The Transmuted: Day 1’s Writing
[Author’s Notes: Welcome to Day 1 of my 31 days of writing a novel draft and posting what I write every day.
This segment is rated PG or possibly PG-13 for language. (No F-bombs here, though.)
I often use temporary placeholder names in my writing when I can’t think of good original names for people and places, so please pardon my dust. This is a first draft and a work in progress.]
The cry went up from a member of the city guard who was running down the avenue, desperately trying to catch up with Enrico. It was an ugly term, one most commonly uttered by native-born citizens of $Kingdom in terms of either deep disgust or, as in this instance, intense anger. It wasn’t uncommon to hear one of the city guardsmen shouting the term as he pursued a fugitive from the law; it happened perhaps two or three times a month. Enrico still couldn’t quite believe it: it was now happening to him.
He ran for his life, for his freedom, for everything he loved about this place. People buying and selling things from shops, carts, and market stalls leaped and scrambled out of the way of Enrico and his pursuers. Enrico was vaguely aware of carpets falling from the clothesline they had been draped over, a clang as a precarious stack of brass pots toppled, and a loud splash followed by angry shouting as one of the guardsmen upset a barrel filled with water and fish. There was no time to look back at the mess. He had to get away.
Enrico suddenly realized where he was, where he had been heading all this time without knowing it. This was his street. There was the house where he had his room and board, just ahead. He knew this place wasn’t really any safer than any other place in the city, but emotion and instinct silenced those thoughts. He threw himself through the door, then ran to the cellar door, slammed it behind him, and hurtled down the stairs to its darkest corner, where he could bury himself in the pile of old flour sacks and pretend he had never been there.
He was halfway into the pile when he heard the creak of the door above opening. “Enrico?”
The voice was familiar. Enrico was relieved that it wasn’t one of the guardsmen, but angry that the owner of the voice would do something so stupid.
“I’m not here,” Enrico called up the stairs. “If anyone asks, I’m not here, and I never was here.”
“Oh, God,” said the familiar voice. “It’s finally happening, isn’t it?”
“Close the door and go away,” said Enrico firmly. “If they see you or hear you, you’ll give me away.”
“I’ll protect you, Enrico. Just stay put.”
The door closed. The sound was too loud for just one door. Enrico realized that someone had banged open the front door at exactly the same time as $Name2 had closed the door to his cellar.
“What do you want?” $Name2 said, apparently trying to sound as imposing as possible.
“We want the fugitive that you’re hiding from us, Kelzian-lover!” answered a voice that had to belong to one of the city guardsmen. “Don’t bother trying to deny it. I know the bastard is in here. We have, shall we say, eyes and ears in this neighborhood.”
“Well… how do you know he’s not registered?”
“We keep records of the names of everyone who is registered. Enrico Naveno is not on our scrolls. Now tell me where he is!”
“I won’t! If he’s so important to you, you can find him yourselves. I’m staying right here.”
The city guardsman paused. “What is this? You really must be a Kelzian-lover.”
“So what if I am? I’m not going to help you.”
The guard harrumphed. A second later, light came into the cellar from the top of the stairs. Enrico sighed, stood, and raised his hands above his head.
“Come here, you spell-dodging son of a slime-monster,” said the guard, advancing on Enrico with a rope. Enrico did not resist having his arms tied behind his back and being marched back up the stairs.
He was not prepared at all for $Name2 to hold his own arms up over his head.
“If you hate me so much for being a ‘Kelzian-lover,'” $Name2 said, “why don’t you just take me in, too?”
The city guardsman who had been speaking with $Name2 moments ago looked at him, considering the novel idea.
“Is that a confession of a crime?” said the guardsman.
“Only of aiding and abetting this man in his pursuit of his livelihood,” answered $Name2. “I believe that what I’ve done was right. The law, apparently, does not.”
“Mr. Naveno,” said the guardsman, “you have been residing in the household of this Mr. $Name2 Pulsipher, have you not?”
“I have,” answered Enrico.
Entry filed under: The Transmuted.