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Module 8; Our Sell Sheet, For Starters


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SELL SHEET 

 

 

 

Title: Terror Undeleted.  

Genre: Ethnic Sci-Fi 

 

Comparables: “The Upper World.” Femi Fadugba.    

                       “The Black Mirror (series content).” Charlton Brooker.  

 

Hook Line:  

When a young man’s lifeline from the streets is snatched away, condemning him to a purgatory of ruthless survival, he grasps a second chance at true life from the unexpected—a calling from beyond the grave to save both himself and the world.   

 

Pitch:  

Enduring the darkest streets of Chicago, Illinois, Nicco Myles keeps a secret to live for, his chance to win an online gaming tournament and a trip to nationals, a way out of the ghetto. But when he is forced to choose between this last chance at life and a bullied allegiance to the murderous West End Gang, reality turns stranger than the gaming world. It is a reality where followers online, once faceless, show themselves to be international terrorists, ones with plans to infect the planet with a deadly viral pathogen. What they’re looking is an avatar of sorts, a disposable scapegoat to carry out the final steps in the United States of America. Who better than a black boy with a low life expectancy?  

Nicco’s unexpected ticket from the hood comes at a price, as he’s pit against forces of time and technology beyond anything he’s experienced in the metaverse. He must draw on the strength of his own alter ego as he struggles for control over his consciousness—his actions! It is a fight to stop the terrorists from within and without. 

 

First 500 words:  

CHAPTER 1 

Why bloody fingerprints on that note from his dad? Now was the wrong time to ask—a smear of senseless... as senseless as killing men he didn’t know. But here he was.  

They moved up across the hilly park-side to the back doors, the ones where the dope-fiends gathered in a tight company of pissy whiffs and shit-talking with hands…. The fiends made way without a third thought, keeping their chatter steady and casual as the hooded men wedged through, guns downward.   

Nico counted four men, between his own quickened heartbeats—himself included. Being 14 didn’t matter now.   

“Look here lilnigga...” one of men shot back with a turn of his head. The corner of his lip curled with a snarl to shape his tone. “...don’t be stallin’ and shit when we get in here.” He turned forward again, the back of his black hoodie the contour of a bald head beneath. The rest of the thoughts emanated as a halo of sound from that shifting oval. “Still not sure why Chauncey made us bring yo lil’ ass anyway. But time to man up.”   

Nicco heard the tone louder than the gruffness that it sounded, a deafening secret that all of them knew, as they breathed lower through the dirty hallway.   

The growling of stereos moved the walls like blunted speakers, people mindin’ they own business somewhere. Even the few roaches kept it cool, movin’ up and along that pale wall alongside them. Nicco’s eyes rolled up there too... along with his thoughts.  

If he could listen through those walls two floors up…. The dudes in there had no idea what was coming—not when….   

Like the sun setting away from a day overcast as this one, everybody in the ghetto looked forward to death at some point. It came from a ways off like that—like a sun going down... while that moment could be right there. Like looking suddenly out the window and seeing how dark it got outside. In the hood it turned darker than that—this far side of the ghetto. This was a world where, for them, dying from these gunshots would be like dying of natural causes.   

They’d all cocked their guns—carriages slid back and slapped forward—before crossing the park. So the first gloved hand to reach that battered, steel door to the stairway pushed with confidence, a chrome barrel dull next to the spread fingers.  

From here there was not so much as a whisper. At a pace of gestures and glances they made their way to the second floor. Up there the door to the hallway was missing and an exhalation from that square throat put things on Nicco’s mind; beer poured out in memory of that special, but dead homie... the linear multitude of such rituals and the pissing sessions that followed them all....  

There was a gravity he could feel with those deeper vibrations of music, and his black-gloved hand, smaller than the others, slid subconsciously along the hallway wall in passing—shhh. 

 

Plot Outline:  

  • Act I: Protagonist is established. Tension and inner conflict is expressed as he is pressured to be in a gang against his deeper convictions. He has a covert plan to escape the violence and poverty of the ghetto by winning a tournament in metaverse, where he is truly gifted. He only tells his brother-friend, as no one else can be trusted. His brother-friend aspires to be in the gang, however, and envies the protagonist’s position.  

  • Act II: Antagonist is introduced. The antagonist, a woman born in the Ukraine, is in France. She is the strong emotional intelligence behind her terrorist husband, the muscle of the ultimate conflict. The antagonist is a secret admirer of the protagonist online and follows his alter ego with her own in the metaverse. They do not know each other’s true identities yet. The antagonist discovers that her husband is up to a mass terroristic event and is determined to investigate via his (secret) journaling and occasional talking in his sleep.  

