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Thread: Tierra de los Muertos Part 1
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Old 02-08-2002, 07:24 PM   #1
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Tierra de los Muertos Part 1

Feedback appreciated. It's not entirely Grim Fandango, I have illusions of it being published one day. So I tried to keep it, for the most part, original.

The first part of many.

-----------------------------------------

If it were any other day, this would have been a normal morning for Miguel Huesos.
As the sun rose to greet the day in a wave of yellow goldenness that would be enough to bring a tear to the eye of the Presidenté of any South American island dictatorship, Miguel’s mind wasn’t anywhere near the concept of normal. He wasn’t considering the poetic ways to express the sound of the birds in the park, or the blare of the horns of the early morning traffic, or even the biting cold of the fog as it snaked its way through the early morning streets of the gently slumbering city.
In fact, Miguel’s mind wasn’t even contained within a brain, which when you come to think about it, is probably the place where you would think you’d find it. But then again, the entire concept of the mind isn’t exactly a proven entity. If you cut a person’s brain in half, you can’t point to a grey squiggly area and say undeniably it’s a mind.
At any rate, Miguel’s mind wasn’t there.
Miguel Huesos was dead, but don’t hold that against him. Besides that fact, he was trying to enjoy the morning to his full capacity.
Thoroughly confused? That’s understandable. Something that has previously been stated needs to be explained, elaborated on, cleared up, and hung out to dry: Miguel Huesos is dead.
He can no longer remember exactly how long this has been going on for. But like everyone around him, death comes unexpectedly. You could be sitting down enjoying a nice cup of tea. The next thing you know, Death will come. He’ll open the door, shake hands with you, have a cup of tea… this is the sort of person death is. He tries to make the transition to the underworld somewhat easier than would normally be expected. The stereotypical view of being thrown in the deep end of the swimming pool without floaties doesn’t exactly hold well when held up to the light. Especially if the light is the aforementioned goldenness.
The second thing that requires clarification has only just been mentioned: Miguel Huesos is indeed in the underworld. He has been there all his life. Or perhaps that’s all his death. Anyway, he’s there, and has been for longer than he can remember. But not too long, of course. That would just be plain ridiculous.
This brings about a rather logical question – if being in the land of the dead is entirely normal, complete with a picturesque environment consisting of golden suns, tweeting birds, rolling fog and blaring horns, and the status of Miguel as a skeleton isn’t itself out of the ordinary, then which part of the entire picture isn’t normal?
Miguel was on his way to collect another soul for the Land of the Dead. Not exactly abnormal on this surface – but this soul was different: it was destined to be a permanent productive resident.

The Land of the Dead functions in a rather straight forward manner. Back in the formation of the Land of the Dead, it was decided by the powers that be that there should be someone who would guide the souls of the world to the land of the dead. This individual would preferably be a deceased employee of the travel industry, would receive the benefits of a parking spot right next to the elevator, and their own car and chauffer. The worldwide mythical fame was an added extra, and sick days were redundant due to the nature of being dead.
As a result Mr. Death was employed, mostly due to the fact that it was his mother who had a hand in creating the underworld. Mr. Death soon became world renowned thanks to both his fascination with gardening implements and his enjoyment of games, and more commonly became known as the Grim Reaper. Not even he is entirely sure where the ‘grim’ part came from; a skeleton has the unfortunate handicap of being limited in the facial expression department, so exactly how he managed to convey grimness is something to be admired.
And so Mr. Death found himself bringing souls to the underworld. Other skeletons like himself were privileged to be the first to experience the land of the dead, even if all they were capable of saying consisted of ‘Oook’ and ‘unga-unga-unga’ and for some inexplicable reason ‘prioritize’, but as the humans evolved from their furry ancestors (or in the case of the French and many managers, stayed exactly the same) the land of the dead became more populated. Mr. Death found that he had to take on more employees just to keep up with the workload. Among some of his more famous employees are War, Famine, and Pestilence. He also filed a request form to the powers that be to be allocated more employees.
They sent him Miguel Huesos. You see, even gods have a sense of humour.

