A Chapter by Vanessa Rico

The world is in chaos. There is no stability. Will Jezalyn, a girl with blue hair, save the world and bring peace or further destruction?


              My land had been conquered like my heart.  Many times over the sixteen years of my life, the land that I lived in had been subjugated by a total of ten different factions--ten different dictators.  We changed leaders like some people change their underclothes.  Ever since World War III, the world and its governments had been in flux; there was no stability.  Any and all powers lay in makeshift governments that would fall to the next group that had gained the peoples’ favors and had bigger, badder weapons.  Every day was a strenuous balance between an old government and the incursion of a new regime.  One day you could wake up with so and so as “president” and the next day there was a new “president”; it was hard to keep track. 

                My heart, on the other hand, had only been conquered once.   The captor of my heart was my childhood friend, Jerrid, who was always there for some mischievous adventure.  Like most children, our parents were either dead, captured, or forced into fighting a pointless war for control.  I couldn’t even remember my parents, except for my mother’s violet eyes.  The remembrance of her eyes often comforted me, helping me to sleep after an exhausting day of odd jobs and/or stealing necessities like food.  

When I was around the young, tender age of four years, my parents disappeared.   They went to work like normal, but they never came home.  I was all alone, scared, and anxious.  What was I, a four year old to do?  So like a normal four year old, I grabbed my ragged dolly and curled up into my parents’ bed, crying out for them.  Someone heard me crying and came to investigate about the noise.  The investigator was a boy age six or seven and he looked at me curiously as if I were a new intriguing toy.  I had no idea how long I had been crying on that bed"days or hours, I didn’t know.   Our eyes met.  Surprising me, he smiled and childishly asked, “Why do you have blue hair?”

Wiping away all traces of snot and tears, I rubbed my eyes and nose with the back of my sleeve.  “I don’t know.  Mommy said I was special.”

The boy looked a little confused, but he brightened immediately, dismissing my dark blue hair.  “My name is Jerrid.  What’s yours?”


“Where are your ‘rents?”  Jerrid asked as he strolled around my family’s apartment, which was one large room consisting of kitchen, living room, and bedroom.  The bathroom had its own separate room and my parents had paid extra for that.  He opened up the icebox and quickly shut it, discovering that there was no food, save rotten milk.

“I don’t know.  They never came home.”  Tears welled up in my eyes, and I could not hold them back any longer.   Jerrid, full of surprises, came to my side and rather un-awkwardly that belied his age, patted my back, soothing me.  My little girl hands clung to him for support in this crazy, messed up world.

When I was finished with my sobs, Jerrid simply told me, “We’re going to be the bestest friends.  We’ll look out for each other.”  He held out his hand to me.  For a moment, I hesitated and looked at the ramshackle apartment that had been my home.  What he asked was for me to give up everything I had known and leave--leave this place of emptiness and loneliness.  I made up my mind; I slipped my hand into his and the rest was history. 

Over the years, we leaned on each other, and we truly were the bestest of friends.  Even though we lived anywhere and everywhere we could find a place to lay our weary heads, Jerrid and I had each other.  Somewhere in those twelve years, I fell in love with him, and his kind ways.  Yes, we stole in order to survive another day on this war-torn earth, but it was imperative for us to do so.  We always out ran and outwitted the authority officials, which made us laugh--albeit, we were out of breath from the chase. 

When I was twelve, Jerrid and I made a new friend, Ryder, who we came to trust after a period of uneasy alliance.  Yet, Ryder proved to be useful and a good friend and excellent thief.  Jerrid disliked him intensely though, when Ryder began to make subtle declarations of love to me.  I thought Jerrid was being a bit overprotective, but I had to keep the peace between the two.  One fateful day, an old woman hunched over with age asked us to sneak in to an officials’ building to steal some document.  This was not an unusual assignment for the three of us, because we took any and all jobs so we could have food nestled deep in our bellies. 

Throughout the day, we staked out the building, noticing all points of entrance, including two basement windows that I could fit through, and then I would unlock the front doors.  It was a foolproof plan, or so we thought.  Using night as our cover, we “borrowed” some black clothes from a nearby clothesline and quickly slipped into them.  Ryder was in front; he was an observer, and he would immediately notice if someone was watching us.  I was sandwiched in between Ryder and Jerrid, who took up the rear, acting as our surveillance for anyone who might be following us. 

The two-story building was the biggest in the town.  No one built large structures these days, not with the world in so much turmoil.  People’s thoughts on the matter were that it was pointless to slave for days building a great monument, when the place could be blown up the next day.  They were right; still the bigger cities kept rebuilding the fallen edifices…they said it was a sign of hope.  Others thought it was a colossal waste of time.  Personally, I had no thoughts on the matter, except that I wish I had a permanent home, instead of roaming the streets every day.

