Write My Epic … OR DIE!

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    Condensation dripped from a pipe lining the ceiling of the unfinished basement. The small windows dated the basement before current fire code regulations, but there were no other descriptive features that differentiated it from any other basement in America. Wooden stairs, cement floor, sump pump, water heater, air conditioner. Unlike most basements in the US, this one was empty expect for a man chained to a chair and desk with a computer that only had Microsoft Word on it. Marcus.

    Born of a red headed step child, he understood the plight of the abnormal, but hadn’t had to live it. His luscious brown hair and normal physic hid his true genes. He knew the horrors of being different and was determined to free everyone from it. At least until he found himself chained in a basement and staring at a blank Word document for four days.

    The water continued to ping onto the concrete floor. The sound could drive anyone mad, but not Marcus. He closed his eyes and escaped to his recent college days. He had studied literature, theology, philosophy, pretty much anything that would not guarantee a job on graduation. He escaped to a memory of his literature class. The teacher talked about passion, conviction, ideals. It was happiness.

    Marcus was jolted back to reality when a looming man cold cocked him in the face. “I told you to write my epic! Get to it!”

    Follow the characters presented in the entry previous to yours.



    “I don’t know what you want from me!”

    The man was already gone from the room. Every day, he comes in and screams the same thing; “I told you to write my epic! Get to it!” For the fourth day in a row, he’s come in the room, at some point in the day and said the same exact thing. Marcus was trying to remember how he got into this predicament.

    Four days ago, he’d just published his first novel, called “The Modern Epic.” He was out celebrating his achievement, and was entering his fourth bar. His entourage was taking care of drinks, so there was zero cost, and zero responsibility. His protege, William, had been designated as the sober one for the evening, so Marcus was free to celebrate as long as the drinks were being poured.

    The celebration went into the late hours, and around 1 AM things got fuzzy. The last thing he remembers before blacking out was taking a shot someone had handed him. The next thing that is clear in any way is waking up in this damp basement. Chained to a chair in front of a computer with Word open.

    After screaming and calling for help for what seemed like hours, a large man entered the room, wearing what you’d expect a homeless man to wear, and for the first of many times, screamed “I told you to write my epic! Get to it!”

    The little light that gets into the basement has allowed Marcus the painful awareness of how long he’s been chained up. He lost the strength to call for help after two days, conceding that no one would hear him. Now he sits in front of the computer, staring blankly at a blank document.


    Upstairs, the large man takes off his ragged poncho, revealing a clean t-shirt and pressed jeans. He walks into the kitchen and pours two cups of coffee, as the doorbell rings. He walks to the door, and opens it. He smiles at his visitor “Right on time. He’s drained, and desperate. I hope you’ve got something good in store for him.”



    The gray-bearded gentleman in the expensive three-piece merely nodded as he stepped past his greeter. His blue eyes were gray enough to nearly match his well-kempt hair. Once inside, the door was closed and the two men met in the kitchen. The suited man studied a laptop’s screen which displayed their captive in a somewhat grainy and dark picture. The cups of coffee were for the moment, ignored.

