Hey all! I am so excited to meet and work with you Below is the opening to my MS, please let me know what you think and how I might make it better.
What is feeding to a Goddess? A necessity, she thought, as she rinsed the gore from her thumb and ring finger. It was painful trying to satisfy herself with the scraps of power she devoured from the creatures she’d created. That, and the indecency of having to clean up after herself. But alas, her siblings were mostly alive and well for now, so she’d have to settle for tiptoeing towards transcendence. She rolled up the eyeless corpse of the Reborn in the rough faded carpet on which it lay and hefted it over her shoulder before stepping into the night.
She awoke to pitter-patter on the door.
Was that… knocking?
No one had dared knock on her door in ages. Especially before the sun rose. The feeble rap on the door sounded again. She got out of bed, grabbed the bayonet-like piece of silver she always kept in arm’s reach, and opened the door. The boy immediately fell to his knees, shaking uncontrollably as he looked down towards her feet.
“Miss Master,” he said, his voice cracking, “I’ve been practicing.”
She raised an eyebrow.
“And…” she asked.
“I think we can make you the one and only,” he said, trembling at her feet.
She blinked, then smiled.
“Come in piglet.” she said, “Tell me more.”
Jared should have been playing Hell’s Hoard with José instead of suffocating at Seaside Park. If only the physics club had been merit-based or their mothers had cared that neither he nor José were that kind of nerd. Jared tried to calm down as he sat in the grass amidst the goose poop while cradling his burning hand, now cartoonishly inflated from a bee sting. He squinted his eyes that also buzzed with the same hot pain as his lips, tongue, throat, and hand. Normally, he found calmness by focusing on his breath as his grandmother had taught him, but concentrating on the rapid shallow wheezing that managed to sneak past the growing lump in his throat only multiplied his anxiety. His clubmates stopped paying attention to the contraptions they’d been so excited to test on the sunny afternoon to watch José as he ran, probably yelling for Mr. Jones. It was hard to hear with the roaring pulse in his ears. Jared reached under his sweater and shirt to un-velcro his back brace, tugging it out from under his clothes he tossed it next to their pathetic approximation of a kite. Scoliosis was the least of his worries. He tried to breathe again but got nothing at all. Great… he thought as an immaculately dressed man came bounding over from the small crowd that had formed, as people who’d come to stroll along the Bridgeport shore stopped their walks to watch the students.
“What’s wrong?” the man asked as he pushed past a girl José had been daring Jared to talk to.
Play it cool. Jared thought before shuddering for a gasp of air. A nod would have to do. The stranger knelt in front of him. He was enormous with dark olive skin, thick curly hair pushed back by some unseeable product, and teeth that could blind. He looked like the Long Island ideal had boarded a ferry across the Sound and swept in to make one of Jared’s most embarrassing moments even more odd. The world began moving in strange ways and Jared realized he could no longer hear what the man was saying. More concerningly, he couldn’t breathe at all. The knot in Jared’s stomach tightened and he reached for his neck. The man gently grabbed his shoulder and eased him back towards the ground. Jared complied, preferring to gaze up at the circling seagulls in the cloudless sky than the faces of his peers. The man began slowly stroking Jared’s hair back from his forehead, as his mother used to do to calm him down when he was little, and smiled. Jared felt the knot in his stomach loosen as his burning eyes swelled shut.
Jared woke up with a soreness in his left arm and an uncomfortably dry nose as a whistling stream of air blew up each nostril. What… Why? He opened an eye to see José sitting next to him in a very bright, white, room.
“Jared!” José said, jumping up and grabbing his arm, “Jared can you hear me?”
Jared blinked slowly; everything hurt.
“José,” he mumbled, surprised by the brokenness of his own voice, “What happened?”
“You blew up at the park,” José said, inflating his cheeks for emphasis, “it was pretty scary. They said you went a few minutes without oxygen before the ambulance came.” José turned for the curtain past Jared’s feet, “I gotta get a nurse.”
“Wait!” Jared said, sitting up as he reached for José, wincing as the IV tugged at the inside of his elbow. “Is my mom alright?”
“Yeah she’s here,” José said, pausing at the curtain.
“But?” Jared asked.
“Jared, did you recognize that guy?” José asked, “Have you seen him in pictures or something?”
“What do you mean?”
“The dude who came over at the park. Jacked guy with nice teeth?”
