Today’s Writing – Sweet, then Sour.

I managed to tap out another chapters-worth of dialogue on 4 Kings. It’s an awkward, funny and sexy scene with two characters that have been on my mind way too much lately. Reading it over felt good, so I don’t know why – after lunch – I sat down and added more to the dystopian series I came up with on Sunday.

I’ve been in a dark place creatively, and I’m not sure why. Now that I’m retired, I wake up and work on my writing all day. It’s so awesome that I pinch myself to ensure it’s happening. XD

Yet, my developmental mind is violent, and I’m tempering it with the comedic romance I’m writing while I post Sonata 9 chapters. It’s weird. Writing 4 Kings brings my mood up and gets me laughing, but it feels like a joy overload, if that’s even a thing. I take a two-hour lunch each day, and when I return, my creative brain wants to destroy everything. It wants to inflict pain and angst. I channeled that today in creating the ‘demon-types’ that Vasya and the others must contend with after being furloughed to the planet.

I cleaned up the narrative a bit with actual chapter summaries for when I begin writing this for the web novel platform. I’ve given my genetic disorder a name, and fleshed out my cast and the baddies.

Majstrov begins with five men in their early 20s who have spent their teens as test subjects in an orbital housing facility. Scientists study those born with HmVo1 in their youth and use their empathic abilities to root out HmVo2-types, whose violence appears at puberty.

The story unfolds from the perspective of Vasily, who lives in a dormitory with three other young men on OS (Orbital Station) Venušina:

  • ‘Vasya’ [23] has a vulva and vaginal canal under their penis; they also have wide hips and slightly swollen pectorals due to having one ovary. Vasya also carries underdeveloped cervical and uterine tissue, making them occasionally bleed.
  • Zawisza ‘Wisha’ [21] has wide hips and a soft yet masculine chest; having only a penis, he never developed a vulva or vaginal canal yet carries one ovary.
  • Goran & Fero [22] are fraternal twins with small penises but no vulva or vaginal canal. Each carries an ovary.

Across the hall from Vaysa’s shared room is another containing five others:

  • Pavel [23] is physically similar as they possess a vulva and vaginal canal under their penis. He owns wide hips, slightly swollen pectorals, and one ovary; like Vasya, he carries underdeveloped cervical and uterine tissue that makes him bleed occasionally.
  • Mikhail [22] has wide hips and a soft yet masculine chest; he’s not developed a vulva or vaginal canal but does possess a penis.
  • Jan [21] has wide hips and a soft yet masculine chest; he has a vulva and vaginal canal under his penis but no cervical or uterine tissue; he also lacks ovaries.

This may seem like a lot of characters, but only a few last once they get to the planet. I need to have some background and exposition on someone even if I’m just giving them one chapter.

[1] Unable to control his urges, Vaysa seduces men on the clinical staff and engages in sex with other ‘angels’ outside his group. After losing his ability to sense the ‘demon-plagued,’ he wonders if rival Pavel experiences the same loss, as he is also promiscuous. Pavel considers Vaysa his competition, and the two rarely converse politely. While waiting on a bench for their monthly physical exam, Vasya asks Pavel about losing his sense of ‘for the demons,’ but the young man remains cautious and doesn’t answer. Pavel inquires after Vasya’s one-day-a-year bleeding and confesses that he now bleeds for one day every six months. When doctors remove three of Pavel’s dorm mates (one of them Jan) from the dorms, the pair set aside their dislike and, along with Mikhail, cease taking vitamin and pheromone blockers.

There’s a heightened state of paranoia here that the smarter boys experience more so than the others. They’ve lived a pampered life and now that they’re no longer of use–they fear euthanasia or worse…

[2] Goran discovers Vaysa’s stash of untaken meds and demands an explanation. Vasya claims they’ve all outlived their usefulness, and their caretakers don’t need them anymore. The others aren’t keen to buy into such thoughts until custodians arrive and relocate them, en masse, to a cold and sterile barracks far from the dorms. Vasya and Mikhail meet secretly to have sex, and while there, they overhear a couple of armed guards talking about putting the angels to sleep at dinner. That night, while dining in the cafeteria, Vasya convinces his dormmates to follow Pavel and Mikhail’s lead and not eat or drink. Back in the barracks, Pavel, Mikhail, Vasya, Wisha, Goran, and Fero watch in horror as their brothers fall asleep. Soldiers swarm the bunks and carry off the sleeping while the six young men sneak out. They discover a service elevator in one of the halls, but once inside, the car stops and begins filling with gas.

Crafting this for a Tapas-like site requires cliffhangers at every chapter closing. Sonata 9 doesn’t have these because its a novel being posted in chapters. Reading web novels over the summer taught me that there is a method to this madness and its what web novel readers expect.

[3] Vasya wakes on a downed shuttle with twenty other angels, including his bunkmates. Outside is a cold, rugged mountain valley. (PASSAGE OF DAYS) When water and food get low, Mikhail warns Vasya that Pavel has seduced the group’s oldest member, Milos. He warns that if Pavel receives the power to dole out rations, Vasya will be the first to starve. The weather breaks before the food runs out, enabling them to exit the shuttle. Their idyllic first time in nature ends when wolves attack; Wisha, Goran, Fero, and Vasya flee the scene as the pack mauls those around them.

