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This is my current working draft from the first chapter of my YA-Fantasy novel, which you can find out more about here. charles-reed.myfreesites.net Please please, share it if you enjoy it, thank you all.

Before we start things off, I would like to express something to you. This is not your ordinary book. In this story, things will happen that you won’t understand. They may disturb or frighten you, but stay with me, and you might understand something greater. This book is labeled fiction, I’ll leave it to you to decide what’s real and what’s not. I will now defer to my original manuscript.

Warning, sometimes books are in the fiction section, and you must wonder to yourself.

“Is this book here because it’s a far away idea? A fantastic dream? Something from hidden sanctuaries inside our minds?”

But, what if a book was put there by the disbelief of others. Because the truth was unbelievable, it frightened and unnerved people. What is fairy tales were something different? Not fables to warn us from being wicked, teaching us morals, and values. But true, tragic and lovely tales from places near and far, things beyond what we can see with our own eyes, and something that we touched in our deepest most vivid dreams.

I feel the desire to tell my story not because it’s the right thing to do. Not because I feel the need to enlighten and teach you. But as a way making money for myself and ripping down the veil. I will show the world bits and pieces of the truth, from that which I can remember and what I’ve been left with. There are many beginnings but I think that I should start as far back as I am able.

 

 

Chapter 1

I open my eyes to the dark night sky, lit up brightly with stars. I felt the cold night breeze, the world was clear and beautiful. All I saw were the vermillion blades of grass, a few bent crooked trees, and my brother. We are twins, identical to the point that it was a bit alarming to some. Except for our hair- his was jet black and short, mine was longer and pale-white. We were about three at the time physically, but this was the first time our eyes opened, we lay there sleeping, there was nothing else in the world. I cuddled up to him and slept for….? A hundred? A thousand years? I do not know, but I can still remember the cold, and the feeling of being alone.

            I awoke, the intense light burned my red eyes, I raised my hands to shield myself from the fiery beams. Feeling worried, and hungry, I shook my sleeping brother’s arm to awaken him. The place I had awoken in was very different from the world I had left. The soft grass had been replaced by harsh desert. Along with a newly placed mountain behind us. Both of us were wearing ragged clothes that I don’t recall wearing before. The burning heat seemed to desire my skin for its own, to devour and leave me barren.

            “What?” My brother awoke slowly, turning to look at me with his blue-grey eyes.

            “I’m hungry.” I told him.

            “So what do you want me to do about it?” he asked sleepily.

“Help me get something to eat, the sky hurts me.” I said pouting.

“You’ll get over it,” he yawns, gets up and looks at the trees. “See that?” He points toward the top.

I shake my head.

“Look closer.”

            I studied the trees, they looked similar to your palm-trees in nature, yet the top was more like the trees of your northern lands. I see a heavily leafed part and within I spot a large round orange-green type of ball. (Which I now know to be an interesting type of melon) I continued to stare at it for a few minutes.

 “Well?” My brother asks.

 “Well what?”

“Go eat it.”

            “Oh.”

            Walking over to the tree which towered over me, I take hold of it by the sides making my way crawling up the tree’s bare trunk, I reach toward the branches slowly but definitely. I grasped out for the fruit and plucked it from its rest. I then jumped down from the tree, I smiled happily presenting my prize making a sound of joy. I began eating it and looked up to see my brother beaming at me affectionately,

“Good job.” He said with a warm smile.

I smiled back and continued to eat my delicious treat.

 

           

Later that night I was sitting close to the blazing green campfire, appreciating the heat. The cool-warm embrace and the vivid flickering of the flames. My brother seemed to stare deep within, studying the flames with deep concentration, shutting out the world around him, and seeing only the patterns inside. I fell back and curled into a tight ball, watching the beautiful constellations dance across the night sky, it was a calm night one I enjoy remembering now. I drifted into sleep quickly, and woke into burning light, again.

The sole difference being on this day that my brother had already awoken, and was sitting cross-legged staring at me with a stony face waiting for me to awaken.

“Are you up already? “I said turning toward him.

Smiling at me, he said. “About time you got up.”

At this point, we were roughly as developed as ten-year-old children. Standing up, he offered me his hand. I reached out and he pulled me to my feet.

I looked around and smiled. “It looks nice.”

            “Let’s get going.” He said to me.

