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Chapter 10: Knows

by Miraculor77


Kyre's POV

"Ashe!"

My voice comes out strangled and quiet, and I try again, pushing against the darkness that's tightening around me.

"Ashe!"

"Kyre!" Her voice seems so, so far away. I follow it, trying in vain to ignore the light tap-tapping of mice that echoes throughout the tunnels. The darkness coils around me, and I impatiently pull off my hoodie to feel less confined. The cold feels biting at first, gently stinging my skin, but I welcome it.

"Ashe!" I call again. The darkness in front of me is unyielding, unknown things lurking behind its black cover. But Ashe is there. My Ashe. I shake my head at the thought, wondering where it came from. Now's not the time.

No matter how I widen my eyes, I can't see anything. I strain my ears to hear her answer. A dull roar echoes in my ears, before a clear voice drowns it out.

"Here!"

I break into a run once I'm certain that I'm going in the right direction, feet hitting the stone in a way that hurts my shin even more. But I don't care. Soon I'm close enough to hear her breathing again, and I reach a shaking hand out, spanning the area until it hits something solid.

That solid something is Ashe's head.

I breathe a sigh of relief when she pulls my hand off of her head.

"Ashe," I breathe, pulling her head to my chest and wrapping my arms around her. My voice is hoarse even to my own ears. "You scared me so much."

"There's something on the ground," she starts, pulling my arms off of her. "My foot got stuck in it. I pulled it out, but I think it might have some sort of a tracking purpose. You did say that these are hidden tunnels, right? Kyre, I think we should come back here. Maybe tomorrow."

I nod, even though I know she can't see me. If it were Boss giving me orders, I'd feel anything from a twinge of irritation to full-blown anger. But with Ashe, I'm not annoyed. I ponder the fact for a few moments before speaking.

"Alright," I say, then reach out to grasp hers. "So you don't get lost again."

"'Kay," she replies, and brings her other gloved hand to wrap around mine. The warmth gives me a much needed sense of comfort in the stifling darkness.

We walk in silence the rest of the way, my left hand on the powdery wall, my right in Ashe's hand.

The dark doesn't seem so intimidating anymore.

*-*-*

"You probably hate me now, right?" Ashe says, craning her head back slightly to look at me before returning her focus to the the isles of vegetables. "I mean, I made you go all that way, even though you have nyctophobia, and then to top it off I got lost, just for food."

I don't answer, watching curiously as she tests the firmness of a tomato in her hand. The truth is, I don't know what I think. I'd always hated orders, and only ever followed what my mother said. The teachers at my school had labelled me as a "trouble child." It's only through the tracking device and the threat to hand me over to the Government that Boss has any control over me.

But there's just something about Ashe that, in the short time that I'd known her, makes me want to do what she says. Without threats. Without false promises.

As a friend.

"But I didn't do it without reason. I haven't eaten since yesterday afternoon. Food is hard to come by Below, because many artists don't make a lot of money and it's difficult to ship there as most delivery bots lose their connection underground." She drops the tomato into a reusable canvas bag from the store. "It's hard."

I still don't say anything, gesturing for her to continue.

"I'm vegan because I'm allergic to many animal products, artificial preservatives, and food coloring. Milk, shellfish, chicken, red 40, yellow 5, and eggs, to name a few. I could stay in the same room as them, breathe air with them, but if I eat any, I'll get an allergic reaction. Hives, itchy eyes, etc. I promise I wasn't being spoiled. I just want to say that I'm sorry."

Now I don't say anything because I don't know how to respond. She continues checking the vegetables and dropping them in the bag, humming a very familiar song under her breath. Carrots, leeks, red onion, potatoes.

She moves to the fruit section, grabbing another canvas bag. Making her way through the aisle, she drops bananas, peaches, strawberries, and some other fruit into the bag. I hover behind her, keenly watching the experienced movement of her hands.

Ashe goes and picks up a small container of dried basil, then asks if I have salt at home.

"No…" My voice trails off, and she picks up a glass jar filled with white powder. Handing the jar to me, she motions toward the checkout area, muttering under her breath. I catch a few words and phrases: "How do... even live?"

"You'll have to pay, because I'm making food for everyone." She gives me a dazzling smile.