Miguel was Death’s older brother, that much he is certain of. He’d been sent to the land of the dead to fill the employment gap, something that had always been around in the past. Most people just come to the land of the dead in some sort of transitional stage. Where they go to after this realm is not something that Miguel was entirely sure of.
Somewhere better, of that he was certain.
As Miguel neared the focal point of his assignment the energy ripples became stronger. When someone is about to die, a weakening between the barriers of this land and the living land form, eventually breaking through. Only a few beings could actually cross to the living land successfully, and not be seen in the process until needed. Miguel was one of these, and like all the others who could, a reaperman.
His mind flared momentarily as he crossed into the living land, the transition was no longer painful and disorientating, not to someone so experienced. He found himself standing on the ledge of a building, quietly witnessing events unravelled.
A murder.
Murders happened. Murders were common. Miguel had seen many of them, and may have even been a victim of one, if he could remember. The ledge that he sat on at the moment provided him with an excellent view of a deteriorating alley. Always a favourite for murders and muggings. If you plan on emerging with all your parts still attached, an alley is definitely something to be avoided.
The victim was killed. There was no sound. No cries for help, no explosion of a weapon. Nice and quiet. The murderer was clearly well practised in his art. Miguel would undoubtedly see him sometime in the future… no one ever became that good at murder without having an extended stay in Tierra de los Muertos.
Miguel jumped down lightly from the ledge and padded over to the victim, his bony feet clicking quietly on the concrete. He peered down at the victim from under the hood, and almost on cue a dramatic fog arose in the morning light.
‘Tomas Encion?’ He asked in a stoic tone. ‘Nicknamed ‘The Red’, and stoolie for the cops?’
The young man shook his head in slow disorientation, sat up, and looked back at himself. ‘What’s happened?’ He asked slowly. ‘Who…?’
It was times like this that Miguel wished dramatic reverb would come naturally. ‘My name is Miguel Huesos. And you, my dear friend, are dead.’

They say that gods enjoy playing strange and disturbing games with mortal men. Who exactly ‘they’ are, and what makes them so qualified to make these observations on the gods themselves has never really been known, but they are essentially correct. Gods do play games.
They also cheat. You’ve never met a cheater until you’ve played twister or monopoly with a god. So if a god, such as Fate, decided to throw a mortal into the mix of Tierra de los Muertos just because he was bored and wanted to see what would happen, who would protest? It would be the same as kicking an ant’s nest – the ants can protest all they want, but in the grand scheme of things it won’t do any good.
As it turns out, Fate actually did throw a mortal human into the mix. A mortal human, who for lack of logical explanation, was named Number Two. If History were to look back through her records in the library of the gods, she’d find that the entire event occurred something like this:
‘Hello? Colonel O’Niell? Where the heck did the tour group go!? Someone answer me! I said someone answer me! You have to do what I say, you hear? You see this pass thingie? It says V.I.P., right here baby! That’s right! Sign, give me information… ‘Top Secret Stargate Facility. Please insert two dollars to ride the Stargate’. Errrr… hello!? Is anyone out there!? Does anyone have change for… no wait, wait… I have it. If there’s anyone out there who was going to give me change, it’s okay, don’t worry! One dollar… two dollar. Wow. Look at this. It’s all blue and swirly and… and… I don’t think I want to go through this Stargate thing AAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!’

‘Wait wait wait… when you say dead… you don’t actually mean…’
Tomas wasn’t exactly catching on as fast as Miguel had hoped.
‘Dead.’ He replied bluntly. ‘As in dead dead. Pushing up roses, past the life expiry date, whatever you want to call it. You’re it. I’m it. Get it.’
Tomas paused in thought for a moment. ‘Now when you say dead…’
Miguel cut him off. ‘Red, look around you. What do you see.’
The alleyway was beginning to light up in the midmorning sun, the dark colours giving way to a dismal grey. Debris littered the outskirts, decay hung from the surrounding buildings… it was not the most pleasant setting.
‘An alley.’ Tomas said calmly.
‘Now look down.’ Miguel instructed. ‘Now what do you see?’
‘Me.’ Tomas said obediently. ‘I’m dead.’
‘Good.’ Miguel said, folding up his scythe and putting it into his robe. ‘Glad we have that cleared up. I believe it’s time we left.’
‘Leave for where?’ Red asked, the calm shock seeping into his voice.
‘To begin the first day of the rest of your death.’


