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E - Everyone

Legion: Chapter 1

by Otterpop

“Are you okay?”

She offered her hand to the young boy that just fell on the sidewalk. His face was slightly contorted, and there were some red scratch marks located on his knees. He took one long look at the girl, but instead staggered to his bare feet on his own and ran off without a word.

Sammy’s mouth tightened for just a moment. He wasn’t the first to turn away her help, and he probably wouldn’t be the last. She backed up and returned to her seat on the concrete stair, which immediately burned through her thin and ragged shorts. She winced, but did not get up from her seat.

A loud car horn grabbed her attention, but her head did not shoot up as Sammy looked right. The driver of a small Nissan popped his head out the driver’s window, and shouted at three children playing tag in the middle of the street. The driver spoke with a booming and enraged tone at the children, who were no older than pre-teens. But the kids simply backed up to the sidewalk with the most flat expressions anyone could wear. The car drove off, and Sammy heard the man’s irritated voice for a few more seconds until he turned a corner down the road.

Her focus returned to the kids, who walked in her direction, side by side. She knew them. Well, knew of them. They lived in the same building as her, but they didn’t pay her a lot of attention since she was younger than them. Sammy scootched aside as the three walked up the stairs where she sat, and whisked past her as though she hadn’t even been there.

Of course, she caught a couple of their words as they passed her.

“.....ucking asshole.”

“Yeah, right?”

And then they disappeared inside the building, leaving Sammy to sit in front of it alone, again.

Yet she didn’t want that to stay that way. Nicky, Jess, and Brandon left earlier that morning for some city-wandering, and she wondered if they simply forgot to invite her. Sammy stood, brushed off her ragged shorts and shirt, and strolled leftward down the sidewalk.

These couple of blocks were full of tattered buildings that she’d seen before, practically every day. And a quick glance told her nothing had changed here. The cracked brown bricks on the apartment across the street, the word ‘SALE’ torn straight off the dull yellow awning of an old thrift store, even the two homeless guys tucked in an alley she walked past….everything was the same shape and form as it had been for days, months, years even. Another kid would walk by Sammy every now and then, wearing that same ragged look on their faces or bodies like those pre-teens earlier. Not that she was much different though.

Another four blocks of the same old dullness that wore over her mind, leading her to sigh inwardly over and over again. The street was more or less quiet, except for the occasional quiet conversation. As Sammy stopped at a corner with an old lamp she looked down the street. More of the same as what she’d just seen.

A moment later, without hesitation, she turned left. And rather than walk she took up something close to a running pace.

A few of the buildings here were somewhat decrepit also, but not all of them. Two blocks later, Sammy caught a whiff of something. It was a faint but warm scent, not the smell of a hot May afternoon in the city, but rather something smoky and meaty. And two more blocks later, she skidded to a halt and stared at the street corner.

Hot dog vendor. A chubby man in an apron next to a large cart that was steaming and constantly spewing little bouts of smoke every couple of seconds. The sizzling sound of meat on the makeshift grill was like music, and the smell of tender meat grew ever stronger with every passing second.

Sammy returned to a walking pace, then set her hands in her pockets. She walked past the vendor, her chin down and her elbows pushed tight into her sides. Her stomach grumbled, but that only made her walk faster, further away from the vendor and his charge. Once the smell of meat faded a little, Sammy slowed her pace and removed her hands from the pockets. Then she lifted her chin and looked around.

The sights and sounds here were a far cry from her own neighborhood. Most people walking around here were well-dressed, with clean shirts and shoes and….dresses. Sammy stopped and spun around when three young adults walked past her. The lady on the left wore one of the prettiest dresses she’d ever seen: a gentle flowery pattern, and a colored mix of blues and greens and everything in between. It flowed so perfectly past the woman’s knees, and looked unbelievably soft as a single thick strap over her right shoulder held the entire dress up on the woman’s body. In seconds the two women disappeared into the crowd of people.

