Thursday, June 15, 2006

Original Story: The Sandbox Chapter One

About The Sandbox
I had always been a lover of a good story. For a long time, writing had been one of the ways that I have occupied myself during my futile bout with insomnia. I have been writing fan fiction for almost 5 years now and, although I don't post as much as I used to, I still type out a chapter or two whenever the muse moves me.

However, for the past several months I have had this story turning away in the back of my head. I have spent several sleepless nights lying in bed thinking about character development, plot twists, and dialogue. Sure enough though, whenever I sit down at my computer or try to write it down with a pad and pen, I get writer's block. I found it strange that I had every aspect of this story mapped out in my head, but I couldn't figure out how to tell the story. Writing fan fiction had always been easy for me, but in fan fiction, the characters and back story was already established for me. An original story was a totally different animal.

In hopes of finding some inspiration, I watched one of my favorite movies, "Finding Forester". I came to the part where Forester tells Jamal that sometime the rythem or writing is all that you need to take you from one chapter to the next. It was then that I decided to just force myself to write. I didn't care if it was chronologically the way that I wanted it, I just have to start writing, and hopefully, the story will just come out.

Chapter One: The Discovery
High in the Colorado Rockies, two men are in the middle of a perilous climb up the side of the mountain. Avid extreme athletes, they no doubt are doing this in an attempt to push their bodies to the limit. They slowly make their way up the rock face, taking great care in every move that they make. One mistake is all that is needed to send both men plummeting to their deaths. It is this knowledge that drives people like them to do what they do. To many, climbing a mountain in the Rockies boarders on the brink of insanity. What normal person does something like that? The answer is simple. Normal people don’t do things like that, but these two individuals are not normal people. Bungee jumping, and skydiving are mundane activities to adventure seekers like these two. They constantly push themselves physically to find that adrenalin high that gets harder and harder to get as they progress to more and more extreme activities.

The first of the two climbers reaches up onto a ledge. He looks over the ledge to find a cave, a welcome site considering where they are. He pulls himself up onto the ledge, and peers into the small cave. After spending several hours climbing, the cave looked like a good place for the two weary adventurers. The first climber turns around to help his friend up onto their newly discovered rest area. The two friends un-strap their various harnesses, and drop their heavy packs before venturing into the cave.

The cave entrance is small, barely tall enough for them to stand in, but once inside, the two climbers find that it is so deep that the cave seems to disappear into a dark abyss. A low howl from the wind blowing by the entrance echoes through the cave. The two adventure seekers explore the cave, being careful not to venture too far from the entrance less they get lost. The first of the two explorers turns a corner only to be pulled into the darkness by an unseen force. His shocked companion chases after him only to find his friend on the floor of the cave with his neck broken.

The remaining climber falls to his knees next to his fallen compatriot, and partner in countless death defying adventures. He then comes to the frightening realization, that his friend didn’t break his neck on his own; something was in the cave with them. A cold chill runs down his spine, which causes him to quickly get up to his feet, and run towards the entrance of the cave.

He frantically tries to untangle the various clips, harnesses, and ropes, that he and his now deceased friend unknowingly tossed aside. His hands shake as he straps himself into the climbing harness. He hears noises from deep within the cave as exits. Out on the ledge, he proceeds to clip the ropes to his harness when out of the corner of his eye; he sees a bright light coming out of the cave. The intensifying light distracts him, and his foot slips over the edge. He quickly grabs hold of the ledge with his left hand.

He looks down at the precipice below as he dangles by his fingertips off of one of the tallest mountains in the United States. He looks up at the ledge, and swings his right hand up. He slowly pulls himself up. He looks over the edge into the cave. His eyes open wide, and his irises dilate when a sudden blast of bright light shoots out of the cave, sending the unfortunate climber falling off the side of the mountain. As the echoes of the falling climber’s yell begins to fade from hearing, the bright light emanating from the cave begins to flicker and grow weaker until it finally goes out, leaving the cave in it’s original darkness.

The sound of people and equipment working can be heard echoing through the darkness. The voices begin to sound frantic, and the sound footsteps can be heard running in every direction when suddenly a hole brakes through the sealing of the room. For the first time in centuries, light floods into the ancient crypt illuminating a large stone box in its center. The perplexed workers gaze through the hole down into the mysterious room. Slowly, people start to comprehend what they may have stumbled upon, and Muslim and Jewish prayers start to fill the room. A few of the workers run out of the Al-Aqsa Mosque proclaiming "Aron habrit! Aron habrit!" Word soon spreads throughout the City of David, "Aron habrit! Aron habrit!", and people from all over Jerusalem are now clamouring to enter the Dome of the Rock to get a glimpse at the accidental discovery.

The Israeli government quickly mobilizes the military to facilitate crowd control. Israeli troops push their way through the crowds, which only proves to cause the already strained tensions to escalate. The crowd, made up of a mixture of Jewish, Muslim, and Christian pilgrims, become agitated as they are pushed aside like a herd of cattle. Shouts of; "What are you trying to hide?", and "Why can’t we see what is rightfully ours?" can be heard coming from the crowd in a variety of tongues. The growing crowd is soon deemed a hazard, and the order is given for the troops to disperse the crowd.

The crowd begins to grow restless as the military force pushes forward. The cries of "Aron habrit! Aron habrit!" continue to grow until the strained tensions finally break, when a rock comes flying through the air, hitting one of the soldiers in the head. The rest of the soldiers immediately open fire on the crowd. The rubber bullets and gas send most of the crowd running. However, for some, a mob mentality takes over, and they charge at the soldiers. Ill equipped for combat, the pilgrims fall to the ground one by one as the soldiers fire round after round of the supposed non-lethal artillery into the horde. With in minutes, the mob is put down, but as the smoke starts to clear, the ramifications of this day have already started a series of events, which will have far-reaching effects upon all of humanity.

Meanwhile, across the Mediterranean, the Vatican bustles with activity. While the various clergy go about their usual business, a young priest named father John Cullerton, hurries through the halls. A young idealist, his faith and reputation for turning around problem parishes had made him very popular within his archdiocese. His mini-fame, and his propensity for hard work soon garnered attention from the governing bodies of the Catholic church, and he was called upon to serve within the inner workings of the Vatican itself.

"Your Eminence!" He yells as he bursts through a set of large double doors. "I apologize for the intrusion, but there are reports that something has been unearthed in Jerusalem." An older gentleman dressed in flowing black and red robes, who is currently looking out his window at St. Peter’s Square below, calmly turns to look at the panting young priest standing in his doorway. He is a squat round man reminiscent of Friar Tuck from the Robin Hood Stories. Yet, no one dared mention anything about it while he was in earshot. Even though he was a holy man, he was known throughout religious community as having a very short temper. "Cardinal Medvit!" Pants the young Priest. "There is word that… They are saying that they have found the Ark of the Covenant!"


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