View Full Version : Hawk: Part 1- Genesis (First 18 pages of novel)

February 20th, 2014, 03:18 AM
(Looking for critique and improvements. Story is superhero fiction. Character's voice is supposed to sound like everyday speech and can sound immature or like not good writing. I promise you it mostly goes away later on. This is not my first story and I don't normally write in this manner. Suggestions would be welcomed.)

It all started when my parents brought me on a trip to some cliffs and buttes in Arizona. Well, it happened during a tour of a canyon, anyway.
Oh, before I continue, I'm Chrystopher Peregrine Harrier, I'm seventeen, and I don’t live in Arizona. I didn't really want to come on the trip, but my parents made me go. It wasn't too bad. On the drive to our first destination, I noticed an eagle flying over by our car. My hair blew into my face as I leaned out the window and squinted my eyes to get a better view of the bird. Something about it really attracted me and intrigued me.
“That’s a golden eagle, Chrys,” my mom said. “They’re rare. If you see one, it’s good luck.” She’s an ornithologist, a biologist who specifically studies birds, and she also studies mythology on the side, so she knows this stuff. I don’t know what my dad does, but I know he used to do things involving metalworking and stuff. As far as I know, he didn't want to come on the trip,either.
Anyway,where was I? Oh, yeah.
We saw many huge buttes (ha ha, go ahead and laugh) and even the Grand Canyon for a day or so. Then we got to another canyon in the northern part of the state in the middle of nowhere. We were walking around the edge of the canyon with a tour group. The guide was yakking away about the legends the Native Americans had for this area, and everything was scorching hot, but looked amazing. I was half paying attention and half admiring the view. Just when I noticed some kind of a bird flying around over the canyon near us, I kind of felt this weird daze come over me, and it felt like I was in a sleepy trance. Murmuring somehow to my parents that I needed to use the bathroom for a second, I went back on the trail a little bit and looked out at the bird after everyone was out of sight. I dropped my water and my stuff by where I stopped, and then dizziness came over me. My vision began to blur, and I felt weak, like getting up too fast. The next thing I knew, I was stumbling toward the cliff edge, and I tripped over the rail and fell over the side.
Oh, look at that, I’m falling, I thought stupidly as I yelled, dreading my imminent death through my mental fog.
There was a sound behind me like fabric rustling, and it felt like two ropes came out from my upper back and were strung tight.
Ropes?I thought, ceasing my yelling. I don’t have any ropes on my back. Or cloth.
Through my daze, I watched as the side of the steep canyon stopped approaching, and it seemed like I curved upward so that they went parallel to me and then backwards.
Am I flying? I wondered dumbly. It feels nice. I wonder if I’m dead…I smiled and spread my arms out, just gliding along with the breeze that rushed down the canyon.
Soon I landed on a high butte in the middle of the canyon and I came out of my stupor. I realized first that I was not dead. And then I realized that there was something behind me. I turned around.
Behind me were large brown feathered wings that looked like a hawk's or an eagle's wings but enlarged several times. They came from my back between my shoulder blades, and they looked as if they were on top of my shirt, although I could definitely feel that they were connected to my body.
Chrys...a voice said in my head. It was a man's voice that was a really deep bass. A double bass, even.
I yelped and turned my head and saw a small dead tree to my left. On it sat a golden eagle, but I didn't know how I knew that. Then I remembered my mom telling me about the one flying over our car in the beginning of the trip.
"Are you the one who just said my name?" I asked it, feeling a little silly for talking to a bird.
Yes,I did. I'm the only living thing next to you. Who else could have said it?
"Eagles don't talk," I answered nervously. “They shouldn't talk.”
And humans don't just sprout wings and fly, either, it replied.
"What do you want from me? Why are you talking to me?" I held my head in my hands. “Am I going crazy?”
The eagle shook a little and ruffled its feathers. You have been given a great gift. There is a threat brewing, and you must be ready for it.
"What do you mean?" I said, my head snapping up to look at the eagle. “I don't know what you're talking about. I just grew wings! For no reason! How am I supposed to even be ready for anything when I don't know what I'm supposed to be ready for? I’m so confused!"
I will mentor you, but this is all I can tell you now. Go back to your family and do not think too heavily on this. To hide your wings, just pull them close to your back, and they will disappear. Until another day, Chrys. It then spread its wings and flew off into the glaring sun, and I couldn't see it anymore. Sighing, I flew back to where I'd put my things down and did as the eagle said, and my wings disappeared, like I'd never grown them.
“Good, they’re gone,” I murmured to myself. “No more of that.”
Eventually I caught up with the group, and my parents never questioned what took me so long. I just mumbled some excuse, but they didn't say anything. I never forgot about the eagle for the rest of the summer, but I didn't grow my wings again after that. Not for a long while, at least. Quite frankly, I was willing to forget the whole thing and pass it off as a weird day dream.
So the rest of the summer was uneventful. Senior year came, my final year at Windark High, and I was in the same classes as Cora. Again.