Sammy looked away, her eyelids drooping. If only….... She set her hands back in her pockets and continued down the street.

Even though some people shot her suspicious glances as she walked, she didn’t mind. She loved this street. There were always new people walking about, telling new stories every day, leading different lives that she could never dream of living. The sights, the sounds, the smells….there was always something new to discover. She could not help but listen in on the multiple conversations happening at once while she strolled.

“ to that game?! You’re the-”

“ can’t be….”

“....looks like crap, so return it….”

She wanted to focus in, listen to what some of these people had to say. But not here on the street. She had to find the perfect spot first. And a few more blocks down, she stopped and scanned: here stood a little park with some benches, trees, and flowering bushes. Sammy skipped on over to one of the trees, where a large boulder sat beneath it. She quickly ascended to the top of the stone and properly sat down after a quick stretch of the legs. A small breeze kicked in and blew right through her thin clothes, reaching skin in some parts. With the added tree shade, Sammy knew she’d found the perfect perch for the next few hours.

Most stayed on the sidewalks, but some people walked through or sat in the little park area. Sammy swung her legs out on occasion, and slowly scanned the area. This small place bustled with life in a way her own neighborhood never could. People laughed, chatted, argued, and strolled, and Sammy could not help but let a smile overtake her lips.

Everyone walked in either pairs or groups. Those walking alone were typically men she noticed, most of them in nice suits or outfits. She spotted lots of women, though, and while she caught sight of a couple chatty teenagers there really weren’t any kids her age. No signs of other orphans either…..

A glint in the corner of her eye caught her attention first. Two women walked into a local coffee shop on the other side of a street. In the two seconds she had a view of them, Sammy noticed their brightly-colored shirts and skirts almost immediately. They also wore many sparkling earrings and necklaces between the both of them. She couldn’t get much more than that, however, once they went inside. A family walked around the park in front of her, two parents and a toddler. The little boy looked so happy with that big grin as he jumped around, holding one hand from both what seemed to be his mother and father.

Sammy breathed in sharply after watching them for a few moments longer, but it wasn’t long before she pulled her gaze away. And when she did she observed a bench, where two young men and a young woman sat. They were far enough away that she wasn’t noticed by them, but close enough that she could hear their loud conversation.

“I mean, when is the governor gonna do something about them?” argued the woman, who looked so red and flustered she might have picked a fight with someone right then and there.

“What can the governor do, really?” asked one of the men, who had black hair brushed neatly on top of his head. “They’re not tied to the government in any way, you know.”

“I don’t care,” replied the woman. “Those brats are going to do some damage one day. That’s what happens when you have unattended children like that running around.”

Sammy pricked up when she heard that, and turned her head to get a better listen of their words. Did they speak of what she thought they did?

“It’s alright, it’s alright,” said the other man, whose skin was a little darker than the other two. “From what I hear on the news it’s not that bad.”

The woman raised an eyebrow. “Yeah, because the news gets everything right. All I’m saying is that if someone doesn’t try to control those brats in Legion, who knows? Someone could get killed.”

“Yeah, that seems a bit exaggerated. They’re kids, Karen….”

So they hadn’t been talking about what Sammy thought they were. Still, this wasn’t exactly a new topic for her. She’d heard of Legion, though she didn’t know much about them. Rumor was that it was a group of thousands of people, or more specifically kids, that did stuff all over the world. What ‘stuff’ they did, she hadn’t a clue. Maybe somebody else did, but she had yet to hear anything specific.

She did, however, know that Legion first emerged less than five years ago, and were so known of that Sammy would hear them mentioned at least a couple times a day. They did this in London, this in Fance, this in China…….over and over again. Sometimes it was charity work, or tournaments, or stopping robberies and fires….there were so many tall tales it was hard to tell what was true, and what was not.

