So, I don't really comment here that often anymore. I check in every once in a while to see if there's anything interesting going on but have stopped commenting regularly on this site for quite some time. That being said, this is one of the only sites I'm a somewhat well-ish known member on that actually has a section dedicated to writers like myself.
Back in 2010-2011 when Naruto was still going and hadn't delivered it's preposterous ending I was in the process of writing my first fanfiction, which was my primary introduction to writing. I had written for school assignments and other such things in the past, but I only discovered I had a great joy for writing when I was writing something I wanted to write myself and didn't have to worry about being graded on it. The fanfiction was horribly written, even by my standards back in the day, but it was basically a story about a highly elite assassin coming from a distant land to recruit Team 7 for an army they were building. The fanfiction is still on fanfiction.net for those interested, but aside from it being poorly written, it did lay the foundation for me to begin something on my own.
During the final days of my sophomore year in high school, I spent most of my time rushing through my homework and spending the rest of the day writing my fanfiction. I spent endless hours looking up pictures of dinosaurs and mysterious places such as Skull Island from the 2005 King Kong movie. Once Summer Vacation rolled around I was free to write as much as I wanted and ended up writing over 100 pages on Microsoft Word for this Naruto Fanfiction.
Later on, I was able to lay down the groundworks for something else. I suddenly got the idea of why worry about other people's work when I can write my own? Thus, my Chris Lynheart series was born. I started writing it as an early Junior in high school and ended up publishing almost an exact year later. However, in my beginning days, I didn't know a lot about the writing world and just threw things together when I thought up a cool idea. Some have even said that I accidentally "stole" the opening from Naruto because of how similar both openings are. This issue has been recently addressed in a new republishing of the book, but that version is not out yet.
Like a lot of writers, I get my inspiration from anime. And though Naruto, for me, ended with the Pein Ark seemingly a lifetime ago, it still has a large influence on me. This will be seen when my Mages of the North series comes out. Every character has their own similarities in certain ways, but because I've become more experienced over my years of writing, I know how to better differentiate Kishimoto's characters from my own.
This was something I didn't really have when I first started writing Chris Lynheart, and it really shows. I'll show an example here.
Here is a link to the book you can use to read the first couple of chapters: https://www.amazon.c...uct_top?ie=UTF8
The landing gear of an R-H-E6-550 Rebel Heavy Transport Plane touched down on the tarmac of the main runway, and slowly started to taxi its way to its parking destination: a large hanger where a high ranking member of the Rebellion was scheduled to meet President Davis, the elected politician to serve as president for the United States of the Republic, and his administration, including a few generals. Rebel troops were everywhere. Snipers on the rooftops, and Rebel special elite forces, such as the Cobras, were hiding in the shadows, keeping a sharp eye out for any potential threats. On each side of the administration members, standing in perfect alignment were full platoons of Rebel Elite Forces, equipped with new advanced weaponry, combat gear, and some new prototypes of night-vision goggles. They were geared up for a full assault on the base and ordered to kill on sight if they spot any potential threat.
As the Rebel Transport Plane made its final turn to the hanger, President Davis and his administration took a deep breath, readying themselves to meet face-to-face with someone who outranked even them. The plane came to a stop, and President Davis and his administration released their breath with a sigh and prepared themselves. There was a brief pause that felt like an eternity to everyone in the building before the hydraulics of the gigantic plane started working. The entire front part of the plane lifted into the air, revealing the cargo area in the fuselage. A ramp as wide as the plane's body lowered to the ground, and several Rebel Phantoms, the second most elite fighting force in the known Rebel military, came rushing out of the plane to their positions on each side of the ramp and stood at attention. A few short seconds later, another person appeared at the top of the ramp, emerging from the darkness of the cargo bay in an eerie fashion.
President Davis, who was just introduced to a new meaning of fear, stared in awe at his superior. The man was tall, and dressed in a tattered solid black hooded cloak that hid his face in shadow. Only his mouth and nostrils could be seen, but he looked far from pleased. An aura of fear seemed to spread through the hanger, as the entire administration was now shaking, and some of them couldn't even think. Upon closer inspection, one of the generals could see spikes on the knuckles of the man's gloves and could tell he had recently used them in a fight.
