When I Found My Writing Voice

I have mentioned before on this blog my fantasy trilogy  Green Crows and White Creatures.  I am currently on the first draft of the third book, the Red Dream.

I just put up the titles and brief (very brief) synopsis on the sidebar. (Drew them myself. Very proud). Right now I don’t have a detailed synopsis of the trilogy, nor an excerpt ready to share. So I am going to share its story of how it came to be, and what I discovered.

It was back in the spring of my freshmen year of high school. It was late evening, and I was waiting for my sister to arrive back from the airport. My WIP (work-in-progress) at the time was another fantasy story, but I was stuck. I was bored. I decided to write a short story…something mysterious, like the beginning of the Curse of the Black Pearl.
Remember Into the Woods? I thought. Let’s put some weird white cows in it.

This is why when people ask me where I get my inspiration I draw a blank. It’s random and inconsistent.

That short story was a turning point for me as writer. That night I wrote faster and better than I had ever done before. It’s as if I grew up five years in one night. All my characters came to life. My dialogue was more natural. In one moment I had found my style and voice.

I also found the story I had been looking for. Green Crows and White Creatures.

I think a lot of writers who like the Lord of the Rings have either tried or wanted to write something like it. Frankly, it’s impossible. It’s also cheating. I mean copying someone else’s work. That’s exactly what I had to figure out.
Before high school, in my infant days of writing, I worked on a fantasy epic. Classic high fantasy full of elves, dark lords, heroes, minions, quests, and important swords. Even though I had my own touches in it, nearly everything was of the style of Tolkien. I thought that if you wanted to create a fantasy world is had to be medieval. It had to have a language and a mythology. It had to have dark lords with heroic kings. And I loved the trilogy. I loved that type of story. I thought it was the greatest type of story. (Of course it is the greatest).

But I didn’t know why, and I didn’t till I started to work on Green Crows and White Creatures that spring night

The tipping point came a few days after I had started writing. I noticed that I could easily make it into a novel, instead of just a short story (or a trilogy, an over eager part of my mind whispered). And I discovered it was the fantasy trilogy that I had waited to come along.

It wasn’t the world itself that I wanted to write. It wasn’t the heroics or the quest. It was that the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit are adventures. They are journeys that begin nondescriptly, and you have no idea what could be next.
That is how my story began. About one man, with a few questions, and an inkling to find answers. It starts all with Hugh Gallagher, on a dull rainy morning.

And boy does it get out of control after that.

As a side note, I have been writing without chapters. I think it’s going to be a problem, because my scenes range from 2 pages to 20 pages.

 

Now you know all about it. I hope to post an excerpt or something in the next few weeks.

(I’m also leaving for college next weekend.)

(Gah!)

If you want to know anything more about Green Crows and White Creatures and the rest of the books, feel free to visit their pinterest boards. Just click on the titles on the sidebar.

Thank you all,

Alp out.

 

Series: The Ultimatum

I think we can all agree that writing a series is difficult. It has to be cohesive, yet each book must be new and exciting. It must be as good as the first book, and sometimes it needs to surpass it. The characters need to remain just as strong, but that doesn’t mean they can’t change and continue to develop.
I myself have never written a series. I’m writing a trilogy, which is a bit different. But I do have something to say.

Last night I went to see Jason Bourne. It was amazing, as always (I’m a big Bourne fan). I also went to see Star Trek: Beyond last weekend, which was also amazing (and I’m a bit of a Trekkie). Both these series have something in common:

They take a long time to come out.

Even though these are movies, I believe the same thing applies to books. Both of the writers and directors for these franchises take their time on developing a new story. They only want to come out with another movie if the plot is good. If it is as good as the one before it. Paul Greengrass, the director of Jason Bourne, dropped the franchise for nine years. The other movies took three or fours years to come out, as has the Star Trek reboot. The result? The movies are excellent. They are not just cranked out to feed an audience, which can result in poorly written scripts which in the end, do not please audiences.
In other words: Don’t rush.

Don’t sacrifice quality for quantity.

~Alp out.

 

the key is not to rush.

Victor Hugo: Give a Little More

I’ve been reading Les Miserables lately (I wasn’t happy with the story line in the musical, so I had to find out for myself. But I do love the music). It’s amazing.

