Hello everyone, wow its been so long since I came to this part of GC even after re reading the comic like 10 times just this year. Which shows just how much free time I have because of... pandemic reasons. With that in mind, I thought of taking up writing, one of my long forgotten dreams, but find myself a bit too rusty to dare draft something on my own. Instead, I was hoping to practice by turning the comic, chapter by chapter, into a novel-style book of sorts. This is obviously without Tom's permission (unless he agrees because then hot damn I'll do my best) and as just a means to brush up my writing skills. And thus I appeal to the nice community of GC fans to be its critic and tell me what I could do to better myself as a writer. So if at least one person is interested in being a critic or guide, well... I will start it as soon as possible and see if I can make it a chapter per week. Otherwise, thank you for your attention, and I hope your 2020 is going much better than mine!
Well, seeing how there's almost 200 views in the last 3 weeks (and no replies haha but I guess that's fine) I'm actually going to start this thing and see how far I can take it! I'm starting this around October 1st, so that should give me an estimate of how much it takes to write a chapter depending on how busy I am in a week. Hopefully not too much and hopefully I get faster along the way. As for the writing itself:
Again, it's just something I thought of doing, no profit no money etc etc, just some good and bad criticism that'd be very welcome for future projects. It's pretty much GC without drawings, so, uh... Possible material for an audiobook? That's a joke lads
Dialogue will be kept as close to the original as possible, I do expect some minor edits here and there but nothing that will change the story at all. Maybe make it color coded if it's easier to tell who's who later on? I might leave that for a poll.
On the first few chapters there will sort of be... a bit of copy paste, since Annie is doing the narration by herself and all. Again, don't want to change the story flow, and re-reading those parts will give me a better idea on how to frame the words for the rest of the book.
I have been told part of the narration is a bit... sassy. I don't know if that qualifies for start!Annie but hey I'll just roll with it until someone says it's bad.
And so, without further ado...
Chapter 1: The Shadow and the Robot
My name is Antimony Carver. I would like to share with you the strange events that took place while I attended school at Gunnerkrigg Court, which doesn't look much like a school at all. Instead of a learning place, the school closer resembles a large industrial complex.
Within the first week of attendance, I began noticing a number of strange occurrences, the most prevalent of these oddities being the fact that I seemed to have obtained a second shadow. At times, I would see this creature jump from shadow to shadow, once in a while hiding in the dark recesses of the Court. This made difficult my attempts to convey the situation to members of the faculty, as my uninvited guest seemed to shy away from attention. More often than not, however, this grim specter matched my every step.
One evening, during solitary study, I decided to confront the being, impeding any attempt to hide with a well placed lamp.
"Hello. Can you understand me?" To my surprise, the creature's shape changed upon the wall it was projected onto, forming a word as it extended itself across the surface.
"What do you want from me?" HELP
"Help?" ESCAPE "You want to escape? Where are you trying to go?"
The shadow pointed towards a nearby window, the silhouette of the forest beyond the school ground's visible through it. I headed towards the Court's entrance, further questioning the entity whom I imaginatively titled Shadow 2, as I was able to ascertain them as my new friend. It told me it was only able to exist within shade, unable to move out of it for too long. Shadow 2 had pointed to Gillitie Wood, which lay across a bridge that spanned the Annan Waters. I assumed that it was its home. It seemed as if they had been stuck in the Court for quite some time. Unfortunately, the bridge is lined with powerful lights that eliminate any shadow, and with it being of considerable length, my newfound friend has little to no chance of crossing it on their own. Case in point, Shadow 2 was barely able to follow me outside without me providing cover under foot, while the Annan waters at the bottom of the ravine posed an impassable obstacle on its own. Though they could not say why.
As a student, I was forbidden from setting foot oof school grounds, meaning I could not walk Shadow 2 to Gillitie Wood myself. And so, there was only one sensible resolution to this problem.
I would have to construct a robotic walking device, which should provide them with transit across the bridge.
As time passed, it soon became clear that I hadn't the first idea of how to build a robot, so I had to prepare for arduous study in the field of robotics, as well as devise a way of collecting and assembling raw materials into usable parts, with which to create my little tin man. The library seemed like a good place to start my research... or so I would assume, had I not stumbled across a door titled NO Spare Robot Parts.
