It takes dedication to find this page hidden deep within the Tagonist Knights Website.
--- SPOILERS AHEAD ---
Where the other Easter Eggs and hidden references are like what you will find on other secondary book pages, many do not follow this pattern. Each of the links connected to one of the thirty two encounters that Avita endures is meant to provide help, assistance, and hope in coping with mental and emotional trauma. Having experienced depression and suicidal thoughts in his past, the author treats these topics with respect. This book is meant to provide insight to these issues.
“Life is more than just survival. It is about staying true to who you are and finding hope when it feels as if there is no reason to continue.” - Mysterious Voice
A scene selected from the book.
Prisoner of Silence approaches the idea of a horror genre story with "nightmare fuel" or leaving mental scars on a reader who has to cope with what they visualized while experiencing what is occurring within the pages of the novel. One of, if not the worst, is this creature that has the body of a fully mature spider. Where its head would be is this deformed skull of a newborn baby, but if it was a zombie, this horrific monster. What the author does here that is truly disturbing is taking something so innocent and sweet, like a newborn baby nursing, this cute cooing noise of happiness and turns it into this horrifying moment. This horrific creature makes this cute sound while eating its mother's brains.
“Failure can be a teaching tool if we use lessons learned correctly rather than allowing it to crush our hope.” - Mysterious Voice
“I’m glad that there is at least a spark of hope still buried underneath all of that pain, that you haven’t given up yet.” – Mysterious Voice
Back in College
The author wrote a story called "64" when he was in college. The idea was sixty four people with super powers. Some evil, some good, some neutral. There was also thirteen "demons" invading their world. One would lose their powers or get killed (more often they died), and then someone else with unique abilities would vanish. When thirty two individuals remained, suddenly they came back. When they did, the outer boundaries of reality shrunk in size. The Universe was shrinking.
This happened once more as thirty two became sixteen. This continued from sixteen to eight, eight to four, and finally the last two remained. Each time the larger Universe was reduced until all that remained was a small circular space of land. The last surviving hero is confronted by a man named "Mr. X". This mysterious figure transforms into a teenage boy. The hero represents hope. The former "Mr. X", now a boy, represented his depression and he wanted to destroy the world he had created in his mind. It was his way of extinguishing his last remaining reasons to live. He wanted to commit suicide.
That is the origins of Prisoner of Silence. That's why there is a number at the beginning of every scenario. It is a representation of the current human population on Earth that when halved, will eventually lead down to two. It was one of many elements that reflected the psychology of the central character, Avita. The author originally chose that name since this was a narrative about someone choosing life. The realization that it wasn't her real name didn't come until much later.
A Horror Story
When Tagonist Knights Publishing first began, there was a need for a horror story to go with Raven, Knight of Shadows. Being the first writer to work with the company and help it launch, the author dug up this concept from "64" and took a new approach with it.
The author refused to write the book until he knew its purpose and its ending. That's why he typically didn't like the horror genre. The blood, gore, and pointless death left him feeling hallow inside. That was an issue he had with "64" until its end. So, he began there. When he first began writing the book, he knew it was going to be about a woman struggling with depression. She had led the worst possible imaginable life. Where nothing went right for her. Everyone in her life stole from her, abused her, and did everything they could to destroy her.
He began with 8,589,934,592, the closest number to the global human population that was also derived from 2x2x2x2 and so on. He proceeded to add up how many times it would take to reach 2 by dividing by 2 at a time. That gave the author the number of scenarios he would be working with. Then he began making a listing of events this woman endured and how he could have a symbolic scene concerning that trauma. For example, a drunk woman representing her mother. A man on drugs representing her father. Fading away to nothing due to memory being symbolic of her grandmother's Alzheimer's disease. This was one of many elements to represent that these events reflected the internal conflict she was struggling with.
A difficult path...
Originally Avita would wake up in a prison of sorts and see other people in other cells nearby. The "voice" she speaks to is a man in the space next to her. That idea was removed to make it more of a mystery. Who is this voice? What's going on? Since there was only one main individual that was the focus of the story, the author wanted someone for her to interact with. He provided her the ability to communicate with outside of herself, allowing her to explore her thoughts.
Going into the book the goal of the story was that all of this was her confronting her past and the trauma she endured. Moments when she finds happiness like flying for instance, reflects her embracing reasons to find joy in her life, to live it fully. The group referred to as "they", the ones punishing her, is her nightmares, negative emotions, and self-hatred that is threatening to kill her.
Before writing the story, the author knew that she had been involved in a car accident, that all of this was in her mind. He inserted misleading information in the form of "she thinks maybe... that this is true." The unreliable narrator in that she doesn't know what's going on and is only guessing. It was a method that the author was using to mislead and confuse the audience without lying to them.
The author wasn't aware that the male voice that she was interacting with was dealing with attempts to cure his cancer. It wasn't until nearly the end of the novel that there was a realization that he was near death himself, struggling to live. Both Avita and "the voice" are ready to die when this begins and each are providing the other a way to survive. To find the strength to choose life. It provided a deeper meaning behind his presence in her life and hers in his.
In the end...
The original title was "Countdown". Prisoner of Silence reflects that that Avita stuck in her own mind, torturing herself as it is mentioned at the end of the book. The goal was to create horrifying images to leave psychological scars in people's minds much like she endured.
The author typically doesn't know the conclusion of a book before he begins. This novel was an exception in that he needed to know where the story was going to go before starting the project. The book was built towards a final revelation and resolution to her suffering.
An original ending was Avita moves in with Edgar and they start a new life together. The author discarded this concept in that he felt it took away from her empowerment. She needed to do this on her own, to prove her strengths as an individual without relying on someone else.
It was the hope of the author to help those who haven't dealt with depression to have an insight to the struggle someone is going through. It's an internal battle in fighting one's innermost nightmares, their past trauma, and memories that haunt them each day.
The story is meant to be about hope, being able to overcome these internal threats and to find the strength to endure. Lastly, this is a story of empowerment. Avita has had everything taken from her. In the end, she finds the strength to take on the world again, hope rekindled, and a yearning to take on the challenge that is life.
“When hatred becomes all-consuming, you lose yourself in it. It slowly destroys you from the inside out.” – Mysterious Voice
Easter Eggs and Inspiration
Spider-Corpse-Baby or Spider-Demon-Baby was inspired by a close friend of the author. When asked what she fears most, her response was three things: Dead bodies, evil children, and spiders. He combined those three fears into a single, horrifying image which was not in the original draft. It wasn't added until the second version of the story.
“They repeat that phrase for you over and over, training you to believe in what they are telling you, that the rules they have given to you are restraints you must exist by. What if you didn’t have to?” - Mysterious Voice