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Sognore 1.0

by Anamel


Text copyright © Anamel ™ 2019 

The moral right of the author has been asserted. All rights reserved. This story is published subject to the condition that it shall not be reproduced or re-transmitted in whole or in part, in any manner, without the written consent of the copyright holder, and any infringement of this is a violation of copyright law.

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The small, secluded town of Sognore has gone unnoticed by the public for decades. The people there faded away, leaving the town with a population of roughly five thousand. It was unknown if it was death that took them or anything of natural cause. Despite this, the people never bothered to leave. When they tried, something always seemed to get in their way. It were as if the town itself was cynical; hating the humans that inhabited it so much that it kept them there to suffer. Despair hung in the air in humid, suffocating clumps, haunting every road and home.

Despite it all, Sognore was both foul and beautiful. It was the only mark of civilization in a vast plain surrounded by swamps and forests. Rusty, oiled train tracks lined the land and bony trees grazed the gloomy skies. It was as nights like these that the wind weaved through the dirt roads and trailer parks. Its presence was only known by its ghastly wails as it stopped to peer into windows. It spied on the sleeping faces until it became disinterested and left with a drawn out moan.



Attracted to the window of an orange, small home, the wind peered inside its kitchen window. Drawn like a moth to flame, the wind ate up the scene inside. A hunched over figure sat on the floor, running the pad of their index finger across a shard of glass.



Desperate to see more, the wind squeezed its body through the small crack and landed in a heap upon the floor. The place reeked of a strong, pungent smell. It inched closer to get a better view of the human, pausing in wonder as the human's face turned to the wind. A strip of light from a dim chandelier illuminated part of the boy's face and bounced off his dripping curls. It stemmed out in veins across his cheeks, lips, and neck which stopped at his collar bone. The blood from his finger ran down his wrist and arm in zigzags, resting on his warm, beige skin like a coiled snake.



He wore royal blue shorts that had a flimsy white drawstring and a baggy, grey shirt. Goosebumps raced up his arms and he slouched over, wrapping his arms around his knees. The blood from his finger smeared on his shorts as he turned to stare ate the window. The human's eyes, black as the void, focused on a spider spinning its web above the sink. It must have spent hours weaving that silvery, phantom webs into a beautiful cobweb. It was the perfect deathbed for its meal.



The boy rested his head on his knees, eyes half closed as fatigue began to overtake him. "Good to know I'm not lonely tonighttt! Yup, hah! Gotta spider with me," he said in a slurred voice. His wine colored blood had now reached the bottom of his ankles, mixing with the droplets of water below. The overhead light had now shifted and only revealed his left eye, casting the rest of his body in shadow. The dishwasher dug into his spine as he slumped against it.



He flicked a shard of glass across the room, slicing another finger in the process. Blood spurted from the cut and gathered on the floor. The wind watched in an equal amount of amusement and pity as a stupid smile stretched across the boy's face. The wind knew not why some humans reacted to the pain in the strange ways they did. The scattered glass glinted in the moonlight. The boy's eyes flashed with some obscure emotion as he smeared the blood on his arms and cheeks.



His slender fingers glided across his face and down his throat and collarbone. He tilted his face upwards, his owlish eyes focused on he ceiling. It almost seemed as though he was separate from his body. His breaths slowed, fading into low rattles which shook his chest. The strange light which was once present in the depths of his eyes was now extinguished. His smile had melted off of his face, lost somewhere in the pools of blood. He placed the palm of his hand on his forehead, grating it across his skin in distress.



The human tugged on his hair with shaking hands. His spider friend was nowhere to be seen. He thought he was completely alone. He wrapped his arms around his knees, rocking back and forth and buried his head. The high he seemed to have now transformed into paranoia. He folded in on himself as tight as he could. It was as though he was trying to sink in the floorboards and dissapear.

He eased himself onto the floor, his body pressed up against the sticky blood and water. He could imagine the flashing news title of the strange death of an average high schooler.

