He did not worry about dying, because dying was the risk of being alive.
Shame he’s going to die at the end of this scene.
Word count: 23,362
Word Count: 16,185
I’m having real difficulty. I can’t write anymore, and I know why. It’s because the story has moved to quickly. That’s always the problem with not doing detailed plans, I find, the narrative tends to jump into the action to soon. I know what I need to do, but I also know that to do so I would have to take some time out to go back and edit. And if I did that, I’d feel like I was betraying the spirit of NaNo. Not cool.
So, I’m pushing on, hoping that I can make up on my lost words 😦
Well, here’s an excerpt for you.
The Lieutenant gave the conscripts a break from training. If he overtrained them, it’d almost be worse than if he did not train them at all.
He used the time to seek out Calista. He knew that she was not in the barracks- over the past week she’d spent a total of ten hours in their room at the barracks. He knew that the majority of these hours were not spent sleeping. She was living off horribly sweetened tea, the grittiest stuff she could get hold of. It was stuffed full of chemicals, practically all caffeine, and usually she wouldn’t touch the stuff. She prided herself on at least being an addict with taste. But desperate times called for desperate measures, even with tea.
Still, she didn’t shake like other caffeine addicts did, not even when she missed a cup. She was still strong.
“Andromeda,” he said, quietly. They were on the front line, the other soldiers in a coma of alertness. They were so focused on watching the horizon that nothing said sotto voce around them would rouse them.
“Gardis,” the General replied, taking a slow measured sip of her tea, not turning away from the horizon to look at him. He could hear the question in her voice, so bitter it was an accusation.
“I came to see how you are,” he explained.
“You’re neglecting your duties. Again.”
“The conscripts needed rest. I cannot wear them out before they’ve reached combat, Calista.”
“I am your General.”
“Yes, I know. And I am here to make sure that your needs are being fulfilled.”
“I am satisfied.”
Calista reached down, patted a pouch by her side. It was stuffed to bursting. “For now.”
“Have you food?”
“I have what I need. The Savants bring it for me when they change over.”
“Are you warm?”
Calista finally turned to her Lieutenant. “You fuss like a mother. What is wrong with you General? I hope to God that you are not worried about me.”
But of course I am, Calista, is what the Lieutenant wanted to say, but he knew he could not. He could not risk the full force of her anger once again, at least, not so soon. So instead he said “A dissatisfied General is a weakened General. I worry about you now for the sake of the town, General.”
He added the last almost mockingly, and the ingratiating tone he used irritated Calista.
“Return to your post, soldier.”
“I’m here to relieve you General.”
“I do not need to be relieved,” Calista hissed, livid.
“Then I will wait here until you do, General,” Gardis replied, a smile on his face.
“Lieutenant, you will return to the barracks and to your conscript or I will have your balls.”
When it came to knowing how seriously to take Calista and her threats, the Lieutenant was a pro. He merely allowed his smile to widen. “There is a time for castration, my dear, and you know as well as I that this isn’t it. I humbly request that you return to the barracks for an hours rest and a meal. I will take over your duties until you return, and I will be sure to tell you of any developments. I would also be grateful if you were to check on the progress of the conscripts. After your rest and your meal, of course.”
Calista spun round, the back of her gloved hand catching the Lieutenant painfully in the jaw.
The soldiers near them broke out of the trance, alerted by the awful meaty sound the contact made. Calista had put force into her blow. It smarted, and the Lieutenant would probably bruise, but he did not show his pain.
“Ma’am,” he said simply, bowing his head.
Calista spat in his face before marching away, towards the centre of the town.
Back towards the Barracks.
The knocking on the door got louder. The Dealer inside cowered, he knew the things he sold were strictly contraband.
He’d seen the two soldiers accompanying- who? Plain clothes enforcers, perhaps? He did not know, and he did not want to find out.
Maybe if he pretended he wasn’t there…
It was a stupid idea, and he knew it. But these were uncertain times, more uncertain than usual, and his mind was not functioning properly.
The knocker stood back. She was young, fifteen, maybe? She had a scary look in her eyes, a glowing sliver vacancy. She was elsewhere. The silvery-grey circle on her cheek marked her as a Savant.
One of the solders took his gun from his holster, turned the gage and then shot at the metal lock.
A purple-white blast of energy, and the door was melted off.
They found him in his pathetic hiding place behind the plastic sheet curtains, and twisted his arm behind his back.
The girl didn’t bother with formalities. She didn’t tell him that he was under arrest, she didn’t tell him his punishment. She asked only to be told where it was.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about Miss, where is what?” he asked, pleaded, protested again and again but the Savant vacancy in her eyes had an edge to it. It was the same edge that those few brave enough to look would see in the eyes of The General. It was ruthlessness.
She nodded to the soldier holding his arm. The Dealer found his arm being pulled tighter and higher in a direction it shouldn’t go, and whimpered.
“Tell me, where is it?”
“Ma’am, I don’t…” he gasped, shrieked, “Ma’am, I don’t-” a crack. He screamed. The soldier let his arm go limp, and picked up the other one.
Helena looked on, without pity. She had experienced the pain of death for her town and her General. The pain of a broken arm was nothing in comparison.