I’ve always loved the writing style of the 19th Century. At the same time it can be a pain to get through and just down right confusing (no scanning paragraphs). I still think there’s a lot for writers to take from it…and a little bit not.

Starting with the Waterloo. About a quarter through the book, Hugo sidetracks to the Battle of Waterloo. He does this for two reasons: to give historical context (even though the event happened years before) and explain the name that Thenardier gives his tavern.
So, for the immediate sake of characterization and story line,only the last bit of Waterloo was actually relevant.
Not that I wouldn’t mind reading an account of Waterloo. I know about zip about it. Plus Hugo’s commentary is insightful and interesting. However, while gripping the pages of a well-loved paper back, wondering what is going to happen to Valjean ans how he will finally get to Cossete, I. Don’t. Care. About. Napoleon.

So even though in the 19th Century that was acceptable, and common, to get sidetracked for five chapters, I would not advise it now. But what if a long narrative is needed for the plot line? What if something has to be explained, some history moment illustrated out so that the reader can understand the rest of the story?

Make it part of the story itself.

Perhaps make it a riveting opening sequence. Have a character tell the story to someone else. Give the reader what was promised: a continuing story that grabs their attention and their affection.
Which brings me to my next point. In ballet class this past week, the teacher said always give what you promised, but then give a little more.

The little more is what Hugo gives.

His writing is never just a story. It is never just the formula of a narrative. Not jut conflict and resolutions. He gives insight. He makes you think.

“It is one of those moments of blinding and yet frighteningly calm insight when the thought goes so deep that it passes beyond reality. The tangible world is no longer seen; all that we see, as though from outside, is the world of our own spirit.”  1.

This describes a profound moment where Valjean has what we would call an “out of body experience”. The key moment where Valjean turns from felon to hero. Hugo indeed could have used our simply words, but he didn’t. He took it deeper, as well he should. A writer’s purpose is speak what cannot be spoken. It is to illuminate those thoughts and feelings that too often we cannot explain to ourselves or others. A writer’ true mission is to teach humanity the truths of itself that humanity cannot express.

Well. That just went a long way.

But that’s my point. Good writing isn’t just entertainment, it is knowledge given to the reader. So summed up:

Give what you promised, then give a little more.

Alp out.

Pg. 117 Les Miserables, Penguin Books. Really old beat up edition. (I ripped the cover off by accident. Sorry!)

P.S. Do you ever writer late at night, and your mind just starts to die?

Me: how do you spell “go”? Does it have a w at the end? No, it’s an e! No you dummy, it’s just g o.

A Writer In Washington

.    I’m not going to lie here. While walking all over D.C, touring, and eating Chipolte, I did not get any earth-shattering writing ideas. I didn’t even write that much.

That being said, here are my traveling highlights, and what things as a writer I appreciated.

  •  an albino squirrel.
    Don’t laugh. My sister and I were crossing the Mall to get to the Art Gallery, and there, happily poking his nose in the grass, was a very rare albino squirrel. The rarity of it, and its cute, perfectly white little fuzziness, was not why I am telling you this. In my fantasy trilogy (Green Crows) albino animals play a very large role, such as crows and deer. So maybe now a white squirrel will show up and drop nuts on someones head (Probably Fyland’s.)
  • My sister and I also went to the Air and Space Museum, where the security guard called me Captain America to grab my attention.
    DSC_0657

    This was outside at the Art Gallery, but it also serves as an explanation.

    Loved it there. We got to see the Apollo 11 Lem, Gene Kranz’s vest (If you don’t understand, look it up), and, most importantly, touched the moon. A piece of the moon really, worn smooth from all the hands that have touched it. I looked up at my sister and said, “We just touched the moon.”
    To explain what all this meant is a whole different post.

 

 

  • Last one. We went to the Zoo, because that is what my sister and I like to do.
    blog1

    Me at the owl exhibit, which my sister said I could stay at as long as I like.

    The highlight were the elephants. And this part I am glad for because one day I might need to write about elephants trainers.
    The elephants had been brought inside, and the trainers were demonstrating tricks with the elephants. It was amazing how quickly the elephants responded, and how well. They bowed, turned in circles, and knelt. The trainers gave one word commands, and motioned with their hand, index and middle finer together. The elephants were always promptly given treats.
    And their trunks are so cute and soft looking.

