I am working on a series of posts dedicated to my writing endeavors. I have at least ten novels ‘in progress’–but operating this way kinda’ shoots me in the foot. Because I have so many ideas and almost no time to spend working on all of them at once. But I have to or I lose my ideas. So I have decided to share this one. I currently have about a chapter typed out (but the whole plot in my head). I am going to share an excerpt in this post somewhere. I am also going to share the cover I designed for the book (I did it in a hurry, so it’s not my best)–which as you will notice has the pic I drew of an unfinished eye (which you can find here). Here’s the cover and the information follows it. 🙂
Genre: Dystopian, Scif-fi, (possibly some elements of…) Fantasy.
In a world built after the fall of a once-prosperous civilization, the six cities were founded.
Beacon, the city built so that the world would never lose light. Sunrise, the city built that the world might not lose its hope. Combatant, a city built that the world might never lack protectors, the city of warriors. Data, the city built that the world might become wise- that the world would not fall. Jollity, the city built to ensure that joy and worldly happiness might not be lost. And Vigor, a city built that the world would be healthy and thrive in its new environment. Many years after the cities were founded, the world was falling once again. From the seeming peace- the school was built. A school dedicated to finding the gifted- the superior. A school dedicated to putting the people in their proper rankings. And from the danger that was nearing- a seeing force was rising. A team- WATCHFUL.
Sweat trickles down my face. I rub sweaty palms on my gray pants-and swallow hard. It’s okay, it’s okay. They can’t hurt me. It can’t be bad- Mom and Dad sent me here!
“You okay, kid?” the girl next to me asks. I lift my head just enough to see a girl with short, red curls and green eyes staring at me.
“Sure, I’m okay.” I declare, craning my neck to see what’s happening at the front of the line.
“They’re all squawking like a bunch of chickens up there. You’d think we were at a slaughterhouse.” the red-haired girl mutters. I sneak a quick look at her. She’s pretty tall for a girl, and seems very social. Too social, for my tastes. To my embarrassment she looks at me, and before I can look away sticks out her hand.
“I’m Prisl Smith, from Beacon.” I hesitate. In Vigor, where I lived, it’s a huge act of faith to give out your name. And to shake someone’s hand pretty much makes you their friend. Then, somehow I’m shaking her hand. I trust her.
“Jessica Graye, Vigor.” She smiles. I look at her, trying to pierce through the layers of her character.
“My friends call me Jess.” I add after a moment.
“My friends just call me plain old Prisl. In Beacon, no one has nicknames.” Do I detect a hint of longing in her voice? Yep, she wants someone to care enough to give her one. Now isn’t the time though, I don’t know her well enough yet. At last we reach the front of the line. A woman with an impassible face shows me something. A ring? The woman slips the ring on my finger- it fits perfectly.
“Your paperwork.” I take the folder from her outstretched hand, but focus on her name tag.
“Thank you, Maud.” Her eyes flicker- she is quite suspicious. Obviously she doesn’t remember that her name is pasted for all to see. ‘Maud’ gives me a brisk nod. Almost immediately I am whisked away by a tall man into one of the waiting trucks. As I enter I notice only one person- Garth. He’s really all that reminds me of home now. I gravitate toward him without a second thought and squeeze into the open seat between him and a brown-haired girl. Garth turns toward me and smiles, a warm smile that sends heat surging through me.
“Rough day today, huh?” he asks.
“Tell me about it. I feel about as well-cared for as a sheep going to get sheared. And it’s so crowded in here!” I complain in a quiet voice.
“Yeah, I know. I think we’ll only be in here for an hour or two though. I’ve heard talk of planes to take us to the school.” I nod, for some reason not really wanting to talk anymore. The thought of the school we’re all headed to fills me with dread. And something else, fear? The door to the train slams shut from the outside and we lurch forward as it starts down the bumpy tracks.
“Neat ring you got. From your parents?” he inquires, in a tone that asks for me to acknowledge he’s speaking. I hold out my hand instinctively- and gaze at the ring in depth for the first time. A twisting sterling silver band, a circular center gem which has what looks like an- eye– engraved on it. And one word, so tiny I can barely see it. I’m almost certain my ring says ‘watchful’ on it. What does that mean?
“No, I was given it by a- friend.” I stammer. I don’t think I want him knowing that a lady with a less-than-pleasant face named Maud gave it to me. That would just make him curious and I’m not in the mood for talking.
