The Time

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hannah_dreamergirl_3
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The Time

Post by hannah_dreamergirl_3 » December 30th, 2010, 4:49 pm

First section of my current work in progress, currently named, THE TIME.
It's a YA action novel.
Be gentle with me please! ;-)

Sorry its so long, its the first half of the first chapter, so six a4 pages lol

I hope you enjoy!!!


I blinked a couple of times as I tried to figure out where I was. Vague recollection and then pure shock tumbled through me as I pulled at the binds on my wrists that attached me to a metal chair in the centre of the room. I was surrounded by familiar faces. One stood out in particular. I glared at him, wondering if this were come sick joke, an attempt at revenge, at humiliating me.
“What the hell am I doing here?” I shrieked, trying to yank my hands free.
“We have a job for you.”
“Piss off Carter; I don’t even work here anymore.”
“Yes I know. But we need you, I’m afraid.”
“Oh and this is the best way to persuade me?” I had almost forgotten there was anyone else in the room; I was so focused on that arrogant expression he wore so often. He was thinking how weak I was, to be caught so easily.
“I didn’t think you would go for an adult conversation.”
I hissed a couple of curses at him, as everyone sniggered and began to move away, leaving us to it. He had obviously regaled my old work colleagues with stories of why I no longer worked there. People who had once respected me, even feared me a little, grinned patronisingly at me. The best undercover agent out there, had lost it, caught by a simple spiked drink and a dark van down the back alley behind a night club. I felt sick, my mind racing, trying to figure out what Carter could possibly want after three months of hearing nothing from either him or the government.
“It’s pretty important, plenty of money in it for you. Maybes even being re-instated...” His voice trailed off. The possibility was too good to be true, but I wasn’t going to let him know that.
“Are they going to fire you? Because that’s the only way I’d come back Carter.” I spoke through gritted teeth.
He shuck his head looking unconcerned at my lack of co-operation and pulled a chair from under one of the desks, spinning it around and straddling it, his arms laced around the back. His mop of dark floppy hair fell over his green eyes slightly. He had a half smile on his lips.
“Please Teresa, listen to the proposal.”
I glared at him; he knew that I hated being called by my full name. He looked me over, one eyebrow raised. Frustrated I shrugged, slumping back into the uncomfortable metal chair he had obviously chosen for effect.
“Now, remember the first briefing? Before you even began Phase 1 training?”
I nodded, one mechanical movement, not understanding where he was going. My mind moved to the memory of that first briefing. The way they had told us we were tools to the government, to get whatever needed to be done, done. We would never know everything that was going on. Our job was to act, not to ask questions. There were hundreds of things the government kept hidden for the good of the public and we were told straight, just because you’re in the team does not mean you’ll get to discover what these things are.
“They told everybody that there were....”
“Yes yes Carter, already there. What thing is it, that they don’t want us to know, that you’re about to tell me?”
Carter frowned and sighed, I clearly had disappointed his arrogant nature, he had wanted to peel back layers of suspense and reveal his secret slowly, making me all doe-eyed and lustful at his forever growing wisdom. I raised an eyebrow at him, that wasn’t how I worked. I was always the one who was one step ahead.
“Well. You might not believe me.”
“Well this whole thing looks like one giant piss-take so you’ll forgive my disbelief that after what happened, after three months of silence you’re relying on me to dig you out of some hole that I wouldn’t normally even be told about it, just in case.”
Carter took a moment to consider this and I smirked at him wanting to antagonise him.
“Whatever,” he mumbled, frowning, a little disheartened now. Poor Carter, always full of plans, never quite able to execute them with the effect he craved. “The truth is that for as long as we have records for, the governments have been messing with time travel and now someone from the past is trying to reveal all to the masses to cause panic. For some reason, we don’t know what. You need to follow him through time find him and kill him.”
Carter had spoken as though this were the most normal thing in the world in the world. When he finished he smiled triumphantly as my expression shifted from incredulous, to shock, to utter disbelief. “Carter you have to be taking the piss.”
“I’m not.” He shuck his head vigorously, his eyes wide and pleading, “You have to help. If we’re not careful he could start deleting periods of history, killing people before they’re born, he could reveal to the world that the American and British governments have been fiddling with the past trying to stop events from happening.”
“Wait they’ve changed things?”
Carter nodded, “But they had to change them back because of the other effects they caused. They tried to kill Hitler before he became leader of the Nazis, but it turns out there was more than one maniac ready to step up to the...”
“Shut up Carter. Untie me; I know you’re just trying to humiliate me after I...after I...” My voice trailed away, not wanting to talk about what had happened in front of so many big eared colleagues.
“Shot me?” he finished for me.
I felt myself redden just a little and nodded.
“I don’t believe a word you say Carter. Now untie me or I swear...”
“What? What will you do to me Teri? I could just leave you tied up there to rot and there’s nothing you could do about it. Who do you think everybody would listen to? Really, think about it.”
Silence descended, quickly shattered by a few bursts of uncontrollable laughter around the room and then typing and talking began again as Carter glared around him. The room became so loud it made my head go fuzzy.
“Are you being serious Carter?” I asked, looking him directly in his irritatingly pretty green eyes. I tried to plead with him to be truthful, but knew it wouldn’t work anyway. Carter stared back, straight into my eyes. I could feel my heart accelerate as I finally began to process. Time travel? Parts of the past deleted? I had heard some bizarre things that the government was up to, but this was pretty spectacular.
“I’m going to need....”
“Proof, I know. And you’ll get it. But first, if I untie you, you’re not going to do anything....rash are you?”
“Rash?” I grinned, just controlling my laughter at his worried expression. “No Carter, I’ll behave, I promise.”
Carter hesitated then rose, nearly falling off the chair as he swung his leg back over. He didn’t suit the whole scary agent, kidnapper extraordinaire thing. For all he was arrogant, he was clumsy and way too worried about me shooting him again to be anything like frightening. The memory of that day flickered over my mind and I shuck myself a little, trying to concentrate.
Carter moved toward me, crouching down so he could more easily untie the ropes that bound my hands to the chair. He wore a sharp white shirt and black trousers, his strong cologne wafted over me. He had made an effort; I smirked inwardly, wondering if it were for me.
Once the ropes were untied I stretched my hands out, it was tempting to be dramatic and slap him, but I stopped myself. The last time I had been in this room, I had shot him; I think we were pretty even at that point.
“Right we’re going to go see Wills.”
“Wills? What he got the promotion?”
Carter nodded rolling his eyes, “Boss of the entire secretive departments. Dickhead, after the scandal with that girl I meant the job should’ve been...” his voice trailed away and he glanced at me before walking on. I knew he had been about to say the job should have been mine and then he had remembered the reason I hadn’t taken up the post. His ears looked a little pink through his hair and I wondered if he was angry he had forgotten to be horrible to me for a moment. I thought about the scandal Carter was referring to, Wills’ secretary had left all of a sudden over what she claimed was sexual harassment and he claimed was an arrogant self-obsession which lead her to believe the whole world was in love with her. It had all been very strange and although I didn’t like Wills I was unsure about how nasty he really was.
When I emerged from my thoughts, we were already in the glass lift that could take you from the top of the basement right down to the bottom. Fifteen floors underground only accessed through a secret door in the main political office which was separated from the reception in the main building by a two feet thick wall of glass. I always wondered why they had made the lift glass as it was always dark down here anyways. Carter was looking at me from the corner of his eye, trying to make out like he wasn’t looking at me. I pulled my hair around my face, guarding myself from him.
“So is Wills all power-crazed now?” I asked from under the shield of golden hair.
Carter shuffled uncomfortably. “He’s struggling.”
“Are you trying to be loyal or something? Dish the dirt Carter. I need to know if I can work with him. It’s going to be sickening. Him in the position that should have been mine, all cocky and...”
“He’s not a bad man Teri. Just, not very good at his new job.” His voice went quiet at the end as though feeling guilty.
I nodded, thinking, trying to remember how Wills had really been before I had left. Quiet, tall and thin, the opposite of what an agent should be really, he had always been a little bit out of the social circle, a little strange, in my eyes. He wanted to be at the top and didn’t care how he got there. But, there had been a reason for it; I was sure...something to do with his family. His father! That was it; he had gotten to the top of the game and then died two weeks into being the top man. It had been a heart-attack from the stress. Wills had ploughed through the ranks wanting to take over the job his father had worked so hard for.
I found it just a little strange. If his father had died from a stress related heart attack, how did he think he was going to fair any better?
The glass lift had stopped two floors up from Floor X, it slid open to reveal a red corridor. Bizarre. All of the corridors were custom grey. Wills had obviously re-designed the entire floor around his office to create a more dramatic impact. The floor was slippery and when I looked down it was a sheet of glass over a couple of feet of empty space and then the ceiling of the floor below, covered in stones and bricks and misshapen objects.
“What did he do to this place?”
Carter laughed.
“That’s what I said. Like you predicted, power-crazed without the ability to back it up.”
We came to the end of the corridor where stood a large rectangle of dark red leather with a silver panel in the centre. Carter placed his hand on the silver panel which then beeped and the door staggered mechanically, a few inches backwards before sliding to the right. The room it revealed was huge and painted a dark blue, the desk that stood central to the back wall was tall and made of a dark oak. Behind the desk was a long thin picture frame, oak, filled with another shade of blue rather than a picture. The chair which sat behind the desk was as tall as Wills himself when he stood up, with a wide top and thin bottom and arms that twisted around it. The main body of the chair was a similar blue to the walls, whilst the arms were gold, twisted into plaits.
Wills didn’t look up, sitting in a chair as tall as himself; he looked small and weedy. He was so thin you would never guess the power behind one of his punches. His face was bristled by lack of shaving for a couple of days. His beady eyes were concentrating on a file that was open in front of him. He looked notably older than the last time I had seen him. In just three months in his new role he had aged about thirty years. He glanced up at me and I noticed him grit his teeth as he beckoned us forwards.
It all seemed a little ridiculous. The room was too dramatic; he looked like a comic book villain.
“I love what you’ve done with the place Wills.” I smiled, my eyes glancing around the room. He nodded, not noticing the sarcasm that laced my tone.
“Sit down the pair of you.”
We did as we were told. The chairs were very small in comparison to Wills’ own. We ended up with our knees nearly as high as our faces and had to hurt our necks to pull our heads far enough up to look him in the eye. I was tempted to just stand, but thought I had best behave myself as power-crazed men often like to do random things like kill women for standing in their presence.
“Now. Has he briefed you?”
“Carter has told me a little. It’s hard to believe really.”
Carter shifted uncomfortably in his seat, Wills had, until three months ago, been below him in rank, now he was acting as though he were the Dictator of England.
“Yes. It is in a way. But it’s the truth. Now you will have a week with a crash-course in time travel, followed by a briefing on what we know about the target before you begin the assignment. Then it will be up to you to use one of the government machines to find him and kill him. Be as inconspicuous as you can please, we don’t want to blemish the past with random shootings...”
“Excuse me, but, how am I going to be inconspicuous. If I understand what you’re saying, I don’t know where I’m going to end up. If I walk into the fifteenth century in a pair of black skinny jeans, covered in guns, I think I might attract a little attention.”
“Your job has always been to not attract attention. You’ve managed it before, this is no different.” Wills grumbled, noting something down on the paper in front of him, not looking at either of us as he spoke. As much as I understood Wills plight to continue on his fathers’ legacy, he really did act like an obnoxious little...
“Aren’t we going to provide her with some clothes to suit the times...?”
“You expect me to kill this guy whilst dressed in corsets and shit?”
Wills sighed dramatically. He finally looked at me.
“If you aren’t capable we’ll find somebody else.”
I understood and detested the challenge. But that irritating pride niggled in me. I glared at him, narrowing my eyes.
“I’ll do it.”
Check out my new blog at, http://hannahbullimore.wordpress.com

