The Better Option

Hi guys! This is the second installment in our Life 2.0 story series! For more information on Life 2.0, go to our Life 2.0 page. You can also find Julian and Marcus on the YWW community this week!

With this new installment, Julian and Marcus followed the advice of Gloria and Anna. Thanks for commenting, guys!

Bright and searingly hot, the desert sun beat down on the two brothers. Julian slowly rubbed his itchy eyes to distract him from Marcus’ scrutiny. He squinted into the horizon, and for the umpteenth time surveyed the two boxes. Neither looked particularly promising.

“Why me? Can’t you choose?” Julian snapped back at his brother, who still held a stupidly oblivious grin on his face.

Marcus flinched at the proposition. Of course he was unsure; he could never make a decision about anything other than following Jesus. Even Marcus’s own college was selected by their parents.

Running a hand through his thick hair, Marcus muttered, “That doesn’t sound like a good idea.” Julian snorted at that.

With a slightly hurt expression on his face, Marcus shuffled his sandaled feet through the sand. He shielded his brown eyes with one tan hand, gazing across the twenty yard expanse that separated them from the ominous boxes. That hoodie was still flung over his head, like it would protect him from any particular danger that came from this seemingly impossible place. Julian was starting to feel the effects of standing around for fifteen minutes in the baking sand. He was about to suggest they go into the white scraped one, when Marcus abruptly asked a pointed question.

“I wonder what that red substance is?” His voice cracked abruptly.

Julian had assumed it was blood, but it could be anything. Actually, he would quite prefer it to be something other than blood. Without another word, Julian started the dismal trek across the shifting sand towards the seemingly vague cubes. He could hear Marcus following him, his footsteps seemed lagging.

Julian slowed down during the last couple feet. Someone could still be in those buildings. The six-sided room wasn’t nearly as small as he had first anticipated. In fact, it was quite ginormous. Twelve feet on each side, they loomed overhead and the black peeling surface shimmered in the heat.

“That’s impossible,” Marcus approached with heavy breathing on Julian’s right side. He had finally taken off his hoodie and wrapped it around his waist, “It seemed only six feet on each side when I looked at it from back there.”

Before Julian could express his agreement, Marcus let out a gasp. The sand dune where they had just stood minutes before, was now replaced by a sheer ledge. The sand beneath their feet ended abruptly about six feet behind them. A flat faced cliff plunged into a black void instead of more sand dunes. It stretched forever downward, but not a single gust of wind swept up from it.

Julian let out a groan; his heart doubled its speed. Now they had no choice but to go into one of these boxes. This was all so terribly haunting. Perhaps they had accidently taken a large dose of drugs and were having hallucinations together. How did one unintentionally take narcotics? Whipping his head to look at his younger brother, Julian found him with closed eyes, breathing slowly. His face was at some amount of peace. He was probably praying to his god, madly hoping that he could retrieve them out of this unnatural occurrence.

“This could be your testing ground, Julian.”

The college student angrily turned on his brother. With a two inch advantage over Marcus, he stared into the kid’s eyes. They stared steadily back.

“This whole place has already challenged every bit of rationality that I’ve assumed was true,” he flung up his hands into the air, “Of course it has certainly tested my viewpoint, as well as my sanity,” Julian bit his lip unsurely, “I just don’t know if it will account to anything.”

Nodding slowly, Marcus thankfully didn’t reply with one of his spiritual tidbits. They needed to make a decision soon. Who knows what laws applied here? Julian started to make his way down the slope that led to the hut. It looked as if the whole cube had just been dropped in the middle of this vast desert, and created a gaping empty basin.

Salty sweat dripped into his eyes as the rough grained sand flowed into his new running shoes. Suddenly, he figured out he had too much momentum. Before he could slow down, Julian slammed into the dark door of the room. It felt like ice on his chalky skin. As smooth as anything he had ever felt, there was no apparent blemish on the solid entry path. Julian soon found that his right hand had dipped into one of the patches of red. It felt warm and almost… alive. The liquid seeped into the creases and cracks in his palm, flowing through the maze. A rusty smell emanated from it, like the odor of Julian’s old bike at home. There was an odd comfort in it, yet there was a loneliness that could not be quenched.

