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Chapter 3: Climb

by Miraculor77

Ashe's POV

I'd never quite known just how deep under I lived until I started climbing the stairs--tall, rickety things that creaked with every step I took. There is no light apart from the weak flare of an old flashlight I'd found stowed away in my backpack. I adjust it on my shoulder, wincing as it chafes my skin.

Left foot, right foot.


I keep climbing. The stairs are becoming more crooked now, and I grasp the railing tightly to avoid falling. When I pull my hand off, it comes off powdery. A metallic tang fills the air. Rust. I'd read somewhere that rust meant the metal was degrading and weakening, so I nervously wipe my hand on my leg and try to step lighter.

Keep climbing.

My legs are starting to hurt. I'd never been one for physical activity. In fact, when the Takedown--the time when all artists were banished from the surface--happened, it was my father who had carried my nine-year-old self down these very stairs. He would later leave with my mother to go Above, to the surface world, because money was better there. Personally, I think that the corrupted government from Above bribed them; they both really were smart and such talent could be of use. After a few years, I lost touch with them, and they stopped sending me money. I was fine, though. My art was enough.

Of course, I don't do it for free. Anyone who wants my work has to pay. My general guideline for pricing has been ten lunae for an 816 by 1056 pixel drawing, and increases from there according to size, resolution, and level of detail. Digital paintings start at fifteen lunae for the same size, and these prices also increase. My income has been pretty stable over the last six years, mostly because many people like art-- they just don't admit it.

I am tempted to stop right there; my shoulder aches where the backpack strap presses down, and my legs hurt from climbing so much. But then I look down. There is darkness below me, and when I move my gaze upwards, there is darkness still. I grip the railing harder, and, shivering slightly, I continue.

It must have been a few hours since I started--or was it a day? I can't tell time anymore; the dark is too overpowering. I look at my flashlight, grateful for its meager light. Just then, it flickers and goes out. The darkness presses against me on all sides, threatening to swallow me whole. You spoke too soon.

Each step feels like my body is made of lead. I feel like I may pass out right there, with no one to pass on my memory, nothing left of me besides a few pictures that I made. I grip the railing harder, refusing to succumb to these thoughts. I still need to find that hacker. I still need to find my work.

Just then, the world around me brightens. I blink my eyes rapidly, trying to get used to the light. I squint upwards.

There is an opening there, and the world beyond is drenched in light.

I don't think I've ever felt so hopeful.

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71 Reviews

Points: 5576
Reviews: 71

Wed Sep 04, 2019 7:44 pm
hiraeth wrote a review...

Hi Mira! Gonna drop by for that review :)

First of all, your writing's excellent. I don't remember if I said that in my last review (chapter two, if I'm not wrong?), but for just 13 years of age, you sure do have quite a grasp on language :) I remember being, like, only half as good at thirteen, and I never trusted myself with projects bigger than a three-part short story, so consider me highly impressed.

Moving on, my first whine will be that I found this chapter a bit short - nothing much happens you know? Just Ashe climbing the stairs. While I understand (at least minimally) that this bit was mostly for laying down important backstory, I feel as if a little more could've happened, you know?

Also, what i find strange is that Ashe is completely alone. Like, everyone living in the 'down below' must've lost their work, right? All that art and talent, just lost.... obviously, there should be more people storming up the stairs, demanding to know what happened. I don't know if maybe this is just me, but the lack of angry, screaming adults just seems kinda surreal.

I look at my flashlight, grateful for its meager light. Just then, it flickers and goes out.

I knew before reading the second part of the sentence that the light was going to blink out, and I couldn't help smiling. These things always get me amused for some reason. (Not relevant to this review but just wanted to put it out there :))

I like the last line a lot, too. I makes mewant to continue onwards. It's a great page-turner line, and since I generally suck at ending lines, i'm thoroughly impressed.

Also yes, i just read through the other review and I echo Carlito's opinions: there's a lot of questions that crop up, including the setting of the story. I underdstand the main problem is the length of the chapter, and really, it's completely your choice where to add what and how long to make a certain prose, but maybe a little more answers would've helped? idk just thinking here :)

Anyway, i think I'm gonna leave it at that, and continue onto chapter 4!

Happy writing!

Miraculor77 says...

Thanks for the review! More will be revealed in time, I can promise that. Now that I think about it, it is strange that there are no other people there. Plotholes, plotholes. I'll put in a reason in a future chapter, I guess.

Happy RevMo! :)

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1105 Reviews

Points: 48025
Reviews: 1105

Mon Sep 02, 2019 7:17 pm
Carlito wrote a review...

Hello again!! Still on mobile :)

I like that you’re keeping the plot moving forward and we’re getting right into her going after what she wants. But I think this chapter could be beefed up a little.

Is it common for people underneath to go above? How many people live underneath with her and does anyone know/care that she’s doing this? Is she allowed to do this? It sounds like she hasn’t done this before and she hasn’t been above since she first came down with her dad. I’d love to see more of her emotion! How does it feel to be coming above for the first time in years? Is it scary? Exciting? Overwhelming? Is she solely focused on this hacker or does any part of her want to try and find her parents too?

I found the info about how much she charges for her art a little distracting. We don’t know how currency works in this world so the numbers are a little meaningless. And, in this moment the focus is on her getting out. That’s what she’s thinking about, not how much she gets for her art.

I also want a little more description of where we are and what this underground world looks like and how she’s coming up. Is it common knowledge how to go above or did she have to figure it out on her own? If it’s the later, how did she figure it out?