     

    That’s not everything that happened. We also visited St. John Paul II’s Shrine, ate at Union Station, sweated and walked, sweated and walked some more, and my sister almost exploded in a traffic jam.
    All that jazz.
    Alp out.

Always Forward – College

I’ve been running this blog since I was 12. (Wow). Now this fall I will be heading off to college to double major in Film and Dance (Yes, I am not majoring in Creative Writing).

I’ve done this blog differently through the years, the last two years being dedicated to my sci-fi short fiction the Moor and lately my novel Raptor. It has been really great to share them both, and I want to thank everyone who has read them.
But honestly Raptor is too hard to write like this. It’s hard writing when you know someone is going to read it. Usually I just write something and if the line is really sappy or corny I know I can rewrite it later. Or if a scene doesn’t make sense. Or if its weird.

That’s the benefit of a first draft.

And there’s another reason: I am going to college. I will be writing papers, dancing and working out like a maniac, filming, and writing a trilogy (I’m on the third  book! First draft that is). And did I mention running an Etsy shop? So I am not going to be posting anything serially anymore. I do plan to post on Sundays every week (hopefully). I’ll post such things as:

  •  Progress in my WIPs. (Raptor, Green Crows, etc. )
  • Maybe some sample writings (bits of Raptor maybe).
  • Updates (such as I am going to post pictures of my senior dance recital soon.)
  • Anything writing.

And don’t you think it’s time that I change the look of my blog? I do. I like changing things up.

Next post, my sister and I in Washington D.C!

DSC_0654

At the National Art Gallery, standing in front of class windows things sticking out of the ground. They were cool. 

~Alp

 

 

Raptor, 14

(Side Note: I’ve missed a lot of weeks. College loan problems and dance recitals. More on that later.)

Elijah’s heart was racing. He wasn’t afraid of the gun above him, he was mad. Angry that the Correlation had shot him down and that they had found him so quickly. But he wasn’t going to let them take him, again.

“You are to return with us for reevaluation, and for re-planning. The Correlation may have a different project for you.”

Elijah heard the words. He didn’t like them and he didn’t respond. He heard a clink and saw a flash of steel as the Correlation agent with the gun tossed a pair of handcuffs to the one on Elijah. He grabbed Elijah to roll him over.
He felt the numbness leave his arm, and for a moment his hands were free. He flexed his talons.

Elijah grabbed the man’s arm first. He rolled back over and twisted the man away, with his claws deep in his flesh. The man frantically started hitting Elijah, and he let him, till the man tore himself away and screamed in pain. Elijah scrambled to his feet.

He started to run. The other agent went straight after him and jumped on him. They both fell on the ground, precariously close to the edge of the roof.
Get off the roof. Get off the roof. That’s all Elijah could think. Hardly even about the agent trying to get a grip on him, or the blood warm on his claws.

In the tussle, Elijah found himself rolled onto his stomach. Both agents were now on top of him. As they tried to get him still, Elijah reached out. He grabbed the edge of the roof. He knew he just needed to throw himself over. They yanked his other arm behind his back. Elijah gripped tighter. His claws clung to the concrete. Almost there.

As they were about to tear his hand away, Elijah gave a final push and before they could catch him he fell. He went straight down over the edge of the roof. It was all blackness as he fell down towards the ground. But his wings caught him and he glided downwards. He felt his feet touch down, and he ran.

The alley was dark and he couldn’t tell where he was going. But his pulse was speeding at an exhilarating rate. He could feel it in him, in the quickness of his legs. He knew that the agents would just shoot him down again. His only option was to loose them another way, which was the problem.
He had no idea where he was going. He could only run. It was just his footsteps, echoing everywhere. They were all around him, in every alley and side street. His footsteps all alone, racing against the dark.

Until he heard others.

He looked back, but couldn’t see anything. He looked ahead again, desperately into the dark. He crossed an empty street and looked up and down. To his right cars raced by, and a grey van crawled up. He sped quicker and darted for cover in a parking garage.

It was unlit. He could only see silhouettes of cars and cement barriers. Yet the echoes became even louder. Now he knew where his pursuers were; they were all around him, and he could tell there more than two now. There was no way out for him but to keep running. You got yourself in a trap.

“Stop! Stand down!”

