Wednesday, November 4, 2009

34 Secret Agent

TITLE: Fate Misnamed

He came into being a fifteen-year-old with a bleeding brain and radiation poisoning. At least, that's what he was told later. The boy just knew there had to be some logical explanation for why his vision was sliding out of focus and his head felt like it was splitting open.

The two adults stood before him, hanging back at a careful distance. The man's voice reverberated in his ears: "He looks like hell. What's wrong with the kid, Sabra?"

The woman eyed the boy in an unsettling manner; she looked poised as a hunted animal, gun dangling from her hand. "I'm just wondering what he's doing here."

The boy wondered that, too. He recalled watching the adults approach from across the concrete yard; they shouted unremembered words at him. But before that?

Before that...?

His dry-eyed gaze wandered about his surroundings. Flat granite sidewalks, rusting tanker trucks, the scarred walls of warehouses, and beyond it all a chilled expanse of water. The slit of a moon washed everything in a dull gray light.

He couldn't puzzle it out. It was like a heavy cloth was bunched in his skull, stuffed ear to ear, blotting his thoughts away.

"Who are you, kid?" The man's voice again.

The boy focused on him, the dark-skinned man blurring in and out of focus. Pain beat a dull rhythm inside his skull. "I don't know."

The woman, Sabra, this time: "How could you not know?"


  1. I had to read the first sentence a few times before I was able to move on. I do like the idea of a boy who has no idea who he is, though! For me, the story begins at the paragraph that begins "His dry-eyed gaze..." I'd keep reading, I'd like to know if he finds out who he is!

  2. I feel the same as Ant. The first line through me off. I kept thinking it was a gramatical error.

    I think if it said "He came into being AS a fifteen-year-old with a bleeding brain..." I would have understood.

    I also don't know what "unremembered words" are. Ancient words? Magie words? or just words they shouted at him then that he can't remember now.

    I think this is interesting, but a bit overwritten.

  3. There's some good stuff here. I took the first sentence to me the boy began existence as a 15-year-old...but maybe it means all he can remember began at age 15? I like the mystery of the first sentence but you might need to come up with a way to clarify what you're driving at. I also found the writing a bit choppy. I'd advise another, really close edit/redraft. Still, I'd want to know how the kid got himself to the point with a bleeding brain, raediation poisoning and (perhaps) amnesia...

  4. Same issues as others -- had to read the first sentence several times before I got it. It felt almost like fantasy because of the awkward wording, and you don't have it listed as such.

    There are a few very nice, unique craft touches, such as the cloth bunched in his brain.

    Sounds like an interesting concept, but I am not quite hooked as it seems to need more polishing.

  5. Sorry, too gruesome. I read somewhere that agents don't like horrific things happening to kids...You might consider changing that first sentence.

  6. I'm intrigued - I'd definitely keep reading. Good job.

  7. Yeah, I got totally caught up at the beginning too. Maybe there's another way to introduce the fact that he has amnesia?

  8. I'm slightly hooked. Like the discriptions of how his head feels and the mystery. If I read on, I'd be expecting the setting to clarified at least a little in the next couple of pages.

    I did have a problem with the comparison of the woman to a a hunted animal. It read to me like the animal had the gun in its hand--which didn't make sense. I think it is the puncuation that threw me off.

  9. I like the opening paragraph but the rest is a bit more baffling. I'd still want to know what comes next. I feel hooked.

  10. Almost Hooked.
    Although the opening is somewhat confusing, I am intrigued enough to invest the time to unravel the tangled skeins in your story.

    I think a re-write would be in order here. But having said that, I am definitely interested and I want to know more. I am curious about the kid and that would lead me on, make me turn the page.

    It is confusing, but I don’t read the first page of a novel to decide whether to buy it or not. I skip ten pages into the book and decide from there.

    Good Job…I like it.

  11. Almost hooked. I want to know WHERE and WHEN this is, not sure I care about the characters yet.

  12. I like the title and the situation. I'd keep reading.