Oh, I should explain. Cora's my best friend (kind of my only friend, actually), and she and I have been best friends since we were little.Every year we're in the exact same classes as each other. It's funny, really. She has brown hair and golden brown eyes similar to me, but her hair and eyes are lighter. She's very pretty. Well, I think so,anyway.
This year, though, weird things began happening. It was most noticeable in gym, of course. When physicals came around early on, I discovered that my weight had dropped from about 120 pounds to about 40 or so pounds. I hadn't noticed any change, and I wasn't emaciated. In fact, I looked more muscular and lean than before. My teacher who weighed me just murmured something about the scale being broken and didn't say anything to my parents.
A few days later we were doing the high jump, right? When my turn came, the bar was set at 3 1/2 feet, and I ran and leaped over it. Everyone's jaws dropped as I somehow launched myself probably six feet into the air, landing beyond the cushion and rolling into a somersault before getting onto my feet. I was as freaked out as they were as I walked back to the back of the line, eyes wide and staring at the ground.
"The hell is with that kid...?" I heard people murmur. “Is he just showing off?" Cora just gave me a puzzled expression as I passed her.
“How’d you do that out there with the high jump? Are you using some kind of steroids or something?” a big jock named Arle said in the locker room. Arle had a reputation among the seniors for being violent and prone to getting into fights, and it didn’t help that he’d been doing wrestling since he was a kid. He was a big guy who people said had issues with his family. Everyone knew to stay out of his way whether he came to school acting normal or brooding with a bruise on his face.
“I don’t know,” I replied carefully.
“C’mon, you can tell us,” others encouraged.
“Were you using some kind of strings?” one guy said.
“No, I wasn’t.”
“Then how’d ya do it?”
“I don’t know; really, I don’t,” I told them truthfully.
They were silent.
“Freak,”someone muttered.
Someone pushed me from behind and I went face-first into my locker.
“Man, if you won’t tell us, we’ll just have to beat it outta ya, right guys?” Arle said from behind me, and I couldn’t tell if he was serious or joking.
“Guys, just leave me alone,” I said.
I felt someone knee me in the side- hard. Other guys started kicking me, and I fell to the floor. The guys kicking me were laughing as I protected my face with my hands, while other boys were standing by. Then someone kicked me in the face, and I felt something wet coming from my nose.
“Leave…me… ALONE!” I yelled. In a blur I grabbed the next foot that was coming towards me and twisted it around and pushed it away from me. I whirled onto my feet and pushed Arle away, and he slammed into the opposite row of lockers with a BAM! and then fell to the floor,leaving a body-sized dent in the lockers. The others stopped beating me and stepped away with a look of fear. I hadn’t meant to push him that hard or react like that, but I glared at them as if I had so as to intimidate them. For the most part, it worked, and the boys backed away.
“Yo, man, we was just playin’. We didn’t mean no fightin’, bro. Chill,” another guy said. “Sorry ‘bout your nose.” Then they all hurriedly got their stuff and left. Arle and I were virtually alone, and I was stunned at what I had just done. I’d never been able to move like that before. It felt… good. But my thoughts drifted back to the present situation and stuffed the good feelings away.
I went over to Arle and offered him a hand. “You alright?”
He gripped my hand so hard that I thought he was going to crack my bones.
“You…you’re gonna pay…” he grunted, and he proceeded to punch me in the face harder than I’d expected. Then I found myself on the floor grappling with a guy who weighed much more than me, making it hard to pin him down. I’d never taken wrestling in my life unlike Arle who’d been doing it from childhood, so I had a serious disadvantage. Blindly, I kicked and punched him as he was doing the same to me, though his punches felt restrained somehow, and I strangely didn’t mind the pain even if he was punching quite hard. At one point I was able to get myself curled into a ball and kicked with both legs like a rabbit as strong as I could into his chest. I did it so hard that I launched him through the concrete wall that separated the locker room from the hallway. I heaved myself to my feet and put a hand to my nose to stop the bleeding, staring dumbly for a moment in shock at Arle’s body lying in the rubble of the wall.
“Arle!”I hurried out into the hallway just as the gym teacher hurried over with some of the other boys behind him. A cold wave of fear washed over me, and I knew I was going to be in big trouble.
“What did you do, Harrier?! Someone call an ambulance!” he shouted.
Arle surprised us all by struggling to his feet. “Naw, there’s no need for an ambulance. The wall was weak, das’ all,” he said shakily, holding one side of his head and stumbling towards me. “You put up a good fight, man. Help me to the nurse’s office,will ya? We’re both wrecks.” He laughed weakly, and I found myself laughing along with him as he put an arm over my shoulders. I found him to be less heavier than I’d thought, but then considering that I’d just kicked him through a concrete wall, I began to suspect that I was way stronger than I’d thought.
“You guys are going to be in some serious trouble, do you hear me, young men?” our teacher said.
“Coach, it’s fine,” Arle reassured him as we began to hobble towards the end of the hallway. The girls were all grouped together at the end of their hallway, eagerly trying to see what the fuss was all about.