As the man walked down the ramp and made his way towards the administration, President Davis stepped out of position and greeted his superior, "Ah, general, welcome to Dallas Ft. Worth. I'm pleased to finally meet you in person on this unexpe-"
"You may stop with the pleasantries, Mr. President." The man interrupted. His voice was chilling, and sent shivers down the spine of everyone within hearing range, "I hardly believe my coming here was unexpected."
"Er...of course, sir." President Davis said in a respectful tone. He pondered about what to say next and continued, "Then, if I may ask, sir, why have you come here?"
The man gave President Davis and his administration a chilling glare, and shoved them aside as he continued walking to the back of the hanger, "If you must know, I'm here to put you back on schedule." The man said, "It seems your generals have lost their focus and are wasting too many resources on one particular battle."
President Davis, who was struggling to keep up with the man's pace, thought about his response before saying, "Sir, with all due respect, we cannot push our troops any faster than we already are! If we push the war effort any harder, we'll lose more men than what is necessary."
"Then perhaps you're not using the right tactics." The man replied coldly.
"Sir, our generals are doing the best they can. What else would you have them do?" President Davis asked, not knowing what to expect.
The man suddenly stopped and turned to face President Davis, "We expect better results, Mr. President. I find it hard to believe this is the best your generals can do. The Rebels outnumber the military ten to one, and you seem to be losing more men over one city that means virtually nothing to us at this point in time, rather than taking what the military believes to be their final stronghold against us in Virginia."
"Then what do you expect us to do?" President Davis asked.
"As of now, I am relieving your generals." The man said, "It seems you do not know what it takes to win a war. I, on the other hand, do, and this war has taken up too much time as it is. You're fighting a weakened military with little organization led by an administration that has no idea how the game of war is played. Yet you seem to lack the drive to get our troops to Washington. If you fought any weaker of a foe you'd be fighting infants!"
Completely caught by surprise of what he just heard, President Davis was speechless.
"Oh, and one more thing, Mr. President." The man said, catching President Davis's attention once again, "It would be wise of you to return to your administration and tell them to prepare the arrival of the rest of my order."
President Davis's eyes widened in fear, and he was speechless once again for a few moments. When he finally built up enough courage, he asked, "T...the other six are coming here?"
"That is correct, Mr. President, and they are most disgusted with your lack of progress."
"...Then we will triple our efforts, sir." President Davis said.
"Good. But remember this, and this is a message for your entire administration." The man said in a cold voice, gaining the full undivided attention of President Davis, "The others are not as forgiving as I am." He then turned his back to President Davis and continued on his way, leaving President Davis speechless. Getting the hint his superiors were not messing around, he went back to his administration and delivered them the news.
Granted there's been a ten-year time skip and Chris has spent those ten years with the most infamous group of assassins the world has ever known, but does that feel like the same character at all? I'd be very amazed if you said yes.
I guess you could say I just didn't really know what I wanted with my main character when I first started writing, which I suppose is fair enough. I was very young at the time and didn't really know what I was getting myself into. I remember telling myself I wanted Chris to be a just a righteous leader like Naruto. But then, as I got older and started looking to the second book, I realized that was impossible. Due to the dark nature of the characters, he would be with for the next ten years, the best possible outcome would be a character similar to Darth Vader. Ironically, I wasn't even thinking of Star Wars when I wrote the scene from the second book above. It just fit Chris' character since he was now a hardened assassin and the head general of a military force that even outranked the President.
So why go back now after all this time? Well, for one, it's to save my own a** from something I should have been smart enough to see coming when I first started writing but didn't even think about it. Then, there are all the plot holes that need to be readdressed or just taken out of the series as a whole. Also, there's new lore regarding the first book. Chris was no longer the only experiment but was one of four. Chris had death sealed inside him...take a guess as to what the other three were. And the final reason is...believe it or not, I want to redo the romance story.
For those who were major fans of NaruSaku as we once all were on this site, Chris and Jessica have a very similar relationship. She doesn't start off hating him because she's new to his school. Instead, she's the first person to ever offer Chris some sort of friendship. In the original work, I jumped the gun for them way too quickly, which is what I'm aiming to change. I want to focus more on Chris' back story and let the reader truly feel the pain he's suffering through. This will allow Jessica to be the breath of fresh air she was always intended to be for both Chris and the readers.