After a long exhale of breath Sammy returned to people-watching. She observed the crowds dissipate, grow, and change, over and over for what felt like hours. Warm air on the breeze slapped her every now and then, and she could feel her back and her neck getting a little wet. She opened her mouth every and then for a yawn, but watching the passerby for some time kept her mind occupied otherwise. There was certainly diversity and variety in the people she observed, but there didn’t seem to be anyone or anything particularly eye-catching. A few minutes later she yawned again and stretched her legs some more. Her stomach grumbled ferociously-

Sammy about did a double take while looking back out into the crowd. A figure caught and then recaptured her attention, and she could not help but squint and lean forward for a better look.

A teenager. It looked like an older teenager, sixteen, seventeen maybe. Or eighteen? The individual in question sported a very feminine figure, had long brownish hair that reached the middle of her back, and her face looked smooth and fair in color. She wasn’t too short, or too tall. She looked like any other teen or young woman in this area.

Yet….she walked alone down the sidewalk. She carried no accessories either: no purse, no bag or backpack, no shopping bags either. From the look of it, too, there was nothing in her pockets either. And yet she still wore a fancy-looking blue shirt with dark denim jeans, all of which looked immaculate. But strangest of all was the look in her eye. The teen’s gaze seemed forward and fixated. Sammy had never seen that look in anyone’s eyes, but everything about this teen snatched her attention and held on with ferocity. She could do nothing except tilt her head with a burning curiosity.

The teen’s gaze then shifted. In a heartbeat, her eyes made contact with….Sammy.

She pulled away in an instant, and immediately felt a loss of balance. But she couldn’t react in time as her buttt, then her back and feet, crashed onto the grass. She groaned loudly as she sat up. No one offered help, and no one asked if she was alright. But that wasn’t important.

What….what was that? she thought. What just happened? Sammy stood up, a slight ache burning throughout her body, and looked across the street. She scanned the entire sidewalk three times. But the teen had simply vanished.

“Hey! Brat!”

Startled, Sammy spun around. Her heart stopped as soon as she identified three boys and a girl, all older than her by a few years. She backed up a little as the rag-clothed kids approached her.

“That was quite a fall, huh?” said one of the boys, clearly the leader among them.

Sammy tried speaking back, but it only came out as a stutter. “I-I tried t-t-to catch mys-self-”

“Yeah, clearly,” said one fo the other boys, who advanced towards her.

She quickly looked at the rock where she just sat, then back at the leader. “Trev!” she yipped. “Y-you can have the b-b-boulder-”

“I can have the boulder?” the boy snapped, crossing his arms while he slowly walked towards a frozen Sammy. “You make it sound like it was yours, but I just let you sit there in the afternoons because I hate the heat.”

Sammy gulped. He towered over her now, a head taller than she, and had unusually thick arms for a street kid. His eyes were fixed on her, narrow and steely, like a predator looking down at his prey. She had to get out of there, now.

And the brief emergence of that thought had her instinctively push him away and take off.

“That does it! Get her!”

She ran for her life down the street, weaving around people and the carts. She wanted to head back northwest, back home, but the little blockade of Trev’s cronies forced her in the exact opposite direction.

Sammy skirted around the streets and cars and people. She wanted to turn a corner, but the girl of Trev’s group was already on the other side of the street. Even in the throng of the crowd she could hear them yelling and whooping behind her. Her heart raced and her mind became frazzled as instinct took over her every thought and movement.

One of the boys dove to her from the side, and in a split second she jumped over her attacker and pushed harder. But she was losing her energy, fast. She quickly turned the corner and about skidded to a halt.

In front of her stood a small field of dead grass and weeds. Beyond that, the river.

Loud and quick footsteps behind her forced Sammy to run again. This time, she tried going around the buildings at the end of the street. If she could do that she could circle back home.

But the girl was already waiting for her. The four older kids had her trapped.

“You know, if you just let it happen I coulda let you off with a painful warning,” Trev shouted. “But you just had ta make it worse, didn’t you?”