“Chrys?!”Cora exclaimed as she saw me helping Arle. “Did you get into a fight? Your eye is turning purple! And you have a bloody nose!”
“Cora, I’ll be fine,” I said, walking past her with Arle.
“Oh no, I’m coming with you guys.” With that, she broke out of the group of girls, but she was stopped by the teacher.
“Let‘em go, Miss Kentroy,” he said, and she crossed her arms and huffed.
Inthe nurse’s office, the nurse gave me an ice pack and dabbed at the dried-up blood on my face, set Arle on one of the beds, and then got to work on bandaging his head.
“You’re the one who roughed this boy up?” she asked.
“I guess…” I replied sheepishly.
“You did a right good job of it,” she said crossly as she dabbed at the blood on the side of his head.
“I’m sorry, he started-”
“I don’t care who started it. Go back to class, young man. You’ll be fine, and so will this gentleman. Aside from the cut on his head and some bruises and a black eye, he’s practically unscathed. Just hope that you didn’t give him a concussion.”
I didn’t end up giving him a concussion after all, and I thought it was extremely strange to just get a detention for knocking down the wall in the locker room and getting into a fight.
“Chrys, are you alright? Is something bothering you?” Cora asked me later on the walk home from our bus.
“Yeah,I’m fine.”
“Okay…You scare me sometimes, Chrys. I’ve never heard of you being violent before…”
“Haha. Sorry, Cora. It was in self-defense, but you’re right. It’s not like me, and I’ll try not to do it again. Let’s talk about something else. Do you like ponies?”
She laughed.
When I got home, my parents had obviously gotten a call from school because my dad yelled at me for a good thirty minutes and grounded me for three weeks not for the fighting but for destroying school property while I was in a fight. Who’d have thought?
That night, I made a promise to myself that I had to be careful with my strength from now on. I couldn’t go around destroying everything or everyone with slight pushes. I definitely didn’t want to find out how strong I really was by hurting another person.
A few days later, in class, I got called out by a male administrator into the hallway.
“What is this about?” I asked as I closed the door.
“It’s about your fight with Mr. Ursid. I don’t know what went on in that fight between you and him, but make sure nothing happens like that again. You’re a good student, Mr. Harrier, and your record is clean. Make sure that nothing like that happens again. Do you understand?”
“Completely, sir.”
“Also, there have been… rumors about you doing steroids, Mr. Harrier.” The admin looked at me from head to toe. “You don’t look like you’re doing steroids, young man. Quite frankly, you look like a normal young adult for your age.”
Oh how appearances can be deceiving, I thought wryly. “Sir, with all due respect, I do not take steroids. I don’t know who said that to the administration, but they obviously don’t know me.”
“Well, we’ve searched your locker and have found no traces of any drugs,so I trust you, Mr. Harrier. All the same…” He held up an empty yellow cup with a white cap— the kind used in doctor’s offices for urine samples. “Would you come with me so we can administer a drug test?”
My mouth dropped wide open for a moment before I nodded, conceding, and went with the administrator.
“I can’t believe that they had me take a drug test!” I complained to Cora that afternoon on our walk home.
“Shouldn’t that be a violation of your rights or something?” she asked.
“I’ma student, so I have no rights that could be violated, even if I am a senior. I’m not eighteen yet, anyhow.” I kicked a rock down the street and it went flying into the air. I looked at Cora, and she didn’t seem to have noticed. “Besides,” I added, “I let them do it to me. No need for them to think something was up with me if I didn’t want them to do it…”
“Look,if they cause you trouble, you can handle it. You haven’t done anything like steroids or drugs. You aren’t like that. Don’t let them get to you. And definitely don’t get into anymore fights,”Cora advised.
“Yeah, okay Cora,” I said, looking at her and smiling.
That night, I stared at the ceiling in my room as I lay in my bed, thinking to myself.
I should keep a low profile at school from now on,I thought. But what else can I do besides fly and be strong that I should keep under wraps? I scratched my head. I guess that’s something I should figure out, right? My lids began to drop as my thoughts drifted left and right to different things before becoming incoherent, and I soon fell fast asleep. (Thinking can do that to you when you’re in a comfortable place like your bed.) And then I began to dream.
At first I saw the color of nothing. Then everything became lighter, and I saw the silhouette of an eagle.
Chrys…hear my voice…
Not you again, I groaned mentally. What do you want?
If you wish, I can help you with your other physical abilities, it said.
Other abilities? What other abilities?
I woke up with a gasp as the dream abruptly ended by the sound of tapping at my window pane. I jumped out of bed and pushed the curtains aside. There was just a tree branch blowing in the wind, and I gave a sigh and hung my head.
I do want to know about my abilities…I thought to myself. Ugh. I need to think. I gotta clear my head...Pushing my window open, I removed the screen lightly and set it aside as I spread my wings and hopped out the window. Carefully, I closed it so that a sliver was left for when I needed to open it to comeback. And then, I flew away into the night.
The breeze felt good on the skin of my arms and face and underneath my wings’ feathers, though I soon found myself wishing for a jacket in the night air. As I flew higher, I looked down at the streets below and marveled at how pretty the orange-lit streets were.
