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Foreshock | Chapter 1.1

by firemoons


GENESIS

He had a head start, but that wouldn’t help him in the end. None of my targets were able to stay ahead of me for long—not without me letting them, at least. No matter how hard he ran, I’d catch up to him. And he’d lose.

I sprinted up the stairwell, taking the steps three at a time. My hand skimmed the railing, my eyes trained on the man in front of me. The thief. He’d regret stealing from me—if I decided to be merciful and let him live. For this crime, though, that wasn’t likely.

My mind flashed to the reason behind this all. Would she approve? No. No, she wouldn’t. She’d give me that stern look, call me by a name I wish I could forget, and ask what I was doing. And when I wouldn’t—couldn’t—answer, she’d tell me to think about it.

Get your head out of the past, I thought sharply, eyes narrowing. Focus on the task at hand. You’re trying to kill someone, remember?

Right.

I shook my head and, in a burst of energy, boosted myself up the last flight of stairs and barreled onto the roof. The man’s eyes were wide with fear, realizing his costly mistake. A cold smile spread across my face. “Nowhere to go now.”

He glanced at the fire escape on the other side of the roof, past me. My eyes narrowed. “Don’t even think about it.”

I regarded the man before me. He was middle-aged with thinning brown hair, plastered to his face by sweat. There’d been a child’s bedroom in his apartment—he had a family. What would make a man like this steal from a notorious supervillain? And, more importantly—how had he known of the necklace’s existence?

I thought back to the apartment. There hadn’t been much—the cabinets were mostly bare, the clothes were old with rips in them. He didn’t have much—it went to the child. This is a very desperate man.

Words flashed in my mind, spoken by a voice I knew like the back of my hand. A desperate man is more dangerous than a wild animal. They’re reckless, unpredictable. But once you find what makes them tick, you control them.

I blocked the memories that surged at the voice. Now wasn’t the time for the past. Not that part, anyway.

I took a step forward, and the man retreated, his wide eyes flicking between me and the fire escape. If he died before I got what I wanted—

Don’t think about that. I couldn’t accept failure—hadn’t in over twelve years. Focus on your humanity. Make him see you aren’t what the media portrays you as.

Well, the media does a pretty good job of making me look like a monster.

I locked eyes with the man. “I saw the bedroom—you have a child?”

Fear flared in his eyes, and I internally cursed. Nice going. Now he thinks you’re going to murder his kid. Well, I could improvise.

“I can see you care about them,” I continued conversationally. “Everything you have goes to them, am I right?” I glanced at his terrified face. Good. He should be on his knees after stealing from me.

“Please,” the man blurted. “Don’t hurt him. He’s only seven.”

Seven. My stomach knotted. More memories surged. Seven, seven, seven. I blocked them off. Stay in the present, out of the past.

A smile played over my lips. “Oh, don’t worry. He’s perfectly fine—for now. But if you don’t tell me where you hid the necklace...” I tsked and shook my head. “Well, I can’t guarantee anything then.”

“Don’t,” he pleaded, tears filling his eyes. “He...He hasn’t done anything. Please. Don’t hurt him.”

I leaned forward. “Where’s the necklace?” I asked softly.

The man scanned my face, presumably taking in the white mask that covered the top half of my face. I pictured the way my victims must’ve seen me—a monster in white, hair blowing in a nonexistent wind. Searching for humanity in pale, cold blue eyes. I wondered what they’d found in the depths.

“It’s important to you, isn’t it?” the man asked abruptly. A small, triumphant grin spread across his face. “I should’ve known when he asked for me to steal a necklace—why else would a supervillain hide it?”

I scowled, hiding what I sensed. My leverage was slipping here—he was beginning to realize a fraction of the necklace’s value.

I shrugged, channeling the two people I hated most. “Well, if you prefer the necklace, keep it. I’m sure your child will fetch a good price from Paladin. Might be a little scarred, but...” I shrugged. “Oh, well.”

And just like that, I was back in control. “You wouldn’t hurt a child,” the man growled. Fear glimmered in his eyes—he had no idea what I’d do. He laughed, pretending the threat didn’t rattle him. “You’re, what, fifteen? You don’t have what it takes.”

I arched an eyebrow. “Maybe you haven’t taken a look at the news in the past three years because I’ve killed plenty. A child wouldn’t hold a candle to what I’ve done.”

“You’d never,” he hissed.

I shrugged. “It’s your child’s life on the line, not mine.”

The man opened his mouth to respond when something struck me. I staggered back a step, my fingers curling around the shadowy javelin in my shoulder. Blood—my blood—stained my white clothes red, seeping into the fabric.

Where—? I scanned the nearby rooftops, but there was no one. The man tore past me, seizing his opportunity to escape. My mystery attacker would have to wait.

