YA SFF: CHAOS Feb 4, 2017 4:37:26 GMT -5
Post by b4heroes on Feb 4, 2017 4:37:26 GMT -5
I am hoping to begin querying in two days or so, but don't let that stop you from giving me tough feedback! Links to the query and 250 words if interested. I'll search out your threads to try to give you something back if you comment. Thank you!
In the prison cell, ground lights lit the girl's bare feet. She tugged her arms, rattling her chains, and hissed as the warmer parts of her skin touched the chair's icy metal. Thoughts crowded her mind with constant murmurs.
A guard stood by the door with a cigarette wedged between his lips. He flicked his lighter three times before the flame sprung, and the smell of gas livened the air. At least she isn't trying to gouge out her own eyes, he thought. The girl heard him and flinched. The guard examined his clipboard and scratched his pen across the paper, estimating her height and weight and age. To him, she had the look of someone small. Her hair was scraggly, and her scalp showed where she'd torn it out. The colors in her irises swirled: purple and pink flecked with gold.
The girl snapped her face away. She didn't like the look of herself, how he saw her. But the picture showed in her mind whether she looked at him or not.
"What's your name?" the guard asked dully. When she didn't answer, he approached and kicked her chair. Her head struck the floor. He kneeled so close that she screamed. His breath was spicy, and his thoughts screeched like a mechanical bird: Never seen an outcast so hysterical. The girl scooted back toward the wall, the chair scraping behind her.
Another guard peered through the door window. "Aren't there any doses of the drug you can give her?"
"The shipment doesn't come in until morning," the guard in the room said. "We have anesthesia, but we can't put her to sleep until we get her information."
"Whatever her powers are, they're useless. All she does is scream."
The guard in the room made to kick her again, and the girl blurted, "Chaos." They wanted a description of her powers? There it was.
"Great, you've got a name," the guard in the window said. "Put Chaos to sleep. I'm going back to post."
Chaos's eyes shifted from guard to guard until the one in the window walked away. The guard in the room sighed. He tossed his cigarette and shone his flashlight at her again. She squeezed her eyes shut against the light. He chuckled dryly. When she closes her eyes, she almost looks human, he thought.
"Chaos," she whispered. An outcast. Her head pounded. Her other name was Lesa, an alternate version of her mother's, but despite the likeness, her name didn't remind her of her. Her father was the one who'd said it constantly, the syllables grinding in his mouth like charcoal. Maybe she didn't want to be Lesa anymore. She remembered the stories her mother told her when she used to come home from work. The contractors saw shapes running on rooftops, vanishing around corners. Maybe... maybe "Chaos" would be different than Lesa. She closed her eyes, clasped her hands. Maybe "Chaos" would escape.
The guard didn't put Chaos to sleep. Instead, he dragged her to a different cell and chained her ankles to the walls. He barked at her to shut up when she screamed. Then, he left her. The door clanked shut behind him.
Light came through the bars in the door, constructing a square of dusk in the darkness. Chaos crawled into the square, listening to the hall lights spark. A broken toilet sat in the corner, and the words "I never asked for this" were carved into the wall.
A draft prickled her skin. She wished she could tug down her sleeves, but she wore an old shirt of her father's, the sleeves torn off, the logo of the electric company he worked for across her breast. She tugged at the collar and tried to listen for thoughts coming from the other cells but found none.
Loneliness clogged Chaos's chest. It felt mucky and black like a pit of tar. "No other outcasts are here," she whispered. She hadn't expected the prison to be full of outcasts, but neither had she expected it to be empty. Her lip trembled. She couldn't stand the idea of never even meeting another outcast. But how could she do that from deep inside an empty prison? She clenched her fist and stared at the carvings in the walls. She tried to take solace in the fact that outcasts had been here before her. Her stomach sank, the murk lingered, and eventually, there was nothing to do except listen to thoughts.
In her mind, the thoughts appeared in the shapes of the bodies they belonged to, so it was easy to pick out the guards. Their minds held pictures of a dark room. Two guards sat around a card table, fire in their mouths. They passed around a lighter, and a small, black television crackled behind them. A third guard lay on a couch, icing his hand. His gravelly voice scraped her mind, Dumb kid. My damn hand.
At the table, the first guard was the man who peered into the interrogation cell. He was larger than the others. The second guard was younger. His hair was short, covered by a cap. As the young guard swept up the deck and shuffled, he thought about a little girl spinning in a red dress. Her hair was cut in the same fashion Chaos's had been when she was small, and she had a mess of strawberries around her mouth. The young guard sighed. What am I doing here? Some of these outcasts are barely older than Lily. When the game ended, the guard on the couch replaced the young guard saying, "Ford, take the couch. I need a smoke," and Ford decided to take a nap.
Chaos guessed the girl was Ford's daughter. She reached out her hand. "Maybe he'll help me," she whispered. She tried to call out to him with her thoughts, but no matter how loudly or strongly she thought, his mind could not hear her. The thoughts only traveled in one direction.
Chaos sunk and laid her cheek on her knee. If she enlisted Ford's help, she could escape and maybe find someone to talk to. A thin thread of hope twisted around her heart. Chaos scraped her chains on the floor and spelled "Hi." Then, her energy drained, and her eyelids sagged. Pictures danced in her head from other's people thoughts.
Soon, she was soon borne away by a dream, not her own.
#Chaos stood at a house in southern Bedlam. Street lamps lit the path with misty light, and scrub bushes sat beside the porch. She stared at her thick hands. Hair sprouted near her knuckles, and her wedding band was silver and round.
A girl answered the door. Her front left tooth was missing, and her hair was pinned with a red bow to match her dress. "Welcome home, Daddy."
Chaos picked her up, carried her inside. "Did you miss me, monster?" she asked.
"No." The girl giggled. Chaos put her down, and the girl ran away.
"Ford?" A light-haired woman peered around the corner. She wore a nurse's uniform and her hair was half done-up.
"Hey doll." Chaos sat on the blue suede couch. The girl sat on the floor in front of her and watched television. On the screen, two cartoon pelicans talked. The woman kissed her cheek and said goodbye. "Bye daddy, bye Lily."
When the door closed, Lily gasped. Her fists clenched, shaking. Chaos asked what was wrong. Lily twisted. Color burst from her eyes, amber and rust. She held a finger to her mouth. "Don't tell them, Daddy."
Then, the television exploded, and Lily laughed. Her face was messed with strawberries again.
Chaos woke, choking and coughing out spit. That wasn't your dream, she told herself. That wasn't you. Yet, part of her wished it was. Her heart ached for something she never had: a house where all the lights were on and the television didn't flicker; a house where people both left and returned; a house where no one shouted or cried or hugged her too tightly. Ford had everything.
Hatred surged in Chaos's heart, heating her chest and her fists. She clasped her hands, held them to her chest, and had a sickening realization. She hated feeling alone, as much as her father.
[End Chapter One]