Neil, a new comer to the town of New City, Maine, accidentally finds himself in the middle of a scuff between a local hate group and a target of theirs. It is but a small encounter in the journeys that are to follow. (A more complete description is included in the posting)
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This is Draft Two of an earlier submitted work. The scene with Margo and Todd has been removed from here, but not deleted. Also, below is a book description I have been working on to go along with it.
(Separate from the regular chapter, a bio of what's to come)
My life was never normal, far from it; I have been traveling across the US, alone, for three years, squatting in strangers houses, stealing to survive; But things rapidly escalated past wacky the second I arrived to New City, Maine.
It all started when I rolled into town on a Greyhound, only to accidentally upset the local hate group within minutes; I watched a woman stroll onto Main Street, publically rob an ATM, and get away with it; I witnessed a brutal death of a seven year old by sword; a 'magic' shop in town was ripped apart before my eyes by first, a smoke monster, yet to be explained, and then second, a small detainment of government soldiers who coated the place in bullets; Oh, and then me and three strangers were captured, oddly questioned, and drugged into unconsciousness. Only for me to later be recruited by the organization as a supernatural secret agent!
That was only the first six days, and far from the whole story. Are you keeping pace? If not, you should probably set this book down. It is not full of easy clean mystery, but gritty questions left gapingly open; it is not a tale for rigid morals or ideals, give me a break, it's about me and I'm effing 20 (21 if you're holding my ID...); nor is it like your grandmothers love stories, it has some romance and shit, what good adventure doesn't? But it isn't what you expect, trust me.
If you think this is just another Supernatural sex thriller about vampires, werewolves, and ghosts, you would be wrong, oh so wrong. (Vampires are extinct, ghosts are a myth, and werewolves are rarely, if ever, mentioned) If you think you know the Supe world at all, dream on. Have you ever heard of Undine, Aswangs, or Necromancers, real necromancers?
Even if you said yes to all three, smart ass, you don't know the whole story, hell, I don't even know the whole story, and I am learning maybe no one does. But I can tell I am on the right path now.
Still haven't gripped your curiosity? I need to make sure I have your complete attention before I progress anymore, what is about to unfold is a mouthful, actually; it will be like drinking from a full blast fire hydrant. Dive into my first few days in town and take a look yourself...
Main Street was lit up by the time the bus rolled into New City, Maine. This far north of Boston, not too many travelers were aboard the Greyhound with me. Which was fine by me, while you could meet some of the coolest people, you really never know who is sitting besides you.
One time while waiting for a bus in Port Authority in NYC, this French Canadian kid told me a story of how a man one time tweaked on a bus and killed his seatmate. Not only that, he decapitated and then started eat the other, and no around one said anything. That about killed my desire to travel, even if it had the ring of an urban legend.
I had finally decided to try moving on again, and I knew after three years of avoiding it, I was finally going to go to Maine. Which is how I ended up here. Although New City isn't one of those classic coastal towns, at least off the Atlantic, it was surrounded on three sides by two rivers and a lake. It also has that homey, journey has ended, far northern feel. Fall would be on its way soon. It was only early September and already the nights started to get crisper, the air had the scent of impending autumn. It smelled terrific.
I was looking forward to seeing the classic and famous Maine autumns. I didn't know if the leaves had started to change color yet as it was dark, but I figured fall was still a month away. As the bus came to a halt, putting on it breaks, the driver killed the engine and announced New City over the PA. Everyone got up, stretched a little, and made their way to the front, creating a small line.
Voices from the outside attracted my attention. I couldn't hear what they were saying, but it looked to be a group of nine to eleven Caucasians gathered in a circle, holding picket signs. I tried to read what they said, but all I could see were the letters 'S', 'F', 'N'. I didn't know what they stood for, but the people outside sure seemed passionate.
I stood up, stowing my book away in my bag that I grabbed from the over-head compartment. It was all a fluid motion, clearly practiced. The old man across the way scooted over slowly, and stood up cautiously, envious of my youth. I smiled politely, and fixed my ear buds as I walked to the front of the bus with everyone else.