Chris didn't look back and used the crowd to his advantage. At only the age of fourteen, he was able to nimbly dart and squeeze through the thick crowd, and his shorter height made it harder for the officers behind to keep track of him. However, his dirty and torn clothes made him stand out like a sore thumb if they managed to catch up with him, and trouble was coming. Ahead was a vast opening with no crowd to hide in, and he wouldn't be able to outrun the cops in a full-on sprint. Luckily, however, Chris knew the city like he knew the back of his hand and knew of an alley he could duck into and hide. He quickly glanced over his shoulder to see where the cops were and saw they were still a good distance behind him. He slipped into the alley without anyone noticing, and hid behind a large green dumpster, and curled up inside a half-empty black trash sack he kept just open enough to see the sidewalk. A few seconds passed, and the police officers went running by. One of them stopped at the entrance and skimmed the walls before walking a little further in.
Chris closed the sack's opening but left a small enough hole for one eye to see through. The cop searched behind several trash cans and lifted the lids to see inside. He then searched around the big green dumpster for a moment, then lifted the lid to look inside. The smell must have been terrible, because the officer covered his mouth and took a step back, slamming the lid shut. He then skimmed the alley one more time, before shaking his head and running in the direction the other officers went.
Chris waited a few minutes to make sure the coast was clear, and to make sure no other cops came by. When he decided enough time had passed, he climbed out of the sack and cleaned himself off. His clothes were badly stained, and he smelled horrible. But it was nothing new. This was how life had been for as long as he could remember. He was only fourteen years of age, yet he had a reputation for being Washington's worst criminal. The law had been chasing him for years, but they were rarely able to catch him. The last time he had been cuffed was two years ago; since then, no officer had been able to touch him.
The growling of his stomach was loud, and he could feel it practically eating itself. He covered his belly with one hand, then looked at the reason he had been chased through the streets. In his left hand, he held a single stolen loaf of bread with an orange and an apple crammed into his pockets. Some basic food products sold by the millions – if not billions each year was enough to have a small army of cops chasing him through the streets.
He sat against the wall and opened the loaf of bread; Honey bread tended to be his primary target. It seemed to fill him up decently enough, but it also tasted sweeter than most other kinds. The last time he had eaten had been several days ago, so he scarfed each slice of bread down in only one or two bites. In only a matter of seconds, half the loaf was gone. By law, it was required for the orphanage he "lived at" to feed him food on a daily basis, which they did, but it was usually something that was barely edible. Chris was by no means a picky eater, but it seemed the minister at the orphanage hated his guts for some unexplained reason, which was why Chris dreaded the thought of even touching the food served to him there. One night the minister snuck into his room while he was asleep and savagely beat him with a thick wooden staff for seemingly no reason. When the minister finally stopped, Chris was drenched in his own blood, and the scars from that incident were still visible on his skin. Chris reported the incident to the local police, but he was chased out of the station; ever since, Chris has slept with one eye open and barricaded the door to his room every night. He wouldn't put it above the minister to poison his food and call it an accident, either.
When he was finished eating, he wrapped the remaining bread in the sack and hid it behind the dumpster to return to later and threw what remained of the fruits in the trash. He put his hands into his pockets and walked out of the alley where he looked around. No law enforcement was in sight, and he knew how to scan for them. After being chased for years, he knew all the hiding spots and what to look for. However, there was one person in law enforcement who knew him too well. Well enough to make Chris uncomfortable.
As Chris walked around the corner of a building, a Captain of the city police stepped outside of a black unmarked SUV. Chris' first reaction on seeing the uniform was to bolt, but after seeing who it was, he remained calm and stayed where he was. The Captain had a mildly unpleased, but understanding look on his face, and with a heavy sigh, he approached the young boy, "Causing trouble again, Chris? I thought we talked about this before."
Chris didn't say anything but stood in place with his hands still jammed in his pockets. The Captain was by far the only person who seemed to care about him, but Chris had always been a little suspicious of the Captain. They first met when he was a Lieutenant, and he had caught him several times, but it was like the now Captain knew something Chris didn't about himself, which was why he didn't fully trust the Captain. That being said, however, the Captain was the closest thing to a friend Chris had, and in a very twisted kind of way, he almost seemed like a father. Often, the Captain would scold Chris, yet he seemed to know what he was doing was never his fault, to begin with. Most never bothered to look, but the Captain saw nothing but innocence and confusion in Chris' blue eyes. He was innocent. Regardless of how many "crimes" he committed, though the crimes never hurt anyone. Chris never had a mother or a father to look after him, and his supposed family turned their backs on him long ago. Of course, the truth was more complicated, and the Captain knew it, but that was only because he had served in the Air Force for several years prior to becoming law enforcement. He would never admit or reveal it, and Chris was completely oblivious to it, but he and the boy had a history.
