(WIP) Book Excerpt from ‘Skycry’
It’s much more difficult to get back into blogging for me than I thought. I’ve been so caught up with the end of the PLC course, making things and writing my story that I’ve completely forgotten to add anything on here for a while!! So, today I thought I’d add some more of my story to this blog.
The story only exists in my head at the moment, and I’ve only got 38 pages written so far. I’ve realized that I am a fairly slow writer so it may take a long time for me to entirely finish writing and editing. My artwork is both the inspiration for my story and is also inspired by my story, so the creative process for both writing and art is cyclical.
Anyhow, here’s an excerpt from my novel-in-progress, ‘Skycry’. It is still a work-in-progress and may change as I edit and rewrite, but I’d love to see what you think of it so far. All comments and criticism are very welcome here.
. . .
A Tweedle scampered as best it could along the damp gutters, dragging a bag of cogs and clockwork behind it. Passers by unknowingly splashed the Tweedle repeatedly. This wouldn’t have been much of a problem if it wasn’t for the presence of a nearby policeman, who caught the streetlights’ reflection on the wet metal Tweedle.
The policeman immediately reached down to grab the Tweedle, but his hand missed as the creature ran, spilling its cogs as it sprinted. The policeman ran after the creature, pushing his way through the crowd. Reaching again, he grasped its arm.
Fortunately, the wet weather was causing its arms to rust, and just when the policeman was about to crush the Tweedle, its arm snapped off. The Tweedle fell onto the pavement and jumped down a gutter chute that led to the lower levels of the city.
As the Tweedle tumbled downwards it banged against the many miniature waterwheels that lined the chutes. It finally landed, three-storeys above the ground level.
Battered and broken, the Tweedle got up and limped towards a wastebin. With its remaining hand, it cut a little hole in the bottom of the bin so that some waste poured out. Among old food wrappers, cardboard and smashed glass, the Tweedle found a few components of a scrap kettle. Using its foot to help grip some of the pieces, it started to construct a new arm for itself. Wires, plastic and parts of a heating element where crafted into basic pistons and a crude claw. It wrapped the new arm into position with some remaining wire.
Now that the Tweedle had repaired itself, it just sat there, stuck in thought.
Renfred and his revolutionaries built Tweedles to be their servants; the brain cells that were connected to the computer components of the ravens made Tweedles intelligent, but it also meant that Tweedles experienced an unintended side effect: they could feel emotions.
As a result, Tweedles are emotionally attached to their masters. When a Tweedle fails the mission assigned to it by its masters, they become full of guilt, shame and despair. Its life feels meaningless to it. They have failed at the very thing they were built for and they don’t want to disappoint their masters. Unable to fully deal with the emotions provided by their artificially grown brain cells, Tweedles then become unstable.
This Tweedle was no exception. It was broken and alone. It could not reach its master in time. It had no function anymore. At this point most Tweedles would have just shut down or dismantled themselves, but this particular Tweedle didn’t know what to do.
It broke free of its thoughtful trance and realised that it was no longer useful to its master.
Not quite sure what to do with this newfound freedom, the Tweedle just wandered down the quiet street. Dozens of bridges above blocked off most of the natural light, so the street was illuminated only by a series of green lights that ran along the walls either side.
As the Tweedle proceeded down the street, it heard a muffled noise through one of the walls. A door opened and with it came the clatter of cutlery and crockery, and a cacophony of conversations. Two creatures walked out of the door; one was human and the other was humanoid, but its arms and legs were disproportionately longer than the rest of its scaly body. Both of them held teacups, which they left on a boarded up windowsill before skipping joyfully down the street. With wonder and curiosity, the Tweedle rushed through the door before it closed.
The room was large. Feet moved all around. Tables were surrounded by all kinds of people and creatures. A shouting bartender competed to be heard against the upbeat music that blasted from some loudspeakers. “Special Teas Are Our Specialty! We’ve got Chai tea! Oooolong tea! Ginseng tea! Mint Tea! Red tea! Black tea, Brown tea, Green-tea-blue-tea-yellow-tea-new-tea-old-tea…!” The bartender’s words were now like to those of a hyperactive auctioneer. Eager queues of people were fighting for the next cup of tea, waving teacups at the bartender as he filled them for them.
A man on the other side of the room rested against the wall with his arms folded. The brim of the hat he was wearing cast a shadow that concealed his eyes as they pierced through the bustling crowd, watching the confused Tweedle carefully.
The man pushed himself off the wall and took five steps forward, and then three back to avoid a customer who was rushing to get more tea. He awkwardly moved through the crowd, side-stepping and hopping in what appeared to be more a dance than ordinary walking. He stopped in front of the Tweedle and looked down at it.
He lifted his hat to reveal a face that looked no older than twenty five, yet his eyes were slightly foggy, as if they were older than he was.
He knelt and opened his palm. “Come with me.” The Tweedle backed away. “Don’t be shy! I’m not going to hurt you.” he smiled. It hesitated and then jumped onto his hand. He carefully carried it, with his hands cupped, through the crowd and into his office. He opened his hands and let it jump out onto a shelf.
The man gestured towards a small crack in the wall just above the shelf, and then he sat at the office desk in a revolving seat. He flicked a switch under his desk, a panel in the desk opened containing a cup of tea which he sipped. “Walk through the hole. You’ll find some friends in there.”
The Tweedle peered through the hole. The space in the wall was lit up by very weak lights and it was crammed with small furniture. If the space had been given walls and a roof, it could easily be mistaken for a dollhouse.
Staring back at the Tweedle were other Tweedles, also with injuries of their own; shattered legs, damaged arms and a few with their faces removed to reveal the insides of their heads. These strange Tweedles wore hooded robes, made from thin pieces of cloth. The group hummed at the Tweedle and threw a piece of red fabric in front of it. The Tweedle picked up the fabric and returned out of the hole, puzzled, waving it at the man in the hat.
“I’m guessing you’re new to the whole freedom thing. I think you’re supposed to wear the cloth. It’s yours to keep or modify or… do whatever you want with. You’re one of them now. You’re not some slave anymore. You can own things now. You can be whatever you want to be, even if you haven’t a clue what that is yet.”
©Daniel Forrest Smith, 2014