This is what an airplane sees…I thought. This is such a great feeling! I gotta do this more often.I let out a “Whoo!” as I swooped up and down through the air, riding on slow updrafts. I didn’t know where I was flying to until I saw a park at the edge of town that I hadn’t been to since I was a little boy. It hadn’t been used in a long time. I landed in the middle of the grassy field, dew staining my shoes and my jeans. My wings disappeared into my back, and then… I started to run. I ran to clear my head and ended up running faster than I’d ever run before. I literally streaked around the park for a long time, and by the time I realized I wasn’t getting tired, I stopped.
“Oh great, I can run super fast for a long time now, too?” I groaned. “When am I ever going to be normal?” I walked over to an old bench and sat down, my head in my hands.
I wish I could talk to someone about this… Argh… this is so frustrating! I shivered as cold settled in, and I self-consciously spread my wings around me to cover my bare arms. I was clearly exposing my secret to anyone passing by, but for the most part I really didn’t care since not even homeless people lived in the park. Everyone knew that they all lived in the main park located in the heart of Windark City. It was where the trash bins and the sympathetic people were.
Fora while, I watched the clouds go past the moon, and I began to notice that I could actually watch the wind move through the sky, and the idea of me having enhanced vision crossed my mind.
“No, no, no!” I said aloud, shaking my head. “I don’t want anything else. I want to be normal!” I hung my head.
I felt a loneliness descend like a heavy curtain upon me as I thought about being ‘normal.’ What was normal now, anyway? It seemed like it was to act like someone I’m not, someone weaker and more vulnerable. I knew I would have to conceal myself better when I was in gym class because that seemed to be where the abnormalities were surfacing, anyway. But people had already noticed, especially Cora. Sooner or later, I would have to tell her if she found out…somehow. I felt somewhat reassured that nothing could possibly happen that would force me to use my abilities or my wings in front of Cora,or anyone for that matter. But then if there was the possibility of someone like me growing wings, then wouldn’t there also be a possibility of something happening that involved me using them in an unlikely situation? I didn’t know. Maybe there was. But that was something I would need to avoid at all costs. I couldn’t risk exposing myself in public. I was beginning to feel and understand how different I was than other people. There was probably nobody else like me in the world with wings and abilities like mine.
I was totally alone.
As the moon was setting behind the trees, I stood up and stretched before doing a running take-off into the chilly air. I could see the ground below me in a vast amount of detail as well as the air currents, confirming my suspicion that my eyesight was also changing as well. For the moment, I took note of it and then put it out of my mind. I didn’t want thoughts of my emerging abnormalities in my head while I relaxed as I flew through the dark sky. I could see the skyscrapers of Windark City from a distance, with the Ferroavian Laboratories skyscraper towering above the rest and illuminated by the glow of the city around it. There was something sinister about it, despite that the company supposedly had a good reputation. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but there was an intuition inside of me that said to avoid that place no matter what the cost.
As I slipped back into my bedroom window and put the screen back, I almost got what I think was a feeling of claustrophobia. My room just suddenly felt very small and closed up. I hid my wings and opened my door, and the feeling went away. I got into my bed, turned off the lights, and promptly fell asleep.
Thus began a trend of me sneaking out of my window each night to fly as I began to feel pressured by my new responsibilities of obscuring any traces of my abilities that might surface in gym class. It really was hard when I would actually ‘run’ around the track and feel like I was going the same pace as someone walking, or when I had to pretend to be weak-armed when we would be in the weight room and I would feign effort. Arle often glanced my way and gave me a nod like he understood which baffled me to no end. Arle couldn’t understand what I was going through… could he?
My vision also frequently astounded me by changing so that everything was as if it was in ultra hi-def, with rich colors and textures that I’d never noticed before. And even on one day, I discovered to my deepening chagrin that my vision could zoom in and zoom out just like a camera lens. Great.
A week later, I woke up earlier than I usually did on a Saturday morning, which is strange because I always wake up around ten or so. That morning I woke up at six A.M., and I spent awhile in my bed listening to the pipes in my house and the creak of the wooden floor in the kitchen across the house as my parents shuffled and breathed about, having their breakfast. I sat bolt upright in my bed as I realized that I shouldn’t be able to hear those things. Then my parents began to talk, and I could hear them like they were nearby and yet in a different room.
My hearing… I thought to myself. It’s changed…!
“What are we going to do about Chrys?” I heard my mother say as I heard the scrape of a kitchen chair. “He hasn’t been acting like himself lately. I’ve often heard him opening and closing his window at night.”
“Well, it is around that time…” my father said.
“Do you think he’s going out every night?”
“… Does that mean… it worked?” my mother said quietly.
What worked? I thought.
“Most likely. You know how teenage boys are. They don’t tell their parents anything. I was the same way when I was Chrys’s age, always keeping secrets. He’s not going to tell us anytime soon.”
My mother sighed. “Griffon won’t be happy if he doesn’t hear any results from us.”
Griffon? Results?
