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June 25, 2012
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I'm awakened by a rustling very close to me and then a small sniffle. I look around to see what appears to be a small dog, possibly still a pup, wrestling with my bag. I see a lot of things during the Darkness, but a dog was not something I ever expected. They were banned long ago—any pets were taken and shot, those that weren't owned were caught if possible and killed. There were always the sly ones, though, and traps filled with poisoned meat were set for them. It was thought impossible that any would survive, but this one clearly did.

I didn't want to scare it, but I wanted it out of my bag, so I reached my hand out slowly. The little thing didn't seem bothered by my presence, but it backed away slightly nonetheless. I took my bag away from it, but decided that if it had survived this long on its own, it could be of use to me. I worked for quite some time to gain its trust because it'd be nice to have a travel companion, even if it couldn't talk back to me. I continued to throw it crumbs from my bread until it came close enough for me to touch. I reached for it, & although it recoiled just a tiny bit, it didn't move away from me this time. At this point I've lost a few precious hours of sleep, but I've gained a travel companion, at least for a while. I know I won't be able to keep it safe, or fed, for long but I'll make do as best as I can. At worst I'll leave it at a Traveller's junction. They may be able to hide it a little better…

I heard the soldiers coming before I saw them, that's the one positive side effect of the soldiers. The pup and I have to move, quickly. I grab it up in my arms and swing my pack onto my shoulders as I run. I don't know where I'm headed, but I'm probably going off course. I decide that I can always find my way again so I keep running in whichever direction takes me away from the thundering footsteps of those awful things.

I've heard they can't see you, if you don't move, but they have an intensely keen sense of smell and I don't want to take my chances against them, especially in those numbers. I run harder, my feet barely touching the ground as my mother taught me. Suddenly out of nowhere I realize my feet aren't touching the ground at all. I looked up, expecting to see some trap set to catch vagabonds like me, but instead I see two huge, graceful, shiny, black wings. Apparently I can fly. In that one second, multiple things happened: first, I realized I could fly; second, the soldiers races right under me in pursuit of something, or someone, they thought was still ahead; third, it hit me why my mother forced me how to learn all those things I believed would never be of any real importance to me—she knew that one day running alone wouldn't be enough to keep me safe. She wanted me to be ready for that day so that when I needed it, my instincts would kick in and do everything imaginable and then some. She did it all just to save me.

As I'm reminiscing on the past, I somewhat gracefully float down and land on a branch a few feet below me. I sit there and think of my wonderful mother until I can't hold back my emotions anymore. I hope that against all odds I will one day see her again. Until then, I will have to learn how to operate these wings… The last thing I need is to be caught with my wings showing—that will really get me in trouble with the Superiors.

I've heard that they like to do experiments on those who have Flaws. I don't know of anyone like me, but there are many who are blind, deaf, mute, brain dead… The list of horrible defects goes on. The Superiors take all of those people and do nasty experiments of all kinds on them. Those are the people they use for the Soldiers, but only if the experiments work. The Superiors don't believe in eliminating pain, in fact they seem to enjoy it. That's what makes those experiments so awful. Deaf people's ears are literally torn off and new ones are attached. No one outside of the Society is privy to what goes on inside so I'm not sure exactly how these things are "attached", but obviously they are. You'd think this process wouldn't work, but the Superiors have their ways.

By the time their Experiments are ready to go as Soldiers, they are almost inhuman. But the Superiors have their tactics and make sure there is always at least one key feature on each individual that looks very human. Believe it or not, this actually makes it more difficult to kill them. They do this because most people aren't as hardened toward the world as I am. Most people would kill to save themselves, but not when it's another innocent human being whose life is at stake, not when it could be that same person's brother, sister, mother, father, or even best friend. These things don't look like innocent people, but they never asked to be what they've become. They just can't hide from the Superiors, though. The Superiors have their soldiers do routine searches of homes so they can find all Flaws, and even traitors or vagabonds that some people have agreed to hide away. But traitors and vagabonds are rarely hidden because the People are afraid of being caught.

All of a sudden my pup began whining and squirming. I didn't know what do so I jumped down off the branch I'd settled on and put the pup on the ground so it could do whatever it needed. Instead of doing its business, though, it ran away. It just ran. I tried my best to follow, but I lost it just as quickly as it had left. In the next minute of my life I found myself surrounded by a group of dogs just like the pup I'd lost seconds earlier. Without even thinking about it, I followed them when they began to move. I doubted the Superiors would actually use animals to capture vagabonds, but I knew I had to be careful. Even with this knowledge I still knew I had to follow them. Somehow, somewhere deep in my brain, I knew something—understood something-- that was quite unspoken as of that moment.
**Credit Cranberry 413
**ABSOLUTELY NO REUSE PLEASE
**All my literature posts are still works in progress! Chapter divisions are improv at the moment.

Comments/Feedback VERY welcome! I'd love to know what you think!

Chapter 1: [link]
Chapter 3: [link]
Possible Prologue (to be edited still): [link]
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:iconjburns272:
Jburns272 Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'm wondering about the wings. I like the way that you introduced them, though I have a bit of trouble with how the main character avoided the soldiers while rising into the air especially when you say that they have eyesight geared for movement. Being able to land well, while distracted, after so suddenly learning how that you can fly is also something that made me go "wait, what?"

