So, still not making enough progress on my new stuff, I am a horrible person overall and will continue relying on my old stuff to keep this afloat for now.
To give you an idea of how old I pulled out one of my most “complete” stories. According to the file details on my computer the last time I worked on it (or at least saved it) was back in 2011, with my last known new chapter being finished in 2009 for sure. I used to be quite proud of this story, but a while back I finally figured out why I was stalling out. Minor spoilers in the next paragraph if you want to skip them.
My problem was two-fold. One, I think the story actually starts too soon. In a better version I would pull back to Chap. 4 or Chap. 7 as my opening and reveal earlier events in flashbacks. The second problem is the doozy though. The characters are all kids, teenagers sure, but after essentially being kidnapped and held against their will their reactions are too calm, to well thought out. They’re reacting more similarly to soldiers or career criminals than… normal people. I’ve kept meaning to go back and start re-writing with this in mind, but never got around to it. Still, this is a good framework and I had some interesting ideas for later down the line.
I’ll be posting this story until I reach the end of what I wrote, hopefully by then I’ve finished enough new material to post that. Also, I do still have some left over poems if anyone wants to request that.
Just to stress again. Old, old work.
Part 1: Quarantine
“Wake up lazy bones, it’s going to start soon.” someone called
“I’m awake.” Luke replied opening his eyes.
“What, you meditating again.” Amelia mocked.
“Yeah, I was, it keeps me sane when I’m dealing with you.” Luke shot back. Sitting up he scanned the hillside. Teens from all over the city filled the air with their buzzing. Some had radios blaring, while closer to the op couples were making out with fierce passion. Like this was the end of the world instead of a celebration for the city’s anniversary. Off in the distance Luke could see the other hills where the little kids and adults were set-up for the display.
“I still can’t believe so many of our classmates came up here for this; I got the feeling most of them hated this city, but they all flock here at the slightest hint of entertainment. These fireworks are probably something, right?” a wistful look came to Luke’s eyes “If only we hadn’t needed to move. I wonder what…”
“… They would have looked like tonight. If you would be snuggling with Jane.” Amelia said finishing his unspoken thoughts. “You know Luke,” she continued mischievously “If we keep this up we’ll support that stupid stereotype about twins being able to read each other’s minds.”
“That whole ESP thing, yeah I’d hate for that to happen.” Luke replied sarcasm allowing him to escape from the past.
“Scoot over will you?” Amelia asked plopping down next to her brother. Luke sniffed theatrically.
“Whew! What’s that stink. Oops, sorry I forgot you don’t bathe regularly. Must be why you can’t get a date.” he joked popping the cap on his soda.
“And your problem must be your butt-ugly face.” she shot back with an evil smirk “You could probably turn Medusa to stone.”
“At least she’s prettier than you. Think she might be interested in switching you places. You become the horribly disfigured monster and she gets to be the sister of one of the best-looking guys in the country.”
“Really! Does that mean I have a second brother, or will you be living in a hole?” Amelia asked innocently.
“Ouch!” exclaimed Luke clutching his chest. “That hurt.”
“Ohh. Did I hurt your wittle feelings? I’m sworry.”
“No, you burned my lungs with that noxious gas you call breath” Luke said in mock agony. Amelia just sat there, then she burst out laughing as she slugged her brother in the arm. Grinning like a fool Luke stood up and took a bow.
“Yeah, yeah;” she chuckled ignoring the stares from the kids around them “point to you. I’ll getcha next time though.” She wiped the tears from her eyes before continuing in a light tone. “So tell me about your day at school. I want to know if any girls have taken pity on the new guy yet.”
Why’s that?” Luke asked as he sat back down, still grinning from ear to ear.
“I want to tell them they can stop wasting their time worrying about you.”
“I’m not going to tell you anything.” Luke replied mischief glinting in his eyes.
“You will!” Amelia replied hotly fixing her calm twin with a blazing stare.
“No” he answered simply looking her straight in the eye. Not for the first time Luke marveled at how similar they were. Both blonde with startling blue eyes; skin lightly tanned from time spent outdoors. No one could mistake us for anything but twins, Luke thought watching Amelia fight the urge to laugh And even though we act so different, she was smiling now and a giggle escaped her closed lips, deep down we’re just way too similar, honorable, competitive, caring… Finally losing it Amelia burst into peals of laughter.
