Might as well get started on the third book! Sure, the second one needs a final revising, but hey–I feel like doing this instead. Actually, I was also thinking about taking a break to look for a publisher or something. But I just remembered that I have no idea how to do that! It probably involves sending emails to people and kissing up to cigar-chomping businessmen. Besides, who needs money!? Not when I have WORDS! BEAUTIFUL WORDS!
So here it is: first draft of Abandonment Party 3. I won’t be going into detail at the bottom like usual; there will be no “choice edits,” just some simple notes. What’s this? You’re crying? Oh, I’m sorry! Let me explain. When I put up the first drafts for ‘AP2’–as it’s known in the ‘hood–those chapters had already been done for while. I needed to examine with great gusto all the garbage I had written in order to make a glimmering second draft that even Pinada could be proud of.
But this here? I just started! I wrote everything yesterday! The goal is to finish–that’s it! I believe a first draft must be completed without looking back! I need to put down any idea I can think of! And then move on. If I stop to scrutinize all the details in my little blog here then I’d never get done. So! Enough pointless words! Let us begin!
“Step out of your cell; I’m not telling you again.”
Mackaba growled. His hands were shackled behind his back. His hair was a mess of inch-long wavy tufts. “I suppose I don’t have a choice,” he said. He slinked through the open cell door.
The jailer led him down the block of stacked cells: they stood two levels high on their right. To the left, a fenced yard could be seen through barred windows. The walls were blank, with bare wiring and uncovered piping stretching between the cell doors and light fixtures. They passed a caged weapon locker and a door leading into another bleak hall.
Mackaba slowed. “I thought I’d have more time. Being here is bad enough. But I don’t deserve this. I don’t–“
“Keep moving,” the jailer ordered. They continued past security cameras and signs listing various rules for the inmates to follow. They reached a sealed door. The jailer pressed his thumb to the lock.
“Please, oh please–“ Mackaba whined.
The door swung open. “VISITATION WING” was written on the floor. Booths were set up aside a glass barrier that separated one half of the room from the other. At one booth a petite woman with brown hair waved through her side of the window. Her T-shirt read ‘KING’S FAIR’ in cursive letters. She leaned forward and put her mouth at a small, circular gap in the glass.
“Hi, Mackaba!” she called out to him.
Mackaba groaned. “Why can’t you just execute me?” he lamented. The jailer handed him off to a guard.
“Hey, this is my favorite one!” the guard said as she chewed on a mouthful of gum. “I wait all week to hear the stories she tells you. What was she telling you before? The scaly guy stole the smith’s sword? And then he went back in time?”
Mackaba ignored her and marched to the booth, plopping down.
“Injection, electrocution–I don’t really care at this point,” he said. “Mean, please tell me you’re here to finish me off.”
Mean laughed. “Oh c’mon, is my storytelling really that bad? I just want to help you understand everything.”
Mackaba sighed, smoothing his yellow prison uniform with his hand. “I just find it hard to believe that all this was going on.”
Mean nodded. “It all happened! Now where did I leave off? I was at Trisk’s second match? Or was it Dark’s?”
“The Beast had just beaten Veinsmith,” Mackaba told her. The gum-chewing guard stood behind him, listening. “But I don’t see what the point of this is. I thought you were going to tell me about how evil Pinada was, not some tournament.”
“Well the games were important!” Mean protested.
“It’s because you win, isn’t it?” Mackaba said with a false smile. Mean crossed her arms.
“Well, maybe I don’t!” she said, blushing. “It could have been Dark. Or Trisk.”
“Uh huh,” Mackaba said. The jailer that had lead him to the visitation wing exited with another press of his thumb. He touched a radio transmitter in his ear.
“Hey, Sally, keep the line open.” He passed the signs listing rules as he made his way back to the cell block. “And don’t chew so loud; I can’t hear what she’s telling him.”
He opened the block door. The sun was shining in through the barred windows, upon three figures strolling along the rows of locked cells. The jailer clicked his radio again.
“This is block D to admin. Are there VIPs down here? I see three–no escort. Looks like a woman and two bodyguards.”
“Aw, look at them.” the first man said. He stood over seven feet high, with a tight turtleneck shirt and blue suit jacket covered with patches. He had a wide mouth filled with flat teeth and he grinned at one of the inmates as he passed. His blond hair was parted and one side flopped across his forehead as he ducked down to get a better look into the cell. “Such a waste, keeping them all in here. Which one do you want, Clance?”
“None of them,” the other man replied. He was equally tall, with a hairstyle and face nearly identical to the other. His face was fuller, with a bit more weight showing against the clean suit he wore. “They don’t know magic; they’d take too long to train.”
The group reached the door to the visitation hall. The jailer stopped them.
“Hold on, where are you going? Where is your escort?”
The twin with the patched jacket looked down at him. “These other planets are so funny. Look at him! He’s talking to us.”
“Just ignore him,” the heavier twin, Clance, said. “Shirka’s girl shouldn’t be far past that door.”
“All right; come on;” the jailer told the three. “We’re going right back over to admin. Don’t make me bring out the cuffs.”
“Do you have enough for everyone?” the woman standing behind the twins said. She wore a black dress marred with flecks of rust, and the ring strapped against her eye was rusty as well. She smiled at the jailer and swept off her long-brimmed hat, gesturing to the rows of barred cells. There was a unified clack of fifty locks snapping apart.
“Get to it,” she announced as every door slid open at once. The jailer backpedaled, slipped, and bolted for the caged weapon locker.
“Block D to admin!” he cried as he pressed his earpiece. “Requesting lockdown! All cells here are open!”
“What’s going on?” Mean asked. Mackaba turned in his seat; shouts and loud stomps echoed from behind the door to the cell block.
“Not sure. Everything was normal on my way here. Those vermin had better not be rioting.”