Ahead he saw lights suddenly and three men with  guns running towards him. He skidded forward and then whipped around. Three more were running up behind him. All shouting.
He put his hands up as they came at him. His throat felt tight as he gasped and panted to regain his breath. Just as they neared him, he drew his wings in, and his feathers disappeared back beneath his skin.

The agents came up and swarmed around him. He blinked as their flashlights shone up in his face. They made him get on his knees and cuffed his hand behind him. He had drawn his claws in already. He knew there was no way out of it.
They hauled him back on his feet and started to lead him out of the garage. The agents were all around him, but he caught a glimpse of now two vans pulling up, flashing their headlights into the alley. An agent climbed out of one and approached them as they exited the garage. He came in step with the rest of the agents. He whispered something to one in the lead, but it was just loud enough for Elijah to hear.

“We have Webber.”

The Raptor, 13

( I’m two weeks behind. Sorry folks. I also figured you don’t want to hear my laundry use of excuses, so I won’t give them. I will only say that it is a little ironic that this chapter is 13, the unlucky number).

  He ran. He had fixed his backpack into one strap across his chest, otherwise he knew his wings would never fit through. He would have to fly tonight, and that was fine with him. He had been waiting to do it.
The tracking device was tight in his hand. Once he got a little distance, he planned to toss it aside. Then up he would go, and he would be gone from it all.

He crossed a small street and plunged into a dark alley. There was a dumpster, lately emptied. His feet crunched on the bits of paper left behind.

He threw the device in. He heard it clink down at the bottom.

The alley was a dead end, but that was alright. There was a building at the end of it. Even in the dark he could tell it was covered with graffiti. He would use the roof.

His heart rate quickened as he spread out his arms. When he reached the back of the alley, his wings shot our and unfurled their feathers. He jumped up just before he would have ran into the wall. His wings pushed him higher and he caught the sills of one of the high windows. There just a slight change in air current, but it was enough. He walked his feet up to the sill, and his hands grabbed the window frame. Then he let go and jumped off.

He flapped his wings down and spun up above the buildings.

Black sky. White stars. He pushed his way up through the heavy air to them. Up and up. Faster and faster as he gathered the wind under his wings. Almost on the current. He could feel it was near.

He heard a small whistling sound, but he ignored it. Almost there.

Something small punched into his arm, and it went numb immediately. He dropped. He could barely move it and everything started to spin. Buildings, sky, buildings, sky. He couldn’t move his arm at all. He couldn’t push in or against the wind.
He forced both his arms out to attempt a glide. He spun for a moment longer before he leveled out. When he did, he was flying right into a flat rooftop. He swung his legs up and skidded to a landing on his feet. He fell forward and banged his knees as he stopped. He rolled onto his back.

His breath caught in his throat and pain shot up through his arm and knees. He looked up at the sky, but didn’t think about it this time. Who hit me? Where are they?

He reached over to the back of his left arm, where it had been hit. In the feathers, stuck in his skin, he felt a small object, about the size of a pin. He yanked it out. Though it didn’t help the numbness.

He sat up slowly and didn’t see anyone on the roof. But he heard something, the sound of someone climbing up a rope. No, there were more, at least three.

Elijah got up now and turned around towards the sound. He could see it now, the glint of small grapples, gripping onto the edge of the roof. Three of them. With three men climbing up no doubt.

He frantically threw off his backpack,  but it caught on his wings for a moment. His heart started to hammer as he heard the men got closer.
He got the bag off and his fingers fumbled and missed the zipper a few times. When he got it open he took out his handgun. It was loaded. His hands stopped shaking once they felt the weight, and he cocked it. He couldn’t fly, but he wasn’t helpless either, though it had been a few years since he was at the range. Just shoot. Between breaths.

He saw two hands reach up and grab the roof. Then the man hauled himself over. Elijah shot just as he started to stand up. There was a flash of red on his black jacket. He fell forward. At the same moment the second man came up. Quickly. And as Elijah lifted his gun again the man was already running at him. Elijah thought he saw another man come too as he shot again. His aim went awry, and he missed.
The man grabbed Elijah’s arm and knocked him to the ground. The gun fell out of his hand.

He reached over to grab it. The man dropped down and pinned his arm to the ground before Elijah could get it. The other man ran up and stopped with a pistol aimed at Elijah.
The man on him pulled a cloth down from over his face.

