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 Shadowed

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Soupkan.Kid
Yeoman
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Posts : 57
Join date : 2010-04-08
Age : 27
Location : The Purple Mushroom Patch

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About Me::

PostSubject: Shadowed   Fri Apr 09, 2010 8:53 pm

(this is a novel i'm writing and i'm just gonna post it chapter by chapter up here for critics and reviews - i need your honest opinions as i want to get this published XD well this is still very much a draft and so it's not perfect but please tell me what you think Very Happy)
Chapter 1




He bent over the body. Dark hair falling in his eyes, he resisted the urge to brush it aside. He ran his fingers over the dark pool billowing from ragged skin. Dipping them into the sticky substance, he bought them to his mouth. Inhaling the sickly tang and questing the taste with his tongue. Satisfied with his work, he kissed the victim’s cheek and painted his signature symbol on the ground with the crimson blood he had stolen. Leaving no trace in the darkened street, he fell into a shadow and vanished completely.
***


Tobias’ world was dark. He saw things with a bleak outlook. No one cared for him and he cared for none. Life was as it was. Wearing tight supple leather trousers and a dark black shirt, rolled up to the elbow, he looked fairly respectable. He’d spent the money he’d earned from his last job on a pair of trainers to match, rounding off his look with the light immaturity of youth. He brushed dark bangs away from his intuitive green eyes, out of habit, and carried on down the busy street; weaving through the crowd with an art that was second nature to him. He’d lived on the streets for the past eight years and he knew the dangers around him. His line of work always brought hidden danger for him and were it not for an urgent need of money for survival he would never have lowered himself to selling his body. However it paid well and allowed him to live more comfortably than when he’d first started out.

***


At around the age of twelve Tobias had decided that the orphanage was not for him. He stood out amongst the chubby, listless children around him. Already a head taller than those of his age – his unusually calm demeanour made the olders edgy around him. Dark hair always hung in his face and he hid behind it his pale complexion. The taunting had started when he arrived. Waking up one night in a car headed towards the malignant place for nobodies; with only a name as a possession and no memories. The others had made his life intolerable from the first day. Starting out with childish pokes and pushes – soon even the adults started kicking him about to their bidding. Eventually a nasty retaliation ended in him being compelled to leave in the dead of night.

***


Noise pounded him from either side; all sorts of noise, from people to moving vehicles and the hum of technology around. Tobias ignored it all as usual. He was more interested in finding his way to get the next job. As well as his main income, he did any work he could find. Sometimes if it paid more he wouldn’t have to go out that night to please people. He liked it better if that happened. The more he walked the quieter it began to grow. The hi-tech gadgetry, heavy congested speeders and general people diminished as he walked farther from the centre of the city. The street grew more deserted and derelict looking. Tobias was entering ganger territory, a dangerous choice. One wrong move and he could find himself dead.

A crowd had gathered ahead of him. He ignored it. Hands in pockets, he walked nonchalantly through the group of hustled bodies, taking in the bright tape cordoning off a section of street and splashes of dried brown on the walls of the building nearby. Terrified whispers and snippets assaulted his ears.

‘Have you heard?’

‘Terrible – nothing they’ve ever seen before …’

‘… Blood everywhere.’ Tobias let the voices wash over him, not letting any of their words sink in. focusing on the path ahead he didn’t strain his neck like the others did. He just wasn’t interested; he knew that they were talking about a murder. It happened a lot around these parts, rival gangs fighting over land, barriers – even people. It didn’t faze him, it was all the same.

‘… No fingerprints, nothing, no trace only the symbol.’ Tobias’ head whipped up. The word ‘symbol’ catching his immediate attention, for a second something inside of him sparked. He tried to reach for it but nothing happened. Turning towards the source of the crowd, he drifted through the muddle until he was next to the cordon. Everything had been covered up with white and tape. There was not much to see and the urgency in itself dwindled. Tobias couldn’t remember why he wanted to look in the first place. He wandered off again, heading deeper onto gang territory.

***


Rowan ran her hand over the chrome exterior, the coolness seeping into her skin. She shuddered with pleasure; the entire thing was a rare piece of beauty. She looked at it once more, touching the leather seat and fingering the delicate tubes and pistons that could be seen. A lock of pure white hair fell in her eyes and she tucked it behind her ear with the rest. Her hair was a prominent feature about her, the most noticeable part. It was an untainted white and varying length from short to long, with black streaks running through. Blowing puffs of it out of her eyes, she stood up.

‘Well Roo, what ya think? Happy very late birthday!’ The tall young man stood beside, eagerly awaiting her reaction. Rowan faced him.

