"Illuminated" Chapter 1 - In The Garden

10:11 AM

The following is an excerpt from a book I am writing called "Illuminated". I am publishing the first chapter here to get opinions. Please feel free to comment on this!

Chapter 1

In The Garden

Vanessa knew as soon as she stepped on the warm, green grass that this would be a trip she would never forget. Lush greenery surrounded her, blanketing her in its sweet, fragrant embrace. The Light beamed down from somewhere beyond the trees as birds chirped away cheerily, completely unaware of the drama that was beginning to unfold before them. Even though it was a place that only existed in her mind, Vanessa was a stranger in this land. She knew nothing of it.

A tiger made its way through the bushes and, before Vanessa could react, leaped across the lawn and laid his big paws upon her chest. Vanessa was frightened at first, but one look in to his large, caramel brown eyes told her that she was safe, so she relaxed. The tiger let himself down and rubbed up against her legs lazily as he began to speak.

“Hello, Vanessa,” he said. “I've been waiting to meet you.”

“Who are you?” Vanessa asked, a little surprised to see the tiger speak.

“I am your brother,” he replied. He then sat down and looked at her.

“But I don't have a brother!” she protested.

“You do here,” he replied simply, then laid down and started preening his fur.

Vanessa shrugged, then started to explore their surroundings. Something didn't seem right here. Everything seemed very beautiful but it also seemed rather out of place, even though Vanessa didn't really know what would be considered “out of place” in a place like this. When she started the session with a friend she somehow knew the garden would be here. After all, how couldn't it be after spending 15 years in a cult that believed a paradise on earth was just minutes away? But something just did not seem right now that she was here inside it.

Brother Tiger watched Vanessa examine the garden.

“It doesn't seem real at all, does it?” he inquired.

“No, it doesn't,” she answered.

“That's because it's not.”

“Of course it's not real,” Vanessa said, reminding herself that again this place only existed in her mind.

“Not that kind of real,” he said. Brother Tiger stood up. “It's not real for here. This place. This is just a trap.”

“A trap for who?” Vanessa flicked a leaf and watched it wobble. It seemed real enough... for this place.

“For them.” Brother Tiger's eyes darkened a little as his pupils expanded.

“Them who?” Vanessa asked, laying her hand gently on Brother Tiger's head.

“Anyone but us.” Brother Tiger sat back down. The moment was gone, and he purred softly as Vanessa continued to pet him.

She wanted to ask more questions but thought it would be better if she remained silent. She didn't like the look that came to Brother Tiger's eyes when he talked about “them”. Whoever they were, they definitely were not people that came in to his favor, and the last thing she wanted to do was upset a tiger.

Even though he can't do anything to me anyways, she thought. After all, this place is just imaginary. Nothing bad can happen to me here.

“Something bad may certainly happen to you here,” Brother Tiger said. “You just better mind yourself and don't listen to everything that crackpot friend of yours has to say about this place.”

Vanessa was shocked. “You... you can.... hear me?”

“I hear you and your sisters,” he quipped. “Nothing escapes my notice.”

“What do you mean by 'sisters'? There are others?” she asked.

“Indeed,” he replied, nodding his head. “You will meet them later. But first we need to get out of here. Come with me. You can ride on my back..” He stood up and walked over to Vanessa, waiting patiently for her to climb on.

“Ummm.... ok...” Vanessa climbed on his back, being careful not to think any more unsaid thoughts, marveling at a world that would contain a talking, mind-reading tiger.

“It's ok, you know. I've been privy to your thoughts for a long time. I'm here to help you,” Brother Tiger said as he took long, slow strides through the grass. “In fact, I'm glad you undertook this journey. We have all been wanting to meet you. You've always been so distant from us. And now more than ever we really need your help. But your friend cannot come along. Only you.”

“I don't even really know what I'm doing here,” Vanessa admitted. “I just know I met this friend online and he said he could help me.”

“You're so much more trusting than the rest of us,” Brother Tiger answered. “We would never let a stranger in to this place.”

“Maybe it would be different if you met him,” Vanessa replied. “He seems to know what he's doing.”

“Yes, but we've thought that before, haven't we?” Brother Tiger smiled faintly.

“We?” Vanessa asked.

“We're here,” Brother Tiger announced, avoiding her question. “Now go take a look behind those bushes.”

Vanessa hopped down and peeked behind the bushes. What she found was shocking. Instead of seeing green foliage, she was facing cardboard. This really was fake?

Brother Tiger noticed the look of surprise on her face. “I told you,” he said.

“What should I do?” she asked.

“How about using that?” he nodded in the direction of her right hand.

“Oh yes! I forgot!” Vanessa held up what she was holding. Clenched in her hand was a water gun. What originally seemed like a silly idea from her friend suddenly became a pretty good idea. Did he know about this part of the story all along? she wondered.

“No,” Brother Tiger answered. “He didn't know. He has his own priorities in this.”

“How much do you know about this guy?” Vanessa demanded.

“Only as much as you know,” Brother Tiger replied. “But I'm good at reading people. Maybe one day you will be, too.”

Vanessa shrugged and pointed the water gun at the bushes. The stream of water that followed soaked the fake green foliage, causing it to fold and wither to the ground. The scene that followed was breathtaking.

xjonquilx | Mepis, Ubuntu, Fedora, Linux, Oh My!

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  1. Hey Jonquil,

    I finally found a few minutes to read this, with school being canceled today and my job calling me off due to the flooding we're having here. Don't worry - I'm on high ground!

    I like it! It's piqued my curiosity. Where are they? Some kind of virtual world? Something else?

    Don't tell me! I'll wait for the book. Or the next chapter. :-)

  2. There's pretty big hints here and in the story. A sentence towards the beginning mentions that this world exists only in her mind. If you don't mind doing a little research try researching the tags like dissociative identity disorder and psychosis. It'll help you understand the story a little better. Or you can stay in the dark... the book has more information on it later on.

  3. It's a very good beginning. I really like it! U pull the writer right in. Can't wait for more chapters or the book. Keep up the good work!