About Me

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I am nothing. I am a single grain of sand amongst billions. I am a single voice within a crowd. I am human, I am god, I am here, and this is what I have to say:

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Jaccen's Story

The following entry is the opening scene in an untitled novel I started sometime back and have since set aside unfinished to return to later. I don't want to say too much about it right off the start, prefering you to get a glimpse at it yourselves, but I will at least preface it by saying it's a work of fantasy/science-fiction. Sort of. I don't know, I'm terrible with classifications. It's strange. There's a bit more I can post of it later if anyone is interested let me know. Of course, as always I welcome all questions and comments. Till next time, enjoy.

A solitary lightning bolt split the dark, cloudy sky driving back the torrential rain. The bolt crashed to the ground below. Tall buildings nearby shuddered from the onslaught as the lightning’s fury was released upon a mighty oak tree. It split raggedly in two smoldering sections that fell in opposite directions upon the rain-beaten grass of a small city park. Below the tree and out of harm’s way of the fallen trunk lay the body of a young man who just now was beginning to stir.
Awakening, the man sat up slowly. His blue eyes blinked repeatedly as he looked around. He raised his arms in front of his face and stared at his hands. One by one his fingers began to move. He stretched them, and with his left hand felt his face.
It was a thin face with a hard jaw line sunken back within his cheeks. He traced his jaw with the tips of his fingers and felt the thin stubble of facial hair. His hand continued back behind his head to feel the thick, matted hair running down along the back of his neck. Then his hand touched something else. He grabbed and pulled at it and felt something constrict around his chest. Looking down he noticed that he was covered in a heavy, gray cotton jacket. He looked down at his pants and stretched his legs as the rain continued to pummel him.
It was then that he noticed in front of his outstretched legs, a few feet away, placed in the ground was a crude wooden signboard. Standing up shakily, he slowly made his way towards it. Attached to the sign was tacked a sheet of paper. Upon it words were scrawled in a delicate hand. He stared at them for several long moments before, blinking his eyes, he realized he could read them. They read:
"Come, weary traveler, to the rust awning on Sixth and Lily where you shall be received and set upon your path."
The paper was signed:
"Hedrick--Fate of The Serpent"
He began to reread them, but almost immediately was interrupted as the falling rain saturated the paper and the ink began to smear. The paper dissolved beneath the touch of his finger. The remaining scraps fell from the wood and pooled within the grass. He stared down at them between his feet until all traces became one with the earth.
As he stood there, staring at the wooden post, he thrust his hands into the front pockets of his jacket. His fingers brushed a piece a crumpled piece of paper. Unfolding it he read the single word written upon it in red ink.
"Jaccen?" At the sound of his voice he glanced up and looked behind him. Seeing nothing he read it aloud again. "Jaccen." He turned the name over in his mind hoping for recognition, but there was none. The name meant nothing, it may as well be him.
A sudden gust of wind sent the rain to pelt him in his face and ripped the piece of paper from his hand. He watched as it tumbled away from him and disappeared. A quick search of his other pockets revealed only a full pack of cigarettes and a plastic lighter. He stared at them demanding the objects to provide him with answers. Even these meant nothing. He knew what they were, that was obvious as he put a cigarette to his lips and began the struggle of lighting it in the rain. He did not, however, know where they came from or why he had them.
After a moment of failing to light the cigarette he thrust them back within his pockets. With a sigh he turned back to the wooden sign in front of him. Staring at the blank wood he reread the words in his mind as he had read them. They too meant nothing. He lashed out with his hand and struck the side of the small piece of wood. It tore out of the ground and fell to the muddy grass with a muffled splash. His palm rang with a sharp pain that he ignored.
The coldness of the rain beating upon his head was uncomfortable, he realized, and he reached behind him and covered himself with his hood. Leaving the grass of the park he stepped upon a paved sidewalk. He looked around and saw nothing but darkened buildings and puddles and deserted streets. Any direction was as good as any, he supposed. Without knowing where he was going he began to walk, twisting the lighter about in his pocket.
At length Jaccen stopped and leaned against a metal post jutting from the pavement. His legs shook beneath him and he grasped the cold wet metal with his hand to steady himself. He looked up at the side of the building across the street where someone had sprayed in garish colors letters that seemed to him unreadable.
