Necro 9 - Ch. 1

Necro 9 - Ch. 1

A Chapter by Aaron M. Anderson
"

Cameron, a "Necro" death angel, battles a deadly Revenant spirit. Drama ensues as the characters make difficult decisions.

"
Previous Version
This is a previous version of Necro 9 - Ch. 1.



That was the night I stopped praying. I hadn't forgotten, and I wasn't too busy--I just didn't bother. So many unanswered prayers had fallen like pennies into a dry fountain.


I was fuming as I stalked the length of Phoenix Bay Island's jetty. It's one of my favorite walking spots. If I had been in a better mood, I would have enjoyed the view of the brightly lit bridge that connects to the mainland. That night I was too angry to pray, too upset at the Almighty for ignoring me when I needed help the most. As dusk began to fall, I decided I would never cry heavenward again.


It feels cliché, I suppose; the college freshman losing his religion.


Prayers, like the potted pink flower buds that I had not watered, would never bloom. They used to sit on the desk in Mom's office, but I had moved them aside to make room for new textbooks. I don't even remember the name of that kind of flower anymore.


The small stretch of pebble shoreline on either side of the jetty is not the most popular hangout in Phoenix Bay City. Most beach-goers head south, where all the condos and shopping centers are. I had come here to get away from everything and most everyone. I was thinking of Levi, though, hoping he would arrive quickly.


As I walked along the shore to the right of the jetty, I took in the sweet and salty smells of the tide water and imagined getting my feet wet with Levi here, under the stars, some summer evening. I felt a lump develop in my throat, but I swallowed it before tears could follow. I hoped Levi was all right. He had promised to meet me on the shore as soon as he was done talking with his father.

...Levi's drunk, furious father...


God, Cameron, you should have stayed with him, I told myself. I felt like a coward, leaving him to face his angry dad alone. I turned my back on the tide and considered climbing the craggy hill back to the highway.

No, I told myself. They need time alone to talk. He asked me to wait for him.

The moon seemed to shine a little brighter. A waft of perfume on the sea breeze drew my attention back toward the waves.


That's when I saw her.


Standing in the water on the other side of the jetty was a young woman. She had shoulder-length blond hair and was wearing a faded blue swimsuit. For a moment, something about her features bothered me. They seemed to be hazy--translucent, even--too much so to make out any more details about her. I clenched my teeth. My heart pounded as I slipped my hand into my back pocket and slid the pocketknife out, transferring it to my right pocket. My hand remained in that pocket as I casually walked I her direction, averting my gaze as if I had not yet seen her.

She was singing--or was it humming?--a familiar tune. So familiar, yet I could not have told you its name to save my life. As I walked closer, her features sharpened. She had a beautiful complexion and sparkling blue eyes. She looked like a portrait of youth.

“Oh, hi there,” I said, trying to sound casual. I gripped the pocketknife harder.


It's lovely, isn't it?” she said. Her eyes were blue and she had a bright complexion.


The weather's nice tonight,” I replied, smiling. “Do you enjoy this spot too?” I tried not to look as if I were sizing her up. I glanced up at the moon. It was full, and somehow brighter than before.


I like to come here often,” she said. “It's romantic and quiet.” She walked closer to me, looking at her bare feet, making faint impressions in the sand.


Do you?” I asked. Had her swimsuit always been a two-piece? I suddenly felt lightheaded, and it wasn't from the pronounced curves of her body in the moonlight. There was a familiar smell in the air. Lilies?


You're handsome,” she said, smiling. “Are you the the poetic type? I thought up a rhyme when I saw you a moment ago:


The sea becomes you, thin and fair,
with eyes of green and amber hair.”


I was less interested in her trite rhyme, mostly because her own hair had seemed far shorter and a bit more curly than when I first saw her, moments ago. She began humming that familiar tune again.


Thank you. That's sweet,” I said simply. I watched with interest as she smiled and turned her head to the right. Her jawline seemed slimmer now. In the air all around her hung a noxious, perfume-like scent.


And then, right in front of me, her hair darkened. I was now looking at a brunette.