“Elijah Burton,” he said. “You’ve broken the Correlation’s confidence.”

The Raptor, 12

Elijah lowered the cup down from his lips.

“What kind of trouble?” he asked.

“The tracking device, for one,” Adrian answered. “Right now they still know where you are. They know that you are right here. They most likely are outside in that van. You have to get out of here, hopefully without them noticing, deposit the device somewhere a few blocks from here, and then fly off as fast as you can.”

“Where is it?” Elijah assumed they had the tracking device on hand.

“Here.” Billy answered. He picked up a tin bowl and handed it over to Elijah. It reminded him of something where bullets are put after they have been extracted. Like what they would have done for his parents. If his parents had lived.
He picked the device up. It was a small,  circular piece of metal. I guess I’ll just throw you in an alley somewhere. He dropped it back in the tin and put it down on the desk. He kept his hand on it for a moment though, fingering the thin edge.

“Well,” he started. “That doesn’t sound too difficult. Just..”

He took  a deep breath.

“Look, I’m going to need to give you a few hours before I call you in,” Adrian said.

“In other words I need to get going.”

She nodded. “Yeah. So stuff your face and run.”

Elijah smirked and took the sandwich Adrian handed him.

A few minutes later they were grabbing their bags, preparing to head out. Billy said he would stay to close up the place. Adrian and Elijah started for the hallway. Billy went up to the door of the office.

“Take care, you two,” he said, as they all paused for a moment. Elijah didn’t have anything to say to Billy, that was their unspoken agreement. But Adrian wanted to say something, Elijah could tell by the way she glanced down at the floor, trying to find some words.

“It’s alright, Adrian,” Billy said at length.

“I know,” she answered. She looked up at him. “Thank you.”

She reached out her hand. Billy took it and held it for a moment. “Nothing about this to your sister right?”

“Nothing. As far as you are concerned this never took place.” They let go and Adrian turned and started down the hallway. Billy and Elijah nodded to each other, and then Elijah followed her.
The moon was out when they went outside, and they went silently under it down the stairs. When they reached the last metal step, they snuck around the corner of the building, where it was shadowy and out of the light.

The night was still warm. If they were in the forest, crickets would have been humming thickly in the trees. Instead the city hummed and played a backdrop of activity as Adrian and Elijah turned to face each other.
No one was in the parking lot, nor anyone in the alleys around. There was no sign of the grey van either.

“Where are you going to go, Adrian?” Elijah asked.

“Drive for now. Back home,” she answered.

“Long way alone.”

“I’ve done it before.”

They both were silent. They looked at each other, like that was all they ever wanted to do in the world. Or as if that was the last thing they would ever do.  Elijah knew time was ticking,  but still it was Adrian who spoke first.

“Where will you go?” she asked. Elijah shook his head.

“I don’t know,” he looked down for a moment. “Away. Then…”

Then what? I’m the Raptor now. Not Elijah Burton, not a CEO. I have nothing but my wings.

“Will I see you again?”

The words caught Elijah off guard. He looked back at her, and yes, she was earnest. He took her hands in his.

“I don’t want this to end, but I don’t know,” he answered. “I have to disappear to save my life, and maybe yours.”

He was surprised when she laughed a little.

“I don’t think so. I’m going to do whatever I can to dismantle them,” she said. He knew she meant the Correlation.

“You might go down for that.”

“I intend to.”

He wished there was more time. More time to stay there with her.

“I guess you’re out of a job.” He said.

“You are too.”

He shook his head. “Ghosts don’t have jobs.”

“Who are you going to haunt?”

“I told you I don’t know. I have to get away first, then I’ll figure it out.”

She let go of his hands and reached hers up around his shoulders. So this might be the last time. He wrapped his arms around her.

“Go.” She whispered. “Fly.”

He kissed her, and she gripped on to him.  But then he ran off into the dark. He didn’t look back. But she watched him, watched him like the night was swallowing him like it was ocean, and there was hardly a chance that he would return to shore.
She shook herself and took a deep breath to slow down her heart. She knew it wasn’t time to give up yet.

The Raptor, 11

They waited for a few moments, but finally they heard Billy running about inside. He opened the door and ushered them in. He glanced around outside for a moment as Elijah and Adrian walked past him. Then he closed the door.

