Claims for future chapters are allowed; I will remind you in the thread where you’ve commented at to let you know when it’s your turn.
Here are the guidelines and rules if you are interested in participating in this project:
- Leave a comment expressing direct interest in writing or claiming a chapter. First come, first serve. You must comment your interest in writing a chapter. If you, however, send in a chapter without expressing interest beforehand, the submission will not be accepted, unfortunately.
- The participant who claims the chapter has seven days when it’s their turn to write the chapter and subsequently send it back to me. If accepted, I will provide edits if needed and the chapter will be up the day after it was submitted.
- If I don’t hear back from you regarding the chapter, however, and it is beyond the one week limit, I will be searching for someone else to write it.
- Please do not submit to the form without commenting your interest in writing a chapter.
- Authors can write multiple chapters—no constraints or limits on how many they do. However, there is a general courtesy to not claim one chapter after the next. This is to allow other authors a chance to participate and as well get their own claims in for future chapters. When it’s your turn, I will remind you in the thread where you’ve claimed the particular chapter.
- There is no deadline for this story. When I feel it’s near the end, I will release a notice on here to get the final few chapters in.
- The minimum word count I will accept is 500. The maximum word count I will accept is somewhere between 8,000 to 10,000 words.
- If no one seems to claim an upcoming chapter, then I will jump in to write again.
- I will not accept anything religious, outwardly political, hateful, pornographic, slurs, or anything that is demeaning, threatening or harmful in its content. Please nothing that is against a particular group, or anything that demeans a certain group of people that would be considered racist, homophobic, sexist, religious discrimination or prejudice. I will not accept your piece if that is such the case.
- An exploration of social issues is fine. It should not alienate or debase the audience, though, in your writing.
- I will as well include your name/pen name and a link to your website (if you have one) with your contribution to the novel collaboration. The novel is titled “Identify.”
You can submit your continuation here.
Need to catch up? Here are the previous chapters:
Chapter One (Psyche) by Lucy.
Chapter Five (Insight Part I) by Amitbhat0912.
“You are a sheer pain in the ass. If you were not my damn brother, I would have left you to rot in those fields,” Lauren murmured making sure that Tom couldn’t hear.
The downpour was getting heavy, but that was not the reason for Lauren’s worry. She was still trying to calculate the entire process she had to escape this dreaded island; and the hiss she heard was bothering her.
In a haste, she took out the leftover medical supplies she snuck from the abandoned laboratory before wandering onto the desperate path of freedom.
Tom was trying hard not to let his strength wear away, but the excruciating pain was taking a heavy toll on his guts. Feeling concerned about the safety of himself and Lauren, he uttered “You should have let me rot in the field,” –which caused Lauren to burst into a fanatic, but quiet enough laughter.
Tom didn’t ask her about her giggle but rather if she had another cigarette to spare.
Lauren cocked her head to the side. “Screw it bro, in this rain… Not even a cigar will burn. Besides, I don’t like the idea of giving an invitation to the scavengers by a perfect smoke signal, so,” she kicked the dirt, “beat it.”
After she tied a tight knot around his calf, Lauren helped steady Tom on his feet and in a commanding tone said, “Let’s move ahead soldier, we have a fort to capture.”
Tom`s eyes glittered. It was as if these words somehow tingled a nerve deep within his ravines, and a bubble of adrenalin gushed out into his dying system that Lauren was dragging along.
Lauren pulled out the map to look at their progress and the anticipated distance they have to cover to the first x on the crumpled piece of paper. She was murmuring, “River bed, then old oak bridge, pass the grassland and damn, we are there.”
Tom tried to control his pain and be a pillar of support rather than be a dead load sagging on Lauren’s back. However, the mist that covered his mind was making active thinking very difficult. He was still in a dilemma from this entire episode: castaway, experiments, disfigured faces and above all, a sister he never had known of.
Lauren was calculating the fastest way to reach the first x– the enclosure where, as per her research, they would find the reinforcement depot containing emergency supplies and perhaps some better weapons to have a fair fight with the scavengers deployed under an oath of faithfulness to the peers running the damn show.
Zara, however, was watching over the two like a well-trained sniper, keeping track of every movement, every breath. She was enjoying the stench of Tom`s blood as much as she enjoyed her fresh kill–the poor desert vulture.
While in her vigil, a thought resonated in her cold heart.“If only he would have listened to me, he would have probably been by my side and not by her.”
