View Full Version : Blaze of Glory

August 27th, 2010, 03:48 PM
This is the first chapter of a book I'm writing. Still not entirely sure what to call it, or what to classify it as, but here it is, warts and all.
On a technical note, it started its life as a monologue and grew from there, so thats why the tone is more conversational in the beginning. I plan on changing it when I get around to the rewrite.

Chapter 1

I remember it like it was yesterday. It was the day my world ended forever. Up until that day, everything was fine. Sure, I had to worry about keeping my job delivering pizzas, pay rent for my ghetto apartment, and keeping that woman I called my girlfriend happy was about as worthless of an endeavor as I could imagine, but it was my life. That was my crappy apartment. That was my nasty girlfriend. The day the bombs started falling though, I had nothing. Nobody orders pizza when they have no house. No boy is worth the drive, when the drive might kill you.

Shortly after the bombs stopped falling, the tanks rolled in, followed by the soldiers. Sure, our military put up a good fight, but we were unprepared for a real full scale invasion. Within the week, the entire Orange County area was either abandoned by U.S forces, or directly under enemy control, and from what I have heard, so was San Diego county. I'm not sure how it came to this, but like any major event in world history, the only thing a guy like me gets is a series of cold hard facts to endure. And the fact was, I was stuck living in a crappy apartment with no family, no girlfriend, no regular friends, no job, and on top of all that, men in strange uniforms had the general population under martial law, with a shoot on sight curfew in effect. In other words, I had no life, and nothing to lose-- well, other than my car.

Like any other military occupation in history, there was a lot of talk about starting a resistance. I never intended to join it, but I suppose fate has a nasty way of roping you into things. It all started on a Saturday. Like any Saturday, it was my district's turn to get our weekly rations. Did I mention that before? Anyway, as I stood in the breadline awaiting my turn to receive a loaf of moldy bread, the soldier manning the bread line was killed by a sniper shot. Almost immediately, soldiers came rushing out into the crowd looking for the shooter. Several of the other men in the bread line pulled out handguns and opened fire on the soldiers. I dumped over a table and jumped behind it, hoping to avoid the many streams of hot lead that were shooting over my head. One of the resistance fighters jumped over the table next to me and handed me a shotgun. I tried to tell him I was a pacifist, but it was no use. By this time, most of the crowd had run for cover leaving only myself, the soldiers, and the resistance fighters.

The resistance fighters had dug in right next to me around the bread truck, and the soldiers had dug themselves in across the street behind some planters. I finally worked up the courage to fire off a few rounds at the soldiers, and I was surprised to find that my bullets were true to their aim. By this time, we could hear on the fallen soldier's radios that they had reinforcements inbound. A larger resistance fighter grabbed me by the collar and threw me into the passenger seat of the bread truck. The rest of the fighters dove into the back. From there, we made a harrowing escape to the mountains. I never thought it would do much good, but I was proven wrong. As it turns out, a large contingent of the youth in LA had taken up arms against the invading forces, and had taken up residence in the hills above Los Angeles. They were loosely led by a retired Marine Corps Major who taught P.E at one of the local high schools. He insisted that we never use our real names when talking to each other. Instead, we were assigned code names. They called me "Blaze", because of the scar on my forehead I got during my first battle.

I took to life as a resistance fighter quite well. For the first time in a long time, I had friends, a decent roof over my head, and most importantly, a purpose. I hate those soldiers with a fiery passion. They had taken the only life I had ever known, killed my family, and raped the land that I called my home. I never considered myself a patriotic citizen. I never even took the time to appreciate those freedoms that I once had. But when I saw the flag that I knew flew for freedom, something burned inside me. A feeling that went beyond animosity and hate. I had a deep yearning inside of me for true freedom. I quickly rose through the ranks of the resistance, earning myself a squad to lead. For weapons, we had a choice between captured enemy assault rifles, 30-06 hunting rifles, or 12 gauge shotguns of various makes and models. Handguns were a personal responsibility. For myself, I carried a captured assault rifle, and a .357 Magnum double action revolver.