“Honey, everything will be fine. Griffon will have some way of getting the results he wants if nothing happens…” my father said.
“Oh don’t mention that! I don’t want to think about what could happen to him…” She trailed off.
What would happen to who?
“Well, if everything did work, then he’ll be okay. Don’t worry. And Chrys is going to be alright. He’ll tell us in time,” said my father.
Do they know? I pondered rapidly. I haven’t done anything that would tip them off… How do they know?
“Have you heard anything from the other families?” my mother asked after a little pause.
“No.” They were silent for a moment before I heard the shuffling of feet and creaking of kitchen chairs. I guessed their conversation was over.
I lay back down in my bed, unable to understand what my parents were talking about. What were my parents talking about? What did they know? They couldn’t possibly know about my wings. And what was that my mother had mentioned about ‘the other families’ and them hiding secrets? The only people they knew were Cora’s parents and a few people they worked with. Other than that, my parents never had guests over and never went to parties. My dad did have a few friends from his work… I wasn’t sure about where he worked exactly; he’d never mentioned it, and my mother always avoided the subject when I’d asked, only saying that he was a smart man and that he had a good job.
Were they keeping things from me? I felt suspicion cloud my views of my parents. I fell back into a fitful, light sleep as those thoughts swirled in my head. One thought stood out plainly as I lost consciousness: I couldn’t trust them.
From then on, I tried to avoid my parents, which was somewhat easy as they weren’t often home and we weren’t really all that close, and my nightly flights grew longer and more broody. I started to really appreciate being solitary, but I did welcome my time with Cora on school days. She did notice my darkening moods, despite that I did try to act cheerful for her.
“I have some exciting news,” our teacher said a week or so later after I discovered my hearing abilities. “The whole senior class is going on a field trip to Ferroavian Laboratories next Monday… for free! They’re going to give us a tour of the whole building! Isn’t that exciting?”
The whole class cheered, but inside my stomach churned. I didn’t want to go there at all, remembering the feeling I’d had in my gut the first night I saw their skyscraper from the sky.
“I don’t want to go,” I murmured to Cora who was sitting next to me.
“Why not?”
“I don’t know. I just don’t want to go.”
“But it’ll be fun! C’mon, Chrys. Don’t be afraid! It’s the largest employer in Windark City, and there’s nothing to be afraid of! I want to work there someday maybe as an engineer. They’re top-notch!”
She sighed as the teacher began to pass out permission slips. “Chrys, nothing is wrong with Ferroavian Labs. If you don’t want to go, then don’t go.”
I nodded. “Good idea.”
As we exited the room at the end of class, I dropped my permission slip in the trash and felt a wave of relief come over me. I chatted contently with Cora on the walk home and spent the next couple of days in peace. Then, on the day before the field trip, my teacher called me over after class had ended.
“Your mother turned in your permission slip yesterday, so you’re all secured for the field trip,” she said.
A cold wave of fear washed over me. “But that’s impossible…”
“Well, I have a signed one from your mother, so… well… you’re going with us on the trip… Unless you’d rather stay here and copy pages from the dictionary…”
“I guess I’ll go,” I said reluctantly, even though internally I was struggling with fending off my fears. Although I’d said yes, I secretly would have preferred copying pages out of the dictionary over going to a place everything in my body said not to go to.
The day of the field trip, I gripped the edges of the bus seat all the way into the city until we got off the bus in the front of the Ferroavian Laboratories building. Something about the cold grey steel of the building unnerved me, and I clenched my hands nervously.
“Chrys, if you get really bad…” Cora sighed after looking at me, “you can hold my hand.”
“That’s okay…” I stopped, inhaled, and exhaled, and I felt my mood settle. “Let’s do this.”
“Single file!” our teacher called, and we walked into the grey building with a silent awe at how tall the building was. There were big, burly stony-faced guards there, standing all around inside and outside the building.
“Go through the metal detector,” one said in a gruff voice that I could have sworn almost sounded computerized. It was a grey rectangular arch that spanned the width and height of the main hallway. As I went through it, my hair stood up on its end and my head buzzed strangely. I stumbled a little bit and held my head.
"Are you alright, Chrys?" Cora asked.
"Y-yeah," I said, and stood up straight, flashing a half-hearted smile. “I'm fine, don't worry."
“Welcome to Ferroavian Laboratories!” a peppy, gray-uniformed, and well-endowed blond woman exclaimed loudly at the front of the students. She sounded almost computerized, too. “My name is Dolly, and I’ll be your tour guide today! We’re all so excited that you’re coming to visit us! Please follow me, and make sure that you don’t stray from the group. All set? Then here we go!”
We followed Dolly who led us through the lower levels of the building, explaining about the labs and the company itself, but I wasn't really listening. I guess I’m not really a person that can pay attention to tours. Everything felt odd, and I couldn't concentrate on what the guide was saying. I lost track of time, and everything became just a big blur. It almost felt like my sense of direction was knocked out.
