January 22nd, 2012

Marshall Payne

Snippet of new WIP

I'm 12k into the new UF I started Jan 1st. Some of you might remember me saying how I dislike prologues. Well, lo and behold this novel has one. It's 500 words, opens with a minor character who doesn't come in to the book till later, so a prologue makes sense. Otherwise, prologues are for Big Fat Fantasy Novels with Maps and a Glossary, which this book certainly is not! *g*

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Jeffrey awoke to more monsters in his basement. He rubbed dirty goo from his eyes and counted. Six? It hadn't been that long ago that his mom had taught him to count, at least the number of fingers on both hands. But those happy days had long since passed and he was unsure.

He pressed his face closer to the wire mesh and counted again. Yes, six. Before there had only been three. Always no more than three. This was not good. Or did it really matter? So far, all they had done was kept him in this cage, like an animal. And fed him, of course. Every few days they'd clean his cage, the only time he was let out. He couldn't remember the last time they'd given him clean underwear and a T-shirt to put on.

A few feet away his older sister Lucy huddled in her cage, dressed only in panties and a filthy white T-shirt same as him. Except for the panties. Little boys didn't wear panties. Jeffrey knew this.

Lucy was awake, too, watching the new monsters. Her blue eyes turned to him, empty of the faint hope they'd once offered. Lucy's long blond hair used to be so beautiful. He wished the monsters would let her wash it, or at least give her a comb or brush to unsnarl the knots and tangles. Jeffrey's once-short hair nearly covered his ears now and was almost as much of a snarled mess. Or so his grimy fingers told him.

Weeks ago, when all this horror began, Lucy had been a source of much emotional support. He'd clung to her words of comfort, encouragement that everything would be okay. That Mommy and Daddy would do whatever the horrible creatures wanted, and soon they would be let out. That life would go back to the way it'd been. Now when Lucy regarded him, she just stared with those sad, depleted eyes. Like him, she didn't weep anymore. Between the two of them, they'd used up all the tears the world had to offer. There was still plenty of fear to be shared, however.

The monsters were huge, with dark green hides and eyes that glowed a sickly yellow. The head monster was called Glothran. That was the name his mom and dad addressed him by when they were allowed to come down into the basement. Jeffrey was torn by whether he wanted his parents to come down here or not. Dad, whom he'd always thought of as a large man, was dwarfed by the monsters, and it hurt Jeffrey to see his father cower before them and promise to do better, try harder. Seeing Mom's red-rimmed eyes and trembling lower lip as she gazed upon Jeffrey and Lucy in their cages was even more painful. Then they'd be sent back upstairs.

But today was different. Now there were six monsters and no sign of his mom and dad.