Ryder crossed the silent street, while Jerrid and I waited for the all clear.  An almost silent bird call alerted us that the coast was clear.  Stealthily, Jerrid and I crossed the street, joining Ryder at the corner of the officials’ building.  It was my turn next.  Before I could go to the basement window, Ryder whispered to me, “Be careful, Jez.   I couldn’t bear it…”

I cocked a perfectly arched brow at him, and I teased, “Don’t go all mushy on me, Ryder.  I know how to do my job.”  Jerrid had been silent during this whole episode, and I refused to look at him.  We had been over this many times, and I knew I would see hurt in his eyes for teasing Ryder.  Geez, he could be so burdensome sometimes.  I rolled my eyes and got on with my job.  With my back to the wall, I crept quietly along the building until I reached the dusty, unused basement window.  I had been prepared to break the glass, but it had been unlocked.  Not one to take luck for granted, I thanked any god or goddess who was watching over me.  Feet first, I slid through the window, landing perfectly on my feet like a cat. 

I pulled a flashlight out of my borrowed pants, and switched it on.  The light shined on tons of locked filing cabinets.  Part of me wanted to go through every single file and study, absorbing all the facts, but I had a job to do first.  Finding the stairs was easy; dealing with the locked door was even easier.  Expertly, I picked the lock, which took all of two seconds to break through.  As I stepped through the door, my foot stepped on a squeaky floorboard.  I held my breath, counting to ten before I felt it was safe to continue.  Official buildings were notoriously understaffed and sadly--or luckily for me--were not rich enough to pay for a complete security system, which would have probably taken me a good five minutes to hack into.  Yes, I was skilled; and no, I was not bragging. 

Turning my flashlight off, I made my way through the office, watching where I stepped.  There was still a possibility that this building had one security guard that was probably sleeping or jacking off to some porn; so I was careful.  You didn’t want to disturb a guard that hadn’t gotten off; he could be quite cranky, I found that out the hard way.  A few minutes later, I found the back door, and unlocked it.  Jerrid confidently sauntered in, going straight for the outdated computers that sat at the highly worn desks.  A disk was placed in the old-fashioned hard drive, casting an eerie green glow on Jerrid’s handsome face. 

My breath caught in my throat as I found myself studying him--once again.  Jerrid exuded an air of confidence, bordering on cockiness, yet I found it endearing.  We had been through everything together, and I trusted him with my life.  He had comforted me through my parents’ absence and acted as a big brother.  Over the years his role of big brother had changed into something we were both trying to identify and understand.  It was an unfamiliar, new territory that we were both excited and anxious to explore.  

A small crash of files impeded in on my thoughts of Jerrid.  I turned to Ryder, who smiled sheepishly at me.  “Sorry.  They slipped.”  I gave him an annoyed glare, before returning my gaze to Jerrid, who wore a smile that I knew too well.  Whatever he was looking for, he found it.  The computer made a small dinging noise as Jerrid uploaded the information that was needed. 

“What do we have here?”  A deep voice cut through our companionable silence, causing the three of us to scatter.  A man with an authority uniform stood before us with a huge rifle in his hands.   Jerrid and I raced to the open back door, but a shot from the rifle echoed in the air, along with a cry of pain from Ryder.  Instantly, I stopped to see Ryder fallen on the ground, clutching his leg where blood already began to pool on the ground. 

“Come on Jez, there’s nothing we can do.”  Jerrid reached out a hand to me, like the day he found me.  I hesitated again.  Glancing back to see Ryder’s pain-filled eyes focused on me, I then looked into Jerrid’s eyes…eyes that I knew better than my cerulean blue ones.  This was the hardest decision I ever had to make.  I wrenched myself away from Jerrid and ran to Ryder.  I heard Jerrid swear loudly as he left me, which hurt more than you could possibly imagine.

Nevertheless, Ryder needed me more.  I laid his head on my lap, as the man grabbed a phone, calling for backup.  He saw that I was not going to put up a fight and Ryder was in no position to either.  “Thanks for coming back for me,” Ryder growled through gritted teeth, which were clenched in pain. 

Soon--too soon--I heard boots thundering up the steps and into the building, guns trained on Ryder and me.  A click-clack of high-heeled boots announced the presence of a very large woman.  The gunmen parted to allow her through.  Her stern, dull brown eyes studied us, and a devilish smile crept up on that almost hideous face.  “Bring them to the work camps…”  She paused as she walked around me, surveying me closely probably because of my unnaturally blue hair that was natural to me.  “I bet she would make a good diversion for the troops.”  No sooner the words left her mouth, when I kicked her legs out from under her, which only caused the gunmen to pinion me to the wall.  All of their guns pressed up against me.  I would not close my eyes.  If I had to face death, I would do it with eyes wide open.  The woman was helped up by several of the authority officials.  She only smirked at my position, and I spit in her direction.  “Obviously, I was wrong she belongs with the dogs at the work camps.”  She then walked closer to me, gripping a strand of my blue hair between her grubby fingers.  “Too bad, darling.  You could have been treated as a queen, and dressed like one…but…oh, well you gave up your chance.”  Then she laughed in my face, raining drops of spit on my face.  I struggled against my captors, which only caused her to laugh more.  “Get them out of here.  And look for their friend.”  Ryder and I were dragged out of the building and tossed in an old armored truck.

