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E - Everyone

Chapter One of Book #2

by zwilliams

Chapter 1 (Cassiel)

It was dark, and I felt nothing but pain ripping my body to pieces. The wind pushing my hair all over. I was constantly being reminded of what I did. Why I was falling. The worst part about was that I couldn’t stop it, I couldn’t stop my body from being pulled closer and closer to Earth. All I could do was wait to feel the impact of hitting the ground. For the harsh grounds of Earth to cradle my body. For my mind to finally process everything. Maybe the collision would be what I needed to knock the reality back into me. I could handle the pain, the wind, the bitter air but I couldn’t handle feeling helpless...feeling human. I was getting closer and closer to the ground, closer to being completely banished. Closer to feeling like an alien in a world I was originally protecting. A few more seconds and I would change forever, a feeling that would stick with me. I could feel my heart racing and me counting the seconds. “1...2...3...4...5...”

He woke up with a jolt, his heart racing. He looked scared and confused. He had been here for nearly a month and he had the same dream almost every night. Well, the same nightmare. He couldn’t let go of the fact that he wasn’t an angel anymore, that he was just some being damned to live on Earth forever. He had been looking around the brightly lit room, the machines all lined up against the wall, and him being at the center of it all. Even though the room was spacious, he felt like he was stuck in a cage. He couldn’t do what he wanted, he couldn’t even go too far in one direction without triggering some kind of alarm. Every day was the same routine. He’d wake up from a bad dream, wonder what new experiment they would do on him today, then they would realize he was up and come rushing in. That was when he would grow worried. They would make little holes in his skin because of all the needles he had to deal with. To him it seemed like they did everything they could to make him as uncomfortable as possible. Each day he tried to mentally prepare himself, but just when he thought he could take it they would change things up, add something new. Make him feel worse about being there.

He sat there envisioning what it would have been like if he never got attached, never tried to intervene with someone else’s human. If he had just let go for once in his lifetime. That was something he had never been able to do. He had always had to have the last word, to give the last command, to get what he wanted. And that’s what had happened that day, he got what he wanted and was punished for it. If he would have just given up like he was supposed to do, everything would be fine. He would still be at home, he would still have his family, he would still have everything he cared about. He could exchange the pain of a thousands needles for the kisses of his lover. He had lost it all, all because he was selfish. Because he couldn’t control himself.

The people with white lab coats had come by now, watching through a thin sheet of glass, already writing down on their clipboards. Scribbling away about how Cassiel was taking their “treatments,” How his body was breaking them down. They knew that he said he felt normal but they didn’t know how much of it to actually believe. As of now Cassiel was just laying still on his bed, not saying anything. All the scientists knew that he was a big deal, but not many of them could figure out why. All he seemed to do was lay around and tolerate them.

“I don’t understand why we waste all of our resources on him.” A short male with dark brown hair said and tossed his clipboard on the desk in front of him. “He doesn’t do anything but sit there.”

The lady behind him scoffed and looked at him. “You aren’t lookin’ hard enough into his behaviors.” She said to him, checking over her stats. “They’re ridiculous.”

“Sorry, Janice. Not all of us dedicate everything to this case.” He said to her and rolled his eyes. “I have a family at home.”

Janice sighed and kept looking over the papers. “You sound like my wife.” She muttered and then sat down in the chair next to him. “But seriously.” She started off and shook her head. “Something is wrong with A-646. He ain’t normal. His just absorbs everything we’ve given to him.” She shook her head and then sighed. “I can’t let this one go.” She said and sat the work down. “Now I suggest that you get to work and start looking over these files, Tyson. Cause sooner or later we’re gonna need to know everything about A-646. He just might be our key to a miracle.” She said while standing up, picking up a completely new clipboard and walking out the door.

The door to the small makeshift room opened and inside popped in Janice. She held a chilled aura around her as she walked around the room with ease, even with the eyes of Cassiel glued on the back of her head. She sat down and then turned to the window, making a weird signal towards Tyson. A click was then heard throughout the room, the cameras had been turned off. She looked at Cassiel for a few short moments, not noticing too much to be different. “You know A-646, I had the cameras turned off so we could talk in private. So we can get to trust each other a little better.” She said and then nodded, not expecting him to speak first.

“I’ll start first.” Cassiel said cutting in. He had been dying to talk to someone. And the lady in front of him looked friendly. One of the nicest people that had walked in. He didn’t know if he could trust her or not. He was taking a big chance, but what did he have to lose now? He had everything ripped away. “My mom had always told me I had too big of a heart, I never believed it. I never believed anything she told me about myself. I hated how she seemed to know me better than myself.” He then paused and tried to move his arms, only to remember that they were restrained.

Janice looked at him and then stood up, moving towards the side of his bed. She knew that if he tried to hurt her someone would come in. She would be safe. She started to undo the strings that held his arms down, a bit of emotion crossing her face for a second. She then sat back down, moving her chair closer to his bed. “Keep talking.” She said and urged him on, crossing her legs and placing the clipboard down in her lap.

