July Writing Challenge Day 22: Beginning Phase 3

Hello all. Welcome to the beginning of phase 3 of my writing challenge, where I take all I’ve done for the past 3 weeks and apply it to writing stories I’ve always thought about but never actually gone anywhere with.

First things first, if any of you read yesterday’s post, you might have gathered that I was not feeling well. I was dizzy and feverish and drained of energy and in a foul mood all around. So I got like 3 paragraphs done in the hour I worked, then I went to bed. Today I am better, but I’m still really tired and a little fever-y, so I didn’t work as much as I wanted to. I still wrote for an hour but I only got about 700 words. I plan on doing at least 1,500 each day from here on out, but today I just couldn’t focus. Hopefully I sleep better tonight than I did last night and tomorrow I’ll be rested and ready.

So, with that out of the way, let’s talk about this story. The origins of this idea are now lost to me. I can’t remember how or when or why I thought of it, but I still like it so that part doesn’t matter. The basic premise is this: a young boy in a vaguely London-esque city is taken from an orphanage and put to work in a knacker yard. If you don’t know what a knacker yard is, google it. It’s like a slaughter house but they take carcasses too diseased or malnourished to be much good to anyone and they break them down. Like, every part of them get’s used. And one of the ways they do this is they render the bodies. They throw dead animals in huge vats of warm-ish liquid and wait for them to break up. Everything kind of separates and they use the layers to make things like tallow and lard, bone meal, and glue. It’s a disgusting process and smells horrible. The main character (who I’ve named Gavin but I’m not in love with that name), watches the vats at night and stirs them as needed. He is not well treated, by his adoptive father or by the workers of the yard, and the best thing he can hope for is that everyone will ignore him. He starts having nightmares, and eventually begins to get the idea that his adoptive “father”, the guy who owns the yard, is running a business on the side, disposing of human bodies in the vats. His suspicions are more or less confirmed when he finds human bones in the….soup, and then the vats start talking to him. The voice (maybe voices) convinces Gavin that his “father” is an evil man and that he should kill him and throw him into the vat. Well, he eventually does, but then he finds out that he’s been duped.

See, the voices don’t belong to the angry spirits of the people disposed of in the vats. Instead, they are the manifestations of something else, a God of entropy. Think Lovecraftian abomination (Azathoth springs to mind), or one of the chaos gods from Warhammer fame (Nurgle). This God is the death of all things, the hunger that devours all, the personified heat death of the universe. And, because this knacker yard is all about breaking things down, it’s a perfect window into our world for this God, who just happens to get bored waiting for everything to die and so takes an interest in things every few millennia or so. The God shows Gavin the eventual fate of all things, the inescapable end that entropy entails. Then he thanks Gavin for the diversion and sends him back out into the city with a gift. Gavin is now old, incredibly old, and has less time to wait before fading into the realm of the God of Entropy.

That might not all make a ton of sense, but like I said, I’m still a little woozy. Today I managed to get through one of Gavin’s nightmares and a little further into the daytime after. Tomorrow I’ll try to get at least to the point where he finds the human bones and starts talking to the voices in the vats. Hopefully after that it’ll be one more day where he kills his father and then meets this elder god thing and goes insane. Fingers crossed.

Thanks in advance for reading. Please leave any comments, criticisms or ideas you have so that I can incorporate them as I go. Otherwise, please enjoy and stay tuned for the rest.

Knacker
By E W Morrow
Word Count: 708

Gavin floated. Opening his eyes he saw an endless expanse. At first all he could see was amber light, but as his eyes adjust he saw shadows, other things drifting along just as he was. And he was drifting. He could feel it now, a gentle but irresistible tugging towards a speck of light, impossibly distant but noticeably brighter than anything else he could see. As he went, he overtook some of the shadows. Here was a book, bobbing along in the invisible current. It’s pages were dry and brown, the cover stained with mildew. Gavin could see gigantic bookworms wriggling inside. Next came a pile of oblong objects, all blackened with age and rot. The pile turned and grinned at him. Bones. Something streaked over his shoulder, a lump of iron trailing crimson like a rusty comet.

Ahead the speck of light was brighter now. It was still so very far away, but Gavin thought he could discern a faint, irregular pulsing quality to it. Almost as if it were some kind of erratic beacon pulling him in. Pulling everything in. Around him the shadows were larger now, some the size of trees or large animals, and all of them were horribly twisted and wasted, as though suffering from some kind of blight or the ravages of extreme age. Gavin was cold now, and he somehow knew that he was getting colder each second he drifted towards the pulsing beacon in the distance. He tried to turn away but there was nothing he could do except struggle vainly against the tide.

“Gavin…” The voice was quiet, but not exactly a whisper. It was more like a shout heard from a long way off; something carried on a chill wind. “Gavin…” There it was again. Gavin twisted in the amber, searching for the source of the voice, but there was nothing but shadows.

“Gavin…” This time Gavin happened to be looking at the speck of light, and as it flared the word touched his ear. “Gavin….Gavin…” Every time the beacon pulsed it said his name, screamed his name across the vastness of the void. It wanted him. “Gavin…” It was getting louder now. Just barely, but each time it called it sounded closer. “Gavin…” Real terror gripped Gavin now. Whatever was calling for him was vast and cold and ravenous. More than anything, it was the end. Desperately he pulled against the tide dragging him to it, and inch by inch, he failed. It was inevitable.

“Gavin!” Something heavy slammed against the wood planks beside his head and Gavin woke with a start. A threadbare blanket fell off his thin, sweaty body, and onto the hay covered floor of the loft where he slept. Winter wind blew through the gaps in the wall and made him shiver. “By the gods boy if I have to climb up there you’ll be due for a thrashing.” The voice belonged to Mr. Smythe, the day foreman, and he sounded angry.

“I’m up,” Gavin called.

“Well move your arse, boy,” shouted the foreman. “It’s quarter past already and I ain’t got time to waste on you.”

“Coming.” Gavin reached out and grabbed his tunic on the second try. He slipped it over his head and then reached for his coat on the second hook. Calling it a coat was a bit generous. It was mostly made of patches by this point and was hardly any thicker than his tunic, but it was holding up around the shoulders nicely and kept the worst of the wind at bay. Then he staggered to the edge of the loft and clambered down the ladder. The barn was tiny, just big enough to house a few oxen and their feed, but right now it was empty. Even so, Gavin took care where he stepped as he walked to the doors. Fiero, the stable boy, was notoriously lax in his duties, and Gavin didn’t relish the thought of stepping in anything squishy so soon after waking.

“Hurry up and check the vats, boy!” Mr. Smythe yelled from across the yard as Gavin left the stables. “Got a full load coming in from out by the old Briarstoke way and we’ll want to get them in ‘afore nightfall!”

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