Hey people, like my thread title says, I'm an upcoming author and getting close to finishing a novel And since I've got a novel on my hands, I've got to get people interested in it And so for you today, I do have the first and second chapter of my novel: (For the record, the first chapter is more like the 1st intro, since it only sets up the story itself, not the main character)
By Derek Hitchmough
December 21, 2012
An asteroid, dull and unremarkable, bearing the scars of its life in space, tumbled lazily toward its destination. Diminutive in stature compared to its kindred stellar objects, it still promised mass destruction to whatever stood in its way. In this case, it was Earth.
When the asteroid encountered the edge of the outer atmosphere, it started to burn up and streak like any object would. However, a golden color soon enveloped the asteroid, making a golden-red streak. With the protective cover in place, the friction involving entry into the atmosphere now failed to affect the asteroid completely. Undeterred, it continued on its fateful path.
When the asteroid landed in the middle of the United States, it made the expected crater and destruction yet it strangely remained intact. After smoldering for a while, the golden color grew brighter and brighter and inexplicably started to expand outward. The half-sphere of energy rapidly grew outward, covering the entire world in only a few hours. The worldwide glow lasted for a minute, then quietly faded away. Immediately afterward, the 'asteroid' started to fade, and then it simply disappeared as if it had never existed. It was almost like... an enlightenment.
The night side of Earth, which minutes ago had been full of the lit-up sections of North and South America, was now completely dark. If you zoomed in on New York City, you would see that the city no longer existed: no buildings, no roads or sidewalks, no traffic lights... nothing but a sprawling wilderness. It was a multitude of nature: a forest there, a plain here, and a few new mountains in the distance. It was the same situation with every industrial city around the world; most of the technology had been removed and replaced by nature.
Most of the world's population was alive and well, if a bit scratched and bruised. Those who had been well above ground... well, some still lived, while others weren't that lucky. On the whole, humankind was completely unaffected by the strange glow, at least on the outside. Little did they know what was to come, once survival was out of the way.
The planet's wildlife had been largely unaffected by the strange glow as well, though the massive shift in humans vs. nature indirectly helped them. New species of animals suddenly appeared all over the world, their presence a result of the strange glow. All of them were regarded as mythical and/or fake before the strange glow. Now they are as real as the newly rejuvenated nature around them.
In short, Earth will never be the same again. With any luck, it wouldn't throw itself into oblivion.
Any advice, constructive criticism, mistakes you've noticed, etc, etc would be appreciated
NOTE(S): What you're reading is still a rough draft, and nowhere near the finished version. At the moment, I'm currently in the process of going through my chapters, rewriting a bit due the advice of you kind people. And also, if enough people ask for it... I could post my third chapter
“Hey Brianna, catch!” called out Mike, throwing a golden-yellow ball at her.
The girl in question easily caught the ball. After brushing aside a few strands of her shoulder-length brown hair, her icy blue eyes grew thoughtful. After her left hand starting glowing brown, she clenched it and yanked it to the side. The ground underneath Mike cracked and then physically shifted a foot to the right. With his balance gone, Mike cried out as his body fell over.
Unfortunately, she put a little too much power into that yank and it didn't help that she was still new to this. The result was an aftershock that made it seem like they were standing in a middle of a small earthquake. In addition to the rumbling, the surprised cries of the children filled the air, momentarily drawing the attention of the various adults in the village. Many were amused and shook their heads.
Feeling a little helpless, Brianna tried to keep her balance on the shifting ground while at the same time trying to aim at Mike. With a grunt, she threw it at him. Halfway through the throwing motion, an upward thrust jerked it, causing the ball to go lower than she had intended. Mike scrambled away in a hurry. The ball missed and hit the ground, bouncing up into the air.
“Dang it! I missed!” she cursed as she struggled after the ball.
With yells of excitement, the other kids joined in on the race for the ball, often pushing or shoving as they did so. The ground stopped shifting by this point, which really helped. However, Mike caught the ball before it landed, bringing all of the kids to a stop. Brianna charged at him and soon they were fighting for control of the ball.
“Brianna's a wonderful little girl, isn't she Derek?” Carali asked her husband, leaning on him.
Looking from Brianna to his wife, Derek said “Of course she is. And she's got a lot of potential”. Smiling, he gave her a short kiss. “We've done a great job, haven't we?”
