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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3. Chapter 2

As we neared the doors I could hear the hustle and bustle of a busy workplace. Once the doors opened however, Death and I were greeted by dead silence, (pun intended). Everyone in the room simply stopped everything they were doing. Creatures of various shapes, sizes, and origins all just stared at us like a kid stares the first time they go to get on a roller coaster, with a mix of excitement and fear. The only sound in the room was a printer beeping somewhere in the background. It stayed silent like that for what seemed like an eternity, then all of a sudden everyone began to clap, or what passes for clapping for those that have tentacles and claws for hands. What the…

”Don’t let it go to your head kid,” Death said as he led me through the crowd towards the elevators in the back, “They do this every time a new Forgotten shows up. It doesn’t help that it’s been nearly three hundred years since the last new one was born. I’m willing to bet that none of them even know the first thing about what a Forgotten actually does.”

As he finished saying this, the elevator opened up with a beep and I was surprised to see a small creature standing just inside.

“This is Freddy. He’s an imp, and he runs the elevator. He’s here to make sure people get where they’re supposed to, and don’t get where they aren’t supposed to.”

Freddy, as he was called, was short. He was a little over two feet tall, and had greenish-gray skin. He was wearing a red valet suit like you see in old movies, little hat and all. Sticking out to either side of his hat were short pointed ears. He also had a tail that wasn’t quite long enough to reach the floor. His entire body appeared to be devoid of hair, and his lack of eyebrows wasn’t helping the creepiness of his stare. I nervously got into the elevator beside Death and Freddy, something a sane person probably would never do. Without a word, Freddy pressed a button on a long column of many. How does he reach the top ones? I quickly got bored of watching the numbers indicate which floor we were on, before the doors opened to an office no less busy. I followed Death as he made his way to an office in the back, while occasionally giving out orders to the various beings. Most of them glanced up at our passing, but it was nowhere near the fuss downstairs. Once we were in the office Death shut the door behind us, effectively cutting off the noise of the beings at work.

“You’ll have to stay here until Atler arrives. He’s busy taking care of a necromancer in Paris, so it might be a little while. I’ve got work to do, so I can’t talk. There are a few books on the shelf if you want to read while you wait. Now let’s see who died while I was gone,” saying the last to himself as he turned to work on an old computer.

Since I didn’t know what else to do, I took Death’s advice and walked over to the bookcase. Some of the books were in languages that I couldn’t understand, but most were in some variant of English. While looking for something to read I noticed several works by Shakespeare, including an old leather-bound copy of Romeo and Juliet. Deciding that it was as good as anything else I saw, I picked it up and sat down in a cushioned chair near the door.

The feel of the old leather bound book in my hands felt somehow comforting, as though reading was something I did often. The thought occurred to me that the book had to be at least a few hundred years old judging from the way it felt, and how faded it looked. Nonetheless, it appeared to be in perfect condition for its age.  My thought about its age was supported even more when I opened the front cover and saw what was written there…

“William Shakespeare,” was written in large cursive letters, and underneath the signature was the inscription:

“Alas! Poor Yorick,

I come to join thee.”

This made me pause for a moment as I wondered if the inscription was real, or if it had been added later on by someone else. Does it really matter? Soon you’ll wake up from this weird dream, and Shakespeare’s signature will just be a fuzzy memory.

Death must have noticed what I was looking at because he said, “Oh yea, good old Will. I remember when I learned I had to collect his soul. Sad day until I got him to put that inscription in there. All I had on me at the time was Romeo and Juliet, and the line, ‘O Death, O Death, wherefore art thou Death?’ just didn’t sound as good.”