I push my hoodie sleeve up and tap to turn on my tracker. I feel Ashe's gaze on it, and a glance tells me that she is staring at my wrist. Opening the bank app that's connected to Boss's account, I swipe the tracker at the scanner to pay for the groceries.

*-*-*

I pull a heavy key out of the pocket of my jeans and jam it into the lock. Boss never upgraded the security here, and the mass of metal before me is the only thing keeping us outside. The lock clicks loudly, and I push the door open. Warm light filters through, and I rush inside, dragging Ashe with me.

The warmth instantly envelopes me, and I pull off my fingerless gloves to absorb the heat better. Ashe does the same, handing me the pair with a quick "thanks." I pocket them, simultaneously checking my tracker for any new messages from Boss. Nothing.

When I look up again, Ashe is gone. Again.

With a sigh, I go on yet another trip to find her.

She's standing in the kitchen, back turned to me as she chops tomatoes with a sort of careless precision. She doesn't notice my presence.

I duck through the doorless doorway and lean against a particularly tall cupboard, easing my weight off of my right leg. Ashe sweeps the tomato pieces into a bowl, and then starts with the onions, frequently pausing to wipe her eyes from the fumes. Her hair is pulled up in a messy bun, and a few curls escape at the nape of her neck.

I suck in a quick breath. In that moment she looks so much like my mother.

Ashe starts at the sound, then yelps sharply. She turns to face me, giving me a quick smile through teary eyes before sucking on a bleeding finger.

"Do you have a bandage?"

*-*-*

I'm at the table eating the tomato soup Ashe made. I'd given her a bandage earlier, and she fiddles with it now, looking very serious about something. She spoons up some soup, blowing on it impatiently before putting it in her mouth. I look away, tilting my head to the ceiling. Faint starlight catches the details of the glass above me.

The silence is stifling.

"Kyre," she says suddenly. Her tone seems certain, a current of power running under the inquisitiveness. "You know your way around a computer, right? Someone from here stole some things from my laptop, and now it won't turn on. I was wondering if you knew something about it."

Ashe stares expectantly at me, gauging my reaction. Her head is tilted slightly, almost like a bird, as though she's analyzing my face in every angle.

The blood drains from my face. I fight to keep my expression neutral, but I must have given something away because she nods to herself.

I think she knows.


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125 Reviews


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Wed Oct 02, 2019 10:31 pm
nogutsnoglory wrote a review...



Hi! Vomit here to fill your request for a review on the rocks.

Let's get started.

Okay, even as someone who hasn't read previous chapters, this chapter, by itself, is pretty damn solid.

I'm really impressed that the tense of the story stayed consistent throughout the chapter - that's the biggest flaw I see when writers try to do present tense, is inconsistency. You did a good job of keeping the tense the same throughout the whole thing.

As well - and this could just be the case of it being a later chapter - the foundation of the relationship between the two main characters is pretty solid, too, and that leads not only to good (and realistic) interaction, but to good characterization as a whole, as well. Both Kyre and Ashe do wonderful standing on their own as their own characters, and they work even better in conjunction with another as friends as the chapter progresses.

The only critique I really have is very nitpicky:

[quote]I say, then reach out to grasp hers[/quote

It bothers me a bit that - although we can infer that it's a hand reaching out - the sentence is still missing that piece of information. Kyre could be reaching out with anything, and we wouldn't know what it was because the sentence doesn't tell us.

Again, very nitpicky, and the chapter still works without it.

I'm a little concerned about the ending, to be honest. If the whole point of the story is Kyre stealing the art off of Ashe's computer, isn't it a little bit early in the story to be bringing that conflict to a head? Unless I'm either missing part of the plot, or this is a shorter story - either of which could be the case. If so, ignore this last bit.

Overall, very impressive. I'm not sure I'll go back and read the other chapters, yet, but I am intrigued.

Again, this chapter is wonderful and solid and works really well as a standalone piece, let alone with the rest of the story.

Thanks for requesting a review and I hope this helped!

Keep writing,

- V




Miraculor77 says...