Chris looked at the Captain with a featureless face. He knew he had done wrong, and that they had talked about this on a number of occasions, but what choice did he have? Was the Captain really going to buy every single meal for him to keep him from stealing? Highly doubtful.
The Captain approached Chris and gave him a silent stare. It was meant to be intimidation, but it didn't really phase Chris now, especially dealing with what he has to deal with on a daily basis every single day of the year. However, that didn't change the fact that he understood what the Captain wants him to do. He sighed heavily and turned around to walk the way he came. He walked back to the alley and grabbed what's left of the bread loaf from behind the dumpster, then walked back to the Captain.
"Here," Chris said as he tossed the remnants of his food at the Captain. His voice was uncaring, and his actions were about the same.
The Captain caught the loaf of bread against his chest and showed a hint of displeasure when he noticed half of the bread missing, though Chris didn't know what else he could have been expecting. The Captain heaved another heavy sigh and walked back to his SUV. "Well, come on. If you return this to the store, I'll take you to get something to eat."
Chris raised an eyebrow in confusion, "You really want me to return a half-eaten loaf of bread?"
The Captain turned to look at Chris as he opened the door to his SUV, "I don't care if they take it back or not, and I'll be surprised if they do. I just want you to see how it feels to return something."
Chris stared at the Captain with a dumbstruck look, "You want me to know how it feels to return something?! I do return something! Every single day of my life I return something! I return the respect this city and the people in it give me, which is nothing!"
The Captain just stared at Chris with a look of understanding. He knew this was hard for Chris to take in. How could it not be? He had been treated worse than dirt for as long as he could remember, yet no one ever told him why. All he had was himself, so all he had a right to care for was himself. Unlike most people, the Captain often tried to picture himself in Chris' shoes to understand why he does the things he does, and there was always a legitimate reason. He understood the "crimes" that Chris kept committing were simply to survive. He never stole anything more than loaves of bread, some fruit and the occasional cereal box or bottle of water. Everyday items no one would even know were gone if they weren't paying attention. And he couldn't deny that Chris had tried to do the right thing time and time again. In the past, Chris would spend hours looking for dropped coins on the street to pay for something to eat, but the store owners would chase him out, or in extreme case, beat him multiple times before finally throwing him back outside. After witnessing such actions over the years, the Captain didn't have to think very hard to understand why Chris stooped to petty thievery. He never hurt anyone, and he never stole anything of personal value. He never resulted in pickpocketing or digging around in women's purses when they weren't looking. He would simply run into a store, grab the first thing in arm's reach, then rush out. The store owner would freak out, and Chris would suddenly have the police department all over him again. It was hard for the Captain not to pity him. And getting caught by law enforcement was not something Chris could afford. Even officers have beaten him and even went to the extreme of shooting him with a taser multiple times.
The Captain heaved another sigh and sat in the driver's seat of his SUV. He wasn't going to argue with the boy for things, he really couldn't fault him about, "Just get in, Chris."
Chris was reluctant but climbed in the passenger side of the SUV. He was still hungry and wasn't going to turn away a meal the Captain was offering to pay for.
After driving around for a while, the Captain took Chris to a new restaurant that had opened up a few weeks ago. It was nothing fancy, but that was something Chris couldn't care less about even if he tried to. The only thing he really cared about was food and whether it was worth eating or not. He followed the Captain inside where, unsurprisingly, he was greeted with hostile stares from just about everyone in the room. Those who weren't glaring at him just hadn't seen him yet because they had their backs turned to him. Normally, Chris wouldn't even be able to make the first step inside a restaurant without having the waiters and waitresses chase him out. But things were different when he was with the Captain. Though he had grown to despise the badge, he couldn't deny it had its perks on certain occasions. Since he was with a high-ranking officer now, nobody dared to approach him for fear of getting in trouble themselves. The Captain had defended Chris a number of times in the past, though occasions like that were few and far in-between.
The Captain was greeted kindly by their waitress, but her smile quickly vanished when she saw Chris standing behind him. She glared at him with eyes full of hatred as she grabbed their menus and led them to their booth. She didn't say a single word to either of them until they got to their booth and took their seats.
