Wednesday, July 14, 2010

July Secret Agent #17

TITLE: Nikko's Bond
GENRE: Middle Grade (Sci-fi)

Marni left us during the night.

Constant tremors rippled through her body as she accepted our condolences.

She came to me last.

I knelt in the dust of the yard, taking her stick-like frame in my arms. Her heart fluttered against my chest like a trapped bird, and my throat closed in response.


The anguish in her voice sliced through my soul. I tried to swallow, but the vice-grip morphed into a lump the size of a softball, choking off my words and stinging my eyes.

"I can't hear him, Nikko."

I shuddered. I wanted to be strong for Marni, but the idea of losing my connection to Pherecles terrified me. Bile burned my throat as I fought the urge to vomit. I clutched her tighter, pressing her head against my shoulder.

"Hush," I croaked.

"It hurts."

I focused beyond Marni's red curls at the other children. Twenty-one faces blurred as I blinked back tears in the glare of the compound's lights.

"Make it stop, Nikko." Her fingers clawed at my shoulders. "Please."

I swallowed, determined not to let the sobs escape. I sensed Pherecles--his presence woven into my mind since birth--trying to soothe me. His emotions washed through me in an orange wave; assuring me everything would be all right.

But it would never be right for Marni.

Her symbiont was dead.

She clung to my neck, begging me to make the pain go away.

I couldn't.

No one could, but I had to try.


  1. This really moved me...
    I would read on for sure.

    Good luck!

  2. I definatly liked it. There's something about it that I enjoyed. I almost think it's a little intense so middle grade though? If it keeps up like this I would say that it would be perfect for young adult. Keep up the awsome work.

  3. Some great language here: "sliced through my soul," the description of her heart fluttering, your use of strong verbs and short, poignant sentences. I, too, found it moving. Yet I was a bit confused as to setting and situation at first. I didn't understand how Marni could have left you and then be accepting your condolences. Could you maybe say "Pherecles, my symbiont" or something to ground us a bit more?

    The writing is very nice. I would like to read more.
    Best wishes!

  4. Nice job with the emotions. However, I felt like a little more grounding was needed. I didn't have much of an idea as to what was going on. At first I thought Marni was leaving for a journey. Then I figured she was dying. But then I re-read it, and the whole "she came to me last" seemed to suggest she could still walk, so she wouldn't be dying, right?

    Anyway, I'm interested enough to keep reading, but I'd need more information pretty quickly. It took me three read-throughs to really get what was going on (I think). Though maybe Im' just slow :P

  5. I am interested, but I also think we need some grounding. There's SO much emotion, but the reader feels left out because we don't know why.

  6. I really enjoyed your submit.

    I read it through completely, twice - and on the second pass, it made perfect sense.

    You have a great sense of voice and description. Each sentence pulled me further and further into the emotion and I could easily see the picture you had painted.

    I would definitely read more!

    Good luck with the contest!

  7. Hooked! Very emotional with beautiful, clean writing.

    The first sentence seemed the only thing off. It seems you're telling us she died before she actually does?

    I kinda saw the simbionts here to be similar to Daemons in His Dark Materials trilogy. Don't know if that's what you're going for or not.

    Very nice!

  8. Great details here. It was fun to read. I'd most definitely read more!

  9. I had to read back a few times with this to make sure I understood what was going on, but I actually didn't mind because the writing here is very strong and I felt the emotion. There could be a way to make it clearer from the start, but I'm not sure how. I liked it regardless, beautiful writing.

  10. I like this a lot. But I'm an idiot and still don't know exactly what's going on.

    To be honest, when I read about her stick-like body, I thought he was holding a snake! But don't tell anyone.

    Then I realized my mistake and my heart sank. So you've done well with grabbing my emotions.

    Would love to read more and find out where this is going.