YA Indie Carnival: A Work In Progress, “Nova”

This week’s YA Indie Carnival topic deals with our Work In Progress (WIP). I can’t reveal too many scenes with the new Book 2 (I write scenes as they come to me, usually out of order. Would hate to spoil anything just yet). So I thought I’d share a WIP of my YA book. It’s currently titled SuperNova but that’s just the project name for now.

This excerpt is from my fantasy adventure story; our protagonist is 17-year-old Nova, who just lost her little sister in a horrific murder. She wants to go after her sister’s killer. This is a piece of the short story from the actual novel.

**************

What did a teenage girl wear to go save the world? Blue tights and red underwear seemed a little too conspicuous. It couldn’t be a dress, obviously, and shorts were out because my pasty white legs would be spotted a mile away. Plus, it was still on the warm side, so a black sweater wouldn’t cut it. I settled on a pair of black yoga pants, paired it with a thin black long-sleeved shirt and dug out my black Chucks from a pile of clothes on the floor. I pulled my hair back, glanced at the mirror only to ignore my pale, freckly skin. I would not wear a ski mask. The man they called Fortune, who murdered my nine year old little sister, had worn one and I refused to have similarities with him.

I stood in front of the full-length mirror on my closet door to get the full effect. I looked ridiculous, like a hipster’s idea of a cat burglar. I didn’t have other options, though, unless I went shopping for leather pants or a corset. I grimaced at the thought; how was one supposed to be lightning-fast in hot pants and heels? I shrugged my vanity off—I wanted to fight crime, not compete in a beauty pageant. I needed to be able to fight and run, not stun my opponent with heaving bosoms and luscious calves. Not that I really had either of those things, anyways.

As I headed towards the city, I contemplated the options. So far, my plan was to drive into Arcania and tiptoe around the streets until I came across…well, a bad guy. I couldn’t hope that I’d find Fortune so easily, but I could use some practice on a teenage vandal spray-painting the walls or something.

Though my family lived only ten or fifteen minutes from the downtown area, one could see a distinct difference between our neighborhoods and the littered streets of Arcania. Buildings of several eras condensed into even blocks, ranging from simple, modern brick to massively old Gothic structures. Some shops were still lucky enough to be open, but I noticed many “Out of Business” signs mixed with boarded up windows. Dad, Arcania City’s DA, often mentioned how crime had gone up in the last few years, with several break-ins, robberies, and flat out harassment. It made him so angry that he couldn’t do enough to fix it.

I thought of my sister Starling and wondered if my little gift would help me if I fought someone tonight. I had a sudden flashback to the day before she was murdered.

“How many times must we have this conversation? Nine, ten times a week?” I had asked her in exasperation.

Starling had giggled as we walked the three blocks home from her gymnastics class. “I can’t help it if you fascinate me. At least I don’t try and jab you with the kitchen utensils anymore.”

“Yeah, thanks for that.” I’d rolled my eyes a lot at her questions. “Nothing’s changed, not even since our last talk two days ago, I promise. Mom and Dad say I’ve always been this way.”

“But does it run in our family?”

“Not that anyone told me. At least not my powers or whatever we’re calling them. As far as I know, I could be the only one in the world with my little issue.”

“I call them powers,” she’d replied with a grin. Her blue eyes lit up, made her freckled face appear angelic.

Starling and I had walked home from her lessons every other day and I was sure we always had this exact same talk. I also knew what part came next.

“But Nova, why didn’t I get a power, too?” As I expected, her voice grew small and her shoulders shrank into her tiny frame.

“We’ve been through this, Star. It’s not really a gift. I’m kind of a weirdo.”

“Maybe I’m the weirdo because I’m not special.” I could practically hear her lower lip pout to the sidewalk.

I had stopped her, turned her towards me and knelt down to look her in the eyes. “Star, we can’t go through this all the time, you know that right? You are very special. You are wonderful and beautiful and perfect the way God made you.”

“But you’re so strong. You can’t get hurt. If God made everyone like you, maybe the world would be better.”

“No, it wouldn’t. People would probably go crazy with power and greed, think they were invincible and try to take over the world. There would be a lot of fights.”

“What’s invincible mean?”

“It means they can’t be beat in a fight.”

“But you are invisible. Envision…whatever that word you just said.”

“Shh! You know we shouldn’t be talking about it outside our house.”

Starling had heaved a dramatic sigh. She took my hand and we continued our walk back home. “You’re great. I wish I didn’t bleed or break stuff. I didn’t like breaking my wrist at practice last year. If I were you, it wouldn’t have happened.”

“If you were me, the whole universe would flip upside down,” I teased her.

“Could you really do that?” Her voice had gone up several octaves in excitement.

“Doubt it, kiddo.” We arrived at our driveway and started towards the porch.

“You could save the world. You’re smart enough and it’s not like anyone could stand in your way. You’re…invincible.” She had smiled, pleased with herself, and I couldn’t help but smile back.

I snapped back to reality as I took my car to my dad’s city parking garage. Mine was the only vehicle on the fourth floor and the emptiness of the giant space gave me the creeps. I took the stairs down and headed away from the courthouse. My heart thudded in my chest; I half-expected to be jumped from behind at any moment. My head spun around so much in every direction I felt like an owl.

The movies only showed the good parts of criminals getting beaten up. They never showed the tedious part where the hero ran around hunting down justice. It was a lonely, eerie process. Shadows leapt out at me from every direction. I gritted my teeth and pressed onwards, stepping as quietly as I could, listening for any sounds of movement. No way would I chicken out, even if I did just nearly wet myself at the newspaper rustling against the pavement. This is what I would have to do if I wanted to help Arcania’s people from the bad guys; trouble wouldn’t walk up to me and offer itself. I had to find it and that meant I couldn’t run back home with my tail tucked between my legs every time I got scared.

******

So what did we think? I can’t wait to flesh out this story more. I got smacked with inspiration last night and am now super pumped to get it down on paper (/Scrivener doc). And as always, check with our YA Indie Carnival to see all the other amazing authors posting their sneak peeks of WIPs! Happy weekend!

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