A note from nickfeast

“What came first, the Philosophy or the philosopher?”
-An ingenious rock

Four months earlier, sometime after an old sorcerer’s first battle with his fear of the Darkness — far to the west on the continent — a weird man was perpetrating a prison break.
To Herschel I. Pensador’s knowledge, it was the first in Huom’s history done in the name of non-violent resistance. Just one strange notion the man had about how things should be done. He hadn’t used hunger strikes or protests. Instead, the non-violence part of the escape was simply that no one else should get hurt.

Unknown to Herschel, this was also the first time an inmate left the prison. Everybody that entered Zig-Zig as a prisoner stayed inside its walls, dead or alive. If he’d known, he would’ve found the fact interesting rather than disturbing. Because this ochre-skinned man could find the interesting in anything.

Zig-Zig was perfectly situated to discourage escapes. Built by the coast of Stega ocean, on the ear of the tiger-headed peninsula called Zenon. Three compass directions were vast, reddish-brown sandstone desert, and the last one was an empty ocean. Not that it bothered the elderly prisoners who weren't guilty of much except over-thinking.

At least the breakout part is over, Herschel thought, and I haven’t even broken anything.
Then is it still a breakout? Another friendly thought wondered. Isn’t it more like a sneak-out?

Nothing about this man fit with being a prisoner. Herschel’s weary blue eyes and the grey streak in his hair made him look like a professor. What really sold the look was his ever-changing frown, it often made him look like he was somewhere between perpetual amazement and doing advanced calculus.
The only detail he lacked to complete the image of a scholar was a beard. Not for lack of trying, but he could never produce more than a slight fuzz. The smooth features of his baby-face made him look much younger than his middle-age.

The baby-faced weirdo had spent the previous night wading through the labyrinth that was the prison’s sewage system. His uniform told the tale. The prison-gowns came in a slightly off-white, but his was stained in every shade of filth.
They had been chosen for their exceptional comfort, not for how practical one would be in an escape. He grimaced at the smell as his jet-black hair draped over the gown’s one exposed shoulder.

The Socks were the first to call me baby-face.

The gaggle of philosophers had been his first real friends. His ever-changing frown turned to sad. Squatting there at the end of the sewage-duct to freedom, he already wanted to go back.
Before him the desert spread out, the colours matching his reddish-brown skin. Leaning forward, he caught a glimpse of the ocean. The shimmering water was alluring, most water would be compared to the trickle of sewage that was oozing over his sandals.
As to not smell this place, he’d thought of breathing through his mouth. However, another thought of his multi-thoughting thought the taste was worse than the smell.

Thinking is good, even if it’s only thinking about thinking, or even thinking about thinking about thinking, he thought. Okay, but that’s far enough, his logic added.

Unknowingly, he’d struck upon the best distraction from the odour. Thinking about anything else. Among other things, he pondered the nature of regret. Specifically, his own regret about the choice of exit. Herschel regularly had roundabout thoughts chasing each other’s tails through his mind.

I should be pleased, but his frown displayed ambivalence, the plan is working, I’m almost free.

Zig-Zig’s wall had been his only real obstacle, and the sun’s first rays had guided him to the drainage duct that led beyond. It was narrow and cone-shaped, getting smaller the closer he came to daylight. Close to the end, he had to crouch, making his legs go from aching to numb. In return, he got the occasional breeze of fresh air. It would flutter in, relieving the horrible stench momentarily, but those few moments really helped. Herschel stuck to the plan and waited for nightfall. A plan that sounded like simplicity to the point of stupidity.

Walk away under cover of darkness and hope no one notices. Shouldn’t ‘don’t get caught’ be the first and most fundamental principle of escaping? Something in him wondered.

The question wasn’t wrong. However, try to do the right thing — his personal motto — was much higher on his list of priorities. When he’d adopted the motto, it had never crossed his mind that it might one day lead him to climb down the stone tube of a four-seat privy. In the middle of the night no less, that was the only time the inaptly named things were even remotely private.


About the author


  • Finland

Bio: Aspiring fantasy author and geek working on a series under the subtitle "Nothing is Everything". That's the the only interesting thing I can think of, but there is always the seldom used option of asking :)

I am always looking for people to make make my characters "come alive" in drawings, check my first two chapters for examples.

Addition: I've finished what I'm calling a first draft of "The Last Philosopher", and am now working on a revised draft. I've also started a short story collection from the same world, and occasionally I write a bit of the sequel "The First Philosopher".
I recently finished a first draft of "The Last Philosopher". So, I'm looking for beta readers, send me a message if you're interested.

Addition 2: Feel free to send me any feedback you might have, especially mean feedback the meaner the better :P Edit: After some consideration I've decided I will also begrudgingly accept positive feedback, since it might give me an indication as to what I should add more off.

For some poorly hand drawn maps and infrequent updates you can find me on FB I wish that was all the social media I've dirtied my already tarnished soul with.

If you've read this far I guess you deserve some sort of treat, the truth is I dislike everyone. I may seem nice but it's all an act... Also I'm less than truthful not exactly 50% of the time.

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