'Good writing is to evoke sensation in the reader, not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon'

ELDoctorow

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slavandria
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Re: The Time

Post by slavandria » January 2nd, 2011, 12:54 pm

wow, Hannah. I just read your WIP and I think you have a very interesting concept that with some tweaking could really turn into a really great read. I like the tension you've created with Teri and Carter and Wills. You've set up the issues with them to the point the reader wants to know what happens to them and who ends up being the good guy.

There are some niggles that I have but please take my comments for what they are. When I do reviews, I like to focus on 8 different areas: characters, plot/story, pace and structure, language, narrative voice, dialogue, settings and theme. I'll look at characters first.

I felt slighted in this story because I really don't have a backstory. I don't know what happened between Teri and Carter. Why did she shoot him? What is their relationship with each other? Were they a couple? Just colleagues? I feel like I've jumped into the middle of a story, therefore making it difficult to really feel empathy for any one person. Teri seems a very weak character right now. How did she get in the predictament she's in? Was Carter the one who tied her up? I'm really confused.

I like the feeling I get about Wills but I think you can write his character to be much stronger and more of a bad ass. I get the impression you want the reader to really dislike him but I'm not there yet.

On a scale of 1 - 5, I'd have to give them a 3. I'd like to see them better, learn their motivations, fears, thoughts. I just think they need to be brought to life a little more.

Story/Plot

I think this is a really cool plot line but I'd like to know more about what this time traveler is about to change and why Teri has to kill him. What stuff has been changed by the governments in the past? What happened that was bad and how did they go back to fix it? How is Carter privy to this information? With a little work, I think you can really make this a dynamite and very believable plot and story. I give you a 4 on the 1 - 5 scale.

Pace and structure

I really think this needs some work. Some of your sentences seem long, i.e. "Vague recollection and then pure shock tumbled through me as I pulled at the binds on my wrists that attached me to a metal chair in the centre of the room." with unconnected thoughts. I would look for more active verbs and maybe shorten your sentences to evoke the feelings of suspense. I would really try to go for that right away. Something like:

The blindfold fell away. I blinked a few times, allowing my eyes time to adjust to the light. All around me people stood staring at me. I blinked and looked again. Why were they assembled around me, staring at me as if I were an insect under a microscope? There was one face I recognized above all others. Carter (insert last name). The last time I saw him I'd tried to kill him. (insert back story). I tried to stand but couldn't. Something restrained me. I looked at my arms. Ha! It figures Carter would tie me to a chair. Can't say I blame him. I guess I'd do the same if I confronted my potential murderer.

