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The Boatman [Chapter 1]

by Swires


The Boatman - I need some title suggestions

Chapter 1: The Boatman

The bay was only visible through a fracture of light that escaped through the billowing purple clouds, its black waters clasped the stony beach and pulled in the beach life to its lair to trap and consume life as prey. My life was like those black waters. I wanted to kill, destroy things - hurt people. But in the centre there was always that flicker of light, that dot of hope steadily burning away.

On the horizon of the beach the silhouette of a man could be seen, small, diminutive but also sinister. Fear welled up inside of me as I waited for him to approach. I had waited and planned this moment for some time. It was the day I would finish my life, the day I would stop myself from ruining the earth with my presence.

A desk was out of place on the beach, moulded and wooden. A piece of cream paper on there with gold writing scrawled over it: a goodbye. I looked at it with no shadow of a doubt that it would stay there. A small tear fell from my eye as I approached and placed a finger on the space at the bottom. My finger lit and poured out more gold that formed the random thoughts that ran through me. My last feeling poured onto the page: hold on tight.

The silhouette of the man was clear now; he was in front of me, black cloaked, grim presence. A single key fell from his neck, bronze and without shine in the dull light. It swayed in the icy breeze, tempting me slightly, pushing my decision even further into confidence. He was hooded, this added to his sinister. He lowered his hood revealing a withered face, slanted eyes and a toothless smile.

“The boatman,” His frosty voice clung to the air and lingered until its match from the breeze came and murdered it. The man introduced himself and placed his finger through the air. His eyes glowed yellow. I trained his finger to the bay. A boat rose out of the waters and onto the shore, small, just like the man, enough room for only two. It had a thick iron chain wrapped around a peg on the beach to keep it from sailing away. I gulped but took the back seat into the boat. The boatman hovered through the air, he appeared to have no feet, just a ghost swimming from one life to the next. He placed his neck key into a the lock on the chain, it vanished leaving a powder that fell to the floor. When he got into the boat his eyes yellowed again and a moss riddled ore appeared in the water rowing itself far out into the bay.

I watched the letter curl in the breeze swept in by the tide until it became only a blur then finally vanished. I looked around. Nothing but the black waters, I looked up, I was under the single beam of light. The waters were clearer now. The boat stopped. I tilted my head and looked into the water.

I scrambled back. Skulls littered the bed, skull upon skull, eye holes glaring at me. A song filled the air, it was my letter being repeated over and over again, louder and louder, faster and faster, my ears reddened with the noise. I screamed in pain. Until they stopped and the only thing visible were two yellow eyes, from then my flicker of light slowly burned away.

#

A maiden scoured the beach, lighter, blue waters looking for her husband, lost for several days now. A twinkle of red lingered in the corner of her eyes, she followed it, a trail of blood leading to the shore line. Her breathing got heavier, her heart pounded faster and faster, refusing to stop for the inevitable: her husband. Dead. His body cut and sliced, his dried out skull in the near by waters. Tears fell from her watery eyes, she wailed at the sight of her lover mangled on the floor, his face barely visible through a bloody crust. She had hoped he would never be found - she would at least have the doubt he was alive, the ongoing thought that he may be out their, living, breathing.

She stood in silence. Only the soft tide could be heard for moments, rolling along the shore, washing away the blood that poisoned the pebbles on the beach. A flutter caught her ears. It was the flutter of blowing paper: a letter a few feet away from his body was mounted on a moss riddled desk. She smoothed the soft paper, her tears dripping and smudging the gold writing that slithered the page:

THIS ISN'T ABOUT YOU

lately i have been thinking a lot, and no matter how hard i try, we can NOT CHANGE ANYTHING

Surely you see it also? I mean, come on! WAR, POVERTY, FAMINE...

IT NEVER ENDS!!!

Baby, I found the perfect solution just for us.

now im not going to lie to you... you always read me like a book.

this whole idea was inspired by you, ya know? not out of HATE, but out of LOVE

I swore to you that one day I would save you.

now i will save us both.

i LOVE you baby.

hold on tight.