I like the way that you slowly give information, though I think some of your explanations could use a rewriting or go into the prologue.
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:iconcranberry413:
Cranberry413 Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2012
Yeah, those haven't come back yet, but they will! About the eyesight, if I remember correctly, I didn't specify how close the soldiers were to Juilliard so I can see how it's a bit confusing but with the thickness of the tree branches and whatnot, the wings should have been hidden well enough so that the movement wouldn't be more visible than branches/leaves swaying in a breeze. Ohh... the good landing. haha that's definitely something I didn't spend more than maybe a minute on... I figured I would make it like a subconscious thing where the wings just work, like a bird kind of. I will definitely take those points into account though! I appreciate the feedback on those little details I didn't even look twice at. Thanks!

This is my first draft so re-writings will be in the works for sure, my goal is to finish the entire novel and then go back and edit it. It'll be a long process but I intend to get to the end one way or another. Thanks again for the great feedback, I really appreciate it! :hug:
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:iconjburns272:
Jburns272 Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
No worries. :D
I was considering trying some writing myself so this is good for me too :D

I'm not sure if you mentioned that they were in a forest. So I didn't imagine it that way.
The flying is a subconscious thing? You mean such that when she tries to concentrate on flying, it goes poorly? I see.
I might replace that landing with something like: "I woke from my reminiscing to find myself standing on a branch." Just a thought. Though you said you are going to rewrite this.
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:iconcranberry413:
Cranberry413 Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2012
You should definitely try writing! Who knows, you could be the next big thing :)

I probably didn't mention a forest, I wrote the majority of it while I was in a class so I was distracted a lot.
I'm not really sure where I was going with that actually, I'll work on ironing out the details though.
That's an interesting idea, I like it :)
Yeah, I will re-write a lot of it once I finish the whole thing! :D
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:iconjburns272:
Jburns272 Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks :)
I tend to write in an erratic way though; Not 'in a straight line' like you are here.
This may give you an idea of what I mean, [link]
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:iconcranberry413:
Cranberry413 Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2012
I didn't get a chance yet to read through the entire thing, but I'm not entirely sure what you mean by erratic (in your work) as opposed to 'in a straight line' (in my work).
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:iconjburns272:
Jburns272 Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
It turned out, that's not as good an example as I thought.

By 'erratic' I mean that I don't just sit down and write from start to finish, like you seem to. I may start at the end or somewhere in the middle, write a bit until I can't think of how to continue, and then I start writing a different part. And so my writing will have big holes in it which gradually get smaller as I fill them in.
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:iconcranberry413:
Cranberry413 Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2012
Ohhh, I see! That makes sense. I write start to finish because I can never seem to tie my 'random' scenes together well so I find it necessary for me to go in order. :P That's why it's taking me so long to get mine written... I keep getting writer's block so I keep trying to come up with new things to add in there (which will really suck when I get to the end... :( It's already all planned out in my head but all my great ideas for the tiny gaps that haven't been planned yet are going to be already taken by the time I get there).
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(1 Reply)
:iconchaosshadowolfe:
ChaosShadoWolfe Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm going to be a dick and say you've lost me with the whole Wings part. The part of the dog was really saddening, reminds me of a movie called Equillibrium where they shoot dogs.

To me, it really doesn't feel immersive. I can't place myself into the MC, and I absolutely can't stop wondering why you're leaving out SO much details. It's important to involve details, it really bugs me during the reading. Sure, it's keeping a mysterious feel to it, but it annoys me that I don't know what the soldiers look like, what the character looks like, what the environment looks like.

Like the part WITH the wings, at first, before reading that the MC has wings for some odd reason, I thought(side-note, I read near every I story with the gender Female, don't know why) "She's lifted off her feet by two guys, or even by the soldiers." And then I read that she had wings, and I immediately thought; "Aaand you've lost."

The sudden transition between the thought "She's human." and the thought "She's an angel." isn't really what I can call the best option.

However, I'm not criticizing, I'm bashing at the moment, so let's return to the criticizing part; I'd have done it differently, I'd have implied more details into the soldiers, I'd have made sure that the sudden change of human to savior was more detailed as well considering a sudden float and a pair of gracious, shiny and huge black wings isn't really practical. One, the wings would probably be noticed by the soldiers. Two, the suddenness as well as the lack of surprise of the MC utterly destroyed the immersion I had with the story.

I know, it sounds like bashing, but it's really my point of view on this. I'm not the best author at all, I have my flaws as well, but I'm really disappointed by that.
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:iconcranberry413:
Cranberry413 Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2012
No, it's not bashing! Your opinions really help me figure out what could do with a change and what I'm doing right, I appreciate it.

I know, I'm leaving out so many details, but I don't want to include too much about the backstory and other characters (such as what the Soldiers look like) because I'm trying to gradually introduce these "new" things. (If you read on to chapter 16, I go into a little more detail about the Soldiers and what they look like). Also the main character hasn't really gotten close enough to any Soldiers to really know what they look like just yet, therefore as the narrator [she] can't quite say what they look like.

As for the wings, no, [she] isn't any form of savior or angel. This too is kind of explained a little more later on.

Why didn't the Soldiers notice the wings? I believe I mentioned somewhere in this chapter (although I may be mistaken as to where, I do know I have mentioned it) that the Soldiers don't have good eyesight, so the MC is pretty safe when it comes to [her] wings.
I'll definitely work on the lack of surprise though! I agree, that should be worked on a little more. :blush:

Thanks again for your feedback!
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