"What would you like to drink?" The waitress asked, clearly not trying to hide her displeasure in having to serve Chris. Her voice was filled with disgust, and she acted as though she wanted to puke just by looking at him.
The Captain noticed this, but there wasn't anything he could do. The waitress hadn't committed any crime, and she was just one out of millions who despised Chris. He cleared his throat to catch the woman's attention and ordered their drinks, "We'll just have some water, thank you."
Without another word, the waitress wrote down their orders and quickly walked away from the table, wanting to get as far away from Chris as she possibly could. Admittedly, his smell wasn't doing him any favors in an enclosed area, but he knew she would treat him exactly the same if he smelled like he had just gotten out of a shower.
The Captain watched the young waitress who was probably in her mid-teens walk away before looking at Chris, "You seem to be really popular with the ladies, Chris." He joked.
Chris rolled his eyes and rested his cheek in his right hand as he glared at the Captain, "I'm not in the mood. I know her from school, and I already know she's going to cause problems for me tomorrow. She's one of Matthew's cheerleader fangirls, so it's a given she's going to say something to him about how I "mistreated" her somehow and have him cause a scene."
"You mean to beat you up, right?" The Captain asked.
Chris nodded and leaned back in his seat with a heavy sigh, "Weekends just aren't long enough. The school is even worse than the orphanage and you know what that place is like. I can't take a single step without having to look over my shoulder to make sure someone isn't pulling some kind of prank on me, or trying to pull a cheap shot by hitting me in the back of the head. All I want is just to be left alone, but apparently, that's too much to ask."
The Captain only stared at Chris blankly. It was no secret how poorly Chris was treated at school, but there was little he could do about it. He couldn't arrest minors, and the school "technically" did what it was required to. But that didn't change that is was almost a mirror image of the orphanage, if not worse. If it wasn't for the fact the Captain knew Chris was sent to that school for very specific reasons, he would have offered to homeschool him. However, there was no chance of that ever happening due to reasons he had no control over.
When the waitress returned, she carefully sat the Captain's glass down in front of him. She was obviously still not happy about having to serve the boy he brought in with him, and she was willing to go an extra mile to get at him. When Chris wasn't looking, she "accidentally" spilled the water all over him by pretending to drop the glass in his lap, soaking his shirt and crotch area. Chris looked down at himself, then looked up at the waitress who had a very fake "innocent" smug smile.
"Oops! Silly me. I must have lost my grip." She says in a voice that was enough to make Chris' blood boil. He glared at her intensely, and in his mind, he thought of a thousand ways to get back at her. But as he looked around the room in the background, he saw everyone else either giggling or laughing or glaring at him as if he were a recently released prisoner who committed a terrible crime that everyone knew about. He never cared much for chivalry, but he knew he would be swarmed if he even made a single hostile movement towards the girl. To everyone else, she was as innocent as a newborn infant. A perfect little princess who could do no wrong. even if she tried. But Chris knew this girl too well from school, and she was anything but innocent. With no other option, he looked away and stared down at the table as a way of admitting submission.
The Captain only glared angrily at the girl. There wasn't much of anything he could actually do. She declared the glass slipping from her hand to be an accident, and that wasn't reason enough to lock her in cuffs. If he did, he'd only look like a fool at the police department. Bringing in a young teenage girl because she spilled water over someone? He'd be the laughing stock of the other officers for a month at best. However, his cold stare did seem to have an effect. He noticed the waitress swallow nervously, and he saw a hint of fear in her eyes as she stared back. "What in the world is the matter with you?! Get him a towel so he can dry himself off, and bring us some to-go boxes with cheeseburgers and french fries! You and I both know damn well that glass didn't slip from your hand!"
More than intimidated by the Captain's icy stare, the waitress backed away and quickly went to get what he asked for. The Captain exhaled angrily, then looked at Chris to see he wasn't exactly in a good mood. He could sense the anger and hatred building up inside the young boy, which he couldn't blame him for. While he did pity the boy, he also had to admire his endurance. A lesser man would have broken long ago by such treatment, but Chris had remained strong for far longer than he had any right to. However, that didn't mean it was easy for him. Due to the constant neglect and bullying and with no one to turn to for comfort, Chris had a dark history of attempting suicide on a somewhat regular base, but he was never able to pull it off. The Captain wanted to say something, but what could he possibly say that would make Chris feel any better? While he was the only one in the city Chris even remotely trusted, that wasn't saying a whole lot. He had done several things in the past that hurt Chris just as much as anyone else, but he never beat him or severely punished him. He had even managed to talk him out of committing suicide one time, but that was about where their "friendship" ended.