For moments she gazed down at the letter, eyes not blinking in awe. The gold script became a blur as once more her eyes welled with tears of morning and anger. She scrunched up the letter as she wailed aloud. “Why is he dead, why is my lover dead, curse those who did this.” She padded the letter over his body and begged the gods to revive him. They did not reply.

She reread line by line in shock and disbelief. “This whole idea was inspired by you, ya know?” She uttered over and over again. I’m to blame, I killed him, she thought not having the energy to cry anymore. She looked around for just some one to help her, some one to take away the pain and give her answers, answers that would explain why her happy lover had been murdered. Her eyes followed the horizon line until she saw a strange, diminutive silhouette approaching her.

#

The Boatman hovered down the mini dunes of the beach; slightly blow by the tide bringing in a salty, icy breeze. Dry blood encased his thin blue lips and flaked from his toothless gums. He coiled his hands around his neck key, stroking it.

The Boatman had been given orders: “do not kill this day”. He obeyed out of fear of those higher than him. Yesterday’s murder was a success, one more skull had been added to Boatman’s bay, to be trapped on its bed forever more. Herve – the newly dead man – had requested his death. The boatman happily obliged. The sky was blue and bright, top bright for his liking. His mouth frowned in disdain.

The woman was there, at the shore, crying and wailing for answer. The Boatman watched for several minutes, breathing slowly, enjoying every second of her mental pain.

“The Boatman.” He again introduced himself with the same icy voice, it slit through the air to the woman’s ears. She didn’t answer, just wailed more over the Boatman’s kill next to her.

“He screamed at my feet before his death,” the boatmen said, his eyes glowing yellow. The boat again rose from the misty waters and onto the light film that covered the bay. His finger pointed to the boat, smiling wickedly. She looked up from her wailing, looking at the Boatman in a viscious rage, then at the boat. She was entranced by it, lured in by its mystique aura. The boatman’s eyes yellowed again. The wind rose and blew at his black robes. They became brighter and brighter.

“You,” The woman screeched

“The Boat!” ordered the Boatman with a new tone of mastery. His eyes on the verge of bright orange

“Yes” She said obediently, stepping into to the boat.

“Your husband was easier to lure in, he wanted to die.” The boatman vanished the chains with his key before making the ore row again. The woman was entranced. His eyes glowed again, she became herself.

”I killed your husband yesterday…” He explained as the boat bobbed out from the shore. A sense of danger crept into the woman, she was scared, very scared. She edged away from him, there was no where to go other than the murkey waters below. The boatman was powerful, all magic users were powerful.

“You are a fiend,” She shouted loudly at him.

“You will not talk or I will melt your larynx so you cannot,” He said not raising his wicked voice at all. “You and your husband are a threat, your husband, Darl, and yourself, Isabel, are challenging the highest orders of magic for power.”

“N..n..no” Isabel denied, lost for words. How did he know? She repeated in her head over and over again.

“You are a fool for thinking we wouldn’t find out, you family are filth, it was only a matter of time before one could be bribed into passing information to me.” He cackled.

“You will drop your cause, or your children will be killed, then the rest of your family. Finaly you will be tortured to near death then forced into labour for the rest of your life.” The ores stopped, they were in the middle of the lake, nothing but water all around and land could not be seen.

Isabel broke into a hot sweat of fear and curiosity about who had passed information from her house. Her husband was dead, yet now it seemed not to matter, the purpose for what her life revolved around had been brought to a close by the people she was trying to destroy: Warlocks. She could only nod in agreement. Her hands shivered, it send vibes through her until she was quaking in fear. The small man rose, but his height in strength was too high to measure, he was intimidating, his form and his ghost like presence was enough to control armies. Isabel Machambre, the last lady had been brought to a begging position.

“Y..yes master.”


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Mon Feb 20, 2006 2:20 pm
Swires says...



Thanks for the crit, I edited my typos. Yes, the Boatman is a Grim Reaper type character apart from his appearance and way of killing.




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Mon Feb 20, 2006 12:56 pm
Myth wrote a review...



