Welcome to Writing Wednesday!
This is the Prologue and first chapter to my latest sci-fi/paranormal YA novel. The one I am hoping, cross my fingers, to publish come January.
Here’s a quick blurb, introducing the story.
My name is May. Welcome to my ordinary life.
Everything about my life was planned out just the way I wanted it. I would graduate from high school in a few short months as valedictorian, after beating out the rough competition of the thirty other kids at my tiny school. I would attend Yale University in the Fall. I would also find some way to save my stagnant relationship with my loyal boyfriend Henry, because he is too good to lose.
Look out, world! My life would finally begin.
Now, tell me this. What do I do when my ordinary life crashes like a mirror on concrete? What do I do, when my friends and I get mistaken for deviant youths, kidnapped, and experimented on by an insane scientist?
Queue crickets? My thoughts exactly.
I can handle the kidnapping. I can handle the horrific experiments. But no one can blame a girl who cracks when her boyfriend is taken and reprogrammed to hate her and kill her. Slowly. With a lot of pain.
How do I know for sure? Because I was reprogrammed, too. Now, to my dismay I am stuck seeing the future as my subconscious chooses to show it to me.
What do I see? My death. At the hands of the guy I love.
Good-bye, ordinary life.
The Hybrid Chronicles: Time Begins
I couldn’t bear any more pain. I could feel my body ripping apart cell by abused cell. I tamped down the scream in my throat because I wanted so badly to remain strong, and maybe I could have if I physical pain was my only foe. I had proved to myself and to them time and time again in the last weeks of my life that this body, my body, could handle unimaginable pain and come out whole on the other side.
But not like this.
Not from him.
She had told him to make it hurt, to make it last. As always, he followed orders too well.
Sweat beaded and dripped down my forehead as my body tried to cope with the tearing agony down my chest like my own personal vivisection. I swallowed, gagged and looked up, knowing that if I looked into his eyes I would break.
Fresh pain drenched my torso and I bit my lip until it gashed open and bled to keep myself from crying out. A warm, calloused palm cupped my cheek while strong fingers caressed my skin. I closed my eyes.
He leaned close, his chest against mine, his mouth near my ear, his breath stroking my neck.
Calculated words rang in my ears, though he had spoken in a whisper. “I won’t stop, not until you scream my name, May.”
And the torture continued.
Eventually, as my tears, my blood, and my devastation streamed to the floor, I did.
Chapter 1-Before Time Mattered
The life of a fly on a horse’s butt, buzzing away the hours soaking in the manure antioxidants, probably had a more eventful life than mine.
The thought depressed me which didn’t make it any less true. I walked through the glass doors that led into the brick building of the tiniest school in America and my blurry distorted face looked back at me. I resisted the urge to stick out my tongue and scrunch my nose to complete the twisted image because people looked at me oddly when I did things like that.
I didn’t actually know if Joseph High School held the record for the tiniest school in America, but with thirty kids on its roll call and fifteen members of faculty, we had paperback yearbooks and never coughed up the extra dough for colored pages. As President of the Student Council I would know. I also ran the drama club and had attempted to initiate the Art club with a petition for individualism over the last year, though I had yet to complete one art project myself.
As I walked through the semi-filled hall of familiar faces I saw one that started bouncing up and down when it located me. Black nail polished and pierced, Katie scurried from side to side dodging students while making her way over to me. After frapping a nearby student on the head as she went, the girl I call my best friend, and also my boyfriend’s sister, clasped a hand over her mouth while sending out a muffled apology to the kid she hit. When the unsuspecting student made their way past her rubbing the spot, I saw Katie snicker and rush toward me in her laced biker boots and plaid purple school girl skirt, complete with safety pins up each side.
She wore her light brown hair up in two high pigtails today and she wore ripped tights that would make our first period teacher roll her eyes over. Katie’s style made her a novelty at this school. Also, she had a stellar attitude and spitfire temper that landed her in detention more often than not.
“May! My gosh, did you see me hit Kirk in the head?” She threw back her head and laughed. “He wants me so bad.”
