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Chapter 8: Fireball

by Miraculor77


Ashe's POV

I follow Kyre’s directions to the bathroom, wrapping a threadbare towel that I’d asked Kyre for around my still dripping clothes.

The house has a type of dying beauty that no amount of cleaning seems to erase. Dusty paintings hang from light gray walls, their frames dark ebony and sharp corners.

One, in particular, catches my eye—lonely trees that are backdropped by a silver starry night that fades slowly as a glowing fireball peeks over the horizon in the corner.

The gentle pinpricks of white paint, the smooth lines that create the trees that are both perfect yet imperfect, the graceful sweep of the horizon, the powerful ball of flames that rises from the shimmering black water, it all captivates me. I could almost feel the artist in the piece, a lonely soul who just wanted to give something to the world. The way the trees stand out starkly against the stars, branches reaching for each other… I feel their longing. The fireball catches one of the leaves, and embers shoot to the sky, glowing, almost pulsing, frozen in time—

"Ashe?"

I start, my thought process abruptly broken off as I pivot on my heel and stare at Kyre, who is holding an empty bowl and a pair of used chopsticks. His startlingly gray eyes are wide with surprise and—is that apprehension?

I look back, confused, and the moment stretches a bit too long before I speak.

"Hi. I, um, forgot the way to the bathroom, and then, well…" I wave my hands at the painting.

His face is now a strange mixture of amusement and exasperation. He runs his hands through his hair, making the ends stick up slightly, and seems to think for a long minute. I watch, my artist's eye taking in the angles of his face, the straightness of his hair, the long bangs that are pushed to the side. I thought his hair color was black, but on closer inspection, it appears to be dark blue. A small lone silver hoop earring glints at his right earlobe. My fingers suddenly itch for my stylus and tablet, but I left them in the backpack, which was by the fire.

"You know what," he says suddenly, "I'll just walk you there. If you couldn't remember the directions I gave you five minutes ago, you probably won't remember them now."

Kyre continues down the hallway and I follow, naturally falling into step behind him. He has a smooth gait, but when I look closer, there appears to be a slight limp; his left leg seems to be bearing a bit more weight. It's subtle, and I still have to walk pretty quickly to keep up. The dark gray-blue carpet is worn yet soft under my bare feet.

He takes a right turn, slowing ever so slightly, and disappears down the corner. I follow hurriedly.

The floor here is hardwood, the dusty coolness a stark contrast from the carpet. Kyre is standing a little ways off. I walk up to him, and he points at a door.

"Here it is. I'll be in the kitchen if you need me."

"Thanks," I reply, trying the silver handle of the ebony door. It swings open easily. Kyre stands there for a moment longer, then leaves, his footsteps echoing briefly before the carpet swallows the sound.

I step inside the room, and my jaw drops. Before me is what is quite possibly the largest bathroom I've ever seen.

Right in front of me is a bath, about the size of a medium-sized pool, steps leading down to the stark white tub that is embedded in the floor.

I skirt around it, pausing briefly to admire the steel faucets with stained glass handles that shimmer in colors of blue, sea green, and turquoise. There is a curtain at the other side with a steel-plated sign that says "Changing Room." I ignore the fact that it isn't actually a room and push the heavy dark blue fabric to the side to make my way through.

Inside, there is a small bench and a mirror. I place the dry clothes to the side and quickly strip out of the wet ones, leaving my underwear on as it survived the worst of the… I struggle to remember the word. Rain. Yes. Rain. I think of the hard, cold water that beat down on me. It was a feeling similar to what I'd only experienced in showers, and that water had been lukewarm.

I look down at the pile of wet clothes with distaste, then shrug on the new ones. The shirt is about three sizes too big, and the shorts are baggy. There is a drawstring on the shorts though, and I tie it so they don't slip off.

Fifteen minutes and several missed turns later, I find myself in the kitchen with Kyre.

"So you really don't have anything besides ramen?"

"No," he looks a bit apologetic. He's leaning on the counter, his hands folded into the pockets of a black hoodie.

"Seriously, Kyre, we need to get food. Soon." I look at the large wall clock hanging above the doorless kitchen entrance. 6:00.

"Why? Ramen is food. Plus, it's easy to make."

"For one," I reply, gesticulating vaguely with my hands, "Ramen is unhealthy. The packets you use are the instant ones, right? The number of preservatives in them, as well as the processing the noodles went through, is incredibly unhealthy. For another, I'm vegan, and that bowl you gave me earlier smelled like shrimp. So where is the nearest grocery store?"

