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Nevermore
February 8th, 2012, 02:55 AM
For those of you currently reading the Life and Death of Skylar Parish, I have to apologize for taking so long to get Chapter 2 up. I will get it up by the end of the week, even if it (metaphorically) kills me. In the meantime, this is a story I've been working on for Writers Club at school, part of a series of anthologies set on earth, surrounding the development of unique 'rift' technology, whcih centers around the ability to open portals between time and space.




The Lights of Paris





The curiouse saga of Cheryl Pascal and Nathaniel Clemenceau




Alec Sorensen















Chapter 1: No One Special







“Mirror, mirror, what do you see?” Valentina asked the Mirror eagerly. The Mirror responded simply, “All that there is to be seen.”





-A conversation between friends




Cheryl sniffed. She hated these social parties. All the excess courtesy seemed to make the room stuffy. So what if her father was some big wig? That didn’t mean she had to come along, like some preppy dog to be put on display at a show. She kicked a refreshment stand in frustration, though kept a cheerful smile on her face for the sake of the elegantly dressed party guests. Everything boiled down to those stupid rifts. They had made her father famous, and turned her life into a gilded cage. She sighed quietly. Even now, she was stuck following around her father, shadowed by his reputation and her own body guards. Turning around in a huff, mind set solely on her frustration, she walked straight into someone. She stumbled backwards in surprise, saying in an annoyed voice. “Can’t you watch where you’re-” Cheryll broke off, looking with surprise at the person she had bumped into.


She didn’t recognize him, which was odd, because everyone at the party was of some lofty level of fame. She had pegged him at about 19, around her age, with windswept blond hair that was braided in the back into a long and elegant ponytail, the golden locks framed by a pair of emerald earrings. He wore a vest of black and green over a collared white shirt, crumpled casually, with a pair of neatly pressed black dress pants. But the thing that grabbed her attention the most were his eyes. A deep, dazzling shade of emerald green. Something about them twinkled with laughter, and stood him apart from the rest of the prim and dull scientists and ambassadors. He smiled, inclining his head courteously. “My bad, miss.”

Something about his politeness was much more casual and natural than the rehearsed language of the rest of the parties guests. Despite herself, Cheryl found herself blushing. She was immediately torn between hitting the man, or asking him out. But before she could make a decision, one of her father’s goons immediately appeared at her shoulder, as if summoned from thin air. “This man bothering you, ma’am?” He asked gruffly.

Cheryl’s expression immediately turned dangerous. Those stupid body guards were the insult to her eternal injury, the greatest bane of her dressed up existence as daughter to the Governor of Lumiere. The fat headed goons were perpetually hovering by her shoulder, intercepting practically anyone she had contact with.

She turned around, hissing in anger, “No! Go away!” The guard bowed stiffly, retreating to the far end of the room with a curiously blank expression. Just like robots, she thought. Cheryl briefly wondered if they would rust if she poured water on them.

“Your guards?” A pleasant voice said from behind her. She turned around in surprise to see the green-eyed man, still smiling gently. “Are you sure they’re not robots?” He asked.

Cheryl stifled a giggle. “Not quite. My refrigerator has more expressions than them. And Kristen Stewart, for that matter.” The green-eyed man burst out laughing, holding out his hand. “I like you already.” Cheryl shook his hand, smiling sincerely as she said. “I’m Cheryl. Cheryl Pascal” The man grinned, “A pleasure to meet you, Ms. Pascal.“ Suddenly, a loud voice carried over from behind Cheryl.

“Hey Cheryl! How’s it going?”

Cheryl sighed with exasperation, recognizing the voice. Not him again. She turned around reluctantly. A young man had swaggered forward, eyes fixed on Cheryl. He ran a hand through his slicked back, dirty blond hair, eying the green-eyed stranger with distaste.

“Hi Anthony.” Cheryl said, the venom in her tone overriding the pleasance of her words. Anthony Renoit was the son of a senator who worked closely with her father, and, unfortunately, had none of the good character, good looks, or charisma his parents were endowed with. To make matters worse, she had to endure him every time her father had a meeting with Mr. Renoit. Cheryl gave Anthony an ugly look as he said obnoxiously to the green-eyed man, “Who’s this guy?”

