So, today I’m posting the beginning of the first draft of part 3 of Notes From the Abyss. This one’s a flashback about the thing that caused the Cataclysm and set up the Macguffin that the whole series so far rests on. So.

Anyway. I hope you like it!


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This is a story written in the Cattlepunk universe I started creating yesterday, and it’s written by a good friend of mine.

Reposted with permission


“You may begin speaking now.”

                “And this thing’ll save whatever I say, so’s other folks can hear our story?”

                “Academics and future generations will benefit from the stories you tell today. Pretend I’m not even here, if you like. I’ll sit and listen, and ask you to pause when I need to change the cylinders. The day’s long and the drink is ready, so take your time – this is for posterity.”

                “Posterity.  I wish I could be so certain that someone’d be there to remember me tomorrow, if I were taken today. I could get used to a society that’ll still dream big in the face of all this. But somewhere along the way, someone decided who gets to share the meat and the water, and who don’t. You mighta noticed, doc, that there aren’t so many old folks like you around, all soft and clean and learned. You mighta noticed what folks we do got, they’re all young and strong and mean. You templers, you wheelers, you Thirteen – not you particular, doc, but your people – they’re in love with their own story, crammin’ it in everyone’s ears even as the story keeps changing. They love to tell you that they survive because every single one of them is tough, and every single one is needed, and everyone has a skill.

                “But that ain’t strictly true, or, no offense, you wouldn’t be here putting my voice into a hunk of Nester’s Wax. Someone had the time to figure that out ‘cause you’ve all got civilization, and there’s room for people like you, who can go and learn and make new things because they’ve got other people worrying about where the water comes from, or when the cows come home. You might know how to swing a rifle, doc, but I can see that you never hauled buckets or butchered an animal or any kinda thing that folk around here do for themselves every day. Anything needs doing around here, you do it yourself, or you go without. Not a one of us is free of that, not even Baron Saans.

                “There’s some who’ll lay food and arms at his feet, sure, but that’s respect. The man made do for himself on top of pulling towns like this together, and without his like, a lot of us’d be food for the flitters. That name, ‘Baron,’ ain’t our doing. It was the templers bestowed that honor, calling him a Robber Baron and declaring us all outa the law, declaring that folk like us ‘shall not take of their bounty, under pain of death.’ They call themselves united, but see fit to leave anyone they don’t like for the bugs. They call us ‘Tweeners, ‘cause we fall through the cracks and settle where they don’t see fit to. They’ll say that anything we got we stole from them, but that’s only because they never let us have anything in the first place. Our whole being is cobbled together from their leavings and the rather dubious kindness of folk like you.

                “You keep a quiet face but I can read your eyes, doc. You’re out here bringing goodness to the little people, sure, but you carry yourself like you know you’re better. You said yourself, you come through to make study of the lot of us. We don’t have what comforts you know, but we’re not stupid. You’re here trying to learn ‘cause there’s not a one of you behind your walls that’ll both remember true and tell it straight. You know there’s no one old enough here, but if you pick up all the pieces you can find, that’ll get your picture started. I got a question outa that, though: Why go to the trouble? Can’t go on those trails of yours without worrying about a lead breakfast. What’s the point?”

                “I’ll get to that, but have a drink first. We’re coming up on the end of this cylinder.”

Gulch of Fire

June 27, 2012

A gunslinger's best friendI don’t know what else to call it yet. Anyway, here goes.

Eighty years ago, things changed.
Eighty years ago, the Great Kingdoms were attacked by the Famine and people died. Civilization died. Things changed.
Eighty years ago, the mountains shook and shuddered and rumbled. Down from the peaks came whole clouds of the Famine-Flyers. Insects as big as a fist that’d eat anything. Especially steel. Especially the flesh and armor of the great Knights, our Heroes, our Kings. They ate up all of the defenses and all of our food until we adapted. Until things changed.
Eighty years ago, the Famine started. It lasted for five years and killed nine in ten. If not from the Famine-Flyers, from the starvation. From the cold. From the fear. Now things have changed and the world’s moved on. The knights and soldiers carry hard iron now. The wizards and will-workers use science and genius to supplement their magics, since the world is weak and faithless. Clerics have taken up The Black and the serve the Saints in their own ways, burying the dead and healing the sick. Trappers, Trackers, and Scouts have taken up the Rifle to claim the land back from the Famine-Flyers – even if it is just a desert now. The common people have had to become hard-bitten and competent, honing their skills to razors. And over them all are the Marshals, keeping the peace and serving the Righteous Law since the Temple Knights all died fighting the Famine.
Things changed, the world’s harder now. But we get along.
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I am in an unfortunate position – I’m waiting on a new laptop screen so I can come to Starbucks to write. Until then, I’m reading on my Kindle. And I have now internet connection at home, so if I use my external monitor I can’t upload anything.