The line moved slower than I was used to while people exited, and it wasn't even a red eye travel time. I paced impatiently behind the black woman in front of me. I only specifically noted that she was black, because I could finally read the signs. 'SFN', Spikes, Fags, and Niggars. My face grew red even while reading it, and I could sense the woman in front of me stiffen, as she too, read the signs.
How rude?! Inner city I expected this dumb, bigoted, white supremacy group shit. I had really hoped to get away from all that religious nonsense when I moved here though. I shook my head, no getting around it, it seemed.
My heart instantly went out to the woman in front of me, as much as I tried to suppress the empathy. She was the only African-American descendant in sight, everyone else on the bus, myself included, was Caucasian. Many of those people around us would never know what it was like to be different, to not quite fit in, to have some innate flaw that sets you apart permanently. I was not most people though.
I was average however, everything about me. I measured in around 5'10'', at about 150 pounds after I gorge myself, with unremarkable blondish brown hair. The only thing remotely noteworthy about me was my green eyes, they seemed to soak in light, and glow it right back. My friends back home used to joke and say I had glow in the dark eyes, of course I don't, but no more on them anyway. All that was in the past.
Even if I appeared average, that didn't mean that I had to act that way too. No one else on the bus was likely to help this woman out, so I would have to do it. I haven't had any friends recently. It wasn't because I didn't want them, so much, but that I just couldn't stop traveling. It was hard to make friends when you didn't slow down or stop for anything. The least I could do is to help this woman.
"Hey, if you want to step behind me, I can block their view on the way out." I offered in hush tones.
The older woman in front of me didn't stop moving at first, but then abruptly turned around to face me. She gave me a once over quickly, before judging my good-naturedness, at least I hoped so. Stepping aside, she let me get past. The woman was probably in her late forties, early fifties, but had reached the age well. Her dark skin showed some wrinkles, but only that of wisdom. Her hair was short, and she had them tastefully rolled to look like little pyramids all nice and symmetrical across her head. She was a little stockier, but her wide hips only made her appear bigger than she was. She flashed a white toothed smile of appreciation as I stepped past.
Together we made our way to the front of the bus, and then turned to leave. I stood tall walking down the steps, while the woman hunched. I didn't know what this hate group's aim was, but it pissed me off that there were still so many racist ass holes in the world.
"We ain't got no rum fer no spikes, fags, or niggars." One man yelled, his mouth full of holes.
"Go back to your kind!" A woman shrieked, drawing attention to the woman and me. We had been spotted.
I wheeled around, pissed off. If they were waiting around on one random September night, they must have known that someone of color would be on it, meaning that it was all premeditated. They were singling this woman out intentionally.
"What's your fucking beef bitch?" I yelled all cocky-like at the woman accosting us. Others from the bus stopped to stare. The woman I had been trying to hide looked caught, she clearly wanted to leave, but she probably felt obligated to stay since I had spoken up.
"Don't you dare talk to a respectable young woman in my congregation like that again!" The man that stepped forward was burly, and serious.
I would never have let things get this far before, I don't like to be noticed. I never had friends really to stick up for, or get in fights with, so I wasn't sure why I had let things go so far this time, but I felt empathy for the older woman.
I wasn't one to confront trouble, but I had adopted a certain city slang in order to come across as thug, like I was tougher than I appeared, only I had taken it too far. Naturally.
I took in the group that I had counted at 11, but now seemed so many more. I even noticed more people watching from across the street. I guess everyone wants a show, alright. "You seriously rebuking me on calling that ho a bitch, when you're throwing racist slang around?" I truly couldn't understand people like this. The crowd around us only grew. I thrust out my hand to their signs.
To their credit no one defended themselves, on that point at least. "We are God's chosen people! You will bow to us one day!" A man hollered totally lost in his beliefs.
The bigger man held the smaller one back. "There there Paul, no used trying to explain it to the Damned."
My face flushed, he clearly meant me. I was about to say something, I don't know what, when I felt a gentle touch on the back of my arm. I turned, it was the woman. She tried to coerce me back.
"You devils should be ashamed of yourselves, you're what's wrong with the world today!" The woman screamed, empowered as we walked away.
I have kind of a lip, so it was hard to keep the insults in. I whipped around with a snarl on my face. "Be ashamed of yourself you ugly as sin, white trash, baby factory."