I turned around, summoning a strong wind to my side. The gale coiled next to me, shrieking in eagerness. Just as the man was approaching the fire escape, I released it, letting the wind send him over the edge. I ignored his desperate cry, the sound of his body hitting the pavement.

I exhaled weakly and studied my injury. I immediately recognized the handiwork—a shade. Which could only mean...

Don’t finish that sentence, I ordered myself, turning my attention to the gaping wound in my side. The weapon was strange but familiar to me—a type of solid shadow, shaped into a point to penetrate the skin. It wasn’t jagged, though—this was to send a message, not kill me. That was worse.

I swallowed and reached for a power I hadn’t used in nearly five years. More memories rose to the surface, ones I couldn’t deal with right now. I was bleeding out—now was not the time to relive the most painful parts of my life.

My fingers sunk into the darkness. Feeling the tangible-but-not substance sent shivers up my spine, and I quickly turned to the task at hand. My eyes narrowed as I commanded the shadows to unravel, watching as the weapon came undone before vanishing completely. Immediately, blood began to pour faster out of the wound. I sighed.

If you’re going to use three of your powers today, why not use all of them?

I concentrated, pulling light from my surroundings, pushing it into a solid form. It emitted a fragile glow as I pressed it against my injury, sealing the cut in seconds.

I gritted my teeth and stood up, wincing at the jolt of pain the movement caused. I wrapped an arm around my side and limped to the edge of the building. The winds coiled around me as I floated to the ground, landing by the thief’s body.

The outskirts of Dawswich were sparsely populated, despite being the old city. Many viewed them as being crime-ridden, but I didn’t mind. It kept nosy people from ratting me out to Paladin, which I appreciated.

I crouched by the crumpled body and searched his pockets. They were empty, aside from a key ring, a business card for a car dealer, and a wallet. All of them useless in my search for the necklace.

“Where?” I snarled, gritting my teeth. “Where did you hide it?” I knew he’d be smart, but not keeping it in the apartment or on his person? It had to be nearby, somewhere he could discreetly check on at any hour of the day.

I scanned the dull walls of the alley. Brick buildings, two dumpsters, a couple of bags of garbage, some cigarette butts, and a storm drain. If I was a thief who’d just stolen something valuable from a supervillain, where would I hide it?

I recalled my brief conversation with the man. He asked for me to steal a necklace. And if there had been a shade nearby...

“Back away, Genesis,” someone said. I stopped myself from rolling my eyes; Paladin’s cavalry had finally arrived. It was Resonate, with Clairvoyance, Blizzard, Voltage, and Riptide. The least they could’ve done was use decent, non-cringe-inducing names.

I bit back a sigh and an injured whimper as I straightened and turned to face them. They were heroes—to the public, anyway. I wasn’t as blind as the media was when it came to government-monitored organizations. After years in Dawswich, I knew about some of their less favorable supers—take Sun, who’d do anything for the spotlight.

I smirked at the heroes. “Resonate! Good to see you. I was getting worried—it’s been, what? A week since I last saw you?”

He gritted his teeth. “Just turn yourself in, Genesis, and we can stop this charade.”

I rolled my eyes. “As appealing as that sounds, it’s gonna be a hard no from me.”

“You don’t have a choice,” Voltage hissed. “We’re taking you in.”

I glanced at Clairvoyance. Her eyes were clouded, and she trembled slightly. “Well, your seer seems to think this turns into a blood bath. And honestly, I have to agree. You’re finally starting to get on my nerves.”

“Do we get a badge?” Riptide muttered. I suppressed a grin.

“Now’s not the time,” Resonate snapped, glaring at his teammate. I lifted my head as our eyes locked. “If you cooperate, this will go a lot easier.”

“I agree.” My eyes narrowed. “If you stay out of my way, this will go a lot easier.”

Voltage roared, apparently dissatisfied by the way this was going. Electricity jumped from him, sending me into a building. The brick around me spider-webbed with cracks. I inhaled sharply, pain stabbing through me. Oh, that’s definitely fractured.

I shoved the agony away and stood up, laughing softly to hide the hot knife slicing through me. The lightning had left a scorch mark on the white suit. Yay, laundry.

“It’ll take a lot more than that to keep me down,” I said, mustering a smirk. “Unlike your— What was he? Your friend?”

Clairvoyance bit her lip and looked away. “Cousin,” she whispered. Close enough. Voltage started forward, but she held him back. “Don’t. She’ll kill you.” Fear and concern flashed in her eyes as she glanced at the rest of her teammates. “She’ll kill all of us.”

I smiled. “I’m glad to see at least one of you has some common sense. I was getting worried.” The grin faded, and my eyes narrowed. “Stay out of my way, or you’ll suffer the same fate her cousin did.”