So overall, still very much intrigued by the overall world and how everything will pan out once she gets to the surface, but I’d like more beef and more world info woven in as she makes her escape.

Let me know if you have any questions or if you’d like feedback about something I didn’t mention and I’ll move along to the next chapter! :D

Miraculor77 says...

About the numbers: Art can be pretty expensive, depending on how famous the artist is and how interesting the piece looks. I put in the details of Ashe's art pricing (10-15 and higher in lunae) to try to put into perspective the money on Kyre's head (2 million lunae). It does seem unclear when I reread it, so I may go back to clear it up and bring the focus back onto her.
Also, this chapter is on the short side. Normally I try to hit the 1000 word mark except for the first chapter, but this is just too short. I'll try to add some more details.
Thanks for the review!

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218 Reviews

Points: 1426
Reviews: 218

Sun Aug 04, 2019 2:58 pm
Horisun wrote a review...

Again, a really great chapter, I love how you're answering our questions without dumping exposition onto us, that's real nice.
One thing that I'm still slightly confused about is why artists were banished, and if she was nine when she first went down there, why was she banished? Was it just because her parents were artists? Also, I'm still curious on why the other guy wanted to take all the files. These aren't problems, they're just questions.
Love, love, love this chapter! Keep on writing, and have a good day or night!

Miraculor77 says...

Thanks for the review! Your questions will be answered (I think) in later chapters.

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265 Reviews

Points: 15266
Reviews: 265

Sun May 26, 2019 8:17 pm
Liberty wrote a review...

Hey again Mir!

Hope you're doing well today or tonight, depending on what side of the world you're on, obviously. I'm here to give you a review. Of a sort.

Alright, so this was a nice scene that I could clearly picture in my head. I could picture the darkness, the thoughts in Ashe's head roaming around, the ladder, etc. You're doing a wonderful job, and I can't wait to see what happens! There's nothing that I saw needed to be fixed so you're free from my critiques. For now. Lol. Anyways, I'm moving onto the next chapter and review that.

Also, I have one question: Is lunae an actual thing? I searched it up and found a band... Well, anyways, I should be off now. I really enjoy your chapters. My enjoyment is beyond words. <3


Happy Review Day!

And as always...

Keep on writing!


Miraculor77 says...

Hey to you too!

Yes, I'm doing well on the side of the planet I'm currently residing in. :)

I really didn't know that Lunae was a band (I searched just searched it up). I looked into it and saw that Lunae was a short-lived Spanish pop group (it lasted for two years).

I picked the word "lunae" as the name for the currency because the coins, when in physical form, are this pale, smooth stone that looks a lot like a miniature full moon.
Also, "lunae" means "moons" in Latin.

I'm glad you like the story. Thanks for the feedback!
- Mira

Liberty says...

Oh. Okay. Your welcome!

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99 Reviews

Points: 2486
Reviews: 99

Tue May 07, 2019 7:06 pm
Honora wrote a review...

Hey Mira! Sorry for taking so long to review! Better late than never right? ;)

Ok, on to the review.

The biggest thing i noticed is that you switch the tense often. It's mostly in the present tense but every now and again, you switch to past tense. Be careful on that because it can be confusing to your readers.

There were a few spelling/grammar mistakes but I recommend just reading it aloud before posting it and you will more than likely find most of them. :)

In general, I enjoyed this one as much as the last ones. I liked this one especially because we got a bit of history about Ashe and I found it intriguing that she was SO deep in the ground.
Keep up the good work! :D :D :D :D

Your friend,

Miraculor77 says...

Yeah, I switch tenses often in this chapter. This is because I wanted to incorporate parts of her backstory without making separate flashback sections. Thanks for the review!

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126 Reviews

Points: 83
Reviews: 126

Thu May 02, 2019 11:19 pm
Anma wrote a review...

Yessss! Finally its out!!

Hello Mirac!

Hope you don't mind the name shortning.

This is really good, I love how you explained about her past, and what exactly happened. It's really a rise up in your story, get it ;). Anyway.... It's really beginning to fold out, getting better, more interesting. There is a few grammar and punctuation errors. The spacing is good. It makes most sense as well. All I would do is if she's thinking about something put it in italic. Either than that this is really good.

Keep up the work!

Hope to read more!



Miraculor77 says...

Hey Anma!

No, I don't mind you shortening my name. About Ashe thinking in italics, I tried to italicize the actual thoughts. Example:
You spoke too soon.

The rest just sort of flows between the past and present because she is on the same bridge that led to her home of six years (underground).

Thanks for the review, though.
- Mirac

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23 Reviews

Points: 150
Reviews: 23

Thu May 02, 2019 10:50 pm
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Miraculor77 says...

@Swetachowdhury0 @Fantascifi66 @Honora @JadeLotus @Tuckster @Anma @hiraeth

You all have, at some point, been interested in this story, and many of you wanted me to tag you for the upcoming parts. Here it is!

Also, I am sorry for my irregular writing schedule. Finals are starting in a week, so I need to study for them.

New readers (if you exist):
Here are the links to the previous chapters:
Chapter 1: Gone
Chapter 2: Heist

Thanks for checking this story out!

- Mira
P.S.: If any of you don't want to be tagged, just reply to this comment saying so.

Honora says...

Yay!! I don%u2019t have time right now but I will definitely read it!

Fantascifi66 says...

Yayyyyyy!!! IT'S SO GOOD!!

Life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient premises.
— Samuel Butler