Cautiously, I peeked through this newfound entrance, finding within an assortment of parts and devices in disuse. My eyes fell on a nearby box, simply titled Spare #13, which I snatched before hastening back to the study hall. At first, I appeared to have everything I needed to complete my task, while Shadow 2 observed with glee my advances in their issue. Luckily, piecing together the contraption was relatively easy, and before long, it was complete, save for the right arm, which appeared to be missing. However, I was yet to know if it could accomplish what I had in mind, so I proceeded to find out by pressing the only button within sight, a red one located atop its head.
"Why, hello there!" The robot greeted me mere seconds after activating with a simple ding sound, its voice mechanical yet cheerful as it hopped down the table it had been assembled on. "Thank you for putting me back together!"
"Hello, Robot. You're welcome. I'm sorry I couldn't find your other arm."
"Not to worry! You did a good job!" Robot replied, seemingly unfazed by the missing limb appeared.
The three of us headed together to the bridge, making a quick halt at the entrance to instruct Shadow 2 to stay within, as it was still light outside. I went outside along with robot, both looking at the path that lead towards the Forest.
"Robot, I need you to do something for me. I need you to walk across this bridge to take my friend home."
"Sure thing! I'm good at walking!"
"It is a long way, what if you fall down?" Having made two new acquaintances within the school, I certainly had no intention of losing both to circumstances beyond our control.
It took a few seconds to answer, considering the question. But not too long, replying with its characteristic optimism. "Well, you never know unless you try!"
"Indeed. Tonight, then. Before evening classes, you will make your journey."
The day transpired uneventfully, avoiding any rousing suspicion to myself or any plans I may or may not have in motion from the staff. Once darkness fell, Shadow 2, Robot and I got ready at the foot of the bridge. The entrance was empty, as usual, our voices the only sound around us as we discussed the intricacies of the mission ahead.
"So I just walk straight?"
"Do I have to come back?"
"...Only if you want to."
There was a moment of brief silence, as robot simply stared up at me from where it stood. Trying to get us moving on, I turned my attention to Shadow 2, as they moved from within my shadow to the one Robot made.
"Okay, you can finally go home. I hope your journey finds you well. Goodbye, Robot. Goodbye, Shadow 2."
"Let's be off!" Together, the mechanical person and my two-dimensional friend headed off into the mysteries of the forest, while I watched them off from the stairs at the entrance. "Bye Mommy!"
I promptly head back into the Court, looking over the pair as Robot walks into the distance, under the blinding lights placed on either side of the bridge. Not long after I cross the door again I hear steps in the distance, and soon a member of the faculty approaches me from within the shadows, a air of sternness surrounding him. It takes only a simple apology and explaining that I got loss to convince him that I had no further plans by being this close to the entrance, and I am promptly escorted back in to resume my evening classes. I give the bridge and forest one last glance and close the door, readying myself for the joys of learning.
"I'm good at walking."
Confident, or perhaps simple minded, Robot continues its journey along the bridge while Shadow trails along from within its feet. The night is silent, except from the metallic clanking with every step it takes, and the occasional comment or reassurance it gives to its partner.
"Such a nice evening! Never fear, little guy. I have this under control!"
Never ending, the row of lamps extends into the horizon, the forest barely looking remotely closing even with the steady pace Robot follows. Yet Shadow remains calm, as the shade provided by the robot and its words of encouragement are enough to keep them still and wait for the stroll to finally end. "Oh look! A birdie!"
The pair turns to the side and seea large, green coloured bird perched atop one of the posts. Its eyes, unblinking, stare down at the two as Robot continues its way down the bridge, with Shadow seeming a bit nervous of its stare. As the two approach, they notice a faint sound coming from around, or perhaps within, the strange animal.
The creature only turns its head to continue looking down at both as they pass by, with the noise accompanying them until they are far away enough for the constant and repeating sound to fade away.
At last, Robot makes its way into the Forest, tall, leafless trees surrounding him as he heads into the only path available within them. Shadows darker than the night itself stir within the trees, approaching quickly from the depths of the forest and surrounding the pair, yet they have smiling faces as they welcome its lost kin back into their open arms. Not before long, the parade of silhouettes vanishes back into the woods, leaving Robot alone.
First chapter didn't take as long so I went with it and began the second. Hooray for double post! Too bad my keyboard couldn't handle it, so no hooray for it.
Chapter 2: Schoolyard Myths
"Okay children. Settle down. Good morning."