“Stay calm,” the guard said. “This room is secure; just remain in your seats until the situation is handled.”
There was one last scream and all was quiet. The guard cracked her gum in her mouth. She rose her hand to her earpiece.
“Everything okay?” she asked, then frowned. “What do you mean, ‘about what?’ You requested lockdown–we heard the noise from here!” She paused, listening. “Are the prisoners in their cells?” She turned and walked toward the door. She put her thumb on the lock and a large hand on the other side shoved it open. The twin with the patchwork jacket ducked into the room, his grin large as he rose again to full height. The guard reached for a taser; the twin swatted her face with the back of his palm. She fell with a yelp, her gum plopping out of her mouth as her head struck the floor.
“You’re lucky that wasn’t her,” Clance said as he bobbed his head beneath the door frame. He eyed the long partition that divided the room. “Hold on; let me get that for you.”
Mean stood up, looking through the window at them. “Mackaba, who are those–hey! Look out!”
Clance was lifting a long hairpin from his coat pocket. There was a long, colorful wing where he gripped it. The lights in the room dimmed for a moment as he directed the pin’s tip at the booth next to Mean’s. The glass window burst outward with a crackle; Mean flinched as the shards flew straight out, embedding into the far wall.
“Hey, you can’t just come in here and start breaking things!” Mackaba barked. He marched over to Clance, his hands still shackled behind his back.
“Get away from them, Mackaba!” Mean shouted. She bounced off from the ground, hovering in mid-air. “If I’m who you came for, just try to catch me.”
Clance let out a snort and waved his pin in a graceful motion: flowing from her to Mackaba. Mean gasped and dropped out of the air, thumping against the floor on her rear. She winced, struggling to her feet again.
“Well it won’t be any fun now,” the other twin in the patchwork coat said. He started toward the hole in the glass, eyes on Mean. Kicking a chair out of the way, he leaned across the booth’s table and crawled forward. Halfway through he shivered and stopped as water bombarded him from every direction.
“Hey. What is this?” he wondered as he blinked his eyes. A grid of criss-crossed lines formed a box around the shattered booth. It held the odd water in, and the twin fought against it, his blond hair swirling about his head.
“Ha!” Clance laughed. “Looks like this one in the chains knows magic too! How interesting; I think I’ll take him.” He swished his hairpin from Mackaba to the unconscious guard this time; the grid unraveled and the water burst out.
“Mean! Run!” Mackaba yelled as the odd water poured in a deluge to both sides of the partitioned room. “Get the guards! Get that monster guy! Get anybody!” Clance tucked his pin away and snatched Mackaba by the arm. His wet twin was sputtering and wiping water from his eyes.
“Shoot,” Mean said. “Alright–I’ll be back for you!” She stumbled over to the door, heaved it open against the spreading deluge, and fled.
Her shoes sloshed as she hurried down a short hall to the main visitor’s lobby. The receptionist’s decks were empty; no guards could be seen. The sun was bright through the windows, shining on the pavement and vehicles in the lot outside. Near one of the desks stood Dark. He wore his grey suit and his short, fine hair was combed neat.
“Mean! What’s going on? Where is everyone?”
“Dark, there are these weird guys–they have Mackaba,” she gasped. “They took my magic somehow.”
“How can they do that? Are you hurt?” he asked, joining her.
“I just got banged up when I fell,” she told him. Dark touched her arm and she felt something cold against it.
“I fell too once,” Dark said. “I fell right out of the sky. Remember that?” He shoved her backward and she slammed against the wall with a gasp.
“Dark?” she choked out. She jerked her arms; she couldn’t move them. People appeared in the lobby now: some slumped at their desks or sprawled on the floor. The front windows were broken and a cold wind chilled her wet legs.
“It’s you,” Mean said. “That can’t be right–you can’t be here.”
“I’m here,” Dark said as his clothes grew ragged and a sword hilt sprouted out of his chest. “I’m a real person–someone you tried to forget. Like Kates. Like Tra.”
Mean pressed herself against the wall as the sword dropped out of him and clanged to the floor. He took her shoulders and pinned her, his grinning face close.
Mean blinked and Dark was gone: the woman with the ring strapped to her eye in his place.
“Well the abandoned don’t forget,” she spat at her. “Not like the abandoners do. Let’s see how long it takes for your ‘friends’ to give up. Let’s see how long it takes for you to spite them for not coming to find you.”
A steady rumble shook the building; the bare light fixtures rattled and the shards of glass on the ground hummed. A long shadow crept across the lot outside.
ABANDONMENT PARTY 3
Super-fast First Draft Memos:
– I thought up the name ‘Clance’ on the spot for this chapter. I think I’ll name the other twin ‘Cougo.’ Unless Matt has some better ideas?
– I’ve been inside exactly one prison in my life: the abandoned Alcatraz island. I used my memory from that experience to influence the prison in this story. I’ll come up with more details later, but there is only one thing I wanted it to be: boring. Now don’t think I’m being lazy here! Look–I could have come up with some elaborate building. It could have been hanging from pulleys from a tower made out of diamond or something. But I needed it to be bland to contrast with the colorfulness of Shirka and the other intruders. Don’t worry; there will be plenty of chances for bizarre locations later. But the tower and pulley thing sounds kind of stupid so not that.
– I don’t think prison guards carry any weapons; it would be too easy for the prisoners to steal a gun. It’s also quite convenient for me! Can’t have my characters getting blown away before the story even gets started.
– Things to add for second draft: More detail on the jailer. More detail on the building. And a prison should probably have other prisoners in it. My memories of the empty Alcatraz cells didn’t do me any good in this case. But how can I learn what actual prisoners are like? Maybe I should go get arrested for further research.
Make sure you come back in ten years to see the first chapter!