I flicked my fingers, and the earth rolled forward, knocking the heroes off their feet. I shoved aside the pain and boosted into the air, the wind supporting me as I flew over them and landed in the alley beyond. Every movement was agony, but it was nothing I hadn’t dealt with before. The stakes here were high—I could deal with a little bit of pain.

Vaguely, I heard Resonate shouting at Voltage to wait while they took care of me. Despite the failure of tonight, a smile flitted over my face. When had they gotten the impression that I was going down without taking them too?

Word count: 1,960


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Tue Sep 22, 2020 11:33 am
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LittleLee wrote a review...



Hello there!

I'm Lee, and here to review your story.

I'll begin by saying that this is good, really good. The beginning was quite well-written and thoroughly engaging, which compelled me to keep reading. I get the feeling that this was mostly written with a considerable amount of patience; instead of rushing your story to get your plot in the open, you've carefully laid the foundation to a well-planned idea.
There are moments where I felt you slipped a bit, and let impatience take over, but these can be easily rectified, although as of now they stand out. Let me point them out.

The first such instance is during Genesis' confrontation with the thief. (very cool name, by the way.) At first, he was properly terrified, and everything was quite realistic:

"The man’s eyes were wide with fear"

"Fear flared in his eyes"

"I glanced at his terrified face."


and then, poof! For some reason I did not understand whatsoever, the thief gets a surge of bravado.
A small, triumphant grin spread across his face.

I'm sorry, what? He was cornered and half-thinks Genesis is going to kill his son. Realistically, the necklace's worth wouldn't matter to him. He should only be thinking about survival and his son.
This continues and the thief literally gets angry:
"the man growled."

"he hissed."

Like I said, unrealistic. You presented a very solid image of a terrified man, then broke it down yourself. While the transition of feelings may not be out of place, it was way too quick.

The same thing happened when Genesis confronts the heroes.
He gritted his teeth. “Just turn yourself in, Genesis, and we can stop this charade.”

I rolled my eyes. “As appealing as that sounds, it’s gonna be a hard no from me.”

“You don’t have a choice,” Voltage hissed. “We’re taking you in.”

Every impression of confidence and power, followed by this:
Clairvoyance bit her lip and looked away. “Cousin,” she whispered. Close enough. Voltage started forward, but she held him back. “Don’t. She’ll kill you.” Fear and concern flashed in her eyes as she glanced at the rest of her teammates. “She’ll kill all of us.”

I get that they're different heroes, but isn't it likely that if Genesis is potentially that dangerous they would all know? I didn't get a sense of caution when first introduced to them.

Finally, I think Genesis herself is a bit overpowered, but that's entirely my opinion. I just find it unclear as to what exactly her power portfolio consists of, because you mentioned she has three powers but there are technically four.


Well, that's all!

Please don't think I disliked your work. On the contrary, it made for a very good read, and I look forward to following this story. I think I just tend to be super critical of stuff I like. :D
Do tag me whenever you post more.

See you around!

- Lee




firemoons says...


Thank you! :) Reading your feedback, the stuff with the thief and Clairvoyance makes complete sense. I didn't notice that when I was writing it, and I rarely read over my work after (I probably should start doing that), so I completely missed that. I'll make sure I work that out.

I'm glad you enjoyed it! :) (I posted the second part of this chapter the other day, although it is, in my opinion, not as good as this one since it doesn't include as much action.)



LittleLee says...


I'm glad you found my review helpful!

I did notice the second chapter, but don't have the energy to review it today. But keep in mind that a good book has more than just action; if you do it well, even a description of a random fireplace can interest your audience. :D



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Wed Sep 02, 2020 6:02 pm
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Horisun wrote a review...



Good day or night, dusk or dawn! And happy Review Month!
I really, really enjoyed this! Genesis is a really interesting character. They're only fifteen, right? And they've been in the supervillain game for three years? What happened to lead them down such a dark path? Were they ever friends with the others? The interactions between them give me friends-to-enemies vibes.
I also really want to know about Clairvoyance. Can she multiple futures? Or just one? What happened to her cousin? Was he a Super Hero too? How many 'heroes' are part of the group?
All these questions are great, because they'll keep me reading for sure! I am absolutely fascinated by this, and if you ever write another chapter, be sure to tag me!
Anyway, a small nitpick about the opening. It was a tad confusing, and for a moment, I thought you had switched from first person to third person. Maybe use 'The thief' in place of one of the 'He's'
Another thing, Genesis is pretty chill for just having a javelin hurled into his shoulder. Even if by some miracle it didn't hurt that much, I'd think he'd still be like, 'Oh God," Or something.
Despite those two, small, things, I really enjoyed this, and hope to see more from it!
Keep on writing!




firemoons says...