“Why is it I can never look you in the eye without laughing“she grumped holding her shaking sides.
“My dashing good looks? My sparkling disposition? I have so many wonderful qualities to choose from.” he replied with an elegant air.
“You’re an ugly jerk and you know it.” Amelia retorted punching him once again.
“But you love me anyways” her twin teased.
“Oh crap,” Amelia said vehemently “Luke, trouble.” Luke followed her gaze back down to the base of the hill. A group of guys were coming up the hill towards them. Except for the guy in the front, they all wore black and red. Their leader seemed to favor The Punisher though, with a skull t-shirt and black trench coat.
“Do you know them?” Luke asked as they bee-lined for him and Amelia. “’cause I don’t and they look upset.”
“They’re part of the local gang,” Amelia growled “And they’re bad news.”
“What did you do?” Luke asked turning back around
“Hey, that punk deserved what he got and then some. He’s lucky I didn’t break more than his nose.”
“So now they want revenge” Luke assumed.
“Now what would give you that idea,” a new voice interjected.
Turning back towards the base of the hill Luke came face to face with the Punisher wannabe. He’s fairly quick Luke thought wryly as the others caught up. Luke studied the one who had spoken; he had lanky, black hair and sallow skin. Add to that his wiry frame and he didn’t seem that dangerous, but his cold green eyes told a different story.
“Well, I doubt you all came to sit and chat during the fireworks.” Luke replied his eyes drawn towards those cold, green pits. Luke hated him already… this was going to get ugly. Then a hunger blazed in those cold orbs as Amelia stood next to him.
“True enough.” he answered, his voice oily and smooth, “You see your sister inadvertently interfered with our business. A tragic mistake I’m sure she would fix given the chance.” He gestured behind him “We have come to offer her a reasonable way to repay us for that.” Luke felt himself growing cold, his mind sharpened and his senses focusing like a laser. He was getting angry and gearing up for a fight.
“You know,” Luke said frigidly “It’s polite to introduce yourself before starting negotiations. I’ll go ahead an start. I’m Luke Rockwell and this is Amelia Rockwell, my sister.” Glancing over at her Luke practically saw flames dancing in Amelia’s eyes. She raged like a volcano in fights, while he felt encased in ice; another difference that brought them together. “Now, how about you guys?” he asked turning his attention back to the guys in front of him.
“I’m Jack,” the guy in the overcoat said “the head enforcer of the Reapers. These guys behind me are just my back-up in case thing get ugly.”
“What you guys don’t have any names? Can you even talk?” they just scanned the crowded hill. Some people were already leaving, while others made a point of ignoring the scene behind them. “Oh, the cold shoulder treatment” Luke continued “You should come up with something more original. I’ve always been a big fan of-”
“So what kind of payment are we talking about” Amelia growled cutting Luke off with a fierce glare.
“Ah yes” Jack said looking Amelia over. “I was actually told of a few ways you could pay us back. One of which was a severe beating, but I’m feeling reasonable so I’ll offer you a more…enjoyable alternative.”
“What do you mean by that ?” Amelia asked scorn and loathing plain on her face.
“Just a few nights alone, to get to know each other.” Jack replied with a wolfish smile. Luke knew what that hunger was, Lust of the blackest kind. Jack would probably beat and rape Amelia till her spirit was completely broken… that is if they let him.
“Not a chance” Luke said his voice calm despite the fury within.
“I would rather be eaten alive by rabid rats than spend time with filth like you.” Amelia hissed her face maroon with indignation and rage.
“Let us see if we can’t change that” Jack replied smoothly pulling on a pair of black leather gloves. “Many little whores have changed their tune after a sound beating or two.”
“We’ll see who beats who.” Amelia said menacingly. The twins braced themselves as Jack’s goons charged, swinging wildly at the blonde twins. Luke slid beneath one of the flailing fists, then rose swiftly with a palm to the assailant’s chin. He flowed through the gang’s attacks and returned each with a staggering blow. It almost seemed a dance, every bruising strike, bloody cut, and stunning blow seemed in time; led by a silent music none could hear. While her brother gracefully moved like a flowing river, Amelia raged like a forest fire. Her opponents rarely had a chance to attack, and anyone lucky enough to land a blow was swiftly laid low with a flurry of strikes. There was a distant shout outside the ring of thugs; more gang members were running over to join the melee.
