Monday, November 2, 2015

NaNoWriMo 1K-A-Day: Day 1

The Remnant Resonance (Ruth)

Smoke hung in a heavy, visible atmosphere everywhere you looked. From the minute you gave a nod to Fabio—the giant Puerto Rican bouncer who liked to stand in the shadows and grab your shoulders from behind if you didn't acknowledge him first—Club Mo was a wall-to-wall subway car experience, full of elbows and shoulders and bodies brushing and pressing, of way too many smells and constant voices. But the floor was prime real estate, especially when the Black Lily sang. The floor was the only place in the entire club where one could hear her warm, soothing voice. It resonated through the floorboards. It filled the curls of smoke in the air.

She didn’t have to grab the microphone to be heard. She merely pointed her voice at it, the rich rolling tones carrying through the tinny speakers.

Remember the moonlight,
When life sends the rain,
Remember I love you,
Till we meet again;
Look to the stars,
How they shine up above,
Forever and always,
Remember my love...”

The air stilled as the last echoes of the song faded. Those close enough to hear the final cadence sighed in rapture before commencing the applause, alerting those too far away to hear that the song had finished and they should all be clapping.
Marty, the quippy emcee, strode onto the stage in his customary purple suit and paisley tie.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the Black Lily!” he shouted into the microphone over the whoops and whistles of the inebriated crowd. The Black Lily took her bow and accepted the applause.
Once backstage, she pulled off the elbow-length silk gloves and kicked off the towering black heels. Black Lily vanished with a tug of a few hairpins, leaving in her wake simple Ruby Corden, child of Harlem. She skirted the troupe of wide-flounced dancers and wended her way between stage trappings to reach the small door with her name crudely slapped on with white paint: “RUBY C BLACK LILY” Slipping inside, she tossed the stiff black hairpiece on the table and shook out the stiffly-curled locks of her own black hair. The glaring lamps on the dressing-room table didn’t quite give her amber skin the same glow as the hushed chandeliers of the main stage, but her round eyes and luxurious, full mouth still bespoke the same regal beauty everybody seemed to listen to.
The door clicked open, and Ruby smiled at the reflection of her friend and accompanist, Ophelia Lake.
“That was some performance tonight, Ruby,” Ophelia noted as she plopped down on the chair beside Ruby, despite the fact that it was draped with gowns.
“Hey, don’t ruffle my closet,” Ruby frowned at the tall, willowy figure currently crushing four of the six gaudy ball gowns she cycled through each week of performances.
Ophelia snorted. “Closet?” Her dark eyes roved around the interior of the whole room. “This room is a closet!” The space hadn’t been large enough for a dress rack like the other performers got, Ruby had been told.

The Astonishing Adventures of Jonas (Jonah)

Remus Hemptor: Why should you care? Why intervene? Things are happening all over the world. One person can't make a difference.
Deus Maximus: One person can make a difference. All it takes is a single point of a degree of deviation, and a straight line can become a slant. The average difference between the fastest race car and the slowest race car is only about seven seconds. The question is not whether you can make a difference. It is only whether or not you are willing to do what needs to be done and be prepared to face the outcome of your decisions.

The tinny explosion of the alarm clock needled into his sleep with all the tenderness of a live wire jammed into his head. Jonas jerked into wakefulness and fumbled toward the sound. His hand met only blankets and pillows, but he kept reaching till he felt the plastic casing under his fingers. Once there, it was simply a matter of pressing buttons till the noise stopped. He flopped onto his back and yawned, running his fingers through his stringy black hair. Saturdays were for sleeping, everybody knew that; what nefarious influence had prompted him to set his alarm on a Saturday? Jonas opened his eyes slowly. The figurine of Deus Maximus--the almighty leader of the Brave Youth Battle Legion--stared down at him, the miniscule resin fingertip outstretched, calling him to action. Today, the forceful bass voice boomed in his imagination. Today--
Today! Jonas rocketed out of his bed as the alarm whined again, insisting that the young man’s arousal was no accident. Jonas checked his limited-edition B.Y.B.L. calendar. Today was the day! A thumbnail-sized head-shot image of Remus Hemptor--the hero of the series--grinned at him from Saturday’s square, which marked the start of Calaveras County Comic Convention. Today, it would finally happen.
He pulled on his dingy cargo pants and a Captain Original tee shirt. Opening his laptop launched the startup sequence for two other computer modules. On the laptop, Jonas keyed up a new entry in his blog, armed with the video he had made specifically for this event. The news sites opened on the computer monitors at the back of the desk. The protocols for the search program he designed automatically highlighted any mention of “SYRIEN” or “ISRL” in the Breaking News section. One site in particular contained both acronyms in the headline: “Syrien Corp. Goes Head-To-Head Against Independent Servicers and Retailers League in Legendary Lawsuit.” Jonas read the article:

SAN ANDREAS, CA--A record-setting lawsuit by multi-business conglomerate Syrien Corp took an unexpected turn today as internal investigations uncovered a systematic undermining of local businesses with petty complaints, coercion, and in some cases even blackmail threats stretching back as far as fourteen months. Their last attempt at suing a number of these businesses may have succeeded had not the Independent Servicers and Retailers League stepped up to defend the small, privately-owned and operated shops scattered all over the county.
Today the San Andreas Court handed down a verdict in support of the League’s defense, which--among other things--stated that, “Syrien’s goal of replacing the local businesses with mega-stores is in direct conflict with the city’s goal of cultivating a self-sustaining community.” Judge Anthony Morton ruled that, while the law could provide Syrien with the land it needed to build the warehouse-sized “one-stop-shopping” centers, that same law also protected the rights of the private businesses that already owned land, and any attempt by the Corporation to coerce a sale or unlawfully seize active businesses would be considered illegal and risk forcing the Corporation to withdraw from Calaveras County altogether.

Jonas punched both fists in the air. “YES!” He screamed. “YES! We did it!” His hands shook with excitement as he typed out a title for his new post and hit “Publish.” Embedded in the post was a video he had made exactly fourteen months prior, in which he had expounded on the events of the latest issue of B.Y.B.L.: Brave Youth Battle Legion, in which the hero, Remus Hemptor--sent on a mission by the shadowy, omnipotent Deus Maximus--finally ended up getting the upper hand over the diabolical Siren and thwarting her plans for dominating the Faultlands.
Who knew that comic books would end up predicting the future?