Thank you! :) At this point, the reader is lead to believe Genesis is on the younger side, although it is revealed that she's older than she seems. (I probably should make that more clear, though. :/) There's a definite story behind why she chose to go down this path, although she was never friends with the others. I guess that, after years of fighting each other, they settled into a more casual tone.

Clairvoyance is an interesting character that I'm actually still in the process of developing; it used to be that she could only see the defined path, but I realized that was going to be problematic, so now, she sees thousands of possibilities, the more likely ones being easier to access. And her cousin... Well, that's dealt with in the coming chapters. :) At the moment, there are five heroes in the group fighting Genesis.

Thank you for pointing out the beginning; I didn't realize that until I went back and read that just now. Before I started rewriting, Genesis had her chapters in third person, so I'm still a little used to it. I'll make sure I make that more clear, though. :)

Yeah, the shadow javelin... I don't focus on it a lot here since it's not the worst thing that's happened to her, but it does get a lot of attention when she goes back to her villainy. One of my pet peeves is injuries magically disappearing, so there are plenty of references to her wound. But yeah, Genesis should definitely pay more attention to the javelin.

Thank you again for the feedback! I'll be sure to tag you in the next chapter. :)



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Sat Aug 29, 2020 8:04 am
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EM8650 wrote a review...



Evening firemoons!
As far as first chapters go The one you have created for Foreshock is really impressive!
The way you have written in the actions and pacing for the main character was nicely done.
One small suggestion i have for you is that you introduced a fair bit of new information in this chapter and while its good to know and understand whats going on in the here and now, it would have been nice to know a little bit more about the main character past. Specifically their past action that have led to events in this chapter as well as the motives of the main character.
This is only a very minor suggestion but overall this chapter has been written amazingly. There is a lot of potential within your plot line and i can't wait to see where your story goes.
I wish you all the best.
Keep up the fantastic writing!




firemoons says...


Thank you! I've been told that there should be more explanation about her past, especially since that's been a major influence on her and everything she does. I didn't want to overwhelm the reader since this is only the first chapter, but I do plan on adding more of that to this chapter and further ones. Again, thank you for your feedback! :)



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Fri Aug 28, 2020 10:40 pm
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Tuckster wrote a review...



Hey there firemoons! I'm glad to see you seem to be settling into the site nicely, and I'm honored to be (I believe?) your first review. Let's get into it!

This was a really impressive first chapter, all things considered. The snarky italicized comments from the MC added a humorous side to this story, your action scenes and dialogue were well-written, and the pacing was spot-on. It's honestly one of the most impressive first chapters I've ever seen on YWS, so major kudos for that.

One minor critique I have for you is that there were a lot of new things introduced in this chapter. I'd say the first half of the chapter was almost impeccable regarding your introduction of new elements, but the second half of the chapter began to introduce more and more parts of the story without as much space between. For example, you reveal all three of your main character's powers (which was a lot to take in, in my opinion), then you introduce 5 more characters that seem to be relevant to the story. There are also some more names thrown at us, like Paladin and Sun, which take up space in the reader's brain without having immediate relevance.

Secondly, I would love to see you touch a bit more on the main character's motivations. She's clearly very determined to prove her capabilities, defeat the superheroes, and recover this necklace, but why? Was it past pain? Money? Fame? Noble social ambitions? Obviously, you don't need to and shouldn't go super in-depth on this topic, but a small mention would help me better emotionally connect with this character.

And last but not least, the superhero story with the supervillain-hero-twist is becoming relatively common in the writing world. You're in danger of falling into this cliche, so just be mindful of how you're going to add your own twist as you continue writing. I think you're off to a good start with that, considering you have a character with three powers as opposed to one, so just something to keep in mind as you're moving forward.

These are all very minor suggestions because this was a fantastically written first chapter. This story truly has a lot of potential, and if you wouldn't mind tagging me when you upload more chapters, I'd love to keep up-to-date on this! You did a magnificent job striking a balance between the intense scenes, the back-and-forth dialogue between opposing sides, and the snarky thoughts of your supervillain. I can definitely imagine this being published some day, the writing was on par with a lot of published books that I've read. If you have any questions about this review or the site, please reach out! I'd be happy to help you get settled in, and I hope you enjoy your time on YWS.

Best,
Tuck




firemoons says...


Thank you! :) I have gotten a few comments on other sites saying I should explain more about her motivations, so I'm planning on implementing that in further chapters. The chapters alternate between different characters, so the heroes are explained more in-depth from one of their own later. This is a rewrite of something I finished writing, so I'm trying not to dump all my world-building and character development in the first chapter. ^^' Again, thank you for your feedback! I really appreciate it, and I'll be sure to keep it in mind as I continue writing this story. :)




If a million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.
— Anatole France