Giggling, Carali replied with a simple “Yeah”. Silence came soon afterward as the two parents watched Brianna play with the other kids. “So when do you think we should tell her?” she whispered quietly.
His expression growing serious, Derek looked at her. After a few moments, he whispered back “If it were anyone else, I would wait. But Brianna... I think she's mature enough, so how about... tomorrow night?”
With a forced smile, Carali answered “I think that would work”.
“Kids, its time to come in now!” called out the various adults, with the setting sun casting its orange glow on the village.
“Aahhhh!” cried out all of the kids. Brianna dusted off her outfit- a simple worn-out dark-blue dress, with light-blue shoulder straps- as best she could before walking over to her own home.
“Oh no you don't, young lady” said Carali, stopping her daughter. “You can't come inside like that”.
Brianna looked down at herself: she was coated with dust everywhere, and she had dried mud on the front of her legs. And though she couldn't really see it, she felt mud on her upper back and her hair.
“Come on” her mother sighed.
The three of them moved to the side of their house, out of sight of the others. Carali's right hand glowed blue as she summoned three hand-sized water balls out of nowhere, which slowly circled each other.
“Mother, I can do this for myself” Brianna said as she stood there. She had no idea why, but her parents were always trying to do things for her. She was very capable of doing things for herself.
Smiling, her mother gently replied, “I know, but we still insist” as she moved the water balls into position with a few simple movements: one above Brianna's head, and the other two at waist-level, directly opposite each other.
Water sprayed out of all three balls, lightly jolting Brianna with it's coldness. As the water continued to spray out, the water balls maintained their shape. The cleaning was through: it covered everything but the palms of her feet. After a minute it was over, with the water balls splashing against the ground. Shivering slightly, she grabbed her soaked hair and repeatedly wrung it, removing the extra water. While she was doing this, Derek was preparing his own magic treatment for her involving a small whirling ball of air in his right hand, and a simple flame on his other hand's thumb.
After holding the flame under the ball of air for a while, he said “Honey, can you check if this is too hot?”.
“Of course” she replied, very carefully doing so. After a few seconds, she smiled and said “Perfect”.
After putting out the flame, her father turned to Brianna and said “You ready, Bri?”.
Brianna's mouth twisted slightly. “Yeah. I've been ready” she said, gesturing at her still-dripping-wet dress.
With a touché smile, her father extended his right arm and aimed it at Brianna. Immediately, the whirling ball became a mini-tornado. Brianna closed her eyes as the warm, fierce wind blew over her, whipping her hair backward and forcing her to breathe carefully. She kept her hands at her sides, preventing her dress from billowing upward.
“Alright, that ought to get 'er done” said her father as he stopped blow-drying Brianna.
“Now then Brianna” interjected her mother, “In addition to your chores tomorrow, you have to fix that earth-shattered mess you made”.
Brianna looked over at the torn-up section of earth she had accidentally ruined and then back at her mother. “Do I have to?” she asked, the obnoxious tone most kids used with the question being nonexistent.
“Yeah you do Brianna” her father replied. “It's a rule in this village: you break it, you fix it.
Sighing, Brianna gave in “'Kay”
By this time, the setting sun was barely showing and rapidly disappearing, turning the glow from orange to violet. Noticing this, her mother said “Alright, it's time for us all to go to bed. Goodnight sweety” and kissed her daughter on the forehead. After her father did the same and Brianna had said good night, the three of them walked inside. Their house was made entirely of thick wood, including the floor. There were only four rooms: the kitchen, with a simple dinner table set; the family room, with a blue couch, chair and a bookshelf; her parent's room; and her own room. There were small traces of dust everywhere on the floor.
After crossing the family room she turned right and entered her room, closing the door behind her. Her room was a bit bare: there was a simple white mattress; a wooden dresser off to the right side; a silver-colored carpet; and dark-blue paint on the walls and ceilings. After the door had closed she sighed and shook her head. She loved her parents, but she hated being told what to do. She only tolerated it from her parents but it was still a struggle.
With faint moonlight coming in from the nearby window, Brianna lay herself on the mattress and covered herself herself with a thin blanket. Soon after closing her eyes, she fell asleep.