I'm not trying to re-write your story, just showing you ways I think you can incorporate backstory with current events, giving the reader time to know your characters, learn what happened all the while alternating between short and longer sentences to increase or decrease tension and pace. I'd give you a 3 for this.

Language

I think your language works well. I can't see anything really wrong with it. I'd do a spell check. You have 'shook' spelled as 'shuck'. Understandable in the 1st draft but I'm nutty over spelling so I like to keep my drafts as clean as possible and the spelling errors to a minimum. I'll give you a 5 in this area.

Narrative voice

Again, I think this can be better by really getting us in Teri's head. We need to learn more of what has happened. We need to know how Teri got where she is. We definitely need more narrative. I'll give you a 3 here.

Dialogue

I think your dialogue can be tighter, richer. Watch your tag lines. “What the hell am I doing here?” I shrieked, trying to yank my hands free.
In this sentence, I didn't get the 'shrieked' part, even though you told me she shrieked. I just didn't hear it. Is Teri angry? show us. Show me how her face cringed, her eyes narrowed, her cheeks flushed. If you can give us a picture of your character, then you can do away with many tags.

I think the dialogue will improve once the narrative improves. It's not that the dialogue doesn't ring true but I think it can be tighter. I'll give you a 4 for dialogue.

Settings

I think you need to work on your settings. Let's see the room Teri is in through her eyes. Are there windows? doors? is it white? Done in steel? does it look like she's in a vault or a high class penthouse? All we know is she is in a metal chair in the center of the room. To make this scene really stick out in your reader's head, we have to know how Teri feels being there. An author who does a great job at putting the reader in the location of her characters is Suzanne Collins. If you haven't read the Hunger Game series, take a look. She really has a way of slapping you in the center of her settings and I am still learning from her style and techniques. As Suzanne also writes in 1st person, I think your story would benefit by incorporating some of her techniques into your writing. I'm not saying to copy but see how it works for her and see how you can tweak it to work better for you. Try to incorporate all of your senses. Is there a draft in the room? What about smells? Really saturate your reader's minds with everything Teri is thinking and feeling and then your settings will leap off the page. I give you a 3.5 for settings.

Theme

I'm not sure what your theme is. Is it discovery? Pain? Loneliness? change of power? dangers of ignorance? Are you aware of a theme in your story? I know it takes more than the first few pages to establish a theme but it is something to consider touching on early. I cannot give you a score for this as I have not read the chapter to it's end. I would like to think, though, that there would be the establishement of one or at least a hint to the theme by the end of the first chapter.

Overall, I think you've done a great job and I am intrigued to read more. You have captured my attention and have no doubt you can really make this little jewel shine. Don't give up and post more soon.

http://jennykellerford.wordpress.com

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hannah_dreamergirl_3
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Re: The Time

Post by hannah_dreamergirl_3 » January 3rd, 2011, 8:10 am

Hi slavandria!!

Thank-you so much for such a lovely and in-depth reply! I have made a lot of notes on what to improve on and this is going to give me a wonderful base for re-drafting my work.
I wanted to ask your opinion of a few ideas/points...
slavandria wrote:I felt slighted in this story because I really don't have a backstory. I don't know what happened between Teri and Carter. Why did she shoot him? What is their relationship with each other? Were they a couple? Just colleagues? I feel like I've jumped into the middle of a story, therefore making it difficult to really feel empathy for any one person. Teri seems a very weak character right now. How did she get in the predictament she's in? Was Carter the one who tied her up? I'm really confused.
Initially when I was writing I had no plan, but now I'm nearing the end I know all the details, so I could add in another scene to the beginning, either when Teri shoots Carter or the scene before she is kidnapped, however initially I had been wanting the nature of Teris and Carters relationship to remain hidden. Do you think it is best to get rid of this little bit of mystery so the reader is more clued up?

I am deffinetly going to re-think the initial description of Wills as at first he hadn't been meant to be as bad as he does turn out in the end, so I will deffinetly work on a more descriptive and just generally nasty first impression of him! Thank-you for highlighting this ! :-)

With plot and pace, I was waiting until the second and third chapters for the nitty gritty to be fully revealed, in your opinion is this too long? Should I reveal more in the first chapter, have the conversation with Wills longer so that the reader knows more?

I have amended the setting, adding in more description about what the room looks like. I think for the that first chapter I forgot that just because I know what the place looks like, doesn't mean my reader does!!!

One last thing, I hope you don't mind all these questions!!! You say Teri seems weak, do you mean physichally weak, or weak as a a character? I want her to be a strong, independent woman who has never been in a situation where she doesn't have the upper hand. Is it just I haven't gone into enough depth about her mind-set?

Thank-you so much once again and I hope you don't mind my asking you for so much more advice! You really have helped so much, I wasn't expecting such an in-depth reply. If I can repay the favour by looking over anything of yours, just ask!

Oh and I will most deffinetly check out the Hunger Game series :-)


thanks,

Hannah
Check out my new blog at, http://hannahbullimore.wordpress.com

'Good writing is to evoke sensation in the reader, not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon'

ELDoctorow

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slavandria
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Re: The Time

Post by slavandria » January 3rd, 2011, 9:15 am

Initially when I was writing I had no plan, but now I'm nearing the end I know all the details, so I could add in another scene to the beginning, either when Teri shoots Carter or the scene before she is kidnapped, however initially I had been wanting the nature of Teris and Carters relationship to remain hidden. Do you think it is best to get rid of this little bit of mystery so the reader is more clued up?Hi Hannah: to answer that question I'd want to know why you feel it necessary to keep the info secret? If the secrecy moves the story forward, if finding out the nitty gritty of their relationship is one of those 'OMG, I didn't see that coming!' moments, then keep it secret but beef up the tension. If it doesn't matter then I'd reveal it sooner than later.

With plot and pace, I was waiting until the second and third chapters for the nitty gritty to be fully revealed, in your opinion is this too long? Should I reveal more in the first chapter, have the conversation with Wills longer so that the reader knows more? Not all the nitty gritty has to be revealed in the beginning. After all, if you did this, why would the reader want to keep reading? But I would definitely leave hints. Bait the reader to make them want to continue turning the page to find out more. I don't think the conversation with Wills needs to be longer. You can work his character by showing us slight movements, the way his eyebrows move, the way his lips twitch. Think of your most favorite villains. Think of their mannerisms, the way they walk, talk, then take those qualities that make you loathe them and put them on Wills but in a nice way. You know how Umbridge comes across in Harry Potter as this demure little woman until she opens her mouth and you just want to kill her? That's how I see Wills. Handsome, coniving, a smirky kind of laugh. That 'you're beneath me' attitude. Embellish him. Make him pop of the page so your reader cringes everytime they read the name.