When the waitress finally returned, she gave the Captain their to-go boxes and tossed Chris a towel before storming off from the table. The Captain paid for the meal but didn't leave a tip for their waitress. In the corner of his eye, the Captain could see Chris' lips curl into a slight grin, which didn't surprise him. For Chris, this was a victory over someone, and victories didn't happen very often with him, so he took whatever kind of payback he could get on his enemies. No matter how small it was. Everyone in the restaurant glared at Chris with chilling stares as they left their table. Hatred practically radiated from their eyes, but he did his best to ignore them. In the corner of his eye, he could see someone act like they were going to throw something at him, but they stopped when the Captain looked their way. As they walked, Chris, out of instinct, moved his eyes from side to side, keeping an eye out for anything. Due to the constant abuse, he had developed catlike reflexes and he was always ready for anything.
When they reached the Captain's SUV, the Captain pulled out of the parking area and started driving down the street with no particular destination in mind. Normally, he'd take Chris to the orphanage, but it was too early in the day for that and Chris would never go back willingly. In fact, there were days Chris never went back at all. It wasn't hugely uncommon for the Captain to find Chris hiding out in an alley under a cardboard box to protect him from the weather. If it wasn't for the fact he had to do it, he would rather just leave Chris alone when he found him like that. The Captain was thinking to himself, he's always happier when he's on his own because he doesn't have the Minister constantly dragging him into stuff, he doesn't have the other kids to worry about, and he's left to be himself.
They had driven four blocks, and Chris still hadn't said a word, nor had he taken a single bite from his food. He just sat in the passenger seat tapping his thumbs together while hanging his head.
"Chris? You okay?" The Captain asked with a little concern in his voice.
Chris continued to be quiet for several minutes, not speaking a single word for multiple city blocks. But just as the Captain was about to ask him something, Chris lifted his head and looked out the passenger door window at a large crowd of pedestrians standing on the sidewalk. Among them were several kids laughing with their friends, parents, and siblings. For a moment, time seemed to slow down for Chris as he watched a man lift a little girl onto his shoulders and a woman hand a piece of candy to an even younger boy before gently patting him on the head. From watching the families, Chris felt what he could only describe as an alien feeling coming over him. It was strange for him to see families smiling and laughing with one another, for he had always been treated as an outcast for reasons he never understood. And as the people faded away from his vision, he looked down at the floorboard again as he twiddled his thumbs. Emotions he didn't understand were coursing through him, emotions he couldn't label or identify, though confusion was definitely the stronger presence. For all his years of living on the streets, there was only one thing he truly craved: he wanted to know the warmth of a mother's embrace and the security a father offers; the never-ending civil war with siblings. He never cared about having vast amounts of wealth or being famous. He had experienced enough near-death encounters to know money was ultimately useless in the long run, and he didn't want to always be the center of attention. While others dreamed of impossible ambitions, all Chris ever wanted was a family of his own and to live a "normal" life. But no matter how hard he tried, he was always treated as an outcast no matter where he went. In the past, he had gone out of his way to try and help people in the hopes he would earn a little respect. But any kindness he ever showed was never returned. There was one man who even had his dogs chase him down. Chris barely escaped that incident with his life, and still had the scars from where the dogs bit into his flesh. By the time he managed to escape he was covered from head to toe in his own blood. Since then trust was something he didn't give away freely. After years of being treated like trash for no apparent reason, he withdrew into himself, never showing how much he really cared about having someone treat him with kindness. Now he looked out for himself and no one else.
Chris only stared silently at the road ahead, not paying any attention to the radio chatter coming from the radio. But after a long period of silence, he looked out the window again, "Why am I treated like this? I don't remember doing a single thing to hurt anyone in my life, but I'm treated like some kind of rodent skittering around in the kitchen. Everywhere I look I see hostile stares with eyes full of hatred."
The Captain only frowned as he looked at Chris from the corner of his eye while also paying attention to the road. To say he was sympathetic to the boy would be an understatement. Life was harder than it had any right to be for Chris. He sighed heavily and turned his head to look at Chris. He was obviously emotional at the moment, but his tears had dried out long ago. By now, he probably saw crying or showing any kind of emotion as a weakness that could easily be exploited. In all his years of knowing him, the Captain had only seen Chris cry less than a handful of times. Of course, he knew the reasons why, but he could never actually tell him the truth. But it was probably safer that way. He was the only person Chris even remotely "trusted", and by telling the truth, Chris really would be all alone.