“Ma’am, it’s in the shelter. Underground, Ma’am, you’ll find it there.”
The Savant studied him. She could feel him dimly; his feelings were that strong. He was scared, but he was finally telling the truth.
“Good. Let him go.”
“We should arrest him,” the soldier said, dropping him to the floor. “He shouldn’t have… that Stuff.”
“Do as you wish,” Helena said, signalling the pale-faced Doctor she had taken with her to follow.
She knew these sorts of houses, the shelter would be accessible by a trapdoor in the kitchen floor. She didn’t need the dealer any more.
“Was that strictly necessary?” the Doctor asked. It had been a long time since he had witnessed such open torture.
“It saved time. He would not have told us otherwise,” Helena replied shortly.
“But torture…” the Doctor began. Helena spun round to glare at him.
“You’re a Doctor and you’re older than the General. I don’t see any scars on you, so don’t preach to me about torture. I know about Doctors like you. An arm’s an easy thing to fix, Doctor, and I did it for my town. Who did you torture for?”
“I’m different now,” the Doctor said, because he couldn’t deny her accusation.
“But what you have done is what you did. You can’t change that. I’m saving lives. Don’t question my methods.”
Helena pivoted back round, and the Doctor, three times her age, meekly followed her.
A couple more Calistalikes, which makes me happy.
“Don’t talk to me, Gardis.”
“General, please. I’m so sorry-”
“And I’m sorry Gardis, that I trusted that you would do your duty. Clearly, I should not have even given you the benefit of the doubt.”
“I know this General, but I-“
“You what? There is nothing you can say that will excuse you from this. You signed up to be my soldier, Gardis. You knew what it would entail. You signed up to protect this town.”
“I signed up to protect you.”
Calista fell silent, and Gardis’ conscience gave a wrench. Calista knew it; of course, but she didn’t like to hear it. She didn’t want to owe anyone anything, and she didn’t want to be made weak like that.
“And that’s why I’m apologising.” Gardis pushed on, ignoring his guilt. “Because I did let you down, and I haven’t done what I wanted to properly. I’m asking that you will trust me once more. I want to take over training. I want to recruit new soldiers. Will you allow me to do that?”
Calista didn’t reply, only began dressing. Her heavy bullet proof vest, a clean white shirt, her leather jacket, her cloak.
“Lieutenant, you’re not expendable. I can replace you, with any one of the protectorate leaders.
“I know. I am asking for one chance to show you that you don’t need to.”
Calista tucked her gun into it’s holster, her knife into it’s sheaf.
“One chance,” she said.
“Thank you,” The Lieutenant started to say, but his General had already left.
Word Count: 6,300
Caffeine Count: 6
Sachets of sugar eaten: 7
Hours of sleep: 10
The last is over the past three days. This is not entirely because of NaNo- in fact it is mostly down to my poor time management skills, especially in relation to school. I’ll say no more.
So I’ve reached a bit of a block. This is because I accidentally put the plot point (remember I only had one) in right at the start of the story without realising the implications of that until it was too late. Now I feel my plot is moving too quickly, and I’m at something I haven’t yet thought out.
Ahh well. In order to keep my exceptional (for me) word count up, I decided to write one of my vignettes. Sadly, this has just caused more problems. I’ve realised I don’t want to rush this vignette, because it deals with such a sensitive issue. To rush it would be to ruin it, methinks. In fact, what I really want to do is spread it out into little episodes, but that also presents problems…
Okay, so thinking is writing and writing is thinking and whilst I’ve been writing all of that I’ve been thinking, and I may just possible have my solution! I can separate the story into ‘arcs,’ like a web serial or a comic or what Pratchett would be if you made a huge masterbook of his Discworld series…
That way, I can deal with the problem of the premature climax (narrative climax, come now!) more easily and have a vignette that intersperses the section of each arc.
Alors, off to put my thoughts into action!
Word Count: 3,520
Cups of sugary caffeinated hot drinks: 2
Sachets of sugar eaten: 6
So I’m off to a pretty good start, methinks. I started at midnight, and hit 1,929 words before three am, then made up the rest of the words today whilst on the train. So far Calista is everything I’ve wanted and more, and the more fantastical elements are blending in fairly incongruously. Haven’t broken out the elves yet though :3
An excerpt for your perusal:
They found her in an overcrowded building. Every other room had been full of bodies pressed together; men and women and teenagers all covered by threadbare blankets and their own cloaks, snoring lightly. But this one was on her own, in a small window with a barred windows. This one, they knew immediately was special.
Two of the men were left behind, signalling to the others to go on ahead. They crept up to her, their footsteps seeming to them ridculously loud all of a sudden, their army issue boots finding every creak floorpanel. They reached her without hitch. One of them men reached out to shake her awake.
She screamed when she saw his leer, screamed loud enough to alert the entire building, screamed louder than they figured her little body could handle, but of course by then it was too late.
One of the men covered her mouth with a grubby hand, the other unbuckled his army regulation belt.
She seemed to be no more than ten years old.
Urm yeah… that’s my prologue. It’s a little… heavy, I know, but that’s mostly my mums fault.
How is the NaNo effort going for you guys?