I've been giving out a lot of advice without offering my work up for the slaughter yet, so... *deep breath* here goes.
This is the opening page/prologue for my WIP. It mainly fits into the Young Adult Steampunk realm, as it takes place in 1901 and features advanced technology, and though it has elements of "paranormal," they're based in science.
I've been struggling with this opening quite a bit - it used to be completely different. So, obviously open to more change! :D It's written in a different style than the rest of the work. This is in first-person POV, but the rest is in third-person.
Okay, I've rambled enough. Here it is:
Sometimes the world is so cold my voice freezes in the air and shatters. Those are the times it is difficult to remember why I am here.
But I always remember.
There are whispers about the world you have always half-believed in, even if you did not understand. You have held many names for them, though over time the names have faded. Where they used to fill your mouths and heads with fear, they have now become myth and legend. Ghoul, zombie, vampire, baobhan sith, the Undead – creatures that live without living.
You are right to half-believe. They walk among you, stealing what they need to survive. If you are useful, they will make you as they are.
It is not what you think. No, it is worse, for they are not content to merely survive.
They hope to take your survival for themselves.
But they have grown complacent in their power, and they do not see the coming rebellion. Too long have they underestimated the strength of those whose lives they stole away. We were like you, once, and we have not forgotten.
This story traces back centuries, but did not truly begin until recent years. Come and listen close, for your future depends on it.
I’ll tell you now about a man without a heart who waits at the edge of a lake.
He touches his chest where the organ used to beat and wonders if he will ever know true warmth again. An autumn wind blows brutal over the water. The night is thick, and it swallows sound as if it were black cotton.
Movement among the trees catches his eye. A figure stumbles from the brush and speeds toward him, sand bursting behind its heels like ash. Panic follows in its wake.
“Go,” the figure says. “They are coming!”
“What’s happened?” asks the man, grabbing the other and holding him firm by the shoulders.
“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. I had no choice. You know what they’ll do. Please, you must run!”
The heartless man closes his eyes as though in pain. “It is too late.”
With scarcely a whisper, the pair is surrounded. Pale bodies with deadened eyes watch their movements, ready to prevent any attempt at escape. The man’s companion whirls, searching wildly for hope, but the man keeps his eyes on the three figures directly before him. They are different from the others, clothed in hooded cloaks that hide their eyes.
One of the cloaked newcomers steps forward. He holds a blade that glints in the moonlight.
“You had such potential,” says the hooded one. “Come back with us. Help us achieve our goal.”
“I won’t,” responds the heartless man, standing tall and firm.
“We have told you what we will do if you refuse to aid us. Do you doubt it?”
“Then your daughter is ours. You would sacrifice her for your lost cause?”
The man’s hands begin to shake, but his voice is calm. “There are some sacrifices that must be made for the greater good.”
“So be it.” A command is issued, and the circle closes.
“No!” The man can hear the informant shouting, but the voice is cut short, cast aside out of the fray. The man goes down, where he is promptly kicked onto his back. The hooded man stands above him bearing the knife. The blade shines silver, like the waves of the lake.
“I will take back what is ours, and we will find the others. Your daughter will fill your vacancy. Be still, and I will be quick.”
The man looks to the moon. “Clara,” he whispers. “Forgive me.”
He feels the knife against his chest, and he is no more.
And that’s where we begin our story.