They were clustered in a long hallway, the walls painted a dull grey, warmed only by a large clock on the wall.

“Elijah, I would like you to meet Billy Brassington,” Adrian said, turning to both of them. They shook hands.

“It’s good to meet you,” Elijah said.

“I hope so,” Billy answered.

“Let’s get to work and find out then.”

“Right this way.”

Billy led them to the end the hall. After that it ran down a flight of dark steps. Billy didn’t take them there though. He opened a door that had a single plague reading office on it. What caught Elijah’s eye was a poster of the composer William Byrd hung on the door.

Billy led them in.

It was Byrd’s office, Elijah supposed, whoever Byrd was. It was fairly neat. The walls were covered with plaques for fencing awards, a few dusty trophies, and a continued assortment of posters. Billy led them through a door to an adjoining room.

“We’ll be in here,” he said. Elijah walked in first. It was somewhere between a lounge and a conference room, not too large, but spacious. But Elijah didn’t pay attention to much of it. Except the table set up in the middle of the room, and Billy’s  medical tools beside it.

He continued in and took his backpack off. Adrian stopped in the doorway.

“Should I stay doc?” she asked Billy.

He shook his head.

“No. We’ll be fine.”

“Ok.” Adrian looked up at Elijah, and he turned around to look at her.

“I’ll see you in a bit,” she said. He nodded. She held on to his gaze for a moment longer. Neither wanted to let go, but she at last turned away. Billy closed the door.

“What’s the plan here?” Elijah asked. He dropped his backpack down on an armchair.

“Well,” Billy ruffled his hair. “I’ll numb you up, and give you a conscious sedative. Just don’t make any sudden movements or I might slice your throat.”

Elijah snorted. That’s why I’m having you do it.

It was a conscious sedative alright, but Elijah drifted into sleep on the table soon after it was injected. He was more tired than he had realized, worn out by stress and little sleep.  As Billy cut his skin to get the device out, Elijah didn’t feel it or think about it. His mind fell to an old anxiety instead.

He remembered. Just like it was real, but hadn’t it happened all before?

It was evening, almost dark when he had received the call. He didn’t put on a coat, just got in the car, snow starting to fall. He drove down the driveway, jolting over chunks of ice. He never slowed down. Just drove as fast as he could towards the hospital.
It was cold. He shivered.

There were so many lights, so many noises, all pushing him away from getting in. Black police cars swarmed in front of him. He tried to shove his way through. He scrambled for his wallet. His icy fingers dropped it. He picked it up and pulled out an ID.

“I’m a student! My parents are in there!”

The hallways. There was blood on the floor when they finally led him in. It hurt to walk, didn’t it? Or was that something else?

“Elijah, I need you to prepare yourself…”

More blood. Blood on their bodies from gunshot wounds.  The cop explained what happened, and Elijah heard him. Every single word he heard, all too well. He felt shaky and sunk down on the floor. He was getting hot, and everything else seemed to be getting dark.

“Are you alright?”

He shook his head. Couldn’t answer, couldn’t speak.  It just kept getting darker. The last wave swept over him. All the lights went out.

Elijah opened his eyes and didn’t move.

There was a white ceiling, like the walls of the hospital. He stared up at it. He couldn’t recall anything.  Just his dream, or his memory as it was truly. Everything was quiet, everything was dim.
He noticed the side of his neck was sore.  He reached up and felt it. It was stitched up. It’s out.  He suddenly shook with a breath of relief. Everything came back to him, and he in the present moment again. Which now was a dangerous one.

He sat up on the couch and stayed for a moment till his head stopped spinning. He heard voices in the office now, talking quietly. He got to his feet and walked over to the door. He opened it.

Billy and Adrian looked up, seated across from each other at the desk.

“How are you feeling?” Billy asked. He wiped his hands on a napkin. One of them had gone to get some takeout dinner, which was now spread between them.

“I’m alright,” Elijah answered. “Thank you, Billy.”

Billy nodded. And they never said anything else about it. Elijah walked in and sat down on the corner of the desk as he spotted a coffee marked with a sharpie Bird Boy.

“Is this mine?” he asked, turning the cup towards Adrian.

“Yeah,” she answered. The moment called for a smirk, but she didn’t seem to have it in her. Elijah took a sip.

