RUMPELS! Excuse me, WHAT?
I mean, I was kind of hoping, and I had a lowkey suspicion, but the reveal -- it was so good. And I love that you broke it up between Cyril and Mark's POV for this because it felt very necessary.
I'm not sure who I feel worse for, Mark, remembering it all, and trying to get Cyril to remember, or Cyril, who desperately wants to remember, and just doesn't. Ugh. It's really all so heartbreaking. And it's almost a little poetic that this happens while they're down in the deep sewer. Can I just give them hugs, please? Is that okay?
I thought you did a great job of writing Cyril's reaction. He's obviously not going to know what a kiss was, but it was clear he enjoyed it; and the questioning of what everything was was almost endearing. I think Mark's right, though -- he's not ready to know the full truth, whatever the full truth is.
I'm even more curious about this society though. It's clear that the relationship Mark/Cyril had was forbidden, and makes sense that Cyril was probably forced back on his meds after he 'went away' for a while. But what about Mark? Why does he get to remember everything? Did he run and hide? I WANT TO KNOW.
Also, Mark's reaction to Cyril asking if Amelia was his girlfriend was endearing. I mean, I get it Cyril, but after everything Mark confessed? I 100% don't blame Mark for laughing. It was very cute but also very frustrating for him, I'm sure. I still really want to know who she is, but it's a bit relieving to know that she's a friend of both of theirs. Maybe she has some kind of answers? Mark seems to have a bit of a plan, now that Cyril wants to remember him. And honestly, who wouldn't want to remember someone like Mark? I know I would.
This was another excellent chapter & a fantastic start to this story!! Thank you so much for the swap ♥
Rumpels, I'm obsessed with Mark and Cyrill. I find it adorable and heartbreaking that the final straw for Cyrill to come off his meds is because there is Mark, in his kitchen making breakfast, and he doesn't remember who he is. You really do know how to tug on my heartstrings, don't you?
I find it really interesting -- in a good way -- that they actually do have a museum of the war. It's almost like they want to prove that they're not doing anything wrong, that the Society and everything is a good thing for its people. But Mark and Cyrill are clearly starting to see the cracks in this. And I don't know why, but I absolutely loved that Cyrill assumed Mark's awkwardness was a side effect of coming off his pills and couldn't be because Cyrill was around. I can't imagine how it must be for Mark, he obviously remembers more than Cyrill does about their relationship and I JUST WANT CYRILL TO REMEMBER ALREADY.
Cyrill is just falling headfirst for Mark, isn't he? I mean, I can't really blame him. Mark currently appears to be charasmatic and a rebel, which makes him a bad boy with a cause and how can you resist those? Spoiler, I can't, so I don't really blame Cyrill either.
And ugh, WHO IS AMELIA? I want to know. Is she the woman from the coffee shop that knows Cyrill's order? I really just hope she's someone pleasant and isn't going to put a fork in this whole Mark/Cyrill thing because they're both just so clearly into each other.
Another excellent chapter ♥
Rumples! I'm here for our swap, 1/3
Okay, so, I'm really loving this premise. I'm a sucker for dystopian stories and this seems to be almost along the lines of a Brave New World kinda deal, just with the opposite effects.
It's really fascinating that the greater society wants its citizens to forget everything about themselves, except for what they tell them in pamphlets and charts. And I love Cyril already. He clearly wants to be some kind of rebel, or he would've turned on Mark almost instantly. His curiosity is so cautious, though, and I think that's what I love about him. Everything about him is cautious -- his thoughts about Mark, wanting to write in the journal, but he has a certain desire to know more that I love.
I also want to know more about Mark. What prompted him to go off his meds? He seems like the real rebel here, but I also already adore him?? I just love the way that he casually strikes up conversations with Cyril like it's NBD and Cyril is like, "Why is he talking to me??? Why is he smiling??" and I want to ship them already, is that cool? I hope so, because I do ;)
But I love the idea of them keeping journals to remember all the little things. Little things that don't seem that important, like why the woman at the coffee shop remembers his order (does she not take her pills? Does she know about the pills?); I feel like she's going to be part of a larger story and I'm here for that, too. And sending children into the children's district but then not being around to remember they're there??? How devastatingly heartbreaking! Do the children take pills as well?? I have so many questions, but I mostly want to read on to be able to figure what exaclty is going on.
This is a really fascinating start and I'm very curious to see how it plays out! ♥
Here for more CMDC review event round 1!
There is quite an involved civilization that has been built up in the Underground! I’m inclined to agree with what Cyril said a chapter or two back, wondering whether the authorities don’t actually know about this place -- perhaps they do and they have their reasons for not interfering as long as the Underground doesn’t interfere with the people on the surface.
Here in this chapter we see a nice little wrench thrown into things, where Mark is leading Cyril into this place that represents freedom, that is freedom, and is the source of his happy memories with Cyril and his hope for a future for them, and what Cyril sees is a filthy place that brings him to vomit (because sewers -- I think I’d feel the same). Neither of them is wrong, they just have wildly different expectations, and Mark has to come to terms with the fact that Cyril has become a different person.
LOL at Amelia calling Mark an utter potato. Can I steal that? I’d like to start calling people potatoes as an insult.
