I love you people. All you awesomes who put up with my intermittent posts and random disappearances. You’re so cool.
And as a thank-you for being so cool, I thought I’d give you an excerpt from my NaNoWriMo novel, called Super. In a nutshell, it’s a sci-fi in which an evil corporation kidnaps people to experiment on them and perfect their formula for making people into superhuman soldiers.
Without further ado, here’s the excerpt (and don’t ask me why the fonts keep switching; WordPress is weird):
“You okay, Malia?” Courtney’s voice sounded tinny, echoing off of the metal surrounding them.
Malia’s breathing had accelerated more and more since William had shut the door on them. “Dunno,” she said, unable to come up with a better response.
“You’re sucking all of the oxygen out of the air,” chuckled Courteney.
“I’m joking. I highly doubt this thing is airtight. If it were, William would be too smart to put us in here.”
“I know. Just don’t like close spaces.”
“Well, we’ll be out soon,” assured Courteney. “But we have to stay in here until we get through the gates. We don’t have clearance to leave.”
“Right.” Malia turned her concentration toward breathing steadily and not freaking out. It was hard, but not impossible, although she felt a knife against her ribs when she breathed too deeply.
At last, the truck stopped, and Malia heard William jump down, slamming the door, and then heard the door to the cargo area slide open. At last, the trap door lifted, and Malia took several deep breaths, disregarding her aching chest. She’d felt like she was re-breathing the same air over and over again the whole time she had been under there.
William helped her out first, asking if she was okay, and she gave an exhausted nod, then crossed her arms, sticking her hands under them to keep them warm. Had it grown colder outside? The wind that blew in through the open back door bit at her nose and cheeks, making them feel as if they were in the process of freezing solid.
“Where are we?” she asked.
William helped Courteney out of the compartment. “Step down.”
All three climbed down from the truck bed.
“Now,” William instructed, “look up.”
When Malia did so, the sight took her breath away.
The sky was a beautiful shade of dark blue, and it seemed as if someone had blown glitter dust all over it and it had stuck. It was the most beautiful sight that Malia had ever seen.
“Are those… are those all stars?” she asked in awe.
“Yeah. Isn’t it great?” William stood next to her and gave her a big smile when she turned to look at him, then he looked down at her hand, stretching his toward her a tad.
When she noticed, her first instinct was to pretend that she hadn’t, but a sudden wave of courage – and something else she couldn’t quite place – swept through her, and she took his hand, letting his warm, solid fingers enclose her small, chilly ones. She looked back up at his face and returned the smile, then turned her gaze once again to the sky.
“It’s beautiful,” Courteney said in a quiet voice that was full of amazement.
“You can never see the stars from the city because of all the lights,” explained William, “and only a few of them are visible from the living areas. There’s less light in those areas, but they are so close to the city that the city lights still block your view of the stars. Out here, there are no lights except the moon and stars.” Gently, he turned Malia around and pointed to a shining silver orb hanging in the sky.
“Wow.” It was the only word that Malia could come up with.
“I know, right?” William grinned, still looking up at the moon, but Malia turned her gaze to him instead. The light of the silver sphere reflected off of his eyes and his white teeth as he smiled, and his dirty blond hair moved slightly with the little gusts of wind. He was… beautiful, Malia thought. No, handsome. That’s the right word. Handsome. I hope I’m not saying any of this out loud.
William abruptly turned toward her, and it would have been awkward to suddenly glance away, so Malia held his gaze, and they studied each other for a long moment, broken only when Courteney remarked on how cold it was.
“The solar panels that power everything in the city absorb the sun’s heat, so it’s several degrees warmer in the city than it is out here,” explained William, turning toward Courteney and releasing Malia’s hand. She immediately shoved both hands deep into her pockets to try and keep what little semblance of warmth they had left.
“It is getting really cold,” remarked William. “What say we get in the truck and have a driving lesson? There’s heat in there.”
“I don’t know,” replied Malia. “I’ve never driven before. My parents could never afford a car.”
“That’s why it is a lesson, silly.” William clapped her on the back. “And pretty much nobody can afford a car, so I’m not surprised. Come on, it’s easy. Who’s going first?”
“She can go first,” insisted Malia.
“Are you sure?” asked Courteney. “I’m pretty nervous; maybe you should go first so I can see how easy it is.”
Always the one to make sacrifices for her friends, Malia agreed, and William helped her into the driver’s seat, then went around to the other side and slid to the middle, after giving Courteney a hand up.
“Here’s the key. Put it in there; that’s the ignition. Then turn it to the right.”
