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Death

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1 Death on 30th July 2011, 1:30 am

Legolover-361

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I call this story "experimental" because it was my way of testing both a new sort of writing style, inspired heavily by Madeleine L'Engle, and a way to describe a cahracter's death. But I had a problem: I didn't just want to kill the character off. It seemed... wrong. So I -- well, you'll see in the story.

This actually took a really short time for me to write. I wrote the whole thing in just half an hour, probably some time less, and throughout the rest of the day made some small tweaks. So what you're reading here is nothing more than a slightly polished first draft.

Constructive criticism is welcomed; very much welcomed.

(Hint, hint.)

* * * * *

Death

He yanked hard on the control stick to the left, bringing the Kronos Fighter into a tight turn and roll. G-forces rose. The cushion behind Keith Harding’s back felt suddenly firm — Why couldn’t the cockpit be more comfortable? — he pulled out of the loop and up as a sputter of laserfire ripped to the bottom-left of his starfighter. Through the cockpit window, the stars seemed to spin around Keith’s fighter; vertigo came on suddenly. He steadied his flight and glanced to the scanners.

The enemy fighter had pulled out to the right and was looping back around. A series of choice words rolling off his tongue, Keith turned his starfighter in the same direction, thumb poised on the trigger. From the two starfighters’ trajectories Keith knew he only had one chance to shoot him down, lest he enter the deadly dance of the dogfight all over again.

The other starfighter came into view, long and sleek. Its red-orange bands of color along its sides contrasted with its black body, providing a recognizable logo. They also served as a great target.

Keith’s thumb jerked downwards.

He felt his starfighter shudder with the blasts. But the other pilot had obviously been waiting for such a maneuver; his fighter suddenly dipped down underneath the blasts, stopped with a rigorous application of boosters as Keith shot by overhead, and—

It was so sudden he nearly missed it.

The explosion itself was painful, the heat and sheer force of the shockwave ripping through his body. He could almost feel the molecules making up his body being torn apart: arms, brain, heart, all gone. The miracle, the spark of life — extinguished.

But the feeling of pain was still a feeling. An instant passed, perhaps one-one thousandth of a second, perhaps less. And then oblivion came.

A sudden sensation of being among the stars, joining in their celestial dance, so much bigger than himself...

He was falling, falling—

No! But the thought was weak, and a second later it extinguished as Keith involuntarily gave up his sense of self.

His body was gone. He was a mind, one joining with many, one connection in the web of intelligence strung across the universe.

He truly was.

A sudden sense of feelings far greater than his own—

The feeling faded. He was yanked, hard. The question suddenly came to him:

Am I really dead—?

* * *

No.

A flurry of thoughts, of activity. Brain waves strengthened. Suddenly he felt his heart come to life; it sounded like a gong, hammering on his chest from the inside.

Memories returned: He was Keith Joseph Harding, seventeen years old, playtester for Fighter Death. His short brown hair stuck to his forehead with perspiration.

It all felt so real...

The helmet came off and Keith gasped in time with the hiss of the simulator’s pistons, stumbling out of the chair only to fall to his knees. Through the tunnel vision of his fatigue he got the impression of his friends, Dave and Tyra, crowding beside him; then another, larger body, the game’s Project Manager, Mr. Tokama. He shook his head in confusion; even the small movement scattered his thoughts like a million shards of broken glass. And then he wondered just why he’d shaken his head, or if he even had.

It was some time before he recovered enough to hear the words flung at him, as though from a long distance away:

“—Keith? You okay?” Tyra’s voice, sounding exceedingly worried.

Then Dave: “How awesome was that game? You have to tell me! I was watching you — on the screen — epic!”

It took more time before Keith himself was able to speak.

“...I died.”

“And...?” Mr. Tokama pressed; his voice sounded eager.

Keith shook his head again, triggering another scattering of thoughts; he hesitated, placing words together against the laws of grammar that he knew but somehow didn’t know.

“That game... it felt like it killed me...” He coughed suddenly, and everything came back; his mind’s gears turned more smoothly. He sat up, looked straight through Mr. Tokama’s thick glasses to his eyes, spoke more confidently: “As... as playtester, Mr. Tokama, I have to say — Fighter Death shouldn’t be released yet. Not until the death simulation is made milder.”

Mr. Tokama sighed.



Last edited by Legolover-361 on 30th July 2011, 2:22 am; edited 1 time in total


_________________
User: You know, I need sleep.
Cleverbot: You don't sleep.
User: Do you watch me?
Cleverbot: When you sleep.

[21:17:07] @ Legolover-361 : Ads, you do realize that if I came, I wouldn't eat what a stranger baked anyway, right? Tongue
[21:17:22] @ Tyler St. Francis : But you'd eat what I baked, right bro?
[21:17:23] @ Tyler St. Francis : right
[21:17:24] @ Tyler St. Francis : right
[21:17:30] Aderia : left
[21:17:41] @ Tyler St. Francis : dead center

2 Re: Death on 30th July 2011, 1:49 am

Skarloth

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Wow...

Wonderful, I could picture every moment vividly, LL. To be honest, this isn't the greatest SS in terms of detail, or length, but, perhaps it succeeds in providing a good visual image to the reader.

Maybe I'm just having an intellect spasm or something, not sure, but this was a very good Short Story, LL.

8/10

Wasn't too long, or short, it was just about right for a good 4 minute read, and with great visual writing. The concept is interesting as well, and I wasn't expecting the twist, where this person, Keith, wasn't dead.

-Skar


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The Grand Creation...

3 Re: Death on 30th July 2011, 2:11 am

Legolover-361

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MNI COO

MNI COO
Skarloth wrote:Wow...

Wonderful, I could picture every moment vividly, LL. To be honest, this isn't the greatest SS in terms of detail, or length, but, perhaps it succeeds in providing a good visual image to the reader.

Maybe I'm just having an intellect spasm or something, not sure, but this was a very good Short Story, LL.

8/10

Wasn't too long, or short, it was just about right for a good 4 minute read, and with great visual writing. The concept is interesting as well, and I wasn't expecting the twist, where this person, Keith, wasn't dead.

-Skar

Thanks, Skar. About the details, I've noticed a lot of professional writers don't describe surroundings as much as I do. I still plan on describing surroundings when they're important, of course; I just like the idea of leaving parts of the story to the imagination, for example, just what the cockpit of the starfighter looks like.


_________________
User: You know, I need sleep.
Cleverbot: You don't sleep.
User: Do you watch me?
Cleverbot: When you sleep.

[21:17:07] @ Legolover-361 : Ads, you do realize that if I came, I wouldn't eat what a stranger baked anyway, right? Tongue
[21:17:22] @ Tyler St. Francis : But you'd eat what I baked, right bro?
[21:17:23] @ Tyler St. Francis : right
[21:17:24] @ Tyler St. Francis : right
[21:17:30] Aderia : left
[21:17:41] @ Tyler St. Francis : dead center

4 Re: Death on 30th July 2011, 6:15 pm

Skarloth

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MNI Board Member
MNI Board Member
I thought of it as orange tinted, for some reason, with lots of lights flashing and hundreds of buttons all around the driver.

And I picture the area where the test chair was in to be a white room.

Well, still awesome job on this. (And the forums)

-Skar


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