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Melancholy Faith

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  18:55:44  21 June 2006
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NocturnalMe
(Novice)
 
On forum: 01/28/2006
Messages: 22
Melancholy Faith

Melancholy Faith

Melancholy: causing or tending to cause sadness or depression of mind or spirit

Faith : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (link?)

Chapter 1:

“Faith, anyone?,” the voice asked through the blur. “It’s free, and it comes with a lifetime supply of depravity,” the voice took on a mocking edge. Kiev looked around, the blur was lessening and he could make out robed figures seated around a long table. It looked like they were having a feast.

He couldn’t make out what was on the table, though. Then the voice said, but not to him, “Here my children. Feast on the souls of the faithful. They are plentiful, and ever-more. They are our prey, we must deceive them, trick their souls into subservience and pathetic faithfulness. Only then can we....feast!.” Kiev snapped awake then, in the fierce, persistent rain that made him petulant. The bumpy road his APC was taking didn’t help the situation either.

Kiev gave a long, deep sigh. He hated those dreams, and what they reminded him of. Faith for nothing. His girlfriend Tonya (why she had come to Russia was still a mystery to him). She had first introduced the concept of unquestioning loyalty to him, in something not proven. At first he had been so optimistic, towards everything.

Kiev was an engineer in the army, repairing planes, APCs, the usual. His superiors had said he was extremely intelligent, able to pick out the problem in an instant. The job was almost too easy, and he was soon recommended for a promotion. Then he was sent into the Zone, his girlfriend left him and he was left to brood over his thoughts.

His friend had once said:

Be careful. The Zone itself might not kill you. But once inside: Days pass, weeks. And you start reminiscing about the past. All the bad things, and before you know it life outside the Zone doesn’t seem very appealing. Indeed, life at all doesn’t seem worth it. You die inside.

Kiev didn’t believe his friend at first, but now he was starting to reconsider those words. Yes, it was time to reconsider a lot of things. Nothing seemed worth it anymore, love, God, anything. His comrade and superior Bonov seemed to sense his melancholy thoughts and turned to him.

“You are depressed, my friend?,” Bonov asked, a hungry look in his eyes and an almost seductive tone in his voice. Kiev shuddered. He didn’t like this man very well, but he had to make due with the company that was allotted him.

“Just had a bad dream, and well, I’ve been thinking over things. Life, you know,” Kiev said cautiously. As if not to provoke the man’s “hunger” any further.

“Ah,” Bonov’s expression softened, and he moved his hand cerebrally over the AK47 he was holding. “I’ve been in the Zone awhile now, meet quite a few people. And they all seemed to have one thing in common, their expectations were too high. Life is about survival, not happiness.”

Kiev turned to him, mildly interested. “But what’s the point if you are not happy?,” he asked. Bonov’s expression didn’t change “You have to earn happiness, some earn it, some don’t. Simple as that.”

Kiev glanced away and looked wearily at Turi, who was guiding the APC through the night fog. Turi was oddly quiet most of the time, and he didn’t seem to attract much attention from Bonov. Maybe Bonov sensed his ignorance, and deliberately ignored him. Except Turi was ignorant to the things he choose. God, love, those things meant nothing to him. He did his job, and had fun when the circumstances allowed. That was all that mattered. And maybe indulge in pointless, almost childish sarcasm...when the circumstances didn’t call for it.

Kiev couldn’t wait until he was re-assigned. All they would have to do was go to the chapel and....cleanse it. It was hopelessly infested with the mutated, and diseased. The infestation meant nothing really, it was the APC and the artifacts it transported, which were collected over a long period of time that mattered. They would get there around dawn. Do the deed of death. Kiev would repair the APC, hopefully well enough to transport the artifacts a safe distance away.

That was the part that made the whole mission worthwhile, and made him forget the atrocities he and his comrades would commit. The artifacts would fetch a rich sum. Maybe even enough for Kiev to abandon his station and lead a decent life somewhere else away from all these tainted souls.

He awoke around dawn, another dream had ripped him apart that night. Kiev was groggy, and his eyes felt swollen. Faint smoke mixed with the blur of his dreams, creating an intoxicating paradox. His heart grew light for a moment. Then he realized where he was and the melancholia of the situation became apparent to him, striking him like a forgotten asp.