Me and my squad were assigned to disrupt enemy supply convoys as they made their way down the various freeways, and we did so with stunning efficiency. We would steal a bus, either from a metro station or a school yard, and park it on a freeway overpass. We would then use metal cutters to cut a hole in the guard rail just big enough to push the bus through, and perch the bus on the edge of the overpass. We would then place barrels of gasoline and other combustible materiel's inside the bus. When a convoy would approach the overpass, we would push the bus over the edge with a stolen tow truck, and light the bus on fire. Disruption was fun.

We did this several times, with perfect results each time. I could not have been more proud of my team. Everything was going perfect, until one day. We had finished perching a stolen school bus on the rail and were about to fill it with explosives when we saw the convoy on the horizon. There was no way we could finish it time. Things went from bad to worse when the convoy took the nearest exit and came barreling towards us. They were no supply convoy, they were an attack convoy! We scrambled to jump on the back of the tow truck and make our escape. We sped back down onto the freeway and made our way east. There was a standing order to never return to base if we were being chased.

Without warning though, our engine died. The driver steered us off the road and we ran off into the brush in an attempt to evade the soldiers. The convoy halted next to our abandoned tow truck and several squads of soldiers poured out of the vehicles. The resistance fighter with the scoped hunting rifle picked off the gunners in the vehicles. The rest of us opened fire on the infantry. They advanced with a deadly quickness. My squad of resistance fighters could not hold them off. My men fell dead around me, until I was the last one left.

I considered running, but I knew I could not go far. Instead, I dropped a fresh magazine into my rifle and stood up. I felt a bullet penetrate my gut. Reeling with pain, I opened fire. If I was going to die here, I was going to take some of them with me. I felt more bullets tear through my torso. One hit my lower spine and I fell over backwards behind the berm I was using for cover. I could neither feel, nor move my legs, but my arms worked just fine. The pain was excruciating. I un-holstered my magnum and lifted it up.
They sent a soldier up to make sure I was dead. As soon as he appeared, I fired. After they saw him fall over dead, they sent up more. I managed to get a couple of them, but I was no real match. I can still remember the face of the man who killed me. He looked about twenty years old, no older than I was, and he carried a standard issue assault rifle. At least he made it quick. A round straight through my throat, rendering me lifeless. I didn't feel it though. It was almost as if I was dead before he pulled the trigger-but I saw and felt everything. I knew I was dead, but I could still see. Not through my own eyes, but outside. I could see my body just laying there, still warm. I could see the soldiers picking over my clothes and taking my ammo. Then things started to fade. I could only see the dark contrasts between light and dark. As I laid there in that in-between realm, I couldn't help but think about my life, and my death, and what it all meant. Was it worth it? Did my death even mean anything? My previous thoughts about martyrdom shrank to nothing when it finally hit me that I was dead. Why was I still thinking?! Then, everything went black.

August 30th, 2010, 07:40 PM
i wouls suggest the use of dialogue, to enliven the story, and not make it feel like a bland narration. Sorry for being harsh but that's how it is. I like the premise, but the presentation needs a bit of work. You could enliven the first scene in which ratiosn are being held out by adding the yelling, commands, and reactiosn of the poeple there.

August 30th, 2010, 10:52 PM
I definitely love the premise. It does seem to run pretty closely alongside "Red Dawn", though. So I would watch out and try to send it in a different direction from that.

I think this would be a great prologue to a story, but not so much for the first chapter. I would love to see what the other characters are like. Using nicknames for all of the resistance fighters is a great idea, because it opens up for some very colorful characters.

A suggestion on the subject of your characters: Remember that they would all come from different backgrounds, and none of them signed up to get invaded (unlike enlisted soldiers who all knew what they were getting into when they signed up for the military). So I would imagine that they are all coping with their situation that they were forced into in different ways (anger, humor, sorrow, loathing, and some even may be excited to leave their old life behind, looking for a new start).

It definitely needs a lot of work, but keep with it. I love this genre, and I hope to see more of it. I'll be looking for it. I'll try to send you some more feedback if you'd like, but unfortunately I have to get to starting my day here. Write on, brotha! It's got a s**t-ton of potential!