Kyre looks stricken. There's no other way to put it. His eyes are wide, and his already pale skin gets even paler. But then, his expression starts looking resigned, and raising his face so he's not looking directly at me, he speaks.

"I don't think I can go. There's a tunnel on the way there, and it's so dark… I have nyctophobia."

I now feel bad for asking him, but I do need food. The rations I'd packed before leaving are spoiled from being in the rain--I'd checked them, then held them at arm's length as I urgently asked for the trash disposal. "Is there another way to get there?"

He shakes his head. "The Government isolated this area from the rest of society to preserve the last remaining houses from the past century. Boss only lives here because she likes the grandness of the house and the quietness of the forest nearby. There's only one way out: an old escape tunnel used by Government fugitives. It's protected with a Level Four security code that I--" He hesitates briefly, then continues. "Uh, someone I know hacked for me." Now he's tapping his fingers restlessly on the counter on either side of him.

Kyre drops his gaze to look me in the eyes. "Point is, there's no other way." I see the pain and fear in his eyes, and my heart goes out to him as I remember my own tiring climb to the Above.

I reach out and hold his hands, my warm fingers covering his cool ones in what I hope is a reassuring way.

"I'll come with you, then."


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Thu Sep 12, 2019 5:28 pm
Liberty says...



:smt023 Great chapter! Onto the next one! ;)




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Tue Sep 03, 2019 10:06 am
Panikos wrote a review...



Hiya, Miraculor77! I'm afraid I've not read any of the previous chapters from this, but seeing as my RevMo goal is to review solely Green Room works, I thought I'd drop in and give you some feedback.

Even coming in late to this story, you roped me. The first few paragraphs were a little shaky for me - there was a lot of description about the painting, so I hope that it has some payoff. My first impression was that there was some supernatural element to the painting, that it was going to suck Ashe in or something. But the rest of the chapter had more of a sci-fi vibe, so I might be off the mark. Either way, you put a lot of emphasis on that painting, so I hope it has significance going forward.

On the whole, I think you do go a little overboard on description at times, but not enough that it's genuinely distracting. The only other consistent issue I saw with your prose is that you seem to start paragraphs where they're unneeded. Looking at the description of the painting, for example:

The house has a type of dying beauty that no amount of cleaning seems to erase. Dusty paintings hang from light gray walls, their frames dark ebony and sharp corners.

One, in particular, catches my eye—lonely trees that are backdropped by a silver starry night that fades slowly as a glowing fireball peeks over the horizon in the corner.

The gentle pinpricks of white paint, the smooth lines that create the trees that are both perfect yet imperfect, the graceful sweep of the horizon, the powerful ball of flames that rises from the shimmering black water, it all captivates me. I could almost feel the artist in the piece, a lonely soul who just wanted to give something to the world. The way the trees stand out starkly against the stars, branches reaching for each other… I feel their longing. The fireball catches one of the leaves, and embers shoot to the sky, glowing, almost pulsing, frozen in time—


I actually think these three paragraphs need to be separate. The second and third paragraph can definitely be combined, because the third is just an extension of a description that began in the second. You only really need to start a new paragraph when the topic changes significantly, but here, you're just talking about paintings, getting gradually more specific. I get the sense that you split it into multiple paragraphs so that it didn't look too dense, but the solution to that is to strip back some of your description. You could have something like:

The house has a type of dying beauty that no amount of cleaning can erase. Dusty paintings hang from light gray walls, in sharp-cornered ebony frames. One in particular catches my eye—lonely trees, a starry silver night, a white disc of sun peering over the horizon. It captivates me. I can almost feel the artist in the piece, a lonely soul who just wanted to give something to the world. The way the trees stand out starkly against the stars, branches reaching for each other… I feel their longing. The fireball catches one of the leaves, and embers shoot to the sky, glowing, almost pulsing, frozen in time—

This is just an idea, but it shows how much more succinct the passage could be. Your description gets quite repetitive, which actually makes the painting harder to picture, not easier. I'm not really certain how the sun could be a glowing fireball, yet the sky could still bear a starry night - once the sun starts to rise, it gets pretty hard to see the stars. Maybe just think a little bit more about what the painting depicts, and try to describe it more concisely.

I do think the chapter gets better as it goes on, though, and by the end I was thoroughly engrossed. I'm particularly perplexed as to Ashe's past. How is it that she barely knows what rain is, yet she knows about graphics tablets and veganism? I'd have to guess that she's been raised inside a facility of some kind. Then again, you mentioned the 'Above' right at the end - I suppose it would fit with her living solely below ground for most of her life.