He placed his neck key into a the lock on the chain, it vanished leaving a powder that fell to the floor.

Just a typo, take out the first 'the'.

The gold script became a blur as once more her eyes welled with tears of morning and anger.

Mourning is the word.

The Boatman is just like the Grim Reaper and something else. I can't add much to what everyone else has said. Good job though, I'll read the next part now.




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Sun Feb 19, 2006 10:52 am
Swires says...



Right, I think a 3rd Person rewrite is needed. There isnt a great lot that needs changing reading it over. Thanks for the crits guys!




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Sun Feb 19, 2006 9:19 am
deleted6 wrote a review...



Hey brill story this sound strangely like Charon the boat driver of the river Styx, is that who you based him on cause it does sound like Charon
anyway lets see what i can do the first part should be in first person it be better trust me.Also don't use capitals for shouting just enbolden it.
and i think the guy not decribed good enough, but so far you entranced me so keep it up i want ot read more. :D




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Sat Feb 18, 2006 10:59 pm
Snoink says...



This part is begging to be a prologue:

The bay was only visible through a fracture of light that escaped through the billowing purple clouds, its black waters clasped the stony beach and pulled in the beach life to its lair to trap and consume life as prey. My life was like those black waters. I wanted to kill, destroy things - hurt people. But in the centre there was always that flicker of light, that dot of hope steadily burning away.

On the horizon of the beach the silhouette of a man could be seen, small, diminutive but also sinister. Fear welled up inside of me as I waited for him to approach. I had waited and planned this moment for some time. It was the day I would finish my life, the day I would stop myself from ruining the earth with my presence.

A desk was out of place on the beach, moulded and wooden. A piece of cream paper on there with gold writing scrawled over it: a goodbye. I looked at it with no shadow of a doubt that it would stay there. A small tear fell from my eye as I approached and placed a finger on the space at the bottom. My finger lit and poured out more gold that formed the random thoughts that ran through me. My last feeling poured onto the page: hold on tight.

The silhouette of the man was clear now; he was in front of me, black cloaked, grim presence. A single key fell from his neck, bronze and without shine in the dull light. It swayed in the icy breeze, tempting me slightly, pushing my decision even further into confidence. He was hooded, this added to his sinister. He lowered his hood revealing a withered face, slanted eyes and a toothless smile.

“The boatman,” His frosty voice clung to the air and lingered until its match from the breeze came and murdered it. The man introduced himself and placed his finger through the air. His eyes glowed yellow. I trained his finger to the bay. A boat rose out of the waters and onto the shore, small, just like the man, enough room for only two. It had a thick iron chain wrapped around a peg on the beach to keep it from sailing away. I gulped but took the back seat into the boat. The boatman hovered through the air, he appeared to have no feet, just a ghost swimming from one life to the next. He placed his neck key into a the lock on the chain, it vanished leaving a powder that fell to the floor. When he got into the boat his eyes yellowed again and a moss riddled ore appeared in the water rowing itself far out into the bay.

I watched the letter curl in the breeze swept in by the tide until it became only a blur then finally vanished. I looked around. Nothing but the black waters, I looked up, I was under the single beam of light. The waters were clearer now. The boat stopped. I tilted my head and looked into the water.

I scrambled back. Skulls littered the bed, skull upon skull, eye holes glaring at me. A song filled the air, it was my letter being repeated over and over again, louder and louder, faster and faster, my ears reddened with the noise. I screamed in pain. Until they stopped and the only thing visible were two yellow eyes, from then my flicker of light slowly burned away.


And it's just begging to be third person. ;)




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Sat Feb 18, 2006 10:35 am
Swires says...



Thanks snoink, you have some great points, its true, the man seems a bit like a cardboard cut out lol.

I arnt sure what yuu mean by the prologue, you mean I shoul have it a prologue up until this sentence?:

A maiden scoured the beach....


With the persons, should I rewrite the first scene in 3rd person?

Thanks Again Snoink.




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Fri Feb 17, 2006 11:17 pm
Snoink wrote a review...