August 31st, 2010, 01:07 AM
yeah, this is the chapter that needs the most revision. Its also rather misleading as to the nature of the book, since it makes a genre jump in chapter 2. I rather mislabeled it though, cause in essence it is the prologue. I started this as a monologue, but as soon as I sat down to write it, it just kinda spilled out into something like an epic. Heres chapter 2 (or more accurately, chapter 1). I apologize in advance for any spelling mistakes or grammatical issues, I haven't had any time to sit down and edit it. Also, the first few "chapters" are really short, mostly cause I started writing this on facebook as "notes". I'm just calling them chapters for reference. Later chapters are closer to full length, I promise.

Chapter 2

Slowly I became aware of what was around me. I couldn't remember who I was, or where I came from. All I knew was that present reality. My feet were cold. I could make out dark shapes that were in sharp contrast to the blindingly white light around them. I tried to blink so I could block it out, but nothing happened. I started to panic as a single word floated through my consciousness: "paralyzed". In that state of panic I tried desperately to move, but it was to no avail. It was as if my entire existence had been reduced to a bodiless mind, doomed to float. I wanted to scream, but no words came out. Instead, all I heard was a strange beeping sound. Suddenly, my entire nonexistence seemed to come crashing down. It felt like an eternity that I was in that state, when feeling started rushing back to me. I smelled the faint scent of blood. I felt me fingers and my toes. They were both cold as ice, and felt wet. Was I alive? Then I tasted something reminiscent of sawdust.

I heard the sound of rushing water all around me, and the dark shapes began to transform into faces. I blinked. This time it worked. I suddenly became aware that there was something filling my mouth and throat. I heaved in through my nose and tried to cough it out. The same stuff that was in my mouth also filled my nose. My sense of panic grew. I started shaking violently trying to breath. My muscles ached like they hadn't moved in a thousand years. Finally, I caught a breath and hacked out the gel that had filled my mouth and nose. In that moment, I snapped back to reality.

I found myself sitting on the bottom of a stainless steel tub with multiple wires and tubes attached to me at various points. Above me were four figures dressed in blue medical scrubs. I heard them yell something to each other, and two of them armed with a large towel climbed into the tub and stood me up. I tried to speak, and ask them what was going on, but all that would come out sounded like gibberish. The other two figures helped them lift me out of the tub and set me down on a gurney. One reached for a syringe and injected something into my arm. I heard a woman's voice and I struggled to under stand what she was saying. Then it came to me: "Just relax. Everything is going to be fine." The last thing I saw before I slipped into a deep and heavy sleep were a pair of feminine eyes behind a medical mask.

I awoke in a hospital bed cold and alone. I looked around the room. There were no windows that I could see, and the room was lighted by a cold fluorescent light fixture. The walls were paneled with some sort of sterile looking plastic sheets bolted into place with stainless steel screws. The floor was covered with stark white square linoleum tiles just like you might find in any hospital. The room itself was square in shape and was no longer than fourteen feet across. There were two doors, one was metal with a single six inch pane of reinforced glass at eye level and painted white, and the other was a thin, solid wood sliding door. I assumed the metal door was the entrance since it was the only one with a lock on it. Next to me was a chrome metal stand with a lamp on it and a blue cup filled with water. Next to the metal door was a locked cupboard with a cleared counter on top. It was also painted white. The only other fixtures in the room were the electrical outlets. An immense fear overtook me. I had no idea where I was, or what I was doing there. All I had the horrifying memories of "waking up".

My concentration was broken however by a pair of voices coming from outside the door, a man and a woman's voice. The woman's voice I recognized immediately as the same voice that had comforted me earlier. The mans voice on the other hand I did not recognize.
The woman's voice spoke,

"Doctor, I think the procedure may have worked. He, I mean, "it" doesn't seem to remember much, but I did see something in its eyes that pointed to intelligence. I want to move forward with the tests."

"Sylvia, listen," responded the male's voice, "I cannot allow you to move forward simply because you have a hunch. That is bad science, and you know it. Besides, I don't know if we even have the proper funding to move forward."

"Doctor, please. Its not like I'm asking for much. I just want to talk to it. See if I get any sort of response. If within two weeks it shows no signs of intelligence, you can do to it whatever you please."

