The Muse Plagues Me…

From a newsgroup post dated July 18, 2010:

This week I bought a comic book called Strange Science Fantasy #1.

It sucks; I’m sorry I bought it. It’s not even going into the “for sale” stack; I’ll be giving it away. It’s an incoherent post-holocaust alchemist gearhead story, which sounds much, much cooler than it actually is, as the “incoherent” trumps everything else, and it’s all done with three panels per page, no dialogue, captions only, and the art’s not very good, either.

There are a few nifty ideas and images buried in the mud, but mostly, it’s a waste of paper.

However, reading it triggered a story idea. I don’t know how or why or what the connection is exactly; I just know that trying to read this stupid thing gave me the set-up for an urban fantasy series, working title “The Ascent.” Or maybe “The Ascended.”

I think my protagonist is female for this one. Let’s call her… Lisa, maybe?

Anyway, Lisa starts seeing things. At first she assumes her eyes are playing tricks on her, then that they’re hallucinations, but they get more and more real, more numerous, easier to see, and harder to tell from ordinary people.

Eventually, they start talking to her. She finds other people who can see them and talk to them, too. And someone in there explains that she’s begun the Ascent. Only a tiny percentage of people ever do this, and of that percentage, most don’t get very far.

But most don’t start as young as Lisa has.

Why this happens, well, she doesn’t find that out right away, and I’m not sure yet myself.

According to people who have Ascended, she’s seeing into a higher plane of existence, and gradually transitioning from the mundane world into this new realm. As she continues, she’ll see more and more — but she’ll also gradually fade out of her old world, and eventually become invisible to everyone she’s leaving behind.

The thing is, it doesn’t stop there — some people continue Ascending, and leave behind that first higher level for even higher ones. Word has been passed down from level to level that there are at least six levels, maybe more — no one knows for sure how many. And as people Ascend, they gain powers over lower levels — but they also lose abilities. For example, someone on the second level or so can walk through man-made walls, and is invisible to the un-Ascended, but she can’t see the un-Ascended at all without making a conscious effort, and can’t hear them at all.

Lisa is Ascending whether she wants to or not, and doing so fairly quickly, to the point that some of the lower-tier Ascended are jealous of her progress — but she’s not sure it’s really progress, or that it’s really Ascent, and not Descent…

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