So very interesting how Amelia’s formal introduction affected Cyril in that way. Obviously being on the meds is still taking a particular toll on him, and simply writing in a journal every day is not going to overcome his programming.
I have noticed that sometimes when you write Mark’s perspective it’s in third person, and sometimes it’s in first -- I didn’t know whether that was intentional, but wanted to point it out in case it wasn’t!
I see that the next chapter is more of an appendix than a new chapter in the narrative, so I just want to say at this time that I have really been enjoying this story and would be glad to see it continued! It’s such an excellent idea.
Here for more CMDC review event round 1!
I adore the hand-holding and how Cyril seems to trust Mark implicitly by now.
I think you do a really good job of setting a scene. There’s a lot of detail in here about the sewers and the Underground, not only sensory details obviously like sight and emall, but just in generally the way you have clearly envisioned the layout in your mind and communicated it here. I personally can sometimes find that difficult to do and overlook it in my own writing, so I admire when you do it.
“Harvest the sun, what kind of sorcery is that,” haha, I love it. Cyril strikes me as very unintentionally funny.
Oh my. OH MY. That slip-up by Mark. I guess it had to happen sometime, and here it is. And then the part where Cyril asks if they were friends and Mark gets all snappy. Poor, poor Mark, I really feel for him.
And then that transitioned nicely into Mark’s thoughts on the matter, beginning to question himself and his motives. No, Mark! You’re not selfish!
Loved this line, so heartbreaking:
"‘I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night,'" Mark breathed. Only, it wasn't the night he feared -- it was the stars.
I again liked the POV-switching back to Cyril for the kiss, experiencing it through his confused, uncertain mind.
Great ending to this chapter, now Cyril knows and he wants more and he wants to go off his meds so he can remember and be with Mark again! But I’m sure something awful will happen to derail this...
Here for more CMDC review event round 1!
I love how we get this scene with Mark and Cyril being, for at least a moment, two normal, awkward people together, or at least as close to normal as they can be. Mark’s affection and pining is sweet but so heartbreaking because we know he’s trying to win back this person who is just not in the same headspace as him at all, and not due to either of their faults. I will never not love an awkward, smitten character shoving his hands awkwardly and smittenly (real word?) in his pockets. Never.
It’s nice to have the switching perspectives, not only because it presents us with different information from each side, but also because we see the emotions playing out on both sides, more fervent with Mark, who recalls everything and is more in touch with his emotions, and more subdued with Cyril, who is only just starting to understand what they are, doesn’t entirely trust them yet, and is processing them on an entirely different level. It’s almost like Cyril is going through a second adolescence!
Oh nooooo, that scene where Cyril doesn’t read his journal and doesn’t remember Mark! Surely Mark understood why intellectually, but that must have been such a gut-punch for him.
"scrutinize the legitimacy of the Sovereignty's crude, jerry-built history lessons."
--Love it. Love Mark.
The part with Cyril losing his focus and his mind being all foggy, again so very sad, and furthers this commentary on pharmaceuticals turning people into drones in order to quelch any sort of emotion or personality type thats seen as undesirable. (Personal note, because it seems there is an obvious corollary here, I’m not per se against pharmaceuticals to combat mental illnesses, but over-medication obviously is a real thing.)
I thought the scene in the museum was a great way to reveal more back-story about the Sovereignty and the War.
Here for more CMDC review event round 1!
“Calcium-enriched bread product.” Tasty…
I feel so for Mark here. How awful to remember the person you care about (love??) and they can’t remember you. And they knew each other some time before??
I really enjoy Mark and Amelia’s relationship (not to mention that she’s off her meds, too!) -- especially where he quotes the poem and she says it’s too early for his BS.
So Cyril was once a part of the Underground as well? I’m eager to learn more about how they each happened upon it. Was Cyril on meds and then off, and then caught and put on them again?
I like the paragraph you included where Cyril doesn’t understand the purpose of a day off. It makes sense, in this lifestyle that has been devised, where people are medically wiped of emotion and told who they are and what to do, that someone wouldn’t understand what purpose they have when left to their own devices. How sad.
Even sadder is when Cyril doesn’t understand what crying is and has to ask, but also has to be fearful of asking.
I love that the book is making Cyril feel emotions and that it’s a message from Mark to Cyril about love! This story so far is a really fresh way of presenting a love story, and I am starting to feel invested in the outcome of Mark and Cyril!
Here for more CMDC review event round 1!
FASCINATING. Fascinating premise. I adore it. Cyril’s narrative in the beginning was mystifying, and I found myself coming up with a number of theories in my head as to why he constantly phrased things in terms of “at least that’s what so-and-so said,” and I was not prepared for the answer, which revealed itself very shortly after that, being that these people are medicated by their government to the point that they forget everything that came before and have to read a pamphlet to understand their role in life.
I love that when Mark starts in with his rebellious talk, the thing that keeps Cyril from reporting him is the “longing of familiarity” in Mark’s eyes. That is so sad and poignant, that these two both understand that they’re coworkers and sort-of-friends or at least acquaintances, but yet they can’t be actual friends because every day they don’t remember the previous one, and Cyril knows Mark wants to have the familiarity of friendship. What a breathtaking thought.
Oh, and I love that, despite Cyril’s desire not to be deemed a peacebreaker, he has started writing things down! And now they can actually have somewhat meaningful conversations and not be total strangers.