"Good morning, Mrs. Donlan."
After my previous affair with Robot and Shadow, returning to the normalcy of classes was a much welcome change. As odd as I had found the Court within my first few days within, it was still the place of learning where I would continue my education for the following years. Though some people seemed to have other things in mind as to what I should put my efforts into.
"Antimony, dear. How have you found your first two weeks at our school? I hope you have made lots of new friends." Mrs. Donlan, our science teacher. An amicable person who seemed to be concerned, as some others of the faculty, with my ability to cope in the new environment and proceed with my studies as smoothly as possible, something I assumed was due to my condition as the newest student.
"Very well, miss, thank y-"
"Not likely, miss! She's always swotting in the study hall, hahaha." I turned around, following the trail of the voice, seeing a blond boy looking at me with snide in his eyes. His grin slowly fades away as I keep watch, finally sulking into his chair when his comment elicits no answer. From myself, at least.
"There is nothing wrong with getting ahead on your studies. You might do well to follow her example, William." The boy, whose name was so kindly reminded to me by the teacher, folds his arms and sinks further into his seat at her reply, though his comment was true. As I had been preoccupied with the events that transpired those two weeks, I hadn't had time to get to know my fellow classmates. There was, however, one girl...
"Antimony! Wait for me!" As if her presence was beckoned by my train of thought, a dark haired girl came towards me once the class had ended, catching her breath after the quick attempt to catch up to me. Thankfully I had less trouble at recalling her name.
"Hello. Katerina, is it?"
"Oh, call me Kat! Where are you going?"
"I was just going back to the study hall."
"You should come to the playground!"
I stopped in my tracks for a few moments, looking at this yet new acquaintance. She presented a solid argument. "Yes. Yes I should. Okay."
"Can I call you Annie, by the way?"
I found myself sitting next to this new friend later that day, listening quietly to a teachers dissertation regarding the creation of mythology. Around me, most if not all of my classmates appeared to have taken the lecture as a chance to catch a brief nap, with even Katerina dozing off in the seat next to me. Thankfully, the school's bell rang in time for them to awaken and resume their activities for the rest of the day.
"Before you go, I have some homework for you." I turned back to the teacher before leaving, while my friend not so stealthily stretched her arms over her head and let out a rather long yawn. "I want you all to go away in pairs and find as much information as you can on a mythical figure of your choice. Tomorrow you will present your findings in front of the class."
"We should work together!" One more, Katerina presented a convincing point.
"I'd like that."
"Do you have a mythical figure in mind?"
"I was thinking of covering the minotaur"
"The ancient Greek Beast who was part bull and part man. Borne to Pasiphae, Queen to Minos, the Cretan King." Around us, our peers strode out of the room while my friend and I took a separate way, discussing our plans for the assignment. Though it appeared I wasn't as good at her at being persuasive.
"Is this all there is?"
Minutes later we were in the Court's library, holding in my hands the school's available material for the subject we were going to work on. A whole two tomes, titled "Gainsbury's World Mythology" and the more aptly named "Mythology 4 Kidz!". I tried my best to hide my disappointment.
"I expected there to be more books."
"Well, the rest of the library is taken up with science and technology literature. Science is this school's specialty."
I examined both books once more, wondering if perhaps it wasn't too late to settle on a simpler figure to do our research on, when a large door on the other end of the library caught my attention, quickly pointing it to Katerina.
"And what's through there?"
"That's the old part of the library, I think. I've never been there myself"
"Then let's look. I prefer older books." With any luck, we would find a third volume with which we could complete our assignment. Leaving the previous two books back in their shelf, we headed to the antique looking entrance, opening it slowly with a creak that echoed in the halls past it. The new room's further side vanished in the distance, with rows after rows of stone columns the only decoration within sight. Thankfully, a nearby wall had what we required.
"Directory... There is a whole section devoted to Greek mythology, it seems."
Katerina and I headed further in, following the directions inscribed upon the guide. The room remained empty, until we found a few curious paintings resting against one of the pillars, simple background with steps that vanished into the distance. A mystery for another day. Perhaps.
"Here we are."
We stood at the start of a long, tall aisle, a bookshelves several times our height surrounding us on each side, packed to the brim with diverse books and titles. As I began my search among them, Katerina's curiosity led her to the statue not too far away, where a stone minotaur crouched besides a wall.