But, she controlled herself and like an obedient soldier, focused back on the subjects she was designated to drag back now to the deadly dungeons of the brutality personified.
She stealthily paced away from them to keep a sharp vigil on Lauren’s next move. As far as Zara was concerned, she was not worried about Tom since he was half dead; life oozing out through his eyes and in a state of amnesia. That much, she recovered from the siblings’ conversations.
Gathering all her might, Lauren gave a thud on Tom`s bum. “Let’s march to our destiny, and please, please don’t die.”
The rain was easing out on them, but the slippery path was proving to be an extreme hazard, slowing down the pace adding to Tom’s difficulties as he limped fanatically to match Lauren’s gait.
The river bed was not an easy terrain; the torrential rains had, in fact, made the edges weary where some areas would give away the moment any extra weight was on it. Kind of like an old sinkhole waiting to disappear under. Lauren was navigating each step by puncturing the ground with a makeshift bamboo spear. The sideway winds were echoing through the massive bushes. Not many were brave or stupid enough to wander on these paths. Was it a wise decision? Lauren thought, while toiling through the bushes and trying to carve a path ahead; she occasionally turned her head behind to look if Tom was still there or if he became food for the wolves.
Somehow astonished with the grit inside this girl dragging a “dead duck” across the killing grounds, Zara was matching them step to step like a well-trained killing machine–proficient in perhaps a better tactic than guerilla warfare. And oh! How much she enjoyed this trail with that sweet smell of blood dripping out of the damp cloth covering Tom’s wound.
A desperate want, a catastrophic battle, and a turmoil was gripping in Tom`s brain, while he was still struggling hard to keep up, to gather whatever information he would need to process his own memories first. He wished he could remember, but nothing was coming back to him. Alas, “if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.”
Dwindling and drooling, finally they were paces away from the old oak bridge. In excitement from the sight of the next pedestrian to the final destination, Lauren took a deep sigh of relief. All without realizing the hawk’s eye was right behind them at a striking distance, yet camouflaged in the environment like a chameleon on a dead tree concealed by nature and its nature in a knotted juxtaposition.
A massive array of screens, dials, lights and data flowed in a well-coordinated, orchestral manner. There was a centralized oakwood table and a chair concealing the sight and presence of the ring leader with all reins in their hands. Constant intertwined lines of smoke rose from perhaps a “Davidoff ultra- light,” and a pristine fine cut wine glass held the darkest blood red elixir for demonic deeds.
This was the N.O.R. Headquarters.
With a nod of the head, the operator pressed an array of buttons to have the distinctive red spot traced on the screen. The images fluctuated in a rhythmic gesture, fixing on a trail parallel to the riverbed that was moving towards the red oak bridge.
The ringmaster waved some distinctive hand signs to one of the guards and ordered him to leave the command center.
“Tom… Tom.” He was as dead as a rock. “Wake up! Please wake up, we are almost there. Please, don’t do this, please. I need you.” Lauren was flabbergasted seeing her brother unconscious from the excessive bleeding in his leg. She dragged him under a nearby tree, re-checking his wound. It was deep; muscular tissues were significantly damaged. Frantically, she grabbed a swab from her bag and stuffed it inside the deep red hole. Tom stirred, almost letting out a deafening cry of pain but Lauren, anticipating it in advance, clutched his mouth shut to conceal their presence. Z46, however, could hear them.
“Lauren, please leave me here,” Tom twisted in agony. “You don’t have to die because of me.”
Seeing her brother in such dismay, she gave him a tight hug. “If I had, I would have done it at the first instance I knew you were still alive and not experimented upon, all those years ago.”
During this emotional turmoil, something changed drastically. Lauren pulled out a cigarette, concealing the light as best as she could, and slipped it to Tom’s lips. Tom took a long drag as if it was oxygen and he did not let it come out. For a moment his lungs felt an abrupt burning sensation, but perhaps he needed it to regain his strength to pursue the long road ahead.
Both mustered their will once again, the next pit stop just paces away. Somehow, fear was associated with it as they had to leave the bushy concealed path and emerge in the wilderness–open to nature and unnatural dangers lurking over their heads.
A cunning smile passed across the blood thirsty lips of Z46 as she immediately laid out a well-planned ambush.
The guard rhythmically marched across the glistened granite corridor towards the Iron Gate bolted. It was only to open from a command of the highest authority. His heart was pounding even at the thought of the deed he was asked to perform.