The crowd grew eerie quiet. The big man's face turned sour red, he was barely holding himself from acting on a violent impulse. The woman from the bus prodded me farther away. No one moved to stop us, but I know that they weren't going to forget my face.
Going to the other side of the bus we quickly grabbed our bags, and we started to hasten down Main St. to where, I wasn't sure, but I knew I didn't want to stay anywhere near that fanatic group. A couple blocks later we came up in front of a friendly looking shop, a pet hospital, the sign read. The woman unlocked the door, and ushered me in.
Shutting the door quickly, she went and drew the blinds to all the windows, as I set my stuff down. I didn't try to sit though, I had been cramped up way too long. I felt kind of odd, standing there though, I didn't even know the woman's name, yet I was here alone with her. I felt like a hooker, although, she wasn't the ugliest client I imagine to buy (or is it 'rent'?) a hooker.
"Ah, thanks for trying to help." The woman finally spoke, setting her stuff down, turning to me, nervously patting her legs to keep her hands active. "My name is Lacreshia Tanashe Waters, I'm the doctor here." She used her hands to indicate the space around us, she appeared to be warming up the more she spoke.
I nodded, till I realized I should introduce myself. After a short awkward pause, I spoke. "My name is Neil Stevens." At least, that's what I told people, after all that was what my ID said. It was such a good fake, I could use it almost anywhere without worry. "Who were those fanatics? Why would they wait at the bus station in hopes that someone they hate gets off?"
I felt like I was missing something, which was most definitely the case. I had just arrived here, so there was bound to be so many things I didn't know.
"They call themselves God's Congregation, but everyone knows them as the SFN." Lacreshia explained. "They are white supremists that have some significant influence in the local government, and also large amounts of land. Their property doubles New City in size. For the most part they just preach on sidewalks, or go around neighborhoods evangelizing, but people ignore them. No one takes them seriously, but every once in a while when they want to remind people, they do something big. The police never do anything because half are corrupt." Suddenly she started to realize what she was saying. "Oh my god, what am I doing? I shouldn't be so straight forward with a new guy!" True panic started to show.
"Why would these people be waiting when you happened to get off the bus? Have they bothered you before?" I started to understand the bigger picture, ignoring her mild freak out.
The doctor stared at me with genuine terror. Something had happened, and it had left her scared because of it. "I shouldn't talk like this. I just got back from vacation, I have to prove my family wrong, I can make it here."
"It's okay Doctor, I'm not a nark, and I want no part of whatever SFN is." I tried to reassure her.
"Aren't you from here, why don't you know this?" It dawned on her to ask.
"I just moved here, like, just now."
"Well where are you staying? Do you have family here, or do you know someone?"
I looked down at the ground, I had traveled far from the circle of people I knew long ago. I had my reasons. I didn't like to dwell on them though, or think of them at all for that matter. "No, I came from New York, I wanted a place to live for the winter, Maine seemed nice."
Lacreshia laughed, her frown turning momentarily to a smile, her dark wrinkles creasing in a way that favored her face. "Clearly no one told you about Maine winters." I had nothing to say to that. "This place is beautiful but damned cold. Just like the locals a lot. Don't take it personally if people are weary of you for a while, it takes them a while to warm up to new additions to their town."
"Why stay? You said you visited family, so no one else is here, why stay?"
Lacreshia got lost in her memories for a minute before she answered. "I came here to Colby College for school. When I graduated, I wanted to stay, I had a heart for this place. But where Colby was diverse, and has world class facilities and bright and varied students, New City itself lacks all but a few other colored folks. I've been here since, for better or worse, it's my home now, I can't leave. My ancestor's fought for equal rights. What a step back it would be for me to leave my home when persecuted again."
I had to hand it to her, that was awesome resolve. I loved when I met powerful people like her, it always seemed to empower me too. Clearly we were meant to meet, if you believed in all that. "Well I'm sorry if I made things worse for you with them." I sincerely meant it.
Lacreshia gave me a simple nod, her face disappointed, but understanding. "They have been attacking me a while." She whispered, turning her eyes away from me.
"What?! They hurt you?!" I was furious, my fists were even clenched I realized.