I smiled while I pulled my backpack to the front and unzipped it, attempting to locate my phone. “Have you even ever talked to Kirk?”
Wincing in pain as my dark hair fell over my shoulder and slithered into my zipper as I closed the pocket, I swore that I would cut it in the coming summer. Nobody liked long hair anymore, anyway. Everyone wanted bobs and A-lines and sleek, teased, bumped, flipped, colored do’s. I briefly thought of myself as a highlighted blonde and cringed.
I grabbed a barrette and threw the dark mass up into a ponytail, knowing it still fell past my shoulder blades. Once secured, I dropped my hand and the fine strands immediately started to sag and slip from the clip.
Glaring over at Katie’s tight, high ponytail, I wondered if I could pull off her style. I would do it in a heartbeat. Her flared hips and petite body made her look like a pixie, hopping around through life. My legs looked better in simple jeans and flats and I had an addiction to plain, long sleeved shirts. In a word. Boring.
Giving up on my saggy pony, I pulled out the barrette and threw my bag back over one shoulder.
“Come on, May. He’s new. Give me time.” Katie wiggled her eyebrows.
“He’s attended here, like, three years,” I said, but she moved on with a wave of her hand.
“Have you seen my brother? Dad was looking for him this morning because he wanted to get out of town to hike a bit this weekend.”
We only had a few minutes to get to first period and though Katie didn’t care when she showed up, my record needed to stay clean on every tiny detail so that I knew, beyond any doubt, my acceptance to Yale stuck. Even holding presidency, and heading clubs, and valedictorian of my year and keeper of, not one, but three summer internships, plus yearlong volunteer work, going to the tiniest school, or thereabouts, still threw my rank into the meh category for an IV league school.
I would not allow perpetual tardiness in the last quarter of my senior year to affect any opportunity for me concerning Yale.
“I haven’t talked to him this morning.”
Katie sent me a disbelieving look.
“I haven’t!” I threw my hands up. “Why does everyone think I keep track of Henry all the time?”
She put a finger to her chin and started tapping while looking up at the ceiling. “I don’t know, maybe because you’ve dated each other since first grade. He has spent just as much time with you as he has me in his life and I’m his twin sister.”
“Oh, please. As if you two don’t ditch me every other weekend to hang out. You’re the only siblings I know who actually like each other.”
Henry had better grades, a mellower attitude and a far less wide rebellious streak, but they would die or kill for one another. Not a single boy in school had ever bullied or made Katie feel insecure after an incident in elementary when Jesse Sims had made her cry. Henry had shocked their father and Katie when he went after the other boy with fists, screaming that if he ever made Katie cry again Henry would come after him. Katie might have the temper, but Henry’s protective streak ran deep.
We made it to class as the tardy bell rang and I breathed easier. I didn’t really care about tardiness. In fact, lateness and grades and Best Student Ever awards irritated the heck out of me. They came too easily to me. That was why I needed Yale. I needed the challenge and the bright, shiny newness of it all. I needed harder classes and a more demanding workload and higher expectations for my mind.
Katie sat in front of me in our first class. She turned around with a huge smile on her face while the class was settling in. “So everything is set for next weekend.” Excitement colored her voice and I felt the first stirrings of it.
“Our last Spring Break together. I guess we should make it count.” I raised an eyebrow at her.
“Jimmy has the campsite all taken care of. He said no one ever goes there, like, ever. It’s some minuscule place in Idaho. Most of the group will come up on Monday, but he said if you want, the five of us can head up early. Saturday, maybe? That way we get the site set up and we can party hard all weekend.”
“What did Henry say?” My boyfriend wasn’t much of a drinker or partier. He preferred hiking, jogging, and boxing, anything active.
“He said that if you were fine with it, he was.”
Of course he said that. Leave the decision up to me, so when it all goes to crap it’s not his fault and he can blame me later. Course, Henry’s blame resembled a reprimanding pat on the head. He came off about as stern as a bunny.