Malia did as she was told, then when the truck rumbled, trying to start, she let go of the key and flinched back; the engine died, and William chuckled.
“You have to hold it until the engine catches,” he explained.
“How will I know?”
“Think back to when I started the truck earlier. What did it sound like? Think of that, and you’ll figure it out.”
Malia thought and thought, then finally turned the key again. This time, she held it until the engine made a strange scraping noise, and then let go. The engine remained on.
“Did I do it?” she asked.
“Almost. You could have let it go a little earlier, but hey, the truck’s on now.” William smiled at her. “Now, there are two pedals down there. Courteney, pay attention so I don’t have to repeat all this. The pedal on the right is the gas, or accelerator, and the one on the left is the brake. You work them both with your right foot. Now, press on the brake.”
Nervously, Malia did so.
“Now grab this lever right here.” William took her right hand and moved it to the gearshift. “Pull it down to D. That stands for Drive.” He wrapped his hand around hers and helped her guide the lever down. Malia reveled in the warmth of his skin, and she felt a unique thrill that only came when he touched her. She felt as if she could do anything.
“Now let go of the brake and slowly press on the gas,” he instructed, and she released the brake.
When she pressed ever so gently on the gas, nothing happened; so she pushed it harder, and the truck jumped forward. With a little shriek, she let go and slammed on the brake with her left foot.
“It’s okay, Malia; just try it again. You’re doing great,” encouraged William.
“Doubt it.” Malia removed her foot from the brake and pressed timidly on the gas pedal; this time, she decided, she would just press ever so gently without pushing any harder, until the truck began to move.
She did so, and the truck began to creep forward across the wide, packed-dirt plain that William had driven them to, outside the city.
“Good job, Malia!” exclaimed Courteney, and Malia dared to go a bit faster, then she turned and drove in a circle.
“This is kind of fun,” she said, a grin spreading across her face, as she accelerated and drove in a straight line, then pressed gently on the brake until the truck came to a stop. “Do you want to try it, Courteney?”
“Okay, I will,” replied Courteney with a look of determination on her face. Malia pushed the lever back to the P, where it had been when she started, turned the engine off, and then both girls jumped out and switched seats.
“Okay, Court, what you need to do is–”
“Shut up, William; I can figure it out. I have driven before, if you recall. It was just a long… a long time ago.”
“Okay, Court,” he replied. Malia could guess that Courteney had not driven since the accident that killed her mother.
Courteney turned the engine over and drove in a circle, then sped up and drove straight, much faster than Malia had, further and further from the organized city where they had all grown up. Whenever she turned, Malia was either pressed against William, or his weight pressed against her. Either way, she rather enjoyed it.
“All right, Courteney, you can slow down now,” laughed William, buckling his seat belt for emphasis.
“Me? Slow down? You must be insane. I forgot how much fun it is to drive fast.” Courteney swerved to the left, and William’s body pressed up against Malia’s shoulder again.
A rumbling came then, and it grew louder and louder, presumably coming nearer.
“What’s that?” Malia covered her ears as the volume of the sound grew excruciating. A familiar pain coursed through her chest with every accelerating breath, and she could feel her pulse in her face and head. She was beginning to panic, and this time she couldn’t deflect the attack.
“I can’t see anything!” exclaimed Courteney over the noise, slowing the vehicle to a halt.
“Make it go away!” shouted Malia, feeling tears begin to squeeze from her tightly closed eyes. The loud rumbling reminded her of her father’s voice when he yelled at her, and all her memories of him came rushing back in a flood; she couldn’t stop her thoughts from running away with her mind, or her lungs from crying out for more and more air. She curled up in the corner, her feet on the truck’s seat and her knees sharply bent.
“Malia, it’s going to be okay!” she heard William’s faint voice saying. “Look at me!”
She cracked her eyes open and looked at William, whose face was a mask of calm as he held the distraught Courteney under his left arm, and grasped Malia’s hand with his right.
“It is going to be all right, Malia.”
Then he said something else, which rather shocked her.
“I love you.”
That was when the world slowed down, and in slow motion, Malia felt heat burning her – no, melting her, it seemed – and suddenly she was yanked away from William. Flying into the air, her stomach dropped, and a wall of white-hot fire divided her from the first man who had ever told her that he loved her.
Then everything went black, and she was floating.
Hey, cool person! I congratulate you for sticking it through to the end of the passage! Leave a comment and tell me what you liked, what you didn’t like, how it made you feel, and anything else you’d like to tell me. 😀