After reading the first few paragraphs of Romeo and Juliet, I decided that it just wasn’t worth the hassle of trying to figure out what they were saying, and put the book down. I then started to really look around the room for the first time. It was a pretty plain office as they go. It had a desk in the center of the room, with a computer, a stapler, a desk lamp, and other basic office supplies on it. To one side of the room was the large bookcase that I had gotten the book from. On the other was a simple filing cabinet that looked like it had been neglected since the computer had been installed. Other than that the only other objects in the room were the chair I was sitting in and a poster behind Death’s desk with a picture of a kitten hanging from a rope and the words “Hang in there” written on it. The walls and carpet were the same dull grey color.

Eventually I got bored of staring around the room and decided to give the book another try. An hour later, I was barely into Act II, and was struggling to pronounce each of the sentences in my head. As I was beginning to feel sorry for people who actually had to speak this way in their daily lives, the door to the room burst open. A muscular man, who looked to be in his mid 30s, with short cropped brown hair walked in. He wore a grey short sleeve shirt, that looked like it was a size too small, a pair of well worn, but still serviceable, jeans, and most noticeable of all was a large broadsword strapped across his back, so that the hilt came up over his right shoulder. I’m not sure what it was about it, but something about that sword scared me more than its owner, who wasn’t exactly a cute kitty cat himself. The sword seemed to radiate a forbidden power, but it was something more than that. It seemed to thirst, to cry out for blood, to be used to rend the flesh of those who stood in its path. It’s just your imagination, I thought to myself, that sword is no more sentient than the book in your hand. Still, I sunk deeper into my seat when the man turned his back to me.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing Death?” The man yelled like a drill sergeant who found one of his recruits sleeping on guard duty.

“I’m filling out a death certificate for a New York gang boss who trusted his second in command a little too much,” Death calmly replied.

“Don’t get smart with me! You know you’re supposed to contact me immediately if a new one shows up, so why is it that I hear about it as gossip in the main lobby?”

“Calm down Atler. You were in the middle of a job, and you were the one who told me to never contact you when you were ‘bustin heads.’”

That was when it dawned on me, This guy’s here for me!

Atler clearly refused to admit defeat and said, “And you know that if a new one shows up, it takes all precedence.” His use of the word “precedence” clearly indicating that he was smarter than he originally appeared.

Death sat there silently, knowing that attempting to continue the argument was pointless. Seemingly satisfied for the moment, Atler turned to look at me for the first time, or rather it seemed like he was looking through me.

“Seriously?” he said, his tone one of bewilderment, “You’re what I’m stuck with? The first new Forgotten we get in nearly three hundred years is some scrawny kid? You won’t last a day out there. I’d be better off getting a troll with a sharp stick to help me!”

I just sat there silently, enduring his taunts. It was obvious to me that this was a man who was used to being in charge. He was used to seeing everyone as a lower level being, and he clearly didn’t like the idea of someone else being on his level, even if it was only in title.

“I guess you’re what I’ve got though,” he said with a hint of resignation. “As they say, ‘If life gives you lemons, crush them until you’ve got lemonade.’ Come on, then. The sooner we start your training, the sooner you can go get yourself killed.”

Without another word, he walked out the door. As I got up to follow, I heard Death quietly say, “Good luck kid, you’re going to need it,” without his usual cheeriness.

Once Atler and I were outside we got into his vehicle, a simple car designed to get you where you were going, and not much else. I started to ask Atler about the Forgotten, after which he immediately slammed on the gas, and replied, “I’ll tell you what you need to know when you need to know it.”

Since it was obvious that he was in no mood to talk, I settled for looking out the windows at the scenery. For the most part the city looked the same as any big city. Now how exactly do you know that, I asked myself, for all you know you’ve never even been to a big city. It had skyscrapers, small businesses, vendors, and fast-food places on every block. The only things that stood out were the creatures of various shapes and sizes. Some were hairy, and had to be at least fifteen feet tall, while others were scaly and stayed hunched low to the ground, but one and all they walked around as if they were on everyday business. After a while of being disoriented by the weirdness of it all I closed my eyes to try to prevent the headache I felt coming on. Before too long though, I felt myself drifting off asleep against my will…

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