Thursday, 1 September 2016

On Yz and the Beginning (Back to School Special)

AUTHOR'S NOTE: So, for my readers in the US and Europe who may have started school already (I don't know how the system works in Europe, but the US starts in August, does it not?), I would just like to clarify that in Canada, we start school in September. So, this is my back to school special. Fun fun fun. Tomorrow, another will be added titled 'On Yz and the Ending', which will consist of a discussion between a character from this story and another one you've met already (it was separated from this post so as not to confuse new readers; I'm hoping to establish a more effective chronological system to organize these, soon, but for now this will have to do). There will be a second AUTHOR'S NOTE at the end to provide context, which I separated to avoid spoiling the story. Have fun. 

The boy looked up, startled. He had become lost in his research, and as such had failed to note the setting of the August sun. Gathering his papers swiftly, he swiftly left the archive where he was secreted, pausing only to thank the archivist for her assistance. She smiled politely, then returned to her work.
He arrived at his home shortly thereafter, breathless. His two roommates looked up, bemused. “Hey, Jonas. Busy on your little project, again? School doesn’t start for another week, you know.” Said his best friend, Dennis. Dennis’ girlfriend, Delilah, nodded in mute agreement.
    Jonas sighed. “You know from our prior discussions, Dennis, that this is personal. I have a job to do, a duty, a mission. What care you about it?”
    Dennis muttered under his breath, for a moment, then went on; “I care, Jonas, when your mission is insane. Recap it for me, would you, so as to phrase it in your own words and thereby perhaps avoid my ‘internal biases’, as it were?”
    Jonas pulled out his notes. “Conspiracy theorists, as we pejoratively call them, frequently task the government with two things; conspiracy to control all the country’s money via taxation and corporate payoffs, and abuse of power via the secret police, or some such organization. Now, I don’t know the validity of these claims; nor do I care to. My concern is with this;” and, so saying, he pulled out a photo of a copse of trees whose shadows twisted phantasmagorically in the shifting lights of a near-vanished sun.
    “Trees?” Delilah remarked skeptically.
    “No, what they conceal. I have conducted a thorough investigation into the happenings of a certain Professor Archimedes Theosophilus, who vanished some twenty years ago while investigating bizarre ruins near the north of Alberta. Those ruins were then taken over by a local government agency, who also took the liberty of ‘retrieving’ Archimedes’ notes and the few objects he’d recovered. All of these later appeared in a museum, save for one; a flat sculpture made of a black, smokey glass, referred to in the ancient texts only as ‘Yz’, whose existence was later denied in several reports. Since this event, there has been a series of strange killings, people viciously mauled and soaked in a thick black fluid. None of them have ever been solved, but there are often sightings of a creature bearing a marked similarity to the sculpture.”
Jonas took a deep breath, then continued righteously. “It is my belief, based off these reports, that the government succeeded in raising something that should not have been from the sculpture, some creature long sealed away, Yz, and has since used it to pursue their own ends.”
Dennis stared at him. “Soo… Like aliens, but more implausible?” He groaned. “Jonas, the horrors that is school is almost upon us. Why do you dwell on these ridiculous… theories of yours? You have no true evidence save for conjecture, nor reason for your beliefs.”
Jonas stared, for a few moments, his anger slowly rising. This always happened, every time. They didn’t understand, refused to. And so, he expressed these beliefs.
This led to a caustic and furious debate which, for the sake of my younger readers, will not be recorded here. Suffice it to say that it ended with Jonas storming out of the house in a fury, as Delilah physically restrained Dennis. Exiting the house, Jonas stormed furiously towards the nearby park, a place he frequented due to its highly relaxing nature.
It was growing late, and a fog had settled about the ground, misting shadows swirling endlessly around Jonas’ feet. The trees reached over him menacingly, but with an air of melancholy, their branches sagging with age and rot. Their willowy fronds tickled the ground, their noise like a breathy wind. Jonas ignored this, focusing on breathing slowly, until something suddenly stopped him in his tracks.
A dark shape was resting in the shadows, leaning against a tree. It slowly detached itself, moving languidly towards him. He backed up for a moment, nervous, until he saw it was only a young woman. She had short, cropped hair, and wore a leather jacket. There was a series of strange, mysterious symbols carved into the coat, whose purpose defied explanation. She waved in a friendly manner.
“Good evening.” She remarked. Jonas, suspicious of meeting someone so late at night in such an abandoned place, merely nodded. She pulled off her newsboy cap and, somewhat self-consciously, ran her hand through her hair, grinned. “I’ve been looking for you for a while now, Jonas.”
He blinked in shock. “Me…? What do you want with me?”
“You were quite close, you know. Too close, I’m afraid, for you drew notice to yourself as you neared your goal.”
It took Jonas a few moments to realize what she was saying, for his focus was the kind that precluded things outside of it. “Wait, you're from the government? So I was right!”
She winced. “Not exactly. Because it never quite clicked for you, did it? That was what was truly troubling you wasn’t it?”
Jonas was shocked. “H-How’d you know?”
“I can see these things, see them in a man’s eyes. Do you know what your mistake was?”
He leaned forward expectantly, all fear and suspicions gone from his eyes. “What?”
“You assumed the government was lying, and that was the start of all your holes. Because you thought they had it, you assumed the killings were tied to them, despite no evidence therein. You also assumed that they must be using Yz for the killings, because of the inexplicable nature of the deaths with your worldview of the government, as opposed to it being just an important artifact.”
Jonas frowned. “But, if what you say is true, then why’d those people die? They were all looking into the same thing I was? And why so much trouble over a mere artifact?”
Then it hit him. The woman noticed this, and nodded. “Yes. It’s not ‘just a mere artifact’; as successful research into this would prove. But that would threaten much, too much, of my organization’s goals. It must not come to light, ever, not as anything more than the ramblings of bizarre conspiracy theorists.”
She looked at him, a little sadly, her face emulating the atmosphere exuded by the trees of a sorry, yet insidious, will. Jonas realized, in a dawning horror, just what she meant, and began to run.
But as he tore off into the darkness, the darkness engulfed him, the shadows thickening until they swallowed him, screaming, into their depths. The woman stared after the emptiness where he’d stood, for a few moments, somberly, before striding forwards. She eventually found his corpse, its clawed remains soaked in solidified shade. She whistled, and after a few moments a shadow stole its way up to her.
She reattached her shadow in its rightful place, watching it suddenly fade in the lack of light, to return when she was once more soaked in the sunlight on the morrow. Turning to look at the corpse of Jonas, she tipped her cap once more in a silent salute, before vanishing into the mists and indistinct trees.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This story was originally designed by myself, in movie script format, for a French project on monsters some years back. The plot differed in that after arguing over the existence of Yz, poor Jonas walks outside and is immediately set upon by the monster (not existent in this story, but a character originally), being viciously murdered while his friends wait, terrified, inside (after having a debate about trying to save him with 'The Sword of Ultimate Friendship', before realizing its fruitlessness. For some reason, my and my partner's Grade Nine minds then thought it would be a good idea to have the two of them kiss...? Suffice it to say, I shuffled around the 'point of relationship' for this one, weirdo that I was).