We then continued on trekking through the desert, playfully tripping and shoving each other along the way. We saw many grains of sand and hardly anything else.

After some time had passed however, we came across something else. Hunched over in the sand was a blue-grey cloaked figure breathing heavily. Its breath stank of rot, death and decay. Its cloak was heavily worn and it was wheezing heavily, sounding ravaged and dry. Its bones were covered lightly by a thin layer of grey skin. With every exhale it took, you could see big, black, deep, heavy fog pouring from its mouth.

            It reached out its cold hand toward my forehead. Moments before it touched me, I saw one of its eyes, it was a cloudy grey on the outside, and a color darker than black near the center, it was not a human eye. When it touched me, my world became negative. The sky turned a deep purple-blue, the clouds turn black, I was the only one to stay the same.

I fell back, my body felt like it weighed a thousand pounds. I watched that thing continue to stare at me through the desolation that covered it, never again seeing its eye. My brother ran at it, with lightning quick speed, it grabbed his arm and threw him somewhere out of my sight. The creature then dissipated with impossible speeds. I never saw its like again.

My heart was beating fast, wind blew over my face, my entire body was shaking, suddenly excruciating pain seized me. I went through some of the most painful moments of my existence, cringing in pain as my insides moved and twisted, my bones quivered they seemed about to shatter, and then I passed out.

I woke up shaking and shivering in the night, I saw my brother laying sprawled across in the sand. I limped over to him as quickly as I could manage.

“Brother!...” I called out Horsley. I fell on top of him “wake up.” I said rasping and shaking him by the rags. He was out cold, he felt ice-cold. I continued to shake him and began to cry, my tears hit his face I didn’t understand what was happening but I was afraid he would never wake up. I fell onto his chest sobbing. After some time I felt him stir, I looked up and could see him opening his eyes looking at me confused.

“What happened?” He asked groggily.

            I gasp and began to cry harder, he stroked my head and said “hey it’s okay, we are fine.” he said to me but I continued to kneel there crying. I must have fallen asleep on top of him, for I woke with his hand on my head he was looking at me

“Are you okay?” I asked him.

            “I’m fine.” he said slowly.

            I got up and lifted him up by his hand. “Do you know what happened?” He asked me.

            “No.” I said shortly.

“What was that thing? What did he do to you?” he asked me sharply, a severe look in his eyes.

            “I don’t know, I told you, it touched my head, and I just, felt excruciating pain.” I croaked out.

“Then you’re all right?” he asked me questioningly.

            “Yes.” I said. We stood there in silence for a bit, then continued to walk on through the desert. We walked, and walked, and walked, and walked. By the time we saw anything I was beginning to collapse. My pale skin was leathery and burnt, my brother on the other hand just looked a bit winded, his skin more bronze and tanned. I raised my head with an arm over my brow, I saw a strange black shape flying in the sky a bird of some sort, flying high above. I resumed looking in front of us, where I could barely make out the shape of buildings.

My brother pointed to it first and said. “Look at that over there! What is that?” He began to speed up, I ran with, tripping and almost fell, we began to gain upon it, my brother urging me on, waving for me to hurry up.

We came upon a large stone arch opening the way to the city, it was all made with brown stone, looking like some Arabian dream. And the city was called Dumast.

Dumast meaning drought, in this foreign tongue, which was a valid name for this city, as drought is what it was. The city was dusty to say the least, it was much like the desert full of sand and barren, at least in the front. The buildings and houses were very basic, made of the same stone, some had wooden doors, most did not.

            We heard sound far off and decided to follow it. We continued to go toward the sound, some of the buildings had two floors a few even had three.

            We still hadn’t come across any people, until a little later on where we saw one child, maybe ten or twelve run past us. He had dark skin and was wearing pale grey and brown clothing, in a traditional desert attire, soon followed by two more children running. We watched them run by, my brother then said. “Come on, let’s see where they’re going.”

            We followed them through some side alleys and onward, twisting through the residents we came out into a loud open Marketplace. The market was filled with different people of varying skin colors, and tones. The bazaar was massive, the entire area was open, people were selling different things, animals, wares, jewelry, clothing, rugs, and more. There were people everywhere, haggling, yelling. There was even music, it was very festive, we walked around looking at the different stalls and people, we continued to explore when a woman in light purple came up to us.

