Welcome to the first of my regular updates. That is, each Friday I will post fiction that I am working on, whether that be edits or something fresh, and invite you to share your own. Every Saturday will be about what I have been reading, from article suggestions to book reviews. Sunday will be for musings—anything that I’ve come up with during the week, or feel needs to be expressed. Think of them as opinion drafts.
For my first post I’ve gone back and edited the beginnings of my NaNo attempt (going strong, by the way). I would post my original splurge, but that would be annoying. Instead, please enjoy the first 600 or so words of my very first novel, The Solar Saloon (and maybe suggest a better title!). You can check up on my progress here.
Zinc flew above the regolith, the stars at his back. He focused on an incoming pole, reached out with long arms in anticipation. He was good at this, judged it perfectly. Slender fingers crept quickly around it, and with the momentum he had, Zinc swung right around as a meteoroid does a planet.
With a gymnast’s kick he let go and flung himself towards the next obstacle. He could hear his sisters laughing ecstatically. Smiling stoically, he extended his body as much as he could. Three hoops were coming up, and he would have to adjust his flight perfectly in order to get through them all. The noise of his siblings stopped while they held their breath.
One hoop. A few spurts from the gas jets.
The second hoop. A few more in the other direction.
Then Zinc thought of a better idea.
As he passed through the last circle, he sprung open, latching his fingers around the top of the hoop and snapping his torso back. Spinning round and round he heard a gasp from one of his sisters. His vision flashed from the black of space to the grey-blue of home. Slowly he relaxed and came to a stop, perched daintily on the apex. Beryl and Vana clap silently. In zero-g the only sounds that carry have to jump from comm-unit to comm-unit. He opened a link with them.
“Good?” he said.
“Very good!” said Vana.
“No, very, very good!” said Beryl, pushing her sister. The younger sibling floated a few metres before managing to land back on firm ground.
“Careful you two,” Zinc said. He twitched.
“Sorry Z-” Zinc nodded his helmet towards Vana.
“I mean, sorry Vana.”
“That’s OK, I coulda got back anyway, even without my hook!” She put her hands on her hips and patted the little gun on her hip. Zinc doubted that, but he always admired Vana’s spirit. Sometimes he wished his sisters wouldn’t look up to him so much, but since they did he put on a bit of a show. He preferred watching them try to equate themselves with the playground. He knew it back to front.
“C’mon Zinc, show us something else!”
Zinc declined. Instead, he jumped down, regolith bursting up in slow motion where his feet landed. He swung both arms back and did a little bow, which was his way of saying, “Show me what you got.”
Taking a seat on top of a largish rock, Zinc watched his sisters leap clumsily on to the equipment. His creation. It was an odd mix of metallic frames and bright plastic shapes. Tubes and tunnels, poles and planks. He’d even managed to make some of it go under the surface; he was particularly proud of that little innovation.
Zinc stared up past the outlines and the squabbling girls, into the dotted dark that was the sky. Making patterns was one of his favourite ways of passing the time. There were so many dots, changing all the time. There, two little girls holding hands. To the left of that, a fork, no, a spanner. He often tried to connect the stars in a perfect circle, just to see if he could. That was a hard one, and he’d only managed once. But there was one symbol that kept coming up.
That of a man. It was distinct more than any other formation, and he always saw it. It was too perfect not to have been placed there.
A scream ripped into his ear, a high-pitched scream laced with fear.
Zinc immediately refocused.
There was Vana, barely holding on to a spinning stick. He jumped down, and within three long strides he had skipped to her side. Placing a hand on Vana, he turned her to look into his faceplate.
“She just let go!” Zinc could see the fear. Or maybe that was a reflection.
Spinning around, he spied Beryl’s whiteness against the great black. She was screaming and yelling and hollering and Zinc had to force her link closed. Without wasting a second he launched himself after her. He had the greater speed, and would definitely catch her–but could they get back?
If you’re participating in National Novel Writing Month please link a part of your own story, something you’re particularly proud of.
With that, I’ll leave you with a quote from George Orwell:
In a time of universal deceit— telling the truth is a revolutionary act.