Okay, so the fourth chapter, I hope to have completed by the end of next month. I DO have a preview for those interested, since this will likely be close to the finalized beginning of chapter 4 (which will be officially called "Chaos Theory").
In other news, I hope to possibly work more on the formatting for "Brothers Born of Madness" (a poem I gave a preview for in a prior journal) tomorrow. I don't know if I'll finish it or not, however, tomorrow I will be working more on fixing some format issues on Sanguine Dolls of Beauty. It's come to my attention that neither part 1 nor 2 show up properly on some screens, and it worries me. So I'll hopefully fix those issues. If they turn out to be problematic, I may delete the 2nd submission, and replace the 1st submission with a .pdf version that'll end up stitching together parts 1, 2, and 3 (which is almost completed, but I admittedly haven't been working on for a while)
For those interested in With(out) The Sun Chapter 4 preview:
(also, please note that I don't normally choose the opening or ending quotes 'til AFTER the chapter's written):
Thrice, the sun has risen, a beautiful ball of flame up in the horizon, just out of reach. Its warmth is superficial though, and the few times we're above ground to experience its brilliant rays, I'm reminded how a pseudo flame can't raise heat. I don't feel happy, yet, if this world truly is no more than a paradox, then the completely insane truth is I do
at least in those few moments where the light reminds me there's a tomorrow, and that we exist.
It feels like ages of traveling underground, and although we phantoms do not need much, a little humanity and sunlight, superficial as it may seem, all the more makes me feel alive. All I can hope for is for us to surface soon since you have gone quiet once again. Perhaps this small bit of freedom will allow us to once again forget the dread of fearing the unknown. After-all, we are no longer tripping backwards, and with our new names and a renewed sense of purpose, I just know that we will make it out of this paradox unscathed! Then we'll show the damned Zetsu just who the hell they're messing with!
A sudden shift in this strange dimension causes me to twist; I'm oddly off-balanced considering how travelers of this dimension are all weightless. I shut my eyes for a moment, trying to refocus, only to open them and become more uneasy when trying to focus in on our captors. "Tadao."
Your voice breaks me from my thoughts, and I cast an unwary glance towards you. "Pay attention." "It's not like I'm not trying!"
I groan. "Just, how does he, or whatever, they, how can they stand this?"
You look away and back over towards Zetsu, simply saying, "It should be obvious that they're used to it by now. They are surfacing soon, and I won't think twice if you get dragged." "Well, 10 minutes ago
I was used to it! Hey wait a minute,"
I cross my legs and cup my chin and my hand. "Since when could you tell that?"
"What makes you think I'll tell you?"
A sudden spark of interests hits me, and I quickly stumble over towards you. "No way! You can read their minds too?"
Your lack of an answer gives me all the answer I need, and I grin sheepishly and laugh at the sudden realization that YOU can get inside our enemies' head. "Okay okay, tell me what they're thinking right now!"
You let out a loud sigh, holding the bridge of your nose. "God Tadao, are you a child or a shinobi? If you're the latter, then at least show some composure."
"Oh come on!! If you have the enemies' thoughts at your fingertips, that almost makes you like a God or something! We can get out of this place! So come on! What are they thinking?"
An aura of doom surrounds you, and you look up and mutter, "They're thinking about deep frying you and serving you with soy sauce."
I think my heart just stopped, but APPARENTLY something's funny to you! "Oh very funny! You are the incarnation of a donkey's ass!"
You clap your hands, a smug smile firmly in place. "You'll be here all day."
"Ahh . . . Just eat shit and die!"
"The less time you spend complaining, the more time you'll have to prepare for surfacing. So turn around, watch our captors, and for the love of the almighty Goddess, clear out your thoughts. You're giving me a headache."
Insulted, I quickly turn to face Zetsu, but my breath hitches as I try to keep my eyes on target. Images are but flashing, distorting constructs in this strange dimension, and so focusing on the man is somewhat confusing and makes me dizzy. "I think I'm gonna hurl . . ."
"You should know by now that's impossible. We haven't eaten since we got here."
Oh really, tell that to my stomach that's trying to shoot its contents out my throat. "I thought . . . he was supposed to break ground already?"
You shake your head, bringing your hand up to cup your chin as you casually focus on the blurry images ahead. "Seems like, they're changing course, a detour before reaching Tanigakure. Who'd thought that savage hellion would be so sentimental?"
I bring my knees to my bare chest and slowly fall to my side as the gradual building of nothing
forces a dry heave to suddenly shoot a cold chill up my spine. I whimper out of frustration, desperately wanting to relieve myself somehow. Instead, I just breathe deep and wrap my arms around my knees, finding small comfort in the warmth provided by rubbing against the bandages extending down my legs. It's hard to get comfortable though, since the immaterial space below isn't hard as packed soil should be, leaving me to feel like I'm dangling in midair. "Oh just, why does he, ugh . . . THEY . . how do THEY do this?! They'd have to be INSANE not to be affected by this!"
You ignore me, forcing me to yell even louder. "WHY CAN'T THEY TRAVEL BY FOOT LIKE NORMAL PEOPLE?!"
Again, you pay me no mind. "Hey,"
I groan, "I'm beginning to think you're ignoring me . . ."
Finally, you look at me and say, "I already gave you attention. Now sit down and shut up."
"I'm not a dog you know . . ."
I close my eyes in frustration, before finally adding. "Where are they going anyway?"
I open one of my eyes to see your reaction. You're sitting with your legs criss-crossed at this point, and your head is thrown back slightly as your hand rests on your face.
You go back to ignoring me, and I keep staring for a moment before going back to closing my eyes. I toss my head back and fold my arms behind me, clicking my tongue against the roof of my mouth a few times before gritting my teeth in boredom. "I just . . have a headache." "A . . . headache?"
I sit up and turn to face you. "Wait, you were being serious?"
Not only is it unusual for you to feel any pain, but for you to tell me about it, it has to be bad. "I . . don't know."
Your body is shaking slightly; your lips twitch as your frown deepens. I hate to admit it, but this could explain a lot. You're never this patient with me, and you've been very nice to me during these recent travels. You've been . . . trying to keep me quiet.
I don't know what to do at this point. I want to help, the pain you're going through looks worse than the nausea I felt not too long ago. I feel guilty. Did I do this? Before I can think of anything to say or do, you mutter, "Stop . . worrying about it. You're feeling the same thing too– the tension of not knowing . . the point to all this. It'd be best if we just concentrate on when we're going to surface. I'm still getting used to hearing all these thoughts at once.