Want some funny radio plays?
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All Night Long
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Old 02-08-2002, 07:30 PM   #2
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The boundary between the land of the dead and the living land was not a physical object. It was moreso an energy field, an invisible barrier. It was almost as if the two lands were superimposed on each other, both very similar but different at the same time. In one realm, life continued. In the other, it didn’t.
Santa Difunta. The city of the dead.
The only sign of civilisation in Tierra de los Muertos. The rest of the land consisted of wastelands into nothingness, endless waters, rolling oceans, scattered settlements. No real map existed, because no one could be bothered to explore that far. The closest thing Tierra de los Muertos had to an explorer was Valora DeCazador, one of the more ‘enterprising’ businessmen to sail the Empty Sea.
And it is within Santa Difunta that Miguel Huesos and Tomas Encion emerge.
The process of emergence isn’t exactly painful… more like an itch. One moment they were standing in the living land, and the next in Santa Difunta. Encion blinked in the sudden morning sunlight… or at least tried to blink until he realised he had no eyelids. No eyes for that matter. He stared down at his hands, expecting to see normal dark pink… not the stark white of bones. It took him back for a moment, until he realised that he looked just like everyone else.
Miguel had seen this kind of thing before. People first entering the land of the dead exhibited the traits of denial, shock, and depression. It was a big thing to suddenly have your life ripped away from you, especially first thing in the morning.
‘Welcome to Santa Difunta.’ Miguel said, ‘Your gateway to the afterlife and whatever lies beyond. For most people, anyway. Not for you.’
Red looked a little surprised. ‘Not for me?’
Miguel nodded. ‘Take a good look around and get used to it. The powers that be have slated you for permanent residence. I’ve been looking through your permanent records, not only did you commit crime but you’ve got the skills we need. You have some power around you, Red. Power that will be put to use.’
‘What if I don’t want to?’ Red asked without conviction.
Miguel stopped walking. ‘What makes you think you have a say in it? You’ve got nowhere to go, no connections. You can’t kill yourself, it would be a little redundant even trying.’ He glared down from his slight advantage in height. ‘Besides, it’s not a bad death here. All the comforts of the other realm. A clean slate, or so to speak. No aches, no pains.’ He moved his face closer to Red. ‘Get used to it.’