"Mateo Torres, sixteen years old, found deceased laying in a bed of glass and blood in his home. Investigators speculate whether it was a suicide or a homicide." The stern, fake voice which mocked concern rung through his head as clear as day. Except death was nothing out of the usual here and no one would think anything of it. Sadness engulfed him. He often wondered how much time it would take for people to forget him after he died. Dying here was about as good as dying in Hell.



Like a puppet on a string, he rose. Mateo used the counter top to heave himself up, standing on trembling legs. He tread out into the hall, his bottomless eyes staring dead ahead. He looked as though he were a newborn lamb, yet the life was sucked out of his body. He paused for a moment, his squinted eyes scouring the living room.



It was a small, cramped space. The room had nothing but a recliner, couch, and a television. A green, patchwork quilt lay draped on the leather brown sofa. The old tube television sat on a light brown shelf, accompanied only by dust and spiderwebs. Looking at it made his skin shiver in disgust. Living in the house was a pain enough, but the furniture was even more ugly.



Mateo's hand trailed against the black, flimsy wallpaper as he approached the door. It was a hideous purple. He grabbed the doorknob like a robot, twisting it in a manner that mocked breaking a neck. The door cracked open as he slipped out through the thin crack.



The muggy air hung over Sognore like a looming shadow, casting the land in mirages and darkness. The shadow's claws raked the stale leaves which hung from the stiff, winding trees. Their bark necks stretched above the swollen beds of clouds in despair. No matter how long they grew, they would forever be chained to Sognore. Their bodies looked like coffins, immovable and reeking with the presence of death.



In the distance two train tracks bent into faraway corners cloaked by darkness. He hated how many of them there were. The only way Sognore's grocery store got its food was by shipments by train. Despite that, he usually only heard them and never saw them. The train usually came in the dead of the night. It often had woken him up from sleep with its haunting beckon.



Mateo's eyes drooped with fatigue as he stared into the darkness. Yet, somewhere in those pools of oil and sludge, there was a spark in his eyes which blazed like twin stars. The heat both from his body and outside made him want to take a nap on the spot. He looked heavenward, knitting his brows as his curls flopped against his nape. He looked as though he were thinking deeply about something. Mateo's mouth twitched and he looked down, his ringlets plastering to his forehead.



Pebbles bit into the soles of his bare feet as he walked forward. A shrill whistle pierced the air somewhere in the distance, fading into the foggy, humid air. The leaves protested and crackled under his feet as he continued on through the murk. He paid no attention to it, and gave no sign that he had even heard the strange noise.



Mateo fiddled with his hands and fingers, rapping them against his wrist in agitation. His body seemed like a weak slice of paper compared to the blackness which engulfed him on all sides. Mateo's shoulders caved in as if he were trying to defend his own body from the outside. He leaned from side to side as he walked, like a tower that was about to fall over. The wind, which perched upon a branch, looked down at the swaying figure.

It had grown bored by the boy of the orange home and sought to relax while the air was still somewhat cool. Yet, it had been interrupted by the presence of a lone human. Oftentimes the wind could notice disturbances in the area, even if it weren't paying attention.



It wasn't too odd to see people wandering around this late, though they were homeless or drunkards. They often lurked in the forest or by the abandoned factories, not in the open. The wind, piqued with annoyance and interest, flew to the ground. For a second the wind had thought it was a wandering spirit, but it was not so. Though the male's face was blanched and sickly, he was alive. The wind, noticing the blood smears on the human's skin, coiled its tail in surprise. How odd!



It was the same young man he had peeked at earlier. He had the same damp, curly hair and dead eyes. It looked like he was about to fall over any minute now. The wind raced behind him, butting its head against the boy's back and forcing him up. The human's groggy eyes slipped over to his left, his mouth parting.



"Everything is watching me," he said in a crackly whisper, "But no one outta here sees me." His cheeks flushed and his legs wobbled. The wind separated into two, pushing upon both of his shoulders until the boy buckled onto the ground in a heap.



He rolled his eyes up towards the wind. The human's gaze was so unnerving. No human had ever looked at the wind with even the slightest awareness of its presence. He did not even bother to put up a fight or try to stand back up. It was obvious that he had completely given up. His hands lay up at the sides of his head, the lower part of his body twisted to the right.



