to leave now, like right now, we need to keep going. We need to leave.” Wiley begged, on the verge of hyperventilating as he pulled on Amias’s arms. His eyes were wide and wild, and he began feeling light headed at the situation.
“Hang on, we should at least look around for any clues or anything. We don’t know anything about this part of MT.” Amias suggested, curious of the big room because there wasn’t anything in here. Except the tank and a few decomposed seats. There had to be something about this room.
“No no no no, we need to leave now.” Wiley shook his head, trying to drag the older man to the door but he wouldn’t budge.
“Wiley, calm down, it’s ok, there isn’t anything here. We’re ok.” Amias said in a placating tone, grabbing Wiley’s shoulders, trying to get the man to calm down. He understood the brunets unnerve but there didn’t seem to be anything wrong with the room.
“No, I can’t! Do you see the glass? Do you see it! It’s cracked! There is water leaking out, Amias! Are you honestly that stupid? It’s going to shatter!” Wiley cried, motioning widely at the tank.
“If it was going to shatter, I think it would have done it by now. It’s been here for a while. We’ll only be a few minutes, it’ll be ok.” Amias said rationally, walking up to the tank to see if he could find any evidence of what was exhibited in this tank and why this place and seen it fit to abandon it here.
“Amias, Amias please…” Wiley breathed, nearly crying while shakily following Amias up to the tank.
Amias turned back to Wiley and frowned. The brunet was usually complaining or scared, but this was something else. Wiley was terrified, he was pale and shaking as he looked at Amias with pleading orange eyes. Amias felt bad for the kid. He decided he would take Wiley into another room and make sure he was ok before coming back to investigate.
“Alright listen Kid, here’s what we’re gonna do…” Amias sighed beginning to tell Wiley his plan before Wiley’s weak voice caught his attention again but he didn’t catch what the brunet said because it was so quiet. “What?”
“There’s something in there…” Wiley repeats, struggling to keep his finger still as he points towards the tank. His face has completely lost all color now.
Amias turns to see what Wiley is pointing as and freezes when he comes face to face with the silhouette of a huge creature swimming towards them. It was so huge that he knew in an instant it would take a few of him stacked on top of himself to just compare to the height. As it gets closer, he can till instantly and with dread that it’s a huge shark, but what is more unnerving is the shark has stubby visible arms with messy, pudgy appendages with claws at the end. Amias decides Wiley was right. This was a terrible idea.
“Amias.” Wiley whimpers, taking a few steps back ready to bolt at any moment.
It took them both a few long moments to release as the creature swam closer to the front of the tank, the water it’s pushing forward is cracking the glass further and further.
They both start darting towards the door. The tank was going to give way. It was too late though, before they could make it too the door, the glass gave way, the tank burst and instantly flooded the room with murky water.