Later that night, if you listened carefully, you'd hear faint moaning from her parent's room. But Brianna was too deeply asleep to hear anything.
The sun was shining in through her window when Brianna awoke. After throwing off the blanket, she went over to her dresser. After opening it, she thought about which outfit to wear. “Hmm” she hummed, holding up two outfits. “Nah” she said, putting them back. “Aha” she said, holding up a black shirt and a pair of dark-blue pants. The shirt had a silver X on the front and back- connected on the shoulders- while the pants had two dark-gold stars, one on each side.
After changing her clothes, she put her worn-out dress on top of the dresser. When she came out of her room, it wasn't surprising that the house was empty. She checked around the side of the house, and saw her dad working in the garden. He was currently working to grow the fruits and vegetables part of their meals: planting some seeds, then using magic to accelerate the plant's growth.
“Hey dad, where's mom?” she asked.
The sudden noise made her father flinch, which nearly disrupted his control of the growth magic. After regaining control, he carefully turned his head toward his daughter while simultaneously keeping an eye on what he was doing.
“Sweetheart, the next time you see me or your mother doing this, please don't interrupt. It's slow but delicate work”. He said it gently, but firmly.
Brianna cringed. “Sorry” she mumbled.
Smiling, he replied, “It's okay Brianna. And to answer your question: your mother is over at the training field with some of the other adults. Now, get back to your chores okay?”.
She nodded and answered, “'Kay”.
Her father went back to what he was doing while she made her way to the torn-up section of earth she had ruined. Using a combination of magic and her own weight, she changed the uprooted earth back to normal. There was nothing she could do about the destroyed vegetation, though. After resting for a few seconds, she moved to the rest of her chores.
Several hours later, Brianna started climbing the plateau-like outcropping of rock. It was roughly the size of the village and twice it's height at the center. Most people went around the plateau when doing this chore, on account of the rough terrain. She however, felt that this was much faster, and she didn't mind the extra work.
With the sun high in the sky, she reached the top of the plateau. The view was spectacular: the mighty Delaware river spanned left and right for miles and then some; the lush green prairie ahead of it; then the modest-sized forest at the bottom below which was her destination. After wiping the sweat from her brow and getting a drink from a magic water ball, she started to descend. Soon she landed at the bottom of a slanted section, her back to the view.
A piercing cry sounded, as loud as an explosion. She slowly turned to face the source.
The creature before her was roughly eight feet tall from feet to shoulder, and it had a dull golden-brown color. It's main body was that of a lion, and she could see its thick tail swishing threateningly. That was where the resemblance ended: it had the head and wings of an eagle, both of which were poised to attack. The only thing different about the eagle head was the catlike ears, which were slightly curved and pulled back instead of up.
“A griffon!” Breathing heavily, she tried to stay calm. It was a little hard to do so when the griffon was glaring at her so fiercely. Moving her eyes around, she tried to find out why. She soon found out: two feet to her left and partially protected by rocks was a nest made of grass, holding five golden-white eggs.
Understanding this, the six-year-old slowly moved away from the eggs while at the same time edging forward. In this fashion, she slowly circled around the parent griffon. The griffon's fierce green eyes followed her every movement, even shifting its body from time to time. Finally, she was now completely opposite of the griffon and it's eggs. Carefully, she made her way down the plateau until the griffon was out of sight, then she ran down to the bottom.
Pausing to catch her breath, she heard faint cracking sounds. This was soon followed by louder piercing cries.
“The eggs must have hatched.” Smiling, she continued on to the forest.
A half-hour later, Brianna made her way back home, her mind carefully focused despite her small headache. Both of her hands were glowing green. As she walked, fifteen arm-length pieces of wood floated alongside her, which was getting harder as time went on. They were all uneven and of varying thickness. Soon she came to the foot of the plateau. Sighing, she began to climb up but a piercing cry from above made her stop.
Looking up, she saw an orange griffon flying toward the top of the plateau, carrying the dead carcass of something in its front claws, and two smaller meals in its back claws. This was soon followed by a deeper cry, which sounded familiar. The front part of a dull golden-brown griffon became visible- The same one from before she realized – as it came to greet its mate, or so she assumed. The newcomer affectionately nuzzled the others neck, drawing a half-growl, half-purr in response. Both soon disappeared, soon followed by the excited cries of the babies.
