Saturday, 29 September 2012

Arwyn - 2.

Hi! Sorry for the extended absence - school is being particularly horrible at the moment (I've been back for just over weeks and I already have three tests, one of which is extremely important) But still...I'm here now, aren't I?
Also, I have exciting news! I got a tumblr! Woooo! If you like Avengers, Sherlock, Doctor Who etc then you should follow me :P Here's a clicky link.
But, yeah. Here's the second chapter of Arwyn :D Enjoy! It's quite long, so brace yourselves!

Arwyn - 2.

“She has two hearts!”

“Yes.”

“Two hearts! TWO!”

Mr. Bowler sighed and tipped his hat over his head. “I know. You’ve said.”

“And one kidney! She only had one kidney! That’s not normal!”

“Please stop talking. My brain is about to implode.”

Jeremy shut his mouth and sat on his hands. His body was jittery with nervous energy, and it had been for the last couple of hours, ever since he had seen that X-Ray. Two hearts! The image was burned into his mind, flashing whenever he blinked. The girl had looked normal on the outside, but on the inside, her body was different. Two hearts, one kidney and a stomach that floated in her back. That girl wasn’t normal. Not in any sense of the word. 

“Well, seeing as we’ve got that out the way, what else do you want to know about it? The girl, I mean.”

Jeremy glanced up at the sound of Mr. Bowler’s deep voice. He was wearing a wide-brimmed black hat that was tipped over his eyes, hiding his forehead. His hair was ruffled by the huge pair of earphones that sat on his head. Jeremy was wearing a pair too. They were meant to block out the noise of the helicopter, but they didn’t. The whirring burned through Jeremy’s skull, pounding his fragile mind, but he didn’t really care. Two hearts! “What is she? If she’s not human then...”

“Alien, we think. She was discovered two years ago buried under a pile of rubble. They fished her out, took an X-Ray and sent her to a facility,” Mr. Bowler answered. He sounded posh, but not overly so. Instead, he sounded dangerous. He had the voice Jeremy would run a mile to avoid.

“Right. Why are we- I mean - MI5 going to her for help?”
Mr. Bowler cocked his hat forward, and slumped down in his seat. “You really didn’t get the briefing, did you?”

“No, Sir.”

“She’s special. Some people have called her a freak of nature and others have taken to calling her the rouge superhero. She’s got powers.”

 “W-what kind of powers?”

“Invincibility, for one. And the other...well, you see when you get there.”

Jeremy’s eyes widened. Invincible? No. He swallowed the retort that was rising in his throat and instead settled on a question. “How is she invincible? That’s impossible.”

“I know. But those two hearts you keep going on about? They can survive independently of each other.  You have to stop both the hearts to kill her, and trust me, it is not easy. Her skin is embedded with tiny carbon structures with the same network arrangement of diamond. It makes it near impossible to pierce her skin. The diamond also acts as...well, it’s her second party trick.” Mr. Bowler leaned backwards again, and pressing a button on his headphones, spoke again. “Hey, Arthur, when are we landing?”

The pilot’s voice crackled through Jeremy’s ears. “About five minutes, Sir. We are approaching the forest now.”

Mr. Bowler took his finger off the headphone and straightened up. He cracked his back and padded a lump on his belt. His gun. Jeremy knew it was for protection, but he couldn’t help but feel his stomach churn and writhe every time he saw it. It reminded him of Leanne draped across the bed, with the blood pouring thick and fast from her mouth. Tears pricked in his eyes and he swallowed a sob.

"Is there anything else you want to know?”

Jeremy glanced up and felt his stomach bounce as they descended. He swallowed some bile and looked up at Mr. Bowler. “Why is she in the forest?”

Mr. Bowler paused. “I lied earlier. She has three party tricks, not two. Let’s just say that she is more at home in the forest than in the city. Again, you’ll understand when you see her.”
The helicopter swooped towards the ground and Jeremy lurched forward. He felt sick. It was like being on a plane but worse - in planes the seatbelts aren’t so tight you can’t breathe. In planes, you could relax. And in planes, you always knew what was at the end of the journey.

“Don’t worry, Mr. Holmhead. You get used to it.”

Jeremy tried to straighten up as the helicopter took another dive. “You were sick too?” he wheezed. His lungs pressed against his heart, and his ribcage burned.

“Yeah. Hold on. That’s us going down.”

The helicopter suddenly stopped in the air, and Jeremy saw the pilot pull a lever from the corner of his eye. The helicopter started lowering itself down. Emerald trees bowed out of the way as the blades pushed them back, and birds erupted into the air, squawking and cheeping as they flew for their lives. Jeremy peered through the door and almost sighed with relief. The ground was blissfully close - he could smell the wet soil, see the white tails of rabbits as they scurried into the distance.  The helicopter touched ground, and after the initial juddering halt, the world stopped rocking and Jeremy felt stable again.

Jeremy pulled the headphones from his ears and stooped low to get out the door. He hopped down from the helicopter, leaving his briefcase in the back, and landed with a dull thud on the wet earth. He breathed in the fresh air. It had been so long since he smelled the world. London was dirty, dusty and the air squeezed the life out of your lungs, building the bricks of death with the black tar that clogged your airways. The air out here was so fresh, so clean. You could smell the grass, the dew drops, the honey, the soft scent of a flower blossoming into life.

Jeremy heard Mr. Bowler step out from the helicopter, his footsteps muffled by the still turning blades. Mr. Bowler clapped Jeremy on the back and he grinned. “You get used to the helicopter. Trust me.” He stepped forward and looked upwards into the trees. His hat had been pushed back, and his eyes scanned the canopy. He was looking for something.

Finally, he turned around and shook his head. “She’s moved further away. Can’t have been far though. From now on, stay as quiet as possible. We don’t want to spook her. Understood?”

“Yes.”

“Good. Now, follow me.” Mr. Bowler started walking forward, stepping over the small branches and dry leaves that littered the forest floor. Jeremy copied him, and within a minute they were out of sight from the helicopter. Two minutes, and Mr. Bowler stuck his hand up. Jeremy stopped behind him and Mr. Bowler scanned the canopy again. His eyes were focused on the high branches of the mud coloured trees. He smiled and looked at Jeremy. “Look at that tree.” His voice was barely a whisper. “Just above the fourth branch. Do you see it?”