On top of that, I’m trying to mobilize my circle of friends and supporters to help me get my own space. I need to get out of the place I’m in now for a variety of reasons and I need your help to do it. So please consider donating or even just telling other people about my blog. If you’d like all of the details as to why I need help, you can message me on Facebook through my page to the right, on Twitter @Luarien, or you can find me on G+ as Daniel A. Samuelson (my picture is a bunch of gears). For now, I’m posting from my phone, so it’s unlikely I’ll post much.

Thank you for your support so far and I hope you will continue to enjoy my work.

So, I don’t know what to do. Notes Part 2 is looking at having a whole chapter of exposition. Which I don’t want to do.

I’m considering having Part 3 be a flashback section, to explain the foundation of the current story, but Part 2 is only 7500 words right now. That’ll be expanded in editing, but will it go far enough to support itself?

What should I do?

Not entirely sure what I want to do with this yet, but I’m enjoying the character.

I don’t know where to fit this in, but this is what our Dr. Richard Washington looks like.

He is a taller man, nearly six feet in height, and built broadly and strongly. He is in good shape, having studied wrestling, boxing, and fencing in college alongside his adoptive brothers. He dresses in an understated manner that was common of his father, pressed black or brown slacks and light-colored collared shirts of good cut with a rich colored vest over it. He is not frequently seen outside of his heavy brown coat, a gift from his father before he died when Richard was a child, and still carries a pocketwatch despite wrist watches being the current style. He has taken up the wearing of a fedora, like many fashionable men, and keeps his normally unruly hair pulled tightly back into a braid to ensure his hair is not mussed too badly by dry air or the humid environment under the hat. Due to his dark skin, many styles of jewelry look garish in his eyes when he wears them. The only adornment he has is a simple white gold wedding band on his left hand. His face is gentle and stern, clearly creased with his experience as a professor of anthropology, but his hazel eyes glint with a sense of adventure and intelligence.

So, here’s the beginning of Dr. Washington’s story…


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Richard Washington,
It is with a heavy heart that I contact you. My former master, one Doctor Arthur Westinhouse, was an avid collector of anthropological and occult paraphernalia. His untimely demise this past winter has lead the house he owned here in Malibu, California to become a rather foreboding place. It is within the interests of the family, and myself as the inheritor and caretaker of the home, to see that these objects of art and scientific import be given a new home, away from the house itself, so that the spirits of the objects may rest in peace and stop haunting the darkened halls here where they cause me quite the fright.
I wish to assure you that I see you with the utmost respect. I know that my former master would have looked poorly on hiring you, as you are a colored gentleman, but I see these prejudices as unsuitable in our modern, 20th century world. I have not come to you out of desperation outside the norm and have heard that you are highly recommended and respected in your field.
However, I am a desperate man. These objects fill me with fright when I see them and I am convinced that they are somehow linked to Mr. Westinhouse’s death. I fear that they may have driven him to the point of madness, stolen away his sanity with their dark leers and haunting forms, and pushed him toward taking his own life. The last thing I remember about the night he died was his request for cocaine, laudanum, and brandy in his study. He was found the next morning cold as a fish and as blue as the day’s sky. Since then, that night has haunted my memories as I wonder if I could have done anything to save him from himself or from the demons that haunt these halls due to his peculiarities.
I am a man of God, Mr. Washington, but I fear that not even His Grace has the power to save me or those that Mr. Westinhouse’s collection has perverted.
I hope you arrive with all haste.
Laurence L’Reche
Butler, Archivist, Historian

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