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Connection - 13

by fortis


~1022 words

Kerra left Dark Lake, a copy of the last book in Rick Riordan’s Slavic mythology novels in hand. She felt a little foolish about how easily she had been persuaded to divulge Shandi’s plan, though she trusted Maru and Drigg not to tell anyone. They would have no reason to, right?

Kerra crossed the pathway that led from Dark Lake’s pillar to Kerra’s pillar. She looked up at the lights of Abyssia spiraling above her for a mile and a half, and beyond that, darkness. Sometimes Kerra wondered what it was like to see the sky. She knew Everen had caught a glance at it as they prepared the rocket for take off. Everen had said that it just looked like a pale green dome, which was a lot different than Kerra imagined it. Based on the descriptions in all the books and poetry she read, Kerra imagined that the sky was always the bluest of blues. Not so anymore apparently.

She sighed and flashed her wrist at the Drowned Goliath’s chip reader. The door slid open to reveal a bustling bar. Zak was busy tending to customers so Kerra quickly walked toward the center staircase. Before she got there, however, her ears pricked up to the sound of her name, almost muffled by the ruckus of the pub’s patrons. She glanced around and saw the Grin waving at her from a table. Kerra realized that Shandi and the rest were there as well. Dread coiled in her stomach.

Shandi had said that she’d bring the whole gang to say their final goodbye before they all went to the surface. This must be the final goodbye then. Kerra motioned them over. Numbers and Shandi took a second to chug down the remainder of their drinks, but soon they were all climbing the stairs and then sitting in Kerra’s living room.

“So… you’re leaving?” Kerra asked.

Scattered nods, and no one met Kerra’s eyes.

“You guys look so sad,” said Kerra. “Why don’t you just stay?”

“We for sure can’t do that,” Angelface said in her wavery voice.

Blast Boy was pacing between the kitchen and the living room, full of a restless energy. “Besides, we do want to go. I think everyone is just sad to say bye to you.”

“You’re good to us, Kerra,” Numbers added. He rubbed at the 8.6663 tattooed on the back of his hand. “We’re going to miss you.”

“And I’ll miss you,” Kerra said, trying not to let her voice shake with unspent tears. “When you find those satellite civilizations, or whatever it is you’re looking for, make sure to say ‘hi’ for me.”

“We will,” the Grin assured her.

Kerra looked at Shandi, who was firmly staring at the wall, her mouth set in a thin line. “Shandi?”

Shandi sighed and leveled her gaze on Kerra. “Me too, I guess. Though we can still talk so it’s whatever.” Her expression shifted slightly. “Do keep in touch though, okay?”

“Aww look,” the Grin jeered, “she does care!”

Shandi scowled. “No, I just need to know about Kerra’s status in case we need her to communicate with the boss or help us get back in somehow.”

“Whoa, wait,” Kerra said. “Who says I’m going to be communicating to your boss for you?”

“Come on, Kerra,” Shandi whined. “Are you telling me that you won’t help both your sisters? You communicate to the feds for Everen! Why can’t you communicate my excellent boss for me? It’s just what’s fair! You’d probably be paid just as much if you did.”

“I’d rather not have dealings with sketchy people like that… present company excluded, of course,” she added hastily. “You guys aren’t sketchy in my book.”

“Thanks,” Shandi said dryly. “But I’d only need you to do that in an emergency. We have other means to contact our boss. But should those fail, could we count on you? Would you deal with ‘sketchy people’ to save your sister?” Shandi widened her eyes and poked her lower lip out, a mock beggar.

Kerra groaned. “I really, really want to say that I would absolutely never stoop so low to save a sister who was asking for something bad to happen, but you know as well as me that I would.”

Shandi grinned. “That’s the loyal pushover that I know and love! Let’s bring it in.” She motioned for everyone to form a big group hug around Kerra.

Everyone gathered around, and Kerra flinched, but rather than squeezing Kerra tightly—and hurting her immensely—they hovered barely an inch away from her blue glowing skin. Kerra felt all of the love, but none of the pain of getting a massive hug from some of her best friends. She smiled.

Then, the hug disbanded, and Shandi clapped her hands. “Alright, chop chop! We’ve got a little more work to do before we head out tomorrow! I know we all love Kerra, but she’s got her own life too!”

Blast Boy was already at the door. They waved excitedly at Kerra and slipped out. No Name was close behind, giving Kerra a more half-hearted wave and a doleful look that told Kerra just how reluctant they were to leave.

