Saturday, 26 October 2013

500 Word Challenge: Working Conditions

Challenge: The story takes place in the late morning. During the story, there is a fight. A character questions authority. A character becomes furious during the story. During the story, a character eats something they haven't had in a while.

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    At about ten in the morning, Director Benjamin Isaacs called me into his office. Two hours later, I was still trying to make him understand: I didn’t work with anyone but my little brother.
    The Inquisition had kept an eye on us ever since we stopped our father from destroying the world three years ago. They thought that Liam and I were going to follow in his footsteps, something that couldn’t be less true.
    We were officially hired when Liam turned sixteen, and Isaacs tried to split us off with human Inquisitors. We were the only witches in the Inquisition, and that made us a liability.
    His plan hadn’t worked, partly because I didn’t trust anyone but Liam, and partly because no one else in the office trusted me.
    “It’s not happening,” I told Isaacs. “If Liam and I work here, we work together. That’s final.”
    He glared at me, his temper shortening as quickly as mine. “You’re out of line, Aerios. You remember what will happen if you and your brother back out of the deal.”
    We lose citizenship, are hunted, captured, tortured, and burned alive.
    “I remember. But I’m not changing my mind.”
    Isaacs put his hands on his desk, pushing himself up to look down on me. “I run this show, Aerios, and I say you’re getting a human partner. This isn’t negotiable.”
    I rose to my full height, reminding him that I was an inch taller and thirty pounds heavier than he was.
    “No, it isn’t. So I’ll say this once. Liam and I will take the jobs no one wants, the lowest grunt work. But we’ll do it together. If you assign me someone else, I’ll drop them without a second thought. This is my only condition, Isaacs. Be grateful I’m not asking more.”
    A chill rippled down my spine. I sounded like my father, the man I swore never to become. I was pissed, but I couldn’t keep threatening Isaacs. He was looking for an excuse to send thirty-thousand expert witch-hunters after us.
    If Isaacs was intimidated by me, I couldn’t tell. Despite my size, I was still a damaged twenty-two year old kid.
    “Oh, you’ll get the lowest. Just remember that you asked for it. Now get out.”
    I left his office. If I kept arguing, I would probably break something. Or someone.
    I walked to the desk I shared with my brother. I sighed and dropped into the chair across from him.
    “That bad, huh?” Liam said.
    “Yup. That bad.”
    Liam held out half a doughnut to me. I raised my eyebrows. “Are you serious?”
    “You haven’t had one of these in years,” he grinned.
    “Because I don’t want diabetes.”
    He rolled his eyes. “Dude, half a doughnut won’t kill you. Humor me.”
    Liam was always indulging himself. He’d never grow up, which was something I loved about him.
    I took the doughnut and ate it without arguing further. Some battles you want to win, and some you don’t.

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With NaNoWriMo so close, I thought it might be time to delve a little deeper into the Hollow Hill universe. This short is a prequel set a couple years in the past, just as Derek and Liam start their work for the Neo Inquisition.

Since Hollow Hill is on my mind, I'll be doing a fair bit of background work before I continue with Cursed. While I was writing today's short, I realized that I don't have as much background on the world as I need, and that is a no-no in my book. Background is super important to me because it helps me understand the world my characters live in better. I have to write it down and know it so I'm not scrambling at the last minute to details and conditions. Any other writers have that problem or line of thinking? Or am I the only one?


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