That’s so interesting that Mark has gone off his meds. I wonder how he was able to do it. They must not be observed taking their meds, and the government must just trust that since these people are brainwashed via lack of memory, they’ll just do as they’re told? Seems like a dangerous assumption for them!
I enjoy Cyril’s voice, how he’s getting frustrated at the end here by seeing all the same things and headlines day after day, even if he doesn’t have independent memories of them. The thought of the pregnant woman who now is not pregnant but doesn’t have a child because the child has gone to a different district is chilling.
The thought of the government treating normal human emotions like diseases and medicating its citizens out of those “diseases” is smart, incisive, topical, and terrifying.
I am eager to read on!
Hi Rumpels! I’m here for the Rager :D
Cyril is an interesting man. He’s not a rebel—but he seems to want to be one. I love the way that he quotes all the rules and regulations that the Sovereignty has taught him—believes that he seems to have held himself until Mark starts asking disturbing and dangerous questions. But even as he recites the rules of this dystopia—he questions them. And I’m wondering now, was Mark the one who planted the seed of discontent—or was the seed already there?
Your dystopia as delightfully creepy in its mundaneness. Conveyer-belt jobs. Pamphlets to explain everything. Pills for all that ails you. Structured time to socialize. But the pills make you forget everything. Every morning you have to read those pamphlets to remember who you are and what you’re supposed to be doing. It’s so scarily believable.
I don’t blame Mark for keeping a journal. Nor Cyril for doing the same—even if at this point he’s only trying to disprove Mark.
I really liked the detail that Cyril doesn’t think he likes sweets—even though that’s his order every day.
The Children’s district breaks my heart. You’d have to give a woman some powerful meds to make her forget her child. A flaw in the system I guess. Like the flaw that allowed Mark to remember enough to stop taking his meds. And the flaw that allowed Cyril to talk to Mark and not turn him in, even though he knew it was peacebreaking. I love the way that Cyril is slowly becoming a peacebreaker too—and how patient Mark is with him.
I’ve got so many questions now! When did the War happen? Did Mark and Cyril know each other before? Are there more people like Mark?
You’ve done a really fine job on this opening chapter. I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens from here!
hey rumpels, i'm here for the hc opener ^_^
i have to start this review from the ending because that's part just really shook me.
i think this is the first time that i truly realised how twisted everything is in this story. mark loves cyril. that's a hard fact. they used to be together, and that's also a fact. but what shook me was how cyril literally has no idea who he is - i'm not sure why it was never as obvious in the story as when mark kissed him and when we got a glimpse into mark's thoughts on the matter.
because he's absolutely right - cyril doesn't seem ready. i feel like he's almost like an adult child, if that makes sense? not literally, of course, just in the sense that up until now (and to an extent still because the meds are obviously still in his system) he has had absolutely no concept of what love and intimacy are. he doesn't know what kissing is, what it means.
he feels something for cyril, and while we know it's love, he is oblivious. and so, when we see mark's thoughts and the guilt he feels, i completely understand him. while i want cyril to be off his meds, to be happy with mark, for the two of them to rebel or at least get away, it seems almost cruel of mark to impose these things on cyril.
like when you have someone with amnesia and you have the unique opportunity to shape them in whichever way you want. so while i seriously doubt that mark has ill intentions, it still shakes me to the core, the implications that he is basically cyril's only connection to, lets say, the real world/feelings/emotions? not sure if that makes sense, but he's the one who explains everything and has control over cyril's experience off his meds.
i wonder if, when the meds are completely out of his system, cyril will remember everything? i hope he does, because i would love to see the person who he was before the meds messed him up :I
i truly enjoy each chapter of WLC, rumpels, this story makes me think a lot even when i'm not reading it (i read this chapter like two days ago and then a couple more times so i could form a proper review because my feelings were really muddled. almost like cyril on his meds haha). i forgot to mention that i loved the poor maintenance crew and the sewer people being like mole people - it made me laugh :p
hey rumpels, i'm here for our swap! *_*
you’ve really got this wonderful way of making us, the readers, painfully fuzzy, confused and just generally in tune with cyril’s emotions and his mind. i know we’re seeing things from his perspective but somehow, you manage to write him, the story, in a way that’s sort of mind bending – i feel like i just came off something after reading this chapter. like everything was so fuzzy in the beginning and things got clearer and clearer as the chapter progressed. but obviously, still not clear enough (even with our knowledge from the past chapter about mark and cyril’s relationship). i think that shows such great writing skill so i’m just in awe *_*
i loved how cyril decided to stop taking his medication because of a purest thing – love, even though he doesn’t even know it himself. i think that sends such a strong message of the story, that no matter what, the bond that him and mark share, the love, everything, it’s still there, under the surface, it still keeps them going, pushes them in the direction of each other and i love that.
you’re still masterful at combining humour and dread – cyril thinking he might be in someone else’s (mark’s) home instead of his own made me both giggle and feel terribly sad for his state of mind. those meds they make them take must really be quite something <.<
the war museum does answer some questions – a nuclear war between two major forces but then again, i’m wondering how much stock should be placed in anything the sovereignty says. it could very well all be totally false and an excuse to manipulate and control people.
mark is off his meds, he’s reckless, he’s out past curfew, spending the night at cyril’s, he doesn’t seem to worry too much about being caught and yet… i think it’s what makes him such a great character because it seems that cyril really needs someone like that, who can help him be the person he is, help him out of all these fuzzy, weird moments where he doesn’t know what’s happening.
i’m excited to see what comes next *_*
Hi, here for another review!