    “It appears that he is quite weakened, sir,” the old gentleman commented in his thick Virginian accent. “Sir” sounded more like “Suh” to his compatriate and the usage of the word was polite.
    “Well, yes. I’ve given him water about twice a day. A little food,” the subordinate stated flatly.
    “He has typed nothing,” the elder stated.
    Turning from the computer on the small table, the gentleman stepped from the room and bid the other follow with a tilt of the head. There was no doubt that the troublesome fellow below them could hear two separate sets of footsteps. It was no matter. The two captors entered an empty bedroom just off the hallway and turned to face each other. Though the first man had gone through the trouble of stuffing thick pillows in front of the vents and had taped them in place, the older gentlemen kept his voice low.
    “Of course you shall refrain from using names in front of him,” said William Mickelsby as he held the other’s gaze.
    “Yessir,” Jack Beltran confirmed.
    “If he hears my voice, our dear friend Marcus will understand everything in clarity,” William drawled. The other merely nodded. “In which case, he will never cooperate and we will be forced to dispose of him.”
    Jack stood quietly as Mickelsby stepped about the room, inspecting the taped and covered vents with the toe of an immaculately polished wingtip. After a moment, he sidled next to Beltran and nearly whispered the rest.
    “As we speak, you and I are losing many friends as a result of this man’s publication,” William noted the look of concern on Jack’s face and placed a hand on his shoulder to still him. “Now, some are simply being reassigned. Relocated. However, a few are being…well…erased. You understand me, sir?”
    Beltran nodded.
    “I know Marcus. I can tell by the look in his eye that he is not yet defeated. No, sir.”
    Beltran stilled and watched the eyes of his boss drill into his own with a mixture of sternness and fatherly guidance. It was why so many in the bureau remained so loyal to the man.
    “You will give him another couple of days of this treatment. If he does not begin to communicate by…say, Friday, we will have to move forward.”
    “Now then,” William Mickelsby said slightly more loudly. “How about that coffee?”
    “This way, sir,” Beltran said with a mild smile in response to his boss’s.



    Marcus woke. Night had fallen. The glowing computer screen stared back at him. He reached out and typed.

    A long poetic composition centered around a hero.
    Majestic story
    Great size

    Marcus scratched his chin. His first and only publication, “The Modern Epic,” was a non-fiction book that analyzed the history of epics, from Homer’s Odyssey to today’s heroic centric plotlines.

    Chris fell from the sky
    But she was caught by a fly
    That was as large as a house
    And as quiet as a mouse.

    Chris was known for her tenaciousness. She would stop at nothing to get what she wanted.

    Marcus stopped typing. “What am I doing?” He slammed down on the backspace key, but nothing happened. He highlighted the passage and hit delete. Nothing happened. He highlighted and clicked ‘cut’ six different ways. Nothing happened. That passages he wrote were still there.

    “What if I misspell something? What if I was just testing something out? It’s like I’m typing on some kind of lame-ass blog site,” Marcus assessed.



    Marcus placed his fingers on the keyboard to type again, but stopped when a woman stormed down into the basement.

    “You finally stared typing,” she smiled. “Does that mean you’re finally going to write my epic?”

    Marcus scratched his chin. The chains that hung from his wrists clinked together. “I thought I was supposed to write that other guys epic.”

    “I’m not going to tell you what to write. Guy or girl. Right or wrong. It’s all the same as long as it gets done. Now, what do you want to eat, or should I take away your reward.”

    “I’d like the keys to my cuffs for dinner.” Marcus smiled.

    The women wound up and slammed her fist into Marcus’s face. “I told you to write my epic and that’s what you’re going to do.”

    She stormed back upstairs. William Mickelsby was waiting for her. “He started typing. You shouldn’t have gone back down there. He’ll figure it out.”

    “That wasn’t writing that was a bunch of words thrown together out of boredom.”

    “Chris,” William continued, “You need to calm down and do this by the book.”

    “You calm down. I don’t have a penis anymore. I was Jack Beltran, adventurer. Now, I’m Chris no penis. I got a goddamn giant fly outside that doesn’t make any noise. He’s lucky I didn’t kill his ass.”

    “Relax. This is just how it starts off. Rewriting your life takes time. The fly will be gone before you know it.”

    Chris Beltran brought Mickelsby a cup of coffee and peered out the window at her giant fly tied up in the backyard. “Are the police going to come? They can’t just let me have this thing in my backyard.”

    “It’s completely normal to have a giant fly. Your neighbors love the fact that it doesn’t make any noise. As long as Marcus writes in the past tense, everything’s going to be fine.”

    Chris plopped down on the chair next to William and threw his face in his hands.

    William chuckled. “You didn’t worry this much when you were a man. If you like I can remove you from the equation. Then, you wouldn’t know what you were… well missing.”

    “No, no. I don’t want to forget.” Chris straightened up. “I might want everything to be different, but I never want to forget.”

    ((These 5 chapters come from a time before Catalyst, but the next chapter is up to you!))

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