"Did I do something bad to end up here?" It wasn't a question, but more of a pained joke. The corners of the human's lips twitched as they curved up into a slight smile. His pupils darted side to side as he scanned the vacant sky. It was as if he were trying to search for the stars.



"Sometimes I think that's true. Everyone and everything did something so terrible they had to stay here. I dunno, though, 'cause I just like making up cool stories." His breath hitched as he placed his palms on the ground and pulled himself up into a sitting position. The human eyed the broken down train tracks which curved down somewhere deep into the forest. A loud pop echoed off in the distance.



"Should a' consumed me already," he mumbled as he staggered to his feet. His face was swallowed by the darkness as he stood, blending into the void. The human stumbled and tripped as he headed off to the direction of the train tracks. Suddenly he lurched forward, breaking into a wobbly run. His heart beat faster as he closed in on his destination. As he neared the tracks he paused. The human opened his mouth as he gulped down pockets of air. The wind was already ahead of him by now, its body curled around a thin branch which dangled low to the ground.



His behavior was so erratic it was hard to keep up. He seemed sane at the core, but Sognore had already gotten to his mind long ago. It was sad but there was nothing the wind could do about it. The only thing it could do was watch, as it had for decades. The wind unraveled its body from the limb as it flew over for a closer look.



The human was now standing at the edge of the oiled train tracks, scuffling his feet in the dirt. Hoots and screeches sounded off far away. He stepped onto the tracks, facing forward with a blank look on his face. The wind slunk up behind him, giving him a slight nudge on the shoulder. The human seemed to take no mind to it.



The roars and rumbles which sounded even louder as the seconds passed by had no effect on the human. He stood there like a statue, unwilling to budge. The wind twirled around him, settling in front of his face for a final look. The light shone like the sun and its glare flashed in the pits of his sunken eyes. It screamed louder than the rage of the ocean and the wrath of its wheels screamed louder than any siren.


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Sat Sep 07, 2019 2:26 pm
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alliyah wrote a review...



Hello, I'm here since I saw @Dreamy mentioned this story on their wall.

Excellent opening chapter, it was extremely well polished! Narration by the wind is very unexpected, but gives a neat point of view. The chapter leaves us hanging wanting to know what'll happen to the people and what's caused this zombie-like reaction in them as well.

I think this sentence in opening paragraph is really unclear:". It was not said that it was death that took them, nor anything of natural cause. " said by who? It just seems like an awkward way to phrase that.


And the end of the opening paragraph you say something about how despair hung in the air which is reminiscent of wind, which made me wonder if the wind us actually despair?

I love how you say the town is both foul & beautiful, this chapter certainly revealed it's creepy and despairing side, but we have yet to see it's beauty.

One question I had about the characters is that I didnt get a sense of their ages which made them feel particularly generic, I'm not sure if I missed that, but might be something to include to make readers connect more.

Overall great chilling imagery that is violent and shocking without being grotesque or off-putting, and super intriguing premise. You hit that nice balance between action and description too which is hard to catch.

-alliyah




Anamel says...


Thanks for catching that, I didn%u2019t realize I actually had to mention what people said that. I snuck in his age in his own dialogue though I%u2019m sure it%u2019s easy to miss, I probably would%u2019ve too. Thank you so much for the nice review! ^^



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Wed Sep 04, 2019 5:27 pm
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nogutsnoglory wrote a review...



Wow.

Just wow.

This was...amazing to read. Especially for someone your age to be writing like this. The description, the characterization, the personification...astounding.

The only critique I have of this is the mixture of past tense and present tense. I'd like that to be a more consistent, but that's more of a nitpick than anything.

This was...heartbreaking and almost horrifying to read. I had a very odd chill over me as I read this, a pit in my stomach, a sense of dread. And it's very hard to get that feeling out of me, so very good job on that.

And the personification of the wind was done very, very well. To have the story told through the eyes of this omniscient, all-seeing being, who views humans almost like an uncaring god, who sees them as an annoyance at best, really sets the mood for the story and for the setting of Sognore.

Overall, I'm just very blown away by this. Again, to see this type of writing from someone your age is just incredible. It's very Stephen King -esque.