  • Act III: The protagonist is betrayed by his friend-brother and forced to commit double murder, laying an unbearable burden on his conscience and killing his hopes at ever being like the “normal people” with a normal life. He tattoos an image of his “RIP” alter-ego on his shoulder.  He collapses into a denser, darker self, rising in the ranks of the gang. The antagonist realizes that her sociopathic husband plans to release a virus with artificial intelligence on a global scale in order to kill and infect countless lives while, with the only vaccine, extorting the governments of the world. She discovers that her husband knows she has been chatting online with the protagonist and that her husband is following him as well now, likely having him followed in real life. In his journal her husband expresses that there is “something different about this one (protagonist).” The husband reveals to the antagonist that he has a plan to finally let her in on the business. Via goggles and live streaming the antagonist experiences the death of her husband during a breach of a pathogen containment facility. She questions why they had to kill him and a part of her dies as well. With unbearable guilt, she collapses into a darker self. The antagonist even loses contact with the protagonist after the protagonist was forced to commit murder and deletes his alter ego from the metaverse. It is the same stroke of time wherein she loses her husband in a first-person experience. She becomes more obsessed with the memory of her dead husband—his journals and shady business contacts. There is an interim wherein the lives of the protagonist and antagonist are a serenade of lonely tragedy. The protagonist has turned ruthless in the streets and takes to drugs and partying, while the antagonist is relentless in her pursuits of who were her late husband's cohorts and what was the plot to which he had dedicated his life as of late. Having no children, her only purpose is to redeem his name’s sake with a scorned vengeance. She ultimately is consumed by the grief and endeavor and, before killing herself, is approached by the people who worked with her dead husband. There is a way to bring him back—in mind, at least, the body is up to her. The protagonist, now 27, shows a death-with by spending 200 thousand of the gang's money on an extravagant party with drugs and hookers uptown. The gang slashes the left side of his face and bans him from the city.  

  • Act IV: The antagonist must find a human host and brain wherein to load her husband’s memories and eventual consciousness/self-awareness. Without a second thought she has the protagonist in mind. Having seen him once in her husband’s files, she uses the technology now at her disposal to track the protagonist to Newyork city. The protagonist is now scar-faced, like his deleted alter-ego, but out of the gang. In a homeless camp in Newyork he finds his first love at 27. His old self follows him however, as a jealous rival for the woman has contacted an old enemy in Chicago. The protagonist beats the man nearly to death and eventually kills the enemy from Chicago when he shows up in Newyork. On the run, the protagonist is approached by the mysterious and beautiful antagonist. He recognizes her tattoo (her alter ego from the metaverse long ago) and cooperates. He will participate in a cutting-edge gaming course, a pilot program for the metaverse. His youthful dreams resuscitating, he involves his newfound love with newfound purpose. At the remotely located tech facility, a group of contestants vie for positions to move forward in the program. The scenarios are so life-like that they need to be constantly debriefed and counselled due to the onset of stranger memories beyond the gaming scenarios. The scenario is that they are members of an elite terrorist cell who must infiltrate a facility where dangerous pathogens are kept. They must secure a prototypical intelligent virus and escape. The contestants never pass the ultimate scenario, their characters always dying the same way. The protagonist develops a competitive love bonding with his new love interest, beneath the auspices of the watchful antagonist. At the end of the trial phase, all the contestants are killed expect the protagonist and his love interest, who is presumed dead. The protagonist, grieving but persuaded by relentlessly supportive antagonist, continues into the deeper stages of the program. The protagonist is wasting away in his mind, constantly tired and struggling for his own sanity. Meanwhile a shadowy background character is introduced, a mysterious character in a hoodie seen in viral videos committing such acts as breaking into tech facilities/university laboratories, beating random police officers and escaping without a trace. Many believe it is a hoax. The black hood-wearer, who only comes out at night and in the latest video, is sliced deep on the forearm while expertly killing several punks in the subway. Upon waking to this video stream, the protagonist feels the slice on his own forearm and digging into the closet, finds the black hoodie with the bloody forearm. He places secret cameras in the apartment and watches himself rising again to leave after each deep sleep. He also sees that this risen self is having sex with the antagonist. He continues with the program, pretending not to know. Concerned that the antagonist may be on to him, he is aware that he is being followed during the day. The person following him is the love interest. She escaped the execution and reveals much of what is happening. The gaming scenarios were memories from real terrorists that were killed, which is why they could never escape the same conclusions. The memories of the lead terrorist, the antagonist’s husband, are being summarily implanted in the protagonist’s brain. He, the undead husband, has been taking over from the subconscious whenever the protagonist goes to sleep. The terrorist, using the protagonist’s deadly hands, is carrying out the plot to spread the intelligent virus somehow. There are two weeks until an international convention of world ambassadors happens in Newyork. The protagonist and love interest train deep in meditation and thought experiments, training him in attempts to have power over his self and subconsciousness. The protagonist must glean information between the crossroads of his consciousness and subconsciousness. The lines are blurring after every night. He fears he is on the brink of losing himself forever if the terrorist can carry out the act of mass-murder. The terrorist plans to detonate the viral bomb from the top of the One World Trade Center. When protagonist sleeps, the love interest follows a walking terrorist to the building to find the protagonist has failed to take over his body. The love interest appears on the roof to wake her protagonist from his sleeping subconscious. The terrorist, seeing her, throws her from the rooftop. At the last instant the terrorist sees that it is not the love interest of the protagonist, but his own wife he has thrown. The protagonist, waiting in the shadows of his mind for the right moment, projects that false vision for the terrorist at the crucial moment, making him see and hear what he and his love interest had rehearsed during the day times. The protagonist disengages the intelligent viral and the dual personality flees from the roof before the dispersion bomb explodes. Down on the ground, the protagonist unites with love interest according to plan, reciting the password “second chances,” to put her at ease in his embrace. The two of them watch the light show fan into the high winds over the building, stuff of viral urban legends. Protagonist opens car door for love interest, something another man would do. 

