Warning, this may be a little long. Actually, ALL of these may be a little long. I don’t know how to write anything actually short. So, pull up a chair, set up your popcorn, and make sure your drink is full. Here we go!
“As with all stories, they must start somewhere; often beginning with a notable deed or achievement. With him, we will start with his first and best achievement:
He survived. ”
Chapter 1 deals with the main characters infancy, and reveals how cruel and callous the culture he was born to was with their slaves. From the time he was born, the main character is forced to struggle for his survival without any external guidance from anyone to help him understand what is going on.
Since, he has to survive in order for the story to progress, I did give him a few bits of help now and again, such as this piece of chance:
“Only chance placed his mouth close enough to the nipple so that after a few attempts, he was able to find it through the filthy, grime coated material that covered it, and allow him to suck. Thus was his first meal accomplished. Thus was the first decree of his life forged: Take what you can, when you can.”
But, I also worked at forging a character who would be hard enough to live, despite the odds. Thus, he can grow physically. And, it sets the stage for later scenes where it is necessary for me to be cruel in order to move the story along. (And, I admit, it is so much FUN to legally torture someone, I just prefer adults to infants. I am so glad he lived long enough.)
One of the most fun aspects of his personality to explore as the story develops is his extremely sharp learning curve. I get to start with him as a toddler, such as is shown in the following snippets. I also get to lay down another bit of his personality’s foundation:
“Still he hung tenaciously to life, and progressed like all infants from snakelike crawling, to true crawling, and into toddling. He took his first steps at eight months, and never crawled again, no matter how badly injured, or how exhausted he became. Though his physical skills developed quickly, he was very slow with developing his speaking skills. He had no one to mimic, nor did anyone speak to him in order for him to begin associating words to meanings. In his mind, he had the impression of items, movements, or feelings; things that had been left for him or that he sensed, but did not have spoken words or even hand gestures to give these concepts meaning.”
“He readily grasped the cause and effect connection between the bruises, and reduced portions though he had never been educated. His mind was sharp.”
And, for a bit of humor I am finally getting back around to using in a later book:
“One last look at the first ten years of his life, a spot of humor he was to remember in later years with pride. It happened after one of his first attempts to burn off his excess energy after a meal by climbing up the walls in his dark tomb. He had fallen from some five feet, and hit the stone manger with his shin, leaving a hand-span sized area of pain. It made getting up off the floor difficult for many days. After the first day, he solved the dilemma by using some of the softest, least prickly of his remaining floor covering to fill the hard object with the dip in it to the brim and began using it for his bed. He thought the raised sleeping place a great invention, not knowing that if he had been raised with a mother he would have had a much better bed, until being moved to his own cell where a bed was a reward earned. This bed, or one like it, was to be his until he earned his freedom, even as the stone stall, or one similar, was to be his cell. The small two foot by four foot, sharp cornered stone manger was to grow ever smaller for him, as his body grew to its full height over the years. Always, he would manage to curl up and force his body to wedge into the small space, as comfortable there as most are in a queen or king size bed.”
Until next time… keep those pages turning!
If I’ve peaked your interest, you can find a copy of Out of the Darkness on