I love the pet names. Bedhead would be my fav, especially side by side with something like Shadow Runner. So, did they get caught heading back home? How didMark come across as still being on medication?
This was a pretty short chapter so I don't have much to say. I enjoyed the banter a lot, and it's clear the friendships here are genuine. I really hope you update again soon (not that I'm one to talk much here) because I'm really curious to where this is all heading.
Hi, Rumple! Here for the swap!
I missed these two. Not too much happened besides the panic attack, but even still I think it was a good solid chapter where we got more of Mark and Cy. I can definitely understand him being set off by that argument when he's already overwhelmed. It must be extremely hard to have to wake up and have to remember everything all over again every day.
I'm glad he's finally starting to get himself off the meds, and I really hope he remembers everything when he is. It's either that or have to learn everything all over again, which would be great as a reader, but also,I just feel so bad fir these two.
Nice chapter, onward to the next!
Hello Rumpels, here for our swap!
I’m so excited to be back here. I’m so invested in Mark and Cyril’s story now and I’ve got to let you know. Honestly, I was shocked to read that Mark was out past curfew, considering how concerned he should be about getting caught. He’s behaving somewhat recklessly in pursuit of Cyril now, which I am not all the way sure will end up going well.
It’s interesting to note that Cyril has no real idea what would happen to Mark if he was caught out past curfew, even though he is positively spooked by the very thought.
This is an excellent scene because Mark and Cyril are both so nervous, for such vastly different reasons. I absolutely love this awkward softness between them in this scene. And it’s so well done the way you have Cyril consider that Mark would forget him if he began taking his medication again. Such a subtle shift in priorities and so against the beliefs ingrained in him, but it feels like a natural progression of thought rather than a sharp turn.
I was so excited to see that Cyril decided to stop taking his meds. It opens up so many avenues to take the story down once he can remember things and presumably clear his mind up a bit. And it is just so awesome to read this in this format because of how it enables concepts such as Cyril writing things in order to convince himself tomorrow to do something that he decided to do today.
The fuzzy moments that he deserves are oddly terrifying to me. I value my ability to form coherent thoughts above all else and everything about the effects of this medication are my worst nightmare. It really makes me wonder, again, what in the world the government feels the need to do this to people for.
The museum scene is great because it is so difficult to tell what here is propaganda and lies and what actually happened. I don’t think even Mark really knows for sure. I do look forward to unravel at least some of the mysteries of what happened back then down the line. This story is so addicting - you’ve got something so, so special and I will let you know every time I stop by. I adored this chapter, thank you for the swap!
Hey Rumples! Here for our swap, for EvS, and for more of this amazing story!
So. I absolutely loved this chapter.
I loved Mark's POV. I was really intrigued by Mark in the first chapter, and the more I get to know him the better I like him. One thing that's so great about Mark's POV -- his voice is so different from Cyril's, more lyrical and with a larger working vocabulary. This is both great character work and great world-building, showing us some of the interior effects of the medication -- Mark's rich inner life is maybe what Cyril's would be like if he were off his meds too.
I love this line: "Like I would be some ghost of a memory, playin in the far corners of his brain, poking its head up through a blanket of medication like the first gangly plant breaking through the ashen remnants of scorched earth." It's just astonishing in its beauty and poignancy. This whole scene, with Mark hopeful that Cyril might recognize him and terrified that he'll rat him out, is just wonderful.
Ahhh, the flashback! You do a great job at capturing the horror of forgetting -- this memory, of Mark and Cyril's first meeting, is so lovely and precious, and the thought of Mark losing it is unimaginably awful.
". . .who spun words into art, just like the way Cy showed me how to." Are they poets? I love it.
It's so thrilling that Cyril's been caught before -- it tells us about the sort of man he used to be, and it raises the stakes considerably. I love that you weave in little hints about what happened the first time, how Cyril covered for Mark, how Mark's been plotting to recover Cyril ever since ("Seduce and Recover" is an awesome name for an operation).
I'm really intrigued by the Underground and Outside. Also, this line: "Peoples of the Outside are coming together to reclaim the blistering earth and make it fruitful once more." !!! Just amazing writing.
I really like Amelia so far, her cheek and spunk (and I knew something was up with the woman at the patisserie!).
". . .who spun words into art, just like the way Cy showed me how to." Are they poets? I love it.
It's really interesting what Cyril does and doesn't remember. He clearly doesn't remember any *information* about his past life, but he does in a sense remember his *feelings* for Mark -- at least, his attraction to Mark seems rooted in a hazy memory of past feelings?
The whole scene, from the moment Cyril accepts the contrapand from Mark to the end of the chapter, is so perfect -- my favourite part of the story so far. You do a great job conveying the mingled excitement and paranoia of Cyril's walk home -- I was so curious about what was inside the package, and terrified about what Cyril might do. And the sequence where Cyril's coping with feelings he doesn't understand is so touching and tragic and sinister all at once! And I just love that it's the Christina Rossetti :')
Another amazing chapter, Rumples! This story is so thrilling and beautiful and masterfully executed.