I have amended the setting, adding in more description about what the room looks like. I think for the that first chapter I forgot that just because I know what the place looks like, doesn't mean my reader does!!! I don't know one author that hasn't been guilty of this.

One last thing, I hope you don't mind all these questions!!! You say Teri seems weak, do you mean physichally weak, or weak as a a character? I want her to be a strong, independent woman who has never been in a situation where she doesn't have the upper hand. Is it just I haven't gone into enough depth about her mind-set?she feels emotionally weak. My inner wants while I was reading this was for her to be a Lara Croft sort of character but she's just not there yet. I think you really need to get us in her head. How is she going to get out of this mess? How did she get out of previous predictaments? Have her always thinking, looking, even when she's talking to Carter. A strong-minded character is always looking for her opponents' weaknesses and how she can manipulate them. And, with there being a history between them, this needs to be played upon to show the tension and strength of both characters. I really want to know how someone so strong and always on the lookout got herself where she is. I think that's what niggles at me most.

Thank-you so much once again and I hope you don't mind my asking you for so much more advice! You really have helped so much, I wasn't expecting such an in-depth reply. If I can repay the favour by looking over anything of yours, just ask! Thank you for not taking offense to anything I said. Just remember, my opinions are just that. They don't make me right or wrong. You have to decide what you can and can't use. I think you do have a little diamond in the rough here and with some work, it can really shine. If you want to take a look at the first chapter of my nove, you can go to my blogsite, http://jennykellerford.wordpress.com and look on the right hand side under In the Shadow of the Dragon King. Please leave comments there if you don't mind. By the way, my name is Jenny. My friends call me Jen. It has been a pleasure talking to you. Good luck with your writing and if you need anymore help or want to bounce an idea around, just give a shout out here or on my blog!

Jen

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hannah_dreamergirl_3
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Re: The Time

Post by hannah_dreamergirl_3 » January 3rd, 2011, 9:38 am

thanks Jen :-) I will take a look at your blog and the stuff about Wills is what is most getting me excited to have a look at so I am going straight to that section now to see how I can improve.
And of course I wouldn't take offense, you gave me a balanced and helpful review, if you had just said everything was rubbish and no ideas for improvement then I might have been a little upset, but this has been really helpful!! I am actually excited to start my redraft! lol

thanks,

Hannah
:-)
Check out my new blog at, http://hannahbullimore.wordpress.com

'Good writing is to evoke sensation in the reader, not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon'

ELDoctorow

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slavandria
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Re: The Time

Post by slavandria » January 3rd, 2011, 9:51 am

awesome! And, you are in the right age group I need to review my novel. Perfecto! Have a super day!

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slavandria
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Re: The Time

Post by slavandria » January 3rd, 2011, 12:44 pm

Hi Hannah:

I just saw your review on my blog site! Thank you, so much. I replied to your response if you want to take a look. I hope you signed up for the blog and please feel free to leave comments, introduce yourself, etc. on the site under the community page.

Again, thank you so much for taking the time to read my chapter. I'm glad you liked it.

Jen

http://jennykellerford.wordpress.com

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Re: The Time

Post by Emily J » January 3rd, 2011, 6:48 pm

hannah_dreamergirl_3 wrote:First section of my current work in progress, currently named, THE TIME.
It's a YA action novel.
Be gentle with me please! ;-)

Sorry its so long, its the first half of the first chapter, so six a4 pages lol

I hope you enjoy!!!


I blinked a couple of times as I tried to figure out where I was. Vague recollection and then pure shock tumbled through me as I pulled at the binds on my wrists that attached me to a metal chair in the centre of the room. <-- I would rephrase this sentence, it sounds stilted I was surrounded by familiar faces. One stood out in particular. I glared at him, wondering if this were come some? sick joke, an attempt at revenge, at humiliating me. <-- might rephrase to "sick joke, at attempt at revenge, or just pure humiliation." since right now the serial commas aren't working for me

“What the hell am I doing here?” I shrieked, trying to yank my hands free.

“We have a job for you.”

“Piss off Carter; I don’t even work here anymore.” don't have much of a sense of anything right now, the room, Carter, the other observers, her? physical/mental state,since she? was just drugged right??

“Yes I know. But we need you, I’m afraid.”

“Oh and this is the best way to persuade me?” I had almost forgotten there was anyone else in the room; I was so focused on that arrogant expression he wore so often. He was thinking how weak I was, to be caught so easily.

“I didn’t think you would go for an adult conversation.”

I hissed a couple of curses at him, as everyone sniggered and began to move away, leaving us to it. He had obviously regaled my old work colleagues with stories of why I no longer worked there. People who had once respected me, even feared me a little, grinned patronisingly patronizingly? at me. The best undercover agent out there, <-- drop this comma? had lost it, caught by a simple spiked drink and a dark van down the back alley behind a night club. I felt sick, my mind racing, trying to figure out what Carter could possibly want after three months of hearing nothing from either him or the government.

“It’s pretty important, plenty of money in it for you. Maybes even being re-instated...” His voice trailed off. The possibility was too good to be true, but I wasn’t going to let him know that.

“Are they going to fire you? Because that’s the only way I’d come back Carter.” I spoke through gritted teeth. "gritted teeth" strikes me as cliche

He shuck not sure if this is Briticism - shook? his head looking unconcerned at my lack of co-operation and pulled a chair from under one of the desks, spinning it around and straddling it, his arms laced around the back. <-- this sentence feels too long His mop of dark floppy hair fell over his green eyes slightly. He had a half smile on his lips.

“Please Teresa, listen to the proposal.” I think this is the first inkling as to your MC's gender, I think you need to give us more descriptions earlier on because I am having a hard time visualizing

I glared at him; he knew that I hated being called by my full name. He looked me over, one eyebrow raised. Frustrated comma I shrugged, slumping back into the uncomfortable metal chair he had obviously chosen for effect.

“Now, remember the first briefing? Before you even began Phase 1 training?”

I nodded, one mechanical movement, not understanding where he was going. My mind moved to the memory of that first briefing. The way they had told us we were tools to the government, to get whatever needed to be done, done. We would never know everything that was going on. Our job was to act, not to ask questions. There were hundreds of things the government "government" feels a bit repetitive, what section of the government, which government for that matter? kept hidden for the good of the public and we were told straight, just because you’re in the team does not mean you’ll get to discover what these things are.

“They told everybody that there were....”

“Yes yes Carter, already there. What thing is it, that they don’t want us to know, that you’re about to tell me?”

Carter frowned and sighed, <-- semi-colon or period here I clearly had disappointed his arrogant nature, he had wanted to peel back layers of suspense and reveal his secret slowly, making me all doe-eyed and lustful at his forever growing wisdom. <-- yeah that sentence felt way too long I raised an eyebrow at him, <-- don't think a comma here works either, semi-colon would probably be better that wasn’t how I worked. I was always the one who was one step ahead.

“Well. You might not believe me.”

“Well this whole thing looks like one giant piss-take so you’ll forgive my disbelief that after what happened, after three months of silence you’re relying on me to dig you out of some hole that I wouldn’t normally even be told about it, just in case.”