            “Hello, you two look lost, are your parents near?” She had light almond colored skin, and black hair. She was attractive, maybe in her mid-twenties.

            We exchanged glances and said “no.” simultaneously.

“Well, do you want me to help you find them?”

            “They’re not here.” my brother said. I gave him a warning look.

“Where are they?” She asked us.

            I hesitated but my brother said. “They’re off in another city, they sent us here to live by ourselves for a while.”

            “Goodness!” she exclaimed. “Well, you shouldn’t be wandering about without a chaperone! Where are you staying?” She asked us.

“Not far from here,” my brother said.

“I see…” she said guardedly. “Let me accompany you back.”

“That’s not necessary.” my brother said. “We know our way perfectly well.”

            “I see...” She said again “well then why don’t I accompany you back to my place? It would be inexcusable to let you wander off on your own, we can find your parents later.”

“Really,” I said “it’s not necessary, we will be going there right now” and without another word my brother and I ran off. We continued to run for a while until we were certain that she wasn’t following us.

“Why do you think that she was so concerned with us?” My brother asked me suspiciously.

“I’m not sure.” I said exhaustedly.

“Well, I think we need to avoid attention.”  So we moved onward avoiding people when possible. We continued moving into a darker, quieter part of the city. We were outside a small public building, there were people shouting inside and a man smoking inside the doorway. He looked at us nonchalantly enough, but there seemed to be hunger in his eyes. I looked inside next to him and continued onwards.

We passed some more merchant stalls, it was quiet here, we were near the edge of the city, and another exiting arch. “Come on.” my brother said pulling my arm.

            We continued back into the wasteland and made camp a ways away from the city, and by camp I mean we flattened out the area and laid down to rest. We continued this schedule for some time, exploring the city during the day, keeping out of prying eyes, studying the people, learning the customs, examining things, discovering more about the city.

            There were many different parts of this city. The main trade markets were the South-Western, which was for the poor and average citizen, it offered a wide variety of goods, we often came here as it was easier to sell goods of, a stolen nature.

            North-Western which was the 2nd largest and bordered the wealthy residential area near the center of the city, it mainly dealt in finery, clothing and jewelry. However, you could also purchase common goods in certain areas.

North-Eastern, which being only slightly smaller than its counter and hosted a wide variety of perfumes, food, clothing, and spices. This was the only market that was partially enclosed.

Lastly the regional trade market, which was located in the southern part of the city, although surrounded by the ruined and poor part of the city, this was the largest marketplace, it offered goods from many trading partners. It was by far the most popular place in the city and the first place we encountered within the city borders.

In the center of the city was the main governing building, this was one of a unique building in the entire city. It was tall, and round, it was also made of a white material, which was a very defining aspect here. As I understand a council met here to rule on the management of the city, dealing with trade, and law. However, I have heard rumors that the council was corrupt, and was breaking the same laws that they had created.

            There was also a large complex that housed the royalty of the area, the access was restrictive so we only saw it from outside of the gate. It was made from the same material as the councils. It seemed the royalty were more of figureheads for the council.

However you did wonder how they came up with certain items within the city, there was metal primarily used for weapons, but, for instance, it was not near the quality of the gate to the royals household.

My brother and I would fight and spar for fun in our camp, and late at night, we would review our information around a fire, if we had the materials to make one. We learned to steal food, jewelry and run faster than ever before. Not that we needed much sustenance but it helped us to sustain our strength for longer.

We were in the Southern market one day when we saw the same woman in purple. She saw us and approached “You two! You ran off without me.” she said crossly. “I see that your parents aren’t here either!” she looked upset, we said nothing.

“You two will be coming to stay with me then,” she said firmly “I hear that you have been up to all sorts of mischief!” I looked down awkwardly. “Come then!” she said snapping her fingers taking my wrist and pulling me “Both of you.” she said with command and just like that, she brought us to her home.

            She was well off, to say the least, the house was well adorned, there was a kitchen, an in ground water basin, table, several rooms, and a large open banister.

“You two will be staying with me now until your parents return. You can make yourselves at home but rest assured if you do run away again, I will find you this time. Do we understand each other?” She said looking back between the two of us, we did not reply “I’ll take that as your acceptance. Very well then, now I’m sure that you two are hungry. I shall make us some food to eat.”

 

 

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