I mentioned in my Resolutions post that there’s a novel I’ve been feeling the tug to write especially now, and that it’s an idea I’ve had in the can since I was in college. I started drafting it this week, and decided to open the story with a flash forward scene that won’t occur until halfway through the saga I have planned.
I wrote this as an exercise in tone for the story, but may not leave it in as the opening. I’ll debate with myself whether or not I want to give away up front that this character is the core of the saga, but I think in realizing here I want to hide that reveal, my goal with the story’s first phase will be to conceal this character’s place through depth and complexity of motivations and dynamics of this first installment.
This post is titled Desolation, and it may end up being the title of the first part of the saga. It deals with humanity flung violently into desolation, and I reflect that in this flash forward scene as well:
He trudged onward only because continuing to put one foot before the other was a reason to continue being, in each step planted he had being. The alternative, a looming terror of temptation, was stopping. To cease movement, and waste away with no name, no purpose, that terrified him.
There was a net to catch him from that though, when the terror began to wrap itself around him. A crumpled and worn sheet of paper, that he read anytime the weight of the unmarked distance began to pull him earthward. He draws a breath, raspy and rattling down a parched throat, and unfolds the letter, crunchy and yellowing from days in the sun. He reads:
You need to remember things. You are about to embark into a land where everything is forgotten. Remember that when you see nothing but wilderness in all directions and do not know what to call it, these are the forgotten lands, where all is forgotten.
That is where you are. Where you are going is forward to the next town, the next city, to try to find your friend who once traveled even further to find and bring you back from death. That is why you must keep moving forward.
Everyone, including you, will have forgotten, but even if you cannot remember you need to know and read here that you are someone. Hold onto that. When these facts have all faded away and you feel like stopping, don’t. Move forward.
You are Gareth.