Book 2, Chapter 7: Holly and Cray

The Tower was nothing like she remembered it.  It had been pristinely chiseled from stone.  Nanotech had surrounded them, making everything seem magical.  The Author’s teachings had been depicted by the most talented artists on almost every wall.  Holly shivered.  She had relived those memories over and over for thirty years.  Now, it was crude, defaced, a nightclub meant for the bottom feeders of E society and crime lords, perhaps.  There was an air of danger, and not just because she was a NW.

Music was thumping, bouncing off the walls and resonating up to the top of the Tower.  She was being dragged, rather roughly, by the man who had found her in the courtyard.  Random crowds of Es were dancing, some were kissing, some were being entertained by NW dancers.  Some ignored her while others stopped to gawk.  Quite a few were in military attire, she observed, although clearly off duty.  Although Holly had never been religious, she still murmured the words to the devotional app from time to time.  She found herself doing that now.  Some brainwashing was hard to rewrite, especially here.

Holly knew she was walking in the thirty year old body of her daughter, but how, she could only guess.  While everyone else had lost the intermind connection, hers had managed to spark.  That’s the only word she could really think to describe it.  It just, sparked, on and off.  There was nothing to connect too, aside from fragments of fleeting data in the atmosphere, and of course, to Cray.  Cray  had learned how to keep her out though, like a defiant teenager slamming the door.   Where was Cray now?  Somewhere inside this mind watching Holly take control?

I’m right here.

“Right where?”

“Shut up,” the man said.

Get the hell out of my mind!

“Don’t speak to me that way!”

“What is wrong with you tonight?” The man pulled her into a room she didn’t recognize and pushed her onto a bed.

I can’t believe this.  Finally get a chance and my mother is here!

“What, you want this?” Holly asked.

“Oh yea,” he said, unbuckling his belt.

Ew, not him!  This!  I can’t believe my luck!  Cray’s voice was exasperated.  Mom, get out of here!

“I can’t!” Holly responded.

“You wanna bet,” the man answered, pushing Holly down on the bed and digging in his knee to part her legs, while she desperately tried to wriggle away.

He’s part of my mission.

“What mission?”

“What?  What mission? Are you plastered?” The man asked.

Stop talking out loud!

“What are you talking about?” Asked Holly.

OMG, ma.  Just stop talking.   You have to kiss him.  You have to trust me. It will knock him out. Do it, or so help me…

“Ok, alright, geez.”  Holly puckered her lips.  The man looked down at her, puzzled.

He shrugged, “You NWs are crazy,” and bent down to kiss her.  His kiss tasted like chemicals.  Holly couldn’t place it.  His mouth went deeper and deeper until Holly was gagging on it.  His body weighed down her small frame.  Suddenly, he inhaled deeply and let out a loud sigh.

He’s asleep.  Benzodiazepines, strong sedatives.

Holly tried to answer, but her mouth was being filled by snores.  It took a few minutes to wriggle herself, or rather, themselves, out from under him.

“Now, Cray, you have better start explaining yourself.”

 

Book 2, Chapter 6: The Leader

His father was a stubborn man.  Of course he was, he had to be.  Stubborn resolve was what kept him hardy through famine and drought.  It kept him alive despite choking on poisoned air and drinking tainted water. It meant choosing a course despite children dying of disease and hunger.  His father would not cave to what he had called the religious tyranny of the West.  The technology to save their land and their people was not worth the compromise of everything that made an Easterner an Easterner.  Stubbornness is the key to tradition and in tradition is identity.

Now, at eighty-five years of age, he was still stubbornly clinging to life.   It had been months since he had taken ill, and a week since death had become imminent.  Estill and his elder brother had not left their father’s side; they were waiting for a sign.  Who would be the next leader?

Miquel was the spitting image of his father, from the tip of his proud forehead to the heavy footfall at the end of each lanky stride.  He looked on Estill with the same judgement in his eyes his father had.  Actually, it was harsher.  He knew his father loved him despite being the less accomplished of the two brothers.  Estill was not sure Miquel held the same love.  How does one esteem someone who disappoints the man one worships?

It always infuriated Estill to see that look in Miquel’s eyes, only two years his elder.  On the other hand, it motivated him.  There was nothing like being the black sheep of the family and then embracing it as destiny, as identity born of a new tradition.  Miquel’s eyes are vacant now though, staring off into a nothingness and edged with weariness.  What must he be thinking?

“What?” Miquel mouthed.

Estill shook his head.  He had been caught staring again.  The problem with being introspective was that he tended to stare at people without realizing it.  Estill knew he was considered off.

Miquel was the obvious choice for Leader of the United EastWest Territories.  Still, according to tradition, a sign was required.  Each brother sat on either side of their father while his advisor watched from the foot of the bed.  Should his father never speak again, his final position during his last breath would be the deciding factor.  It was not like Estill wanted this position.  He had other plans, work that was far more important and waiting for him.