Yes, it did help. That sentence (the nitpicky one) had been bothering me as well, but seeing someone else notice it means that I should probably fix it.
Kyre stealing the art from Ashe's computer is a conflict, but it's more of a sub-conflict, if you get what I mean. The real conflict is caused by the Government (I think I mentioned it once in this chapter), but it hasn't really made an appearance yet. I might try to incorporate it into either the next chapter or the one after, just to speed the story up a bit.

Thanks for the review!



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Thu Sep 26, 2019 12:18 am
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Miraculor77 says...



@Liberty @mellifera
I went back and edited the chapter and also added to the part where Kyre finds Ashe.
It had been playing in my head when I first started thinking about where this chapter is going to go, but for some reason I took it out. But then Ashe getting lost doesn't make much sense, does it? I put it back in and not the chapter feels... more complete, I guess. If you could tell me about the changes, I would really appreciate it. :)

- Mira




mellifera says...


I've got two chapters to review right now, but once I'm done with those, I'll absolutely come back and reread!

(I'm p terrible at remembering things though, so if I haven't given you feedback by the end of this month, please let me know with a pm or something!)



mellifera says...


Hey! so I came back and read through this again! I don't have a lot to say on it, but from what I remember, it does seem to flow together better now! I don't know what else you edited (I've been reading a lot recently so trying to keep track of all the stories is kind of patchy for me ^^' sorry about that!)

Just out of curiosity, is there a reason you didn't include the rest of the transition from when Kyre and Ashe found each other to getting to the market? Kyre's anger at Ashe about the tunnels and stuff still feels somewhat forced to me because it only gets included once Ashe mentions it, but again, it might be because I haven't read previous chapters.



Miraculor77 says...


I took out the part where Kyre is angry at Ashe because it sounded too forced and replaced it with something else. I didn't include the rest of the transition because there was something really similar in a previous chapter and I didn't want to repeat it. Thanks for rereading it. :)



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Thu Sep 12, 2019 10:05 pm
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Liberty wrote a review...



Hey Mira!

Hope you're doing well today or tonight, depending on what side of the world you're on, obviously. I'm here to give you a review for RevMo, to get this out of the Green Room already and to find out what happens!

Just for your info, I'm probably just gonna do a bunch of comments, and like, some critiquing along the way if I do find anything to critique. ^^'

Let's get started, now, shall we?

Okie dokie Loki.

Oooh, this is amazing! They go through the tunnel... Dun dun duuunnn. That part really held me tight, ya know? The way Kyre held on to Ashe before they went into the tunnel.

This. Is. So. Exciting.

Okay. They got the food. Cool. Wow, she must be an expert, eh, Kyre? *nudge*

I'm on the table eating the tomato soup Ashe made.


Kyre. That's disrespectful. Why would you sit on a table. (Unless, Mira, you meant I'm sitting at the table, hehe.)

I think she knows.


...Yeah, same. I think she does. And you're not going to hear a word from her every again, so now, get lost. Please. _/\_

Lol, alright, overall, I adore this chapter, and I can't wait to see what happens to Kyre and Ashe and what Boss does. :smt023

I'm done with my review, and I hope it helped in some way or the other. Of course,if you have any questions, feel free to ask me whenever!

And as always...

Keep on writing!

~Liberty




Miraculor77 says...


Yes, I did mean "at" the table. I was writing this in a rush. :) I feel like I used too many scene transitions, and that some scenes could have been done better, so if you could give your input on that, it would be great. Anyway, thanks for the review and Happy RevMo!



Miraculor77 says...


Yes, I did mean "at" the table. I was writing this in a rush. :) I feel like I used too many scene transitions, and that some scenes could have been done better, so if you could give your input on that, it would be great. Anyway, thanks for the review and Happy RevMo!



Liberty says...


Of course. ;)



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Wed Sep 11, 2019 6:05 pm
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mellifera wrote a review...



Hey Miraculor77! I'll be dropping by for a review today :D

I haven't read any previous chapters, so if I comment on anything that I would have not had I done so, please feel free to ignore me!


The cold feels biting at first, but I welcome it.