Sammy could not respond. She shook too much. She didn’t even know why she’d done any of this. She just….reacted, earlier.

“Yeah, yeah, we know the orphanage you stay at,” the girl piped, slowly walking towards Sammy. And she wasn’t the only one. “And we’ve heard you don’t like this part of the city.”

She about froze in place. Trev smirked and stepped forward.

“How about we all go for a quick swim?”

Her brain shut off completely, and she bolted in an instant. But the girl and one of the boys grabbed her with little effort, and pulled her towards the river. She did not scream, but she fought back and whined. The two pulled her near an old lamppost, and she grabbed on it. Her arms wrapped around the rough object as she held on for dear life. Her legs and hips were being pulled something fierce, but by now she’d closed her eyes.

“Let go, you little rat!”

Someone punched her shoulder. The pain shot right up into her neck, but she still held on tightly. Someone else’s knuckles made contact with her fingers, and while her grip loosened she still did not let it go.

“Stop fightin’ it.” Trev’s voice was right in her ear; he almost shouted the words right next to her. Suddenly a hand grabbed her hair and pulled her upwards. It sent a terrible stinging sensation all the way down her back, and she let out a loud groan while her grip on the post weakened enough for her to be pulled away from it. She opened her eyes and saw Trev, holding her by her hair, his other hand ready to slap her….maybe even punch her. She could not fight the shaking of her hands even as they rose to grab the arm that clutched her hair.

“This is what happens when you disrespect me, girlie.”

The voice was coarse, and threatening. Sammy’s eyes widened. She had no idea what was coming next, but now she could no longer move.

A large hand suddenly reached out from the corner of her vision and grasped Trev’s wrist before his hand could fly. And a deep feminine voice spoke.

“That’s enough of that.”

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198 Reviews

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Wed May 05, 2021 5:45 pm
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Honora wrote a review...

Hey Otter! :D I'm here for a review! Since I don't think I have done any reviews on your work, I will give you a quick run down on how I go. So, for starters, I want to say that I never mean any offence towards your writing and only ever want to help. That being said, if you find me too harsh in any way, please let me know and I will loosen it up a bit. I generally show you what I think could be edited and then move on to my favourite part and tell you what I liked...anyways, I'm babbling so away I go! :D

He took one long look at the girl...
This could be your writing style so ignore this if you planned it but one way to get your readers to connect more deeply with your character is to make them forget they are simply a figment of our imagination. One way to do this is to avoid a narrative feel to your story. So in this particular example you could have written He took one long look at her... and it wouldn't seem like it's coming from someone else's perspective. If that makes sense...

...but her head did not shoot up as Sammy looked right.
It's the same thing here as I said above. Try to avoid using your characters name unless it is the beginning of the sentence or many female characters are around. This particular sentence confused me a little too. ;)

Yet she didn’t want that to stay that way.
This one is just a small error and even then it's just a tip. Try to avoid using the same words in such close proximity as the word that in this sentence. It makes it choppy and hard to read. But it's an easy fix so don't worry too much!

It looked like an older teenager, sixteen, seventeen maybe.
Here, I wouldn't put it but go straight with [i]she[/b]. It flows better ;)

What….what was that? she thought. What just happened?
This is just a suggestion but if you put her thoughts into italics or something, it is easily grasped by your reader ;)

One thing that I don't really have a clear idea of is her age. I don't know if I missed it or if you never gave us that information so if you did, ignore this :-P

Okay and that's all I see for me to point out. :D :D

So, I really like the world you have set your characters in. It was easily described and I found no complaints on your description. It all ran very smoothly and I could picture it in my mind clearly with no trouble at all. You also didn't do the common mistake of giving your readers an info dump and just weaved all the description and information through the whole chapter itself. I especially like how you didn't describe Sammy directly and used her surroundings to reflect upon her. I really liked that. ;)

The dialogue is quick and witty and I enjoyed her way of thinking. It was pretty interesting. So in general, I have left you with a few edits that are totally up to you whether to acknowledge them or not. I really enjoyed this and think you're definitely on the right track to becoming an awesome writer!