Carter took a moment to consider this and I smirked at him wanting to antagonise must be British spelling rather than antagonize, sorry my mental spell check is set to American :) him.

“Whatever,” he mumbled, frowning, a little disheartened now. Poor Carter, always full of plans, never quite able to execute them with the effect he craved. “The truth is that for as long as we have records for, the governments have been messing with time travel and now someone from the past is trying to reveal all to the masses to cause panic. For some reason, we don’t know what. You need to follow him through time comma find him commaand kill him.”

Carter had spoken as though this were the most normal thing in the world in the world. When he finished he smiled triumphantly as my expression shifted from incredulous, to shock, to utter disbelief. <-- sorry but that sounds redundant to me, can we distinguish those emotions a bit more perhaps? “Carter you have to be taking the piss.”

“I’m not.” He shuck shook? again maybe its a British variety his head vigorously, his eyes wide and pleading, “You have to help. If we’re not careful he could start deleting periods of history, killing people before they’re born, he could reveal to the world that the American and British governments have been fiddling with the past trying to stop events from happening.”

“Wait they’ve changed things?”

Carter nodded, “But they had to change them back because of the other effects they caused. They tried to kill Hitler before he became leader of the Nazis, but it turns out there was more than one maniac ready to step up to the...”

“Shut up Carter. Untie me; I know you’re just trying to humiliate me after I...after I...” My voice trailed away, not wanting to talk about what had happened in front of so many big eared big-eared colleagues.

“Shot me?” he finished for me.

I felt myself redden just a little and nodded.

“I don’t believe a word you say Carter. Now untie me or I swear...”

“What? What will you do to me Teri? I could just leave you tied up there to rot and there’s nothing you could do about it. Who do you think everybody would listen to? Really, think about it.” this guy is terrible at threats, that's the worst he can do?

Silence descended, quickly shattered by a few bursts of uncontrollable laughter around the room i find the reaction of the nameless bystanders rather befuddling and then typing and talking began again as Carter glared around him. The room became so loud it made my head go fuzzy.

“Are you being serious Carter?” I asked, looking him directly in his irritatingly hyphen here pretty green eyes. I tried to plead with him to be truthful, but knew it wouldn’t work anyway. Carter stared back, straight into my eyes. I could feel my heart accelerate as I finally began to process. Time travel? Parts of the past deleted? I had heard some bizarre things that the government was up to, but this was pretty spectacular.

“I’m going to need....”

“Proof, I know. And you’ll get it. But first, if I untie you, you’re not going to do anything....rash are you?”

“Rash?” I grinned, just controlling my laughter at his worried expression. “No Carter, I’ll behave, I promise.”

Carter hesitated then rose, nearly falling off the chair as he swung his leg back over. He didn’t suit the whole scary agent, kidnapper extraordinaire thing. For all he was arrogant, he was clumsy and way too worried about me shooting him again to be anything like frightening. The memory of that day flickered over my mind and I shuck shook? myself a little, trying to concentrate.

Carter moved toward me, crouching down so he could more easily untie the ropes that bound my hands to the chair. He wore a sharp white shirt and black trousers, his strong cologne wafted over me. He had made an effort; I smirked inwardly, wondering if it were for me.

Once the ropes were untied I stretched my hands out, it was tempting to be dramatic and slap him, but I stopped myself. The last time I had been in this room, I had shot him; I think we were pretty even at that point.

“Right we’re going to go see Wills.”

“Wills? What he got the promotion?”

Carter nodded rolling his eyes, “Boss of the entire secretive departments. Dickhead, after the scandal with that girl I meant the job should’ve been...” his voice trailed away and he glanced at me before walking on. I knew he had been about to say the job should have been mine and then he had remembered the reason I hadn’t taken up the post. His ears looked a little pink through his hair and I wondered if he was angry he had forgotten to be horrible to me for a moment. I thought about the scandal Carter was referring to, colon here perhaps? Wills’ secretary had left all of a sudden over what she claimed was sexual harassment and he claimed was an arrogant self-obsession which lead her to believe the whole world was in love with her. It had all been very strange and although I didn’t like Wills I was unsure about how nasty he really was.

When I emerged from my thoughts, we were already in the glass lift that could take you from the top of the basement right down to the bottom. Fifteen floors underground only accessed through a secret door in the main political office which was separated from the reception in the main building by a two feet thick wall of glass. I always wondered why they had made the lift glass as it was always dark down here anyways. Carter was looking at me from the corner of his eye, trying to make out like he wasn’t looking at me. I pulled my hair around my face, guarding myself from him.

“So is Wills all power-crazed now?” I asked from under the shield of golden hair. Ok, not sure I buy the sudden and dramatic shift of tension, he doesn't have a gun pointed at her? this is all a bit hard to believe

Carter shuffled uncomfortably. “He’s struggling.”

“Are you trying to be loyal or something? Dish the dirt Carter. I need to know if I can work with him. It’s going to be sickening. Him in the position that should have been mine, all cocky and...”

“He’s not a bad man Teri. Just, not very good at his new job.” His voice went quiet at the end as though feeling guilty.

I nodded, thinking, trying to remember how Wills had really been before I had left. Quiet, tall and thin, the opposite of what an agent should be really, he had always been a little bit out of the social circle, a little strange, in my eyes. He wanted to be at the top and didn’t care how he got there. But, there had been a reason for it; I was sure...something to do with his family. His father! That was it; he had gotten to the top of the game and then died two weeks into being the top man. It had been a heart-attack from the stress. Wills had ploughed through the ranks wanting to take over the job his father had worked so hard for.

I found it just a little strange. If his father had died from a stress hyphen related heart attack, how did he think he was going to fair fare I think... any better?

The glass lift had stopped two floors up from Floor X, it slid open to reveal a red corridor. Bizarre. All of the corridors were custom grey. Wills had obviously re-designed the entire floor around his office to create a more dramatic impact. The floor was slippery and when I looked down it was a sheet of glass over a couple of feet of empty space and then the ceiling of the floor below, covered in stones and bricks and misshapen objects.

“What did he do to this place?”

Carter laughed.

“That’s what I said. Like you predicted, power-crazed without the ability to back it up.” <-- a bit unclear who is speaking here

We came to the end of the corridor where stood a large rectangle of dark hyphen or comma here red leather with a silver panel in the centre. Carter placed his hand on the silver panel which then beeped and the door staggered mechanically, awkward comma a few inches backwards before sliding to the right. The room it revealed was huge and painted a dark blue, <-- semi-colon or period here the desk that stood central to the back wall was tall and made of a dark oak. Behind the desk was a long comma thin picture frame, oak, why not put oak before the noun and drop one of the more generic adjectives? filled with another shade of blue rather than a picture. The chair which sat behind the desk was as tall as Wills himself when he stood up, with a wide top and thin bottom and arms that twisted around it. The main body of the chair was a similar blue to the walls, whilst the arms were gold, twisted into plaits.