I think you're sweet,” she said, looking at me with hazel eyes. Her lips pouted. I kept a pleasant smile on my face as I covertly slipped the knife from my pocket. I had taken it from Levi's dresser drawer. Thank you, Eagle Scouts.


Do you want to stargaze with me?” the girl asked. The noxious scent was growing stronger. I sensed that she was expecting some reaction from me that I hadn't yet acted out. A concerned look crossed her face.


Stargaze?” I said, “Nah, I'm almost late for dinner anyways. I have to get back soon. My boyfriend is fixing a fabulous lasagna. It's to die for.”


That did it. The lily scent wafted nauseatingly. Whatever illusion of humanity the creature had maintained up to this point dissolved along with its face. I watched in astonishment as she became a he. Threads of the bikini top unraveled like thin wisps of smoke to reveal a chiseled chest. I couldn't help but notice his almost nonexistent string Speedo. His new head of hair was burnt orange. His jaw was wide and his eyes were gold.

“The water's warm tonight,” he said. “Join me?”

His hand clasped my shoulder, and a cold, electric sensation passed through my arm. It wasn't anything like the fuzzies I get when Levi holds my hand. I jerked away and flipped out my pocketknife.


“Like hell,” I said.


The creature backed up too, but slowly. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a person coming from the direction of the highway.

Crap! An onlooker?


I tried to keep my eyes on the creature in front of me. I didn't want anyone to see what I was about to do next.

“You are... what are you?” the creature growled.


Stop this!” I hissed. “You're lost and confused. I can help you.”


Its body began to lose some color.


You don't want to hurt anyone anymore,” I said slowly.


I want you,” it said and it lunged toward me.


It felt as if a cement block had bludgeoned my shoulder. I grappled on the ground with the beast of a man, and we rolled into the wet sand. I dropped my knife as I tried to pry my arm loose from the creature's grasp.


I looked into its new face--a skull, virtually skinless. Some small, fleshy strands remained, holding the jaw together. It had empty sockets where eyes should have been. Its hungry teeth were inhumanly thin and long. It gnashed them at my neck, and I lifted my arm to receive what would have been a killing blow. I felt my warm blood running down my side, coloring the water around us.

As the tide swept over us, the creature seemed to loosen its grip, and I struggled free. I scrambled backwards, hoping to see where the knife had fallen. I found it with my right hand--unfortunately, blade first.


My good hand was injured, and damn, did it hurt.

The creature was on all fours in the water, looking stunned. I was in a great deal of pain, but I saw what I needed to do next: within the skeletal frame of the corpse-creature before me was a still-beating human heart.

I crawled toward it slowly, and it pounced. I had positioned myself so that I caught its head with my bloody right hand, and with it I slammed the skull against a jutting rock. I felt something shatter. I winced at the pain shooting through my right hand. I couldn't help it, I had to pause and gather my strength.


The left side of the creature's skull had broken into bits, but the tiny pieces were slowly reforming.


I took a deep breath, and with my left hand shoved my knife into the water where the ugly pink and gray heart was pulsing. I pierced through the rib cage on my second thrust. When I heard the creature screech I knew my work was finished.


Cameron!”


Oh, crap. It was Levi's voice. He was standing on the shore, looking at me in shock.


I waded in the water, looking at him helplessly. He saw me with his knife in my hand and the skeletal corpse I had pinned against the jetty rocks.


Levi! Help!” was all I could muster.

He kicked off his shoes and came wading toward me.

“What the hell?” he said. I looked pretty beat up, I guessed.


What the hell!” he cried. There was also a dead zombie-looking-thing in the water next to me.


It's not as bad as it looks,” I said. “Just watch.”


Sure enough, the corpse began to dissolve into dust. It clouded the water around us until every bit of it was washed away.

“I'll explain, Levi... It's just...”


We're getting you to the hospital,” he said. “What the hell...?”


“No, just to your dad's, if you don't mind,” I said. Aside from being a homophobe, Mr. Winter was a proficient nurse.


No! Not Dad's...” Levi wiped the salt from his eyes.

“Well, okay then!” I shouted angrily. “Good thing it's not any deeper.
Ow!” Levi was trying, heroically, to pick me up.