"Hey, Annie! Is this the guy you were talking about?" I turned towards her, just when her hand rested on one of the sculpture's feet and made a clicking noise. A loud rumble followed, and surprised, we saw it move away and give pass to an entrance hidden behind it on the wall. Forgetting the books, we crossed the threshold into a long and curved path. "Is that a map?"
Looking up, I saw a figure drawn on a stone piece set on the wall, a line that twisted and turned on itself, forming a circle of sorts.. "Yes, for a Cretan labyrinth. Just like the one on Knossos, where the minotaur lived."
"So we won't get lost if we went in, because there are no dead ends, like in a maze."
"That's right. A man named Theseus went into the labyrinth of Knossos to slay the minotaur, and used a thread to find his way back out.
But he didn't really need one, since there is only one path to take."
With nowhere else to go but forwards, we delve further down the labyrinth, its walls barren save for the occasional pipeline or grate every turn we make.
"So... Where did you go before you came to the Court, Annie?"
"I was in a hospital."
"Oh? Were you sick?"
"No, but my mother was." Not wishing to let Katerina's attempt at small talk go to waste, I decided to explain more of my current circumstances to her as we continued our exploration of this seemingly forgotten part of the Court. "She was bedridden after I was born, and we couldn't bear to be apart. So I lived with her and she taught me all that she could. My father was a surgeon there.
She passed on a month ago. It was her wish that I continue my education here." Images cross my mind, briefly, as I keep my tale brief for her. The hospital. My parent's silhouettes. My mother's cold hand against my cheek.
"Oh, Annie, I'm so sorry!" I turned to her when I felt her hand on my shoulder and saw tears in her eyes. She sobbed for a while, as I stood besides her, perplexed and unsure on how to continue.
"So, um... Tell me about your parents."
"Oh... sniff. Mrs. Donlan is my mum. She's a science teacher."
"Really? How fortunate for you. She seems very nice."
"She is! My dad is a teacher here too. They-"
Unseen by either of us, a tall figure sprung out of a hole in the wall, threatening us with its imposing size, large, muscled arms, and horns atop its head.
"Who dares intrude on the minotaur's lair?!"
"Hello, sir. My name is Antimony." As courtesy obliged, I extended a hand to the creature, in an attempt to be amicable to this yet new meeting.
He looked down at me for a second. "Good day." The bull man took a deep breath before sitting on a plush sofa as tall as he was, looking at us with his confusion fading away from his eyes the longer he stared. "Phew. You girls gave me a fright. Sneaking around like that."
I stared back, then towards Katerina. "It would appear that we have completed our homework." While my voice denoted my confidence in passing the assignment, my friend seemed to... still be at a loss of words.
She wasn't the last, either. Her same expression at that moment was reflected the following day in the eyes of our classmates, while we introduced our new associate to them.
"For our presentation, Annie and I decided to look at a Greek Myth."
"So we introduce to you, the dreaded minotaur of Greece."
"Oh, uh... I prefer to be called Basil."
All around and in front of us the astonished gazes of the other children remained fixed on him.
"So what are you doing so far from Greece?" Katerina asked, continuing the presentation in regards of no one else forwarding a question.
"I have a time share on the labyrinth you found me in."
More silence from the classroom.
"The story of you and Theseus is quite well known. Can you tell us about that?"
"Oh, that. Sheesh." Basil rolled his eyes to my question, neither surprised nor angry. Merely... annoyed. "See, when I was young, it was hard to meet people my own age, being stuck in the middle of a giant death mazeand all. So my mum, that's Pasiphae, arranged a party for my birthday. But then that jerk Theseus showed up. Let me tell you, he got drunk, he broke my sofa, he started a fight. He even tried it on with my stepsister, Ariadne. Everyone had to leave early. He ruined my whole birthday." He bellowed under his breath, frowning into the air. "No, sir. I didn't like it. And now, of course, I turn out to be the bad guy."
"This show how a myth can be borne of the constant re-telling and misinterpretation of a simple story."
"Thank you very much, Basil!" Our friend, sour after the story, smiled after finally being allowed to share his view on it, gladly shaking Katerina's hand when he was done. Our classmates, on the other hand, remained as talkative as ever. "I would recommend a round of applause."
Slowly, the room began to fill with the echo of clapping hands as Basil headed out... But not before leaving his mark on the door frame, when his horns couldn't fit on the upper part.