Cheryl was about to answer, when the green-eyed man stepped forward, waving his hand modestly. “I’m no one special. Just a humble music-box maker.” Rummaging through his pocket, he commented absentmindedly, “I don’t suppose you’d like to buy one?” He pulled out a small brown object the size of a matchbox, and clicked it open. At that moment, Cheryl forgot the anger she had directed at Anthony. She even forgot the party. The music that tinkled out of the box was so lovely she could hardly speak. The gentle tune lingered in the air for a moment, before the green-eyed man snapped the box closed. Anthony, however, simply sniffed, taking the box from the man’s hands and looking at it. After a moment, he immediately opened his palm and the intricate box dropped to the tiled floor with a nasty crack. “Oops.” He sneered.

Cheryl felt her blood boil with rage. She moved forward to crack the pig-headed idiot’s head open like an egg, but before she could lay a hand on Anthony, the green-eyed man placed an arm between them. “Let’s not resort to violence, Cheryl.” Anthony simply leered at the green-eyed man, knocking his hand away and grabbing Cheryls arm. “There’s no need to hand around with this trash, Cheryl. Let’s go find some privacy.” Cheryl immediately slapped him across the face, apoplectic with anger as Anthony toppled to the floor. Her mind went blank as fury swept over her. “I’d rather saw my arm off with a rusted hatchet than get ‘private’ with you!” She yelled. The nearby guests giggled, though the green-eyed man simply looked on in interest. Cheryl looked at him out of the corner of her eye with curiosity. He had barely reacted to the music box breaking, and had simply shown a bit of lazy, amiable interest as the incident unfolded.

Suddenly, Anthony leapt to his feet, face flushed with embarrassment. He lunged forward, grabbing Cheryl’s arm with a strong, vice-like grip. Cheryl flinched with surprise. “What the hell are you doing?” For once, Cheryl was actually thankful for having body guards around. Her heart quickly sank when she remembered they were at the other end of the ball room. She cursed herself, remembering she had been the one that sent them there in the first place. Anthony snarled at her, “Just because your father is some big shot doesn’t mean I’m going to treat you like some queen.” Cheryl attempted to pull away in disgust, feeling the creeps hot breath on her face. Panic twitched inside her as she willed her body guards to notice.

But as Anthony pulled back his fist, the green-eyed man stepped forward calmly, arm snaking forward and grabbing Anthony’s hand. He gave a sharp twist and Cheryl heard an audible snap emanate from her attackers wrist. Anthony fell backwards as the green-eyed man gently pulled Cheryl away. The obnoxious young man stared at his limp wrist for a second, pure shock adorning his face, before suddenly crying out in agony. The green-eyed man turned to face Cheryl as if nothing happened, saying chattily. “The names Nathaniel by the way. “ Cheryl’s lips were parted in an O of surprise while Nathaniel went on amiably, his words not quite reaching her. As she slowly started to get over the shock of seeing Anthony floored, Anthony’s own body guards smashed into her savior from out of nowhere. As he was buried beneath a pile of suit-bearing bodies, a hand poked out, waving cheerfully while Nathaniel’s voice called. “Let’s get some tea later!” He gave her a friendly salute as the guards dragged him out the ballroom, leaving Cheryl Pascal incredibly shocked, moderately in love, and extremely, extremely confused.

toddm
February 11th, 2012, 10:20 PM
I liked this, great opening chapter - establishes the overall idea and introduces interesting characters and an engaging relationship to keep things going. Your writing style is easy to read while not being simplistic.

The tone reminds me of the steampunk/alt history novel "Leviathan"

---todd

credgar
February 13th, 2012, 04:42 AM
Well written. As mentioned above, your style is very easy to read. Characters are well established, even if they do follow convention they are well written and I found myself caring about them. Looking forward to the next excerpt.

SeaBee1
February 13th, 2012, 04:27 PM
My, my! Excellent! I like Nathaniel... Cheryl, not so sure, but I think I could...

Something minor... this should be fixed... ' Even now, she was stuck following around her father, shadowed by his reputation...', as it gives me the impression she is walking around him in circles. Perhaps, 'following her father around...' would work better? Just a suggestion...

Your writing style is very appealing here, the description is handled well, not overdone in any way. Bravo!

Best regards

CB

FrameOfDust
February 14th, 2012, 03:14 AM
I am new at this forum sight and I must say, I am learning to search out things you have written. They are quite good. As far as a critique of this, I only felt that it was a little to much to soon, and that I would have like more information somehow. I suppose I felt, thought it was excellently done, that it lacked some uniqueness that it could have had by perhaps going at a slower pace. I don't know if I am making sense or not, but there it is. All in all, ecxellent work, though.