I haven’t really gotten much writing done this past week. Which isn’t to say that I haven’t wanted to, but rather that I haven’t made enough time to do so (and to be fair, some of this is out of my control). In fact, as I have been consuming a bunch of short fiction, in the form of Diverse Energies, Podcastle, and Escape Pod (and then At The Mouth Of The River Of Bees and High-Tech Gothic), I have had a lot of ideas for stories, which is frustrating as I can only work on one at a time. One of the great thing about Speculative Fiction is that, once you read enough of it, the outlines of a great conversation begin to emerge (a similar phenomenon can be found in philosophy), and the more of that conversation that I see, the more I want to participate (and in the case of short fiction, the more attainable that participation is). At the moment, there really isn’t much to do about it, other than to make notes about the stories I want to write (which are great to have for when you sit down to write but aren’t able to come up with a story, by the way). But enough about that, this post is titled “A First Draft”.
Back when I first started to work on Broken Shores, while I was still figuring out how the world worked (I hadn’t figured out what to call it, if I recall correctly), I wrote a short story with the working title of “Assassination”. I liked this story, but Broken Shores went a different direction, and I shelved it. But I have always wanted to dust it off, and make it work, but every time I looked at it, I was daunted by how much would need to change (almost all of it). Well, fuck it. I’m going to make it work, and you get to see the process. Just remember that what follows is a ROUGH DRAFT, and will be full of errors (continuity, plot, grammar, and otherwise) and represents a direction that the Broken Shores setting could have gone, but didn’t. Really, I want you to go into this expecting less than nothing. If you continue to read beyond this point, you will never get those minutes of your life back, and I cannot be held responsible, so don’t bother asking. Also, although I dislike doing it, I’m going to put a page break after the first scene, which I hope doesn’t mess with the feed/email subscriptions, but if it does I’m sorry. Feedback is welcome, just keep in mind, there is much necrotic tissue that is already marked for removal. Without further ado:
Assasination (working title)
by Tom Dillon
FIRST DRAFT (“here there be errors”) / 6.27.2008 / approximately 6,200 words
“We must never forget our history, what our forefathers went through to ensure our safety. We have become complacent, and there is nothing to stop another disaster from occurring. My opponent insists that the time for caution is over, that the threat is past, but it is not. If anything, it is greater than ever.” Senator Burien’s words blended into the noise of the crowd as something else caught Devin’s attention.
The man was easy to spot, moving quickly through a crowd that seemed to sway sluggishly in Devin’s ramped-up state. She didn’t bother to signal as she braced herself, the guards on the perimeter had already done so. The guards on the stage with her noticed as well, and she heard a series of thunks from their crossbows just moments before a few quarrels embedded themselves in the man’s chest.
The bolts didn’t slow the man down, he kept on dodging through the crowd as one of his hands plucked the quarrels from his chest and the other drew a long knife. The guards that were closest to Senator Burien bunched up, making a human wall in front of him. Even if the assassin got through them, they would slow him down enough for Devin and the rest of the guards to do their jobs.
Then the assassin jumped. His momentum carried him in a smooth arc over the guards’ heads. He ducked his head and crossed his arms in front of him just in time for the metal plates on his forearms to deflect three or four more quarrels.
He landed to the left of the main bunching of guards, in between them and her. He ricocheted off of them, heading straight for her. For a moment, his face was nearly touching hers, and she could see the tinge of blue under a layer of powder. Then she felt her dagger slide along one of his ribs. It caught, then he shoved off of her causing the blade to snap off as she lost her balance.
Even ramped up as she was, it was over by the time she regained her feet. Senator Burien was on the ground, the assassin’s knife protruding from his temple. It wouldn’t matter how much Ve they pumped into him, there was no coming back from something like that.
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