I can walk, stupid, just... let's go to my place then. I've got some frickin' Band-Aids.”


“I'm moving to Denver.”


I swished the bloody knife in the water... Wait. “What?”


“I'm supposed to be moving to Mom's,” Levi said. He bit his lower lip. “So I just packed my bags up and left.”


I struggled painfully up the hill towards the highway. “But you're not really going, are you?”

Levi was quiet, offering only his left side for me to lean on as I hobbled along.

I tried to remember how things had been just hours before Levi had come out. We had played video games there that morning. We had watched ESPN with Mr. Rick. Levi and I had taken turns mowing his lawn. It was his dad who had been baking lasagna for dinner, actually.


“What are you going to do?

“I don't know, okay?” he replied.


We stood under a street lamp, silent, for about thirty seconds. I was fuming by the end of it. Who the hell was Mr. Rick anymore?


“Let's go to my house,” I said. I was pretty sure my Mom knew I was gay. At least, she never cared that Levi never brought a sleeping bag.


We climbed up a sandy hill and headed toward Levi's car. The way he looked at me... I couldn't help but feel it was empathy for my wounds mixed with fear.

Fear of the ritual that Levi had watched me perform.


The salt water burned in my blood. I would have to come out tonight too, to Levi in my own way. And I thought that the fear I saw in my boyfriend's eyes was a lot like the look his Dad had given Levi when he had said his piece.

I was sore and afraid. Where were my ten thousand angels?
I fumed the rest of the way home. 


But I didn't pray.



© 2011 Aaron M. Anderson


Author's Note

Aaron M. Anderson



Featured Review

I really like this. It's different than a lot of books I have read. It's the first book that has both paranormal qualities and a gay relationship. I think that's what draws me to it. I hope you keep on writing this book, because I look forward to reading it. You are a marvolous writer, keep up the great work. :)


Megan

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

Hmm, in some ways this new version is an improvement. The first half of the chapter is much more focused now, which is good. There's a thematic thread (the notion of giving up in God) that you try to introduce, which I like in principal, though I think it's not quite there yet in execution (I'll get to that in a bit).

To go back to my previous review, I can see you've worked hard to fix the repetitive structure which is great. It still creeps in now and then but isn't nearly as pervasive as it was before, and you'll certainly find them on subsequent readthroughs. Now I think you can work on using stronger diction. You can make your scenes really come alive with some stronger word choice. For example, "Where was he when my stalker was inches away, plotting my death." Personally, I would write something like "Where was the God I had believed in when that foul creature had its claws in me, staring into my soul with those eyes of infinite black?" Also, why is it exactly that he's so angry over this incident? He seemed to have come out of it fine, if not for a few nicks and bruises. I think if you want to tie the battle into this notion of giving up on God, then God needs to fail him somehow during the battle. Maybe he needs to pray in mid-fight, or lose something of value, make some sort of sacrifice, etc. If anything, I'd say his beef with God seems to have more to do with his friend leaving him for Denver, especially given the way you ended it.

That brings me to my second point, the whole Denver thing. Honestly, I think this really hurts your pacing. Basically, you've crammed two ideas into this opening chapter, but they don't really coalesce. On moment you've got him chasing down this monster and then suddenly you have him dealing with the departure of his friend. The segue is extremely abrupt. It's almost like two different stories just kind of placed back-to-back. The other issue with this is that we don't really know Levi yet. His leaving doesn't have any emotional weight because we don't know him as a person. Neither do we experience his relation with Cameron. In this sense, I liked the ending of the original version better because the flow was more consistent as a whole (but given your characters' new anti-God stance it may not work anymore logically).

I think, if you want to keep the general structure of this chapter, the best way would be to start them together in the first place. Have some banter between them off the bat so we know what their relation is. Maybe they're hunting this creature together, then fight it together. You can say a lot just by the way they work together as a team, like maybe they know exactly how the other moves. Then, when they stand victorious, and one says "by the way, I have to move away," we get much more emotional because we've come to know them as a group. I'm not sure if you've read Harry Potter (I'm going to spoil something here so ignore this if you don't want to know) but think about the twins. When Rowling killed one at the end of the last book, it had emotional weight because we always knew them as a pair. Obviously you can't accomplish in one chapter what she had like 6-7 books to do, but logically you can see how that's the kind of thing you'd want to aim for even slightly.

