Just as I did last year, I’m posting my first chapter in excerpts of ~500 words. Feel free to post your own excerpts, comment, discuss, tear mine to pieces.
Obviously, this is only a first draft. It’s still full of flaws and only edited for typos. It’s raw and it will undoubtedly change. This year I decided to write science fiction. When Mikaela is brought to an affluent planet with many races living and working together to operate a mysterious factory, she needs to discover the factory’s secrets if she hopes to ensure her little brother’s safety from their captors.
No one notices me sneaking through the back alleys of Pittsburgh because there are too many others doing it too. There wasn’t a place in this city that you could go without blending into a crowd. That’s the perk of overpopulation. Even with all the people who’d turned tail and went to live on Mars or the social elite who made way to Kala, there were still some 11 billion people littering the earth, but it helps a street kid like me go almost entirely unnoticed.
A large man glances back and nods, as I step out of my well isolated corner. It’s because I’m clean unlike the masses I wade through. The stench of the people who haven’t bathed in years is normal, the dirt is normal too, but my cleanliness is not. Not here.
Two vendors holler their prices as a new flood of ladies with dresses to short to merit the name pass. Their hair is tied up and tousled. No doubt making their way through the crowded marketplace, silently regretting decisions that led them to the district in the first place. The vendors extend their hands with bruised fruits hoping one of the women will bite.
The taller, infinitely more attractive vendor reaches out to the women. His fruit is far inferior than his troll like vendor neighbor, but his stock is much fewer. No doubt people drawn to his beauty and trusting it rather than his neighbor, but with that appeal will come entitlement.
The troll vendor stocks pomegranates bigger than my head and peaches that are actually ripe rather than bruised. But his eyes linger and stare with an intensity that could hardly be rivaled by anyone else. The type of man who makes the money he needs because of the sweet back end deals he brokers.
A large woman with dark black hair makes her way toward the vendors. She has money. I know it and more importantly the vendors know it. The real question is which of them will sway the woman to their favor. If any of the gods are looking to me let’s hope that she goes to my troll friend.
The banter begins. I’d always wondered what it would be like to have someone fight over me. It’d be a sign that I was in some sort of position of power and those under me wanted something that I could provide. It’s a fascinating dynamic, one that a street kid never sees. Most children go unnoticed and us even more so. I’m lucky if some organization feels bad about us on a whole and decides to give away free bread. I haven’t had fresh bread in months.
It feels like forever, but the woman is finally at one of the stands. Thankfully, it’s the troll’s. I saunter over to the edge of the stand as the troll does his best to sell to his new customer. No doubt he’s imagining moneybags as she peers over the offerings. I spot a pomegranate the size of my head and grab it. The cool skin and firm body of the fruit is exciting. Rocco will love it. I grab some of his more grainy products, like the flat bread he hides in the corner. It’s hard and the mold will set in at any moment.
With the pomegranate in my bag and the bread in my hands I make my way from the stand. The crowd jostles me and I hardly get out of the troll’s eyesight when I hear the shout.