Jeremy looked at the tree in front of him, and his eyes slid up the trunk, settling where Mr. Bowler had told him to look. The green leaves on the branch quivered and Jeremy narrowed his eyes.  Nothing. It was just a branch, an ordinary branch, framed by green leaves and patches of blue sky. It was just a branch.

“Sir, I don’t see anythi-”

The words caught in Jeremy’s throat. The leaves were twitching. Not so unusual, but the sky behind them, the little patches of azure that split the space between them, was also twitching. The whole background was moving, and Jeremy noticed a regular pattern in the movement. Up. Down. Up. Down. His eyes widened. 

“Is that her?”

Mr. Bowler laughed and clapped a hand on Jeremy’s shoulder. “Her second party trick is invisibility. 

Remember those diamonds I was telling you about? They reflect the light back off her skin and, effectively, make her a chameleon. It’s a pretty good survival technique.”

Mr. Bowler took his hand off of Jeremy’s shoulder and stepped forward. He tilted his head towards the tree and cupped his hand around his mouth. “Hello? We can see you.”

No answer. Just the serene silence, broken by the chirping of birds and rustling in the undergrowth.

“Prisoner 3452, may I remind you of a contract you signed one year and a half ago? You have to come with us. Now.”

The branch twitched again and a human shape became more pronounced. It was definitely the girl - Jeremy could see the arch of her thighs, the rounded back of her skull pressing against the bark.

“Come out...”

It was all over in a matter of seconds. The girl swung down from the trees, her hands curving round the branches and her back arched as she leaped towards the ground. She landed in a forward roll and suddenly her hand was round Jeremy’s neck. The sharp point of a crude blade touched his Adam’s apple and sweat started to bead on his forehead. 

The girl jerked Jeremy backwards and growled, “Who are you?”

Mr. Bowler had taken out his gun. It was pointed at the girl’s head, but Jeremy knew he couldn’t shoot. One tug to the side, and it wouldn’t be her brains splashed on the forest floor. It would be his.

“I’m am agent sent by the MI5 to pick you up and remind you of your contract.”

Prisoner 3452 tightened her grip on the blade. “It’s you, isn’t it? Mr. Bowl or something stupid like that? You’ve got some guts coming to see me. Well, you didn’t actually think I’d obey the contract, did you? You freed me! You let me go.”

“On the condition that you came back when we needed you. And trust me - we need you.”

She clenched her fist. “And once this is over, I’ll go back to that place, won’t I? That glass cage.” She glanced down at Jeremy and said, “They had me in Area 51 at the start. Do you know that? It’s a cool place, mister. You should see what they have. It’s not just aliens, it’s mons-”

“Stop talking.”

The girl glowered and looked back at Mr. Bowler. She jerked her elbow into Jeremy’s ribs and he gasped with pain. “And who’s this?”

“The therapist. He was sent to help you re-adjust to civilian life, get you good press and make you feel better.  He has nothing to do with this.”

“On the contrary, he has everything to do with this. You see,” she jerked backwards again, and Jeremy stumbled over his own feet, “he’s keeping me alive. You can’t shoot while I’ve got him, can you?”

Mr. Bowler paused and a frown appeared over his features. “Let Mr. Holmhead go. Leave him be.”

Jeremy could feel his heart pounding in his chest. He had to do something. Now. He threw his eyes upwards and looked at the girl. “He can’t kill you anyway. You’re invincible, remember?”

She growled. “So?”

"Well, he can’t shoot you anyway - the bullet would bounce off. Holding me here is pointless. And besides, if you let me go, I won’t be able to turn you around. I won’t be able to expose your weak spot, would I?”
The girl’s face paled and she shifted. “You’re bluffing,” she said. Her voice was hard and firm, but there were tiny tremors running through it, tiny quivers of fear running through her alien system.

Jeremy shook his head. He was getting into the swing of this. “I’m not. Mr. Bowler told me your weak spot. And trust me, you kill me and you won’t be getting out of here alive. There are ten, twenty guards around the perimeter. Your weak spot will be exposed, no matter which way you turn. Give it up. It’s over.”

The knife slid down from Jeremy’s throat and the girl stepped backwards. Jeremy slumped to the ground and clutched at his throat. There was no blood, not mark of any sort. Just the pain, the electrifying sizzling of his overactive nerve endings. He had never felt so alive in his life.

Jeremy heard the knife drop to the ground. He craned his neck backwards and looked at Prisoner 3452. She was tall, with matted brown hair and dull brown eyes. She was wearing a simple white t-shirt and a pair of muddy green combats. She was barefoot, and there was a long scratch down the right side of her face. Jeremy’s heart panged in his chest. She looked a bit like Leanne - his daughter.

No. What was he kidding? She looked nothing like Leanne - she had blond hair and fair skin. This girl had brown hair and freckled skin. They were miles apart, and yet, when Jeremy looked at her, all he could feel was the pangs of grief hitting his chest.

“It’s the arms. They’re longer than they should be.”

Jeremy blinked. “What?”

“You were staring at me. Most people look at the arms. They’re longer than they should be - my arms outstretched should be my height, but they’re not. They’re longer by about an inch. Happy now?”

Mr. Bowler suddenly spoke. “It’s her third party trick. A little bit of a monkey you are, ain't you?”

The girl glanced at Mr. Bowler, her arms folded across her chest. “So...what’s the deal?”

“We need you in for a mission. It’ll take three days, tops. After that you can leave.”

She growled. “You promise? No cells, no syringes, no captivity?”

“Yeah, sure, I promise. Now, we need to go.”

“Before you take me away, can I get my stuff? My copy of the contract is up there. And my clothes.” Her voice was harsh and hostile, and every word she spoke dripped with hatred.

Mr. Bowler paused and then lowered his gun. “Fine. But be quick. And remember - try and run, and you’ll have twenty bullets aimed straight for your back.”

Prisoner 3452 nodded, and in a second she was off, sprinting for the tree. She pushed up off the ground and wrapped her hands round the bark. And then, with the agility of a lemur, she scrambled upwards. Her long arms brushed the emerald leaves and when she reached the branches, she leapt on one of them, and started swinging. She was leaping through the air, bouncing from branch to branch, her feet curving round the boughs and her fingers sliding over the knobs and niches in the bark.