“Hey, what’s the matter, Jess- I do something?” he suddenly is studying me a little too closely for comfort.
“No, I’m okay. I’m just tired.” I shrug away his concern.
“Miss your parents?” Stop it Garth! Can’t you take a hint?
“Not really, no.” he frowns, obviously not convinced. Don’t ask me again, please. I beseech silently. Finally, he gets the hint.
“Okay, I’ll leave you alone- but I’m here if you want to talk.” I smile gratefully. Garth may not be the best at taking hints, but he’s kind anyways. And he doesn’t push when he sees it’s pointless. I spend the next hour with my head resting on the back of my chair- dozing. But soon Garth is nudging me awake.
“What?” I grumble.
“Something’s happening.” Sure enough a woman’s voice comes in over the loudspeaker.
“All students are requested to stay in their seats. We have almost reached our destination. A nurse will be coming back to inject each of you with a micro chip which will ensure your safety should you get lost. We are being held personally responsible by your parents for your safe arrivals, and must take these measures for their comfort.” Garth frowns slightly. Kids in the train car begin murmuring. My apprehension heightens. Something akin to terror seizes me, and I shake violently. I grab Garth’s arm impulsively.
“Is it safe?” I blurt. Garth relaxes- probably for my sake.
“Oh yeah, I mean what harm can it be? It’s only until we get to the school, right?” I nod my head. I hope that’s all it’s for- safety. The nurse comes in through a door which separates our train car from another room. She’s carrying a big syringe- and an evil looking metal box. You’re acting childish. You grew up around needles! Why are you scared? Despite reproach of myself- my palms start sweating again. But I’m not shaking anymore at least. Slowly the nurse makes her way around the car until she’s next to me. I bite my lip and hold out my arm- steeling myself for the worst.
“What’s your name, dear?” the question from the nurse startles me.
“Jessica Graye, what’s yours?” I fire back, determined that if I’m to give out my name- she’ll have to give out hers. She does look surprised.
“Well…” she begins (I look away as I realize the needle is ready to go),
“…my name is Ashley.” I draw in my breath at the sting. Much bigger and sharper needle than any I’ve ever gotten stuck with. A tear of pain slides out of my eye. She wipes it away with a tissue.
“You did very well, Jessica- is it? How old are you, dear?” Ugh. Why does she want to know all this?
“I turned seventeen this May.” I answer. Suddenly, without even thinking about it- I fall into an old habit. I look deep into her eyes- and I realize she’s just a kind person. She’s not probing, or trying to find me out- or get me in trouble. Ashley’s mouth twitches once again.
“You did well, dear.” Then, her eyes suddenly train on my ring. She freezes.
“Where did you get that?” Is it hers or something?
“Um- a friend gave it to me. Do you recognize it?” I ask. Ashley shakes her head quickly, and then just moves on to Garth. Confused, I sit and wait. Soon, Garth’s attention is on me again.
“What was that about?” he asks me.
“Uh- I don’t know. It seemed weird to me, actually.”
“Yeah, to me too.” I notice his eye gravitating back to my ring. I jerk my hand away, while at the same time pulling the ring off and sliding it into my pants pocket. Garth just shrugs. He’s quite used to my guardedness obviously. The rest of the trip is a blur. I remember walking around- in a daze to keep from falling asleep. Then there was the airplane. But I was just too tired to care much. And then, before I knew it- we had arrived at the school. The institute. I pull my hair out of its braid- and brush it until it shines. I look in the mirror of my new room. I see her for the first time- me. I’m healthy, of course I am- I lived in Vigor. But it’s the plainness that startles me most. The normalness. I have soft, long brown hair. Blue eyes and freckles. The other girls I’ve seen are beautiful. Blond hair, bright blue or hazel eyes, tall and attractive.
“I’m just me.” I say aloud.
“Duh, get some sleep- silly.” Prisl Smith, who is my roommate-, giggles. I look in her direction. I like her; I think she’s my friend. And with those final thoughts, I climb into bed.
And that’s the info. Thanks for taking the time to read this, please comment any feedback you might have.
What genre(s) have you been writing lately?
Any projects you’ve shared recently?
What’s your absolute favorite genre to play with? (Mine’s dystopian 🙂 )