I’m working on my novel… still. Writers can understand where I’m coming from. They say, it takes 10 years to complete your first novel. I’m slowly inching up on that timeline.
In the spirit of urging that along a bit, I thought I’d post an excerpt of the opening portion of my novel, “The Naysayers”, to get an idea of whether or not it’s enough to grab the attention of readers and make them want to read more. Of course, it’s a work in progress, and I ADORE constructive criticism. But, in the immortal words of Erykah Badu, “Imma test this out. Nah, keep in mind I’m an artist — and I’m sensitive about my $#!+”.
“All ya have to do is tell us the plans and who’s involved ‘em,” Graycin McConnell promised. “It’s been about six months since the break in at City Hall and we know you know what the M.A.O. is plotting. Just tell us and this will all be over.”
He stared at her menacingly with his good eye. His flaming red hair looked like wildfire in the single light of the warehouse.
Water trickled down Yolande’s shaking body. She hung her head, ignoring the question as she struggled not to cry. The city’s agents didn’t understand how the M.A.O. was set up. Because of that misunderstanding, and because she was an Anomaly, they felt justified in her torture.
Her knees ached from kneeling on the concrete floor. The cold air blowing on her drenched, half-naked form, made her convulse involuntarily. She had been in the same position for the last hour and a half. It was taking its toll on her psyche.
“Yeah, A-fri-caaa. Still don’t want to say nothing, huh, bitch?” McConnell asked, pacing around her like a caged beast.
The men on either side of her picked her up from the floor, dragging her to a wooden, cross-shaped plank on the other side of the room. One end of it was elevated off the floor with bricks. There were ropes that stuck out from underneath its arms. She was laid on the board with her feet on the elevated side. One of the men pulled the ropes tight around her wrists, ankles, torso and shoulders.
Yolande let her mind wander while she was being prepared. She’d thought she was being smart by working only on the community side of M.A.O. activities. She figured, that way, she could do her part to help without endangering her family more than necessary. She didn’t have the privileged information her torturers wanted. But, to Graycin McConnell, that did not matter much. He would use any excuse available to him to torture people like her. She wondered how long the torment would last before she was allowed the sweet release of death. She had no answers for them and she wouldn’t give them up even if she did.
A sixty-four ounce jug sat beside her head. It was filled with her next dose of agony. Still, she remained quiet. She thought back to happier days in her home with her family. For seconds, she swam in a sea of peace.
McConnell walked over to her. As he sneered down at her, she looked at the jug in one of his hands and a towel in the other. For a brief moment she considered using her powers to gain her freedom. She’d forgotten, she was surrounded and her abilities had been suppressed.
“I tried to keep this from happenin’ to ya. But you were asking for it,” he said. “You’ll be singing like a choir after this.”
He draped the thick, wet towel over her frightened face and someone grabbed her head. She had a two second respite before the water began to pour. The steady stream crept into her nose and mouth, rushing down the passages, flooding her. She immediately began to struggle, trying in vain to turn her head away from the terror. After about ten seconds, he stopped. Her heart pounded and her head spun from lack of oxygen.
“Well,” she heard him say. “Now that we’ve got that settled. How ‘bout you tell me the plans.”
Hundreds of miles away, sixteen-year-old Sania Richards woke with a start.