Tuesday, January 17, 2012

An Excerpt from my WIP

The following is an excerpt from my current WIP, 'The Tales of Mistress Chloe.' I've posted some parts elsewhere, but I wanted to post this here because it's very dramatic and explains some of what drives my main character.

A few notes before it starts: Chloe's soul used to be in the body of an old man. When he died the soul was captured and transported to another planet. It is now 16 or so years later and Chloe has grown up and returned to Earth to see the son that betrayed her.

Nanobots are tiny robots that are capable of a great many things, including taking the shape of humans, called nanodroids.

Yvonne is a child Chloe has adopted as her apprentice. She is about 5.

Chloe has made a study of the human race, and considers herself a psychologist. She can also read thoughts and emotions.

Here's the excerpt. Comments welcome!

The ship approached the island silent and cloaked. It was not a large island, really barely enough room for one to walk around on. I saw a middle-aged man sitting on a rock, talking to a nanodroid. The ship landed a few feet away from him and I led Yvonne out. The man jumped as he saw us but did not approach us. He was held back by nanobots.

I turned to Yvonne. “Stay here.”

She looked worried, but nodded.

I turned to Michael and walked up to him. He had been well-maintained by the nanodroids, clean-shaven, his body in good shape, his hair trimmed.

“Who are you?” he asked.

I felt my heart start to beat faster. I hadn’t anticipated a strong reaction to hearing his voice. I spread my arms and hugged him.

“Hello, son.”

I felt his heart skip a beat. A moment of recognition.

“I - it can’t be!”

I nodded. “I’m back.”

I felt his brain churn. “If the timing is right, you’d be fifteen.”

“I am.” I still held him tight.

“Why did you come back?”

“This is the first time I’ve been to Earth since my rebirth. I had to see you.”

“So you could gloat? Say ‘I told you so’?”

“No. So I can bring you home. To my home.”

“So the imprisonment is over then? Have I served my sentence already?”

“This was never meant to be a prison. It was meant to keep you safe until I returned.”

I felt resentment. “And now what? A new prison?”

“What do you want to do?”

“I want to go where I want. See whomever I want.”

“Tell whomever you want about me?”

“Would that surprise you?”

“No. Not anymore.”

“What, no ‘How could you do that to me?’ No ‘Why did you betray me?’”

“No. What’s done is done. I have a mission to accomplish here. Until that mission is done I want you to stay at our Antarctic base with my adopted family. Then we’ll all go to my new home world.”

“So it is another prison. With all due respect, ‘Dad,’ I’d rather stay here.”

I felt tears welling up. I released my grip on him and wiped them away.

“Is that a trickle of tears I see?” he said. “Something I never saw in my real father. How does it feel to be an emotional wreck? Oh wait, I can tell you that myself! It sucks! You were always about looking toward the future, but you never gave another glance at what was happening in the present. I reached out to you, but you left me under the control of your computer while you went out and preached peace, and your community system. You wanted us to throw away our money and concentrate on exploring the stars, but you never looked at what was happening to me!”

He started pacing back and forth. “And when I left the community and saw what was really happening in the world, I wanted a piece of it! I wanted to be rich, to be powerful. I suppose I was an easy target! They offered me money and land of my own. I just had to tell them what they wanted to know. But you know, Dad, you never taught me how to work all your little toys, because you never fully trusted me, or anyone for that matter!

“So when they couldn’t get what they wanted from me, they beat me! They raped me. They tortured me. And then I told them I could deliver you to them, and they let me live. And you were an easy target too.. I knew just enough about the nanobots to lower your defenses and let them take you. I knew what they were going to do to you and I didn’t care, because they had already done it to me and you didn’t care.”

“I didn’t know that you had defected or had been beaten. If I had I would have risked everything to rescue you!” The tears were flowing freely now.

“You didn’t know because your head was in the generational ship. And then you had the temerity to send my mother away on that ship.”

“That was her choice. I offered the same choice to you. You refused.”

“Oh yeah, because I relish the idea of staying cooped up in a small area for the rest of my life. Oh, but you arranged for that anyway, didn’t you? When I heard you died I felt no grief. I knew that the experiments you’ve been doing with souls would mean that you’d be back someday. And when the nanodroids came to take me away, I came willingly, because I knew I had made a mistake, but not in betraying you, but in betraying mankind. I deserve to stay on this island, with barely enough room to pace and nothing but a nanodroid, an unthinking machine, to talk to. No Dad, I won’t come with you. I’ll stay here for the rest of my life, as I deserve!”

He turned his back on me.

I stood for a moment, crying, breathing hard, then I turned my back and headed to the ship. I grabbed Yvonne by the hand, felt her own mind churning and dragged her with me. I felt her turn back to Michael and then we were in the ship. I buckled her in and then myself and I sealed the ship and prepared for take off. I resisted the temptation to look at him one more time. I felt the ship rise and only then did I look out. He was a small speck on a small island. He soon disappeared altogether.

I heard Yvonne crying. I unbuckled myself and then her and hugged her. Her emotions swept over me. I took her down to one of the bedrooms and lay with her for a long while.

“Those mean things he said,” she said, amid her tears, “were they true?”

I caressed her back. “From his point of view, yes. I did leave him in the hands of Addie, but I had so many duties, so many undone tasks.” I felt my tears return, and I held her tighter. “Sometimes it feels like my job is never done. That I can’t do the things I want to do, spend time with the people I care about. And even when I can, I want to spend it with all of them. I can’t concentrate on just one.” I sobbed for a few minutes and felt her petting my back. She sent reassuring thoughts my way. It made me feel better and I giggled.

“Who heals the healer?” I said. “Who consoles the consoler?” I sighed. “Well, one family member has been found. Let’s see if we can find another.”