The Captain continued to drive aimlessly through the city for a while, long enough for Chris to finish his food. A cheeseburger that would be enough to satisfy a grown man for a time was scoffed down in less than three bites by a boy who was barely into his teen years. Beneath his clothing, Chris was little more than skin and bone, and his messy black hair had grown down past his shoulders. Luckily for him, the minister at the orphanage was obligated by law to buy hygienic supplies, though that didn't stop him from buying the cheapest stuff he could get his hands on. However, what hygienic stuff Chris was allowed to have was often overpowered by the stench of his more common hiding places such as filthy dumpsters or half-filled trash sacks.
When Chris finished his fries he sat the box down on the floor between his feet. He then looked at the Captain and opened his mouth to say something, but was cut off by some loud radio chatter.
"Attention all available units! Officers on South 89th are reporting an armed robbery at a local jewelry store. Hostages have been taken, and suspects are heavily armed. All available units call in."
The Captain reached for his radio to contact dispatch, "This is Captain West. I'm not far from there. Dispatch a SWAT team and have them meet me when they arrive."
"Copy, Captain West."
The Captain then made a sharp turn to pull off the side of the road and stopped, "Time to go, Chris. I can't take you with me."
Chris only nodded and climbed out of the vehicle. Once outside, he closed the car door and watched as the Captain sped off down the street with his lights and siren on. He sighed and looked up at the sky to see dark clouds moving in.
"Typical." He growled under his breath. "Oh, well. It'll wash away the smell, I guess." He sighed heavily as he slumped his shoulders, then began the long walk to the orphanage - the last place he ever wanted to go unless he absolutely had to. It was only a little past six in the evening, but by the time he got to the orphanage it would be around eleven at night, and that's with taking a shortcut through the National Mall. He turned in the direction he needed to go and started the long walk to the orphanage.
Thunder cracked and lightning lit the night sky. Howling winds haunted the alleys and blinding rain poured down on the city streets with rivers of water flowing down the pavement to the sewage systems. The streets were clear of all people except for one young boy who was refused refuge every place he went and was forced to continue his way to the orphanage in the unforgivable weather that seemed to be getting worse by the second. It was now nine thirty in the evening, and the sun had set long ago. The wind was biting cold, and the rain had soaked his clothes, which made it impossible for his body to trap any warmth and the rain was freezing. He was still less than halfway to the orphanage, but at this point, he didn't care where he was going so long as it was warm and dry. The minister could beat him with a stick again and he still wouldn't care so long as he could get a warm blanket. As the storm raged on, the winds got stronger and colder, and Chris felt his body temperature drop dramatically. He had to find shelter fast or he wouldn't make it to the orphanage alive. Fortunately, he knew an area he could use to get out of the wind for at least a few minutes.
He continued down the streets, making a number of different turns that would have gotten most people lost. However, Chris knew the city like he had a built-in GPS system and could easily find his way from point A to point B with his eyes blindfolded. He knew every look, sound, smell, and taste of the city far better than anyone else. The buildings he was walking under now had overhangs that would at least protect him from the rain for most of the rest of the walk to the orphanage. The wind was still freezing cold to his soaking wet clothes and skin, but he'd settle for any small mercy he could get. He still had a long way to go and it was getting harder for his body to function as he felt his limbs start to shut down due to the numbing cold. While suicide was definitely something Chris had considered many times in the past, he refused to die on the streets of the nation's capital by hypothermia.
"If I'm going to die, it's not going to be in the most embarrassing way imaginable." He said with a determined voice, though most of that determination vanished when he remembered where he was trying to get to. If Chris were given the option of having his soul tortured by a thousand demons in the deepest, darkest pit of Hell, or spending another day at the orphanage, he'd easily pick the former option. But that wasn't available to him at the current time.
Five minutes passed eleven o'clock at night, Chris cautiously approached the gates of the orphanage. Where most kids saw a giant five-story castle that offered warmth, security and a chance for a new life, Chris saw a multi-story prison that came with the illusion of freedom. Now that the weekend was done, he was going to be forced to stay here for the next five days. The building was surrounded by a large open yard and a tall black iron fence with spears sticking out the top of every other pole. On stormy nights, it gave the perfect impression of a haunted house. But to Chris, ghosts were the least of his concerns. As he approached, he saw the minister standing just outside the door with his arms crossed. He was a creepy old man with wrinkly skin, long bony fingers, and long white hair but the top of his head was bald.
