Journal of the Forgotten - Vol. 1 - Sample

This is the sample version of a book that I am currently working on. This sample includes the prologue and first three chapters. While I have more of the book itself finished, it will not be uploaded until it is completed in its entirety......

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2. Chapter 1

“Welcome to Hell, or at least the upper level of it,” a man with a long black robe said, with an implied smile in his voice. “Due to a set of unforeseen circumstances you have died, and all records of your existence have been erased. So to get you started I want to ask you a few questions. First of all, the obvious one. What is your name?”

            “Yagarashi,” I replied, saying the first thing that came to mind. Is that really my name?

            “Well, that’s a mouthful. Mind if I call you Rashi?”

            “Well…” Where am I?

            “Good, Rashi it is. You know, you’re quicker than most. Usually the new ones just give me a dumbfounded look when I start asking questions.”

            “I…”

            “Anyhow, next question. What do you remember about being alive?”

            “Being alive?” Is he trying to tell me I’m dead?

            “Yea, you know, before you died…”

            “What is going on here?” I yelled as I started to come out of the daze I had been in since I woke up to the robed man yelling, (well, okay, he wasn’t yelling, but when you’re half asleep it always seems like you’re being yelled at), at me.

            “Right, I forgot this might all be a little confusing to you. I’ll try to explain. You died through a set of unforeseen circumstances that were out of the natural order of reality. Because of this, you died before your time was up, so in order to correct this wrong reality itself erased all proof you ever existed. Kind of like how when a kid breaks something he might hide it and pretend that he never even saw it in the first place. The only problem is that reality is a little more thorough than a kid. That means that everything is erased, memories people had of you, changes you made to the world, it even erased your image from photos and videos. The one thing it couldn’t erase was your soul. That’s not to say it didn’t try, but since it couldn’t erase your soul itself it did the next best thing and erased your identity. Then with nowhere to go your soul came here to the fourth plane of realty, which is basically limbo.”

            I just sat down on the ground. When had I stood up in the first place? As my mind tried to digest all the information I had just heard, I wanted to believe this was all just a cruel joke someone was trying to pull on me. That was when I realized that I couldn’t think of anyone I knew who would do something like this. I didn’t know anyone. I couldn’t think of the name of a single person I had ever met. For that matter I couldn’t remember if I had ever met anyone before. I couldn’t remember a single event from my life either. So, either I had a severe case of amnesia, or the robed man was telling the truth. I wasn’t sure which thought scared me more…

            “Listen, I like you Rashi and it’s been a while since we got a new Forgotten, so I’ll go easy on you and try to explain things a little, but while I would like to stand here and watch you stare blankly into space I really need to get back to the office. We’ll talk on the way.”

            As the robed man said this, I started to take in my surroundings. I was in a room made of some stone that resembled black marble. I can’t even remember who I am. How do I know what black marble looks like? The walls, floor, and ceiling were all covered in glowing runes of some sort that were growing dimmer by the second. It was then that I noticed a burning sensation on my left palm. As I looked at it I could feel my eyes widening with shock. In the center of my palm there was a glowing red symbol. It was the same as the symbol I had sat down on.

            “So that’s your source huh?”

            “My source?” I asked, staring as the symbol on my palm faded to black.

            “A source is the symbol of a Forgotten. It’s what allows the Forgotten to have such immense power. Look, Atler will explain it all later. We need to get going. I left the office so I could come here, and if I don’t get back soon some idiot might let someone have a few extra years.” He held out his hand to help me up, but as soon as I saw it I fell back in shock. “Ugh. I really thought you would have figured it out by now. Before you ask, yes I am Death, no I’m not here to escort your soul to the afterlife, as according to the records you never had a before-life, and no I can’t kill you by touching you, since technically you’re already dead. I know you can’t remember anything, but surely you could have figured this out by now. Now can we please hurry?”

            I numbly let Death help me up, and followed him outside. Though now that I think back on it I have no idea how we left, considering the room had no doors or windows. As we got outside I heard the fear of every old person tell me, “Get in.”

            “You’ve got to be kidding me,” I mumbled. In front of me was a solid black hearse with blacked out windows. The hood ornament was a stylized flaming skull. As I got in the passenger seat I was beginning to think I was just stuck in some weird dream as “Don’t Fear the Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult was playing through the radio. As I was about to give up hope of ever understanding what was going on Death began to speak.

