In reference to yesterday’s post, sometimes days in general don’t go the way you plan (though of course it’s fun to point at Mondays). I’ve done a lot of thinking about my novel today, and some brainstorming, but no actual outlining. I do have – as a general idea – a fix for the issue in question, but there are all the scene-by-scene details to figure out. Thirty three scenes, to be exact.
I got another idea for a short story this week. When I’m done with this novel I’m going to have so many things to choose from for my next project. Here’s my first attempt at a First Sentence for this potential future short story:
I follow her through history before I follow her through the night. It’s harder than it normally is. She treads more lightly than most of her kind. From what I can determine, she’s between 125 and 150 years old and hasn’t often strayed out of the United States. She’s never joined a pack and is most reliably found in the journals of witch covens.
I probably never would have discovered her if she hadn’t spent the last twenty years living in one city – the same city I’ve called home for the better part of a decade. She’s averaging one disappearance per month. It’s an unexpectedly low body count but I still have to stop her, and to do that, I need to learn everything I can about her habits. That’s why
I cut myself making dinner the other evening. In an amusing turn of irony, it took over 24 hours for the small cut to stop bleeding.
“If we had more parents like her, you’d have a power source that could defeat him.”
“But no one else has ever believed me before, and they have to believe or it won’t work.”
“Maybe you could…use a glamour?”
“Would that…count? Would it work? Can you trick someone into believing?”
“History is full of people tricked into believing.”
“But does it work as a source for magic if you deceive them into giving you their belief?”
“As long as you can believe it will, it will.”
Joshua’s mouth thins to a hard line as he reads the posts plastered on his mom’s Facebook wall. Her friends are very concerned about the explosion that happened in the apartment building where her son lives. The news pieces can’t say the cause of the explosion – the police investigation is just starting – but Joshua builds a narrative that makes sense.
“When they ambushed you at home there must have been a separate team waiting for me at my place, except I wasn’t there because I was on my way to check on you. With rush hour I knew it’d be faster to walk so I left my car at home. The explosion happened hours ago and since she hasn’t heard from me she’s terrified I died when my building went up in flames.” He recites this litany in a monotone, like it’s ancient history about people he never knew.
“I’m so very sorry to have gotten you caught up in this,” Dominic whispers, eyes focused on the carpet at his feet where Tsubasa has stretched out. “I will fix this.”
I stop short a couple paces from my bedroom door. Carson’s in the hallway, staring at the wall. Then he touches it, shakes his head, takes a couple steps, and stares again. He’s clearly unaware of me so I send him the lightest of telepathic nudges, a gentle nok.
“Eyan!” he exclaims, hastily distancing himself from the wall and giving an abashed smile. “Hi.”
<Hi… What are you doing?>
<I’m looking for the hallway computer interface.> He gives me what I can only describe as a partial glare, as if it’s my fault he can’t find it.
I laugh, walking past him halfway down the hallway and gesturing at the wall to my right. <It’s here.> I activate it by touching the camouflaged panel at eye level. It’s virtually indistinguishable from the surrounding paint when deactivated.
Carson joins me, shaking his head at the computer. <Why is it hidden?>
<It’s not hidden, it’s discrete.>
He frowns. <What’s the difference?>
<Subterfuge versus aesthetics.>
The corners of Carson’s eyes crease with amusement. <All right. Why are they discrete?>
<Because computers are just tools. We don’t want them dominating our lives the way humans have let them.>
His mouth thins. <I wish you wouldn’t disparage humans so much. We would be just like them if not
We return to the Shelter once my conscience gets the best of me. I leave our reentry to autopilot and all goes as planned.
<Back to the house?> Carson asks on our exiting to an empty room, the ceiling already back in place.
It’s still but that won’t last. <Or as far as we make it.>
He shoots me a quizzical glance. Before I can elaborate, Davonte and several others – the Council, I realize with some surprise – enter. It’s a crowded fit for such a small space. I resist the urge to quip about a road trip.
Davonte is all in black except the yellow sapphire pendant that makes me look at her eyes, ablaze with that fury I know so well. Face rigid, she advances, flinging an avalanche of anger. It hurls into me with such force that I stagger back and gasp, temples pounding. Carson remains steady. Not a loss of control then. A focused explosion, the equivalent to a punch.
<Explain yourself,> she commands icily.
<It’s my fault,> Carson interjects. <I wanted to collect my mom’s Imprint and Eyan helped me.>
<As admirable as that motive is, it does not excuse attacking a fellow Chosen, stealing this Shelter’s only ship, and risking that ship’s destruction, or worse, capture by the DOH!>
Each word is a pulse of pain. I wince, grateful
I think we create monsters because they make it easier to contemplate the terrible things people do. But who is really more dangerous, a vampire or a man?