Keep up the good work! :D

Otterpop says...

Nothing too harsh at all! I enjoy criticisms and critiques, and trust me, yours was very tame compared to many others I've received on other works!

I'll be sure to keep an eye out for some of the topics you mentioned. Sometimes it's the little things that'll get ya, especially if you do it more than once in a short piece!

I've become very good at info dumps, or rather good at not doing them, and instead doing it through actions and dialogue. The show don't tell rule of thumb is kinda something I live by, especially given the genre a lot of my stories typically have. And I'm always glad to hear that I've got some strengths to my stories!

As for the age's actually something I've thought about. I know her age is revealed to others and the reader through dialogue (which I think is around Chapter 5 or 6 or so?) but I can't remember if I indicated her age in any of the earlier chapters, but also how to do so without just outright stating it in description or exposition. Because theoretically, I maybe had the idea that people could generally get an idea of her age through her actions or thoughts or dialogue, but not reveal it definitively until a few more chapters in. Thoughts??

Honora says...

Okay good. I know some people like more encouragement rather then actual constructive criticism so it is good to know you are the opposite! :)

It is a tough one to weave into your work without outright saying it. You have done a great job with the describing with a more reflective way about it. Maybe you could do the same with her age? If she is a teenager, you could throw it in when she is guessing the %u201Cmysterious%u201D girls age.
Since I don%u2019t know her actual age it is hard to give an accurate example but I will just give one anyways :-P so I take your work and add my own little twist to it

A teenager. It looked like an older teenager, sixteen, seventeen maybe. Or eighteen? Whatever her age, she looked to be two or three years older then Sammy.

Just a suggestion though. And it wouldn%u2019t be a definite age but it would give a general idea of Sammy%u2019s age. If that makes sense?

Honora says...

Ugh sorry about all the weird numbers and symbols in there. When I%u2019m on my phone, I can%u2019t get rid of them! :(

Otterpop says...

No worries about the weird symbols! I was able to extrapolate what I needed.

Your suggestion about how I incorporate the age is actually a very good idea! I'll have to edit it at some point and see how it fits!

Honora says...

Okay cool. Glad I could help! :D

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Sun May 02, 2021 2:17 pm
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MailicedeNamedy wrote a review...

Hi Otterpop,

Mailice here with a short review! :D

The driver of a small Nissan popped his head out the driver's window, and shouted at three children playing tag in the middle of the street. The driver spoke with a booming and enraged tone at the children, who were no older than pre-teens.

Here again is the little problem that I have already seen in your other stories and where I think there is still some catching up to do. Firstly, I would take away the "driver's" in "driver's window", as you already note that it is the driver who later looks out of the window. On the second sentence, I would also remove the "driver", and replace it with "he".

I'm not an expert when it comes to writing rules, but as a rule of thumb I would say that when a person/object is the focus at the moment, you should not mention them with the noun for at least one - two sentences, but with he / she / it (or maybe a synonym).Of course, if there are more persons / objects, you can leave it like this with the noun, otherwise you will confuse the reader.Of course, if there are more persons / objects, you can leave it like this with the noun, otherwise you will confuse the reader. Of course, if there are more persons / objects, you can leave it like this with the noun, otherwise you will confuse the reader. In this case, it is only the driver and the children.

Well, knew of them.

I don't know what you want to say with this sentence. Do I get it wrong when I say that instead of "knew" it should actually say "some"?

The lady on the left wore one of the prettiest dresses she'd ever seen: a gentle flowery pattern, and a colored mix of blues and greens and everything in between. It flowed so perfectly past the woman's knees, and looked unbelievably soft as a single thick strap over her right shoulder held the entire dress up on the woman's body. In seconds the two women disappeared into the crowd of people.