He gulped slowly, “It’s blood.”

Marcus approached slowly behind. He reached out and touched the dripping blood. A light dawned in his face. Julian wiped most of the liquid off his hands on his jean shorts, and started backing away.

“There’s no possible way I’m going in there,” he shuddered at the peeling black, with the stark white peeking through, “There could be thirty dead bodies shoved inside.”

With a furrowed brow, Marcus turned away. He still stared at his red finger intently.

“What-what if we just glanced in and checked to see what’s inside? It seems familiar,” the younger man’s voice shook as he spoke, “Yet I can’t quite grasp why.”

Julian slammed his hand against the sand as he tried to climb the slope.

“No! We’re going into the black one!”

Ignoring whatever Marcus’ next pathetic attempt at persuasion was, Julian struggled to the top of the crater. His breathing came in ragged gasps, but he pushed on. The fear of what would happen if they did not enter one of the cubes was like a whip to his back. As he got closer, a gentle pull started in his mind towards the vast darkened block. It was undeniable, and he had no doubt that this was the correct one. This one was even larger than the last, with edges as sharp as a knife’s blade. Like the last one, there was not a single blemish on the pitch surface. Marcus struggled behind, and cowered beneath the behemoth wall’s shadow. A large handle, which seemed incredibly out of place on the twenty foot door, protruded on the right hand side. Julian ushered Marcus over as he grasped the cold metallic surface.

“Quick, help me get this open!”

Fear and agony made Julian struggle as he pulled on the handle with all his might. Marcus had just arrived, grasping onto Julian’s shoulder, when the door suddenly disappeared. Blackness enveloped them. Julian could hear his brother’s panicked scream through the haze. He felt like he was floating, with nothing under his feet or over his head. His body was moving of no accord, and it seemed that he was floating above his own physical body.

Just when he was sure he would pass out, pain lanced up his cheek as it slammed into something. In fact, his whole body ached. He soon realized that he was lying on a hard, rough floor. Letting out a small whimper, Julian shakily pushed himself into a sitting position. Instead of the warm, resolved feeling he had been hoping to feel in this cube, absolute insecurity reigned. There was a cold light illuminating their surroundings, with no particular origin. It just was. There was a narrow stairway to the right, covered in rounded arches. To their left, was another intricately designed door. Blocking the fancily carved entryway, was a tall man with skinny arms. The presence of another human being was startling. A pair of wire rimmed glasses were perched on his thin nose, and his sparse eyebrows moved continuously. His back was leaned up against one of the dark walls, legs crossed. A fat book was balanced in between his fingers, and his lips moved silently.

The silhouette of Marcus shimmied rigidly over to Julian’s side. His breathing was shallow, and it was the only sound apparent. His face was carved in a grimace.

“Who is he?”

Shrugging distractedly, Julian tried to calm the ringing in his ears. It was like the whispers of a thousand demons.

Then Marcus asked the inevitable, “Should we go deeper?”

The stairway loomed darkly. Julian brushed off some of the dust on his clothes. His mind was racing, and he was trying to ignore the strange familiarity of the man that stood in the doorway. The old man swiftly looked up from his book, seemingly unsurprised at their arrival. His dull grey eyes pierced into Julian.

“Will you follow me into my home?” he waved dismissively over to the door, “It’s obviously your best option.”

Once again, Julian wasn’t sure what to do. Of all his life, he had never faced such uncertainty.

Should they. . .

Follow the man into the door? Go deeper into the cube and take the stairway up? Or something else?

Comment below and join the adventure!

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A Break in the Clouds

This is the first installment of Life 2.0. For more information on Life 2.0 go to our Life 2.0 page. I hope you enjoy!

It was a grey, cloudy day in Sixeko, a prophecy of rain to come. Julian walked down the street, his younger brother trailing behind them. All the buildings were grey. The street was grey, with a mist smouldering everything. Pedestrians walked by silently on the street, wrapped in shawls and hoodies. Some in suits and ties, all quiet, as if in revery of the mist.