We saw several rooms where they developed machines for the army and other rooms stuffed with computers committed to developing artificial intelligence programs. Cora was by my side the entire time, helping me when I stumbled and almost fell into a side of an aircraft hull and when I almost fell over the side of a railing on a walkway that would have made me plummet a few stories to the hard tile floors, unable to save myself in my deliriousness.
We all stopped for lunch in the cafeteria, and we had some weird meat mush stuff that they called OmniMush which they said was really good for you. It wasn’t exactly to my taste, but I did feel a little bit better. I glanced over and I saw Arle downing it by the mouthful.
“If they’re still going to be serving this stuff when I work here,” Cora whispered to me as she played with her food, “I think I’ll have to sneak out for lunch. This looks disgusting.”
I laughed weakly and kept eating. Somehow at the end I began to want more of it, but we had to move on. I was able to focus on the tour a little better, and we continued onward. Dolly was explaining about the contributions that Ferroavian Laboratories had made to the military when a voice interrupted her.
“And how are my visitors doing today?” a man said, walking up to Dolly and patting her shoulder carefully. He was tall and lean, with brown hair pulled back into a ponytail. While he was handsome, there was something unnerving about him. He smiled an odd smile at her. “That’s enough, Dolly.”
“Oh! Why, if it isn’t our CEO himself, Griffon Catharte!” she exclaimed.
My eyes widened. My parents mentioned a person named Griffon! I thought wildly.
He turned to me with glittering eyes, and I felt something in my head hurt. “Not feeling well?”
“Y-yes, sir…”
“You must be Harrier’s son, if I’m not mistaken. Am I right?”
“Yes, sir. Does my father work here?”
Catharte chuckled. “Your dad and I have worked together for many years. I would recognize his face even in a crowd, and you have your father’s face. So glad you could make it here today, Mr. Harrier.” He turned to Arle, nodding to him. “Mr. Ursid. Looking healthy, I see. And Miss Kentroy.” He greeted the rest of everyone in the class by their last names. “I look forward to you having future careers here at Ferroavian Labs.” He nodded to me. “I hope to see you again, Mr. Harrier. Feel better.” With that, he went past us and walked away. Once he was out of sight, my head stopped buzzing. There was something really off about that man, I decided. There had been a strange twinkle in his eyes when he told me to feel better. He seemed normal, but I got a feeling there was more underneath the surface. How could a man identify every person in a senior class without seeing them beforehand?
“Well, let’s continue on,” Dolly said with a wave of her hand, and we began to follow her once again through the linear gray hallways.
“What was that all about?” Cora murmured to me.
“I don’t know, but there’s something not right about him,” I replied. “My parents… mentioned him… in a conversation about me… I heard it. I don’t know how I relate to him, but I almost want to find out. How did he know about you?”
“My mother works here. She’s a receptionist for the upper level employees.”
“Do you know what your dad does?” she asked me.
“No. But he did say that they’ve worked together for years. What does that mean?”
“Beats me.”
As the tour wound down, I began to feel a pressure in my head, which continued even after we left the building. I felt better as we sat down on the bus and drove back to the school, and somehow Cora sitting next to me and talking to me made me feel reassured and calm. I was quietly thinking about Catharte and what he’d said, and my silence did not go unnoticed by Cora.
“Chrys, can I talk to you something?” she asked as we stepped off our regular bus that took us to our neighborhood.
My head began to throb somewhat. “Yeah, shoot. What is it?”
She looked at the fall leaves passing by that were turning shades of orange, red, and yellow. “You’ve been acting strange ever since we got back to school. You’re not changed in your personality, but there’s something strange about you now, like you’re now suddenly really athletic, and that whole thing on the field trip…”
“Hiking in Arizona does that to you, you know. You get strong and you sometimes get vertigo from looking down all those canyons,” I lied, beginning to sweat. I knew what she was getting at.
“I guess,” she admitted. “But then you went back to normal, even weaker than you’d ever been. You even had that fight a couple of weeks ago. I don’t understand it… And today, something on the field trip affected you, and only you. I don’t know why you were affected, but regardless… Did something happen… to you?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about…” I avoided her gaze.
“Something you aren’t telling me?”
“Cora, I don’t know.”
“Look at me, Chrys.”
I couldn’t refuse her that. I stopped and turned to her, gazing at her brown hair and light brown eyes filled with suspicion.
“You’re my friend, Chrys. Please don’t hide anything from me. You can tell me anything,” she pleaded.
“Cora, I…” I fumbled for words in her intense gaze. “Cora, I don’t mean to keep secrets from you… It’s just… something I can’t tell you… Please understand…”
“Oh. I see how it is,” she said coldly, turning away and beginning to walk quickly away from me.
From far away, I heard a constant thudding and felt tremors beneath my feet, and it was getting closer every second. I broke out in a cold sweat, my body sensing some sort of danger, and I heard the creaking of metal and the feel of something or someone really heavy running.
“Uh, Cora, we should really hurry home,” I told her nervously.
“Why? So you can hide more secrets from me?”
“N-no, I just think that we should be getting home; it’s getting late.”