Zara and Tom were hiding under the operation table whilst the mad scientists were preparing for another inhumane deed of amalgamating different chemicals to be marinated into the veins of the newly-brought in subject. Fanatic cries screeching within the dead grey cemented walls; the rustic syringe penetrated through the vein initiating a series of genetic transformations.
Aghast, both Zara and Tom remained silent to conceal their presence in the room. When suddenly sound prevailed in the room, “Let it happen, it will take its usual time. We will monitor the progress and report back to the master.” Saying this, all the wizards moved out of the space, coincidentally leaving the door open.
Tom swung into action, holding Zara’s wrist hard enough to leave the imprint of his masculine strong fingers; a mark of his infatuation for her. “Let’s move ahead soldier, we have a fort to capture.”
She followed the orders of her passionate leader. But before they took to the unforeseen adventure, she stopped him and asked, “Tom, are you sure about this? I’m really not. I’m fearful and it’s making me feel… pretty weak with my limbs.”
“Trust me on this, we will make it out of here with a beautiful life ahead of us, all away from this hell.”
He gathered whatever he could to use as a weapon to venture into the deadliest ordeal.
Remaining covert, they moved through the dark basement towards the gorge that separated the fortress from the depth of the ocean; Tom had seen an abandoned (but partially wrecked) boat which could be their only survival from this heinous world of torture, a satanic cult envisaged in the lab of death.
Somehow, their lucky stars paved an uninterrupted way for them to reach the boat, and Tom pushed it down the dead dry sand into the pristine clear water. Off they went into the arms of the mighty ocean, unaware of the direction they have to navigate through for the destiny they had chosen and yearned for.
Strong winds pushed them away from the island, when a tranquillizer dart penetrated through the seventh layer of Tom’s skin knocking him down like a wild boar off the deck into the deep ocean. Zara, dumbstruck in shock, kneeled down accepting what was about to come.
“Leave him at the mercy of the sharks and the guards of the sea, take this rotten piece of shit to the lab for the destiny she has chosen for herself. Number her Z46.”
Shackled on the operation bed, the concoction was prepared, a strand from the black mamba, another one from the wolverine and third from the chimpanzee mixed in a marmalade of chemical zeta. The moment the mixture of fate entered her nervous system, she screamed as if a thousand arrows had pierced her body in a jiffy. She convulsed and was unable to remember anything afterwards.
She eventually escaped to the vegetation of Kakoa and Bushnell berries all around. The thirst burning her throat was not yearning for water, it was a thirst for blood, fresh blood. She couldn’t remember everything for sure from the ordeal she went through. Then They had found her again.
Zara was interrupted from her thoughts when a distant light diverted her attention. The river was lit with lamps announcing the feast for the scavengers like herself, but this one was somewhat different, at least for her.
She moved swiftly to cover the distance she had lost.
The escapees continued to trudge on in the marsh. Lauren expelled a sigh from her lips, perhaps boredom, perhaps exhaustion, and abruptly jabbed her brother in the butt with her bamboo cane. Stumbling back, his hands caught onto the nearest hanging tree-limb. “What the fuck? I could have tripped and fallen on my head!”
“Sure don’t want that happening. We don’t need you to have any more brain damage.”
Tom rubbed his temples. There was no use in engaging with her like this. “What did you want, Lauren?”
“I’m wondering… Do you even remember what happened to your girlfriend?”
Tom was zapped at this weird question coming from his proclaimed sister. He pretended to think it over, and with a sarcastic grin, “It seems time has a lot in store for me! First, a sister I’ve never known of, and now a girlfriend. What else do I have that I don’t remember, SISTER?”
She looked at him in frustration and astonishment, feeling sorry for him all the same. “Let’s keep walking… Shnopsey.”
The guard halted his march and pressed a few buttons on the electronic code panel. CRANK a small block of metal slid open.
“The master has summoned you for a task, better get ready and hurry up.”
During those few moments, a rotten stench filled the air as if an osmosis of squid ink filled the ocean with the most dreadful black horror. A callous “YES” sneaked out before the panel closed blocking the disgust.
Lauren and Tom mustered all their strength and their courage to appear into the open barren land to cross over to the oak bridge; it dwindled on rotten jutes, looking very unpromising of bearing their body weight, but they had no choice. While crossing mid-way, Lauren heard the familiar hissing at a close distance; she froze to explore the surroundings.
“What is it, Lauren?” Tom whispered hurriedly. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing, Shnopsey. I thought I heard a familiar hiss,” and they continued taking careful steps as to not screech the silent night.