You did a great job and I can't wait to read more.

Keep writing,

- V




Anamel says...


Thank you so much! This made me really happy to read and definitely gives me more inspiration to finish this until the end. I actually just finished re - editing this chapter now so I'll have to update it



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Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:05 pm
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Dreamy wrote a review...



Hello there! Dreamy here to give a short review before I move on to reading the next chapters.

I love how you have made Wind a character. I liked reading about Mateo through the eyes of the wind, it was interesting how the Wind viewed the humans. Especially the humans of Sognore.

When I was reading the description of Mateo I thought he'd be a middle-aged man. The description of him, the pain and the blood all over his face made me think that. And so I was surprised to see that he's actually teenager. Now, that definitely piqued my interest. I now want to know what happened that led to this.

Also, I was wondering why you didn't use Mateo's name after revealing it. And then I remembered that the narration was majorly through the eyes of the wind and of course, it doesn't know his name. Duh!

I also thought that it was weird of him to just ran when he's so physically drained. I guess all of the questions will be answered in the coming chapters. Good job!

Keep up the good work!

Cheers! :D




Anamel says...


Thank you :)



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Fri Jan 04, 2019 1:50 am
Tuckster wrote a review...



Hey there! MJ stopping by for a short review :)

First off, wow. The way you're able to write such a compelling story is truly impressive, and you clearly have talent in the area of creative writing. Nevertheless, there are always improvements to be made.

Drawn like a moth to flame, the wind stared hungrily into the window which looked into a cramped kitchen.
The way you personified the wind, while intriguing and unique, confused me at first. I thought you were just being metaphorical at first and giving personality to wind, but later I realized that the wind is a separate entity capable of at least basic thought. I would recommend clarifying that early on the story by adding a detail that makes it clear that you're not just talking about a light summer breeze, but another mysterious force that you'll flesh out later.

It was not too unusual to see humans wandering around at this time of night,; however, they were usually homeless or addicts.


As far as the general content of your story, my biggest suggestion would be to ease up a little on the description and info-dumping. It's a very heavy first chapter, and while there's definitely a lot of intrigue and suspense that you do an excellent job of building, it is very heavy on the info, especially for a first chapter. It's not fully necessary for us to know the full history of Sognore, and you give us perhaps an overwhelming amount of info when it comes to describing the man to the point. Although the description is beautifully written, it's so heavy that it can be easy to lose the reader in all of the meticulous details.

That's really the biggest piece of advice you have. Usually, I would suggest naming characters to give them more depth, but I think what you've done really works with this story. Keeping the character nameless suits the overall vibe of the story and adds to the aura of mystery. Excellent job on all of your descriptions; your writing style is very clear and coherent, a skill that takes a long time to perfect and you seem to have done an excellent job with! If you have any questions, just let me know and I'll be happy to provide any clarification. And, most importantly, never stop writing.

~MJTucker




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Thu Dec 06, 2018 10:32 pm
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GrayButterfly wrote a review...



This is gorgeous! I felt like I was reading a published book. Your skills in imagery are fantastic and your voice stayed consistent throughout the piece, great work. Your tactic for writing a first chapter was something that I've learned a lot by, especially for this kind of horror/mystery setting. You seemed to have used a sort of funnel system, introducing the world from a birds eye view and drawing closer in. It was cool that you personified the wind in this endeavor as well. It was very subtle, and you reintroduced it later on. You have no idea how much I appreciate that because when writers introduce an idea that plays a big role (in even one chapter) and then discards it, it makes me frustrated. But anyways, great job! I can tell a lot of work went into this one, and work well spent! I don't know how much energy you've already put into this, but my only advice here would to make sure that you don't get burnt out too quickly by writing all the final drafts first :) I'm very excited to see what will happen next, great use of suspense.

-- GrayButterfly




Anamel says...


Thank you sm reading this made me felt great! It has burnt me out quite a bit though I am continuing to force myself to write lol





Well keep going! You won't regret it :)




We do have funerals for the living. They're called birthday parties.
— Jill Biden (fictitiously), Hope Never Dies