Smiling, she starting walking not forward, but to her right.
“Guess I'm taking the long way home.”
Brianna grunted with effort as she used magic to lift the heaviest pieces of wood into the pile by her house. Pausing to catch her breath and lessen her magic-induced headache, she wiped the sweat from her brow. Focusing, she turned her magic on the next few branches and they started to rise. Her magic flickered then suddenly disappeared from her hands, causing the sticks to fall with a loud clatter. She looked at her right hand and let out a frustrated sigh. “Out of magic” she said to herself, then she started to lift the remaining pieces into the pile by hand. It was a good thing that people's magic strength was completely independent of their physical strength.
Soon the job was done and she stood there, physically and mentally exhausted. A loud rumbling then filled the air. She looked down and put a hand over her stomach, her mouth twisting slightly.
“That's right... I never had lunch before I left to get firewood. I think dad's done by now though.”
She went inside and found both of her parents inside the kitchen, attending to the various foods they would eat. At the moment, her father was dropping the carcass of a bear onto the table, while her mother was cutting up apples into pieces. Her dad soon noticed his daughter.
“Hey there, Bri. Could you give me a hand with this?” he asked, his face showing the relief from not carrying the bear anymore.
Brianna nodded and took her place opposite her father, who adjusted his grip to even the work between them. No sooner had they gotten it off the table however, then Brianna's end clanged against the floor. Waving off her mother's attempts to help- “I can do this!” - she tapped into her refilling magic to help her. Grunting from the effort, she and her dad lifted the bear carcass onto the large custom fireplace which they had built themselves. It just barely fit, though the ends of the rod could still be grasped. The rod and its dead weight were supported by thick stone supports. Exhausted, she collapsed onto one of the table chairs.
After catching her breath, she asked “So dad, where did you get the bear from?”. At the end of her sentence, her mother placed a tray of assorted fruits and vegetables in front of her along with some water. Brianna eagerly dug into the grapes and cut-up apples.
“It came from today’s shipment from Liark” he answered, using magic to light a fire underneath the bear carcass. “It was a little late, but along with the bags of seeds we now have some meat that we didn't have to hunt for ourselves”. At the end of his sentence, he made the rod slowly rotate before sitting down, though it took him a lot of effort to do so.
After swallowing her mouthful, Brianna asked “Liark? What's that?”
But her father was too busy recovering to answer her, so her mother answered instead, sitting down as she did so: “Liark is a big city, far bigger than our humble village. It even has it's own stone wall, which is rumored to be ten miles long”.
Brianna nearly choked on her water but recovered. A stone wall ten miles long!? Rumor or not, she had to see that someday.
At that moment, her father placed the pre-cooked and pre-cut pieces of bear meat on each of their plates. “Yeah, Liark is an amazing city according to the rumors. You might even live there one day, Brianna. I'd sure like to see the city myself!” he said, as he dug into his own meat. She had blinked at the 'living in the city' part.
“You and me both dad”. She had to admit though, it was an entertaining idea that her dad had given. But for now she had a meal to finish. It was a real shame she couldn't smell it whatsoever.
They ate the rest of their meals in comfortable silence. She couldn't help but notice that her parents were becoming increasingly anxious: they kept glancing at each other and Brianna herself; their mouths twitched every so often; and their faces tried hard to be neutral though they didn't exactly succeed. Brianna tried to ignore this as she concentrated on her vegetables, even though she wasn't a fan of them like most kids her age. It was clear to her that her parents were nervous and that they would tell about it when they were ready, whatever 'it' was.
She finished her meal first, then she got up and placed the dirty tray onto a small pile near the sink. That would be one of her chores in the next few days, but she had a more current one to do. Holding her right arm out, she began to focus. There was a faint rushing sound which grew louder as the air around her arm swirled, forming a pint-size tornado which was faintly green by the glow of her hand.
Anything that didn't have some weight to it was immediately pulled toward it, though most of it was dust. She didn't quite have the hang of it yet: the tornado kept flickering erratically and the swirling air changed directions at the oddest times. Eventually, she managed to collect all of the dust and then she went to the window, where she threw the dust-tornado out of. While she had been dust-collecting, her parents calmly held on to their food as they continued to eat like this happened all the time.