***************************************************

That's all I have done so far. Please let me know if it is worth continuing.
  18:54:51  22 June 2006
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NocturnalMe
(Novice)
 
On forum: 01/28/2006
 

Message edited by:
NocturnalMe
06/22/2006 19:46:52
Messages: 22
Jeez, 47 views and no replies. So, it must be a very bad piece of literature thus far. Hell, even a condemning reply would be nice at this point

Chapter 2:

They had arrived at the chapel, dedicated to St. Peter, or Paul, Kiev didn’t really care. It was to be the grounds for a slaughter and he wanted to get it over as soon as possible. But he couldn’t help but notice that the chapel loomed over them, spreading it’s decaying and derelict state over them and Kiev experienced a sudden chill. He shook it and walked over to Turi, who glanced at him wearily.


“You’re awake, good. I can’t do all the work around here. Get over there and help Bonov,” Turi said and went back to tending the small, but efficient, campsite spread out over the abandoned street. A small fire persisted in the middle of the camp, and Kiev warmed his hands over it, ignoring Turi’s urging.

Kiev, not minding the apathy of the moment, walked the short distance to where Bonov was trying to get some equipment working. When Kiev approached, Bonov smiled.

“Greetings, Kiev How does the day greet you?,” Bonov asked.

“A little intimidating at the moment Lieutenant,” Kiev saluted then allowed his body to slump into somnolence. “Well, that’s too bad. We’ve had some interesting prospects while you were in that fitful sleep of yours.”

“Such as?,” Kiev asked trying to inject interest into his voice. When that failed, he just looked down at his feet.

“Well, with this heat-seeking equipment I was able to find out that we have some company waiting for us in the chapel,” Bonov responded in the same vain.

“My guess is that they know we are here because they haven’t come out yet, at all,” Turi interjected with a deliberately naive comment. “They are waiting for our next move.”

“Then we shouldn’t give them time to anticipate all the potential outcomes. We strike, now. Turi head in through the back. If you encounter anyone...”

“I’ll just step quietly around them,” Turi said sarcastically. Bonov ignored him and switched back to Kiev. “So, the time has come. That is good, my blade needs sharpening,” he commented and smiled. Then his expression turned serious.

“You do not have any reservations on killing them, do you?” Bonov asked.
“I...uh, of course not. You are my commanding officer, I do what I am ordered to.

“Hmph”, Bonov looked offended by such a formal reply. Then he said “Many soldiers said the exact same thing as you, and then I had to cut them down for disobeying me. You wouldn’t do that, would you?,” Bonov seemed to be toying with him. This man is cruel, Kiev thought. I had my doubts at first, but now...

“No, Lieutenant, I’m yours to command,” Kiev responded with as much sincerity as he could muster.

“I am pleased, then. Now, enough chitchat. We should head into the side entrance. Throw those Stalkers off guard, eh? Nothing like the surprised look on their faces when you kill them,” Bonov pulled out his combat blade, which had a thick wooden handle and an equally thick blade. He bent his knees slightly and trod along the uneven path, which sunk lower as they approached the side of the chapel.

Bonov is very agile for a man in his fifties. It’s almost....inhuman. So silent too, Kiev thought. Even as his thoughts ran amok, Bonov pressed himself against the wall, but seemed to move at an exceptional speed, while still remaining concealed.

Kiev did the same and followed suit, albeit somewhat clumsily. Finally, they reached the doorway and abandoned the tainted air outside for the stale air inside. An uneven trade, but Kiev didn’t mind. Just then, Bonov put a finger to his lips, giving Kiev another sly smile. Kiev shivered and looked away.

Bonov moved swiftly into the main room, crouching among the pews where a lone Stalker stood, who seemed to be oblivious to death’s palpable gaze. Bonov moved up behind the man, standing upright silently with little effort, he put the blade across the man’s throat and brought it back without even blinking.

The stalker gave a barely audible groan and slumped over one of the pews. Kiev finally got up enough courage, and slunk towards one of the corners. One of the Stalkers was near the altar, and as he was raising his AK47, he saw a prism of light flashing through the air and the Stalker’s head went back as Bonov’s blade went through the back of it. Kiev could hear the shuffling of feet on the upstairs level, and Kiev wove his way between the pews, trying to reach the other end of the hall.

Kiev finally found the staircase and ran up it, only to have a body tumble down towards him. His instincts kicked in and he crouched and flipped the body behind him. He then continued up the stairs.