"Well, not directly." Lacreshia alluded. I gave her time to work up to it. "The pets that came in here, they, they- hurt them." She started to cry a little, and set herself down in the chair that her purse hung on. I brought over a chair too. We were seated in the small waiting room, it was inviting and friendly. Why anyone would want to harm this sweet woman in front of me just mad me ape shit mad. Why was the world so fucked.
"What happened to them?" I prompted.
"Any animal that came to see me, first went missing, and then were discovered dead." Lacreshia sobbed out.
I didn't know what to do. Part of me wanted to pat her on the back, the other part of me was repulsed at that show of weakness, and I knew I had learned more than that on my travels. You had to be careful with other people, they always hurt you. Always. Instead I took a deep breath and let the silence do the talking. Lacreshia sobbed a second or two longer.
"The police didn't get involved, because, ya know, they're corrupt, and when all the animals around town showed up dead, people stopped coming to me. I lost business, and the ability to pay rent. I had to rely on my small reserves of money to get this far. My family thinks it's a waste, but this place is my dream."
I felt for her, I truly did. I hadn't experienced that in a long time. It made me feel like this time would be different, this move might be my last. I hadn't necessarily predicted that it would be Maine, then again, I had been driven to come here since I left the south, even though I fought and ignored it for three years.
"I get it. This is your home too, you shouldn't be driven from it. I'm glad I called 'that hoe a bitch.' Then." I joked, trying to ease the tension.
The doctors sputtered, laughing, causing tears to fly from her, and fall onto my face. I laughed, cause I didn't know what else to do. She apologized, furiously, handing me a cloth to clean my face. I laughed again to ease the situation and I think we both felt better.
"Where are you planning on staying?" She inquired, wiping her face.
The truth? I had no plan, although that wasn't unusual, it just didn't fly with most people. However. Worse came to worse, I always just hung up my hammock. "Ah, you know, I was going to see what was available and go from there." I lied. I had minimal funds, and that I had to use for food.
She didn't buy it, and I could tell right away. "No, you have to stay here tonight the hotels are a joke, overpriced and full of scabies."
"Oh, good to know." It didn't sound like she had much good to say about New City, I wondered what had gotten her to stay in the first place.
"I know I sound all negative Nancy," She nailed it, "I do love this place, but a lot of it is unjust and corrupt. When I left my family's house I vowed to take a stand, to be more like the late great Martin Luther King Junior. I want to see this area changed."
I could get on board with that. I didn't know what she could do to change things, but you had to try, right? "Do you have any plans? How would you start?" I asked curiously.
Lacreshia almost went to answer, before she straightened, and then stood up. "I'm giving a stranger boarding for the night, divulging my secret plan is night two."
I laughed. I guess in a way I had accepted to stay here. I was glad to not have to do it verbally, I was awkward with that kind of thing.
"You don't mind me asking you to stay down here tonight? It's not that I don't want to have you sleep on my couch up stairs, it's just that it's a one bedroom. And I really shouldn't trust a stranger around all my stuff." She asked, obviously trying to get it out of the way.
I was fine with floor in the corner, the couch she motioned to in the little waiting room was more than enough. I figured I could even stretch all the way out on it. I plopped down on it to show my appreciation. "This is perfect."
"Let me grab some blankets." With that she went in the back room, unlocked another door, and went up some stairs. A minute later she brought down some blankets, showed me where the bathroom was, and we said our good nights. I washed up, trying to get the grime of other people from traveling off of me, brushed my teeth, and went to lay down.
But sleep was far in coming. It always took me a night or two to adjust to where I was staying, and feel comfortable to just ease into sleep. Besides tonight my mind was spinning. In such a short amount of time after moving here I had made enemies with a well-known local hate group. However, on the other hand I now had a veterinarian as an ally.
With those thoughts I eventually entered a fitful night of sleep. Only to be awoken what felt like moments later by two dogs lapping at my face.
* * *
From here I could include the following day where Lacreshia and Neil clean up the pet clinic, or I could just end the chapter here, and start the next chapter from there. What is usually an appropriate amount of pages per chapter? Some chapters have to have more than one 'scene' in them, so what are other guidelines?