He nodded as he rubbed his wrists, shocked that she had actually let him go. He then began to grow worried. “Is something going on?” He asked. They had never let him have this much freedom. Even if it was just his arms, you could see the fear in his eyes. The way his eyes wandered around the room to see if anything sketchy was happening. He was on edge, he couldn’t relax. He couldn’t do it. He used to be carefree. He used to be so many things before he got here. But now he was a mess being kept together by bandaids.

Janice looked at him alarmed and frowned slightly, watching him begin to panic. She didn’t know what to do, she didn’t know how to help. She also didn’t know why she didn’t feel anything but confusion. She didn’t even feel guilt that his paranoia was because of her. She shook her head, soon resuming her normal expression. “No, A-64-”

She was interrupted by Cassiel. “It’s Cassiel. Not A-646.” He blurted out to her, soon rubbing his wrists slowly.

Janice nodded, she was playing friendly. She just wanted to know more about him. To know everything she could to try and explain the unexplainable about him. So she could try and make sense of his whole existence. “Alright, Cassiel.” She said and offered a smile. The corners of her lips twitching, something that happened when she was trying to be too nice. Barely noticable if someone didn’t know her. “We’ve already got something, I know your name now. I promise nothing is going on, you’re safe with me. Now is the perfect time to talk to someone. That’s what you want, right? Someone to talk to and understand you?”

Cassiel was listening to her, buying everything she was saying. He trusted too easily, he always had. He couldn’t help it. He nodded at her words, slowly relaxing at her soothing voice and calming words. “Okay.” He said after a while and then closed his eyes. “Okay.” He said once again, in a breathless voice.

Janice smiled and sat back in her chair. “Whenever you’re ready, take your time.” If anyone was looking in, they would think that this occurrence was similar to a therapy session. Janice had to mindset of a therapist, she seemed to know what to say to make people do anything she said. Some would call was she had a gift, while others would swear she manipulated them.

Cassiel seemed to be falling into her relaxing trance, but something in his voice told him not to trust her. That he had to do everything he could to try and get away. “I- I don’t remember it all. I remember my family. And a few people, everything else is a blur...” He said while shaking his head. Trying to make is sound convincing. No matter how much his words wanted to spill over his lips, to give his mind a break. He couldn’t. His mind stopped him. “I just don’t want to be here.” He added on, tears wouldn’t come to his eyes although he trembled slightly.

Janice nodded and smiled at him slightly. “We’re going to try and get you out of here soon.” She said to him and then picked up her pen. “What do you mean when you say you don’t remember anything?” She asked while scribbling the words down, then writing her own daughter’s name under it. She was too clouded by the idea that she had possibly found another Forgettable, to think about the possibility of him lying to her. Which would only work out in Cassiel’s favor.

Cassiel had picked up on her new attitude. He froze for a moment, more than a little surprised that that she had so easily let her guard down. “I mean exactly what I said.” He snapped at her, not intentionally. He just hated having to repeat himself to someone, especially when it required no explanation.

Janice didn’t even flinch at his sudden tone. All she did was look at him with a blank stare. “I think that this might be enough for today.” She said while standing up and pushing her chair back to the side.

Cassiel then shook his head. “No no no.” He said, suddenly regretting that he didn’t know the right moments to keep his mouth shut. “I remember my mom and my family. I remember them, but I don’t remember how I got here.” He said to her. His voice had a pleading tone to it, almost desperate. He wanted her to stay and listen. He wanted to tell his story, even though it wasn’t the truth.

Janice was still walking towards the door, taking her time to get there so she could hear what he had to say. A small smirk played on her face, he was playing into her hands now. She was getting what she wanted. She then cleared her throat, turning to look over her shoulder at him. “Maybe you’ll remember when I come back tomorrow.” She said and then put her hand on the door. “The doctors will be back in about thirty minutes, we’ve decided to give you more freedom in exchange for you to talk to us.” She said and then paused. “I think you’d really like to talk to more people, it’ll help you.” She said before slipping out the door and walking away from the door.

Cassiel looked at her, shock and confusion written all over his face. He thought he was holding all the power the whole time, but once she left. He realized that he would never be powerful in this place. That he would always be controlled like a puppet. 

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641 Reviews

Points: 46598
Reviews: 641

Mon Jun 03, 2019 2:41 pm
Panikos wrote a review...

Hi, zwilliams! I'm Pan, here to fry up a quick review for you.

So, this is a cool concept. I like the combination of angels with a classic sci-fi premise- it's an interesting mix, breathing new life into an existing concept. Like Fraey says, Cassiel's implied status as a fallen angel carries a lot of intrigue. That's the part of this story I'm most interested in - why did Cassiel fall? When? What's his backstory? I love the inherent mystery of it. I'm also curious as to how this facility found him, and what the purpose of their experiments are.

