I started writing my story, “The Glittering Pearls,” for TRANSCENDENT four years ago after a conversation my husband and I had about eating sins. Like he often does, Jason triggered the necessary magnetic pull of random scraps from my mind to create Jace, an Eater, entering a depository after a long day of absorbing others’ sins.
Here are the original six hundred words:
Gravel crunched beneath Jace’s sneakers as he marched his way to the Depository. The predominately iron structure made the unbearable weight from his last purge dissipate enough for Jace to stand two inches taller. It was the only place he found any resemblance of peace.
The high and open arches of the building let in too much light during the day, but at twilight, the black metal stood as a shadow amongst small, glittering pearls. It looked dangerous, which meant no one else would be there—other than his fellow Eaters.
Upon entrance, Jace palmed the iron and held on, releasing a single moment from the day’s purges.
Echoes from a shrill scream reverberated within him as his arm jolted forward, slicing a blade through soft flesh and muscle, a set of nails digging ragged circles into his left shoulder. Hot blood spilled over his hand and the handle of the black iron knife used for official Guard business.
The sparse and open foyer of the Depository returned to him, and the hunch of his shoulders eased. He couldn’t rid himself of many at a time, but most of the elder Eaters made frequent ritual of it. Why they wanted to prolong their misery, Jace couldn’t figure. He rid himself of just enough to stave off a little of the pain, just enough to allow him a few precious hours of sleep. Tonight, his hand would meet the iron more than normal.
Two purges in one day demanded a lot.
Jace wound his way up a spiral staircase to the top level, a relatively small section of the building that housed donated cots and old furniture. Several Eaters took up the beds and couches, leaving smaller spaces for others. As he passed a few, he could see the twitches in their muscles and knew they did not sleep.
A corner sat empty of younger Eaters, like himself, as an elder lay propped against a slew of old cushions. None could truly bear to be near an elder, weighed down with more than a decade of sins on his soul that the evil radiating into his immediate surroundings.
Jace took a circular chair, with a short round back that curved into arms. It cupped his body as he pulled his knees to his chest. He closed his eyes to debilitating guilt and flashes of torture. Iron arched over him, and he touched it once more.
His hand closed around Ms. Wendy, the young librarian’s, throat, opening her mouth in a gasp of air. Leather and molding paper scented her clothes, but her hair hinted at herbs and romance. Ms. Wendy’s skirt crept up her thigh and hip above his hand as he grabbed her. A fire burned low in his belly and extremities. Adrenaline and lust filtering out of control as pain clawed at his arms—the first bit of her fight.
Peeling away from the iron; the withering pain curled him further in on himself.
Two guards in one day were too much for a pentam. But Jace turned sixteen in two days. The purges would grow worse as his duties moved him closer to the pristine parts of the city and its capitol.
After this, I left it for three years without much outlining or serious drive to figure this story out, although on tired days, I would think about it and what it stemmed from.
In 2016, a new layer bloomed, and I’d had a rough outline for the majority of the story. Then, I imagined this as a serial of stories from different Eaters’ points of view. Now, I can’t imagine trying to sustain the delicate balance of details and suggestion to create violent sins without showing too much for another story.
It’s no secret that I write a lot of violent and deadly and gruesome things. I have a tendency for killing kids in my stories and novels, but this one…was hard.
Maybe, I’m being jaded. I lost a quarter of this story after a bout of elated creation.
Now, let me be clear, most of my writing does not happen this way. Most of it comes in spurts and bits and me forcing myself to try words and phrases and sentences until I make some progress—even if it’s only a hundred words.
When I have these pure moments, they’re usually the best bits of the story in its final form. Afterwards, I chattered on excitedly to my husband and step-son about how proud I was of figuring out my characters and giving them strength.
Then, I came back, and those five pages were gone.
I checked every saved file and back up and messenger and email I could to find those five pages. I couldn’t.
So, I wrote them again. And with far less enthusiasm. Because I knew it wouldn’t be the same. The re-write missed something from the original that I couldn’t get back.
This tainted the rest of the story for me, but I had to get it out. It still needed finished, and I can’t say I’m not proud of the results. It’s a good story. It does exactly what I want it to.
But I’m disappointed.
This has never happened to me. I mean, I’ve lost a lot of pages before, and ones that I was proud of, but those were always in novels, and the impact seemed far less.
And I’ve been cursed with creative honesty. So, there you go.
I do hate to be bittersweet on a day like today because, on a whole, I am so, so proud and excited about this collection of stories.
We have seventy-one different tales and fourteen original pieces of artwork inside.
Don’t miss out on the opening-week sale before it goes up to full price.
Its doors swing open every time we sleep, allowing us passage into the land of DREAMS, a plane rich with exotic fantasy and limitless bliss. Within this wonder world, however, lurk dark corridors and terrible creatures—some unfortunate travelers never escape the NIGHTMARES waiting in the shadows.
Many have tried bridging our worlds. Seekers and wise men have meditated for VISIONS and ingested intoxicants for HALLUCINATIONS in hopes that the veil between our realms will thin, allowing access to all the thrills, joys, and horrors beyond our senses.
TRANSCENDENT is an open gate, a gangway linking our realm to the shimmering sphere where nothing is certain and anything is possible.