This line is actually telling! Generally, the use of "feels/felt/feeling" is a direct tell instead of show. How? You're telling us what the character is feeling, rather than how they're feeling. It's harder to connect to a character when you have that kind of vague "this character was feeling this". Instead, this could be "The cold bites at my skin, but I welcome the relief of fresh air". It could also be "The cold is biting at first", because then you're showing how it's affecting your character rather than telling about it.
This is more useful when going back for line edits, and I'm sure not all helpful right now, but I figured I'd let you know because I caught it :)


I'm absolutely loving your descriptions. I'm a sucker for rich description like this. Yours is like, the perfect balance of short but beautiful. You fit it in very well into the story without overwhelming (I like overwhelming - at times - but I also am really enjoying your writing style here).


I strain my ears to hear her answer.


You don't really need "to hear her answer". Just based on context, we know that the MC is listening for Ashe, because nothing else has been presented (besides the mice, but I think it's pretty easy to assume MC is not listening for mice) as something to listen for.


I feel like Kyre and Ashe's reunion is a little short? It's sweet and warming, don't get me wrong, but they seem to have been pretty desperate to get back to each other. But then they say nothing? I know Kyre grabs her hand, but it seems like they do this, and then immediately set off without taking any time to truly reunite. Does that make sense? Of course, it might not have been as frantic because I don't know how they got into this situation, but it read like that to me.


She drops the tomato into a reusable canvas bag from the store. It's hard."


Did you meant to put quotations marks in front of "It's hard."?

and food coloring.


wow same Ashe. I actually don't think I've ever read a character that was allergic to food coloring before??

I just sort of hover behind her


I'm supremely guilty of this as well, but using "just" and "sort of" is padding your writing. It's not actually having the effect you want it to have (I usually use it to minimise the effect of what I'm saying, or make it seem like my characters are doing something less "monumental" than just a normal action. Which is a... rather dramatic way to explain it). Don't curb what you're saying! "I hover behind her" gets across what Kyre is doing in less words.

"No..." My voice trails off,


This is another example of repeating what you're already showing (like before with the "straining to hear her"). The ellipsis shows us that Kyre trails off. You don't have to then tell us that Kyre trails off.

When we walk home through the tunnel, Ashe doesn't let go of my hand.


Instead of having so many scene transitions, this could be easily incorporated with the last scene. I would put in a little transition (like, "We collected our belongings. On the walk home through the tunnel, Ashe doesn't let go of my hand"), but otherwise, you don't need a whole scene change for one line.


This may be because I'm coming in on just this chapter, but the first transition (from the tunnels to the... market? I'm still not sure, you don't describe it or what's going on) confused me. It went from a somewhat frantic feeling reunion, to casually... shopping for groceries? But you don't explain where they are, and we only learn they're shopping for groceries further ahead. I also wish Kyre's frustration with Ashe was shown before she mentions it, because right now, Kyre feels like they only get angry after Ashe says something (and then, once mentioned, it feels forced).


the doorless doorway


o.O

(perhaps "the archway" or simply, "I duck into the kitchen" because, if Kyre can see Ashe, they obviously aren't looking through a door)

I'm on the table eating the tomato soup Ashe made.


I laughed, but I'm not sure this is what you meant? Kyre is on the table?

Faint starlight catches the details of the glass above me.


Yessss I love this (also huge sucker for descriptions of STARS. I'm weak for stuff like this ahhh).



I really enjoyed reading this! I'm glad this is the piece I choose to review today, it was a real treat <3 I might go back and read more of it? I can't promise anything with my schedule and with LMS coming up, but I'm intrigued by this! Less by the story, to be honest with you, because not much happens in this chapter, I'm actually pretty taken by the characters and how you've written them.

I think there could have been more description in the market scene, and clarifying a little more about what's going on, but otherwise I think you've done a pretty good job at it (the house isn't described either, but I'm going to assume that's because you done so before).


That's all I have for you today! If you have any comments or questions about anything I said, please let me know! :)

I hope you have a wonderful day, and Happy RevMo!

Image




Miraculor77 says...


Hi! Sorry for replying so late. Things have been rough recently. Thanks for the review though! I will be getting back to this chapter later and fixing it up. About your comment about the phrase "doorless doorway," I only used it because it sounds interesting. :) Using the word "archway" would make it... sound ordinary. The rest of your critiques were helpful, and I'll probably use them. Happy RevMo!




Of those who say nothing, few are silent.
— Thomas Neill