Jeremy watched her, open mouthed. “She’s a monkey.”

Mr. Bowler smiled as the girl reached her branch. “Pretty much. They reckon her race evolved in the same way we did, except their brains evolved faster. Hence she has a normal mind, but primitive body. It makes her seem wilder than she actually is. Hey, eh, do you actually know her weak spot?”
Jeremy glanced at Mr. Bowler. “No. I was bluffing. And what was the contract she signed?”

“We let her into the wild after one year and a half of studying, on the condition that she came back when we needed her. No ifs, no buts.” He turned back to the girl, who was gathering up things in her arms. She looked at home in the trees. Her feet curved round the branch and every ounce of her being seemed primed to jump and catch her if she fell.  Jeremy half expected her to grow a tail. “Prisoner 3452, you have three seconds...”

The girl looked behind her and snarled. “Give me a minute.” She tied something round her waist - a jumper probably - and then leaped from the tree. She swung down from branch to branch, leaping and catching with grace and elegance. She landed at the base of the tree and handed a small, brown rucksack to Mr.. Bowler, who was fiddling with his gun. “There. My stuff. Don’t touch any of it.” She threw a glance at Jeremy and then walked over the soft mesh of leaves to where she had been holding him. She reached down and picked up the knife. She slid it into her pocket and looking up, said, “Right. Where’s the transport?”

Mr. Bowler looked at her. “It’s over there.” His finger tickled the trigger of his gun and Jeremy widened his eyes. No. NO!

A gunshot ripped through the air, and a smattering of birds flew into the sky. The girl was clutching her stomach with both hands and Mr. Bowler was walking towards her. The tip of his gun was moist, and he was smiling. “Night.”

The girl’s eyes closed and she slumped to the ground. Her arms were draped across her hips and her mouth was parted. A dart was sticking out from her stomach.

“What the heck was that for?!”

Mr. Bowler paused and looked at Jeremy. “What was what for?” He knelt down beside the prisoner and cradled her in his arms. He hauled her upwards and threw her across his back.

Jeremy walked forward, his face red with shock and rage. “She wasn’t attacking! She was coming with us! Voluntarily! Why did you knock her out?!” For a second he forgot who this man was, forgot that this man was technically his superior. He forgot his nervousness and his fear and furrowing his brow, he glared at Mr. Bowler. “What was that for?!”

Mr. Bowler started walking away from him, walking back through the forest. His body sagged with the girl’s weight, but his face was as smooth and calm as ever.  “Firstly, I’m surprised you’re not asking how I shot her. Her skin is meant to be impenetrable, yeah? Well, she has a weak spot. A circle of flesh just to the right of her belly-button is clear of carbon. It’s the only part of her body you can shot.”

“I don’t care,” shouted Jeremy, flicking a branch out of his way with a flick of his wrist. “You had no right to do that! She’s a girl, Sir. You didn’t have to shoot her!”

Mr. Bowler stopped, took a deep breath and then kept walking. “She’s not a girl. She’s an alien - a highly evolved form of monkey at best, and a primitive survival machine at worst. And secondly, I sedated her because she gets travel sick, ok? You were sick on the helicopter ride, weren’t you? She hasn’t even been on a car yet. Now, do me a favour, stop complaining, or I’ll get your whiny, moralistic butt kicked off this case. Understood?”

Jeremy hesitated, and then ducked his head. “Yes, Sir.”

“That’s better. Now, help me get her in helicopter. It should be round the corner.” Mr. Bowler pushed through a scrub, and they were back in the clearing. The helicopter sat, resplendent in black, and the blades started whirring. Mr. Bowler glanced at Jeremy. “Are you going to help me, or not?”

Jeremy sighed and grabbed the girl’s legs. He hauled her into the helicopter and left her on the floor. He hopped in himself and sat down on his seat. His throat was still sizzling form the knife, his head was still frothing from the oddity of it all, and his heart was still thumping because of the argument. He felt alive for the first time in months. Grief had struck his system down, wrecked his nerves, but now - now, he felt better. Rejuvenated. Reborn. Jeremy smiled for the first time in weeks, and reaching above him snapped his headphones onto his ears. He thought for a moment and then grabbed the spare pair, and put them on Prisoner 3452. Mr. Bowler stared at him. “She can’t hear anything. Why the hell would you do that?”

Jeremy shrugged. He enjoyed the annoyed look on Mr. Bowler’s face. He deserved it, the callous little man. 
“I don’t want her to hurt her ears.”

Mr. Bowler narrowed his eyes and sat across from Jeremy in his seat. His put his headphones on and then, as the helicopter took a sickening lurch forward, he said, “Don’t get too attached to her, Mr. Holmhead. She’s an animal, she’s a superhero, and she’s rouge. She won’t care about you when you’re working with her. And trust me when I say - when all this is over, she won’t remember you either.”


Thursday, 20 September 2012

The Problem with Promises

Hey! This is the story that won Rose's competition :D Talking of which, you should grab my new blog button, which is down on the right!

The Problem with Promises

The girl is sleeping. Her hands are curved round the edge of the bunk, her golden hair shiny in the dim light. The glow around her has faded to purple, and even I know that means scared. How can you be scared when you’re asleep? She looks peaceful. Yippee doodah, she looks fine! I’m glad she’s stopped crying. She was makin’ a hell of a racket.

Oop, she rolled over, and her eyes blinked while they were closed. The light in the room is swayin’ a bit, and I can see the room clearer when it comes over to my side. The walls are dark green and the ceiling is dark green. There’s a TV, that stands for ‘TeleVision’, in the corner. For a moment I forgot where I was but then I remembered. Yippee doodah, I’m down here, with the girl, the one the Big Boss told me to get. I got her, and now she and me are down here. I’m waiting for her to wake up.

The girl snuffled a bit and her eyes is openin’. She’s looking right at me, and the glow around her gets sharper, turning into a circle, instead of the oval it was before. She’s still lookin’ at me. I feel nervous, so I touch the gun by my belt. It’s just a little pistol, but the girl still screams. It’s a horrible sound, one that could rip me right open, if it weren’t for the stitching I knows is called ‘skin’.  So instead of being split down the middle, I stand up off the bed and go towards her.

