I have good news! I’ve reached and surpassed 10,000 words! That’s 1/5 of the way through the challenge! So exciting. Days off are great for writing because you have all day to do it, so one can really hammer out a bunch of words. But my weekend is over now, and I return to work on the morrow.
Today, I would like to share with you a small excerpt of my novel this year. I hope that it will give you a bit of a taste of my story. I do ask that you keep in mind that this is what I call a “vomit draft”. NaNoWriMo is a challenge to write a minimum of 50,000 words in 30 days, so what you’ll be reading was written fast with only minor spell check editing. The only polishing I’ve done to it was to make it presentable for you. Proper editing will come later. So, here is the first excerpt, please enjoy.
“You’re Mr. Deus, right?” the fearless looking boy said. If Saul were to guess, he would say the boy was around eleven or twelve, and his sister closer to nine or ten.
The last thing he wanted to do was talk to children. Normally Saul liked children, but as of late, his mood was never good, unless Xandria was around. She always found ways to lift up his spirits. He gave the boy a fake smile. “That’s me.”
The siblings smiled at each other. “I heard that you have a fake hand,” the boy said.
Saul was not embarrassed by the souvenir from his encounter with Dr. Kleverland, but he hated it with a passion, and didn’t like to flaunt it. The traitor cut off his hand and replaced it with clockwork, he didn’t like being reminded of that night; the night he lost Sam. Saul wished he could say that this was the first time a blunt child had asked him that question. Some of Jill’s street rat friends would come by from time to time and ask questions about it.
Saul was a little more patient with the kids, because he remembered what it was like to be their age and curious of everything. He just nodded and said, “Yes, I do. I lost my hand in a…an accident.” He couldn’t tell the kid that it was cut off by a traitor with a sword.
“Can I see it?”
Saul figured that was coming. If the parents had been here, they most likely would have scolded the boy. But they were discussing the price of a grandfather clock in the corner and couldn’t be bothered. Saul took off the glove and showed the boy. “It’s steam powered.” The boy didn’t look amazed, like most kids, but as if it were unremarkable.
“Oh, I thought it was more than just your hand,” he said. “I thought it was most of your arm.”
“Sorry to disappoint you, kid,” Saul said as he slid the glove back into place. The flesh ended just below the wrist, and the metal began. He was grateful that he didn’t lose more than just his hand and wrist. But then again, he did, he lost Sam.
The boy smiled. “Ellen has a one too, but hers is a leg. Show Mr. Deus, Ellen.”
The girl blushed with embarrassment. “Ty!”
“Show him!” Ty said, more forcefully.
The boy seemed to know how to push his sister’s buttons, because the girl lifted the skirt of her dress a little, revealing a sock and shoe covered clockwork leg. Saul could see the Kleverland Medical logo on the knee cap. His hand had the logo at one time too, but Saul had scratched it out seven months ago, shortly after he proposed to Xandria.
He had seen prosthetics on people before, but never on a kid so young, and never a full leg. Ellen quickly dropped her skirt to hide it. She didn’t like to show it off either, just like his hand.
“She lost her leg a few years ago, after she got really sick. She’s gotta get a new one fitted every year because she keeps growing. But the thing works, she’s never had any problems, have ya, Ellen?” Ellen shook her head without looked at Ty or Saul, she just kept her eyes pasted to the floor.
As much as he hated his prosthetic, Saul had to admit it was very high quality. He also never had issues with it, other than getting used to using it and it not having the same deft precision as his real hand did. He got used to it enough that he could work with it, but finer details still took him longer to do than he remembered.
Saul could see that Ty was more proud of Ellen’s clockwork leg than she was. He bent down to look her in the eyes. She looked up at him, then turned her face back to the floor. Saul smiled at her and said, “Having a clockwork leg is nothing to be ashamed of, Miss Ellen,” he said in a soft voice. “Be grateful that you have it, because some children who lose their legs can’t get a clockwork one. You’re lucky to have that.”
It was the exact opposite of how he felt about his hand, but this girl was not him. Nor did she had a personal vendetta against the creator of her leg. “You can walk and run, dance and jump where others with a similar issue can’t. Never be ashamed of your brass leg. You are a complete girl with or without it, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”
At that, the girl looked up at him and smiled. He lightly bopped her nose with his finger and stood back up.
Her mother was standing next to the counter with a tear in her eye. “Thank you, Mr. Deus,” she said with the same accent as the rest of her family. “You have no idea how much she’s getting bullied in school because of her leg. Thank you for your kind words.”
Saul smiled at her, this time it was completely genuine. “I know what it’s like to lose a body part. I may not be a kid, but I understand the emotional pain it can cause.”
-Excerpt from True Automaton; Chapter 1, by Andrew Ronzino
There you go. Again, please keep in mind that this excerpt, and ones I’ll share in the future, are extremely rough; I’m fully aware of it.
Current word count for True Automaton: 12,129/50,000!
Until the morning sun rises,
Andrew Ronzino, An Island