All except Julian and Marcus who conversed in not too candid tones.

“You’re blind,” Marcus whispered behind him. “It’s like you’re walking right to the edge of a cliff, and you’re going to fall off.”

Julian glared over his shoulder at his little brother, a whole head shorter than him. What could he expect from a freshman? He’d have to be patient. Julian kept walking. The tops of buildings broke out of the mist. They were headed home. Well, not home. To Julian’s dorm.

Marcus caught up to Julian and gave him a soft, pleading look. His dark hair drooped over his brown-grey eyes. He was wearing a hoodie, as usual, which was also grey.

Julian only clipped along faster. Why did hanging out with his brother always have to mean conversations like this.

“What do you want me to do?” he said, shaking his head at Marcus. “I already told you, I’m an atheist.”

Marcus threw his hand in the air, exasperatedly.

“Why would pick atheism of all things? You could have been Buddhist or Jewish or Christian like me. But atheism? Is atheism really worth it?”

A woman with a stroller paused on the other side of the street to give them a strange look.

Julian scratched the back of his neck and kept walking. Marcus looked a lot like him when he had been that age, three years ago. Now, he still had the dark hair and stern jaw. But his eyes were older, and he had gained a fair amount of muscle. He’d even grown a few inches in his first year or so of college.

He strolled faster, breaking through the slow, quiet hazy greyness without answering. Marcus kept pace and tried to keep eye contact.

“If atheism is the truth,” Julian said quickly. “Then I can’t pretend like I believe something else just to appease mom and dad. It’s the same way you feel about Christianity.”

“But Christianity is worth living for,” Marcus objected.

Julian gave Marcus a sharp look.

“And atheism isn’t?”

Marcus blushed. Julian guessed he hadn’t meant to insult, but it was what he believed. They walked. And walked. In silence. The mist seemed to grow, to shroud everything, till even the tops of the buildings could hardly be seen.

It wasn’t that strange for Sixeko. There were often mists in the city. The air was almost always moist.

What was strange was the fact that to Julian it seemed like less and less people were passing them by on the street. Maybe it was the noonday siesta or something.

“Excuse me,” Marcus said. His voice was always annoyingly soft, almost faltering. Another thing he hadn’t learned. . .poise.

Julian raised an eyebrow.

“Yes?”

Marcus kept walking, silent, probably trying to gather his thoughts together.

“So, you know I think you’re wrong.”

Julian chuckled a little under his breath.

“Everyone in the family does. . .”

Marcus shrugged his shoulders and blushed a little, the fog around him making him look like one of those dumb paintings of Jesus, wrapped up in glorious cloud. He was silent. He probably didn’t know what to say.

Or maybe he was rounding up for a deadly blow.

Either way, he never got to whatever it was that he was or wasn’t planning to say because at that moment, the fog lifted. Just completely lifted. . .and Julian was sure he’d made a wrong turn.

In front of them, was white. . .unending white, sloping and falling white. Sand. Miles and miles of sand in front of them, and the sky was blue and the sun was bright and it wasn’t grey at all.

“We must have made a wrong turn,” Julian said, turning around to go back.
He stopped in his tracks. The mist was completely gone on this side too. There was not a cloud in sight, and there was only sand. Unending miles of sand and blue sky. And in the middle of the sand, two boxes.

“Where are we?” Marcus gasped.

Julian just stared blankly. He turned around again and again, just to make sure that the city wasn’t somewhere behind him waiting. . .hiding. That he hadn’t made some miscalculation. But he hadn’t. And it wasn’t.

The sad burned against the toes of his shoes. Everything felt warm and humid. His lips felt parched.

“Did you just go and lose us,” Marcus said, rolling his eyes. Probably to hide his anxiety, Julian thought.

“Fear not, and do not be dismayed,” Julian whispered under his breath.

“What?” Marcus said.