Turi stood in the center of the room atop the stairs, and glanced at Kiev with exasperation, mingled with a little irritation. “Glad to have your help,” Turi said sarcastically. “Maybe you could join the fight a little earlier next time.”

Kiev rolled his eyes. “Is the building secure, or are you going to continue to lecture me?”

“Is anything ever that easy?, well it would have been. If that stupid b*itch hadn’t run off with one of the artifacts. Let’s get back to Bonov before he gets a to trigger happy.

‘Whatever you say,” Kiev replied. He just wanted this mission to be over. Turi glanced at him oddly. Kiev looked away.
  18:18:09  24 June 2006
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NocturnalMe
(Novice)
 
On forum: 01/28/2006
Messages: 22
So, ahem, any comments/thoughts on the story so far?
  07:17:10  26 June 2006
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NocturnalMe
(Novice)
 
On forum: 01/28/2006
 

Message edited by:
NocturnalMe
06/26/2006 7:24:22
Messages: 22
Alright, here is the final chapter.


Chapter 3:

As Kiev and Turi made their way down to the first floor, they heard fighting sounds. Shuffling footsteps, grunts of pain, the occasional war cry by Bonov were evidence to that effect. Kiev rushed ahead and pulled out his sidearm, aiming it at the struggling figures of Bonov and the enemy Stalker. Bonov had his opponent pushed against one of the pews, his bloody knife drawn for the next kill. However the Stalker was struggling with all his might, holding Bonov’s arm back. But the knife was steadily inching downwards. Kiev didn’t wait for the obvious outcome. As soon as the Stalker became aligned with the gun, Kiev fired. Not hesitating. The Stalker dropped to the ground noisily. Bonov kicked the corpse aside and stepped towards them, apparently unaffected.

“I thank you for saving me Kiev,” Bonov declared ,” “You performed admirably as well, Turi,” he hastily added, almost as an afterthought. Turi nodded obligingly.

“I doubt you needed saving, I did what any good soldier would have done,” Kiev replied modestly. There was no pride in his voice.

“Ah, and you did that well. But you stole my glory from me,” Bonov laughed deeply and placed a hand on Kiev’s shoulder. Turi shot Bonov an irritated look.

“Well, you may or may not be aware that one of the Stalkers slipped through my grasp. It was a women, she took off down a side corridor. I suspect she is hiding somewhere in the chapel. She also has one of the artifacts. Need I remind both of you that we need every piece of in order to justify this mission.

“Silence, Turi. I am the commanding officer here. Do not presume to make the decisions nor the observations for me. I am well aware of the.....sensitivities of this mission,” Bonov said in a low, menacing voice. But it was strangely devoid of anger.

Turi stiffened. “I see. Well then, what do you propose we do, Lieutenant?,” there was a mocking edge to Turi’s voice. Bonov did not respond in the same vain.

“I want you to secure the perimeter, then guard the main entrance. Be as vigilant as possible. Kiev, I want you to hunt down the lone Stalker and dispose of her, quickly. Bring the artifact with you. As for myself, I will do what I must to make sure the rogue doesn’t escape. And whatever you do, don’t leave the chapel Kiev, the same goes for you upon your return Turi. Let us be quick with this,” Bonov spoke quickly and with purpose. It was unlike him.

Turi nodded and sprinted off, while Kiev turned uncertainly towards one of the side corridors. “Don’t worry, friend. She is no match for a killer like you. Destroy her without hesitation. She will try and...corrupt you,” Bonov warned and Kiev saluted then slunk into the passage.

The corridor went through many sharp turns, one after another. There were a few doors that were opened slightly. Kiev investigated the rooms nervously, his training deserting him. All he found, however, were dimly lit, abandoned offices. It only fueled his sense of anxiety, and he clenched his jaw to stop the flow of emotion.

Kiev couldn’t help but think of Tonya as he made his way down some winding stairs. It was as if he were chasing her all over again. Except he knew the end result would end in her, or his, utter destruction. That was the beauty of it all, the end was obvious. Someone would reach their oblivion today, that was all that mattered. Would Kiev kill this women, out of greed, hesitation, or utter obedience, while the action tainted his soul forever? Or would the banshee of his imagination force him into error and this female assassin would slay him without remorse? The possibilities forced him to stop in his tracks. Then he realized. She would kill him without so much as a second thought. He would dishonor himself and his comrades if he didn’t do the same.