“It’s ok,” I says, kneeling down beside her. Her eyes are wide, and her glow is turning a vivid red. That means terror. I don’t know what to say, so I just say, “I’m sorry. I won’t hurt you.”

The girl swallows her screams and edged towards the wall. Her eyes glisten with tears and she looks like a rabbit, big teeth and all. Her button nose is twitching like a rabbit too. “L-Leave me alone,” she says. 

“LEAVE ME ALONE!” That time she screamed and I fell backwards.

“I’m not goin’ to hurt you. Just shush.” I remember what Big Boss told me, and I stroke my gun. The girl’s mouth closes and she sits up.

“Please don’t hurt me,” she says, her voice close to a whisper.

“I’m not goin’ to hurt you.” I smile and point up to the TV. “Do you want me to turn it on?”

The girl swallows, her hair twisting down the sides of her neck, like a snake. “N-No.” Her glow is turning purple again. “Wh-where am I?”

I shake my head. “Big Boss made me promise not to say. He said it would be bad. B-A-D, that spells bad.”

The girl nods, still staring at me. She doesn’t speak for a long time. Eventually I say, “Do you want some food? I got biscuits.”

The girl blinks and shakes her head. “Please let me go.”

I shake my head again. “Big Boss made me promise not to do that.” I pause and add, “He made me promise quite a lot of things.”

“W-what’s your name?”

“I promised not to tell.”

The girl nods again, and I start to think she has a problem with her neck. Why don’t she just say her yeses and noes?

“Why am I here?”

 “You’re here because your daddy did something naughty to Big Boss.  He said we is holding you for ‘ransom’.”

The girl nods again. Her glow is turning a funny muddy brown colour which I think means shock. I don’t see that colour very often.

“Are you ok?” I ask. “You sure you don’t want water, or biscuits?”

“No, I’m good. Are you retarded?”

“I don’t know. That’s what them boys at school called me, so maybe. Are you?”

A smile flashes on the girl’s face and she shakes her head. “No.” She pauses. “My brother had a boy like you in his class once,” she muses, her eyes drifting. “He was retarded.”

“Could he see the colours?”

The girl blinked and looks at me. “The colours?”

I nodded and stand up off the dirty floor. I can’t remember why I was down there in the first place. “Yeah, the colours.” I narrow my eyes. “You ain’t a doctor, are you?”

The girl smiles again, just a quick one. “No. I’m too young - only fifteen.”

I relax and smile. “Yippee doodah, that’s good! My mama made me promise not to tell the doctors about the colours. The colours are floaty, like clouds. They go around people.” I motion round the girl’s frames with my fingers, mirroring the way the glow curves around her body. “Like that. Yours is a muddy brown colour, but it’s turning grey. That means no emotion. You is calm and blank, like a sheet of paper. One without any words on it.” I grin. “Could that little boy see the colours?”

“I-I don’t know. You can see auras?” The girl’s glow has turned pink that means amazed.

I shrug. “I don’t know. Is that what they’re called? The colours?” The girl nods and I nod back. Maybe both of our necks have problems. “Then, yeah, I guess I can. Yippee doodah, I can see auras! Is that good or B-A-D?”

The girl shrugs and glances down at the bunk. Her thin fingers are playing with a loose thread on the cover thing. There’s a ghost of a smile on her face. “Good, I guess. It depends what you use it for. How can you see them?”

“I don’t know, missy. My mama said a part of Satan lodged in me when I came out her tummy, but I don’t know. I think it was a piece of God instead. What do you think?”

This girl shrugs. There’s a short silence. “What’s Big Boss’s name?”

“He made me promise not to tell you. He has an aura the colour of beetroot though. That means B-A-D, bad, bad man. But me and him are friends, so it’s ok. He’s the only friend I’ve ever had you know. He’s a bad man, but he’s my friend, so he can’t be that bad. He’s nice to me, but only when I do what he says. If I don’t, he’s mean. ” I glance up at the girl and tilt my head. “Am I good or bad? Can you see the colours?”

“No, sorry.”

“Oh, well, yippee doodah, never mind. Say, are you sure you don’t want biscuits? I’m gonna have one, cause my tummy’s about to grrrr.”

The girl looks at me, and there it is, that smile again, quick as a cat across her face. “Just one,” she says. I smile and walk over to the chair again. There’s a biscuit tin underneath. I open it and choose a chocolately one for the girl and an orangey one for me. I put the tin back under the seat and walk over to the bed again. I hand the girl hers and take a big bite of mine. It tastes N-I-C-E, that spells tasty.

I wipe the crumbs from my mouth and wait for the girl to finish her biscuit. She’s a-nibbling at it, picking away at it, like a rabbit does with a carrot. She looks like a rabbit too. Her button nose twitches and she looks up from her biscuit.

“What else did Big Boss make you promise?”

I scratch my head and think. “Well,” I says, my mind running circles around itself, “he made me promise not to let you hurt yourself, as well as me not hurting you. He made me promise not to let you out. And there was one more thing, but I can’t remember now. Why was you asking?”

The girl nibbles her biscuit again and shrugs, her hair bouncing off her shoulders. “I don’t know. Why don’t you just break the promise? Do you not like me?”

I shrug. “I like you an’ all, but you can’t break a promise. You can never break a promise.”

“Why? If you like me, you’d let me out...” Her glow shimmers and bends and fades in and out of her body. “Please, mister!”

I take a step back and touch the gun on my belt. It’s cold. “I promised not to, missy. I can’t break a promise. It’s B-A-D, that spells bad, and bad means naughty and naughty means no presents for me at Christmas. I’m not letting you out. Now, finish your biscuit.”

The girl opens her mouth but I touch my gun again and she shuts up. She looks down and eats her biscuit. I go sit back down on my chair. We sit in silence for a few minutes, maybe longer. I don’t know. Time passes strangely. It goes all jiggery when I’m sad, and all pokery when I’m having fun.

The nest thing I knows, the walkie-talkie in my pocket is doing a jig. I pull it out and press the button, like Big Boss told me too. “Yippee doodah, is that you Big Boss? How are you doing?”

There’s a mighty crackle and I see the girl look up. Her glow turns red, and she drops the biscuit. Big Boss starts talking, and he sounds scared. “The FEDs are comin’, man. We’re busted. Look, remember what I told you? Remember what you promised? About if the cops come?”