Wifey!! Here for our EvS swap!
Oh my god, Mark and Cy were a thing?!? RFJDJAKRJBRJWJABHRK!! What?! Cy was also one of those off-his-meds people?? And from the sounds of it, a lot more of a rebel than Mark is. Mind. Blown. Although, it makes Mark’s interest in Cy make a lot more sense. It’s more than just a random who wants to see someone else freed. There’s history there. Aaaaand, now it makes sense how that girl knew Cy’s name and order. Gah! This is crazy!
I am dying to know more of their backstory. Like, how they got caught, and what exactly happened there. And I’m sure it was in no way a pleasant experience. This is wild, though. I’m so glad we got to see Mark’s POV. I’m… I’m just. This is brilliant, Wifey!
I love “Operation Seduce and Recover.” I mean, Cy does seem like he is feeling… things. So, seems like the Seduce portion of the operation is underway. I really hope that the attraction keeps him for ratting out Mark about not taking his meds. I feel like he probably won’t, but I’m worried. If Cy is drugged up and brainwashed at the moment, that could be dangerous. However, he was already having doubts about things, so maybe he won’t.
I’m really intrigued about the Underground and the Outside. I’m hoping we get to see more of those. The Underground sounds better, and worse at the same time. Like, people get to be themselves, yet they’re living in the sewers. Freedom, yet not free.
And we’re back to Cy. Oh my god, the package. I couldn’t imagine what it could have been. Poor Cy, with all those thoughts and fear about if he were caught. We know he has been before. So I’m sure that it would probably be worse for him if he were caught doing something wrong another time. But of course, he doesn’t remember that. Ugh, my heart breaks for him.
Ahh, when he opened it and read it! Memories can fade, but emotions and feelings, they leave a mark that cannot be erased. He’s definitely feeling things. There are most certainly feelings coming back. I need Cy to stop taking his meds right now, so they can properly reunite! My heart can’t handle this!
I’m so excited to move on to the next chapter. Seriously, I’m completely in love with your story. It’s freaking brilliant. The writing is flawless, the characters are amazing so far. This is just spectacular! Amazing work, love! I’m going to 1000% be back!
All the love and hugs!
Hi Rumpels! Here for our swap and EvS!
Let’s just pretend I haven’t already read this entire story after I reviewed the first chapter because I was so enthralled. I’m sure there’s things I missed the first time around. (Like how I thought Cyril was a woman for the entire first chapter!)
I love how you set up the change in POV, immediately letting us in on the fact that they used to be together. The question here still remains, how did Cyril forget? Why would he have gotten back on his medication if he was remembering?
The line starting with ‘like I would be some ghost of a memory’ is EXCELLENT. Just beautiful imagery.
The way you slip in the information that Cyril was caught before is awesome. It changes the stakes of the entire story - it makes you wonder what the people in charge are capable of when you’re caught going against their rules. Is this the first time we see the Underground mentioned? There’s all of these little references to things that will become important later on, just trickling out to set up future plot points.
And knowing that they first met two years ago! I was at first under the impression that they’d only met when he began working with him somehow. That obviously is not the case whatsoever.
I knew that the lady at the patisserie was involved with something shady! She was certainly remembering, at least.
I love that there are people who live entirely in the Underground and leave the world behind (that’d probably be me) and then there’s this entirely separate group that goes undercover on the surface. Their lives must be so stressful and frightening - they can never stop watching their back. I assume that it’s incredibly dangerous, although I’m not certainly of the level of force the Peacekeepers are capable of.
I’m especially interested in what is on the Outside. I am hopeful that we will eventually get a look at it because with your gift for worldbuilding, it’ll be really, really cool.
It’s actually scary to me, how Cyril says that he is ‘nothing’ on his day off. That struck me as the most brainwashed thing he’d said so far in the story.
Mark giving him a book of poetry they used to enjoy together is really cute and also, smart. That feels like the sort of thing that might be able to cut through the medication and make something click in his mind.
‘I think that, before meeting Mark, I would have said I loved my job and I loved Dick's nutrition dogs. After meeting Mark, I think I would say I like my job and I like Dick's nutrition dogs.’ This is one of my favorite lines ever, oh my god. I just can’t stop reading it over and over. It says so much in so little space. This story is just one of the best I’ve ever read, you should be so proud of it. I’m blown away every time I revisit this. Thank you for the swap!
Wifey!! I’m here for our EvS review swap!
I’m trying to form words. Real words, that aren’t just me screaming at you how absolutely, mind-blowingly incredible this is. Because, truly, this is freaking brilliant. Oh, random fun fact, my Grandfather’s name was Cyril, and so is my dad’s youngest brother. But anyhoo. I just adore post end of the world, creepy “big brother’s watching,” Hunger Games-ish type stories. They’re so chilling, because you really never know if humanity is going to lead that way. It’s very plausible.
This was so gripping right from the start. Like I was sitting here wondering why he had a pamphlet of his personal info? And why does it seem he can’t remember things? Then we come to find out that society has medically endured amnesia. That’s creepy as hell right there. I can’t imagine waking up each day not knowing what happened the day before. Or, relearning who you are each day. That’s dark. And super, super creative.