To Chris, the minister came off as some creepy pedophile. He had seen the way he acted around some of the older and prettier girls who were nearing the age of 18 and could tell it disturbed them a little as well. However, he never did anything that would warrant his arrest, much to Chris' displeasure. What the minister actually did to the others he couldn't care less about. He just wanted the old man gone in one way or another. He couldn't get lucky enough for the old man to choke on something and pass on. That would be asking too much.
"Chris!" The minister hissed in an aggressive and agitated voice as if he were forcing himself to spit out Chris' name, "You're late! You know the rules. Curfew is at nine o' clock!"
Chris only stood in silence, clenching his fists as the minister continued to degrade him. "Where have you been, brat?! You still have chores left over from last week and the orphanage isn't going to clean itself! If it wasn't so late right now I'd have you clean every single room, but everyone else is asleep and I don't want your filth disturbing them! Instead, I'll add more chores to your list for tomorrow and you won't sleep until every single one of them is taken care of."
Chris narrowed his eyes at the minister and stormed past him, "Find someone else or do them yourself, old man. I'm done doing everyone else's jobs."
The minister shot an evil bone-chilling glare at Chris as he walked by, then struck him in the back with his wooden cane, nearly taking all of Chris' breath away and making him lose balance, almost making him fall to the floor. Before he could recover, the minister struck him several more times on the shoulders, the back of the neck, the backs of his thighs and several times on his back. Chris cried blood chilling shrieks of pain that echoed through the orphanage, but no one would come to his rescue.
After several beatings the minister finally stopped and stared down at Chris' battered and bruised body for a moment, then stomped on his back, making his eyes go wide in pain as he opened his mouth to scream without any sound leaving his lips. Chris was already weak from the hostile weather outside, but the minister had sapped what little strength he had left. Still, this was far from the worst thing the old man had ever done to him. With no strength left, all Chris could do was just lie on the ground and take whatever beating the minister gave him. And with a quick kick to the face, the minister decided enough was enough. "I'll teach you to run your mouth, brat! Now get to your room and stay out of my sight until morning!"
Chris only glared at the minister, his eyes filled with nothing but hatred and the desire to see the old man dead and six feet under. That, unfortunately, was the only way he'd ever be truly free from the old man. Maybe he would dream of the man's funeral tonight. He could only hope for as much.
With what little strength he had, Chris rose to his feet and made his way to his room. On the way, he sneaked into the kitchen and stole whatever food he saw would make for an easy steal. Stuff no one would notice was missing and stuffed it into his pockets. He then walked a quick pace to his living area: a lone isolated room in an old and nearly abandoned part of the building that had fallen into disrepair. His door was old and beaten with the damage it had taken over the years and the walls were lined with filth. Inside his room, wooden planks were placed in strategic areas to keep the ceiling from falling in. There were obvious signs of water damage from the weather and a busted pipe somewhere in the walls. The window was busted and covered up with wooden planks, making it impossible for the room to trap warm air. There were multiple reasons why Chris preferred a cardboard box to the orphanage, and this room held most of them, though he had made some adjustments to the room to make it somewhat more "livable" than it used to be. His bed was an old iron spring bed with a mattress that looked as if it belonged in some kind of torture chamber. The mattress was filthy with stains and rips and looked as if it belonged to a prisoner of war at some point. The only blankets he had was a torn and thin white sheet and heavier filthy blanket that would have barely passed as a towel.
At least in an alley, he could be out of the wind and knew how to preserve his warmth. But this room was hardly even livable, and Chris often wished the ceiling would just cave in on him and take him in his sleep. With a heavy sigh, he walked to his bed, dreading the long week ahead of him. It was another five days until he could be free from this place for the weekend. Another long and miserable five days. He laid down on his extremely uncomfortable bed and tried to some sleep.
In just the first chapter alone, you get a true sense of the pain, the hurt and the sheer hatred Chris has for those around him. And until Jessica enters the story, it only gets worse.
Once this is done, Chris and Jessica's relationship, just by their own character natures, might become the closest thing to a couple that resembles what NS could and should have been.
Edited by Dalton.T.R, 11 March 2019 - 03:43 AM.