Ok, a few months ago I posted an excerpt from my work-in-progress, Gray’s Shadow. It was from the mayor of the city’s perspective. It you don’t know what story I’m referring to, I based this novel off of a flash fiction story I wrote a few years ago for a writing group. Well, here goes nothing! I hope you enjoy a piece of Gray’s Shadow from the perspective of Gray, himself.
Gray woke up, his breaths hitching in his throat. Choking him. Coughing, the twelve year old boy quickly jumped to his feet and ran to the tiny window across his small bedroom. He frowned, trying to rub at the layers of filth covering the window so he could see his reflection. A frightened boy stared back at him, hair and face dirty. He felt his skin carefully wherever his reflection pointed and winced when it burned at his touch. Already the ugly streaks of red were fading from his neck. “Just as I thought,” Gray muttered to himself, “The dreams are starting.” He moaned and gently placed his dirty forehead against the even dirtier window, letting the cool glass cool his sticky skin.
The dreams. The first whispers of Rage began in the mind through them. Shortly after creeping into someone’s dreams, it showed itself on their skin. Red streaks, tinged with purple, lacing up and down bodies like battle scars for a war they couldn’t see. Something no one could fight back against. It would be years before Gray fully lost control, but then he would either take his own life as a Rager or fade away, becoming a Husk; staring blankly at the wall until death came for him. Rager to Husk. Hurting others until he was a shell of himself. Gray hit his head against the glass again, a little harder, trying to shake the disturbing thoughts about his end from his mind.
Instead, thoughts of his mother swam into focus. Her favorite saying was “Fake it till’ you make it!” and she would mime smiling at Gray when she thought he should smile more. Gray picked his head up from it’s position on the glass and forced a smile at his reflection. A red mark from where he hit the glass had smeared some of the dirt away from his face, but the red streaks from the dreams were gone. He could almost feel his mother in the room. Gray half expected her to pop around the corner saying something like “That’s more like it, sweet-pea!”
His smile became more genuine as he remembered happier times, when something moved out of the corner of his vision. The smile dropped off Gray’s face as he spun around, fists raised. Gray saw no one and he knew there wasn’t a place to hide in his tiny, closet-sized room. “Hello?” Gray asked the room in a hushed voice. No one was there, just his own shadow.
What do you think? I still have a long way to go until my first novel is finished, but I’m learning a lot. I love writing. I’ve heard that having your main character wake up at the beginning of the chapter is cliche’ but I honestly don’t think there is another way to do this scene. He just had a bad dream and the marks fade right away since they’re just starting…so I think it’s fine! Let me know in the comments or via social media what you think. Have a great day!