I loved the little snippets of the signs around the Brighton Medical Manufacturing Facility. Again, really creepy and chilling. It really added more of that dystopian feel to the story.
I can’t wait to see what comes for Cyril and Mark. Obviously Cyril has a sort of crush on him. Even with not remembering day to day, he seems to remember the feelings that Mark gives him. But then, like, he also almost doesn’t trust him. But then how much of that distrust is due to the brainwashing, amnesiac and propaganda. It’s so interesting. And then to find out it’s been MONTHS they’ve been talking about this! It’s crazy. And like, what the hell is with them reporting the same dog on the news?? Again, creepy.
I wonder if Cyril is going to stop taking his meds? Or if like, he is just going to keep relying on his journal for, not really remebering, but knowing what is going on. I had a feeling that Mark wasn’t taking them. He seemed to remember things in a way that Cyril wasn’t. I cannot stress enough how interesting and just amazing this is.
I’m coming back for more. I kind of wish I saved this for my last swap, because I just want to keep reading. I’m hooked already. I need to know how this progresses. I need to see more of this world. I need to know if Cyril stops taking his meds. I need to know everything. Amazing, fantastic, incredible, wonderful work here! You should be super, super proud of this, Wifey! It’s astounding!!
Rumpels! It has been forever and a day since I read this fic. This wonderful, well written fic with my two favourite guys. I've missed Mark and Cyril. Please proceed to poke me whenever you update this!!
Okay so, Cyril is sitll on his meds...and not in the factory. They're out! I had to quickly re-read everything just to remind myself where we were in this fic. Oh bless him, poor Cyril. This is probably already way too much for him. There's so much medication he has to stop taking too, so clarity won't return quickly. Will he remember everything once the pills are out of his system or are they going to rebuild their relationship? I hope for Mark's sake that they don't have to fall in love all over again...although that's something I'd like to read.
Mark has the patience of a saint. Whilst I like to think that I'd be there for Cyril in every way possible, given the stress of the situation, if I was in his sick covered shoes I'd be a lot more tense. I'd have scared Cy to death!
Amelia was so mad, and tbh, I can see why. The entire situation is going to make everything a lot more difficult...I have faith in them. Mostly. Sort of. I'm keeping my fingers crossed either way. Oh and that last little line from Cyril melted my heart. How dare these two be so cute and not be together properly?!?! Despite all the mishaps, Mark is really good at keeping Cyril safe and I love that in the midst of all the confusion, he can sense that.
i'm here for our swap! *_* (and EvS, team emerald)
oooh poor mark. poor cyril! they used to be together and now a lot of things make sense from the previous chapter – like why mark would even start talking to cyril because i’m guessing nobody would risk being found out for talking with a random person :oooo
and they actually met in this…underground (i suppose it’s some sort of a resistance to the regime? literally under ground?) and they got caught and now mark is trying to get cyril to remember things. there’s so much info in the first couple of paragraphs, it’s so cool because we get to know about their past and not just about that but also more about the world they live in. it’s tragic to watch someone you love working alongside you every day and not recognise you – i can’t imagine how mark must feel <.<
of course the woman from the patisserie is part of the whole thing – but i laughed out loud at her comment about cyril being afraid of her :P ‘seduce and recover’ is also hilarious, i like amelia for now :D i think i mentioned this in my previous review but i have to say it again – the fact that there’s humour mixed with dystopia is great because it gives us some reprieve from the bad state of the world.
i’m intrigued by the fact that mark (and cyril…) never wanted to be a part of a revolution, they just wanted to be the two of them, together, out of that horrible place. and now i’m wondering if they’re going to actually end up being a part of the revolution. i hope they do even though i can definitely understand the want to just be free of that place and leave the revolution to others.
oh wow, okay the underground is part of the sovereignty but where ‘normal’ people live – it’s fascinating. how come the peacekeepers don’t know about it? or they do but they choose to ignore it. from what i understand about the ‘outside’ there was some sort of…nuclear war or something? well, something that made the earth a barren wasteland anyhow…and if the sovereignty is not a wasteland, why would the ‘outside’ be a complete wasteland :o so obviously it’s not. which makes this all the more interesting!
that ending, with mark giving cyril the book he was reading when they first met and then cyril’s reaction, the tears and the feelings he didn’t understand were heartbreaking.
this was such a great chapter rumpels *_*
hey rumpels, i'm here for our review swap!
two things first – your title is amazing and your summary is amazing. they’re both intriguing and hook-y and if i were browsing through books in a bookshop or a library, you can bet i would 99% pick it up *_*
cyril is peculiar – not knowing whether he likes sweet things or if he and mark are workplace companions (friends?) and stuff like that makes me think it’s probably something to do with the medication everyone is being given (okay, yeah, i’ve read on and see that it most definitely is the medication, at least mark seems to think so)? he can also be sort of funny which i really liked because i think that even in stories about bleak themes/places, it’s cool to have some sort of respite from all the bad things happening, even if it’s just a couple of humorous lines.
the intro to the sovereignty is quite chilling and foreboding – i’m such a sucker for dystopias *_* it’s like – i need to know more but i also need to calm down and read properly (but of course, i’m notoriously impatient :P )
this whole thing about forgetting yesterday is so creepy! and then mark starts writing things down and then cyrill does and omg how does that woman know his name???? i’m so excited!
and the news is all the same every day?! that’s…not unexpected after everything i’ve read so far but i still giggled at cyrill’s thoughts about mrs. quartet’s dog :P
this first chapter was phenomenal! it give so much info but at the same time too little in the sense that you just want to keep on reading (and ever stop). the children being sent away (and their parents not remembering them) is particularly cruel but then, dystopias are cruel. and dividing people up into districts/work classes and also not letting them remember anything is quite an effective way on maintaining control over them. i do wonder if the peacekeepers (and the rulers??) are fanatics or if this is all for someone’s gain (or maybe it’s both….)