In the end, I think right now you're kind of caught between two different iterations rather than being in one or the other. You've tried to do everything but in the end it leaves you not having done either.

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Well I thought it was written well. I usually like books that start at an already interesting point and you did that perfectly. Can't wait to read more

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

You've got a really well thought out interesting mythology here. It's a little reminiscent of the Japanese manga Bleach, but there's no reason to believe you aren't going to go somewhere new and exciting with it. Your writing is technically proficient as well, and you've got a good sense of pacing during the action. You manage to convey the scene smoothly without getting overly detailed (I know sometimes its hard to trust the reader and not resort to full-on choreographies).

That being said, I think you've rushed way too fast to get to your explanations/exposition. Like I said you've planned out this wonderful mythology of the world, but you've resorted to telling it to us in a very "textbook"-like manner. This is only a first chapter, you want to tease and intrigue the reader to move forward in the book rather than giving everything away upfront. What you have here almost feels like a complete story. After reading it, I feel no need to go further because this has already tied itself up with no mysteries going forward.

Try experimenting with a version where you don't explain the necro concept at all. Start straight up with meeting the "girl" in the park and then the fight. Try to displace your reader a bit, so they're left wondering what's happened and why this young woman has suddenly turned into a monster. After Cameron sends her spirit away perhaps end with a line like "This is my job. I am a necro," or something to that effect to generate some more intrigue. Try it out and see what you get. In general I don't think it's a great idea to open with heavy exposition, because you take all the magic out of what's happening. Save that stuff to give the reader an "Ohhhhhhhhh" moment.

On a technical note, I thought the opening was actually a little strange. "I wasn't expecting this summer Saturday night to go south as quickly as it did. I couldn't have guessed I'd be pinned down against the jetty rocks by the fleshless arms of a Revenant at dusk, struggling to reach for a fallen pocketknife." This (particularly the detail about trying to reach the knife) makes it sound like she's doing her whole internal monlogue/recounting during her fight and that she is fairly nonchalant about it. But when you actually describe the fight scene, she genuinely seems like she's fighting for her survival. I found this kind of clashed, so you may want to look into it. Either make the fight more "routine" for her (it's possible, since she's apparently been doing this job for quite a while) or modify the opening paragraph so that it's obvious that she's narrating after the fight is already over. Of course, if you try out the whole "no-exposition" route above and like it, this will be a moot point altogether.

My final suggestion is just be careful of the repetitive structure - I did this, then I did that, then it was this, then it was that. For example, "
The creature was on all fours looking, a bit stunned, at me in the water. I was too much in pain to feel much of anything, but I saw what I needed to do next: within the skeletal frame of the corpse before me was a still-beating human heart. They all have them"the Revenants. It's their greatest weakness." A way to vary the paragraph a bit might be something like "The creature was down on all fours now, sizing me up. Every inch of my body screamed in pain but a surge of adrenaline quickly silenced it when I spotted my target - a still-beating human heart within the skeletal frame. Every Revenant had one and it was my one chance."

All in all though, great work. With some refinement I think you have the foundation for something great.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This is well written chapter. I loved the fantasy and the idea of death angels.I can wait to read more.
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This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I really like this. Very polished writing. I like the two story lines of the everyday turmoil mixed in with the fantasy. I hope there is more to come.
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This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I really like this. It's different than a lot of books I have read. It's the first book that has both paranormal qualities and a gay relationship. I think that's what draws me to it. I hope you keep on writing this book, because I look forward to reading it. You are a marvolous writer, keep up the great work. :)


Megan

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on July 14, 2011
Last Updated on August 4, 2011
Tags: undead, battle, dark, violent, love, angst, angel, fantasy, horror


Author

Aaron M. Anderson
Aaron M. Anderson

Raleigh, NC



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I'm a young writer from North Carolina. I enjoy creating unique worlds for people to experience and enjoy through my stories and poems. Thank you for visiting my profile page. My favorite lyric.. more..

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