Happy New Year!
I’m continuing to have issues getting my chapters to load well in the blog so please let me know if you notice any issues.
I’m awake by 0600. Rolling onto my stomach, I pull a tablet out of the top drawer of my right nightstand. Powering it up, I log on to the Filument, a vast network of computers connected by Lyril technology. All Chosen computers and mobile devices have seamless Filument and Internet access.
<Access news,> I instruct. A list of recent unread items maximizes under the heading Chosen News. The top one is a reminder about the semi-annual artponere, asking everyone who is participating to contact the organizer. This event brings Chosen from all over the world to the San Francisco Shelter for an exhibition of paintings, drawings, sculpture, and an evening of music, theater shorts, and various artistic endeavors.
<Send artponere reminder to Carson.> A list of Carsons appear under the heading, ‘Did you mean…’ None are Carson Wilde. An account must not have been set up for him. Knowing Davonte to be an early riser, I contact her. She agrees to my request, as expected. I’m out and back before Carson emerges from his room at 0702. He’s shaved. A simple change that does worlds to distance him from the Chair I found him in.
<Here,> I say, handing Carson a telamp. It’s a
Meal prepping and various adulting responsibilities were accomplished today. Not entirely sure on the soup I made for my dinners this week. I don’t dislike it, but I don’t love it. Hopefully it’ll grow on me. My jury’s also still out on the food processor I got last weekend. Hopefully that will grow on me too.
Today, in Don’t Bleed:
“It seems hard to believe one person could have caused all of these problems.”
“Never underestimate human determination. It’s a wonderful thing, but it’s usually mixed with human stupidity. I get wanting to be immortal. Sort of. I guess I get not wanting to die because no one knows for sure what’s next. But the magnitude of that spell of his…. And he clearly didn’t fully understand it, screwing with a balance he couldn’t grasp…”
“And doesn’t it figure that the way it backfired benefited him?”
“Yeah, but how much do you have to lack compassion to be okay with causing the deaths of so many people?”
“Well, another thing to never underestimate is a human’s ability to not give a shit about anyone else. People have done so many awful things throughout history, always able to make some distinction between themselves and the people they were harming.”
“This is a hell of a distinction – him versus literally everyone else.”
Rather than post a short story today, I decided to share the complete first chapter of my novel (as it currently is, I can’t promise some details won’t change).
It’s sci-fi fantasy. A story about friendship, civil rights, and how we treat people who are different. The first chapter is apparently 8,147 words long. And that right there tells you a lot about the state of this long novel.
I had a lot of trouble getting the text of the chapter in here with paragraph breaks and italics and without entire sentences being dropped, which is a problem I ran into. To be honest, I’m still not sure I have it without cut off words and/or lost sentences. Please let me know if anything appears to be missing – there shouldn’t be questions that don’t get answered, unless something actually happens in the narrative to interrupt things, random answers not attached to questions, or shifts in the dialogue or descriptions that are abrupt / unnatural.
The Way of Attrition
by Erika Friedman
Part One: Camaraderie
The scream is agonized. It cuts the cold air, the walls, the closed door, fierce like a siren, too loud and too close. It echoes in the chill that tickles my spine, in the shiver that embraces me.
There is nothing unusual in the sound, except for its lingering in my ears and mind, masquerading as a surprise. It’s not. Not here. Here it’s so common it often doesn’t register. The ice
Today I’m posting a short story I wrote in May through July of 2013, and edited a little tonight. Normally I’d like to have edited more before sharing it like this, but I want to stick to what I mentally committed too – posting a short story at the beginning of each month.
This one is sci-fi. 10,479 words. Here’s a blurb about it: The world is struggling with climate change. Food and water shortages, air that’s harmful to breathe, and strict population and environmental regulations shape people’s days. Amidst it all, Ethan and Tobias are trying to live normal and happy lives. Where will Ethan’s curiosity lead him when he starts investigating why all the homeless people have disappeared? Will the happiness of the life he’s forged with Tobias survive what he discovers?
Incidentally, this is the story that started as the First Sentence I posted earlier this week. Any constructive criticism and feedback is greatly appreciated, from typos to plot holes.
Above the Demise of the World
by Erika Friedman
It starts with the homeless people, and at first it seems like I am the only one who notices. They are missing. Jimmy, on the corner of Brooke and Lambert. Jonathan, on the corner of Tennant and Davies. The rest I don’t know by name. I don’t want to, don’t want to stomach so much familiarity with tales of tragedy and despair. I never avert my eyes, always stop to help, but can’t be on