The dust-tornado continued onward for ten feet or so, then it abruptly stopped whirling. The dust poofed outward then gently floated downward. She sighed, then she moved on to the family room to complete her chore. Her parents watched her go with worried looks on their faces.
Out in the family room Brianna focused once again, this time with both of her hands glowing. The rushing sound came again, and another tornado which was larger than the first, spiraled into being in front of her. It had the same qualities as the first one: the erratic flickering and the sudden direction changes. She carefully led it around the room, letting it collect all the dust in the room. She left the area near her room for last.
When it got there, an innocent-looking piece of the floor flipped over with a BANG!
Brianna flinched much like her dad had done earlier. He had been right: focusing on magic AND trying to do something else was hard. She struggled to regain control of the tornado, which she did. As she finished, a lot of dust streaked upward from the square-shaped hole in the floor. She carefully opened the front door then sent the tornado outside.
After watching it puff out and closing the door behind her, she walked over to the open trapdoor. Staring down at it, she could see a wooden ladder and a section of a wooden floor. Looking up, she asked “Dad, why do we even have a trapdoor?”. She had wondered about it, but had never asked before.
Her father, who had just put his empty tray on the pile turned around and looked at what she was standing near. “Ah, THAT trapdoor. Well, it is there for emergencies. Just in case it's needed.” With a glow and a jerk upward from her father, the trapdoor closed itself, briefly startling her.
She looked out the nearest window, and saw that it was getting late. The setting sun was already half-hidden by the horizon, and rapidly disappearing. The orange glow was slowly turning violet. Stretching, she said to her parents “Well, I'm off to bed. Good night.”, and started to head in that direction.
Though she didn't see it, her father stiffened. “Brianna!” he said, the words sounding forced. She froze, now slightly scared as she turned to face her father.
Her father called for her mother to join him, and a few seconds later she appeared next to him. Both of their faces were strained. Wordlessly, he gestured at the empty chair. She hurried to sit down while her parents took the couch. She was curious in addition to being a little scared.
After a slight pause, her father spoke “Sweetheart... there's something you should know. Something important.” At that moment, the sun disappeared entirely and turning the outdoors almost black.
“Like what?” she asked innocently.
A slightly longer pause, then her mother burst out “We're not your real par-”.
The explosion shook the house, even knocking Brianna out of her chair. This was followed immediately by horrible screaming, more explosions and a few inhuman shrieks.
Their eyes wide, all three of them were frozen in shock. Her father recovered first as he yelled at her: “Brianna, hide! The trapdoor, NOW!”
She was too scared to do much more than obey. While her parents stood up, she ran over to the thing and yanked it open. She started climbing down in a hurry. What she didn't notice though, was that her father sent a ball of magic at her, which splashed against her without any impact. The magic slowly expanded outward and turned rainbow-colored, then vanished.
She quickly shut the trapdoor behind her, sending her into pitch-black darkness. Lighting a simple flame in her red-glowing hand so she could see, she quickly climbed down and put herself into a corner, coughing as she did so. Breathing heavily, she tried to stay calm. She had little success: the screaming; the explosions and the loud cracks; and the inhuman shrieks were still terribly loud. Suddenly, something melted through the ceiling and landed on the floor. Brianna was too startled to yelp, and her fire went out as she lost focus.
The reason she see this thing at all was because of its glowing eyes; those terrible black-gold feral eyes. There were no pupils, irises or whites; just that glowing black-gold color. It's body resembled a human standing up with a slouch but it's skin was pitch-black. Small veins of dark-blue seemed to run up all over its body. Two small antennae curved up and over on its head. Wisps of what seemed to be darkness itself constantly radiated off the body with a low half-hissing, half-sizzling sound. It's most horrible feature though was that it had five tapered tendrils sticking out of its back, each as long as itself. They constantly moved around and twitched, as if they could never stay still. Dark-blue electricity constantly swirled up, down and around each tendril.
The 'thing' turned it's head in every direction and searched just about everywhere. When it moved, it did so the same way the tendrils would: constantly moving and twitching. At the moment, it was searching on the opposite side of the room. Soon though she couldn't take it anymore: she had to breathe. She took in a breath with an audible sucking noise.
The creature's head snapped around and every muscle in her body froze. The creature crossed the small room in an instant and it stood before her, a terrifying vision of darkness. Brianna closed her eyes and waited.