“It’s only four in the afternoon!” She stopped and looked at me, annoyed. “What’s wrong with you, Chrys? You’ve been acting so strange lately! I want to know what’s going on! Tell me!”
“Later, okay? I promise! We just gotta move, like, right now!” I began to turn her around and push her forward with a little bit of my strength, but she struggled out of my grip and turned around to face me.
“Why?!” she yelled, stamping her foot. “This isn’t like you, Chrys! I thought we were friends!”
“We are, but…”
“But what? WHAT?”
Fear came into her face as she looked at something behind me. “C-Chrys…” She pointed with a trembling hand. I spun around to see an oncoming man who looked like he spent too much time at the gym, dressed in a grey suit that barely fit the size of his muscles, and he was barreling towards us at a speed too fast for humans. He raised his gigantic fist as he came close to us with a roar. As if I was in slow motion, I shed my backpack and threw it to the side, picked up Cora, pushed my wings out in less than an instant, and flew high up into a tree nearby. The man made a large spider web of cracks in the concrete where we had been standing a few seconds before and looked up at us high in the branches.
“You… did you… What…” Cora stuttered out, terrified. “What… are you?! And what is that thing?!”
“Whatever you do, stay in this tree,” I ordered, ignoring her questions before flying back down.
“CHRYS!” she screamed as I landed on the ground and hid my wings. I circled the man, waiting for him to move, and I distinctly picked up the sound of machinery whirring. He punched, and I ducked easily, thrusting a fist into his stomach and then yelling in pain as I felt my bones crack from impacting metal and staggered back, nursing my hand. I had to dodge as the man let out a barrage of lightning blows that I had a hard time avoiding until one landed in my stomach and made me fly into the air, and I managed to spread my wings to catch my fall. I hit the ground next to some dead tree limbs that had been put out for trash disposal, struggling for the air that had been knocked out of me through the pain. It hurt a lot worse than the punch, and I felt that my ribs had cracked.
Don’t tell me I’m nimble, too, I groaned mentally as I tried to recover from the air being knocked out of me. But aside from that, how was the man able to move that fast??
“Chrys, are you alright?!” Cora cried from her lofty perch, and my ears picked up the distinct clank of metal on asphalt as the man began to move towards me once more.
Thoughts raced in my mind. Metal footsteps… To be able to punch almost like a bullet… A metal stomach… The appearance of a burly, strong man…“It’s… an android…” I gasped in realization. Grasping a branch in my undamaged hand and feeling that it was firm and hard, I stood up and began to rush the android, hitting it with the branch harder and faster than it could react, and as I dodged blows I dealt them.
I am agile, I thought as I repeatedly hit the android from all sides.
I was rewarded when a large back panel of the android clanked to the ground, severely bent and damaged. I could see that the android’s shirt covered a hole where the panel had once been, and I smiled. Dodging behind the android, I leaped up and used all of my strength to thrust the branch into it, and sparks flew as the machine’s circuits exploded. It shook violently before collapsing on the ground, and I pulled the branch out. I zipped down the jumpsuit and saw a switch labeled “ON/OFF,” and I flipped it to off to stop the electricity. Then I dropped the stick, flew up into the tree, and silently helped Cora into my arms. I landed as softly as I could manage onto the pavement, and she jumped out of my arms as I hid my wings.
“Chrys… I…” she began softly. “Is this what you were hiding? Is this your secret?”
I glanced down at the asphalt. “…Yeah. This is what I was hiding. I wasn’t always this way. Cora…” I looked at her pleadingly. “Please… tell me what you think.”
She paused for a moment, staring at me. Then she stepped forward and hugged me tightly for a long time, and my heart beat fast.
“I was more afraid of what the robot would do to you than I am afraid of you,” she whispered, “and I am not afraid of you at all.”
I hugged her back. “I was afraid of something happening to you.”
She let me go and went over to the android, tugging back the open jumpsuit. “Chrys, look at this,” she said, pointing to a severely beaten lower back panel. I came over and looked where she pointed.
A label embossed into the metal said Ferroavian Laboratories.
“This is strange,” I mused. “Why would Ferroavian Labs make an android and send it after us? They just specialize in making machinery for the army and artificial intelligence…”
“We should get this out of sight,” Cora advised, “before we decide what to do with it and before anyone sees it.”
“Let’s go to my house so we can hide it there for now, and I can tell you about my secret in private,” I replied. Picking up the android with some difficulty and with Cora carrying my backpack, we made our way swiftly to my house, which was a street away, without being detected. I stored the android in the depths of my basement and then went back upstairs to where Cora was waiting.
“Would you like a snack?” I offered.
“No thanks.” She sat in a kitchen chair, looking squarely at me. “Can you tell me now?”
“What is it that you wish to know?” I sat down in the chair opposite her.
“Everything, and from the beginning.”
So I told her of the trip to Arizona and the eagle, how I fell while in a trance and spread my wings to fly for the first time. I told her about my weight, how I had fought with Arle and kicked him through the wall, how I had slowly discovered the different abilities I had, and how my parents seemed to know more than they let on.