Kiev picked up pace again, trying to walk as silently as he could. The basement of the chapel seemed cavernous and intimidating. He clutched his gun tighter and forced himself to turn the corner. Nothing. The light given off by a single flare was dim, and Kiev was closed in by shadows. What an odd form of claustrophobia, he thought. Nothing confines me, except my own will.

For the first time, in several minutes Kiev spoke. “Hello, is anybody there? Just come into the light now. All I want is the artifact, then I’ll let you go,”

“You lie,” a female voice came from the darkness beyond the flare. “I heard what your commander ordered you to do. He wants me dead. Why should I believe you would disobey him?.”

“If you didn’t believe me, then why did you speak?,” Kiev asked, his tone bland.

“Because you would have found me eventually, I would only be delaying the inevitable. I believe that is a crime. To deny your fate, when you know what must be done,” the woman said.

Kiev shook his head. He abandoned his faith along time ago. It irritated him when he met others who shared his past beliefs. This woman was no different.

“Just come out now. Let’s talk face to face,” Kiev ordered.

“Alright, but if you kill me through this deception, may God curse you.”

“He already has. Now come out,” Kiev replied.

The woman stepped out, her lithe frame bordered in blackness. “How unsurprising. You are attractive,” Kiev said matter-of-factly.

“You are a devil who says what he wishes. Here is the artifact, now let me go,” the woman said. The woman tossed him a stone statue, ornately carved in an angelic fashion. “My comrades wanted this because it could heal radiation sickness among other things,” the woman informed.

“How about pollution of the mind?,” Kiev asked.

“Now that is quite the question. May I ask you something?,” the woman asked, some intrigue creeping into her voice.

“Keep it short,” Kiev replied.

“What is your name?”

“No, I’m going to keep this as anonymous as possible. There’s no other way,”

The woman stepped back “You want to avoid any type of connection, you do want me dead after all,”

“I am sorry,” Kiev said, his voice wavering,” he fired his AK47 without hesitation, blood splattering him and the walls. They both were unaffected by the human taint. “Now that business is taken care of,” he muttered. He sighed and picked up the artifact. The stone angel seemed to stare at him angrily, he clutched it in his hand as if to punish it.

Kiev made his way up the stairs, suddenly very tired and sluggish. He wondered why people say they age so quickly after a tragedy. He found himself returning to a child-like state. Kiev’s thoughts were fleeting and irrational, his sense of control limited. Yet he forced himself to be coherent, at least for the next little while. There would be time for collapse later. But as he made his way through the winding corridor again, he found himself angry at Bonov. He had forced him to kill the woman, out of sheer apathy for her situation and greed for the artifact. Well, Kiev would make sure the favor was returned.

The angel statue in his hand seemed to grow hot with disapproval and Kiev exploded, tossing it against the wall with a damnable fury. After that, his mind filled with a fiery purpose. He didn’t care about Bonov’s orders anymore. Inside the Zone, you were your own superior, Kiev thought and nearly crashed into the main room. Recovering himself, at least for the moment, Kiev noticed Bonov sitting calmly against one of the pews. He seemed to sense him and turned around slowly.

“Ah Kiev my friend, I can tell by the look on your face....she is dead. But what of the artifact, did you find it?” Bonov asked. Kiev ignored him for the moment, instead fixating his attention on the profusion of colors being emanated by the few remaining glass windows.

“The artifact, no longer exists. I should know, I destroyed it,” Kiev said calmly and with an uncharacteristic detachment. “What!,” Bonov also broke out of character. Turi cut the old man off.

“I told you that you should have sent me!, then you let this rookie screw things up!,” Turi was sitting against the altar but had risen up in fury. Bonov ignored Turi.

“Why would you do such a thing?” Bonov asked calmly. His sense of self returning.

“Because you made me kill that woman, and now I’m going to kill you,” Kiev half-shouted.

“See, what did I say?, he was unstable even before he started the mission–,”

Bonov held up a hand. “Your interference is getting burdensome, Turi. I regret to say that you must be terminated.” In one swift motion, Bonov threw the knife gracefully at Turi’s head. The surprised look on his face lasted only for a second, then he slumped to the ground in a pool of his own blood.