That's a great description, and you should keep it that way for people! Later you use it well when you describe the teenager. It's also exciting to read that you don't do descriptions in the same way. You've started describing from two different points here, which is best done alternately.

But she couldn't react in time as her buttt,

One too many "t "s here :D

You have a great writing style that is fluid and exciting. The dialogues seem lively and your descriptions well directed. I get the impression that some of the descriptions here are a bit from Sammy's point of view, which I think is great, as it also allows her to interact a bit with the environment.So you also get to know her through her actions. You also bring in the ending so unexpectedly when one is in the middle of reading, which leads to one being left with a suspense as to what will happen next. :D Well done!

It's hard to rate a first chapter for a story. Some are good as short as they are and others can be expanded a lot. At the beginning I thought it was a bit too long for the first chapter, after reading it I found it had the right length to build the right atmosphere and let the reader participate.

I guess I won't give an accurate opinion until the next chapter. :D

Have fun with the rest of the writing!


Otterpop says...

Your rule of thumb is something I definitely need to keep an eye out for. This actually helps when a single person reads a variety of excerpts of my writing; it allows them to pick up on things like this!

I'm glad to hear that overall I have a strong writing style, with some obvious changes that need to occur here and there. Thanks greatly for pointing out a couple of the little things as well!

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Sun May 02, 2021 8:49 am
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stygianmoon17 wrote a review...

Ooh I love this

There was so much tension in this chapter, so much suspense- I can't wait to know more.
This chapter was built so perfectly, with a balanced out mix of action, and calm moments, where you could flesh out the main character more.

I love the way you developed Sammy's personality, nothing felt forced in it, and we get a clear insight on who she is in a very natural way. Which I think is important, as main characters can make or break a story, and here your lead 100% makes up for the story. I can't wait to read more about her, maybe see some development in her character.

The exposition about the group Legion was also very on point and flowed naturally with the main narration. But why is it called Legion ? The name "Legion" comes from a religious scripture, which I couldn't name because I'm not religious and know very little about religion, but I recall it being about a man being possessed by multiple beings, which is why he says: "we are Legion". And it kinda has become synonym for multiple personality disorders, since people with that disorder often feel like they are torn between multiple beings living inside of them. So yeah.
Maybe I'm just getting triggered for no reason about that name, but I feel like there should be a reason, or at least some kind of meaning, behind it

Although I have nothing to say about this chapter in itself, I want to warn you for the upcoming ones.
Have you added character development in your story ?
Maybe you have, but if you haven't, you probably should. It makes for insanely believable and relatable characters, whether it's the main character, the secondary ones, or even the antagonists. Character development is also known as arcs btw,
For the bullies here, maybe you could even add a backstory for why he acts that way. No one just bullies people out of fun. Maybe it's because of his parents ? Or he feels the need to prove himself to his friends, since otherwise he thinks they'll abandon him the same way (person) or (person) did ?
Because one you give characters a reason, a motivation behind what they do, they won't become likeable, a bully will never be likeable, but perhaps make them more humane. more believable.

Welp here it is, hope this helps you out for future chapters, and have a fun time writing the rest <333

Otterpop says...

Your comments and feedback are most appreciated! Clearly I seem to have strengths but also some things to look out for, which I most certainly will!

Some of that information that you mentioned about the origins of Legion was actually unknown to me, but it is still just the first chapter and Sammy has little knowledge about it, so I can't say a whole lot right now! But it is something for me to think about.

Regarding character development, this is something I have intended on putting into the story. The entire novel draft is actually being rewritten because there were some things that had changed since the first draft, including a couple things regarding character development. While a lot of it has been fleshed out for some characters, there is a little more I can do with other characters, and for now that's all I will say!

That's great :D have a fun time writing this series !

Some people file their [tax] returns inside of a dead fish.
— John Oliver