Chapter 1: The Boatman

The bay was only visible through a fracture of light that escaped through the billowing purple clouds, its black waters clasped the stony beach and pulled in the beach life to its lair to trap and consume life as prey.


Hmmm…

Right now, this sentence is setting up to be a third person story in the viewpoint of the bay. This is not necessarily a bad thing. I’ve read several really awesome stories where the main observer is not a human, but rather an object or place. It gives an interesting twist to the story and can sometimes let the writing be even more dramatic. For instance, think of a movie. Do you have the movie inside the actor’s thoughts, or does the scene set the tone of the piece? Movies use it… perhaps you should?

My life was like those black waters. I wanted to kill, destroy things - hurt people. But in the centre there was always that flicker of light, that dot of hope steadily burning away.


Yeah, I think you should. Right now, the main character is doing an OD. That is, he seems to be acting rather dramatic. So… it might be better to do it third person on the viewpoint of the bay.

I’m not going to go through the story, sentence by sentence, but I will say this. You can be extraordinarily descriptive at times, and you seem rather talented at those descriptions. But I’m not quite sure you’re getting into the feelings of the man properly.

When you get in the feelings of a man, it can be very difficult. For one, there’s a little bit of an age difference, so you might feel a little out of touch with the man. This is perfectly fine and normal. But even so, remember: we’re all human. You can write for him. But how?

Observe men that you know. What are they like? How do they act? Move? Talk? So just do some people-watching. It’s fun, really. Make a list of what kinds of things men do. Put yourself in their shoes. What would you do in their position?

Now, I realize that I just suggested that you write in third person, which means that you don’t have to write for the man’s internal thoughts. But you still need to get into his character so you’ll be able to write for him better and get a better picture of what he’s doing.

By leaning on your strength, which is description, I think that this will become a more interesting start.

By the way, separate the man and the boatman scene into a prologue. In this case, this should be one.




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Fri Feb 17, 2006 8:19 pm
Swires says...



Thats the answer I was looking for , thanks Twighlight. The time period isnt been given away until the second chapter. I was thinking the main story line could be that Isabel and her family are stirring up a hatred of warlocks and the magical community in sort of a modern day era but not our world as we know it.

I dont know, what do you think. I dont want a good beginning and the story takes a turn for the worst.




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Fri Feb 17, 2006 8:17 pm
Snoink says...



I like the title. It's original and kind of fun. Just delete the (Working Title) part after it. The story also looks rather original.

...would I scare you if I critiqued it?




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Fri Feb 17, 2006 8:13 pm
*Twilight* says...



Well.....Shame on you for making me look like a fool.
I honestly don't know what era it is set in there are no key words to make it obvious. Either that or I didn't see them.




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Fri Feb 17, 2006 8:06 pm
Swires says...



LOL! I meant as in history, ie Medieval etc.... Sorry I am tired and my words are coming uto rwong LOL!




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Fri Feb 17, 2006 7:53 pm
*Twilight* says...



Well, I guess maybe in the morning early in the morning.




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Fri Feb 17, 2006 7:50 pm
Swires says...



Well you could say that. His entire pupose is really to symbolise death and murder, or at least what I hope he symbolises. You could say he is grim-reaper like, I didnt want to go indepth with describing him, I wanted the reader make there own mid up about the character, his only prominant feature is the yellow eyes when using his power.

Just to ask what time zone would you say this story was set in?

Thanks for the comments guys.




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Fri Feb 17, 2006 6:52 pm
*Twilight* wrote a review...



I agree with torpid it was original and intruguing. The thing that kept me reading was to find out who the Boatman was. This mysterious figure kept the story interesting enough to keep me reading all the way through. I don't have any ideas for the title yet but I might later. I do have one question though. Is the Boatman supposed to be your version of the grim reaper?




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Fri Feb 17, 2006 4:52 pm
Swires says...



Thanks torpid. Anyone else, I need some ideas for a better title for it as well. I am really getting ideas for this and may use it to start the YWS novel challenge.




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Wed Feb 15, 2006 11:54 pm
Torpid says...



Original and intrigieng (sp), interesting, kinda scary, abstract, has potential.





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