Hey guys! Sorry for the long silence on this site! I’ve been working on the second version of aBANDoned, named TATRD. It’s very different than its’ predecessor, but it is less cluttered and way better (I hope). Here’s an excerpt from it. I’d love to hear feedback, so please tweet at me (@hascerflef or @DisneyJournal) or respond in the comments!
TATRD: Game IV
He closed his deep blue eyes, imagining a world free of torture, of TATRD. He imagined himself at home, on his comfortable bed playing Pac Man and listening to the latest podcast. He imagined the comforts of Minneapolis, far from the ruins of Grove. But daydreaming only made him angrier. Why couldn’t he have just ignored the brochure and moved on with his life? He was too adventurous: he knew that one day his passion would get him in trouble, but he never imagined he would die doing it.
Realizing his fantasies were only making him more bitter, he opened his eyes and was greeted once again by the intimidating forest he found himself completely lost in. Even in the evening daylight, the woods terrorized him. TATRD could be hiding behind any tree, just waiting to kill him. He decided to move to his left, hoping that maybe that was north and would lead him to the road where he could hitch a ride. Just before he began moving, the soft flicker of a candle caught his eye. His heart jumped for joy, but only for a small second. Behind him, quiet voices slithered their way through the thick trees. He couldn’t make out what they said, but he knew they were coming towards him. He ran towards the light, careful not to step on a branch which would reveal his location to his pursuers. The voices grew quieter and quieter, and the light grew brighter and brighter, until it engulfed everything. Fighting the blindness, Barry made his way to the clearing, where a table lay. The table was lavish; the legs were of a fine dark wood. A gray tablecloth covered the tabletop. On the table sat five metal plates covered with metal bowls, and a placard near one of two chairs. Barry walked up to the table, and read the placard. ‘Barry Smith’
“Nonononononono,” Barry said, backing away from the trap he walked into. The sounds of the TATRD bass drum began buzzing, echoing around him like a snake encircles its’ prey. With every step he took away from the table, the sound grew louder.
“I can’t deal with this!” He ran back into the woods, which were now the comforts he needed. The bass drum stopped, and the voices started again. The whispers pierced his spine and sent chills from his head to his ripped shoes. Once he thought he was safely out of TATRDs grasp, he fell down, curling his head into his knees like a terrified child. Maybe the voices were his own mind? Was he going crazy? Why was he alone? Where was Ralph? Where was Diana? Questions swirled through his weakened mind. Who is TATRD? Why do they do this? What is their reason? The traumatic events of the last few days left him filled with questions, but starved of answers. He sat in the defeaning silence, and began crying. The tough badass he built himself up to be, finally broke.
Thump. Thump. Thump. The sounds of footsteps raced past him, waking him up from his tear-induced slumber. Standing up, he rubbed his eyes and squinted to get a view of the world he re-entered. It was much darker than before; he must have been asleep for a long time. 1:32 AM, his watch blinked.
“Shit,” he said, brushing the dirt and insects off his tattered jeans. Suddenly the world lit up. In the near distance, a candlelight flicked. To his left, another one flicked. And two his right too. All around him were candles. Ripping his camera from his bag, he snapped a few pictures of the strikingly beautiful scene.
“Why can’t you just let me leave!!” The wind howled in response. The orange glow illuminated the world around him, and yet he felt colder and more in the dark than before. TATRD would never let him escape, at least not alive or on his own terms. He may as well let them play their games, and maybe they’ll kill him out of pity. He chose a candle and began walking. The TATRD bass drum began beating to his footsteps. As he approached the candle, it grew louder, and a much higher bass drum joined its’ lower counterpart. He reached the clearing after what felt like hours to his bruised mind. The table was exactly identical to the other one, aside from one key difference. On the napkin nearest the spot reserved for him was a golden key. What it unlocked, Barry did not know. What he did know was that he was about to further his nightmare. He sat down on the chair.
“Callbacks are one of the most interesting parts of a film. Referencing something that happened earlier in the plot will often make you think twice about the minuscule details. The stuff you think is unimportant may actually be way more important than you think.” A terrifying voice rose from the darkness, her tone striking fear into Barrys’ heart once again. The Host emerged from the shadows, her ominous dark robe dragging across the floor. Her hood covered all but her mouth, which carried a demeaning smile and a terrifying scar.
“Why are you doing this to me?!” Barry spat, looking up at her covered face.
“You haven’t earned the privilege to know, Barry Alexander Smith.” Her wicked smile seemed oddly familiar to Barry, but it could have been his imagination.
“Welcome to the fourth Game: DINE.” She sat down in the chair opposite of Barry. Five other members of TATRD marching into the clearing, each standing near a covered plate.
“Game?” Barry gulped.
“You’re our little toy, Barry. You’ve become entertainment. Think of it like a really messed up reality TV Show.” Her monotonous tone ripped Barrys mind to pieces: how could she be so calm and say such horrible stuff? How could anyone be so malevolent? He sunk into his chair.
“Dining at this table is no easily feet. I must commend you for that. You’ve survived three other games. But you aren’t done yet. This game is life or death, I’m afraid. Under these covers are five different dishes: Pasta, Pizza, Ham, Turkey, and Cheeseburgers. Four of these are poisoned, one is not. Choose correctly and I’ll answer any two questions.” One by one each TATRD man lifted the cover off the plate, revealing five elegant dishes. The Host up, and walked with the men back into the woods, leaving Barry all alone. He stared at the meals, trying to decipher her words: maybe she left him a hint… He thought back to her opening spiel: callbacks… One of these must have a connection to something that happened earlier! He was only given canned corn and pineapples to eat. The pizza didn’t have pineapples on it, so that was ruled out. He was about to give up when he remembered: the fake Diana he saved earlier had a piece of ham strapped to her forearm. That had to be the callback. Barry stood up, and grabbed a piece of the cold, soggy meat. The sound of a snare drum buzzed around him as he sat down and placed the ham in his mouth, chewing and swallowing it. Suddenly the snares stopped, and all was silent for a long moment. Suddenly the sounds of clapping erupted. The Host emerged once again, clapping with an enthusiastic smile on her face.
“Congratulations, you’ve chosen to remain our entertainment for a little while longer,” She laughed.
“You promised answers,” Barry pushed.
“Fine. What do you wanna know?” The Host asked, sitting down.
“Why do you do this?” Barry was fighting back tears.
“What a typical question,” The Host said, motioning to the woods. Two burly men in TATRD robes emerged, carrying a chest. They set it down in front of him.
“You know what to do.” He grabbed the golden key and unlocked the chest. In it were dozens of pictures and newspaper clippings. He picked one up and read the headline:
“Inside the Communist Drug Factory Turning all of us Submissive!” It read. Barry gave it a weird look and set it down, grabbing another article. “Grove Drug Factory Shut Down Over Unsanitary Conditions Exposed in Tabloid”.
“The Media destroyed our lovely town,” The Host said, pure anger and rage in her monotonous voice. Barry reached into the chest and pulled out a picture. It depicted an orderly, vibrant town. In fact, it was a little too orderly: there were no roudy children, animals, grafitti, or litter.
“You don’t have much time left. What’s your final question?” The Host asked. The two burly men closed the chest and locked it.
“Who are you?” He asked.
The Host stood up, and walked over to Barry. She grabbed her hood and pulled down.
TATRD will be available on the Kindle store by the end of 2017.
Please please please leave feedback for me! I want to improve TATRD and my writing in general.