“Good luck to you,” said the Grin, tipping his hat. While the one side of his mouth was smiling, of course, the other side matched his eyes, looking deeply troubled. But he turned without saying another word and left.

Numbers and Angelface lingered for a moment. “You were always the best of us, Kerra,” Numbers said at last, and they left together. It was just Shandi and Kerra left standing in the living room.

“I told mom. She was really upset that you were leaving. Are you sure you don’t want to-”

“Yes,” Shandi said coldly. “I’m sure.” She walked to the door, but when she reached it, she paused and turned back. Her expression had shifted again, becoming more thoughtful. “Though, I suppose I am grateful that you told her. Maybe it was the right thing to do. So, thanks, I guess.”

“Any time,” Kerra murmured.

With that, Shandi was gone.


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Tue Jan 01, 2019 1:38 am
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ShadowVyper wrote a review...



Heya fort,

That last review took me a while to get around to. I bet you think I've come up with a good opening in that time, right? Wrong. I have not. Still have nothing original too offer you. So I'll just offer a review instead, minus a witty opening line. Getting started...

Kerra left Dark Lake, a copy of the last book in Rick Riordan’s Slavic mythology novels in hand.


So, probably not important in the overall plot of your story, but can I just say that I like the little detail that you didn't include here -- and that is the title. I dunno why but I just really love how you left that open-ended. You could have put his newest book, but then this section would be outdated in a couple of years when he publishes another.

But no, this keeps it open ended and valid from now until after his death, because whichever one he publishes last/most recently will be the one on YOUR reader's mind. And I think that's just a clever way to go about it. Well done. (Plus, of course, I always approve of anything Rick Riordan related ;) ).

They would have no reason to, right?


Oh nooo, this might be innocent, but it feels like tragic foreshadowing is about to come. D:

Kerra crossed the pathway that led from Dark Lake’s pillar to Kerra’s pillar.


This feels repetitive. Kerra went to Kerra's pillar. I think you could safely replace the second "Kerra" with a "to her own" or something equivalent.

He rubbed at the 8.6663 tattooed on the back of his hand.


So are his numbers significant? You might be saving it for later and in that case then I guessss I can be patient. But I've kind of been wondering why in the world he's got numbers tattooed on himself in the first place. I kind of assumed at first it was like tally marks for the number of people he's killed or something (my mind is a dark place ... don't judge me) but this sounds like it's literal numbers. And I can't for the life of me figure out why 8.6663 would be important.

I assume they have a special meaning too him, but are we ever going to learn what that is? Cause it does raise questions that I think should eventually be explained.

Why can’t you communicate my excellent boss for me?


I think you're missing a word here...

Kerra felt all of the love, but none of the pain of getting a massive hug from some of her best friends. She smiled.


AWWW! Oh my gosh, I just had the biggest feels ever here. Like the first mention of group hug and I was like oh no, poor Kerra, no touchy. But then this. And they care and it's just awwwww <333

~ ~ ~

Another good chapter! I don't think I have anything else, except for the things that I already mentioned -- namely the purpose behind Numbers' tattoos. The only other thing that I questioned in this chapter is, how is she to know where the boss is? I mean I presume that if something goes wrong Shandi will be able to communicate with her all that info on a need-to-know basis. But what if she's like... barely conscious and needs to send an S.O.S to Kerra? She's not going to know where that information needs to be delivered.

And will the boss even know who Kerra is? Like is he expecting her to come as the messenger? I know he recognizes her later on at the party, but 1) I'm not technically supposed to know that, yet ;) and 2) will he recognize her outside of a controlled setting where she's likely to be, like at the party?

Anyhow, I think that's all I've got for this chapter. Moving right along...

~Shady 8)




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Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:47 pm
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fraey wrote a review...



Hey, there fortis.

I'm all caught up on this story, so I feel like I can finally give you a review!

I think that as a transitory chapter, especially after the view change, this works decently. I've liked all of the exposition parts of this story so far, and I think the pieces of setting and location are placed nicely. I remember Zak from earlier, and I like not having to struggle to think of a changing position. Having the gang meet here is nice to reestablish the area.

I definitely think you've got a good feel on laying out the setting in general, which I'd just say to try not to get away from if you're going to be editing this later. This story, with all of its different history and unique location, could get confusing quickly, so I don't want to lose the nice descriptions.

