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The Cartographer

by Holysocks

Carmen’s pen drifted along the page as he walked, dandelions popping up between his toes. A tune fell from his lips, and then flew to meet the bluebirds. He watched it go, with slight intrigue, but mostly his concern lay in his work. His calling.

The pen jerked up and he frowned down at the parchment again. Like puzzle pieces, sand and soil crumpled together where saplings popped up in front of him, reaching reaching reaching for the sky until they were towering over Carmen, and he simply walked beneath them. Dragonflies whizzed above his head in their new arena, dancing and buzzing one another as they munched on crunchy mosquitoes.

Carmen paused. He cocked his head to the side, pondering the empty valley in front of him. So boring. So flat. Where was the creativity in this landscape? It’s almost as if someone had drawn it simply to get it out of the way, get it done. He shook his head. Such carelessness some Cartographers possessed. How could they even call themselves Cartographers with such ridiculous examples of their work. He tapped the page and tiny black dots splattered the beige parchment. Carmen jerked, realizing a drop had soured over the edge of the page. He let his head fall forward and groaned.

A mountain rumbled up from the plain valley- a magnificent creature. Carmen smiled, and sighed in relief at it’s beauty. He hadn’t made a mountain in a while and he always loved how the trees faded from green, to teal, and then eventually a deep indescribable blue, soft and chalky. Then something began to shift.

Carmen groaned again, hating himself for being so quick to think nothing would happen from the spill. If he was lucky, and he often was, the only outcome would be a deformed toad, or maybe an upside-down rose bush. But the way the ground was turning made him fear the worst. The ground shook beneath him. Gravel tumbled out from under his feet and up, up, up, until the dirt and grit and gravol created an embankment for miles around him, and he was left in the bottom of a crater with the damp clay. Or rather, moist clay. Or, no: Slimy clay. How was it suddenly wet? Before he knew it, water was seeping out of the clay.

Carmen pulled the parchment out of the water, and scrambled to his feet, then he broke out into a trot. Rising water splashed around his ankles and he cursed as it passed his knees, slowing him down to the point where he had to start swimming. This is way worse then a deformed toad. He thought. He hadn’t had a day like this for awhile. The last time he had to deal with a spill this bad he’d been demoted to janitorial work- a position he wasn’t entirely fond of, where you had to clean up after other Cartographers. Messes that ranged from seedless watermelons to two-headed flying giraffes. Carmen loathed cleaning up other people’s crap, especially because their mistakes always seemed more ridiculous then his- so many other Cartographers would mess around with things on purpose! It didn’t seem fair that just because Carmen was the the youngest meant any little mistake and he’d be on cleanup for the next three weeks. He’d just have to deal with whatever happened as it came. Like the water.

By the time he got to shore, the damage had already been done; the ink from the parchment had been soaked and leaked into the splash's lake the entire swim. Carmen gritted his teeth anxiously, looking back at the lake. Wondering what kind of havoc would arise from his mistake. That’s when a fish flopped out of the water, looked Carmen straight in the eye, and said “I hate Wednesdays.”


A/N: I'm mostly concerned if the concept of the idea was easy to understand. I feel like it was unclear how I explained it, so if you were super confused please let me know! <3 This is by no means a masterpiece, just a little story that popped into my head that I wrote the other day. I want to either rewrite this as it is or rewrite it with a lot darker feel to it, because the original idea wasn't quite as peachy. 

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23 Reviews

Points: 880
Reviews: 23

Sun Aug 13, 2017 1:18 pm
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Lumos wrote a review...

Hi Holysocks!

You have a well-written piece here. I can't say I know for sure what's going on. My first guess was that Carmen is some sort of god. But I don't think that's right. Drawing on his paper changes and forms the land (like how he created a mountain and a lake).

I understand that Carmen is creating things, I just don't really get how he's doing it or why. If the other cartographers already formed this valley, then is it his job to make it better, prettier? Did somebody send him to do this job?

I did enjoy the last sentence quiet a bit, it did make me chuckle.

Anyway, I hope that helped answer your question. Feel free to ask anything else if it didn't.


Holysocks says...

AHH I completely forgot to reply to this!! Thank you so so much <3

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28 Reviews

Points: 2076
Reviews: 28

Sun Aug 13, 2017 5:41 am
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MrBrainwasher wrote a review...

Since you asked, whether the concept was confusing. To me, it wasn't.
I got the idea, i was kind of thinking if not 100% then atleast the basic idea matches the storyline of the tv series "westworld". All i meant to say is, if you want to add another dimension to this piece of work, you can take a lot of help from there.
Definetly, this has a potential to be turned into a novel of various genres, whichever(genre) you're good at.
For me the writing was good, so I don't think, if i can help you there much, yet i can try.
Have someone already been working on the project, the boy is working in now? What's his post? What's the main IDEA behind the architecture he is trying to make? Why does he thinks that the work of other cartographers wasn't upto the mark? I mean, this technical part will give the credibility to your story. Fantasy feels good, when it feels real, that's what i think.
This is all i have. Have a good day/night.

Holysocks says...

OH MY GOODNESS. I Can't believe I never replied to these lovely reviews! Thank you so much <3

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you; that is the principal difference between a dog and a man.
— Mark Twain