I look inside my brain and a little light pops up, like in cartoon. “Oh, I remember now! I forgot and now I remember! Yippee doodah, I figured it out.” There’s a smile on my face, and then I think that Big Boss can’t see it, and it vanishes.

“Right, yeah, that’s good. I need to go, but remember the promise. They’ll be in the bunker in a few minutes. Get ready. Over and Out.”

There’s a beep and then there’s silence, apart from my breathing and the girl’s breathing. I look over at her and smile. She’s pressed up against the wall, her eyes wide and full of fear. “You’re going to kill me, aren’t you?”

I shake my head and walk over to her. “Of course not. That would be breaking the promise that I wouldn’t hurt you, because killing someone means hurting them. Yippee doodah, I ain’t gonna hurt you! Now, I need you to get under the bunk, so you don’t get hurt.”

The girl swallows and I touch my gun again. She moves then, crawling off the bed and sliding onto the floor. 

Her glow shines through the bed. I turn away from her and face the door. It’s locked and covered in shadow, but it doesn’t matter. There are footsteps, big, angry footsteps coming from outside. I swallow, and I feel scared.

I swallow again and take my gun out from the ‘holster’. It’s all heavy in my hands. Big Boss made sure it was ready to be fired. I look at it for a moment, seeing my face reflected in the shiny black metal and then I look at the door again. The footsteps are louder and my hands start shaking. Big Boss made me promise. But I want to break the promise. He made me promise to do a scary thing, and I don’t want to do it. But you can’t break a promise, that a law.

“What did he make you promise?”

The girl’s voice seems very quiet and whispery under the sound of the footsteps. They’re almost at the door - I can hear them talkin’ now, shoutin’ almost. The girl repeats herself, but I don’t look away from the door.

“What did he make you promise?”

There’s a thuddin’ at the door now, shaking the wood and making the floor quiver. They’re trying to get it open. I hold the gun steady and pull it towards my face. It’s pointed at the door now.

“What did he make you promise?” The girl’s voice is a little louder and I turn to answer her, but I can’t, I’m frozen and the door is shaking and water is trickling down my trouser leg and the girl is still asking me, and then BANG!

The door shoots off and there’s a group of men standing facing me. They have orange glows. That means business, as my mama used to say. They all have big masks on, and that makes me scared because I can’t see their face. They also have big guns, but they don’t scare me, because I know they won’t have a chance to use them.

I tighten the grip on the gun. One of the men says somethin’ but I don’t hear it - it’s all a fuzzy blur inside my head. I tilt my head to the side and look at the girl under the bed. I can’t see her face neither, but that doesn’t scare me because I know she has one, one that looks like a rabbit.

“The Big Boss made me promise not to tell the cops. They said they might hurt me to make me tell, and said there was only one option. He said I couldn’t betray him. He made me promise. That’s the problem with promises. You have to keep them.” Tears blur my eyes and I blinked them back. “If you don’t mind, would you be my second friend?”

The girl says something but I don’t hear it either. Instead of asking, I just nod. “Thanks, missy. Good luck.”  

I face the men again and a smile crosses my face. I stroke the trigger of the gun with my finger and point it towards my head.  “Goodbye. You was a nice friend.”

One of the men bounces forward, but it’s too late. The bullet shoots out and goes into my head. I hope the girl didn’t see. It was messy. I saw it while I was floating upwards, towards heaven. My body collapsed forward and the men swore. Their glows turned pink, and then I see something for the first time.

I see my glow.



Sunday, 16 September 2012

The Storyteller :D

Well, that was unexpected. Two days after winning Kirthi's and Ashley's amazing writing comps, I go onto the blogger dashboard and find that I won Rose's writing comp too! I was not expecting that. At all.

So...yeah. As a result, this blog will have a new design and new blog button at some point :D Yey for prizes! I'd also like to give a shoutout to everyone who entered Kirthi's/ Ashley's and Rose's competitions. I've read the 2nd, 3rd and Honourable Mentions on Kirthi's blog, and I think you should have won, not me! For those of you that haven't read them, check them out here(2nd), here(3rd) and here/here(HM)

This blog post doesn't seem to have had any structure or form whatsoever, so I'll just move onto The Storyteller. This won Kirthi's writing competition (goodness knows how) and I hope you enjoy it!

The Storyteller

Once upon a time there was a storyteller who was arrested for proposing to the most beautiful maiden in the land. This is his story.

There is a jealous prince, a soon-to-be princess and a dog carved from magic.

There are no fairy godmothers and no happily ever afters.

*

Nico sat on the dusty floor, his hands crossed on his lap and his eyes closed. A thin line of sunlight crossed over his face, and he could feel the gentle warmth through his eyelids. Inside him, he could felt the words building up, pressing like stones against his windpipe. He swallowed the urge to talk and pander and instead shifted his position, moving his cheek away from the sunlight. The chain around his ankle creaked and groaned and Nico opened his eyes.

The cell was dark and musty, full of dirt and bloodied strips of hay. The single window towered ten feet in the air, just brushing the pavement outside. If he was lucky, Nico could see people’s feet as they walked past, hear their happy conversations and the rumours that they shared.  But now, the pavement was empty, and silent. It was early morning - Nico could almost smell the dew drops beading on the grass - and the great city was silent. The walls surrounding it would be getting manned, and the huge metal gate he had created, raised.  Across the city, life would be blossoming into consciousness, getting ready for his death tonight. And he was missing it.

Nico sighed. His trial had been two days ago, and he had been sentenced to death. The idea of dying didn’t bother him much - it was the idea of keeping the words inside him. They flowed like a river through his blood, mingling with the ideas and the characters he had kept so close to his heart. He hadn’t told a story in over a month, and every ounce of his being was screaming for release. The pressure was pleasant at first, but now it was painful and sore, the feeling of being crushed under the weight of the world. His palms were radiating heat.

Nico swallowed, his mouth dry. He was holding the words in for later, but he could always use a small portion just now, only to ease the tension. Nico held up his hands and flexed his fingers. Heat spread to the tips and a gold glow burst from the top. He smiled.