Kiev and Bonov whipped their sidearms out at the same time. Unlike any other standoff, one of the sides lacked tension. Instead Bonov was relaxed, and he seemed, happy.

“Turi is finally out of the way, he was an oddity. You and me both knew it would come down to this. There was dissension since the beginning. I am merely disposing of the infidels. You lied to me, you know. You said you wouldn’t betray me,” Bonov taunted.

“No, I lied when I said you were my commander,” Kiev retorted.

“Ah the age-old human predicament. Defiance. Except in the end we defy ourselves, that is the ultimate rebellion,” Bonov said.

“Why did you do this?,” Kiev said shakily.

“Oh, I can’t explain why. I just wanted to. You are like me, completely and utterly. A demon festering in hatred. You hate yourself, I hate everybody else. A dynamic pairing, wouldn’t you say?,” Bonov explained. He was more animated, and alive when he spoke. This was the man’s pinnacle. Kiev shuttered.

“It doesn’t matter,” Bonov went on. If I kill you, or if you kill me it is still suffering in God’s eyes. That damnable fate waits for us all. We are all corruptible from the beginning, I just realized it sooner–,” Kiev didn’t wait for Bonov to finish, but instead fired his sidearm again and again. Until haze surrounded him and when it cleared, he could make out the large holes his bullets made on the opposite end of the room. Kiev sighed and glanced at Bonov. His eyes were closed, and he looked...peaceful. He was truly meant to die. So was Kiev, but he didn’t realize it.


He turned and walked slowly towards the main entrance, and pushed open the door. Kiev didn’t hear himself die. Instead his flesh was ripped apart and flung in countless directions. Bonov’s corrupt spirit watched this chaos with satisfaction. He had rigged the entrance, and all doors leading to the outside with explosives. Everyone was meant to die that day, and it had occurred in spectacular fashion.


Bonov hadn’t lied to Kiev. He was a demon literally. He had inhabited the body of that old man, knowing that most would find him harmless, he was anything but. And the artifact was meant to be destroyed. Death occurred even to the inanimate on this day, the feasting of demons.

And ironically, Kiev's prior faith was what eventually destroyed him. It had started out burning intensily until there was nothing left to give except madness. He was given madness in return.

Bonov realized the zone was like a fly strip, bringing endless suffering and entrapment. And no one would ever learn from the mistakes of the fallen. The Zone attracts many things, Bonov mused. Some are innocent, some are already tormented. But the rest, the rest belong in eternal obscurity. There are a few, however, that find a way into the hearts of their comrades and forever change them for the worst. These are parasites of the soul, you never see them.... until it is too late.
  18:30:24  26 June 2006
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NocturnalMe
(Novice)
 
On forum: 01/28/2006
Messages: 22
Okay, I put alot of effort into this story. I would very much appreciate at least one review. I would like to know what I am doing wrong, if anything.
  20:26:49  26 June 2006
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Emsley
Senior Resident
 

 
On forum: 07/08/2005
Messages: 340
I like it.
8/10
  01:20:25  27 June 2006
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NocturnalMe
(Novice)
 
On forum: 01/28/2006
Messages: 22

---QUOTATION---
I like it.
8/10
---END QUOTATION---



Thanks!. Would you be able to tell me what the flaws of the story were? I'm trying to improve my writing abilities.
  14:55:50  27 June 2006
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Emsley
Senior Resident
 

 
On forum: 07/08/2005
Messages: 340
Not many flaws at all, your style of writing is dry which I like.
The only mistakes i see are when you slightly over use an action like "He said." I have always struggled with actions in my writing too, but yours are really minimal.

Other than that your command is very good.
  17:41:25  27 June 2006
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NocturnalMe
(Novice)
 
On forum: 01/28/2006
Messages: 22

---QUOTATION---
Not many flaws at all, your style of writing is dry which I like.
The only mistakes i see are when you slightly over use an action like "He said." I have always struggled with actions in my writing too, but yours are really minimal.

Other than that your command is very good.
---END QUOTATION---



Thanks for the compliment. But, what do you mean "dry"? As in boring, or concise dialog?. This one was a little rushed, so, I dunno it's not a true representation of my actual "style".
  05:36:54  8 August 2006
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NocturnalMe
(Novice)
 
On forum: 01/28/2006
Messages: 22
Any other opinions on this? Also, how do I go about entering this into the contest?
 
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