Is this beginning too dark for Young Adult? Contains violence.
I suppose rain is fitting for this moment. Standing above a grave wouldnít feel quite right without rain. It helps wash off the blood, too.
My shoulder throbs where the knife sliced through nerve and muscle. If I press a hand to it, blood dribbles through my fingers and mingles with the rain. Itís become a game now: how long can I press on it before my vision starts to go dark?
Iím starting to like it. Itís like scratching an itch - pain and relief at the same time. If my shoulder goes numb, thereís always the gash in my stomach...
Right, back to the grave. I think seriously about letting the rain fill it with mud, letting her face drown in earth. Nah. Iíll do it right. After all, she lived off of tradition. Sheíd appreciate this.
As my hands dig into the soft, rich, earth, I begin to sing.
I wake with a start. I canít believe I fell asleep. The plan had been to stay up all night, but I must have drifted off. I wanted to begin today by watching the sun rise, but itís up now. Today. Freedom Day. My sixteenth birthday.
I slide from the wooden board I am forced to call a bed and yank on my boots. As I reach the downstairs living area, I am greeted by sudden silence. Several pairs of brown eyes watch as I grab a plate of food and sit down at an empty table. A rock comes out of the crowd, narrowly missing my head. I smile. Theyíre jealous Iím free. The eggs are blander than usual, but I donít care. I eat quickly, eager to get out from under the stares of my fellow orphans and into the honey-colored fields encompassing most of Caram. I itch to get away from this place, have since I arrived when I was ten.
I look at myself in one of few mirrors in the Romarin Orphanage, pulling back my black curls into a tight braid. The black eye I got the other day is healing and doesnít hurt anymore. Funny, when I first arrived in Caram, none of the kids would touch me. I was too clean, too well-behaved, too other for them. I smelled weird, they said. They didnít want my stench to rub off on them. But as I grew, taunts turned into throwing things, and, more recently, throwing things turned into throwing punches.
Orphans donít have the benefit of parents teaching them the spice trade. Most of them, when they turn sixteen, will become traveling traders. Iím lucky. By the time I got to Caram, I already knew how to learn. I asked the spice merchants questions, endearing myself to them and ensuring a place amongst them when I got older.
I pause before leaving, staring at the features that got me expelled from my home, from my family. I can never stand to look at myself for long; the hatred sets in and I have to turn away.
From the day I was born, I was cursed. My hair started off golden and straight, to be sure, but rapidly fell into black curls. My mustard yellow eyes turned a deep obsidian. My skin, at least, stayed a pale ivory. My parents, both with clear honeyed eyes and silvery ginger hair, immediately took me to a healer. She proclaimed me cursed, a dark spirit that must be cast out of the Crescent before I incited its destruction. Thinking about it now, she was probably being a bit overdramatic. I mean, how could a baby destroy an entire society? I was not the first unnatural baby to be born in the Crescent I learned later, but I was the first to be successfully hidden within Aurea. My parents loved me despite my curse. But they couldnít keep me, at least not publicly. Not according to Crescent law.
Every child in Aurea learns from an early age the story of Agaitha. Back before the Crescent formed, nature ruled the world. Poisonous plants crept through forests as fast as the animals that lived there. Beasts roamed salted oceans and giant flying creatures prowled the air. It was a dangerous place, without the wisdom and safety our Elder now provide.
A small fishing village in a region called the Comb woke up one morning to find something more than fish caught in their nets. In water, she was magnificent - a flash of silky green that blended into the weeds so well, the men who found her almost hacked her to pieces. When she opened her eyes, though, they saw the beauty of the entire ocean in them and were spellbound. They brought her ashore, where her features became more human. Her hair, out of the reflection of the water, turned a green so dark it was almost black. She told them her name was Agaitha.
The villagers, in their folly, asked her to stay in the village and be their guest. They feasted for five days and nights on spicy baked shellfish, trout smothered in butter and thyme, soft and salty bread, and creamy soups with chunks of vegetables and mollusks. They drank spirits distilled from grain, aged in wood, and mixed with molasses. On the sixth day, the town woke to find Agaitha gone and a boy dead. Someone remembered seeing the boy, Bron, heading into a room with her. The rumor is that he got too friendly and she got angry. That night, a storm started to brew. It turned vicious, drowning most of the townspeople and destroying the town. Agaitha was seen, standing naked on a rock, screaming into the storm, her eyes the blackest black. One woman, Navine, was unaffected by the storm. She claimed it was because of a talisman she made to repel evil. She wore it around her neck and it protected her. The symbol etched upon the talisman was a golden butterfly.
The start might be a bit dark, but I enjoyed the rest of it, very interesting world you've created and I would be interested to read on if I'd picked it up in a book store.
Only think I might have done differently is break up the back story abit with some current action. So maybe something like:
"....But they couldnít keep me, at least not publicly. Not according to Crescent law.
I speed outside, relishing the sweet air of escape....etc etc etc.... I pass a small huddle of whispering orphans. Did I just hear them say the name Agaitha? A chill runs down my spine, I'm don't really understand why, I'd heard that name hundreds of times.
.....Every child in Aurea learns from an early age the story of Agaitha...."
Not my best writing but you get the idea. I like to break up giving the back story with some current action. But then again what do I know, I'm new at this
Anyway hope that helps in some way
Thanks Will! That's a great suggestion, I have some rewriting to do
The beginning is dark, but not gruesome, with just the right amount of mystery to make it enticing. I think it's an excellent prologue. I also found the rest of the story well-written and intriguing. Following Will's suggestion to add some current action into the backstory will make it that much better.
It's not dark, no problem there.
The problem is that there is no story. Just when a story gets started, you jerk it away from the reader. First, the grave scene - looks interesting, but oops...forget that, let's talk about breakfast at an orphanage, and...no wait, let's talk about when the MC first came to the orphanage, and...no, hold on, let's talk about when the MC was first born, now there's a story...no, no, forget that, let me tell you about Agaitha.
Can you make up our minds, please? lol. Starting and ending five stories in 1000 words is just a tad schizophrenic, don't you think?
I see what you're saying, John. It is a bit scattered. But this is how I thought it out when I was writing: When you're going through your day, how many different thoughts enter your head? I switch between things I have to do right now to things I did yesterday to that funny story a coworker told me that I want to share with someone else. I think we're all naturally a bit schizophrenic. But if it doesn't read well, if it's choppy, that's something I need to fix. I'll go back through. Thanks!
Originally Posted by John Oberon
Well, alrighty...but supposedly this MC has been waiting six years to get out of this hell-hole, and today's the day. You really think the story of Agaitha or birth or anything like that will have a part in the MC's thinking? I'll be bold here and say nuh-uh. It'd all be about getting the heck outta there, immediate plans, and what the future holds, don't you think?
Originally Posted by Aeslynn
it certainly gets the readers attention right off the bat...i like it
Nope i'm a young adult and i don't think it's that dark. Pretty good writing~! My favorite style is using I to narrate so i think it's nice!