Earth hasn’t hosted humanity for over a thousand years. The orbital station is a scientific research hub devoid of women. I never explain why and I don’t think I will. I did explain the male-gender absence in a short story I wrote called Boy 90, and those humans weren’t anywhere near Earth. I digress…

[4] They encounter Mikhail, Pavel, and Miro inside a thick forest. Miro is hurt, and Pavel suggests they leave him behind. Mikhail volunteers to stay with him as Vasya and the others make their way down the mountain. They enter a fruit-filled wild orchard and discover a massive lake nearby. When Goran finds a boat on the shore, Pavel and Vasya argue about getting into it and leaving Mikhail and Miro behind. Put to the vote, Mikhail and Miro must be retrieved. Before they return to the forest, however, Mikhail and Miro arrive in the orchard; Mikhail had set Miro’s leg and together, they followed the others. Back at the boat, the reunion is short-lived when two bear cubs appear. None of the angels know what bears are, and their mother appears when Miro approaches the cubs.

[5] The mother bear slaughters Miro, and Mikhail runs into the orchard for safety. Vasya and the others crowd onto the boat and set off. They float for hours, drifting through a massive dam structure that’s long collapsed and taken back by nature. The river narrows after that, but they cannot go ashore after seeing signs of violence like impaled men and floating entrails in the water. They drift into a canal and pass under a metal sign. On it is a word from their language written in blood: Majstrov.

By now I hope I’ve depicted the characters and their personalities well enough that readers start to care about them. The dread at what’s on shore is just a harbinger of things to come. For those Slavic impaired – majstrov is the Slovak work for ‘masters’.

[6] Vasya and Pavel help beach the boat near an abandoned settlement where they find nothing but skeletal bones and decaying cabins. They shelter overnight, and Pavel traps a rabbit in the morning. None are willing to kill it, so Pavel sets it free in the woods. The surrounding woods contain berries and walnuts, and after eating their fill, the young men come upon a cave entrance. Underground caves exist beneath it, but they’re too cold for shelter. They huddle together in the surface cave and wake the following day to the noise of a low-flying shuttle careening over them.

The angels have never had to kill anything for food. They’ve ate rabbit before, but it was cooked for them by chefs. Killing for dinner is something not even Pavel can handle at this time.

[7] Not long after, they hear a distant rumble and spot a smoke pillar in the sky. Back on the boat, they follow the pillar of smoke, and the closer they get, the more their empathic senses trigger. Making landfall, they approach covertly from the woods and witness a group of ‘demons’ slaughtering the shuttle’s crew. The young ‘demons’ are too caught up in their blood-lust to realize the shuttle contains provisions and medicine; Pavel suggests Fero (the smallest and fastest) get into the craft unseen and snatch up the goods. Vasya won’t send Fero in alone, so they both sneak in while the monstrous horde rape what’s left of the crew members. Fero and Vasya return with the loot, and all flee into the woods unnoticed.

[8] Back at the cave, Vasya starts a fire with the lighter and camp-kit from the shuttle. Wisha and Goran sort through the loot: dry-packed food, hygiene kits, clothing packs, and two cases of antibiotics, bandages, and light painkillers. Something triggers their senses, more potent than anything they’ve felt before, as five ‘demons’ appear at the cave’s opening. The one carrying a bow over his shoulder smirks and says: So, these are the crafty bitches that raided the flyer? The shortest, wearing a long sword at his waist, agrees: It certainly looks that way.

We meet our villains for the first time. I’ve given then names and formed small bios for them. I will clean those up this week and ofc they will change as the story progresses.

[9] Caught in the cave, Vasya and other others huddle together. A thick man with a dagger in his belt is called Matej. He smiles: I knew I smelled smoke. The bowman, Radovan, tells the two largest men, Dalibor and Pivo: Looks like those rumors about some angel cake falling from the sky are true. The two giants laugh: it’s their lucky day—since cannibals always get the angel cake. The sword-bearing man, called Ivan, muses: If not cannibals, the pod-ships land at sea far beyond their land-locked territory. Dalibor likens Fero to a rabbit and, without preamble, drags the petite man away from the others. Pivo and Dalibor pull at his ears, legs, and arms, then tear off his robes. The other demons watch, amused. Matej wonders if the rabbit has ‘a pussy’, and when Dalibor lifts Fero and rudely displays his smooth perineum, Matej loses interest. When Fero bites Dalibor, the massive man thrusts a blade into his stomach, guts him from the crotch to rib cage.

I made things detestably violent here. Trigger warning for depraved cannibal behavior, and of course, the threat of rape. Rape and violence are a common theme in this story – so walk carefully through the mine field.

[10] Fero dies painfully as his insides spill onto the ground. Vasya and Pavel look at one another, terrified. Radovan studies Fero’s remains and, noticing something of interest, reaches into the steaming innards. He pulls out a grayish ovary and wonders what it is—he’s never seen anything like it in any other disemboweled man. Vasya and Pavel eye one another again, noticing the demons gather around Fero’s body, clearing the cave’s opening. Radovan bites into the kiwi-sized organ and offers it up to Ivan, who takes a small bite and spits it out. Matej tries it and like it, then gobbles it up without offering any to Dalibor or Pivo. Goran sobs and crawls to his brother’s body. Pivo snatches him up and, holding him tight, licks his tears. Dalibor yanks at Goran’s kicking legs, also wanting a taste. When Goran begins screaming, Pavel and Vasya sprint out of the cave; Matej and Dalibor chase them, but when Vasya and Pavel run in opposite directions toward the forest, they hear the men give up on them. (Radovan says that angel-cake is much smarter than he thought—he turns to Ivan with a smile.)

This week I will post some backstory on our heavies.

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