"Fine then. On one condition."

"And what would that be?"

"That I stay in the observation room whenever you are in there with it. And, you must keep an objective mind about that "thing" in there. Remember, its not really human"

"That's two, but fine. I'll be objective. Now give me the keys."

I heard a key go into a lock, and a moment later, the door swung open. In walked a short young woman wearing a white lab coat and blue medical scrubs. Her brunette hair was pulled back into a loose bun, and she wore a pair of black rimmed glasses. She smiled as she looked over at me, though I couldn't tell if she was smiling at me, or simply smiling because she got her way with the doctor. She was quite pretty to look at, though I didn't have much to compare her to. She walked over to the sliding door and took a swivel chair out from what appeared to be a bathroom. Moving quickly, she pulled the chair up next to me and sat down with a clipboard in her hand.

"Hello" She said cordially, "My name is Sylvia"

Thanks again for the feedback! Very much appreciated :)

August 31st, 2010, 01:59 AM
I really liked how the character woke up, having absolutely no idea where he was or what was going on, especially the second paragraph.

I heaved in through my nose and tried to cough it out. The same stuff that was in my mouth also filled my nose. My sense of panic grew. I started shaking violently trying to breath.

Your description of the room was kind of stale, in my opinion. It just listed off the aspects of the room. It brings a little more life to the description, and tells a little more about the character. Here's a n example:

The setting sun shone with an orange glow. The wood of the steps and deck were decrepit and rotting. They led to an old door hanging off of it's hinges. To the side of the door was an antique rocking chair covered in a thick layer of dust.


The setting sun painted the Victorian house with contrasting shades of orange and dark gray. I carefully placed a foot onto the first step leading up to the deck of the house. Like the rest of the deck, it seemed that a wrong move break through the rotting wood. I looked up to a door hanging off it's hinges, and over to antique rocking chair. The thick layer of dust led me to assume that it hadn't been touched in at least a decade.

It brings a little more atmosphere like this. You don't need to describe every item in the room if you set an atmosphere. How the character reacts and interacts with their environment helps the reader feel more like they are in the room than just reading about it.

September 1st, 2010, 07:19 AM
Thanks for the pointers, man. This is exactly the kind of critique I was hoping for at this point. When I started this project, I had been writing nothing but school essays on theology, philosophy, and Shakespeare so I'm kind of rusty on the finer points of writing fiction. Setting at atmosphere has always been a bit of a challenge for me, so I'm definitely going to keep it in mind as I continue writing this. Like I said, I'm sixteen chapters in right now, so I'm just gonna post it nice and slow so I don't flood this forum with my babbling.

thanks again!

-C.F. Ace

September 1st, 2010, 07:57 AM
No worries bro. Glad I could help. Feel free to give me a shout if you have any questions on anything. Honestly, besides "The Last Fight", I haven't written anything in years, so I'm still kind of rusty myself, but I'll give you whatever advice that I can. I'm digging where your story is going, and I look forward to reading more of it!

September 2nd, 2010, 12:48 AM
I suppose I'll dump the next couple chapters out. Like I said earlier though, this is a rough draft in the roughest sense of the word. I haven't even weeded out all the typos and grammatical errors. I would spend a good afternoon doing that, if I didn't have a job. Damn my responsibility...

Chapter 3

Sylvia stared quizzically into my eyes, as if she were looking for something. I tried to speak up and return her earlier greeting, but all I could manage to do was stutter out gibberish. She removed her glasses and continued to stare at me. At this point, I gave up trying to speak and tried to raise my hands. Anything to let her know that there was some form of intelligence in me. I managed to jerk my arm up, but it was hardly a coordinated effort.

"Fascinating," She whispered as she put her glasses back on, "You do seem to have the beginnings of motor skills. I wonder if you actually know what I'm saying." she sighed

I wracked by mind trying to remember a motion that I could use to acknowledge her. Suddenly, it hit me: a nod! Ever since I had woken up, all my memories had been scattered, or blocked. But now, things were starting to make sense. I convulsed my muscles in a final effort that culminated in a movement of my head. Sylvia cocked her head and stared deeper into my eyes.

"You do understand what I'm saying, don't you?"