Wills didn’t look up, sitting in a chair as tall as himself; <-- redundant he looked small and weedy. He was so thin you would never guess the power behind one of his punches. His face was bristled by lack of shaving for a couple of days. His beady eyes were concentrating on a file that was open in front of him. He looked notably <-- noticeably? older than the last time I had seen him. In just three months in his new role comma he had aged about thirty years. He glanced up at me and I noticed him grit his teeth as he beckoned us forwards.

It all seemed a little ridiculous. The room was too dramatic; he looked like a comic book villain.

“I love what you’ve done with the place Wills.” I smiled, my eyes glancing around the room. He nodded, not noticing the sarcasm that laced my tone.

“Sit down the pair of you.”

We did as we were told. The chairs were very small in comparison to Wills’ own. We ended up with our knees nearly as high as our faces and had to hurt our necks to pull our heads far enough up to look him in the eye. I was tempted to just stand, but thought I had best behave myself as power-crazed men often like to do random things like kill women for standing in their presence. <-- this sentence feels a bit stilted

“Now. Has he briefed you?”

“Carter has told me a little. It’s hard to believe really.”

Carter shifted uncomfortably in his seat, Wills had, until three months ago, been below him in rank, now he was acting as though he were the Dictator of England.

“Yes. It is in a way. But it’s the truth. Now you will have a week with a crash-course in time travel, followed by a briefing on what we know about the target before you begin the assignment. Then it will be up to you to use one of the government machines to find him and kill him. Be as inconspicuous as you can please, we don’t want to blemish the past with random shootings...”

“Excuse me, but, how am I going to be inconspicuous. If I understand what you’re saying, I don’t know where I’m going to end up. If I walk into the fifteenth century in a pair of black skinny jeans, covered in guns, I think I might attract a little attention.” <-- time to play dress up!

“Your job has always been to not attract attention. You’ve managed it before, this is no different.” Wills grumbled, noting something down on the paper in front of him, not looking at either of us as he spoke. As much as I understood Wills plight to continue on his fathers’ legacy, he really did act like an obnoxious little...

“Aren’t we going to provide her with some clothes to suit the times...?”

“You expect me to kill this guy whilst dressed in corsets and shit?”

Wills sighed dramatically. He finally looked at me.

“If you aren’t capable we’ll find somebody else.”

I understood and detested the challenge. But that irritating pride niggled in me. I glared at him, narrowing my eyes.

“I’ll do it.”
In the future I would definitely put a space between paragraphs (i re-formatted) it makes it easier to read especially for people like me with bad eyes! Also, you might want to break something like this into 2 parts. The greater the length usually the less feedback you get, or at least I have seen a correlation in my own posts.

With regards to your writing, I think your descriptions are a bit vague and generic. I think this could use some more and more interesting details/descriptions something a little less prosaic. So, more details, more character descriptions would help. Also, be careful about comma splices! I think you have a few in there.

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hannah_dreamergirl_3
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Re: The Time

Post by hannah_dreamergirl_3 » January 3rd, 2011, 7:41 pm

Thanks for the critique emily :-) the spellings aren't really important as yes I'm british so its different and the shook thing has been pointed out, my spell checker on word has taken to automatically putting this in.
As to the sentence structure, I'll take a look and see if I can improve.
Thanks
Hannah
Check out my new blog at, http://hannahbullimore.wordpress.com

'Good writing is to evoke sensation in the reader, not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon'

ELDoctorow

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Re: The Time (Updated version)

Post by hannah_dreamergirl_3 » January 4th, 2011, 8:33 am

Ok, so see what you think of this, though its now even longer!! lol
Also, after I've finished the last couple of chapters, depending on word count, I think I'm going to add in another chapter before this one where Teri is in the night club before she is kidnapped to explain a little more about why she is there, what happened with Carter and how she ends up in the situation she is in considering she is a strong woman! :-)


