Author Topic: Chapter one from The Hero's Code (1345 words)  (Read 564 times)

Offline jkalman

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Chapter one from The Hero's Code (1345 words)
« on: October 06, 2018, 02:38:28 PM »
This is the first chapter from my completed manuscript - The Hero's Code

Would love to hear your impressions and/or suggestions

Blurb: Hate never overcame hate. Only love overcomes hate. This is the Law, ancient and inexhaustible (The hero's code). When the forces of mayhem infect the afterlife and dissolve the distinctions between heaven and hell, Mina has to master the hero's code to collect the superhero items that will empower him to take on Raven and her plans to rule over everything.


Chapter 1: Graduation

One moment Karlie and I are zipping along and laughing at how she says, “I'm so ti-yard,” and the next I'm staring down at our lifeless bodies.

I still feel like me, but my body is a discarded bathrobe – no longer part of me. I feel as much affinity with it as the passenger seat in which it sits impaled on a metal pole.

Karlie floats next to me as a body of soft light, her hair spilling down like a chocolate waterfall as she peers at her own corpse. She glances at mine and grins, “I told you that shirt doesn't go with those pants.”

I stretch into my new found state of freedom, like a wave breaking and then re-discovering that it's the whole ocean. What a glorious strangeness compared to being crammed into a body, and yet how natural it feels to be free. The corners of my etheric mouth curl towards the sky. No more nine-to-five drudgery; no more struggling to fit into a world where I never felt at home.

The crash scene bustles like a poked ant hill. With my new spirit eyes everything shines in deluxe Technicolor, and I can see inside, around, and under the car all at the same time. Whirring sirens close in. Some heroic bystanders are tending to our bodies in the smoking wreck, while the morbidly curious gather nearby. My interest in the scene withers like a Fall leaf in time lapse. My days on Earth are done and it's time to get out of this senseless corner of the universe.

“Do you think we passed?” Karlie asks as we turn toward the tunnel which draws us onward as naturally as a mountain stream flowing toward the ocean.

A sinking feeling passes through me like in the my haunting dreams where I have forgotten to study for finals. “Passed? What do you mean?”

“I mean, I hope we did what we came to do.”

“Which is?” I ask nervously.

Her voice trails off as she slides a hand into mine and we enter the tunnel, “I don't remember.”

Our sun is a shadow compared to the light that draws us towards it, and yet this light is pleasant on the eyes. The majesty of the light imbues the tunnel with an ultra-familiar peace which quickens our pace until we are soaring at a thrilling rate and the light becomes larger and brighter until it overtakes the darkness of the tunnel and leaves us absorbed in a place of brilliant wonder. A previously unnoticed silver cord that tethers me to Earth dissolves into the light and within my psychic eye a projector tape is rapidly unravelling to an end. The fear of ending grips me as the story of “me” winds down, and then relief washes over me as the tape seamlessly drops down to another spool, and I realise that I have moved onto the next chapter of my existence.

My sight rapidly adapts to the light and I twirl around. I am in an amphitheatre, suspended in star-lit space, and the arena bustles with newly arriving souls as if we are in some kind of cosmic airport terminal. I watch curiously as souls arrive through a myriad of tunnels, portals and stairways of light. The souls then congregate into like vibrations, and project to their next destinations in a dance of perfect harmony, as if this place and all its activities are the workings of one overseeing Mind.

“Mina, welcome home!” calls out a familiar voice from amongst the streams of living light. “Ema!” I call back as I recognise my spiritual mother from times older than memory. But wait a second. That name she called me. Of course, I am called Mina here.

“I missed you!” I beam at Ema before sliding into the arms that let me know that I am right where I am supposed to be.

She strokes the top of my bald head, “I was watching over you the whole time you were on Earth.” She then pulls back and gives me an exaggerated wink with one of her owl-like eyes.

“No, no, no,” I sputter looking away. Lies, angry fits, imaginary conversations, fetishes, strange insertions …, my mind races. “Please say you weren't watching everything?”

She laughs off my concern, “We've all done it all. There is no judgement or punishment, only experiences to have and things to discover and learn.”

“And what am I discovering and learning again?” I ask, still locked in a cloud of amnesia about the meaning of it all.

“Love of course,” she says with such truth that even demons would weep. Her angelic voice glides through part of my veil of forgetfulness and I remember that I was training to become an Elder, like Ema, and fulfil my heart's greatest longing to bring my consciousness closer to Source.

