Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July Mystery Agent Entry #15: WAR

Title: WAR
Genre: Fantasy
Word count: 80,000 words

Logline: Valentine was stolen by the Pied Piper as a little girl, and her quest for revenge plunges her into the middle of the war between the Magi and the Fideli. Her fight to find the truth uncovers a much bigger conflict than anyone thought, unites the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and ushers in the End of the World.


Valentine sat in the chair listening to the delicate drip drip of her own blood as it rolled from the fresh cuts beneath her shoulder blades, down the planes of her back, into the bucket beneath her seat.

There were holes carved into the wood of the chair, its back and its arms, to facilitate this harvesting. Her wrists were strapped in, as were her ankles, and she slumped in a bra and her underpants, waiting as she did every week, for the bucket to fill, and the drip-dripping to stop, and the wounds to clot.

And there never came an explanation. Not before the first time, or thereafter. Never even an attempt.

Not that Valentine could ever think of anything Sabine might say that would justify the bleedings. She wondered if Sabine knew that, and so she never bothered. Eventually, Valentine stopped wondering what Sabine did with all of her blood, and decided that it was just a sadistic way to keep her prisoner.

She had been only eight years old the night Sabine purchased her. Though the word slave never entered into any conversation, Valentine felt it was explicit. A week later, Sabine led Valentine down into the basement. It was one large room, unfinished, windowless, crowded with canvases and easels and paint. Sabine stripped her of her clothes and strapped her to that peculiar chair. Valentine cried even before Sabine set the brass buckets beneath the arms of the chair. She cried for the duration of it, especially hard after Sabine yelled at her for flinching when the elegant little knife she used bit into the flesh of her arm. She cried until she was so weak that she passed out. It hadn’t taken long; she was eight. Now she could endure the chair for hours without any tears at all.


Unknown said...

I really like your vivid details of the bleeding and how it's been done to Valentine. The mystery of why Sabine does this is enough to make me want to keep reading. My only question is how old is Valentine when chapter 1 takes place? How long has she endured this?

Anonymous said...

I'll admit that as an entrant in this contest I'd hoped all the other entries would be awful ... but they're so good! This is such an interesting idea and very well written. I would keep reading.

Unknown said...

I love your imagery and the way you give us background information without spoonfeeding it to us. Like Christie above, I am also wondering how old Valentine is in this scene. And is this young adult or adult?

Anonymous said...

Hi guys! Writer here. Thanks so much for your kind words! Valentine is 18 for most of the novel. Following this first page, though, the narrative moves through how she got to Sabine before settling again in the present. :) ATM I am pitching it as Adult. Good luck all entrants!

J Lenni Dorner said...

Interesting. A sort of dark opening.
Perhaps instead of "Now" if it read "Ten years later, she could endure the chair for hours without any tears at all." Or "After ten years of this," -- Just something to get a quick grip on her current age. Only an idea.

Unknown said...

Interesting story. I am very curious to know why Sabine wants her blood. There were a couple places I was confused e.g why is she unrobed for the "cupping" if she her shoulder blades are cut? You also mention that the bucket is under her seat but then there are two buckets under the chair's arms.
Thanks for sharing your first page.

amhoggan said...

This is dark and creepy and very well written. My only concern is that you move into flashback so soon. Is it possible to stay in this moment, with Valentine's experience and her feelings about it, for a little longer? I think the backstory about how this all started could wait until later, after we are more attached to Valentine and understand her current situation better.

Anonymous said...

I don't need to know everything about Valentine in the first 300 words, I just like to get a feel for the writing and the character, and this is definitely compelling. Def interested in Sabine's motives, and I really like apocalpyse stuff. Great start!

Rani Iyer said...

This dark story is off to an interesting start. It might be useful to replace Valentine's thoughts about Sabine (because it does not lead to an action) and instead use the words to introduce what Valentine's plans. A great start!