“Once upon a time, there was a butterfly, the most beautiful butterfly in the land.” Nico rubbed his fingertips, and the outline of a butterfly appeared in front of him, flapping its empty wings as though it were real. The glow of gold became stronger and, cupping his hand around the outline, he continued. “It had crimson wings, framed with ebony, and long, spindly feelers made of velvet. It could dance through the air like a ballerina, graceful and elegant as it flew.” 

Nico opened his hand, and the red butterfly, perfect as it had been imagined in his head, fluttered lazily towards the window. It had a tiny gold star on its back that shimmered in the light. The sign of Nico’s work.  He smiled at it. “And it lived happily ever after.”

Nico watched as the butterfly vanished into the street. The pressure had lessened, now that he had got some of the words from his veins. Creating things was his speciality. He didn’t have to, of course - he often just told stories to children, not making props. But the words swelled and grew until he had to make something. People said it was witchcraft, or a form of magic. It wasn’t. It was just words, imagination, and the glow. The gold glow that fuelled his life.

Suddenly, there was a noise in the corridor. Nico looked up, his heart beginning to hammer in his chest. He knew who it was. He knew she would come to see him. She had promised to, and Maria didn’t break a promise.

Nico shuffled his position and rubbed his hands on his filthy, tattered shorts. They were covered with scars and cuts, cherry lines criss-crossing his wrists and his arms.  His hair was fluffy, defying gravity as it stuck out from his head. He pressed a hand to it, and felt it bounce underneath his palm. There was no point trying to flatten it. Nico swallowed again, crossed his legs and waited.

A few minutes passed before he heard her voice, sweet as honey and melodic as a harp; “I have permission to see him one last time. Open the door.” There was a gruff reply, and a rustling of paper. Another grunt, and the black door embedded into the stone walls slid open. Nico felt his heart swell and melt at the sight of her. Maria. His love. His heart. His muse. His inspiration.

She walked into the cell, her long dress flowing behind her. Nico felt a pang at the thought of it getting dirtied and black around the rim, the beautiful cream it was. She knelt down beside him and stroked his cheek, her touch bringing a current of electricity coursing down his skin. Blonde hair flowed down her back, touching 

Nico’s shoulder. He looked up at her and smiled. “Maria. You came.”

Maria sniffed, her blue eyes brimming with subdued tears. “Of course, I came. How could I not?” She touched his cheek again, forcing a smile to her lips. “How are you?”

“I’m fine. What about you? How is the Prince keeping you?” Maria’s cheeks flushed pink and Nico laughed. 

“Relax. I’m not concerned. You are betrothed to him after all. Don’t feel you need to be loyal to me.”

Maria swallowed, and a tear trickled down her coloured face. “I have my own room, and a maid and a horse. H-he is nice to me, but he isn’t you. He can never be you.”

Nico nodded. His heart was thumping in his chest, and his mind was becoming a simple blur. Maria did that to him. She was perfect - of course she was, she was the most beautiful woman in the city, in the kingdom. She was amazing.

Nico looked at her and beamed. “I have a present for you.”

Maria sniffed back a tear and stared at him. “What?”

“Just stand back. I would stand up to do this but I can’t, so you’ll have to do it for me.” Nico jerked a thumb towards the chain on his ankle, and Maria stood up and stepped backwards. He could see her eyes roaming his body, cataloguing every mark and line on his marred skin. Her face turned inwards with sympathy and another tear fell down her cheek.

“Oh, Nico, what happened to you?”

Nico shrugged and flexed his fingers. The words - magic - were still pulsing under his skin, writhing like a snake in the pits of his belly. “The Prince thought it would be a good idea to torture me before he killed me. I didn’t really mind.”

“Don’t really...what did they do?”

“Oh, the usual - whips, thumbscrews, etcetera, etcetera. I didn’t really feel any of it.” The pressure of the words building up in his stomach had been more than enough to numb the pain. “Ok, stand back.” He opened his palms and Maria’s eyes widened.

“Here? Now? The guards-”

“-can’t do anything else to me. I’ll be dead this time tomorrow, Maria. Let me have this.”
Another tear slid down Maria’s cheek and she hiccupped. “O-ok. Just be quick. I’m only allowed ten minutes with you. Prince’s orders...”

Nico nodded and straightened his back against the wall. He pressed the palms of his feet together, and felt the energy growing inside him, letting it press against the seams in his skin. He felt the words, saw their shapes and sounds in his mind’s eye. He was the magician, the lover, the man with the golden glow. He was the storyteller.

Nico held his palms in front of him. The glow made the air ripple and shake. “Once upon a time, there was a dog. It was a beautiful dog; tall and strong. Its fur flowed to the floor, and its nose was keen enough to smell a hare from miles away. It was fast too, with legs that moved like lightning. Its fur was the most striking part about it.” 

Nico glanced up and saw the dog in front of him, hovering a few inches above the ground. It was the size of a husky, with powerful legs and bright sparkling eyes. Nico smiled at it, and reached up. His hand tightened around a patch of hair, and he yanked it from his head.  White, flecked with gold. He had been born with it, and it marked him as special. Now it was the dog’s turn.

With a wry smile to Maria, Nico placed the hair onto the dog, smearing it onto its skin. A flowing coat of white suddenly burst outwards, ivory mixing with spots the colour of the fading sun. Nico glanced up. Maria was staring, her eyes wide and flooded with tears. “The dog was given to a young maiden called Maria, and it was ever faithful to her.” The dog leapt out of Nico’s hands and walked over to Maria, sitting beside her and rubbing its muzzle on her leg. There was a gold shimmering star on the back of its foot.

“The maiden called the dog...Elden, meaning protector. And they lived happily ever after.”  The dog glowed for a second, and then it was real, sealed into existence by those magic words. Happily. Ever. After.

Nico felt the heat fall and the pressure drop. He glanced up at Maria, who was sobbing , her hand still on the dog’s side.  Tears were flowing down her cheeks in torrents, running down the strands of her hair on her bare chest. “T-thank you,” she sobbed. “H-he’s beautiful.” She patted Elden’s head.

“Maria, look at me. Look at me, love.” Maria stared at Nico.

“I’m going to go, but Elden will protect you. Don’t mourn me, ok? I’m twenty-seven - old enough to have lived a life. Go ahead, be happy. I won’t judge you. But please, keep Elden beside you. Promise me you’ll never let him go.”