My head hangs, “I don't think I did very well on Earth.”

“Oh, why do you think that?”

I might as well be standing naked before her gaze. “To put it mildly, I wasn't a people person.”

“It's not easy to love jerks,” she chuckles good heartedly, before lifting my chin so that I gaze into eyes that hold and caress the entire universe until my self criticism melts into the vastness of her being.

“Did you murder anyone?” a familiar voice chirps.

I turn and face the forest green eyes and radiant yet mischievous grin of Isa, my spiritual father who strokes my back, making my heart swell at the pride I feel coming from him.

“Murder anyone? Um, no,” I stammer, remembering clearly that Isa has a way of coming at me from around the corner.

With a nod of his head a swirling portal appears, “Right then. This door for you.”

“I mean I was a bit of a clown on Earth. You could say I killed a few people with my jokes.” God I have missed how we dance.

Solemnly Isa shakes his head as a portal materialises ringed by raging fire so hot I recoil. “In that case, this door. We have a special place for jokesters.” Ema rolls her eyes, and with a wave of a hand both portals vanish.

“Where's–”

“Sina's fine.” Ema says reading my mind. “She's over there going through her reception.”

Of course. Her name is Sina, not Karlie, and I have known her … forever. Sina catches my eye and waves before returning to her meet-and-greet. 

I look around at the soul's departing to new realms, whizzing off like shooting stars. “So what happens to me now?”

“Whatever you want,” answers Ema.

“Seriously?”

“You are in heaven.”
 
Then I remember the place that I love to be more than anywhere else in all of existence, “I want to tell Sina that I'm going to my room.”

Isa puts a hand on my shoulder before I can take a second step toward Sina, “Two quick reminders. First, think the words to her and she'll hear you. Second, if you want to stand next to her, think of being there and you'll teleport.”

Sina? I think over to her mind.

Mina!

Holy moly, we're telepathic!

I'll kill someone if this is just a dream, she telepathies back. So where are you headed?

I'm off to explore the wonders of unending existence, I answer.

So you're going to your room to play video-games then?

Pfft. Yes. And you? Inter-dimensional dungeon porn?

Ha ha good one. Not. I'll probably soak in the healing baths for a few centuries. Tell you what, when you're up for it, let's gather at my hang-out with the gang. After that we can go to our life reviews at the Council.

Awesomeness, I telepathy back, and then at the speed of thought I appear in my Cosmic Living Room, the mother of all play rooms.

JanTetstone

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Re: Chapter one from The Hero's Code (1345 words)
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2018, 03:52:20 PM »
Great read. Once I started reading, I couldn't stop. I think it was when you were describing the light drawing you
that I really got pulled into the story- Having experienced seeing such a light many years ago.      jt 

Offline Mark T

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Re: Chapter one from The Hero's Code (1345 words)
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2018, 04:12:27 PM »

I enjoyed this - it got my attention. The silver cord reminded me of Lobsang Rampa's writings. I'm also more or less on the same page when it comes to death and the afterlife. Writing-wise, you have set yourself a difficult task with regard to converting instant telepathy into dialogue, for the sake of the reader. If you avoid dialogue, it will become telly as you labour away describing the telepathic communications. But using dialogue, as you must, tends toward the mundane rather than the profound. I don't know of any literary devices for getting around this. But I like what you have.

Offline jkalman

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Re: Chapter one from The Hero's Code (1345 words)
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2018, 04:29:53 PM »
Thank you Jan. I don't think a day has gone by when I haven't thought about the light that drew me to it some 20 years ago. Its the reason I am drawn to writing stories about the soul.

What did you think about the main character's name, Mina?  I posted my first chapter yesterday on reddit and four beta readers looked it over and each of them asked about the name, suggesting that it is a feminine name. I have been living in Estonia for 20 years and Mina means "I" in Estonian. Sina means "you". I might need to re-think this though.

Offline jkalman

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Re: Chapter one from The Hero's Code (1345 words)
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2018, 04:34:56 PM »
Thank you for the encouraging words Mark.

I use a mix of telepathy and straight up talking in the book. Telepathy for more intimate or private messages. Mostly I use regular dialogue though. I hadn't thought about why I did it that way. It would make more sense if all dialogue was via telepathy, but I guess I sensed that it wouldn't work as a book and went a different way with it. I hope it works :D

JanTetstone

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Re: Chapter one from The Hero's Code (1345 words)
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2018, 05:28:09 PM »
Thank you Jan. I don't think a day has gone by when I haven't thought about the light that drew me to it some 20 years ago. Its the reason I am drawn to writing stories about the soul.