‘It’s beautiful,’ she said. ‘Thank you Taran!’ She hugged him and he stepped back by the sudden show of emotion.

‘It’s chill,’ he mumbled into her hair. She stood and admired the bike for a bit longer, now that Taran had left she got out a toolkit and set herself up beneath it. Tinkering was one of her pastimes.

When she returned to the pad an hour later, she found Taran waiting for her.

‘There’s been another one,’ he sighed to himself. Rowan flopped into a chair beside him.

‘Same thing?’

‘Yes, even down to the symbol,’ he passed her a sheet of paper.

‘This is a police report?!’ She arched an eyebrow.

‘Yes, from their computer file, I hacked in again.’ He flexed his fingers, cracking the knuckles. Rowan looked at the file in her hand again. Noting the symbol – that was what her attention was focused on – it was the same.

‘This is the second this month, you know?’

‘It could be a lead,’ Taran said.

‘No, there is nothing in here of use to us – just what we already know.’ She sighed. Her brother got up sliding his chair back.

‘I have to go, Mulch will be expecting me. We’re planning a raid on the Ignite gang. Been scavenging on Spinner land again.’ He grinned.

‘Can I come?’

‘Err… maybe next time kiddo,’ he said winking at her. ‘You’re too young.’ Rowan’s temper flew.

‘Don’t call me kiddo,’ she glared at him. ‘And I’m eighteen for Christ’s sake, I can handle myself you know that full well. Stop leaving me behind!’

‘I’m sorry,’ he said. ‘But it’s final.’

‘That’s bull! I’m taking this to Mulch; he’ll get me something if you won’t let me.’

‘Roo, I don’t want you to get hurt. You’re all I have left; and Mulch won’t help you, you’re my problem.’ She continued to glower at him, before stomping out of the room and slamming the door as hard as she could in annoyance. Taran thought she was still too young to join in the missions, she wasn’t and she wasn’t his problem either. She would show him, prove her worth. If she could get Mulch to help sneak her onto the team, without her brother finding out. Then when it was too late, she’d show herself – but no Taran had said Mulch wouldn’t help, however she could still just sneak along without telling anyone. They would have to let her join them, once she had proved her capability. She was a Spinner and she wasn’t going to sit around and watch everyone else have fun.

***


The flags could be seen hung from broken windows and walls. The gang colours were painted for everybody to see. You couldn’t miss the bright gold and magenta red twisted together in a flame like appearance. Occasionally there were torches hung from the sides with lighted wicks, sending everything into shadows in the evening air. The flickering of the fire was enough to make anyone edgy with its constant shifting shadows. Tobias walked as though this was no different to being up in the Plaza Centre’s technologically advanced streets. This land belonged to Ignite, one of the many gangs that had taken over the ruined parts of Indianast.

Tobias was hoping to find some work here that paid him well. Fixing things or doing odd jobs, rather than doing the usual. He knew he had to find the gang’s fixer. The person who would tell him what jobs were available for him and the pay rate; sometimes the rate was good and other times he had to leave it and take the less palatable method. There was nearly always a job going on the ganglands but Tobias did not make a habit of finding them or even venturing on to a gang’s turf. You were more likely to leave in a black zip up bag than with a pocketful of cash in these parts of the city. He noted that the street was empty an unusual occurrence, it was not late and neither was there any known reason.

Random items lay scattered on the floor and Tobias bent down and picked up a discarded coat. Brushing it off, he put it on. It was black and faux leather, and came down to his ankles. The thing made him look like some kind of sombre demon hunter and he nodded his approval in a passing bit of broken glass as he slowly picked his way through rubble, abandoned assortments and litter that floated in the mild breeze. To Tobias the place was just another ruin. He didn’t mind ruins, in fact he admired them. A ruin broke moulds, didn’t follow rules and like the gangs that coveted them it opposed its original intentions. He moved further from the safety of the less bloodthirsty built up areas of Indianast and deeper into Ignite territory, the rubble and damage of past years could be seen more clearly here and the disregard for the law was in evidence. Blood splatters were still seen on walls in various spots. Bullet holes in walls and smashed windows. The bodies got cleaned up eventually but this far in you wouldn’t ever see a Control Officer. Indianast’s special authority squad had better things to do than keep an eye on the gang’s petty squabbles. They were their own law.