Jared thought back, he recalled a stranger kneeling next to him in a suit.
“The guy who ran over?” Jared asked, cringing as he remembered the stares of the other kids in his club. “No, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him before.”
“What?” Jared asked.
José squeezed his eyes shut and rubbed his forehead.
“I should get the nurse…”
“José, tell me what’s going on.” Jared demanded.
“Dude, I don’t know what’s going on,” José said, “But your mom is mad and I’m pretty sure I heard her talking to that guy about child support.”
Jared laughed, “What?” he asked.
José shook his head.
“No man, I’m serious. I think you’re about to get some money.”
“What do you mean?”
“Jared, I think that guy’s your father.”
“Everyone’s got one,” José said. “I’m sorry dude, I know this must be crazy but I need to get a nurse to make sure your brain’s okay.”
Jared sat back in the hospital bed and looked at the IV bag suspended to his left.
“I’m not sure it is bro,” he said.
“You and me both,” José said, “I’ll be right back.”
Jared let the antiseptic smell and tapping of foot traffic from beyond his cloth cell wash over him as he sat. His mother had made it a point to never talk about his father, well or badly. Their relationship was apparently brief but the silence she maintained about his father was too conspicuous for Jared to believe what his aunts and grandparents assumed to be indifference. At least that’s what he told himself.
“Where do you think you’re going?”
Jared grinned as he heard Nichole from down the hall, amused by how his mother’s voice was distinct among the din of the bustling ward.
“I swear, do not try me today B,” she said, her voice coming closer. Jared straightened up in his bed as she pulled back the curtain and came in.
“Jared!” she said, her eyes were tinged red and she still had her blue Speedy Electric work jumper on. She rushed in and hugged him. “How are you? Are you alright?”
Jared returned her hug.
“I’m good ma, just kinda lightheaded.”
“Yeah, the prednisone will do that,” she said, patting his back. “Looks like we’re gonna have to get you a cute little fanny pack to carry your new epipens in.”
“Mom,” Jared groaned.
“Sorry,” she said, “I mean a handsome fanny pack. But maybe you could borrow the one your aunty wore in the eighties. I’m sure she’s got it saved somewhere.”
Jared rolled his eyes. He could barely wear a hat without feeling self conscious, never mind an old woman’s tie dye fanny pack.
The curtain slid back again as the nurse, followed by José, stepped in.
“Hey Jared. How are you feeling hun?” she asked.
“Pretty good,” he said, “Just kinda sore and lightheaded.”
The nurse nodded as she made some notes on her clipboard.
“That’s good,” she said, “I’m gonna ask you a few questions. Alright?”
“Sure thing,” Jared said.
The nurse asked him about his birthday, birthplace, who the president was, where he was, and what had happened to land him in the hospital. Nichole took hold of his hand as he answered, squeezing it and letting out a breath when he finished.
“Alrighty,” the nurse said, looking toward Nichole after removing the IV from his arm and pressing a cotton ball to it, “The CT scan we did before didn’t seem concerning, as the doctor mentioned, and he’s definitely cognizant. I’d say he’s all good mom.” she looked at Jared, “You’re very lucky, young man. Do you feel well enough to leave or do you want to hang out for a bit?”
“I’m ready to go,” Jared said.
“I thought so,” the nurse said, smiling. “If you find yourself having memory issues, slurring your speech, or persistent lightheadedness you come right on back. For now we are going to give you a prescription of prednisone and epinephrine.”
“Thank you,” Jared said.
“Thank you so much,” Nichole said.
“You’re very welcome,” the nurse said. “Be sure to stop by the desk on your way out.”
José picked a plastic bag off of a chair in the corner of the room and brought it to Jared.
“Here’s your clothes man,” he said.
“Thanks,” Jared said, not eager to iron out the details about how he transitioned from his outfit to the open-backed hospital gown.
“José, why don’t you call your mother and ask if you can stay for dinner?” Nichole asked, “I’ll get you guys whatever takeout you want.”
“No,” Jared said, “I mean, thanks mom, but do you mind if we hangout tomorrow instead José?”
José looked from Jared, to Nichole, and back, shaking his head slowly as he looked Jared in the eye.
“Not at all man. I totally understand. I’d need some time too,” he said. Nichole eyed them both.
“Great,” Jared said. “Could you guys step out for a second so I can change?”
“Of course honey,” Nichole said.