            “Okay, I’m not going to be able to explain everything, but here are the basics. You are a Forgotten, a person who exists, but shouldn’t. Every record of who you were before you became a Forgotten ceased to exist, so technically you shouldn’t either. You’re an anomaly, and the only reason we know you even existed as a human before is due to some nearly imperceptible discrepancies in the records. We can’t even be sure which country you were from when you were alive, and in fact the only thing we can be sure of is that there is a blank spot in our death records where your date of death should have been listed. I can tell you that in all the years since time began there have only been six members of the Forgotten. You are the seventh, as well as the first one in nearly three hundred years. Congratulations on that by the way.”

            “What exactly is a ‘Forgotten’?”

“I just told you, it’s someone who shouldn’t exist but does. If you mean in more detail, then think of them as the keepers of balance in all of reality. The Forgotten wield great power, have extraordinary regenerative abilities, are immune to almost all forms of disease natural or magical, and never age on top of a few other tricks.”

            “And I’m supposed to believe I’m one of these great, all powerful beings?”

            “Believe what you want kid, I’m only telling you the facts. Other than the basics I can’t really tell you that much about the Forgotten. Atler will have to fill you in on that. Anyhow, I’m guessing you want to know where you are. This area is known as the fourth plane of reality. In all there are seven planes. The first plane is known as the Greater Heaven. It’s the domain of the most powerful deity. For the past several thousand years that deity has been the one known as God, center of the Hebrew, Christian, and Islamic religions. The second plain of reality is known as the Lesser Heaven, home of every other deity that has ever existed. If some higher power has ever been worshiped, then you can bet he, she, or it has a section of the Lesser Heaven to call their own.

            The third plane is known as the Living Realm. It’s home to the most populous race in all of reality, humans. There are more humans in that one plane than there are of every other race in all of reality combined. They breed like wildfire compared to the magical races, and that’s why I have an office now instead of going out and doing the work myself. Used to I could go out, collect a few souls, and be back home a few hours later and have some tea, but as the human race expanded I had to hire out new reapers to collect souls for me. Eventually it got to where I’m stuck behind a desk all day doing paperwork.”

After this he glanced over at me, and noticing the look on my face, quickly turned back towards the front window. How does he see out of it? It’s solid black…

“Anyhow,” he continued, “This area is the fourth plane, or more commonly known as Limbo. It’s also sometimes referred to as the bottom level of hell, but that’s actually dead wrong.” Somehow I could sense he was smirking under his hood. “If something doesn’t belong anywhere else, it comes here. This plane of existence also houses all the guilds and organizations that make sure everything runs smoothly. Every race has a guild on this plane and they all work together to ensure that petty disputes don’t end in a war between the planes. The fifth plane is known as Lower Hell. It’s the realm where all the beings known as monsters, by the humans, live. Demons, goblins, zombies, vampires, trolls, etcetera, all live in Lower Hell. Then there’s Higher Hell. Higher Hell is where Satan himself lives, along with his minions that serve him of course. There’s not much to tell you about that place other than that if you ever have to go there don’t trust anything Satan may tell you. It’s not that he’s pure evil and does nastiness for the sheer pleasure of it; it’s just that he only looks out for number one. Everything he does is to his benefit, and there are no exceptions. It’s also where souls judged to live in hell reside. Before you go making any snide remarks, no not all lawyers live there, but Satan does have a nice legal team, so try not to get into any legal trouble with him.”

“Wait, didn’t you say that there are seven planes of reality?” I asked when it seemed he was done talking.

“Yea. The seventh plane is simply known as The Void. No one knows what it is, and no one that has ever gone there has ever returned. It’s rumored that deities’ souls go there when they finally die, or that maybe the Forgotten do. Either way it doesn’t matter, since all passages to The Void were sealed off thousands of years ago.”

After that I just sat there quietly as Death explained all this and more. I attempted to look out the windows at the surroundings, but all the windows were the same impenetrable black. This is probably why, some time later and after I had long gotten bored of hearing about the politics of the guilds, (if I never have to hear about the delicate balance of the treaty between the anteater demons and the ant-sized micro-trolls, it’ll still be a century too soon), it came as a shock to me when Death announced, “We’re here,” in a voice I could have sworn was laced with dread.

I got out of the hearse expecting to see some gothic castle. Instead I was greeted by an ordinary, normal looking, average as dirt, skyscraper office building…

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