Tobias kept a cautious eye on his surroundings, drinking up every detail he could. He could fight if he needed to, but he doubted it would have much effect on gangers armed with guns, knives and other implements.
***


Rowan drew what little of her hair, which went, back into a messy ponytail. Strands fell about her face and she fixed them with Kirby grips so only the black strands from her streaks still hung down around her eyes. The white was hidden under a combat styled hat. She then went to her brothers room, it had been five minutes since he’d left and she knew her time was limited if she wanted to catch up with the team before they left. Scrabbling around, she found a pair of combats in one of the many drawers in his room. She shoved them on using a belt to stop them from sliding past her hips where they hung. They were black and blue camouflage that matched the Spinner’s colours. She had a black vest top and a slim camouflage jacket, which showed her figure nicely, on her top half. Grabbing her utility belt she clipped it on over her jacket. Stuffing it with her pre-made fire crackers and other explosives she had, she then found other essentials she thought she may need. When that was done, Rowan grabbed a pair of shades to cover her easily recognisable eyes. Studying her self in the mirror opposite, Rowan decreed her self passable for someone on the team. Her look brought back memories of her parents’ last fateful mission.
***


‘I wanna come,’ Rowan pouted at her mom. Her older brother Taran laughed as he walked by. He was fourteen and had already been allowed to join his parents on his first mission; Rowan decided it was her turn.

‘Maybe when you’re older,’ her mom ruffled her white hair, tugging gently on one of her black streaks. Rowan wandered off grumbling to her self about how you weren’t treated fairly when you were eight.

She watched from the window as her parents departed; stormy black eyes straining as they disappeared from view. She felt a moment of unease wash through her but shrugged it off. Taran came in and put his arm around her as she continued to stare out into the night.
***




Something caught Tobias’ attention up ahead of him. It was darker and most of the torches on the walls had been blown out, leaving the last ones, closest to him, flickering alone. He moved closer slowly and quietly, there was something not right about the silence and darkness. Igniters where known for their love of flames and light, the fact that there were too many shadows here, too much black nothing, unnerved him.

Wondering if this could be the reason as to why the streets were so empty, he took out a lighter from his shirt pocket and used its glow to see in the darkness. Black sticky looking stuff glistened off of scattered rubble in the dim light. Tobias didn’t need to get closer to guess what it was. He could smell the blood from where he’d stopped, a few paces from where the glistening pool had stopped spreading. He bent down and his fingers trailed around in the sticky black of their own accord. It was beginning to seal and the edges of the pool were crusty and had dried dark. Tobias came to the conclusion that the blood was recent, done perhaps the night before; bringing his fingers to his nose he smelled the deathly relish which he found both stimulating and repulsive. Then turning his face away from his fingers and wiping them on a rock nearby, he edged closer to the source of the bloody puddle.

The body lay not far away. It was female although it was hard to tell. The once pretty face was contorted with surprised fear and slashed with what looked like claw marks. A ragged hole the size of a fist was punched through her chest and blood had run in rivulets down her exposed skin. It was a mess of claw marks and deep wounds; Tobias turned his head away and forced himself not to throw up, making retching sounds. The smell here was overpowering. A satisfying mix of death and metallic sweetness, Tobias shook his head trying to clear the disturbing thoughts. Staring into the girl’s lifeless gaze, he closed her eyes for her, leaving bloody trails on her eye lids untainted with prints from the pads of his fingertips. Mumbling to himself, he stood up and looked around stonily. It wasn’t his place to move the body into a respectable position and he done his part with the eyes on account that it was something he couldn’t leave.

He felt strange and wanted to leave, something was compelling him to stay and gaze at the body, play with the blood, taste it. He didn’t like these feelings, they made him uneasy. Forcing himself away was difficult and he fought against the resistance in his legs. It was as he pulled himself up, using the wall as leverage, that he came face to face with a strange, rusty smelling, crimson symbol.

It was painted on the wall, like a child using finger paints; only the crimson red shade wasn’t the result of paint but the blood of the woman lying nearby. It started as a swirl that came out in three soft peaks pointing downward. From a distance it was like an elaborately simple wing. A sharp pain ricocheted in Tobias’ brain, making him drop the lighter. Gasping, he clutched his head. Everything became suddenly clearer, like an auto focus, and he felt that strange snapping sensation he’d had earlier. Something had changed but he couldn’t put his finger on it. Instead he chose to run his fingers over the red stain on the wall. Marking the swirl and peaks with his fingertips, lightly brushing the design until it had been firmly imprinted in his mind. Fizzling against his retina and he felt electric shudders run through his body. Pain erupted from his back and Tobias stifled a scream, after hearing a ripping sound, and retreated into himself, slumping against the wall until the spasms of pain dissipated leaving him drawing sharp intakes of breath.
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