When nothing happened she slowly opened her eyes. The creature was slowly scanning the area around her... as if it was confused.
“Can it actually see me?” She thought bewildered. Suddenly it stopped and tilted it's head slightly, as if receiving instructions from elsewhere. Without warning, it jumped up and melted through the ceiling, making her flinch.
Brianna breathed in and out like she had escaped being suffocated, and all the while she couldn't believe what had just happened. What she didn't notice was that her entire body briefly turned rainbow-colored then vanished. Then at that exact moment, all the noise suddenly stopped.
Her head snapped up at this, staring with increasing fear as the silence continued to force itself upon her hearing. Breathing fast, she relit her flame in her hand and then climbed the ladder. When she got to the top, she pushed at the trapdoor.
It wouldn't move.
Now really scared, she tried harder with the same results. Trying it with both hands, which was scary in the pitch-blackness, got the exact same response. Standing there, she felt there was only one way she could get out: she'd have to blast her way out.
“I'm sorry” she said, then her hands began to glow yellow. Faint crackling could be heard as she aimed at the trapdoor. Closing her eyes, she let her magic loose.
Lightning bolts leaped from her palms and demolished the trapdoor, sending debris and dust everywhere. The dust was very thick; so thick that she sneezed several times before it cleared. When it did, she saw a sizable hole in the ceiling/floor above her.
She slowly climbed up the scarred ladder. What she saw made her gasp and tears came to her eyes.
Her house was destroyed: just burned to the ground. The collapsed sections were strewn all around the floor, with broken sections of their furniture sticking out at odd angles. What little was still standing was on fire and slowly burning as she watched.
“No, no, no...” she choked as the tears free-fell from her eyes. She just stood there, her mind in complete turmoil.
Some time afterward, she slowly looked up and saw through tear-stained eyes the remains of her village.
It was in much the same state as her home: destroyed and burned to the ground. Everything that was still standing was slowly burning as time went by. The crackling of the fires was the only sound in the entire village. Without it, it would have been deathly silent.
Bodies were strewn everywhere, some intact while others weren't that lucky. The adults were on top of the children they had tried to protect; while those with no children had embraced each other and were still doing so.
Brianna fell to her knees and cried; it was just too much.
Soon though, her tear-stained eyes fell upon too bodies just outside the ruins of her home, on man and one woman.
“No... no, NOOOOOO!!!” she cried, running over to them and falling to her knees by them. One look confirmed it: they were her parents.
Desperately, she tried shaking them awake, all the while screaming and crying out. They didn't move at all. Breaking down completely, she buried her head into the still-warm body of her father and just sobbed.
How long she stayed that way, she would never know. When she finally recovered enough to sit up, with her heart cracked and her breathing coming in spasms, she was still crying freely.
Something in the back of her mind told her she couldn't stay here. Her entire being rejected this and yet it was right: she couldn't stay.
Slowly she got up and, still crying, walked over to her house and dug through the wreckage, trying to find her room. At last she found it, where her dresser was in many pieces and her clothes were everywhere she looked. Most were shredded, while others were only cut in some places. She gathered up every intact piece she could find, which amounted to one dress, shirt, pair of pants and one piece of underwear.
Slinging those over her shoulder, Brianna quietly walked out of her house and past her parents, the occasional sob or hiccup breaking the silence.
Stopping, she took one last look at her ruined home. The destroyed buildings, the burning fires and the bodies of her neighbors were all she saw. Shuddering, she turned away and began running.
It's not really attention catching, nor are the words particularly....attractive. You have areas where you have unneeded commas and overall, the way it's written is simply unremarkable. There's nothing really special about it.
Props for being able to write out something novel length though.
It's not really attention catching, nor are the words particularly....attractive. You have areas where you have unneeded commas and overall, the way it's written is simply unremarkable. There's nothing really special about it.
Props for being able to write out something novel length though.
don't apologize, i knew there would be people out there that wouldn't like it or think this intro isn't good enough or whatever (intro's i kinda suck at, but once you read the whole thing, it's better as a whole)
and also, even though this is still a rough draft, there's little i can do to change anyone's mind but still, thanks for your opinion
as for novel length, this novel i'm trying to publish is only Book 1 of 3 that i'm planning