greenling ([personal profile] greenling) wrote in [community profile] rainbowfic2016-03-20 07:49 pm

Sherry #3, Rose #26, Bowie Side A #15

Name: Greenling
Story: All Great Things- like the actual story, for once
Colors: Sherry #3 (A grace without a friend), Rose #26 (Why is it no one ever sent me yet one perfect limousine, do you suppose? Ah no, it's always just my luck to get one perfect rose.), Side A #15 (I got seven days to live my life or seven ways to die → Seven (Hours…))
Supplies and Styles: Novelty Beads ("It's not over 'til it starts again." - Ha Ha, Emiliana Torrini)
Word Count: 1,168
Rating: Gish?
Warnings: Not particularly.
Summary: So, for NaNo last year, I decided to reboot AGT, and I'm finally getting around to editing it. I had a lot I wanted to do... change the tone, flesh out the magic system, fix some character stuff... I think this might lead to something I like a lot better than last time. Here's to hoping.

Anyway, have the first bit of the first chapter of the first book, starring Peace. Hope you enjoy.
Comments, criticism, and questions are all appreciated!

The car ran out of gas just before the border of North Carolina. Peace ran it on fumes and down hills as far as it could go, but sometime in the mid-morning it sputtered one final time and wouldn't start again. He pushed it onto a side road, stripped off the license plate, locked all the doors, and started to walk. It was a nice day; weather had been warm, at least. He kept parallel to the road and listened for cars. The woods were dark and deep, so it was easy enough to keep out of sight. Birds sang off in the distance, squirrels rustled in the underbrush, and his nose was sharp enough to smell the green of the trees and the patches of sweet wildflowers. For a while, he could pretend he was doing this willingly.

Pretending would be easier if he had a better idea of where he was, or anything to eat. His brain was getting fizzy with irritation, and every time he heard a rustle in the bushes part of him sat up and said food. For the last day and a half, he'd been trying to get as far as he could without stopping, so he hadn't thought about it, and before that he'd been hiding. He hadn't had more than candy bars and jerky for... probably a couple of days.

So long as he kept out of the deep mountains and it didn't rain, he thought he might be fine. The woods were less dangerous than the possibility of getting spotted along the highway. "Six and a half foot man in a motorcycle jacket with Carrot Top hair, sticking to the treeline" was the sort of description people tended to take note of, and skulking had never been his forte. Maybe no one was even looking for him. Maybe they thought he was dead. There was a kind of narrowing of his awareness that was getting worse as he went on. Memory became less important, and his view of the future shortened. At least he'd been able to sleep.

The road curved back and forth, running up and down hills, and the treeline got thicker. At some point near the top of a hill the grass began to thin, and he came to a gravel ridge with a steep slope. A line of thick, spiky bushes grew along it most of the way. Peace paused to check his position and realized he'd lost the road. He squeezed his hands into fists, suddenly feeling completely disoriented. Well, said a part of his brain that sounded like his high school guidance counselor, now what?

Where was he even going with this? He couldn't just run forever. He needed a plan, or at least a direction, beyond wanting to stay alive and free. On the other hand, he thought, if he were good at plans, he'd be somewhere else right now, with a diploma and a good job and not standing in the middle of some bullshit forest in the Smokies running from the cops. Maybe that was a nonsequitur, but he wasn't up for stopping it. He looked around for a moment and found a place to sit underneath a tall maple. The first step to finding the road was not getting any more lost, and after some thinking he realized he might be able to listen for cars. He arrested his train of thought and tried to focus.

Several minutes passed. Peace felt himself gradually relax, though all he heard was wildlife. Being patient was easier recently, and his hearing was sharper. A bird sung ki-choo, ki-choo in a nearby tree; he tried to ignore the part of him that wanted to catch and eat it. He was very aware of how far away the bird was, what tree it was on. Very easy to focus on the sound, the image of the bird sitting on a branch and nipping nervously at its feathers; hopping down a branch, keeping an eye on the ground. A squirrel ran up a tree, looking for other squirrels. It was hungry. Other birds. Insects.

Peace opened his eyes and the world wavered for a bit before the sensations stopped. It hurt his head, like he'd just been jolted out of a deep sleep.

For a moment he just sat there, trying to figure out if that had been real. The images he'd seen- felt, really- had been clearer than he could process now. If it had been real, he wasn't sure he knew how to repeat the process. He closed his eyes again and tried to relax.

His attention floated. Now that he was thinking about it, of course, it was harder to focus. He could still hear the birds, and the rustle of various creatures beyond that if he tried, but the picture he'd had in his head was... different. Inside himself, something still wanted food. The wolf part. It twitched under his skin, paws where hands should be, or the other way around. A part that he wanted to be afraid of. It-

Yeah, he'd thought so-

Eyes and ears, elsewhere; forest lit up in soft light like a dream. Bird-mind was a light like a tiny sun, easy to draw to. Peace took one step outside of himself and shifted. Headache; brief shots in reality of different perspective, different colors, eyes on the side of the head. That was it. Somewhere between that and the other place, floating between stages, he could feel the bird without being inside it. Its thoughts were tiny notes of light, strung into chords of emotion. It felt him, some deep within part of it, and it was afraid without knowing why.

He brought himself back gentler this time, human thoughts returning slowly. That... was weird, followed by I wonder if I could find people like that? The thought made him giddy. Could he do something useful with this? Did he have a chance?

Depending on range, he could use it to find a town or a gas station or something, and maybe find someone willing to let him hitchhike. Or- he thought more hesitantly- if he could read thoughts, maybe he could convince someone to buy him food. He stared at the ground in front of him. That made him feel guilty, even more than he had stealing a car that technically didn't belong to anyone. He needed it, but... he'd definitely have to find someone who could afford it. Maybe find someone who also needed help. Hell, he thought with a smirk, maybe he could be a good samaritan, find some nice older lady that needed someone to fix her car, or a lonely trucker.

Hah. Yeah. And they'd be super rich and really nice and take him home, and he'd spend the rest of his life in a penthouse lounging around in tiger-print briefs. Why not, while we're at it.

Peace laughed at himself for the first time in a while. That was nice.
novel_machinist: (Default)

[personal profile] novel_machinist 2016-03-21 03:43 pm (UTC)(link)
Excellent hook here. You really did a great job of sucking the reader in with the first paragraph. :)
shipwreck_light: (Default)

[personal profile] shipwreck_light 2016-03-22 03:22 am (UTC)(link)
I really liked reading this! The sensations of the forest and of Peace almost sort of sneaking into his powers. Plus, bringing the story back around to his hunger. Very well-played! Thank you for posting!
bookblather: A picture of Yomiko Readman looking at books with the text "bookgasm." (Default)

[personal profile] bookblather 2016-03-22 07:32 pm (UTC)(link)
Awww, Peace. Also, the description in this is flat amazing.
kay_brooke: Two purple flowers against a green background (spring)

[personal profile] kay_brooke 2016-03-30 07:02 pm (UTC)(link)
Great beginning! The descriptions are really evocative and, as a reader, I'm curious what's going to happen next.