I raged at my captors until the doors closed, when I went to Ryder to help him staunch the bleeding of his leg.  While I was fixing him up, Ryder pointedly asked, “Why’d you come back for me?”

For a long period of time, I didn’t answer, because I wasn’t too sure of my reason.  But then, I answered him, honestly, “It looked like you needed me more than Jerrid did.”  The rest of the time, we sat there in silence, bouncing along with the truck on the way to the work camps.

© 2011 Vanessa Rico

Author's Note

Vanessa Rico
This was based on a dream I had, which I expanded on and created a whole new world. I wrote this chapter as a break from my other two novels...this is only a breather for the moment. I am fully in love with this world and character...and I will come back to it once I am finished with one of the other novels. Hope you enjoy! Constructive criticism is always appreciated! Much love!

My Review

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alrighty so first of all I really like the premise. You write very well, and I enjoyed reading about the characters. I often turn my dreams into writing and because they are dreams some continuity and details, and well basic things get lost. I had a little trouble understanding the setting really. You have this world that has no stable govt. dictators, presidents, oppressive or not. The whole idea to get someone to read is to create something that grabs them so hard they will not let go until they are done. You have alot of backstory here and it might be better served to slowly unravel it as the events go on. You spend a good deal of time telling us things about the society in the beginning and then kind of leave it go. Mixing backstory, with dialog and action instead of blocks of information make the work flow. You have great vocabulary and you use it well. The characters are interesting, you already have your basic character setup which is working well. One thing that stood out as not exactly feasible was a memory when you are four. Some people do remember things but not all at once and the likely hood that a person remembers that much detail from when they were four is unlikely. It definitely is something I will continue reading. OH, and dialog is always a new "paragraph" as it were, well most of the time. It makes it easier to read. what jerrid did by leaving was out of character from what you made him out to be, which is also interesting. At any rate, good work, let me know when you post more I will definitely continue reading. :)

Posted 12 Years Ago

3 of 3 people found this review constructive.


Thank you for sharing great book

Posted 11 Years Ago

I thought it was a great read. I can't wait to ready more of this after you finish with your other novels.

Posted 11 Years Ago

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Cool. Wow. I like it!
I'll be honest, I don't see much to improve. Maybe making clearer what is present and what is past/flash-back might help, but apart from that, I really can't think of anything!
I love future novels. I love them. And Jezalyn and her blue hair, is an epic character in the making. Brilliant.
Don't forget to write more!! I'd love to read it. :)

Posted 11 Years Ago

This is an interesting post-apocalyptic world you are creating, nessa. i look forward to seeing more of it. Will you tolerate a few minor observations?
"Obviously, I was wrong she belongs..." "She" begins a new sentence, and needs at least a hyphen, if not a full break;
I thought it a little out of character that Jez would use a word like cerulean--unless of course that is a subtle hint as to who she was before the conflagration. Perhaps a harder edged, more metropolitan adjective?;
Well, I thought there was another, but i cannot find it now...I hate to nitpick, and i hope I haven't offended. I look forward to future installments of this book. Mark

Posted 12 Years Ago

I was very engaged to this.. loved the characters as well and the story. I can't wait to see what happens next when you decide to come back to this. The sadness of the little girl and her friend in which saves her - the twist at the end is what makes me want to see what goes on between her and Ryder. Very nice.. I enjoyed it very much.

Posted 12 Years Ago

To me it seems like this went in a different direction than I was expecting after reading the Prophecy. I was expecting her to be raised happily by the family, however that was destroyed by this devastatingly vivid dark future. I don't mean any of this in a negative way, this quickly became one of my all-time favorite stories. I can't wait read more.

Posted 12 Years Ago

Very interesting and enjoyable read. I had a little chuckle at the following: Surprising me, he smiled and childishly asked, “Why do you have blue hair?”
- never mind that she was crying her eyes out, the first thing he wanted to know was why her hair was blue!
Well done!

Posted 12 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Jezalyn (wonderful name btw) reminds me of my self. I lost my mom at a yound age, but I was never lucky enough to make a friend at that either either.

Posted 12 Years Ago

1 of 2 people found this review constructive.

This is an excellent read and write! This novel is definitely worth reading. And it is well written as well!

Posted 12 Years Ago

Very good writing and a good story. The characters a captivating and I am egar to see what happens between the three of them.

Posted 12 Years Ago

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44 Reviews
Shelved in 1 Library
Added on May 7, 2011
Last Updated on May 7, 2011
Tags: Wars, future, prophesy, death, teenagers, struggle to survive


Vanessa Rico
Vanessa Rico

Walhalla, SC

Hey writerscafe! Its been a very long hiatus since I have been on here and actively writing. I have missed both writing and this community. When I was first on here, I was a mom of 1 but now I have be.. more..

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