While Estill knew he was required to maintain silent solemnity, his bottom kept falling asleep.  Every time he shifted, the stool creaked.  The more Estill thought about trying to keep still, the more impatient and restless he felt.  Miquel, as always his opposite, was a perfect statue.

Finally, his father drew a haggard breath, turning his head slightly as he did and then fell silent.  They both looked at him, staring at his chest, waiting to see if it would rise again.  It did not.  A million thoughts flashed through Estill’s suddenly panicked mind.

Oh no, it can’t be.  His heartbeat quickened.

The Advisor cleared his throat, “The new Leader is…Miquel

The three men looked at each other and at the man in his bed, who was ever so slightly leaning toward Estil.  The advisor looked at Estill as if to ask, Dare you question my decision and Miquel seemed to be saying, This is for the best.  Although Estil had to agree with his brother, he also realized, they had been planning this all along.

So much for tradition.

“All hail the Leader of the United EastWest Territories.” Estil rose, bowed slightly, and left with a purpose growing inside him stronger than ever.  The black sheep indeed.

 

 

 

Recap – she who wrote the world- Spoiler Alert

Since it has been a while, I thought a quick novella recap would be helpful:

If you have not read Book 1, Spoiler Alert!  You can go back and start reading it by clicking here.

In the first novella, we meet the Creator, the Author, Holly and Holly’s clone.

The Creator is a scientific madman.  He performed experiments on his daughter when she was a child.  This resulted in the successful creation of brainchip technology.  He also created nanotech that provided the West with superior environmental control.  However, his experiments caused his daughter to become insane herself.  He used her delusions of grandeur, along with his technologies to establish power for themselves as the Author and Creator, the spiritual and political heads of the West.  The Creator’s main goal is to create a computer/human hybrid.

The Author is convinced she is the incarnate of a supreme being. She compares herself to the Author of a book who has written herself into the story.  The Author believes that it is time for her to depart this world (the East are invading, the Creator is going to betray her), but before she goes, she must ensure her teachings are safely embedded in Holly’s brainchip.

Holly is a regular girl, or so she thinks.  After she is chosen by the Author to become the Recorder, she is eventually kidnapped by the Creator.  Holly discovers that she is a hybrid, but her DNA is dormant.  Her clone, (currently a baby) is an activated hybrid, but is unconscious.

During the battle between the Creator and the Author, the intermind virus is released.  Nanotechnology that had been allowing them to live longer than their natural lifespans is destroyed.  Both die and along with them, many of the West’s citizens.

However, Holly suddenly is able to rapidly calculate her movements and her clone suddenly becomes alert.   She grabs the baby and runs.

Book 2 begins 30 years in the future.  The Easterners have successfully invaded the West.  Native Westerners now live on reserves.

Holly returns in this book, now a 60 year old living on the reserve with her daughter (clone), Cray.  Cray has noticed that Holly often seems to disappear inside her mind.  Cray leaves the reserve to head to the Tower, presumably to work as an escort for the Es (Easterners).

Holly suddenly finds herself in Cray’s body, which is a new and surprising experience.

Filth is an NW who needs to make money to help his sick sister.  He heads toward the Tower (once the Author’s residence and now a bar) and is caught by an E.

The Author’s lessons are back, but it is not yet revealed how or why.

All caught up and now to continue……

 

 

Why I have not been writing

This blog has been quiet for three reasons:

  1. Editing my novel:  well, that’s what I am supposed to be working on.  Editing is seriously boring and I have been majorly procrastinating.  If you’ve read my blog, you also know how much editing my work actually needs.
  2.  I am distracted: I am going to be a surrogate!  Yup! This womb is going to house two daddies’ baby!  The ‘journey’ has been occupying most of my spare brain cells.   Eventually, there will be a blog about that whole shebang as well.
  3. I am starting to get bored of this particular novella.  Maybe I shouldn’t admit that, but I totally am!  I either need to spice this up for myself or move on to new material.  My writing muscles have become flaccid; it’s time to take some viagra and get to bumping a baby into this blog. . . . (ya, the whole surrogacy thing is really distracting!).

So those are the three main reasons I have hit a story stand still.  It’s time to push!  Puuuuuussssshhh!!!!!

Book 2, Chapter 5: Filth

Filth’s heart was pounding in his ears.  His breath was haggard and sent spirals of smoke into a night already dense with smog.  He had waited several hours in the tree until the sky was coated with several layers of midnight black.  The moon was merely a sliver of dull grey and there was not even the faintest pinprick of a star to be seen.  The surge of adrenaline was exhilarating and terrifying at the same time, as Filth dodged his way through alleys and behind buildings.  He opted for a longer route to avoid meeting any Es.  Finally, he was crouching behind the half crumbled remains of a stone corridor that would eventually lead to the inner Tower.

