This post has a few purposes, I suppose. One, I can’t resist myself and thought you all might like a sneak peak at my NaNoWriMo novel, and it’s cover. Two, I thought I’d brag that I actually designed and made that myself. Three, I’m avoiding writing right now, distracting myself for twenty minutes before I do another five minute word sprint.
So, here’s the first chapter of 1 1 4 2 8 3. I’d love thoughts, comments, criticism, whatever you throw my way!
Up and down. In. Out. Black webs stretching through her skin. Simple lines. Meaningless. Dooming her.
Resisting now was pointless. A waste of time and energy. Why bother anyway? Escape from this pit? Not happening. An impossible lie. There never was and never would be an escape from hell.
Two numbers. The beginning. Carelessly scrawled onto her skin. Similar. The same even. Different in their imperfections. One. Messy. A simple line, what was so hard about writing a stupid line? Another one. Straighter, too short. Too little time for the obvious mistakes to show.
Next, four. Scribbled. More confusion in more lines. Confusion stole the point. Amidst the red-blotched skin and black lines, there was nothing. No purpose, no meaning. Was this really how far she’d fallen? Even the simple numbers that now mean her meant nothing. They’d left her to this? What had she done to deserve being left behind anyway?
Two. Simple enough. Fit easily in the sequence. By this time she didn’t really want to think about it.
Eight. Curves. Measured swoops, turns and drops. Abnormally perfect in the sequence of scribbles.
Three. Last. A final strike to her helplessness. Three could have changed this. Three left her here.
One. One. Four. Two. Eight. Three.
~ ~ ~
When they finished reshaping her identity, a guard marched her down a hallway. Left, down half the next hallway. Middle door on the right. Down to the end of the hall. Last cell on the right. Prompt. Businesslike. Done too quickly to process. Dark ink waves appearing on her arm one minute, freedom officially stolen the next. Too quick to understand how she’d gotten here. Just like everything else.
Dumbstruck and in shock, she found her way to the corner with a few shuffling steps and slid down the wall until she was sitting. Pulled her knees close to her and rested her chin on them. Corners made life simpler. Condense your whole world into one corner and most of the problems got shut out for pure lack of space to sit. The webs of shadows that surrounded pain would disappear or at least retreat to other areas of life. If they didn’t, well they got easier to control at least. Ha, control. She thought bitterly. Things like this don’t happen when you’re in control. If you were in control they wouldn’t have abandoned you to this place. Idiot.
Frustrated, she shoved her thoughts to the back of her mind. Issues weren’t supposed to follow people into corners. It was the rule of thumb that had to be followed, otherwise there was no handling her thoughts. There would be no handling her life without a working corner.
Hours could have passed in here and she wouldn’t know it. Everything seemed infinite, stretching onward into forever. The light changed and through her window the shadows shifted a little, but the hole was too small to catch any real light until the brief display of splendor that streamed in at sunset. Then, it was silence, and dark.
Scraping. Tin across rough rocks. Another, similar sound followed closely. What the heck?
Curiosity brought her to her feet and over to the door. Outside, prisoners all down the hall were shoving their dishes out of slots under their doors. A couple of guards walked down the hall and began filling each plate with some sort of food and the cups with what she assumed was water. The thin, streaming sound as it splashed into the tin cups sounded watery anyway.
Bria scanned her cell in a rush, realizing her chance was quickly disappearing if she wanted to eat tonight. There. In the corner, a plate and cup. She hurried over and snatched them up, then shoved them under the slot in her door. The plate was promptly filled and she drew it back under the door, reaching for her water next. Finding it wasn’t had but at the moment she grabbed it, one of the soldiers laughed and kicked her hand. Water sloshed across the back of her hand onto the floor and she yelped without thinking. This brought more laughter from the guards and she hurriedly pulled her hand in and bit her lip. Dammit that hurt. Worse, only a little water was still in her cup. Wonderful.
After muttering a few more dark curses under her breath, she inspected her hand. Even in the dark she could see that it was already bruising, although it still moved when she made it so she didn’t think anything was broken. Just swelling. At least something went her way.
The only plus in the stupid situation was having food. Even that, glancing over at it now, wasn’t necessarily a plus. The simple meal consisted of a chunk of hardtack, three pieces of jerky that looked more like saddle leather, and a hunk of moldy cheese. Barely edible. Briefly, she honestly considered the fact that they were trying to poison her. However that didn’t make sense on two accounts. First, why go to the bother of locking her up, only to poison her now? Second, if they wanted to kill her, there were far better ways to do it. Poison might be easy to blame on other, outside causes, but they could have been more efficient. They had no guarantee she’d eat this stuff.
Satisfied with her logic, she picked the mold off the cheese and set it aside on her plate. The jerky kind of tasted like saddle leather. Tough, stringy and miserably hard on her teeth. Still protein, she supposed. The hardtack wasn’t much better, except that the bread eventually softened for her. After a long time of persistent chewing.
She wanted nothing less than to just shove the food away. Tell people to screw off and let her die. She wouldn’t though. Because she was a survivor. Just to spite everyone who ever said she wouldn’t. Out of pure hatred for them she would endure this place.
Survival means everything when you’re everyone’s leftover.