For quite a long time the concept of dying in the land of the dead had been debated until someone decided to get serious and started doing really dangerous things. After putting him back together a number of times, and even functioning without being back together, it was finally concluded that you couldn’t die. His remains are still on display in the Santa Difunta museum, where he often gives talks and lectures on his many other theories, including the existence of the barrier, and where exactly the skeletons go once they leave the Land of the Dead.
Miguel quietly outlined the main points of Santa Difunta to Tomas as they continued their walk. The city had been there since the very beginning, in constant change, although at a much slower pace then that of the living land. As a result it seemed to be at a page on yesterday’s book, a strange yet familiar look at the past. Everything about the Land of the Dead had a feel about it as if it wasn’t quite right. An example is the sky, which although it is, for the most part, blue, it looks like it exists because there needs to be a sky. Because without a sky, looking upwards would be that much more eye-watering . Another example is the existence of the Empty Sea. It reaches out to a certain point. And then after that… there’s nothing.
Their walk through the tapering city finally came to a halt as Miguel indicated their destination with a sweeping gesture. ‘Behold, the reason for Santa Difunta being: The Department of Death.’
Tomas Encion gave a long appreciative whistle . Not only because he was in company (you try getting away without doting over a new baby once their parents present it to you) but the Department of Death really was something impressive.
If Santa Difunta existed in the past, then the Department of Death really was the silver lining of it all. Standing tall and gleaming metal, it shone out amongst the sombre landscape. Tomas was still gazing at it in awe as he passed through the revolving door.
The inside lobby was a gleaming dome shaped room with a single reception desk at the centre. Branching off in all directions were different passageways with various beings bustling around performing the normal routine for a day in the death. The passageways were marked in large foreboding labels ‘The Living Land’, ‘Garage’, ‘Reception Room 1’ and ‘Emergency Exit’
‘Manny, how are you?’ Miguel was saying, grabbing a short skeleton by a limb as he walked past. ‘Long time no see! Guillermo, is that you? You look great! Have you lost weight? Or a limb? Oh, Tomas, I want you to meet this guy. Tomas Encion, this is the God of Parfait. God of Parfait, Tomas.’
The God was a small being dressed in a white robe, a mask, and carrying a plate on his head. Tomas started back slightly. ‘The God of Parfait?’
‘Of course.’ Miguel said, leading him further. ‘Haven’t you ever said ‘Oh my God, this Parfait is delicious?’ Everything has to have a God. Even Parfait. Just don’t stare, he doesn’t like it.’
Miguel’s last sentence trailed to quiet as they approached the reception desk, where a lone skeleton sat wearing a headpiece and filing her nails in a rather bored ‘Don’t bother me this early in the morning’ gaze. Tomas couldn’t help but notice the rather radical change in her attitude as soon as Miguel stepped into her line of vision.
‘Mikey, you’re here!’ She said, standing up and hugging him over the counter. ‘How’s your morning been?’
‘Not bad, I stopped off and picked up the new stiff on the way to work.’ Miguel replied, almost oblivious to the presence of Tomas. ‘Tomas, I’d like you to meet Avegail Cervantes. Avegail, this is Tomas Encion. He’s new. A bit disorientated. Distracted by the God of Promiscuous Protection. You’ll have to forgive him.’ Miguel elbowed Tomas in the ribcage, setting off a slight clatter. ‘We need to see Death. Tomas is up for allocation. Is he in?’
Avegail glanced at her screen. ‘He’s in, and free, but not for much longer. You’d better go now.’ She reluctantly let go of his hand and waved goodbye as Miguel and Tomas walked away.
With a backwards glance, Miguel led the way to the upper levels. ‘So… she… and you?’ Tomas asked tactfully.
‘Yeah, her and me.’ Miguel answered quietly. He sighed happily as he pushed the button for the elevator and leant against the wall. ‘We’ve been seeing each other for a while now.’
Tomas scratched his skull in thought. ‘I see. And how is… you know… that possible?’
‘There’s more to a relationship than that.’ Miguel replied in a slightly sharp tone. ‘All you need is love. John Lennon. Nice guy. Shot in the back. Very sad.’


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All Night Long
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Old 02-08-2002, 07:33 PM   #3
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In a room in the upper floors of the Department of Death, a skeleton contemplated the papers in front of him. He stared without really reading them, and gave an audible sigh.
Death was, without doubt, the oldest resident of Tierra de los Muertos. He’d seen it all. The influx from brutal wars. The various celebrities. Even the occasional attempt at world destruction. He’d seen it… more times then he wished to count.
Death sighed again, and stared around his office. It got to him sometimes. The thought that, no matter how much he tried to be a part of this realm, he never really belonged to it. He never belonged anywhere, for that matter. All the souls around him came from the living land, without exception. They all, at one stage or another, had been alive. Even if they couldn’t remember it. He tried to fit in with them. But for the most part, failed miserably. His office was a dead colour, a constant flow of greys and blacks. There were two pieces of decoration, his only attempts. One was a coffee mug that always sat forlornly on the end of his desk. The other was an old clock. It ticked. It chimed… but nothing more. The concept of time was still something that he could never fully grasp.
He was interrupted by sighing a third time by a knock at the door. He straightened his posture and cleared his throat .
‘Come in.’ He said formally, pretending to write something terribly important at the same time.
The door opened hesitantly and a short skeleton walked in, followed by a lanky tall one.