Despite the hours in the tree, Filth still hadn’t settled on an actual plan.  A plan was a useful thing indeed and he was not absent one for lack of trying.  His brain had worked and reworked all scenarios and they all typically ended in him being caught, getting himself beat down to a sniveling red pulp of a man, and thrown into some kind of dungeon or pit where he would wallow away his remaining days in despair and starvation.  Perhaps he would share the time with a little rat, who would become his friend and messenger.  Filth would train it to send messages to Clem.  Of course Clem would be unconscious anyhow, but maybe she would wake up just enough to know the rat was a message from Filth.  Then again, a rat is just a rat and would probably eat him when he’s dead.  This is how Filth’s mind worked anyways, when he asked it to work out a plan.  So, unfortunately, Filth was crouching outside the Tower with no idea what he was doing.

Crouching seemed more suspicious and anyways, it wasn’t seeming to help.  He hadn’t actually seen anyone yet.  It was an eerily quiet night.  Although anyone scrupulous would be asleep by now and anyone who remained awake would prefer to operate within the silence of shadows.   Hesitantly, he stood, while a chill ran down his spine.  With the mantra, For Clem, resolving his will, Filth’s feet slowly moved forward, away from shelter and into the unknown.  It was thrilling.  He would have yelled out, howled at the bit of moon, if he wasn’t too frightened.  He had never felt so alive in his life.

Then he did yell, abruptly, right before a hand muffled the rest of it.  The man had been so immersed in darkness, Filth had not seen him, until he walked directly into his back.  Filth had yelled out like a complete imbecile.  The man had jumped slightly, but despite being startled, had quickly dominated Filth with one hand over filth’s mouth and a knife quickly pressed into Filth’s stomach.

Idiot, Filth chided himself, while panic swept through him.

“I’m going to move my hand, but you got to shut-up, kid.  Got it?”

Filth nodded his head.  The man slowly removed his hand, but not the knife.  This was every bit an E: the sags of fatty fleshy jowls, the meaty fingers and the perfectly tailored suit.  Filth was very conscious of his own NW qualities.

“A little late to be out here, eh kid?”

Filth just nodded his head.  It was like being a kid all over again, being caught with the baker’s bread.

“What business you got in there, kid? You know, a place like this isn’t a place you want to be.”

“Yes it is.” Filth surprised himself by squeaking out a sentence.  The man raised his eyebrows.

“Is it?”

“Ya.  I need to make money.”

“You up for that kind of money, kid?”

Filth had no idea what that meant, but nodded anyway.

The man clucked his tongue and shook his head.  “Ok, kid.” He said, “Don’t say I didn’t warn ya.”

The man put his arm around Filth and walked him forward, toward the Tower.

For Clem. You idiot! For Clem.

 

‘She Who Wrote the World’ Chapter 4: Holly in Cray’s Shoes

Holly opened her eyes and blinked.  Feeling dazed for a moment, realization came swiftly along with the fear  that had been gnawing at her lately, knotting her insides.  She had wandered away from the house, again.

It was night and she felt the cold nip at her bare arms.  Apparently, she had gone out without thinking of dressing for the chill.  Holly looked around and felt her insides heave with fear, while trembling, she hugged herself.  She did not feel right; this did not feel right.  Was she dreaming?  She had never been cold like this in a dream though.  No, this was real.

“Oh, no, oh no, oh no,” she began to panic.  How had she gotten here?   She was standing between the stone walls of the Tower’s courtyard.  It had been thirty years since last she had been here.  At the time, she had been an invited guest of the Author when she was a free citizen.  Now, she was a trespasser of the worst kind: a westerner off her turf past curfew.

The door swung open behind her and she spun around.

“Why are you out here?” A man’s gruff voice asked.

Holly’s legs moved as if of their own accord.  Numbers spiraled through her mind, turning the walls into measurements of depth and height, while her optimal trajectory to leap over the fence formed its spiral: run four feet forward and leap.  She knew from past experience that her body would follow the path and obey the cues, as if the years melted from her bones.  She was keenly aware that the man was moving toward her and that shouting echoed in the distance.  Holly ran, feeling the exhilaration of her body slice through the friction of the wind.

Holly bound forward, sticking her right leg down as she prepared to fly through the air in a gazelle like leap.  Pain wretched through her supporting foot as her ankle turned dangerously under her and as her body fell, the numbers fell with her, dissipating into reality.  She griped her ankle, crying out.  Bewildered, she saw the problem.  She was wearing heels.  Holly was too practical and too old to wear heels.  These were Cray’s.

Distracted by her confusion and pain, Holly did not notice that the man was now standing above her, until his tight grip was around her arm, yanking her to her feet.  She cried out again.

“Come on.” He said, as he grabbed at her.  She stumbled, her ankle turning, but he tightened her grip so she did not fall.  He sighed loudly.  He hoisted her small frame into his arms, carrying her off like a silly child.  That’s how she felt at this moment, like a helpless, stupid silly child, who was losing her mind.