  •  Act V: The protagonist and love return to Chicago and start a shelter and recovery program for “at-risk youth,” the unfulfilled mission of his late, biological father. The antagonist survived the fall to the lower roof section but not alone. Seven months pregnant, she swears to raise her child in the ways of the child’s father.  

100 Word Summary Of The Climax:  

 

The terrorist within awakens and the sleepwalking protagonist goes obediently to the rooftop. He attaches the viral load to the dispersion bomb. He arms it, starting the clock. The woman who loves the protagonist comes to awaken him, but he throws her from the roof. In a turn, she was really the wife of the terrorist—the antagonist herself. The protagonist manipulated perception from the subconscious. In the confusion, he disengages the viral load from the bomb. Torn, he escapes the roof within seconds. The bomb explodes, a storming sea of aurora that underbellies the expanding sky of New York.   

 

Theme Statement:  

Scribbled on bloody note from protagonist’s dead father who says there are none in life or death—"second chances.” The streets agree, killing the protagonist’s only chance at freedom. This secret codeword the awakening protagonist shares with his woman in the end, confirming he is in control of his mind and heart again. By chance, he has relived his failed alter-ego from the metaverse in real, heroic fashion (scarred face and all). They share second chances at love. Back in the hoods of Chicago, they start “Second Chances,” for his father, reviving that man’s failed vision for a better tomorrow.   

 

Elaboration on Comparables:  

“Tristan Strong Punches a hole in the Sky,” by Kwame Mbalia, is another novel in this genre that I like for more than a few reasons. I find the theme bold and adventurous not only in the literal sense but in the sense that the author dared tackle such ambitious matter and theme in a “breakout” novel. Greater than a gamble, this is the kind of risk that inspires and pays. In this sense my novel is a comparable, a thematically ambitious work that I believe is a harmony of genre and literature. The words are for those that would appreciate the deeper nuances of literature while those nuances come together to relay a story that is poignant in its own right.  

While this is an aspect that makes my novel comparable in certain ways to the new and successful novels and authors, it is also in this context that the uniqueness of my writing style flourishes. My novel balances the detailed close-ups of the story that are crucial to intimacy for the reader, while shifting to gears where that same story-side passes at a faster pace when necessary. The best of both scenic worlds at least—not a flyby, nor an excruciating snail’s pace. But like a journey true to life, anyone can recall it, notwithstanding the resurrection of the dead, transpositions of space and time, and the melding of the mutually antagonistic minds, as it were.  

A strong positive of my novel and myself is that both are flexible and amenable to the lessons to be learned from other successful authors, agents, editors, and other sources of wisdom and expertise. This characteristic of ours, while it may or may not be unique amongst aspiring breakout authors, is one that I have resolved to be writ in my own character now and moving forward.  

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