Miguel considered his younger brother for a split second before speaking. If it was possible for a skeleton to have bags under his eyes, Death had them. He looked dead. Both literally and figuratively. Usually, as far as Miguel was concerned, this wasn’t such a bad thing. But now…
‘La Parca.’ He said formally. ‘Are you okay?’
Death made an effort, and pulled himself up in his large chair. ‘Not a trouble in the realm, Mikey.’ He said in a friendly manner. ‘Haven’t seen you for ages, you sorry bag of bones!’
Mikey inclined his head and laughed gently. ‘I’ve been busy, compadré! But I’m sorry to say that I’m here mostly on a matter of business.’
Miguel indicated over his shoulder with a thumb at Tomas, who was trying to remain unnoticeable. In the dark décor of Death’s office, that was quite an undertaking.
Death removed his hood carefully, and stared at Tomas through white glaring sockets. ‘This is him?’ He asked.
Tomas made an effort to stand taller.
‘Him, yeah.’ Mikey answered. ‘The new one you sent me to get.’
Death walked carefully around the desk. ‘Where did you get him?’
Mikey fidgeted slightly. ‘Oh, got him right away, he’d only just hit the pavement. And he isn’t from the landing floor either. I actually had to go to him. He’s good quality merchandise.’
Death nodded, finally looking at Miguel. ‘Sounds like good Reaper material.’ He said. He reached his hand out to Red. ‘I’m La Parca.’
Red gulped, and grabbed the boney fingers in a nervous shake. ‘Tomas Encion.’
‘Good, good.’ Death walked around the desk and sagged back into his chair, picking up a grey coffee mug and fidgeting with it. ‘You’ll stay with Mikey for a while. He’ll show you the ropes and everything.’
Death seemed to trail off slightly.
‘Death… are you feeling okay?’ Miguel asked. ‘Truthfully this time. When was the last time you took a vacation?’
Death suddenly noticed they were still there. ‘A vacation? Me? Where would I go? Let’s see, there’s Santa Difunta… well… that would be about it, wouldn’t it? Seriously Mikey, I’m fine. Don’t worry. You just caught me on a bad day. Trust me.’
Mikey paused for a moment, and finally nodded. ‘Sure, La Parca. We’ll be seeing you.’
With a last glance around the office, Huesos opened the door and pushed Encion out in front of him, closing the door gently.
The corridor seemed erringly quiet in comparison.
Red exhaled deeply. ‘Well, that could have gone worse. I must admit, I had some reservations about meeting Death, but now that I’ve stared him in the face, he wasn’t such a bad guy.’
‘He wasn’t, was he.’ Mikey agreed in a dull voice. ‘Something is very wrong.’

-------------------------------

Okay, that's it. The end of part 1. Sorry I had to post it in three different replies, there's a limit to the amount of characters in each post. Hope you enjoyed it, I'll continue work on part 2.


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Nightlight Productions
All Night Long
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Old 02-08-2002, 07:42 PM   #4
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Excellent! Absolutely entertaining. A note to other forumgoers; this was going to be put up on the GFN, but right now there are a number of technical difficulties to overcome. Expect it up there as soon as our news script is fixed. Can't wait for episode 2 (of Tdlm, that is).


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Old 02-11-2002, 08:26 PM   #5
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This is based on the radio show, right?
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Old 02-11-2002, 08:41 PM   #6
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What radio show?


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Old 02-13-2002, 10:07 AM   #7
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Well, unless I've totally lost it, 8 of 12 was the guy who many months ago was working on a radio script with the same title and same main character.
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Old 02-15-2002, 05:40 AM   #8
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yeah thats a great start.hurry with part 2!!

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Old 02-15-2002, 12:56 PM   #9
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I think people need to vote on the poll thing. So far it's only 1 vote for "Excellent, and 1 vote for "Where's Manny?". That's a bit disheartening.


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Old 02-15-2002, 03:26 PM   #10
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oh yeah,i forgot to vote!....still it gets a thumbs up!

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Old 03-12-2002, 11:36 AM   #11
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Wicked, blindin, great, keep up the good work mate.
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