I jerked my head again and locked my eyes onto hers. It was as if I was finally leaving that state of no control.

"lets run some tests, shall we?"

I nodded my head again, this time with a little more coordination. Sylvia smiled and rolled her chair over to the locked cabinet, producing a set of keys. After some fiddling, she pulled out a deck of flash cards and rolled back over to my bedside. She shuffled the deck and held up a card with a blue circle printed on it.

"Is the circle on the card blue?" she asked

I struggled for a moment. My mind was still clouded. Suddenly, a memory floated to the front of my mind. Blue was the color of the ocean. The ocean! Of course! I used to live near one of those. A series of memories came flooding back. All of them were mere facts about my past life though.

"Is the circle blue?" she asked again,

I nodded a yes

"Very good." she replied as she pulled out a card with a red circle printed on it, "Now, is the circle on this card green?"

I nodded a no. Sylvia smiled, and repeated this process over and over again, quizzing me on my knowledge of basic shapes, colors, and inanimate objects. Each card seemed to probe my mind, reminding me of some fact about my past life. A lawn mower reminded me of an old man I used to know, red reminded me of my first car, while a hair pin reminded me of my first kiss. Slowly, I was able to piece things together. Even bits of language began to form themselves into words that I could speak. I wanted to speak, but all I could do was sputter out vowel sounds. Finally, Sylvia finished the pile of flash cards and set them back on the counter

"The doctor was wrong." stated Sylvia, "You do have intelligence. There's no way you could not be intelligent. I think I just need to draw it out of you." She leaned in closer to my bed and looked directly at me. "Your eyes just have that spark that the other ones don't. Just give me a sign.?"

I looked directly back at her, never breaking eye contact. I had to speak. For the first time in recent memory, I knew that I came from somewhere. I knew that I used to own a red car. I knew that I used to live near an ocean. I knew that I used to have a life. A life beyond this stark white room, with things, people and places, and I wanted it back. I knew that if I ever wanted to truly live again, I would have to speak, and I would have to speak now, when it counted the most. I struggled to form the right words to say at first, but then, I had it. I opened my mouth and started to exhale, constricting the back of my throat.

"I-I-I am intelligent" I managed to croak out.

Sylvia dropped her clipboard in shock as her jaw fell nearer to the floor. The very act of speaking flooded more memories into my mind. Conversations I had once had with friends, family, and random strangers all came filing back. I finally knew who I was. My name was Blaze. Even though my memories were still just fragments, I knew who I was. All my past sentiments, the things that make us human, all were revealed to me in that moment.

"My God..." Sylvia trailed off,

"I am intelligent. And my name is Blaze."

Chapter 4

"You..." Sylvia's voice trailed off, "You speak?"

My mind raced. It felt like ages since I had actually carried on a full conversation with another human being. I tried my best to recall the proper customs for doing such a thing.

"I d-do" I replied shakily

"This is amazing!" Sylvia exclaimed, "The procedure actually worked. Your memories have successfully integrated with your brain!"

I struggled to come to a conclusion about what she said.

"B-but I was dead..." I protested, still trying to comprehend my current situation "I remember being shot"

The look of excitement on Sylvia's face faded away.

"You remember your death? That's fascinating. I thought they era-" Sylvia cut herself off mid sentence. "exactly how much do you remember?"

I was about to answer when the door burst open and a man wearing a blue oxford shirt, a tie, and a white lab coat burst into the room

"Sylvia! Get away from that thing!" ordered the man,

"Doctor Greene, he can talk. I think his memories are intact!" replied Sylvia with great excitement

"Sylvia," the doctor sighed, "It is not a 'he', its an 'it'. Personal pronouns are generally given to humans, and humans alone. We already went over this. But that is a moot point. The real issue is that I found out we were given the wrong profile. Furthermore, the one we were given is damaged and incomplete, and The Agency wants this specimen destroyed. I am ordering you to inject Subject Charlie-Six with cyanide immediately."

"But doctor, he, I mean, 'it' is showing green across the board. Its showing preliminary motor skills, advanced memory, and basic speech. I cannot kill it with a clear conscience."