Hello Rumpels, I’m here for our swap and for EvS!
I’ve been interested in this story for some time and I am KICKING myself for not stopping by before now. This is, literally, the exact sort of stories that I read and you’ve pulled off the start of it SO well and I am not going to be able to stop reading until I get to the newest chapter. Anyway, I’ll start from the beginning.
You roll out the details in such a methodical way here. Cyril’s revelation that she doesn’t like sweet things was odd to read the first time because, well, how had she only just realized? Immediately I’d guessed that she had lost her memory in some way and we would be following a protagonist as they try to recombine pieces of themselves and figure out what happened to them in the past. In a way, I think I was right.
I was really intrigued by the title of ‘peacebreaker.’ That is so pointed and direct - I’ve never seen it before, but I know right away what it means to be called that.
The entire paragraph of - ‘You see, the War revealed...beyond the walls of the Sovereignty’ is a major highlight. You establish a zoomed out view of this history while teasing a taste of the current landscape of their world as well. Really excellent, succinct worldbuilding.
I’m obsessed with all the small bits of detail you give us about Cyril’s work. I love the implication that this medication was all that stood between society and an uprising of some sort. That set off a bunch of warning flags for me that there is something deeply wrong about this world that would leave it so close to the edge of chaos in that way.
All of the banners reminded people of the rules are downright scary, knowing that you’re likely to take them at face value if you legitimately remember nothing at all. I can’t help but wonder if the Overseers take the medication too. Maybe they have to be explained their jobs every morning as well.
Mark is just a ridiculously good character. The juxtaposition between how absolutely rational he, and everything he says, seems and Cyril’s reaction to it all is amazing. There could be no better display of the depths of their brainwashing.
I imagine that Cyril and Mark have quite a history that she does not remember. She’s clearly really into him on a level maybe a bit deeper than surface level memory. The plaque on their station is excellent and the repetition of it works very, very well.
The idea of writing things down each night is so good - this is when I could sense things about to go off the rails - and also when I realized that Cyril had done this to, and this is what I’d been reading.
The names you’ve given everything made me so happy--nutrition dogs, the Daily Hubbub with Big Daddy Dingle--just wonderful.
Mark’s promise that Cyril will ‘figure it out soon enough’ is so fun. I’m literally giddy reading this. It’s like it was manufactured in a lab to get me super excited.
The third of May is remarkable because it is so short and, yet, gets such a huge amount of information across. It’s really the turning point of the chapter.
The reveal that the dog story has been in the news for months now critically changes the entire perception of everything before it. There’s definitely something existentially frightening about living the same day and again and again and not even realizing it.
I had pieced together that Mark was definitely not on his medication, but what’s more interesting is Cyril’s reaction to that information. She’s still buying into the peacebreaker idea, though something tells me she might not after a while.
It’s incredible how many reveals you pack into this first chapter. And how they’re all so impactful. When Cyril realizes that she hasn’t seen any kids at all, I was taken aback. The idea of separating the young that way and their parents not quite remembering that they were taken is the thing that makes it clear they are being manipulated terribly, if you didn’t understand that already.
I can’t believe that Cyril didn’t even know about the districts. They really are kept in the dark, almost entirely. There is so much to unpack, I literally cannot wait to move on with this!
I will be back as soon as possible, this is one of my favorite stories already - it’s obvious that you have an extremely solid grasp on what you’re doing here and I just have got to see where it goes. Thank you so much for the swap!
Hey Rumples! Here for EvS (Team Silver!).
Wow -- what an amazing start! This chapter was actually thrilling, and I am so excited for this story.
So, I didn't read the chapter summary till after I finished the chapter, and honestly I was shocked that you were worried about Cyril's voice because I am totally enamoured with it. The voice of this piece has a dry, matter-of-fact quality that I associate with Forster, Greene, and Orwell; it is instantly engaging and perfect for the story, a calm, perceptive voice in a world gone mad.
The way you control the flow of information in this piece -- especially throughout First, May -- is masterful.
In the first paragraph we can tell that something is very, very wrong with Cyril. It feels like he's just learning that his name is "Cy" and that he doesn't like sweets. Then below he learns that his job is "Packing and Distributing Agent" from his chart. And *then*, he learns the history of the Sovereignty from a pamphlet on his nightstand! And he doesn't know who his friend (Mark) is!? The sense of creeping horror that you achieve is phenomenal (and we still don't know what's going on!).
I love this line: "That is how the War started. That is how the world ended. That is why there is a grand nothingness on the Outside, beyond the walls of the Sovereignty." It's just chilling!