“Ok, o-ok. I promise.” Maria hiccupped. “Can you not magic yourself out? Make a knight to save you?”
Nico shook his head. “No. I used the last of my words on Elden.”

“And before? Why couldn’t you save yourself before?”

Nico almost laughed. “Because I was saving to make Elden, of course.” He smiled and shook his head. “I’m ready, Maria. I’m ready to go. I love you so, so much.” He swallowed, his heart suddenly swelling in his chest again. “I love you. But I have to leave this world behind. It’s onto better and brighter things for me, ok? Now, you’d better go. The guard will be getting anxious.”

“But-”

“Go, Maria. It’s better for both of us. Take Elden with you, and give him a home in your house. Goodbye. I 
love you.”

Maria sniffed and touched Elden on the rump. He stood up, his white tail thrashing as he walked towards the door. And as Maria walked out of his cell for the last time, Nico saw what he always dreaded - the golden star just behind her ear.
*

Once upon a time, a storyteller was asked by a lonely prince to make him a bride, the most beautiful maiden in the land. He had obliged, but the Prince was angry. The storyteller had fallen in love with his creation, and so, with a cold heart he had ordered the storyteller’s death.

There was a jealous prince, a soon-to-be princess, and a dog carved from magic.

There were no fairy godmothers, and no happily ever afters.
                






Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Arwyn - 1.

Hi! So, I finished editing Arwyn, and seeing as I have nothing else written/have nothing to write, Ive decided just to give you chapter one right now as a teaser. I may not put all of it up, but I will give you snippets :D The chapters in Arwyn are labelled a little differently - instead of being 'One' or 'Chapter One', they're simply numbers. To make it seem like a mission countdown, or something. I don't know.

Also, everyone spam Rose's page for the results of the comp. I'm getting angry. Here's the link. 

Also also - I'm getting this t-shirt. Do you like it?-->
Yes? No?







Arwyn

1.

The room was a hive of activity. Computers whirred in the background, the people working on them chattering amongst themselves and into their headphones. Screens flashed red and buzzers beeped. Keyboards were tapped and phones were ringing. People walked and ran, jogged and paused, thinking and talking and working as they moved from place to place. The noise burned Jeremy’s skull and he began to think he would have been better in his old job. Everything here was too high-tech and loud. He needed something quiet. But then again, he should have thought about that before he joined MI5.

“Excuse me, Sir? May I see your ID?” Jeremy felt a hand clap his shoulder and he jerked backwards. There was man in a suit standing in front of him, being jostled by the throngs of people that moved around him. He was wearing a suit and his eyes were covered with sunglasses. Jeremy straightened up, and gripping his briefcase tighter, reached into his pocket.

“There you are,” he said, handing a card to the man. It was small, and on it there were four things - his name, his picture, his job and the most important thing anyone in this room had - a tiny chip that opened the doors.
The man eyed him for a moment before handing him his card. “Thank you, Sir. The conference room is the third door on your right.”

“Thank you.”

Jeremy took a deep breath and pushed his way through the people walking around him. It was a huge room, a hall, but it was cramped and suffocating. Jeremy could feel the oxygen being sucked from the air and his throat closed slightly. Keep walking. Keep walking. His doctor had told him to stay away from stressful situations. Pfft. That was working.

Counting the doors as he rammed his way through the crowd, Jeremy sidled to the third one. It was metal and solid, just like all the other doors in this place. Jeremy slipped a hand into his pocket and pulled out the card. He slid it down a machine and the door flashed a vibrant green, before clicking open. Fresh air blew out from inside the room and Jeremy felt relief wash over him. Finally. Peace. Quiet. Just what he needed.  Jeremy wrapped his hand round the steel handle and stepped inside the room.

There were already five people gathered round a large wooden table when Jeremy entered. They all glanced up when he walked in. Their eyes were like knives in his back and one or two of them were glaring at him. He could feel them thinking about him, wondering what the hell he was doing here. Surprisingly enough, Jeremy was thinking the exact same thing.

Jeremy closed the door and ambled forward. He could feel sweat marks developing under his arms. The room was quiet and peaceful, sure, but these men, with their suits and their patronising glares made his heart ricochet off his chest.  He sat down on one of the two remaining seat and put his briefcase on the table. The guy next to him was cracking his wrist and the guy across from him was marking the table with long, sharp fingernails. He was rippling his fingers over the desk, and although he wasn’t as beefy as some of the other men, his eyes were hard as stone. He was staring at Jeremy and his mouth was turned down in a frown. Jeremy felt his nervousness build up in chest, a powder keg ready to explode. He bit down on his tongue and sank down into the seat.

Suddenly, the door opened again and large man with slicked back hair stepped into the room. His head was held up high and his eyes were covered with sunglasses. He strode towards the head of the table and leaned on the polished surface, his hands like steaks as they banged against the wood. He took his sunglasses off and Jeremy swallowed. This was Agent Stalt. The big guy. The guy who had called him in on short notice. He had been on the brink of refusing - and then his boss told him who Agent Stalt was. He was practically the government.

“Gentlemen,” he began, his voice booming around the room. It was low and harsh with scraping undertones. It was the voice of a man who challenged you to fight him, and then, after a single blow, always won. 

“Gentlemen, none of you know why you are here. Am I correct?”

There was a general murmur of agreement and Agent Stalt nodded. “You are here today because you are the best agents, the best men MI5 can offer. You are the cream of the crop and you are hard.” Jeremy felt a flush of colour come to his cheeks. He was in the wrong room. He must be. He wasn’t hard. He wasn’t strong. He was only a therapist. He helped the agents, but he sure as heck wasn’t one of them.

Agent Stalt pressed a button under the table and a picture flashed up on the wall behind him. It was of nine men - all white, and all wearing a red hawk on their arms. Their eyes were hard and burning; their mouths turned downwards into primitive snarls. Crevasses lined their foreheads, but they didn’t look more than thirty years old.

“These men have invaded a school. Most of the pupils and teachers escaped...bar thirty two, whom the men are holding hostage.” He let the message sink in and then he continued, “These men are all part of a secret organisation called the Red Hawks. They believe in white supremacy and anarchy, and various other things that would bore me to mention. They have an unlimited supply to a large number of bombs, guns, knives and C4.”

