Blade of Innocence Chapter 1


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  1. #1

    Blade of Innocence Chapter 1

    As the sun crept out from behind the mountains in the early hours of the morning, the world exploded with life. I huffed as my backpack straps dug into my shoulders, the dull ache stretching across my back. Right then, I didn’t care how nice this sunrise is. If it was lighter outside maybe I could actually see what was going on.
    A lone cardinal began to sing a tune and soon, an entire chorus of songbirds orchestrated a beautiful song, dancing with life. Shut up! I couldn’t hear anything with all that racket.I paused for a moment, listening to the cardinal warble, but promptly snapped back to the task at hand. See? This is why I wished it was later in the day. Maybe if it wasn’t so beautiful, I’d be able to focus on my mission.
    The sun changed from black, to periwinkle, to a vibrant orange that led to a myriad of colors painted across the dawn sky, as if painted by an artist, each brushstroke deliberate and meaningful. Anyone caught outside at this time of morning would stop and watch the world come alive. Anyone would stop and take it all in. I didn’t have time for that. As much as I would’ve liked to sit down and watch the sky change, there simply wasn’t time.

    I needed to focus completely on the girl that I had been watching for weeks. I crouched in the deep bushes as I watched her press her body flat against the tan stucco house in a weak effort to hide herself. Just around the corner of where she hid, a gruff looking man stumbled around in a daze. His beard was unkept and his hair was unruly and greasy. It was obvious that he worked outside for a living, because his dark, leathery skin seemed displaced again his light hair. He stumbled inside, cursing and mumbling under his breath the whole way. Even from several yards away, I could hear her rapid breathing. She squeezed her eyes shut, as if doing so would remove her from the danger she was in. As she heard him grumble, she flattened herself against the house.

    The house had once been sightly, but poor maintenance throughout the years made it one of the shabbiest houses for miles. The sides of the house were sun-stained and faded, with spider webs and other creatures’ nests littering the corners. The patio- once a rich, deep mahogany brown- was faded and broken down. The railing was broken in some places and splintered wood spilling onto the yellowing, spotted lawn.

    “Lilly!” the mans angry voice bellowed from the ragged screen door. I swallowed as a lump began to form in my throat. I knew this situation all too well. For some who drank their sorrows away, it was just too common that beating their kids followed. I watched as she flinched and slid along the side of the house in the opposite direction. After a few moments of silence, she sprang forward and sprinted across the dingey yard. Her long black hair streamed out behind her, her arms pumping hard, as if they would increase her speed. She dashed into the barn. I placed my binoculars in my bag and slung it over my shoulder. Once I knew the coast was clear, I sprinted across the yard into the barn. It was broken down, much like everything else on the property, and a thick layer of dust and cobwebs told me no animal had lived there for ages. I looked around, completely lost as to where she had gone. I scratched my head in wonderment until I noticed a smudge in the dust. Ordinarily, it wouldn’t mean a thing, but those tiny smudges led up the wall and stopped at the loft. It was easy enough to soundlessly climb up, using the smudges as a guide as to where to place my hands and feet. I popped my head into the loft and was taken aback.