This chapter does feel a little slow, but I think it works fine, and cause I really like the interactions between Kerra and the gang. There are almost too many people all in one scene, but they all seem interesting so I don't want to lose any of them. They also seem to be like the few friends Kerra has, besides Maru and Drigg and Everen, so I feel for her right now.

I am very interested in how much we'll hear from Shandi and if this will eventually lead to Ruth doing something/telling someone of their plans now that they're gonna be gone anyways. That conversation between Kerra and Ruth earlier was very interesting and I'm curious yet hoping that the mom doesn't do anything. I like the gang.

I wish we could have seen more interactions with Kerra and the gang, as I feel that there's a lot of feely-cute/sad moments that could come from that, but maybe that's a note for future edits? I'm also left wondering where this novel goes from here, if Kerra does get in touch with their boss or something shady happens once they leave, and I like it.

The development of this story has been pretty good, and I do find myself grateful for the "unholy info dumps" at the beginning, as things are starting to make sense!

Overall, I like these characters, and I'll definitely miss them. I'm also interested if Kerra is just going to go back to her normal duties, as a lot of this has happened in like a couple of days, I'm guessing?

I like this! And I hope this was somewhat helpful.

Spoiler! :
As a tangent - woo, Rick Riordan reference cause yess he's gonna write a billion books that will survive for millennia. Absolute headcanon. I approve of Kerra's tastes. Also that Rowling reference in an earlier chapter because yes that is a classic




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Mon Oct 08, 2018 5:51 pm
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Querencia wrote a review...



Hey fortis!

I'm back again to review~ I noticed that all the chapters in between already have some lovely reviews, so I just read through them and went on to this one, but if you still want me to review any of them, let me know!

She knew Everen had caught a glance at it as they prepared the rocket for take off. Everen had said that it just looked like a pale green dome, which was a lot different than Kerra imagined it.

Would Everen be able to see it now from the spaceship? That would be cool to tell Kerra about. :) Also, it's so sad that the sky is now pale green!

"I think everyone is just sad to say bye to you."

This sounds a little bit unsure? I mean, the whole gang is there, so that sounds sort of weird said in front of them. Maybe something more certain, "we're all sad to say bye" would work better there.

He rubbed at the 8.6663 tattooed on the back of his hand.

Love it when you put these tiny but significant details in there! :D

“Aww look,” the Grin jeered, “she does care!”

I think jeering might be a little strong for the seriousness of the situation, and maybe something like "gently teased" would be better to get the mocking aspect in there without breaking the mood of "we're leaving now".

“Are you telling me that you won’t help both your sisters? You communicate to the feds for Everen! Why can’t you communicate my excellent boss for me? It’s just what’s fair! You’d probably be paid just as much if you did.”

I sort of feel like Kerra is being pulled from all sides--of course she would do anything for her sisters, but will those interests ever conflict? I get the sense that she might be pulled apart at some point, or at least spurred into action. I'm really excited to see what happens with all of these separate forces and Kerra at the center!

Numbers and Angelface lingered for a moment. “You were always the best of us, Kerra,” Numbers said at last, and they left together.

This is interesting. She's not an official member of the gang, but it seems as if they see her as more than a friend, someone who's really a part of their group. Has Kerra realized this before now? It seems like she really had some faithful people with her, and it's really sad to see them leave now. Would hearing this make her get choked up, or is she more concerned with their safety than with her own loneliness in their absence?

I told mom.

I love how even though she prefers "Ruth", Kerra still calls her "Mom" to herself. <3 That's such a nice detail!

Now that the gang is leaving, I feel as if a lot more pressure is going to be placed on Kerra--the social dynamic that she has been working with since whenever she awoke from stasis is now gone, so I wonder if she'll be more vulnerable/if something action-oriented is going to happen with her on her own.

I feel like when you return to this in the future, there could be some more interaction between Kerra and the individual members of the gang. I mean, it's clear that they're good friends, but maybe a few scenes where one or two come to pick up a bag of fertilizer, they end up hanging out. Because I think Blast Boy was a little wary of Kerra at first, and now he seems to be genuinely missing her along with the others. I'm not sure--you probably don't want to draw out that timeline too much, but it's something to consider.

I can't wait to read your next chapter! :D (I also totally hope Shandi goes and says goodbye to Ruth even though she probably won't)

-Q




fortis says...


Very good points and ideas here, thank you :]




You cannot have an opponent if you keep saying yes.
— Richard Siken