I reached 36,000 words today and it’s just now that I’m introducing Lily, the main female character and romantic interest for Nathan. She also is the focus of book 2. You may ask why I took so long to bring her into the plot. Well, there was two reasons. First of all, I’m writing a lot of semi-unnecessary stuff which ups the word count and she didn’t really have a place in the story until now. Even though I’ve only written one scene with her so far, I can already tell that she’s going to be a whole lot different than what I originally thought. Typical. Instead of being a sweet, gentle ‘little girl’ she’s become someone who’s hiding deep scars under a casual, nonchalant surface. It’s going to be awesome to watch her character develop. Anyway, the real purpose of this post was to share some snippets, not talk about Lily, so that’s what I’m going to do. Enjoy!
“Dylan…” Nathan’s tone was warning, but his enemy took no heed. With a cry of frustration, Nathan grabbed Dylan around the legs – he was standing on a bed, looking down at Nathan, so such a thing was easier and less painful for both boys – and started yanking his sneakers off of him. “Fine then,” he said between grunts, as he struggled to get the tightly tied shoes off, while keeping Dylan’s kicking feet under control, “If you won’t…give me…my shoes, I’ll…take…yours.”
With the last word, the sneakers ripped of Dylan’s feet, sending Nathan flying backwards. In an instant Dylan was on top of him, pummelling him into the ground, and using Nathan’s shoes as flailing weapons. Nathan lifted his hands and arms over his face to protect himself, but it was a poor shield.
Giving himself strength by letting out a long yell, Nathan pulled himself up off the floor, using Dylan’s arms to support him just for a moment, turned right around, and now Dylan was on the floor, covering his face. Nathan felt anger well up inside him. He wanted to hurt Dylan and make him pay, not just for the sneakers, but for every other little thing he had done.
Bullying smaller, weaker boys.
Calling Nathan ugly names.
Saying he wasn’t one of them.
Tripping him up in training when on one was looking.
Yes, Nathan felt the time had come for him to pay. ~Chapter 1
“They’re always unlocked whenever we come,” Hunter remarked offhandedly, “not like the facility.”
“I’ve always wondered why,” the boy named Aaron said. “You’d think that if people actually lived in houses like these, they’d lock them up. We could filch something and they’d never know who did it.”
Hunter shrugged. “It doesn’t matter. Let’s just get the job done.”
Now it was Aaron’s turn to shrug. “Whatever,” he said, his voice a little too flippant, bordering on rebellious, even. Hunter took no notice of this and Nathan found his admiration for the young man. And Aaron didn’t seem a good choice to keep an eye on Dylan. Chad just hung in there, completely unenthusiastic about his work. Nathan was unimpressed with all of them except Hunter. As for himself, he would work harder than any of the others – Hunter included – and show he was the best. ~Chapter 2
One door wasn’t locked, so he carefully turned the knob around and eased it open. You’ll probably get in major trouble one of these days for opening doors willy-nilly, he thought to himself with a grin, but he didn’t turn back. ~Chapter 2
Hunter sighed and ran his hands over the smooth, safe part of his favorite knife. It wasn’t his favorite for any fancy jewels on his hilt, although he had seen and envied other boys knives like those. It was his favorite because he loved the plain and simple in weapons, and this knife was certainly that, if nothing else. It had a plain, dark wood hilt, but it was highly useful.
He liked to imagine that, at times, his choice of knife reflected upon his own character. Simple. Unpretentious. But useful. Of course, it was presumptuous just to think such things, so most of the time Hunter pushed that aside and focused on training his great task. Fighting for his queen. He could think of no other task that would satisfy him in quite that way – only the training of other boys to do the same filled him with the same sort of satisfaction. He had never seen the queen, although he would have given almost anything to do so, but if he ever had to fight for her, he would make sure to at least catch a glimpse of her. ~Chapter 2
“We’re brothers now,” he said, his voice serious, for he meant it with every fibre of his being. Nate just stared at him. “It’s true. Whenever two people embark on a mission like this, it means they’re brothers.” He was making this up on the spur of the moment but he felt closer to Nate than he had ever felt to his scamp of a brother, Chad, who was always causing trouble. And he wanted it to be true.
“Really?” Nate asked in a near whisper.
Hunter pretended to be frustrated with him. “Like I said, I never say anything I don’t mean.”
“Oh. Right.” Then, “Does that mean we can share a last name?”
Hunter frowned for a moment, puzzled at the question. Didn’t Nate have his own last name? He said as much the next moment. Nate shook his head. “I don’t belong here and it’s because I don’t have a last name. That’s what they all say.”
“Well, you do now. Pleased to meet you, Nathan Bordage.” ~Chapter 2
“Stand right there and stop me as I come at you, just like you see the others doing.”
Nathan felt a little twinge of uncertainty, but he brushed it aside. After all, how difficult could it be to grab someone’s arm and use their own weight to twist it behind their back? “Ready?” Hunter asked, running in one place to warm up again.
And then Hunter was running toward him faster than Nathan had ever seen anyone run. It took all his presence of mind to focus on just when he should grab his arm and- With a blow that felt like a million knives gouging his insides, Hunter punched him in the stomach. He had meant for it to be a light blow, but his momentum had made him misjudge and Nathan went spinning. Instantly Hunter was over him. “Oh, man, I’m sorry, Nate. Didn’t mean to do that.” He helped him to his feet. “Got any broken bones?” He might have meant it as a joke, but Nathan didn’t see it as funny right then. “I was just trying to show what could happen if you aren’t prepared.”