1.
I blinked a couple of times as I tried to figure out where I was. Vague recollection and then pure shock tumbled through me as I pulled at the binds on my wrists. I glanced down, I was attached to a metal chair in the centre of a large, familiar room. I was surrounded by a sea of smirking faces. One stood out in particular. I glared at him, wondering if this were some sick joke, an attempt at revenge, at humiliating me.
The room was huge, with metal desks everywhere, gathered in little circles with wide column of metal reaching from their core up to the centre. Each metal column had several computer monitors on them displaying various scenes, databases and other things. Around the circular desks were chairs, each circle held five agents, each agent had two computers, numerous laptops and stacks of files on their desk. There wasn’t any natural light in the room as we were deep underground; we were in the eleventh story under. This lack of windows meant electric lights were essential and my eyes stung from the buzzing strip lighting above my head, and the effects of the many drinks I put away in the bar last night. I could have hit myself for such a simple mistake.
“Carter you better tell me what the hell I am doing here now or I swear....” I shrieked, trying to yank my hands free.
“We have a job for you.”
“Piss off Carter; I don’t even work here anymore.”
“Yes I know. But we need you, I’m afraid.”
“Oh and this is the best way to persuade me?” I had almost forgotten there was anyone else in the room; I was so focused on that arrogant expression he wore so often. He was thinking how weak I was, to be caught so easily. I could have punched myself in the face for having gotten so complacent in the last three months. I had allowed myself to get so drunk I could barely walk every night since I had left this room the last time, something I would never have previously done.
I wasn’t weak. I wasn’t the type of person who allowed herself to get into these positions. So how had this happened?
“I didn’t think you would go for an adult conversation.”
I hissed a couple of curses at him, as everyone sniggered and began to move away, leaving us to it. He had obviously regaled my old work colleagues with stories of why I no longer worked there, bending facts to make it look as though he hadn’t lost to me. People who had once respected me, even feared me a little, grinned patronisingly in my direction. The best undercover agent out there, had lost it, caught by a simple spiked drink and a dark van down the back alley behind a night club. I felt sick, my mind racing, trying to figure out what Carter could possibly want after three months of hearing nothing from either him or the government.
“It’s pretty important, plenty of money in it for you. Maybes even being re-instated...” His voice trailed off. The possibility was too good to be true, but I wasn’t going to let him know that. As much as I hated everything this place had done to me, I didn’t want to think about what my future was going to end up being if I was never able to come back. When you are a secret agent and you get fired its like theirs a big black hole in your life, it looks like you’ve done nothing and have no transferable skills. I needed this job for something to fill my time. Secrecy tends to lead to a lack of friends and no matter how much money I had saved away; there was nothing in my life at that moment. Especially now Carter hated me and my one other friend Mac had been, out of kindness, left out of my life these past couple of months.
“Are they going to fire you? Because that’s the only way I’d come back Carter.” I spoke through gritted teeth, I could feel an irritated twitch starting in the centre of my forehead, he would no doubt notice the little vein he always used to laugh at when I got agitated or tired.
He shook his head looking unconcerned at my lack of co-operation and pulled a chair from under one of the desks, spinning it around and straddling it, his arms laced around the back. His mop of dark floppy hair fell over his green eyes slightly. He had a half smile on his lips. I tried not to look into those green eyes for too long, I knew what would be there if I did, knowing, a hint of regret, a bit of dislike and a lot of belittling.
“Please Teresa, listen to the proposal.”
I glared at him; he knew that I hated being called by my full name. He looked me over, one eyebrow raised. Frustrated I shrugged, slumping back into the uncomfortable metal chair he had obviously chosen for effect.
“Now, remember the first briefing? Before you even began Phase 1 training?”
I nodded, one mechanical movement, not understanding where he was going. My mind moved to the memory of that first briefing. The way they had told us we were tools to the government, to get whatever needed to be done, done. We would never know everything that was going on. Our job was to act, not to ask questions. There were hundreds of things the government kept hidden for the good of the public and we were told straight, just because you’re in the team does not mean you’ll get to discover what these things are.
“They told everybody that there were....”
“Yes yes Carter, already there. What thing is it that they wouldn’t normally want me to know?”
Carter frowned and sighed, I clearly had disappointed him, he had wanted to peel back layers of suspense and reveal his secret slowly, making me all doe-eyed and lustful at his forever growing wisdom. I raised an eyebrow at him, that wasn’t how I worked and he knew it.
I was always the one who was one step ahead. He had obviously grown used to being top dog over the past three months, really, he couldn’t complain. He rubbed his hands together and I noticed the long scar that stretched over the skin between his thumb and forefinger. I blinked for a second and an image flashed across my mind, we had been working together on our first big mission. I had gone in for the kill on a foreign agent and not seen the knife he had had hidden, Carter had pushed forward to block my ribs from the blade and the knife had gone straight through his skin. That had been when we were both younger, I had been twenty, he twenty two. I had been taken aback by the blood for a moment and been stabbed in the ribs anyway. The pain had brought me back and I’d ended the foreigner. It hadn’t taken long, we were both injured. These things happen when you’re just starting out.
Things like that don’t happen when you’re five years into your career. Things like being kidnapped.
Carter cleared his throat bringing me back to reality, I glanced at him as he spoke, it took me a moment to realise what he was talking about. “Well. You might not believe me.”
“Well this whole thing looks like one giant piss-take so you’ll forgive my disbelief that after what happened, after three months of silence you’re relying on me to dig you out of some hole that I wouldn’t normally even be told about.”
Carter took a moment to consider this and I smirked at him wanting to antagonise him.
“Whatever,” he mumbled, frowning, a little disheartened now. Poor Carter, I was being harsh on him, pushing him away when he had probably been expecting for me to want to come back. To tell him how pleased I was to be given the opportunity. I was too annoyed and too, well, embarrassed to tell him just how pleased I was to finally have the routine of booze and hangover, booze and hangover, broken up.
Carter looked at me for a long moment, glanced around the room and then leaned in close, his voice low. Nobody else could hear him. “The truth is that for as long as we have records for, the governments have been messing with time travel and now someone from the past, or future, is coming here and doing all sorts of damage. He’s been trying to reveal government secrets, trying to carry out acts of terrorism. For some reason, we don’t know what. You need to follow him through time, find him and kill him.”
Carter had spoken as though this were the most normal thing in the world. When he finished he smiled triumphantly as my expression shifted from incredulous disbelief to a realisation that Carter couldn’t have brought me here simply to joke. I frowned, looking into his eyes, what if this was true?
“Carter you have to be taking the piss.”
“I’m not.” He shuck his head vigorously, his eyes wide and pleading, “You have to help. If we’re not careful he could start deleting periods of history, killing people before they’re born, he could reveal to the world that the American and British governments have been fiddling with the past trying to stop events from happening.”
“Wait they’ve changed things?”
Carter nodded, “But they had to change them back because of the other effects they caused. They wiped out Communism for a while, but the other options were even worse, they stopped world war one, but it just happened ten years later instead with worse consequences as everybody was so over-prepared....they even tried to kill Hitler before he became leader of the Nazis, but it turns out there was more than one maniac ready to step up to the...”
“Shut up Carter. Untie me; I know you’re just trying to humiliate me after I...after I...” My voice trailed away, not wanting to talk about what had happened in front of so many big eared colleagues.
“Shot me?” he finished for me.
I felt myself redden just a little and nodded.
“I don’t believe a word you say Carter. Now untie me or I swear...”
“What? What will you do to me Teri? I could just leave you tied up there to rot and there’s nothing you could do about it. Or I could have the guys throw you in one of the old prison cells that have been long forgotten about, I’m pretty sure nobody would go looking for you. Who do you think everybody would listen to anyway? Really, think about it.”
Silence descended with only a few sniggers from around the room to interrupt the tense exchange between us. Typing and talking began again as Carter glared around him. The room became so loud it made my head go fuzzy.
That room seemed like one huge symbol for what had happened, that was why he had picked it rather than take me to one of the interview rooms on the floors above us. He had wanted me to feel as uncomfortable as possible, perhaps this was his revenge, perhaps this was his way of getting it done and over with before he had to work with me.
“Are you being serious Carter?” I asked, looking him directly in his irritatingly pretty green eyes. I tried to plead with him to be truthful, but knew it wouldn’t work anyway. Carter stared back, straight into my eyes. I could feel my heart accelerate as I finally began to process. Time travel? Parts of the past deleted? I had heard some bizarre things that the government was up to, but this was pretty spectacular.
“I’m going to need....”
“Proof, I know. And you’ll get it. But first, if I untie you, you’re not going to do anything....rash are you?”
“Rash?” I grinned, just controlling my laughter at his worried expression. “No Carter, I’ll behave, I promise.”