“Hey, is your hand okay? I heard a crack when you punched that thing’s stomach,” Cora said when I’d finished.
I’d forgotten about that, mainly because right after I stopped fighting, the pain ceased in both my hand and my ribs.
“I feel fine now,” I replied, moving my fingers on my right hand.
“You don’t think you have fast healing, too, do you?”
I’d never even considered it. “Great, another thing that’s not normal about me,” I groaned.
“It’s not that bad, Chrys.”
“If you say so.”
We were quiet for a moment before Cora spoke up.
“Maybe it was after you,” Cora said.
“What was? The android?”
“Yeah. Do you think it knew about you?”
“No. It’s strange… I wonder if it somehow got out and then came after us or it was sent out. But what was its purpose? And how did it single us out, and why?”
“We might never know.”
The both of us were silent until I cleared my throat. “Cora… you’re the only one who knows about my… my wings…,” I said quietly. “Please don’t tell anyone, not even my parents. Even they don’t know, hopefully.”
She smiled kindly. “Of course. It’ll be our secret. Just tell me if something happens to you.”
I knew I had Cora’s complete trust, and I was in high spirits until school the next day, when a few people in our class were missing. Our teacher walked in with a grave face and looked at us sadly.
“Everyone, I have horrible news… Some of your classmates… died yesterday.”
There was a shock that rippled through the classroom, and I looked at Cora sitting next to me with a raised eyebrow.
“They were…beaten to death, it seems, by a gang who caused a lot of damage to their bodies… Metal objects seem to have been used to… to beat them to death. Other seniors have died from other classes and schools…”
My mind began to whirl.
Metal. Just like the android.
There were more androids. And they were attacking people. No, they were attacking senior students in high school.
They were looking for someone and trying to kill them.
They were looking for me.

(note: the writing style for this novel does not include chapters. It was hard to find a good place to excerpt because anything past this point really rolls on without a good stopping place until 30 pages later.)

February 21st, 2014, 03:56 AM
Wow, at first take, in the rough it's like a wild cross between The Stepford Wives and some Sci-Fi genetics thriller. You've setup the protagonist as an unsure, reluctantly involved, emerging savior(?) [which is good], and the villain as a dark/secretive/malevolent corporate entity (the essence of greed and selfishness in many minds). You haven't yet let on whether the parents fit in as witting or unwitting co-conspirators — but you've introduced the possibility, which is good drama (dangle the reader by a thread, but maybe a little more subtly). You've also included the damsel :-) who might turn out to be more than she seems, or just representative of what's right with the world. Oh yes, and even a possible ally in Arle, if I'm not reading too much into your storyline. Kind of text book ;-)

There are scattered bits of triteness, I think are over the top. Also, you might think harder about structure. If you don't give the reader a chance to pause every so often (keeping them hanging), they might just give up. You should be aware that writers like Robin Cook (Coma), got whole books out of much less.

One can get into the flight (no pun intended) of imagination, even in the rough of a preliminary writing, so I'd say you're on track. That is to say, with polishing, and good editing advice, you've got an excellent plot going.

There are many better storytelling and grammar specialists on this forum, so I'll leave detailed suggestions to them. I just wanted to let you know, you've got the ring of an emerging fiction writer, with a wild imagination.

Hang in there,

February 21st, 2014, 06:13 AM
Wow. I've never seen/read the Stepford Wives but I've read the summary. I didn't even consider that. The only thing I can think of pertaining to that would be Dolly. Dolly was kind of a cross between a Barbie doll and a trophy wife, both objectification (literally and figuratively) of women- her name is an obvious pointer to these things. I also thought of Dolly the first cloned sheep when I thought about her character, as well as Dolly Parton and her own well-endowedness.
This novel is supposed to be in the superhero fiction genre, so if something seems trite, I'm certainly not surprised. It's impossible to avoid this no matter how hard I've tried (and believe me I am acutely aware. I hate sounding trite). I know this is a large post, but if you (and other readers) could pick out a few of the trite parts I will certainly see what I can do. If it's the way that he narrates, however, it's because it's supposed to be like he's talking and not just narrating the story. I read a superhero fiction book where the narrator also speaks similarly like this as well (Dull Boy by Sarah Cross), but I think that he lost this somewhat early on as the story has progressed beyond what I've posted here from maturing and becoming older. With his own literary voice, it's more informal and is really more telling than showing (which I tend to have problems with) since he is not a proficiently eloquent speaker/writer. It's also supposed to reflect how he's younger and a typical boy at heart with a regular guy's speech patterns (for the most part).
I think that if/when this gets edited I can break the text up a bit. Right now I'm not sure this is possible as I'm biased towards thinking my work is perfect like it is. I'd need a good editor's help to assist me with this, but that's not what I'm going for right now. :)
And what can I say? It's hard but really gratifying to go slightly textbook with a superhero story. ;) But it's also very hard to not go by the book exactly, and staying away from the textbook is what I've tried to do here.
Your response literally made me squeal for like 5 minutes. Thank you. It really means a lot.