Nathan gave a weak nod. “Yeah. It’s okay.” ~Chapter 3
The shock came when they left the house.
Chad was the first to notice Aaron and Dylan weren’t with them.
“Okay, guys,” Nathan said, trying to behave much like he imagined Hunter would have. “We don’t have much time before we have to get back, so come out of hiding.”
Now Nathan was worried. Had their plan been to run away? The sick feeling inside him pointed in that direction. And now what would the guardians say, now that two of the boys had been lost who knows where?
“This is not good.”
He would just have to wait until the boys decided to come back, if they ever did. For now, there was nothing he could do. Absolutely nothing. ~Chapter 3
“What is it?” Hunter asked anxiously.
“So? That’s-” he began, and then stopped. Oh no. Nineteen. Only young men twenty and older were allowed to go. Hunter bit his lip. Whenever he and Nate had talked about fighting for the queen, it had always been the two of them, joined together, invincible, never giving way to the enemy queen.
And now he would have to go alone.
“But-but don’t you think they’d make some exception? You’re only a few months away from twenty.”
Nate shook his head. “I’ve already asked them earlier. They said no, and it was definite.” At his words, Hunter felt all his hopes deflating. Of course he would go, it would be unthinkable to pass up a chance like this, and even if he wanted to stay at the facility, he’d be forced to go, but it wouldn’t be the same without Nate. Nothing would be. ~Chapter 4
Just then, his eyes caught sight of someone who looked slightly familiar in the crowd. His mind refused to believe what his eyes saw. He sucked in his breath, got off of the stool he was sitting on, and walked closer to the figure who was slipping in and out of the crowd, a slouchy cap pulled low over his face, keeping his head down, and limping, probably to disguise his gait.
But Hunter would know him anywhere.
He crept up to Nate and when he was close enough grabbed his arm. He jumped, but didn’t cry out. “What on earth are you doing here?” Hunter whispered, his voice a mixture of delight, frustration, and a little bit of anger.
“Let go,” Nate said. “People are looking.”
“That’s all they do. Let them look.” Still, despite his words, Hunter let go of Nate’s arm. “You owe me an explanation.” ~Chapter 4
She called off a name, the boy named went up, selected something, and then the process began again. Finally, it was Nathan’s turn to peruse the tables. He didn’t even know what he was looking for, really, but felt that when he saw it, he would know it. Then, he saw it. Hunter’s knife. The style and material was unmistakably his, but just to make sure, he looked at the bottom of the hilt. Sure enough, the initials ‘H. B.’ were carved there.
It was then that he felt like crying. ~Chapter 5
The queen herself was young, probably only about Nathan’s age, and gorgeous. She had blonde hair so light it was almost white, that shimmered like gold in bright lights embedded in the ceiling above. Her eyes were deep blue and her face was delicate, though strong. If it had not been for the look of pure disdain and cruelty in her face as she received each boys pledge of allegiance, Nathan would have hesitated. But those like her who looked down on those boys as if they were scum didn’t deserve to live.
He drew the knife out of his duffel bag very slowly and carefully and slipped it into his belt as deep as it would go. Only a very small part of the hilt appeared, and he would move so fast no one would notice it. He hoped.
It was almost his turn. He took a deep breath and focused on keeping his body as calm as it would be. The thought of imminent death weakened his resolve so he focused on stoking his anger against the queen, not a difficult task. He remembered Hunter, saw the look of disdain in her face, remembered the children in the facility. Yes. The time had come for her to pay. For all of them to pay.
“Nathan Bordage,” the leader announced. ~Chapter 6
He decided to read a little bit to see what sort of book it was. With all his flipping he had come to near the end of the book and began reading at a random page. It was all about rejoicing and prayer and not repaying evil for evil…all concepts that he knew really knew nothing about. He was about halfway down the first column of the first page he had chosen when he came across something that would stick with him for a long time to come.
“Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”
The words seemed to jump out at him with the intensity of flames. The words burned into his mind and he couldn’t erase them, no matter how uncomfortable it made him. He hastily shoved the book into his duffel bag – why he didn’t put it back in the cupboard, he had no idea – and tried to relax. He had no idea who ‘the Lord’ was or really grasped the entire meaning of what he’d read, but he knew enough to give him a pause.
He was seeking vengeance, wasn’t he? And what was so wrong with that? Hunter needed to be revenged, and who better to do it than his best friend and almost-brother, Nathan? And the queen and her cronies deserved to die, didn’t they? It wasn’t like he was doing anything wrong – ridding the world of vermin was never wrong. That book had no right to speak out to him like that, and, after all, it really hadn’t. It was just a strange coincidence, that was all.
He didn’t want anything to deter him from his course. Not a dungeon, not any silly weakness that might crop up, and certainly not an old, beat-up book. ~Chapter 7
Her face was too thin as well as the rest of her to really have her be beautiful. She did have nice blonde hair, but her eyes were a strange mix of green and blue and grey and although they suited her general appearance, they weren’t beautiful or sparkling, even though they were full of energy. “What?” she said when she caught him staring at her.
He shook his head a little and went back to his soup. “Nothing.”
“Don’t you have something to say?” she said after a moment.
He gave her a puzzled look. What did she mean?
“Well, I did rescue you.”
“Oh, yes,” Nathan said, understanding now. “Thank you.” That seemed the best thing to say. Simple and polite.
“I should hope so,” she said a little tartly.
“Um…why did you do it?” he asked as he gulped down the rest of his soup. Delicious.
“I can’t tell you right now,” she said, becoming a little unsure for once. “Maybe later.” ~Chapter 7
What did you think of these snippets?