I don't really understand why Ashe has to go and get food, though. Yeah, ready-made ramen isn't that healthy or vegan, but it sounds like they're going to be risking a hell of a lot just to go and pick up some extra food. How is it worth it? It seems a bit selfish of Ashe to demand that Kyre go out, in spite of his phobia and the potential dangers of the tunnel, so they can find food more to her taste and principles. It would make more sense if Ashe actually had an allergy or something, meaning that she literally couldn't eat the food Kyre had in the house. As it is, she just comes across as a bit...I don't know, spoilt. It's like complaining you don't have organic fruit during the apocalypse, though perhaps they're not in as serious a situation as that. Admittedly, coming in late to the story means I don't specifically know the gravity of their circumstances, but I get the vibe that this isn't the safest of worlds, so it seemed odd for the conflict to come from Ashe not wanting to eat ramen.

Nevertheless, I'm really intrigued by the whole setting, and you do a good job at dropping small and mysterious hints about how unusual Ashe's upbringing has been. Your dialogue is decent, and with a bit of editing and paring down, your prose will be pretty good too. I'd just concentrate on being a bit more concise with your description, as well as scrutinising your paragraph breaks.

Keep writing! :D




Miraculor77 says...


Ashe is allergic to shellfish, milk certain, preservatives, and a whole lot more animal products. I should go back and make that more clear.
Still, though. Thank you for your review!

Also, Happy RevMo.



Panikos says...


Ah, that makes sense then! :)



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Thu Aug 22, 2019 7:23 pm
Awru wrote a review...



I just melted into a puddle of idiotic happiness after reading this chap for some obv reasons. I would say tis chap was beautiful and by far your best chapters. The voc,descriptions were spot on. I especially loved the descriptio of the painting. It was clear you put a lot of effort in it. The way you slowly painted that picture on the canvas of our minds is really admirable. The whole description along with the soft poetic undertone ad good words soothed me like i was listening to a favourite lullaby . Ashes feelings with it jus completed it. I wonder why Kyre was surprised by Ashe seeing that painting maybe he emotionally connects to it since he has been very lonely so far.

I watch, my artist's eye taking in the angles of his face, the straightness of his hair, the long bangs that are pushed to the side. I thought his hair color was black, but on closer inspection, it appears to be dark blue. A small lone silver hoop earring glints at his right earlobe. My fingers suddenly itch for my stylus and tablet, but I left them in the backpack, which was still by the fire.

What can say except OMG i love it. Kyre is so handsome and the fact that Ashe is acknowledging makes me wild with happiness. Kyre has a silver hoop earring*scream* My dreammmss. I love hoop earrings on bad boys. The bolded phrase threw me off a little still is not necessary here. It could have been sat instead of still. But that is just my opinion.
He has a smooth gait, but when I look closer, there appears to be a slight limp; his left leg seems to be bearing a bit more weight.

I am really curious wht hppened to his leg u mentioned it quite a few times.
as well as the processing the noodles went through

I feel like the bolded the should be replaced by those. It kinda sounds better. The ramen talk was really funny though.
Kyre has nyctophobia i wonder if hat has sth to do with his leg. Ashe comforting him is he cutest thing ever. I am really excited and super hyped for the coming chaps. There r soo many questions. I reall hope Ashe takes the fact that Kyre hacked her computer well and acknowledges the fact that he is a genius but i guess there is a lot more going on hen just the two of them. See u in the next cap which will hopefully come out soon. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Keep up the Excellent work :smt023

peace out




Miraculor77 says...


Hi! Thanks for the review, I was starting to get a little worried because there had been no feedback for four days. :)
I took out the word "still" from that sentence you mentioned in your first suggestion to make it sound smoother.
Honestly, I don't know how Ashe will take Kyre's hacking genius--her art does mean a lot to her, and she is her own person. She just does what she wants, I don't have much control over her. :)
I'm about halfway done with the next chapter, so I'll hopefully be posting soon. :D



Awru says...


i hope so.
i know we have absolutely no control on our characters LOL. They are so rebellious.
About the feedback i am pretty sure bcz students are facing a huge trauma BACK TO SCHOOOL. There is absolutely no time



Miraculor77 says...


Good point. I have my own headache right now... :(



Miraculor77 says...


School, why must you do this to us?




Everyone left so I'm turning this into a writing club. Behave.
— LadyBird