"So, what now?" He said aloud to himself, his voice raw and grating within his throat. He stepped away and looked up at what had supported him. At the top of the post were two rectangular green signs facing different directions. Street signs he realized. He stepped a little to the side.
He was standing on the corner of "2nd" and "Lily." Lily. The words he had read earlier instantly came to mind. He looked down the street in the direction indicated. It was as deserted as every other he had been on. The entire city seemed devoid of life. With a sigh he began to walk while bringing a cigarette to his lips.
The rain was falling steadily upon Jaccen as he walked the empty street. He spit the ruined cigarette from his lips and followed it quickly with his eyes, watching it disintegrate within a puddle even as he stepped over it. He pulled the hood of his jacket tighter around his head and suppressed a shiver.
The sound of the rain drowned out those of his own soggy footsteps and as he walked he found it hard to focus on anything but the cold, chafing of his clothes. The fog that snaked around the deserted streets seemed to part before him as he made his way onward. Soon, he could make out the hazy outline of the rust colored awning he had been looking for. As he neared it, his eyes scanned the building of which it was attached. His lips curled slightly in a frown that twisted his thin face inwards.
Stepping underneath the awning, he at once felt at home within the deep shadows below it. He faced the street and tried to dry his hands upon his clothes. After a thorough attempt he settled for shaking them and wringing them together. Deftly, he pulled a cigarette from his mouth and placed it to his lips. He touched the end with the tip of his finger, before dropping his hand to his pocket and finding that small piece of plastic and metal that seemed so vital. He sparked the flame and stared at it intensely, with empty blue eyes, before bringing it to meet his cigarette. A deep breath of the stuff seared his lungs, and he swallowed hard to keep from coughing."A disgusting habit." Came the soft, whisper of a voice from the shadows behind him. "According to some."Jaccen stared ahead at the waterfall pouring over the edge of the awning. His eyes steady. He did not move except to draw another breath from the tobacco burning in his fingers."Does it always rain in this damned place?" He asked.The voice said nothing, but Jaccen could hear the body that belonged to it slither from against the wall. He was aware of it hovering behind him. The hairs on the back of his neck stood on end and his body shivered slightly."Damned place, eh?" It continued to whisper behind the hood that covered Jaccen's ears. He was sure it was a male's voice. "How much do you remember?"Jaccen spit. "Nothing!""Indeed?" The voice was silent for a long moment and Jaccen felt a sensation he could not recognize within himself. He took another drag and this time could not control the desire to cough."You will get used to it." The voice said."Get used to what? Smoking?" He asked gritting his teeth."Living." The hissing continued. "The rain. Smoking. Take your pick. You get used to it."The man came to stand beside him and Jaccen withdrew his hood to appraise him with the corner of his eye. He seemed normal enough though small, perhaps. His physique was hidden beneath a brown trench coat, but he gave the impression of being thin and wiry. His eyes sparkled like a jewel, crafty and keen.. The fire within them seemed familiar to him, but try as he might he could not place it."You're not fond of this world are you?" The man asked in his hissing tone."What? What kind of question is that? Should I be? Who the hell are you?" Jaccen spat back in his own grating voice.The figure beside him laughed a harsh sound, that caused Jaccen to recoil."Should you be?" It mused. "Perhaps. You are here now, are you not? Stick around long enough and you might find something to be fond of.""As if I had a choice. . ." Jaccen turned to face the stranger but all he saw was a brief glimpse of blackness disappearing back into the shadows along the wall.
"You coming?" The bodiless voice drifted from the wall.
Jaccen lurched around expecting to see him in the shadows, but there was nothing. Suddenly he wavered upon his feet. He caught himself and pressed his hands against his head. He tried to focus his eyes, but everything was blurry. He took a step forward and collapsed upon the pavement with the dim sounds of laughter and rain meeting his ears before all went black.


Rebecca said...

Amber thanks for coming over to my blgo great work you're doing, keep it up.

This piece sounds great. It's easy to read and although there are a few spots I'd look at great job. Keep it up as it sounds like a great novel.

If you have question fell free to stop by my blog or email me. The contact email is on my website www.rebeccaemrich.com

AmberInGlass said...

Rebecca, likewise, thank you for coming over and checking out my blog as well. I appreciate the comments very much, I look forward to more correspondence with you in the future!

Rob said...

Great start.
Great character name too. Are you continuing this novel, cause I really think you should. You have my attention.

AmberInGlass said...

Rob, I am continuing this, but it's been on the back burner for awhile while I worked on other projects. Thanks for the interest. I'll go ahead and put up the next part.