Carter hesitated then rose, nearly falling off the chair as he swung his leg back over. He didn’t suit the whole scary agent, kidnapper extraordinaire thing. For all he was sometimes arrogant, he was often clumsy and at that moment he was way too worried about me shooting him again to be anything like frightening. The memory of that day flickered over my mind and I shuck myself a little, trying to concentrate.
Carter moved toward me, crouching down so he could more easily untie the ropes that bound my hands to the chair. He wore a sharp white shirt and black trousers, his strong cologne wafted over me. He had made an effort; I smirked inwardly, wondering if it were for me. As he untied the ropes I realised there was a trickle of pleasure running through me, the familiarity of his smell and the way he glanced at me every other second as he worked. I had missed him. It needed to be said. Even though I had tried my hardest not to, I had missed Carter these past three months. My mind drifted to thoughts of my ‘old life’ and I thought of the other man missing, Mac. No doubt he would be skulking about somewhere. I went to ask Carter where Mac was, but something told me not to. They hadn’t been on good terms when I had left and no doubt that wouldn’t have changed.
Once the ropes were untied I stretched my hands out, it was tempting to be dramatic and slap him, but I stopped myself. The last time I had been in this room, I had shot him; I think we were pretty even at that point.
“Right we’re going to go see Wills.” I noticed Carter didn’t hold a gun to me, now the tense first exchange was over he was more relaxed, the mention of Wills made me realise, I was the lesser of two evils. It was now us two facing Wills rather the pair of us facing each other.
“Wills? What, he got the promotion?”
Carter nodded rolling his eyes, “Boss of the entire secretive departments. Dickhead, after the scandal with that girl I meant the job should’ve been...” his voice trailed away and he glanced at me before walking on. I knew he had been about to say the job should have been mine and then he had remembered the reason I hadn’t taken up the post. His ears looked a little pink through his hair and I wondered if he was angry he had forgotten to be horrible to me for a moment. I thought about the scandal Carter was referring to, Wills’s secretary had left all of a sudden over what she claimed was sexual harassment and he claimed was an arrogant self-obsession which lead her to believe the whole world was in love with her. It had all been very strange and although I didn’t like Wills I was unsure about how nasty he really was.
When I emerged from my thoughts, we were already in the glass lift that could take you from the top of the basement right down to the bottom. Ten numbered floors and two more floors beneath (Floor X and the Armament Department). All of the floors were hidden underground and only accessed through a secret door in the main political office which was separated from the reception in the main building by a two feet thick wall of glass. I always wondered why they had made the lift glass as it was always dark down here anyways. Carter was looking at me from the corner of his eye, trying to make out like he wasn’t looking at me. I pulled my hair around my face, guarding myself from him.
It was just the two of us in the lift and we both had come to some silent agreement to at least be civil. I had no chance of going anywhere this place was so heavily guarded, he didn’t really want to hurt me.
“So is Wills all power-crazed now?” I asked from under the shield of golden hair, deciding conversation would break up the awkward silence at least a little.
Carter shuffled uncomfortably. “He’s struggling.”
“Are you trying to be loyal or something? Dish the dirt Carter. I need to know if I can work with him. It’s going to be sickening. Him in the position that should have been mine, all cocky and...”
“He’s not a bad man Teri. Just, not very good at his new job.” His voice went quiet at the end as though feeling guilty.
I nodded, thinking, trying to remember how Wills had really been before I had left. Quiet, tall and thin, the opposite of what an agent should be really, he had always been a little bit out of the social circle, a little strange, in my eyes. He wanted to be at the top and didn’t care how he got there. But, there had been a reason for it; I was sure...something to do with his family. His father! That was it; he had gotten to the top of the game and then died two weeks into being the top man. It had been a heart-attack from the stress that had caused it. I remembered that particular period of time had also been the same time my own parents had disappeared. I remembered that Wills, several years my senior had already been an agent and that he had ploughed through the ranks wanting to take over the job his father had worked so hard for.
I found it just a little strange. If his father had died from a stress related heart attack, how did he think he was going to fare any better?
The glass lift had stopped two floors up from Floor X, it slid open to reveal a red corridor. Bizarre. All of the corridors were custom grey. Wills had obviously re-designed the entire floor around his office to create a more dramatic impact. The floor was slippery and when I looked down it was a sheet of glass over a couple of feet of empty space and then the ceiling of the floor below, covered in stones and bricks and misshapen objects.
“What did he do to this place?”
Carter laughed.
“That’s what I said. Like you predicted, power-crazed without the ability to back it up.” I glanced at him, surprised at how relaxed he sounded. We could have almost been back to a few months before.
We came to the end of the corridor where stood a large rectangle of dark red leather with a silver panel in the centre. Carter placed his hand on the silver panel which then beeped and the door staggered mechanically a few inches backwards before sliding to the right. The room it revealed was huge and painted a dark blue, the desk that stood central to the back wall was tall and made of a dark oak. Behind the desk was a long thin picture frame, oak, filled with another shade of blue rather than a picture. The chair which sat behind the desk was as tall as Wills’ himself when he stood up, with a wide top and thin bottom and arms that twisted around it like a creatures claws. The main body of the chair was a similar blue to the walls, whilst the arms were gold, twisted into swirling shapes.
Wills didn’t look up. Sitting in the tall chair he looked small and weedy. He was so thin you would never guess the power behind one of his punches. His face was bristled by lack of shaving for a couple of days. His beady eyes were concentrating on a file that was open in front of him. He looked notably older than the last time I had seen him. In just three months in his new role he had aged about ten years. He glanced up at me and I noticed him grit his teeth as he beckoned us forwards. His spindly hands were interlaced underneath his chin and he glanced me over as I moved closer to him. He wore a navy suit with cream tie that was dappled with stains, I wrinkled my nose in disgust; surely he wasn’t that busy.
It all seemed a little ridiculous. The room was too dramatic; he looked like a comic book villain.
“I love what you’ve done with the place Wills.” I smiled, my eyes glancing around the room. He nodded, not noticing the sarcasm that laced my tone.
“Sit down the pair of you.”
We did as we were told. The chairs were very small in comparison to Wills’s own. We ended up with our knees nearly as high as our faces and had to hurt our necks to pull our heads far enough up to look him in the eye. I was tempted to just stand, but thought I had best behave myself as power-crazed men often like to do random things like kill women for standing in their presence.
“Now. Has he briefed you?”
“Carter has told me a little. It’s hard to believe really.”
Carter shifted uncomfortably in his seat, Wills had, until three months ago, been below him in rank, now he was acting as though he were the Dictator of England. Wills pursed his lips slightly, narrowed his eyes just the tiniest bit as he glanced at Carter and then back to me.
“Yes. It is in a way. But it’s the truth. Now you will have a week with a crash-course in time travel, followed by a briefing on what we know about the target before you begin the assignment. Then it will be up to you to use one of the government machines to find him and kill him. Be as inconspicuous as you can please, we don’t want to blemish the past with random shootings...”
“Excuse me, but, how am I going to be inconspicuous? If I understand what you’re saying, I don’t know where I’m going to end up. If I walk into the fifteenth century in a pair of black skinny jeans, covered in guns, I think I might attract a little attention.”
“Your job has always been to not attract attention. You’ve managed it before, this is no different. Unless, of course, you’ve lost your touch, which considering how easy it was to get you here, would not surprise me.” Wills murmured, he was ever so nonchalant, and he noted something down on the paper in front of him, not looking at either of us as he spoke. As much as I understood Wills plight to continue on his fathers’ legacy, he really did act like an obnoxious little...
“Aren’t we going to provide her with some clothes to suit the times...?”
“You expect me to kill this guy whilst dressed in corsets and shit?”
Wills sighed dramatically. He finally looked at me.
“If you aren’t capable we’ll find somebody else. Though really you complaining at all is really rather comical considering the disaster that happened last time you were in this building. The council took a lot of persuading to allow you back here. They’d be very pleased if you were to just walk away Teresa.”
I understood and detested the challenge, I didn’t bother correcting him calling me Teresa, I was too side-tracked with the idea of him persuading the Departmental Council to allow me back here. Why? Wills had always despised my young age and the way the old Head of Department had favoured me.
I looked at him for a long moment, he had an oddly handsome face, though this was more than a little disguised by his current exhaustion and stress. He had, of course, inherited an aristocratic ‘pedigree’, but his looks were currently veiled by fatigue, stress and desperation to be the best, to be powerful, to make his job a success.
I wished to never look at Wills smirking, almost villainous face again, but, that irritating pride niggled in me. I glared at him, narrowing my eyes.
“I’ll do it.”
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'Good writing is to evoke sensation in the reader, not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon'

ELDoctorow

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