With regards to my criticisms, I agree with Fraey that the switch from first to third person feels strange. If I'm honest, I'm not sure you need that first paragraph at all - starting a story with a dream is a little tropey, as well as misleading. I feel like it would be more intriguing if you just leapt straight into the present moment, with Cassiel waking up in the containment facility, and stuck to third person throughout.

Even if you do stick entirely to third person, be careful not to jump between perspectives too much. For example, look at this passage:

They had never let him have this much freedom. Even if it was just his arms, you could see the fear in his eyes. The way his eyes wandered around the room to see if anything sketchy was happening. He was on edge, he couldn’t relax. He couldn’t do it. He used to be carefree. He used to be so many things before he got here. But now he was a mess being kept together by bandaids.

Janice looked at him alarmed and frowned slightly, watching him begin to panic. She didn’t know what to do, she didn’t know how to help. She also didn’t know why she didn’t feel anything but confusion

You begin with Cassiel's perspective, but step outside of it when you talk about how 'you could see the fear in his eyes', because there's no way for Cassiel to see his own eyes. You then return to Cassiel's POV, only to switch to Janice's in the next paragraph. The inconsistency is a little jarring. While lots of writers do use omniscient third-person narration, dipping into lots of different POVs, it's especially difficult to pull off in a way that isn't confusing. Third-person limited narration is easier to handle, because you only have to focus on one perspective.

Personally, I think third-person limited narration would make this scene much more suspenseful. Because you frequently jump into Janice's head, it's obvious to the reader that she's untrustworthy. However, if you restricted the narrative to Cassiel's perspective, the reader wouldn't know whether to trust her either. That would add some tension to their whole conversation.

If I'm being honest, I did find parts of this scene rather hard to follow. It may be partly due to the switches in perspective, but I kept losing track of who was lying, and I couldn't fully work out whether Cassiel genuinely trusted Janice or whether he was just talking to her...for the sake of it? Neither interpretation fully works, in my opinion. I don't understand why Cassiel spills his story to Janice the moment she turns the cameras off. What reason does he have to think she means well? He knows she's been experimenting on him, so why would he trust her in the slightest? I just didn't really understand what Cassiel was hoping to achieve.

This first chapter comes across to me like you're trying to do too much too soon. If you want to set up a dynamic where Janice steadily manipulates Cassiel into giving them information, you need to build it up gradually. Show her winning his trust, little by little. It's not enough to just have Cassiel spill secrets to her because she 'looks nice'. If you make the reader trust Janice alongside Cassiel, the reveal that she's actually using him will hit much harder.

I think the concept behind this piece is intriguing. Between Cassiel's obscure backstory, the fantasy and sci-fi mix, and a potentially interesting dynamic between Cassiel and Janice, you have the makings of something really interesting here. I think you just need to give it more room to breathe. Try sticking to just one POV, and take the time to show us how Janice wins Cassiel trust. Don't give us too much information straight off the bat, either - it might be more engaging if we didn't actually know that Cassiel was an angel, and we were left to ponder why he was being contained in this facility. I think that would add a bit more tension and mystery.

That's all from me! Keep writing! :D

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339 Reviews

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Reviews: 339

Thu Apr 11, 2019 11:59 pm
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EditorAndPerks wrote a review...

Hi, there zwilliams! Thanks for requesting a review, and welcome to YWS. I hope you enjoy it here. ^^

I'm going to review this using a review structure called the YWS Critique Sandwich which I would recommend following if you're interested in giving a review!

As a quick overview, this has three main parts: what I liked, what I think could be improved on, and a summary/conclusion about my points and the work itself.

First off, what I liked about this story. I like supernatural-fiction-ish stories, so the main character being what I assume is a fallen angel, seems like a neat enough idea. The fact that Cassiel was kicked out leaves for an interesting plot device later in the story, and will hopefully portray a decent part of what that character's motivation could be. In addition, there's a nice part of Cassiel's character here, that he had a happy life before, and what being an angel consisted of - (watching over a specific human, from what I gather.) It makes me wonder what could have been so important for Cassiel to want to break the apparent rules, even if he calls himself way too stubborn/head-strong.

Next, what I think could be improved. The first paragraph of this really jumps into the action, with the narrator actively falling like an actual angel down to earth. However, I don't know if the perspective change works here too well. I was thrown off by the fact that the introductory scene uses the first-person, but then the rest of the story is written from Cassiel's view, as in the third-person. I would recommend to either rewrite the first portion of this to the third-person or to evaluate which view you like more/could connect to your reader more. Going from there, I do understand not wanting to tell the reader everything that is going on, but I'm a bit perplexed by what's going on here since Cassiel fell. These people somehow kidnapped him? That's interesting - I wonder if he lost whatever being an angel would make him, such as powers/wings/immortality. I'm curious as to what could have happened in between these scenes, especially as to who Janice is/and the rest of the people.

In the end, I think this seems like an intriguing idea, going from a fallen angel that's being experimented on? I'd hope to see a little more of a structure/timeline in this, explaining/showing what could have led to his capture, and who his captors could be. Good luck with this story, and I hope that helped!

Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances.
— Maya Angelou