“Now, this incident has been kept under wraps for various reasons. One- the men have stated that they will kill the hostages if the press start reporting on it. Two - the government fear national panic if this was to arise. And three - the ransom the Red Hawks are requiring is quite...sensitive.”

The man across from Jeremy suddenly saluted. “Sir, what is the ransom they are wanting?”  

Agent Stalt paused. “The Red Hawks are demanding something a bit more than we had expected, and they have given us three days in which to deliver it.” Agent Stalt took a deep breath and leaned on the table. “They are demanding the Prime Minister.”

Silence settled over the room. The news was like a poisonous gas, choking the throats of everyone in the room. No one was breathing, no one was moving. The seriousness had shocked them into silence. All Jeremy could do was sit, open mouthed. The Prime Minister. Damn. These guys knew how to bargain.

Finally, the man across from Jeremy opened his mouth. “Ah.”

“My thoughts exactly, Mr Bowler.”  Agent Stalt pressed another button under the table and a new picture sprung up. It was of a teenage girl in a white gown. Her hair was brown and sweeping, falling down the back of her neck and onto her shoulders.  Her eyes were piercing, and Jeremy swore he saw them blink as he stared at the wall. She looked about fifteen. “As this situation is volatile, and time sensitive, the board and I have decided out best bet to save the children is through her.” He pointed at the girl on the board. “Her name is Prisoner 3452 and we have called you here to decide who will go and collect her. You will be going to the forest, where she was dropped off, and you shall be picking her up and bringing to the Scottish research facility. You shall be accompanied by Mr Holmhead.”

Every eye in the room turned to Jeremy, and he slumped down in his seat. He was definitely in the right room. He could feel everyone staring, judging, glaring.

“Mr Holmhead will ensure that Prisoner 3452 is calm and settled in her environment before she goes to the mission, alone. Remember, this is a simple pick up mission, but it will require you to do some out of the box thinking. Trying to take her by force will get you nowhere, as I’m sure you have realised from you briefing papers.” Jeremy tried to hide his surprise. Briefing papers? He hadn’t got any briefing papers. “Now, any volunteers?”

No one put their hand up.

“No one? This is a simple mission that will put many points on your record. You can’t afford to miss this.”
The man across from Jeremy put his hand up, and Jeremy felt his heart sink. He would have to work with this guy? “I would like to volunteer, Sir.”

Agent Stalt nodded. “Good. Mr Holmhead and you will be taken to the helicopter in half an hour, where you will begin your flight. Any questions from the two of you?”

Jeremy paused and slowly put his hand up. “W-who is this girl, Sir?” he asked, his voice meek and wavering.

Agent Stalt raised his eyebrows. “You didn’t get any briefing papers?”                                                         

“No, Sir. I was only made aware of this about an hour ago.” In the middle of a counselling session. With his own therapist.

“Right. Mr Bowler, brief Mr Holmhead on the way over there.” The man nodded and Agent Stalt turned to Jeremy. “And to answer your question, she isn’t a girl.”

“Then...what is she?”

Agent Stalt smiled and clicked the button under the desk. An X-Ray of the girl popped up and Jeremy’s eyes widened.  Agent Stalt smiled at his expression. “Mr Holmhead? She isn’t even human.”


Sunday, 9 September 2012

Arwyn - The Novella No One Knew About.

Hi! Sorry for not posting - I've been pretty busy lately, for a number of reasons. A) It's my exam year at school, and I'm already being loaded with so much homework I can barely breathe, and B) I've been writing a novella called 'Arwyn' none of you know about.

Yup, I'm a devious, evil person for keeping it from my lovely followers, but anyway, I finished it yesterday. It's a novella which means it's not as long as a novel (50,000+), but I still spent three months of my life writing it. It currently stands at 43,666 words. It's a superhero novel thing about a therapist called Jeremy and an alien called Arwyn (she doesn't look like an alien. Just a girl with really long arms) Here's a short summary -

Jeremy is a therapist working with MI5, but he has his own problems. After his wife and daughter died over six months ago, he has been stuck in a pit of grief and sorrow, one that he can't escape. However, when he called to assist a mission, things start to change.

The goal of the mission is Arwyn, a young girl with extraordinary abilities. An alien, she had long limbs perfect for climbing and swinging, the ability to make herself invisible and diamond studded skin, meaning she's practically invisible. She's just what MI5 needs to take down the terrorist group the Red Hawks. But Arwyn is wild and unpredictable. Jeremy finds it hard to control her and talk to her, but as mystery after mystery unfolds around her, he gets more and more attached to Arwyn. Soon, Jeremy is forgetting his past, and remembering the present. 

Exciting, eh? That's not a very good summary, but it was the best I could do in a short amount of time!

Anyway, there are a few reasons I started writing it.
- I had novel withdrawl symptoms. I needed to write a long arching plot again, just like with Wolfbane, and well, Arwyn presented itself on a silver platter. Who was I to turn it down?
-Also, superheroes. I came up with the idea for Arwyn the day after I saw the Avengers. I've always loved sueprheroes (I think they're awesome) but for some strange reason the Avengers just sparked something in me like no film ever had.
- And thirdly, well, Arwyn has always been in the back of my mind. An imperfect girl, with mood swings and anger issues, who longs to be wild and free and able to run again....she's a bit like me.

I love Arwyn and Jeremy more than I love Lexie and Sam and Lewis, and so, I've planned a sequel, focusing on a wider picture involving them. I'm looking forward to writing it, and this time, I promise not to stop writing short stories as well :D

Now, for the hard part. I've been writing Arwyn for three months, only doing snippets at a time, but over the last week I've written over 2000 words a day trying to get it finished. The reason? My Nanny (aka my gran) is in hospital and I want to make sure she reads it. She's old - a grand 83 - and she's seen better days. She should be alright, but as anyone who has been scared for a loved one before, there's always a murmur in the back of your mind that tells you to fear the worst. Which is why I rushed to finish Arwyn. I'm going to dedicate it to her on this blog when I get round to publishing it on here and my first published novel will also be dedicated to her. She's an amazing person, and I want her to read Arwyn.

And, well, that's it. I'll try to post some chapters of it later, but for now, you'll have to do with the summary. Tell me what you think!

Also, a big shoutout for my Dad, who's 51 today! Comment happy birthday messages so he can see them!