    Unlike the rest of the barn, not even a speck of dust settled. In the corner sat a gathering of old straw and hay with a blanket tossed over it, serving as a makeshift bed. I shuddered as I saw some mold peek out from the blanket. Lilly sat in the opposite corner, sitting cross legged. The bags under her eyes begged for a full night’s sleep and her jet black hair fell in front of her eyes. She crafted a quick bun on top of her head and picked up an old, greyish rag. I shuddered as she gestured to press it against a cut on her hand. That’s a good way to get it infected. She had just pressed it to her hand when the doors of the barn swung wide open. At the first sound, I leaped into the loft and scrambled to Lilly, covering her mouth, then wrapping an arm around her waist to keep her from moving. She clawed at my hand and attempted to pull away from me, but I held her tightly against my chest. For someone of such slim stature, she was surprisingly strong.
    “Lilly!” the man barked again. She froze at the sound of his voice, her body beginning to quiver in terror. I heard a few things crash around: a bucket and something made of wood. After a few more moments of the man mumbling, the door clattered shut once again.
    My lungs pleaded for air and it was then that I realized that I had been holding my breath. I took a deep breath of air and moved, with Lilly in tow, to peer over the edge of the loft to make sure that he had left.
    Turning my focus back to Lilly, I said, “I’m not here to hurt you. I’ve seen what he does to you. I want to get you out of here.” My lips brushed against her ear and her hair, somewhat of a mess, tickled my face. But at least she had stopped struggling.
    “Now, I’m going to take my hand from your mouth. If you scream, you’re father is going to hear you and I really don’t want to deal with that, okay?” I paused for a moment and felt her nod her head. I slowly removed my hand from her face, and she spun around to look at me.
    “What do you want from me?” She asked, her voice barely louder than a hoarse whisper.
    “I just want to get you out of here.”
    “How do I know for sure?”
    I shrugged. “Look, if I was gonna do something to you, I would’ve done it by now. I’ve been watching you for a while. I really just want to get you away from here.”
    “Why?”
    “I just… want to help you. I hate seeing people hurt people who can’t do anything to fight back. Don’t you want to get out?”
    She paused and eyed me suspiciously. She looked me up and down before opening her mouth to speak. “Are you…” She paused for a moment before speaking again, this time more quietly. “Are you like me?”
    She knew. Of course she did. I sighed, running my hands through my hair. “Yeah. I mean, I was. My father, he-he was… he was like yours.” I tried to swallow the lump in my throat once again, but it stayed. I willed myself not to let the lump rise, not to allow the tears that pricked my eyes to escape. Instead, I redirected her focus back to the task at hand.
    “I got out. I want to get you out, too. Can you trust me?”
    “Trust you?” She said slowly, like the words were unfamiliar rolling off of her tongue. She obviously didn’t trust anyone and the notion of someone wanting to help her was unfamiliar and mysterious.
    “Yes. trust me.”
    Her eyes narrowed as she examined me from head to toe. She took a step back before speaking.
    “You’re really like me?”
    I nodded. “For three years.” I cleared my throat and pulled up the hem of shirt and turned around, showing her a scar that spread across my lower back, scattered about like shrapnel. It had been a long time since it had stopped hurting; in fact, if it weren’t for the raised, red tissue that took place of each wound, my back may have looked relatively normal. My stomach turned over as her eyes lowered to my back and I suddenly felt the urge to drop my shirt from my hands, to cover it up. It was just another reminder that I was ruined, both physically and emotionally. I swallowed once more before explaining, my voice slightly shaking. “This happened the day before I left. I… I wasn’t paying attention.”
    She reached out and grazed the scars lightly, sending a shiver up my back. Her touch was surprisingly gentle, yet her very contact with my back set an electrical tingle all the way up to my ears. Once she pulled away, I turned around and studied her. She chewed on her bottom lip as her brilliant green eyes darted back and forth, from me, to the ground, to the surrounding walls. As she looked up, a thin stream of sunshine snuck through the wood and fell upon her eyes, revealing shining gold flecks that surrounded her pupil.
    “I’ll go.”
    “Really?” I exclaimed, thrilled that she had agreed. I mean, I usually was able to convince people to come with me, but it was never this easy. There was a reason that I was always sent on recruitment missions- I was persuasive. But not so persuasive that I could convince a girl like her to come with me in one conversation.
    “Yes.” She nodded, as if to reassure herself that she was making the right decision.
    She looked around, inhaling sharply. Wringing her hands together, she shoved her hair out of her eyes and looked at me, her eyes wide with fear. I searched her face for a moment, looking for signs that she would change her mind, but there was none. As I studied her, her nervousness transitioned to determination, her eyebrows furrowed and her jaw tightening. She was determined to leave.
    “Okay.” I nodded and opened my mouth to speak but she began to speak.
    “Let’s go!” She began to grab a few things, but I grabbed her arm.
    “Not now. Tonight. We need a plan. I’ll come to get you at midnight. That will give me time to get everything ready. It’s a long walk to where we are going, and I need to get supplies, make arrangements. ”
    She nodded silently. “I just want to get out of here.” Her voice was hardly above a whisper, but I heard her loud and clear.
    “You’ll be out before the night is over.” I glanced at her again, this time remembering the blood smeared on her forehead. Perhaps redirecting her focus would help.
    “Oh!” I said, sliding my backpack off of my back. “Let me take care of your head.”
    “No,” she breathed, waving me away. “I’m fine.”
    “You’re not fine. Head injuries can be dangerous and you’ve already lost a lot of blood.”
    She consented absent-mindedly. I pulled a compact first aid kit out of my backpack, pulling out antiseptic and bandages. Some strands of hair fell out of her bun around her forehead and as I tucked it behind her ear, I noticed how incredibly soft it was.
    She was silent while I cleaned the wound, only making a sound when I scrubbed the wound a little too hard. When I had cleaned the blood off, I reached for a bandage, but she grabbed my hand.
    “Don’t put the bandage on.” She said as she pulled my hand away.
    “Aiden, he’ll know someone helped me. It’ll only make him angrier.”
    “Your father?”
    “He’s not my father. Not really. He hates me.” Her shoulders dropped and she bowed her head. For a moment, I saw her nose crinkle and her mouth twist into an expression of pure loathing. Then she raised her head to look at me, completely defeated. I saw her eyes glisten and I worried she may cry. “I guess the feeling is mutual.”
    I knew how she felt. The anger, the hatred,, because I once was her, constantly afraid. But someone to agree with her was not what she needed. She needed someone who would show her that not all people are like Aiden. She needed to get out.
    “Well, that’s the best I can do for now. Once we hit the road, I can bandage that so it doesn’t get infected. You’ll never have to see him again.” I promised.
    I slung my backpack over my shoulder with a heave, then dug into my vest pocket and retrieved a cell phone. I held it out for her to take, but she only looked at it blankly.
    “Take it. In case you need to reach me before tonight. I’m speed dial Number 2.”
    She nodded and took it, her hands an icy cold.
    “I’ll see you soon.” I said, slinging my backpack over my shoulder and turning away from her.
    “Wait.” She murmured before I could take a step. I turned back around to face her. “I don’t even know your name.”
    I smiled at her. “My name is Jason.”
    “That’s all? That’s all you’ll tell me?” She asked.
    “All in good time.”