Julian turned his head at him with a smirk. “It’s from the Bible.”

He then turned away from Marcus and gave one long look at the two boxes sitting in the sand, well really more like cubes. They were both large and had doors. They didn’t look like buildings exactly. They were perfectly cubed. And they both only had one door. One of the cubes was black. It looked elegant and crisp and the corners of the box were sharp. It seemed to be made out of some dark metal.

The other box, or building. . .they really must be buildings, Julian decided. . . looked more warn. It also was black, but its edges were rounded and it had white stains on it, as if someone had scraped off some of the black paint.

For a minute Julian stared at them in silence, subtly aware of Marcus standing beside him, also looking at them.

On closer inspection, Julian noticed that the scraped one, the one that was partly white, had a red liquid oozing down its door. It looked exactly like blood.

Two thoughts crossed Julian’s mind almost at the same time. Someone’s in those buildings and The people in those buildings might not be exactly friendly.

Questions pounded into his brain, but he didn’t feel ready to discuss anything with Marcus yet. He didn’t even feel quite ready to acknowledge that he was lost. That they were both lost. He was the older brother, so he had to protect Marcus.

But what if the blood on that door was a human’s blood? What if whoever owned that building had killed someone and spread his blood on the door? Why would they do that?

And then the question that finally made up Julian’s mind. What if these people were the only people that could help him and his brother get back to Sixeco?

“Julian,” Marcus whispered. “I think we should go into one of those buildings.”

Julian nodded his head.

“The question is which one,” he said.

Marcus shrugged.

“I have no clue. They both look pretty creepy. . .” He smiled teasingly. “I’ll follow you.”

Should they. . .

Go in the building with the bloody door? Go in the black building? Split up?

Leave a comment to let us know, and chances are they’ll follow your lead!

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Life 2.0. . .Plot!!!! (Final Poll)

I am soooo excited!!!!!! This is our very very final poll before we start writing Life 2.0 and head into the adventure. We have a genre, a protagonist, and a villain (or possibly two.)

The last thing we need is a plot to go with those characters. . . .Here are our ideas. Tell us what you think, and let’s get started! I am so ready for this! Are you?

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Life 2.0. . .Villain!!!

Can you believe it! This our second to last poll for Life 2.0 before the story begins. I don’t know about you, but I’m excited.

So. . .the question for today is. . .who should our villain be. Evil? Dark? Deceptively Beautiful? Tell us what you think by filling out the poll below!

Yours for Miznos,
Jason

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Life 2.0 Protagonist. . .He’s the dude!

Hey guys!

Another Life 2.0 poll. We need a protagonist! So far we’ve got some guy living in a desert city. . .but we need more. So here are a few ideas. Which one’s your favorite?

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Life 2.0: We need your story ideas!

Once upon a time, there was a boy name. . . .who was. . .years old. He lived in a rocky, desert city named. . .half of which was a modern, beautiful shiny city with cars, bikes, and the occasional random hippie selling amazing hotdogs. The other half was old and smoggy, filled with dead dreams and forgotten things. One day something happened to this boy that changed his life. A mysterious, thrilling, terrifying thing that flung him into a life of fantastical creatures, magic, and surrealism.

What happened to him? What’s his name? How old is he? Where does he live? And where will the story go from here?

Based off of your answers to the polls we’ve been posting, we’ve gotten this far along with our outline for Life 2.0, but we need your ideas to fill in the rest. Comment and let us know what would get you interested enough to click on and read?

Yours for Miznos,
Jason

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Life 2.0 Main Character!

Hey guys,

Here’s the third poll for Life 2.0 launch week! Yay!

As you know Peter and I both are guys so we don’t have much (cough. cough.) experience being girls. But I mean. . .as you also SHOULD know. . .girls are pretty legit!

So. . .with no further joking. . .should Life 2.0’s main character be a guy or a girl? Do you want a daring knight with awesome hair or an epic chic ready to defy the world with the perfection of her teeth? Or just a normal guy or girl. . .

Fill out the poll and let us know!

Yours for Miznos,
Jason

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