I looked at Katie’s excited expression and laughed. “Fine. We can go up next Saturday morning.”
By lunch that day, three people had mentioned the camping trip and I wondered how many Katie had invited to come up to celebrate with us.
When I walked into the cafeteria and headed over to our regular table, I saw more than the normal five or six of us that sat together. Katie sat with Jimmy, and Henry sat next to them, looking irritated at the look Jimmy kept sending his sister. Anyone who passed the siblings on the street would guess their relationship. They both had tanned skin and green eyes, with light hair that looked softer than it felt. Katie was petite and slim, while Henry was honed. He’d built his agile body for movement of all kind and he played every sport the school provided. Right now it was baseball. He played it off by wearing old band shirts and sneakers and did his best to draw attention away from himself, but it didn’t stop feminine attention around the school. Most girls hadn’t carried a torch for him past the first few years we dated, but there was still the random few flirtatious girls that tried to sway him. Not that he noticed.
I couldn’t remember a time when I didn’t love Henry. There wasn’t anything not to love. His loyalty knew no bounds, and his love for his friends, his sister and his father always came first in his life. He cared about grades, health, country, and me.
He caught my eye and jerked a thumb in the direction of Katie and Jimmy’s flirtation. I rolled my eyes and chuckled as I filtered through people in the lunch line and those trying to make it to their own seats.
When I sat down next to him, he put his arm around me in a side hug that felt comfortable and smelled like Henry. His cologne always reminded me of a forest. We lived amidst the valley of one and he always smelled like he had just come in from the outdoors even when he hadn’t.
I sank into his embrace and snagged some of his fries.
He leaned in close and whispered in my ear, “When can I deck Jimmy?”
“When you stop being best friends, I guess.”
Henry snorted. He tried to catch my eye but I turned to look at the rest of the room. Everyone continued talking around me and the lunch room echoed every conversation. It’d always interested me how everything could feel so chaotic, but with a little focus, words and phrases and intentions became clear. I grabbed a phrase here and there, not really paying attention to anything in particular because I had heard everything before a hundred times.
“I’m surprised you decided to head up early to the campsite.” The sharp voice from above me made me look up into the brown eyes of someone I had once considered a best friend. Tessa was gorgeous; at least that’s what all the guys said in the school. Her not quite orange tan and streaks of honeyed blonde tresses fooled many a teenage boy. Gym time was all Tessa cared about and it showed. She had always told me that having a rocking body was one of the best weapons a girl could have, and she used it as such.
“Why not? We might as well spend the weekend reminiscing or whatever,” I responded. Senior year had proved tough on our friendship. I had grown more determined to find more out of life, while Tessa, content to while away her time here in Oregon, wanted to find a semi-rich man to buy her semi-rich things and have semi-obedient kids who would grow up to do the same thing she did. In our small town she had some power and the respect brought on by parents and grandparents and so on.
We still played friendship as children played house, and I don’t think either one of us knew why. More often than not the cattiness ended up causing more trouble than our pseudo friendship was worth.
“I didn’t think you liked having fun anymore, May?” She let out a little laugh, letting the group know that, of course, she joked.
Katie chimed in before I could defend myself with an equally scathing remark. “Sorry, Tessa, spreading your legs for willing victims isn’t the definition of fun. At least not to anyone but you.” She said it with a sneering smile that she saved specifically for Tessa.
“Bite me, half pint,” Tessa growled.
“And contract something? Not on my life.”
The two continued exchanging insults, but Henry grabbed my attention. “I thought we could go out this weekend for dinner, if you want. We can talk and relax.”
“I thought your dad wanted to head out of town with you?”
Henry shook his head. “I have to pull a shift on Sunday. So if you’re game…”
I nodded. Sure, I was game. As I was every other weekend.
I hope you enjoyed the first chapter! Seasoned writers? Any advice on the writing, et cetera?
Now a question! What are you working on?? Throw a link down in the comments and I will be sure to check it out and let you know what I think.
See ya tomorrow, blog-world.