Over the next few weeks, I will be offering a free preview of several chapters of New Middleport: The Senses of Weiland Kershaw. This dystopian fiction book is the first in a series revolving around a main character that uses extraordinary senses to survive in a city controlled by ruthless rulers. I wanted to take this opportunity to share a preview of my first book as a sneak peak into the fall release of part two that I'm currently working on.
I know something is wrong when the shower cuts off. It’s fortunate that all showers are only
programmed for two minutes; otherwise, whoever has entered my hole of an
apartment might’ve gotten the drop while I rinsed the daily filth. You wouldn’t think that two minutes is enough
time to break into an apartment quietly, but I guess it wouldn’t be a normal
day without someone being killed.
“Do you hear that Weiland?” I remember when my dad would sit me underneath the bathroom sink during his showers. The cabinet doors to the sink would be closed, and it was his way of trying to adapt my ears to hear beyond outside noises. I respond as innocently as possible, “Other than the water?” My dad appreciated my humor when I was ready to answer his questions correctly. He used to say that humor is the only way to see beyond the sunshine.
“The stove is on. I can hear
the coils firing up.” My dad
acknowledges me with a quick laugh, which means he’s very happy that I’ve
guessed correctly. He adds, “Soon you’ll
be able to notice the change in temperature, but there will be time for
that.” He exits the shower and I stay
below until he’s gotten dressed. My
father always wanted me to be able to feel or know the answer by experiencing
the solution rather than attempting to guess.
This would include hiding underneath the sink to test my sense of
hearing, jumping from the tall dresser to the mattress on the floor to test my
sense of velocity and timing, and sometimes he would teach me to recognize
traps that could harm, not only the senses that I had been attempting to
acutely increase, but my life as well.
My dad would tell me that having a sense of things can help to avoid
bad situations, but also there would come a time when I would want to have
companionship beyond “dear old dad.” I
didn’t understand at such a young age, but he eventually made me realize that
relying on your senses would help you to trust others; however, more times than
not these instincts would tell you who not to trust. He would take me to public displays to help
me understand the consequences of trusting the wrong person. These displays are always in various
locations, so sometimes we would trek to the ends of the city to watch. The additional reprimand of these shows is
the fact that they’re done near the residence of relatives whenever possible,
which is almost a blessing compared to being displayed at the center of New
Middleport. There has never been a sole
survivor that was displayed at the center.
This area is the most vacant part of the city, because people are afraid
to make a mistake when they are so close to what everyone has deemed the death
“Do you remember where the weapons are hidden in the apartment? Do you remember where all the exits are in
the apartment? Do you remember where you
should go when you are in absolute danger?”
My answer was always the same.
It’s a three man team this time.
Anyone that’s not a tracker calls them the breeds. They normally scour the areas beyond the
city, as they are the only ones besides the rulers that are legally allowed to
leave Middleport, but they must be stretched for help if the breeds are coming
across my doorstep for a second time.
They’re in charge of New Middleport recruitment, which is the rulers’
way of making them sound light-hearted like they’re going around and teaching
people how to toast marshmallows. Breeds
are thug trackers that abduct individuals or even whole families for many
reasons that are not for the faint of heart.
New Middleport is always in need of workers, spies, thugs, enforcers,
and even bait. If you get abducted,
death will come one way or the other.
The rulers are good that way.
They have their ways of smoking out those that would vocalize displeasure
with their city. Spies are endless in
the port. They can be a stranger, they
can be a friend, or they can even be a family member. A spy has one goal, which is to catch someone
doing something wrong and let the rulers make an example of those that are
caught. A spy is a bottom feeder,
because they’ll accept anything as a reward to be a spy. Some are forced into being a spy, but it’s
still a choice to betray those closest to you.
There’s no denying that the term killed has become a staple in the daily
life of port people. The port is the
nickname for New Middleport, because most people have to struggle to find used
goods, let alone anything remotely new and there’s nothing middle class about
such poor living conditions.
“Now where was I? Oh, right. You and your two thugs, excuse me, you and
these two now quiet thugs were looking for something in this residence.” The third breed is looking up at me from one
knee, grasping the other in obvious pain.
I put the blade so close to his eye he doesn’t dare blink because of
fear that he will get cut again. The
other two were fortunate. They went
quickly and without the fear. Blood is pooling
up so quickly around his feet now, I give him a quick smirk knowing that I’ve
cut him correctly. “If you were lucky
enough to bring liquid protein that cut might not end your life.” His eyes give him away.
His glance toward one of his fallen trackers tells me they have some. The thug knows there's only one end coming between the two of us now that I know there's something of value and he makes a futile attempt to pull a knife from his boot. His fingertips can only wish they were close enough to grab at something as he tastes another quick stab. At this point, he can only squirm at his neck as he falls to the floor. He gives me his final pale stare within a few seconds. It is a gruesome scene, but nothing less if they would've gotten their hands on me first. At least I gave them some dignity of ending it without demonstration.
© 2011 S. T. Lakata
Stay tuned for another free preview at the end of this week. My book is currently available through the Kindle and Nook.