“My lieutenants and our other reinforcements.” Jack said lazily as his people regrouped around him. He laughed as he gazed at the brother and sister “You can’t hold us all off!” he mocked as the newcomers encircled them.
“We might not have to.” Luke replied looking beyond them as he and Amelia stood back to back. Another group of kids was coming to help; who they were going to help was unclear though. Once more, the Reapers charged, savagely pressing the hopelessly outnumbered twins. The second group of newcomers crashed into the backs of the Reapers, sucking Jack into the brawl as well. With perfect synchronization, Luke and Amelia continued to fight off the gang. Luke ducked a fist aimed at his head, and Amelia came from behind him to land a blow in the attacker’s face. Her brother’s foot bashed another thug in the stomach as he tried to attack her exposed back. Their styles complimented each other perfectly and they seemed untouchable, but they were tiring quickly and there seemed to be no end in sight. Amelia made the first mistake, she overextended her arm and one of the punks caught her wrist. He dragged her into the crowd separating the unbeatable pair. Luke fought off attackers from all sides, trying to reach his struggling sister. Then from the middle of the crowd came a new sound; the ripping of clothe. Amelia shrieked profanities and tripled her struggles, but the testosterone pumped goons were holding her down and ripping off her clothes. Fury blazed through Luke melting the ice that had restrained it. With a feral roar he plowed through the melee. He didn’t notice the other kids had broken through, or the sirens of the approaching police. All he heard were the panicked screams of his soon to be violated sister, and the jeering of the fools who had incurred his wrath. He didn’t feel the blows that fell upon him from all sides; if anyone got in his way he struck them down, and they didn’t rise again. Most of the Reapers fled, ran from the demon that had appeared among them. When he finally reached his sister, she was unconscious on the ground, clothed only in her undergarments. One of the newcomers stood over her, brawling with Jack and his lieutenants. A girl hidden in the shadows chucked stones at the others keeping them back. It seemed most of the gang though was either running away or lying unconscious in the grass. Jack turned away from his current fight and threw himself at the enraged Luke, fists flying. Amelia’s brother twisted and turned dodging Jack’s blows with contemptuous ease, his face a mask of fury and vengeance. Finally, Luke decided to end it, he grabbed the Reaper by his jacket and slammed his blonde head into his opponent’s face with a mighty thud. Jack went down, his hands futilely trying to stem the flood of blood. With adrenaline pumping through his veins, Luke kicked him unto his back and glared down at Jack. The remnants of the fighting stopped as Luke towered over his opponent. The Reapers stared in shock at their fallen leader, a terror in the city, being felled so easily.
“Let me just make one thing clear to you Jack!” Luke growled regaining his icy composure. Behind him, meteors trailed through the night sky. “If you ever touch my sister again… Well, let’s just say you’ll be begging to die for a long, long time. Do we have an understanding?” Leaving the defeated Jack behind Luke walked over to his sister and gathered her limp form in his arms. Her eyes flickered open as he turned to head home.
“I’ll be fine” she croaked her face framed with matted hair. Her eyes widened, “Look” she said pointing to the night sky. Craning his head Luke’s breathe caught in his throat at the amazing display before him.
“What the…” he whispered shivering in both awe and exhaustion. A beautiful sight filled the cosmos above him; an aura of every imaginable color spraying across the night sky. His battle rush fading, Luke began to feel the sting of multiple cuts and the throbbing of hundreds of bruises. He sat heavily on the ground as he tried to lay Amelia on the lush grass.
Everyone was struck dumb by the wonder before them. Then something caught Luke’s eye. There in the middle of that wonderful array of color and light, it almost looked like a woman. Floating down on glowing wings! The teenager’s head started tingling, as if his brain had fallen asleep. He lurched to his feet and cast a look around. People were collapsing around him and even Amelia had fallen unconscious once more. Staring at the strange figure above him, he felt a strong sense of regret, and then all vanished into nothingness.
The voice had been speaking for a while now. Luke didn’t know how he knew it was a voice. It sounded like music. But music couldn’t apologize for what is was doing. Who was apologizing for what? He couldn’t remember anymore. The boy fell back into the warm oblivion of sleep.