    People think I'm crazy. But I think of myself as normal with a twist of Awesome!Hidden Content

  2. #2
    Beta Reader Princesisto's Avatar
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    It is a beautiful opening with literary descriptions.

    Should be "If it were lighter . . . " because this is a contrary-to-fact subjunctive. For the same reason, "I wished it were later" and "Maybe if it weren't so beautiful . . . ."

    Beautiful description of the avian chorus and the colourful sky.

    Sunshine sneaking through the woods: beautiful.

    Should be "I worried that she might cry."

    It is a well-done first Chapter. It makes me want to continue reading because there are so many bits and pieces dangling there that I want to understand. This is a rescue that is delayed: will it happen? Will Jason have to fight the girl's guardian? Who is he really and what is he recruiting the girl for?

    We get some idea of the characterisation of these two characters, Jason's and her motivations, how they will interrelate. That also motivates us to read more.

    The only place that this falls down is setting: where is this? When is this? This is not a total fantasy: there are cellphones here, first aid kits, etc.

    Also, how are Jason and the girl similar: why is the girl being held prisoner, etc? We need a little more context so the reader doesn't go "Oh come on!" and turn off.

    However you have a talent for writing and can construct beautiful, literary passages. Carry on and make a good clear story of this and I think it will work well.

  3. #3
    I'd like to also praise your great descriptions- truly well done there.

    There are some formatting issues that you may want to correct if you want more people to read it.

    I also liked the development of the characters. They felt genuine.

    Thanks for the read!

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