"It is not a matter of ethics. This is a business decision pure and simple. If the agency finds out that we took the wrong profile, all our heads will roll, and you know it. Besides, we have no idea which profile we actually got. It could belong to anyone!"

Sylvia and Doctor Greene locked their eyes in fierce confrontation. Finally, Sylvia backed down.

"Fine." She replied, "I'll do it. But for the record, his blood is on your hands, Doctor."

"So be it. Now hurry it along. I have places to be."

Sylvia walked over to the cupboard and pulled out a small hypodermic needle and filled it with the deadly liquid. A moment of hesitation and deep contemplation followed. With her mind resolved, she then leaned over me and put her mouth next to my ear.

"You are too valuable to kill." She whispered, "So I am going to spare you. Don't make me regret it. Now no matter what happens, just know that everything will be okay"

"Are you quite finished?" Asked Doctor Greene,

"Actually, Doctor, I could use some help." She replied

"Fine." replied the doctor as he walked over to the hospital bed next to Sylvia, "Must I do everything myself?"

Right then, Sylvia swung the needle around and stabbed it into the doctors shoulder. Doctor Greene stumbled back and grabbed the counter for support, just before crumpling into a convulsing heap on the floor.

"You killed him!" I exclaimed, still trying to figure out what the hell was going on.

"Calm down," Replied Sylvia, "I just injected him with livestock sedatives. Now we have about two hours before he wakes up."

"To do what?" I asked,

"Escape." Replied Sylvia as she pulled a wheelchair out of the closet. She then pushed it next my bed and yanked the sheets off of the bed.

"You won't be able to walk for a while, so I need you to get into this chair." she explained as she pulled me into the wheel chair, "Your mind is still not fully synced with your body yet, so until that happens you are effectively a paraplegic. No matter what happens out there, it is imperative that you keep your mouth shut, and don't move. Are you understanding me?"

"Y-yes, I understand." I replied shakily

"Good, then lets go."

Sylvia gripped the handles and pushed me toward the door. As soon as we were out the door, I finally felt like I was going to be free, despite the fact that I still couldn't move my limbs. The two of us sped dow the hallway. On our left were doors that lead to rooms that were identical to the one I was kept in. On our right were windows overlooking a parking lot. For the the first time in recent memory, I could see the blue sky in all its glory. Sylvie had just halted us in front of the elevator and tapped the down button when an older bearded man dressed in red scrubs approached us.

"Sylvia, where are you taking that thing?" asked the man "All Subject Transfers must be approved by myself, or Doctor Greene, and all the rooms allotted to us have been filled."

"I'm taking him to the lower lab for testing. Doctor Greene asked me to." she replied calmly

"I don't recall approving that. I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to return this subject back to its room." replied the man in red scrubs "And I thought Doctor Greene would be more by the book in his dealings."

"Please, its really urgent." replied Sylvia, her composure beginning to waver

"Oh really? Sylvia, listen, I would like to trust you, but The Agency is going to be here in two days, and I have to have this place in top shape. Just tell Doctor Greene to submit the proper forms."

Sylvia stepped back and reached into her pocket.

"I'm sorry to hear that." replied Sylvia, striking a sultry pose "I really need to get the lab, like right now. Is there anything I can do to change your mind?"

The bearded man looked around nervously, his palms visibly beginning to sweat,

"Well, uh, you could give me that kiss you owe me from the last time I did you a favor."

Sylvia rolled her eyes, then smiled sarcastically.

"Fine then, come here. But you need to keep your eyes closed"

The man nodded, his bearded mouth hanging half open, and leaned forward with his eyes closed, finally closing his mouth into a pucker. As soon as he was close enough, Sylvia pulled a second needle full of horse tranquilizers out of her pocket and dug it into his thigh. He reeled with pain and fell to the floor in a twitching heap.

"You can take that kiss from my cold dead lips, you horny old bastard!" Sylvia exclaimed, pulling her hair back behind her ear. "Come on Blaze, we gotta get out of here. Security will find him in no time."

"H-how are w-we going to get out?" I asked, still trying to figure out how to speak clearly.

"We're going underground" she replied just as the elevator doors parted, "down to where they can't get us."