The reveal -- that Cyril's condition is a product of medication -- is well-foreshadowed. Cyril's chart tells us what his dosages are, like it's a foregone conclusion that he's going to be on some medication or other. And then Mark's quietly subversive line, "I don't really think we need all this medication" (love the understatement of it!).
The idea that they're having their memories wiped daily is horrific. I love that you're exploring the theme of memory in this piece, its costs and benefits. It's so creepy to think about having your memory erased every day because your memories are who you are. But I think you're also right that memory is necessary for sedition, unrest.
And the reveal naturally raises a question -- how does Mark know what he knows? Why does he seem more aware of himself and his surroundings than Cyril? The anticipation built by this question is really remarkable. (This also makes me wonder about the woman at the patisserie!)
Your characterization of Mark throughout it amazing. Initially he seems both alluring and sinister -- reflecting Cyril's mingled attraction and fear. As the story progresses our sense of him changes too. I'm really interested to read more about him.
All the quiet acts of rebellion -- the whispering, the handing of pill bottles, the diary -- are wonderful, more powerful for their being subtle than they would be if they were big and showy.
I love the twist at the end of First, May! I should have seen it coming, but I didn't realize that Cyril was keeping a diary too until he explicitly announced as much.
I can already tell I'm going to love the form of this piece -- the story of a man rediscovering who he is. Cy's gradual awakening to who he is and what his world is like is gripping. His observation about the newscast; his realization that he feels so confused all the time. . .And his realization that his life is so repetitious, something he definitely wouldn't have known before! I find this really fascinating -- certainly one way to quash unrest is to prevent people from seeing how Sisyphean their lives are.
Finally, the reveal that Mark is off his meds is just perfect and beautifully foreshadowed. He has an alertness that can't be fully explained by his keeping a diary. But he instinctively knows that he can't tell Cyril the truth upfront, not until Cyril starts to understand for himself.
Amazing work! I loved this chapter, and I'll be back for more very soon!
Hi Rumpels! Here to give you some love (and for the magical menagerie ofc, #WyvernFTW)!
It was interesting to read this fic, a fic with effectively an amnesiac as the main character after a few months and having forgotten quite a few details hahaha. It was a really interesting effect, kind of like I started gathering the pieces just as Cyril did and oh, man, when I pieced everything back together...PURE PAIN.
Reading this fic still feels a lot like coming home. Every time I read it, I’m reminded of all the reasons I love it. As always, your balance of humor and darkness is just so spectacular. I found the scene with the horrid stench to be rather amusing but then it was followed by an emotional attack (my feels are pretty dead now, thanks), and neither felt too overwhelming. They were just perfectly balanced and I think that takes serious skill.
Speaking of an emotional attack...I’m still reeling. I think this chapter has been the rawest examination of Cyril and Mark’s bond and how the meds has fractured that bond. I’ve always been fascinated by the effects of forcing people to forget each other on relationships and this chapter just makes me sick to my stomach at that thought—and all the more attached to Mark and Cy, for how their love seems to be strong enough to overcome even that. I just really can’t imagine what Mark must be feeling right now, with Cy’s ridiculous comment about how they were friends (UGH. STAB ME IN THE HEART) and then the claims about Amelia...heart-shattering, honestly. I like that you put in part of his POV, but not too much. Like I said: you strike the perfect balance.
The last moment in tbe chapter warmed my heart and I might’ve actually cooed out loud. They’re just so adorable?! I can tell that this chapter is setting up a lot for their relationship in the future and I’m so so excited to see what comes next. I feel this review has been underwhelming but let me just tell you that this fic continues to be one of my absolute favorites and I was beyond excited to see a chapter that I hadn’t read yet published <3
Loved it, and looking forward to more <3 Thank you for sharing!
Hey, Rumple! I'm here for your Christmas review present a day late!
I know you said you were nervous about putting your first multichaptered original story up, but it's amazing.
There's definitly some editing that can be done. I caught a couple of typos and it was a bit confusing at first when you broke up dialogue from one person into so many lines, since usually it breaks for a new speaker, but other than that I loved it.
For some reason I thought Cyril was a girl in the first chapter, and I was very pleased when I realized he wasn't, though I would have liked it either way. I'm always a slut for more LGBT+ rep, and they're just...so cute together. I love you you started hinting at things in the first chapter, and how you reveal things a little at a time instead of dumping it all at once on us. It keeps you wanting to read and find out...evendenced by me reading all four chapters when I technically should be doing other things. (She says, as she's also been on Twitter) :P
I'm usually not a fan of the medication approach to dystopian stories like this, since there's a lot of stigma surrounding taking medication (which I need myself), but I really do like this story. I forgot the name of the short story, but it reminds me of one we read in school where people had ear pieces that would make loud noises whenever someone started questioning things, which would shock them out of thinking. It was the one where a couple was watching a ballet proformance and it turned out their son got shot killed while they were watching? Because he and a girl took off the limitations the goverment had forced on them. This was years ago.
I'm also always a slut for characters that love poetry, at least when done right and doesn't come across pretincious, which this doesn't. It always makes me sad how many people don't like poems.
The wall idea makes me think a lot of the book series Uglies, and the Divergent series as well. Actually, this reminds me a lot of the series Uglies. Have you read those books before? If not I'd recommend it.
Anyway, I'll be looking foward to reading more of this, and I hope you start feeling better soon!