What did you think about the main character's name, Mina?  I posted my first chapter yesterday on reddit and four beta readers looked it over and each of them asked about the name, suggesting that it is a feminine name. I have been living in Estonia for 20 years and Mina means "I" in Estonian. Sina means "you". I might need to re-think this though.

Mina is a male or female name.

1. German Meaning: The name Mina is a German baby name. In German the meaning of the name Mina is: Love.

2. In the valley of Mina is the Jamarat Bridge, the location of the ritual of the Stoning of the Devil, performed between sunrise and sunset on the last day of the Hajj. ... Usually, they spend their first night in the Valley of Mina. This ritual occurs from the eighth to the twelfth day of the Ḥajj.

3. Mina
Boy's name meaning, origin, and popularity

Just threw these two Names in.

Tana is Boy/Male gender and origin is Gujarati, Hindu, Indian, Japanese, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Sanskrit, Telugu. Tana means: Issue . . .

Lumus is related to the Latin root lumen-, meaning light, which in turn comes from the Latin word lux, which means light.

P.S.   I never thought about whether or not the name "Mina" was a male or female name, while reading the story.      jt 8)

Offline jkalman

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Re: Chapter one from The Hero's Code (1345 words)
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2018, 06:02:03 AM »
Thanks for that Jan. Great idea to google the meaning of names! I found out that in almost every language Mina is feminine.
There are a few meanings as you found where it is masculine. I'll let it sit for now. I didn't think it would be so hard to change the name of a character that I have gotten used to!

Offline hillwalker3000

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Re: Chapter one from The Hero's Code (1345 words)
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2018, 08:16:11 AM »
There's not a great deal wrong with this other than the awkward use of the verb 'telepathy' (which is, of course, not a verb). Might I suggest you come up with a shorter, neater word to replace it? You would only have to use it once in the right context for the reader to figure out what's going on.

Maybe push?

Quote
Isa puts a hand on my shoulder before I can take a second step toward Sina, “Two quick reminders. First, think push the thought of the words to her and she'll hear you. Second, if you want to stand next to her, think of being there and you'll teleport.”
Sina? I push to her mind.
Mina!
Holy moly, we're telepathic!
I'll kill someone if this is just a dream,
she pushes back. So where are you headed?
I'm off to explore the wonders of unending existence,
I answer.

Just a thought!

H3K

JanTetstone

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Re: Chapter one from The Hero's Code (1345 words)
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2018, 09:23:45 AM »
Thanks for that Jan. Great idea to google the meaning of names! I found out that in almost every language Mina is feminine.
There are a few meanings as you found where it is masculine. I'll let it sit for now. I didn't think it would be so hard to change the name of a character that I have gotten used to!

You welcome.

Jan sounds like it would be a name given only to girls, but:  Jan:  Since 1880, a total of 19,260 boys have been given the name Jan while 53,228 girls were named Jan.
https://www.gpeters.com/names/baby-names.php?name=Jan

The character in your story wears his name (Mina) well. Why change the name?

Just more of my thoughts . . .


Offline jkalman

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Re: Chapter one from The Hero's Code (1345 words)
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2018, 10:28:54 AM »
Thanks H3K! I made up the the verb to telepathy. Push is an interesting alternative. I will let it sit.

Offline lanettespc

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Re: Chapter one from The Hero's Code (1345 words)
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2018, 08:01:41 PM »
It’s a wonderfully strong first chapter. The set-up is intriguing and the characters’ voices are distinct. You obviously have a talent for vivid description, i.e. showing, not telling. However, I think that forgoing a little of your showing to make room for efficient telling would enrich your story, not spoil it. There’s just so much figurative and highly descriptive language phrase after phrase that I think finding a balance would be nice. (`“Love of course,” she says with such truth that even demons would weep.’ For instance, the wording in this doesn’t quite land for me.)

The made-up verb “telepathies” sounds fine to me. It’s a fantastic first chapter, to reiterate.  :D

Offline jkalman

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Re: Chapter one from The Hero's Code (1345 words)
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2018, 08:10:36 PM »
Thank you Lanette! Your words are encouraging and your insights noted. I appreciate it a lot.