“It’s cold.”

“There’s a microwave behind me,” Billy answered. Elijah got up and walked over.

“I got you a roast beef sandwich,” Adrian said as he put the coffee in. “I figured you’d be hungry too.”

“Very. How long was I out?” Elijah looked over at Billy.

“Just a half hour.”

Silence lapsed for a while as the microwave hummed and no one spoke. Not until Elijah took the hot cup out.

“You know,” Adrian started. Elijah took a sip. “You’re going to have some trouble getting out of here.”

The Raptor, 10

(Sorry I haven’t posted. My sister was in a ballet (that she wrote) and then life happened I suppose. I also have been meaning to post about my fantasy trilogy, because I finished writing the second book! First draft that is. I’m calling the third book “The Red Dream” at the moment)

Billy came out in a few minutes and found Adrian standing under the tree. There was a bunch of crickets singing in it, each trying to be the loudest.
Adrian went up to him and they went in stride together down the sidewalk.

“So. What brings you over to my city?” Billy asked. Adrian looked up ahead.

“I have a guy…”she started. She wasn’t quite sure how to explain something so convoluted.  And dangerous.

“Your boyfriend?”

Adrian sighed.

“Fine. Yes. And he needs you to do a minor surgery on him.”

“Me?”

“It needs to be clandestine.”

“Alright..” Billy scratched the back of his neck. “What does he need?”

“He has a …um. A tracking device. In his neck.” She glanced over at him. Billy just stopped and stared back. He was silent for a few moments, just trying to find something to say.

“Adrian, what are you trying to involve me in?” he asked finally.

She took his arm and started to walk again. He followed at the urging.

“Something that I can’t explain,” she answered. “It’s not safe for you to know everything. I do promise you that I’m not involving you in crime, and that this is not against our interest, nor the U.S’s…nor Britain’s.”

“Who’s then? Who am I doing this for?”

“For him. But think of it as though you’re doing it for me.”

“You love him?”

“Yes. And I’m at fault for a lot of things, in some way. I have to fix what I can.”

Billy nodded, and they walked a few moments in silence, just the crickets kept talking.

“We’re a little short in time, too,” Adrian said at length.

“I thought so.” Billy stopped and turned to face her. “Do you know where Byrd’s school is?”

“Yeah,” she nodded.

“Meet me there. Go to the back door. It’s in the alley and up the steps.”

“Got it.” Adrian hurried down the street. She walked a little faster than she had before, now that she knew where she was going. But she was tired of walking by the time she reached the street she and Elijah had parked by. She slowed down and stopped by the crosswalk at the alley. Something caught her eye on the other side of the street.

It was the grey van, still sitting there. Adrian didn’t hesitate, just looked away and crossed the street, past Elijah’s car. Elijah was watching her too and saw her go on. He got down from the hood. She’s trying to find another way around.
He wasn’t sure where the alley led, but he knew there was another backstreet on the other side of the parking garage. She might come through that way.

He watched for a moment. He wiped his forehead as he waited. It was warm out, but he had been sweating coldly since she left. He heard footsteps from across the garage. There she is.

He sprinted forward into the shadows. As quietly as he could, though his footsteps still echoed against the concrete. He could see Adrian, just a figure in the dark, with a bit of light from the street. He saw her stop and look up. He slowed down. She walked towards him.

“Everything alright?” she asked him, whispering when they met up.

“Yeah. Just the van.”

She nodded and glanced around the garage.

“Did you talk with him?” Elijah asked.

“I did. Are you ready to go?”

“Are we walking?”

“We’d better. It’s not too far anyway.” She pointed to the street she had just come out of. “We’ll go that way.”

They stayed on backstreets and alleys on their way. They were going deeper into the city, and the building were higher. All glass or old, preserved architecture. The school itself was only a couple of stories, nestled between a few towers. They came in through the back parking lot, empty except for one car. Elijah stopped for a  moment to get a look at the place.
The back was dark brick, and there was one light by a side stairwell of metal steps.

“What is this?” he asked. Adrian stopped ahead of him and turned around.

“A school,” she answered. “A fencing school actually.”

He started forward again and they made for the stairwell. It clanged and racketed as they ran up. Adrian went to open the door. It was locked.

“Oh Billy,” she muttered. She knocked instead.